• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

coz1

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OK, so a day late. But it is now March and time for another round of Guess the Author. Somehow, this months topic came to me rather quickly, and as far as I can recall, it has not been done before. We have had some close topics, but never quite like this. So, here it is:

Treason

Any episode surrounding treason will do: the act itself, repercussions and fallout...feel free to have fun. The first four people to PM with interest are in. The deadline for submission will be March 10th (a week from tomorrow.)

So - who's in?
 

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Just a note to say we have our four authors this month, and even a fifth waiting as a stand-by in the event we lose one of the originals. :D Thank you to everyone that requested a slot. If you did not make it this time, a new round starts next month on April 1st and we would love to include you!

Submissions will be posted once I have received everyone's work.
 

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We have all of our writers and are ready to move forward. A big thanks to all that contributed, and a thanks ahead of time to those that offer their critiques.

As always, please remember to keep comments civil and targeted towards pointing out both strong points of the work and constructively looking at those weaker elements. Nasty comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

And certainly feel free to guess the author, but remember that this should be a secondary gesture, saving your critique as the first.

Please consider offering your views if you have ever hesitated before. And let's always keep in mind that it takes effort to create the work we read here and no little amount of bravery to face blind criticism that comes with posting without a name to put with it. Let's make sure we let these authors know they are appreciated and that their time and effort was worth it.

So without further ado, I will post all four submissions back to back and then open the floor to comments. After a goodly amount of time and comments has passed, I will reveal the authors and allow them to respond to their feedback.

Thanks again, one and all.

EDIT - One last reminder - the topic was: Treason
 
Last edited:

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Author #1

Antoine stands by the little window and gazes down at the square below. A small crowd has gathered – early-comers who want a place near the front. The soldiers are there as well, patrolling the scaffold. For the moment it is quiet, but the gathering is growing. Soon it will become a throng, then a mob.

Antoine grips a folded piece parchment, his knuckles white. The city’s bells chime and peel, their sound reverberates around the room. It is half-past the hour. He looks down, and opens the worn page.

My dearest, it begins, in her clean script.

Know first that I love you. Of all those who have come to pay me court, who have flocked to my father’s door desiring my hand, none compares to you. I would have you at my side in front of the alter, and swear my life to you, and hear you swear your life to me. I know you feel the same. We have only met in public, yet you declare your passion in a hundred ways, with every turn of your head and passing glance. You are always there, watching, my faithful shadow. I have hoarded each and every moment. I have pressed them in my mind, and they are perfectly preserved.

He hears her voice speaking to him, echoing inside his head, bright and clear.

I love you with all my heart. There is none other who I love more. I hold you in greater affection than my father, I yearn for you more fiercely than I do my dear departed mother, and my brothers and sisters are pale and insignificant next to your radiance.

He has read these words a hundred times, and more. Despite his prayers they have never changed.

Oh my love, I hesitate to write, but there can be no secrets between us, my friend and helper, my soul’s companion. I can only hope that you will find forgiveness in your heart for what I have done.

The ground is pulled anew from beneath his feet.

I follow the old faith, the faith of our forefathers. I know of our planned assault on the Holy City, and I have gone with warning. By the time you receive this I will be on a boat, ahead of our forces. I will not allow the City to be ransacked as my father and his ilk have desecrated our fair home. For this I will be called a traitor.

A silent tear trickles down his cheek. It is not alone.

When this calamity is over, come to me. If you wish to bring me back, to face justice, I will be obedient to you, the man whom I consider to be my lord and husband. For you there is nothing I would not do.

The missive closes simply, Your true love

Forewarned is forearmed. The expedition, the cleansing scourge was ambushed outside the City. It was not a battle, it was an annihilation. Antoine remembered he had been so very angry, had felt betrayed, and had brazenly declared he would return with the traitor in tow.

A man coughs, and Antoine blinks the mist from his eyes. “Sir, we are ready.”

Antoine regards his companions. “We are all agreed?” They nod their assent. “Then to your posts. I will join you, later.” They file from the room.

Antoine looks back out of the window. The mob fills the entire square, and is still being fed by the streets. The officials have taken their places. The sound is louder, more insistent.

They had met again in the Holy City, in a house she had been given. She had been waiting for him. When she saw him she flung herself at him, and held him, and in those clasping arms his anger had dissipated, but his duty remained. They had talked then of love, consummated their passion, and when he told her he must take her back she had agreed.

The drummers rattle their instruments, and the noise reaches a crescendo. From the side tower a door opens, and she is hustled into the light, onto the stage.

They had shared their lives on the journey home, and had never talked about what would follow. She knew, as well as he, their fantasy was finite. Only at the end, while they were waiting for the soldiers to come and arrest her, did she turn to him. “Do not abandon me!”

