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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Cornelius Rex

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excellent stuff, just stumbled on this
Thanks :). Means a lot coming from the father of living hereafter storytelling system :).

Casting call

One more thing: as certain rogue sergeant mentioned in the bAAR, the screenwriter is planning some large scenes and would appreciate some amateur actors and cameos from readers and fellow writers. If you want to participate, just write here stating:

- simple description of the character (physical or other traits, possibly name and history).
- preferred death (this being Dioclea) or other biographical items.

The screenwriter promises to make a serious attempt at putting every character into the storyline. Whether they last more or less will be up to the characters and the reader reaction :). Life is hard in the Balkans with the Vojislavljevic (just try saying that twice fast).
 
Last edited:

unmerged(169228)

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Excellent stuff :D. Would loathe to see this production halt too early, so I guess I should provide an actor.

Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell
Known from: Reconquista, the exploits of the House of Barcelona.
Personality: smarmy, arrogant know-it-all. Either smiling at his own brilliance, or sighing at somone else's stupidity.
Physical appearance: Nondescript, but with a rather unpleasant smile.
Role: As a man with no real principles, he would make sure to support the right side in the end. Knows 1001 ways to save his own skin. Able spymaster and ruthless but effective commander nontheless.
 

Rollofthedice

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Usually, I'm wary of anything that's not first or third-person narrative, but this is excellent. Maybe I can provide someone?

My friends, let me introduce you to Zoltán Nemanjóvic!

Sharing a first name with one of the medieval Magyar princes of old, he unfortunately shares none of the ability, military or otherwise, that such men were born with. Trusting and terminally naïve, he will follow his master to the grave, whether said man is a chivalrous king or backstabbing bastard - in both senses of the term. Being quite talkative as well, it's quite likely he'd be assassinated out of sheer disgust by the people he serves - or at least sent on a brave suicide mission far away from help. If you're willing to put up with his near-stupidity, however, a brave and loyal (but quite incompetent) friend is found.

In terms of physical characteristics, he is quite average. At five feet ten, his black hair is cropped haphazardly and his nose is just very slightly crooked. The best that could be said about him is that he has an easygoing nature, at least.

(Note: By the way, his nationality is Hungarian, since I'm not entirely sure if the Serbian culture existed yet in the late 11th century. Also, for some reason I got inspiration for the character from Rose in The Golden Girls, so if you want to know a bit more of my character's personality, just look at her.)
 

iain_a_wilson

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Ok - I'll bite! Here's a staggeringly enthusiastic little chappy for your magnum opus:

Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania
Known From: Suenik the Beleagured
Personality: I'm wagering that at this point in your game poor little Suenik has been overrun by the Turkish hordes. Therefore, Hovhannes Senek'erim is a count without a home, mooning after his lost ancestral lands and vowing to return with a liberating army. Talks in extremely heroic terms, but knows deep down that the chances of him convincing any other Christian monarch to lend him troops to liberate a barren patch of sand where the locals don't know one end of a goat from another is slim to non-existant. Tries to romanticise his situation to any nearby women.
Physical Appearence: If CK portraits are anything to go by he looks remarkably similar to the Duke of Dioclea...
Role: Background noise at court. He spends most of his time talking to anyone he thinks will listen to him about his plight, but focuses too much attention on getting pity from the ladies at court rather than talking to anyone who could actually help him.
 

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Just to contribute, I offer you Kettu Rurikovich last seen 1151 fleeing divine justice. As such, prone to wearing large cloaks, hanging around in the shadows and changing his name on a regular basis ... so a bit of an international 'man of mystery' (tm)

since his last death involved a knife, wielded by one of his many annoyed relatives, this time around wouldn't mind something a titchy bit more heroic?
 

Cornelius Rex

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[Draft title: 1078-1084. Unleash the dogs of war. More. OK, that's enough.]

[Cast:]
Duke Mihailo. Just Mihailo, but a bit more of him. And some occasional silver around the temples.
Brother Wamba. Just as lanky, but getting pudgy around the eyes.
Duchess Binhilde. Rather matronly and as vapid as ever.
Zoltán Nemanjóvic. The lost prince of Serbia, as himself.
Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell. The lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Kettu Rurikovich. The lost duke of Novgorod, as himself.
Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania. The lost count of Suenik, as himself.
Stupid son Vladimir. We need someone who can play dumb, crippled and whiningly unpleasant. And balding. Ugh.
Bastard son Nikodim. Lamb-eyed, but slightly sinister youth. You could picture him poisoning someone, but never fighting back.
First Squire. Burly youngster, about a finger and a half of forehead and all of it bone.
Second Squire. Nimbler version of the same model. Must look a proper bully.


