I need to get a better schedule for updating made, but work has seriously been cutting into my time. Hopefully things will get back on track.
I need to get a better schedule for updating made, but work has seriously been cutting into my time. Hopefully things will get back on track.
I like the Prussian characters but they always seem so.... arrogant. I get that they are a great power and everything but it seems like they are too confident in their power. Maybe a bad war will knock them done to size?
I do find the Prussians an intrigue bunch however they all seem to follow in the same vein.
Either ruthless and arrogant or generally nice guys, bit scholarly with a mean streak when needed.
Once you've got the measure of a character it becomes very easy to guess what he will do. This is good and bad.
Good: it shows you've characterized them perfectly, we know them well enough as people and leaders to say "well he's never done that sort of thing before, I think he'll do this now..."
Bad: Some people may find this predictable and loose interest in the Prussian side of the story, which is after all the focus of this AAR.
Just some constructive feedback
Chapter Forty Six: Loss and Inheritance
Life for the peasants of any nation was hard during the XIV Century. The wealth of the merchants and nobles rarely trickled much farther than the Mayors and Bishops who kept the Serfs in line. The degree of feudalism did not seem to play a role; the life of a serf in the Caliphate was about the same as the life of a serf in the Prussian Empire. The lay were a very conservative force, highly resistant to change, but only to the extent that their lives were affected. During the civil wars under King Vishly, the lay rarely picked sides. For them as long as there was a noble above them it didn't really make a difference who it was in charge of them. However increasing taxes or tithes was a good way to be faced with a revolt. Changing the religion of their ruler was another. Language only played a role when it hindered worship or the paying of taxes. For example, the lay in Prussia gradually started to speak Middle Prussian because worship was not given in Old Prussian. However; the Greeks of the Roman Empire did not give up Greek because the Saxon rulers never made it a priority to change anything. In the end, the nobility and to a lesser extent the merchants sat above the peasants and serfs; removed from the day-to-day grind of tilling fields and reaping crops. It made them harsh and uncaring. But for the time being the status quo held strong.
August 29th, 1381
"Mathas, Ian!" called a voice. "Kristjan! Where are you three? It is time for chores!" At the bottom of a small gulley in the woods around Wilnish three boys looked around and at each other. It seemed that today's adventure to find frogs and bugs had come to a premature end. Father Werna's voice carried pretty far and sounded rather worried. So the three quickly tried to brush off and bolted toward where his voice was emanating. When the priest saw his three charges he was noticeably relieved; panting to catch his breath but smiling ear to ear.
"Why do we have to do chores, Father? Can we not look for frogs?" Ian asked.
"No, Ian. You have chores to do. Your chores will help bring you closer to God! Doesn't that sound like it would be good?"
"I guess," Ian answered, kicking the dirt with his foot. A boy of only eight he was lost in his own world, dying for something more creative than washing dishes and tilling the Monastery's gardens.
"You guess?" Werna asked, a slight chuckle in his voice, "Trust me, it'll help in the long run." With a comforting hand he prodded the boys back toward the looming building. He sighed as he looked up at his home for the last five years. He had wanted so much more from life, now his only job was to entrap these boys in the same hell he lived every day. Thinking quickly he said, "If you get your chores done early I'll read you guys some of the books in the library. And I promise no boring stuff."
"Then we should get started!" shouted Kristjan, already in a sprint. The other two were quickly after him leaving Werna to try to keep up. When they had gotten back inside, the Father ducked into the library to find something to entertain the boys that evening. There he found one of the older Father's sitting and copying a collection of government records by the light of a single candle. Werna grabbed two candles and lit them both and carried one over to the Father's desk to help him see.
"Werna, what are you doing here? You don't have copy duties tonight."
"I need a book to read to the boys in my charge. I feel that they are growing restless, Father Edwin."
"Brother Edwin... you are a man of the cloth too, now." Edwin smiled, but his smiled faded quickly. "You don't see yourself as a man of the cloth, do you?"
"No, Father. I guess I don't."
"I am not surprised. Your father didn't give you much of a choice did he?"
"No, no he didn't."
Edwin blew on the last bit of ink he had scribbled down and then closed his book, leaving a marker poking out through the top. "We have a collection of folk stories and other such things that might keep them entertained." He pushed a ladder against one of the bookshelves and began to shakily climb up the rungs. Werna took a hold of the bottom, worried to see his only friend injured. "Thank you," Edwin said as he came back down holding a smallish book with a rather plain cover. He handed Werna the book with a smile and went to sit back down.
