• Hearts of Iron IV Survey

    Help us make HoI IV better by sharing your experiences in this 5 minute survey


  • 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

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man

Presenting
From the WARPED and TWISTED mind of TUFTO,
An AAR featuring a cast of Doges, Kings, Grim Reapers, Overseers, Dukes, Vampires, Spies, Romans, Jack'O'Lanterns, and Venetians,

ONE MORE FOR PERDITION
A Venetian Narrative AAR, in a Fantasical setting.


All and any comments are welcome, and are also actively encouraged. Welcome to the AAR! :)

Prologue

29th April 1458.

The single lantern beamed through the darkness, waving back and forth across the sea. The faint light of the City of World's Desire glowed like a candle, whispering around the city walls and through the ancient streets.

A man sat in a rowing boat, watching the light. He began, slowly, to row past the Acropolis and into the Golden Horn, ignoring the buzz of noise in the city and the vast, looming shapes of the Venetian carracks above him.

They'd never see him down here. Constantinople was not known for its military prowess or skilful watchmen, after the defeats it had suffered in recent years. As a member state of the Empire of the Venetian Republic, however, it had managed to limp on, clinging to life against the Turkish onslaughts

Anyway, even if they did see him, they still couldn't kill him.

After an hour of intense rowing, he reached the opposite shore. The walls of Galata rose up, restored by Emperor Manuel and raised anew, shortly after the Roman loss in the Balkan war. It was Venetian money and Venetian interests which drove the Roman Empire now, not the hopes of feeble old men.

The man began to creep along the edge of the wall, hoping that the Venetians who manned the little colony's walls wouldn't notice him. It would cause a lot of trouble and unnecessary paperwork. Reaching the gate, he knocked on it thrice , before muttering the password: "The wolf will live with the lamb".

For what seemed like an age, there was silence. The man looked up at the moon, at its faint, crescent shape, and the bright light which watched all things. The sun was nothing compared to this beauty.

Then, at last, a whisper was fed through the rock. "But the lion will conquer all."

With a thud and an almighty creak, the doors of the gate opened up, to reveal the city within. A gnarled old gatekeeper stood by the gate, grinning horribly. "This way, please, sir."

The gate closed with the same agonising sound as before, and the gatekeeper beckoned to the man to follow him. The other followed, looking up with interest at the forms of the towers and buildings. He had been to Galata before, but... it was so very long ago...

After about half an hour of twisted, winding, empty streets, the gatekeeper stopped so suddenly that the man almost cannoned into him. Then, raising a hand, he knocked on the door of a house. "The wolf will live with the lamb."

"But the lion will conquer." These Latins could be very unimaginative, when the hour suited them.

The hallway was too dark for an ordinary man to see; but then, the stranger was no ordinary man. They went up a small staircase, and he could see how small, pokey and badly built the house was. It was the last place anyone would expect to find the Doge of the Most Serene Republic meeting a powerful dignitary.

But that, of course, was the point. The gatekeeper stopped, and beckoned towards a door. "He is in there, sir. Good luck."

The man almost smiled at this. Luck was something he hadn't needed for a long, long time.

He stepped through the door. The room beyond was lit with candles, and two men inside rose from their seats. One was known to him already; the Overseer of Roman Operations, a man almost as powerful as the Emperor of Byzantium himself. The other one, was indeed, the Doge. He had been true to his word.

"Ah, it is you. I remember seeing you as a young boy, when my father was fighting the Franks in Rhodes; you are the man who never dies."

The stranger really did smile this time. "And you are the Doge of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. But we are already known to each other, and I think there is no need for pointless introduction. Is this the man we asked for?"

"It is." At their feet was a small, quivering bundle. Wrapped with cloth and rope, he could be heard to sob and mutter. The stranger felt a twinge of sadness; the humans would never understand that needless cruelty did not impress his kind.

"The Great Council thanks you for this gift. In return, I offer my services to you. I shall be an agent and advisor to your government, and your liason with the Council."

"But how can I be sure that you are who you claim you are?" said the Doge. The overseer looked at this exchange in confusion; clearly, the Doge had not trusted him with much information until now."

The stranger smiled, and let the change wash over him. He saw the Doge's expressionless face nod, slowly, and heard the overseer's scream of surprise and shock; but who would not be shocked, when a living human transformed into human skeleton on the spot?

"What manner of hellish beast is this? What deal have you struck with Beelzebu-"

"I am no demon!" The stranger's voice rang out across the room, as he shifted back into human form. "I am a Reaper of the Great Council, a sworn protector of order and righteousness in the world. The man at your feet, now", he said, gesturing, "he is a demon."

Silence reigned for a few moments, before the Doge spoke again. "What is your name, Reaper?"

"My name... is Kael of Akrotiri, but I go by the name of Kael Archon. What is the wish of the Doge?"

The Doge sighed. "Well, Signor Archon, I am sure you're aware of the situation in Egypt, correct? Your kind have ears everywhere."



