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    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

Dysken

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January 1st 1836 Journal de Reacción

Profiles in oppression – His Highness Caudillo I, King of the United Crowns of Central America



-Your highness, it is a privilege, nay an honor to be here as a guest in your esteemed domain.

- I welcome you here, esteemed sirs. Tell me, do you have any rich friends back in Europe that might be interested in investing here? Just so you know....the peons are basically slaves. I pay them in tobacco leaves.

- Ah sounds like a most lucrative business proposition, but are you not afraid that your subjects will read this and take offence at your admittedly lowly view of them?

-I neither know or care what the peons think. They can't read proper Spanish anyway. I find if you talk loud enough and point, they usually figure it out.

As his royal highness takes a sip from his – what seems to be a delectable mint julep – drink, his face turns red.


This is SOUR! PEDRO! He turns towards us. I’m sorry gentlemen I have some royal business to attend to. His majesty disappears in a flurry of movement towards the servant’s quarters.

During his absence my travel companion, the marquis of Leon ý Asturias ý Cork and I truly get a chance to take in the sweeping vistas and beautiful sceneries that are prevalent in this country. Small brick villages with thatched roofs dot the countryside like spots on a leopard. Their randomness in a fantastic juxtaposition contra the ordered rows and columns of the plantations. Truly this is among our Lords finest creations, with the azure blue sky and the majestic green hillsides hemming in the valleys and plateaus that, with their array of color, form a spectacle that is a feast for both mind and eye.
The only thing offsetting this delightful occasion was what seemed to be some ungodly native singing coming from the servants’ quarter; the marquis and I both agreed it more resembled screaming than anything we would call singing in the civilized world. For thirty minutes this savage serenade continued before a gunshot is heard. A dozen multicolored birds of all shapes and sizes take flight as his highness soon returns with crimson stains on his fine satin clothing. As he takes place on the patio beside us we once again assure him how grateful we are to have an opportunity to take in these beautiful vistas and sights, not to mention the amazing culture and finesse of the ruling classes.


- Your majesty, is it fine if we continue? Caudillo wipes some unsightly pinkish grey substance from his jacket.

-Si, si, continue.

- I apologize for our earlier interruption gentlemen, I had to settle some accounts. State business, I’m sure you understand. We nod in unison.

- We have heard sinister voices from the northern yanquis about how poorly your population supposedly fares under your legitimate rule. Is there any grain of truth to this?

-Absolutely.But what the hell do I care? Next question. Our host says with a smirk. After some wholesome laughter we continue our rewarding interview. The jovial nature of his Majesty puts us all at ease.
His royal highness waves towards one of the servants which have been hovering around us. He produces a bottle of the finest tequila and three highball glasses which he fills with the golden liquid. In turn and faster than we could anticipate, his highness has emptied them all. The empty bottle rests impatiently in our host’s steady hands. With a delightfully careless childish grin across his face he throws the bottle off from the patio and into the plantations below. It hits a young negro man in the back off the head, a most astonishingly precise throw from our host.​

-You better watch out, Boy! Caudillo bellows at the young negro, who has stopped working for unexplicable reasons.


- I like to throw them a trinket now and then, but they have to earn it, keeps them alert and on their toes, you see?

-There is no doubt you are also skilled in the ways of running a plantation your highness. But tell me, what are your interests apart from your tireless devotion to your people and their every need?


-Hmm, well gentlemen, the only thing I enjoy more than...err...tireless devotion to the people is tireless devotion to another group...the women. His Highness chuckles softly to himself and sighs happily.

-Ah, a true gentleman no less, rumour has it that you are quite a favourite among the young señoritas of these lands. I say with a tone that can only imply one thing.

-They don't call me 'father of the nation' for nothing! His highness laughs one of his signature laughs, sends a glance at his servants, they join in. We laugh too, being the polite upstanding gentlemen we are.

