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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

TheButterflyComposer

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Venice is one of the most interesting cities because no matter what alternate history you do it will exist. Why? Because of salt. That is why that area was settled - to produce salt. There will ALWAYS be a city there, no matter what happened to the history of Europe because those marshy low-lands make a great place to have salt production using the oldest method - solar evaporation method. I once wrote a alternate history/evolution idea for a alternate history forum about Neanderthals living on - never being replaced - and I set my story where Venice would be because it is the one place I KNEW there would be a city. Because SALT! I would suggest "Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky. Venice is in a few of the chapters.
It became so powerful that in the end it no longer had to make salt it just made profit by trading in it!
That was a message by the Worldwide Salt Association.
Eat salt. It's made of relationships.

It pretty much is certain that northern Italy becomes the city state loving place that it is too, for much the same reasons of trade. Greece too, come the think of it. In fact, pretty much every major ancient city that lies on the Mediterranean coastline would still be founded at some point. Prominence would probably switch around but they would still exist. When you move away from big rivers and water in general, you get bigger discrepancies. Venice is interesting in that it probably would always have taken this form though of both an producer and trader city from the start. Anything else you know that might be of interest (about geographies for example, cos Venice at this time hasn't even colonised all of its own islands yet)?
 

Eurasia

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Well, I do know that because of all the islands a large part of Venice was broken up into boroughs. The borough making up the old historic city was broken down into "sestieri" which were then broken down into parishes each with their own market place, bell towers, and traditions. In fact the parishes predate the "sestieri" (which came about in 1170 AD). Many of the islands in the lagoon were not part of the "sestieri" and developed a certain amount of self-autonomy. By 1000 AD the populace made Venice one of the largest cities in Europe at around 60,000.

And I know the sport of rowing and boat races were popular early on but that's pretty much it. With all those canals that just makes sense. And a lot of seafood. Outside of that I also know it changed hands a few times and, in fact, was rarely independent. It is also believed the city was founded by Romans fleeing Hun and German invasions and the first trade was in slavery.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Well, I do know that because of all the islands a large part of Venice was broken up into boroughs. The borough making up the old historic city was broken down into "sestieri" which were then broken down into parishes each with their own market place, bell towers, and traditions. In fact the parishes predate the "sestieri" (which came about in 1170 AD). Many of the islands in the lagoon were not part of the "sestieri" and developed a certain amount of self-autonomy. By 1000 AD the populace made Venice one of the largest cities in Europe at around 60,000.

And I know the sport of rowing and boat races were popular early on but that's pretty much it. With all those canals that just makes sense. And a lot of seafood. Outside of that I also know it changed hands a few times and, in fact, was rarely independent. It is also believed the city was founded by Romans fleeing Hun and German invasions and the first trade was in slavery.
This is what I found out too. It's actually quite good because Cosma (I.e. Me) begins to expand Venice by building (or I suppose in universe, colonising and connecting) various new borough sites and islands together (one of the occasions where CKII county development actually makes quite a lot of sense). The game (earliest start) actually starts very close to the creation of what we would imagine as the medieval Venetian republic.
The first Doge was elected in 697AD and with that Venice effectively declared independence from the eastern Roman's empire (and got away with it due to a civil war I think). The city remained very close to Constantinople in relations though and did provide for a lot of trade between them and the rest of Europe.
Bastian' movement of the centre of government from Eraclea on the mainland to Malamocco in 742AD actually happened. The island was at the time was home to a religious convent and, in this universe, the Boi family. When Filippo takes over, he moves the family to the just barely settled Rialto (yeah yeah, I know but it became the centre of Venice for a reason anyway. Might as well put the Bois there too). But the island didn't become the centre of government, in either timeline, till 810AD. By then and increasingly going forwards, it was the wealthiest island in vencie and the nerve centre of the city's culture.

