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Thread: "Guess-the-Author" Analysis and Critiques

  1. #901
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    The city of Frankfurt glowed in the autumn dawn. Though the sun’s rising awoke the city’s occupants, the Wahlkapelle remained silent, but for the scurrying of servants. Albrecht Abdecker looked in the main doors towards the altar. The purple hung, fit for the occasion. A short, squat priest knelt before it, busy with his morning worship. Abdecker walked up behind the priest, and scuffed a foot on the stone floor. The priest, startled, turned to look at him.

    “May I help you, my son?”

    “Yes, Father. Could you administer the sacrament to me this morning? I have a terrible feeling of impending doom, and wish to be ready to meet my savior, if it should come to that.”

    “Of course, my son. It is an odd request, but I will gladly grant it. Some of us are touched by the Lord, and know things we have no right to.”

    “Thank you, Father.”

    The priest conducted a quiet ceremony, providing both bread and wine, body and blood to Abdecker. The priest concluded the ceremony with a blessing.

    “May the Lord protect you in all your endeavors, and may He forever watch over you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.”

    “Amen.”


    Abdecker gave the diminutive priest thanks, and walked out of the chapel. He surveyed the chapel’s grounds, particularly at the towers built to house the Electors and their retainers. This would be the most difficult thing he had ever done. The Lord’s teachings were quite clear on the subject of murder. The subject of heresy was also clearly discussed, and there was no room for argument. Which commandments were more sacred than the others? Truly the heretics would burn for their transgressions.

    Abdecker had no quarrel with the heretic peasants, as they made their decision to visit Lucifer on their own, but the princes were far worse. They intimidated God-fearing men, forcing them to leave the path of righteousness on pain of death or worse. Even the heretic princes could be tolerated, for the price of rectifying them would be high.

    The Imperial Throne was the bulwark of Christianity, standing tall against the heresies of Luther. It had always been the Protector and Shield of Europe against the threat of invasion by the Muslim hordes. The Emperors since Charles protected true Christians against the encroachments of the heretics. However, their hands were tied by their own allies. The Catholic League’s opponent, rather than the heretics, seemed to be the Emperor himself. All this led to today.

    A gardener came around the corner, attention focused on the grounds. Abdecker coughed quietly, to get the man’s attention.

    “Sir? A moment of your time, if you please.” The gardener stood up, very still, almost in shock that anyone would address him.

    “Of course, my Lord.”

    “I seem to have become misoriented. Could you tell me which tower the Archbishop of Köln resides? I was to meet one of his ministers at daybreak, and I fear I will be late.”

    “Of course, my Lord.” The man’s hand stretched towards the nearest tower. “That is the tower you seek, my Lord.”

    “Thank you.” Abdecker withdrew a coin from his pocket, and placed it in the gardener’s hand. “I greatly appreciate your help.”

    The gardener stared at the heavy coin in wonder. It was likely more money than this man had seen in his life.

    “It was my honor, my Lord.” The man bowed, and scurried away with his new-found wealth.

    Abdecker adjusted his cloak cautiously; ensuring the long knife still lay concealed beneath his cloak. The heretics were ecstatic. They thought they had victory within their grasp. No Christian could stand aside for that. If he were damned to Hell for his actions, so be it. For his sacrifice, thousands of others would remain true to Christ. His conscience was clear.

  2. #902
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    "Who approaches!?" The soldier demanded. He stood and leaned on his pike, blocking the wood door behind him. In the flickering lamp light he recognized the white spiked wheel on his tabard representing the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz. Next to him a Hessian soldier stood and half drew his sword. Mainz might host the prince electors, but this was their city, and with war on the horizon no one was taking chances.

    "Johan. It is Father Rickard," he replied softly. He moved closer to the lamp and met the guard's gaze.

    The soldier nodded and winked to his partner, who sheathed his blade. "God be with you, my lord.. It is very late. What brings you here?"

    "You know I speak for the Archbishop in this election?"

    "Aye." Johan's eyes narrowed. "It's strange. He did not appear unwell, and Frankfurt is not so very far from home."

    Rickard bowed. "I know. I found it strange as well." At least he did until the Archbishop explained it to him. "Perhaps it is age. He is over sixty, may God preserve him."

    Johan crossed himself. "I will pray for his recovery then."

    "As will I." He indicated the door. "The Duke of Saxony. Is he within?"

    "He is, but as I said it is late."

    "This is important, Johan. The empire is at stake."

    The soldier frowned and met his gaze. Finally he turned and thumped on the door. "Visitor!"

    "GOD'S BOWELS, WHAT KIND OF HELL-SPAWNED BUGGER CALLS AT THIS HOUR!?" challenged the door.

    Rickard stepped forward. "The Elector of Mainz! And a priest!" The Hessian grinned.

    Silence, then the shame-faced Saxon guard opened the door. He sheathed his knife. "My Lord is asleep," he mumbled.

    "Then wake him!"

    "I'm already awake." The bedroom door opened. Johann Georg von Wettin stepped out dressed in a nightshirt and yawned. "God's Death, you Romanists have no sense of time."

    Behind Rickard the Hessian's grin broadened. Who said guard work was dull? Johan firmly closed the door.

    "I apologize for the hour, Prince-Elector, but as we meet in the cathedral tomorrow to vote I thought this might be our last chance."

    "You know how I intend to vote," von Wettin growled.

    "I suspect I do. I also suspect you don't know how I'll vote."

    Von Wettin frowned. "My sitting room." He turned to the guard. "Wake my servant."
    ----

    Rickard leaned back and swirled his glass. "This is excellent."

    "Thank you. There is an excellent winery not three leagues from here where I bought it." Von Wettin put down his glass and waved at the servant, a pretty young woman with tawny hair and blue eyes. "Leave us!"

    The priest looked at a tapestry of two knights doing bettle. "That is also wonderful work."

    "You may congratulate whoever usually owns this room. Elector, you didn't come here to applaud my taste."

    "No," Rickard admitted. He sipped again, organizing his thoughts. "We both know how the others will vote."

    "Of course. Hohenzollern and Habsburg will vote for themselves. Friedrich is threatening to take Bohemia away to protect the Lutherans there, so we know he'll support Brandenburg. The Archbishops will support Ferdinand von Habsburg." He inhaled. "So will I."

    "Mainz will not." Rickard put down his glass.

    Johan's brows shot up. "But he's Catholic!"

    "And you're not. Why does Saxony support him?"

    "Why not?" The Saxon shrugged. "Habsburgs have led the Empire well enough. They usually leave the princes alone."

    Rickard nodded. "You know what he's doing with those Bohemians Friedrich wants to protect? Some say he'll do it to other Lutherans and Calvinists."

    "Not to me! We...." Von Wettin paused and drank.

    "I see. What did he promise you?"