-This has been a pleasure your highness. But if I may talk business matters for a moment. Our readers in Europe and the American south wish to know a few things about how the United Crowns of Central America is truly run, it is said that you run a tight ship here and that an investment in UCCA is a safe investment. Can we carry your guarantee with us home?

-Well, gentlemen, I can safely say that an investment here will be the wisest you could possibly make. No nation can honestly claim to provide better profit-expenditure margins because, as I said before, my peons are the lowest paid free workers on Earth. And we pride ourselves on that. Right Pedro? In fact, I give you not only my guarantee, Pedro here can also vouch for the superbness of our business climate. There exists not a grain of doubt in Pedro’s eyes as he shivers with the overwhelming honour of representing his country in a foreign affair, no matter how small. This is also quite clearly another Pedro than from before. I ask:

-Your majesty, are all your subjects called Pedro? Caudillo gives another boyish grin, shrugs, and leans back in his chair.

Before we can ask our next question we notice loud snores coming from the place of the King. His eyes have shut and he has fallen into a light afternoon siesta. A servant informs us that the visiting hours are over and that we had better get back to our lodgings, he whispers: "The king is always very angry when he is hungover señor, you do not want to be around when he wakes."
We take note at the slanderous nature of the palace staff and leave a message to our generous host about this.
 

HannibalBarca

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Hello again, Vicky AAR forumites (however many of you are left). This will be Dysken and I's second cooperative AAR, after our Moldavia one, which we discontinued due to a combination of a broken computer, a disappearing save file, and heavily recycled humor.

We'll stick with the same five-year switch intervals, but this time around, we are playing with a (heavily) modded United States of Central America, which for the purpose of this AAR will be referred to the United Crowns of Central America (UCCA). This brings us to our modifications:

1) The USCA has been changed to an absolute monarchy, to avoid the Dissolution of the USCA events

2) If the monarchy falls, the events will trigger as they normally do.

3) To make up for the lack of immigration that the Absolute monarchy entails, we have boosted Life Quality in most of our provinces, and written a special event to boost POP growth, which I'm sure Dysken will explain in the first actual gameplay update, which should come within the day.

For reference, we are playing Revolutions, with OHGamer and crew's always excellent VIP, Revolutions version 2.

Enjoy!
 

IamWhoa

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Interesting format, excellent characterization. I'll be waiting for more. :)
 

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HannibalBarca said:
Hello again, Vicky AAR forumites (however many of you are left).
I'm definitely still here and reading (and even, occasionally :p :p , writing :D ). Looking forward to this collaboration between two awesome AARers!
 

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Scene: A BROWN-HAIRED WOMAN is sitting in a pew, she is of considerable beauty. Darkness lingers in the rightmost corner of the stage. Ecclesiastical singing is heard in the background.

Emotion: Her hands clasped in prayer her tears swell up as she is taken with the overwhelming beauty of gods creation.

*Darkness approaches from the right, as her tears turn into open weeping, when darkness has covered half the stage FIVE SWARTHY FELLOWS, bones in their noses and warpaint all over them approach the woman.

Swarthy Fellow #1: Dat da be a white womens! We be takin her back to da tribe...then we be makin' her dinner, eh?

ALL FIVE SWARTHY FELLOWS boom malevolent laughter, BROWN-HAIRED WOMAN screams as the FIVE SWARTHY FELLOWS carry her offstage into the darkness. Crying can be heard in the background as she leaves the stage. The crying reaches a crescendo, and a DISTRAUGHT VOICE can be heard.

Distraught Voice: Who will help us in this time of despair and misery, who will return our beloved Rosalita, the light of our village, the source of our laughter, a piece of our soul!?

*A clattering of hooves is heard, THE WHITE KNIGHT enters stage left on a stunning white stallion*

White Knight: "I am the White Knight of Aletuagam and I have been called here on a divine mission, I will rid this land of the evil that permeates it!"

