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Thread: Behind The Darkness - The Danish Revival II

  1. #1
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Behind The Darkness - The Danish Revival II

    Behind The Darkness - The Danish Revival II





    "Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvellous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed" - Eliphas Levi, Dogma and Ritual of High Magic

    1. A New Dawn

    Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris
    17th June 1875


    Jens Stemme stood stolidly over the grave, his snow white hair blowing slightly in the chill wind. The funeral had been a simple affair, with only a few solitary, shady figures in attendence, presided over by the only priest Jens could find who would perform the ceremony.

    Despite being the height of the French summer it was a drab, cold day, with droplets of spit falling from the heavy grey clouds. The ceremony came to a finish, and Jens took some soil, mumbling "ashes to ashes" in French before whispering in Danish, "goodbye, old friend." As Jens walked from the graveyard out towards the centre of Paris he took one last look at the tombstone, which read in fancy gothic script,

    "Here lie the remains of Eliphas Levi, beloved of this world and the next"

    He turned and walked away, feeling incredibly old. Soon it will be my time, he thought gloomily, soon I will join him in eternal darkness...

    He sighed, and scolded himself for thinking like that, and as he strolled towards the centre of Paris he instead remembered the good times, and marvelled at how poor, destitute Alphonse-Louis Constant had become the great, world-renowned occultist Eliphas Levi.


    Alphonse, aka Eliphas Levi, not long before he died.


    New Ameliensborg Palace, Copenhagen
    17th June 1875


    Council President Christen Berg clapped his hands, and said,

    “Right, gentlemen, that will do for today. Meeting dismissed.”

    The various ministers of the Danish government shuffled out, leaving Berg standing alone in the conference room. He sat down and lit up a cigar, and took in what his ministers had told him. There was good news, as the colonies in Tanganyika and Namibia were now beginning to reap their financing rewards, and also on the diplomatic front Denmark still maintained excellent relations with all the major powers, especially Germany and Russia. There was always the risk of a conflict between these two nations, and Berg hoped that Denmark could act as a mediator between the two should tensions escalate. Then there was also the economy, according to finance minister Hørup was now the eight strongest in the world, a fact that greatly pleased the Council President very much.


    Europe, 1875. Denmark is allied with Russia, Germany, France and Sweden


    As Berg was just finishing his cigar there was a knock at the door. Berg got up and greeted the tall, dark haired man with a nod and smile.

    “Ah, Tomas. How are you today?”

    Tomas seemed to ignore the question, and brusquely said, “My report,” He handed over a dossier and left without saying a word. Berg shut the door, murmuring to himself, “hmm, charming as ever…”

    The dossier bore the seal of the Jens Stemme Institute of Research into History and Origins, with the words HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL scrawled on the front. Berg sat down at the table and lit up another cigar, reading through the document with interest. After ten minutes he put the document down, and sat still, expressionless. He stubbed out the cigar, and with document in hand hurried out of the room.

    Stemme Castle, Near Roskilde
    18th June 1875




    After the short but bloody and destructive Civil War of 1844, King Frederik VII had rewarded all those who had been of service to the monarchist cause. Peder Kristensen, Generals Rye and De Meza, and of course Jens Stemme, were all rewarded with titles and land. Jens and Helena moved into the old castle that had been given to them and in early 1846 Helena gave birth to their only son, Niels. Thirteen years later, to Jens and Helena’s immense shock and surprise, she fell pregnant again, now in her mid-forties.

    However, things did not go to plan, and Helena perished in childbirth, the grim irony of it not lost on a devastated Jens and Niels. The child survived though, a healthy baby girl who Jens named Ingrid. It was both a time of great heartache and great joy, of loss and gain, and one that would haunt Jens for the rest of his days.

    Sixteen years later, and it was just Jens and his daughter, with Niels now married with a son, living in Roskilde working as a bank clerk. Upon receiving news of Alphonses death, Jens arranged for Niels and his family to come and look after his sister while he was in France.

