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stnylan

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The Thorn of the Rose
by stnylan


WritAAR's Note:
This is quite possibly a mistake, to undertake a new project in current times. I work in the IT Department for a local hospital, so the last six weeks have been rather busy, what with one thing and another right now. I don't want to go into that though, save to say it has has proven the catalyst to get off the ground an idea that has been bouncing around my head for a goodly while. Indeed, parts of this idea stretch back to the HoI2 days.

Getting this off the ground, laying some of the preparatory work, has been a real aid to me these last few weeks whilst work has been as busy as it has. I hope it proves diverting and entertaining. Please let me know of any typos that can get through though :D

In due course the rest of this post will get filled out with various notes and a Dramatis Personae etc. I hope to manage a posting schedule of once a week, sometimes twice perhaps.


Dramatis Personae

NB: Over time I intend to add hopefully useful notes to the names here, as an aide-memoire to any readers. In parenthese I will also list their first apperance according to my threadmark naming scheme. This may undergo some revision over time. Organised by storyline (ie, Albert, Martin etc.)

Dramatis Personae List - Current Timeline


Storytime

The Narrator (Prologue 1) who invites you to listen from a comfy chair

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six (Prologue 1) conspirators who all went to a meeting. Six left early.

An un-named woman (Chapter 1.6) had a drink



Martin

Martin (Prologue 3), primary character

Sir Henry Cannerby (Prologue 3) who made a choice not to join the Family

Caroline (Chapter 1.2) fellow servitor

The Master (Chapter 1.2) Lord Mithras as seen from below stairs

Robert Williams (mentioned Chapter 1.2, first seen Chapter 1.7) Informant, perhaps with a future.

Annie (Chapter 1.4) A member of Martin’s crew - the token woman?

Angus (Chapter 1.4) A member of Martin’s crew - the Scot

Paddy (Chapter 1.4) A member of Martin’s crew - the Irishman, the big one

Henry (Chapter 1.5) A member of Martin’s crew - the Englishman

Martin Williams (Chapter 1.7) Child of Robert Williams

Bartholomew (Chapter 1.9) Another servitor

Sir Arthur Halesworth (Chapter 1.9) High Sheriff of London

Lady Parr (Chapter 1.9) Sheriff

unknown (Chapter 1.9) subdued by the Sheriffs

Darius (Chapter 1.11, see Darius below)

unnamed Doctor (Chapter 1.11)



Albert

Albert (Prologue 4), primary character, Satrap of Lord Mithras, called a Lord himself by some, Sir Albert by others

Peggy (Prologue 4) sent to assist Lord Albert

Stuart (Prologue 4) also sent to assist Lord Albert

Ariadne (Prologue 4) servitor to Albert

Rupert (Prologue 4) servitor to Albert

Bartholemew Millies (Prologue 4) went mad, their prey

Darius (Chapter 1.1) a favoured scion

Lord Mithras (Chapter 1.1) who has appointed Albert Satrap

Dara (Chapter 1.3) manager of The King’s Water

Victor Melhuish (mentioned Chapter 1.3)

Sir Antony Barrow (Chapter 1.5) belongs to a notorious House

Lady Anne (Chapter 1.5) Seneschal to Lord Mithras

Henri Dupont (Chapter 1.8) Envoy to London

Silas Warrenson (Chapter 1.8) American servitor to one of Henri’s sect-members

Fagin (Chapter 1.10) Leader of some Lepers, purveyor of information

Fagin’s grand-childe (Chapter 1.10) Made a mistake of etiquette

Nora (mentioned Chapter 1.10) was punished for an infraction by Albert

Nathaniel (Chapter 1.12) new arrival in London

Annabelle (Chapter 1.12) an older vessel, for feeding

Jane (Chapter 1.12) a much younger vessel, for feeding



Eorhic

Eorhic (Prologue 5) a character

The old owner (Prologue 5) treated him badly

The new owner (Prologue 5) an unknown
 
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Prologue 1 - Storytime - A Beginning

stnylan

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Storytime - A Beginning

Welcome. Welcome welcome. Please, please be comfortable. That’s it, come this way. Oh, I do realise that you do not know why you are here, and that is perfectly understandable. No, no, it really does not matter. I know why you are here, and that fact should be of great comfort to you. Do not concern yourself, you are perfectly safe in my care. Please, please relax. All I ask you to do is to sit down, just here, in this nice chair. I chose it, especially for you. Settle yourself down, ease yourself into its comforting embrace. Is it not delightful to let go at the end of a busy, busy day?

Look, my other guests are here also, and all of you are now exactly where you need to be. You see, my friends, one needs an audience to tell a story. Not my story. Oh no, nothing so gauche. A story crafted especially for you. Is that not nice? You, my friends, are worth it. Now be still and listen.

I want you to think of a house. Not a grand house, yet neither a hovel. A middling house, unremarkable from the outside, presentable yet dull from within. You can see it, can you not? Yes, you can see it - I can tell. It is there, in your head, where it is and where it has always been. Watch the people arrive, and gather around a table. Let us listen.


“It is decided then?” One asks, “The Austrian must go?”

