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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

blklizard

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Hello and welcome! I'm blklizard and I'll be bringing you an AAR regarding a custom made nation of Nuova Italia. I will, however, not be playing the actual game. My good friend, Michaelangelo, will be playing the game and providing me screenshots which I will use, to my best ability, in weaving a tale of a nation.

The game starts in 1444 but we will go through a bit of backstory first. This will be narrative heavy AAR with limited pictures. Without further ado, let's begin! :)
 

blklizard

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Prologue

Basileo sat down with his student, Michele, in the tavern. They were in a celebratory mood upon receiving a letter from the Portuguese crown. The contents within the letter was what Basileo and his crew sought after since their arrival in Portugal. These were ambitious men who wanted a good adventure but lacked the funding to do so. They sought out many royal families across Europe hoping to get sponsorship but they encountered no such luck. Portugal was their last chance because their morale was low and what little funds they gathered was quickly drying up. If they got another rejection, their dreams of sailing the dangerous seas for great riches would be shattered forever.

Basileo and his crew came from the nation of Naples. They were brought together by the desire for epic acts and a chance to see a world outside Europe where merchants spoke of lands in the far east that fascinated them. Some even accused them of being obsessed with this desire but they cared little about the opinion of others. They weren't willing to give up on their dream so, with what little wealth they owned, they set out to find a sponsor. Their search eventually brought them to the nation of Portugal which happened to be pursuing an agenda that coincided with what they were searching for. Both sides would be winners if the expedition was a success.

For the Portuguese crown, the purpose of the exploration expeditions were purely economical ones. Since the rise of the Ottomans, the Portuguese crown was greatly worried about the well being of Constantinople which had been the primary market for Asian goods. If Constantinople fell, there was agreement amongst the Portuguese that they would be hurting for such goods since they must deal with the Muslims. As a result, they decided that an alternate route was needed so that, should Constantinople fall to the Ottomans, Portugal would not be starved of Asian goods making it less reliant on the Muslims.

At the time, Europeans knew very little about Africa. They knew that Muslim nations were in control of the continent but they didn't know the full extent of the landmass. There were also rumors that a route might exist along the African coastline allowing Europeans to reach Asia. If these rumors were true, then the Portuguese could break the stranglehold the Ottomans would potentially have on the Asian holds should they capture Constantinople. The Portuguese crown was sparing no expenses in search of this alternate route that may turn Portugal into a major power in Europe. When Basileo and his crew offered their services, the Portuguese crown was more than happy to provide some funding to speed up the process of exploration.
 
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blklizard

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Chapter 1

Basileo woke up early the next morning and had a quick breakfast before leaving the tavern. He limited his drinking and slept early knowing that he had an appointment with a representative from the Portuguese crown. He allowed his crew members to party late into the night since they were unlikely to have much fun for a long time as soon as they leave the safety of the ports. Their adventure would begin as they head into the unknown. Despite funding many expeditions, the Portuguese crown still knew little about the outside world. From what he heard in Lisbon, Basileo learned that a captain called Gil Eanes passed Cape Bojador which opened a large number of possibilities. The route to Asia was almost calling to him.

Cape Bojador seemed impossible to pass following the disappearances of numerous vessels that attempted to round the cape. There were even rumors of sea monsters that inhabited the waters and sank any ship foolish enough to venture too close. Cape Bojador was considered impassable until Gil Eanes, under the order of Prince Henry the Navigator, met success after his second expedition. His success removed the psychological barrier which halted further attempts of rounding the cape allowing the future Portuguese expeditions to go further than the cape. The arrival of Basileo and his crew coincided with this discovery which meant their expedition had the potential of going very far.

Basileo dressed in the most presentable clothes he had available and left the tavern to meet the representative of the Portuguese crown. He prayed day and night for the meeting to happen as the many rejections greatly lowered his confidence. While he didn't admit it to his crew, Basileo had doubts they could succeed after just the first few rejections. However, he didn't want to dash their hopes until they tried all their options which eventually brought them to Lisbon where they heard about the funding provided by the crown for exploration expeditions. On the day they arrived, Basileo had a letter delivered to the Portuguese monarch detailing his crew's skills, experience and ambitions for an exploration expedition.

