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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

coz1

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Fb-fb:

Uh-oh, looks like I'll have to really pay attention now... :rofl:

Eagerly awaiting the next update! :D
Darn right! ;) Good to know. Look for it this evening.

In that case, the history and characters you provide ought to be very interesting. But we already knew that. :)
Thank you, sir. I hope they remain so.


As mentioned, I hope to get another update out this evening. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)
 

Duke of Wellington

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Well I missed that update til now. Glad I caught it though, very interesting to see where this leads. So we have some supernatural being on the lookout for this jewel? I wonder how this will work out.

Also, it really does say something of your skill as a writer that you can write in several distinct styles. And write each of them well too, I might add.
 

coz1

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* * *

London, 1792

Abraham Huard walked up the front steps of the modest house and knocked on the wooden door with a sense of urgency. He waited for a few moments and heard the latch on the door click. When it opened, a younger man stood and smiled as if expecting his guest.

“Mr. Franklin, I presume?” Abraham Huard asked politely.

“I am the man, sir. I expect you are Mr. Huard, come for the book.” He stepped back a few paces, gesturing wide with his left arm, “Please do come in.”

Walking inside, the house was sparsely furnished yet full. Books and stacks of papers surrounded him and in the following room, more books and papers, with not a few boxes lying around as well.

“Do forgive our mess, sir. I’ve been compiling further works of my grandfather’s. It is quite a lot, as you can see. Fascinating, though. Truly fascinating.”

“I can imagine, Mr. Franklin. He was a great man.” Abraham took the seat offered and placed his hat upon his legs.

“Can I perhaps interest you in a small drink, sir? It is nearly four past the noon hour and I see no reason to be so formal.” Temple Franklin walked to a sideboard and procured a bottle of cognac and two snifters. He sat them down on a table in front of the two men, pushing a few lone papers aside.

“If I could speak to you about the book, sir.” Abraham Huard sat up in his seat, straightening his waistcoat. “It is quite important that I see it. Is it here?”

Temple smiled as he looked to Abraham, “Indeed it is, sir. I have it in the other room. I had Mr. Fox send it right away when I understood you were interested. We were most pleased to hear from you, particularly my father.”

“Is he well these days?” Abraham asked his friend as he was handed a snifter.

“He is doing fine, sir. Fine. It is good to remember fonder days and become close again. And both he and my grandfather do say the most generous things about you, I should say. A fine diplomat and more, it seems.”

Abraham smiled and took a sip of the brandy and nodded. “This is excellent. Thank you. Now… about the book?”

He nearly stood himself when Temple moved to gather the thing. Franklin walked to a separate room for a few moments that seemed an eternity for Abraham Huard. The book was very special and one that he’d asked…nearly begged…Benjamin Franklin to send him after the older man returned to America. After all these years, he’d finally be able to see what the wise man had been telling him. Tales of something dark and powerful, but known to few. It was a research, more or less, of material gained by the American revolutionary for nearly forty years. And it spoke of things few would believe were they to read or hear it. But Abraham Huard believed. He’d seen plenty in his time.

When Temple Franklin returned to the room with the loosely bound book in his hands, he sat back in his chair. Abraham nearly let out a sigh of relief when it was handed to him. He felt the leather cover gently and then turned it correctly to open to the front page. The material was sloppy and hap-hazard, some of it type set and printed and some the original writing. Paintings and drawings accompanied the mess and finally Abraham Huard looked to Franklin and nodded his head generously but with a sense of question.

“Thank you, Mr. Franklin. This is exquisite. Is this everything?”

“It is, sir. The very thing. There is a pamphlet included purchased from the private collection of Mr. Knox not tens ago. I had chance to look it over myself and I must say, it is surely the definitive work…the entire thing. It would fetch a princely sum for sale.” Temple Franklin adjusted in his seat and sat back with a smile as he brought his own snifter to his lips.

“Oh goodness, no…not this collection. No…Mr. Franklin, what you have here is a weapon. Not just an object of wealth. These are the findings of not just a scientist, but a philosopher and great thinker…a true humanist that has unlocked at least some great secret of the past through diligent work. I must be able to use it, sir. I must be able to purchase this piece from you, no matter the cost.”