Werna stopped him with a hand to his shoulder, "I want you to know I don't blame you... or my father."
Edwin smiled and sat down, returning to his work, "I never thought you did. But no father wants to see his son go into life of an artist."
It felt like a back-handed remark, but Werna took it all in stride. It is not like he had any self confidence any more. "There is a story in there that might help you too, Brother Werna. Enjoy."
Werna returned to his room with the book safely tucked in his robes. He sat on the end of his bed and opened the book to a random page. But Edwin had left a ribbon on a certain page and the book opened to that spot. Neatly drawn was the title to an old folk tale: The Story of Ælle Eadbertson. Could this have been the story Edwin had talked about?
At about that time there was a gentle knock on the door, then Ian poked his head in, "Mathas and I have finished our work and Kristjan is cleaning himself up after cleaning the pig sty. Can we hear a story now?"
"Sure, I have one picked out right here!" Werna answered.
"This isn't one of those boring Bible stories is it? With a moral and everything?" Mathas asked.
"Haha, no, Mathas. I think you guys will enjoy it, but let us wait for Kristjan." And almost on cue Kristjan entered and sat down next to Ian.
"Did I miss anything?" he asked.
"No," Werna said, "I was about to get started. This is the story of King Ælle, he was a glorious a brave knight..."
March 2nd, 1136
Ælle's sobs resonated throughout the room. In a darkened corner in the castle of Copenhagen, Ælle and his family were allowed to find respite. But there was none. The rejection of his father; an affection once so strong, now gone. It was almost too much for the Prince. So he shunned his wife and children and took refuge in the bottom of a bottle of mead. There he planned to make his kingdom. There was a knock at the door, and when Ælle did not respond, it was his wife who stood up and opened the door.
Standing in the door frame was Sir Olaf Erikson; he leaned against the frame and just silently observed Ælle for a short time. "So this is the master of chivalry, the great Prussian fortress-wrecker and heir-killer? The man who almost single-handedly defeated Sweden and left a Kingdom in ruins... crying into a bottom of pagan liquor."
"Shut up!" Ælle slurred, he picked the bottom up as if he was going to fling it at Olaf, but his arm just weakly folded under the weight.
"What is wrong with you?" Olaf asked. "I am starting to suspect that you are not really Ælle Eadbertson."
"Don't say that name!" Ælle hissed. He staggered up and dragged himself to Olaf, bottle still in his hand. "That man is dead to me, okay?" he said, pointing a finger at Olaf. "A lot of things are dead to me."
"Including your sense of dignity? Your sense of chivalry?" Olaf asked. Ælle slunk away from the question, both emotionally and physically. He staggered back to the bed and his gaze shifted between his family and the bottle. "Rock bottom is a state of mind, Ælle... not an actual place. And you can always climb out."
"What do you want, Olaf?"
"The King sent me," Olaf stated plainly. "We are leaving in a few days to free Burgos from the Berbers. He wishes that you take up the cross and lead us. But it might mean putting down the bottle and taking Catholic communion."
"So I should give up my father's religion, embrace a foreign one, and lead your armies against someone who is not my enemy?"
"See, you still have some chivalry in you, Ælle," Olaf said.
"That is not the point."
"Then yes. The Pope has been getting pushy about only letting Catholic men lead armies in the Crusades."
Ælle was silent for a few minutes while Olaf just stood there and his family remained silent. "Fine then. I will do it."
"Good, I will tell the King. He will be pleased. But I strongly suggest you dunk your head in some cold water and sober up before you come to tell him yourself."
Olaf disappeared through the door and left Ælle there to try to rebuild his dignity one scrap at a time.
"What about us, Ælle? What about your family? Are you going to leave us behind to rebuild your honor? Are you just going to forget about us?"
"I was hoping that you could just forget about me, actually."
"Really? So that is what it has come to? Three sons and I mean nothing to you? They mean nothing to you."
"Not at all... not at all..."
"Then what is it?"
"I don't want you to worry about me anymore. I am going to sail off into the unknown and I am probably never coming back."
"And who will take care of us?"
"I don't know."
Ælle's wife glared at the man she thought she loved. "There is more to this life than honor and glory and the love of your damned father. But you'll forsake that last few things you have to march off to war... like old times. You'll leave me, your wife, and these boys, your sons, to chase shadows."
