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Lord Durham

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Well, here we go. This will be my first AAR in quite a few years. And I mean quite a few.

Seeing as I have published a couple of Mythos stories, the Old Gods DLC provided a certain appeal I couldn't ignore. And, with my recent return to these forums I figured it was time to have a bit of fun.

Though this AAR will probably feature a mix of styles, it will no doubt lean toward pulp-action-narrative. It's what I write, so you are warned.

This will be a serious tale, grim and violent, with very little humour. Of course, if the folks at Jack Shit Studios, the people behind Portugal or Bust: The Director's Cut, option it, then all bets are off. But that's only if they dare. Do you, Trixie? Do you dare?

I don't really have any house rules, save the usual no reloads. I'll let my actions and the game dictate events.

Well, that's not entirely true. There is one priority when the game starts, and that is revenge. Of Ragnar Lodbrok's sons, I have decided to center the tale around Halfdan 'Whiteshirt' Ragnarrson, King of Jorvik (York). And since the scenario begins with the sons mired in a war of retribution against King Ælla of Northumberland, expect a fair amount of combat until things quiet down. If they do.

I am not sure how deep I will go into this AAR time-wise. It may end when I feel there is nothing left to say. But then again, perhaps the fun just won't stop. After all, blood eagles are a riot. As for updates, I will try to be consistent, though I have other obligations that come first.

Like I've done in the far distant past, I may solicit guest posts, incorporate forum members under vaguely disguised names and give them grisly deaths and spring a few other surprises. We'll see.

Oh, and as for the Mythos part I mentioned near the beginning? Count on it.


 
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crimson_king

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And grim and violent it should be.

Looks exciting.

And blood eagles are always good for a laugh, aren't they.
 

coz1

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Here from the beginning on this one! Good luck, LD.
 

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Two things I didn't think in would do this year; listen to a new David Bowie album, and get one of the first comments on an LD AAR ;)

This looks to be a good one - I'm definitely looking forward to following this.

Good luck!
 

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I'll try my best to keep up. :)
 

Estonianzulu

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And since the scenario begins with the sons mired in a war of retribution against King Ælla of Northumberland, expect a fair amount of combat until things quiet down. If they do.
Sound's absolutely dreadful. What kind of Viking story has conflict and battle? Anyway, look forward to a good revenge tale. Good luck
 

Syt

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Nice to see one of the Great Old Ones return to these halls. Really looking forward to this and what you'll do with the material. :)
 

c0d5579

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First - the obvious, I'm looking forward to this, and since I've been considering a D&D game for a while based on the invasion of the Great Heathen Army, I plan on pillaging you shamelessly (same as Yogi's HoI Fu Manchu stories have been putting stuff in a different game pot for years now). Now on to irrelevant asides!

So who would we cast as who?
I've always thought Paul Bettany in full-on malevolent crazy mode would make a good Ivar the Boneless, assuming the "really skinny" explanation for "boneless" is the right one. Given that he churned out children willy-nilly and was a respected leader of the Great Heathen Army, neither the "impotent" nor "no leg-bones" explanations ever made much sense to me.
 

Lord Durham

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Thanks for the wonderful response, folks. Been busy, but got the first few years in, as well as a post, which will come later today. On to some FB-FB.

crimson_king: Everyone should try a blood eagle at least once in their lives. Nothing like it. BTW, does Robert Fripp know you are using a variation of his band's name?

coz1: Really glad to have you aboard, Al. I'll try not to disappoint. And hey, congrats on relaunching the Guess-the-Author initiative.

DensleyBlair: Hmm. First time I've ever been mentioned in the same sentence as David Bowie. What's the album like (we still call them albums?) I saw him live in Toronto when he was promoting Heroes. Probably before you were born :). Great show.

Tanzhang (譚張): I know this isn't your cup of tea (movies over books, eh? :) ), but I appreciate you giving it a go.

Estonianzulu: Yeah, I was surprised at all the bloodshed and violence too. Vikings were never known for that. Real eye opener :).