Abraham sat his drink on the table and moved for his cheque book. But Temple Franklin smiled and waved his hands for him to put it away. “I would not dream of charging you for it, sir. I jest. I should not publish such an important finding. Not yet at least…for there is more there and that I understand. What it speaks of I cannot understand but it seems that you do. I will give you the book, sir. And hope you find of it some good.”

“I am surprised to find you so agreeable to the notion, Mr. Franklin. 'Tis not everyday that one considers such even possible.”

“There are many things our patriot set his mind to that many refused to believe. He was a great man but an oddity.”

“Indeed he was, but not a man of these times. Perhaps one of an earlier generation. I had the pleasure of corresponding with him often after his return to America.”

“And he spoke very highly of you as a partner during negotiations with the British after the war. ‘Tis a shame he is not here now to see you as you finally have his work in front of you. But I must confess, I am curious…how did he come to know this information, sir?”

Abraham Huard took another drink and sat his snifter down to open the pages of the book once more. He flipped through several sheets and finally pulled out a pencil drawing of a gem. “This is what drew his attention. They call it the ‘Eye of the Dragon’.”

Temple Franklin perused the drawing and pointed with his other hand to the center, “There appears to be some further shape inside the gemstone.”

“Indeed there is, Mr. Franklin. That is the so called Dragon’s Eye, thus the name. I cannot say for sure that it is the exact look of the thing, as I’ve never laid eyes upon it nor had Benjamin, but after research and his discussions with some who had seen the object, he has made his best guess.”

“What does it represent?” Franklin sat back in his chair and allowed Abraham to go on about the stone’s history, or what of it he was already able to tell.


“The stone was said to be a great jewel in the House of Habsburg, though they procured it…or stole it to be more exact…from the Turks when Constantinople fell in 1582. I do not know how well you know your history, sir, but there had been fierce fighting between the Habsburg Emperors and the Turk for many years and when the Austrians finally entered that famed city, they scoured it for every treasure they could find.”

“But what does the name of the gem mean to a Habsburg prince?”

“Indeed. That is more a tale of mystery and one I cannot say before I have read your grandfather’s work, but he did tell me that there were ties to the lands of Wallachia even before the Turks got hold of it. If there is ancestry to it, it may be found there I’d wager. And that is what I mean to find out. That and the location of the stone.”

“The location?”

“Yes sir…for the stone has gone missing for many a year.”

“Missing, sir?”

“Indeed, Mr. Franklin. And I mean to find it for it is of the utmost importance. It possesses a power that must be kept safe.”

“This so called power…as I said, I read through some of the work but was unable to truly understand it’s worth…what might be meant of that, sir?”

“I wished I could explain it, Mr. Franklin, but I cannot. I have seen with my own eyes things which few would understand and many would lock me up as a raving lunatic, were they to know of my findings. I have made it a life’s work to follow what may be called forces of the darkness. And not only have I found they exist, sir, but they are among us.”

“But what forces are these?” Temple Franklin asked with a smart laugh.

At last, Abraham had entered the part of the conversation he dreaded. He was able to converse about it with the elder Franklin, but then the old man was agreeable to such talk. He did not know how much of it this young man could or would understand, even were he to desire such.

“They are called…” he stopped and wiped at his brow with his hand, “…creatures of the night…the living dead…”

Temple Franklin said not a word and merely stared at his guest, unable to respond and unsure of what he was saying. The emptiness that surrounded them caused Abraham Huard to finish his thought completely,

“Vampire, sir. Vampire.”

The room remained silent, save for an odd creak of the house and sounds of children playing outside, as Temple Franklin took the information into a mind unready to hear these words. He scratched at his chin and looked out the window, sunshine from outside pouring through heavy green curtains onto the floor. Finally he spoke, “While I am skeptical, sir, I must trust that if my grandfather believed in such, that such must exist. I do find wonder at what this gem has to do with the other. You mentioned that my grandfather’s work was a weapon. May I…may I ask in what way?”

His tone was questioning but he offered Abraham the chance to continue, “I can only say that it must not fall into the hands of one such as this, Mr. Franklin. From my best understanding, the ‘Eye of the Dragon’ is a powerful piece when possessed by one. There are weaknesses of any being, sir, but this gemstone holds in its power such to cause the dead to live amongst us…to cause untold harm as it yields them nearly indestructible it may be said. I cannot explain it, sir. But trust that your grandfather had some ideas on this and thus the reason I must possess this work. Through what I know myself and what he has found, I may be able to piece together what it means.”

