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Thread: From Rus to Russia - Russia Megacampaign, pt.2

  1. #341
    Just stumbled upon this AAR, hooked and waiting for more. Did anyone ever tell you that you a very talented poet?
    War loses a great deal of its romance after a soldier has seen his first battle. I have a more vivid recollection of the first than the last one I was in. It is a classical maxim that it is sweet and becoming to die for one’s country; but whoever has seen the horrors of a battlefield feels that it is far sweeter to live for it.

    John Singleton Mosby

    _____________________________


  2. #342
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    Hi All.

    I've been around, as you have noticed, but I've not been writing. Mostly because work takes a lot of time ane energy, but also because my mod with my awesome map is now broken.

    If anyone know what it is in HTTT that causes things to crash, please please please tell me.

    VILenin - alright all right.

    thekaje - and, it appears, also very old news. My apologies.

    canonized - you know what's even more shocking? Even TM wrote something. That's how bad it is.

    Khelbenn - I've hardly even started the real story...but thank you

    Surt - I'm awake, or else somnanbulating. And somnambo-posting. I'm just not very good at somnanmbo-writing.

    Tskb18 - you know, the last two rounds of peasant revoltage burned down almost everything. Alas my country.

    LeoGecko - thanks for the encouragement

    Mortu - hope springs eternal

    General_BT - For Great Justice! Indeedly!

    Arya V. - Thank you! But you should try this guy for real poetry with rules:

    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...61#post8166861



    Thank you all for your continued support. I am working on fixing the map and on writing the outlines...I haven't abandoned this, I'm just bad at consistency.
    The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell

    A YeAAR's Education - Rurikovich in Crusader Kings 1066-1393

    From Rus to Russia - Kiev in EU3 1393-1836 - Get the Loading Screen Pack - Weekly Showcased AAR, 6/6/09 and 7/7/10 - WritAAr of the Week, 27/7/10 - Ambitions are denied and tasks appointed - Check out the first installment of the Medieval Atlas!

    Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.

  3. #343
    Second Lieutenant Kommunaut's Avatar
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    The mod I'm working on had a similar problem. I'll have to ask my friend, who fixed it, what exactly was causing it.

  4. #344
    Black Overlord Mortu's Avatar
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    I wonder if when this starts it'll be in HOTT ^_^

  5. #345
    Black Overlord Mortu's Avatar
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    I've seen RGB in another topic recently, so yes, hope does spring eternal ^_^

  6. #346
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    Well, I got this far on my 'AARs to read' list, so you better continue!
    Quite an amazing AAR, really. Glad I took the time.
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  7. #347
    Black Overlord Mortu's Avatar
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    Alas, our beloved author is shamelessly hanging out here: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=455574
    Only weapons bring freedom.

  8. #348
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    An Apology and an Explanation




    Hello dear readers.

    As you may have noticed, despite my repeated promises, the AAR and the mod were both delayed far beyond reasonable. Now I could use more excuses besides football tournaments, new jobs, and other hobbies, but they'd be just that, excuses.

    The truth is, the mod has grown rather complex, and though work is continuing, it is sporadic. It will be ready - eventually - but the AAR is the main thing. And herein lies my explanation.

    I had a very neat approach to storytelling planned, clever even. I was going to look back at looking back (at looking back), layering biases and agendas over some basic historic facts. It sounded very exciting, until I started writing it.

    I just couldn't produce anything I could be satisfied with; and whatever was good enough, there wasn't enough of, and came at such effort that it became obvious I'd never finish. Meanwhile, I was still active on the forums, reading and commening, as Mortu has pointed out.

    Recently, I thought about my favourite AARs and my favourite authors (you know who you are, guys), and realized that, despite my near-obsessive love of maps, most of those were NARRATIVE works. And that got me wondering if it was my writing style that was the problem.

    So...basically...I'm going to do a narrative. A narrative spanning centuries. A narrative with a cast of perhaps thousands. As much work as that sounds, it is going to be easier than writing according to my original plan.

    And - if this feels similar to anyone else's Magnus Opus, I beg pre-emptive pardon. I haven't attempted anything like this in a while, and in any case, imitation is the highest form of flatAARy.

    And so, I present you my first chapter featuring my very first main narrative character.

    Thanks again everyone for keeping interest.

