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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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The Righteous BastAARds: An Introduction

And now for something completely different, my young friend. A man with a taperecorder up his brother's nose. No, I tell a lie. It is an old, old story, really. It is a story of benevolence and betrayal, of mediocricy and madness, of the power of the pen, leaky though it may be, versus the power of the sword. Gather round now, while I tell you of the fate of the Iberian peninsula. Ah, dear listener. I see you believe you know the story already? You know of the kings, the battles, the slighly randy, though eminently memorable, stories of the princes of the Church? You know of the dignity with which the martyr St. Bonafattio met his violent death at the hands of thirteen starving albino potboys? Of the tragic death of Chastity Ignobile, the patron saint of ladies of negotiable affection? You have read all the learned dissertations on the royal schizophrenia with seemed to latch onto each and every Monarch like a curse?

Ah, dear listener. I see your knowing nod. None of these momentous events are outside the realm of your knowledge. But, I tell you this truly. You know not the true story of Castille, till you have heard what I now have to relate.

Please, dear listener, remove that doubtful expression posthaste. I will now proceed to enlighten you. Our story, nay, our history, begins in 1419, in the very heart of the kingdom of Castille. On the throne sits Juan II, king by the grace of God since 1406. As all the world does know, for the king takes great pain, often others', to make sure it does, Juan II is a devout man. His most influential advisors are men of the cloth, and mighty men of learning are they. But a problem has arisen amongst his advisors. A problem I say? I should say, perhaps, a conundrum. Scholarly disseratation and rational argumentation have now taken their final bows and made way for intolerance and diatribe. As schizm draws near, the advisors are drawn to two central figures.

Cardinal Biggles of the Chanting Lefthanded Genuflectors (whose left hand never knew what his right did) and Cardinal Fang of the Order of the Swinging Sheepshagging Sinners (who believed in knowing all sin personally, the better to resist it).

Ah, dear listener. You perk your ears? Perhaps, then, your knowledge of our common history is slightly less complete than you thought. Doubtless because subsequent generations have done their utmost to excise certain passages from history.

Now Juan II was a strong king. But being forced to choose between such eminent princes of the Church was beyond him. A wrong choice might condemn Castille to civil war. So what did he do, you ask? I'll tell you what he did, all right. He stole a page out of the old Testament, is what he did. Like a new Solomon he decreed that each Cardinal, representing his entire school of thought, should be the king's advisor half of the time. Initially he envisioned one Cardinal before noon, and the other after, but since none of the Cardinals were early risers, this plan had to be abandoned.

Now, it must be said, since I haven't mentioned it previously, that both Cardinals were fairly young and healthy, with many years of life left, barring an act of God. They were thus, grudgingly mind you, forced to acquiesque with Juan's second suggestion, namely, that they advised in turn over a slightly longer period of time. They were not, however, fully prepared for the period of time Juan II had in mind: A decade.

But in the end they caved in, their sojourn in the royal dungeons being a salutory experience, and, praising the lord and the wisdom of the king, they prepared to fight for the first slot.

Cardinal Biggles won by 8 nuns.

Gnashing his teeth, and mighty impalers they were indeed, Cardinal Fang left the palace vowing to return a decade later.

And Juan II thought his problems were solved. Unfortunately, royal schemes of government, once instituted, are hard to do away with. His Solomoronic solution was to form the basis of four centuries of shadow government. Not that the king lost all power, mind you, but always he was strongly advised by one of the ever fervent acolytes of the original schizm. This had some rather unfortunate effects. Not that the advisors were uniformly bad, let me be the first to assure you, but rather, perhaps, that with time they went to considerable pains to poison the oppositions' term of government. This, in fact, explains the tendancy that has stumped most historians: How to explain the frequent changes of policies and declarations of war around the end of the second to last year of every decade. Since the shadow rule began in January 1419, the last chance an outgoing advisor, a socalled lame quack, had to - let us be crude - screw the opposition, was December 1428, and thus 1438, 1448, and so on and so forth. Not that any of the advisors, with a few notable exceptions, truly intended to endanger the state, mind you. They just wanted to get even. Sometimes preemptively, of course.

