• 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

Woody Man

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I feel strange..
 

Eams

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phargle said:
And friends, I continue to prostrate myself before you in hopes of receiving your ACA vote. Canonized talks to me daily on instant messenger and I want to be able to stand up to that bully. Only you can give me the strength I need!

Onward!
About that, I'm going to vote for ComradeOm's "Les Journals d'Artois" as best CK comedy, and "Timelines" as best EU3 Narrative. Feel free to tell me if I can expect to recieve any death-threats from you as a result of that.
Oh, and I envision the average Knytling woman to look a bit like a cross between Scarlet Johansson (...plain) and Cthulhu (rawr!).
 

phargle

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Eams said:
About that, I'm going to vote for ComradeOm's "Les Journals d'Artois" as best CK comedy, and "Timelines" as best EU3 Narrative. Feel free to tell me if I can expect to recieve any death-threats from you as a result of that.
Why do you hate me?!

The feud with canonized emerged as a joke because his Timelines appears to have won one less ACA award than my Knýtlings. We work together on many projects and have quite a friendly rivalry. If he wins two this cycle and I win zero, he will have the winningest AAR - and I don't want to let that happen without a fight. I also want to crush him, drive his AAR before me, and hear the lamentations of his readers.

In seriousness, I want you and all of my readers to vote for their favorite AAR for each category. The best writers deserve to win. If that is not me, then I will celebrate the victors. If that is me, then I will celebrate my readers. I'm grateful enough to have so many dedicated and attentive readers. I just wanted to make sure you all knew that this matured (crusty?) AAR is still something I want y'all to consider when casting your vote.

Onward!
 

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phargle said:
I also want to crush him, drive his AAR before me, and hear the lamentations of his readers.
But a lot of his readers are also your readers, which means that we are your mongolianish womenfolk who help you attack the man who's also our hubby, big daddy, rearguard in the prison showers, man of the yurt, depraved old Ottoman garrison commander etc.

And yes, crusty is the correct term :p
 

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I'ma reverse Kurosawa this shiznit.

The Maidenly Adventures of Queen Judith

As told with many pictures. And few words.

(the quality is low because there's a lot of them. pictures that is. the low quality of the words is all my fault though.)

1410 - 1413



"In a far-away land in a far-away time, there lived a princess. In her sun-lit kingdom, the beautiful princess was never expected to do anything awful like expel Jews from Spain because her uncle Blazej is some sort of hateful man-troll."
I started writing a new story.

It's about a princess who escapes her miserable life by writing stories.

No, it's not an autobiography. See, she's a princess and I'm a queen.

They're totally different.




"The princess had a vivid and rich imagination. Up in her tower, she was never bothered by viziers or tax collectors or church officials. Decisions like lowering census taxes or raising church donations were never hers to make. She simply scribbled on her notepad everything that came into her head. There were tales of knights and dragons, of kingdoms and barbarians, of princesses and woe. Most of all, the princess loved to write about the triumph of friendship over despair. She was a very good writer, and certainly did not profit from being so dainty and from having such perfect skin and hair. Her success at writing was strictly driven by her enormous ability. It's important to note that her bosom was also sufficiently enormous, well, not enormous but definitely of a proud size, and the important thing is that people would not have pretend to like her writing just to see it. One day, she locked herself in her tower and began writing. She had a story bubbling up inside her from the tips of her toes. It needed to get out, and she needed to write it before she burst. It was about a hero named. . . a warrior named . . . it was about a great swordsman, and his name was. . . "



"Walram was already famous for his knightly deeds when he arrived in Champagne. Lean and chiseled, with a very nice body that any princess would have loved to look at discretely but chastely, Walram was the iconic image of a chivalric knight. He was brave and true, skilled and cunning. He was also ready to retire. Walram had spent his years fighting wickedness and evil in distant lands, and the best years of his young life were behind him. He felt it was time to settle down with a wife and family. Walram married a girl who he thought was nice, but she might have been nice in the beginning, but she was unkind to him by the time they both arrived in Champagne. Walram was honest and true, so he remained faithful to her, but his heart wanted to fly."
This story is missing something.