*The light increases at the mention of THE WHITE KNIGHT and the crying stops. THE WHITE KNIGHT'S eyes are set ablaze, as he rides with fierce determination off into the distance (stage right). A change in lighting represents the passage of time as THE WHITE KNIGHT again enters stage left atop his stallion.*

*Center stage, THREE FIELDHANDS stand talking amongst themselves*

Fieldhand #1: What does this do? *Points dejectedly at a hoe laying on the ground at his feet*

Fieldhand #2: Or this? *Gestures at thresher*

Fieldhand #3: We deserve a fairer part of the fruits of our labour, no longer shall we be oppressed by the parasitic gentry. We shall ourselves improve and ourselves rule. Together brothers we will create a better society not only for those blessed by birth or anscestry. Our rule shall include and respect all!

*THE WHITE KNIGHT approaches the dejected, confused FIELDHANDS who are clearly in need of help. He approaches FIELDHAND #1*

White Knight: Your hoe goes in the ground, Pedro! It is to ease the planting of crops.

*Realization sweeps across FIELDHAND #1's face, THE WHITE KNIGHT turns towards FIELDHAND #2*

White Knight: This thresher is to facilitate the gathering of wheat, Pedro! With it, you can feed your family!

*FIELDHAND #2 sobs tears of joy, THE WHITE KNIGHT turns towards FIELDHAND #3*

White Knight: And you Pedro...I have something to show you.

*THE WHITE KNIGHT backhands FIELDHAND #3 with a mailed glove, FIELDHAND #3 cries out in pain, then looks up at THE WHITE KNIGHT*

Fieldhand #3: Thank you, kind sir. I now see the error of my ways.

White Knight: Tell me farmerfolk, is there no scholar to guide you, no mayor to rule you or priest here to save you?

Fieldhands #1 & 2: No.

Fieldhand #3: No, sir.

*Light falls upon the stage. A new scene opens as a village meeting has been called, THE WHITE KNIGHT is seen surrounded by THE VILLAGERS*

White Knight: Fear not, farmerfolk! Let the man most versed in knowledge step forward!

*FIELDHAND #3 steps forward. THE WHITE KNIGHT sighs and skewers him with a lance*

White Knight: Let the most loyal man step forward!

*VILLAGER approaches tentatively*

White Knight: A test of your loyalty!

*THE WHITE KNIGHT draws a dagger*

White Knight: Cut off thine own ear!

*THE VILLAGER stares numbly at the dagger, then slowly reaches for it, holds it in a trembling hand to his left ear, and cuts it off. He screams as the wound bleeds profusely. THE WHITE KNIGHT bellows laughter*

White Knight: You have proven your worth Pedro! I appoint you as God's interpreter on Earth! A robe, as your symbol of office. *THE WHITE KNIGHT removes his cloak and hands it to THE VILLAGER* Here is a Holy Bible, symbol of Christian Enlightenment. *THE WHITE KNIGHT hands a Bible to THE VILLAGER* Here is some gold, it will distract the simpletons.

*THE WHITE KNIGHT removes one of his many golden rings and hands it to THE VILLAGER. THE VILLAGER puts on the robe and ring, and clasps the Bible in his right hand.*

White Knight: Finally, some wine, to relieve the stress of office. The bottle can also be used if the congregation gets out of line.

*THE WHITE KNIGHT hands a bottle of wine that he produced from his person to THE VILLAGER, who clasps it in his left hand. Suddenly a beam of light strikes THE VILLAGER as he falls to his knees in awe of God's power, and remains kneeling with his eyes closed for several minutes. THE PRIEST then rises to his feet.*

Priest: I know what I must do...I must devote my newly earned power and enlightenment to improving our society...by researching a better rifle.

*THE WHITE KNIGHT gives THE PRIEST a bear hug, remounts his stallion and gallops off into the distance*

INTERMISSION
 
Last edited:

IamWhoa

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What a bizarre scene! Did you get any of that from any real scripts? It's quite good.
 