When the letter was received by a guard who promised to get it to proper authority, all Basileo and his crew could do was wait for a reply. They went through this process multiple times but the wait was agonizing nonetheless. By the time they arrived in Portugal, Basileo no longer sugarcoated everything as he presented the situation before all his crew members as they were. He emphasized their low funds and, should the Portuguese crown refuse to provide them funding, they would be forced to abandon their dreams and return to Naples back to their old professions. Basileo's crew was understanding as they saw the effort Basileo put into these requests and the lack of success. For some, they were already packing their belongings ready to head back for Naples.
 
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Michaelangelo

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It's certainly interesting to see a story develop when you know the general direction it's going. I feel like a privileged reader. :D

For some reason I have this amusing image of the Portuguese king going through these explorers' credentials like a CEO through resumes. "This man says he's a team player, but lacks the necessary experience." :p
 

blklizard

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It's certainly interesting to see a story develop when you know the general direction it's going. I feel like a privileged reader. :D

For some reason I have this amusing image of the Portuguese king going through these explorers' credentials like a CEO through resumes. "This man says he's a team player, but lacks the necessary experience." :p
You also have the power to influence the future . :p The Portuguese king wants only the best explorers. He probably has someone else going through the resume . :D

Chapter 2

It was during a late afternoon that Basileo and his crew were told about a messenger who wished to speak with them. Upon hearing the messenger was sent by the Portuguese crown, Basileo and his crew left their quarters to meet the man. It wasn't quite a pleasant experience for the messenger who was stormed by a few dozen men bombarding him with questions. Basileo finally got the situation under control and asked the messenger the purpose of his visit. The messenger, having recovered from the initial shock, merely passed over a letter which he claimed he was told to deliver to a man called Basileo. Basileo gently received the letter and held it before him. Before he could ask further questions, the messenger already sneaked out the tavern.

Basileo and his crew understood that letter was the reply of the Portuguese crown in response to their request for funding. The future of their dreams would be determined by the contents in the letter which, for several minutes, Basileo was too nervous to read. Basileo, with support from his crew, finally mustered the courage to open the letter. However, he still refused to read the content until he returned to his quarters where he could be alone. If this was bad news, he wanted to be the first to know and have the burden to tell his crew. His crew members watched quietly as Basileo walked into his quarters closing the door behind him. All they could do was wait for their leader, a man who traveled with them since they all left Naples, to exit with either a smile or a frown.

Basileo,

Your letter has been received and, after much thought, we have decided to provide funding for your expedition. As you might be aware, the expeditions we fund require brave men who dare to sail uncharted waters. Not everyone could accomplish such a feat so we, the Portuguese crown, only seek the best. I understand that your crew has the heart to attempt such dangerous expeditions where you could easily lose your lives. However, you also understand that great risks bring about great rewards. We are greatly touched by the determination of your crew which, despite the many rejections, continued to seek out a sponsor. It's a shame that you haven't come to Portugal sooner as your people are exactly those we want.

There are a few minor issues that we still wish to discuss with you and your crew regarding your expedition, hopefully in the very near future. Such matters cannot be spoken over a letter so we wish to arrange a meeting where one of our representatives can speak with you in person. While we have agreed to provide funding, there are still many matters we must deal with before your crew could start your expedition. The ideal date for the meeting would be the morning following the day you received this letter. I am certain that you and your crew might wish to use the night to celebrate this special occasion. The sooner we discuss the matters, the sooner both sides could benefit from cooperation. Portugal will become stronger while your crew will get the adventure you always dreamed of since leaving Naples. It's most definitely a win-win situation, don't you agree?
 
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Chapter 3

Basileo arrived at the harbor where he waited patiently at the agreed location. The location was written on the back of the letter which he would have missed had one of his crew members not noticed it. Basileo, upon learning the contents, was absolutely thrilled and rushed out of his quarters to the surprise of his crew. He shouted that they were getting funding which brought out a great cheer from everyone. This disturbed the other tenants in the tavern so Basileo quickly apologized. He then allowed his crew members, those who were literate with the Portuguese language, to read through the letter to confirm what he read. After several confirmations from a few of his crew members, Basileo and his crew were certain that their final gamble paid off and their dreams weren't dashed after all.