    "Why do you fight him?" the Saxon returned. "I'm surprised His Holiness isn't making you vote for him."

    "He is. He sent a letter to each archbishop commanding they support Ferdinand."

    "Hah!"

    "I'm not an archbishop."

    Von Wettin frowned. "I need another drink."

    Once the young woman left again, Rickard continued. "And since I'm not the Archbishop, any vote I make can be disavowed as an error: Incomplete instructions, a young man's mistake, yet binding on all parties."

    "Which explains why the Archbishop didn't come himself."

    "Right. He believes a war that will destroy the Empire is on the horizon. He commanded me to select the man least likely to trigger it."

    "And you believe von Hohenzollern is your man?"

    Rickard nodded slightly. "At least I believe von Habsburg isn't. He's a fanatic. He's already tearing Bohemia apart. What can we expect if he is given authority over the northern half of the Empire? The half under Saxon law?" As Elector of Saxony, until the election Johann Georg effectively controlled the northern half of the Empire as vicar.

    The Saxon looked away. "He's made promises."

    "You truly think no one will absolve him if he breaks his word to a Lutheran?"

    He turned back. "I do not trust Brandenburg. He is arrogant. They are all arrogant. Bastard! He believes he should rule the Empire, not just as Imperator Romanorum but in fact as well! He is not fit to rule!"

    "Who else is there? Von Hohenzollern won't trust you either. The Count Palatine is even more likely to start a war than Ferdinand. There's no time to consult the other princes."

    "He presses on my borders!"

    "He will stop," Rickard replied.

    "More promises?"

    "If you like." He reached into his shirt and pulled out a paper. "Read it Johann Sigismund von Hohenzollern will yield claims on certain villages and territories along your mutual border in exchange for your support."

    The Saxon read the letter swiftly. "I require an indemnity."

    "I'm sure Brandenburg will agree..."

    "No, from Mainz."

    Rickard jerked. "What!?"

    "Nothing serious. Let's call it 12,000 thalers."

    "24,000 gulden? That's..."

    "Annoying I'm sure, but not devastating," the Saxon replied. "To be returned in full upon Johann Sigismund's death, assuming of course this agreement holds." He waved the paper. "You are asking for my trust. I demand security. Otherwise tomorrow I will take my chances with Ferdinand von Habsburg."

    The priest grimaced. "Agreed. I will bring the papers by tomorrow."

    "Before the vote, please."
    -----

    Rickard walked back to his chambers. What time was it? Nocturns? Later? He yawned. A few hours sleep would be good. At least by then he could figure out how to tell the Archbishop they were loaning money to Saxony.

    He nodded absently to the guards at the door, one Mainzer and one Hessian, and walked in. To his surpirse, they followed him.

    "Wait outside," he ordered curtly.

    One folded his arms. The other smiled.

    "They will not obey you." Someone lit a lamp, flooding the room with light. In his chair...

    "Ferdinand!"

    "And you may remember my guest?" He indicated the chair next to him. A young woman with tawny hair and blue eyes looked up and smiled.

    "You serve the Duke of Saxony!"

    "I serve God," she corrected gently. "As should you."

    "She's Franciscan," Ferdinand explained, "a Sister of Penance so not required to say in a nunnery. His Holiness directed her to enter Saxony's service and so learn his mind. Imagine our surprise when you came tonight."

    "Where are my men?"

    "In the bedroom. Sleeping. Permanently."

    Rickard looked around wildly. The soldiers grinned again. "You'll hang for this!"

    The Habsburg waved his hand, dismissing the idea. "No. There will be an investigation, but no one will dare accuse the Roman Emperor."

    "You won't be emperor!"

    "But I will. When it becomes clear you're...unable to vote...we will break for a day in respect. That will give Saxony time to consider his options. Rumors will circulate you threatened him with damnation if he didn't vote for me and he wanted revenge."

    "My Lord will be eager to prove he didn't murder a priest," the servant/spy added. "He will remember his agreement with Lord von Habsburg, and so will announce he planned to vote for him all along."

    "I will have four votes, and since that's an absolute majority no one will want to hassle your apparently sick archbishop and make him travel."

    Rickard glared. "You underestimate Von Wettin."

    "It is impossible to underestimate a Lutheran. They look out for themselves and do not understand what it means to serve God. No. He wants to be safe, and he wants to be left alone. If people believe he murdered you, he will have neither. He will go along because he has no choice. If he doesn't, Archbishop von Kronberg must come himself to Hamburg, and you know what His Holiness commands as well as I."

    "A few days from now your murderers will be found. Lutherans, of course. You should be pleased. You will be a martyr!"

    "God will punish you! You will be damned for eternity!"

    "God will thank me for removing a thorn from His body." He nodded to the soldiers. "I tire of this. Good bye, priest."

    Rickard threw himself at Ferdinand, punching him in the throat. He reached for the Habsburg's knife as the sister fled.

    "Help me!" gasped Ferdinand. Wide, frightened eyes. Unworthy of an Emperor.

    Rickard had the knife out. "Perhaps God shall help you!" he cried, moving his arm back to thrust.

    Too late. The two soldiers jumped him and the foursome fell in a scrambling heap. One pinned his arms, the other grabbed his legs. He thrashed violently in their grip.

    Von Habsburg, still choking, waved his hand at them. The soldiers carried Rickard to the window.

    "Farewell, Herr von Hohenfall,"(1) hissed one and they threw.

    Two days later Ferdinand II of Austria and Bohemia become Emperor.

    The Thirty Years War erupted weeks later.


    --------------
    (1) Hohenfall: "High Fall." An honorific given to those who survived the Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618.

    For those paying attention, I've altered the timeline slightly so both election and war start at the same time.

  3. #903
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    HOLY [Roman Emperor] s***!!!!!

    Now this was a historic event, for it was the first time ever for a Holy Roman Emperor to run for re-elections… Quite simply, the Habsburgs really had no better candidate!

    The election-chamber fell silent as the winning vote was read aloud. It would be decisive one, for right now it was a tie between the von Habsburg and von Wittelsbach candidates.

    Rudolph von Habsburg had been the most impressive candidate, one must admit: The princesses fainted in his presence, and the serving men avoided him at all cost. More than a few distinguished guest had puked behind the now yellowing curtain, on first seeing the Habsburg candidate.

    Rudolph was not worried. Of course, having been slain outside the walls of Krakow meant his head would now need re-adjusting every minute or so, but it certainly wouldn’t stop him from ruling Europe by the Apocalypse. Only by becoming Holy Roman Emperor twice could he get God to dissolve his soul, said the Oracle, in order to finally let him go party with Satan in the wine-cellar down below.

