just finished reading all of this, it's a fantastic read. jolly good show
just finished reading all of this, it's a fantastic read. jolly good show
Chapter Forty Four: War and Peace
In 1372 an unprecedented thing happened: the Roman Empire was at peace. Tired of war and devoid of supplies, the Roman Emperor signed a peace treaty with Armenia, losing much of the eastern extremities of the Empire and Cyprus, an important wine manufacturer and outpost. Emperor Ćthelstan stepped down as ruler, and fled to Serbia in exile. His bastard son, Edward, was forced to deal with the turmoil following the peace and subsequent flight of thousands of Christians back into Roman territory. Edward, only four at the time, reigned for a record seven and a half minutes before being captured, usurped, tried for treason in place of his father, and beheaded by a distant uncle, also by the name Edward. In true Roman fashion, the Saxon nobles of the Empire quickly fell into civil war, fighting over every petty issue that had been boiling in their blood. By 1374, Edward II had been kicked out of the Queen of Cities by Stephen I. Emperor Stephen was able to settle most of the nation, save a couple revolts on Crete and Rhodes which were put down forcibly. In 1375 most of Europe felt it was finally safe to normalize relations with the Roman Empire again. Despite the peace that the Romans had finally been able to win, the reign of Stephen the Bloodied would not see that peace last even past 1375.
The Roman Empire and Armenia in 1372.
July 3rd, 1373
Doyvát's legs hung over the edge of the ship, the water some fifteen or so feet below him. In the distance, poking out from a mountain of fog, was the edge of the island of Gotland. It was their duty to patrol the coasts of the Empire for pirates, though they were only very rarely found this deep in Prussia's sovereign waters. The world was quiet. At the rear of the ship the Lord-Protector could hear the ships bell, ringing as the ship rocked in the water. Below him the waves lapped gently at the wooden walls of the ship. From behind came the sound of polished boots walking on the deck. Doyvát turned to see the ship's captain standing behind him, his coat untucked in the summer's heat. "Any sign of vikings?" he asked, a light chuckle followed.
The Baltic Sea in 1373. Despite the long coast line of the Scandinavian states, only Prussia could afford a large navy; it truly was a "Prussian lake".
"No, no sign of anything this morning, Captain," Doyvát replied. The prince watched as the old man stepped up to the railing and rested his elbows on it. The captain began scanning the same horizon that Doyvát had been just seconds before.
Once he was satisfied that no Swedish ships would suddenly appear from the fog, he nodded and said, "Well, lieutenant, I believe it is time to get underway."
"Yes sir," Doyvát responded, "Men! To stations and prepare to raise anchor!" From below several men came up on deck and began to ready the ship to go underway. They scrambled up the rigging and began pulling up the sails, at the bow the officers commanded the men to raise the anchor and lock it on deck. But in all the noise and activity a streamlined shape appeared in the fog.
"SIR!" a voice called, "Raiding ship! Raiding ship off the starboard bow!"
Doyvát turned to the other lieutenant who was muttering under his breath "Star light, start bright, starboard is right." The prince shook his head and headed over there with the captain.
"It is a single mast ship, headed straight for us," one of the sailors said, pointing.
"Tricky devils, coming at us from open waters. Men, prepare to board!" the captain shouted. The men cheered and drew their swords. The Prince took a deep breath and did the same, joining the men under his command. Eventually the ship pulled in close enough that Doyvát could see the other men and hear them chattering. When they saw that the Prussians were expecting them, they seemed to lose heart. They lowered their sail and dropped anchor, the Prussians did the same and set up gang planks down onto the raider.
Doyvát was among the first on board, and quickly went about inspecting the crew. "These aren't Swedes, sir. They are Icelandic."
"How can you tell?"
"They were speaking Icelandic, plus this ship seems out fitted for long distance sailing, not just quick raids across the Baltic," Doyvát answered. As he walked in between the Icelandic sailors he stopped at one with black hair and dark skin. The sailor seemed to squint out into the distance, but when the prince watched him for a bit he noticed that the man's face just looked like that.
"What is it Doyvát?"
"Sir, have you ever seen a man like this?"
"No, I don't think I ever have."
"Hvađ heitir ţu?" the prince asked.
"Hann talar ekki Norse," another sea man replied.
"Hvađ gerir hann talar?"
"What did he say, Prince?" the captain asked.
"He says that this man speaks... barbarian? I am not sure. I've never really heard the term. Ert ţú talar prússneska?" No one seemed to respond. "Wonderful."