    --------


    In the debut chapter of Rus to Russia, an adventure has a stormy start. See you a few posts down!
    Last edited by RGB; 19-07-2010 at 19:48.
    The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell

    A YeAAR's Education - Rurikovich in Crusader Kings 1066-1393

    From Rus to Russia - Kiev in EU3 1393-1836 - Get the Loading Screen Pack - Weekly Showcased AAR, 6/6/09 and 7/7/10 - WritAAr of the Week, 27/7/10 - Ambitions are denied and tasks appointed - Check out the first installment of the Medieval Atlas!

    Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.

  9. #349
    Father of the Nation Woody Man's Avatar
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    It's good that you're coming back, and I'm looking forward to bearing witness to your first narrative AAR!

    Good luck!
    'What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

    Faith in Humanity Meter - ||||||||||
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  10. #350
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    From Rus to Russia

    Waves of Blood and Grass

    I

    Sostratos



    March 1393


    The wintry sky reflected itself gloomily in the swell of the Aegean, and Sostratos Meleniou was in a mood to match. The Philomena rose and dipped with the waves, making it hard for the ship’s ypokephalos to judge if the current they were undoubtedly fighting was dragging them out of their position in the sailing formation. He was, as almost every officer in the Kievan navy, a good enough sailor, but this was the first time that his duty lay not only to his own ship, but also to all the others in the fleet. At times, it was overwhelming.

    Sostratos chewed his wind-parched lower lip, then motioned to the helm officer to adjust he auxiliary rudder and stop the ship from turning. The light Pontic koravos – half marine transport, half scout ship, capricious as a cavalry horse – groaned lightly and shifted on the grey water. Satisfied, he turned around and saw Gennadios Theophorides, the ship’s sekretarios, walking towards him.

    “Commander,” the man bowed slightly.

    Eugene kyres,” Sostratos replied to the nobleman. “What brings you out of the cabin?”

    “In this weather? Indeed. I must be a madman,” the quartermaster complained in his deep, melodious, priestly voice, and finished off with a mock sigh. “To be truthful, it feels all wrong. What business has the Aegean being so grey and ugly? That Homer was nothing but a damn liar.”

    “Now, now,” Sostratos grinned “I bet you the oafs in Kiev likewise think our blessed Sougdaia is grapes and roses year-round, complete with scantily clad girls dancing to gentle choruses of nightingales.”

    “But the fish-puke weather!” Gennadios protested.

    “And the goat-buggering Turks!” Sostratos echoed the other man’s tone.

    “And the donkey-dung food!”

    “What is wrong with the food? We spent the entire winter in Varna eating the same as at home.”

    “See? Varna. They didn’t even let us stay in Constantinople, our noble allies!”

    “But the food – it wasn’t any worse than what your cook at home feeds your friends.”

    “Oh, nothing is really wrong with the food, but if we’re to going to complain in a soldierly fashion we might as well do all the parts properly. And what customarily comes after complaining about food is complaining about hard-ass commanders who are out to get you. And, komes ypokephalos, if we do drift out of line, old fishface is going to have you thrown into the sea when he comes back,” Gennadios finished, clearly pleased with himself.

    “And just as I’m about to be thrown overboard, I shall remind the honoured kephalos that if there’s anyone he should throw overboard it’s the pilot who put me in the middle of the current, and our honoured kephalos himself, who ordered us to attempt to hold in the middle of this current while he is away drinking wine with the other captains. I’m sure he will see my point”

    “And throw you overboard regardless,” Gennadios replied grinning, but almost at once the grin faded and the voice became serious “I came up here to talk about the captains specifically. Nobody tells me anything, though they should, if they want enough rope and fish to last the voyage to be procured. I ask around and find out anyway. But before I tell you what I know, I want you to tell me what you know. What are we doing south of the Straits, in this kind of weather?”

    “If I was to guess,” Sostratos mused unhappily “I’d say that the Turks have finally gathered up enough ships to challenge us, more than we have, probably, and we know they’re coming, but we don’t know where exactly they are, and – it’s urgent.”

    “Not bad, but not much,” the sekretarios frowned. “Would you further guess that we’re desperately needed because someone with the land armies made a real bad call and if we do not find these Turk ships our glorious land commanders will find the Sultan in their rear? Also, would you agree that the very necessary Bulgarian navy is never going to make an appearance in this little adventure, because we’ve waited for them and waited for them, and now there is no more time?”