“Then by all means, sir…the book is yours. But I am caused to ask of you…and you may think me silly…have you ever actually seen…one of these creatures?” His look remained quizzical but his guest was entirely serious.

“I have, sir.” Abraham answered instantly. “And I wish never to again.”
 
Last edited:

Duke of Wellington

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Vampires! The meaning of the name of this AAR is coming clearer. This is a stone well worth keeping under wraps. It is interesting that they should be the subject of your story for I am currently reading Dracula and enjoying it a lot. I hope that we see a visit to Wallachia at some point. Those are my favourite bits of Dracula.
 

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Two parallel universes both searching for the gem of the dragon. I think I am starting to see this unfold.

Mr. Knox, could that be...the first secretary of war...:p
 

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Yikes! Vampires, this is definatley going to have a bad effect on one of the characters or more down the road.

So Constantinople (Thrace) fell in 1582 in your game. The Byzantines must have put up a decent comeback and fight with the Ottomans then. Out of curiousity, who are the major powers in Europe? How big is the OE and Austria?

Another fabulous update!
 

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So now is a time for a little plain speaking - well, perhaps not plain speaking. I doubt the truth of a great deal of what we have been told, since as a famous man once said truth must be protected by a bodyguard of lies.

I also cannot help but think in this latest passage we have not seen innocence lost. Mr Franklin is the innocent of course, before this meeting he had no idea of the vampire, or anything like that. Now Abraham has introduced him to that ... and he can never go back to his blissfully ignorant state. And also, in the last line. Abraham answers immediately, seemingly heartfelt. Here is truly innocence already lost, and grieving perhaps still for a time when he still possessed it.
 

Enewald

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Heh, vampires. Nothing else comes from Wallachia. Or Siebenbürgen. Nor Transylvania. Good that they left at least Dacia and Moldavia alone. :p

Another latin crusade to Konstantinople? :eek:

Shameful!

But nice narrative as allways. Where has this man met one of those?
 

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The time frames deployed here are unclear. I get the feeling that we are working out way backwards? The vampire angle hinted at in the previous chapter is confirmed, nice, and I am glad I detected the Benjamin Franklin hint before it was made absolutely explicit. ;-) Good dialogue, very natural and entertaining, and very cool to see the absolute faith Temple has in his ancestor.
 

coz1

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Some fb-fb:

Well I missed that update til now. Glad I caught it though, very interesting to see where this leads. So we have some supernatural being on the lookout for this jewel? I wonder how this will work out.

Also, it really does say something of your skill as a writer that you can write in several distinct styles. And write each of them well too, I might add.
Yeah, I am trying to make sure each section is "in its element" as much as possible. Not sure how it will work to jump from style to style. Thanks for the compliment.

Vampires! The meaning of the name of this AAR is coming clearer. This is a stone well worth keeping under wraps. It is interesting that they should be the subject of your story for I am currently reading Dracula and enjoying it a lot. I hope that we see a visit to Wallachia at some point. Those are my favourite bits of Dracula.
That's a great book (though not as good as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.) I haven't decided if I want to go the full route of "scary castle, etc." because I don't want to get too typical, but there will be some creepy moments, I hope.

Two parallel universes both searching for the gem of the dragon. I think I am starting to see this unfold.

Mr. Knox, could that be...the first secretary of war...:p
Indeed that is Secretary Knox, a man that fascinates me. He is one of the men I've wanted to write for as I've played certain games. I think I may have found a place for him here so be on the look out. he may play a larger role. ;)

Vampires? AHHHHHHHHH! Well, this is getting better and more interesting with every word read! :D
Indeed. Great to hear! :)

Yikes! Vampires, this is definatley going to have a bad effect on one of the characters or more down the road.

So Constantinople (Thrace) fell in 1582 in your game. The Byzantines must have put up a decent comeback and fight with the Ottomans then. Out of curiousity, who are the major powers in Europe? How big is the OE and Austria?

Another fabulous update!
Yes, it fell but to the Austrians. The Turks had beat Byzantium early on and had moved up through the Balkans. The major powers from that game, IIRC were your typical powers - England, France, Spain & Austria (having bit a healthy chunk out of Germany.) The OE and Austria were about even.