Dovahkiing: Many thanks. The wait is almost over--I think...

Syt: Cute. Real cute. Guess I left myself open to that one :). However, tenure wise on these forums you are right up there with Estonianzulu, Coz1 and myself (actually, I never realized till now that you joined before me) So, who's the Great Old One now, eh?

Sematary: Thanks. I'll admit I mulled this over for quite a while, wondering if I had the desire and time. Like I said to coz1, I hope I don't disappoint.

Mithfir: Do you have to hide them all? Well, the wife and children I understand. But the concubines? Speaking of wives, arranging a decent marriage among the Norse is a real pain in the butt.

Ivir Baggins: That would be up to the casting agents at Jack Shit Studios, though of course suggestions are welcome, like from the next responder... :)

c0d5579: Paul Bettany is an interesting choice. I wouldn't have thought of him for the role of Ivar. As for how he gained the moniker Boneless, I've read all the theories, too. In fact, I plan to write a short story and submit it to a certain publication. If it's accepted it will essentially be a companion piece to this AAR. I'm not sure if you are familiar with my Free Company series of AARs, but they are essentially D&D type collaborative tales. The first post in one of the OOC threads (like Book Ten), lists the rules. Feel free to read, adapt, ignore at your leisure if you decide to give it a go.

Speaking of The Free Company, my first post is an homage of sorts, and will be familiar to those who were involved in, or read the Books. It sets the stage for this AAR, so to speak...
 

DensleyBlair

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DensleyBlair: Hmm. First time I've ever been mentioned in the same sentence as David Bowie. What's the album like (we still call them albums?) I saw him live in Toronto when he was promoting Heroes. Probably before you were born :). Great show.
All the better for the ten year wait. I consider it to go well with the Lodger-Scary Monsters era. It's got the same sort of vibe - especially guitar-wise. Naturally, he's sounding older, but the energy is still there - with various respectable publications heralding it as 'the best comeback album ever.' I still call them albums, in any case ;)

And yes, I'd imagine it was before I was born, considering "Heroes" was 1977. I just hope that he'll do one more show so I can actually go and see him.
 

Tycat

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I also played a game as Halfdan, and I really look forward to seeing how you do it.
 

Lord Durham

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DensleyBlair: 1977? Crap, you're right. Listen to me. Never get old. Time does speed up, regardless of what they say. Trust me.

Tycat: How did your game go?
 

Lord Durham

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Prelude


June 4, 1932 - Florence - Morning

The door swung open, its heavy decorative wood bouncing off the doorstop with a muffled thud.

Two people entered the dimly lit apartment, a young woman leading. She was dressed in a modest grey business suit, the cut of the jacket emphasising her slender waist. Crooked in one arm was a paper bag filled with groceries. A set of keys hung from the index finger of her free hand. A flick of the wrist and the keys landed with a metallic jingle in a bowl on a nightstand by the entrance.

Following her was a small man, groceries in each arm, his bespeckled face bookended between two overfilled bags. He paused as the woman entered the kitchen, manoeuvring a bag so a protruding French Stick pushed his glasses snug against his brow.

"Just place them on the counter for now, Carlos," the woman said. "There's a dear. Tea?"

Carlos set the groceries down and nodded. "Please, Miss York."

Madelyn Mary York smiled. "Make yourself at home in the study, then. I'll be with you shortly. Oh, and please get the lights and open some shades."

Minutes later the woman entered the study holding a tray with a teapot, two cups, a container of milk and one of sugar, and set it down on a coffee table between two chairs. Off to the side near the fireplace was another chair, high-backed, plush and well-worn. Madelyn pointedly refrained from using that particular piece of furniture. It had belonged to her late Uncle, Sir Jonathon Thomas York, as did all of the books, manuscripts, tomes and research papers surrounding them in wall-to wall bookcases. Her inheritance.




"I have something to show you," Madelyn said. She walked to the far wall, near the balcony, pausing for a moment beside the eight known volumes of The Free Company Annals, books one to seven, and ten. "Do you ever think we will ever find the missing volumes?"