    In truth, these guesses did not require much effort to make. Tzar Vsevolod's men were there to support Tzar Matej's, because the fellow Monomach monarch was attacked by a once-in-a-lifetime alliance between the Polish Crusaders of the Nikomedian Empire and the mighty Osmans. The Latins, with their Imperial aspirations, wanted Constantinople, the Osmans wanted to weaken Bulgaria. Their other allies and subjects - Serbs, Cretans, and the Turks of the Anatolian beyliks – offered alarmingly effective support. Tzar Matej asked for help from the rulers of the strongest of the remaining Orthodox states - Vsevolod Monomach of Kiev, and Ratmir Choniat of Croatia, who both agreed to support him, even though Ratimir had to be promised as much Serb land as he could grab.

    The war was always going to be fought mostly on land, but the Osmans had long been lords of the Isles, with no standing navy but many privateers available if the need arose. The Bulgarian navy alone could not face them, and without an opposing navy, the Osmans were free to attack coasts, deny supplies, and land soldiers all over the Monomach coast. Tzar Vsevolod, therefore, outfitted the very first war fleet the Rus Tzars ever possessed, building ships and recruiting privateers from the Greek-speaking, maritime areas of the Crimea, conquered by him just over two decades ago from the Khans of the Blue Horde. Almost all the men on these ships - sailors, officers, rowers, even the marines - were Greek. Not that it differed on any fleet in this war; the Turks, Bulgarians, Nikomedians - all recruited heavily from among the locals.

    The Russian navy joined with the Bulgarians almost a year ago to defeat, separately, first the Nikomedian, and then the Osman fleets. It wasn’t a thing of finesse or much maneouvre – when the Osmans tried to stand off and bombard the allied navy with their deadly firepot catapults, the allies, riding a swift wind, instead closed in and the battle degenerated to fierce ship-to-ship fighting, pitting galley against galley and Pontic crossbowmen against their Aegean counterparts in long, desperate struggles that left many dead and the sharks and seagulls sated. In the end, however, the Kievans and Bulgars had the better of the fighting.

    Constantinople was no longer threatened directly, and the fledgling Kievan navy won its first – and quite frankly somewhat unexpected - glory. After that, they took their time to raid up and down their coast before bad weather drove them into port. By rights, they should have stayed in port until later in the spring, but the Osmans were determined to rebuild their fleet and try again; and this time, the Bulgarian fleet, which did operate through the winter from their comfortable base in Constantinople - was nowhere to be found.

    “Noble lord, I would never make such a guess. I’m a mere deputy, and it is up to the full officers to think of strategy, and then inform us,” Sostratos finally replied, irritated now. The thoughts did cross his mind, but to hear them articulated by a support officer seemed inappropriate, and the lingering annoyance at his own captain for not having consulted any of them did not help.

    “Noble sirs, you know I did not mean to intrude or eavesdrop,” said a third officer behind them suddenly, clearly not meaning it. Both turned to face him. Markos Pulades, better known as “Venetsioulos” for his family’s Italian origins, was the master of sail on the Philomena. Passing by with a coil of rope over his shoulder, he must have overheard Sostratos and Gennadios talking. “Those commanding officers had better make it quick. The weather is certain to get worse and the scurvy-pizzle tackle someone bought us is already threatening to give out.”

    “Do your best, Markos, it shouldn’t be long,” Sostratos replied in a reconciliatory voice, but the Master of Sail just shook his curly head and hurried off towards the bow of the ship, among the gathering darkness.



    As it turned out, it really did take too long, though by the time the stubborn, tired crew of the Philomena admitted that they weren’t going to rejoin the fleet, the waves and the darkness had isolated the ship completely from the rest of the world. Waves rose, then fell underneath, around, on all sides, dark monstrous hills as tall as the main mast, threatening to swallow the little koravos and all the forty-three souls frantically working on her decks. Sostratos peered out one last time into the distance, but no sail or ship could be seen in the raging waters, and so he turned away.

    “No sign?” asked one of the helmsman, quietly. Sostratos shook his head.

    “Keep us steady,” he added, but the words were lost in the noise of the ship crashing down into the spray, and sliding headlong down the massive flank of the black monster.

    “Keep us steady!” he repeated, loudly. They were going too fast. Another one like that and the Philomena could lose rigging.

    “Lie a sea anchor!” he called, and a floating sheepskin bag with attached weights went overboard, tethered to the koravos by a rope that grew taut as it landed in the sea, dragging on the ship and slowing it down – but not nearly enough.

