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First some quick explanations:

Meet CK2 Birch of Ryman - proudly bearing a standard of a grilled cheese sandwich side-on. Unfortunately I couldn't give him blonde hair, blue eyes or dreadlocks, but he'll do. If you can't tell from 'Deasmhumhain', Birch is a Chief of a county in Ireland. Why Ireland? Because it's a fairly small island (less competition) almost entirely made up of single-county Chiefs (no bigger neighbours looking to swallow up his land) and hopefully we won't have too much trouble (until the Vikings come to raid >.>).

What's also good about Birch's appearance and being in Ireland is down to one of my biggest annoyances with the game: all under-16 year olds of the same gender and ethnicity are identical. So if he married somebody of the same ethnicity you couldn't tell all daughters and all sons apart. However, with Birch having the darkest coloured ethnicity and his spouse likely to be much lighter, not only will their kids be able to be either of those options, they will also be able to look like a bunch of other ethnicities with colouring in between (even though that may not really make sense).

Also, I couldn't give Birch much actual personality. The personality system in CK2 is one of education and traits which affect 5 skills: Diplomacy, Martial, Stewardship, Intrigue and Learning. When creating a person from scratch, the traits you give them affect their age so you can't make them OP, and traits I would ordinarily give Birch would have made him like 50, so Birch has a Level 2 Diplomacy education (Underhanded Rogue) and he's a Legitimised Bastard (because in canon he doesn't even know who his father was), so his skills are 9 Diplomacy, 4 Martial, 5 Stewardship, 5 Intrigue, 5 Learning (8 is decent) and +5% fertility. As such, I'm just going to roleplay him and he might gain some traits along the way.

Alright, onwards to the first ten years!

1 January 769
Birch hadn't even known his father, so it had been surprise enough that he had been a Chief, nevermind that Birch was that Chief now. He wasn't sure he was cut out for it. He was only 18, and he hadn't been trained for it at all. Everything seemed to be so focused on strength and fighting prowess, and Birch... Well, he wasn't the worst, but most of his people could have beaten him up one-on-one. He'd just have to wing it and hope that, if he failed, they would at least allow him to live.
It had its benefits though; a chief should have a wife, and a prestigious one at that. If Birch was going to survive, he could do with some allies out there somewhere. And if his house was going to survive, he needed a fertile wife to give him children. He just needed to find one...

21 January 769

Her name was Adela Louping: she was 17 and perfect. Well, she was 'Occitan' and they didn't share a first language, but she was beautiful, skilled and virtuous, and had already proved herself fertile; she was actually already a widow of a Duke and mother of a year-old son back on the continent.
Birch was very conscious of that, that she'd come from the continent. He'd heard they had huge towns and castles there, and everyone was rich. Deasmhumhain... well, it was practically nothing and the people had little. He'd started building a market village as soon as their betrothal was arranged. It had been a difficult decision, though. He gained some gold from her dowry, but it was either building a market village or a hill fort - he'd picked the market town for the extra gold and possible access to nicer goods for sweet Adela, but the hill fort would have been more secure, safer if they got attacked. He would just have to hope that they wouldn't be attacked - or not until the market had brought in enough gold to build the hill fort too.

25 December 769
The market town finally completed on Christ's Day (a fortuitous sign, he was sure), and Birch bought Adela a pretty necklace to celebrate (Adela bought a trinket to send to her son). And they celebrated in more intimate ways. Not that such was uncommon between them; the affection between them had grown swiftly, all the better for their increasingly improved communication, but there was no pregnancy yet. Still, they were young, Birch hoped that there should be plenty of time for them to have the big family he dreamed of.

23 January 770
Finally it happened - the elder women all agreed - Adela was pregnant! It was still very early, and Birch feared for the potential dangers, but Adela had survived it once before, she would surely survive it again, god willing.

24 August 770
The months between January and August were filled with excitement and Birch fretting over Adela and the unborn child's safety, but nothing went amiss that anyone could tell. On the 24th Adela finally went into labour, accompanied by the experienced elder women, while Birch was good to do nothing but wait for news.

Soon there was the sound of a child, and Birch was introduced to his little baby daughter.
But she was little, fragile even for a baby. The women told him, hesitantly: the child was weak, her constitution would be too. She was not currently ill that anyone could tell, but if she were to become so... She would not stand the best chance.
It hurt, but it did not make him love little Eua Ryman any the less for it. As he held his daughter in his arms, he felt blessed for whatever time he had with her.

11 April 771
Time passed peacefully in Deasmhumhain. Eua remained a little fragile, but healthy enough for her state. Birch truly enjoyed spending more time with Eua and Adela than carrying out his Chiefly responsibilities, though he did his best to be a just and fair ruler of his land. In any case, he hadn't expected Adela to fall pregnant again in less than a year from Eua's birth, but he was delighted all the same. Eua would have a sibling, and Birch a more likely heir. He'd just have to while away the months of fretting once again.