"What do you want to do, captain?" the other lieutenant asked. Doyvát turned to face the captain, waiting for an answer. "They don't speak Prussian, they look like raiders, and they are carrying this half-man with them. I suggest hang the crew, grab their supplies and torch the ship." The other lieutenant looked at Doyvát for some support, but the Prince showed no interest one way or another.
"What do they have in the crates?" the captain asked, pointing at the couple of boxes in the middle of the ship, tied down around the mast.
Doyvát walked over and using a close-by oar pried the box lid off. He looked inside and saw a strange plant, and grabbing one of its pods he held it aloft for all to see. "I have no idea, captain."
"This is like something out of a dream, Mister Doyvát, let us be gone. I want nothing more to do with this ship."
"Yes, captain. What should we do with the ship?"
"Leave it, these are not raiders, we can see that."
The Prussians put away their swords and climbed back onto their ship before watching the Icelanders sail back into the mist. The Prince was left confused. He turned to the captain who was chatting idly with the other lieutenant. "Sir, what do you think all of that was?" he asked earnestly.
"Prince, I've seen much of the world. Sometimes you just don't know, and you pray to God that some fool isn't doing anything that will doom all of the good folks." It was a very unsatisfying answer for the curious prince who just turned around and peered out to where the raider used to be. For an instant he thought he could catch a glimpse of it as the mist dissipated. But as the skies cleared, nothing was there.
A week later Doyvát was in Ćstlinn, the city of his grandfather, on shore leave. He holed himself up in the local library digging through texts and scrolls looking for the world "skrćling" it was with much care in shifting through the documents from diplomatic missions abroad that he found a single instance of the word. It was in a nonsensical fairy tale about Viking raiders headed far beyond the view of man. It spoke of a great land of meadows and a great land of forests beyond the green lands west of Iceland. There it said there were many "skrćlingjar" who were long established in the area when the Vikings arrived. The prince closed the book and folded his hands. He wondered aloud, "Could such a land exist; beyond the knowledge of even the most hardened English and Irish fishermen?" He chuckled at the fancy of such ideas. The man must have been a Mongol, captured as a servant by the Mords and sold to some Icelandic captain on a visit to Ingria. How could he have been so short sighted? So blind to reason? Of course they would call such a man a "barbarian". With everything settled in his mind he replaced the book on the shelves and left the library to return back to the streets.
So, there is some link between the Vinland colonies and the Old World, but very tenuous. I'm surprised a prince would not have heard of them, though...
I know I believe in nothing, but it is my nothing
Cogito Ergo Sum
Doyvát, why you no take ship to Memelgrad? Taking it to the city and inspecting it there would be the most sensible thing to do. Damn sailors and their superstitions.
Brittania: A Saga of Albion - Hiatus
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WritAAR of the Week 11/23/09
Character WritAAR of the Week 03/08/10
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The skrćling might be a bit lost.
Curious. . .
Did anything gameplay-wise inspire this story or just author's imagination?
My own quotes:
"Everything is possible with time and imagination, time just hasn't caught up with our imagination."
"A stagnant brain is a very bad thing. Try keeping your head open to allow fresh air in but not open enough for your brain to fall out."
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted."
The only thing I can think of that might have inspired him to write this that could have been gameplay, is land and sea province spread so that he was able to see parts of Icelandic colonies in Vinland.
Nice updates (fell behind due to loads of work), especially that last one with the skrćling coming out of the mists of legends !
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Chapter Forty Four: War and Peace
Much of the world sat beyond the understanding of the average European. It was hard for a peasant who had never left the town of their birth to comprehend the idea of other nations and the size of Europe as a whole. It was harder still, though, for monarchs to understand their place in a world that was not fully explored. Knowledge of a "second Asia" inside the court of Prussia was minimal. They understood that they could get rare spices and materials from beyond through their traders in Quratia, but they didn't know where they came from. The Prussians also had some understanding of the Yuan Empire, but they had no contact with it. The lands beyond the former Seljuk Empire were a total mystery to the Europeans. The same could be said for Africa south of the Sahara desert. For all the Europeans knew, the Nile's source was in Eden and Egypt sat on the edge of the world. However, medieval Europeans did understand that the world was spherical, despite the modern perception that they did not. What they didn't fully grasp was the size of that sphere or that there were more lands and not just ocean beyond what they had mapped. Just as the rest of the world suffered under constantly changing borders, Asia was on the verge of one of the greatest political happenings ever: the fall of the Yuan Empire. In a few short years the once all-powerful Mongol Dominion would could crashing down, leaving China in ruin and creating one of the greatest conquerors the world had ever know.