June 1078. Ducal palace of Zeta, main hall. The Duke arrives late, enters in hunting garb and finds an unscheduled party going on. Strange people in warrior-like apparel are everywhere. A large fellow is serving beer pints from the Duke’s bar, a small fellow is critically perusing the Duke’s liquor cabinet, five scantily-clad old men (one on a wheelchair) are cornering the maids, and the Duchess flutters among the chaos. There is a surprising lack of baby elephants.

[Duke Mihailo, banging the door shut and pretty peeved] What the hell is this!

[The noise gets drowned and the party goes on; almost nobody notices the Duke]

[Black-haired, crooked-nose person by the door, holding a beer] Well, if you ask me, it’s not that bad, really. Drunk some worse along the way. Although I’m not saying it’s exactly good either, can’t get a good brew south of the Alps…

[Duke Mihailo, rounding up on the nondescript person with mock civility] And you are, my dear sir…?

[Black-haired, crooked nose person by the door, half-bowing and slopping beer on the carpet, blissfully unaware of the Duke’s look] Zoltán Nemanjóvic, to serve you and any good-paying cause. One-time prince of the lost kingdom of Serbia. You may have heard about it. A bit to the East of here, until the Bulgarians came…

[Duke Mihailo, bewildered] A Nemanjóvic? And just what are you doing here?

[Zoltán Nemajóvic, looking pained] Well, just what we all are, wouldn’t I? Earning my pay, looking for adventure, a bit of revenge on the side… I joined the Knives only recently, when I heard we would be fighting along the Hard Boiled Eggs. What’s your story?

[Duke Mihailo, absolutely lost] Knives? What’s my…?

[Thin big-headed fellow, with a glass of the Duke’s finest in his hand, ambles forth and joins the conversation] Zoltán asks for your reason to join, good sir. What was it? A lost county, like myself or Johnny? A matter of love? A bet? A severe mental deficiency? By the way, I’m Ermengol. Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell.

[Zoltán Nemajóvic, helpfully] Yeah, I know the Captain likes taking in tough old birds like Cohen and his friends there, but you look somewhat stiffer around the joints. What made you join the merry band? When did you sign up? Have you met the local bigwig we’re helping against the Seljuks?

[Duke Mihailo, glassy-eyed] Seljuks. Oh that. The bigwig. Yes. Well, you can probably find out more from that monk that’s trying to hide behind the column there. Do you mind if I go fetch him?


*
May 1079. Ducal Palace of Zeta. Duke’s working chamber in the highest tower. The Duke is perusing a document, then nods, signs, and carefully seals it.

[Duke Mihailo] Well, it’s done… as soon as this is published, the Duchy will no longer be elective. We’ll be just like any good Catholic country, strictly hereditary.

[Stupid son Vladimir, lounging by the window] And is that good, Dad?

[Duke Mihailo, looking at him quizzically] That depends. It makes our dynasty more secure. On the other hand, if the heir is a half-cooked, effeminate invalid coward, it could be trouble.

[He gets up from his chair, joins his son by the study window].

[Duke Mihailo] Thankfully, your eldest son is shaping up to be the good little bastard that you never were. You only kept the nose of our good neighbor the Prince of Vidin. And your brothers are better at war but not at intrigue. They can't run a Duchy like Dioclea.

[Stupid son Vladimir, wrinkling his brows in an attempt at thought] The nose…? I… don’t… understand.

[Duke Mihailo sighs, pushes] No. Well, I had to try…

[Stupid son Vladimir, flailing] Dad? Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!




*
March 1081. The coast of Alexandretta. An expeditionary force under Dioclean banners is marching up to the Seljuk-held citadel. In the middle of the column, four adventurers march side by side.

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, whining] All I’m saying is, if you hadn’t opened your big mouth, we could be up there, helping Suenik before the Turks gobble it up. I don’t mind the Emperor gobbling it up, but the Turks, I ask you…

[Kettu Rurikovich, wearing an outfit in desert browns] Lay off him, Johnny. The boy just confused the Duke with me.

[Zoltán Nemajóvic, marching along in the column] Yep. Same bushy eyebrows and pug nose. And, if you ask me, it could have been a lot worse.