She suffered that night, the first measure of her punishment. He knew, he had been there. Her capture had brought him a certain fame, prestige enough to get his way. He spent most his time outside her cell. He hoped he had dampened the gaolers little entertainments.

She is thinner than she had been. He could not prevent everything, and the months have taken their toll. At the roar of the mob she falters, casts her eyes about, frantic. She looks up, searching, and their eyes meet. His heart stops. He sees her dread bleed away. She smiles for him then, and walks unafraid to the hooded man. He cannot tell what it is she says to the headsman, but he can guess. In the long nights, and longer days, beneath the city’s streets she has had one constant refrain: I forgive.

“I am surprised to find you here,” a harsh voice interrupts. Antoine snaps his head around. “After all, you have scarcely been parted from that whore,” his uncle continues.

“I can watch well enough from here,” he replies. His uncle goes to another window, and grins at the sight.

“Three days, and we move,” his uncle says.

“Move?”

“To continue with the revolution,” his uncle explains. She refuses the blindfold, and kneels in front of the block. “With her father disgraced, and the opposition in shambles, we will eject the so-called moderates and cure the state of their corruption.” His uncle’s smile grows. “Her father will be among the first.” He breathes heavily at the prospect.

The drummers increase their tempo a second time. The crowd falls silent. She places her head on the wooden surface.

This last week they have left alone, so that she would be presentable for her final outing, and last night, for a few moments, they had been alone.

“Antoine,” she had begged.

“Hush,” he replied. “I am here. I will be nearby. Tomorrow, look up.”

“Do not betray me,” she had pleaded.

He had touched her then, and made a forbidden sign. He had not been idle with his time. Against his chest for the first time in years is his grandfather’s crucifix.

The axe rises, and descends in a perfect arc. The executioner knows his trade, and severs her head with a single slice. The drums stop, and the mob stays silent.

Antoine glances at his uncle, and slides a dagger from its sheath. His uncle frowns, scenting something is amiss. Antoine waits, prays, and hopes.

The mob roars, presses against the soldiers, tears at them, hacks at them, and breaks their fragile cordon. They pour onto the platform, and hoist the judge aloft, a rope ready for his neck.

“Antoine,” his uncle begins, a note of worry in his voice.

Antoine takes a single step and rams the dagger into his uncle’s chest. He staggers and slumps into a chair. He looks at his nephew with disbelieving eyes. “Why?” he asks, fumbling at the hilt.

“For her,” he replies. He takes out his cross. “For the faith.” His uncle looks shocked, dumbfounded, unable to comprehend. Antoine crouches close, and says. “She is the martyr who by her death will bring you down.” He reaches over and pushes open a window, letting in the sounds of a riot. “Your revolution is over,” he says. “A new revolution has just begun.” He stands, and walks towards the door.

His uncle launches himself from the chair. “You traitor!” he yells. “You treasonmonger!” He coughs, and blood spews from his mouth. He falls, and grabs the table. He tries to pull himself up.

Antoine looks back. “I am,” he agrees. “As were you uncle, in your time.” He leaves the room, and closes the door. His uncle loses his grip, and slips to the floor. For a few minutes he jerks as he struggles, a fighter to the end, and then the spasms cease.
 

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Author #2

He was alone. In the dark. In a small, confined space.

All he could hear was the deep, loud thrum of airplane engines. The sound beat a tattoo on his eardrums, which he had long since ceased to notice. The vibration massaged his whole body.

Dim lights showed the outline of dark instruments in front of him. Dials swung lazily, back and forth, as the plane rode the air currents. Solitude.

Once more, he scanned outside for any change. His engines threw off an occasional flame from their exhaust tubes, which was normal. Otherwise, all was black.

A light! He craned his neck and squinted. It was!

Land? Or a fishing trawler?

A stupid captain, if he kept a light shining aboard. German U-Boats cruised these waters.

He turned the control yoke, swinging toward the light.

He flicked the switch on a small lightbulb in the cockpit, next to him on the frame. It shone into his lap, where a map lay folded open. Hopefully not much was visible to anyone watching. Not that anyone else would be flying at this time of night.

Not likely, anyway. Would he be on the British RADAR? Would they bother to send anyone to hunt down a lone plane? He checked his charts quickly, then turned the light off.

Simple time and distance navigation told him that it should be the coast of Scotland. Unless there was a severe headwind, which would have slowed him down. Or a crosswind, which would push him off course. Unknowable factors, he thought. Was this how Amelia Earhart had died?

Should he say a prayer, like he did as a child? No. His religion was national socialism. Darkly, he thought no God would listen.

At length, the light was joined by more. As he got closer, he sensed an anomaly. Below him, nearer than the lights, was a whiteness… a line. He puzzled. A coastline! White breakers on tortured rocks.