    By logic, one would think a corpse would be the palest face at a living-people’s reunion, but Rudolph’s opponent, Heinrich von Wittelsbach, was whiter than universal indicator exposed to Chlorine gas. The poor sod was ready to hurl himself out the window onto the sharp-looking rakes below: Winning this election would mean being haunted forever by that monstrous, bloody, mutilated corpse. Losing would mean being haunted forever (or at least until his death) by his sons. But the vote-caller inhaled for the utterance that would affect Vienna’s future forever.

    Rudolph von Habsburg shouted the vote-caller, and immediately Rudolph’s mangled corpse evaporated into a really cool ghostly figure that floated above von Wittelsbach’s head in a very dizzying manner.

    YAY shouted Rudolph, in his eternal joy,
    YAY shouted von Wittelsbach, by some hypnotizing ploy,
    YAY shouted the vote-caller, Rudolph’s political toy,
    YAY shouted God, just like a little boy with a magnifying glass,
    And a lightning-bolt the size of a level-5 tornado wiped Vienna from the Earth.

  4. #904
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    It was the Year of our Lord 1250. After weeks of pounding by the Imperial artillery, the walls of Rome had finally crumbled, and now soldiers flying the bi-cephalous Imperial eagle poured in a black torrent through the breaches, spreading out into the streets in smaller rivulets of sable and silver. The Romans, for the most part, had more sense than to come in the way of the enraged German soldiery and stayed inside their homes. For the most part, the soldiers followed their orders not to plunder, but only for the most part. Here and there fires began, blood poured onto the flagstones, women screamed shrilly. As storms went, it was a mild one, but in their attics and cellars, the Romans, were already muttering about a second gothic sack.

    From the roof of the Lateran Palace, Pope Innocent IV watched in impotent rage as his temporal domain came to ruinous end. The sun, sinking behind the plains of Latium painted the pillars of white-grey smoke rising from various points in the city in a most appropriate blood red.

    ‘Damn Fredrick, that godless apostate, and damn his ill-conceived cub! Look, look how they violate the sanctity of this Holy City! How dare they raise their sword against the Holy See?’

    His camerlengo, Cardinal Neri, hummed placatingly. ‘Holy Father, we must endure the trials the Lord chooses to place in our path. Your soldiers might have thrown down their arms, your walls might be breached, but you’re still the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Emperor Fredrick will most likely try to negotiate – previous Imperial attempts to make a pope have proved as unfortunate as our own attempts to make an Emperor. You still have some leverage.’

    ‘And to think that I offered him my friendship when the tartars overran Germany!’ Innocent protested. ‘I brokered the deal with the Lombard League! I extended him the credits he needed to build these new Roman Legions of his! I recanted the excommunication, once he had made suitable concessions! That treacherous, ungrateful cur! Look, just look how he pays me back!’

    ‘It would have looked somewhat strange if Your Holiness had strived against the foremost Prince of Christianity as his realm was overrun by pagan barbarians’, the Camerlengo pointed out patiently. ‘I daresay you had little choice but to try help the Emperor turn back the horde. Who could have expected this new army of his to be invincible?’

    The Holy Father shook his head in despair. ‘Who indeed? I had hoped it would prove useless against Christians, given the ban on using crossbows against fellow Christians. But Fredrick doesn’t give a damn about papal prohibitions or excommunications, and apparently, neither does his troops!’

    Innocent threw up his hands to the heavens as if appealing to the almighty and the sighed and straightened.

    ‘Well, my dear Neri, I will not give Conrad of Hohenstaufen the satisfaction of having his brutes drag me out of my Palace to throw me to his feet. Put on your full ornate – we’re going out to meet him!’

    Conrad of Hohenstaufen, King of Germany, Burgundy and Jerusalem, heir to the thrones of the Romans, Sicily and Italy and son to Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II of Hohenstaufen, rode past his assembled troops, who stood formed in straight ranks files before the Lateran Palace. The last rays of the sun cast crimson reflections in their polished helmets and breast plates, in the sharp points of their long spears and drawn swords. A wall of black-painted square shields faced the Palace, where a lone figure in white and gold, The Holy Father Innocent IV, waited half way up the stairs to the main gate. Behind him, the college Cardinals in purple attire stood assembled, or at least that part of it that had not fled.

    A young man still in his early twenties, Conrad was tall, blond and blue-eyed by virtue of his German blood, but his skin had the olive complexion of an Italian, because he had spent almost all his life in Italy. His black cloak was draped over broad and powerful shoulders and under the bi-cephalous Imperial Eagle on his tabard, a wide chest held the heart of a lion.

    As he gently guided his great black charger over the open space towards the waiting Pontiff, he was accompanied by only two men, riding behind him; his younger half-brother Manfred, who despite not yet being out of his teens was one of the Emperor’s most able generals, and Charles, brother to the King of France, Royal Marshall of Burgundy, Count of Provence and Forcalquier and pretender to the County of Anjou (in English hands, these days). A year Conrad’s senior, he had become like a brother to the two Hohenstaufen princes and ruled Burgundy as a viceroy on Conrad’s behalf. If Manfred was among the best of the Hohenstaufen commanders, Charles was the very best, an idol to the troops and a terror to all the Empire’s enemies. His presence alone would do more to intimidate Innocent than the black ranks of Imperial soldiers arrayed before the Lateran.

    Or at least so Conrad hoped as he dismounted and ascended the stairs, after producing a small package wrapped in red velvet from his saddlebag which he carried tucked under his arm. As he drew close to Innocent, the Pontiff extended his hand, on which The Ring of the Fisherman adorned the annular. Without loosing his stride, Conrad kneeled and kissed the ring – it would not do to appear publicly disrespectful of the Vicar of Christ. After all, the Holy Father still had a crucial role to play. At the foot of the stairs, Conrad’s two lieutenants kneeled too.

    ‘You have committed a great sin today, Conrad of Hohenstaufen!’ Innocent said in his most regal voice, raising a hand. ‘But our Lord is compassionate and will forgive you if you repent!’

    Conrad smiled cynically; he was after all his father’s son. ‘I doubt it not, Holy Father! But I am here to present my terms, not to confess my sins!’

    Innocent snorted. ‘Your father’s son in every inch, an atheist and an apostate! Well then, state your terms!’

    ‘You will void all excommunications against us, effective immediately, and publicly absolve my father, my brother Manfred and myself. The Papal States will be reduced to Lazio, the rest will be added to Sicily. ALL bishops in the Empire will be appointed by the Emperor, as it was before the times of Emperor Henry.’

    ‘All!?’ Innocent hissed. He had not missed the implications of that – the Pope, in essence, was the bishop of Rome. He too would be picked by the Holy Roman Emperor.

    Conrad nodded. ‘Yes. We return to the old order of Investiture; The Emperor appoints the Pope!’