HannibalBarca

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IamWhoa said:
What a bizarre scene! Did you get any of that from any real scripts? It's quite good.

We're still not entirely sure why we did that in screenplay format, but we were both very happy with how it turned out. Glad you like it. :)
 

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Hehehehahahaha...nice! I was reminded of Waiting for Todog and Isca's Mecklenberg play...something about a salesman? Anyway...count me in!

TheExecuter
 

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Hmm, I'm rearing to go. But I've no clue as to where Hannibal has gone :confused:. Our writing process kind of demands that both are present on MSN for anything to happen.
 

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Dysken said:
Hmm, I'm rearing to go. But I've no clue as to where Hannibal has gone :confused:. Our writing process kind of demands that both are present on MSN for anything to happen.

Dad's house for the weekend. Back now.
 

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"These are poisoned tipped blow dart arrows Jefferson, very deadly, you'd better stay close to me ol'bean."

Jefferson nestled closer to Nigel as they both peered out from behind the massive tree trunk. His shoulder length blonde locks rested against Nigel's neck as he pressed close to see clearer. Spreadeagled on the ground lay Vinjyar, one of Nigels native servants. His eyes wide open in shock as froth poured from his mouth and the body convulsed uncontrollably. "Amazing, fantastic, astounding..." said Nigel as he scrutinized Vinjyar's losing struggle with death. "What we're talking about here is an extremely potent poison my boy. Capable of killing a man in his best years in a matter of minutes" He turned to Jefferson just as a small dart embedded itself in the tree trunk where his head had been moments earlier. "I believe we may have upset the natives gravely. This might be one of their sacred burial places, you see. Not to worry I've encountered cruxes like this before..."

"Palutu!" He called and waved to yet another of his brown skinned servants.

"Yes Sir Nigel?" He said in his cute Bengali accent that Jefferson had come to love, except now it was quivering with fear. Nigel reached into his knapsack and pulled out large blue feather which had previously belonged to an unknown species of parrot and gave it to Palutu.

"This is an offering of peace, I want you to go towards the source of these darts and bow before their chief as you hold this in both hands. I happened in the exact same situation once in the Amazonian jungle as I was searching for the deadly Anaconda snake together with the Royal biological society. Most fascinating gentlemen those, I remember fondly how Lord Buxwool would often throw gunpowder into the campfire to scare the native guides that accompanied us that evil spirits were afoot. They were of Guarani blood, fascinating people, absolutely fascinating, no taste for tea though" He said as his mind left the hot steamy jungles of Central America and returned back to the equally humid Amazon...

His nostalgic excursion was cut short as Jefferson gently tapped him on the shoulder. He stopped twirling his mustasches. "You know how I absolutely adore your stories Nigel, but now may not be the time."

Nigel waved angrily at Palutu, surprised that he was still hunkering down beside them behind the tree trunk. As Palutu dissappeared into the underbrush Nigel grabbed Jefferson by the collar, turned 180 degrees and dragged him quickly away from the scene of which Palutu had dissappeared. But, what will happen to Palutu?" Asked Jefferson as he threw anxious glances back at the now ominously silent jungle.

"The natives will have their way with him."

"I thought you said you had been in the exact same situation before Nigel?"

"I had, and I solved it the same way.... from a safe distance. Poor Heraldo, we never heard from him or his young olive skinned body again." "But don't worry Jefferson I won't let that happen to you," he said as he patted the rough Calico jacket Jefferson wore.

As the green leafed canopies above and the returning sounds of jungle animals again created a safe albeit exotic atmosphere Jefferson thought back on how it all had started. How he, Beuregard Jefferson Lee IV an ordinary son of the South had gotten the opportunity to come along on such a fantastic adventure. His youthful eyes took in all the natural beauty of the surroundings as he thought back to the days of his childhood, all the way to the front porch in South Carolina. It had been a sweltering day in June that his stern father ( Beuregard Jefferson Lee III) called his son into his study for a drink and a talk. As Aunt Jenna (no relation) delivered the both gentlemen their drinks the elder pointed to a map of the world he had had nailed to the wall behind his desk.