Minutes later, Basileo was met with a man who was very well dressed indicating he was part of the Portuguese crown. He also had a number of soldiers who served as his bodyguards close behind him. The bodyguards looked at Basileo with suspicion with their hands by their weapons while the representative greeted Basileo with a big smile like they were old friends. The man warmly welcomed Basileo into the building where they could speak important matters in peace. Of course, the bodyguards remained by the man's side the entire time with them watching Basileo's every move. Stuck in a room filled with bodyguards who looked prepared to massacre him, Basileo didn't know if he should fear for his own life should he say the wrong things.

The representative read Basileo's facial expression and offered some comforting words. He said that there had been instances where a group of people decided to betray the trust of the Portuguese crown with hopes of extorting ducats by kidnapping members of the Portuguese government. The bodyguards were a precaution after a representative was killed following a ransom. The man claimed that Basileo had nothing to worry about as long as he was indeed sincere about his passion of exploring the unknown for the thrill of adventure. When Basileo risked questioning about the fate of those who killed a representative not long ago, one of the bodyguards happily interrupted with a comment of showing Basileo their bodies after their meeting and a nasty looking smile.

Basileo was definitely worried for his life. He hadn't expect the meeting to deteriorate so quickly before anything was even discussed. However, the representative had a way to distracting Basileo from the tense atmosphere by focusing solely on the matters regarding the expedition. The man was well versed in ships and crews with the two of them discussing the minute details like the size of cargo space, number of crews and other expedition related matters. Several hours passed quickly with the two sides finally coming to an agreement by lunch. There would be other people to be added to Basileo's crew since his soon-to-be ship would be larger than the one he anticipated. Basileo and his crew was almost ready to set sail for Africa.
 

DKM

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blklizard

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Yes, Africa.... Excellent place to explore. :D
Who knows what secrets are hidden there. Not a great place to be stranded in though... :p

Welcome! :)

Chapter 4

Basileo found new strength within him following the meeting. All the arrangements were made and his crew would be leaving Portugal in a week. When he first left Naples, Basileo was worried that he might be working with an incompetent noblemen who knew nothing about ships and necessary preparations for an expedition. As the rejections were piling up, Basileo cared little about the competency of those funding his expedition as long as they were willing to do so. Therefore, the meeting was a pleasant surprise where Basileo found both a competent men familiar with naval matters and had the financial capability to fund the exploration expedition into the unknown. It also didn't hurt that the man was very likeable which made the meeting all the more enjoyable for someone who encountered so many failures.

When he neared the tavern, Basileo saw his student, Michele, standing outside suppressing a yawn. Michele, upon seeing his mentor, smiled and ran towards Basileo. He eagerly asked Basileo about his meeting to which Basileo said he would explain everything before everyone. There was obvious disappointment in Michele's eyes as the young man waited a long time on the street hoping to get some snippets of the meeting between his mentor and their potential sponsor. Michele remained close by Basileo's side as the two of them entered the tavern where the other crew members waited patiently for his return. They were all on their feet when they saw him enter but Basileo gestured to his room which offered more privacy.

Basileo first shared his first impression of the representative who he was quite fond of. He then went into details about what they agreed upon in the end which took him two hours to finish. Once he was done, Basileo left the room so he could get a drink to soothe his aching throat which had been working nonstop for nearly the entire day. His crew, at least those who were able to fit into Basileo's room, remained where they stood as they slowly absorbed the matters discussed. For most, the idea that the adventure would be taking place was already an enormous surprise. There were a few minor questions asked for clarification but, overall, the agreements were clear as to what was provided and expected of both sides.

The representative agreed to provide a vessel to Basileo which he would be the captain of. Given the number of crew members he had, Basileo would require more men to man the ships so the Portuguese crown would provide experienced sailors to the ship. The fact that some members of Basileo's group, including Basileo himself, could speak a bit of Portuguese meant the language barrier wasn't as bad. Of course, the ships was larger than the ones Basileo was familiar with so the captain requested to board the ship ahead of time so he could better familiarize himself with the ship to ensure the best performance on his side. The crew members would also join him so they could make the preparations to further speed up their departure.
 