The situation in Egypt in 1458. The loss of the holy land to the Republic and Alexandria to the Provencals had caused shockwaves to ripple through the state. Many of the Mamluk lords, dissatisfied with the current leadership, had risen in rebellion in a last-ditch effort to save the failing state, which was also under attack in the East by the Mongol hordes of the Timur's descendants.



"We do, and we know the troubles there facing the House of Burji there."

"Then I wish you to go to Cairo. The needless slaughter of the Copts by the rebels is of great concern to both myself and my fellow Christians." The overseer had collapsed to his knees, gibbering and spluttering with wide eyes, unable to accept what he had seen.

"Is that the only reason the mighty Doge wishes me to go there?"

A hint- just the smallest hint- of a smile passed the Doge's face. "Our relations with a new lord might not be quite so... amiable as the arrangement which we have with the current rulers of Egypt. If you could, perhaps, assure them of Venice's good intentions towards them..."

Kael smiled. "Of course. I can also assure you that you will not be disappointed with this deal. After all, the apprehension of this delinquent was in your interests too. Now, if you will excuse me, I shall be on my way." Heaving the bundle up, he bowed, smiling pleasantly, and dragged the whimpering man away.

The Doge watched him leave, and closed the door. He sat down, deep in thought. He'd be interested to see exactly what the Reaper would accomplish; he had big plans for the future, and with one of their kind on his side, many things were possible.

"What... who was that? What was that?"

"Nothing to worry yourself about, Emilio." The Doge said, calmly. The overseer was a competent man, but a little too used to large dinners and fine wines. He liked a comfortable life, where humans didn't transform into skeletons before his eyes.

"Just a man who'll help us."

"But... but then who was the other man? The captive you asked me for? It took six of my best people to drag him to the floor... we lost three of them, too. They said he fought like a mad thing, and was so fast... so very fast..."

"Oh, forget about him. He wasn't important- just one more lost soul, headed for perdition. No, we have bigger things to worry about." The Doge of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, and First Sealord of the Empire of the Republic, stood up and smiled at his servant. "For the wolf will live with the lamb, but the lion will conquer- the lion must conquer..."


Yep, I'm trying to write three AARs at once. I know, it's probably a foolish thing, especially given my habit for slow updates, but I've been wanting to write this for a while; I already have a vague plot outline and many ideas spinning around my head. It's going to be a fantasy AAR, as you can probably tell, based off a Venetian game I'm playing at the moment. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to writing it.

Oh, by the way, the next update will be in a week, as I'm away for the next 7 days. Consider this a taster of things to come :)
 
Last edited:

Ashantai

Lost in Time
Demi Moderator
53 Badges
Aug 4, 2009
5.821
606
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
Well this looks most splendid! :)

A narrative AAR with supernatural themes is just my thing. This looks great already! I'm interested to see where you take this.
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Well, I return after an excellent week in London, so this AAR is ready to begin!

Rauchen - Good to have you on board :) There;ll be many vampires which you'll be seeing soon, but I can promise that our dear Vlad may well make an appearance... ;)

Ashantai - Thank you! :) The idea for this kind of AAR was partly influenced by "Eternal Exile" so it's good to have you reading!


Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition

Part One.

"When I first met Kael Archon, I thought him a strange, cold individual. My first impressions were wrong, however; he was strange, cold, and able to kill me with a single flick of his wrist." -Ilario di Canossa, Recollections of a Whisp, 1583.



4th April, 1458. Somewhere in the Aegean Sea.

"Well, Mr. Yannatos, I must say I'm impressed. You certainly have a fast ship at your disposal."

The Cabin of Mr. Yannatos' ship rocked and swayed violently, but the little Greek was used to it. "It's nothing, it's nothing, Mr. Archon! My family have been seafarers for ten generations, and of course", he said, gesturing expansively and grinning at his guest, "any friend of the Doge of the Latins is a friend of mine, eh!"

Kael simply smiled, as he pierced his meat with his fork and ate it. The cabin was clearly that of a merchant; little Turkish lanterns adorned the beams, and a fine eastern rug was spread across the floor. Antiques of all kinds, ages and places were spread across the numerous shelves and cases which Mr. Yannatos liked to decorate his rooms with; all were nailed down to prevent them from moving.

"I must, say, your hospitality has been most excellent. It has made this unpleasant voyage much more easy to bear, and for that I thank you."

Kael was an old, old man, although the youth of his body wouldn't give that away. A messy, dark brown mop topped a pale face, with piercing eyes which made many uncomfortable, as though he was capable of seeing beyond mere flesh and blood. He was an amiable gentleman, however; he loved art, good wine, and he adored poetry. He was a quiet sort, but one who had a certain steel visible just beyond his pitch-black eyes.

Mr. Yannatos had always felt a little bit uneasy around Kael, despite the charm and friendliness of his guest. He couldn't quite place it, but... there was something vaguely morbid about the man. Kael could see this in his eyes, and knew exactly why. The Reapers tended to inspire such feelings in the mortal folk, even when they were in their human form.

