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  1. #81
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Thanks. Week still insane but MIGHT update tomorrow. On the meantime, read my blog!

    Would say more but I'm on the phone waiting for my niece to finish her gymnastics class. Hopefully tgis is my last 5am - 7pm day this week.

    -L

  2. #82
    I voted for you in the AwAARds! I want an update! ^^

    EDIT: I'll do you a deal - every update you post, I'll post a double length one on my AAR that day!
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  3. #83
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter 15: Southern Hospitality


    “Never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few.”
    ~ Winston Churchill




    Boom!

    “Lead, break left!”

    Captain Jack Chanders slammed the stick hard over. His P-40 Warhawk rolled away from a sudden stream of tracers, punching through a cloud and soaring out the other side. The pursuing fighter adjusted to stay on Chanders’ tail, but he wasn’t fast enough and another set of tracers burrowed into his wing, ate through the metal connections, then ripped it cleanly off in a flash of flame.

    “Nice shot, Scarlett Six,” Chanders called over the radio. It didn’t always work, the radio, but this time it wasn’t glitching.

    Scarlett Flight was high above the Ohio River, dueling a squadron of enemy fighters. It was a mess of P-40s and F4Fs, tracers flying every which way from the furball. A dozen fighters had already gone down, and a few parachutes lazily drifted from the heavens – not unlike leaves on the wind.

    If every other leaf was shooting heavy weapons at them.

    Chanders dove, then rolled and came up. Six was still with him, filling his wingman role to perfection. Two Federal P-40s turned and came diving at Chanders, guns quiet as the pilots lined up their targets.

    You could tell whose side the planes were on, of course. All you had to do was look at the painting. The Federals preferred that garish brown with the shark mouth on the engine cowling – made their planes look demonic. The Unionists had a more practical green and white striped color scheme, and the CSA had used black with red insignias and cowlings. Made the syndies devilish night fighters, that was for sure.

    Chanders lined up a target in his sights. All the memories of his instructors in the late 20s came back to him.

    Adjust for wind, speed, direction, gravity – and the same for the enemy plane. Do math. Apply to sights. Fire.

    Rattatattatattatatta!


    The four fighters opened up on each other at about the same time. One Federal was hit in the cockpit and spiraled away toward the river, crashing into one of the landing barges carrying Marines.

    The other Federal peeled off, but his shots continued on and wracked Six. The other Unionist fighter pulled on, but began trailing smoke.

    “Lead, I’m hit,” Six reported. “Pretty bad.”

    “Bug out, Scarlett Six,” Chanders ordered. He raced after the fleeing Federal. “We’ll wrap it up here.”

    “Yes, sir,” Six reported. He soared off.

    Chanders turned his attention back to the battle. The Federals were reeling, that much was obvious. Patton’s counteroffensive plan into Ohio was working perfectly.

    There were casualties, yes, but insignificant ones. The assault could not be stopped by the meager Federal forces in the area. Before long, the Pennsylvania salient would be caught and crushed.

    It was a good day.



    “This is a shitty day.”

    Captain James Pelt glared at the new recruits training on the range. The former partisans – the Unionist spies, for sure – were pretty accurate for newbies.

    Which is the problem! When they turn on us, we’ll have trained them to become as deadly and effective as we are!

    Pelt gripped the railing until his knuckles went white. What the hell is the commander THINKING? Letting Unionists into the base! This is a disaster!

    “I’ll fun for goddamn Congress when this war is over,” Pelt growled to himself. “Get myself some power, damn it. When we crush them in spite of the Commander’s best efforts, I’ll make myself the president and show everyone how a leader leads this nation!”

    “Captain?” a corporal asked. Pelt turned, a snarl on his face. The unfortunate soldier flinched. “You’ve been asked to join Colonel Matthews in talking to the leader of the partisan recruits.”

    “Spies,” Pelt growled. “Fine.”

    “Reed Cassidy Sr. and the colonel are waiting for you,” the corporal said, saluting.



    Crack!

    “Good shot,” Marv Keeper said. Nikolas Kerenskai didn’t respond, save by lining up the next target.

    Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!

    “Nice kills,” Marv murmured. Nikolas sighed.

