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Thread: Duchy of Dioclea: it's a million-to-one chance, but it might just work!

  1. #1
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    Duchy of Dioclea: it's a million-to-one chance, but it might just work!

    [Author's note. This is just a draft to see if I can put up something worthwhile. Comments very appreciated. If readers like it (and now that I've finished subbing), I'll attempt to be more regular that heretofore .

    And yes: pics upcoming .]

    [Ongoing index:]
    Intro: The Day of the Illyrians
    1066-1070: If today is Sunday, this must be Trapani.
    1070-1072: I though I'd seen a cute little cat... Ouch!
    1072-1075: It's a long, long way to Dioclea. It's a long, long way to go...
    1075-1078: Life in plastic, is fantastic.
    1078-1084: Unleash the dogs of war. More. OK, that's enough.
    1084-1085: No-one, no-one stops my party.
    1085-1086: The time has come... to pay the bills.
    1086-1087: The more I try, the more it seems to break.
    1087-1088: It's a million to one chance, but...
    1088-1090: It ain't easy being green.
    1090-1091: Love and marriage, go together like...
    1091-1092: Making friends and influencing people.
    1092-1093: Ground control to Major Tom, it's getting rainy here.


    [Draft chapter title]The Day of the Illyrians

    [Initial cast: ]
    Duke Mihailo of Dioclea, played by an old local actor.
    "Brother" Wamba, played by himself. Speak with his agent. He's currently working in another period play.

    [Scene: a clearing in a dense forest. On one side, the clearing opens, and overlooks a precipitous drop into a shining, wide, dark blue bay. It’s almost like a viewing balcony. The clearing is covered in grass. There is a rather large gray boulder near the seaward opening.



    From the left, enter: an old man, richly dressed, winter mediaeval garb. Face drawn and taut. Walks morosely to the edge of the clearing, down on the bay. A retinue of servants waits in the background with horses.
    The old man paces back and forth.]

    [Duke Mihailo]: Stranded!

    [Silence. The wind moves the trees.]

    [Duke Mihailo]: Stranded! The damned Byzantines only let us go because we’re too poor and too stubborn to bother while they fight the Turks. The Turks themselves are coming. Meanwhile the Ragusans grab our land, and the Croatians eye it too. Even the land-robbing Normans look this way.

    [Walks further, near the rock.]

    [Duke Mihailo]: Shouldn’t be surprised. Dioclea, indeed! Djukla it was, and never was good for anything but sheep and wood. Ever since Rome first beat the Illyrians, we’ve been subjects of one or another. What the devil can I do!

    [Kicks at stone, hard.]

    [Stone]: Ouch! That hurt!

    [Duke Mihailo]: What devilry is this…?

    [Stone, unfolding into a young, lanky, unhygienic monk with a lopsided smile]: Is that a riddle? And who are you that so rudely boots me awake?

    [Duke Mihailo, smiling]: Well, since it’s me holding the boot, shouldn’t you be the first to be introduced?

    [Brother Wamba]: A noble reasoning, sir. Know, then, that I am the most humble brother Wamba, a travelling Saxon monk of the order of St Cuthbert. I am newly arrived in these lands and was looking for a local Bishop to serve, but the views and the game in these forests have held me under a spell for a while.

    [Duke Mihailo]: Indeed! And how long have you been spellbound in this forest, brother Wamba?

    [Brother Wamba]: Almost a year, my noble lord. And now, who do I owe the honour of kicking my humble ribs inside?

    [Duke Mihailo]: A most unintended kick, I swear. I thought you were a rock. But as to my name, I am Mihailo of the house of Vojislav. I own some land hereabouts.

    [Brother Wamba, bowing half-courtly, half mockingly]: Congratulation. Owning this wonderful land must be almost as good as being able to enjoy it, my lord.

    [Duke Mihailo, chuckling, and then becoming serious and looking at the bay]: Indeed! I was just thinking that I may not be able to enjoy it long. This land is surrounded by wolves! Romans! Croats! Turks! Normans!

    [Brother Wamba, somewhat wistfully]: Yes, no party is complete without Normans these days. But surely, my lord, a time of confusion is confusing for all?

    [Duke Mihailo, knitting brow]: What do you mean, monk?

    [Brother Wamba, putting on a pensive face]: If the wolves chase the Romans, and the Romans chase the Turks, and the Turks chase the Croats… who is to stop you from taking a kick at the Normans?

    [Duke Mihailo, smiling bitterly]: About ten thousand lances, I think.

    [Brother Wamba, scratching his chin]: That could be a problem, yes. But one that could be solved with careful planning, audacity, and initiative…

    [Duke Mihailo, growing testy]: Yes? And tell me, monk, what would you do if you were in the boots of the ruler of Dioclea?

    [Brother Wamba]: Well, my lord, since you ask… I’d go back to the town, fast. There’s a cold wind rising and we’re not dressed for the evening. And none of us is getting any younger.

    [Duke Mihailo]: Ha!

    [Brother Wamba]: Then I’d start raising the levies against Ragusa. Their alliances are weak and the Croats will be there ahead of us if we don’t act fast…

    [Duke Mihailo]: But…

    [Brother Wamba]: Of course that would only give you another dirt-poor mountain province. But with the four regiments in hand, if you look across the Adriatic…

    [Duke Mihailo]: Across the Adriatic? Have you been picking mushrooms in the forest, monk?