[Ermengol de Barcelona, marching by his side] Hmrph. Worse than attacking a fortified Turk town on a Friday?

[Zoltán Nemajóvic] I mean, he didn’t have us all killed, or even fire us. Or he could have made us return the bottles.

[Ermengol de Barcelona, shaking his head] Couldn’t. Those bottles are fair booty. And we were more than his guards.

[Zoltán Nemajóvic] He was really civil, the way I see it. And he didn’t really throttle the monk. I saw him before he boarded ship and he still moved. Or twitched. Sort of.

[Ermengol de Barcelona] Well, it’s not as if the whisky was that good, either.

[Zoltán Nemajóvic, smiling at the thought] And he did send us to war with the Turks, didn’t he? I mean, he could have peaced out when he found that the Hard Boiled Eggs had inadvertently gone and invaded Trapezous. We’d be out of a job. Hey, you may even get Suenik yet!

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, sourly] Yeah. We only need to beat the Turks off, then beat the Byzantines off, and then prise it from the Duke’s claws. Easy as pie.

[Zoltán Nemajóvic] See?




*
April 1081. Ducal palace of Zeta. Southern grounds, near the stables. Two young squires squat below a tree discussing the news.

[First Squire, sitting on a mound of blankets. The mound stirs and whimpers] So the Pope has called a Crusade? And what does that mean?

[Second Squire, eyeing a passing dog and picking a stone] It means that the Franks will be pestering the Arabs, and nobody will help the Empire against the Turks.

[First Squire, punching the mound, yawning] Yeah, right. Sounds awfully interesting. What I mean is, do we get to go to the Crusades or not?

[Second Squire, shooting the stone and hitting the mark] Naw. If you want to fight, you gotta go to Anatolia. Maybe the Boiled Eggs will have you!

[The First Squire jumps on the second and a half-mock fisticuff ensues. They run away after each other. The blanket mound stirs doubtfully, then falls away to reveal a bruised youngster.]

[Bastard son Nikodim] Snifls.





November 1081. Castle of Aleppo. Main hall. The commander of the invading Dioclean forces, the count of Palermo, negotiates the surrender of the Emir helped by Ermengol de Barcelona. The three sit at a table.

[Emir Rashid ud-Dawlah Mahmud of Aleppo] You don’t really regret it, then? Becoming a vassal?

[Count Ayyub ibn Ziri of Palermo, wistfully] … not really, no. I’m getting to see world and meet different people.

[Emir Rashid ud-Dawlah Mahmud of Aleppo] And do I have to convert too? Shave my beard, and get rid of my hundred wives? Indulge in drink and pork derivatives?

[Count Ayyub ibn Ziri of Palermo, surprised] Well, er...

[Ermengol de Barcelona, leaning forward and nodding solemnly] Absolutely, my good Emir.

[Emir Rashid ud-Dawlah Mahmud of Aleppo] No getting away from it?

[Ermengol de Barcelona, with a self-deprecatory shrug] We definitely require it.

[Emir Rashid ud-Dawlah Mahmud of Aleppo] And the mothers-in-law are included, right?

[Ermengol de Barcelona] Sad but necessary. They must be dumped in the street.

[Emir Rashid ud-Dawlah Mahmud of Aleppo, brightening considerably] Well, you should have started there! Where’s that treaty?

[The Count of Palermo and Ermengol ride out past the castle gates]

[Count Ayyub ibn Ziri of Palermo] I think I missed something in there, Ermengol.

[Ermengol de Barcelona, somewhat smugly] Really, sir?







March 1084. Ducal palace of Zeta. Private chambers of the Duke. Mihailo is having his hair washed and dyed by his loving wife. There’s a knock on the door.

[Duke Mihailo] Come in, Wamba.

[Brother Wamba, opening and coming through] Thanks, Sir. May I ask… how did you know…?

[Duke Mihailo, sighing] It’s the smell, Wamba. At this time in the year, it advances seven paces in front of you. Now, what was the matter?

[Brother Wamba] There’s a Turkish emissary downstairs, Sir. Says the Sultan Alp Arslan of the Sublime Door would deign to let you live if you stop, and I quote literally, “pestering him in his royal domain of Alexandretta and getting in the way of finishing this damned Byzantium business”. Sir.

[Duke Mihailo, a predatory smile coming through liberally spread shaving foam] We get to keep all the conquests by Dobroslav and the girls? And the Aleppo lands? Tell him we agree.