    ‘…and the Pope the Emperor’, Innocent added, deep in thought. Emperor Fredrick was old, closer to seventy than sixty. While it was true than Innocent himself was no youngster, being only one year the Emperor’s junior, he had lived a sheltered life, whereas Fredrick was even now with an army campaigning against the fierce tartars in Poland. Clearly, he had not that many years left and there was a better than even chance that he might die before Innocent did. And if so, with Rome back under Papal control and the Empire torn over the succession, there would be time to conjure up a pretender to the Imperial throne loyal to the Holy See. In just a few years, he could be undoing Fredrick’s victory, and although the Emperor’s ultimate defeat would be posthumous, that was only a minor inconvenience, given the circumstances.

    ‘What will the Imperial Princes think about that, I wonder?’ he asked.

    ‘We do not care overly. Now that they pay a scutage, rather than have hosts of knights, they have been put in their place. My father rules Germany as much as he now rules Italy.’

    ‘I see. And if I refuse?’ the Pontiff asked, arching a bushy eyebrow.

    ‘I draw my sword, behead you were you stand and proceed to choose a new pope. It will be most harmful to our cause, I know, but hardly more so than leaving you alive and free to spread your poison against the House of Hohenstaufen, Holy Father.’

    ‘Of course.’ To Innocent’s credit, he did not blanch, tremble or sweat. The Pope was no coward, and he coolly considered the offer as if he had all the time in the world and seriously considered rejecting it. But the prospect of a chance at revanche had been dangled before his eyes, and to the fiercely proud and ambitious Innocent IV, that pulled even more than the threat of immediate and brutal death pushed.

    The pope shrugged. ‘Very well. I agree.’

    ‘Tell them!’ Conrad said, indicating the massed ranks of Imperial troops, behind which a throng of curious Romans milled about.

    ‘Romans!’ Innocent shouted. ‘The King of the Germans and I have reached a settlement! In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, I hereby revoke the excommunication against him, his father Emperor Fredrick II and his brother Manfred! Also, from this day on, the old order of investiture is reinstated; the Pope shall crown the Emperor, and the Emperor shall appoint the Bishops of the Empire!’

    The cardinals of the Curia protested with shouts of chagrin as they were, with a few words, stripped of their most fundamental power. But there was nothing they could do; the people of Rome wanted a settled peace, and in any case, Rome was now in Imperial hands.

    Innocent looked down condescendingly at the young King. ‘There. Happy?’

    ‘Very much so. But there is one thing more that is required before we are done here.’

    ‘What? Are you going back on your word?’

    ‘Not at all; I intend to honour it to the letter.’ Ceremoniously, Conrad pulled the red velvet package from under his arm and began to unwrap it. The pope looked at it without understanding, until he saw over Conrad’s shoulder, the insolent grin of Charles of Provence. Then a terrible suspicion hit him, which was confirmed in the next instant when Conrad, looking sombre, held forward a golden circlet, adorned with emeralds, rubies and diamonds.

    ‘The Imperial Crown!’ Innocent breathed. ‘Why is it not with the Emperor?!’

    ‘I regret to inform your Holiness that Emperor Fredrick II the Great, Holy Roman Emperor, King of the Romans, King of Sicily, King of Italy, liberator of Jerusalem and Champion of Christendom, died a month ago while fighting the pagan tartars. His crown has been brought to me, his son and chosen heir, for my coronation by you, your Holiness!’

    ‘What? No!’

    ‘Well, your previous options are still there, of course.’ Conrad said, casually resting his left hand on his sword. ‘You crown me, right now, or you die, Holy Father.’

    For a few seconds, Innocent IV trembled with rage and despair. There would be no time, no time at all, and after he died, it would be the Emperor appointing a puppet Pope, not the other way around. Fredrick had won the final round of their game, and for a few seconds, Innocent considered if Conrad’s sword would not be the more appealing option after all.

    ‘Come on, old man. Maybe I’ll die before you. Young people die all the time, you know.’

    And as mocking as Conrad had intended his words to be, they were no less true for that. There was still a chance, the smallest, tiniest of possibilities that Pope Innocent IV would be the final victor of this game. But only if he lived; that settled it. The pope stretched out his arms and took the crown from Conrad’s hands.

    ‘Kneel.’

    The Hohenstaufen prince obeyed.

    Holding the crown over Conrad’s head, Innocent grandly declared; ‘I the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, I hereby Crown you, Conrad of Hohenstaufen, Emperor of the Romans!’ He carefully put the crown down on Conrad’s temples.

    The crowning ceremony would be repeated later, of course, with the full pomp and ceremony that supreme office required, but all that was a formality, Innocent knew. For all practical purposes, the man before him was now Conrad IV, Holy Roman Emperor. The wild cheering of the fickle Roman populace, already warming to their handsome young Emperor, was like acid in Innocent’s ears. And masked among the cheering, he thought he could make out the maniacal laughter of Fredrick II, taunting him from beyond the grave as if his enemy’s ghost rejoiced in his final victory.
    Last edited by coz1; 13-02-2007 at 13:10.

  5. #905
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    So...we have a Catholic killing a wouldbe Lutheran supporter who's Catholic.

    We have...well, pretty much the same idea.

    We have someone damned being elected Emperor right before a Catholic city gets destroyed...

    And we have His Holiness humbled.

    I suspect Catholicism is having a really bad day.

    Details later, of course. I want to think about this for awhile.
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  6. #906
    ...Interesting. I also want to think.

  7. #907
    Disciple of Peperna CatKnight's Avatar
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    Author 1:

    Excellent opening description of Frankfurt. Our assassin's request for the sacrament is a nice touch. Here's someone who obviously believes.

    Abdecker's logic regarding having no quarrel with heretical peasants vs. princes is interesting, and helps justify what he plans to do...but I wonder if it sounds a little off. After all, the Baltic and Cathar Crusades, the Inquisitions, even the forced conversion of the New World were directed at the 'peasantry.' Clearly Abdecker's in the minority.

    You then discuss the Imperial Throne being the bulwark of Christianity, again building up Abdecker's justification. However the line The Catholic League’s opponent, rather than the heretics, seemed to be the Emperor himself. All this led to today makes it appear he intends to kill the Emperor.

    At this point we learn the target is the Archbishop of Cologne (or his delegate.) It would appear there's a tie in the electorate and he plans to break it in the Lutheran's favor. An interesting idea, echoed by # 2. I wonder what Cologne's justification is.

    If I have any overall nits, I'd watch the passive sentences. They make it appear as if the author is pulling away from the story. Overall a very good tale! It left me wanting to hear more!

    Author 2:

    Early on it's hard to tell who's talking about who. This sentence is particularly jarring: In the flickering lamp light he recognized the white spiked wheel on his tabard representing the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz. Next to him a Hessian soldier stood and half drew his sword. Up to this point we've only met the soldier (Johan.) It appears the newcomer has the Mainz tabard (true) and the belligerent Hessian is by his side. (false)

    The dialogue between Rickard and von Wettin is well done, and nicely summarizes the situation for us. It looks eerily similar to Author # 1's tale: A tie in the electorate, with one of the archbishops ready to vote Lutheran.