It made sense, he supposed, that the lights along the coast would be darkened – warding against U-Boats – but that inland lights in isolated Scotland would be less observant of blackout laws. Rarely did German planes venture this way, especially now that Gőring’s air war had proved insufficient to destroy the British will.

Stalemate, he reflected. The most despised outcome, to a passionate chess player.

He waited until he was well inland. His plane was operating perfectly. The engines spoke a healthy drone. The air was nighttime smooth. It was a fine night for a flight. But it was time. To reassure himself it was still there, he tapped his chest, feeling a stiff attaché case, zipped underneath his flight jacket.

Grasping two latches above him, he pulled. With a roar, the wind rushed in. Trying to drown him. It froze his eyes, so that his blinking became more labored. He locked the canopy in the open position.

He unfastened his belt straps, and stood in the cockpit, slightly crouched behind the windscreen to keep from being blown out. Lifting his leg, he stepped out onto the wing next to one of the engines. The wind beat at him, furiously.

His hands gripped the metal of the plane for dear life. A wrong move could wrap him around the tail assembly. One of the Messerschmitt’s twin vertical stabilizers stood just aft of him. He focused on it. His nemesis.

The plane’s trim was beginning to fail it, now that he added drag on the portside. It tipped gently in his direction, playing havoc with his balance.

It was now or never. Climb back in, and fly home. Or make a leap of faith.

He leapt, sideways. The tail passed threateningly close, but he was free. He was falling.

From freefall, he glimpsed the plane’s exhaust flame, flickering as it receded into the distance relative to himself.

He could still feel the air pressing against him, ruffling his clothing, but it was different now.

He was alone in the darkness. Now, without the comforting, familiar sound and feel of an aircraft. He fell.

Fumbling for the ripcord, he yanked. Something let loose, and he slowed just slightly. Then… “Ooomph!” Straps dug into his chest and arms and crotch. His legs flailed. Solo flight arrested.

Now he swung, gently. It was cold. And silent. And dark. How had he grown so uncomfortable with absolutes over the past decade or so?

He awoke with a start. A panicked series of glances told him, from the aspect to the lights, that he was not quite at the ground. He was tired, but how could he have let himself fall asleep now?!

He sensed, rather than saw, the nearness of earth. He bent his legs just in time to avoid getting them crushed in his fall. He hit hard, and it knocked the wind out of him. He rolled. Being dragged across a rugged, rocky hillside. One rock caught him on his head, his leather flight cap not seeming to help much against the impact. Finally, he was able to hit the release catches, and he lay still and quiet in a heap. This had better be worth it!

He walked. Up and down. And stumbled. He reflected that he might be miles from civilization, for all he knew.

But the first glimmers of dawn showed him a dirt path beneath him. He followed it to a narrow road, which he also began to follow.

An Army jeep, running at relatively high speed, crested the top of a hill behind him. He turned, stepped off to the roadside, and waited. He unzipped his jacket and pulled out the attaché case. When they got close, he could see a wary soldier hanging out from the passenger side with a weapon trained. He raised his hands in the air.

A uniformed officer on enemy territory is not a spy, he reminded himself, hoping the soldiers were of the same mindset.

“Alt, you bloody German,” the passenger called out when they slowed. He jumped out. A third man jumped off the back and circled to the other side of the road. The driver stopped the jeep and stepped out with a pistol at the ready. “Ow ‘bout you get down an’ spread ‘em!” The man gestured with his submachinegun.

“I beg your pardon,” he said instead, defying the order. He pulled a newspaper page out of the attaché pocket, and waved it in the air. “I am on a special mission as an envoy, offering peace.”

“Git down!” the man shouted, angrily stomping nearer.

Flushing cold, he waved the newspaper more frantically. “My name is Rudolf Hess! I am Third Deputy of the German Reich! Look at my picture, if you doubt!”

Skeptical, the soldier nevertheless slowed. He grabbed the page out of Rudolf’s hands, then stepped back to look at it. It was the front page of an old issue of the Times of London. He held the page up, and compared Hess’ face with the face in the photograph. Turning, he said, “Sar-gent! May be we ought bet’er call the brigadier on this one. He says Jerry’s gonna’ offer us peace!”

Offering peace, true. Though his old friend Adolf Hitler would strangle him with his own hands if he had even an inkling of what he was up to.
 

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Author #3

I was born a bastard. My Father, a man who insists I never call him that, had a brief affair with my mother a pretty young maid. When I was born my mother died due to complications. Father of course wished to send me to some state orphanage, lucky for me his wife, Mother, took me in and raised me as her own.

The family never saw it that way, my older brother, and sister always looked upon me as the family shame. The reason the grandparents never visit, why no big parties happened any more, and most importantly why mother never played with them. Father made sure I went to public school, while my siblings went to the most prestige private school in the state. They were groomed to be part of the ruling class; I learned to be an engineer. The first chance I had I left home and started a construction business, with a little finical help from my mother. When the money came in I bought a nice little house, a car and married a pretty young woman.