Ah, my young listener. You look incredulous? Yet I assure you, I tell you nothing but the truth. Over the coming weeks I will tell you the true story, as I have learned it through my long studies. But for now, I grow weary. Let an old man rest for a while, and return in a few days time. Then I will tell you of the good advice of Cardinal Biggles.


The Rules:
Cardinal Biggles of the Chanting Lefthanded Genuflectors and his eminent successors will be controlled by that magnificent Dane, Peter Ebbesen. His knowledge, if it can be called so, of Spain is limited to Caesar, bullfighting, the Inquisition, and quaint strangers going Olé! And what can be gained from Asterix, of course. He goes first.

Cardinal Fang of the Order of the Swinging Sheepshagging Sinners and his magnificent acolytes will be controlled by that most puissant Norwegian, Norgesvenn. His knowledgde of Spain is that Rioja leads to considerably pleasure, followed by a tough headache, that Toro is not just a Norwegian brand of soup, that his friend Ole claimed to be popular in Spain, and that the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain. He goes second.

The game will be EUII v1.04, on Hard/Normal. Thus none of the insane 1.04 BB wars VHard would cause, which would cripple our style.

Autosave must be enabled to make sure that one's factions' turn ends on January 1st, 1xy9.

It is obligatory for a new advisor to mark the change of power by immediately implementing a new policy, that is, changing a DP-slider, on his very first day in office.

An advisor should attempt to make his successor's term interesting according to the ancient curse, may you live in interesting times, but not impossible.

No cheating. We may be Righteous BastAARds, but there are limits.


The Goals:
Goals? Surely you are kidding.


The first installment will be coming up in a few days. Until then, olé!
 

Norgesvenn

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Nail me down? Me? But, but...

Aw, come on Mimir, we'll do one too. I mean, I'm almost between jobs now, and have all the time in the world.
Seriously!

Edit: Are there any 'Treacherous Scum' avatars available? :D
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

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This promises to be interesting.:)
 

Edgar Francis I

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I'm up for it. Perhaps having someone else play alternately with you, PE, will cure you of the bloodlust that overwhelmed you in your last AAR.

Let the flagellation begin.

And if you can work it in, I'd like to hear more about the guy with a taperecorder up his brother's nose. That sounded promising.

EF1
 

Norgesvenn

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The Tape Recorder - A Family With A Proud Tradition

Bob looked at his brother. The family heirloom was tucked safely up his left nostril. The tape recorder. The same one that had been used to reveal Richard Milhouse's plans, to reveal what their father really did in the basement late Saturday night, the one the they used to record Ollie North's orders...


(Kaboooom!)

I interrupt this AAR to tell you that the evil lefty Norgesvenn has been sentenced to 12878952340 years of public service
 

HJ Tulp

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I have a good feeling about this AAR.
You know Pete;) whe had an Bonifatius in Holland to, only he was killed by the Friesen.
 

Norgesvenn

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Man, I'm trembling with excitement! :)

I can't wait to be one of the good olè boys...

In fact, I'm going to have a bottle of Rioja and some paella for my din-dins.
 

unmerged(4271)

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Originally posted by Peter Ebbesen
The Righteous BastAARds: An Introduction


But in the end they caved in, their sojourn in the royal dungeons being a salutory experience, and, praising the lord and the wisdom of the king, they prepared to fight for the first slot.

Cardinal Biggles won by 8 nuns.



And I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. Reading this turned my whole day around. I am looking forward to seeing this develop!
 

unmerged(1996)

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Laughed? I nearly strangled a Jesuit!

Come on you two, bloody well get on with it. Some of us are slightly impatient for the fun to begin...

:D
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Episode I: The Right Hand, being on the nature of the evolution of the kingdom of Castille in the years 1419-1428, under the benevolent leadership of Cardinal Biggles, will be posted within 12 hours as of this mark.