    Rickard's justification (through the Archbishop) is...hm. I'm not sure. Author does a great job explaining why the archbishop is end-running the Pope, and why Rickard votes against the Habsburg, but it's hard to imagine an archbishop defying the Pope, or a priest going along with it. They grow 'em independent minded in Mainz!

    Now we find Ferdinand and his Papal spy in Rickard's rooms. Again, Author explains the sister's presence outside of a nunnery well enough. I remember watching a story a few years ago that featured just such a woman working for the Holy See. Still, it must have been hard for her to stand by while guards and servant(s) were slaughtered.

    Ferdinand falls into the classic villain habit of laying out his entire plan before a hapless foe - cliche, but perhaps necessary if we're to learn why Rickard must die.

    Now Rickard fights Ferdinand. At first that struck me as odd in a priest, though I suppose anyone about to die might do the same. We see Ferdinand's fear, Unworthy of an Emperor which indicates Rickard was right in his choice.

    Perhaps the best single line, very chilling, is when the soldier calls him von Hohenfall. A direct reference to the Defenestration of Prague as the author explains.

    Overall other than the clumsy opening paragraph and a cliche here and there, very well done. Author describes seperate ambitions and desires for Mainz, Saxony, the Papacy and finally von Habsburg. With seven men deciding such a weighty matter this kind of politicking (minus the assassinations) must have been common.

    Author 3:

    Hmm.

    It's hard to be as indepth with this one as the others, as it's not nearly as serious. For example, I'd wonder how anyone could take a corpse as a candidate seriously and so forth. Is this a play on an EU3 bug I don't know about?

    You describe Rudolph very well, making your tone (which could have been serious up to this point) clear as well as the court's revulsion. You also explain his justification well, though I wonder which Oracle told him to seek reelection.

    The universal indicator exposed to Chlorine gas hurts your description of von Wittelsbach, however. As a general rule it's not a good idea to introduce anachronistic terms in your descriptions, it pulls your reader right out of the tale. Whiter than a sheet, though cliche, would have answered here.

    You then discuss the utterance that would affect Vienna's future forever. A very curious statement, because we're not determining Austria's ruler - but the Holy Roman Emperor. It's true Austria's a part of the Empire, but focusing on Vienna's future doesn't support that.

    A really cool ghostly figure may not be the best of descriptions. What makes it cool?

    The ending is...hm. Interesting. No explanation why God destroys Vienna. Incidentally, since von Habsburg is now a ghost descending to the 'wine cellar' doesn't that mean there's a new election?

    I don't know. Author was trying for humor by appealing to absurdity. There was a great description or two, and the last part starting with "YAY!" did well (except the magnifying glass broke the rhyming scheme.)

    Author 4:

    Excellent descriptions! On a technical note, you seem fond of dependent clauses (like me :X) Your second sentence runs four clauses and forty-two words. You also repeat words a few times.

    We get a good look at Innocent. He strikes me as... hm, not really understanding other people. His lines I recanted the excommunication, once he had made suitable concessions! That treacherous, ungrateful cur! Look, just look how he pays me back!’ made me smile. I doubt Frederick felt grateful after Canossa.

    Now we get a good look at Conrad, and again: Excellent descriptions. I wonder how you kneel and kiss a ring without breaking stride however.

    The resulting dialogue and negotiations gives us a good look at the politics between emperor and Rome. Innocent's surprise when he realizes this pup's outwitted him is priceless. Though I can't really give a legal/logical reason their agreement wouldn't work in 1250, Innocent's quesstion about the Imperial Princes rings true. They're not going to like this. The cardinals aren't going to like this. They won't do anything right now of course, but in the next few years...

    Conrad's presenting the crown to Innocent is exceptionally dangerous. Conrad is wrong, he hasn't won yet. Innocent can crown ANYBODY, and he seems stubborn enough to do so. He can declare the French or English kings the Emperor. Sure, Conrad will kill him and appoint someone else as Pope...but good luck getting the French (etc.) monarch to give up his new title. Their agreement can't include the new Pope revoking the emperor's title, or nothing stops Innocent from removing Conrad from power the second he's clear.

    Incidentally, I see the two trading assassins for the rest of their lives. Innocent wants a new emperor. Conrad wants a pope he doesn't have to watch.

    Other than those logic flaws, it's a brilliant look at medieval power politics, and again - great descriptions. This is my favorite of the four.
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  8. #908
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    Why is it as soon as we think of HRE elections we think treachery, evil, vice, and murder? Ah?... That's politics? True... Point well made.

    Author 1
    A nice story, well described and a great ending-style. The introduction was especially effective because of its heavy foreshadowing, with the "terrible feeling of impending doom" and everything

    Author 2
    I can only say this author must be German or German-speaking. I mean, the pun of von Hohenfall falling from a height cannot be coincidence, can it?

    Author 3
    Nice. As CatKnight said, the chlorine-gas thing was pretty out of place... but overall a funny concept, I can imagine the corpse in a voting-chamber surrounded by sickened visitors (reminds me of the ghost of the slain King in Blackadder Season 1 Episode 1 where he holds his head from his body!)
    For the final paragraph I expect putting the "with a magnifying glass," on a new line would have been more effective in keeping the simple rhyme of the closing lines... and maybe subtracting/rephrasing some unnecessary words to make the very last of those lines shorter in keeping with their predecessors...

    Author 4
    A good introduction that effectively placed the reader into the setting.
    I loved the details, and especially sentence-structure. e.g. "he hadn't missed the implications of that (...)"
    Very descriptive when concerning concepts, this could only be bettered by a greater use of imagery, which in itself wasnt necessarily lacking either...
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  9. #909
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    It has been too long since I participated in this thread, and my rejoining post seems to have gone a little overboard. I apologise for any tedium suffered from reading the following. And, if I seem overly critical at times, let me preface these comments by saying I enjoyed all the entries even if (in the case of #3) I wasn't always entirely sure of what they were about. With that, let's go through them.

    Author #1
    What I especially liked about this entry was how much was left unsaid. Little details crept out here and there, but there is precious little in the way of direct explanation. And yet, it was easy to follow. This was also helped by how focused the story was.

    And herein there is an interesthing thing: this is a story set amidst the election of a Holy Roman Emperor, but it is a story about the assassin in the moments before he commits his great deed/crime. This is a very nice twisting of the emphasis of the piece, away from the grand and rather impersonal events, to the immediacy of this person who is at the heart of it all.

    My only real two niggles about this piece is the discourse about the Imperial throne being the bulwark of Christianity. I can see why this appeals, but it sits, I feel, a little awkardly, and I think the piece would have been better if it were cut. The second niggle, and this really is minor in the scheme of things, concerns the following line (emphasis mine):

    A gardener came around the corner, attention focused on the grounds. Abdecker coughed quietly, to get the man’s attention.