When the Enemy attacked our Ally, two years ago, the state went to war; I was quick to sign up. The state being the only thing beside my mother who looked after me all these years, I figured I owed it something. My brother went on Father’s advice and waited for the state to ask him to run a division, he promised me to look after my holdings.

The Enemy was ruthless smashing our army, and that of our Ally. The Enemy had been planning for war for some time, and made a military machine built for speed, and destruction. We had to pull back to the safety of the mountain range circling our nation. It worked rather well, our 300,000 troops easily defended ourselves from the million or so Enemy troops.

I was sent to the only coastal region in the nation. It was a beach two miles long, and perfect for a naval landing. Gentle sloping hills, and a road network behind it; any invader could sweep into our country with little natural landscape in their way.

I walked along the beach looking up to the cliffs, two long barrels stuck out. A smile crossed my lips; those barrels belonged to Margaret the best reason way a naval landing would never occur. With a range of four miles, and a rate of four shells every fifteen minutes the massive 48” guns could sink a ship in a single shot. A small fighter squadron, and the massive rocky cliff it rested in protected it. I worked on the hydraulics, which allowed it to aim at any target within 180 degrees.

I enjoyed army life; at least I did till three letters arrived within a month of each other. First my Father informed me Mother died. Without wasting time, he blamed me for her stress, and got a friend of his to issue a court order barring me from attending her funeral, or even coming within a hundred yards of her cemetery. My wife then let me know she was leaving me for a Colonel in the army who “understood her needs, and desires better.” If my life could not get any lower my charming brother passed along the words that he “neglected” my finances and my business and all I owned was being closed down, as well as I owing the equivalent of half my Fathers fortune. To top all this off, the army has decided to help those I owe money to and give all of my pay to those who are I am in debt to.

That was six months ago, as I stand here on the beach looking at Margaret the one thing beside my mother, which has always worked, I wonder what I should do. In nine hours close to a hundred thousand troops of the Enemy, and also assistance from the Puppet will land upon this beach.

You may wonder why I know this? When my financial difficulties where at their worst, I made a bet with the last dollar I had to my name. Lucky for me I won, and made out with a weeks worth of pay. Preferring to be sad and drunk I went to town. After far too much alcohol I began talking to a man about my age. We talked of this and that, where he worked, where I worked, but soon he learned of my money troubles.

A few days later I received a letter, it simply said, “To help you with your finances, hope we may talk again soon.” It was signed my friend, and in the letter a small bundle of money feel out. That was how I became a spy, every so often I would over hear a troop movement, a shipping lose, or even where a head of state might be. In return my mounting debt simply became a climbing one.

I walk off the beach, sitting in the soft grass putting my shoes on. I glance at the ocean; soon it will be sun up. Two weeks ago a young boy from the mail corp. set a few letters down on my bed. I looked the letters over, a man demanding I pay him back citing war as no excuse for debt, and a letter from Father. Curious I opened it up inside the three pages of accusation, and allegation of how I destroyed his family, one line stood out among the rest. You are a burden upon this world, and when the army is through with you I shall ensure nothing ever becomes of you.

Standing up, I walk along the grass, and look at the lights outlining Margaret. I have a staff car some Captain let me use. In the staff car are two guards, each looking at me. “Ready to go?”

“Yes,” I say. We go down the road and to the base. After receiving such a letter from Father, I found my “friend” and promised to help out in anyway I could. I wonder how long it took the army to find the bomb. I placed it by the hydraulic controls, but as I am the only one who works on it, I guess it didn’t take long to figure out who placed it there. I wonder what shall happen to me? The army found all of my letters proving I was a spy. A few extra divisions, and fighter squadrons are arriving to assist in repealing the Enemy.

When we arrive at the base, a group of soldiers are lined up all staring at me with contempt. The trail was short and in the open, I admitted to everything, spying, attempted sabotage, even treason.

I was sentenced to hang the next month. It was expected by then that the enemy would no longer be an issue. I sat in my cell writing letters to my family, my ex-wife, even to each and every person I owed money to. Around ten am, I heard the sound of Margaret moving. The Enemy must be getting close; of course I would not see the Enemy. I was safely in a jail cell, so when the small explosion went off in the main line to the hydraulic pump, I could not hear it. I knew it happened though, the gun was now moving uncontrollably to the left, or to the East. A monstrous coastal battery facing east is of no use attacking the Enemy coming from the West.

I finished my letters, as the sounds of battle occurred around me. When it was over, my “friend” arrived and let a few other men and myself out. In the bright sun outside I marveled at all of the strong, soldiers around me. I saluted the Enemy flag, and smiled. Within a month the nation was taken over. I received a medal of heroism from the Enemy, now my nation, and enough money to be comfortable till the day I die. What I truly enjoyed was being allowed to enter the cemetery and pay respects to my mother. To any who wonder why I have done such things all I can say is “I was born a bastard.”
 