    [Brother Wamba]: Of course, my lord. A monk without a bow has to take what he can find. But I also took some notes of Southern Italy on the way here, and…

    [Exit: The two men walk deep in conversation across the grass to the waiting horses and servants, the Duke with much gesticulation. They are helped on to two animals and the group canters down the mountain.]
    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 12-04-2011 at 17:39.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  2. #2
    Major Alfredian's Avatar
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    If its a million to one chance then I am sure you will make a great success of it. You have started well anyway.
    Exile in the East - a Helleno-Varangian CK AAR (Part 28 posted 03 January 2012)
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  3. #3
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    [Draft title: 1066-1070. If today is Sunday, this must be Trapani.]

    [Cast: ]
    Duke Mihailo of Dioclea. Just Mihailo.
    Brother Wamba, Court jester and factotum.
    Enemy soldier. We need a good actor even if it's a small piece; try to get one with theatrical experience.
    Sancha Jiménez, Steward. Try a stoutish, young snotnose of a local actress.
    Girl in blue. Should be a highly curved, typical Mediterreanean alluring beauty. Not very skittish about showing skin.
    Pimpled courier. Again, we need someone who can act the part with a straight face. Either a good actor or a very dumb one.
    Victorious Marshall Radislav. Get me someone who can play "snob" with a capital "S".
    Sundry supporting cast without lines. Get me some locals, but make sure no sneakers or wristwatches show up this time.
    Several thousand warriors. Preferably digital so we don't have to clean up afterwards.


    [January 1067. Ducal Square in the city of Zeta. The Duke at the Palace balcony overseeing troop preparations. Brother Wamba walks in. He's much more respectful now, but looks just as lanky and unhygienic.]

    [Brother Wamba] Ehm, your highness...

    [Duke Mihailo] Yes, Wamba?

    [Brother Wamba] You remember this issue we had with Steward Euphrosyne...

    [Duke Mihailo] Yes.

    [Brother Wamba] It's solved, Sir.

    [Duke Mihailo] Good! Now tell her to...

    [Brother Wamba] Ahem... I mean it's solved the other way, Sir.

    [Duke Mihailo] Ouch. OK. I'll miss the wimple, but such is the life of a Catholic duke. No respite.

    [Brother Wamba] No, sir.

    [Duke Mihailo] Go fetch me a new one, marry her off to some of the Brood. Some solid Catholic stock, this time.

    [Brother Wamba] Yes, sir. Right away.





    [April 1067. Frontlines in Ragusa. Projectiles whizz past. Wamba steps gingerly on top of the fallen to a group of fighters including the Duke]

    [Brother Wamba] Excuse me... yes, may I? Thank you. Sir! Your highness! I have a message!

    [Duke Mihailo, parrying a sword blow on his shield, dodges and kicks an enemy warrior viciously in the nadgers. There is a clang, a loud moan and a lull in the fighting.] Yes, Wamba? What's it now?

    [Brother Wamba, ducking to avoid a passing javelin] It's the Duchess, sir... Says if you don't come home for dinner today either, she's not going to be home when you decide to go back.

    [Duke Mihailo] Women! Aren't they...? Hey you, can't you see I'm busy?

    [Enemy soldier, stepping back] Ops, sorry sir. Didn't mean to intrude.

    [Duke Mihailo] These Ragusan have no manners... Anyhow, tell Duchess Maria that I'll be finished when I'm finished, and not a moment sooner. And she can go to her mother's if she feels like it.



    [June 1067. Siege of Ragusa. Duke Mihailo is sitting on a height, just out of arrow reach, eating a whole roasted cow with help from Wamba and several seneschals. They're full to their throats, but Wamba has convince the Duke of the importance of "psychological warfare" on the besiegers.]

    [Sancha Jiménez, the new steward, walking up the hill] Hello, Mihailo.

    [Duke Mihailo, growling under a mouthful] Jimena, I've told you often...

    [Sancha Jiménez] Yes, Mihailo, but you are still a Duke, and I'm a King's daughter. Now, if you don't mind, I have business... this here war of yours is emptying the coffers. And the realm stability is going down the drain.

    [Duke Mihailo] The coffers? Just how much do we owe?

    [Sancha Jiménez] Let me see... if we add everything up... a grand total of 2 ducats.

    [Brother Wamba] Two ducats? Wait, I think I have some loose change here...

    [Duke Mihailo, red with rage] Two ducats? Two ducats? You come here threatening instability for two ducats?

    [Sancha Jiménez, increasingly nervous] But Mihailo, think of the financial markets... Think of... What are you going to do with that haunch? No! Heeeelp!

    [Duke Mihailo, wiping his hands] Hmmph! That'll teach her. Now, Wamba, you were saying...?

    [Brother Wamba, warily looking at Sancha as she retreats groggily down the hill] Ye-eess, sir. I mentioned that there's another nice place, with another nice big bay, and a currently depleted army...

    [Duke Mihailo] Yes?

    [Brother Wamba] ... across the Adriatic. Seriously.



    [November 1067. Siege of Naples. Late evening. The Dioclean High Command has seized a country villa and are celebrating the latest exploits of the army with some dancing and carousing. The Duke seems absorbed by the show.]

    [Brother Wamba] ... and that is why the chicken crossed the road.

