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SirkTheMonkey

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That was a fine set of updates I just had the pleasure of reading. Snake-in-the-Eye is developing into a fascinating character since he moved out from under Ivar. Those Saxons have certainly waged a campaign worthy of being recorded and remembered with all their various bluffs even if they tend to fail when combat actually happens.
 

c0d5579

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I foresee gavelkind fun between those two.
 

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Snake-In-The-Eye would better be called 'Snake-In-The-DNA'. (I edited this to preserve the innocent from more... disturbing... imagery).

Is it just me or does Durham seem to attract armies as bees to flowers (or flies to garbage if that is more appropriate)? Is this the tenth attack on that poor city? And, more importantly... why? I mean, it has a cool name and all, but...

Sounds like the Vikings are mopping up the opposition. The problem seems to be that there aren't enough brothers to be in all places at the same time.
 

Revan86

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I'm not exactly sure if Anarawd and Oswaine got the better part of that deal they cut, particularly if they get sold to one of the other Ragnarsson brothers. Though if one of the Halfdanarsons turns out berserkr, that could make life quite interesting if we start seeing internecine conflicts.

As usual, very good writing and characterisation! Still very much looking forward to what happens with Carlos and Miss Madelyn York, also.
 

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Another stellar update, Lord Durham. Would I be right in thinking we will soon be returning to the modern Florence?
 

Lord Durham

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A member of my party actually did spot a snake at one point of the holiday – though thankfully I remained oblivious until later on ;)

I certainly feel for those Saxon wretches captured by the brothers. Will all the peasants be sacrificed, or will they just be killed for sport?

And good to see a Welshman enter the story – even if he may not be set for the longest role in the narrative... I must admit, Gudfrid's final pun of sorts did unsettle me. You wouldn't expect a Viking of his demeanour to be coming up with dark wordplay – or maybe you would?
The strongest among the slaves would likely become thralls. Those with some money would be ransomed. Some would be set aside for sacrifice and fun (Viking-style) while the remainder would be sold into slavery. The Arab nations and countries with oared fleets like Byzantium were always on the lookout for slaves. It was still a big market back then. The Welshman may make another appearance or two, but nothing ground breaking. The pun was intended :).

I also welcome the Welsh, and it is good to capture a few good ransom-sources. Will Ragnar overplay his hand in excess confidence?

St. Patrick beta tested his snake removal practices in Greece before driving the snakes out of Ireland. Probably all the snakes ended up with our heroes.
If I was doing comedy, having St. Patrick make an appearance would be sweet. Maybe I'll save that for the Mini-Series. Ransom sources are good, and Ragnar may be in for a rude awakening...

It's clear that he ironed out the last few kinks between Greece (some snakes left) and Ireland (100% success rate). Proving once again that good QA is worth its weight in gold.

More grim battles and more prisoners who await a grim fate. Is Ragnar simply overcome with bloodlust, or is his behavior yet another manifestation of the Old Ones' corruption seeping into the family?

The duel made for an interesting change of pace, being decided in the end by rational calculation as opposed to brute force. Good for the Welshman and good for Gudfrid that they used reason. Having said that about Gudfrid, I will say that Gudfrid and Ragnar show touches of rather diva-esque behavior. Ragnar belittling Gudfrid's contribution to the victory, Gudfrid accusing Ragnar of going berserk... On the outside, they are all hardened killing machines, but on the inside they apparently are struggling with their self-esteem. ;)

All kidding aside, a great update and a nice chance for Gudfrid to show a more rational, calculating side to the Vikings.
Gudfrid has the 'Underhanded Rogue' trait, so I thought it appropriate he use it on the Welshman. He will keep his vow, though. Both brothers, while successful in their own right, are not exempt from some sibling rivalry. Of course, to a Viking 'sibling rivalry' usually meant a knife in the back :). Ragnar gained the 'Berserker' trait after a battle, so I thought I would play it up. I almost lost the trait with the latest patch update, but a Modder's fix brought it back in line.

That was a fine set of updates I just had the pleasure of reading. Snake-in-the-Eye is developing into a fascinating character since he moved out from under Ivar. Those Saxons have certainly waged a campaign worthy of being recorded and remembered with all their various bluffs even if they tend to fail when combat actually happens.
Thanks for the compliment. I'm finding Snake-in-the-Eye a bit more fun to write than I intended. Which is a good thing. I'm not sure Ivar will be overly impressed next time they meet. But then again, maybe he will. The Saxon coalition sure makes things interesting by appearing all over the place. The downside is it reduces their effective army strength, which goes toward explaining why they are so far losing individual battles.