"Son, of all the places in this wide world, how many have you visited?

"Well father, I've been to Charleston a few times and we went to Montgomery for Miss Grineths funeral" His cousin had died of Typhoid very young.

His father shook his head. "Son, I think it's time you saw more of the world." He pointed to Havanna, Spain with his cane and cleared his throat.

"But-"

"No buts" He interrupted "You leave in 4 days, you can bring as many housefolk as you see fit.The family yacht is anchored in Charleston with ample supplies and a cargo full of cotton.Oh, and won't you be a great help and bring this to a certain Señor Heuléas?" His father was never clear with his intentions. "You can find him in Havanna harbour."

With that, his remininscance came to an abrupt halt. They had reached the creek which contained their campsite.
 
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HannibalBarca

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Mama,

Perhaps the army is not as bad as I first thought, when the impressers came to the farm to drag me away kicking and screaming. They have taught me to read and write here; what you could not teach me with a book, they have taught me with yelling and a club.

When we first arrived at camp Mosquito, the commandant had us stand in a straight line, and salute a portrait of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Caudillo I, for nigh on an hour in the hot midday sun. As more and more started to faint where they stood, the commandant told us in between sips on a cold drink, that this was to test 'our manliness and resilience. Thankfully, since I had built up a resistance to heat strokes and the swarming insects from many hot days of work on the farm, ever since Papa was killed in the tragic accident with the mule, I was able to stand for a full hour. For this act of bravery, I was allowed to become a Corporal. When I asked what this meant, the commandant told me that I yell at privates what he yells at me.

For the first few days, this job was tough. Several of the privates made death threats against me when I continually insulted their mothers, sisters and livestock, just as the commandant had done to me. Eventually, however, the daily twelve mile marches through the beautiful countryside instilled an iron sense of military discipline in many, and an unmarked plot of Earth for others, and the death threats ceased. Thankfully, we began firearms training just as this happened. For firearms training, we were given a musket, and told to care for it as our child because the budget only permitted one musket per soldier. After the first few painful, brutal executions due to "maltreatment of firearms," some soldiers hung themselves with belts to escape punishment.

Training with firearms started out as odd, and increasingly became disturbing. We were ordered to stand in a line, which we could never cross, and fire at what appeared to be faraway target dummies. Every day, the targets were moved closer to the firing line. After about a week of this, we realized to our horror that the dummies were in fact human beings, our dead comrades or simply peasants gathered from the surrounding countryside. One man broke down and started crying when he came to realize what we were doing. The commandant simply yelled at him 'Quit blubbering! This is WAR we're training you for! Go run three times around the camp perimeter, then clean the floor of the mess hall!' I was quite angry when this man blew out his brains and got the blood all over my uniform.

After a few weeks, the amount of recruits in the camp had decreased dramatically, nearly half of those who first entered Camp Mosquito were now dead or had fled from it in the night. When basic training had been completed, a select few of us were chosen to go into "specialty fields". I was chosen for the small but highly prestigious royal artillery, For days on end we practiced naval artillery accuracy by sinking Colombian fishing boats that our new commander claimed were lurking in UCCA coastal waters, spying for the enemy. Our patriotic fervor knew no bounds as we repeatedly sent the dirty bastards to the bottom.

For our final test, our commander gave my battery the coordinates of a Panamanian village across the border, which we were ordered to annihilate. Our unit took great pride in the fact that the destruction of the village of Málarîa caused an international incident.

Now our commander informs us that we have a new task before us, which requires us to march across the entirety of our great nation, all the way to the Eastern shore of Honduras. Surely this important task will be of great gravity to our country, and I will do my utmost to make you, my family, and the Emperor proud.