A boring sequence of years and event in the dreaded log style is foreseen. (But then, most seers are pretty ineffectual :))
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Installment the first

Episode I: The Right Hand of Light

Picture the universe. On the very vault of the heavens, the fixed stars, eternally stuck to the firmament be God's very best glue. Above the Earth, the heavenly bodies, performing their god-inspired movements. Round and round and round they go. Sometimes here, sometimes there. Unlike the Earth. Fixed in the absolute centre of the universe, it is always easy to find. Let us take a look.

Focus.

Yes, that is the Earth, all right. But wait! Something seems to be occuring in Europe.

Focus.

Polar bears are running rampant in the streets of Copenhagen, the Scots are fighting their arch-enemies since time immemorial, the Scots, and the English are fighting the French. The Germans are fighting the Germans, the Italians the Italians, and the Pope is playing cards with the Cardinal College - and losing badly. An excommunication in the offering, no doubt. Business as usual, in other words. But wait a moment... Panning over the bountiful Iberian peninsula, the eye is caught by a strange phenomenon in the province of Castilla, in the country of Castille.

Focus.

A teeming metropolis on the outskirts of Europe, the capital of Castille is fairly impressive. Not in the 'pave the streets with marble and hang the expense' idealized version of city planning so well-loved by monarchs soon to be bankrupt, perhaps, but rather in the 'ho merry merchant and clever artisan, make me wealthy today', sort of way. As the eye passes over the merchants' quarters, the workshops of the superior artisans, and the street of negotiable affection, it is caught by the palace.

Focus.

From the throne room of the palace erupts a cloud of steam. Billowing outwards it soon covers the inner palace. What causes this, one might rightfully ask? There are no rebellions. The kingdom is at peace, except for the Algerian campaign, and stability is high. Perhaps the old exploding night-snack practical joke? Or might it be a bonfire lit by the mad monk Bonafattio? But no. It is but steam, not smoke. So that can't be it. Let the eye now glide ever slowly to the throne room, to see what disturbs the peace of Christmas eve, this year of our lord, 1428.

Focus.

In the throne room upon the throne, the king. By his side, a scribe. Spread around the room, a covey of faceless and irrelevant courtiers. Facing him, with steam constantly emitted from his ears and a face bright red with fury, his chief advisor the past decade, Cardinal Biggles of the Chanting Lefthanded Genuflectors. Chief advisor soon no more, Cardinal Biggles, that is. Let us listen and be enlightened.

"Face it, Biggles. I clearly stated a decade per man, and your decade is just about over. Now kindly hand over the reins of power to your successor, Cardinal Fang.", the king, Juan II, was saying.

"But I have done exceedingly well, your majesty! Consider the amazing progress Castille has made under your splendid rule with my advise! Remember 1419? On the right hand, Castille consisted of 9 provinces, those being Asturias, Cantabria, Castille, Estramadamus, Galicia, Leon, Murcia, and rich Toledo. State income was modest, but enough to support the 40,000 man army and a slight investment in internal advances. On the left hand, we were on friendly terms with our neighbours the pacifist Portuguese and the affable Aragonese. And the gloating Granadians were drawing dastardly designs right next door, as it were.", replied Cardinal Biggles.

"Well, yes, that was then."

"Whereas, now, on the right hand, we have reconquered Gibraltar and annexed Fez, a rich grain province, which will help feed our armies. The colony in the Canary Islands has grown to 1200 men! Your armies are as strong as ever, and, even now, they control four provinces of Algiers with the last two under siege. In a month or two Algeria can be vassalised! And consider Tangiers: Currently owned by Morocco but in rebel hands. No doubt the rebels will defect and join us soon."

"Yes, that is true. De Luna has done a good job in Algiers."

"Yes, your majesty. I don't regret appointing De Luna and his Loonies to head up the armies for a moment. On the left hand, we are now in a strong alliance with the puissant Portuguese and the assidious Aragonese. Granada is no more, having been annexed by the avenging Aragonese. We have gotten rid of many of your annoying relatives in state marriages and gained a number of foreign lovelies for the court."

"Hmmph. And their brats are all over the place! If I'm not being clubbed by the queen for 'making advances' at one of the German princesses, I am being verbally abused by one of the aforementioned princesses for not doing something awful to somebody for something somebody else did to one of their darlings. Dreadful creatures all, those brats."