So there is a lot of development and opportunity here for expansion and planning, because at this point Venice is a blank canvas that a sufficiently powerful Doge (guess who) should be able to turn into a thriving city in no time. You are correct in that it was rarely independent but it was one of those 'say hello to the new boss, same a story the old boss' type situations where it didn't really matter who the overlord of the Doge was. If he wanted the city to make money for him, he tended to leave them mostly alone. For now in the AAR, we shall peruse an independent Venice but who knows what will happen in the future?
 
Chapter 5: In which Cosma first found his Heart

TheButterflyComposer

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Chapter 5: In which Cosma first found his Heart

Filippo was impatient the next night. His father had been…rebuked, he had said, by his mother for filling the boy with such dreadful old stories. Nevertheless, tonight he had been promised a nicer tale of how his parents first met, which seemed to appease Mama somewhat. He tried to avoid bouncing up and down when the Dux did enter the room.

“Will you tell me now? How you met? And more about Leone and Venice and-”

“Alright, alright,” Cosma raised a hand. “You must have patience young one, to go with your eagerness. I met your mother long ago when we were both very young. I would have remembered it anyway for the first time I left the Villa…well, the first time I was supposed to anyway. Ah yes…very hot it was too.”
16th August 755AD

The crackle of dust and small stones beneath his feet and the enormity of an empty sky occupied the thoughts of the small child Cosma as he walked slightly behind and away from Madam Roe. The day was hot and above him was a heaven so blue it hurt to look at. The other boy Leone was at war with himself; one moment he raced ahead of the party to the edge of the next decline in the road. The next he was anxiously holding back, timidly aware of the mysterious landscape around him. What he did not do was call Cosma to race. He valued their companionship too highly.

They-well, Cosma supposed it was really Madam Roe and the Cook that were going there but still-they were heading down the winding road from the villa to the local village. Cosma was going because it was required, which meant of course Leone was obliged to journey down as well. He didn’t seem to mind or in any case not too much. Neither of them had been to the village before and both agreed that companions required adventures about as much as adventures required companions. And this trip certainly counted, at least as a very small adventure for the rather young companions.

The Master himself said that they could tell whatever story they wished, so long as they went.

The road was very long though. Cosma was beginning to feel the heat in a much less pleasant way than before. The white rock began to feel harsh to the eyes and to his feet. He saw that Leone too had begun to droop. Sensing that conversation might enliven them both again, Cosma began complaining to his friend:

“Why is the road so long?”

“I know! Or, I suppose, why is the town so far away?” Leone panted, raising his cap to wipe his forehead. He then swiftly decided that the hat served him much better off his head and as a fan.

“Or, why does the Master live so far away from it?” Cosma said, trying to lean into the small breeze Leone was making. He was poked by the hat and frowned. Whilst it had nothing to do with his now-watering eye, Cosma had suddenly thought of another issue. “Why are we walking anyway? Could we not ride in? That’s what my Uncle does.”

Clearly his Uncle had the right way of it too.

“Your uncle has a horse. The Master doesn’t,” Leone reminded him. He paused, face screwed up against both the glare from the sun and from his own words. “Wait…so how are we going to learn to ride then?”

“Well…he does have a stable. And some donkeys,” Cosma offered distractedly. It was a good question though. Why was there such a stable, for horses, in a villa with none to be found? Did the Master dislike the beasts? If so he never showed it. Whenever a messenger or rider came and rested, Cosma’s teacher actually tended to the beasts himself more often than not. Sometimes it was even for study, as he saw the man taking measurements and blood and things.

Leone shook his head as they discussed it. “It makes no sense. Or…does it? I don’t think it does. Do you?”

Cosma desperately wanted to say yes, of course he did, for he knew all the mysteries of the universe such as where the green went from autumn leaves and how a bee made his honey. But he was honest, despite himself, and did not wish to lie to his friend. “I’m not sure,” he frowned again. Frowning and the day’s temperature mixed to make a dull ache around his face but Cosma paid it little mind. It seemed like the right thing to do when pondering a mystery and he didn’t want to do something wrong at this vital juncture.