10 November 771
Birch was better prepared for the birth this time, and Eua served as a good distraction from his anxieties, playing with the toys he'd bought from the market for her birthday.

In comparison to his sacred memories of Eua's birth, Birch could see now that the new baby had a better constitution and more strength than Eua. Another little girl, this time with fairer skin, they named her Gormlaith, and she was just as precious and wonderful as her sister.
However. Over the months Birch had found himself wondering about his succession. Truth be told, he had never truly considered Eua able to take over his chiefdom. He had come to hope, even to expect, that Eua might survive to adulthood and a family of her own, but in a land like this... He feared that even a stronger daughter like Gormlaith could not be accepted by his peers. They expected, demanded, male leaders. He had even overheard discussion which of his men would take over if he died. His daughters might be made good marriages to other leaders perhaps, but there would be no Ryman grandchildren. Birch knew it could be different on the continent, where a daughter might at least inherit where there were no sons, but there wasn't even that hope for him. For the family to live on in name, he needed a son.
Still, when he was awake at night, listening to Adela breathing, thinking of his daughters, sometimes he wasn't sure that he minded if the family didn't live on in name. If he died then and there, at least they would live on. Hopefully Adela would keep them safe, take them to where she came from, on the continent where everyone was rich.

17 August 774
The intervening years passed mostly uneventfully. The girls' birthdays seemed to fly by, though there were no further pregnancies. Despite Eua's physical weakness, she had never truly fallen ill, and seemed to try all the harder for it. Gormlaith was still very young, but she seemed more laid back about learning and advancing. Still, there was time for everything.
Other than that, there was the drag of ruling the tribe. Fortunately there had been no wars to deal with - though he knew that their two neighbours in the North had many more soldiers than Birch did; he really wanted to be able to build that Earthen Hillfort. However, that didn't mean his own people couldn't give him trouble too. He found out that his marshal Ercan, admittedly a cruel man, was plotting to kill his steward Artgal, a poor shy, craven and lately infirm old man. Birch hadn't quite had the nerve to arrest the murderous Ercan, but he did at least manage to dissuade him from his plotting.

21 January 775
And when it wasn't his men giving him problems, the common folk could. The Faith was strong in Deasmhumhain, but the less-so and criminally inclined few had started taking advantage of it, selling fake saints' body parts. Though, admittedly, it was bringing in some income, and it would be easy for him to gain from it, were he to allow it... But no, Birch couldn't do that, and the local priest would be horrified too. Even though it would cost him some income, Birch cracked down on it. It wouldn't do to anger God, nor his people. Perhaps the Lord would bless him with another child soon...

8 July 775
Actually things were a little too quiet in their lives. More specifically, little Gormlaith was. She was three years old, but she barely spoke a word, where they'd never had a problem with Eua. One of his men suggested birching the words out of her, but that was horrific. Another suggested just leaving her be, but she needed to learn to communicate better... In the end, Birch chose to take some extra time out with her, to encourage her by example. She seemed to enjoy it, and Birch did too. Perhaps he would make a decent teacher of his daughters himself when they got to that age. Better to spend time with them than send them off to a stranger - especially if they might think physical punishment was a good answer to something as harmless as being shy in his little treasures.

29 October 775
If there was something worse than the worry when Adela was pregnant and in labour, it was when someone was ill. It could have been considered lucky that it was Gormlaith rather than more-fragile Eua, but the anxiety was unrelenting all the same. The girl was not yet four, but she was forced to suffer so badly: headaches, fevers, sickness... And what could they do? The most learned people tried concocting herbal remedies, but it didn't seem to end it. It seemed endless.
Worse still, they couldn't risk Eua catching what Gormlaith had, so they had to separate the sisters for the duration. Eua wasn't happy and they struggled to explain, but poor Gormlaith would be ill and lonely. All Birch could do was buy them more toys and hope they'd both be alright.

4 May 776
It took over half a year for Gormlaith to finally recover her health. After all that time apart, Eua seemed afraid to play with her sister again, but they got there eventually. A nice little happy family again. Fingers crossed they wouldn't be plagued by illness again anytime soon, and Gormlaith could catch up on all the living she'd missed while ill.

24 August 776
With Eua's sixth birthday, it was time for her education to start. Birch had already decided to do it himself. Normally he might only have tutored his heir (and other sons), but with just his two precious daughters, Birch could manage them himself, live on as best he could through their lives and actions after him. And he could help keep an eye on Eua and her health.

31 March 777
It had been over five years and life had settled down so much that Birch had almost forgotten to hope for any change, but still it came - Adela was pregnant once more! And Birch almost wondered how he could have thought otherwise; he was only 26, Adela only 25, why shouldn't they conceive again, especially when they tried so frequently? Hopefully the pregnancy would be but a routine now, Adela's body having already borne three children without problem. And perhaps... dare he hope for a son?