    “Does it matter, Marv?” he eyed the training dummies. “We’re stuck back here instead of actually fighting this war.”

    “And does that matter?” Marv grunted. “The CSA is lost, Nick. I wish that wasn’t so, but without Chicago we’re a mere shell of our former selves.”

    “We have to try,” Nick said. Marv nodded.

    “We do. But we can’t win.”

    Nick didn’t say anything.

    Crack! Crack!
    ____________________
    Sorry for the shortness of this update, but the half-written CH15 is still on my home machine and I'm babysitting my nieces. Consider this one an apology for my wacky schedule these days.

    Will post more when I can.

    -L

  4. #84
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter Sixteen: Pacific Storm


    “Stand aside. I’m coming through.”
    ~USS Washington, Naval Battle of Guadalcanal




    “Commodore, good morning.”

    Commodore Kirk McNiel nodded to Captain Arthur Wilcox. “Good to see you too, Captain. Position?”

    “We’re only about fifty miles out from Pearl Harbor. The Japanese clearly don’t know TF 11 is in the area, or they’d have more comprehensive scout coverage in the area.”

    “I see,” McNiel nodded. “All hands are prepared for battle?”

    “Yes, sir,” Wilcox nodded. The first rays of sunlight were still just barely beginning to creep over the horizon.

    It’s late morning over on the East Coast, McNiel thought. He shrugged. McNiel was Seattle born and bred, but in his 20s – during the Weltkrieg – he’d spent a lot of time in DC and the immediate area. He’d met his wife there, actually, before they returned to Washington State when he was put in command of the Puget Sound task force.

    And I’m sure Sarah would love to see you come home in one piece, McNiel told himself sharply. So you might want to consider focusing on what you’re doing.

    “We’re still undetected?” McNiel confirmed, accepting a cup of coffee from the Nevadan attendant.

    “Yes, sir,” Wilcox chuckled. “We’ll steam right into Pearl without them being any the wiser.”

    McNiel paused. “What about that spy who contacted us?”

    “We can probably get back in touch with him, if you want,” Wilcox offered. “Something you want done?”

    “He said he would sabotage what he could – but he implied he was working with a group. Perhaps a resistance organization. Maybe if they could take out the airfields, we’d have a better chance.”

    “There’s a chance the Japanese might intercept the message if we send it,” Wilcox pointed out. “Are we willing to take that risk?”

    “No,” McNiel finally agreed. “Maintain radio silence. We’ll be at Pearl by dawn.”



    “Reed. Reed, wake up.”

    Reed Cassidy sat bolt upright, a hand flying to his knife. Someone else caught his arm before he could draw it.

    “And don’t be so tense,” Cass chuckled nervously. “I need to talk to you.”

    Reed blinked. “I . . . think that need is mutual.”

    “Good,” the woman said, standing up. Reed scrambled to his feet – he’d never changed his clothes when he went to sleep. No one had, even Cass. Somewhere she’d ditched yesterday’s heels and acquired some boots, but Reed hadn’t consciously noticed – nor did he much care.

    The impromptu resistance leader followed Cass through the camp, nodding to men who were trying to warm up food without making visible fires. Stacks shot Reed a glance, but Reed shook his head and pointed to the lookout post. Stacks trudged off, shooting Cass a distrustful look. She didn’t seem to notice.

    They didn’t go far – that would have been asking for trouble. A small stand of trees near to the camp was good enough for Cass – she laid down her tommy gun and turned to face Reed, hands on her hips.

    “What is this about?” the soldier asked. Cass looked away, as though she was a little unsure.

    “I bet you’re brimming with questions about me, aren’t you?” Cass finally said. Reed just blinked in acknowledgement. “You wonder how I carry a gun so easily, and why I'm not cowering and fleeing like a woman ought to do when menfolk get about the business of war.”

    “Just a little, yeah,” Reed replied. “Something’s just strange about you, if you pardon me saying it.”

    “Of course I do, and of course something is,” Cass replied matter-of-factly. “You know very little about me, all said and done, and I’d honestly prefer it stays that way. We need to free Hawai’i from the Japanese, and you have to trust me if we are to do that.”

    “And you have to trust me too,” Reed shot back. “We all have to work together if we want to survive this mess.”