“Pipe down back there, we’re almost at the village!” the Cook barked without turning around. He was a heavyset man, with fists and brains of hardened meat. The two kitchen boys generally avoided gossiping about him. He was the one soul in the household close enough at hand to have earnt their respect, through thick ears and burnt fingers. Still, better he than the Master to go on a long walk with. Cosma could not begin to imagine how his tutor, all in black, would handle such a trek on a day such as this one.

Possibly by taking out his frustrations on him, as per usual.

“Cosma, look!” Leone’s shout broke the boy from his reverie. In front of the party, the road dipped around the hill a little more before dropping down to meet-

A tiny hamlet, full of smoke from fires and yells from people and animals of all kinds. A faint breeze brought the smells of those things up to the onlookers as well, and Cosma wrinkled his nose at it. He could quite literally smell the dirt and the…filth, from here. Suddenly he understood the Master’s lectures on the difference between mere communal living and civilization.

He could not imagine anything of conceivable value being found down there. Certainly not.

…​

Cosma had never seen so many people before. Not all in one place. The village was, in fact, filthy, with mud and what looked like mud coating practically everything. That now included most of Cosma’s arms and legs as the party walked through the street. He didn’t know where they were going and could not see much at all, through the smoke and the thick bodies of men, women and their beasts.

Brown seemed to be the default and favoured colour of the peasant, his dwelling and all he interacted with. Brown and darker brown, with a little sickly yellow thrown in to make up the roofs and the liquids running through the street. Cosma wasn’t sure why this was or why everyone chose to live in such squalor. Perhaps the Master knew, though Cosma couldn’t imagine how. He didn’t think the Master would ever talk to one of these people, even to gain vital knowledge.

“Through here, children,” Madam Roe said from up ahead. Cosma looked to see and then felt her hand grasp his arm tightly, pulling him into a dark and smoky house.

“Rho?” a deep voice, a man’s voice, rang out from the dark. Cosma blinked and adjusted to the light. It wasn’t actually that much darker than the Master’s study at night with the doors and windows closed. A large fire crackled in one corner, in a funny little room almost to itself. Two tables and four benches adorned the room, with one wall filled with barrels and bottles of many shapes and sizes.

“Mario!” Madam Roe greeted the unfamiliar voice with cheer. “The Master sends us on errands again. But this time,” she indicated the two boys.

“Ah!” a large man appeared in front of the fire. Cosma couldn’t make out much of his features aside his vast bulk of stomach and arms. He shrank back as the figure approached. “Hello, hello, hello there, boys. You’ll be the Captain’s wards then?” He looked up at Roe and Cosma could now see some of his face, his large bushy beard not quite hiding several large angry scars across the side of his face. He was also, to the complete bewilderment of Cosma, sporting a shaven head like the Master.

“No sir,” Cosma said, surprising himself by finding his voice, “I’m a ward of my Uncle, the Doge.” He was proud of how he didn’t shake once whilst saying it.

The man’s head had snapped back round to him again as he began speaking. Cosma stared into two deep black eyes that seemed to drag his mind out through his skull. There was something disturbingly familiar about that gaze. Then, just as suddenly, an immense warmness came bubbling up around Mario’s face and his mouth split into a gaping smile of broken teeth. “Of course,” he said. “It is good to meet you both…you especially Cosma.” He stood up, not noticing the child’s confused expression. “They can stay here until you need them. But,” he glanced towards another wall, where Cosma finally noticed stood an open door leading somewhere else, “I have duties to attend to as well.”

Madam Roe nodded and made Leone and Cosma swear to be nice for the nice man. Both boys looked at her with the same expression the two kitchen boys gave to the cook. One would have to be a fool to frustrate this man. He had a beard and everything.

“So this is what they call a tavern then?” Leone said after she had left.

Looking around a bit more, Cosma nodded. “It seems that way.”

“It’s a bit darker than I thought it would be.”

“It’s a lot emptier than I thought it would be,” Cosma answered back.

A laugh from behind them caused them to jump from their seats. Unfortunately, because they were benches, they got tangled up and fell ungainly together in a heap. “Young masters,” Mario said with a smile, “a tavern is not full during the day. In day, Man works. At night, he drinks. On Sundays, he prays.”