Your loving son,
Pedro
 

Zlovie

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hehe, a wjole update just to say you started researching better firearms...
great start guys, subscribed

edit: are we gonna see any screenshots in this aar?
 

HannibalBarca

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January 1st 1843 Journal de Reacción
1/4 content, 3/4 decadence!


Profiles in oppression – His Highness Caudillo I, King of the United Crowns of Central America: Part II

-So tell me Your Highness, why is it that the armies of the UCCA are all stationed in Eastern Honduras, with transports being constructed as we speak?

--Training operations. We're invading Hispaniola to train for more important wars.

-Clear with your intentions I see. Isn't there usually an underlying cultural, economical or religious factor that is the cause of the invasion?

-No, of course not. At least, that's the real story. The "Official" story is that the filthy islanders used their Voodoo magic to resurrect Jesus so they could kill him again. That should enrage the Peons enough to send them flocking to join the army. Also, the Western part of the island produces almost enough Tobacco for me to pay the peasants on my massive estate.

-Does your royal highness expect the incorporation of the island Hispaniola to provide a substantial boost to the UCCA economy?

-The UCCA "economy" is a rather abstract idea. In fact, its mostly a business run by myself and my family. Or at least it was. They all lost the drinking contest at last year's family reunion. Lost very badly. But being, the upstanding gentleman that I am, let's move on to more important matters.

-My good traveling companion the Marquis of Leon ý Asturias ý Cork and I have been exploring the cultural establishments of your beautiful capital. I pray it does not sound to petty in your ears if I were to ask you to recommend some of your favorite drinking and dining establishments to us?

-Me? Drinking? With the peons in the streets? Heaven forbid! He Crosses himself. Although, I hear from the butler that El Loro Borracho does a fine something or other.

-I understand your majesty, it was a silly assumption. But after the delights of taste are done with. Surely you must go out for some light entertainment, perhaps you could recommend us a theatre?

-Ah, yes. El Teatro de Rasgones is certainly a fine dramatic establishment. In fact, they will be performing my screenplay detailing the brilliant years of my rule over the UCCA. I play a gallant hero that attempts to save a beautiful maiden while helping the ignorant peasants along the way. You should see the end when I fight the villains! His majesty pulls a rapier from his belt and skewers a servant in a delightful display of swordsmanship.

-Your majesty, I do believe you just mortally wounded that man.

-Mm..tragic. He claps twice PEDRO! Get the body out of my sight.

-I would imagine you would be more distraught over the loss of a member of the household staff, your majesty.

-Oh no, not really. In fact, they seem to keel over and die quite often. Usually its the weak and stupid who can't compete with the others for food.

-Indeed, nature can be cruel. Moving on... You mentioned earlier you have been writing and directing a theatre play. Tell our readers more, will it come to Europe?

-My agents in the field are looking into it, carefully analyzing how well the European armed forces will react to the play. They make careful note of how long it will take them to mobilize and march to the theatre. We believe it will do well.

-Interesting. My traveling companion and I couldn't help but notice that a grand cathedral is being built in the center of Guatemala City. How did your highness finance this grandiose construction?

-I printed several thousands UCCA pesos with my face on it, then quickly spent them before the inflation began to rise in order to obtain building materials. This caused the economy to crash, and thousands starved in the streets, which greatly helped to reduce urban squalor in our cities. In short, the cathedral building program was beneficial to us all.

-Haha, indeed. But wouldn't you say that poverty and slightly dilapidated houses makes for a more picturesque view?

-I have no idea. I commissioned the greatest artists of Europe to make a masterful backdrop to hang just outside my office window, so I would never have to gaze upon the land of the peons. Filthy creatures.

-A wise decision that. But to return to the question at hand, how has the cathedral construction affected your relationship with the Holy See?

-The what?