    I would try to avoid repeating words in close proximity, like above. In this particular instance, the first use of 'attention' can be cut with no detriment to the understnading that the gardener is focused elsewhere.

    All in all, a most excellent piece.

    Author #2
    Mostly dialogue, and that dialogue runs along very well. Where there is other description - such as where the soldiers sieze Rickard at the end, it is for the most part tight and controlled, yet informative.

    The first scene, however, I found to be more awkward, and to some degree I wonder at the necessity of it. Nothing really happens before that door, and no information that could not be easily slipped in later on in just a line or two. Yet there is an appreciable amount of text there, that is quite literally in the way before we come down to the meat of the story.

    The meat, however, is excellent. I think there is some tightening possible here, but what impressed me most was the understated way the servant goes about her business. This is particularly important in the next scene, of course. It is a wondeful example of how to avoid Deux ex Machina - Ferdinand's knowledge of these actions is thus excellently explained.

    If you will allow me to digress, there is a similar incident in the film Elizabeth where Norfolk's mistress, we realise at the end, has been in Walsingham's employ all along. But it is stated implicitly. Norfolk gives the mistress a letter to deliver, Walsingham has it, and when he produces this evidence to Norfolk, Norfolk looks straight at his mistress. The camera pans at her for a moment, and in that moment we know. This reminded me so much of that moment.

    Then there is the matter of the 'name'. This was a very nice touch, and kindly explained. It gives everything an appropriate feel.

    Author #3
    To be honest this one was a little off-the-wall for me to appreciate. Indeed, I am not really sure I understand at all what is going on. It 'looks' fun, but beyond that I find myself somewhat flummoxed. So I am going to have to apologise for a very inadequate comment.

    All I suppose I can add is that this could be viewed as a comment on itself. The further off the beaten path you write, the higher the chance that people will not understand what it is you are doing.

    Author #4
    I must admit that I found this entry somewhat frustrating. Frustrating because I think there is so much potential here, but that it never attains its promise.

    My first comment is that I found it somewhat puffy. I think there is room for a good bit of cutting. In particular I question the need for the entire scene with Innocent in the Lateran, before the main event, so to speak. There is a great deal of explanation in here I know, but I wonder if it is really necessary, or if the explanations could not have been vastly truncated and in modified form. I have another reason I dislike this passage which I will return to in a moment, but the danger of having a scene like this is that it can obstruct or obscure the main event. In this case I think it simply gets in the way of the meeting of Innocent and Conrad.

    But I think there is other room for editing, and I have just chosen the first paragraph to try and show what I mean. I have underlined the changes I made.

    It was the Year of our Lord 1250. After weeks of pounding by the Imperial artillery, the walls of Rome had finally crumbled, and now soldiers flying the bi-cephalous Imperial eagle poured in a black torrent through the breaches, spreading out into the streets in smaller rivulets of sable and silver. The Romans, for the most part, had more sense than to come in the way of the enraged German soldiery and stayed inside their homes. For the most part, the soldiers followed their orders not to plunder, but only for the most part. Here and there fires began, blood poured onto the flagstones, women screamed shrilly. As storms went, it was a mild one, but in their attics and cellars, the Romans, were already muttering about a second gothic sack.

    In part I have removed some constructions (the repeated, for the most part, for example), and some un-necessary words (there is no need to quality rivulets with the word 'smaller'). I also reworked one passage, cutting out a fair bit. This arrives at the following:

    It was the Year of our Lord 1250. The walls of Rome had finally crumbled. Soldiers flying the bi-cephalous Imperial eagle poured in a black torrent through the breaches, spreading out into the streets in rivulets of sable and silver. The Romans stayed inside their homes, and most of the soldiers followed their orders not to plunder. But not all. Here and there fires began, blood poured onto the flagstones, and women screamed shrilly. As storms went, it was a mild one, but in their attics and cellars the Romans muttered about a second gothic sack.

    The original paragraph had, according to Word, 131 words. This one has 96. This sort of close cropping of a work, being rigorous is removing un-necessary words, paring away the fluff, really does wonders to improve the flow of a piece. It also involves, regularly, sacrificing what we might consider to be great lines or images. Editing can, in short, be cruel. But very worthwhile, even so.

    My second major problem with this work is one of characterisation. I mentioned I would return to the first scene, and this is now. The centre-piece of this entry is the confrontation between Innocent and Conrad, but already here we are establishing Innocent's essential weakness. He blusters - he rages impotently about how Frederick does not obey papal proclamations. There is nothing to suggest that Conrad runs any real risk if he were to kill Innocent, and even Conrad doesn't seem particularly concerned, so it doesn't come across like this is something he really has to worry about. Now, if this were part of a larger piece, the final episode in a long confrontation, this might well work well as we would have had all the build-up previously. However, what we have here is a very limited piece, and we do not have that same build-up. So it falls a little flat. The tension is taken out before it has a chance.

    Now, I know all of this may seem very critical indeed, so I wish to state again and more forcefully that I enjoyed this piece. What has motivated me in this rather lengthy comment is, as I said, the frustration that it could be, in my opinion, so much better!
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  10. #910
    Colonel Miral's Avatar

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    Well, this is my first attempt at commenting on people's writings in this thread, so I'm a bit of a rookie at it. I do enjoy all the treachery surrounding these elections, and you four have each taken ample advantage of the idea!.


    Author #1

    Who exactly is Abdecker? As a man who doesn't know that time frame so well, I know only that he is not a servant. It would be nice to get a title or rank, and perhaps some background on him to breifly establish the character, I merely know he isn't a servant. The theme of deceit and treachery is very plausible here. The way Abdecker reasons out what he is about to do while on his way up to do his deed is nicely done, sort of validating his deed to himself despite how others may view it. Overall, well written style. Just a touch more info on the main character for the reader unassociated with the era would be my only real suggestion.


    Author #2

    Nice touch with opening photo. The opening paragraph is superbly written. Several key points given in just a few lines. The talk between Rickard and Von Wettin has a nice flow to the dialogue, and in the process gives a good background and understanding of the politics behind the story, as well as the last minute brokering that goes on. The third and final section I'm not too sure about. I don't know how often it happens in real life, but I've never liked it as an overused method in movies, where the murderer/villian just before murdering a person tells him his whole sinister plan. One thing I don't understand is how the woman goes from Von Wettin's place to get Ferdinand, and together they beat Rickard back to his chambers when he walks straight there from Von Wettin's.


    Author #3
    After the style of the first two ones, suffice to say I did not see that one coming! Quite the changeup. Two thumbs up for originality. I primarily echo the sentiments of what others have said as well.