“And what do Women do?” a voice said from his side. Cosma and Leon peered up at an older girl looking up at her father fiercely.

“They do everything else,” Mario answered warmly, “and a good thing too. Lads, my daughter. She has work to do so try not to let her bother you.”

“Shouldn’t you be worried about them bothering me?” the daughter said, wandering straight past the two boys and towards the fire.

“Only in that they’re the Captain’s boys. I don’t want them to come to any harm, all right?” Mario raised his voice a little at the end. The girl snorted and didn’t respond. Chuckling, Mario gave each of the boys a cup of milk. “I’m sure the Captain wouldn’t mind you supping something stronger but that woman will have my hide if you do. Sit tight and she’ll be back soon. It was good to meet you both.”

As soon as he left, the silence in the room became uncomfortable. Neither of the boys knew what to do with a girl, though they had an idea that they were supposed to treat her differently. Still, Cosma had never met one and from the looks Leone was giving him, he had no more experience either.

“You two just going to sit there or do you actually use those fancy hands of yours?”

Cosma frowned at her, though she had her back to them. Leone however was a bit more vocal. “But I’m tired. It was such a long walk from up the hill.”

The girl paused in whatever it was that she was doing. “I see,” she said slowly. Suddenly she was right in Leone’s face. “I see, you’re so tired from walking along a path. How exhausting compared to waking at dawn, fetching water, milking the cow, feeding the baby, cooking for my father, fixing the sacks, stocking the fire, sweeping the floor, cleaning the tables, doing the-”

“Enough! There’s no need to be so mean to him!” Cosma shouted. And recoiled as she whipped round to him, hair streaming out behind her and eyes as fierce as her father’s, their gaze pinning him to the floorboards. In but half a second, Cosma flinched under the towering figure, terrified more perhaps than he had been in a very long time. He suddenly recalled where he had seen such eyes before…but then the half second was over, and she blinked, and she looked at him again, and then back at Leone. She seemed to untense her shoulders. Cosma was both rather frightened and yet rather pleased he had protected his companion. The girl looked at him again and seemed to be about to speak when a wail hit all three of them. She rolled her eyes and scowled before striding out of the door.

“What…was that?” Leone asked quietly.

“Nothing to worry about,” Cosma blustered. Secretly, he had no idea himself, aside from the fact that women were terrifying.

A little laugh sounded a second before he realised he had said that out loud. Cosma flushed and his cheeks felt red hot, like he had pressed them close to the fire the girl had been tending to.

“Oh, we are, little boy. We are,” the girl said, walking back to them with a little girl in her arms. She looked at them both, caught how they were looking at her and for the first time had the grace to look a little sheepish. “Ah…sorry. I, um…sorry. I didn’t realise you were so young.”

Cosma bristled at that a little but was not so brave as to shout at her. She was only a girl after all and it wouldn’t have been nice of him.

“Anyway, you woke my sister, so I guess you can hold her while I do my chores.” She held out the silent child to the two boys. They looked at each other. “What, have you never seen a girl before?” she asked incredulously. They looked at each other again. Sighing, and saying something about ignorance and nunneries, she placed her sister gently onto the table with her little legs hanging over the edge. She then turned to Cosma again, somehow knowing he was the one to speak to rather than Leon. “My name is Elisa. Hers is Clotilde. Be nice to her, she’s delicate.”

She swept off and away to the back room, leaving the two young children and an even younger toddler alone. As soon as Elisa had left, the toddler watching her carefully all the way, she turned around and grinned at Cosma, “Not little! She just too big!” For some reason, that was the most sense Cosma had heard since he had entered the tavern and despite himself, he was smiling at her comment.

“You’re young though,” Leone said, finally finding his voice again. “I’m four and three months.” He said it like it was a prize. Cosma supposed that it was, in a way. That didn't stop him from snorting, “And I’m six next week, and Elisa must be much older than that! Did you see how tall she was?”

“Never mind that, did you see how huge Mario was?” Leone said excitedly, “He must be one of those giants Madam Roe tells us about. She seems to know him, that’s where she got them all from!”

