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aldriq

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A raiding expedition to France? These guys got around, didn't they?

"Oh, the Necronomicon? That old thing? Uncle just kept it to bookend the section on gardening.
Why, of course, I keep my copy between the old Magna Mundi and the Warlock MotA manuals...
 

Lord Durham

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Impressive feedback, folks. I'm a little surprised at the amount of reaction Madelyn has received, which in my mind is a good thing. All I can say is, give her time...



The Necronomicon? Well, this'll turn out interestingly, I'm sure. Hopefully Miss York won't be being bitten by anything any time soon ;)

As ever, very nicely done - the dual narrative is working really well here.
Thanks, DB. It wasn't my intention to run a dual narrative, but it's turned out to be fun. As for Miss York being bitten? Literally or figuratively? Who knows. I have plans...

Another enjoyable update, the modern setting helps break up the brutal windows into Viking England, and I am enjoying the suspense that is building. It strikes me that there is a lot to learn about Carlos's past.
It is rather a refreshing break, especially as I don't plan on going PC with Halfdan and the boys. Carlos has his secrets, to be sure.

On the one hand, Madelyn is showing signs of common sense (or perhaps it's more like a primordial instinct, genetic memories of unspeakable horrors from eons past?). On the other hand, she's now looking for the Necronomicon... I'm getting mixed signals regarding her intelligence. :) At the rate she's going, she's doing her level best to disprove Lovecraft's dictum that 'ignorance is bliss'. Well, she might have a fleeting moment of realization between the end of her ignorance and the end of herself. ;) I just hope that someone or something reins in her curiosity before the things that go bump in the night come crawling out of the woodwork.

Very atmospheric update. I think Carlos needs to be a little more direct in his warnings before Madelyn will take heed, though.
Madelyn is the Dana Scully of her time. She doesn't believe, but she has her late Uncle's inquisitive nature, for good or bad. As this is her first introduction to things that go bump in the night, her reaction to Carlos' bizarre (to her) nature is one of patronization or, more precisely, affectionately ridiculing his concern for her. She is intelligent, but naive about certain things she hasn't experienced. It's like when you are young and think you are invincible, but realize that is not true the older you get. In a way I didn't want to bring the Necronomicon into this story, but that graphic just called out to me. At the least it adds another element, and has given me ideas on expanding this storyline. Thanks for commenting. :)

I have a feeling that Miss. York will not heed the warnings until she sees why the warnings exist. Though in true Lovecraft style Carlos would be more likely to die first.
Yeah, Miss York is a 'show me' kind of person, but not the type that walks into a dark room (with ominous music playing in the background) shouting, "Who's here?" Inquisitive but not stupid. Carlos? Dying? Heavens!

If they don't die from Cthulhu they'll die of alcohol poisoning at this rate.
Hey, this is their first drink, and they don't have far to drive :). They won't be getting drunk. Madelyn did this to try and settle Carlos down. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

"Oh, the Necronomicon? That old thing? Uncle just kept it to bookend the section on gardening. He's got a Shakespeare in folio holding up the automotive section."

I think Madelyn might have seen one too many Plucky Girl Adventure serials, or read one too many of the equivalent books. She's likely to travel the whole gamut from Plucky Girl Adventurer to Damsel in Distress to Gibbering Hag in the space of about a week. I suppose it doesn't help that von Juntz's original title was "Iä! Iä! Ftaghn! Cthulhu Ftaghn!" and the German publisher looked at it and said "I can't pronounce that!"

And yes, Ivar's Sons is the current playthrough, which for once I've been screen-shotting like mad (450 or so and counting, and I just now crowned the first Ivar of Britain and Scandinavia, not to be confused with King Ivar). I really am sorry to disappoint, but it's going to be history-book, as far as medieval propaganda poetry is history. Thank you, incidentally, for the linkthroughs. I hope to have something more up this weekend.
Plucky Girl. I like that. Obviously I'm writing her as someone who wants to prove she can make a go of it in a man's world. A bit of a stereotype for the era, but essential to drive the narrative. At some point she may become a damsel in distress, but certainly not a gibbering hag. Plucky Girl and I are looking forward to reading about Ivar of Britain and Scandinavia, just so you know.