"And then a girl named Judith---- Judy came to town. Judy was a burst of energy. Her skin was totally perfect, without even a single blemish, but not so perfect that she looked like some sort of awful and fake Catalan girl that everybody seems to want. Her hair was like sunshine-- ponies. Her hair was like ponies, perfect and prancing and all shades of gold. No, maybe it was like sunshine. Ponies sometimes smell like poop, and Judi--- Judy's hair never smelled like anything other than fine berries or a soft rain, not poop. And her eyes sparkled, because Judy was perfectly happy. She laughed without remorse and cried without regret. Vivacious and slender, pale and beautiful, she was as honest and true a creature as had ever been born. And she was instantly in love with Walram, and he with her, although he could not come to her because he was already married. Judy knew it, so she kept her distance because she was a virtuous girl, but not so virtuous that she wouldn't be able to make a man happy or anything like that because she has certainly had lots of boyfriends and all of them obviously left her because there was something wrong with them and not her, and Walram kept his distance too. But Walram's heart ached whenever he saw the girl. It was like he had been shown how to fly. Walram tried to busy himself in work. His friends--- no, brothers--- no, friends as close as brothers Blazej and Strybjörn had retired with him, and all were eager to have normal lives. Normal lives had no place for astonishing girls like Judy. Girls like her only came along in stories."



"Walram's life in Champagne was simple but not boring. He bought a cottage for his himself and his wife, and used his ducats to start a business as an innkeeper. He named the inn-- maybe it was a tavern-- he named the tavern. . . it was called. . . "
Someone's at my door. One moment.

Blazej expanded our domain near Skåne? That's uh, splendid.

No, it's wonderful. Thank you. Goodbye.

"It was called Skåne tavern, and Walram threw himself into his work. Champagne was a dangerous country in those days, with English and Burgundinian brigands roaming the countryside. Maybe it was Walram's reputation as a bold and noble knight. Maybe it was the arrival of his friend Bjørn, who was dying from some Turkish disease but was still a dangerous fighter, although the author wants you to know that she doesn't know anything about Turkish diseases, and certainly nothing on a first-hand basis about how they make you itch, and how all of your cousins talk about it later on but weren't complaining at the time. Whatever the reason, the bandits left the Skåne tavern alone, and that suited Walram just fine. He had fought for his whole life, and his life in Champagne was an opportunity to do something normal."



"A great party was thrown in Champagne to celebrate Judy's arrival, and Judy was so rich and beautiful that everybody else chipped in to pay for it, leaving her with nothing to do but show up because everyone else was so generous instead of being greedy and moneygrubbing and always counting expenses, which is really an unreasonable thing to do, all things considered. It's not like we-- I mean Judy -- It's not like Judy doesn't have thousands of ducats or anything. She is very rich, and nobody cares how she spends her wealth, but they love her so much that they spend their money on her instead of the other way around. Walram went to the party and saw Judy there, and he could not take his eyes off her for the longest time. Eventually, Walram forced himself to look away, and Judy did too. Walram wanted a ordinary life. Life with Judy would not be ordinary. It would be extraordinary. Unfortunately, things were the way they were and could not change. That's how life works. It would take something big to make things change. And, unfortunately, something big was coming."



"One day, some evil and cruel Burgundinian went to war against the lands of Aragon. Oh, poo. I mean Champagne. They went to war against the lands of Champagne. Walram was brave and noble and true, and he tried and tried to stay out of it, but Blazej and Strybjörn dragged him into it. They were noble and true as well, and they really wanted to stand and fight the Burgundinians. Walram knew where that would lead, and just wanted to leave the situation alone, but eventually he was so noble and true that he had to get involved as well. He could not stand by and watch his friends take up their swords again without doing the same. And, of the three knights, he was undoubtedly the finest. And so Walram walked into his tavern named the Skåne and opened his closet, wherein he had placed his mail shirt and his golden sword. He took up his shirt and sword and prepared to protect the people of Champagne from all harm."

"The princess in the tower took a moment to look over her writing. She was very modest and humble, but even she could see that she was a very good writer. She was a bit in love with her Walram character because he seemed so heroic and handsome, although Walram's exotic and enigmatic ally Bjørn also seemed enticing and attracted her love too. She felt a bit embarrassed to be in love with her characters, but that was just the sort of big-hearted and enthusiastic princess she was. On the other hand, she was also chaste and pure. Although the curve in her breast was perfect, and although the line of her hips was youthful and girly, but not inappropriately girly because she was really a fully-grown woman and not at all underdeveloped in any way that a man would think unseemly or that other girls would make fun of, she never did anything naughty while thinking about her characters. She just poured her love into her writing. Because her tower door locked, nobody ever walked in on her doing anything inappropriate. Not that she was doing anything inappropriate to begin with. Because that's how chaste she was."