"Yes, tragic, your majesty. Why the queen would take offense is beyond me. What is a couple of weeks of lusty nights compared to the adoration you commonly bestow upon her? Your majesty is a virile man yet, and well armed, so to speak, and it is well known, that practice makes perfect. She really ought to appreciate your nocturnal activities. And besides, I granted you a year-long dispensation as well as guaranteed absolution. On the left hand, should Cardinal Fang take over here, I might have to go in scholarly retreat. Not that I want to impute Cardinal "Sheepshagger" Fang impure motives (he sure doesn't need my help in that field), but you might find it difficult to get a dispensation for anything but sheep from him."

"Good point there. Good point. Nevertheless..."

"And the state income is substantially higher than previously due to efficient tax collection!"

"I know, but Cardinal Biggles..."

"And I improved the quality of our armies..."

"Biggles!"

"And our infrastructure is more robust and our trading more efficient!"

"SHUT UP BIGGLES! I know all this. And, lest you forget, I remember!"

"Remember, your majesty? Do you actually remember anything?", asked Biggles, bewildered.

"Yes, Biggles. Especially, I remember the following..."

When the Nobles demanded the recovery of their former rights in 1420, you had me accept. But I surely didn't need stronger nobles, yet now I am stuck with them.

And I remember how the settlement of the Canary Islands hasn't paid off yet, and how we might not have two outstanding loans, had you used that money to fund the establishment of the Tax Collectors. And just why do we need a fort of 2500 men to defend the 1200 inhabitants of the Islands, by the way?

And I remember your unseemly display of righteous anger when the Wussite heresy arose in Bohemia in 1419, and your most unseemly dance of pleasure when they returned to the Catholic fold in 1425.

And I remember the many losses in our brave armies. Granada alone cost us 15,000 men, only to be annexed by Aragon. Bad planning. Never trust the arrogant Aragonese, is what I say.

And I remember how you married away one of my beautiful cousins to Denmark, because, as you said at the time, it would be interesting to get news from the Northern front. News? I lose a cousin but gain knowledge of the price of fish half a continent away! Though, admittedly, it was interesting to hear of the annexation of Holstein, Mecklenburg (and twice, first by Denmark, then Sweden) and Bremen, and the occupation of Vorpommern, Hinterpommern, Kurland and Livland by the Danish vassal Norway.

And I remember how you conned the Pope in a card-game. Ok, your idea of having everybody pay you, when you had most merchants in hand, shouting MONOPOLY! was interesting and did net us 100 ducats. But you are not supposed to play cards with the Holy Father, and if you do anyway, make sure you lose.

And finally, of course, the peace treaty with Granada in 1422. Gibraltar and 500 ducats, you promised me. They have agreed, you said. Nothing can go wrong, you said. And just how much was it they paid? A measly 88 ducats!


"That, my good Cardinal Biggles, is what I remember. And I did, after all, promise Cardinal Fang that it would be his turn, and my word is my bond, do you follow me?"

Cardinal Biggles did an involuntary genuflection and rose to his full height. His eyes glistened with new energy and his voice trembled as his native Austrian accent came back with a vengeance.

"Yeah, right, tell that to the Ladies of the Court, why don't you? I'll be off then to teach my students, but mark you this, your majesty: I'll be back"

As he strode purposefully from the throne room he was heard to mumble, "and at least it will be Cardinal Fang who has to repay the loans come July 1429. I wonder where he will find the money."

Castille, day one after the glorious advisorship of Cardinal Biggles.
853558058.jpg




"Allo' the palace, it is I, Cardinal Fang. I have come to save the kingdom from competence and injustice! Or was that incompetence and justice? I forget. Lock up your womenfolk and sheep, let the sinners loose that they may repent, and bring me the beer. It is party time, Olé!"

Unfocus. Cross your legs, shut your eyes, and hope for the best. The Cardinal Sinner is in town.
 

Norgesvenn

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Bang With Fang – So it’s 1429, already?

