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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Enewald

Enewald Enewald Enewald
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Bah, you killed the Komnenoi! :eek:
How about law change?
 

Cornelius Rex

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[Draft title: 1088-1090. It ain’t easy being green]

[Cast:]
Nasokrator Mutimir. Looking a bit haggard. Work on the eye-bags and stoopiness.
Brother Wamba. Positively venerable.
Empress Eldrid. Teenagerish. Somewhat florid and imperious, generally good looking.
Imperial niece Dobrina. We need a young actress who can really brood and sulk.
Chancellor Flora. Find me a difficult nose. Teenager too, and overdressed.
Georghe the Bastard. Spare no makeup: he needs to look just like a young Mihailo.
Zoltán Nemanjóvic. The lost prince of Serbia, as himself.
Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell. The lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania. The lost count of Suenik, as himself.
Kettu Rurikovich. Think of a tubby, bearded, hairy-chested Xena.
Glande of Galindia. He can wear the glasses in this episode. Needs to look bookish and punctilious, as well as innocently good-natured.
Marshall Artemios. Don’t bother with makeup, just wrap him up well.
First Aide. Just as sergeantly as ever and growing portlier.
Second Aide. Last time you got him right. Just put some more grease on his skin, maybe a strange growth or two.
Sundry characters without lines. Some of the usual crew.
Digital assets and atrezzo. We’ll need Arab street crowds, a camped horde, and not much more. But we need a lot of different locations.


October 1088. Imperial palace in Ephesos. War-room. The Nasokrator is huddled over a map with several generals when the door opens.

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Well, the new purple color does have some advantages. At least now we can tell our lands from Georgia and Chernigov on the map. That should help some people… Oh, Georghe, come in.

[Georghe the Bastard] Yes, your Lordship. Did you…

[Nasokrator Mutimir] My dear Georghe! My bastard uncle! Please drop the ceremony. I hear you just finished your education… and I also hear you’re not too comfortable in the Imperial Court.

[George the Bastard, blushing slightly] Ehm… well… it’s not…

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Conked another disrespectful squire this morning, didn’t you? Of course, a married man has to take care of the family name. Your wife is an excellent character, indeed. Where did you go for your honeymoon?

[George the Bastard] In fact, we still haven’t…

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Good, good. So you’ll appreciate the travel.

[Silence for a heartbeat]

[George the Bastard] The what, Sir?

[Nasokrator Mutimir] The travel. I’ve got you two a new house, just out in the country. Great place to raise children. She can commute to work, too, since it’s just next door. And you’ll get a job as well. Goes with the house. You’ll be Bishop of Galatia.

[Georghe the Bastard, eyes wide] Galatia? A Bishop…? But I thought the army… a bastard’s place…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, patting him distractedly on the head and turning back to the meeting] Never think, young one. Bad habit. Let your elders do it for you, or get an outside expert. Now, Galatia. Off you go. Pack your bags, say goodbye, hop hop hop, you know the exit… and finally, gentlemen, I see the Southern Army is on the way, but can you tell me where our Northern regiments are or not?






January 1089. The Emir’s palace at Baghdad, a bit the worse for wear. Entry to the harem, a labyrinthine, walled-in part of the palace. Ermengol appears wearing armor, finds Zoltán and Hovhannes at the gates, looking in.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, before running into the harem] … and ten! Ready or not, here I come!

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] What are you two playing at, Johnny?

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania] It’s the Emir. We’ve already got the citadel and the castle, his troops are interned, his Sheiks have defected, and his wives are all over the city having the fun of a lifetime. But he’s gone into hiding. We know he’s inside this part of the Palace, but we can’t find him.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, egging him on] And Zoltán is playing hide-and-seek to find him because…

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, shrugging] Well, it keeps him busy and the Emir may just fall into the ploy.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] Like, jumping out of hiding and running to base to win the game?

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, squirming under Ermengol’s derisive look] Ehm. Well, we thought... Sort of. Yes.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic, happily and from afar] Gotcha! You’re it, now!

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, blinking] Unbelievable.




February 1089. Imperial palace at Ephesos. The Empress’ private quarters. Chintzy and rose-coloured furniture and cushions in profusion. The three ladies sit around a tea table.

[Dobrina, taking a bite] Say, these pastries are really different! How do you make them? Can I have another one?

[Empress Eldrid, smiling] Sure! Oh, it’s just a traditional recipe from Sweden that my mother always used. They’re called butter cookies. By the way, how is Georghe taking to his role of future father?

[Chancellor Flora, munching] Oh, just fine, just fine. Says it’s good to start a new tradition, whatever he means.

[Dobrina, dourly] I wish my husband was as positive.

[Empress Eldrid] Oh, come, Dobbie! Can’t be that bad! You two are pregnant at least, you should try my husband for lack of appreciation! I’m thinking of retiring to the countryside, find myself something to do. Here, lend me a hand and we’ll clear the table in a second. So what do you think of Johnny’s petition, Flo? You should support it, you know him well.