"Walram tried to avoid fighting the bandits at first. There were plenty of men in Champagne to take care of the problems that surrounded him, and Walram felt that he did not yet need to get seriously involved. Instead, he devoted himself to keeping the peace. That gave him plenty of time to ride his stallion through the countryside, work at his tavern the Skåne, and do other knightly things. Along the way, he inadvertently, or so he thought, met Judy. Of course, she was very sly and was not at all afraid of taking what she wanted in life, and didn't care at all that people might think that she was not a perfect girl or anything like that, so maybe it wasn't inadvertent at all. In fact, it wasn't. She arranged to make sure she would be where Walram would be, and the two ended up talking. Judy smiled and was dazzling, and Walram was enamored of her but maintained his knightly chastity. They merely talked and flirted. Walram said, 'If love is so transcendent, I don't understand these boundaries.' She said, 'Just don't disappoint me. You know how complex women are.' Meanwhile, the fighting against the Burgundinian bandits only grew worse. Walram thought he could stay uninvolved, but it was not to be."



"The tension that existed between the Burgundinians and Walram and his friends eventually erupted into open conflict. Although it was easy at first, and Walram bravely defused the situation with his quick wit and skill at swords, the die had been cast. The defeated and routed Burgundinians swore that they would have their vengeance. Walram was noble and idealistic and hoped he could keep his family and friends safe without further fighting. His friend Bjørn knew better. Although his body was wasting away from the Turkish illness, his mind was still sharp, and he knew that the Burgundinian bandits would make good on their threads. He hoped Walram would be ready when that day happened. He hoped he would be ready too."
Oh my. This story is very thrilling.

I've been struggling to find a way to squeeze a unicorn into it.




"The princess was very pleased with her story. The scope of what she was writing started to dawn on her, and she realized it was the best story that had ever been written. This was, of course, to be expected; the princess was not locked up in her tower as a punishment, but because she was so marvelous and intelligent. It was a way to make sure she could write without being distracted by anything. The only thing she let distract her was her unicorn. It was white as snow, warm as milk, creamy as butter and wonderful to ride. The princess would ride the unicorn in the early hours of the morning when it was cool and breezy and she was still wearing a light dress that she slept in, and it was the most amazing thing ever. She rode it, and rode it, and rode it, and rode it, and rode it, and rode it, and rode it until she could ride it no longer, and then turned and rode all the way home in a flashing crescendo of horns and hooves. There were no unicorns in her story of course, because nobody would believe they existed, but they really did. There was nothing wrong at all with riding that unicorn either, no matter what her awful uncle might say, and his jokes about it were really off-putting and kind of gross. And so the princess ignored her wicked step-uncle and instead committed herself to her work, and made sure to write about how the bandits from Burgundy tried to make it look like they weren't actually going to fight Walram. It was actually a trap, but Walram hoped it wasn't a trap and then the princess couldn't stop thinking about that unicorn so she stopped writing and rode it hard. Sometimes, you just have to ride a unicorn more than once, you know?"
Oh. I know.




"That was when Walram heard that the Burgundinian bandits were waiting for him in . . . uh, they were waiting for him in Provence and Dijon, another tavern across town. Walram knew he couldn't let the Burgundinian bandits cause more trouble, but he really wanted to avoid a fight that was unnecessary. Walram hated it when people died. His friends Blazej and Styrbjörn wanted a fight though, and Walram wasn't going to let them go alone, so he took his sword out of the closet again and walked with them to Provence and Dijon. Bjørn, although he was nearly bed-ridden by the Turkish disease-- that's creative writing, because a Turkish disease just makes you itchy and a bit crazy, not that I'd know but I heard it from somebody who said something like that to me-- anyway, he he was nearly bed-ridden, but he knew Walram would be outnumbered and didn't want him to get killed, so he forced himself from his bed, took his own sword, and followed Walram and the others to Provence. And Dijon. The tavern. When they got there, the Burgundinians were ready for a fight but thought Walram would come alone. When they saw the three friends, and especially when they saw Bjørn, they started to get a little worried. Although they had numbers, the men they faced had a grim reputation for fighting. The two sides stood there watching each other, hands on their swords, each waiting for the other side to make a move. Blazej spoke-- no, wait, Styrbjörn spoke-- no, Blazej, but let's pretend it was a Blazej that doesn't sound creepy and slobbery when he talks, and he said, 'Toss down your weapons, you brigands, and we shall let you live.' And then it was quiet again, the scene frozen like a reflection on a lake, with leaves falling from above sending ripples where they hit. And then Walram saw the ripples, and he knew there would be blood, and in despair he drew his sword."