    [Duke Mihailo] Aha.

    [Brother Wamba, a bit piqued] ... I get the feeling that you don't find the conversation quite entertaining, Sir.

    [Duke Mihailo] Aha.

    [Brother Wamba] Your nose looks like a stepped-on orange, Sir.

    [Duke Mihailo] Aha.

    [Brother Wamba] Your...

    [Duke Mihailo] Wamba, stop pushing your luck and tell that young lady in blue that I'd like a word with her. Upstairs. Now.

    [Brother Wamba, scrambling] Yes, Sir.



    [January 1068. Siege of Naples. Late evening. The Dioclean High Command is tremendously bored in its mountainside villa, except the Duke and his wench. Officers play cards. Someone knows on the door and Wamba steps up to open it.]

    [Brother Wamba] Yes?

    [Pimpled courier] Ehm... His Ducal Highness in?

    [Brother Wamba] Yes, but he can't be bothered right now. Can I give him any message?

    [Pimpled courier] Ehm... guess so. It's an alliance offer from His Ducal Highness of Carinthia. Here. Can you please sign this receipt? Thanks. Any answer? Not yet? OK, I'll be going now.



    [November 1068. Before the open gates of Naples. The city has surrendered, Napoli is in Dioclean hands. The Duke proudly claps his Marshall on the shoulder before climbing onto his white steed and leading the army into the city. The Marshall goes to his own horse. Wamba makes him a sign to come hither.]

    [Victorious Marshal Radislav, annoyed] Yes, Brother Wamba? I really need to be going.

    [Brother Wamba] Oh, I'm sure this won't take much more than a moment. You see, there's this priest here says you have to either convert to Catholicism or die...

    [Victorious Marshal Radislav, drawing up haughtily] Convert? I follow the Patriarch, not some crazy schismatic Italian that...

    [THUNK]

    [Brother Wamba, folding away a shiny sharp object and watching as the surprised corpse of the Victorious Marshal Radislav is taken away] See? I told you it would only be a moment. Now, let's see... Branislav, you wanted to be Marshal, didn't you?

    [Bratislav, looking in the same direction and then at Wamba] Er... did I?

    [Brother Wamba] Well? Don't look at me that way, will you? I did ask him...





    [January 1069. Battle before Salerno. The locals are retreating, the combined Dioclean forces advance to siege the city. The Duke is on his horse, Wamba standing by his side with a poleaxe.]

    [Duke Mihailo] I still don't understand the matter of the poleaxe.

    [Brother Wamba, squirming] It's purely self-defensive, Sir. I hardly ever use it...

    [Duke Mihailo] And then there's the dagger that you used on my last Marshal.

    [Brother Wamba, now positively blushing] ... I felt that a trial-by-fire like the one we used with our late Steward was a bit too much, considering. We were in a hurry...

    [Duke Mihailo] And the Saxon javelin.

    [Brother Wamba] It's a cultural weapon, Sir. Good for scenery.

    [Duke Mihailo] Yes... especially if you want the scenery spit-roasted, I suppose. Well! Don't let me detain you. There's a defeated army to rout and exterminate.

    [Brother Wamba, scuttles away all eagerness] Yes, Sir. Routing right away, Sir.



    [July 1069. Siege of Salerno. The Dioclean High Command has perfected the "nice-villa-in-the-hills-routine" and lounge around listening to soft music and playing cards. Wamba is winning, as usual.]

    [Duke Mihailo pokes his head out of his bedroom door] Wamba! I have found out why this siege is taking so long!

    [Brother Wamba, standing to attention and almost upturning the table] Yes, Sir. Er, I mean, why?

    [Duke Mihailo] We're using five hundred people! Send for more soldiers to Ragusa and let's get this over with.

    [Brother Wamba, gathering his winnings and moving towards the exit] Yes, Sir! Good idea, Sir.

    [Duke Mihailo, turning back to his rooms] Don't spare the cost, we're broke anyway. And Wamba... it would be nice if you emptied your sleeves before leaving. I like to play cards with full decks.

    [Brother Wamba, flustered and walking faster while menacing officers pick up their swords] Yes, Sir! Thanks for the suggestion, Sir!



    [August, 1970. Port of Ragusa. Scene of ordered confusion. Two thousand soldiers file onto the Dioclean Mainland Fleet, some singing a popular imported theme called "Margarita se llama mi amor", some the old favourite "Lily Marlene", as they march up the planks.]

    [Duke Mihailo, watching the maneouver] ... so, let's see if I get this. We conquered Napoli and Salerno and we drafted their regiments to invade Trapani, right? Because Trapani had no allies. Then we licensed our mainland troops and reconvened them, to launch this attack on Siracusa. Correct?

    [Brother Wamba, nodding] Yes, Sir. Absolutely.

    [Duke Mihailo] We've wrecked the Treasury, but that's all right, because we can't be downgraded any further... damned rating agencies. Anyhow. Once we have those two Muslim pieces of land, what's next? When do I get to kick at the Normans?

    [Brother Wamba, looking wistful and twisting his hands] Oh. Well. The Normans. Yes. Kind of... You see.... I was rather thinking of something else first...

    [Duke Mihailo] Don't tell me. Africa?

    [Brother Wamba] Uh... not right now, Sir. Very bad weather in this time of the year. Something more... lucrative, may be?