“Well, maybe,” Cosma wasn’t sure about that. Mario was certainly more a man than a wicked pagan creature than a wicked pagan creature but still…those eyes were treacherous. “How old are you?” he asked…Clotidle, that was her name. Or Clotdul.

“I’m…” the girl frowned in concentration. “Two! Two! I’m Clotilde and I’m two!”

“Now look what you’ve done, she’s making too much noise,” Leone said, glancing around. “I don’t want that girl to come back!”

“Why, are you afraid of her?”

“No! I just don’t want her to come back.” Leone said carelessly. Then he yelped and dived under the table when the door opened again. Elisa eyed the offending table critically whilst Clotilde giggled.

“He’s silly!”

“He’s weird.”

“He’s brilliant,” Cosma said shortly, and then added, “that never meant brave.” He looked up at Elisa. “Did you need something?”

The girl blinked and looked at him, “No, not really. I did wonder what had made Clotilde so noisy though. The kid’s smart but not rowdy.” Under her breath, low enough that Cosma wasn’t sure what he’d heard, she said, “No idea where she got that from.”

“We’re fine, I think,” Cosma glanced back at Clotilde, whom was smiling generally around the room. She seemed a very cheerful soul to be capable of smiling at a smelly dark tavern.

“Well that’s good,” Elisa said. Her face finally broke into a smile when she looked at her sister. It was quite the transformation for the tough and harsh impression Cosma had been building of her that he couldn’t help reacting to it.

“Huh,” he said, stupidly. Very, very stupidly, if one could here his internal monologue a few seconds after the fact.

“What?” The scowl was back. So was that gaze.

“Um…I didn’t know you could smile,” Cosma attempted. His Uncle had never given him much advice on women, aside from the being polite and gracious thing. That didn’t seem to be working here.

“Why shouldn’t I smile?” She scowled harder. She didn’t hold it for long before both sisters were laughing however. Cosma was thoroughly confused by this point and it was apparently showing on his face. As was his fear, no doubt. “Oh, your face,” she said finally. “Papa always has his war-face for scaring bad people and people he doesn’t like very much. I’m glad I can be scary.”

“Why-why would you want to be scary?” Cosma said, somewhat intrigued by the idea of a ‘war-face’ and whether his Uncle had one or not. And oddly enough, whether Elisa showing him her war-face meant she disliked him or not.

Elisa turned pensive and said nothing, wandering over to brush Clotilde’s hair (to her disagreement). “I don’t know. Because it’s the only way I can say I’m here, I suppose.”

Before Cosma could ask anymore questions, Madam Roe’s voice sounded from outside before the woman herself entered. “Come on, come on children! The smithy is a-waiting! Leone! Get off of that floor at once!” She advanced on the table where the hapless Leone was hiding before she spotted the two girls. “Oh, hello dears,” she said nicely. “Now come on boys! No time to waste today!”

Elisa waved at Madam Roe and picked up Clotilde (again, not without complaint). “I suppose we’ll see you around. Maybe leave the brilliant one at his desk if a girl frightens him so.”

Cosma tried to frown at that but found he couldn’t. In fact, he was if anything rather frustrated about leaving. He was too curious now about these two. He wondered if he would see them again. “I hope so. I can ask the Master and if he says no…I’ll…I’ll write to my Uncle too!”

Elisa smirked a little and Clotilde, she seemed to be holding out her arms to Cosma. Uncertain as to what to do, he lightly grasped her smaller wrist. He only had the smallest time to marvel at how soft her skin was and how vibrant her pulse before being gently pulled away by Madam Roe. Suddenly the tavern was not so dark and unappealing, not if it had produced and housed someone so alive.

“I’ll see you soon,” he said, and then they were gone.

