Wind, rain, and cold met Skuld and his hirdmen as they set sail for Dublin in the autumn of 847. Skuld had tried to make a deal with the Irish, but they were too proud to take it... He knew they would be, but he had hoped none the less... Of course, he realized his deal of 'become a tributary or face the axe' wasn't all that friendly, but hey, he was a warlord... Blood would be spilled in Dublin one way or another, and the city would fall to Skuld, or Skuld would be sent back to the sea.
In the cold, chill trip to Dublin, Skuld reflected on his travels and the emprire he built for his children. He vowed that Dublin would be the last city to fall to him, he was done with the Viking life; with Dublin under his control, every faction in Scandanavia and the Isles would have given him a city, except of course his ally the Welsh king (for more context on the campaign situation, check out the map). And so he reflected as his longships made land outside of the ciy of Dublin.
The Irish are there to meet Skuld and his Saxons. Note that the Irish are outlined in green, while the Norwegians are red.
As Skuld's hird marched up the beaches, the Irish formed up into columns in the hills and marched down imposingly toward the vikings. Skuld knew that he had to form his lines quickly or the fast moving Irish would pick his men apart in the hills. He made a riskly decision then: to split his forces up on either side of a steep hill. Thankfully the gods were on his side and the Irish obliged him by doing the same.
It was then that a runner returned to Skuld informing him that King Olafson was not leading the Irish! It was his brother Neildraigh Olafson who lead the Irish from the hills. A slight uncertainty formed in Skuld's mind. He had never heard tell of this Neildraigh, and so he knew not what the battle would bring...
Skuld took his time and took care forming his forces. The Irish did the same, and the early part of the battle was very fiddly as a conequence...
Skuld ordered the advance and the Irish mirrored him. He tried in vain to gain the upper hand with the deployment of his hird, but it was not to be... especially since orders to the hird on the other side of the hill were painfully slow to be relayed (the elements on that side require two pips to move, as opposed to the usual one). The Irish stayed in the hills, holding up and hassling Skuld's forces as well... He realized the day would be long, and the battle would be bloody.
The Vikings on the right flank force an Irish element out off the steep hill and into their blades. 1-0 for the Vikings.
Skuld was happy to hear that his hird on the other side of the hill took the initiative and charged some of the Irish in the hills with a feint that brought them out of their hilly protection. Once they were exposed, they were charged again on the flank. The Irish fell to the axes of the Norsemen. Skuld ordered his archers who were running in the hills out to the fields to stop the Irish axemen from taking advantage of the vulnerable Vikings. Although the Irish were down one unit, the middle and the right still remained wholely contested.
The Irish blades chase the Viking skirmishers out of the center, while some Fianna push Skuld and his guard back from the lines!
Skuld called his men to charge into battle on the left flank, and he went with them, axe swinging. Although the battle was fierce, the Irish warriors gained the upper hand and forced Skuld and his bodyguard to back down from the fight. At the same time the Viking skirmishers in the middle were being pushed around by the Irish blades... The center and the left became that much more precarious for Skuld. The Irish could hold Dublin this autumn...
Skuld strikes back and destroys one of the Irish units, while the center remains contested.
Frustrated at being forced back previously, Skuld charges his guard in once more and the Irish Fianna fall to the viking axes. The Irish blade that were fighting along side the Fianna lose their resilve and are pushed back. The left-center suddenly looks to be in the hands of Skuld... However, the Irish blade continue to push the Viking skirmishers around; Skuld realized that this point that it was likely that the life for the skirmishers was running out...
The Viking skirmishers die when pushed back into another unit of vikings at an odd angle.
The Viking skirmishers that were attempting to contest the center of the battlefield quickly became pinned by the Irish blades when the Irish took the initiative. Being forced to back away from the Irish blades, the Viking skirmishers smashed into a unit of Viking blades behind them and promptly fled the field in chaos. The Irish briefly held the center... although by this time the Vikings managed to maneuver a unit of there own to face down the Irish blades in the center. Skuld ordered his right flank to further press the attack and lead his hird forward. All this time, Nieldraigh, the Irish general and his guard threw insults at the vikings on the far left through the trees, where a standoff continued. The battle now stood at 2-1 for the Vikings, and it's still on the edge of a blade...
The Vikings on the far right go into the hills after the Irish, destroying a unit there.
Putting their leader Skuld's commands into action, the Vikings on the right flank charged into the hills to catch the jeering Irish. Having gotten the flank, the Vikings closed the door on the Irish in the hills and despite a vicious defense, the Irish unit was destroyed. Skuld rejoiced as his Vikings were near to ending the battle.
Skuld swept over the Irish blades, ending the battle 4-1 for the Vikings!
In a rash attempt to smash the Irish resistance, Skuld charged forward along with his bodyguard and another unit of vikings. Death came swift to the Irish blades, despite their spirited defense. And as Skuld removed the head of the little Irish chief, the Irish blades in the middle of the field continued to contest the center. However, after they had heard that the Irish line had collapsed, they marched off, along with the rest of the Irish army. Skuld was happy to let them go, and happy that his long war was now at and end... At least until next year!
Well, that battle marked the end of the Circa 800 DBA Campaign for me. What a campaign it was... My very first campaign that went from beginning to end and actually finished... Yes, a proud moment. And this battle marked it for me (although there was one other battle after this). What a battle it was. The player of the Irish was out of town this weekend, so he had a buddy take over for him (Neildraigh). I felt for him to be honest, as Ireland was attacked by two armies in one season, leaving him to defend the realm twice in one season! He played a great game and was an excellent sport! Thanks Neildraigh!