[Chancellor Flora, reddening slightly] Oh, hardly. He’s one of the knights in the Knives regiment, isn’t he? The one that’s always playing the mandoline around the ladies’ quarters at all hours.

[Empress Eldrid] Yes. And that’s the main problem with the petition, I think.

[Dobrina, looking guilty] What do you mean?

[Empress Eldrid, pouring the sweet wine] Well, you see… he’s such a pleasant fellow, what with the mandoline and the foot massages and the goat stories and all, that some ladies in the Court have become quite attached to him. They don’t really want him to leave for Suenik. So they’re smiling a lot, but not really supporting his petition to get the County back.








February 1089. The Sultan’s half-built new palace at Bilyar. A dark, cold, dank room. The flame of candles moves in the drafts and their red light flickers without really lighting the scene. Glande reads aloud from a large tract while Kettu Rurikovich holds the Sultan pressed to a very hard chair with a single hand. The Sultan squirms and tries to get away.

[Alp Arslan Sultan of the Seljuk Turks] … I said I’ll sign! Stop it! Please!

[Glande of Galindia, finishing the tome and closing it with a thump] … and the party of the second part will herewith renounce in perpetuity the aforementioned provinces, insofar and comprehending the wherewithal as well as the substance of the territorial demesne. The party of the first part will then hold a house-party. Non-partisan, in particular. And… that’s it.

[Kettu Rurikovich, picking his teeth] Everything clear now?

[Alp Arslan Sultan of the Seljuk Turks] Yes! Yes! Please! Whatever you want!

[Glande of Galindia, tut-tutting and reopening the book] Oh, no, no. Not us. We’re just plain fiduciary representatives acting ex officio. You must understand that the actual legal persona of the party of the first part is really his most excellent Imperial Naso…

[Alp Arslan Sultan of the Seljuk Turks, thrashing desperately in his chair] Aaaaaaaargh! Heeeeelp!








March 1089. A wooded hillside in Mesembria. Overlooking the encamped army of the Prince of Karvuna. Wamba and Sergeant Polly scout, while the massed regiments of the Empire hide in the forest.

[Sergeant Polly, biting the lower lip] It still seems a bit like bullying to me, sir.

[Father Wamba, distracted by a very large, venomous-looking centipede] Well, it’s not as if we didn’t ask first. Twice. And very politely.

[Sergeant Polly, looking severe] Of course, if you asked politely it’s a different matter, sir. We can’t have a polite request dismissed, sir.

[Father Wamba, trying to shoosh the centipede away while it clicks angrily at him] Definitely not. Think of the precedent.

[Sergeant Polly, sighing] But a hundred to one, sir... on my oath I’m not a sporting man, but we’re pulling an army against a bunch of peasants. Sir.

[Father Wamba, slightly exasperated] You’d be happier if the rest of the army stays here and watches, Sergeant?

[Sergeant Polly, shaking her head and distractedly killing the centipede’s head with a thumb] Oh no, I couldn’t do that, sir!

[Father Wamba, smirking] So…

[Sergeant Polly, peering at the enemy] I should take at least a dozen Eggs, or they will never forgive me for hogging the fun, sir.






June 1089. Castle of Edessa. The Emir’s throne room. Ermengol lounges at the main window while the Emir paces back and forth, waving his fists in the air, trailing his robes on the floor, and generally putting on a great performance.

[Emir Nasr of Edessa, warming up as he speaks] I said no! Edessa won’t submit to any tyrannical aggressor! Even though many old and famous states have fallen to the odious apparatus of Dioclean rule, we will not flag or fail! We will rise, and rise again! We will fight to the last man! We will go on to the end! We will fight you on the barricades! We will fight you in the fields and in the streets! We will fight you in the hills! We will never surrender! You shall not pass!

[Ermengol of Barcelona-Urgell, lazily looking through the window at the Dioclean-occupied city and the celebrating populace] Yes, I can see you enjoy the support and loyalty of your subjects on this matter.

[Emir Nasr of Edessa, wincing but recovering] My Sheiks won’t be tricked like the Turkish Beys! They’re faithful to the Prophet and his Heir! They revere me! They’ll die before…!

[Mikal Sheik of Amida, popping his head in through the door] Sir Ermengol, sir! Just wanted to say thanks for the fair deal, sir! Never thought I’d say this, but I’m turning Orthodox as soon as I can find a priest! Oh, hello Emir, old pal. Didn’t know you were still around. Must be going now.

[The Sheik pops out again. Silence reigns for a second].

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] Now, regarding that peace treaty…






September 1089. Imperial palace at Ephesos. Private rooms of the Nasokrator. Mutimir paces up and down, looking sickly, while Wamba plays solitaire at cards on a nearby table.

[Nasokrator Mutimir] … I’m just so fed up with it all!

[Father Wamba, soothingly] Surely the obligations of State can be…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, dismissive] Work piles up, of course, but that’s not the worst of it. Not even the damned butter cookies. She knows I’m ill, she knows I’m busy, she knows I can’t be leaving Ephesos to sleep home every night, and still she keeps pestering me about the child!