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Author #4

“Henry?”

Henry Pym looked up from his papers. A tall man filled the doorframe. The shadowed face was unreadable, but the voice was familiar.

“Ah, Thomas, do come in.” Thomas stepped into the office, firmly closing the door behind him. His face was creased with worry and despair.

“Henry, I have grave news.”

“Take a seat, Thomas, my friend. You look positively dreadful.”

“Thanks.” He pulled the plain wooden chair up, and took a seat. “You have some brandy?”

“Sure.” Henry opened a drawer, removing a glass and a bottle. “Help yourself.”

Thomas poured himself a drink, took it, and leaned back in his chair. Henry looked concernedly towards his friend. Thomas never behaved like this. He was fearless, known for refusing to admit defeat or even accept disadvantage. Something had happened.

“Henry, this will be a long tale.”

“We have all the time in the world, Thomas.”

“No! You misunderstand Henry. We do not have the time.” Thomas made as if to stand and start pacing, but a sharp look from Henry was enough to end that thought.

“Thomas, we have this afternoon. Nothing bad will happen on the Lord’s Day. Please, Thomas, let me know what is wrong.”

Thomas took a long drink, emptying the glass. “Henry, let me start at the beginning.”

“Please do.”

“As you likely are aware, I have certain…contacts…in Versailles.” He waited for Henry’s nod. “About two months ago, at the beginning of winter, a minor noble there, Comte Guy de Rochefort, informed me that a stranger had arrived at the court there. He had been seen speaking alone with Tours and Orléans.” Thomas abruptly stopped at the quizzical expression on Henry’s face.

“Henry, those are nobles and advisors close to the king. They were responsible for the chaos outside of Nice last spring.”

“Ah.”

Thomas poured another glass, and continued. “This stranger would ordinarily not be of importance, as Versailles is thick with pretenders, malcontents, and other seekers of patronage. The difference is that this man was English.”

Henry’s eyes widened. “English? You are certain? Of course you are.”

Thomas nodded. “Comte Rochefort spent some time as an aide to the French emissary in London this past year. He knew everyone close to the king. Rochefort identifies him as Sir Laurence Cumberland.”

“Damn Charles to hell!” Henry’s whispered oath seemed loud in the still office. Thomas offered him the bottle. Henry opened the drawer, and withdrew a second glass. Henry continued muttering after accepting the bottle.

Thomas continued as Henry was pouring. “Cumberland’s presence with Tours and his ilk does not necessarily mean anything. However, a servant in my pay listened in, as well.” Henry’s face tightened, expecting the worst.

“Apparently, Cumberland offered concessions of a dynastic nature to Mazarin for support in his…conflict…with parliament.”

“That traitor! He has no right to jeopardize England’s very existence over a petty power struggle!”

“We still have the fleet, Henry. Or most of it. But having to cover France will distract us from Charles. Our cause is lost.”

“Not yet, Thomas. Not yet. The papist bastard may yet win, but we will not fall easy.” Henry took a drink from his glass. “Though murder is against the Lord’s commandment, He will have to forgive me.” Henry finished his brandy in one swallow. He raised his glass, and spoke softly to himself. “Farewell, Cumberland. Death shall come from the shadows.”
 

Amric

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Author 1:

A nice little tale. My biggest thing is that the protaganist sleeps with the traitorous woman and STILL takes her to justice. Now in that day and age it wouldn't surprise me in the least. Staying around while she is being 'used' by the gaolers is kind of sick, but again, much in keeping with the times. Whacking the uncle was a nice touch. I liked that. In fact, I liked the entire story. It seems to keep on form for what would happen in those times. Well done!

Author 2:

From the beginning I thought it was Hess, and I was right. A classic tale of betrayal. At least as far as Hitler would be concerned. How much exhaust flame would there really be in a propeller driven aircraft, however? Especially from the tail section? That is really the only nit pick I can find in this story. Well written and very well done.

Author 3:

Job had it easier, I think. No, I joke. But the unkindness of his father and brother, one of whom has only himself to blame while the brother ruined him for spite. Getting screwed over this royally is truly horrible, and his reasoning to get 'even' seems justified, in his own mind at least. My question is this. If he got caught and the bomb found, how did it go off? One would think that the people who found the bomb would have removed it. This part of the story doesn't seem to work. You cannot go on trial for an action that isn't discovered. Yet it was discovered, so why is the bomb still there? Other than that, it was a pretty decent story. The use of the word 'Enemy' so often was a bit of a detraction in my opinion. Use of other words, or perhaps even the name of that enemy state would have helped quite a bit.