    Author #4
    I'm not sure how much the pope cursed back in those days, so to see him do it here seems a bit unusual and out of place. I enjoyed the imagery, brief though it was, of the army entering the city, a nice way to get things started in a rush. Conrad's little twist of mentioning Ferdinand's death only after Innocent acquiesed to his demands was a nice stroke. Perhaps one more proof read would have helped, and changing a word here or there for another one that might fit in better. For instance, when Innocent cries "What? No!" His response at this critical moment could have been better enunciated. Enjoyable in the way the pace of the story kept swiftly going.
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  11. #911
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    *bump*

    I'll be posting comments Saturday or Sunday, since I won't be here tomorrow, but in the meantime wanted to say the first post in this thread has been updated with the table of contents now running through the present...

    A brief scan of the entries reveals a lot to look forward to ... and a very curious story about how the gods obliterate Vienna?

  12. #912
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    Author #1

    Very nicely done. Well conceived, well written, I liked the dialogue. At least relatively well researched -- enough so that I cannot find error (not that I'm an expert, of course). A very interesting perspective -- an assassin before he performs his work, and a morally compucted one, too.

    I will venture a guess that this is FJ44, because this work seems to be similar to his scene-writing style, and dialogue style. Though it could easily be someone else.

    Author #2

    Wow. A studious examination of how an election might have been conducted. The author demonstrates an encyclopaedic knowledge of politics as it has been conducted since the dawn of time -- the nuance and aggressiveness of power plays.

    This author is so familiar with his writing style that he needs pay it no mind. He crafts the storyline, and the dialogue follows naturally. Importantly, the story and the dialogue also follow logically. Very nicely done!

    I have four candidates for who this author might be -- Alhazen, Mettermrck, CatKnight and Stnylan. My money, if I must choose, would be on Mettermrck. A close second choice, I think, would be CatKnight. That citation is (if I'm not mistaken) CatKnight's style. Though that could just be to throw us off.

    Author #3

    Hmm.... VERY interesting!

    This author approaches the study of history and the craft of storytelling with an appreciation for the humor and good fun which are natural to both. Irreverence goes without saying... This story, I think, was meant to give an impression and a laugh, not necessarily to tell a story.

    This could be Storey, though I make that guess with no certain level of confidence. I am not especially familiar with Joe's work, but most of this reminds me of what I know of him, with the exception of the level 5 tornado, which seems a bit too surreal to match. But I might be wrong!

    EDIT: Upon reflection, I think it unlikely that this is Storey. The style is more like his comments, which are off the cuff, but probably not like his stories. I would guess this is a newer author -- someone perhaps new to the Author Challenge... Miral?

    Author #4

    Interesting again! A nice twist on the "election". A very nicely done story, if not so polished as Author #2. The political maneuvering shows understanding. The battle is abstracted, and I think a bit disappointing because it is so short and "distant". But it necessarily must be, because the scene isn't about the battle -- that's just the setup. I'm sure this author would have done well with more "space" to write.

    The single-quotes around dialogue intrigue me -- there's a clue there, but I know not how to read it. Perhaps a European?

    The author must be someone who is very familiar with things Papal and Curial, and probably Italian in general. Therefore, I suspect someone who has written about an Italian power before.

    I chose Mettermrck earlier because of the sheer joy Author #2 showed in exploring the political maneuverings. If the earlier story was not Mettermrck, perhaps this is, though I doubt it. Maybe I should also suspect Veldmaarschalk. Maybe Alhazen, though I think not. Who else has written Italian stories? Hmm... This is probably an author I'm not familiar with. The style is not very familiar to me.

    I wish I'd been around enough to know who's been posting lately.

    EDIT: On a hunch, I'm going to officially guess it's Veldmaarschalk. The single-quote thing got me suspicious.



    Four very good stories! Thanks to all of our authors!

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  13. #913
    Author #1:

    I found it interesting that after that introductory paragraph, there is little imagery. Whether intentional or not, it certainly adds a feel of focusing to the piece, from Imperial election down to an assassin's mass. Speaking of the mass, it seemed a bit abbreviated. To me it seemed as if this was a major component of the assassin's character, and ought to have been emphasized more.

    Author #2:

    This was very well done, and I found myself admiring the political maneuvers, which is a testament to the writer's ingenuity and skill.

    Author #3:

    This is the kind of story that I find very difficult to analyze, as it is not written in the serious style of the others. I'll come back to this one.

    Author #4:

    This was also very well-written, but I'll come back to give it a more detailed critique when I have more time.
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  14. #914
    Colonel Miral's Avatar

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    With Rensslaer mentioning his guesses at the authors, I remember I failed to mentioned my own. The only one I can hazard a guess at is Author #2. While reading through his peice, I instantly got the feel and style of Mettermrck, it has that completeness, fluidity and a handle on the political situation which is reminiscent of his American HOI AAR. As for the others, I can't even begin to guess.
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  15. #915
    Author #1: Pretty good, I'd say. I'd repeat CatKnights comment about passive sentences, especially in the description of the Mass:
    The priest conducted a quiet ceremony, providing both bread and wine, body and blood to Abdecker. The priest concluded the ceremony with a blessing.
    Either more detail or just move on to the next scene.

    Author #2: I wouldn't be suprised if this was CatKnight, except that his comments have been cleverly disguised if he did write it. I would have moved everything before the knocking on the door into the main section.

    Author #3: I am flummoxed, as others are. Amusing, though. The destruction of Vienna is a little jarring.

    Author #4: Great plot. Refer to Strunk and White's rule #13, Omit Needless Words. Otherwise others have spoken to the specifics, particularly the beginning before Conrad appears. EDIT I wonder if I sound to harsh in merely referring to Strunk and White, and leaving it at that, but I do not intend to be.

    All good stories.

  16. #916
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    Hoping by the forum just for GtA!

    I’ve decided to comment before reading other poster’s answers, so that I would not hesitate to repeat or counter their critics. Now, let’s go :

    #1

    I’m fond of the introductory scene. I think it does a good job at setting up the mood and is nicely written. The scene with the gardiner, on the other hand sounds a little odd, even if it gives us two informations : Abdecker is rather rich (or very rich, which is hardly a surprise for a man dealing with such high political spheres) and he hasn’t planned this murder very carefully since he doesn’t know where to find his victim. I had a bad time understanding the whole explanations about the status of the Imperial throne, but after a second read, it appears this failure is all due to my English (in spite of what was said in previous round). I like the way he tries to justify his own actions to himself. I often do this myself (especially when I’m about to kill someone ).

    All in all, a good piece, albeit a little too short, perhaps.


    #2

    Now we have a fox that failed to be smarter than the wolf, haven’t we ? Wouldn’t like to be von Wettin either, for he will have no support from his brothers in faith and most certainly no mercy from Ferdinand.