[Father Wamba, surprised] The what!? Oh, congrat…!

[Nasokrator Mutimir] No, Wamba! She’s not pregnant. That is the problem.

[Father Wamba, deflated] Oh. I see.

[Nasokrator Mutimir] And now she’s taken to hanging out with Flora and Dobrina! Girls’ night out, pajama parties, jongleur concerts and what have you, and that fellow Gardman-Aghbania circling around them like a vulture.

[Father Wamba] Well, we can always take remedial action…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, shaking his head] The empress is no fool, I’d be nagged to death if we do. No, I’m rather tempted to give him back Suenik and be rid of him. Or giving her a county or two to keep her busy.










April 1090. Castle of Pest, the Dioclean headquarters in the captured city. Nicely appointed, well-ventilated room. The Marshall is in bed, bandaged like a mummy. The two Aides stand by the bed reporting.

[Marshall Artemios] So I’ve been unconscious since Pressburg? How did the battle go?

[First Aide] Oh, very well, very well, sir. We won. A crushing victory. They’re still looking for their backsides, sir. And our other armies are copying your daring tactics.

[Marshall Artemios] My daring…? How… how many losses did we have?

[First Aide to Second Aide, looking glum] He wants to know our losses.

[Second Aide to First Aide, even glummer] Well, he has a right to know, Fred…

[Marshall Artemios, looking from the one to the other and growing very pale] Was it that bad?

[First Aide] Well, sir, the thing was like this… you remember when you ordered the army to unhorse and charge suicidally up that rocky hill?

[Marshall Artemios, cringing] Vaguely. My head is still quite hazy.

[First Aide] Good! I mean… you ran ahead, carrying the flag and shouting the “St Mihailo for Dioclea” warcry…

[Marshall Artemios, eagerly] And the army followed well? I could see nothing with that helmet on…

[Second Aide] Sure! Of course! We were right behind you! But you see, you got a wee bit ahead of us.

[First Aide] A matter of a few steps, really. Then the Hungarians fell on you like… like…

[Second Aide] Like ravening wolves.

[First Aide] That’s it, like ravening wolves. They all tried to hit you and stab you at the same time, sir. There was a hideous confusion… we couldn’t pull you out.

[Second Aide] They piled in like crazy.

[First Aide] So, well, someone on our side quite accidentally ordered the archers to shoot at the pile while they had their shields down to kick you…

[Second Aide] And we won, sir. That is, you won.

[First Aide, looking very sincere] Very glorious battle, sir.

[Second Aide, nodding emphatically] Definitely.





 
Last edited:

Cornelius Rex

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No, you're not having eye trouble. Today's episode is double-length and without graphics. It's part artistic experiment and part lack of upload access behind the firewall. Will be solved. Eventually. I think.

But I sort of think the story gets told without them... and didn't want to miss the schedule further.

whow the update with everything ... a door with significance, a good assasination to extend your realm and then another to remove a rather tedious feudal lord and expansion ... you'll go for realm duress next (aka the choice of champions)
If the vassals don't get there on their own, I have just the right thing to push them over the line... :).

It's a man's life, in the Dioclean army.
... except in the Hard Boiled Eggs, of course :D.

Fantastic stuff. I greatly liked the part CS played. The numerous assassinations, clearly Mutimir influced by Wamba in ordering them and prospering as a result with debts paid off and the title of Emperor secured. Wamba himself going postal, very good to see. Furthermore these lines are simply brilliant;
Very glad to hear it. One endeavours to give satisfaction. Well, the monkeys do. Most of them.

I'm getting increasingly baffled every episode I read, but thanks for explaining avuncular for me.
Very sorry to hear it :(. The problem with training monkeys with XIX-century-English books is that they pick up the strangest words. The producers will keep an eye on the matter.

Bah, you killed the Komnenoi! :eek:
How about law change?
Bwahahahahaha. Certainly. Killed him, but not before giving him the full Byzantine get-rid-of-a-rival treatment. That was cut from the episode since it would have got us a Parental Supervision Required rating.

The law was changed to Feudal Contract. For kicks... and because I'm not familiar at all with the Byzantine system. This is the first time I run an imperial ruler.

By the way, any hints on how to go about, say, editing a character in? I think at some point it could be fun to give our cameo-actors their own lands to run.



Chained Monkeys (TM) Productions is sad to accept that pessimistic predictions were right. Due to time pressures and the rising price of bananas, chapters will drop to two-three per week. Fridays are definitely out.

On another news, the lead female monkey says she's not calling, so you better come down from your high horse and bring chocolates when you do. You know who you are.
 
Last edited:

Johan11

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I rather like my new role, even though I understand why the Sultan was screaming. Poor bloke. I didn't even understand that.
 

Cornelius Rex

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Pictures included :).

