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King of Spades
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Jun 24, 2004
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There are things in life that you always remember---the way your favorite flavor of ice cream tasted on a warm summer day, your mother's chicken soup on a cold winter day, the thrill you felt when the team you loved won, and so on.

What I'll never forget is the way I felt the first time I saw -her-.

It was my senior year of college and like many university students, I'd avoided taking my least favorite general education requirement until one of my last two semesters.

So it came to pass that in September of that year, I found myself walking into History 103: Survey of European History and slouching down in a chair near the back, where the professor wouldn't see me.

I looked around the room, sneering at my fellow students who were already there. Most of them were wide-eyed freshmen who looked either eager or terrified to be there. You could always tell the freshmen, because they were the ones actually fully alert and ready to go at 7:45 am the first day of a semester. Not like the old hands like me who knew better than to take a course that early. Hell, I only got stuck with a class so ungodly early in the morning because it was the only one that met three times a week. 50 minutes three times a week was a lot better than twice a week at an hour and 20 minutes a piece.

Professor Morengay was the instructor, fortysomething with the bushiest beard I'd ever seen on a man. My fraternity brothers who'd had him before said he was a great lecturer, a real storyteller who made History at least a little less boring than it actually was. Since they were usually right about that kind of thing, that gave me another reason to put up with the hassle of having to wake up at 7 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Anyway, there I sat, not really paying attention as Morengay started going through the roll in his deep bullfrog's voice until the door creaked open, drawing everyone's attention.

Heh, typical freshman, running late and lost, I thought.

And then all thought went out of my head.

Standing there, blushing under so many eyes on her, was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen.

The first thing I noticed was her hair, so light blonde it was almost white. I swear, when she moved, it looked like it cascaded and rippled like sunlight dappling and sparkling the surface of a stream. You know the kind of sunlight I'm talking about. The kind that turns this more than pretty white when it hits the water, no longer yellow.

She was dressed in a plaid grey and white skirt that ended just above the knees, so cute I wanted to rip it off her with my teeth along with the simple white blouse she wore.

Her eyes I couldn't see too well, because I was at the back of the room, but her lips were pink and soft and just the perfect shape for what a girl's lips should be doing to a guy.

After a moment of silence, Morengay gestured with a grin, "Well, come on in. History 103? Is that the class you're looking for? Cuz if you are, this is just the right spot."

She nodded, doelike, and quickly found the nearest seat, busying her hands with her backpack while the professor took our attention from her by resuming the roll.

Once we'd gotten through with that tedium, he handed out the syllabuses and prattled through all the rot I'd heard in so many other classes throughout the four years I'd been there.

"Since it's the first day of college for so many of you, I'll let you go early today", Morengay said, "We start on Wednesday with a look at a time when a real bastard took over England."

The class laughed and the noises of leaving started up.

Me personally, I could've cared less about whatever cheesy jokes the prof was making.

My eyes were on her.

She quickly got her things together and left, no doubt to avoid the embarrassment of coming in late.

Suddenly I found myself looking forward to 7:45 am Wednesday and all the 7:45s thereafter those three days a week.
Jestor said:
Suddenly I found myself looking forward to 7:45 am Wednesday and all the 7:45s thereafter those three days a week.


You're a senior and you're still taking classes at 7:45 am on a Wednesday? My suspension of disbelief is shot...

phargle: Thank you :) And that's interesting that you think you know who she is.

Llywelyn: It's only one class and I tried to provide the character's rationale for it in the OP, as I knew someone would point it out. :)
Jestor said:
phargle: Thank you :) And that's interesting that you think you know who she is.

Llywelyn: It's only one class and I tried to provide the character's rationale for it in the OP, as I knew someone would point it out. :)

If phargle knows who it is , it musr be that Knytling girl who seems to have single handedly spawned just about every european royal lineage - at least in AARland.

When our protaganist offers to see her safely back home, is he going to find history becomes a little too live from him.
As a freshmen, I took (and failed) early-morning classes.

As an upper-classman, I took no class before 10:30am. 12:30pm, if I could get away with it.

As a senior, I took (and passed) early-morning classes, although not quite that early. ;)

The story is plausible. Who hasn't put off taking a general-ed requirement until the last minute, and then found out it was only available at a certain time, and then got excited about the class when a hot girl walked in? I . . .uh. . . I mean, it could happen to anyone.
This looks good.
What he's afraid to tell you is, it's not fiction :D

Well, Jestor, you sure got my attention. Not too often we get AARs centered on unbelievable ladies. :)
Jestor: ...Suddenly I found myself looking forward to 7:45 am Wednesday and all the 7:45s thereafter those three days a week.

you can post them at whatever time you wish to, but don't expect me to read them before 8 PM ! ! ;)

i'm hooked ! ! :cool:
Chief Ragusa: That's an angle I hadn't considered. :D As I was thinking about this story this morning though, I did get a little better idea of who this girl is. :)

J. Passepartout: Everyone has their own scheduling preference. :) For me, I prefer MWF with as many consecutive classes as possible. The latter is why I love my TTh schedule this semester. I'm in class from 11-3:30ish, three classes back to back. It's great. :)

Fulcrumvale: Thanks. :) I'll admit I'm a bit nervous about this one, where I'm experimenting with how well I can make a dual layer story work. I've done it a bit with some other game dynasties with mixed results, but I think this particular type of story setup lends itself to it.