[Brother Wamba] But Sir! If we leave their hands free, they will finish smashing the Empire! They’re already besieging Byzantium!

[Duke Mihailo] And if we don’t, they’ll smash us to free their hands. Besides, we can't afford to keep fighting. We accept the peace.

[Brother Wamba, pleadingly] But…

[Duchess Binhilde, wielding an admonishing barber’s razor] That will be enough playing for now, boys. Wamba, do as you’re told or you’re next in the bath.

[There’s a yelp and the sound of sandals scampering].

[Duke Mihailo] Binnie dear, you're a treasure.

[Duchess Binhilde] Shut up.

[Duke Mihailo] Yes dear.

 

Cornelius Rex

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Excellent stuff :D. Would loathe to see this production halt too early, so I guess I should provide an actor.

Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell
Thanks :). I dare say he will fit right in.

Usually, I'm wary of anything that's not first or third-person narrative, but this is excellent. Maybe I can provide someone?

My friends, let me introduce you to Zoltán Nemanjóvic!
Definitely in :). Besides his Rose-ism, he's actually family of the Brood. Serbia did exist briefly before the story setting.

Ok - I'll bite! Here's a staggeringly enthusiastic little chappy for your magnum opus:

Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania
This one will be getting more lines in the future :). At present, the Turks are occupying Suenik, which is held by the emperor. Anything may happen.

Just to contribute, I offer you Kettu Rurikovich last seen 1151 fleeing divine justice.
I'm less familiar with Kettu, but I'm sure we can find him either a fittingly Dioclean death or an embarrassing career in their foreign service. Or maybe we can arrange something with Dobroslav.


The producer thanks the enthusiastic casting candidates, both successful and less so. Recordings of the cruel, scathing, and outrageously funny casting tests (including the bathing suit competition) will be released as a separate production if we find the budget. On further news, the screenwriter has threatened to leave if we don't reduce the work pace, but he doesn't have the keys to his cage.
 

Johan11

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You can still join, right?

Glande of Galindia

Appearance Tall, very tall, and skinny, very skinny. Has so bad a sight that he should really have glasses if possible. Also sports a haircut like a mallard (a type of duck).
Personality Quite silent, though has a strange liking for telling irrelevant facts at inappropriate moments. Also has random sports of saying "Stop. Hammer time." and saying "like a boss" at the end of every sentence including him doing anything in past tense.
Known for Not much. He was chief of somewhere in Lithuania, but was chased away by his people when he converted to catholicism.
Preferred death Please let him be hit by a falling anvil. Not too soon, though.
 

loki100

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like the idea that Duke Mihailo is a bit of a 'metro-man' on the side - the phasing of those two peace events rather worked in your favour, esp the rather scary Seljuk's offering a white peace
 

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[Draft title: 1084-1085. No-one, no-one stops my party.]

[Cast:]
Duke Mihailo. Just Mihailo.
Brother Wamba. Needs to look somewhat troubled and dispirited.
Duchess Binhilde. Dressing slightly too tight and teenagerish for her age. You get the idea.
Zoltán Nemanjóvic. The lost prince of Serbia, as himself.
Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell. The lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Kettu Rurikovich. Characterised as a girl who wants to look like a man.
Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania. The lost count of Suenik, as himself.
Glande of Galindia. The lost count of Galindia, as himself. To avoid accidents, leave his glasses on and edit them out digitally later.
First Aide. Just as sergeantly and a bit portlier than last time.
Second Aide. Make him look a bit more weaselly.
Chancellor Gertrude Cenci. Blonde, imperious, your stereotypical corporate exec.
Sundry characters without lines. I think we can make do with the present cast, in different dress. There are no Cumans on-screen, so we can keep on casting.
A squadron of digital Cossacks. Whatever the specialist says, better to fake it than to pay insurance.


July 1084. Ducal palace of Zeta, outside the chapel. Several courtiers are gathered by the chapel gates. Distressing shrieks tear the air. The Duke arrives walking down the passageway.

[Duke Mihailo] So? What’s going on this time?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, leaning on the wall] It’s a wailing competition, Sir.

[Duke Mihailo] A what?

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Brother Wamba and Johnny Gardman-Aghbania, Sir. Went in there as soon as the news of the peace broke out. Crying and tearing their hair. They seem quite distressed by the terms.

