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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Hello AARlanders! I’m volksmarschall, your host and author of this AAR. For those who do not know me, I hope we might become acquainted through constant interaction on the forums – at least when I’m around. Back in 2008-2009, I started my first AAR on these forums in the first Victoria, and as of this post, it is the only AAR I have finished – Saints and Angels, which was a narrative of the American Civil War. While that game and this Victoria II game are obviously not related, this AAR is intended to be the sequel to Saints and Angels, just transplanted, if you will, to Victoria II. For anyone who may have read that AAR, some of the characters I created in that narrative will be making their long overdue reappearance, hence making this the sequel.

This will be a narrative AAR, and there will not be any in-game screenshots, so if you are expecting such an AAR, stop and double-back unless you want to take this journey with me. This AAR will also serve second fiddle to what I expect to be working on for an indefinite period of time in EU IV: The Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization. I have decided to start this AAR as another release from EU IV and my work – and I always loved reading, and telling, (hopefully) an engaging story that will make me happy – and I would hope, make all of who read this happy. For those who have not read my original narrative, there is no reason to unless you want to subject yourself to cruel and unusual punishment – although some characters will be making their reappearance, the background of that story will be interwoven into this; and the backstory from my first AAR is not critically important to this story.

I will try to update this story once a week, or every other week, generally when I find the time to and when I’m not over in EU IV. I generally like to reward bonus points to the first commentAAR who realizes cultural homages that I have a habit of including in my work – so first when to know the movie that I pay tribute to in the first post gets the bonus point (hint, it’s a Western, and the title of this AAR has nothing to do with it – a brief monologue from my main character should give it away if you’ve seen this great Western)! So, without further ado – I present you with: The Last Angel.



T.O.C.
Introduction (below)
Chapter One, Ten Years Later
Chapter Two, Midnight Firefight
 
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Introduction and Dedication

To Enewald, my most loyal ReadAAR since I've been on the forums and trying the whole AAR-business!


The bright pale moon light illuminated the dark blue skies above. The shining stars showed the path to righteousness, or in this case, the path to fate. A man strode into the small town, his coat covering the entirety of his body, his hat covering his eyes as he kept his head down. He halted at the local saloon, which was all but empty - outside of a few stragglers too drunk to leave their seats. The man slowly dismounted and walked into the wood-laden store, and with the light of night, his shadow pierced through the doorway.

The few sober-enough men peered in his direction, then turned away to continue drinking their glasses of whisky or bourbon. The shadowy man walked in, heading straight for the bartender.

“We’re closed,” the bartender announced.

The shadowy man pulled out a cigar from his pocket, which had prompted the bartender to reach for his scattergun he kept underneath the bar top. The bartender gave a sigh of relief when he noticed it was a harmless gesture. The man in the coat lit the Cuban, the light from the match and the cigar gave a small illumination of brightness around the man’s face – it was rugged, dirty, and rather pale.

“I’m looking for a man, Smith.”

“I don’t know no Smith,” answered the bartender.

“I hadn’t asked if you knew him. You keep records of those you give out rooms to?”

“Yes.”

“Let me see it.”

The bartender walked to gather his log, opened it to the most recent page of entries, and gave it to the smoking man. The smoking man glanced down, placing his finger at the top of the page and quickly moving it down the paper, he suddenly double-backed and moved his finger back up the page – an entry for earlier in the day read: Smith, Tom. He lifted up his finger and dropped it on the name.

“Gotchya.” The smoking man looked back up, “Do you have keys to Room Six?”

“Yes,” answered the bartender, but I don’t open up guests rooms to strangers.”

The smoking man reached over the counter and grabbed the bartender by his shirt collar and pulled him close, although the bar top prevented too much physical contact. “Listen to me, this man, Tom Smith – he is from Kentucky. He is a fugitive of the law. I’m here to collect. Understand?” The bartender nodded. “Now get the key to Room Six.”

After the bartender located his room keys, he lead the smoking man up to the second level of the saloon where the spare rooms were located for travelers, vagabonds, and other random people that might pass through town or have no proper source of income to have their own home. “Here,” said the bartender, pointing to the door.

“Open it.”

“No sir, not if what you say is true about this man. You can handle him, here.” With that, the bartender handed the smoking man the key to Room Six and departed, backing away and stumbling down to the first floor in fear, where he informed the few remaining drunkards of the predicament about to happen on the second floor.