The Reapers were one of the Three Impossible Races, as they liked to call themselves. The Reapers were the oldest and most prideful of the three. Blessed with near- immortality, they were not quite human any more; their forms were that of skeletons, though they were able to disguise themselves in human form to blend in with the ordinary people. And Kael needed to do so a lot- for he was the most senior agent the Great Council of the Reapers had, and was sent on their most delicate missions among the mortals.

Kael liked his job. He got to travel to nice places and meet interesting people. But, still... he was beginning to feel lonely. His last protege had been killed about two-hundred years ago, and he had begun to yearn for company again. Mankind was not meant to be alone, and the Reapers were much the same.

Shaking his head, he returned to the present. "So, Mr. Yannatos, " he smiled, "tell me more about your recent trip to the Crimea."

"Ah, it was like something you would not believe! The Trebizonders have turned Kaffa into one of the great ports of the East, even if they do spend most of their time telling the world how they'll soon reclaim their homeland in glory, the fools..."

Kael began to drift off again. He'd been up to Kaffa only a couple of years ago, and had seen it all for himself. He was more concerned with the mission, and its implications.

If the Venetian Doge wished to enter into formal negotiations with the rebels... it meant that he had given the Burjis up for dead. They could expect little or no support from Venice . And Egypt was of the utmost importance for the Venetians, as their possessions in the Levant and the Holy Land had made them the toast of Christendom. It was probably the Pope's support for the Venetians which had stop Austria from launching an invasion of their hated rival in Italy, and...

Kael couldn't concentrate. The rambling talk of the merchant, as well as the wine, was beginning to dampen his senses. He sat back, and allowed the words of the Greek to wash over him, as he dreamt of a time long ago...

-----

Hopefully most updates will be longer than this, and of better quality; I'm feeling pretty tired at the moment, having been travelling for the last few hours.
 
Last edited:

Ashantai

Lost in Time
Demi Moderator
53 Badges
Aug 4, 2009
5.821
606
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
A nice start! Let's hope these Reapers are a bit less murderous than the Mass Effect ones! :p

Still, good post, looking forward to me.
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
That was such a rushed update that I'll do another one already.

Ashantai- Thanks! And don't worry, these Reapers are a little more peaceable, though they can be dangerous when the moment suits them...


Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Two.

1st May, 1458.

There it lay: Alexandria!

Kael loved the city. He'd been there at its foundation, he'd watched it thrive and grow... it had suffered horrifically in its time, and was often unsafe for both mortals and Reapers, but he kept on being drawn back to it. It had grown up strong, and the merchants who now lined its shores often became rich and prosperous when they left.

But things were not all well here. The Council of the Reapers was dedicated to preserving order in a chaotic world, and that natural order had become rapidly undone here. A group of ragged Crusaders from Provence had taken advantage of the political instability in the region to swoop in and take the city, harshly persecuting Muslims and Copts alike, converting mosques and Coptic churches to Catholic places of worship. And Kael liked the Copts; they were an old, old people, and Kael liked old things. He felt at home with them.

As he stood upon the deck of Yannatos' little merchant vessel, the Theophilus, feeling the whip of the wind and sea-spray against his face, he couldn't help but feel excited. Despite the city's problems, it had been a while since he'd last been here, and he was looking forward to his return.

He heard footsteps, and the little ship's captain pottered up next to him. "Ah, Alexandria! I always enjoy my visits here. And back in Christian hands now, too! God bless those Frankish princes from the West, eh? Good Christian men, all of them, even if they do have some odd ideas about the Holy Ghost..."

It may have been in Christian hands, but to Kael's eyes it was in an appalling shape. The riches which it had known in former years seemed totally gone; even from this distance, Kael could see the buildings along the port had fallen into disrepair and ruin, while the Provencals had erected tall Western monuments and houses, utterly at odds with the surrounding architecture. They seemed determined to stamp the mark of their own country on the city, rather than respect the traditions of the past.

The sight of the Great Lighthouse lifted his spirits, however. It had been demolished by earthquakes over a century ago, but some Mamluk lord, well versed in the classics, had undertaken a restoration project some fifty years ago, partially funded by Western merchants who wanted better visibility in the dark winter nights. Now, it once again shone bright with Egyptian fire, a signal to all who came close.

The little vessel rocked closer to the shore, until it finally hit the harbour. Beggars- mostly locals forced from their homes by Provencals hoping to make a name for themselves in the city- cried out for money, holding little cups beneath toothless gums. Rats scrawled their way across the street, fighting over little scraps of food dropped by rich Venetian merchants, trying to barter and sell in this newly opened port.

"We arrive, dear Archon, we arrive!" The jolly little Yannatos beamed up at his guest, before trotting down onto the harbour, seemingly oblivious to the poverty before him. Kael followed with a slowly and graver gait, casting a weary eye over his beloved metropolis.