    Like in Paris, the air was wet and the clouds cast dark shadows over the echoing, stretching halls and corridors of Stemme Castle. Ingrid sat in her room, engrossed in a translated edition of “The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe“, when there was a knock at the door.

    “Ingrid? It’s Niels.”

    She rolled her eyes, and opened the door. “Yes?”

    “Kaja and I were wandering if you’d like to come with us to town? It’s a beautiful day.”

    Ingrid looked out at the gloom. “No it isn’t!” And there’s no way I want to spend any time in the company of that insipid, irritating wife of yours either, she thought.

    Niels shrugged. “Fine. You can stay and look after Bjørn, then. He doesn’t want to come either.”

    Ingrid snorted in disgust once Niels had closed the door, and muttered, “Fine, as long as that brat doesn’t bother me.”

    She sat reading in peaceful tranquillity for five minutes until there a high pitched, whiny voice interrupted, “Auntie Ingrid! Auntie Ingriiiid!”

    Ingrid threw down the book and opened the door, where Bjørn was standing looking up at her with solemn eyes. He was a boy of seven, with bright blonde hair and startling blue eyes. Or, Ingrid thought, they would be startling, if he wasn’t such a dull, dense child. She scowled at him and said,

    “Go away you annoying brat, and don‘t call me that!” slamming the door. For a couple of seconds there was silence once again.

    “Auntie Ingrid, daddy said you were to look after me while he and mummy were gone!”

    Ingrid slumped, and opened the door again. “Fine, but be quiet and don’t move.”

    “But I want to explore!”

    “No, I don’t-” A thoughtful smile came to Ingrid’s face. “You know, that’s not such a bad idea.” She patted him on the head, remembering how when she was young there were a couple of rooms that were always locked by her father. In those days she was passionately inquisitive, and imagined all sorts of wild and wonderful things lay in those rooms, and despite constant pleading her father had never caved and let her see them. Eventually she had lost interest, and had forgotten about them. But now, with the house to herself, she at last had a chance to sate that desire of so many years. There was still the question of finding the keys, but…

    “Come on then,” she said, “let’s see what we can find.”
    Last edited by Fiftypence; 20-09-2006 at 05:53.

  2. #2
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Yes, a sequel!!!

    This is a game played in Revolutions as, obviously, Denmark, but in story terms it is a continuation of the world we left in the Danish Revival, but thirty years in the future. How and why everything is as it is will be explained as the AAR progresses, such as the expansion of Denmark into Germany and so on. I have a rough idea of how this is going to progress in my mind, so hopefully it will be a bit more coherent plot-wise that the prequel.

    Why 1875? Well, there were a few interesting occurences that year that will be important to the story. Hopefully there will be no need to have read the original to understand this AAR, but it will probably be helpful.

    As for my Texas AAR, it is not abandoned as such, but I've lost the notes for it, if anyone is interested in that. I may update it if they turn up.

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  4. #4
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    I occasionally lurked on the first one; I am definitely following the second!

    The ending of the first involved the protagonist realizing that the antagonist was actually on the good side after defeating him in a short but sharp civil war, right?
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  5. #5
    What happened to Jonsson?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiftypence
    As for my Texas AAR, it is not abandoned as such, but I've lost the notes for it, if anyone is interested in that. I may update it if they turn up.
    Maybe someone came and took them!

    I'll be watching this.

    Interesting that this little boy she doesn't even like may open up a world of fascinating and perhaps dangerous things to her finally!

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    So far so great, Fiftypence. Excellent to see a sequal and the start is very strong. Denmark certainly has a strong alliance. Looking forward to seeing where Book 2 goes.
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    I once started on the prequel, but somehow never finished the thing. Be assured I will follow this one though.
    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
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  9. #9
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Zauberfloete: Great!

    Fulcrumvale: Basically yes, although Mathias's side wasn't really either 100% good or evil.