I foresee gavelkind fun between those two.
There's also Sigfrid, the eldest brother, who hasn't really done much to date.

Another fine chapter. I wonder if that Welshman might in the end be convince to change sides... Also curious about that betrothal between Ubbe and Gunnhildr, who are the in-laws?
One thing I don't like about the Old Gods is the lack of marriage partners. Gunnhildr is somewhere around zero years old. I guess I have to capture concubines or something. I can't remember the in-laws, off-hand. Chances are the betrothal won't run the course anyway. As for the Welshman, he'll eventually be ransomed. Don't know if he'll switch sides, though.

Stop it. Stop it you make my fingers itch!
Have you tried cream? :)

Snake-In-The-Eye would better be called 'Snake-In-The-DNA'. (I edited this to preserve the innocent from more... disturbing... imagery).

Is it just me or does Durham seem to attract armies as bees to flowers (or flies to garbage if that is more appropriate)? Is this the tenth attack on that poor city? And, more importantly... why? I mean, it has a cool name and all, but...

Sounds like the Vikings are mopping up the opposition. The problem seems to be that there aren't enough brothers to be in all places at the same time.
Yeah, Durham's location makes it a great Saxon-magnet. I'm trying to keep the brothers relatively strong so they can continue to siege with success, but that leaves some previously captured counties open to retaliation. In this case it becomes a race to see if Halfdan can secure a county before the Saxons cause too much trouble elsewhere. So, what's that more disturbing imagery? Come on, I can handle it... :)

I'm not exactly sure if Anarawd and Oswaine got the better part of that deal they cut, particularly if they get sold to one of the other Ragnarsson brothers. Though if one of the Halfdanarsons turns out berserkr, that could make life quite interesting if we start seeing internecine conflicts.

As usual, very good writing and characterisation! Still very much looking forward to what happens with Carlos and Miss Madelyn York, also.
The prisoners will eventually be ransomed. Halfdan and his side aren't really comfortable with the Great Old Ones' religious practices, as you are probably aware. Now, if Sigurd had captured them it would have been a different story. Unless Halfdan and company decided to intercede. But it didn't happen... this time. Stay tuned for more of Ragnar... :)

Another stellar update, Lord Durham. Would I be right in thinking we will soon be returning to the modern Florence?
Why, thank you sir. And yes, I think you are right. It may be time for an Interlude.


Thankyou all for the feedback. A tip of the mead horn to everyone.

Seeing as this AAR has its roots (or tentacles) in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, I think it only appropriate I mention that today is his birthday. Born in 1890, died March 15, 1937.

And, in the shameless plug category, I have a new story available today at the Lovecraft eZine. It's called The Pariah, and is free to read online.
 

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So, what's that more disturbing imagery? Come on, I can handle it... :)
My guess would be the good ol' trouser snake (Sigurd Snake-In-The-Trousers), but perhaps more literal in Sigurd's case?

That's it from the peanut gallery, for now. I'll see if I can read The Pariah soon.
 

Lord Durham

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My guess would be the good ol' trouser snake (Sigurd Snake-In-The-Trousers), but perhaps more literal in Sigurd's case?

That's it from the peanut gallery, for now. I'll see if I can read The Pariah soon.
Trouser-Snake. Good one. I've passed that along to Jack Shit Studios for the proposed mini-series. Let me know what you think of The Pariah (if you read it, of course...)

I saw this and thought of you...



Except there really would be welshmen hanging from the tree.
I don't doubt here's probably a few doing the dangling death dance :).

And so continues the Viking incursion in the isles. Ireland is gonna have some visit soon I bet.
Possibly in the future, but for now, after the dust settles, something else will pop up...


I've been doing the FanExpo convention thing in Toronto the past few days, so my writing has taken a back seat. I'll try to get an update ready in the next day or two.
 
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Lord Durham

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Interlude


June 4, 1932 - Florence - Late Evening

Glancing up from the tome, Madelyn noted, with wry amusement, Carlos asleep in his chair, hands clasped in his lap like some Medieval monk, head lolling on his chest, a line of drool sliding from the corner of his mouth.