It won't make Glande speak clearer, but it should highlight the glory of the Marshall's victory, for instance :D.
 

morningSIDEr

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I have to feel rather sorry for poor Antemios, leading a massive force and he is the only one wounded, the poor fellow. Still, as stated, it does indeed sound a very glorious battle. Poor Mutimir's 'battle' with Eldrid looks anything but glorious. He'd best give her something to do or indeed do her himself very soon (I apologise profusely, that was very crude, I just couldn't help myself) otherwise he'll be in real bother.
 

Cornelius Rex

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[Draft title: 1090-1091. Love and marriage, go together like a...]

[Cast:]
Nasokrator Mutimir. A bit more self-assertive, but markedly unhappy.
Brother Wamba. Positively venerable.
King Salamon of Hungary. Get a Magyar-looking fellow, middle age, signs of a rather dissolute life and a zest for gambling.
Prince Berbat. A sort of pudgy three-to-four year old, looking very very combative and mischievous. Eyes close together and a protruding jaw.
Kettu Rurikovich. Think of a tubby, bearded, hairy-chested Xena.
Glande of Galindia. Old-fashioned, innocently good-natured.
Marshall Artemios. Still looking a bit haggard and patched in places, but almost as good as new.
First Aide. Just as sergeantly as ever and growing portlier.
Second Aide. Just as the time before, but avoid the drooling. It's not in character.
Sundry characters without lines. Some of the usual crew, rather more this time.
Digital assets and atrezzo. Most are indoors scenes, but we’ll need a column of riders and some greenish expanses to put it on.

April 1090. Castle of Praha. Resting room of Marshall Artemios. The Marshall sits on a large bed, resting on pillows; there is a round table just by the bed; King Salamon, technically a prisoner, sits at the table. The King wears almost full evening regalia, the Marshall wears a nightgown complete with headdress. The table sports gaming cards, a half-filled ashtray, two glasses, a well-worked bottle of spirits, a crown, a ring, and a key.

[Marshall Artemios, nodding at the stack of cards] Your turn.

[King Salamon of Hungary] Thanks. I’ll take one. I hear your Emperor has just got this Abbot Wamba invested as Patriarch of Byzantium. Just who is this man?

[Marshall Artemios] Well… not much is known, and most of it I found out on my own. He’s a runaway Saxon monk with a long trail.

[King Salamon of Hungary, distracted from the game] Bloody or of the steamy kind?

[Marshall Artemios, taking advantage] That makes seven and a half again! Eh, no. He was in politics. You remember Harold Godwinson of Wessex? He was a claimant to the English throne some forty years ago. Got sidelined by Edward the Confessor, who wanted another one to succeed him?

[King Salamon of Hungary, picking the new cards] Yes. Didn’t he finally grab the throne with some devilry or other?

[Marshall Artemios, ordering his hand] Yes. That was Wamba. Not his first work either.

[King Salamon of Hungary, rather impressed] Oh. Indeed.

[Marshall Artemios, landing another winning hand and collecting] Then another of the claimants invaded England. Harald the Third of Norway, Harald Hardrada… and that makes seven again, I’ve made up your advantage, your Majesty. Well, the Norwegians started winning, but then for some unpublished reason made a horrible mistake. Harold was able to fall on them and beat them,

[King Salamon of Hungary, dealing cards] The unpublished reason was Wamba?

[Marshall Artemios nods, looking at the new cards] And the one who got the Saxon army to the battlefield in time, too. Then… well, Harold seems to have refused Wamba something, and he left. To France.

[King Salamon of Hungary, astonished and not paying attention to the game] Are you telling me that William the Bastard’s invasion was the work of Wamba?

[Marshall Artemios, shrugging] Wouldn’t put it past him, although he doesn’t like Normans. It seems he can’t return to England, but that could mean anything. And that makes seven again. Your majesty, I won, and that was the third game.

[King Salamon of Hungary, looking at the cards on the table quite annoyed] Damn. You did. I owe you, what was it…? The Crown of Hungary, the Queen, and the keys to my horse. Hmm. I don’t quite see how I can double the bet again… short of becoming bigamist, that is.






June 1090. Palace of the Nasokrator in Ephesos. Secret War-Room in the basement. A game of football is taking place in the background, to much public cheering, while Wamba and the Nasokrator debate by the Main Secret Command Table.

[Patriarch Wamba, moving carved wood pieces on the map] … and so our Southern divisions with the Knives swoop on the Damascenes, whoooommmp, while on the West the Marshall and your uncle Konstantin Bodin get ready to fall unexpectedly on the Croatians, cat-a-crash, and on the North, the Boiled Eggs cavalry keep pushing further up the steppes, togodop, togodop…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, looking skeptically at Wamba instead of the map] Very… vivid.

[Patriarch Wamba, noticing and blushing] Ahem. It’s the new thing, sire. It’s supposed to make information more enterta…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, waving explanations away] It doesn’t matter, Wamba. The thing is, why are we doing it? The Empire is large enough, and what we should be concentrating is increased stability…

[Patriarch Wamba, lost for words] Ehm… I just…

[Nasokrator Mutimir] And I need to concentrate in the succession. Berbat is too young, and none of my relatives are in a position to inherit. Now that is important, Wamba.