1 May 777
Another thing finally became possible after years of waiting; Birch had saved up enough gold to build an earthen hillfort to protect his family and people. Not that there had been any clearer signs of war, but his stealthier men who spied upon his neighbours had informed him that the neighbour to the North-East had double his numbers. If they were to be invaded, they would need all the defence and fighters they could get.

6 June 777
It wasn't as though Birch lived his life in constant fear, however. Eua, though... Birch could remember her as a oddler when she'd been so determined to do everything despite her frailty, but as he spent more time around her for her education, she seemed so cautious and afraid of everything. He supposed that had started when Gormlaith was ill, everyone afraid for her health, perhaps she had picked up on it and started to fear for herself. He tried to talk to her, because such fear couldn't be healthy for a child, but at the same time... He didn't want to say that she should fear nothing, or shouldn't be cautious; she was still more delicate than most. He tried hard to walk that thin line, explaining that some fears were good but that there were limits, and she nodded along, but as he watched her later he couldn't see any difference. Perhaps it would be for the best, if it helped keep her safe.

2 September 777
Being from the rich and educated continent as she was, Adela could write well. She sent and occasionally received letters from her son and other relatives back there. Still, they discovered a secret had been kept for a while now; her father, a Count, had lost his lands after a failed rebellion against his liege lord, over a year before. He had been a potential ally for Birch, albeit a distant one. Fortunately the Loupings were expansive, so his father-in-law had taken up residence with his siblings who also held land, and Birch supposed that was where Adela would take the girls too, should something happen to Birch. Or to her son, when he inherited the duchy his grandfather was holding on his behalf. But still, it was sad and something of a blow. Adela seemed despondent at the news of the loss of her childhood home. Birch just hoped he might prevent his daughters suffering the same.

30 October 777
Nothing had gone wrong all pregnancy, so Birch took that as cause to hope that it would be safe once more. Of course this time there were more difficult questions from Eua and Gormlaith about how babies were made and how it was to come out of their mother, but Birch evaded the direct answer well enough. The girls were only seven and five! Though Gormlaith was almost six and about to start her education with him too...

The arrival herself was a thankful distraction, though she too was a girl, looking a lot like Gormlaith as a baby, good and healthy. They named her Mor Ryman. And why should Birch be disappointed? He was all the more thankful for three daughters than two.

21 April 778
It had taken time, but it was a little under a year before their hillfort was completed, together with a more secure dwelling. Birch would defend his family with all he had.
Though the increase in men had an issue in competition over whom should train and lead them. There was a bright, bold young man, full of vigour, who Birch favoured, but Adela had pointed out an older, more experienced man who had been waiting far longer for a chance. Birch still though his pick would be good, but he went with Adela's choice. The young man still had time later, and Adela was very pleased he had listened. This was all he wanted; happiness, comfortability and contentment. He was so content.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2015 09:47 pm (UTC)
Three girls. Yep, it's a patriarchy all right. ;)

He's doing well, if he can just get a few boys to even the odds out a bit it'll be great.

Have you looked at the mod, Crusader Queens?
Aug. 22nd, 2015 10:28 pm (UTC)
"Three girls. Yep, it's a patriarchy all right. ;)"

... I must have been really damn smart when I avoided that for my TS2 legacy. :)
Aug. 25th, 2015 08:56 pm (UTC)
I technically have Crusader Queens, but I can't remember whether I couldn't get it to work or if it didn't work quite the way I wanted it to, but I hardly even used it and can't remember how it works now X)

I'd just not realised that in Ireland I can't arrange a change of succession laws (except for to elective gavelkind, which would also be male only), at least until it gets out of the tribal stage I guess? I've not managed to get a tribe beyond tribal stage so far, so I'll be interested to see if I can through this.

Aug. 26th, 2015 05:02 am (UTC)
Well, in regards to Crusader Queens, you won't get negatives for having female heir or ruler, and when you get to the point where you can change the gender rules, you can have the option for girls to be the first choice. If you chose.
Aug. 22nd, 2015 10:27 pm (UTC)
Hi Birch! Long time no see!

I loved the updates - but seeing as this is a strategy game, I'm sure there's war on the horizon... especially because Birch has three girls!
Aug. 25th, 2015 08:57 pm (UTC)
I can't remember what approximate year vikings start becoming a pain in the ass, but I'm pretty sure it's not very far away >.< Other than that, you never know...
Aug. 23rd, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
This was very interesting to read. Clearly, this is a challenge! And with three girls, definitely a patriarchy! :D Well, it does sound like Birch is doing alright. Maybe he yet gets lucky and has a son, too.

Looking forward to seeing how this continues. :)
Aug. 25th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC)
If this one fails on the grounds of insufficient male heirs, I'm planning on using Elliot next - he'll be seducing every woman he comes across, legitimising any likely-looking kids and there'll be no end of heirs (and wars/intrigue over which one should be in control, probably...) :P

The great(/nerve wracking) thing is that I literally have no idea what'll happen next either X)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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