Author 4:

Cumberland is a spy? That wasn't a lengthy tale. Thomas says it is, but in reality you managed to describe it quite quickly and succintly. A nice story, but it makes me wonder something. Henry just arbitrarily takes the word of Thomas without making any inquiries on his own. A man's life hangs in the balance, or in this case will be snuffed out. Cumberland, if he is truly a traitor deserves the action. But is he REALLY a traitor? We have only the word of Thomas, who is the friend of Henry.

Granted, Charles is trying to gain the English throne, apparently and willing to have the help of the French to do it. The struggle between Protestant and Catholic for England is expressed in a mere couple of sentences. Well done!

The entire scene was well done, but those minor nitpicks are the only things I can really say that bothers me the most. It makes me think what advantage woudl accrue to Thomas with the death of Cumberland? He offers no proof other than his word to Henry. Who is so predisposed to believe him that he doesn't bother to corroborate the facts, if there are any. Still, a very good tale, nonetheless.
 

Nil-The-Frogg

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Author 1

I must say that I have not been convinced by the romantic aspect of the tale. That said, I'm rarely able to immerse in that kind of things or to write them myself, so my opinion might not be relevant.

However, the intrigue his well paced and vivid. Timely developpements keep the interest all the way up until the last line.
Good use of present tence might be involved in such a successful cocktail.
I particularly liked the death of the oncle.

May I have the temerity of guessing Stnylan?



Author 2

This one is very immersive. Partly due to an excellent technical knowledge (or apparent knowledge, since I'm not in a position to judge). Very well written for what I'm able to assess. My only disapointment is that the sentiment of loneliness and the prospect of "crossing the Rubicon" is well depicted at the beginning but essentially vanishes in the end of the text.
Of course that makes sense since the Rubicon is actually crossed as soon as Rudolph jumps from his plane. Still, I think that aspect could have been more emphasised until the end. The last sentence do it, but serves another purpose at the same time (ie: hinting to the treason) and has consequently less punch in both role. I don't know how to put that, but I have the slight feeling of a wet firecracker. Not a big deal, but I had to find something to complain about, eh?

No guess.



Author 3

I have strange feelings regarding this one. As I began to read it I thought something along the line "Oh my! I can't be harsh with a kindly submitted contribution. I can't skip commenting this one either..." I guess you get the picture.

But as I read on, I've begun to appretiate it, then to enjoy it. By the conclusion, I was convinced this had been well worth my time and even very good. What is really weird though is that I can't explain either of those feelings. The style is not flamboyant nor overly crafted like some Stnylan's texts (I'll feel so ridiculous if he happens to be the author!) but rather dry, sometimes naive and generally direct and efficient.

Some passages sound "artificial" to me, particularly in paragraphs 3, 4 and 5. OTOH, the story unfolds very naturally and is pleasant to read. [Note: I've just read Amric's comment] I didn't really thought about the bomb problem when I read it, automatically assuming that the narator had planted two of them: one that had to be discovered and reinforce defenders confidence and one that had to blow. But now that I think about it, this sounds weird since they should have searched everything in detail. Not to mention that would have been quite a dangerous move for the narrator who might have been executed way quicker...[/Note]

In the end, in case you've been wondering : I've liked it.

No guess.



Author 4

I fear I seriously miss historical references to understand this one, and I feel like they are important for a proper assessment of the situation or even the dialogues! I'll go googling and reading about it. That is as soon as I have time for it. I still liked the lines about the bottle and their sudden eagerness for it.

As a side note, dialogs always look a bit too "dry" to me when they're not accompanied by some more general descriptions to flesh the whole thing out a little. In fact, I've been on the receiving hand of such a remark back in college when I gave my french teacher an eight pages dialog with only a few wee bits of descriptions here and there... Of course, we're not discussing an eight pages text now, but I thought the anecdote might prove useful.

[Note: I've just read Amric's comment] And I agree with him. [/note]

No guess.



Herm, I've just re-read my comments and oddly enough they seem harsher than what I usually write in AARs threads!
Demon31.gif
I'll post them nonetheless as I really hope you'll regard them as an attempt at constructive remarks. Just be assured that I'm really grateful to anyone giving time and effort to provide us those tales. Cheers!
clap.gif

.
.
 

J. Passepartout

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Author #1: Initially, I did not really care for the use of the present tense, but it grew on me so that by the end I was quite happy with it. I also wondered why he let her be executed when he had been going on with her like that. Otherwise very nice.

Author #2: I thought this was pretty good. Nice descriptions of flying at night, et cetera. Also I liked the accent the English guy had. I had no idea who it was going to be until the end, though. I am not familiar with Hess.

Author #3: If I were this guy I would have done the same, and more so. Good job at making me feel sorry for him. You used the term enemy a bit too much. I understand the reason you did not want to name a country, being that you could focus on the narrator, but Enemy cropping up as much as it did seemed mildly distracting.