    GuyB: He was killed by Royalist troops as they occupied Copenhagen.

    Rensslaer: Yes, who knows what she will find.

    coz1: Though it could prove tricky if any of my allies go to war with one another...

    Nikolai: Thanks.

    Behind The Darkness - The Danish Revival II




    2. Danish History 1844-53

    Excerpt from “The Ascendancy of Denmark” by J. G. Lee, Oxford University Press 2006


    After the Civil War of 1844 Denmark was a divided nation that needed to be stitched back together. Upon being officially crowned Frederik VII appointed Adam Moltke as Prime Minister. This was a shrewd move, as Moltke had been a part of President Jonsson’s cabinet, part of a wider desire on the King’s part not to stigmatise anyone for their associations with the Republic in order to unite the nation.

    Moltke and Frederik had both hoped that the next few years would allow for some peace and quiet, but they were to prove mistaken. In 1846 the Prime Minister passed a piece of legislation which effectively removed the powers of the Duchy Shleswig-Holstein, bring their administration directly into the sphere of the central government. Schleswig-Holstein had sided with the monarchists in the Civil War exactly because this was something that President Jonsson had attempted to do, and so it was seen by many as a severe betrayal. Revolts flared in the capital Kiel, and Holstein declared itself to be independent, and sent a message to the Prussians asking for annexation.

    Outraged, Moltke declared war on the Duchy, in a swift campaign that saw Kiel fall within a couple of months, resulting in the duchy becoming crown territory. Holstein had been in the German Confederation, and on February 15th 1847 Prussia issued their own declaration of war against Denmark and their Russian allies, Austria doing the same on the 23rd.

    The war would prove to be something of a stalemate. Prussia made a limited advance into Russia before being halted by the main body of the Russian Army, and the Danish Navy made sure of preventing any Prussian attack into Denmark. Meanwhile, a Danish Army under the command of Kristensen advanced into Mecklenburg, who had entered the war along with Prussia. There was no resistance, and in May the Duchy was made into a Danish satellite, providing a buffer state between Prussia and Danish Holstein. Kristensen then hoped to march his army directly on Berlin, but instead decided to retreat upon realising he was massively outnumbered.

    From this point on Danish Armies saw very little action, instead hoping that the Russians would be able to wear down the Prussians and Austrians enough for them to accept terms. The only other event of note in 1847 was a battle in the Storebælt between the Austrian and Danish navies, which the latter won easily.

    Early 1848 saw a slave rebellion in the Danish West Indies, which prompted King Frederik to once again formally abolish slavery, which was still technically legal from the days when Jonnson was Prime Minister. However, the war continued, and in March the United Kingdom gave it’s subtle approval for the Danish cause by guaranteeing her independence. Attempts at an alliance, however, were to stall.

    In March the Austrians accepted terms, with no land changing hands, and a couple of months later Prussia reluctantly agreed to cease hostilities, but refused to cede claims to Slesvig or recognise the Danes as the rightful owners of the territory. It was less than the Danes had hoped for, but for Moltke is was sufficient. The Prussians made terms with the Russians in February of 1849, again with no land changing hands. Altogether the Schleswig wars proved to be an exercise in futility, but Denmark was now united and celebrated what they regarded as a victory. The wounds and pain of the Civil War were finally put to rest.

    In July of 1849 the nation mourned the passing of General Rye, villain-turned-hero of the Civil War. He was given a proper military burial with full honours, and the funeral was attended by King Frederik, Moltke, Generals Kristensen and De Meza among others. The peace was not to last long, as in January of 1849 Denmark declared war on Madagascar. The campaign was to prove reminiscent of the Swahili War of 1836-7, with the Danes underestimating their opposition by sending only two divisions. A game of cat-and-mouse ensued, with Denmark capturing areas of the island while losing control of other parts and so on. However, eventually all of Madagascar was subdued, and was formally annexed on June 16th 1850.