“Coward,” muttered the smoking man, he dropped his cigar to the ground, pulled out his revolver, cocked the trigger, and took the room key and jammed it into the door lock. The key fumbled in the lock, and the man was unable to open the door in quick fashion, it took, perhaps, 10 or 15 seconds before he managed to jar the lock out of place and open the door. As the door opened, his figure stood in the doorway and the man marched into the room as if on que. He looked down at the bed, noticing a figure still waiting – apparently asleep. The man smiled, raised his revolver and pulled the trigger. Six shots rang out in rapid fashion, emptying his gun. The man reloaded, although he only managed one or two shells in his excitement. He tore the bed covering from the body underneath – only to find a pillow and some extra sheets.

The man took a step back, and turned about in worry – preparing to exit the room. A fist struck the man in the jaw, knocking him down, his gun spiraling toward the other end of the room.

“Next time you’re gonna kill a man, better hope he ain’t expecting visitors.”

The man, who had moments before been expecting an easy kill and score, mumbled, “Ya…ya…you Tom Smith, from Kentucky?”

The other man stood forthright, “Yeah, I’m Tom Smith – from Kentucky.”

“Ya…ya…you killed a US Marshal in sixty-nine?”

“Your’s truly,” he replied in a raspy voice, deep in nature as if he had a throat problem – which he did, to some degree or another. “Killed just about everything that breathes on this planet.”

“P…p…p…please sir, I don’t mean you no harm.”

“Really? A moment ago you just tried to kill me. But I’m not the same man as I was in sixty-nine, not even the same man I was yesterday. No, I don’t kill unarmed persons no more. But now I’m telling you, pick up your gun!” The other man stuttered, unsure of what to do. Tom Smith, a fugitive and outlaw, cocked his trigger and pointed the barrel of his revolver directly at the man who had tried to kill him. “Pick it up!” The other man quickly crawled to his gun, grasping it in his hand, and then tossed it over to Tom. “I didn’t say to give me your gun. Pick it up dammit!” The man complied, and falling to his knees, he held his gun in his hand and looked into the face of the man he had just thought he had killed moments before. “Do you believe in God son?”

“Never really gave it much consideration,” stuttered the would-be assassin.

“You might want to give it some thought,” replied Tom, who raised his gun back at the man who had tried to kill him, “Like I said, I don’t kill unarmed men no more…but you ain’t unarmed now, are you?”

“Wa…” muttered the other man raising his arms in the air, just as Tom expunged into his body all nine shots from his LeMat revolver.

Tom looked over the dead corpse of his would-be killer, “Shouldn’t have armed yourself.”
 

GreatUberGeek

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Ooh! Subbed! I see that this is a sequel to Saints and Angels. Probably should read that. ;) I haven't seen many Westerns, so I can't figure out what this reference is, though I bet I could google it. :D
 

Enewald

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Ah, haven't been focusing much on Western culture, so not sure about what you possibly referring to.

Nice to have an introduction mentioning me. :cool:

I will do my best to keep following this AAR too. Your produce some real quality text. :)
Wondering what kind of V2 campaign is behind this AAR, if any?
 

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Ooh! Subbed! I see that this is a sequel to Saints and Angels. Probably should read that. ;) I haven't seen many Westerns, so I can't figure out what this reference is, though I bet I could google it. :D

Reading that old work will subject you to a violation of the 8th Amendment! :p The movie has Clint Eastwood in it, if that helps! :cool:

Ah, haven't been focusing much on Western culture, so not sure about what you possibly referring to.

Nice to have an introduction mentioning me. :cool:

I will do my best to keep following this AAR too. Your produce some real quality text. :)
Wondering what kind of V2 campaign is behind this AAR, if any?

Well, I figured since you have 20000+ posts, and seeing that you loyally followed through S&A and until I left, "The Presidents", and you stumbled across Decline and Fall :p I thought a mere dedication was in order!

I am honored you think I produce quality text. Lucky for you, this is a side project, and is not scheduled to be very long (at least I don't expect it to be). I just want to write a short narrative that wraps up the story of the some of our S&A friends. Campaign behind the story? Meh, very loosely will a few events from a Vicky II GC be mentioned, more or less as back story for some characters. But you well know from my Presidents AAR, when I play as America in Vicky (and Vicky II), fighting Mexico is America's favorite thing to do!
 

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Chapter One


Wyoming Territory, 10 Years Later, 1886

The sun rose behind the gentle rolling green slope behind them. One man was leading the pack of cattle, another man, actually a boy – 17 years old, was to his left. Another man was far to the rear making sure the herd was kept together. Driving was a rather difficult job for those who were unsure of how to properly move the profitable, but large and wild beasts to the final destination, usually some wealthy cattle baron or similar individual who dominated the countryside.