So now is a time for a little plain speaking - well, perhaps not plain speaking. I doubt the truth of a great deal of what we have been told, since as a famous man once said truth must be protected by a bodyguard of lies.

I also cannot help but think in this latest passage we have not seen innocence lost. Mr Franklin is the innocent of course, before this meeting he had no idea of the vampire, or anything like that. Now Abraham has introduced him to that ... and he can never go back to his blissfully ignorant state. And also, in the last line. Abraham answers immediately, seemingly heartfelt. Here is truly innocence already lost, and grieving perhaps still for a time when he still possessed it.
That is an interesting thought, stnylan. I have structured this as I have to give some parallels between posts, particularly with Abraham who's story we are still learning. As for Franklin, indeed, he is learning something new and will continue to do so. There is another person I've wanted to structure a story around. Let's see how he does.

Heh, vampires. Nothing else comes from Wallachia. Or Siebenbürgen. Nor Transylvania. Good that they left at least Dacia and Moldavia alone. :p

Another latin crusade to Konstantinople? :eek:

Shameful!

But nice narrative as allways. Where has this man met one of those?
We'll get to that, believe me. I couldn't leave a last line like that and never explain it. That would just be wrong. ;)

The time frames deployed here are unclear. I get the feeling that we are working out way backwards? The vampire angle hinted at in the previous chapter is confirmed, nice, and I am glad I detected the Benjamin Franklin hint before it was made absolutely explicit. ;-) Good dialogue, very natural and entertaining, and very cool to see the absolute faith Temple has in his ancestor.
I agree, it must be a little confusing to place each bit with the other this early on. Hopefully it spurs the reader to want to find out and keep reading rather than turning them off. There is definitely some backwards action because I don't want to just dump information in the first post. I'd think it's a bit more pleasing and artistic this way. We'll see how effective it is as the story continues.
 

Lord Durham

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Another great post. I have to agree with DoW. Your ability to switch between periods, especially via the dialogue, is extremely well handled. I have absolutely no trouble getting a feel for each episode. Jumping back and forth like this doesn't bother me in the least. It keeps the story fresh and dynamic. This is shaping up to be one of your best works yet!
 

coz1

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Another great post. I have to agree with DoW. Your ability to switch between periods, especially via the dialogue, is extremely well handled. I have absolutely no trouble getting a feel for each episode. Jumping back and forth like this doesn't bother me in the least. It keeps the story fresh and dynamic. This is shaping up to be one of your best works yet!
Thanks Bruce. I am having lot's of fun changing up the dialogue and such. Still need to work on atmosphere. Looking back, I'd rather that lasy scene come between the two smaller scenes of the previous update but oh well. Push on from here and all that. I'm glad the back and forth makes it somewhat dynamic as that is the desired effect.

I hope to have another update tonight but I got sidetracked yesterday and need to work on an update for Eagle in Winter. If not tonight, then definitely tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments folks!
 

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* * *

New York City, 1938

Sam Finch walked the early morning street with purpose as Jasper White tagged along behind him trying to keep up. They passed a busy street corner and the diner which was just down the block from Professor West’s small apartment. Sam considered a quick cup of coffee but he’d already had three and another wouldn’t wake him up any better. He had a headache from last night’s boozing though. And Jasper’s continual talk the entire way was getting under his skin.

“You see, Finch, it was when the Professor returned from Baghdad that he realized he might be closing in on something big. There, he found archives that told of the older Ottoman Empire and certain writings detailing their massive war with the European powers of the time.”

“What the hell is this, a history lesson? Look buddy – you start getting with why the guy might be kidnapped or shut that trap of yours. It’s killing my head.”

“Very well, Finch. But what I am telling you might be of some use.” Jasper White put his notebook in his pocket and the two stopped in the street as Sam Finch read the address.

“This looks like it. Now why don’t you just let me go in…”

Jasper stopped Sam and moved ahead of him, “Oh no you don’t Finch. I’m coming in there. That was the deal.”

Sam had to quick step to catch up with the reporter and they both moved up the steps and into the lobby. They reached a set of narrow stairs and Jasper was pulled back by the shoulder so Sam could go first.

“At least let me go in first and have a look around. I don’t want you messing around in there.”

“Finch…I’m a reporter. I know what I am looking for.”