    “Not exactly,” Cass grunted. Reed blinked. “We have to work together, but we don’t all have to trust each other.”

    “Cass . . . .” Reed began. “I thought . . . with the date and everything . . . .”

    “Reed, life matters more than whatever love might have cropped up between us,” the woman replied. Reed thought her tone was a little wistful. “We both have jobs to do.”

    Women don’t talk like that, Reed thought instantly. There’s something very strange about Cass.

    “When are you going to tell me why you’re so unusual?” Reed demanded. “You know, I could force it out of you if I wanted.”

    “But you won’t,” Cass snapped. “Because if you try, I’ll be dead long before you can get anything from me. Besides, I’m trying to help you – you shouldn’t be threatening me.”

    “I don’t appreciate people with loyalties I’m unsure of right now,” Reed fired back. He was getting angrier by the minute. “For all I know, you’re a Japanese spy!”

    “And I could tell you the same!” Cass returned. “What proof can you offer me you aren’t working for the Emperor?”

    “Probably a damn sight more than you can,” Reed snapped. “With how secretive you are and everything!”

    Cass glared. “Either you can accept me for who I am, or you can’t, Reed. You choose.”

    “I just want to know whose side you’re even on!” Reed demanded. “I want to know where you learned to use a tommy gun! I want to know how you know so much about tactics and strategy!”

    “And I can’t tell you any of that, beyond an assurance that we’re both against the Japanese,” Cass replied. The two glared at each other.

    Millions of thoughts ran through Reed’s mind, but one reigned supreme.

    “If you won’t explain who you are, then I can’t trust you. I don’t have a choice but to take you into custody until we figure out-”

    He wasn’t quite sure when he’d decided to lay down, but he was blinking in the dawn light all of a sudden. Pain roared all over his body – sensitive pressure points, each one crying out like a martial arts master had just hit them in sequence. Reed’s legs wouldn’t respond to his head’s orders.

    By the time he pulled himself upright, groaning and rubbing his throbbing skull, Cass was long gone.



    “Commodore, incoming!”

    McNiel turned and stared out toward Pearl Harbor. Oahu was faintly visible in the distance, gleaming as all paradises do as the sun shines.

    What worried McNiel were the huge array of black specks soaring through the sky toward the PSN squadron.

    “General quarters!” Wilcox roared. “All hands, man your battle stations! Sound the alarm! This is not a drill! We are under air attack!”

    The planes soared in on the PSN squadron, the constant drone of their engines reverberating through the air. McNiel ran out of the bridge and watched sailors ready machineguns and flak cannons, felt the Arizona begin to turn sharply.

    Then it was like the world exploded. Thousands of anti-air cannons erupted at the same time, bullets and flak shells coating the sky in streams of tracers and bursts of black smoke. The incoming planes didn’t dodge, didn’t break formation – obviously highly disciplined pilots.

    A Japanese bomber exploded and spiraled toward the ocean, clipping another on the wing as it did so. There were no parachutes.

    The planes shot over the PS fleet, then twisted and began to split apart, some diving on ships, others going low and soaring in at more valiant Pacifican naval elements. AA fire lanced out like judgement from on high, turning vicious attack craft into flaming meteors. One plane hit the water so hard its engine seperated from the fuselage, flipping forward and slamming into Quincy so hard the cruiser shuddered.

    The destroyer Flusser exploded violently as a pair of bombs caught her, turrets flying into the sky. Men began leaping from the rails with screams and calls. Japanese fighters began to strafe the sea with machinegun fire, despite taking a few more casualties.

    Two bombers shot past Arizona, then started leveling out. McNiel’s eyes followed the path they would have traveled. As soon as his gaze caught the California, two torpedoes hit the battleship amidships. The capital ship shuddered and began to list.

    “Hard port! Hard port!” Wilcox was screaming. More explosions came from the task force, and the sound of screaming began to dwarf the explosions and gunfire. McNiel flinched.

    A pair of fighters strafed Arizona, guns blazing. One was hit by fire from the Quincy, damaged but very unwilling to die, and spiraled into the sea. The second caught a flak burst in the tail.