}-:-{
This post is my 1,200th since joining the forum nearly two years ago now. I have enjoyed reading, commenting and writing (but mostly reading and commenting, with only 52 including this one being my own work:eek:) many different and wonderful pieces of work in that time. This marks the temporary end of my own writing drought as I am back for the Christmas period and shall be aiming to release one new update every day, whether that be Little Dux, Albion or a Christmas project that I've just finished playing and enjoyed immensely. All that being said, a very Merry Christmas to you all, a Happy New Year and happy reading!
-TBC
 
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Huzzah - he is back!

and both agreed that companions required adventures about as much as adventures required companions. And this trip certainly counted, at least as a very small adventure for the rather young companions.
A very nice couple of lines. :)
He was a heavyset man, with fists and brains of hardened meat.
:D
Cosma stared into two deep black eyes that seemed to drag his mind out through his skull.
:cool:
Neither of the boys knew what to do with a girl, though they had an idea that they were supposed to treat her differently. Still, Cosma had never met one and from the looks Leone was giving him, he had no more experience either.
That’s a somewhat sad reminder of how isolated his life has been so far.
but still…those eyes were treacherous.
o_O
“Um…I didn’t know you could smile,” Cosma attempted.
Oh dear!:eek: Still, it worked out better than it might have.
Suddenly the tavern was not so dark and unappealing, not if it had produced and housed someone so alive.
A warm and happy note on which to end. A nice counterpoint to the average and savage fare that tends to arise (appropriately of course) from CK2 AARs!

This post is my 1,200th since joining the forum nearly two years ago now. I have enjoyed reading, commenting and writing (but mostly reading and commenting, with only 52 including this one being my own work:eek:) many different and wonderful pieces of work in that time. This marks the temporary end of my own writing drought as I am back for the Christmas period and shall be aiming to release one new update every day, whether that be Little Dux, Albion or a Christmas project that I've just finished playing and enjoyed immensely. All that being said, a very Merry Christmas to you all, a Happy New Year and happy reading!
-TBC
A Merry Christmas and excellent new year to you too TBC. Looking forward to you holiday projects. :)
 

stnylan

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Very interesting post. And so their perspectives expand. Clearly this is another lesson.

And the best of the season to you as well.
 

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Huzzah - he is back!
As ever, I am reminded of the immortal and somewhat meta first words heard in GTAIV (which you may google at your own risk for they are NSFW).

That’s a somewhat sad reminder of how isolated his life has been so far.
Indeed. This chapter was both recognition of how isolated the pair have been in their lives up to this moment, which we already knew but now with a human context, and their first steps into the actual real world for most people of their times. Though as we shall see, this is still a very nice town compared to most others of the period (Cosma's biased reaction doesn't do it justice yet. He's going to freak when he see's how filthy Venice is).

Oh dear!:eek: Still, it worked out better than it might have.
Mmhm, there's nice ways to introduce characters (as with Leone) and then...memorable ways to first meet. Away from a very masculine and academic house and education, I felt that unless I wanted to give the pair a complex on top of what they both have to deal with already that they needed to speak to other children. And since this story strives to reveal the horrible injustices and discrimination of the past only to confront and defeat them, these two new characters won't just be pretty plot devices. They have a story too.

A warm and happy note on which to end. A nice counterpoint to the average and savage fare that tends to arise (appropriately of course) from CK2 AARs!
Indeed, as said above this is a work that tries not to hide the darkness in the world but also to fight against it any way I can. CKII may be a game that allows and encourages horrific acts of brutality for fun and profit (very well I might add and it is an enjoyable game), it still does disquiet me about how easily a person can, once in this position of power, so utterly throw away their modern moral compass to get medieval results.

This AAR I suppose is an attempt to do good as well, though of course it is 'do good' from a very foreign and old viewpoint/morality system compared to ours. Much good will be done. Quite a bit of evil will be done too, sadly. I guess that's another thing we should look out for: what could they have done and what should they have done? All that I know right now is that Venice at least will change a lot, and that the world around it will be saved at least once (in a big way) by the House of Boi under Cosma's rule.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Very interesting post. And so their perspectives expand. Clearly this is another lesson.

And the best of the season to you as well.
Indeed it is. I had a fanfic actually called 'Lessons' based on the Merlin tv show which has since gone into hibernation. I quite like doing this sort of thing, it seems. The next chapter expands their view of the 'real' world to include how the adults of the village see it, to compliment how Elisa does.
 