[Duke Mihailo, alarmed] Terms? Peace? Nobody’s gone and started an accidental war again, have they? Where the hell is Dobroslav?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, looking at the Duke with less than full respect] No, Sir. The peace between Turks and Byzantines. Seems the spirit left the Greeks when we dropped them, and they’ve sold out most of the imperial provinces to the Sultan. Including Byzantium. And Suenik.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] They seem to have taken it a bit hard. I mean, it could be worse! An old city full of schismatics and a county full of ill-manured fields! They will probably return them soon, don’t you think? What? What did I say?




November 1084. Lower Dnieper. Clump of trees with horses tied to it. Scouting party of the Hard Boiled Eggs sit around a map in the grass.

[Marshall Dobroslav, thoughtfully] This map is crappy, sergeant. Dioclea is blue, but also Georgia and Chernigov. Can’t see our borders. How can one avoid accidental wars with this kind of information? But to business… you say the Cumans are really worn out after their war with Kiev? And still fighting them and Chernigov?

[Sergeant Polly] Yes, sir. Regiments as good as gone, sir. Best time for an all out attack.

[Marshall Dobroslav, looking disappointed] So it would really be just a short campaign?

[Kettu Rurikovich, in heavy camo and clean shaven, leaning forth] Oh, no, sir! War on the steppes is always a bloody, hard, long slog! And the Cumans still outnumber us.

[Marshall Dobroslav] No chance of an early victory and fast return home, then?

[The sergeant and the Rurikovich shake their heads negatively in unison].

[Marshall Dobroslav, getting up] Ok then, it’s decided. Rally the troops. We’ll cross the river tonight.

[Sergeant Polly] But wait, sir! Upon my word I’m not a finicky man, but what will the Duke say when he finds out we’ve strayed again, sir?

[Marshall Dobroslav, smiling strangely, walking to his horse] Second best thing is, we don’t need to care about that until we return, either!

[The Marshall rides away to camp, across the river.]

[Sergeant Polly] Well, Ketty? What do you think of the Rupert? He’s almost as mad as advertised, eh? I’m quite surprised his uncle has not sent any spies to watch over him yet.

[Kettu Rurikovich, with a shrill imposted voice] Curious, isn’t it, sarge?






May 1085. Ducal palace of Zeta. Front garden, by the porch. The Duke is enjoying the Spring breeze and a lemonade on a folding chair while some courtiers stand by his side.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] … not so strange, your ducal highness, Sir. You made sure the Count of Peresechen converted to Catholicism, after all.

[Duke Mihailo] Did I?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] Remember the Sicilian conversion campaign? “Embrace Wamba or embrace the Cross”?

[Brother Wamba looks pained but says nothing].

[Duke Mihailo] Oh. Ah. Yes. See what you mean.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] The story is still doing the rounds.




July 1085. Nondescript place in the wide steppe between Dnieper and Don. Early evening. The main body of the Dioclean army has disembarked and joined with the forerunners. A small Dioclean scouting detachment on horse explores ahead of the main force.

[First Aide] And just why do you think the Marshall sent only the four of us?

[Second Aide] Why bother? As long as he’s sending us away from the Cumans, I mean.

[Tall, very lanky soldier hunching on his horse and squinting at the horizon] As to that, we may have company… see that low cloud over there?

[Kettu Rurikovich] Which cloud? The one on the right, with the Cuman horde charging us, or the one you’re pointing at?

[First Aide, looking for the menace] What! Where? Oh my, they’re almost on us! Why didn’t you warn us?

[Kettu Rurikovich, slipping a longsword from its back sheath] That would have been missing the fun. Now, boys, are you ready…? Chaaaarge!

[Tall, very lanky soldier, horse shooting gallantly in the opposite direction] It’s hammer time!

[First Aide, thoughtfully watching Kettu’s suicidal charge onto the Cossack squadron] Why do I get the feeling that I’ve already seen this show?

[Second Aide] Oh, it’s not quite the same… sixty to one is even better than old Marshall Branislav managed. And look at that combo move. She’s got at least three Cossacks right there.

[Increasing yells, terrified horses, sounds of crunching and iron on iron. A gyrating severed arm sails unnoticed past their horses].

[First Aide, critically appreciative] Gotta give it to her. The girl has style. Not as deadly as Sergeant Polly, though, but…

[Tall, very lanky soldier charges past them again, waving a hammer and going towards the fray this time].

[Second Aide] There goes Glande, too. Only seven Cossacks left, so he may survive.