    [Duke Mihailo] You interest me strangely, Saxon. Speak on.



    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  4. #4
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Cracking stuff. As another Pratchett fan I felt compelled to have a look due to the title, very glad I did. The cast descriptions alone are highly amusing. Poor Mihailo, stuck with struggling lands, an incompetent steward and a heathen slaughtering monk. Still, at least he can rely upon said monk, Brother Wamba. Oh wait...
    This AAR Soks
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    My Inkwell - Warning! This content is rated EP: Extremely Poor
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  5. #5
    Deadpan Snarker Johan11's Avatar
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    This is funny stuff. And sadly one of the last few good CK AAR's that will pop up. In my mind, at least. Unless Iain starts something new.
    I was fan of the week: 9/28/09

    On semi-permanent hiatus until CK 2 arrives. Don't expect to see me on.

    “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” - Mark Twain

  6. #6
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    [Draft title: 1070-1072. I thought I'd seen a cute little cat... Ouch!]

    [Cast: ]
    Duke Mihailo of Dioclea. Just Mihailo.
    Brother Wamba. Looking a bit scrawnier these days.
    First aide. Fat man with a very sergeantly look.
    Second aide. Small, gnarled man with a decidedly shifty look.
    Marshall Branislav. Nervous-looking, middle-aged inoffensive clerk-type. Large sword.
    Skull. This is a hard role. Needs to temper the toothy smile with a solemn, hurt look.
    Eldest doctor. Think of a large, thin, long-necked bird. With a very big beak. Spectacles not compulsory.
    Dog. I see a hunting dog, lean, lanky, businesslike. Must be good at looking pained and scared.
    Count Konstantin. It's a complex character. We need a mix of Bela Lugosi with a nine-year-old.
    Duchess Binhilde. Central-european type of girl. Not a very relevant role. Needs to look vapid, languid and fit in the period dress.
    Sundry supporting cast without lines. This time we need a fair number of moorish-looking extras.
    Several thousand digital warriors. We can reuse the last ones with new textures.

    [October 1070. Battle of Trapani. Marshall Branislav on horse, with two aides, thoughtfully studies the complex situation on the field before him and ponders a strategic retreat. The aides gossip unhindered.]

    [First aide, turning in his seat to look back] ... Hey, do you remember that monk who had the last chat with Victorious Marshall Radislav?

    [Second aide] The one you can't stay downwind from for long?

    [First aide] Yes, that one... I think I can see him coming, just over the next hill...

    [Marshall Branislav, suddenly leaping forward on his horse into the thickest part of the battle] Chaaaaaaaaaarge!

    [Second aide, looking on but not stirring] What's got into him now? Anyhow, no, I don't think that's the monk. He's probably still at sea... Oh, my, did you see that?

    [First aide] Wow. Yeah. And he's thrown away the shield, too. That's what I call rampant deathwish...

    [Second aide] It may just work. Shall we go down and help him?

    [First aide, looking scandalized] You crazy or what?





    [May 1071. Smoking room in the Ducal Palace of Zeta. The room is furnished in dark woods with a tasteful selection of war trophies bought by the previous Duchess: some swords, some flags, some human skulls. Wamba is perched on a chair, abstractedly putting a round stone in one of the skulls' eyes and watching the effect. A door opens behind him. Duke Mihailo walks in briskly.]

    [Duke Mihailo] Well, Wamba!

    [Brother Wamba, jumping half a meter and juggling with the skull to keep it from falling] Wha-wha-wha...?

    [Skull crashes on the floor and sits there brooding]

    [Duke Mihailo] Hmmph. Don't worry about that, got plenty more in the cellar. Now, what's this I hear of this Dobroslav being the new Marshall? What happened with the last one, whats-his-name-lav?

    [Brother Wamba] Er, well, Sir... it was like this... Marshall Branislav has been missing for some months now, and we had this new kid, high flyer, best marks in his class, and he's a Vojislav... Vojislasvichsch... Vojisjilavish...

    [Duke Mihailo, sighing] I told you not to try. Not even us can pronounce the family surname. That's why I call them The Brood.

    [Brother Wamba] Er. Yes. I mean, yes Sir.

    [Duke Mihailo] And about that Bishop the Pope was sending?

    [Brother Wamba] Ah, yes. The Bishop. Well. You see, he asked for some traveling expenses... and since we're broke, I thought, well, I'll just send him a couple of horses instead, and then one of them fell into the pool and the Court dog bit the other one and...

    [Duke Mihailo, looking a bit exasperated] He's not coming, is he?

    [Brother Wamba] Er. No sir.



    [August 1071. Throne chamber in the Ducal Palace of Zeta. The Duke sits on a high chair, toying with a dagger and departing with three sombrely-clad, large-nosed physicians. Wamba stands some steps back, looking terrified.]

    [Duke Mihailo] No poison?

    [Eldest doctor] No, your Highness. We're positive.

    [Duke Mihailo] No wounds?

    [Eldest doctor] No, your Highness.

    [Duke Mihailo] Not even small ones in hard-to-spot places?

    [Eldest doctor] No, your Highness. We looked.

    [Duke Mihailo] No signs of... ?

    [Eldest doctor] No, your Highness. It was just a spontaneus heart failure, your Highness. The Duchess Maria was old and frail and...