    The begining of the post confused me a little, but it did not last and the rest was easy to read through. The concept of the double-crossed plotter is rather usual but still effective. I didn’t knew about those master spies nouns sent by the pope, interesting.

    Both the writing and the tale are pleasant and that’s another good contribution.


    #3

    I guess the author had some fun writing this one. I had fun reading it anyway. It’s well written, by the way, and descriptions are immersive. Now, regarding the story, there is not much to say since it’s rather short and straightforward. I think that making it that way was a good idea however, or it would have required a richer scenario to be interesting.


    #4

    Wow ! This one was great ! Perhaps a little too long for the exercise, but I still read through it like a hot knife through butter… Well, sort of . It has it all : great descriptions, twisted plot (with enough clues along the way for the reader to have an idea of what could happen next) and believable characters. I have much sympathy for the old pope (and that’s quite a feat to make me sympathize for a pope) It’s also a good idea to finish with a tiny touch of hope among his miserable defeat.


    Okay, I’m definitely not very able at deeply commenting submissions, so let’s read others’ critics (and perhaps try the exercise in my own language to see if I can do better ).
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  17. #917
    Evil Genius The Yogi's Avatar
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    Author #1
    My main gripe with this piece is that it doesn't tell us enough of what is going on, to the point that the plot is obscured. Who is Abdecker going to murder, the Emperor, for opposing the Catholic League, or the Archbishop of Köln? That seems the most likely candidate, given the final lines. But if so, why?

    Is it because the Archbishop has supported the current Emperor, who now opposes the Catholic League? Or is he going to vote for a candidate that will continue that policy after the death of a like-minded predecessor?

    Language-wise, I have no complaints; this piece was easy to read and well-written. If anything, being so short, the writer could have put in some more descriptions. But the point of it is inner monologue, so not paying a lot of attention to the outside world, except when it intrudes upon Abdecker's thoughts, makes some sense too.

    Author #2
    Great stuff! But as with the first piece, my main objection is that the reader is not given enough, or is given confusing information. With author one it was about the plot; here it's the stage and the actors that are not sufficently well presented.

    For example;

    In the flickering lamp light he recognized the white spiked wheel on his tabard representing the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz. Next to him a Hessian soldier stood and half drew his sword. Mainz might host the prince electors, but this was their city, and with war on the horizon no one was taking chances.
    So what city is this, and who does it belong to? Is it Mainz? Does Mainz belong to Hessian soldiers? Only toward the end do we learn that this is Prague. But the conversation between the Duke and Rickard doesn't reflect the fact that they are IN the Bohemia they speak about as being subject to Ferdinand's anti-lutheran terror:

    Rickard nodded. "You know what he's doing with those Bohemians Friedrich wants to protect? Some say he'll do it to other Lutherans and Calvinists."
    Damn right he knows if Ferdinand's doing it in the very city they're having the conversation in!

    And also;

    "Johan. It is Father Rickard," he replied softly. He moved closer to the lamp and met the guard's gaze.
    All right, the Hessian is Johan, and it is Father Rickard who speaks. But then the soldeir, knowing him, replies;

    The soldier nodded and winked to his partner, who sheathed his blade. "God be with you, my lord.. It is very late. What brings you here?"
    Father Rickard is adressed as "My Lord"? What kind of priest is this, that is adressed as Lord?

    Other than that, there are a few things that I find implausible in the plot, but that do not detract in any way from the writing: the idea of moderate catholics, especially higher clergy, wanting to protect Lutherans from persecution to preserve the Empire is one; by the eve of the 30 years war, positions were VERY polarised indeed.

    The very defenestration scene is another; in fact, it was Lutherans who threw two Imperial governors and their scribe out the window. This, however, we can put down to artistic licence. I'm sure the author knows his history as well as anyone, and this could be an alt-hist take on the start of the 30 years war.

    Again though, language-wise this was impressive work. Only the presentation of the set and players needs some work, IMHO. This was my favourite of the four.

    Author #3
    I'm not fond of this kind of absurdity, but will offer some comment nonetheless. I would have liked some buildup regarding the prophecy. This was nonsensic enough that the anachronistic metaphor didn't overly disturb me, .

    I kind of liked the yay-verse though, but if you could have integrated the final divine destruction (why, by the way, is Vienna destroyed?) into the verse, (together with the line about God), it would have been better.

    Author #4
    While I was fascinated by the setting and the story, I have to echo Stnylan's critique; for Pete's sake, would some proof-reading have killed this author?(because none could possibly have taken place here) Reducing redundant words, and repeated words, would clearly have helped this piece a lot. This author needs to learn to re-read and review.

    Regarding CatKnights points about the Pope being able to appoint any one, my impression was that the Pope had to do his appointing by crowning his candidate with the Imperial Crown. That would be why Conrad brought it. Thus, Conrad knows that should Innocent blurt out "I pick the King of France!" before loosing his head, that would have no legal value whatsoever, and during the Middle Ages, it has been said paraphrasing Clausewitz, "War was the prosecution of Law by other means".
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  18. #918
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    Some really great comments already. Great job by everyone. Remember, we still have a couple of weeks to get some more, so please let us hear what you thought of these submissons. Our authors will surely appreciate it.
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  19. #919
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    I have but one thing to add. The critiques that have occurred to me have posted already, but as to the fourth entry - I especially like the irony at the end:

    The line ‘Come on, old man. Maybe I’ll die before you. Young people die all the time, you know’ is absolutely brilliant. The reason for this is that, in real life, as I assume this is based, Innocent actually did outlive Conrad, who died of malaria in May 1254, while Innocent lived until December of the same year. This I feel is an overlooked section of the piece, and despite its flaws in the actual structure, this bit at the end definitely adds to the overall appeal of the piece.

    That being said, I have no idea who wrote it. And no, it wasn't me. I just happened to be on Wikipedia looking at stuff.
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  20. #920
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Dace
    I have but one thing to add. The critiques that have occurred to me have posted already, but as to the fourth entry - I especially like the irony at the end:

    The line ‘Come on, old man. Maybe I’ll die before you. Young people die all the time, you know’ is absolutely brilliant. The reason for this is that, in real life, as I assume this is based, Innocent actually did outlive Conrad, who died of malaria in May 1254, while Innocent lived until December of the same year. This I feel is an overlooked section of the piece, and despite its flaws in the actual structure, this bit at the end definitely adds to the overall appeal of the piece.

    That being said, I have no idea who wrote it. And no, it wasn't me. I just happened to be on Wikipedia looking at stuff.
    That's fascinating, actually! A very nice add to the critique.

    And it probably narrows down the number of authors who could have produced this piece, that they would know this. Unless they happened to do research, themselves, on a subject they didn't already know alot about... A ridiculous thought! Hmm...

    Okay, I'm just more convinced now that it's Veldmaarschalk!

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