    The bulk of the back of the wave ahead of the Philomena rose ahead like a wall, and the racing koravos slammed into it, sending spray flying. The water washed over the bow, heavy and cold, and then the ship shot up again like a cork, over the wave, and into the next trough.

    Wiping the salt water from his eyes with his sleeve, Sostratos saw Markos running towards the bow, prybar in one hand, axe in the other.

    “Venezioulos! Where are you going, sailor?”

    “Commander. Taking down the auxiliary mast…the sails are all down but we’re still too fast. The wind is pushing the pole regardless!”

    “I will angle us instead - takes longer until we reach the next crest. Can we take a quarter-wave if it catches up to us on the top?” It was Sostratos’ instinct to try to outrun the storm, but there was also a danger to running too fast besides putting too much stress on the ship. Although it could not be seen, the coast was not far, and he could easily picture the Philomena racing up a wave and then, from there, straight into the rocks behind the breaker, too fast for the crew to do anything about. Some sideways pressure could be preferable to the nightmare scenario.

    The sail master, however, looked horrified.

    Komes, please. We still need to present less for the wind to hit, cross-wise…it’s already twisting us…taking chasing waves in the side. I take the mast down, then you cut the drag anchor, and maybe we won’t capsize.”

    Sostratos gritted his teeth. That also, was true; there were already a couple of dangerous moments where only steady helmsmanship kept them from taking the weight of the wave in their side before they could clear the crest. The koravos was built to cross open seas quickly, but no ship was built especially to withstand a storm this size, and the square sails didn’t let him heave to between waves. Meanwhile, the helmsmen were getting tired.

    “What about the main mast?” he asked.

    “I hope it’s not as bad as all that,” the master of sail replied, and ran off.

    Soon, there were orders being screamed out and the sound of the axe as the tackle and the collars were removed, and then the mast’s two lengths were taken apart and stowed along the sleeping benches at the bottom of the ship. As the mast went down, the ship slowed, and then twisted suddenly on the spot, dragged by the sea anchor. Cursing, Sostratos ordered it gone. A young sailor with an axe laid three good chops, and the bag disappeared behind them. The Philomena straightened up.

    “Point us into the wave,” he said. They climbed up the next one, still fast – but this time the wave parted at the bow and passed smoothly on either side of the hull. Sostratos smiled.

    “Pytho!” he shouted “get your useless lot bailing. We’ve taken water on the last few.” The marine dekarchos waved back at him, and then got his command working. Sostratos was certain there was something colourful said that he couldn’t hear from where he was standing, and that brought an even bigger grin to his face. He let out a slow breath, then looked into the wind again.

    Fighting a storm was perhaps the most boring way to be utterly terrified, he concluded after a while, and the most tiring. Even though the Philomena was riding it well now, any wave could still be deadly. The men working the buckets and the ropes began singing – not a sea song, but a hymn to the Virgin instead, both to keep rhythm to their work and prevent fatigue and terror from overwhelming them. Despite himself, Sostratos relaxed momentarily, and only noticed the waves rising taller and slower when it became obvious the Philomena was catching up to them once again too quickly.

    “Shore,” he mouthed. But he wasn’t the only one to notice.

    “Shore waves!” someone shouted, and then “Breakers!” As if in answer, the wave in front of them crested over with a magnificent white crown and a deafening roar.



    “Point us away!” he shouted at the helmsmen. The ship slowly turned its side to the waves catching up from behind them, precisely what they spent the last hours trying to avoid. The first wave rolled under them, and Philomena slid sideways into the trough.

    “Steer her into them!”

    The bow pointed away from the direction of the shore and into the oncoming wave, rising up it slowly, then just falling over the crest, but soon, another anguished cry rose from the bow.

    “Cross-wash!”

    In getting away from the shore behind her, the Philomena was pushed towards a spot where the sea floor rose up, breaking up part of the great waves and sending them at cross-angles to each other.

    The very first cross-wave passed under the koravos, causing it to bob and slow just as a large breaker racing towards the shore hit her on the side. The ship groaned and twitched, and then spun as another cross-wave broke over the bow. Sliding stern-first towards the shore and out of her crew’s control, she survived two more breakers before the third washed over her, filling the undecked parts of the hull with water. The fourth capsized and sank her, but by then the sailors were already scrambling for whatever they could grab to stay afloat on.