    [Duke Mihailo] And you're sure no strangers came into her rooms or scared her or...?

    [Eldest doctor, sounding tired] No, your Highness. She was with her companion ladies. Nothing strange or untoward happened. She just felt ill, and died.

    [Duke Mihailo, shrugging and getting up to help the doctors to the exit] Yes, yes, I understand. God brought her, and God took her away... and any bets being paid in the guard room were purely coincidental, eh, Wamba?

    [Eldest doctor] Any what?



    [August 1071. Siege of Trapani. The usual country villa. Count Konstantin Bodin Vojislavsomething-or-other, in charge of the Dioclean forces, is looking surly, arms crossed and a pout on his face. Wamba is leaning on the wall nearby. A dog comes sniffing and runs away yelping piteously.]

    [Brother Wamba] You really should go.

    [Count Konstatin, sullenly] No way. Binhilde, too!

    [Brother Wamba] It's a good Frankish name...

    [Count Konstatin] Yeah, and she's less than half his age!

    [Brother Wamba] Your father would like to see you there. And he knows you're besieging Trapani with only five hundred people just to make it last longer...

    [Count Konstatin stamps his foot on the floor] Oh, OK! I'll go! I'll go! Just don't expect me to call her "mommy"!



    [August 1072. A pleasant glade beside the Ducal Palace in Zeta. The Duke is spread on some cushions while his young wife pops grapes into his mouth. Some children fight in the courtyard beyond. Wamba and a secretary look on both shows without much interest. The Duke stirs.]

    [Duke Mihailo] The good part of being broke is that we have so much time to enjoy marriage... Wamba, what's that noise?

    [Brother Wamba] Ehm... it's the son of that friend of yours, Sir. From Salerno, remember? Gheorghe. Seems that lately he's having a hard time. What with his being a...

    [Duke Mihailo, warily looking at his wife] ... an *orphan*, yes. Well, hardships forge better men. He'll be all right. But make sure they don't go too far. He's a member of The Brood after all.

    [Brother Wamba, thoughfully looking on as Georghe punches a bigger boy in the nose and chases the rest away] Yes, Sir. As you say.

    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 16-03-2011 at 17:21.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  7. #7
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    @ Alfredian, Thanks. I had Nobby, I mean Second Aide, calculate them himself .

    @ morningSIDEr, thanks too. Don't worry about the Duke, though. Last I saw him he wasn't looking exactly downcast...

    @ Johan11, thanks again . Although I'm sure there's lots of other stuff better written and played.

    I'll try to make a couple updates a week, while I close the other AARs. Let's hope I haven't bitten much more than I can chew .

    Btw, plot suggestions welcome as always .
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  8. #8
    Patron Saint of Suenik Iain Wilson's Avatar
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    A very good update. I especially liked the Battle of Trapani, good to see the valiant Marshal Branislav is well served by two loyal and steadfast aides, ready to rush to his aid. Well, I'm sure they rushed to his aid once victory was a certainty!
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  10. #10
    Deadpan Snarker Johan11's Avatar
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    I especially like the cast listings.

    But overall, this is very funny stuff. Keep up the reputation rise.
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  11. #11
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    So much violence, this cannot be good.

  12. #12
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    [Producer’s note: No animals were seriously hurt during the making of last chapter. Well, no four-legged cuddly ones.]

    [Draft title: 1072-1075. It's a long, long way to Dioclea, it's a long, long way to go...]

    [Draft cast:]
    Duke Mihailo. Just Mihailo.
    Brother Wamba. Need to convince the actor to fake some further hair loss.
    Duchess Binhilde. Same actress, she plays dumb so well. The character has put on a bit of weight. Either force-feed her or make dressing arrangements.
    Young Marshall Dobroslav. Find me a teen face, shy but peevish. To stress the kid effect, dress him in oversize clothing and weapons.
    Sundry supporting cast without lines. As usual. We will need some Venetian Carnival props, though.
    Several thousand digital warriors. Same ones with more new textures. Try to improve the Dioclean liveries, though. They pixelate a lot.



    [November 1072. Ducal Palace of Zeta. Living room. The Duke is reading a scroll in his slippers while the Duchess knits a sweater. Through the French window, a peaceful winter sight of the garden and the palace gallows is available.]

    [Duchess puts away the needles] Mihailo dear, it's been long time since I last saw Wamba. What mischief can he be up to?

    [Duke Mihailo, looking up] Oh, now you mention it... You know since we can't afford a Court Bishop, I sent him to convert the muslims in Trapani?

    [Duchess] Yes?

    [Duke Mihailo] It sort of worked. They all became heretics.

    [Duchess, putting her delicate plump hand to her mouth in horror] Oh, my! Poor people! How dreadful!

    [Duke Mihailo] Er, well, yes, it's rather...

    [Duchess] I told him he should get washed or he would be contagious!

    [Duke Mihailo, a bit nonplussed] Er... yes. Well, after that I ordered Wamba to stay in Trapani until the problem was solved...

    [Duchess, spotting a bright side] Oh! So...

    [Duke Mihailo, glum] Word got out.





    [June 1073 Ducal Palace of Zeta. Front terrace. Bright day, impressive backdrop of Kotor Bay. Duke Mihailo and Wamba, deep in conversation. The Duchess comes through the French windows, spots them and heads resolutely for her husband.]