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How nice to have an update! And happy 1200 posts!
Indeed. More posts to come I think. I do like writing and have suddenly found the time for it.
 

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Glad to see you back, TBC :)

Cosma's first encounter with the "mythical creature" known as "girl" will undoubtedly be a memory he'll never forget. Beyond the meeting itself, I can see this as a watershed moment in the development of his character -- especially to learn that not everyone gets the clean, comfortable, and secure upbringing that he takes for granted. It is perhaps fortunate for all involved that his first meeting with a someone (relatively) close to his own age in such a setting is with one who can stand up for herself, albeit in such a limited way.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Glad to see you back, TBC :)

Cosma's first encounter with the "mythical creature" known as "girl" will undoubtedly be a memory he'll never forget. Beyond the meeting itself, I can see this as a watershed moment in the development of his character -- especially to learn that not everyone gets the clean, comfortable, and secure upbringing that he takes for granted. It is perhaps fortunate for all involved that his first meeting with a someone (relatively) close to his own age in such a setting is with one who can stand up for herself, albeit in such a limited way.
Considering what happens later, it was certainly an important moment. He's introduced to many new problems and issues he wasn't aware of before. Next chapter should broach a few of them in more detail as we meet a few more adults in the village.

How is everyone finding the children's voices? Are they still up to scratch? I struggled a fair bit more with Clotilde and Elisa because of one being a toddler and one being older, expeienced but in comparison to the boys obviously not as well educated. How did you all find it?
 

stnylan

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I think I can sense your struggle with the voices. I mean generally child voices are hard to doas a single child can have such varying language command. As an example just last month on day my 5yo daughter was giving me a surprisingly erudite description of what a suffix was, and then an hour later changed to speak in a very broken manner for most of the rest of the day becausr she found it funny.

Generally I think your children come across as relatively precocious - especially Cosmo (which makes sense) - but hardly unbelievable.

But then 21st century language expectations are probably not the best yardstick.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I think I can sense your struggle with the voices. I mean generally child voices are hard to doas a single child can have such varying language command. As an example just last month on day my 5yo daughter was giving me a surprisingly erudite description of what a suffix was, and then an hour later changed to speak in a very broken manner for most of the rest of the day becausr she found it funny.

Generally I think your children come across as relatively precocious - especially Cosmo (which makes sense) - but hardly unbelievable.

But then 21st century language expectations are probably not the best yardstick.
I suspect that cosma and Leone would not be allowed to ever speak anything less than their best in the master's presence (or any adult) considering their station and position. Yet they are also small children that think little of speaking as they like elsewhere (id imagine this will be beaten out of them too). And they are very clever Yes, and they have to be considering what they end up doing later as adults. I think Elisa is okay being a little more adult since she's effectivey the woman of her household and a child to raise. Clotilde...is going to be a pain to write but tbf it fits her character rather well from the off.
 

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I suspect that cosma and Leone would not be allowed to ever speak anything less than their best in the master's presence (or any adult) considering their station and position. Yet they are also small children that think little of speaking as they like elsewhere (id imagine this will be beaten out of them too). And they are very clever Yes, and they have to be considering what they end up doing later as adults. I think Elisa is okay being a little more adult since she's effectivey the woman of her household and a child to raise. Clotilde...is going to be a pain to write but tbf it fits her character rather well from the off.
I think Cosma comes across well, and as the main protagonist probably needs a bit of latitude. If Leone is only four and a bit though, he sometimes comes across as more Cosma’s equal (in intellectual development and badinage) than the age gap might indicate. It’s almost twenty years ago for me now looking back at my kids - who had a similar age gap - but an age gap of a couple of years at that age is usually quite a great gulf, which steadily narrows as the children get older. But overall, the children are great - they are hard to write authentically and you are doing an excellent job with them.
 