    And then, on September 22nd, something rather shocking happened. The failure of the liberal revolts in the 1840s had filled Prussia’s conservatives with a sense of victory, and so when Prussia approached the other German states with a plan of creating a united, conservative German Empire, they were only too happy to oblige. Suddenly Denmark found that a vast, hostile Germany lay all along her southern border, explaining Danish attempts to form defensive alliances with Russia and Britain in the next couple of months (with only Russia accepting).

    The nature of the treaty meant that when what is known as The Crimean War broke out, Denmark was not obliged to honour her alliance with Russia and instead watched from the sidelines. As it turned out, most of the fighting in the “Crimean War” took place not in the Crimea, but rather on the border between Russian Burma and British India.


    The somewhat odd main theatre of the "Crimean War"

  10. #10
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    The somewhat odd main theatre of the "Crimean War"
    Interesting...

    Good job expanding into northern Germany and not getting squashed by Prussia.
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  11. #11
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Fulcrumvale: Thanks. Although it should be noted that the history book sections do not represent exactly what happened in the game, more illustrating how Denmark got from the world at the end of the Danish Revival to the beginning of this.

    General: Only one comment? Well, hopefully this update will be a bit more interesting.

    Behind The Darkness - The Danish Revival II




    3. The New York Connection

    17th June 1875


    The Jens Stemme Institute of Research into History and Origins (known by the initials JSI) was set up by the Danish government after the fall of the Danish Republic, a favour from the King for Jens’ efforts for the Monarchist cause. It was the first organisation of it’s kind; an agency with the sole intent of researching occult phenomena in relation to beings known only as “The Nobility”, and the origins of the Danish race and all of mankind in general. It was a secretive organisation, known of only by the King, certain Prime Minsters and of course those men who worked at the JSI. At first it had been Jens’ little project, to try and come to understand what Mathias’s intentions had been and where, if anywhere on this earth, these beings existed, as well as other matters relating to the occult. Jens, however, quit when Helena died in 1857, and the new Director had rather different ideas about the direction of research and the intent of the organisation.

    The JSI had it’s headquarters in a rather unremarkable part of Copenhagen a mile or so away from the hub of power, a drab office to match it’s rather dull and technical sounding name. It was this place that Council President Berg was now approaching, still holding the dossier. He approached and knocked heavily on the door. It opened a creak, and Berg was allowed in as soon as the porter recognised him.

    The office that Berg walked into was a mess. There were stacks of books and bits of paper all over the place, as well as newspaper cuttings other bits and pieces strewn about. Berg wandered how Tomas managed to keep on top of everything, what with his rather haphazard method of filing, but somehow he did, something that deeply impressed and dismayed the Council President all at once as it was a far cry from any of the other government agencies with which he dealt. The JSI almost ran itself.
    There were various other people scuttling and scurrying, and Berg watched transfixed as someone blithely strode past examining some kind of pendant, completely ignoring the ruler of the country as he did. He heard a cough behind him.

    “That was an amulet belonging to Mathias Jonsson,” said Tomas, jovial but still with a frown on his face, his dark brooding features offset by his neat dark brown and his equally dark suit. Berg nodded airily.

    “Oh right,” he replied. “Is it magic?”

    Tomas’s face was still, staring at the Council President, and Berg got a prickly feeling at the back of his neck. “Yes,” Tomas said eventually.

    Tomas walked quickly towards his desk, and Berg followed, waving the dossier anxiously.

    “Mr. Espensen, I wanted to discuss-”

    Tomas turned suddenly, interrupting, “Have you ever heard of Theosophy?”

    “I, uh, what?” Berg floundered.

    “Theosophy, or to be more precise, the Theosophical Society.”

    “Um, no, I haven’t, but I really would like to-”

    “Only,” continued Tomas, seemingly ignoring the Council President, “I have, and I think it could be important.”

    Berg slumped, and gave in. “How so?”