Veldmaarschalk: Glad to have you back aboard! :)

Hajji Giray I: :D I did actually have a girl who took my breath away when I saw her in a Japanese History course last semester and I'll admit it's the memory of that moment that provided the inspiration for this AAR. The similarities end there, however. :)

GhostWriter: Superb! I'm always happy to be able to hook people in. ;)
Rocketman: As phargle points out, Gen Ed classes have their share of pretty girls and the Japanese History course was upper division, fwiw. :D

phargle: I wish English worked the same way, but it seems like most of the hot girls who are all up in English are education majors besides. A lot of the English lit and/or creative writing girls are angry, chubby, manly feminists who bitch about the evils of men and worship Virginia Woolf and a few contemporary women poets who I can't recall offhand. :D
That first Wednesday morning was the first time in my university career I actually felt a certain sense of excitement about class. I actually looked forward to going, just to see -her- again. I hadn't felt like that since middle school and it was a weird feeling.

I even showed up ten minutes early, another first.

This time I took a seat in the second row. Not because of any love for Morengay's lectures or anything, but because she seemed to be a front room kinda girl.

Sure enough, when she came in five minutes later, golden legs beneath a powder-blue skirt and blouse with a white sweater draped and criss crossed around her shoulders, she took the chair two seats to my right.

I looked over, smiled my Rico Suave smile, and gave her my best ladykiller upnod, "Hey. Sup?"

She started from rummaging for her notebook, looked over at me, blinked, and went right back to her hunt for pen and paper.

As I slumped back from that rejection, I couldn't help but feel thankful none of my brothers were in the class with me. They'd have given me shit about it all week. See, the thing is, I had something of a rep for being a player, especially with the sorority girls. My best time was when I banged the Alpha Chi Sigma president, a prissy and proper little brunette with just one weakness... a weakness that I found and exploited one drunken Friday night. I was the hero of the fraternity for the rest of the semester.

Anyway, Prof Morengay came in while I was mulling over what tack to take next. He didn't believe in taking attendance, as he said people who didn't come to class usually flunked the course, so he wasn't going to waste "valuable time" reading off about 70 names.

He put his notes up on the lectern, cleared his throat, and began in that deep voice I still can remember to this day:

"I'm going to start our survey of European history this first week or so by looking at various regions of the continent and covering the period from approximately prehistory until 1066, when William the Bastard conquered England. Once those lectures are completed, I'll be selecting a specific region to focus on from 1066 on based on the feedback I get concerning each lecture from you guys."

Yeah, like I was going to do that. I didn't care what the hell he said. I glanced over at the girl and smirked to myself when I saw she was staring attentively at the professor and taking notes. Well, what the hell, I thought. I got out my own notebook and pen, flipped open to the first page and prepared to take notes myself. If she was the goody type, then I'd play that role.

"We'll start with England itself" continued Morengay, "Simply because I want to."

The class chuckled appreciatively and I covertly rolled my eyes. I never did get professors who try to be funny. Still, I was there to make myself look good, so I started paying more attention as he began his lecture in earnest.

"The pre-historic era of Britian was a series of cultures interspaced between various ice ages. It wasn't until about 10,000 years ago that the ice ages finally ended and it wasn't until 8,500 years ago that the melting of the glaciers at last and forever created the English Channel separating the island from the continent. Up until the time, there were periods where England and the continent were connected via a land bridge similiar to the one that once joined Alaska with Russia that some of you may be more familiar with.

It was about this time that humankind had spread from the south of Britian, where they'd originated, to extend throughout the island, included the area today known as Scotland. The island's society structure was still one based very much on hunting and gathering for several thousand years . A more permanent society based on farming and settlement first appeared in approximately 4,400 BC, during the Neolithic Period.

The Neolithic Period was also the first time that we see contact between the island and the continent, as anthropologists currently believe that the technology for farming came from intermarriage and other such contacts with Neolithic cultures on mainland Europe. This exchange of knowledge and people only increased from then on and particularly took off sometime around 1,600 BC, during the Bronze Age with the advent of tin mining in the resource-rich southwest of Britain in what is today Cornwall and Devon.

The nature of the island's culture and society changed again in the next age, the Iron Age, with the arrival of metal-working techniques from southern Europe and the Celts, who as we'll see also populated other parts of Europe, including some places that might surprise you. The Celts will play an important role later on, so remember them. Society about this time took on a tribal focus, with the head of a state as a chieftan. And what happens when you get a bunch of tribes together in a territory?"

Prof Morengay paused here and looked at us, no doubt waiting for an answer. I smirked and raised my hand. Freshmen take a while to learn that class participation is a fast-track way to a good grade.

He nodded to me.

"They try to kick each other's asses", I replied, to the mixed laughter and shocked gasps of my newbie classmates who didn't know yet that profanity was common in university settings. As part of my witty answer, I looked over at the girl and winked.