Sam ignored him and they walked up two flights before reaching the third floor. Breathing heavier than usual, Sam reached the door to the apartment and tried the lock. It would not open. Jasper walked up behind him and snorted, “Looks like they don’t want you in there either?”

“Damn you, White. Shut up. Tiny gave me the keys.” Sam pulled a key from his waist pocket and tried the lock. It turned with ease and slowly, Sam took a step into the small, dark room. The shutters were drawn and only small streams of daylight pushed through the cracks, highlighting the dust in the air. Much like the office they had already visited, it had been gone over pretty well, from what he guessed were intruders and then the police after them.

Jasper moved across the room to open a shutter and let in some light. As darkness opened up to a bright room with white walls with portraits, maps and some diplomas hanging haphazardly, Sam moved to take advantage of better sight. He rummaged around in stacks on the Professor’s roll top desk and opened drawers, trying to find something…anything that might give him a clue. His cohort followed suit but made his way to the Professor’s closet, pushing hangers back and forth and checking the shelves above his head.

Neither of the men found anything of use. ‘What are we looking for anyway?” Sam finally asked, irritated.

“Writings of the Professor, for one. Anything over on his desk?”

“Yeah, a shit ton. He’s a professor, ain’t he?”

Jasper turned to frown at the sarcasm, “Anything about the gemstone?”

Sam returned to scanning pages of writing by the professor. It made no sense to him, but one did look to be something of use. It was a typed report of some sort, but in the corner of the paper, Professor West had written an address. Sam recognized it. It was from a slum part of town, but where the rich folks used to live a long time ago. It was more of an ethnic neighborhood now, the old houses cut up into tenements. He folded the page and crammed it into his pocket as he continued to search through the stacks.

Jasper was having no better luck on his end. He moved to the bookcase and began looking over the old man’s books. The titles were what you expected of an antiquities professor, old and musty and some missing their spine. There seemed to be a larger collection of material on the occult, books on myths, legends and such. He pulled one book down that looked near to falling apart. Carefully he opened to the first page and on the inside cover was a signature. He peered at the name to see if he recognized it…Sir Howard Livingstone. It was a fancy signature but one he did not know. He’d never heard the name before in his life. He flipped through a few pages and was shocked when a small note fell from the book, the piece of paper fluttering to the floor.

As he bent down to pick it up, Sam perked up, “You got something?”

Jasper looked at the note and saw that it was only numbers, three to be exact. He held it up for Sam to take a look, “What do you make of that?”

“Hell if I know…a combination maybe? I don’t see no safe.”

“Me neither…nor was there one in his office.” Jasper looked dejected and Sam couldn’t help feeling the same.

“Looks to be a dead end, White, I’m sorry to say.”

“But it can’t be. There must be something here. Somewhere.” Jasper continued searching around the room and gestured for Sam to do the same. The private detective poked around the desk some more and only noticed a bottom drawer that had been locked and pried open. But when he opened it, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The papers and junk had been removed and replaced.

“There’s nothing here, White. We’ll just have to go back to the man’s office and see if we missed anything.”

He began to walk from the room and stopped at the door, “You coming or do I have to drag you out of here. It’s a cold trail, buddy.”

The reporter finally gave up his search and followed Sam as they left the apartment. Locking the door behind them, they both descended the stairs in silence, each trying to think of what they might have missed. When they moved out into the morning sunlight they were slightly shocked to find two burly men standing in front of them blocking their movement.

“You are Herr Finch?” the one with the mustache asked Sam in a heavy accent.

“Who wants to know?” was Sam’s curt reply.

The two grinned and did not move such that Jasper pushed his way down the street, “Now see here…”

He was grabbed and thrown to the ground. The smaller one moved after Sam. Though Sam Finch was quick, this man was quicker and landed two quick blows to his face sending him sprawling. Jasper was fairing no better. In minutes, the two men had beat the pair up pretty well, leaving them lying in a bloody pile with nothing but an “Auf Wiedersehen” to announce they were through.

After a few moments, Sam began to pick his wounded body from the ground, his muscles aching. He felt at his face and pulled away a hand covered in blood. “What the hell was that?” was all he could muster.

Jasper did not move at first but finally lifted his head. "I don’t know, Finch, but some body doesn’t like us snooping around, I’d say.”