    “Well,” said Tomas, pacing to and fro with hands in pocket, “the Theosophical Society was founded earlier this year in New York, by a Mr. Henry Steele Olcott and Madame Helena Blavatsky, a lady of apparent Ukrainian noble stock. It’s an eastern type religion, but with some rather interesting core concepts. For example, they believe that, as Plato said, ‘we are imprisoned in the body, like an oyster in his shell,‘ ie. a form of gnosticism, which correlates with certain things we learnt from writings uncovered belonging to President Jonsson, who apparently shared similar beliefs. This is relevant because it is known that Jonsson was in contact with beings he knew as the nobility, and these Theosophists believe in certain beings known as Secret Chiefs, things of great wisdom and intellect, who are reported to live in a great underground city called Agartha. Of course, this isn’t new, but I believe these people may just be able to help us out.”

    “How so?”

    “Well you see, they believe that the main entrance to where these ‘Secret Chiefs’ are supposed to dwell is in Tibet…”

    Berg’s eyes widened, and some things became clearer in his mind. “So-”

    “Remember, in that dossier you hold I only outlined some possible scenarios. Of course more research needs to be done before we take any kind of…action. I wish to send a man to New York, to establish links with the Theosophical Society. I need you express permission, of course, for such a large expense…”

    Berg, slightly bemused, nodded. “Of course. But these suggestions, they weren’t completely serious…were they?”

    “They were, Council President. Deadly serious. I’m sure the Russians would be willing to-”

    “Listen,” Berg sighed, “I really need to go. And,” he said, his face a worried frown, “I really don’t think this is the sort of thing Mr. Stemme would like done in his name…”

    Tomas Espensen smiled. “Goodbye, Mr. Berg.” The Council President left, and Tomas allowed himself a little smirk before getting back to work.
    Last edited by Fiftypence; 21-09-2006 at 19:26.

  12. #12
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    I see we won't be leaving the occult and mystery any time soon in this story. Great! And I really have to say, Fiftypence - you're writing just gets better and better. From subtle sounds and movements to great dialogue, your work has really grown and it has been a pleasure to watch and read.
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    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    Fulcrumvale, anonymous4401: Thanks.

    Coz1: That's a real compliment, cheers.

    Behind The Darkness - The Danish Revival II




    4. Against Nature

    Paris, France
    17th June 1875




    Jens sat in one of the many street cafes in the bohemian quarter of Paris, sipping a coffee. The air was quite warm despite the dark clouds above, and Jens found to be quite unpleasant. Nevertheless he could not be bothered to move, and so just sat at his table, thinking about all the things he had done and seen in his life.

    He thought about Helena, and of course his beloved children, and also of other people like Alphonse and Father Ipsen. As he sat pondering, a dark shadow blocked his light. He looked up, and saw a man whose face seemed vaguely familiar, young, with bright green eyes and wavy, long brown hair. The man smiled, and reached out his hand.

    “Didn’t I see you at the funeral?” the man said, as they shook hands.

    Jens frowned. “Yes, maybe. I think so.”

    “I’m Charles, by the way. Charles Huysmans. May I sit down?”

    “Sure, go ahead,” said Jens, in truth rather grateful for company, even if it were that of a stranger. Huysmans ordered a coffee, and then looked Jens in the eye. “So, how did you know Master Levi?”

    “Who? Oh, you mean Alphonse? He was a friend from many years ago, before he assumed the name Eliphas Levi.”

    “Ah, right.” Huysmans smiled as his coffee arrived, and took a deep gulp. “You sound German, if I‘m not mistaken.”

    “Danish,” said Jens, with a slight edge to his voice. Huysmans caught this immediately, and laughed jovially.

    “Ah, I’m sorry! Please accept my apologies. I’m of Dutch extraction myself, although thankfully I speak with a much more pleasant and beautiful French accent. Of course, anything French is always going to be more beautiful than anything Germanic, so I can only say that my father was a man of taste, in coming to Paris and saving me from having a Dutch accent!”