    [Duke Mihailo, looks up and changes frown for smile] … control of the Adriatic is all well and good, but… Oh, hello, Binnie dear.

    [Duchess Binhilde, approaching] Mihailo, my love... Are you busy?

    [Duke Mihailo] Never too much for you.

    [Duchess Binhilde, pouting] Oh, you always say those things. But it’s been at least a week since we last threw a party… You’re always plotting with Wamba or raking underperforming peasants.

    [Duke Mihailo] The hard life of a working Duke. But see here. Wamba was just proposing a sea trip. To Venice.

    [Duchess Binhilde, clapping her hands] Oh, Venice! And at Carnival time, too!

    [Brother Wamba, gesticulating like a children’s magician] Yes, madam. Imagine bright torch-lit scenes, huge bonfires, lots of retainers in picturesque costumes, spectacular sword-play numbers, revelers running hither and thither…

    [Duchess Binhilde gives the Duke a pecking kiss and runs back to the Palace] What a wonderful idea! I’ll start packing right away!

    [The Duke and Wamba watch her depart into the buiding]

    [Brother Wamba] … you realize now we’ll have to take her with us, Sir. Might be dangerous.

    [Duke Mihailo, shrugging] Oh, don’t worry. Just distribute some masks to the regiments. She’ll never notice it’s a business trip.





    [July 1074. Ducal palace grounds in Zeta. The Duke Mihailo walks around the crocket ground with a mallet, while the young Marshall Dobroslav trails behind whining plaintively.]

    [Young Marshall Dobroslav] But Sir! Please reconsider...

    [Duke Mihailo, carefully hitting a ball] Nothing to reconsider, Dobroslav. She's a good woman, and I need her to take care of our accounts, and that's all there is to it.

    [Young Marshall Dobroslav, about to cry] But... but.. she's so selfish, Sir! And she's pug-ugly! And... and... old!

    [Duke Mihailo, with a warning sideways look] Thirty something is not old, Dobroslav. Prime of life and all that. Think of her... as an experienced woman who will teach you everything that a boy should know.

    [Young Marshall Dobroslav, alarmed at the thought] But...

    [Duke Mihailo, whacking a ball with vim] Look on the bright side, Dobroslav. Wamba tells me we have a new campaign looming. You will go with him. Always have a good excuse to be away from home.

    [Young Marshall Dobroslav, looking extremely dejected] Yes, Sir.



    [September 1075. Palace of Petrislav Count of Rashka. Late evening. The funeral for the Count's son and grandson, so suddenly deceased, and the celebration of his ensuing accession to the countship of neighbouring Naissus are going on in parallel inside the small palace. Duke Mihailo and Wamba are having a private chat on the battlements.]

    [Brother Wamba] But Sir, you did say that Count Marko was a shame to the Vojislavshishis... Vojislislavishi... Voshijisilav...

    [Duke Mihailo, waving a hand] To the Brood. And he was. My own grandson, too. He'd gone Orthodox, and was a sniveling vassal to the Emperor and that big-nosed Prince of Vidin.

    [Brother Wamba, brightening up a bit] And he was the direct heir of the your son the Count of Rashka, so it was a matter of time until you lost the county to the Byzantines...

    [Duke Mihailo, looking as he had bitten a sour lemon] I know, I know! But his son Drago...

    [Brother Wamba, reasonably] If I'd waited longer, there might have been two, Sir. All I did was... invert things a bit.

    [Duke Mihailo, turning away and looking over the wall into the night] Look, Wamba. I know I need to hold onto Rashka and even Naissus if I ever want to recreate Serbia. I know you did what you thought best. I'm not questioning your habit of slaughtering my own flesh and blood. I'm not judging your gruesome infanticidal tendencies, even. But next time, do let me know in advance. We have a spymistress for something, after all. Now she's throwing a tantrum upstairs and talking about professional intrusion. I can't stand it.

    [Brother Wamba, brightening further] Well, Sir, if there's something I can do about...

    [Duke Mihailo, turning in anger] Don't even think of it!

    [Brother Wamba, shrinking submissively] No Sir! Not thinking at all, Sir!



    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 17-03-2011 at 17:44.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  13. #13
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    @ Iain, welcome .

    @ morningSIDEr, I have it from a factual witness that one of them was spotted picking boots among the fallen while the other kept watch over the hill, in case any rogue enemy should attempt to steal it.

    @ johan11, thanks . The Dioclean reputation, though, is a bit hopeless...

    @ Enewald, to avoid hurting sensibilities in the last chapter the producers have attempted to keep gore and actual violence-on-screen to the bare minimum. Intra-family baby slaughter, traitorous invasions, forced marriages to ugly Germans, and other scripted events were alluded to with delicacy. Wamba's smell, too.

    Although, if you ask me, the Dioclean sack of Venice during the Carnivals would have been worth watching as originally scripted... the general mix of gaiety and bloodletting, the way the Doge tried to hide in the courtesans' quarter, the adventure of Wamba in the tower... but no. Out with violence and gratuitous nudity. Our public commands, and the producers sometimes obey [Warning: this decision is subject to the effect on spectator ratings, and liable to be reversed if either those should fall, or the director or leading actors should complain too loudly, or if other suitable inducement were procured. Hey, we're human ].
    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 17-03-2011 at 18:26.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  14. #14
    Deadpan Snarker Johan11's Avatar
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    Now, why do I feel the need to say "O Rly?"
    I was fan of the week: 9/28/09

    On semi-permanent hiatus until CK 2 arrives. Don't expect to see me on.