No sooner had his feet touched the floor when a boy ran up to him, waving his arms in distress. "You don't want to be stopping here, mister. There's trouble in the city."

"What kind of trouble?" asked the Reaper, tossing the boy a gold soldarii, from old Constantinople. The boy bit it, but didn't grin at its authenticity. "There's violence in the centre, sir. The Muslims have attacked, killing Copts and Franks alike! It ain't safe for a rich Greek like you, sir."

"I am not a Greek." Kael's voice was soft, but firm. He was distracted, however, by the smoke pouring from the centre of the city, and the distant sounds of screams and hatred. "Don't worry about me, lad. I can find my way."

Death... there would be death. And unlike the other races, Reapers could only convert mortals when they were about to die... he remembered his own conversion, as the fires of Thira roared above his head.

He disliked death; were it not for the strict Reaper laws about intervening in the natural order of things, he would try to save as many people as he could from such unnecessary bloodshed. But when it came to recruitment, he could save innocents without breaking the code...

Wrapping his coat around him, he strode swiftly into the city, ignoring the cries of the urchin and Mr. Yannatos. There was work to be done...
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Three.

Venice.

The city of canals slept. A few gondolas could be seen ferrying people across the city, in between the candlelit houses and tall towers. The moon threw the ripples upon the water into sharp relief, which Ilario pondered upon as he pushed his gondola across the surface.

"And where would the Signor and Signora care to be taken to tonight?" A kind grin broke across his face, and the couple who had stepped into the boat smiled back with equal heart.

"Just to Guidecca, please."

The gondola-driver bowed. "Your wish is my command, my lady!"

Ilario grabbed his oar, and began to punt away, looking away from the figures in the back of the boat. He could hear the man whispering sweet nothings into his lady friend's ear, and her responding giggle. He smiled to himself, unseen in the dark of the night, as he left the canals of the city behind him.

A hiss. Just a hiss, kissing the surface of the sea, disrupting the natural order. Ilario was no Reaper, obsessed with everything being in its right place, but that was something which shouldn't be there...

He began to speed up, flicking his eyes across the water. "Signor, signor! Surely we can go a little slower?"

"I think it may be in your interest too if we went a little faster, signor. The sea is not happy tonight."

Ilario knew that hiss from past experience. It had haunted him for many a year, and he had begun to hear the noise everywhere.

It was the noise of a bloodsucker. A vampire.

There it was again... but it was longer, this time. Ilario scanned the water, his hands trembling. There it was- a slow ripple approaching across the silver sea.

Ilario knew what he must do. He was a Lantern, the oddest of the Three Impossible Races. The Lanterns bowed to nobody; they wandered the world freely, doing what they wished.

Ilario gripped the oar tightly. He hated this part...
 
Last edited:

Ashantai

Lost in Time
Demi Moderator
53 Badges
Aug 4, 2009
5.821
606
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
Nice! I'm looking forward to see what happens next. Mystical races at play in Europe...it does not bode well for those caught in the way!
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Rauchen: Thanks! :)

Ashantai: Thanks- and indeed not, as they delight in playing games with mortals...


Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Three.

The darkness was softer, now. She could ignore the pain, and just accept what was about to happen. A light began to blossom in it, and she felt warm, numb. It was time to go now, to her eternal rest-

And then the pain returned, so real and so sharp. She groaned, slowly returning to the cold, harsh world. Her eyes opened; everything around was blurry and so very, very bright. She didn't know where she was, or where she was headed.

She was then vaguely aware that she was lying down; not on the earth, but on a bed. Odd. She had been knocked down by those men... her family had been too. There was no way she could be alive, with their swords so sharp. Was this heaven?

In a sudden shock, her emotion returned. Her father, her mother, her brother... She cleared her head and sat up. She was still cold, so cold...

She was in a small but ornate bed, which seemed to rock with the wind. Wiping her eyes, she looked around; a Turkish rug lay upon the floor, and through a window she could see the sea, waving backwards and forwards.

And there was a man in the corner of the room, watching her. His gaze was intense, and she grew afraid; who knew what devil had taken her away from home, from Alexandria?

"Who are you? Why are you looking at me?"

"To see your reaction." The man smiled craftily, and sat back. "Forgive me; I haven't introduced myself. My name is Kael, of the city of Akrotiri. I am a Reaper of the Great Council, and I have just saved your life."

"Saved my life? What do you mean?"

"I mean that you were lying in the road, dying, and I stopped you from dying and made your immortal."

Mona stared at him, not comprehending. "Immortal? Nobody can be immortal. Everything has its time and place."

The man laughed loud, and stood up. "Very good! I can see you will not disappoint."

"Where am I? Where are you taking me?" Mona shrunk away from Kael, gathering the sheets of her bed towards her.

"You are in the merchant-vessel Theophilus, bound for the Empire of Constantinople. Do not be afraid, my dear," he said, holding up his hands. "I mean you no harm."