"Now there's a noble sight," she mumbled. Closing the book hard, with an audible whump, she chuckled as Carlos jerked awake, head swivelling left and right in momentary panic before it settled on her.

Blinking sleep from his eyes, he grumped, "Long day."

"Nothing to do with all the booze you downed, right?"

Carlos shifted in his chair. "Well, perhaps a little. What time is it?"

Madelyn read the clock on the mantle. "Ten fifteen. Past your bedtime."

The small man frowned, and waved a hand that encompassed the tome and box. "You've been at that all day, Miss York. Isn't it time for a break?"

"Perhaps." Leaning forward, she laid the book on the coffee table and tapped the cover with a delicate finger. "There's so much informative reading in this, Carlos. But how much of it is true? Did you know that Durham, or Dunholm, or whatever, was the center of the Norse universe?"

"Really? What do you mean?"

"Well, Halfdan conquers it. Leaves. The Saxons move in and lay siege. The Vikings come back and chase away the Saxons. Leave. The Saxons return. The Vikings march in again. The Saxons run, though sometimes they do fight, but get spanked. The Vikings leave. The Saxons return. You get the drift."

Carlos scratched the back of his neck, then yawned. "Yes, Miss York, I think I do." His eyes drifted to the couch. It wasn't the first time he had spent the night here after a day of locating books or researching leads. His own apartment was several miles away.

Madelyn caught the look and sighed. "Oh, all right." She raised a warning finger. "But I'm taking this box with me. For some strange reason I don't entirely trust leaving it out here with you. Call me paranoid."

"If you wish, Miss York, I will." He stood and stretched. "Take it. I promise not to sneak into your bedroom and abscond with the bloody thing. No doubt it will be under your pillow, anyway."

Madelyn placed the tome in the box and closed the lid. "Smart guy. I have a gun."

"And you would use it on me?"

Standing, she shrugged. "Care you find out?"

"Not really. You know, Miss York, sometimes I don't know when you are serious and when you are not."

Madelyn cracked a half smile. "Keeps you on your toes, doesn't it?"

Carlos moved to the couch and sat. A noise from outside drew Madelyn's attention and she went to the balcony doors, opening one and stepping out into the warm summer air. To her right, in the distance, was the famed Ponte Vecchio, a covered bridge reportedly dating back to Roman times, while below a line of people marched along the Lungarno del Grazie, some with flashlights, others holding aloft torches and banners.




One day there would be war, she reasoned.


"Blackshirts," Madelyn mumbled with distaste. This move to Facism, at the hands of Mussolini, was becoming too dangerous. One day there would be war, she reasoned. And not just some local conflict. Perhaps it was time to move on. Uncle had property in York...

"York! That's it." Clapping her hands, she turned, facing the open door, and said, "Uncle has an extensive library in York, doesn't he? I bet there's lots of interesting secrets to be gleaned from there, eh Carlos? Carlos?" Madelyn stepped back into the apartment, and shook her head as she found Carlos fast asleep on the couch.

Closing the balcony door, she gathered up the box and headed for her bedroom. York, she thought. It will take time to arrange travel, pack and move Uncle's important works, but it will be much safer there. Yes. York it is...
 

Tommy4ever

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I really do like these 20th century updates, the characters are really engaging. Also liked the way you addressed the politics of the time. Makes the dark age Vikings we are looking back at less barbarous and more human when you consider the time in history these characters are living in. Look forward to more :D.
 
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Stuyvesant

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Hm, methinks that Benito's blackshirts will prove to be tame stuff, compared to the slithering eldritch creatures that lie dormant in Jorvik. :) Oh, and it's only 50 miles from Durham, too. Nope, nothing good will come from this relocation.

That aside, the update served to remind us of 'real-life' 1930s Italy and it certainly provides a very plausible reason to move the action from Florence to York (and much closer to the Great Bad that's bound to come for Madelyn). I don't think her pistol will be of much use.
 

Revan86

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Very well-written, Lord Durham! You keep the interplay between Miss York and Carlos working remarkably well. So it's really going to be a wrench when one or both of them gets dragged off into horrific non-Euclidean realms unknown by the multifarious appendages of some elder deity or other...

And the current-day political framing was well-handled, too. You touch briefly on the forebodings of Miss York about Mussolini with a wink-nod to the audience, and don't linger too long. And I'll second Stuyvesant that it provides a good way to move off of Florence without being too plot-devicey.
 
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