The Eastern Mediterranean to the farthest reaches of Asia: a land unknown to most Europeans.
March 19th, 2007
Jean FitzMuarmu stood outside of the UN mandated checkpoint at the theoretical border between Carthage and Kanem. A town had grown up around the area on both sides of the border though irrigated entirely by Carthage. He took a long drag from his cigarette before turning to his compatriot, Geoffrey Paquet. He held out the cigarette box and Geoffrey nodded and pulled one out. Jean gave his lighter a couple flicks and then shielded the flame as he held it up to Geoffrey's cigarette and lit it. After that he walked over to the Carthage side of the border and stamped out his old cigarette before lighting up a new one and leaving the box in the check-point booth. He took it out of his mouth and sighed as he walked back out and watched three flags waving in the wind. The first was the red and gold flag of his country. The great Cathar cross was proud and defiant. Next to it, and highest of the three was the blue and white flag of the UN. Lastly was the Green and white flag of the recognized Transitional Authority of Kanem. Not that they controlled anything inside Kanem. Towns like this were either closely guarded by Carthage and the UN or were under the control of the People's Republic of Kanem based in Mao.
The flag of Carthage.
The flag of the Transitional Authority of Kanem: the UN-recognized government of Kanem, presently in exile in Amsterdam.
The flag of the People's Republic of Kanem: currently propped up by other African [pseudo-]communist leaders and warlords.
The flag of the United Nations.
"I don't get it, Jean."
"Please, not again, Geof. I've heard enough of it," Jean protested.
Geoffrey took the cigarette out of his mouth, and clenching it between his index and middle fingers pointed at Jean, "No you haven't. This is stupid. We are paying for an enemy city to stay powered and watered and they still hate us for it. We are wasting our time out here. We should mobilize the whole army and march right back into Mao and take back Kanem, the UN and EU be damned. I don't see no Brits or Frenchies out here... just us Black Foots."
Jean shook his head, "Geof... I am standing a million miles away from my wife in the blistering sun to protect the last vestige of democracy in a neighboring country from dip-shitted communists and morons like you." He took a long drag, "What are we going to do with Kanem if we retake it Geof? Napalm the desert and then sell the glass? What the fuck have they been putting in the holy water?"
Geoffrey put his cigarette back in his mouth and laughed. Jean started laughing too; knowing Geoffrey had been impersonating their commander. "God, I am getting sick of using my damn sock. I can't wait to get home where I can see water being wasted in fountains and pools as if it was endless."
"You know it is bad when the government sends calendars and stuff from home with bikini-clad women all over them sitting in front of pools and the only thing we want to look at is the damn pool."
"You know it brother. Actually... if you want... I have one of those mail-order magazines for pool equipment back in my locker." Geoffrey joked. Jean smiled and shook his head, taking his cigarette out to laugh. Their shift was still hours from over. They had to pass the time somehow. They knew most of the people who used the border crossing. There were a few people from the Kanem side who worked on the Carthage side, but they usually only crossed half an hour before shops and stalls opened and about an hour after they closed.
After a couple minutes a pick-up truck turned the corner and started heading toward the check point. Geoffrey took one last drag from his cigarette and flicked it onto the ground and stamped it out. "I got this one." He said. He shifted his assault rifle in front of him and then held his hand up to flag the truck down. Jean moved his gun around as well; it was just supposed to be a precaution. But as Jean did so he watched as someone stood up in the back of the truck and pulled out an old Prussian-made assault rifle and fired at Geoffrey. Jean ducked down but watched as three red puffs appeared out of Geoffrey's back and one out of the back of his neck.
"Shit! Geoffrey! Stay with m..." More gun fire as the technical approached, forcing Jean to duck behind the checkpoint booth. Inside he hit the alarm, which would hopefully get some reinforcements to him in a couple of minutes. He held his breath as the technical came to a stop on the other side of a thin wooden wall. He could hear Geoffrey struggling as well. His mind went blank, adrenaline flooded his system and for whatever reason Jean stood up and fired out of the booth at about chest height. He cut down all three attackers, killing one of them outright as he sat in the truck. Without hesitating, Jean ran outside and grabbed Geoffrey by the collar of his shirt and began pulling him back into Carthage. "Don't worry man, help is on the way. I got you! Don't worry! We're back in Carthage. I already hit the alarm." Geoffrey seemed to be holding on, though Jean couldn't really tell. He could hear more technicals coming. He eventually had pulled Geoffrey about fifty feet went a mortar shell went off to his left, blasting the two with pieces of brick and splinters. Jean covered Geoffrey and then continued to drag him as he started hearing small arms fire. The entire town was under attack it seemed.