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  15. #15
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornelius Rex View Post
    ...while the other kept watch over the hill...
    Quite right too. Far too many hills have been stolen recently.

    Good stuff, although I did feel very sorry for the poor Marshall Dobroslav being married to a such a woman. Although this union may be a cunning plan on the part of Mihailo to keep Dobroslav motivated, as he alluded to if the choice is a cosy night at home with her or fighting on a far flung battlefield, most will pick the battlefield everytime.
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  16. #16
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Getting Venice is unfair.

  17. #17
    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    [Draft title: 1075-1078. Life in plastic, is fantastic.]

    [Draft cast:]
    Duke Mihailo. Just Mihailo, with some more white hairs.
    Brother Wamba. Should have the start of a beer belly by this time.
    Bastard Son Georghe. A mix of street urchin and gangster. Solemn for his age.
    Eunuch Minion Ali. Short, pudgy, spherical part actor: this role is all about physical comedy. Needs to be able to look egregiously effeminate, with a hopeless crush on the Sheik.
    Sheik of Palermo. Stooping, lanky type. Dark face. Combining pettishness with a hunted look.
    Truculent Sergeant. A scar-faced, very aggressive and competent looking type. Not too tall, not too thin, not too young. Clean shaven. Prominent socks.
    Poisonous snake. Not unlike Mowgli’s Kaa, with lots of facial expressivity and a crunchy spine.
    Spymistress Cenci. A youngish cold-looking blonde. Think of the female Terminator. Yes, your in-law would fit.
    Sundry supporting cast without lines. Variegated. The Hard Boiled Eggs especially should look as thuggish as possible. One of them to be large as a boulder.
    Digital warriors. We can save a bit on those, there are no large masses of fighters on-screen in this chapter.

    [July 1076. Palermo castle. Inner chamber of the harem. Delicate Arab tracery and lavish upholstery. The Sheik is discussing news with his trusted Eunuch Ali while some of his wives lay about playing music and generally looking highly decorative. A fountain tinkles in the middle of the room].

    [Respectful knocks on the harem door]

    [Ayyub Sheik of Palermo, pacing back and forth and ignoring the noise] It sounds ominous, whatever you say, Ali.

    [Eunuch Minion Ali, soothingly] We're part of Zirid, my lord. Who would dare attack us? Not to mention you own the strongest fortress in the Mediterranean after Alexandria.

    [Ayyub Sheik of Palermo] And after Venice. And look what those madmen did to it!

    [Eunuch Minion Ali, smirking] But my lord! Venice was surprised! Thousands of soldiers were shipped in before Dioclea declared war! The Doge fell fighting. And Venice had a single province. This is hardly the case. We have Agrigento.

    [More knockings, which go unheeded. Confused, nervous whispering from the other side.]

    [Ayyub Sheik of Palermo] I'm worried, nevertheless. They're shipping regiments to both sides of the island. Suppose they raise their local forces and come directly storming here?

    [Eunuch Minion Ali] Well, then our valiant soldiers would hold them back until the King of Zirid sends...

    [Crashing sound outside. Floor trembles. Confused yelling. Loud knocking on the door]

    [Ayyub Sheik of Palermo, bristling] This is too much! Who dares?

    [Door opens. A bloody figure in Christian chain mail steps through, large sword in hand. Several soldiers in dusty Dioclean livery follow, looking goggle-eyed at the girls. The room outside sports a wide gap in the fortress wall through which pour further diocleans.]

    [Duke Mihailo, brushing some bits of enemy from his tunic as he approaches the cowering Muslims] The Sheik of Palermo, I presume? Sorry about that door. We were in a bit of a hurry...






    [February 1076. Ducal palace grounds in Zeta. Wamba and young Georghe, who just turned five, are walking side by side in conversation near a group where the Duchess and her companion ladies are pampering another boy. Georghe looks really earnest, Wamba distracted.]

    [Brother Wamba, looking at the other group] Your great-nephew Janko is quite the diplomat. And brave, too. Coming to his great-grandfather's castle to live after what happened to poor Drago...

    [Bastard Son Georghe] That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Brother Wamba. I need your help. I want an ecclesiastic education.

    [Brother Wamba, nodding and smiling avuncularly] I'll talk to your father. It's a good career move. But I warn you that latin, scripture and canon law can...

    [Bastard Son Georghe, dismissively] No, Wamba. I want an ecclesiastic education like yours. Hand-to-hand combat, sleight of hand, locks opening, unusual projectiles, tracking and survival in the wilderness, chemical warfare...

    [Brother Wamba, flustered] Oh, er... well, I'm sure we can...

    [Bastard Son Georghe] And we need to start with my brother Nikodin too, fast. He's becoming a royal wimp.








    [January 1077. Deep in the forests of Wallachia. Light filters through the thick cover of branches. The invading Dioclean forces and their pagan recruits cross the wooded mountains in columns. Wamba creeps along with some soldiers and a pagan sergeant. His halberd keeps getting snared in the trees.]

    [Brother Wamba, looking around warily] … this forest is scary, don’t you think? Probably full of vampires and werewolves and what have you, too. And we don’t have any silver stakes to kill them with.