    Even though the shore wasn’t very far, and Philomena’s crew had the good fortune to be wrecked near a rare sandy beach, it took hours before most of them made it to land. After clambering onto the dunes and away from the raging water, weeping, drying off, and finding each other, they discovered they were missing fifteen of the men. After that, they prayed, each for his own reasons.

    ------


    Next, in Rus to Russia - A friendship is tested. Stay tuned!
    Last edited by RGB; 19-07-2010 at 19:50.
    The Russia Megacampaign - See my other work at my Inkwell

    A YeAAR's Education - Rurikovich in Crusader Kings 1066-1393

    From Rus to Russia - Kiev in EU3 1393-1836 - Get the Loading Screen Pack - Weekly Showcased AAR, 6/6/09 and 7/7/10 - WritAAr of the Week, 27/7/10 - Ambitions are denied and tasks appointed - Check out the first installment of the Medieval Atlas!

    Duke of Bonbon, and also Chevalier Grand Croix of the Ordre Militaire du Saint Christophe.

  11. #351
    Field Marshal
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    Alive and kicking, I see

    Very brave move to make the transition to narrative (you heathen!) and it'll be interesting to see how it works out. Based on the above update - very good BTW - cramming in your usual insane amount of historical detail will not be a problem, but I do worry that this project could quickly balloon out of control if you try and cover the period in too much detail. Be careful not to take on too much work

    Incidentally, I did a brief scan through this thread today, just to bring myself back up to speed, and had to laugh at the posts that date back to EURO 08. Let's try and finish before the 2012 tournament
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  12. #352
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    What a sight.
    You updating this.

    Narratives usually are good, and I expect at least something above the average from thee.

    But please, shorter walls of text, smaller frequency.
    It was good text, but I am not sure if we need that much text of a ship wreckage, although it included political analysis of present situation.

    Keep it comming.

  13. #353
    Blasted Conniving Roman General_BT's Avatar
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    AD8h283hr8woudas

    OMG.

    Amazing.

    Awesome.

    Beyond words. I'd definitely say you've got a talent for narrative!
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  14. #354
    Part Time Warp aldriq's Avatar
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    Great to see this back! It was an excellent narrative chapter. I hope you continue making maps every now and then, though


    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post




    And so, I present you my first chapter featuring my very first main narrative character.
    When I first saw that post I thought he was going to be your first main narrative character, a Kievan cat in boots...
    On-hold: Mamma Mia! The AAR
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  15. #355
    The Avatar of Time 4th Dimension's Avatar
    Crusader Kings II

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    I'm definitely dreaming. RGB actually updating.
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    this is the most sacred of man's duties!
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  16. #356
    First Lieutenant Tweetybird's Avatar
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    I love the update and I love the fact you actually update again. Yay!
    One Empire, One Faith!
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  17. #357
    Captain Deamon's Avatar
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    An update! Yes!

    I just got to say. Dude you know how to write, jeez I remember your CK aar with that history/lecture style and remember bieng amazed! Even trying to copy it in my own writing (didn't work out to well) and now this! Ok I admit I kind of prefer the history style but if you write like this you won't hear me complaining no sir!
    Wenn der Sheriff reiten geht, reiten alle mit.

    ~Daf, Der Sheriff~

  18. #358
    In Hiding dinofs's Avatar
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    Yay! This was one of the first AARs I read when I started lurking, so it's nice to see it get updated again.
    Recipient of the 6th ever Irish Shamrock Cookie and a birthday cookie! Thank you King_Richard_XI!

    Sir dinofs of Gowin-Fártherr, Duke of Insanity, Lord of Tomfoolery, Spirit of Change, Upsetter of the Status Quo, Reverser of Historical Trends, Defeater of Ming, and All-Around Meddler.

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  19. #359
    Romanorum Imperator Augustus asd21593's Avatar
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    General_BT, you have competition....
    My AAR Library
    -not writing at the moment-

  20. #360
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    When I saw this pop up in my subscriptions list , I thought it was yet another apology post for not posting .

    Lo and behold , you actually updated .

    And not just a regular update but a switch to narrative !

    I couldn't express how I felt about it . I'm just too overjoyed . The texture and beauty , sprinkled with the nautical details that IMMERSED me into the picture . I really felt like I was there . Your pen should not be underestimated and I am just too ecstatic about seeing this beautiful narrative go forward !
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
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