"Why am I so cold?" Kael was surprised; there were usually more questions before getting to the crux of the matter. The girl before him was no older than twenty, and he could see the fear dancing in her eyes, but there was a kind of honesty and defiance about her. He had chosen well, it seemed; not that there had been much difference between the near-dead bodies lying on the street.

"You are cold because you are no longer human. You are a Reaper now, and you will be my protege."

"Not human? What is this nonsense? What's a Reaper?"

Kael let the change come, as his human form dropped away to reveal the skeleton beneath. She didn't scream, to her credit; she simply froze up and stared, unthinkingly, at the thing standing before her.

He changed back quickly; no need to alarm her. She leapt up and tried to run to the door, but he stopped her, holding her back gently but firmly, pushing her back onto the bed. "Sit down. There are many things you need to know. You are a Reaper now, and that brings various responsibilities with it."

He sat on the bed beside her, ignoring her terrified stare. "I can teach you how to change, like that. I can teach you of our duty, our strengths, and why we carry a scythe. I can teach you how to live for hundreds, thousands of years. I can turn you, my dear, from a frightened girl into someone who can fight."

She was taking it remarkably well; she was trembling violently, but she no longer seemed hysterical. "What is your name, girl?", he asked politely.

"Mona, daughter of Ibrahim."

"Well, Mona daughter of Ibrahim- let me teach you of your new world, and the monsters that dwell within..."
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Four.

The Eastern Mediterranean. 14th June, 1458.

Mona opened her eyes. There was water on the floor.

It slithered along the boards of her cabin, soaking the rug and seeping through cracks in the floor. It spread so eagerly, and made Mona feel oddly happy. It looked so full of life, so normal when compared with the strange events of the last two days.

Kael had begun to teach her the ways of the Reapers. Her terror had quickly given way to curiosity, relief, and gratefulness. She wasn't sure why she was so fine with all the shocks; her family had been killed before her eyes, and she'd been plunged into a world of chaos and confusion, where nothing made sense.

He'd told her of their history. Since time immemorial, there had been Reapers in the world, there to guard mankind against itself and against those who would seek to undermine it. And they also had to keep balance, and order. When any nation grew too powerful, that country would divide and fall.

"It was us who forced the hordes to march against Rome" he'd said, sitting in his chair while she listened intently. "It was us who destroyed the Han dynasty, us who killed Attila, us who gave Byzantium the secret of Greek fire. And..." here his eyes grew dark and his face turned blank, "it was us who sparked the eruption which destroyed the Minoans."

Returning to the present, he had looked up and continue. "But there are those who do not wish to have order. Some think that the world would be better if they ruled over mankind, and thus they seek to influence nations in their insatiable desire to conquer all. How do you think Alexander spread his empire from Greece to India? Why do you think Rome grew so powerful? There were... others behind those thrones."

"What others?"

"All in good time, my dear Mona. All in good time."

Now she stared at the ceiling, as the boat rocked backwards and forwards. She realised that she hadn't yet left her room, or seen the deck of the ship. Where was all this water coming from, anyway?

She stood up, unsteadily at first until she adapted to the swinging rhythm of the ship. She opened the door, blinking at the brightness of the sun. The deck was almost empty, and the sails were down; she could here the bosun urging the men to row faster down below. Kael stood at the side of the boat, wearing some huge fur coat and looking across the sea.

"You're up! Did you sleep well?" His voice was perfectly polite, but he didn't look at her; he seemed fixated on something on the horizon. "I'm sorry about the overflow of water, but there was a rather nasty storm earlier. You seem to be a heavy sleeper."

Mona looked at him, her head cocked on her shoulder. "Why did you take me, Kael? Why did you choose me to be your protege? What do you want from me? A maid? A wife?"

Kael looked at her sharply. "To take one of my own converted as a wife is considered incest. Your position is akin to that of my daughter. Why did I choose you...? Well, you were young, but adult enough not to be hysterical. I need someone whose body is not weak or in decay. And I wanted a woman rather than some hothead young male who'd question my authority and try to kill me."

"Can we be killed?"

"Yes... but it's difficult. I'll tell you more later."

Scowling with frustration, Mona decided to twist the knife. "Why take a protege at all, Kael Archon? Why does a mighty Reaper need companionship?"

Kael didn't answer at first, but stared out to sea some more. Then, eventually, "Does that ship look normal to you?"

Mona sighed, and followed his gaze; then frowned. "It looks strange... no sails. But many ships don't have sails."

"Look at the flag." Something urgent sounded in Kael's voice; a tone of action which Mona hadn't heard before. "Have you seen it before?"

Mona squinted. "It's... no, I don't think I have. Nothing with those colours has been in the harbour back home. It's dark red, with a single black slash from one corner to the other."

Kael swore. "This is the advantage of knowing people with good eyesight, I suppose. Yannatos! Where are you, you lily-livered buffoon?"