[Patriarch Wamba, pleading] But your grandfather… the greater Illyria… the dream of a united Adriatic…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, exasperated] As long as you don’t take us into any major war, you can play games all you want, Wamba. But as far as I’m concerned, enough is enough.

[Exits the room majestically]

[Patriarch Wamba, brooding at the figures] Spoilsport.






September 1090. Palace of the Nasokrator in Ephesos. Throne room. Spectacular decorations are visible in the noon light; dazzling carvings and coloured columns are so impressive as to defy description; just make sure they look heavy and oriental. The two aides stand at attention, or as close to it as they can, before the mightily dressed Nasokrator, who looks more sad than surprised.

[First Aide] … and it happened so suddenly, nobody could reach him to help.

[Second Aide, nodding mournfully] Such a loss! Such a disaster!

[Nasokrator Mutimir] But I understand he was ill? How could he have been leading the army?

[Second Aide] Such an unmitigated tragedy!

[First Aide] Shut up, Nobby. Well, Sire, he wasn’t leading the army at the time, not per se… he was carried in a litter, drawn by two mules, and riding by your loyal vassal the ex king of Hungary, who was in the vanguard of the army just in front of us…

[Second Aide] They’d become quite good friends, those two.

[First Aide] And then the Croats ambushed us.

[Second Aide] And something got into the mules’ ar… I mean, they suddenly shot forth against the ambushers.

[First Aide] And our cavalry followed.

[Second Aide] And the battle was won. Again. We carried Zadar in the day.

[First Aide] But we never found the litter or the mules, your majesty.

[Second Aide] Not even the Marshall’s bandages. Not even after entering the city. No, Sire, the glorious Marshall is truly vanished.




October 1090. Palace of the Nasokrator in Ephesos. Inside the children’s nursery on the western wing. Just after breakfast. The camera is focused on the nursery’s closed door and nobody is in view, but voices are heard moving around the room.

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Berbat! Drop it and come here! You will hurt yourself!

[Prince Berbat] Guh!

[Nasokrator Mutimir, sounding stressed] The damned boy is getting on my nerves!

[Prince Berbat, to sounds of bouncing on a bed] Dammid, dammid, dammid!

[Patriarch Wamba, putting his head in at the door] Your imperial majesty, the ambassadors from Damascus and Croatia are downstairs. Shall I tell them to…?

[A thrown dagger hits the door and twannnngs for some seconds].

[Prince Berbat] Dammid!

[Patriarch Wamba] … to come at a better time. Right.








March 1091. Palace of the Nasokrator in Ephesos. Inside the children’s nursery on the western wing. Late evening. Wamba and the Nasokrator face Prince Berbat, who sits at a table with an empty plate in front of him and a sour face.

[Patriarch Wamba] … say “eat”, Berbat.

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Say “eat” and I’ll give you your dagger back… Wamba, this is a bit cruel, isn’t it?

[Patriarch Wamba] Well, Sire… the kid is four years old and refuses to talk beyond a dozen words. I think any reason we give him to push along is essentially a kindness. Besides, how long has he gone without food by now? Six hours? Eight? That’s nothing to cry about…

[Berbat snatches the dagger from the Nasokrat, stabs Wamba’s hand nailed to the table]

[Patriarch Wambam, tears welling on an impavid face] … on the other hand, there may be reasons to use patience and not rush the boy. Natural development and so forth. Now, with your kind leave, I will wail desperately and go search for a doctor…






April 1091. The Russian Steppes, a sea of rolling land in every direction. A column of Hard Boiled Eggs rides in order of battle. Three riders talk at the head of the column; one is fully uniformed, the other two look like scouts just returned.

[Kettu Rurikovich, riding with a sour face] We were just on holidays, OK?

[Sergeant Polly, sober-face yet one inch from laughing out loud] The two of you alone, eh? And where did you go? Some romantic dacha in the steppes?

[Glande of Galindia, smiling sheepishly] Oh, Sergeant, don’t pull her leg. We were just on an exploration trip. We’ve been travelling through Chernigov and Kiev and all the way to the Baltic, to the lands of our families and beyond. Patriarch Wamba himself commissioned it to prepare this year’s campaign.

[Sergeant Polly, solemn] Sure, sure. Introduced her to your family, you mean, Sir Glande? How nice of you!

[Glande of Galindia] Well, of course I did! It was the civil thing to do when we stopped at their place. We didn’t stop in Novgorod, or I’m sure she’d have introduced me as well.

[Sergeant Polly, looking at Kettu’s reddening face] And while at daddy’s house did you use one room or two, you naughty ones?

[Glande of Galindia, gallantly] Oh, come, Sergeant!

[Sergeant Polly] How delicate. Hey Ketty, you’re looking crimson…

 
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Cornelius Rex

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Again, better something without images than more delay... or so the producer hopes. Images should be up tonight CET.