The man leading the pack looked older than he actually was. His grizzled and disheveled appearance made him appear a decade older than he was. He wore a brown “cowboy” hat over his head, and a small bandana across his neck. Rumor was he wore the bandana across his neck to cover up a bullet wound he had received during the Civil War, but I have my suspicion if that story was true. His name was Tom Harper, and he had come out west from the American East, well, east of the Mississippi that is. No one really knew where he was from, except for his neighbor Mrs. Abigail Hartwright. He also probably aged quicker from his experiences, which he doesn’t like to talk about.

The younger boy came up to him, “Mr. Harper,” he said, “I just want to thank you for hiring me to accompany you on this drive. It means a lot to me, my mother, and the rest of my family. I…I…”

Tom looked over to the boy, “Don’t mention it kid, but I want to let you know – I hired you to watch the cattle on the drive, not make small talk with me.”

“I know, but, uh, I mean – you’ve been like a father-figure to me ever since my pa died…”

“He was a good man,” interjected Tom.

“…and well, you know, being your my neighbor and all – I really don’t know you all that much. Other than what my mother has told me of course, which is little.”

“And what has she told you kid?”

“Well, she mentioned before that you come all the way out from Kentucky, looking to settle a new life after the war. The war, you know, she says you fought for the Union and that you was at the Battle of Clinch Mountain in Tennessee. After the war was done and all, you eventually made your way out here to start a new life.”

“Is that all?”

“Well, yeah, tis all my mother ever told me about you. Is all that them there true? That you come all the way out from Kentucky, that you served with the Union and was at Clinch Mountain and all?”

“Don’t waste your time with bedtime stories kid, I ain’t that interesting,” Tom said, as if indicating the conversation was over and that the ‘kid’ should go back to the side to attend the cattle. “Yes, what your mother has told you is true. Now go back and help Jim ring up the stragglers. We’ll be closing for camp soon enough.”

The Kid strode back to the rear of the herd to give a helping hand to Jim, a man of roughly the same age as Tom Harper, perhaps a bit younger. Like Tom, he was a veteran of the Civil War, veteran also of the Third Mexican-American War. After his experiences toying with death, he retired out west where the two eventually became acquainted, although neither like to talk about their past together; must have been a shady past the two wanted to keep secret. Some suggested that the two were former bank robbers, not very successful that is, and in their inability to make a living from a life of crime, decided to call it quits and attempt a more honorable lifestyle of work – even if it was day-by-day or month-by-month.

After about an additional hour of moving, Tom halted at the top of a small rolling ridge, the sun was nearly down, darkness was quickly setting in. He whistled to Jim and the Kid to halt and tie down the fort, so to speak, for the night. That they did. Tom took off his hat and looked straight up to the sky as if saying a prayer, then just as quickly looked back to see how the herd had done. Jim signaled back to him that they had yet to lose any of their flock, a good sign for the buyer in Idaho, who was promising a large sum in return for the cattle drive, a large enough sum for all three to make it through the winter and possibly into the spring with the dividends of the drive, once complete.

To their left, just beyond another ridge, perhaps 200 or 300 foot higher in height, four shadowy figures, all armed with rifles, or some equivalent rifled- esque firearm stood watching over them. They were unnoticed by the cattle drivers below. The men on the top of the higher ridge glanced at one another, and then moved around back.

Down below, well, more or less farther from their position, Tom glanced up at the ridge and caught a glimpse of something moving back. He didn’t think much of it at the time. He barked back at Jim and the Kid to settle down for the night, and for the Kid to build the night fire so they would not go cold during the night, and also so they could make a decent meal to eat as they were closing in on their destination.
 
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Enewald

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How historical do the borders look after three wars with Mexico?
 

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How historical do the borders look after three wars with Mexico?

Since you know my Presidents AAR, when I get bored as America I DoW Mexico. The borders look(ed) really weird, I controlled the Baja and all of Northern Mexico (all the provinces that bordered the Rio Grande) and some a little further south after 3 one-sided wars with them.

Hmm...it would appears as if the Narrative has really fallen out of flavor since I left! :p
 

volksmarschall

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Subbed anyways!

I just picked up Victoria II and was checking out AARs to learn the game when I found this. As someone who still understands nothing about the game I preferred the narrative format.

I should've been more attentive to how the forum changed AAR-wise, that's my fault. Oh well...

Well you've intrigued me volk, do keep it up.

Thanks for the words of support! ha!

This seems very, very good. Have just read a little of the introduction (or first chapter, you know, the first narrative part), so I am just say here that I am subbing so I can come back and read it through. :)

I doth think you are too kind sir! However, I have greatly restructured the plot line since I'm gathering the days of long narratives are far in the past now, any idea of replicating my Saints and Angels AAR are now out of the window...which in a way, is good for all the readers since this should be a more concise and quick short(er) story now.
 