The little Greek appeared, scurrying up the stairs. "Yes, Mr. Archon? What can I do for you?"

"Tell your men to get turn to the West. Get as far away from that ship there as you possibly can."

Yannatos laughed. "That? It's a little boat, with only a handful of men on it, and it looks too polished for a pirate vessel. I don't think we need-"

Kael walked towards him, transforming as he went. "Do it", he rasped, "if you place any value on your life."

Squealing with fear, the captain darted beneath the deck, bawling out orders to get the ship away. Kael changed back, and walked over to Mona. "Get into your room. There are some lessons I have to teach you in a hurry."

"What is that ship? What's on it?"

Kael clenched his teeth, and pushed her through the cabin door. "Vampires."
 

Ashantai

Lost in Time
Demi Moderator
53 Badges
Aug 4, 2009
5.821
606
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
Two fantastic updates! I'm impressed by the way you've set up a unique history. :) Bravo!
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Ashantai: Thanks! :) We'll be finding out more about how the three races have influenced the world, and its importance, later on...


Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Five.

Ilario raised the oar. Here they came, beneath the water...

When something cannot drown, it became easier for it to sneak through the sea. He saw the ripple approaching, and steadied the boat. Any second now...

"Signor? Is everything OK? Why have we stopped?"

Ilario turned for a split second, grinning. "Everything is fine, my good man! Just a small hiccup!"

Upon that last syllable, he twisted the oar down, hitting the form beneath the water square in the face. He heard it squeal and swim off. Ilario sighed with relief; they were almost upon the opposite shore; they should be safe now. He thrust the oar into the water, and began to push away-

Hiss.

The hands began to claw and swipe at the sides of the little boat. Ilario clenched his teeth, and began to hit them off the sides of his beloved ship. He heard a scream behind him; one had gotten on board, rocking the gondola this way and that and terrifying the poor couple in the back. "Worry not, signora!" roared the Lantern, who transformed and leapt at the shape.

The Jack'O'Lanterns were not bloodsuckers or skeletons. They were creatures of the earth and soil, of life and warmth. Their bodies were patched cloaks filled with straw; the bodies of scarecrows. And their heads were grotesque, carved pumpkins, with static features of wickedness and wrath. And behind those carved, triangular eyes, a fire burned strongly, lighting up the frail face. The Lanterns burnt easily, but their bodies were never consumed by fire. The one which burnt behind their eyes kept their spirit alive.

With a single swipe of his hand, he knocked the vampire from the boat. The hissing was almost intolerable now; they were all dragging at the boat, threatening to pull it under. All were impeccably dressed in the latest fashions; the vampires always prided themselves on their aristocratic nature and impeccable good manners, even simple grunts like these.

The lantern transformed back as he swung around, knowing what he must do. "Signor! Signora! I'm afraid I must implore you to swim for it! We are only a few yards from the shore!"

White-faced, the signora screamed and clawed at the signor to do something, to help. All thoughts of love and care had fled her. The man, however, was acting stoicly; he was trembling and clearly terrified, but still had control of his faculties and was not overly shocked by the sight of a man turn into a grotesque scarecrow before his eyes. Clearly, he had seen Ilario's kind before.

"What about those creatures? Aren't they still out there?"

Ilario shook his head. "It's me they want. Now go! Your lady friend depends on you!"

He had looked away before he heard the splash as the man, with his woman in his arms, threw himself into the water. Ilario, Lantern and Gondola-driver, transformed again and smiled. Time to play with fire...




-----

I hope the Lanterns haven't come off as too ridiculous. The other two races in this strange AAR aren't going to become quite so odd, I promise :p.

Oh, and thanks to Wikipedia for the image.
 
Last edited:

Ashantai

Lost in Time
Demi Moderator
53 Badges
Aug 4, 2009
5.821
606
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
A most interesting concept for a race! When you said Lanterns that was actually what sprung to mind. One wonders how a race of pumpkin heads came to be...an interesting thought!

Nice update. :)
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Ashantai- Thanks! We'll find out exactly where they (and the others) came from eventually, but not for some time... :)

Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Six.

"There's no time to argue. Now."

Mona shut her eyes, clinging to the sheets of her bed hard enough to turn her fingers white. Kael stood over her, his strange eyes gazing intently at her face, looking for any kind of change, or abnormal activity.

After several seconds of silence, Mona let out a sigh and opened her eyes. "It's no use! I can't change! I just don't know how!"

Kael stared for a second more, before squatting down and leaning close to her face. "If you don't change now," he whispered, softly, "they will murder you and everyone on this ship, and I won't be able to stop them.

He saw the fear and the repulsion in her eyes, but he didn't care. He needed her to change into her true form now, or this ship would be taken. "We only have a couple of minutes. You can do this, Mona."

Mona screwed her eyes up again- and this time, she felt a strange kind of shiver run through her body, from head to toe. Suddenly, things felt different; her proportion was weird, and her clothes seemed to hang off her, as if they were far too big for her.