“What was that they were speaking,” Sam asked as he bent over trying to get better air into his lungs.

“Sounded like German to me,” Jasper answered as he too tried to will out the pain.

“They must have wanted something. They rifled through my pockets but didn’t take anything. That wasn’t a mugging.”

Jasper nodded and then looked back up to the apartment. “Perhaps we missed something, Finch. What if they wanted what we’d found?”

Sam looked too and then moved with what quickness he was able to gather back up the stairs to Professor West’s tiny room. They both reached the door and unlocked it, simply staring at the contents for a long while trying desperately to think of what they missed. Finally, Sam moved towards the bottom drawer that he’d searched already. Why had it been locked? Jasper followed him and both of them began feeling at the sides and bottom of the drawer.

“Wait a minute.” Sam called out. He pulled the contents from the drawer quickly, spilling them onto the floor. Pushing at the bottom, he finally got his fingers around the edge and pulled up a sturdy piece of wood.

“A false bottom!” Jasper declared in astonishment.

‘Sloppy,” replied Sam, musing that his cop buddies had missed it and forgetting that he himself had as well the first time.

Underneath was a combination lock on a strong box. Both men smiled at each other when they saw it and quickly Jasper was fishing through his pocket for the sheet of paper he’d found. Quickly they turned the lock and soon the cover was opened. Sam reached down into the darkness and pulled out a thick leather bound notebook. He opened it carefully and inside was a mess of papers, some typed and some written. Jasper reached out and pulled some loose drawings from the mess and stared in excitement.

“Sam, do you know what this is?”

The detective did not and turned to Jasper in question. Jasper’s smile grew even larger as he held out a slip of paper with the drawing of a gemstone on it.

“It’s the Eye, Sam. It’s the Eye of the Dragon.”
 
Last edited:

Qorten

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My guess the address Finch found is the same as where mister Huard was in the first Chapter of your AAR coz1. But will Finch and his reporter find something there?
 

stnylan

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I like this post, mostly because they didn't find the false bottom the first time around. Makes them seem far more ordinary and believable.

Somehow Sam strikes me as the sort of chap who, when he gets beaten up, becomes even more determined to see something through. Whether that trait will be to his benefit or not ... I guess we'll see in time :)

I wonder what Jasper already knows, what role he plays in this.
 

comagoosie

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Well they found a drawing, from the sounds of it, it looks useless, but if captain jack had a peice of paper with a key on it and he was able to find the key, then just maybe finch will the find the gemstone :D
 

Amric

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The fact that the characters are 'ordinary', for the most part, and not all supernatural is what makes this story so good, my friend. The writing is superb and the development of the characters is a natural process rather than a whirlwind. Excellent work so far.
 

coz1

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Fb-fb:

My guess the address Finch found is the same as where mister Huard was in the first Chapter of your AAR coz1. But will Finch and his reporter find something there?
Interesting question and quite possibly a good guess. ;)

I like this post, mostly because they didn't find the false bottom the first time around. Makes them seem far more ordinary and believable.

Somehow Sam strikes me as the sort of chap who, when he gets beaten up, becomes even more determined to see something through. Whether that trait will be to his benefit or not ... I guess we'll see in time :)

I wonder what Jasper already knows, what role he plays in this.
Good. I didn't want to make things too easy and I don't want to totally stereotype the players even if the scenes are likely "familiar." As for Sam, yes, he has determination if nothing else.

Back to NYC, and as brilliant as ever, good sir! :D
Thank you, sir! :)

Well they found a drawing, from the sounds of it, it looks useless, but if captain jack had a peice of paper with a key on it and he was able to find the key, then just maybe finch will the find the gemstone :D
Useless or useful to link to something else. ;) Sam can't seem to stay away from this thing which should make things interesting coming up.

The fact that the characters are 'ordinary', for the most part, and not all supernatural is what makes this story so good, my friend. The writing is superb and the development of the characters is a natural process rather than a whirlwind. Excellent work so far.
Well, we'll be seeing some supernatural - kind of have to for a vampire story - but I don't want everyone to be over the top. One wants to root for the characters and hopefully get to understand their motivations. Trying to let a little slip here and a little slip there - hopefully some if not all end up well rounded.


To all - thanks, as always, for the comments. Keep 'em coming. :)