Eventually Jean got Geoffrey behind a barrel and then looked over the top with his rifle. He shot a couple rounds to keep the enemy wary, but he was just a single soldier. More mortar rounds went off all around and now civilians were starting to panic, running between houses like cardboard ducks at a shooting gallery. "Get inside! Get out of the road!" Jean thought he shouted. But everything had entered a surreal state and he wasn't sure if he had said anything at all. More gun fire all around him forced him to duck. He looked at Geoffrey, who despite everything was still alive. Biting his lip, Jean tore strips off of Geoffrey's khakis to try to stop the bleeding. Luckily the bullet had only grazed the side of his neck and the others seemed to miss anything that would have caused a quick death. "Stay with me, buddy. Stay with me, okay? You here? Just hang on. We are going to get you out of here and throw you into a pool, okay?" Geoffrey seemed to smile, so Jean left it at that with a quick nod.
Jean peaked out over the barrel and saw two communist soldiers on the top of the check point. They were tearing down the three flags on top. They lit them on fire and then threw them into the booth, whipping the whole thing up into a blaze. With the whole structure on fire, they started using two technicals to pull the checkpoint out of the way. Jean could see about four or five dozen of them: lightly armed militia men wearing civilian clothing. But each had an assault rifle or a machine gun. They wore red berets and seemed to be better trained then just an average militia soldier. Jean fired at them again. This time he only hit one or two, and forced the others to the ground. It gave him time to grab Geoffrey again and begin dragging him back toward safety. Behind him, Jean could hear the sound of an armored troop carrier. He looked over his shoulder and saw a convoy headed down the street: three troop carriers, an ambulance and an open-toped half-track. As the first carrier rounded the corner it rotated its turret around and opened up heavy gun fire while a couple RPGs exploded harmlessly around it.
At the back of everything, a couple medics helped Jean load Geoffrey into the carrier. Guns chattered all around them. Jean looked at Geoffrey as he was finally shoved all the way into the ambulance and then pushed the door shut, leaving a bloody palm print on the glass. Jean looked down and saw that he was covered in blood and that only most of it was Geoffrey's. He had been grazed a couple times by ricochets and shrapnel. The medics gave him a once over and told him he was fit to go back to the front. Jean could only nod as shock began to sink in. He headed back toward the carriers and the other soldiers. But when he got there, he saw that there was very little left. The smoke still had to clear, but the fighting was dying down and spreading like a cancer into other parts of the city. They would have to chase it down and form a perimeter around the entire city. And in it all, Jean could see a little girl hiding in one of the bombed-out houses. He headed over there, still working off adrenaline.
He grabbed her up and wordlessly carried her out. The UN and Carthaginian troops began their careful push into the Kanem side of town. Jean handed the girl off and joined them, jumping onto the back of a moving half-track. As he rode off he saw the little girl wave at him and he waved back. This is not what he expected when he had first joined the army. He had just been a kid and needed cash for university. Now he was a UN peace keeper in a time and place with very little respect for that title. The soldier next to him patted him on the back, "Glad you got Geoffrey out of there, Jean. Dinners would be really boring without him."
"Yeah, I know."
They rode off into town. The city of Lilustra was a town that was never meant to be at all, let alone be something to fight over. But in the middle of the Libya desert, people found ways to fight over it anyway. The people of Kanem were torn between wanting to end the fighting and wanting to preserve what little democracy they had. No side seemed to provide the best option for them. So even in 2007 there seemed to be no answer for the Kanem question. If Carthage wanted into the European Union it needed to pull its troops out of Kanem, but under the UN treaties it couldn't pull its troops out until a stabile government had been formed. None of this mattered, however, to soldiers like Jean and Geoffrey, many of whom had no idea the complex history that had led up to any given conflict.
Where's the modern map of Africa again? First post should link to it, right?
Do you have a World map made out yet? Just boundaries of countries with their flags pasted into them.
Managed to find out where Kanem Roughly is. It's in Chad for people who don't