"There we are." At the sound of Kael's voice, Mona opened her eyes. She knew what she'd see, but the shock of seeing her own hand turned to bone still made her stomach flutter slightly. She knew now that she could never turn back. She was a Reaper- whatever that really meant...

"Now come on." Kael offered his hand, and she took it. "Remember, go for the heart. That's how you kill them. Anything else won't work."

Mona followed him up on deck. "But who are they? Why are they trying to-"

"Not now!" Kael shouted. Slightly taken aback, she looked across the sea; and saw the pirate vessel only yards away, close enough for her to see the eyes of the creatures across the water. They were all dressed impeccably, and were all silent, their heads looking down in meticulously organised ranks.

But Kael's anger suddenly turned to laughter. Mona saw now that he was holding something; a tall and sharp scythe, which he clasped in both hands. Changing form, he cut a terrifying figure; but the Vampires across the water had no reaction to the sight of two skeletons staring across at them.

Kael grinned. "Showtime."

-----

Next update will be longer, I promise.
 
Last edited:

Ashantai

Lost in Time
Demi Moderator
53 Badges
Aug 4, 2009
5.821
606
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • 500k Club
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
Ooh! That was an interesting chapter. Reminds me a bit of Death from the Discworld series. Very interesting!
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
I'm back. And ready for action.

Uni has got in the way, and I can't promise that it'll be that updates will be that regular, but I'm resuming, so that's something.

So, here we go again:

Rauchen: haha, a little goofy, yes; but I still like the idea of an ordinary object, made to look vaguely lifelike, coming to life.

And thanks!

Ashantai:Thanks! Kael isn't quite as strange and emotionless as the Discworld death, but he is a strange and complex person, who we shall learn more about later on...


Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Seven.

Kael let out a blood-curdling scream, and dived into the fray.

The Vampires were swarming across the deck. Almost a hundred of the creatures, all with the same silent faces and deadening stares. They moved with a strange grace, a kind of dignity and arrogance which matched their aristocratic clothing well. Their faces were all deathly pale, their teeth impeccably white.

But they did not act like gentlemen. With an animalian ferocity, Mona saw them hack and claw their way across the boat, sucking up the blood which fell to the floor. Mona saw them move like a plague across the ship.

Kael was right in the middle of the battle, stabbing and slashing with the scythe, piercing their hearts. The other sailors made a valiant effort, but it was clear that the lone Reaper was propping the ship up with a slice of metal stuck upon a pole. That was all that stood between them and oblivion.

And where was Mona in all this carnage, this hatred? Backed against a corner, eyes wide.

She was no warrior. She was just a little Copt, barely touching adulthood, from the back streets of Alexandria. She'd tried to be brave, but she couldn't. Who did Kael think she was?

She caught Kael's eye for a brief moment, before looking away and running. She threw open the trapdoor to the lower deck, and clambered down the ladder. Finding some little hole to dwell in, she put her hands over her eyes and prayed to God for some relief, muttering a hymn while the killing continued above.

----

Ilario pushed open the door. "Cal! Cal, it's me! I've got three bodies here!"

Praying that he wouldn't be spotted, Ilario looked up at the city. It was cold tonight; but Ilario didn't mind. The Lantern fires were warm enough.

The sounds of a woman slowly descending a set of creaky stairs could be faintly heard. Ilario remained in the doorway; Cal could get very angry if you barged into her house without permission, even an old friend like him.

"God, Ilario! What the hell have you done this time?"

The ancient, screwed up shape of Cal peered at the Lantern from the staircase. Cal looked for all the world like an ancient, wizened woman, her grey hair tightly wound in a knot at the back of her head. To most, she seemed more like a skeleton than a human.

Which, as it happened, she was.

"Get in. Close up behind you." Bowing, Ilario gently closed the door, ignoring Cal's muttered curses. He knew better than to speak when Cal was in one of her moods. He knew never to argue with little old ladies- especially when they were Reapers.

"You have to stop this, Ilario. You can't go around picking fights with these people! They have half the city under their sway, and since Kael went on that damnfool expedition last month..."

"He'll be back soon, Cal. Your Council wouldn't be best pleased if he wasn't prompt."

As they entered the kitchen, Ilario could hear the sound of Mother Cal's dogs. They were friendly little things, always ready to play and fetch; but put a vampire in a room with them and they'd turn into wild killers. Dogs and vampires had never gotten on well, and Cal had trained them well.

"Quick, now." Cal opened the hatch which opened into the kennels, just wide enough to slide a body through. Ilario hauled them one by one off his shoulder, pushing each into the pen for the dogs to finish off.

Closing the hatch, Cal motioned for him to sit, pouring out some of her beloved Irish whiskey. Her husband had been Irish, before she'd been changed. She still loved the stuff, which Ilario detested.