[Lound “Bingggg” sound]

[First Aide] Ouch. Six.






October 1085. Ducal palace of Zeta. Door to the Ducal private chamber. Evening. The Chancellor draws herself up and knocks on the door. Some low noises, possibly laughter, and it opens.

[Chancellor Gertrude Cenci] Oh, there you are, your highness. I've been searching for you, Sir...

[Duchess Binhilde, appearing behind him and waving girlishly] Hello, Gerdie.

[Chancellor Gertrude Cenci] Er, hello, your highness. I… would like a word with the Duke.

[Duke Mihailo, hugging the Duchess’ waist in a most inappropriate way] You can say anything you want with my wife here, Chancellor.

[Chancellor Gertrude Cenci, clearly very nervous and growing hysterical as she speaks] But... oh, well. Sir, I’ve served you well all these years, but lately it seems that you have this lot of people who go around declaring wars and making peaces and generally doing my job without…

[Duke Mihailo, lifting a hand to stem the flow] Gertrude, I’m as worried about those people as you are.

[Chancellor Gertrude Cenci, wringing her hands] … but you do nothing, Sir! And my department’s budget is peanuts! I really need much more money if I’m to do my work properly. Especially…

[Duke Mihailo, growing serious and turning to go] We’re in the red, Gertrude. There’s no money for anything.

[Chancellor Gertrude Cenci, close to tears] … but… what can I do then?

[The door closes again].

[Chancellor Gertrude Cenci, angry] The old goat!

[Duke Mihailo, voice sounding muffled by the door] I heard you!





December 1085. Ducal palace of Zeta. Mess hall. Dozens of courtiers and soldiers sit at long rustic tables. Although it’s noon, most of the light comes from torches. The high walls and the flag hangings are dark from the smoke. Ermengol is carving at a mutton leg when Zoltán arrives.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, sitting by Ermengol] What’s Johnny doing? Haven’t seen him all day.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] I think he went down to the beach with the ladies. Spends a lot of time around one of the handmaidens, mooning about the pastoral life on Suenik and how nice it all was before the Turks raped all the goats and took away all the shepherdesses, or possibly the other way round. By the way, heard the latest about the bastard?

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, tucking into the food] Who? Johnny?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, rolling his eyes] No.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Nikodim? The new bishop?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] That was closer. The one that ran away after the Duke’s eldest son had that window-cleaning accident. Momchil.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Oh yes. Nice boy with a chip on his shoulder. What’s he done now?

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] Seems he’s gone and claimed the Duchy of Dioclea. And you wouldn’t guess who’s backing his claim.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic munches, swallows, looks up] Well? You don’t really expect me to try then, do you? Tell me.



 

Cornelius Rex

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You can still join, right?

Glande of Galindia
Definitely. Good natured, lanky, short-sighted homeless counts are always welcome in the Knives. Do let us know if the cameo role fits the character :).

like the idea that Duke Mihailo is a bit of a 'metro-man' on the side - the phasing of those two peace events rather worked in your favour, esp the rather scary Seljuk's offering a white peace
Well, the man's in love with his wife and getting on in years... he runs in the track, dyes his hair and probably tries do do pushups when nobody's watching.

Re the peaces. It's all the merit of the Captain of the Knives. They were holding one of the Turk domain provinces (Alexandretta) and they aimed to join with the Boiled Eggs which were coming down from the north. If they managed it, they would have cut the main body of Turkish armies from base. But the Turks noticed...

"if the heir is a half-cooked, effeminate invalid coward, it could be trouble"

Great line!

ONWARDS TO SUENIK!

*coughs*
Glad you liked it :). I think the Duke meant it.

Re Suenik. Definitely.

Why save Byzantium?
That's a very good question. There could be a very good reason, but the Duke hasn't seen it. Either Wamba has, or he's turning soft in his late middle age... growing crypto-orthodox, maybe?

I think the Duke is very happy to leave the City to the Turks as a poisoned prize. At least, while his berserk Marshall is busy up north.



On a different note, the producer wishes to communicate that our other production, "NavAARa", will restart this weekend and hopefully maintain a weekly appearance on our readers' screens. Work has started in de-rusting the chains.