Few things worse than cold tea, among which I include the time I found a fly in my tea, and, generally, being driven mad by evil books. I'd be highly amused if the books she's reading end up merely bing as horrific as a Stephen King novel or something, rather than the sort of diabolical evil that Carlos says they are, but 10 to 1 that they will be more like the latter than the former. Hopefully the scotch will help them.
I'm not sure what is worse, evil books or a fly in cold tea. "What's that fly doing in your cold tea, sir?" "Er, the backstroke?" Heh, wouldn't that be a downer if the book turned out to be a bad piece of vanity press horror. I can hear the screams of outrage now :).

I hope this time Carlos doesn't give the location of the horrid tome away by looking at it. Hopefully the French raid goes well and he brings back plenty of gold and none of his uncle's craziness.
Ah, the raid. Thanks for mentioning that. It will be the next update. Not sure when it will be posted, though. I have a deadline to meet this weekend. As for Carlos, I think he learned his lesson the first time...

I'm a bit confused by all this "cold tea = horrible" business. Where I live, drinking your tea cold -- with ice in it, no less -- is the norm.

Now, I can understand if it's less "chilled" and more "lukewarm," since there's truly nothing worse than room-temperature tea.

...But I digress. I'm liking the interlude scenes myself -- they help set up the idea of the cruel inevitability of the events to come.
Indeed they will, Specialist. I took a look at the history of Ice Tea (the drink, not the actor) and was surprised at how long it's been around. In this case their tea is of the hot variety gone cold, as in room temperature.

An interesting piece. I've been wondering, along with Stuyvesant, about Madelyn's wisdom, but I get the impression she's merely taking her own sweet time waking up to a real danger.

Funny that some parts of the translated Necronomicon can cause madness, but Carlos is barely concerned about that. Only heightens the impression of how dangerous the other one is, eh? :)

Rensslaer
As mentioned above, Madelyn is the curious type who doesn't necessarily believe in that sort of stuff. To her the danger is all in Carlos' head, therefore she treats it as a mystery and not something to fear. If you are referring to the English translation sitting on the bookshelf, that version poses no danger at all. The Latin and Greek versions pose some danger, but the original is just plain badness. I added a couple of words to the previous interlude post that should help clear up any misconception.

Ms. York is undeniably clever, but there is such a thing as being too clever by half.
We'll see what side of the coin her cleverness falls on. It's early days yet...

When you come across an evil book with a name like "Necronomicon" you'd really think you might just let well enough alone. Curiosity and its cat killing
I plan to do some explaining about that in the next Interlude. To the vast majority the Necronomicon is unknown. To the vast majority that have heard of it, it's evil is only whispered at. To the few who have read it...

And then Madelyn asked: "Tell me. Tell me everything..."
Not surprisingly that's something she may demand at some point.

A raiding expedition to France? These guys got around, didn't they?

Why, of course, I keep my copy between the old Magna Mundi and the Warlock MotA manuals...
The French raid is next. All will be explained how it came about. Hopefully. Magna Mundi was a great mod. I spent many hours playing EUIII with it.


Thanks again for the wonderful feedback. I'm not sure when I'll have the next segment ready, won't be this weekend though.
 
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Director

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I suppose that if you are going to read the Unspeakable Texts you might as well have a side order of necronomicon, too. Sort of like eating a giant supreme meatlover's pizza followed by a double banana split. In for a penny, in for an artery-collapsing overload of fat and sugar. After a certain point I suppose it doesn't matter if you pile on more.

So the Vikings go a-viking in France, eh? Looking forward to hearing about it.


On the subject of iced tea, look up the history of one of America's first merchant princes, a man who shipped New England ice as far afield as India - he even cut up and sold Walden pond! :O

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederic_Tudor
 

Revan86

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And thus appears the Necronomicon? The plot thickens!

Loving the story thus far, Lord Durham, and especially the interludes. Though this brotherly rivalry between Halfdan and Ivar does seem likely to take a turn for the interesting in the near future. I trust 'the Boneless' may be more than just a nickname by the end of it...