The others take a moment before responding. It is clear One does not expect an immediate reply.

“There will be consequences,” Two states, her voice flat and neutral. “They must be planned for.”

“Agreed,” says Three, its voice more a simple exhalation of breath than even a whisper.

“It is a dangerous path,” says Four, his voice precise, each word an exact and separate sound.

“Well, yes,” says Five, her voice bright and false, rising at the end of each phrase. “If you want to be safe this is not the right table. Besides, things were getting dull.”

“Even so,” One says, “there is no need to be needlessly risky. But with the actions we will need to take … it will not be subtle. And likely cannot be hidden.”

“What sound you cannot silence,” Three exhales, “you obscure in noise.” There is an echoing of a memory of a cough. “Wars ... are noisy.”

“They can be exceedingly noisy,” Four agrees in his precise tones. “Given our constraints shall we not make virtue of necessity? In most places a nudge or two would suffice.”
“Oh my dear,” Five exclaims, “It is unlike you to be so … forward. It does so remind me of you in your youth.”

Four smiles, and perhaps the twitching of his lips seems genuine.

“Between us here, and those we can direct, it should not be too difficult to create favourable circumstances, but it will be harder to guarantee conflict.” Two says.

“Oh, get the ball rolling, and the sparks will fly!” Five giggles. “Just you watch and see!”

“Even conflict suppressed can serve our goal,” says Three in an asphyxiating gasp.

“There is one realm where it is going to prove more difficult, where we will need to act circumspectly and indirectly,” One reminds his fellows.

“No,” Six says brusquely, and stands. “I will take care of matters there.” Six leaves, and you do not see where Six goes.

In the silence of Six’s departure the others glance at each other, and the image dissolves.

And there, the start of our story. Sorry, my mistake, A start of our story. Just the one. Enough for now. But I see that you are tired. No, no - there is no need to get up. You are tired, weary from a long day. Are you not? Yes you are. Why do you not rest? The chair is a good place. Rest awhile. Sit back. Relax. Sleep in a dreamless slumber.
 
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Ok, whoever that storyteller is, I do not trust them. :D
 
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Mysterious beginning... :)

I'm presuming 'the Austrian' is Hitler but just about everyone else is enigmatic. The (Barvaran) Illuminati? The Gnomes of Zürich? The Prieuré de Sion? The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? Or should I be thinking more celestial, diabolic or interstellar?
 
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Good to see this idea is off and running, my friend. Subscribed, of course. :)
 
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Ouch, I hear IT for hospitals is trying at the best of times. Best of cheer for a demanding job in demanding times.

And I'm with the others, I don't quite trust the narrator. Though I find I'm too tired to do anything about it. I'll just rest here a while longer...
 

stnylan

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Ok, whoever that storyteller is, I do not trust them. :D
I appreciate altruism is an unusual activity, but is it so unusual as to merit such suspicion? The storyteller looks after you, keeps you entertained. The storyteller is your friend.

Mysterious beginning... :)

I'm presuming 'the Austrian' is Hitler but just about everyone else is enigmatic. The (Barvaran) Illuminati? The Gnomes of Zürich? The Prieuré de Sion? The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? Or should I be thinking more celestial, diabolic or interstellar?
Well, you will forgive me if I keep my cards a little close to my chest at this point in time. Suffice to say certain aspects will be revealed sooner, other aspects ... later.

Hmm... a rather unique start. Will follow!
Thank you, and welcome

Good to see this idea is off and running, my friend. Subscribed, of course. :)
Indeed :)

Ouch, I hear IT for hospitals is trying at the best of times. Best of cheer for a demanding job in demanding times.

And I'm with the others, I don't quite trust the narrator. Though I find I'm too tired to do anything about it. I'll just rest here a while longer...
It has its ups and downs. Fortunately the hospital I work for has a rather foward-looking view of IT, unlike half the NHS. Though, let us be honest here, pretty much anyone in any form of technical/customer support quickly amasses a store of stories with similar themes running through them. What makes healthcare IT so "interesting" - in every sense of the word - is just how complex the IT ecosystem is. However my hospital also has a very good sense of community, and in this last weeks there has been a real coming together from the top to the bottom. So whilst tough, at times very tough, it is not "bad" if that makes sense?

Anyways, I think prudent skepticism of any narrator is wise - but then I love the historiography if anything more than the history, so ... :)

And yes, it is very comfy chair.



All

So I have a couple more introductory posts on the way, before I move onto what will be my regular posting schedule for this AAR. Currently thinking they will be up tomorrow and Wednesday or Thursday respectively.
 

El Pip

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I appreciate altruism is an unusual activity, but is it so unusual as to merit such suspicion? The storyteller looks after you, keeps you entertained. The storyteller is your friend.
Yep, absolutely do not trust the storyteller an inch. If someone who wont say their name insist they are your friend, the only sensible course of action is to smile politely while looking for the exits.

Also;
“Well, yes,” says Five, her voice bright and false, rising at the end of each phrase.
Australian Upward Inflection! Five is evil, I'm calling that right now. The rest of the cabal may have good intentions, be misguided or whatever, but Five is a villain.
 