The armies of Aragon swarm across the plains of Burgundy, but has Chancellor Blazej sent too few troops to meet the threat? They fight for Queen and country and for the glory of the daughter of Scions. Can they prevail and unify what is left of France? Or will Burgundy rally in time to repel the invaders? Aragon has so many men that it's a matter of time before they win, but Judith may not have time - or be willing to see so many people die. The critical battle is fought and Judith loses someone close to her as the adventures of Judith Knýtling continue!​
 

El Pip

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Eams said:
But a lot of his readers are also your readers
Don't worry, I'm not. :p

I am loyal only to phargle, not the heretical and not-actually-as-good evil one who shall not be named.
 

phargle

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Research for this AAR is the best thing ever.


robou, I am not sure how it took you so long to notice this. I'm glad you're here now and I am glad it amuses you!

orlanth2000, yeah, the lull was unforgivable. I hope you still <3 me.

El Pip, crusading sheep are fantastic. Every AAR needs them. Will unicorns suffice? And I have to admit, the dodgy uncle was originally meant to provide an heir to succeed Judith. How he became a villain is quite unclear, but that's what he is. Also, you are the commander of all things awesome and I will gladly bear any of your children, in whatever order you think most appropriate.

Snugglie, yeah, it's got a soap opera feel. But hasn't it always?

4th Dimension, war is what Judith will make loads of. Er. War is that of which Judith will make loads. Uh. Grammar!

General Jac, now whatever gave you the idea that Judith was stressed out? :)

Murmurandus, it took me three seconds to get the Dithly duo joke, and it put a smile on my face when I got it. Dith indeed!

English Patriot, why do you feel strange?

Eams, this is a knife --> O==|======- Now imagine it stabbing you. ---> _____oo___

Onward!
 

unmerged(83622)

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Oh, talk about neurotic. Soon she'll either go crazy, incestuous, or merge with the paper.
 

El Pip

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phargle said:
El PipAlso, you are the commander of all things awesome and I will gladly bear any of your children, in whatever order you think most appropriate.
All I ask is a chance to serve. And to see canonized cry as he realises his undeniable not-as-goodness, obviously. :D
 

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phargle said:
Yum

why do you feel strange?

I'm taken aback by the brutal un-knytlingness of Queen Judith, if only Blazej could be of more help :wacko:
 

phargle

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That's hot.

The Maidenly Adventures of Queen Judith

As told with many pictures. And few words.

(the quality is low because there's a lot of them. pictures that is. the low quality of the words is all my fault though.)

1413



"Walram drew his sword and swiftly cut down a Burgundinian named Bertrand. Blazej and Strybjörn leapt into action as well, with the more experienced Blazej swinging his bastard sword in wide arcs to keep the Burgundinians at bay while the younger Strybjörn engaged a bandit at his side. Three more Burgundinian thugs inside the tavern broke the window with their weapons and attacked through it with vicious polearms, slicing Strybjörn across the belly. He fell, crawling away, and then Bjørn stepped over his body and smashed a heavy mace into the wall above the bandits. The entire facade collapsed, giving Bjørn the advantage as he engaged his enemies. Behind him, a Burgundinian made a run for it and Walram engaged him, piercing him once in the head and once in the leg. He quickly turned to parry a thrust aside, and watched helplessly as a bandit planted a dagger in Blazej's thigh. Walram struggled against his foe's grip, and the two men tumbled face-to-face into the inn. Outside, Bjørn cut down Blazej's attacker from behind and then casually finished off the three bandits pinned beneath the rubble. Walram rolled on top of his enemy and pressed the long edge of his sword into the man's throat, and with that the fight was over. The three friends and Bjørn had won the day, with Walram and Bjørn unhurt and Blazej and Strybjörn escaping with minor injuries."



"The princess was greatly pleased with her writing. It seemed very true to life, although the princess had never been in a sword fight herself. It all sounded very scary and exciting. Of course, being a princess, she was in no way responsible for violence and other unpleasantness that happened in the reign, even though her wicked step-uncle always tried to make her feel terrible when armies killed other armies because some of the armies wore her colors. It wasn't as if a princess had any control over who wore her colors, after all, being only a princess. The princess suspected her wicked step-uncle knew that, and suspected that he just came by to stare at her chest, which made her feel really bad and icky and it wasn't really fair because she should feel really good about that sort of thing, especially since it should be wonderful princes doing the staring and not gross step-uncles. You'd think she was actually encouraging the wicked step-uncle or something, which wasn't true, except for that one time when he told her it cured headaches and that shouldn't really count. Because even princess make mistakes."



"Walram had beaten the Burgundinians, but he knew that they would crave revenge for the killings. He could find no comfort in his wife, who grew colder with each passing day, nor could he find any comfort in Judy. Judy was an honorable girl and wouldn't dream of compromising a man's matrimonial oaths, unless the man was really good-looking that is, which Walram was. But Judy restrained herself and did not give in to any urges or any kind, and all Walram could do was watch and wait as the storm grew worse and worse. Meanwhile, Bjørn became even more sick, like with boils or something that you get in unmentionable places or somewhere due to Turkish diseases, and it seemed that he might die. This made the Burgundinians feel like the time was approaching for their revenge, because Bjørn was known to be a terrific fighter, and he was very loyal to Walram. With him bed-ridden, the time would be right to strike."



I hope I'm not neglecting my queenly duties too much.

Blazej came by to tell me that Count Raymond was sacking Chalons.

I wish Blazej would not schedule meetings for three in the morning.




Actually, I wish he'd schedule meetings rather than just come by unannounced.

Back to my story. . .





"It was a dark and stormy night. Blazej was doing everything he could to keep Champagne safe, a task which did not in any way require bothering princesses during the wee hours when they were sleeping without any clothes on so they could get into the minds of their characters, which is really very reasonable and not at all the sort of thing a chancellor should bother himself with or even know, because now he won't stop coming by for night-time meetings. I mean Blazej in the story of course, and I mean he was doing a good job and not a bad job. And the bandits knew that Blazej, the eldest of the three friends, was the one in charge, and knew they could not defeat Walram, so they went after Blazej instead. He was walking home one evening after leaving the Skåne tavern when three men came up behind him and stabbed him in the back. Blazej pulled out a sword, but he was already on his knees before it was halfway out of its scabbard, and so he fell into the mud, defeated and alone."



"The treacherous bandits left Blazej there to die. The wounded knight crawled through the storm, finally making it back to the Skåne tavern where Walram was resting. Walram leapt to his feet when he saw his wounded friend, and he quickly summoned priests to do whatever it is priests do to cure people. I think it has something to do with our naughty places. That's what they did, although it might be different for boys, and Blazej was barely saved, but the damage had been done. Blazej was too badly hurt to continue the fight, and he had to go home. What the heroes did not know was that the assassins were not done. The evening was still young, and they had murders yet to perpetrate."



"Styrbjörn, who was much beloved to the princess, purely as a character of course, and not in the sort of way that would ever inspire her to attend his sermons without any undergarments on, did not even see his attackers. Just like with Blazej, he was struck from behind. An archer crept silently through the pouring rain and fired a single arrow through the window of his cottage into his back. Styrbjörn tried to fight back, but was unable to get to his weapon before stumbling to the ground. The priests came to save him too, and Walram begged God for him to stay, but Styrbjörn's time had come. The priests looked at Walram and shook their heads, and they took Styrbjörn away. The princess-- I mean Walram-- he would never see Styrbjörn again. Walram dreamed passionate dreams of Strybjörn that night-- I mean Judy did-- I mean, it was the princess who did that, because she missed him so badly and had an emptiness in her that could not be filled. By the character. That she had written out of the story. It was, uh, it was very sad."



"Walram rushed to the door and staggered out into the rain. He was positively overwhelmed with despair, which means he was being rained on, I think. His hands were coated with the blood of his friends, and even Bjørn could not get out of bed to help him go after the attackers. Walram shouted at the storm but his voice was drowned out, and he shouted at the crowd but they just looked on in stunned silence. Judy rushed from her cottage to comfort the grieving knight, but he spent his fury on her, demanding that she leave him be. The confused girl ran into the dark, crying as she ran, knowing that she would be alone and so would Walram, which was terrible because now was when he needed her most. And she needed him. She needed him so badly. Walram didn't know, so he just collapsed in the rain and wept, only looking up once to see his wife in the crowd. His eyes begged her to come help him, but she only turned and walked away, leaving Walram with nobody."




"The princess paused for a moment. She stretched her fingers out experimentally, letting the stress from clutching the pen intensify before faiding away. She had been writing all night, and the story was making her so sad that she was crying. Her make-up, which was normally a perfectly-appropriate amount of dark eyeliner for someone her age and not at all skanky or trashy no matter what Blazej might say, was running down her face and it made her look terrible. She wiped it away, but of course she didn't look really terrible, because she was so beautiful and elegant that she was even beautiful when she had make-up running down her face. She had written Walram into quite a predicament. His friends were badly injured or dead, and he was all alone without even a girl to love him. Bjørn had always been there for him, even though Bjørn was the kind of man who most people thought was only out for himself, but she had even written that into a corner because Bjørn was sicker now, not that the princess had any first-hand knowledge of any diseases like that because she was always chaste and never fooled around with any of her cousins from the Middle East. How could she save her characters? She loved them dearly, loved them more than anybody she knew in the real world, even going so far as to think about them while doing something not at all princessly now and then that she had to tell her confessor about, even though he wasn't a very good confessor because he told everybody else what she said, and she didn't want her characters to suffer any more. But she knew they would have to suffer before they could prevail. If they could prevail. And so she bent down to the paper and wrote more, writing of how Walram left Champagne in defeat, of how he planned to go home to Aragon-- to wherever he was from, and how his enemies, not content with the evil they had already done, sent assassins to finish him off once and for all."



Fifty thousand men were not enough to finish off Burgundy. Who would have guessed that? And now Aragon must send another wave of attackers to reinforce the first. Meanwhile Burgundy has mustered its armies and is fighting back. Battle rages at Dijon and Aragon is off-balance. King Bobslaw of Burgundy is fighting a martial named Gentile at Lyon, and things look grim there too. Will the armies of Aragon rally? Will France be united under the banner of the beautiful queen Judith? Or will Aragon be forced to accept a less-than-pleasant peace? And what in the name of God will Judith write next? All will be revealed as the war reaches an amazing conclusion and the adventures of Judith Knýtling continue!​
 
Last edited:

Eams

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El Pip said:
Don't worry, I'm not. :p
And knowing that he has your undivided attention is something which will no doubt cause good phargle to wake up in the middle of many nights to scream out the unrestrained horror steming from the very depths of his now tortured soul :p
I say, phargle's given me a knife!
Though I must congratulate phargle on the umpteenth showing of the "Disaster!..." event
 

Eams

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phargle said:
Now you're just making fun of me.
No, I'm honoring the fact that you've managed to keep the spirit of incompetence and cowardice which Knud displayed back in post 1 alive all throughout this epic tale, while at the same time creating a series of massive kingdoms.
The real life von Habsburgs are mere amateurs in comparison
 

robou

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you are getting that event quite a lot, but with that ammount of troops it is a) not too bad and b) expected. And 330 men versus 21,000... is that really a battle?
 

EvilSanta

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A story inside a story?

A HOT story I might add.
 

unmerged(83622)

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There is need for a lot of "Disaster!"-events for it to have effect on the phallus-symbol that is the Knýtling army. :p
 

phargle

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The end . . . for Burgundy.

The Maidenly Adventures of Queen Judith

As told with many pictures. And few words.

(the quality is low because there's a lot of them. pictures that is. the low quality of the words is all my fault though.)

1413 - 1414



"It was dark. Two men with crossbows crept quietly through the empty streets towards the carriage up ahead. The carriage was there to take Blazej and Walram out of Champagne. Inside, they would be sitting ducks for the two crossbowmen now approaching. One of the assassins spied Blazej in the window of the carriage and raised his weapon to shoot the injured knight. Just as the unwitting carriage began pulling away, Walram cleared his throat from behind the assassin. The man whirled, but it was too late to avoid being shot himself, and he fell to the ground with a bolt in his chest. Walram, Bjørn, and their two men-at-arms armed with crossbows of their own surrounded the other assassin. Walram pushed him to the ground with the tip of his sword. Staring down his would-be killer, Walram tossed a document to him. It bore a royal seal. 'Can you read it?' Walram scornfully demanded of his captive. 'It's a proclaimation from the king of France. It invests me as the new duke of Champagne.' He let the words sink in as he pressed the tip of his sword into the man's forehead. 'It means I'm going to kill every man of Burgundy I see,' he continued. 'So run! Run and tell them I'm coming! Tell them death is coming! And hell's coming with me!''"




"The slaughter that followed was truly terrible. Walram and his allies road around the countryside killing every Burgundinian they found. Well, all of the bad ones. Not the good ones. Just the ones that did bad things like hurt good people or stare at girls they shouldn't stare at, for example when the girls were changing their clothes before going to bed an hour early in hopes of avoiding their wicked step-uncles entirely, or while mounting a horse or something like that because those dresses always hike up a bit which is why normal people look away, not like Blazej who always seems to be around to help, which is why I hate horses. The battle of vengeance eventually took Walram to one of the leaders of the Burgundinians named-- his name was--- uh, he was called-- a bandit named Dijon. If Dijon could be defeated, the strength of the Burgundinians would almost certainly be broken, but Dijon was ready. He cornered Walram in a ferocious fight. Walram was outnumbered, outflanked, and Bjørn was sick and unable to even rise and do battle. It appeared all was lost. There was not even anywhere to run. Dijon laughed because he believed he had finally defeated Walram despite the great cost in lives. Everybody was relying on Walram to do something. But what could he do?"

"The princess who was writing the story was very happy with how things were going. Every time she wrote anything about the valiant Walram, she felt a tickle in her belly, kind of like when you eat too many onions but you try to keep it a secret so you eat some butter to cover up the scent of the onions, except not as disgusting and much nicer. If ever the princess was to find love, would her love be up to the standards of what she had written? For she was a wonderful princess, with very thin ankles and thighs that looked very nice in a dress, thank you very much, especially the dresses she was wearing at all hours these days just in case her perverted step-uncle decided to surprise her by visiting her in her bedroom-- I mean her tower. They were very nice dresses that maintained her modesty while also making sure she still looked nice, but of course she was the sort of princess who could wear anything and still look nice, and never had to worry if a dress made her look fat, not that it would be a bad thing to look fat because it's not like anybody was looking at her in that way anyway except for her wicked step-uncle, except in the story everybody looked at the princess that way because she looked nice and they weren't her relatives."




"Just then, Walram--"
Have I mentioned how much I hate Blazej?

He just told me that my brother George is fighting in Chalons.

If George dies, Blazej will be king. This is terrible!




He won! Thank goodness! I'm saved! I'm so happy I could just kiss someone.

. . . considering what passes for a courtier in Aragon, I should probably rephrase that.

I am so happy, I could just politely nod to someone.




Now, where was I? Ah, yes.

"Walram rose suddenly from cover. Drawing his sword and praying to God, he started striding across the field to where Dijon and his men were. When Dijon saw Walram, he knew it would all soon be over. 'He's mine!' the vile warrior exclaimed, and he leapt from the bushes with his bow. He fired one shot. It missed. He nocked another arrow and let it fly, and it sailed lazily past Walram. Frustrated, Dijon loosed another arrow and it went nowhere, and then Walram was so close that Dijon had to draw his sword. He never got it out; Walram roared a battlecry and brought his sword down upon the Burgundinian, cutting him down in one blow. Dijon's stunned followers scattered and fled. Bjørn and the men-at-arms could scarcely believe what they had witnessed. They had been outnumbered and surrounded, and yet Walram had someone made the other side flee by cutting down the leader. They all proclaimed it a miracle and crossed themselves."




It worked on paper. . . oh well.