-The Vatican, your highness

-Err...the Vatican...uh...yes...I know what that is.

-The Vatican is the Pope your majesty, the center of the catholic faith, in Rome

-OHHH. Him, yes. The local cardinal told me that if I gave him several thousand pesos, he would transfer them to the Pope, and he'd be totally okay with it. It's quite peculiar, he redirected most of the artisans at the cathedral to his own summer villa expansion the same day.

-Well, your majesty, we wish you the best of luck in your many coming enterprises.

-I thank you gentlemen. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have the man's itch. PEDRO! Fetch me Carmen! His majesty walks away.
 
Last edited:

TheExecuter

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Oh so deliciously evil...this just begs for a savior to rise from among the peons...Vive la revolucion! :eek:

<skewer>

Any other idiots around?, No? I thought not!

On with the show!
TheExecuter
 

Dysken

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Nigel slammed the dusty tome on the table with a resounding thud. Upsetting several neat piles of paper arranged by the librarian who peered over his glasses with a look that seemed to contain equal amounts despair and murderous rage. Perhaps a wee bit more murder as Nigel shuffled away yet another pile of transcripts in order to open the leatherbound book.

- "Ah! Most exquisite! Jefferson m'boy, you'd better have a look at this." He said as he lightly pinched Jeffersons behind to attract his attention.

Jefferson who had fallen asleep atop a large stack of taxation calendars awoke with a startle and coughed violently at the amount of dust which had made its home in his lungs.

- "Those Jesuits sure knew how to draw, didn't they?" He stroked the front page with his gnarled hand.

The front page was a festival of colours, a circular painting showed a multitude of figures with different occupations. At the top several conquistadors stood with their muskets slung over their shoulders. Further down mayan and other indigenous farmers were at work in cornfields. Gold Ingots, plantations and jesuit missionary activity was also represented. In the middle of the circle the words - "God's work in New Spain, Anno Domini 1621-1643" - were written in Spanish.

Nigel stretched out to turn the page but retracted it and instead reached for his pocketwatch instinctively. It was time for afternoon tea and a two hour nap. His sense of time was always impeccable, the watch was there merely to prove it.

"You continue here Jefferson. God knows, you speak that barbaric tongue better than I ever did" Jefferson nodded as Nigel made headway towards the exit.

A gust of wind entered the locale as Nigel exited. Like a flock of wild horses it made short work of any loose papers - of which there were many - which were lying around. The librarian gripped the sides of his desk so hard his knuckles turned white, his eyes frantically searching for something sharp. The lively papers soon settled down and Jefferson returned to the book. It looked promising, they both had great hopes that this would contain the clue they needed in their search.

Outside the sun hung high in the sky and the dusty streets put a yellow tinge to any fine fabric. Nigel walked round to the back of the Royal Library. He was surprised to find Jawed leaning against a wall, sleeping. He rapped him with his cane and said: "Have you gone native?" He chuckled a bit at his own wit before making it clear that he should put the kettle on and rouse the other servants. As his entourage moved about the supplies he ducked under the silken sunshade and settled in his luxurious divan.
As he shut his eyes to ward off the numerous impressions around him he though back to how he Nigel Galbucket, 4th Earl of Woolston upon Thyne had picked up such a peculiar travel companion. The humid air made him light headed and soon he was back on the dhow, sailing through the Red sea back in 1830.

"Quicker Abdul! Move those sandbags to the other side of the deck!" Nigel shouted from the back. The young boy glistened with sweat as he repeated the menial task for the fourth time.

The old man at the back took in the beautiful view from his seat and sipped his drink thoughtfully. Up the shoreline a small port could be seen on the right side. It seemed like the local slave market was in full swing, the Hejaz truly was a lovely place.

He gestured to the sailors that he would like them to dock the Dhow up ahead so he could take a look at the town.