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blklizard

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Chapter 5

Basileo met with the new crew members sent by the Portuguese crown. Despite his tattered language skills, Basileo was able to get the general points across. The new crew members were all hard working which made them a great addition to the team. The preparations were progressing very smoothly as Basileo estimated his ship to begin her journey in a few days. He was still at a loss of words at how quickly his fortune turned around. It wasn't that long ago that he and his crew were packing their belongings to return to Naples. Basileo would still be a fortunate one since he would still be a captain back home without the promise of thrill and adventure that came with expeditions.

Back in Naples, Basileo was a captain of a small trade fleet that helped ship trade goods across the Mediterranean. Pirates did exist but they were in such small numbers that the escort fleet was more than enough to deter the attacks. Basileo always loved the feel of being on water which couldn't be rivaled by land. Yet, his tasks of heading small trade fleets eventually became mundane once he got over the initial excitement of seeing the exotic goods that might be aboard his ship from time to time. Then, he heard of stories about possible new lands waiting to be discovered and, to do so, one must sail ships across the vast oceans past the many dangers that await in the shadows. Basileo scoffed at these stories at first thinking they were nothing but bedtime stories for children.

It wasn't until news in the west reached Naples did Basileo finally take the stories more seriously. First, islands called Madeira and the Azores were discovered by the Portuguese. Basileo never even imagined such islands existed in the Atlantic which has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. Then, there came news about the infamous Cape Bojador which was considered impassable at one point. The fact that someone managed to overcome it opened up a large number of opportunities. This accomplishment was also a much needed motivation for Basileo and his crew who, at that point, encountered a number of rejections resulting in relatively low morale overall. The motivation kept them going seeing them eventually arrive in Portugal and getting their much sought out funding.

Many of those in his crew had been following Basileo for years. They were hand picked sailors of Basileo because he knew their work ethics and experience. They, much like their captain, were finding their work rather mundane where nothing exciting ever happens. Life was short so they weren't particularly content with spending their entire life in their profession until retirement. Therefore, it didn't take much for Basileo to convince them to join him in their journey of finding sponsors for expeditions. Along their journey, they encountered others who also sought out more excitement in their life so Basileo's crew grew larger. After going through some very difficult times, they were rewarded by the funding of the Portuguese crown and the ship,
Lobo.
 

blklizard

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Chapter 6

The Lobo, a Portuguese word for wolf, was a carrack that was quite suitable for the exploration expedition Basileo and his crew had in mind. The ship was large enough to sail the heavy seas while boasting sufficient capacity for provisions needed for long voyages. It was clear that, to discover the route to India, carrack would be the ship the Portuguese or the crews they sponsor needed to make the dangerous trip. Basileo and his crew were very fortunate to have acquired the ship in their agreement with the Portuguese crown. The Lobo was actually recently built and a crew was being searched to sail the magnificent ship. Basileo became the lucky man to captain the ship and take charge one of the most ambitious expeditions in European history.

Naturally, there was a lot of pressure put on Basileo and his crew. The funding and the ship provided by the Portuguese crown wasn't cheap as they were expected to pay back with high interests regardless of their success in their expedition. During the meeting with the representative, Basileo was questioned on many facts on ships to test his knowledge of sailing. The Portuguese crown was unwilling to invest in an incompetent captain so one of the representative's tasks was to determine the competency of Basileo. The representative was, at the end, content about the man who would be the new captain of the Lobo but he made great emphasis that, should Basileo attempt to break their agreement, he would be a wanted man throughout Europe.

The representative might not have been direct but he hinted about the spy network of the Portuguese crown stretching far and wide across Europe. If Basileo and his crew decided to steal a ship and sell it for a profit, they would be hunted down and properly punished for their crime. Basileo could see the seriousness in the representative's expression indicating that all he spoke of was the truth. Luckily for Basileo, he had no intention on breaking any of the clauses in the agreement as his sole reason for arriving in Portugal was to find a sponsor for an expedition. If he was seeking wealth, he could do so easily with relatively few risks if he remained at his old profession of escorting trade fleets in the Mediterranean.

Having finally found a sponsor, Basileo could revisit the plans he made before he left for Naples. The plans were the ideas he and his crew came up with regarding how they would approach their expedition. When the rejections were piling up, Basileo was too busy finding new potential sponsors to be bothering with the plans. By the time he arrived in Portugal, the plans were somewhere at the bottom of his bag where it would likely be forgotten if the Portuguese crown refused them funding as well. Basileo took out the crumpled paper which was what united him and his crew in the first place. Seeing it before him brought tears from a man who usually didn't shed tears.
 