"You know Kael. If he can find an excuse to dilly-dally then he'll do it. He's gotten on the wrong side of the dear Grim many times, but he still gets away with his insane little adventures-"

"I do know Kael, and I know that he knows what's going on here. Half the city is under their sway, and only Murano is completely free. Whatever you can say about Kael, he does take his duties seriously."

Cal sighed, and took a long, deep sip. "I hope you're right, boy. That lad is the fifth-oldest Reaper still around, and the only one left who was taken directly by the Grim, you know.

"I know."

"And he's been to so many places! The fall of Troy, the sack of Rome, Han China... I just wish he'd keep his feet on the ground long enough to make a change, you know?

"Yes, Cal." Ilario looked down into his hands, examining the little callouses and scars on them. "I know."
 

Tufto

Orientalist boondoggle
92 Badges
Oct 16, 2009
3.656
2.109
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Magicka
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
Chapter One:

The Provençal Expedition
Part Eight.

Mona staggered across the deck, staring wildly around her. The few remaining survivors aimlessly wandered around, looking into nothingness with blank, empty eyes. They had seen hell, and it had claws.

The bodies of dead vampires and humans lay scattered around her. She'd been able to hear the battle raging from her little corner, no matter how hard she tried to block it out. The sight of so much death should have made her feel sick, but the skeletal thing inside of her didn't know what sick was.

She threw herself against the rail and retched, violently, willing something so come out. She wanted, just for a second, to be normal again. Just for a moment. Like she had been, before this nightmare began.

"It won't work." From below the tattered sails, Kael called out to her, wiping the blood off his scythe. "You aren't human any more. You don't need to drink or eat, and you can't throw up. It's all to do with very complex metaphysics which I don't want to get into at the moment."

Mona looked up at him, in anger and in shame, as he approached. "See? I'm not a Reaper, I'm not some brave heroine. I can't fight, I can't-"

"You can and you will." Kael's voice was stern, but not unkind. "You acted like a coward because some part of you still wants to be human. We're all cowards in the face of the unknown. I was the same, so was Theophilus Calvin, Calpurnia the Pious and Ioannes Psellus, and all the rest of the truly great Reapers. You'll soon learn that fear is a falsehood."

"Maybe I don't want to!" snapped Mona. "Why didn't you just leave me to die? Why? I'd be in heaven now, like the rest of the faithful, enjoying the rewards of life's hardships!"

"Rewards come to those who do good. And you have a job to do before you go to your rest. You have to help me, and all the rest, protect mankind from its own evils." Kael looked across the ocean, to the north, and his adopted home. "We'll be in Venice soon. You were under a long, long time; you must've fallen asleep. I dare say that all these troubles have made you very tired."

He turned, and began walking away. But after only three paces, Mona screamed "So that's it? No admonishment, no anger? Are you always so cold, Kael Archon? Who the hell are you, anyway? What were those things, where did they come from? Why won't you give me any answers?"

"My reasons are my own, you little wretch!" Kael had swung around and transformed, making even the air appear darker. Mona shrank against the side of the boat as the Reaper towered over her, eyes blazing, brandishing his bloody scythe as his black cloak whipped close by his ankles. "I will tell you everything when you are ready, and not a moment before. And punishment? You want to be punished? I am not a preacher or a magistrate, I am simply a guardian of order, and I have no time to deal with your adolescent guilt. Shirking your duty should be punishment enough."

Mona watched him walk off in terror. In a second, the calm, serene, clever man had turned into a savage beast. She stayed frozen to the side of the ship for a few moments more, but then a new emotion took hold of her.

Anger.

If she was to be a Reaper, then she'd show that old fool. Maybe oblivion would've been preferable to her new half-life, but she would do the duty given to her. And she would to it well. She wanted, lusted, after the ability to inspire that same fear which Kael had just now instilled in her. Fear ruled the world, and she'd use that fear to whip the masses into shape.

But all in good time. She still had much to learn, it seemed. Life wasn't nice, pretty, or happy, but she'd make something good out of it before her second life was up.

Picking herself from the floor, she followed her mentor into the cabin. A new world beckoned.

The End of Chapter One.​
 

Memento Mori

Colonel
5 Badges
Oct 4, 2009
825
0
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
I really like your aar, however when I read the 1st chapter something strange struck me...

He [Kael] disliked death; were it not for the strict Reaper laws about intervening in the natural order of things, he would try to save as many people as he could from such unnecessary bloodshed.

"It was us who forced the hordes to march against Rome" he'd said, sitting in his chair while she listened intently. "It was us who destroyed the Han dynasty, us who killed Attila, us who gave Byzantium the secret of Greek fire. And..." here his eyes grew dark and his face turned blank, "it was us who sparked the eruption which destroyed the Minoans."

So much for not intervening in the natural order of things ;) I can come up with a few explanations...

a). Strict reaper laws are modern
b). Reapers broke the laws often
c). The natural order if things is decided by important reapers, saving small people (if not for recruitment) is against it, bringing down world spanning empires isn't
d). Kael lies :D
 
Last edited: