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Lord Durham

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Interlude


June 4, 1932 - Florence - Evening

Madelyn set the tome down and eyed her empty glass. Though feeling tipsy, she considered a refill, then decided against it when she noted Carlos' glazed eyes. Chuckling, she said, "I hope I don't look as drunk as you." When he didn't respond, she continued, "No mysterious hocus-pocus shenanigans in this passage, so relax a bit, will you? It was straight rape and pillage, courtesy of Halfdan's son Gudfrid. You know, Viking stuff. Anyway, he did good. Collecting gold, that is. Well, until the Franks drove him out." As Carlos remained silent, she chimed, "Are you still with me?"

The young man stirred, held up and inspected his near-empty glass. Downing the last of it he nodded. "Yes, Miss York."

"Still thinking about that Necronomicon I asked you about? Worried I might pose questions you don't want to answer?"

Carlos jerked his head slightly in the affirmative. "Yes, Miss York."

Smiling widely, she said, "Well, tough darts for you. Tell me. Tell me everything.

For an answer Carlos stood, collected the glasses and disappeared into the kitchen. "Would you like a coffee, ma'am?"

"Changing subjects won't save you." Carlos remained silent, save the noise of clattering glasses and cups. Madelyn considered his offer. "Very well, bring me a coffee. Obviously liquor won't loosen your tongue. Maybe I'll get something out of you with caffeine." She turned in her chair to make sure he hadn't snuck up on her, like earlier in the day. "You know, if you don't tell me where it is I'll just search it out myself. I'm resourceful that way."

The noise in the kitchen stopped, followed by a long pause. "I never confirmed he had a copy."

Madelyn laughed. "Sweet Jesus, Carlos. You became white as a ghost and downed half a bottle of scotch at the mere mention of it. If that's not a tell, I don't know what is."

Another long pause. "It's not here."

Madelyn clapped her hands like a giddy schoolgirl. "Now we're getting somewhere. So, pray tell, if the book is not here, then where is it?"

"I can't say."

"Can't, or won't?"

"Pick one, Miss York."

Madelyn slumped back in the chair and pouted. "Fine," she mumbled to herself. "If that's the way you want to play it." Raising her voice. "Okay, you win, for now." She passed a hand over the contents of the centuries old box. "I'll just go back to reading this."

From the kitchen Carlos' spoke with an unabashed sigh of relief. "Very wise, Miss York."

Frowning, she picked up the tome, turned the page and scanned the old writing. "It appears a lot happened while Gudfrid was away raiding in France."

Minutes later Carlos walked in carrying a tray, his footsteps a little uneven. "Is that so?" He leaned forward to set the tray on the coffee table, stood straight and swayed before throwing himself into his chair.

Madelyn chuckled. "Poor dear. Drunk as a skunk, and here I let you make coffee. Where are my manners?"

"The same place you keep your curiosity, Miss York."

"Ohh. A funny. I'll have to get you drunk more often. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. "With the brothers torn asunder, and seeing Ivar and Sigurd marcheth north, Halfdan, Ubbe and Bjorn did remain to siege the fortified town of Appleby..."
 
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Stuyvesant

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Smiling widely, she said, "Well, tough darts for you. Tell me. Tell me everything.
I believe the correct Internetese here would be: "I saw what you did there". ;)

Madelyn likes to torment poor Carlos (or is he? Poor, as in 'To be sympathized with'?), that much is clear. And her inquisitive streak hasn't been quenched yet. At least she has enough common sense to know when to lay off the booze. Maybe the common sense will eventually help her realize she's dealing with Things Man Was Never Meant To Know. Time will tell.

Carlos is still pretty hapless when it comes to dealing with Madelyn, but at least he's starting to show signs of getting a handle on her. His "same place you keep your curiosity" comment makes me hopeful that there might be a time where he won't betray every eldritch secret at Madelyn's slightest prod.
 

Revan86

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Great verbal bout between Madelyn and Carlos here - I appreciate that you keep Carlos suitably subdued and butlerly even when he's drunk. I also really enjoy how your writing can conjure an incredibly vivid, immersive image of the pair of them using only sparse descriptors and getting a lot of mileage out of your verbs.

And I'm guessing from the setup Madelyn made for us in the first paragraph that even the Secret History is quite shortly to take a turn for the macabre? You're building up quite the tension here in the interludes, so it goes without saying that I'm looking forward to more!
 
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DensleyBlair

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About the heading picture: wasn't the tower crane invented after 1932? A little Googling has it at '49 ;)

In any case, a wonderful verbal joust between the pair – it seems even half a bottle of Scotch can't subdue wit that sharp and ready. I'm also liking that Carlos is appearing to lose just a touch of his obsequiousness. Hopefully it'll prove just enough that he'll keep certain books from her reach.

I'm looking forward to seeing what awaits in Appleby very much. Great stuff, LD.
 

J. Passepartout

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Has Carlos taken the Necronomicon and hidden it away somewhere or burned it? Is Carlos secretly too far into the cult for comfort, and retains enough sense of self to try and prevent others from following him? I doubt it, but the thoughts occurred to me.
 

c0d5579

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Ah, Uncle Ivar. Why you ackin' all cray-cray?

I wonder, though... do the men in Ivar's service really need ships, save to haul the loot, or are they the original frog-men? The image of Ivar lurching from the deep, burbling and roaring as he breaches the surface on his scuttling tentacles, is a potent one.
 

Lord Durham

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I believe the correct Internetese here would be: "I saw what you did there". ;)

Madelyn likes to torment poor Carlos (or is he? Poor, as in 'To be sympathized with'?), that much is clear. And her inquisitive streak hasn't been quenched yet. At least she has enough common sense to know when to lay off the booze. Maybe the common sense will eventually help her realize she's dealing with Things Man Was Never Meant To Know. Time will tell.

Carlos is still pretty hapless when it comes to dealing with Madelyn, but at least he's starting to show signs of getting a handle on her. His "same place you keep your curiosity" comment makes me hopeful that there might be a time where he won't betray every eldritch secret at Madelyn's slightest prod.
Carlos doesn't quite know how to handle young Madelyn. He was used to talking about everything with her Uncle, knowing they were on the same page of the hymnbook, so to speak. So he's having a bit of a hard time deciding what he should and should not keep from her. In the process he has learned he's a terrible poker player, but he is learning. Kudos to you for picking out his character nuance after downing several glasses of scotch :)

Great verbal bout between Madelyn and Carlos here - I appreciate that you keep Carlos suitably subdued and butlerly even when he's drunk. I also really enjoy how your writing can conjure an incredibly vivid, immersive image of the pair of them using only sparse descriptors and getting a lot of mileage out of your verbs.

And I'm guessing from the setup Madelyn made for us in the first paragraph that even the Secret History is quite shortly to take a turn for the macabre? You're building up quite the tension here in the interludes, so it goes without saying that I'm looking forward to more!
Thanks very much for the praise. I have to credit a few tough editors over the years for their sage advice. On the surface Carlos comes across as a fairly simple man, but he's actually quite complex. With Madelyn he's in uncertain territory, and I think it shows in how she has so far manipulated him. I admit I find the interludes a lot of fun to write.

About the heading picture: wasn't the tower crane invented after 1932? A little Googling has it at '49 ;)

In any case, a wonderful verbal joust between the pair – it seems even half a bottle of Scotch can't subdue wit that sharp and ready. I'm also liking that Carlos is appearing to lose just a touch of his obsequiousness. Hopefully it'll prove just enough that he'll keep certain books from her reach.

I'm looking forward to seeing what awaits in Appleby very much. Great stuff, LD.
Crane? What crane? :). Thanks for pointing that out, you young whippersnapper! I hadn't even noticed. But then, I'm partially blind so I have an excuse. Anyway, I found a 1930 era photo. In all honesty, thanks. I'm glad you are enjoying the jousting. Madelyn is rough on poor Carlos, but it's in fun, and he's starting to fight back, albeit subtly. I'll probably cover Appleby briefly in the Secret History preamble. Just a note, any British town with a by appended was either settled, or in some cases, renamed by the Norse. In the case of Appleby, it's been suggested it was actually founded by them, though there's evidence of Iron Age and Roman occupation near by. The same applies to fortifications. The Norse are credited with starting the trend to fortify towns, which explains why I usually describe Saxon forts as having rudimentary earthworks and a ditch. In a lot of cases I have to work within the game, so Halfdan is besieging Appleby.

Shhh, don't point things like that or the Great Ones come and take you!
Yes! They are on their way. Hide if you can, youngun'...

Has Carlos taken the Necronomicon and hidden it away somewhere or burned it? Is Carlos secretly too far into the cult for comfort, and retains enough sense of self to try and prevent others from following him? I doubt it, but the thoughts occurred to me.
Without giving anything away... no :) But stay tuned... ;)

Ah, Uncle Ivar. Why you ackin' all cray-cray?

I wonder, though... do the men in Ivar's service really need ships, save to haul the loot, or are they the original frog-men? The image of Ivar lurching from the deep, burbling and roaring as he breaches the surface on his scuttling tentacles, is a potent one.
It is, but I don't see it happening here. Well maybe, maybe not. Crom, I don't know.
 

Rensslaer

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Just caught up again! Exciting stuff. Amazing that the Vikings could get that far inland, though it helps that there are navigable rivers all the way up to Paris. I don't actually doubt that that (could/did?) happened historically, but still impressive.

I don't see a crane. Maybe you swapped it out already.

Good stuff!

Rensslaer
 

DensleyBlair

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Just caught up again! Exciting stuff. Amazing that the Vikings could get that far inland, though it helps that there are navigable rivers all the way up to Paris. I don't actually doubt that that (could/did?) happened historically, but still impressive.

I don't see a crane. Maybe you swapped it out already.

Good stuff!

Rensslaer
They did. In fact, Bill the Bastard's ancestors were rather partial to a trip down the Seine ;)

I'd guess that the crane vanished at about 17:10 BST ;)
 

Castellon

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The father of AARland returns, really great to have a master of the art form return and show us how it is done.
Excellent read as always. Very enjoyable.
 

SirkTheMonkey

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Nice update. There's not much more else that I can say since everyone else has beaten me to it. I think I prefer the old picture better though.
 

Lord Durham

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Just caught up again! Exciting stuff. Amazing that the Vikings could get that far inland, though it helps that there are navigable rivers all the way up to Paris. I don't actually doubt that that (could/did?) happened historically, but still impressive.

I don't see a crane. Maybe you swapped it out already.

Good stuff!

Rensslaer
DB is right. Ragnar attacked Paris in 845 and was bought off with 7000lbs of silver and gold. The Vikings enjoyed it so much they attacked several more times in the 860s, and again in 885. Crane? What crane? :)

They did. In fact, Bill the Bastard's ancestors were rather partial to a trip down the Seine ;)

I'd guess that the crane vanished at about 17:10 BST ;)
Yes, the Vikings and their descendants had an on-going love affair with Paris. Crane? What crane?

Retcon for the win!!!
Retcon? Are you accusing me of something? Crane? What crane? ;)

The father of AARland returns, really great to have a master of the art form return and show us how it is done.
Excellent read as always. Very enjoyable.
Thanks for dropping around, Castellon, and thanks for the kind words, though I doubt I'm showing anyone how it's done. There's a lot of good writing here. "The Father of AARland". I kind of like that. Maybe I'll use it, hubris be damned :). Anyway, it sure beats Grandfather of AARland.

Nice update. There's not much more else that I can say since everyone else has beaten me to it. I think I prefer the old picture better though.
I appreciate you reading and the comment regardless. Feedback keeps me inspired to write this AAR. As for the picture, blame DB. In fact, I think we should all blame DB. Just 'cause...

Heh, this is like the Teutonic campaign in Age of Empires 2. "So, you want to hear the tale of Frederick Barbarossa? Better order another round then, or maybe three..."
I haven't played AoE2 in years. Should dig it out...


Thanks again. I hope to have an update ready for the weekend. Things have been kind of busy due to an emergency veterinarian visit for one of my dogs.
 

c0d5579

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My advice, blame all the anachronisms in pictures on a TARDIS with a broken disguise circuit. Instead of being stuck on police box, it's set to "wildly inaccurate."
 

aldriq

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If you get this tension between Madelyn and Carlos just by reading a few paragraphs and sipping some whisky... what'll happen when they actually leave the apartment? :eek:


EDIT: My 3000th post, which entitles me to ask... where in R'lyeh is the crane? ;)
 

Lord Durham

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My advice, blame all the anachronisms in pictures on a TARDIS with a broken disguise circuit. Instead of being stuck on police box, it's set to "wildly inaccurate."
Heh. Maybe I'll restore the original pic of Florence and add in a little blue police box :)

I am watching with bated breath. Let's see what the ravens get up to next.
Well, I finally got my post ready. Just have to add some graphics. I'm really enjoying An Unkindness of Ravens BTW.

If you get this tension between Madelyn and Carlos just by reading a few paragraphs and sipping some whisky... what'll happen when they actually leave the apartment? :eek:

EDIT: My 3000th post, which entitles me to ask... where in R'lyeh is the crane? ;)
The crane? Cthulhu works in mysterious ways. Just ask his minion, DensleyBlair :). The adventures of Madelyn and Carlos will continue, and they will leave the apartment. Remember, it's only evening of the first day.

This is great stuff LD, keep it coming :)
Thanks, Seelmeister. I hope to have the next update posted sometime tonight.
 
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