With the smell of tar and spices filling his nostrils he strolled up the cobbled main street leading to the bazaar. It was there he saw him, Jefferson. His hands tied behind his back and a rope around his neck, his golden locks filthy from months at sea.
 

IamWhoa

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The story is going to take us many exotic places, I see. I had to reread it a couple times to catch the transition to Nigel's memory but exciting nonetheless.

The interviewer of the King is so agreeable too, I love it.
 

TheExecuter

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Yep, I too had difficulty with the transition to the Hejaz, perhaps an extra line of spacing next time?

Interesting to hear some of the background of our heroes...ends up posing more questions though...questions only YOU can answer!

TheExecuter
 

HannibalBarca

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Mama,

I am lucky to be alive. The last few months have been terribly trying to myself and to the remaining man of my unit. I assume you have already heard the news about our glorious victories in Hispanola. I was proud to be a part of it, but it came at such a terrible cost...

We arrived on the eastern shores of Honduras in May of 1843. Almost immediately we were told to stand at attention and face forward, as Emperor Caudillo himself rode forwards on a white stallion. I could feel my heart thumping in my chest and my bowels loosening as I looked the great man in the face.

'Men!' His Excellency boomed in a rich baritone, 'It gives me great pride to see all of you dressed in the stylish uniforms of flourescent purple that I myself designed. Some would say that it makes you a target nearly impossible to miss seeing, but those FOOLS have no grasp of my strategy. Our brave intelligence analysts have determined that our enemies, the Dominican scoundrels,' he spat majestically, 'have an Achilles heel.' He paused dramatically, the hot, mid-day sun gleaming off of his multitude of splendid golden jewelry. 'Finite ammunition! Therefore, it is my cunning plan to send you forward gallantly, in repeated waves, against the Dominican positions that will surely be lining the beaches where we will land. Eventually, the Dominicans will run out of bullets and be FORCED to surrender! Serve your country, and more importantly me, well, my men!' With that, his Majesty rode off towards his retainers, several of whom were holding fans or chilled drinks.

We were then coralled onto a flotilla of rickety old transports, with what appeared to be the logo of an American fruit company hastily painted over with a crudely drawn picture of His Majesty. We then set sail towards Hispanola. The week-long trip was agonizingly painful, I was never able to keep even the least amount of food down. Other men like me lined the rails of the deck, vomiting, or tried to sleep whenever their stomach was not angrily protesting against the waters. When we finally arrived off of the Dominican shores, we entered a world of nightmares.

Hastily constructed earthenwork forts lined the beaches. Our rickety boats often capsized in waves little over half a meter high, and we were forced to wade shore. I rallied my men to me, and, following the shouted commands of someone who sounded like he was in authority, we rushed towards our dusky foes. The animal-like screams of the half-human Dominicans mingled with the courageous shouts of our own brave soldiers and the pitiful moans and shreiks of both sides' wounded and dying. I could not help but notice that more of our men were falling then theirs, this fact was brought home when I glanced behind me and found two of my subordnates following where there had seven when we first waded ashore. Nevertheless, we pressed on, resolute.

We finally reached the Dominican fortifications, such as they were, and my men and I leaped over the ramparts. I landed on top of a Negro, who looked to be no more than 15, but a murderous fire burned in his eyes as he looked up at me. He snarled and attempted to roll out from under me to sieze his fallen rife. Just as he grasped his hand around the butt of the gun, I shoved my bayonet into his spine. A blood curdling scream broke from his mouth, and one of my men put him out of his misery with a musket ball to the head. We pressed on towards the second line of Dominican forts. As we charged across the deadly terrain between the defensive belts, the withering fire took the life of one of the two remaining men following me. Just as it began to look as though the ragged line of our troops could never reach the enemy trenches, their fire began to slacken off. The Emperor had been correct! As their supply of bullets ran out, the frightened Dominicans began to run for their lives or simply surrender. It was a short march from the beaches to the capital, Santo Domingo, which we entered in triumph...