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Australian Upward Inflection! Five is evil, I'm calling that right now. The rest of the cabal may have good intentions, be misguided or whatever, but Five is a villain.
Good call. One of our country’s less appealing idiosyncrasies - though fortunately it is far from universal (last said with a downward inflection ;) ).
 
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Australian Upward Inflection! Five is evil, I'm calling that right now. The rest of the cabal may have good intentions, be misguided or whatever, but Five is a villain.
I detect the hand, er, wing of the EMU!

Eagerly looking to see where this goes.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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An idea dating as far back as HoI2? Well, that has me interested.
 

stnylan

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Yep, absolutely do not trust the storyteller an inch. If someone who wont say their name insist they are your friend, the only sensible course of action is to smile politely while looking for the exits.
No need for any exists when you have a very comfy chair :)

Also;

Australian Upward Inflection! Five is evil, I'm calling that right now. The rest of the cabal may have good intentions, be misguided or whatever, but Five is a villain.
Good call. One of our country’s less appealing idiosyncrasies - though fortunately it is far from universal (last said with a downward inflection ;) ).
And far some only antipodean, from what I understand.

I detect the hand, er, wing of the EMU!

Eagerly looking to see where this goes.
Thank you

An idea dating as far back as HoI2? Well, that has me interested.
Oh some of the foundational concepts of this AAR have been banging around my head for ages. In fact I have several HoI2-era ideas that may or may never see the proper light of day. Another one is to use either historical data, or perhaps more amusingly something like Out of the Park, to have an AAR set in the States with the baseball seasons and off-season being a prominent feature. News reports of Di Maggio, Feller, Williams and what not in the majors - against the backdrop of whatever happens in the game. Probably mixing in some college football play as well, just so I could indulge both my US sport passions.

But that's not this AAR :)



All
Next post up now.
 
Prologue 2 - History - The Day had Dawned

stnylan

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History - The Day had Dawned

The day had dawned with such promise.

After all the wrenching events of the last few months, of battles and of war, and of the Death of Kings now at last there was peace. Peace, and a new King - and if a foreigner he had treated well with native men. And hardly the first time a foreigner had ruled these lands - the older folk could well remember others such. In truth one did not have to be that old. The truly old could remember another year, such as this, in their long-distant youths.

So the people of the city, and of the country thereabout, on the promise of peace and hope for the future had thronged the streets and the ways down to the Abbey to see the new King crowned, to celebrate this new King on Earth on the nativity of the King of Heaven. A celebration at the turning of the year, and even in these Christian times, of joy at the lengthening of the day.

The day had dawned with such hope.

But there was a great shout: a cacophonous cheering that struck terror into the hearts of the new king’s soldiers. Men who had stood and fought in clamour and fury of battle and had not turned tail now quivered in fear as before them this crowd seemed to transform into an angry, vengeful mob, hellbent on their extermination. The crowd cried exclamations of affirmation in their native tongue: a harsh, strange sound for the soldiers who only heard screams of retribution. Violent men, they reacted with bow, blade, and fire. And thus, the day that dawned lovely and bright, and full of good intentions ended; and the heavily setting sun dying in the west ensanguined the skies to match the flames from the buildings set alight - a pyre for of all the hopes that went before, and thus ended the remorseful day.

As the chronicler wrote the people, after hearing of the perpetration of such misdeeds, never again trusted the newcomers who had betrayed them, and anger entered their hearts and corrupted their spirits, and they bided their time to take their revenge.

In the midst of all this no one marked the two bodies, their broken forms in an alley just off the brook that ran down to the river from the city’s wall. They were discovered the next day, covered in the bitter ashes of the day before, and given a Christian burial. Some days later there was a heavy, chilling rain that washed away the last crimson of their presence. The water drained through a crack in the stone and clay, between building and foundation, to a forgotten chamber, and splashed its sanguinary libation atop of what once might have been called an altar.

The day had dawned with so much to offer, and now that day had made its final, fateful offering.
 
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Nikolai

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Huh. Back in time, are we? With bows and whatnot.
 

KaiserWilhelmI

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You've raised my interest! We will watch with great interest.
 

H.Appleby

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V A M P I R E S
 
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Le Jones

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Well @stnylan this is a beautifully written AAR. The prose washes over the reader and you are immersed in this well crafted world.

Intrigued...
 
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El Pip

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V A M P I R E S
Shadowy cabal, untrustworthy and over-polite narrator trapping you, blood on the altar being fateful. It does appear that way.

It would be fun if the Austrian was not Hitler but actually Engelbert Dollfuss, targetted because the Vampire Cabal are trying to stamp out Clerico-Fascism due to their terrible weakness to crucifixes. I fear it isn't, but it would at least be an unusual twist on things. ;)
 
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RossN

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Shadowy cabal, untrustworthy and over-polite narrator trapping you, blood on the altar being fateful. It does appear that way.

It would be fun if the Austrian was not Hitler but actually Engelbert Dollfuss, targetted because the Vampire Cabal are trying to stamp out Clerico-Fascism due to their terrible weakness to crucifixes. I fear it isn't, but it would at least be an unusual twist on things. ;)
Or perhaps even Otto von Habsburg?