Seelmeister said:
I look forward to Halfdan's battle axe cleaving off tentacled appendages (or whatever grotesque deformities Ivar is hiding under his robes and shield) with abandon. Sadly, in Lovecraft's universe, the best mere mortals can hope for is a transient victory, so I'm doubtful that even Halfdan's prowess with his axe will be enough to stop this unholy madness. Still should be a great ride to watch. From a safe distance.
True. And actually, I believe the same holds in Norse mythology also.

The Æsir and the humans allied with them can only hope to hold off the forces of primal chaos for one more day, and they know that in the end (the Ragnarök or Reign-Wrack), they will be destroyed by it. The central conceit of Germanic myth, the conceit that gave it its power, was that it is only how you comport yourself in the face of the tragic inevitable that determines your character.
 
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Stuyvesant

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The Æsir and the humans allied with them can only hope to hold off the forces of primal chaos for one more day, and they know that in the end (the Ragnarök or Reign-Wrack), they will be destroyed by it. The central conceit of Germanic myth, the conceit that gave it its power, was that it is only how you comport yourself in the face of the tragic inevitable that determines your character.
Interesting - I learned something today. And it is very fitting for our tale.

Madelyn is the Dana Scully of her time. She doesn't believe, but she has her late Uncle's inquisitive nature, for good or bad.
Ah! That's a useful shorthand: it gives me a better frame of reference for her. Of course, it doesn't necessarily change the trajectory of her journey, but it means that the journey will (most likely) be tragic, rather than 'foolishly-blundering-into-things-whilst-looking-for-a-midnight-snack-Scooby-Doo-style'. :)
 

Seelmeister

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True. And actually, I believe the same holds in Norse mythology also.

The Æsir and the humans allied with them can only hope to hold off the forces of primal chaos for one more day, and they know that in the end (the Ragnarök or Reign-Wrack), they will be destroyed by it. The central conceit of Germanic myth, the conceit that gave it its power, was that it is only how you comport yourself in the face of the tragic inevitable that determines your character.
Revan86, you seem to have quoted me but the author of that text was actually Stuyvesant. Two subjects I know precious little about are Norse Mythology and Lovecraft, in fact my Lovecraft knowledge is essentially what I have gleaned from this AAR and the Wikipedia searches it has prompted so far! Nonetheless this is all fascinating stuff.
 

Lord Durham

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Fascinated to see how things will develop, I imagine it will be badly for most of the protagonists...
Time will tell, but yeah, there will be some unpleasantness...

I suppose that if you are going to read the Unspeakable Texts you might as well have a side order of necronomicon, too. Sort of like eating a giant supreme meatlover's pizza followed by a double banana split. In for a penny, in for an artery-collapsing overload of fat and sugar. After a certain point I suppose it doesn't matter if you pile on more.

So the Vikings go a-viking in France, eh? Looking forward to hearing about it.


On the subject of iced tea, look up the history of one of America's first merchant princes, a man who shipped New England ice as far afield as India - he even cut up and sold Walden pond! :O

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederic_Tudor
Yeah, I always thought of iced tea as an American invention until I did some reading. Who knew? Meatlovers pizza and a double banana split? Maybe when I was younger. These days one look at a slice of pizza and I gain 5 pounds. I'm hoping to have the French raid ready this week. It's been kind of hectic.

And thus appears the Necronomicon? The plot thickens!
Loving the story thus far, Lord Durham, and especially the interludes. Though this brotherly rivalry between Halfdan and Ivar does seem likely to take a turn for the interesting in the near future. I trust 'the Boneless' may be more than just a nickname by the end of it...
Thanks for the thumbs up, Revan. I never imagined the interludes would be so popular. The brothers will meet down the road. As for Ivar and his nickname...

Ah! That's a useful shorthand: it gives me a better frame of reference for her. Of course, it doesn't necessarily change the trajectory of her journey, but it means that the journey will (most likely) be tragic, rather than 'foolishly-blundering-into-things-whilst-looking-for-a-midnight-snack-Scooby-Doo-style'. :)
What? No Scooby-Doo? (Starts rewriting frantically...). I've fleshed out a concurrent plot with Madelyn and Carlos, so yeah, expect a journey :).

Revan86, you seem to have quoted me but the author of that text was actually Stuyvesant. Two subjects I know precious little about are Norse Mythology and Lovecraft, in fact my Lovecraft knowledge is essentially what I have gleaned from this AAR and the Wikipedia searches it has prompted so far! Nonetheless this is all fascinating stuff.
That's one of the things I've always loved about writing/researching and reading AARs. The stuff we learn.


Like I mentioned to Director, I'm hoping to have my next post ready later this week. In the meantime, an anthology I'm in received a glowing review over at Black Gate Magazine. My story Colony was singled out as the reviewer's favourite. Nice way to start July :).

EDIT: I forgot to add this link to the latest issue of the AARlander. Give it a read. It's worth it.

 
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Lord Durham

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The Pillaging of Évreux


September - November 867

With the departing of Ivar the eldest and Sigurd the youngest, Halfdan did find himself sorely beset with misgivings and diminished ability to wage war against the large coalition arrayed against he and his remaining brothers. Such was his anger at this betrayal, he did forbade all men to mention Ivar and Sigurd's name in said presence.

Halfdan, though, was of a resourceful spirit, and understood the impact Ivar's defection had on the Treasury. And so it happened he did bid his second son Gudfrid, a lad most renowned for bravery, to undertake a raiding of the Frankish coast with intent to procure spoils and replenish the coffers. And in September Gudfrid did sail on nine ships from Jorvik along the River Ouse to the Humber Estuary and thenceforth to the North Sea. With him sallied four hundred men.

His passage proved aided by calming weathers, and Gudfrid sailed unopposed along the River Seine until he did beach his ships near Évreux. Exhorting his men to the Glory of Odin, Gudfrid marched into the County...


From 'Being the Secret History of Geoffrey Monmouth'





Like deadly serpents...


November, 867 - The Pillage of Évreux

Like deadly serpents, nine longships slipped along the staid waters of the meandering Seine, oars rising and falling in steady rhythm, the stout pine pulled by grim looking men clad in sweat stained tunics.

Standing at the prow, body shrouded in morning mist, Gudfrid scanned the vague images along the distant shoreline, one booted foot braced on the gunwale, a forearm resting against the dragon figurehead. At his feet knelt a scarred thrall, a Frank captured during some long forgotten raid. A metal collar encased the slave's neck, from which several feet of knotted rope was looped in Gudfrid's free hand.

The voyage had been unopposed. What fishing vessels they met hastily darted to shore, while the inhabitants of the few villages they passed fled into dark forests or atop nearby hills. The Vikings paid them no heed.

When the sun appeared over the far-off canopy of tree tops, burning away the remaining mist, Gudfrid tugged on the rope. "How much longer, dog?"

The thrall grunted and peered over the starboard side, toward land. He remained silent for long moments until Gudfrid tugged again. In broken Norse the man said, "Soon, Master. I need find a recognizable land mark."

Halfdan's son returned to studying the shore. Finally, he said, "What kind of leader is this Count Renaud?"

The thrall shrugged, then stumbled to reply when Gudfrid growled. "I cannot in truth answer, master. I know little of him." Rising suddenly, he pointed toward an abandoned stone structure seated on a finger of land. "There, Master. Beach just beyond yon building. Évreux is several rôsts south and west."


#​


The woman screamed not a dozen feet from Gudfrid, her panicked cries steeped in despair. But Halfdan's son ignored her, and stood with hands on hips as several dozen men loaded spoils on a line of oxen drawn wagons.

The key settlements of the County had proven easy to plunder. Gudfrid had first marched on Évreux, cutting a deadly swath along the way, leaving in his path burnt hovels and bloody corpses. The stronghold itself proved no obstacle, its shallow earthen walls easily overcome. Once inside he discovered with disgust the small garrison was composed of old men and young boys.