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Chapter Two

*We didn't start the fire!*



As night fell over the driver’s camp, Tom looked over this herd, including the Kid and Jim. The fire was burning bright, and was comforting enough that one could probably sleep through the night and not have to worry about going cold when it went out – after all, the red ashes would provide an additional warmth for the time being. Tom walked over to Jim and whispered something in his ears. The Kid looked over at him.

Tom walked over to his horse and mounted it, he looked back at his two companions, “I’ll be back in short order,” he said and moved off, back the way they came.

“Where is he off too?” questioned the Kid.

“He’s just gotta do his business,” replied Jim. “Pass the whisky kid.”

As Tom strode back toward a few of the higher ridges, he noted the sounds of other horses, probably 3, crossing a small creek about a half mile from where he and his friends had packed up for the night. This was common practice that cattle drivers had to deal with, robbers and other types of disgruntled misfits often trying to steal the prized cattle for their own selfish purposes. Tom pulled out his revolver and kept his finger delicately placed on the trigger as he squinted his eyes at the darkened figures crossing the creek. They were muttering to one another, their words inaudible to Tom.

Tom silently steered his horse around their back side, not entering the creek, but placed so when they came onto the dry land of the plains he could follow. He trailed them, say about 30 or 40 feet in the darkness. Like a ghost, he was undetected by them. He finally made out a few words the men were saying to one another. The lands that Tom and his party was traversing belonged to Mr. Ned Bigby, a local landowner and former cattle baron himself. After a long and devastating war between him and free-grazers of which he emerged victorious, and claimed private ownership of all the lands countryside, literally all the countryside outside the town of New Canaan, he declared that any “free-grazers” trespassing on his lands would be killed or arrested on sight. The three men riding toward the Kid, Jim, and Tom’s herd of cattle were apparently employed by Mr. Bigby.

“They’re never gonna know what hit them, that’s too bad,” said one of the hired-guns.

The other two laughed, “That is, that’s too bad!”

From their rear, Tom closed the distance – he was nearly on top of them when he made his presence known. “Well hello there!” Tom said with a sinister look and smile on his face.

The men looked back and noticed that Tom had his revolver pointed directly at them. They didn’t have a moment to say a word before the first shot rang out. Tom was no more than a few feet behind the rear-most assailant. The first bullet from Tom’s revolver burst into his chest and sent the man tumbling from his saddle onto the ground.

“Holy Christ,” muttered one of the man, as he reached for his revolver in his holster. Tom quickly moved the barrel at his direction. As the man gripped the handle of his Colt, another shot rang out. The man jumped backed on his saddle, and looked down at the entrance wound – it had gone through his upper pectoral. He looked back at Tom with a face of dejection. He reached his hand out toward him. Tom shot again. The bullet hit him the opposite pectoral, and the man fell off his horse and slammed onto the ground dead.

Back at the camp, the three gunshots were faintly heard by Jim and the Kid. The two immediately stood up and looked back the way Tom had left. Jim ran over to his belt for his revolver. “You better be prepared to arm yourself,” he told the Kid. The Kid looked at Jim, somewhat nervous, and rushed over to grab his revolver, well, it wasn’t his – it was a spare that Tom always carried with him, which he had lent him for the duration of the journey for the sake of safety.

Back at the firefight, if you can call it that, the third man – coming to his better senses, kicked his horse into gear and attempted to flee rather than fight. He rode off with great speed and was nearly out of sight when Tom, having just killed the second man, took aim at the third man fleeing the scene. Tom closed one eye and took careful aim and the outline of the man, faintly visible in his eyesight. He pulled the trigger, and the single bullet struck the man in the back. He didn’t fall from his horse, and the horse kept galloping into the darkness. Tom was left unsure if he had killed the man or just wounded him.

About 6 or 7 minutes later, Tom pulled up to the campsite. Jim pointed his gun directly at him as he strode up. “Whoa! Easy their partner, you don’t wanna get shot do you?”

“I suppose not,” said Jim.

“Tom,” exclaimed the Kid!

“Pack up, we’re moving out.”

“What was all the shooting about,” asked Jim.

Tom looked at the two, “We aren’t welcome here.”
 
Last edited:

GreatUberGeek

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[video]http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eFTLKWw542g&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DeFTLKWw542g[/video]
 

Idhrendur

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I found my way over from the Best Character Writer of the Week, and it is clearly well deserved. I'm looking forward to future updates, and will check out your other AAR.