    Jens wanted to roll his eyes and snort in amused disdain, but was too polite. And anyway, it was not the first time he had come across this attitude among the French.

    “I quite like the Dutch accent,” replied Jens eventually, and Huysmans shrugged.

    “Of course, of course. In fact, I'm really quite proud of my Dutch roots, in truth, and I publish under the name Joris-Karl Huysmans, even if it is somewhat lacking in elegance. But surely you agree that poetry in any other language than French is an insult to the very idea of poetry itself? I could never bring myself to even try and read it in English or German.”

    Jens couldn’t help laughing despite himself. “I’m not that much interested in poetry, myself. But I guess you are a poet, then?”

    Huysmans nodded, “That I am, but I fear my work is just a sad imitation of the master Baudelaire. Ah, Jean-Christophe, what have you got there?”

    The last comment was directed at a passing man, wearing what looked like Jens to be rags, with uncut hair and unshaven. He approached, and Jens saw what Huysmans had spotted. Jean-Christophe held it up, smiling with pride.

    “It’s…a tortoise,” said Jens, “with…gemstones?”

    “Oui, yes, is it not the most exquisitely beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” said Jean-Christophe excitedly, smiling to reveal rows of black, rotten teeth. “It took ages, but I think that the quest for beauty that you aesthetes are undertaking is now pointless, as you’ll never find something as beautiful as what I’ve created!”

    Jens stared at the man incredulously, assuming him to be totally mad, but Huysmans seemed fascinated. “May I have a look?”

    Jean-Christophe nodded, and handed the tortoise over. It was only then that Jens and Huysmans were hit by the stench. Huysmans face transformed from interest to uncertain disgust, and looked up wide eyed at Jean-Christophe.

    “You used a real tortoise?? That’s not beautiful, that’s…well, that’s rank.”

    “The smell is, oui, but the eyes marvel at the majesty! Sadly the little fellow died, as the gemstones I set in his shell were too heavy.”

    “Indeed,” said Huysmans, shaking his head as Jean-Christophe pottered away, in a world of his own. He then turned back to Jens. “You get all kinds round this part. Jean-Christophe is known for his eccentricity. The pursuit of beauty can lead men to behave in a rather odd way.”.

    “You can say that again!” replied Jens, “that tortoise was…against nature!” He stood up, and said, “Look, I really have to go now. I’m returning back to Denmark in a couple of hours.”

    “Ah, well okay. By the way, do you know anything about the occult?”

    Jens turned. “Yes, why?”

    “Only Levi gave me a load of papers to look after not long before he died. Now I don’t really know anything about magic and such not, but some of the stuff looked quite curious…”

    Jens sighed, intrigued despite his desire to get home. “All right then, I’ll take a look.”

  16. #16
    AARlander
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    Silly Jean-Christophe! Turtle shells are supposed contain treasures, and so putting treasure on the outside of a turtle shell is just silly!
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    Ok, I've not read the perquel but this seems very nice. However, just a little sum up of the first part wouldn't be too bad.
    Snake IV used to be a regular, but not anymore. You might, however, come across him at rare occasions, but that is so seldom you'll manage.

  18. #18
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    That man is…odd, to say the least. I wonder what he has that will make it worth our protagonist’s time to stay with him.
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  19. #19
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    I give the compliment because it is true, Fiftypence! And yet another wonderful dialogue scene that suggests that Jens cannot quite let go of the occult even after all he has accomplished. And the imagine of the tortoise...goodness.
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  20. #20
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    Just read this. I want more!
    I love dansih AAR's, simply for the fact I'm danish. I about half of the First Danish Revival and really enjoyed it, but I didn't read the other half, lazyness probably being the factor. Your writting is great, very understandable, if that's a word.
    Keep it up, I can't wait to see Denmark thrive as we did when vikings roamed the lands.

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