    McNiel couldn’t believe his eyes when the plane just kept coming. Ignoring the directed anti-air fire ripping into it, the Japanese plane arced straight for the bridge, long after it should have pulled up.

    “GET DOWN!” Wilcox shouted, tackling the commodore as the rest of the bridge crew dove for safety. The collision warning went off.

    McNiel felt like he was suddenly airborne, then there was an immense flash of pain, noise, and the sight of a tremendous fireball arcing past him, framed by shattered glass and the screaming of men.

    Then the blackness rose for him, centered on an image of lovely Sarah, wreathed in the flames of TF 11 . . . .
    ____________________

    IT LIVES, MY FRIENDS

    More over this upcoming week. I may have finally pieced together the actual plot I want to follow in Hawai'i now, whereas I've been sorta making it up as I go along. Plus, there's still the Battle of Linwood brewing, and the Sturmtruppen we left in Russia . . . .

    Anyway. Shameless plug for my blog, ahoy!

    -L

  5. #85
    Lt. General Kaiser_Mobius's Avatar
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    And thats why you don't send your nice battleships and cruisers into battle against the IJN without your own aircraft carriers to give cover. It seems Hawaii will be in Japanese hands for a long while yet.
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  6. #86
    My, my, Peral harbour all over again. Sneaking up on an enemy even without declaring war and trying to sabotage their base? How dares you! And you failed too, ;P.

    Either way, I'm kind of happy to see the way Reed and Cass has turned. Frankly, I was getting slightly annoyed by Cass' presence, and I feel that she could do much better outside of Reed's story for now. That being said, poor lot. It's either surrender or execution for the lot of them.

  7. #87
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Well yes, this naval result was highly anticipated. Seems like a long naval war is brewing.

    @Hyo - the Hawai'ian rebels aren't quite out for the count just yet Neither is Cass, to tell the truth.

    -L

  8. #88
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter Seventeen: Phoenix Rising


    “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of one million men is a statistic.”
    ~Joseph Stalin




    “Fuck.”


    The explosion followed right on the heels of the curse, turning a small house into flaming matchsticks and smoldering foundations.

    “You sure that you’re not holding back?” Len asked Major Tom Hardy, both of them crouching behind a sturdier stone building. Gunfire crackled all around them, the rattling of machineguns and the roar of artillery adding even more chaos to the forerunning wave of Armageddon.

    “What I don’t understand is why it’s so damn calm,” Hardy growled. Another artillery shell slammed into Linwood, eliciting a few more furious shouts.

    But no shrieks of death. The Unionists are holding back, probing, planning. They’re smarter than the Syndies, what with that death charge in Chicago.

    “Yeah,” Len grunted. Colt had run out over to the front already, supervising fireteams and coordinating fire support. Len was in command of the reserves, waiting for the opportune moment to jump in.

    And Bradford is somewhere over on the left, giving the Unionists hell – judging from all the gunfire, that is. Should I send Len over there?

    For the millionth time, Hardy neutered the thought. The tough Australian could hold the line with his Edwards. If he needed help, he’d contact Price rather than jeopardize the American elements holding the center of the town.

    “Bannon’s tanks are moving up,” Len alerted the major. He pushed a few rocks around on the impromptu battle map they’d etched in the dirt. “And it seems that the Unionists are massing another company to pour down the center.”

    “Good,” Hardy grunted. “You still have contact with the flyboys?”

    “Sure do,” Len confirmed. “The Air Corps has some bombers in the air, just waiting.”

    “You understand the plan?” Hardy inquired, grabbing for his rifle as more artillery shells began to come down.

    “Of course, sir.” Len chuckled. “Like Chicago all over again.”

    “Lure them down the center, damn it,” Hardy ordered. “Bring them in close to the church. As soon as they secure it, we take cover and call in the bombers. Hold back all fire support until then.”

    “I said I got it, Major,” Len replied. He picked up his tommy gun – an affection he was starting to favor over the typical Springfield or Krag rifle.

    “Good. I’ll move into the center with Colt, while you take the right. Good?”

    “On it, boss,” Len answered, all business now. He didn’t waste any more time, just getting up, beckoning to his troops, and then racing off toward the flank. Hardy took a deep breath.