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Better make sure he doesn't disappear with that ship or the Portuguese will hunt him down with their spy network. I'm sure it reaches Africa and elsewhere. :D

I guess I better start playing soon so you have something to work off of. I shall find time this week for sure. :)
 

blklizard

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Better make sure he doesn't disappear with that ship or the Portuguese will hunt him down with their spy network. I'm sure it reaches Africa and elsewhere. :D

I guess I better start playing soon so you have something to work off of. I shall find time this week for sure. :)
That spy network will one day reach the New World so don't underestimate it. :p

This story is amazing. I didn't expect to enjoy a narrative AAR this much.
Thanks! I'm not the best writer around here but I guess my style just suits your taste. :) Hope you'll continue to find the experience satisfactory.

Chapter 7

Basileo stood on deck feeling the cool ocean breeze blow past him. They were finally on their way to explore the unknowns. All the hardship Basileo and his crew suffered in their journey of finding a sponsor soon became nothing more than memories that would be soon replaced. There were many discoveries awaiting them which they eagerly welcomed. Even the new crew members sent by the Portuguese crown were very enthusiastic about the expedition. Basileo did notice one of the Portuguese sailor who kept to himself not wanting to get involved with anyone else, including the other Portuguese sailors. His limitations in the Portuguese language prevented him getting to the bottom of the situation so he eventually ignored the issue altogether.

Basileo and his crew first sailed along the section of the African coast which had been relatively well documented by Portuguese explorers. It didn't take long before they sailed further south into uncharted waters. Basileo was an ambitious man and, given that his ship was well stocked in provisions and his men were in excellent spirit, he saw no point in turning back until they made any major discoveries. While no major discoveries were made early in the expedition, Basileo's crew did find uninhabited islands that would be later name the Cape Verde Islands. The islands offered little excitement so the Lobo continued on her journey southwards while land was still within sight.

Basileo and his crew soon learned that the African coast didn't stretch in the southward direction indefinitely. They had to make a decision to either move along the coastline seeing them head eastwards or continue southwards to see what surprises might await them there. The crew was quite divided between the two options as both sides had excellent points regarding why their option was more ideal. Basileo, seeing a stalemate forming, decided to let his student, Michele, choose their path. For those who had been under Basileo for a very long time, they weren't surprised one bit that Basileo picked the young man to choose their future.

No one knew much about Michele's past since Michele generally kept that bit of history to himself. Even Basileo gave up trying to learn more about this young man after many attempts during their first encounters. Michele was an orphan when Basileo first found him begging on the harbor. Normally, Basileo took no notice of beggars since they were numerous enough that they never caught his eye. For whatever reason, Michele was special as Basileo decided, upon seeing the boy, to take him in and raise him like his own son. They might never share the same blood but the two were as close as any father and son would be. Since that day, the two of them were inseparable.
 

Cityracer

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Thanks! I'm not the best writer around here but I guess my style just suits your taste. :) Hope you'll continue to find the experience satisfactory.
Sometimes I feel the best written stories are not the most enjoyable to read. When a story is over detailed, they tend to drag on and I get bored. I like that this story has short chapters that are concise. I hate stories that use words 90% of people haven't heard of.
 
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blklizard

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Sometimes I feel the best written stories are not the most enjoyable to read. When a story is over detailed, they tend to drag on and I get bored. I like that this story has short chapters that are concise. I hate stories that use words 90% of people haven't heard of.
I'm just too lazy with too much details and don't know too many big words. :p

Chapter 8

Basileo had just returned from another escorting mission and looked forward to get to the tavern. He made a strict rule for himself where he couldn't drink at all out at sea regardless how mundane the trip might be. The sea was a cruel mistress and he knew far too many good men lost their lives when it was entirely avoidable. Basileo had simpler dreams back then and didn't want to go until he realized them. As he got off his ship, Basileo stopped to stare at a young boy who was begging for money from passersby. The sight of young beggars was a common sight in these parts since there were always wealthy merchants who might, on a good day, spare some change for the less fortunate.