Carlos shrugged. "I keep searching, but no such luck. Perhaps they are lost forever."

Madelyn sighed. Those annals had been her Uncle's pride and joy. After Sir Jonathon's death Carlos had located Book Ten. But that was two years past, before the Great Depression had damaged the world. Trailing a finger across the spine of a tome, she moved along the shelf until reaching the object of her curiosity. The book coffer she lifted was old, large, crafted from wood and banded with iron. And locked. With effort she carried it to the coffee table and set it down.




"I found this the other day. It was behind one of the old shelves in a safe. Fortunately I had stumbled across the safe's combination a while back--" Her voice trailed off as she glanced at Carlos. The man stared at the box, his face ghastly white, his large eyes wide. A trickle of sweat started on his brow.

"Put it back, Miss York," he stammered. "Better yet, burn it."

Madelyn sat down on the edge of her chair, her brow wrinkled with curiosity and concern. "Why, Carlos?"

The man swiped his hand at it, then made the sign of the cross. "This thing is evil. I told Mister York it was evil years ago when he found it deep in the basement of the Uffizi Gallery. It is better you forget you have it."

The woman frowned. "I appreciate what you say, Carlos, but it is only a box." Ignoring the worried look on his face, she continued, "My problem is this lock. Do you know if Uncle had the key?"

"Please, Miss York."

"Ah, so you do know. Where is it?"

"Miss York--"

Madelyn caught the motion of his eyes as they darted to the mahogany bureau with its plethora of drawers. She stood and walked over. "It's in here, is it? I've been through these drawers. Don't remember seeing a key." A slender finger touched her full lips, and tapped, once, twice. "But these bureaus can hold secrets, yes Carlos? A hidden drawer, perhaps?"




Carlos let out a cry of anguish, wringing his hands.

Madelyn felt herself losing patience. "If you don't tell me I'll rip this desk apart, so help me God."

Slowly the young man stood and joined her. He swallowed and said, "I do this out of loyalty to Mister York, ma'am. He would never forgive me if something happened to you." Removing a small drawer, he reached in and touched a flush-mounted stud. There was an audible click. Moments later he produced a key, though he hesitated in passing it over.

"For God's sake, Carlos." Madelyn, exasperated, snatched it form his shaking hand. She held it up and studied the strange creature carved into the handle. "Sumerian?" she mumbled. Striding to her chair, she sat and leaned forward, inserting the key into the lock and turning it. A click and the iron latch sprung free. She removed the heavy cover and set it to one side. Peering inside the coffer revealed a book, its cover a supple oiled leather.

Carlos crossed himself again and joined her, standing at her shoulder, eyes darting pensively about the room.

"The title is German," she said. "My German is rusty, but let's see. Unaussprechlichen Kulten. Nameless Cults. Unspeakable Cults? Interesting." As she removed the book, she discovered another, smaller book along with a collection of faded documents. She retrieved the second book, inspecting the elaborate calligraphy forming its title. "Old English." After a moment of study she said, "The Sons of Ragnar Lodbrok: Tales of the Great Old Ones." She turned the page and began to read, as Carlos groaned in anguish behind her...


 
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Tycat

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It went well, but I had issues with Ivar the Boneless as I didn't want to fight family, unfortunately he was getting in the way. Also, that's an interesting introduction.
 

DensleyBlair

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An intriguing start, for sure. What could possibly be in the book to upset Carlos so much? And I recognise the name M.M. York - though I can't think where from. Is it a reference to a Free Company character? I seem to remember something about the House of York.

In any case, is certainly lived up to the hype (another similarity with the Bowie album ;)) I'm looking forward to the start of the tale proper.
 

crimson_king

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I believe there's also a character in Stephen King's Dark Tower books named the Crimson King.

But my name is as simple as me choosing something that sounded nice, then having King Crimson come up on shuffle on my iPod and realizing, "So, THAT'S where I got that from."

Good start to the story. I've always been partial to the present or recent-past framing device.
 
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