After several days of brutal occupation, Gudfrid detailed a small detachment to cart spoils and captives to the waiting longships, while he marched some thirty rôsts east toward the old Roman town of Lexovii, now called Lisieux, a site of religious importance.




Again he met with little resistance, though the plunder was great.


Again he met with little resistance, though the plunder was great. Sparing but a short time to rest, he set off south to the burgeoning city of Alençon, finding its citizens hastily deserting on approach. The booty gathered was substantial, while those inhabitants who failed to flee were herded together, primarily old men, women and young children.

Gudfrid stroked one side of his long moustache and turned away from the wagons to the Frankish thrall standing a few paces behind. "Your Count Renaud is blessed by your God to be off somewhere fighting a war with his King Charles. If he was here, he and his men would be feeding the worms, though it saddens me he relied on the feeble to protect his lands." The woman's screams persisted, and Gudfrid snapped, "Silence her. That shrieking irritates me." The sound turned to a wet gurgle. Gudfrid continued, "I had planned to return home after this raid, but with resistance so light, I think I will stay. Tell me, what lies east of us?"

The Frank stared sullenly at the ground.

Gudfrid frowned. "Come now. I could beat it out of you. Or worse. I could give you to Uncle Ivar."

The thrall snapped his head up and dropped to his knees, his eyes moist and pleading. "Chartres, Master. To the east lies Chartres. And beyond, Paris."

Smiling, Gudfrid said, "There now. That wasn't so hard." Tugging on the rope, he led the Frank toward a wagon, avoiding the naked body of the dead woman. Idly he picked up a gold candlestick, turned it in his hand, then tossed it atop the growing mound of loot. "Once we return to our ships and deliver these presents, I'll let you take me to Chartres."




"There now. That wasn't so hard."
 
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DensleyBlair

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Not too hard at all. Wonderful to see some proper Viking stuff. Nothing like a good pillage ;)

Wonderfully written, as ever. That Frank was certainly wise to comply - the threat of Uncle Ivar is a potent one.
 

J. Passepartout

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I remember when I was a wee lad and first started learning more than stereotypes about Vikings, I was very impressed about them sailing upriver to Paris and wandering around in Russia and all. So I'm looking forward to these guys looting Paris and Chartres.
 

Revan86

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So what do the feeble followers of Hvitakristr fear even more than the fury of the Northmen? Well, now we know - it's the indifference of that dormant chthonic kraken-headed elder god that certain of those Northmen have started sacrificing people to!

Brilliant writing, Lord Durham - believe me, I'm taking stylistic notes for my next AAR. Please do keep it up!

EDIT: Seelmeister and Stuyvesant - many apologies about the mix-up! Serve me right for not reading the thread history carefully enough...
 
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Finally caught up with this AAR. Excellent work, Bruce; I love the way the "present" day (1932) and the "historical" sections play off each other. :)
 

SirkTheMonkey

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Good to see that Gudfrid exhorts to Odin like a proper Viking and not the alternative. I hope that the raiders end up sacking Paris but I have a sneaking suspicion that something will go wrong sooner or later, either being intercepted by Frankish forces or foul.
 

Stuyvesant

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It really drives home how unpleasant a business this pillaging is - quite apart from the basic 'steal everything that isn't tied down'.

Gudfrid's not very pleasant, but I can't deny he is clever and knows how to get things done. Threatening people with Ivar... nasty, but very effective. Even though Gudfrid probably doesn't approve of Ivar's dealings with the Old Ones, he's more than happy to use his uncle's reputation as a tool (wait, that didn't sound right. I meant that Gudfrid is more than happy to use his uncle's reputation as a means to achieve Gudfrid's own goals, even if he doesn't approve of Uncle Ivar).
 

Director

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You do a great job of walking the line between showing the awful violence and cruelty of the Viking raids without being too graphic. A neat trick, LD. Brings home why Europe was so terrified of the Vikings, and shows why they were so hard to fend off. Think of them as Mongols of the Sea, able to strike anywhere within twenty miles of a seashore or river bank with no warning...
 

Rensslaer

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