"Dioclea" will continue on a four- or five-episode per week rate for the foreseeable future (at least a week). Many thanks for the participation of readers and characters.
 

morningSIDEr

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Great updates. Dioclea is certainly expanding quickly, embracing numerous land and enlightening them due to Brother Wamba's brilliant missionary work. I can understand Mihailo's concern at the pace of expansion however, especially as the state must be nearing bankruptcy. Still, when you employ such a monstrous regiment this kind of growth is to be expected.
 

Cornelius Rex

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[Draft title: 1085-1086. The time has come... to pay the bills]

[Cast:]
Brother Wamba. Showing the stress.
Count Mutimir of Tirgoviste. We need a rather inoffensive youth with a very large nose. A certain academic air would help.
Kettu Rurikovich. A man characterised as a girl who wants to look like a man.
Glande of Galindia. The lost count of Galindia, as himself. To avoid accidents, leave his glasses on and edit them out digitally later.
Sergeant Polly. Slightly more grizzled, but just as Rambo-ish as ever.
Sundry characters without lines. I think we can make do with the present cast, in different dress. Except the thugs. We need two. Beefy.
Extra special effects. This episode requires quite a bit of virtual reality, from rivers to explosions. Not too many digital extras, though.

January 1086. Steppes of the Don. Two warriors gallop on a single horse towards the camera. A Cuman camp burns in the background; there’s an explosion as the fire hits the ammo depot.

[Glande of Galindia, riding on the rump of the horse and hanging on to the first rider] That was really impressive, Ketty.

[Kettu Rurikovich, egging on the horse] Don’t mention it.

[Glande of Galindia] But it was! I mean, you rescued me single-handed! Killed several dozen Cumans, men, women and children! Burned the place to the ground! Just for me!

[Kettu Rurikovich, with a strange light in his eyes and a half smile] Oh that. I actually enjoyed it. And you’d do the same for me.

[Glande of Galindia, nodding enthusiastically and holding tighter] I sure would! You know, I’ve wanted to tell you this since we met, Ketty, but I really appreciate you.

[Kettu Rurikovich, growing nervous] Er...

[Glande of Galindia, smiling blissfully] I know that I’m just a homeless mercenary now, but someday I’ll return to Lithuania and claim my place. And with a girl like you by my side, what couldn’t we do!

[Kettu Rurikovich, twisting in the seat] Glande, really... I mean, it’s nice of you and all that, but it’s simply impossible.

[Glande of Galindia] Why? What’s holding you here? Wait! Is there another man?

[Kettu Rurikovich] It’s not that simple. I’m… look, I’m on the run. I can’t settle anywhere, and you just can’t imagine how big are the guys I’m hiding from. I couldn’t just up and set home and…

[Glande of Galindia, grandly] Don’t worry, dear. Whomever they are, I’ll protect you! They’ll never find you in the Pagan north!

[Kettu Rurikovich, thinking about it for a second] Could be... but no! It’s not that simple! It just can’t be!

[Glande of Galindia, in anguish] But why? I love you, Ketty! We’d make such a great couple!

[Kettu Rurikovich, dragging the horse to a stop, turning in the seat and snarling in a very gravelly voice] Glande… I’m a man!

[Glande of Galindia, smiling] Well? Nobody’s perfect!



March 1086. Ducal palace of Zeta. Late of night. The chapel’s belfry; dark stone, books, slightly claustrophobic. Brother Wamba is perusing a miniated book by the light of a candle. The Duke’s heir-apparent enters without knocking, followed by two beefy minions who stay by the door.

[Mutimir Count of Tirgoviste, walking warily to the reading table] Hello, Wamba, how’s things?

[Brother Wamba, looking up. He’s looking downcast and a bit haggard] Oh, hello, sir. Please come in. Haven’t seen you in a long time.

[Mutimir Count of Tirgoviste, waving a hand] What can I say? After Father’s death and the Duke’s designation, I’ve had reasons to be away in Tirgoviste. And then there was the war. How about you, my friend? You’re not looking perky these days.

[Brother Wamba, wistful] I’m... it’s strange, sir. It’s all this trouble in Rome. Popes, counterpopes, captive popes, female popes, dug-up popes, failed crusades, heresies. It’s not the warring or the killing that I mind, sir, but all this… grubby politicking. It makes one wonder…

[Mutimir Count of Tirgoviste, sits on edge of the table, looking surprised and interested] Yes?

[Brother Wamba, looking at the candle] … if your grandfather the Duke was not such a fervent, staunch Catholic, I think I’d dare push him to start talks with the Patriarch. There. I’ve said it.