"I don't know what to say. What would you have me do? I am no commoner... the only trade I know is war. I cannot bring you on the campaign trail. This is what I know, and it is what I am going to do."
"And if I won't wait for you?"
"I wouldn't expect anyone to."
"And if I do?"
"I will write. There is little more I can do."
"And if things go well and Iberia is saved?"
"I will send for you."
Poor Aelle Although he did become king later on... at least he had some good times.
Great to see that such heroes are not forgotten
And I hope to see more of Werna and the boys!
Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds (last updated 27/08/13)
So Long Mom, I'm Off to Drop the Bomb - A Fallout 2 AAR (last updated 08/06/14)
Agreed, nice to see Aelle again! And I really enjoyed the bits in the Caliphate, but excited to get back to the Prussians.
All these characters are making my head hurt. I am glad to see Aelle again. He would have been a good (Prussian) king
Last edited by flyguy117; 13-03-2012 at 04:41.
a wiki...what did I do right in my life to be rewarded with this?!
EDIT: There is now wiki, enjoy!
It's great you've made a new update. I had totally forgot about Aelle. (and most of the first book actually)
If I remember correctly, I thought you said he had had no children?
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."
Chapter Forty Seven: Gathering an Army
Compounding the worries and troubles with the Roman Empire, in 1382 the Shia Muslims of Sicily and Naples launched a Jihad to conquer the Roman Empire from the West. It was their belief that if they could seize Hellas and Macedonia, Constantinople and thus Anatolia would quickly fall apart and be ready for later conquests. But the Roman Empire was recovering, and the loss to Armenia had woken up many who thought their walls impervious or their pockets endless. It had also trimmed off the fat of the Roman Empire. Without rebellious regions like Serbia, Bulgaria or the eastern extreme of Asia Minor; the Roman Empire was able to enjoy some relative stability. So when the Muslims arrived, they were held back by the Romans. Small gains were made over the course of two or three years but no significant victory was ever achieved. In fact, the battle that would have the greatest influence on history was the Second Battle of Thessalonica, where the Romans defeated and actually managed to kill the King of the Sicilians, King Muhammad IV. The death of the Sicilian king was so sudden he had never appointed an heir and the majority of the Sicilian armies rushed back to fight for their favorite son. In the end the Sicilian Kingdom was divided into two: the island of Sicily under the eldest son and mainland Sicily under the youngest. Albania fell under the harsh rule of General Hasan I, who styled himself "Basileus". Despite almost all of his support coming from the Albanian lay of the region, Hasan was quick to assume many Saxo-Greek stylings and trappings, going as far as naming a son "Etheros", his own version of a Greco "Æthelred". Despite his harsh rule, Hasan went down in history for defending the newly independent Albania from both the Roman Empire and an increasingly frightening Serbia.
Albania and her neighbors (Sicily shown united).
September 5th, 1381
Ian sat beside Werna, collecting freshly inked papers so they could be laid out to dry. It was probably the boys' favorite task as it was not manually intensive and they could chat with the elder men of the monastery. But Werna almost always worked in utter silence, taking great care to masterfully copy the work and giving it extra flash of beauty. The margins of his copies were always filled with colorful scenes of dragons and knights, beautiful damsels, and powerful Kings.
"Who is she, Father Werna?"
"Who is who?" Werna asked. He put his quill down as to not stain his work and looked at Ian as he moved a fresh page to the drying table and then moved dried pages to a large pile, making sure to keep them in order.
"That woman, the one you always draw."
"I draw many princesses and queens."
"That is true, but I mean this one: the one with the pendent hanging from her neck and the green dress." Ian held up a page where the green princess accepted the love of the court artist.
"I don't know," Werna lied. "Maybe I've been here too long to remember," he lied again.
Ian seemed to buy it and put the page back with the others. He picked up the stack neatly and tapped it against the desk to arrange their corners. Satisfied he put the papers down and urged, "So when are you going to read us more of the story of King Ælle?"
Werna smiled, "Tonight, if you boys are done with chores."
"Of course we are! It is not like we get a choice!"
"Haha, okay, okay! You gather up Mathas and Kristjan and I'll get the book from my room." In a flash Ian disappeared, leaving Werna to collect today's copies and carry them to the main library where Edwin was putting them together.