    Here we go again. Patton’s pushing hard into Ohio as we speak, and I get the feeling that he’s got a lot more men on the way here. We have to hold at all costs.


    Tom Hardy hefted his rifle, summoned his guards, and raced to the battle lines, dodging a hail of shrapnel from a near miss.



    “AND IF YOU DON’T GET THAT SODDING GUN LOADED-”

    “Peters!”

    “Shut up?”

    “Exactly.”

    Captain Courtney Bradford fired a few shots from his American-made Krag, seeing some Unionists collapse but unsure whether he actually hit them. Machinegun fire lanced from a position up in the church, scything over the few men remaining on their feet.

    “It’s a goddamn killzone, sir,” Sergeant Peters commented. He fired a few bullets of his own into the general hailstorm. Thunder rumbled ominously nearby.

    Bradford had to agree with the coarse sergeant. There was one trench line in front of the houses, at the base of a mile-long slope down from a thin patch of woods to the south. The Unionists were using the scattered trees and rocks as cover during their advance, and actually fairly skillfully – Bradford was reminded of France in the Weltkrieg, seeing the Germans push forward.

    But they were up against Courtney Goddamn Bradford, and he had fought in the Weltkrieg whereas these men hadn’t. A few machineguns set up in overlooking positions – like the church, a hotel, and the town bank – created a crossfire capable of wrecking Imperial Sturmtruppen – which these men were most assuredly not.

    And that was before you counted the landmines.

    Even as Bradford watched, an advancing squad of Unionists suddenly exploded, screaming as shrapnel ripped through them all with the vengeance of Albion in exile. Hot lead slugs from rifles and machineguns loudly proclaimed their fury as they punched through blood, brains and bones, leaving the ground soaked and fertilized.

    “Tell me, Watson,” Bradford began, causing Peters to chuckle at the reference. “Tell me why they keep on just coming, and don’t even pause to consider how many are dead?”

    “Well, Sherlock, obviously this is a delaying action meant to distract us and tie us down. The main blow of the offensive is going to fall somewhere else. I’d suspect Price, since that enables them to circumvent the town and come at Philly from an unexpected direction.”

    “Except that this is Patton. He’s not stupid. He’ll lose time going cross-country.” Bradford turned to Peters.

    “Someone go warn those Irregulars that Hell is about to open up on them.”



    “Wreck it.”

    There was a sudden explosion as Corporal Lance Gates followed Captain Reznos’ order, then silence. Gates looked up.

    “It’s done, cap. What now?”

    Reznos turned his gaze south. New Orleans glowed in the afternoon light, the city seeming to whisper and invite seductively.

    “Now we push down the road and set up a checkpoint just north of the city at that little ford. The armor will be coming down any minute now and we want them to be able to slam right into the city while we follow on their heels.”

    “Will do, sir!” Gates answered cheerfully. He hefted his rifle. “Just let me at ‘em.”

    “That’s what I like to hear, Corporal,” Reznos nodded. He turned and waved the company forward, ignoring the muddy terrain following the rain shower. December in Louisiana meant rain – but the North was having an unseasonably warm winter in ‘37-’38. Gates had heard that Philly didn’t have a single flake of snow yet.

    They came from the trees, swift and silent. The ford was only garrisoned by a patrol of about fifteen Federals, all on low alert, thinking the explosions in the distance were cracks of thunder as the storm swept back and forth over New Orleans.

    Gates led the first fireteam of six other men into the ford, seeing Wayne in command of the other. The two friends nodded to each other, then split up and pushed to opposite banks. The Federals were inside their tents save for a pair of sentinels, eyeing the storm to the south and discussing their odds of catching malaria so close to the swamp.

    Well, they proved more susceptible to the most common disease of the Second Civil War: bullets.

    Both went down instantly, shrieking as the Unionists took them out. A hand grenade soared into one tent, detonating with a chorus of howls. Two more followed, then silence.

    The other tent disgorged a half-dozen Federalists, some half-dressed and bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. Gates and Wayne opened fire, taking down three in the blink of an eye. The others raised their hands.

    “Don’t shoot!” one called. Gates shot him anyway.

    “They’ve still got their weapons!” he alerted Wayne. “It’s a trick!”