"With Dijon dead, leadership of the Burgundinian bandits fell to the desperate Robert. Robert was a famed warrior, one of the deadliest swordsmen in all of Champagne, and Walram knew he would have to kill him to finally end the conflict. As long as Robert was alive, Walram's life and the lives of his friends would be at risk. The problem was that Walram was good, but he wasn't that good. And he knew he could not avoid this fight. Still, Walram was very brave, so brave that a princess would be lucky to even meet him, or maybe even touch him, well I mean hug in this case, or maybe just have some nice conversation that wouldn't necessarily lead to anything, although it would be nice to have conversation at all before anybody tried anything, for example her step-uncle, except now that I think about it things are just better off when he doesn't talk because it's just creepy. That's how brave Walram was. Even though he knew he would probably die, he decided to go fight Robert one-on-one to settle once and for all the feud between Champagne and the Burgundinians. Bjørn was too sick to follow when Walram left, so he watched as his friend went away to certain doom. They had fought the good fight, but now it appeared that things were finally coming to an end. At least they could all say they tried. But then Bjørn had a better idea."




"Robert was waiting there in the clearing. A cool breeze, the kind that princesses pretend they don't notice when they blow through skirts, kicked up leaves around the ominous warrior. Looking up, Robert saw the figure of a swordsman approaching. 'I didn't think you'd come,' the arrogant, evil, smelly, perverted, wicked step-uncle said. And then the figure spoke, and it was Bjørn. 'My fight's not with you,' Robert said nervously. 'I beg to differ,' Bjørn replied. He slowly circled the bandit, waiting for him to move. Robert circled in turn, unwilling to start a fight that he knew would result in his death. Finally, when he felt he had the advantage, he went for his sword; but Bjørn was too fast and with a flash he ran Robert through. Robert swayed back and forward and tried to hold onto Bjørn, but he was mortally wounded and eventually kicked over backwards onto the earth. It was then that Walram arrived for what he expected was his last fight; his surprise when he realized what Bjørn had done left him speechless. 'Why? How?' was all he could say. Bjørn surveyed Walram peacefully and said, 'You're my friend.' 'I have a lot of friends,' Walram said. 'I don't,' Bjørn replied. With that, the two men left the clearing, leaving behind the fallen body of the Burgundinian bandit." They had won.





"It wasn't long after that Bjørn lay dying, the final exersion having taking the last of his remaining strength. Walram hid his tears, unable to admit that he was losing such a valuable friend. Bjørn looked up at him and begged him to leave. 'There's more for you out there,' he told Walram. 'Go find that girl who loved you so much. Go find that lovely Judy, the one with the perfect nose and who has breasts that are sized appropriately to indicate that she is desirable yet aren't so large that she is some sort of perverted fantasy. Please don't watch me die.' Walram again could only nod. He knew Bjørn was proud and knew he didn't want anyone to see him in such a state of weakness. 'Thank you for being my friend,' he told the dying knight. And then he turned and walked away. After much walking and soul-searching, he eventually found Judy once more. 'I have nothing left,' he told the girl. 'I've lost everything doing what I thought I had to do.' Of course, these words were so romantic that Judy couldn't help but forgive Walram for everything, and she told him how much she loved him, and how much she hoped every day for him to come back and sweep her off her feet and take her away from the wicked world full of awful step-uncles and stupid responsibilities. Walram told her that she was perfect and amazing and smart and pretty, and that she would make a really terrific queen or princess or whatever else she might want to be. They both lived happily ever after and never left each other's side, no matter how bad things got; and they never got bad anyway."




"And then the princess turned the page. Her story was finished. She had spent so long in the tower that she had lost track of time in the outside world, but it didn't matter because she was aging very gracefully and wasn't at all getting on in years, and most of the stuff that was going on wasn't really interesting anyway, least of all to a princess, but if she was interested she'd be very good at it, of course. Her story made her happy because it had all the things she loved. It had romance and bravery, valor and loyalty, and of course a wonderful heroine named Judy, which is a very pretty name. The princess wondered if she would ever be able to write such a fantastic story every again, and maybe she could. If she ever did, she promised herself this: it would have unicorns. The end."


Aragon crushes Burgundy and expands its domain over most of France. Judith rules a Knýtling empire not seen since the days of Rolf and Niels. But trouble emerges when Jirí, also known as George, becomes the papal controller and the vassals start demanding more power. And when Judith expands her realm in France and the German Knýtling emperor finally falls, an opportunity emerges to restore an ancient throne to the line of Knud. What throne will it be? How will this happen? Will treason be in the air? The answers will come when you read as the adventures of Judith Knýtling continue!​