Chapter 67: Alphonso’s Ireland March, 1299 Dublin was a beautiful place, the people were somewhat friendly, and if he were honest with himself, Alphonso wished he could spend more time here. He had written letters to Margaret describing everything and she seemed just as enthused as he was. Of course it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There was still a rebellion going on that he needed to quell. Connaught and his rebels had been very clever, they’d stopped themselves from outright action and instead resorted to shadow tactics, to try and push him into engaging. Thankfully, he’d shown restraint and his authority overruled that of the more belligerent Earl of Ulster, but for how long he did not know. He looked at the letters which had come from across the land. “Connaught and his allies continue to move through the land, but they do not raid or pillage. They simply march. And the common man allows them to do so.” He rubbed at the beard that had started growing. “Figuring out how we are to change this is going to be an issue.” “The answer is simple, Your Highness.” Ulster said. “We make an example of anyone who has allowed Connaught and his band of rogues through.” “That would require hanging thousands of people.” Alphonso countered. “Not effective at all.” “Oh, I do not mean that we should hang them, Sir.” Ulster responded. Wary of what might be said next, Alphonso asked. “So, what exactly is it that you are suggesting then?” “We find out the names of the people who allowed Connaught to pass through their homes and lands, and we lower their taxes, whilst taking away the best trading options from them and giving them to their rivals.” Ulster said. Alphonso thought on this. “Benefit them in one manner, but then punish them by lowering their ability to yield money. A possible solution.” “And one that would go against the law of the land, Your Highness.” Sir John Wogan, Justiciar of Ireland said. “The laws passed under the great council were clear.” “And they also left room for them to be repealed in times of great urgency.” Alphonso replied, remembering his lessons. “This is such a time.” Sir John shifted then, and the impression Alphonso had of him as being a man who stuck to rules like a fly stuck to blood, grew. “I am not sure it would be right, Your Highness.” “Why ever not?” Ulster demanded. “The men following Connaught or who allowed him to pass through their lands are committing treason, and the Prince has the right to do something about it.” “I just feel that it would unnecessarily antagonise people.” Wogan replied. “You are scared.” Ulster said filled with disgust. “The greatest threat the Lordship of Ireland has ever faced and you are scared of it. Pathetic.” Before Ulster could continue, Alphonso spoke. “We understand your concerns, Sir John, however, this needs to be sorted out promptly. If we can do it without bloodshed the better. Start drafting the law. The King will be here by the next month, with any luck this matter will be dealt with by then.” “Yes, Your Highness.” Wogan replied. “We shall keep the army here for the time being, but should they actively strike then we shall respond accordingly.” Alphonso responded, though he prayed the Irish would not do so.