    The other Federals didn’t live long enough to make up their minds about whether to really surrender. Less than thirty seconds after the bullets started flying, and without a single casualty, Wayne and Gates stood unopposed in a former Federal guard post. Reznos and the rest of the men were already past it, fanning out along the road and hunting for mines and other traps.

    “Gates, look for documentation!” Reznos ordered. Gates nodded and entered the intact tent.

    Inside was a jumbled mess of clothes and ration tins, even a bottle of booze. Gates chuckled as he realized the officers’ tent had been grenaded.

    “Not enough left in here to fill a tuna can,” Wayne called from the aforementioned tent. “Just total carnage.”

    “Well, help me look in here, then!” Gates called. He was smiling darkly, though.

    The road to New Orleans had been thrown wide open, and a million men and tanks were surging this way, vengeance for the election foremost on their minds.



    “Little. Bitches.”

    Captain James Pelt fired his rifle, pegging the target square in the center. He hadn’t missed a single practice shot today.

    “We ought to hang the lot of these Unionist scum,” he repeated. “Then kick the Canucks out of New England.”

    “Fascinating,” Colonel Brian Matthews replied, having appeared like magic behind the captain. Pelt turned, unabashed.

    “You need me, sir?” he asked, with a precise salute. Matthews nodded.

    “Command wants reinforcements to assist in the push on Richmond, and I want you to take charge. The Unionists will fight tooth and nail to defend the city, so I only trust this mission to the best soldier I have to spare.”

    “Thank you, sir!” Pelt replied, unfooled.

    He wants me to get myself shot so he can go on betraying the States to these foul traitors. Well, I’ll show him. I’ll score the greatest victory of the war, then get this foul excuse for a cockroach kicked from the Army like the pig he is!

    Pelt didn’t let any of those thoughts show, just listening carefully to what Matthews had to say.
    ____________________

    And thus the battles we've been waiting for are in full swing, after that little Hawai'ian diversion. We're not done there by a long shot, but I figure for the next two chapters we can go back to the vicious war that we've embraced in the Eastern Seaboard.

    I've recently realized that Tom Hardy shares the name of an actor. This was entirely unplanned and I am astonished by the coincidence. But if it helps you to imagine my protagonist as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, well, feel free. But you won't catch Hardy from BHaH making any comments about being anywhere's reckoning, or Batman in general.

    Probably. I am a Bat-fanboy, after all.

    In other news, I've finally begun making progress on my book again, which is why progress HERE has been slow. Priorities, you know :P Potential money beats AAR, I'm afraid, but the good news is I have some ideas for the next few chapters here and you'll get another one or two this week. We still need to check back in with the Sturmtruppen, after all.

    Anyway. Obligatory blog link, as usual, and then, not as usual, some ambiance for the upcoming chapters.

    -L

  9. #89
    As always, this is great.

    We still need to check back in with the Sturmtruppen, after all.
    Yes. Yes we do.

  10. #90
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Incoming tomorrow.

    Accepting suggestions for alternative plotlines to begin developing. Call 'em out!

    -L

  11. #91
    What about Canadian intrigues?

  12. #92
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    Not a bad idea at all. I'll work that in somewhere

    -L

  13. #93
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    I'm sorry to say it, but due to RL complexities and other weird back-and-forths, this project is now on hiatus. I'll probably resume it in a week or three, but in the meantime, keep following my blog if you want more of my writing, or reread the story and hunt for the foreshadowings. Continue to suggest your own ideas or even post your own side stories if that's what you'd like to do. If they're good, I'll make 'em canon!

    I also run a chat page for anyone who's interested in popping around to chat with me about BHaH or any of my other projects. Occasionally we play D&D style games in there, so don't freak out if you walk into someone gutting a dragon.

    But back to the point, if you want to reach me and inquire about the status of BHaH, I'll be there. I should get the complicated stuff over with soon - upcoming babysitting again, preparation for black belt testing, my sister giving birth, etc. - and be able to return with a bang and a boom. Catch you later!

    -L

  14. #94
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    That's too bad, but you will surely find us waiting when you return to this gem.
    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
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  15. #95
    From the Senior Dominion Indefatigable's Avatar
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    Looking forward to your return

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