"Ah, hello Brother Werna. How are you this fine evening?"
"Good," Werna lied. Life had become a constant flood of lies. Never big ones. Never mean ones. Little white lies to make everyone think he was fine and to leave him be. He thought he was shielding them from his inner-most thoughts and dreams. Edwin never fell for them willingly, though, and Werna knew it. Edwin just gave him a sad smile.
But when he saw the pages it slowly became a genuine one and he readily flipped through Werna's handy work. "These are very good. I always enjoy seeing what you've decided to doodle in the margins. How has that book been treating you?"
"Well enough, the boys seem to enjoy it and that is the least anyone can ask for."
"What about you, though?"
"It makes the boys happy, that makes me happy."
"I think you might be missi..."
"No, I think you might be missing the point, Father," Werna interrupted.
Edwin was silent for a brief moment, "Perhaps I am." Werna nodded and walked away. "I promised the boys I would read to them again tonight."
A brisk walk led Werna away from the library and back to his chambers. There he found Mathas, Ian and Kristjan sitting around waiting patiently. When he entered they looked up expectantly and he smiled. From his desk he produced the book and opened it to where he had marked off the extent of their last reading.
"When we left off, Ælle had been banished from Prussia and had journeyed to Denmark to gain support for a crusade. There the lazy King Canute V took a long time to convince to join the Crusade. It was only Ælle's willingness to leave his father's church to fight the heathens that convinced Canute of Ælle's pure intentions..."
June 13th, 1136
Bordeaux was a city under siege. Foreign invaders walked the streets and peasants tried to sell their wares before someone decided it easier and cheaper to just steal them. But these invaders were not here for Bordeaux; in fact they were invited by the King of the French. They were Catholic crusaders bound for the Holy Wars in Iberia. Very few were actual trained soldiers. The vast majority were citizens looking for salvation. A religious fervor spread through Christendom, it made farmers pack up and leave everything behind and wives let their husbands go to die in some foreign land. The nobles too lined up to try to gain a little piece of land. With Iberia almost entirely occupied by the Muslims, there was plenty of land for the petty King in all the nobles.
Ælle watched as many of the peasants we chased around by the city guards, kicked and beaten, bloodied and screaming they ran from the Christian soldiers. "What crimes did these people commit?" Ælle asked.
Olaf nodded as he watched, mildly entertained, "They are called the Pied Noir, Black Feet. And their crime is treason and for it they shall all be burned."
"Treason? This many people? Innocent women and children?"
"They are converts to Islam and are unwelcome once we rebuild France."
"We will leave this land desolate... empty..." Ælle lamented.
"Aye, ready to be built anew... free of Islam's corruption." Olaf patted Ælle on the back and walked off. Ælle watched, helplessly as a woman protected her children with her own back as two guards kicked and flogged her. Eventually they gave up and ran her through, picking their children up and carrying them off to some unknown fate. The Saxon thought of his own children... his own wife, left behind in Denmark.
The Arab barbarian did not force these people to leave or die, Ælle thought. They had been left to themselves. There were many Christians still in southern France and Iberia, but there would be no Muslims left where Christian armies were victorious.
"You would never understand, Crusader." The voice spoke Danish in a thick French accent.
"No, I guess I would not," Ælle said in French.
"O, you speak French? Very good! I am Guillaume, Count of Berry... and soon Duke of Aquitaine - from the house of Bourbon"
"No last name? No title? No father? Just some rapscallion here to earn his way into nobility." Guillaume spat on the ground beside Ælle.
"I am Ælle Eadbertson, former Prince of Prussia... now disowned and finding my way. I might have gotten lost."
"A Prussian?" Guillaume repeated the spitting, hitting a bit closer to Ælle's feet. "In France we say the East has no history and nor will it ever have one. A margin on the side of real countries."
"Funny, we have a similar saying in the East."
"Yes... we say that old men of the south and west wear make-up and women's clothing so they can stop young knights marching to war."
Guillaume cocked a half-smile "I'll kill you for that," and he walked off. Ælle was fine with that, good riddance. In the distance a pyre had been started and the stench of human flesh wafted over the whole town. Bordeaux had only recently returned to the rule of the French, a small enclave that they hoped would mean that soon all of France would be back in their control.
This was not war as Ælle remembered it. This was just a slaughter and time would not remember the Crusaders fondly.
So the Romans finally do something right and Aelle sad story continues. Good update