It is now January 779, ten years into the legacy, and Birch does not have an heir because the inheritance laws do not allow girls to inherit at all, and I can't change that (without cheating).
Chief Birch Ryman
Traits: Diplomacy education level 2, Legitimised bastard, Content
Skills: 9 Diplomacy, 4 Martial, 5 Stewardship, 4 Intrigue, 5 Learning
Traits: Intrigue education level 4, Arbitrary, Temperate, Brave, Patient
Skills: 3 Diplomacy, 13 Martial, 8 Stewardship, 17 Intrigue, 9 Learning
Traits: Weak, Craven
Skills: 3 Diplomacy, 0 Martial, 2 Stewardship, 2 Intrigue, 3 Learning
Skills: 3 Diplomacy, 1 Martial, 3 Stewardship, 0 (-2) Intrigue, 3 Learning
Skills: 0 Diplomacy, 1 Martial, 0 Stewardship, 0 Intrigue, 1 Learning
10 July 779
For all that most was going well for the Rymans, the bad luck kept coming for Adela’s family back on the continent. With her father having already lost his land and Adela's childhood home with it, news then came of her two brothers, both younger than her. The younger brother died on pneumonia on 9 February, age 25. Then, on 16 April, the elder brother died of the great pox, aged 26. Both had children, now under the care of their grandfather, living with their still-landed great-uncles. It was all hitting Adela hard. Birch was just grateful that he still had all his children and land for now.
28 August 779
Birch wasn't sure if it was all the bad news from the Louping side, but he noticed that Eua seemed increasingly cynical with regards to God and the faith. Birch wasn't the most religious of men, but for Eua and her physical weakness... He wanted God to be on her side, to protect her from danger and illness, so he spoke to her about it, trying to at least decrease the cynicism a little. It seemed to work, too. Fingers crossed it might pay off in her favour one day.
28 February 780
For all that Birch wasn't even the most religious of men, he must have been doing well in comparison to most Chiefs around the land, because the local priest, Maenach, wrote specifically to tell him how pleased he was with him. Birch just hoped that got passed on to the one who could carry out miracles.
6 September 780
Tutoring Eua as he did, for all that Eua mostly wasn't cut out for Tribal leadership in several ways, he did notice how just Eua was turning out, and in his opinion that was probably preferable to strength. In fact, not having an heir, Birch did begin to wonder whether it could be possible for a son of Eua, or of the other girls, to be Birch's heir. In which case, a matrilineal marriage could solve all his problems, so long as he lived long enough to have a grandson...
29 November 780
With Birch's mind pre-occuped with his family, the financial situation wasn't so good as it might have been. He didn't really notice, up until his steward Dunlaing died of severe stress, possibly linked to not having as much gold as they would have liked. And there was no good replacement for him either. Well, gold didn't make you happy, did it?
8 December 780
While tutoring Gormlaith and Eua, Birch noticed that Gormlaith seemed given to lying a lot, entirely making things up. Birch confronted her about it, and tried to encourage her to be honest. After that the lies certainly decreased, but she didn't wasn't exactly forthcoming with the truth. He supposed that was better than nothing, maybe honesty would come later.
8 January 781
Despite the recent incidents of lying, Birch was relieved to note that despite anything else Gormlaith was still kind at heart and meant well, and what else should he do but encourage that? One of his men did point out that encouraging honesty and kindness could backfire in a world full of intrigue and plotting, but Birch didn't really buy that; Gormlaith was just a girl without special power, and people weren't that bad, especially to somebody who was so kind. His girls would be fine.
21 February 781
Birch enjoyed having the approval of the church and all, but there were limits. Somebody, apparently believing Birch to be a committed zealot, reported to him that a couple of his villagers had taken the lord’s name in vain - in one case in severe pain, and the other when a rat had fallen in the stew. Birch tried to humour the priest a little with words, but he wasn't about to dole out punishment on his people for that. Unfortunately the priest saw through his words in that respect and left miffed, but Birch would stick to his principles all the same and felt comfortable that God would understand.
2 June 781
Birch didn't know when it started exactly, whether it was when her father lost their land, or the untimely deaths of her brothers, but Adela seemed almost constantly melancholy, and it affected her ability to do everything, as well as her health and desire to be intimate. Birch was worried, but when he tried to comfort her it just made her more upset. "I don't deserve it! I've done all I can, and still I haven't been able to give you a son - what will happen to us?!" Birch tried to explain they'd be fine; Adela still had plenty of family they could take the girls to if needed, and there was still time to have a son if they kept trying. It didn't seem to work very well. Hopefully it would just pass with time, and maybe prayer...
28 October 781
Birch wished Adela had young Eua's patience, and Eua seemed a lot happier for it. She was becoming an increasingly good potential leader, if only she could have been given the chance. If only their world didn't depend on military strength so much as it did.
23 November 781
If Adela had been patient, she may not have worked herself into such a state before discovering she was pregnant once again. Though still, there was no guarantee that this time it would be a son either, but Birch didn't mind, he didn't see why Adela should mind any more than he did. It was probably just all the other things happening to her family at the same time. She'd be alright eventually.
19 February 782
Despite the anxiety and excitement, there was plenty of time to pass educating the Eua and Gormlaith, and playing with little Mor. Gormlaith herself always wanted to play rather than studying, but Birch managed to convince her that it was only right to do so after studying, and he was pleased to see that Gormlaith had become just, just like her elder sister.
As for Birch himself, he was proud of his family, and of himself. He was doing rather well, really. He had to focus on the positives like that. He had three wonderful daughters, and a wife whom he loved. He wouldn't allow himself to become melancoly and despondent like Adela was, it had to be a better way.
24 June 782
Finally, with few problems along the way, came time for the birth, Birch gathered together with the girls to greet their new sibling. This time he couldn't evade going into a bit more detail about the process with Eua and Gormlaith, now that they were both in double figures and not so very far away from marriage in a few more years. Thankfully Mor wasn't listening in, throwing a tantrum with a servant about not being able to see her mother.
And, after that little bit of awkwardness, came the good news: Adela had given birth to their first son, who looked a lot like Birch and Eua. Little Forbassach Ryman was also perfectly healthy. If he could remain so, Birch's worries about the inheritance might be over for a full generation, and he wouldn't have to worry about matrilineal marriages and the claims of grandsons and everything.
7 December 782
The replacement steward had been literally been the last resort with nobody else to take the deceased predecessor's place, but he proved to be simultaneously better and more trouble than expected. In his attempts to prove himself, he somehow managed to raise an army of 299 men in Birch's name, looking for a righteous battle that they thought Birch could provide. This might have been very helpful, if Birch had any desire or expectation of battle. He didn't. The North-East neighbour still had more soldiers than him even with the extra men, but he hadn't made any moves or indications against Birch. Birch couldn't just declare war on a neighbour for no reason, he had no claim to anybody else's land and he had no ships that would give him the means to send the soldiers off to fight against religious opponents elsewhere. But at the same time, he now had 299 restless men sat around awaiting orders...
In the end, he didn't have much of a choice; the only way he could use them was to press a claim on a neighbour, so he sent his chancellor off to see if he could forge a claim on the weaker North-Western neighbour. He didn't really expect it to work, and it not working would be his excuse, but nor did he particularly want it to work. If it did work and they got into a war he'd be risking his life and potentially those of his family when he'd finally managed to have a son and heir, and it would probably cause more problems than it would solve anyway.
2 February 783
There was more news from Adela's family on the continent, though at least it was somewhat good this time. At the age of 15 Adela's son Loup had inherited the county of Lusignan from his grandfather, but not the Duchy of Aquitaine or two other counties, all of which had gone to his two-year-old uncle, whom his grandfather had fathered late in life. That was the way inheritance would work, but they were sceptical all the same; if Adela's son was ambitious and determined enough, a strong 15-year-old could certainly dispossess a 2-year-old. Birch just thought it better to accept what you were given though, rather than get caught up in all that intrigue, plotting and war.
8 March 783
In honesty, Gormlaith was turning out braver than Birch was, and certainly a lot more than Eua was. She was only an 11-year-old girl, but she came in one day having been bitten by a snake and bleeding, but acted as though it was nothing. Were it Eua, Birch probably would have been even more panicked for her health and told her to be more careful, but Gormlaith... Bravery was a good thing, and having that might help make up for her complete absence of any skill in intrigue, if she was unafraid. Hopefully it would make her happy.
30 October 783
At last it came time for Mor's sixth birthday and to start education like her sisters. However, Birch couldn't truly handle educating more than two children at once, so he decided that it was more than time for Adela to have a turn, especially since Birch still made sure to spend a lot of time with his children outside of education. Perhaps it would help to cheer Adela up too, since she hadn't become much less melancholy even after Forbassach's birth.
13 December 783
In retrospect, Birch was a little surprised it even took a full year for the army of men to give up on him. His chancellor hadn't had any success with forging a claim on their neighbour, so it wasn't like there was anything Birch could have done about it anyway. But still, together with the relief at not having so many armed and armoured men just loitering around, Birch did feel a little disappointed at the anti-climactic ending to it all, and a little affronted at their disillusioned disgust. He hadn't asked for them, after all. He needed to get a different steward.
28 January 784
Having turned from being cynical, Eua had become more and more zealous, reading about religion a lot, and simultaneously avoiding actual people and socialising. Birch would allow the zealotry - his delicate daughter could always use religious favour, but being so shy would not aid her. The intention was still for her to marry a Chief and have a family of her, and for that she would have to deal with new people. Thankfully, with the acceptance of her faith, it seemed easier to encourage her to change the shyness, and she was soon gregarious, unafraid of people if not of most everything else.
15 February 784
Obviously Birch wasn't educating Mor, but he kept an eye out for how she was turning out during their family time. It seemed that she was turning out proud like her father, encouraged by Adela. Hopefully she would stay like him and not become melancholy like her mother still was.
24 August 784
Birch really hoped Eua's religious favour would pay off - just about the time she turned 14, she became ill as they had always feared. She had lived longer than some would ever have expected, but Birch couldn't bear to lose her now either. He wanted her to have the chance to fall in love and have children of her own, God willing...
3 February 785
There was little good news for months with all the concern over Eua - and Adela permanently melancholic as she was - but life went on elsewhere, with news that Adela's son Loup may have been not yet married, but he had already fathered one bastard child, a daughter. Birch wished he could encourage his step-son towards happy married life, but it wasn't really his place to interfere.
8 May 785
Perhaps it was Eua's situation putting things in perspective, or a tendency inherited from Birch, but Gormlaith had become increasingly content and unambitious like her father. He thought it was better that way, despite that ambitious people tended to cultivate higher skills - happiness was more important than that, and Gormlaith was already decently skilled in both Diplomacy and Learning.
22 July 785
Finally, after almost a full and stressful year, Eua seemed to recover from her illness. She herself was the first to thank God, but Birch would thank anyone and everyone that she had been spared.
24 August 785
It was nice that Eua was healthy for her 15th birthday, and Birch allowed himself to start looking at marriage prospects for his eldest daughter now that she was only a year away from 16.
There was a 14 year old Chief Mael-Martain of Osraige, but Birch was put off by rumours that he was possessed, which zealous Eua would definitely not approve of. Alternatively, there was a 15 year old Chief Donmnall of Cill Dara, but there were rumours that he preferred the intimate company of men (as well as being slothful and gluttonous).
The obvious best option was a 14 year old Chief Domnall of Connachta, who was brave and just though slothful, but when contacted he refused both Eua and Gormlaith - it seemed that he was too ambitious to take the daughter of another Chief, but that was his loss. Birch gave up for now rather than settling, deciding to wait a little while longer and seeing what the situation would be in a year.
15 June 786
Gormlaith had taken an unusual interest in money of late, which wasn't something anybody else in the family had shown so far. Still, if any of them were going to be in control of a lot of gold, Birch thought it better that they be charitable with it than hoarding it. Gormlaith agreed with him, and they both decided to be charitable, as a good leader ought to be.
24 August 786
Eua finally became a woman of 16, with a level 2 Stewardship education and above average Stewarsship and Learning as a result, but rather weak Intrigue, like Birch and the rest of her siblings.
Unfortunately the marriage situation hadn't changed much in the past year. Birch probably could have made her a very good marriage on the continent, but he couldn't stomach the idea of any of his children being so far away. Plus a local ally would be of far more use in case of war.
In the end he proposed that she marry Chief Donmnall of Cill Dara - he wasn't perfect (though he had gained a good level 3 martial education when he had turned 16), but he did want a wife despite his rumoured preference for men, and maybe Eua could help him be a better leader, and he probably wouldn't demand so many and frequent pregnancies of her that might harm her in her frailty. And she wasn't very far away if anything went wrong.
7 June 787
Birch supposed most people would fall ill at some point in their childhoods, and it seemed to be Mor's turn. But he never took it for granted that any illness might be nothing - there were too many stories of usually healthy people there one day and gone the next. All he could do was hope and pray.
16 July 787
After the illnesses that Gormlaith and especially Eua had suffered, the fact that Mor was healthy again in scarce more than a month almost seemed like nothing. Still, a month was quite a long time for a nine-year-old, so Birch gave her lots of treats to help her feel better.
30 August 787
With Gormlaith's sixteenth birthday coming up fast, Birch reviewed the marriage situation around Ireland - or possibly Scotland, if all else failed. The possessed Chief he'd seen before had apparently found a wife elsewhere, not that Birch was overly keen on that idea. However, he did come across somebody he hadn't noticed before: Fergal Ua Neill was 15 and not currently a Chief, but he was heir to the Chiefdom of Tir Eoghain, as well as being reputedly diligent, gregarious, temperate and humble, ideal marriage material. Fergal's father happily accepted.
23 October 787
With the families due to unite via marriage, Birch was notified when Gormlaith's betrothed Fergal's father died on 20 October, with Fergal becoming Chief of Tir Eoghain (and his elder brother Chief of Airgialla). It must have been a shame for the Ua Neills, but at least Fergal and Gormlaith wouldn't be waiting around in the background to have their own positions of power.
10 November 787
Gormlaith excitedly turned 16, gaining a level 3 Diplomacy education, and an incredibly high level of Diplomacy skill with it, though scarce any Intrigue at all. Hopefully, once Fergal turned 16 early next year and they married, she wouldn't need it.
6 Januay 788
With Fergal turning 16 (and gaining a level 2 Stewardship education), Gormlaith left for married life. It was a promising start between the two of them, though unsurprising with Gormlaith's diplomacy and Fergal's positive personality traits, though Fergal's focus was more on faith and learning than family, as Birch's was, but that was not a bad thing, just different.
18 May 788
Both Eua and Gormlaith made sure to keep in touch via letter. Gormlaith was happy, hoping to have a daughter of her own some day soon.
Eua was not so happy as her sister, unfortunately but not so surprisingly. Birch had known since her birth that the tribal system did not look favourably upon the physically weak, and Eua was craven too, so doubtless she was not quite the wife any Chief would have chosen, though Birch thought she more than made up for it in personality. As for her husband, his sexual preferences aside, he was gluttonous, slothful, envious and cynical. Birch wished he could have made her a better match. Still, Donmnall's one saving grace was that he was family focused, so he should treat her - and any children they had - broadly well. Birch could only counsel patience and suggest that Eua abandon her desire to be a spymaster - he said on the basis of the danger, but it was as much on her lack of skill in that area to start with.
24 June 788
Finally it came time for Birch to have a male heir in education as Forbassach turned 6. He hadn't thought of it much when he'd had no son in sight, but he'd dreamed of tutoring a son to follow in his footsteps. Hopefully he'd manage it well and Forbassach would be a good leader to follow him when the time came.
1 July 788
Eua didn't have to be patient for half so long as anyone had feared - she was already pregnant! Birch just hoped she would have her mother's good luck in coming through the whole thing with good health, and if she could deliver a healthy son then her position in her husband's tribe could be secured for life.
7 October 788
Birch wasn't sure if it was something about his children, but he had a funny feeling of history repeating itself, as he realised Forbassach was going about lying a lot, like Gormlaith had done almost ten years earlier. Once again, he confronted his child to encourage honesty in its place. And it was only as successful as it had been last time; less lying, but scarcely more truth. Hopefully it wasn't just his children who did this.