    [Truculent Sergeant] Oh, no, sir, that’s just a heathen superstition!

    [Brother Wamba, relieved] Really?

    [Truculent Sergeant, clearing undergrowth with a wicked cutlass] Definitely, sir! Silver stakes don’t kill them, sir! I had it first hand from one of them, sir!

    [Brother Wamba, confused] One… of them?

    [Truculent Sergeant, spitting a huge blob of tobacco that fells a small tree] Yes, sir! Vampire, sir! Maledicta’s the name, sir! Proud member of the Hard Boiled Eggs, Sir!

    [Brother Wamba, nonplussed] The… the…?

    [Truculent Sergeant, stepping on a poisonous snake with a crunch] Yes, sir! Name of this regiment, sir! Called so for the story, sir! The one where the marauding soldier takes the foodstuffs and leaves the girl alone, sir!

    [Brother Wamba] Oh? Because of the regiment’s high ethical standards, sergeant…?

    [Truculent Sergeant, giving Wamba a strange look] Probably that too, sir. Then again, it could be another reason. And my name is Sergeant Polly, sir!

    [Brother Wamba, tripping on a root] Polly? But…

    [Truculent Sergeant, signaling to her scattered troop] It's Sergeant Polly, sir! And now please hold silence Sir! The enemy is near, I can feel it in my socks!




    [December 1078. Ducal Palace of Zeta. The Duke’s work-out room. He’s pacing the track while Spymistress Cenci and Wamba look on. The Duke is plainly angry and speaks as he runs.]

    [Duke Mihailo, red and puffing] So you’ve left young Dobroslav to his own devices? You two were supposed to grab Wallachia, peace out before the Pecheneg armies fell on you, and return! Not to recruit locals and head for the beach! We can't provoke the Cumans!

    [Brother Wamba, shifting from one foot to the other] Well… he did say he had an agreement with you. Something about not needing to return home as long as the campaign was going well?

    [Duke Mihailo, slightly mollified] Hm! And just where did you leave him?

    [Brother Wamba, looking at the ceiling] …last I saw him, he was leading Pecheneg draftees across a river, waving a sword and smiling like crazy, Sir. The new troops do appreciate his enthusiasm. Especially the mountain pagans, Sir. He's practically one of them.

    [Duke Mihailo, recatching his balance after a guffaw] The famous Hard Boiled Eggs adopted the kid? That’s rich! OK. Let’s hope they don’t put it into his head to attack the Turks now. Which reminds me. Spymistress, did you find out yet how our Chancellor was persuaded to sign that alliance with the damned Byzantines?

    [Spymistress Matilde Cenci, standing rigidly to attention] Not really, Sir. Seems unable to give a clear answer even under pressure, Sir. All we’ve pulled from her is nonsense. Keeps saying, “An Emperor’s scepter has a knob on the end” and blushing, Sir.



    Last edited by Cornelius Rex; 18-03-2011 at 18:15.
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
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    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  18. #18
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Rebel-Bulgaria shall join you too? Karvuna?

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    Captain Cornelius Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johan11 View Post
    Now, why do I feel the need to say "O Rly?"
    Well, if their reputation increases it certainly won't improve .

    Quote Originally Posted by morningSIDEr View Post
    Quite right too. Far too many hills have been stolen recently.

    Good stuff, although I did feel very sorry for the poor Marshall Dobroslav being married to a such a woman. Although this union may be a cunning plan on the part of Mihailo to keep Dobroslav motivated, as he alluded to if the choice is a cosy night at home with her or fighting on a far flung battlefield, most will pick the battlefield everytime.
    You cunning strategist, you guessed Mihailo's plans. Although I'm afraid he's just starting to learn how far he's overshot...

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Getting Venice is unfair.
    Absolutely . If you ever find the Diocleans in a fair, straight fight, please call in and we'll sack the screenwriters (or your money back). Deviousness, backstabbing, invading the weak, kicking the fallen and stealing from orphans is their thing. They may take outrageous risks (invading Venezia, or attacking Zirid for Palermo, or risking a Cuman-Pecheneg allied response spring to mind) but if you look closely you will see they're grabbing at a favourable opportunity (some sickness or conflict that depletes the armies in the province, a parallel war, lack of alliances).

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Rebel-Bulgaria shall join you too? Karvuna?
    Mihailo would love it, but (as he pleads with his young wife in certain situations) he's just a Duke, not a magician. He can't vassalize other dukes. If he could, Wamba would have him kicking Normans in no time.

    That said, the Marshall's berserk enough to try it .
    NavAARa: a little kingdom refusing to go down (My first little CKI AAR: reached goals, eventually abandoned)
    (Subbed) Emperor Nicholas the Leper at Imperium AARlandium Sacrum.
    Duchy of Dioclea, the (roundabout) return of the Illyrians. After St Mihailo... all hail the Nasokrator! (also abandoned)
    Now returning with Horns in the mist - The saga of the sons of Stenkil A brief CKII AAR. Already in 1380 and still going strong.
    Character Writer of the Week 18-03-2011.

    "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout".

  20. #20
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
    Rome GoldWarlock: Master of the ArcanePride of NationsRise of PrussiaCK2: Holy Knight

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    7,560
    excellent stuff, just stumbled on this

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