Cardinal Fang was hardly known as the brightest bulb in that great lamp that is humanity. Or rather, he was slightly incapacitated by his stuttering and his, well, fangs. His mind was razor sharp, although Gillette sharp, rather than your old-fashioned razor blade sharp. That is, of course, an un-used razor blade. A used razor blade could, in many instances, be less sharp than an un-used Gillette. Particularly that MachIII Gillette. Ahem… but I digress. Digressions may be nice, but at this point, I believe that we should, well, get to the point, instead of covering several points, although points may be nice to have, especially those frequent flyer bonus points…

Everybody: GET ON WITH IT!!!

Okay, so to the story about Cardinal Fang, then. But, I believe that Lufthansa has a very special…

(16 Tons of steel are dropped into narrative voice’s head . Now, of course, a voice does not have a head. A pint of lager may have a head, and so do people, unless they for some reason lose it, which brings me to Charles I…)

Everybody: GET ON WITH IT!!!

Brzzt. Crackle. Buzz. Kaboom. Sizzle. Silence.

Hello, I am the new narrative voice of this story. I assure that I am much less prone to digressions than any of the earlier voices. So, here we go. The background info about Cardinal Fang.

When he was young, in fact no more than boy, his father had once asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Little Fang, obsessed as he was by the sheep getting it on out there on the fields, stuttered:
- “Ca-ca-ca….”
- “Caliph? No, you wouldn’t want that, son, would you?”
- “Ca-ca-ca….”
- “Candidatus Politicae? Why bother, you’ll never get a job…”
- “Calypso singer? Now, really, Fangie”
- “Ca-ca-ca-caaaa……”
- “Cappuccino drinker? Caffeine addict? Café dweller? Casket maker? Cashier at Marcos & Spenciere’s? Calvinist? Career divorcee? Caterpillar? Caterer? Camille tea vendor? Candy maker? Call boy? Carcass developer? Cart pusher? Canine psychologist?”.

Fang’s father had obviously given his son’s future a lot of thought.

Furiously, little Fang tried to spit out that he wanted to gain ‘carnal knowledge’, but all he could say was an endless “ca-ca-ca…”, a ca-ca-cackle, really.
- “Ah, you want to be a cardinal, son? That’s good. Your mom and I would be so proud of you, little Fang”.

At this point, little Fang had resigned to the fact that he’d be unable to convey his desires about sheep and shag, and particularly the combination of the two, so he just nodded in approval. However, little Fang had already heard about ‘cardinal deeds’, and in such a Platonic universe that they existed in there had to be such a thing as ‘cardinal sins’, he comforted himself.

1429 (AD), Somewhere in Madrid.

A messenger was making his way down to Cardinal Fang’s dwelling in the basement of The Dungeon Of Despair ™ (third door on the left, just pass by The Rack ™ and the Pillow Room). He loathed visiting Cardinal Fang, as there was always wool spread out generously in the staircase, and the smell of fresh mutton was sickening. He continued to push his way through damp wool, skidding down the stairs and muttering profanities to himself.


The Cardinal had gotten up at nine AM to brush his teeth; a task he suspected would keep him busy until noon. After noon he had a little rehearsal to do in the nativity play, which would be a mite troublesome, since the rest of the cast probably had gathered why he wanted to be one of the shepherds and not Joseph by now. They now suspected there was a connection between the ever-disappearing sheep and the shepherd not being quite the shepherd one might picture a man of the cloth to be.

While brushing his teeth, Fang was re-telling himself his favourite bits from the story about “Little Red Riding Hood”, the one about Little Red Riding Hood telling the wolf how nice teeth he had. It sounded something like this:
- “Gargle, spittle, chownaith…t-t-t-t-t-spittle, brush, -eeeeeekyeh-ha-ha-ha”

Then the messenger knocked at his door. As the Cardinal tried to answer, the messenger remembered the other reason he hated going down here; the Cardinal never managed to say “Come in” in less than three minutes. Why on earth nobody had told him to say “Enter” instead was beyond him.

Finally, the door opened.