I have to feel rather sorry for poor Antemios, leading a massive force and he is the only one wounded, the poor fellow. Still, as stated, it does indeed sound a very glorious battle. Poor Mutimir's 'battle' with Eldrid looks anything but glorious. He'd best give her something to do or indeed do her himself very soon (I apologise profusely, that was very crude, I just couldn't help myself) otherwise he'll be in real bother.
Re Antemios, I have a feeling he's feeling better now :).

Unlike Mutimir. The wonders of fatherhood are manyfold. Especially when you've killed the mother of the critter and the stepmother is quite estranged...

I rather like my new role, even though I understand why the Sultan was screaming. Poor bloke. I didn't even understand that.
Me neither :).

A much glorious victory! :eek:
Absolutely. The really strange thing was the same situation arising in the next battle.


In other news, Chained Monkey (TM) Productions has a policy of investment in people. Since we don't have any people, we've taken to sending the monkeys to training programmes (in the hope of avoiding too much pedantry in the future). Sadly, this has taken some time away from writing and posting. But we will return to schedule, no matter how many of our monkeys perish in the effort or how many bananas we have to buy.
 
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loki100

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thats a positively (or negatively depends on how you see these things) Suenikian nursery you've got there ... and the idea of Kettu as a warrior princess with a complex sexuality is rather wonderful given all the problems he had with, in no particular order, his wife, mother and sister (all of whom rebelled and/or sent assassins to try and finish him off)
 

Cornelius Rex

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There go the pictures :).
 
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morningSIDEr

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Very good stuff. Kingdoms being won via a game of cards (Cripple Mr. Onion I assume?), poor Antemios finally passing away (perhaps not so much 'poor' but 'relieved') and Wamba's desire for yet more conquests being sated thankfully. If said desire had not been sated I would not have been surprised had Mutimir suspiciously passed away rather quickly and considering the present heir, that would be a rather bad thing!
 

Johan11

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This is gettting better and better. But where's the anvils. No comedy is complete without anvils!
 

Enewald

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Well, Kettu means fox.
Strange animal.

How does your badboy affect the loyalty of vassals?
 

iain_a_wilson

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Fantastic updates, sir! Once again you prove that in the correct hands (or do monkeys have paws?) that CK is wonderful comedy generation engine. I also second Loki's nursery remark - I went through a phase where nearly every child spawned was evil or useless. Or evilly useless.
 

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[Draft title: 1091-1092: Making friends and influencing people]

[Cast:]
Nasokrator Mutimir. A bit healthier but not much.
Patriarch Wamba. So honourable he’s starting to look part of the establishment.
Zoltán Nemanjóvic. The lost prince of Serbia, as himself.
Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell. The lost count of Urgell, as himself.
Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania. The lost count of Suenik, as himself.
Ex Marshall Artemios. Has grown a beard and manifestly doesn’t want to be recognized.
New Marshall Branislav. This is another of the Blood. Has a Jimenez-type, bowl haircut, and a sad, sad face.
Mustafa Khaleel, Emir of Hormuz. Imperious, eagle-nosed stereotypical desert Arab.
Mesud Khaleel. The same looks in a blithering-idiot edition. And younger.
Emmisary. Has an incredibly keen similitude with young Mihailo and Georghe the Bastard. You get the hint.
First Aide. Himself, but with some fifteen kilos less and bags under the eyes.
Second Aide. When he smirks, make sure some of the black teeth show.
French Commander. Looks like Sarkozy. Almost suspiciously so.
French Soldier. Someone who can say the lines with a poker face will do.
Polish Officer. A hard role. Must mix apprehensive with daring, dainty with roughed, dignified and ridiculous… and generally be ready to be trampled by horses.
Sundry characters without lines. Some of the usual crew.
Digital assets and atrezzo. Intensive. Also, this time we have a scene in winter high seas. And I’m not having those scale-models again, so crack the wallet and hire some good effects.

May 1091. Palace of the Nasocrator, Ephesos. Sports room. The Nasokrator plays table tennis with the fatter Aide while talking with Wamba, in full Patriarchal regalia. Wamba looks sheepish and twirls his toes.

[Nasokrator Mutimir, putting a ball in the corner and watching as the Aide splashes on the floor trying to reach it] Taxes, Wamba? I thought you were all for the autonomy of local churches and monasteries?

[Patriarch Wamba scratches his scalp with the baculum] Ehm, yes, your majesty... but with all these new provinces in the Imperial realm, one has expenses…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, half jokingly] Expenses? Are you building churches behind my back?

[Patriarch Wamba] Well… it’s not so much the churches as the amenities, we could say… you see, we have to attract the people to the proper Faith. We need to train missionaries, house the presbyters, put on a nice show…

[Nasokrator Mutimir, countering a sneak serve by the Aide; the Aide splats against a column] A nice show? What’s that, cheerleaders?

[Patriarch Wamba, putting a brave face] … in a manner of speaking, yes, your majesty. A few inquisition tribunals, some nice pyres, the usual gear. Getting bums on pews is not easy if we can’t afford a bit of proper persecution...






July 1091. Lyubech. A seedy tavern in the still-smoldering popular quarter of the city. Half of the clientele is Dioclean cavalry and the other half are early collaborationists, with few exceptions. A bunch of Knives valiantly sample the local spirits among the crowd.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Your face looks oddly familiar, friend. Have I seen you before? At some recent siege or massacre, maybe?

[Ex Marshall Artemios, pulling the hood over his face further] No, good sir, not ever. I'm really averse to everything warlike.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell, elbows on the bar and half a smirk] Much better a good game of cards, eh? Don’t worry, sir, your secret is safe. Come, Zoltán, let this gentleman enjoy his drink. Patriach Wamba says we have a duty to instruct these “steppe Orthodox” in the modern enlightened ways, and I'm sure there's some just-liberated women nearby waiting to be shown the wonders of the progressive position.

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] About what? Hey, Ermengol, wait. What did I say?






August 1091. Hormuz. Palace of the Emir. An emissary of the Empire stands before the Emir and his court, bearing a precious casket. The emissary looks strikingly like St Mihailo.

[Mustafa Khaleel, Emir of Hormuz] The Nasokrator ought to reward faithfulness a bit more splendidly, I think.

[Emmisary] My lord, may I remind you that your faithfulness has been lacking up to now?

[Mustafa Khaleel, Emir of Hormuz, with a wicked smile] Precisely. And let me remind you that my lands are many and my neighbours less than happy with the foreign yoke.

[Emmisary] It is in appreciation of that that his majesty sends this little present to you, my…

The Emir swats the casket from the hands of the emissary. It falls on the floor and breaks, showing a jewel-encrusted writing implement. The members of the Emir’s family crane their necks to see. One of them, looking especially dumb, actually tries to grab it.

[Mustafa Khaleel, Emir of Hormuz, swift as a viper] Don’t touch that, Mesud, you blithering idiot, Dioclean running dog! It’s stolen gold, part of the Sultan’s treasure. And worse, it’s a trifle. No, emissary, if you want my loyalty bought, you will have to do much better than this.

[Emmisary, bowing] I understand, my lord. With your permission, I will now retire and return with an offer you can’t refuse. The Empire can’t afford these troubles with such a powerful vassal.

[Mustafa Khaleel, Emir of Hormuz, sarcastically] Please do. My sons Bülend and Dogukan will see you to the gates.








October 1091. Palace of the Nasokrator in Ephesos. Hall of Lost Steps, the main fireplace. The Emperor and his uncle sip mulled wine and warm their feet.

[Marshall Branislav] … she could have died of cold.

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Well, you have to recognize she’s shown the right spirit.

[Marshall Branislav, snorting] I don’t mind that! What I object to is her showing everything else!

[Nasokrator Mutimir] Oh, drop it, uncle. I dare say she’s done more for the popularity of the family than any public work in years. And the Prince didn’t mind. Indeed I think Izyaslav enjoyed the whole matter.

[Branislav, morosely] Him and half the population of Ephesos.

[Nasokrator Mutimir, smiling lazily] Yes, she’s become a legend already. Lady Jadviga, and how she rode naked into town to welcome her affianced husband. It’s almost a pity nobody found out that she was doing it to protest the forced marriage. But then again, who can explain anything to such a riot…








November 1091. Central Mediterranean. Bridge of the Dioclean ship that leads the invasion of Arborea. The two Aides face the breeze and smoke their pipes.

[Second Aide] I thought you had given up these little jaunts, Fred. Found yourself that cushy job in headquarters and all. Why did you volunteer for this?

[First Aide] A warrior is a warrior, Nobby. It’s in the blood. And I was just fed up with that personal trainer job, anyway.

[Second Aide] Nothing to do with the Nasokrator’s whim of trying bungee jumping with you, was it?

[First Aide] Now what could give you that idea?




January 1092. Camp of the Légion étrangère in the Lévant. The Commander stands statuesque, hand on stomach, while a soldier reports his conversation with a ragged refugee.

[French Commander] The chief counsellor of the last Emperor? Is that what he said?

[French soldier] Oui m'sieur le Commandant.

[French Commander] Wants to be taken to the King? Says he can help him win Jerusalem and also a whole
new Empire?

[French soldier] Oui m'sieur le Commandant.

[French Commander] Holds the secret keys to dozens of fortresses and is a friend of every Byzantine Count and Prince?

[French soldier] Oui m'sieur le Commandant.

[French Commander] And why can’t that damned Caesar just say it in English like everybody else? The way he talks is all French to me!



February 1092. Roads of Poland. The Dioclean army led by Uncle Branislav finally arrives to battle stations. War is not yet declared but the farmers are not stupid and scatter before the tide. At the head of it ride the officers of the Knives and the other regiments.