She gave me a stare that came straight out of the Ice Age. Whoops. Strike two.

"That's right! They went to war with each other!" beamed the prof in approval.

"As a result, hill forts came to be built during this time as a means of defense. This tribal state of affairs and warfare continued until around 175 BC when a people called the Belgae from a place called Gaul flooded and settled in the first settlements that can really be called towns in southeast Britian. They were refugees from the biggest, baddest, dudes the world's ever known. They were fleeing from somebody called the Romans and a sprawling landmass named the Roman Empire.

Of course, the Romans being the Romans, they couldn't stand to have any territory not under their control, so in they came during the last century of the BC era. A man you may have heard of called Julius Caesar was the first notable Roman to make contact with the island, landing there as part of a scouting mission in 55 BC. From there a series of invasions ensued, but none of them were successful. Instead, the Romans were forced to settle for establishing diplomatic and trade relations with the various British tribes.

It wasn't until 43 AD in fact, that the Romans were finally able to successfully conquer Britain. In the decades that followed, the Romans did what they do best, which is conquering people. They stretched into Wales and up into Scotland, but were forced as a result of some really fierce fighting and revolts on the part of some nasty and tough warrior tribes called the Picts and the Scots to halt their advance in the first century AD. Realizing they could get no further, the Romans contented themselves with building a wall along the Scottish-RomanoBritish border called Hadrian's Wall after the Roman emperor at the time.

Despite this magnificient feat in conquering most of the island, the Romans didn't exactly have a happy, peaceful time in Britain. Much as is the case with certain American military expeditions today, there were revolts and unrest throughout the conquered territory. By the 4th century, Roman Britain was fighting on three fronts: the Scots and Picts in the north, the Irish in the west, and a Germanic tribe called the Saxons in the east."

The professor stopped the lecture to put up a map on his overhead before continuing.


"The area you see outlined in yellow here is Roman-controlled Britain. Pretty big territory that should be able to handle a few revolts, right? Well, the problem was compounded by the fact that a lot of troops were needed to garrison and somewhat stabilize the territory to begin with. This gave any governor with greater ambitions the military power to revolt against the Roman Empire and indeed, this frequently happened throughout the Roman occupation period. Things were made worse in the 4th century when a guy named Constantine that we'll talk about later decided to move the capital of the Roman Empire somewhere else and basically split the empire in half.

By the fifth century, it was pretty clear Rome's stay on the island was coming to an end. More revolts cropped up, including a peasant rebellion that the Roman emperor refused to surpress. A different group of Saxons than the ones who'd been harassing the eastern borders took advantage of the chaos to revolt. These Saxons were mercanery troops who'd been brought over the preceding couple of centuries to help the Roman legions stamp out rebellion. Now they were rebels and the Roman administration was powerless to stop by them.

By 600, the Romans were gone and the Saxons were now the rulers of the previously Roman territory. I see we're out of time, so we'll pick up on Friday with the Saxon period."

I had a headache from too much history in one sitting. In fact, it hurt so bad I didn't even look at the girl. I just packed my stuff, threw my backpack over my shoulder, and headed back to the fraternity house where a couple Advil had my name on them.

Why was I doing this again?
Erm…wasn’t Diocletian the one who split the empire?
Chief Ragusa: :eek: I was afraid I was going to wind up with historical inaccuracies, which was part of my nervousness. What edits do you suggest I make?

Fulcrumvale: I'm taking the position that the founding of Constantinople was the act that split the Roman Empire, at least on a de facto level.
Yes, Diocletian did. Created a collegiate Emperorship -2 emperors and two Caesars. After 20 years the emperors were to resign and the Ceasars then became emperors. They would then pick new Caesars who were not related to them.

Unfortunately, this did not go down very well with the sons of Diocletian's first Caesars. Constantine was of the royal house of Marcus Aurelius through Commodus and his daughter Bruttia. Diocletian had decreed that son must follow father in his profession, Constantine could argue he was following Diocletian's orders. He proceeded to reunify the Empire, starting form Britain.

Jestor, the Professor is setting out a brief background that paints a picture. He's going to be settinga term paper and wouldn't want his notes presented back to him in a regurgitated form. He's clearly expecting his students to read up about Constnatine before the next class so they'll be able to understand why he is important. Any historical mistakesare likelyto be intentional.

Your statement that by 600 the Saxons were in control is accurate. They'd taken over the leadership from the Jutes in Kent, but would shortly lose it to the new Kingdom of Northumbria formed out of Deira, around York from Angles descended from troops in Roman service on the border and Bernica, based around Bamburg who also founded Edinburgh who were not as Romanised. Northumbrian dominance was briefly unseated by an alliance of Welsh Gwynedd and Angle Mercia.

Mercia would take over the reigns, that by, the time of Offa coins were minted foirthe first time in nearly 400years. Wessex was already challenging Merian dominance when the Danes arrived and she became the only English kingdom left standing. The Bitons and English did have a sense that they were contending for the old Roman diocese of Britannia.
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