Author #4: This would have been a very good story if it had been longer. I feel like it is a page out of a book, and that I don't have enough context to enjoy it full. If it was longer I think I would have liked it a lot. Everything else you need was there except length.

Good stories all.
 

Mettermrck

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#1
I have to say I was really hooked by this one. At first it began with a seeming traditional French Revolution piece, but I thought the dialogue and writing was excellent, and my curiosity grew as I read. I feel like picking up a Charles Dickens or a Jane Austen novel and immerse myself in another time and place. And I’m really wanting to know the backstory - France, probably, but how and when? Is this a different revolution or something similar to the historical? How does the ‘Holy City’ fit into this? And what is the history of Antoine, his uncle, the woman? Great stuff. I only hate that these writing snippets produce pieces of a potentially great story that the writer probably won’t continue.

#2
I confess I am so groomed by alternate history pieces in this thread that when reading this, I spent the entire story wondering where the divergence was in this Hess piece and then not seeming to find any. It doesn’t detract from the quality of the writing, which was good, but I dwelled a lot on trying to find any fictional aspect in the piece, which probably decreased my enjoyment. As a whole, a good piece though.

#3
An interesting story. I enjoyed this one, and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what nation is surrounded by mountains and has a small coastal strip. If I am missing something obvious forgive me but…help me! Also…48” guns!!! I’d like to repeat that…48” guns!!! I presume Margaret is the ‘battery’ itself? Mein Gott, those guns would break a battleship in half! A good story, and I really enjoyed it, all the time thinking on the monstrosity that were…48” guns!!!

#4
Ah, I liked the short story though I wish there was more to it. I was trying to find what year this would be in the Civil War for Pym and Fairfax to be meeting. It was Thomas Fairfax, right? Is their cause truly lost, or simply endangered? With the fleet, they have a good chance to block the French and support and actual presence in England could be two different things. Thomas is too depressed, poor guy. Nice tale!
 

Judge

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Author #1 At first I had some difficulties to full grasp this story (might be because I read it on a Monday morning) but bit by bit I got into it. And I actually began to like it. Good writing with a nice twist (the dead uncle).

Author #2 Captive story from start with a surprise in the end. I found this story very easy to get into and the descriptions from inside the plane were colourful too. Very enjoyable to read.

Author #3 First I felt really sorry for the “bastard” but gradually he turned out to be the piece of shit his father treated him like. Makes me wonder if he was a genuine bastard from the beginning which the father sensed or if it was the treatment the father gave him who turned him into a bastard? Well no matter what this story was perfectly composed with a very nice twist in the end. This is written by a skilled writer, perhaps Amric?

Author #4 This story was very well written, good dialogues and description but the story was not fully developed. I felt that the author got into a hurry and just decided to end a story that was to be. Still the writing was good.
 

Amric

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Well, so far we've only had five people critique the four authors. I'm sure there are others out there who haven't gotten around to it. So what are you waiting for? I don't know....I know three people right off hand I would have expected to be offering their opinions...You know who you are!:)
 

Rensslaer

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Yup, yup...

This has been an especially difficult week for reading time... Ask the writAARs whose AARs I usually follow! :rolleyes:

I'm hoping to have time to read these in the morning, and see if I can get some critiqueing going...

In glancing over them, my first reaction is very positive, though!

Rensslaer
 

Rensslaer

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Author #1

I reallly liked this one. Especially the beginning. Especially the letter! I do think you started off strong and then faltered somewhat, like the beginning had received more thought and planning than the end. I suppose that's only natural for short scenes on a schedule like this one (like AARs in general!).

The letter was truly well crafted, and it tugged at my heart. I did sense early on it was the Queen to a captain of the guard, or something, but only because I was wondering how they could be so intimate without having been alone. Or else she was a stalker! :rofl:

And the irony, and adherence to oaths in the face of love, was truly magnificent! One might fault you for making it such a tragedy -- I might even, though I haven't decided yet! -- because of the fact that he dares not acknowledge the love publicly, and perhaps even throw over his one allegiance for hers. But he does, really... Just not to save her life.

One senses that they both hold faith far above love in importance, and oaths (except for this little love affair at the end of her life), and that they both really get what they want in spite of losing each other.

Anyway... There is lots of depth here. I might have additional comments later. Very well done!

The "form" is reminiscent of Stnylan's In Memory of France, which started on these very pages, but I sense that the style is not Stnylan's. I'm very curious to know who this author is, though!

Author #2

This one is very atmospheric.... In fact, that's obviously the purpose for the scene, as there is very little dialogue or action, or much of anything other than sensing the environment in which this man operates. But I like it for the atmosphere!