Despite his many urgings, Basileo couldn't get his feet to move. They were somehow rooted where he stood refusing to widen the distance between him and the boy. Basileo then gave up and continued staring at the boy who soon got himself tangled up with a few sailors. The skinny boy was no match and was given a quick beating seeing him covered in bruises. Other people present took no notice of the beggar as they went about their business. The boy, not wanting sympathy anyways, picked himself back up and returned to begging for money. Basileo understood why he couldn't break his gaze from the boy. The boy simply reminded him of his past, a past Basileo wished to put behind him a long time ago.

While Basileo shared many secrets with his crew over the years, he was never willing to allow them into his past. Basileo felt shameful because he was once a beggar too. His life was no different from the boy he was watching as everyone around him treated him like trash. Basileo saw his parents die during a revolt where they were caught in the chaos. His parents sacrificed their life to save his but, with their departure, Basileo lost everything. His relatives took advantage of the situation and stole everything that belonged to his parents. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Basileo began his struggles as a young beggar where he learned the harsh reality of life the hard way.

Basileo could remember the rough times as he wandered the streets aimlessly hoping someone could spare some change. He was always hungry and had little protection from the elements. He especially hated rainy seasons when he was drenched nearly every day of the week. Basileo didn't know how but he managed to weather the storm that lasted for much of his childhood. Then, a very fortunate event happened when he finally found a way out of poverty. That very event not only pulled him out of the sufferings but also made it possible for him to be the captain of the Lobo. Just as one person made a difference in his life, Basileo decided to change the life of the boy who he later learned was called Michele.

 

blklizard

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Basileo needs to learn not to be ashamed of his past. The saddest part about his past is that it was a story all to common during this period.
Overcoming such shame is definitely a tough psychological barrier for Basileo. With the expedition ahead of him, he could finally leave that bit of his past behind him.

Chapter 9

Basileo was out in the streets again. He was lucky to meet a few kind individuals who gave him enough ducats for a piece of bread. The bread didn't even come close to filling him up but it was enough to keep him going. Young Basileo had, in many occasions, considered suicide as a way out. He still remembered his mother spoke of God who watched over all Catholics. Yet, he lost faith in the Almighty one since the death of his parents. If God did exist, then he wouldn't let someone like Basileo suffer for the unfortunate events that developed early in his life. Alone in the streets with no one but himself, Basileo somehow managed to survive the streets for a few years. Yet, his situation hadn't improved at all since he was orphaned.

During another rainy day, Basileo, soaked to the bone, was searching for some sort of shelter against the elements. His stomach was growling loudly but he learned to ignore it over the years. As long as he had strength to move around, he wasn't in desperate need of food. Of course, there weren't exactly strangers in the mood of being generous when it was pouring. All of them were too busy returning to their homes where they could stay dry with roofs above their heads. Basileo ran to a few of his usual spots but other beggars were already there. He learned very early in his life as a beggar that it wasn't worth the effort to fight the other beggars. Too little was gained and far too much could be lost as a result.

Basileo still remembered seeing a brawl between two beggars over a piece of bread. To call the food bread was rather generous since it was nothing more than some crumbs. The two beggars haven't ate for days and were willing to fight over the crumbs to keep themselves alive. In the end, both beggars were badly wounded while the bread crumbs were gone. Someone else, during the brawl, took advantage of the chaos and stole it for themselves. The two beggars, battered and exhausted from the brawl, got nothing in the end. A week later, one of them died from his injuries while the other died from starvation. Basileo learned a valuable lesson that day and usually stayed away from the other beggars.

With all his usual spots taken, Basileo was forced to seek out a new shelter. He had to explore other parts of the city on the off chance he might learn of a new place he could make into his new base. The dark clouds in the sky made it so it was practically nighttime in the city. Some light from within homes offered illumination but not much. Basileo soon entered an unfamiliar part of the city and began moving around cautiously. He didn't want to get involved in a conflict with anyone that might ruin his day or, even worse, kills him outright. As Basileo turned around the corner, he barely reacted to the person running towards him who crashed right into him. The impact sent Basileo flying knocking him unconscious as he hit the ground.
 

DKM

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Well, I hope he didn't kick any buckets on his way to the ground. Nicely written chapter.

P.S. - In case you're wondering why I haven't commented on the Langobard story in a long time, It's because I missed two days of it and you kept updating so quickly that, now, I am many pages behind.