Monday, October 05, 2020

Bo'ness Dynasty Pt3 - King Maine McCinaed 'the reveler' of Lothian

(This is an AAR for Crusader Kings III. Year 867 start with the Earl of Fife - renamed to the Bo'ness Dynasty.)
Pt1 - High Chieftan Drystan
Pt2 - High Chieftan Cinaed of Lothian

Trained as an adequate bargainer, Maine made is name as the life of the party. A dear friend to vassals, foreign rulers and wandering knights, Maine's feasts brought many to Edinburgh and most stayed to add their sword or skills to the glory of Lothian. Under Maine's rule the Bo'ness line strengthened in number and power with most finding desirable matches around the banquet table and landed titles flowing from continued expansion throughout Ireland, England, Norway and Denmark.  

Although the Bo'ness family tree grew greatly, Maine himself had only one daughter, Anna, through his early years. Maine's dearest held the family hopes of alliance with France together with early betrothals to Armagnac, but by the time the marriage proposal came to fruition Aquitaine had split from Francia, taking Armagnac with them. Adding to the strife, the Bouchard rulers were swayed to Messalianism, a new heretical offshoot of the Christian faith. For this they were hounded and purged through holy war, leaving Anna stranded without a husband. Before Maine could bring her home, Anna's elderly father-in-law, Duke Bouchard, forced another marriage to the young genius, dashing hopes of future children and alliances. This would not do. Maine plotted to bring her home through any means to keep the Bo'ness heir safe. Soon Duke Bouchard died to mysterious circumstances.

With Maine approaching 40 and still no male heir to the throne, the marriage to 'Anna the wise' was annulled under suspicion of infidelity. Maine's 2nd wife, Alix de Trainel (also gifted with a marvellous intellect) soon lifted to become a magnanimous host of the ever more impressive feasts crowding the halls of Edinburgh. 2 more daughters graced the family line, but concerns were finally laid to rest when Adam, heir to the Lothian throne, was born with Maine over 45. Alix continued to have children, leaving 8 to share the heritage left behind by the time Maine died.

With lineage secured, Maine's final years were devoted to becoming a King in his own right. The kingdom of Alba had flourished in large part to the growing power base of Lothian, but increases in land and levees for Maine also meant increases to his leige. Coupled with King Cinaed V's tight relationship to the Bavarian King, he held a dominant position fielding almost 14,000 men at the height of his power. Another concern was the tanistry elective process limiting kingdom candidates to only those of the Ailpin house; it couldn't be ousted by Bo'ness candidates no matter their standing. An exit strategy had to be found. 

Maine's opening came with the mysterious death of King Cinaed V to a spider bite, succeeding to King Conchenn. While the new liege had lower prestige and less alliances, he could still field 8,000 souls if needed. Maine's troops had grown to over 6,000, but was unsure how the generally reliable family alliances would hold since all swore fealty to Alba as well. With additional alliances garnered through his children to Wessex and as far-flung as Florence, Maine pressed for independence alone as Conchenn returned from raiding Ireland. The Lothian elite were also bolstered by mercenary warbands to field over 17,000 once raised. As Alba's levees returned to their lands, the Retinue of Hengist and other warbands tore into Gowrie, demolishing the standing army and laying siege the capital. Unable to recall Lothian levees, King Conchernn's army depleted to a measly 4,800 that even his own mercenary hires could not recover from. After the first month the campaign had largely been won, leaving only a few harried skirmishes and sieges to seal independence.

Shortly after breaking the shackles of Alba, the Kingdom of Lothian was announced with all lands from Edinburgh to York under rule as well as holdings in Ireland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. As the embarrassment of Alba's sudden fall from dominance over the northern realms sunk in, King Conchernn switched primary titles to the Kingdom of Norway to signify where his power base now lay. Alba is no more.    

Maine's drunken excesses finally took their toll as the obese king revelled his last feast. King Adam may be young, but has his own destiny and domain to lead now.