[Polish Officer, from the roadside] Excuse me…

[Marshall Branislav] … and he said “every time I hear that Orthodox mass music I feel like invading Poland… so I thought I’d just do it and get it over with”. And the Emperor just lets him have his way.

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] Well, it’s almost as good as the reason he gave for invading Chernigov last Spring. He said he wanted to be able to go to Kiev without wasting a month in the roundabout.

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania] And the reason he gives for not supporting the return of Suenik? He says the current ruler has solved the manure problem! I ask you, what manure problem?

[Polish Officer, jogging along the horses] Ahem… Hello?

[Zoltán Nemanjóvic] Didn’t you once mention that the farmers didn’t know how to…?

[Hovhannes Senek'erim Gardman-Aghbania, irritated] That’s not a manure problem, that’s hygiene! If they insist on having running-water toilets inside the home instead of using the fields like everybody else, what can I do?

[Polish Officer, trying to stand in front of them and almost being trampled] Look …

[Ermengol de Barcelona-Urgell] That’s beside the point. The fact is the Patriarch is doing exactly as he pleases, and fostering that Count Georghe the Bastard while the rest of the Blood hardly have a Princedom in the Empire. If Berbat wasn’t as poisonous as he is, I’m pretty sure he’d be dead by now.

[Polish Officer] Hey! Down here!

[Marshall Branislav] Well, it’s true I don’t have a princedom, but some of his uncles do, and old Konstantin Bodin is in the succession… and what does this person want now?

[Polish Officer, loosing the horse’s reins and trying to stand dignified] Ehm, yes, hello, kind sirs. I’m the herald of the King of Poland. His majesty would like to inquire if you plan to stay a while or you will be continuing journey soon?



 
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Enewald

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Why would anyone want to invade Poland?
If not for Danzig, or having fun with sharing the cake with neighbours.
 

Cornelius Rex

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Once again, first goes the script and then the screen captures... it spoils some plots, but what's a bunch of humanoids to do?

loki100 said:
thats a positively (or negatively depends on how you see these things) Suenikian nursery you've got there ... and the idea of Kettu as a warrior princess with a complex sexuality is rather wonderful given all the problems he had with, in no particular order, his wife, mother and sister (all of whom rebelled and/or sent assassins to try and finish him off)
Ah, those spawning pools are an inspiration... but the few Vojislawhatevers left in the court are not very prolific. Berbat will have to make do for all of them.

About Kettu... well, maybe the explanation for those conflicts is right there :). And there's no denying that it makes a good cover to avoid detection...

Very good stuff. Kingdoms being won via a game of cards (Cripple Mr. Onion I assume?), poor Antemios finally passing away (perhaps not so much 'poor' but 'relieved') and Wamba's desire for yet more conquests being sated thankfully. If said desire had not been sated I would not have been surprised had Mutimir suspiciously passed away rather quickly and considering the present heir, that would be a rather bad thing!
Thanks :). Re the game, I'm sure it's the very one. And re the ex Marshall... we'll hear of him. Oh yes.

Can't answer about the rest without insider info. And the monkeys ain't telling.

This is gettting better and better. But where's the anvils. No comedy is complete without anvils!
Thanks indeed :). The monkeys did an anvil scene for today's episode, but the dog ate it. Then they got the dog and... anyhow, they'll be back.

How does your badboy affect the loyalty of vassals?
The Nasokrator has hardly any badboy. Besides his undeniable poise and likeability, he also tries to keep an equilibrium between stealing thrones and giving away claims at every level. Although the trick is getting harder and realm duress is probably around the corner.

Nasokrator! :rofl: Loving the story!
The rule of the biggest noses :).

Fantastic updates, sir! Once again you prove that in the correct hands (or do monkeys have paws?) that CK is wonderful comedy generation engine. I also second Loki's nursery remark - I went through a phase where nearly every child spawned was evil or useless. Or evilly useless.
High praise again. The monkeys are growing conceited and asking for some cocoa with their morning milk. Next thing they will be asking for conditioned air or daily changes of hygienic sand.


Chained Monkeys (TM) Productions is blushing prettily these days, because we've heard that some kind souls have nominated this series for the AARland Choice Awards in at least one CK category. Being egotistical and conceited animals, the monkeys would like to win, too. While the producer recognizes that there are better, more interesting and funnier works in the running, the monkeys insist in asking our kind readers to drop by the voting thread and propel them to victory. Think about that. The first ACAs won by monkeys :). Don't doubt, make history today. Vote for Dioclea and the Chained Monkeys :).

Or indeed, vote for whichever AARs are your favourites. But vote. Authors appreciate it, and newbies (such as myself) also like finding out about good reads.

In further news, the leading female monkey is looking very low these days. You should really be ashamed. Playing with the feelings of a sensitive creature like that. You know who you are. And we know where you live. So get up and whip up some roses right now.
 

Johan11

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Dec 24, 2008
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That herald is adorably naïve. I'd like to meet him in person, and see what pranks I could make with him.