[Mutimir Count of Tirgoviste, looking at the goons by the door] You’ve had enough of killing schismatics, then?

[Brother Wamba, suddenly sad] I do daily penance, sir. But… at the time…

[Mutimir Count of Tirgoviste suddenly claps Wamba on the back and smiles brightly] Well! You can’t imagine how happy I am to hear that! We’ve both been inmensely lucky!

[Brother Wamba, pulled out of his reverie] What? How?

[Mutimir Count of Tirgoviste, stands up, makes a sign to his goons and heads out] The news will be public in the morning, Wamba. I look forward to working with you! Now, boys, we have a couple more visits to do before tomorrow...

[The door closes]

[Brother Wamba, relaxing] Whew! That was close…






April 1086. A battlefield near Kiev. The Dioclean forces are trying to ford the river, while the arrows of the Cumans harass them. A group of Diocleans is trying to hold the beachhead desperately. Picture Omaha Beach on D-Day at "Saving Private Ryan". Among them, Marshall Dobroslav rides up to Sergeant Polly.

[Sergeant Polly] Sir! Those archers mean business, sir! You should get down from that horse!

[Marshall Dobroslav, not heeding] Sergeant, this is my last campaign, and I'm playing it by my own rules if you don't mind.

[Sergeant Polly] Your last...? I don't understand, sir. Surely you're not leaving us?

[Marshall Dobroslav, looking down with a forced smile] I wouldn't if I could, Sergeant Polly. But I have orders. The new Duke, I mean the Prince Mutimir, wants this war ended as soon as possible. Seems he wants to concentrate on "nation-building", you know. And he wants me back as soon as we're finished here. Says he wants to have me under his sight.

[Sergeant Polly, glumly] So if we win this battle...

[Marshall Dobroslav] Not "if", Sergeant. When we've won this battle, we open negotiations withe the Cumans. Or Chancellor Cenci will. And I'll head back home. Unless, of course...

[Sergeant Polly, perking up] Unless, sir?

[Marshall Dobroslav, with a lopsided smile] Anything may happen yet, Sergeant. But now, let's try to save our boys here. Think you and the Hard Boiled Ones could help me reach those archers on the hill?

[Sergeant Polly] You mean the ones standing behind enormously superior enemy forces and impressively barricaded, sir?

[Marshall Dobroslav] The very ones.

[Sergeant Polly, shifting the cutlasses] No problem, sir. It's getting back here in one piece that could prove...

[Marshall Dobroslav, standing on the stirrups] Then up and away, my dear Sergeant! Onward, the Hard Boiled Eggs!



 
Last edited:

Cornelius Rex

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Great updates. Dioclea is certainly expanding quickly, embracing numerous land and enlightening them due to Brother Wamba's brilliant missionary work. I can understand Mihailo's concern at the pace of expansion however, especially as the state must be nearing bankruptcy. Still, when you employ such a monstrous regiment this kind of growth is to be expected.
You've hit every nail on the head :). And I'm glad you spotted them (the regiment, I mean). Attempting Pratchett ripoffs is half the fun.

Four or five episodes a week? Man - I'm not sure I could manage that pace! Good luck!
Well, this production has the advantage of using the Chained Monkeys (TM) screenwriting system. We can really churn out materials by the ton. It's simply a matter of putting more monkeys in the chain-gang. The only issue is the increase in banana consumption.

On the other hand, in practice that means four-seven more fast updates. As long as you keep me supplied with characters and Dioclea keeps me supplied with incidents (and Pratchett with inspiration) the monkeys should be all right.

So: feedback, please :D. Let me know how the characters are doing.


Duke Mihailo's beatification mass will be held at the Vatican, tomorrow at noon. Prince Mutimir's accession will not be mentioned in the prayers.
 

Johan11

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Yeah. I liked the cameo.
SO, is Kettu a man? I'm hell of confused. But the cliche was good. What is it that movie is called?
 

loki100

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well, your Kettu is a wee bit less generally murderous than his original, but I rather like what you've done to him ... Can also see his effect with the sudden spike in dead marshalls and strangely beatified former rulers (I love it when CK throws that up especially for a ruler who has rather enjoyed his reign, but also hung in for long enough to ramp up a decent piety score)
 

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Impressive release schedule you have. I have problems updating my AARs weekly (or in the caseof Reconquista, every two weeks).

Like your take on Ermengol. Still better-than-thou and smug like hell, but with more humor :D.