- “Message for you, Cardinal”, said the messenger
- “F-f-f-f-f-f…”, replied Fang
- “From the King”
- “F-f-f-or me, I w-w-was saying”, Fang said angrily
- “A-all r-r-ight, d-d-d-d…”
- “Dismissed, sir?”
- “N-no, you f-f-f-f-fo-fo…”
- “Fool?”
- “F-foul-smelling son of a m-m-m-m-mo-mo-“

At this point, the messenger could tell he was in for a good telling-off, and said his “Olé” and quickly ran away, concealing himself as a sheep with some of the excess wool present in The Dungeon Of Despair ™. This was indeed a slightly silly move, as Fang still felt strangely attracted to sheep…


After cleaning his hands, Cardinal Fang opened the letter he had received. The gist of it was that it was now 1429, and he should haul his mis-managing, sheep shagging behind to the King’s court and start to do some of this advising of his.

Fang checked his I Dig-Italia timepiece, and noticed it was indeed January 1st, 1429 AD, about lunchtime.

Time to do some ruling…


Cardinal Fang made his way from The Dungeon Of Despair ™ to the King’s court. There he was given his New Office ™, a plain, yet cosy room in a sort of sheepish way (there were paintings of sheep and shepherds). He placed his books “Nice Racks”, “Dirty Portuguese Phrase Book, Vol. IX, Putitas to Oncologica”, “Cheap Sheep Stories”, “1001 Sheep”, “Cardinal Sin’s Autobiography” and “DIY Torture” on the bookshelf. He was all set.

“Right”, thought Fang, “time to set up an agenda”.

He went through the mail. He threw away a free membership offer from The Rebellion Of The Month club, and also a small pamphlet from Rent-A-Monarch. He lingered over the Daily Sheep and a special offer from Wars-R-Us. That could come in handy later on.

“Time to get myself some advisors”, thought the good Cardinal, and wrote a message to Cybil the Shepherd, who had insisted on being on the council in order not to reveal some rather unpleasant things about what she had seen Fang do out on a field with her herd of sheep. So Fang had no choice but to include Cybil.

Who else should he include? Some of the younger apprentices in The Dungeon Of Despair ™ might be useful, as they had no will of their own. But did that qualify for offering decent advice on matters of tremendous political import? Maybe, maybe not. He decided to bring in the young apprentice in Minority Mistreatment, Emilio, as Religious Co-Advisor with Extended Authority. As foreign affairs advisor, he decided that the junior cardinal, Liesalotti, would be more than adequate. Cybil would be in charge of the sheep dip.


So, having assembled his DreamTeam ™ (nightmares are also dreams, you know), Cardinal Fang proceeded to see the king to get an overview of current affairs and to receive the notes and papers (probably incomprehensible squabble) from Cardinal Biggles’ reign as Chief Advisor.

They arrived at Ye Olé Castle ™ about four, after having had a quick snack (baccalao, there’s NO way escaping fish).

Update tomorrow... :D
 

unmerged(1996)

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Mar 19, 2001
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www.thealienonline.net
Oi, Ebbesen! Did you nick that one from Terry Pratchett? ;)
street of negotiable affection
And that one's a definite. I'm on to you, sonny... :D
The colony in the Canary Islands has grown to 1200 men!
That would be 1,200 desperate, lonely men I assume? I'll tell you what, you get bloody fast sheep in the Canaries, so you do...

And as for you Norvesgenn:
The Rack ™
You should be so flaming lucky... :)

Seriously though guys, possibly the most entertaining, ludicrous and far-fetched thing I've read since I last looked at my c.v.

Great stuff, keep it up. Hmm. Perhaps I should rephrase that when Fang's around?
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

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Gotta hand it to your two. That's quite a duo of excellent posts to brighten up my day. Keep 'em coming!

Olé!
 

Norgesvenn

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Originally posted by Ariel

And as for you Norvesgenn:

You should be so flaming lucky... :)


Well, Ariel... a rack's a rack. It's all depending on which rack you inspect.


Peter... He's on to us... I believe that he might not expect a late-night visit in his Mancunian home from...

"THE CASTILLAN INQUISITION!!!!"

Or, by the number of hilariously simple traps he's laid... maybe he does.... :D
 

Norgesvenn

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Sorry, got caught up in someone's troubles. Posting tomorrow. Comfort broken-hearted friend now.