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Welcome back and season’s greetings to you. This was a poetic and elegiac chapter telling of wondrous things barely hinted at. Good that you’ll be finding time to write again. Happy 1200th Post
 

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I think Cosma comes across well, and as the main protagonist probably needs a bit of latitude. If Leone is only four and a bit though, he sometimes comes across as more Cosma’s equal (in intellectual development and badinage) than the age gap might indicate. It’s almost twenty years ago for me now looking back at my kids - who had a similar age gap - but an age gap of a couple of years at that age is usually quite a great gulf, which steadily narrows as the children get older. But overall, the children are great - they are hard to write authentically and you are doing an excellent job with them.
I have trouble deciding which of the two is smarter to be honest, since they both did so well later on in both game and story terms, and from young ages. Leone is four and a half, which I think I said in the chapter, and unlike Cosma hasn't been kept in a cubaord since birth and was raised as a potential heir to a great house of Venice. If Cosma had been found any later and had not had that time under the masters care (and if he wasn't a 'genius' himself) I think the gap would have been more pronounced in the other direction, with leone taking charge and being the dominant socially and intellectually. As it is, they are just about equal (which is troubling in and of itself). I also haven't focused on Leone too much as Cosma seems to be at an age and disposition where he focuses more on...well, himself. There is a growing bond between them though which is beginning to show through here. Hopefully I can consume to make it interesting through their teenage years (and both their wangsting, too) and into adulthood. I've never attempted to write a relationship like this before, chronologically and step by step. It should be fun.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Welcome back and season’s greetings to you. This was a poetic and elegiac chapter telling of wondrous things barely hinted at. Good that you’ll be finding time to write again. Happy 1200th Post
Well thank you very much. There is indeed a lot going on and alluding to things that should, I hope, make people want to rush back to this chapter at some point and coo over certain aspects of it.
I think it also the first time since the first chapter that the story has ended on anything like a high note, which I do like. I wish I could say it's all wonderful here on in for Cosma and company but...alas not. Though on average I'd say they all live happily ever after, so far as that is possible. Though I could be lying about that since I haven't written it yet:D
 

El Pip

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How is everyone finding the children's voices? Are they still up to scratch? I struggled a fair bit more with Clotilde and Elisa because of one being a toddler and one being older, expeienced but in comparison to the boys obviously not as well educated. How did you all find it?
I wasn't going to say, but as you asked, the children's voices are a bit off for me. To an extent I agree with stnylan that they come across as precocious, it's just I'd peg them at the unbelievable end of that spectrum. Even allowing for bright children, being tutored, 8th century AD and so on, the language, attention span and self awareness just didn't ring right though. I'd honestly had them all pegged as considerably older as that's how they come across.

As it is very hard to get the children's voices right, did you need to make them so young? You are making a decent fist of it and like anything I'm sure it will get better as you work on it, but would the story have lost anything by making them say five (or more) years older?
 

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I wasn't going to say, but as you asked, the children's voices are a bit off for me. To an extent I agree with stnylan that they come across as precocious, it's just I'd peg them at the unbelievable end of that spectrum. Even allowing for bright children, being tutored, 8th century AD and so on, the language, attention span and self awareness just didn't ring right though. I'd honestly had them all pegged as considerably older as that's how they come across.

As it is very hard to get the children's voices right, did you need to make them so young? You are making a decent fist of it and like anything I'm sure it will get better as you work on it, but would the story have lost anything by making them say five (or more) years older?
If I'm going to use the CKII ages, dates and events then they sort of need to be this age, or at least born in those exact years. Curiously enough, my first draft had Cosma being discovered at 18 and becoming the Dux immediately because all the families had accidentally killed each other and he was the only viable heir left. But if he was left in the conditions he was in until he was in his teenage years, he wouldn't be able to speak or walk properly, much less run a city state. And it strains believability for every House to murder every other house to well, and then for the city to except Cosma so readily, so I rethought.

I could perhaps re-write it to skip ahead a few years from when he is rescued at aged five to...idk, eight? when Leone comes to stay for the first time. That would make Cosma (barely) eight years old, Leone seven and a half and so on and so forth.

Would that be better? In your opinion?