I do agree with Nil-the-Frogg, in that it loses something at the end. Perhaps for the same reasons as with story/author #1. There is so much tension, and a wonder at what might be happening, at the beginning. And by the end, he reveals himself and... It does lose something.

Like Amric, I sensed very early on that it was Hess. And that is quite a tale, though I don't know that I've ever seen it described in any detail at all. Good to see, finally!

More on the other authors later...

Rensslaer
 
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Rensslaer

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Author #3

Interesting! I wasn't quite sure what to make of this one. The storyline itself is rather well crafted, though its nature and origin (the plot) is simplistic and (as one commenter said) somewhat naive. But after reading it I'm not sure that's not intentional. Minimalist prose? ;)

For whatever reason the story kept reminding me of Orwell's 1984. Partly because of the abstraction of the "Enemy" and "Ally" and "Puppet", etc. (which didn't really bother me, like it did some). Abstracted friends and abstracted enemies... Kind of like a game, which seems to be how the "hero" played it. But the "feel" of 1984 was there too.

And I guess the 48" guns got me too... Got me to thinking! For one, a 48" gun could sink a small fleet per shell! :rofl: But is this enormous gun there because the author is still maturing in his story ideas and is just not being realistic? Or is he being intentionally fantastic? Or is it intended to be absurd, as part of an experiment in writing?

I'm very curious to see who wrote this one! Thank you.

Author #4

I liked this story, and it was well crafted and written. But, like some of the other commenters, I think I felt it was missing something. I like the writing style... in fact it's an awful lot like mine.

Want to try a funny experiment? Writer and commenters alike! Fix in your mind at the beginning that this is set in 1936 or so... which is the assumption I started with, from the general feel, and put all the historical names and their contemporary time out of your mind. I went the whole story still not convinced that it wasn't a modern story, except for the historical names, all of which are familiar enough to me that I know I should know them, but not familiar enough that I do! :eek:o

I guess my mistake is the result of there being no descriptions of the room, or the figures' style of dress, or weapons, etc. Nothing but the names to fix, for certain, the setting. I would recommend fixing that, but otherwise it's a well done story!

I'm going to venture a guess that this is one of our better known authors. Perhaps Catknight?

Thanks all! Hopefully we'll still get more comments on these. An interesting set of tales!

Rensslaer
 

Nil-The-Frogg

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Thanks Rensslaer! Your comments on #3 allows me a new understanding of it, particularly your reference to 1984, which might partly explain the "artificiallity" of paragraphs 3 to 5 as well. I've always thought the "naive" style was on purpose BTW...
 

coz1

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Just a reminder that this project is still going. We've had six critiques so far. I'd like to see that number rise if this project is going to keep going. I recognize December and January are sometimes busy months. But by March, one would assume life is back to the normal swing of things.

[soapbox]As I so often remind the readers, those that place their submissions here put forth a great deal of effort. If their efforts do not see some appreciation (by replies) then I have a hard time asking more to do so. It is not always easy to put forth your work for blind criticism, but these authors have and deserve some amount of response to their work. Otherwise, this ceases to be a valuable tool.[/soapbox]

As always, any project in AARland will fail or succeed by the amount of interest in it. If there is very little interest, then there is very little reason to continue it. And I had a little something special planned for next month. If we want to see this continue, let's show support to those that have made effort to see their work critiqued.

I'll give this a few more days to see some more responses before I reveal the authors of these submissions. And then I will take stock of the response to determine if we should perhaps close up this particular shop for a while. So what say you, AARland? Do you want it or not? And if so, the best way to show me is by giving your fellow writers that feedback that was requested.

EDIT - And I should certainly add a very large Thank You to those that have already done so. Agan - from both myself and and the writers - THANK YOU!!! :D
 
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Author 1
I think you gave very good discriptions of everything, setting up Antoine and the womans relationship. It was short and rather sweet. The ending was good, I assumed Antoine had betrayed the young woman, but I wonder if he did in the end. For would betrayal be letting her die or the uncle not dying?

Author 2

I liked the build up, but personally I thought Hess once the stalemate word popped up. It was a good read and flowed nicely. The details of flying the plane, landing it, even the small comment on the stupid captian were well written in my opinion. Very good! No clue who you are though.

Author 3
It goes without saying he is a bastard. I think some NAMES would help you though. Enemy,Father, Brother is just went on and on. Not a bad read, but not really good either.

Author 4
Ahh Ant-man, or is it Gaintman? Sorry sorry off topic...

I liked this one best out of the four. Good conversation, and nice character's. Comments against it? Well to start with it did not really have a surprising ending. But I just like surprise endings, so no real comment on your skills.
 

Amric

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Nope, Judge. Number 3 is not me. You really are still kicking yourself for not realizing 'Homecoming' was my story because it was so dark....:) Still, how come you haven't stopped by my two current stories I've been writing?