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Lurken

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The books lies in the hands of the Inquisition, Lazarus-reborn is here once more, but he will not have access to the books, how will it plat out? And how did Sara stand against Borisz?
 

angryclown

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Great update. You've really got the atmosphere of the story spot-on.

A few techie questions: how did you get the screenshots to have that washed-out look? Photoshop? And what did you use for drawing the family trees?
 

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That Zila guy sounds familiar..
 

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Uh oh--and here I thought Zila was a decent enough fellow. Who would have thought that of two guys named Zila and Attila, Attila would turn out to be the nicer one? :p
 

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EDIT: nvm :rolleyes:
 

unmerged(7269)

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angryclown said:
Great update. You've really got the atmosphere of the story spot-on.

A few techie questions: how did you get the screenshots to have that washed-out look? Photoshop? And what did you use for drawing the family trees?
I use Corel Photo-Paint, which is a Photoshop competitor. I could have done them in Photoshop too, but I personally find Photo-Paint a bit easier to use. (My wife prefers Photoshop, though; it's all a matter of what you're used to.) The maps are a fairly complex process - I actually take two screenshots, one of the political map and one of the terrain map, and merge them together. I then use a color filter to wash it out a bit and make it look more "aged". Finally I add the text with drop shadows. (And if you think it's easy to find the Latin spelling for "Pereyaslavl", think again. :D) The family trees are much simpler - they're just text and lines.

And for the record, I altered the ages of the starting characters a bit to make them more reasonable. If you believe the 1066 scenario, Jolán had her first child at the age of 10. I also took the liberty of giving Jolán a last name.

Morpheus506 said:
Uh oh--and here I thought Zila was a decent enough fellow. Who would have thought that of two guys named Zila and Attila, Attila would turn out to be the nicer one? :p
Let that be a lesson to you - be very careful what you name your kids. ;)
 
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J. Passepartout

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I have lost any and all respect I once had for Zila. He was wrong when he suspected Lázárus, and he is wrong now, and it would be very nice if he would realise that.
 

binTravkin

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it would be very nice if he would realise that
I think he's not wrong. There's something else..;)
 

coz1

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Zila has been taken in by the Bishop's idiocy. Shame that. But an intense scene.

And angryclown - MacRaith did an excellent series of AARticles for the Gazette back in 2004 that cover a great deal about screenies and what you can do with them. Take a look in the Gazette Index to find them.
 
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unmerged(7269)

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8
Gyulyafehér, Hungary
Feast of Saint John of Nicomedia, 1078 AD


"Gone!" the inquisitor shouted, his face flushed with rage. "Stolen, from under our very noses!"

"Forgive me for being obtuse," Count Máté said calmly, "but what, exactly, is the value of these books?"

"They are tomes of the foulest dark sorcery," Dezsõfi declared. "Any witch who reads them will gain tremendous power to do the Devil's work. They cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands!"

"Then why were they not destroyed at once?" Máté asked.

"For one thing, they were evidence against Sara Cornelius," Bishop Imre said sadly.

"Don't you still have enough evidence to try her?" the count asked.

"Oh yes," the bishop said. "She's made a full confession, and has implicated four other people in her crimes."

"All of whom are years dead," Zila observed. "How honest do you think she was with us?"

"We must find those books!" Dezsõfi thundered, pounding his fist on the table.

Máté shook his head sadly. "I'll do what I can," he said. "I'm sure we'll be able to track them down."

"No," Zila said, "You won't."

Everyone turned to look at him, so he continued, "It's obvious what has happened here. Sara herself has cast a spell and transported them to some hidden spot. Question Sara, and you'll find them."

The inquisitor nodded. "I order it so. Inform Borisz. Tell him to spare nothing, and to keep at it until he finds out what she has done with them. If she has an accomplice, I want the name."

inquisition-2a.jpg

Gyulyafehér, Hungary
Feast of Saint Calixtus, 1078 AD


Sara's piercing screams echoed through the dark night once again. Anna closed her eyes and prayed, hoping that it would stop soon. For weeks, she had heard the poor woman's cries as that damnable torturer went about his foul business. She didn't know how much more of it she could take.

Anna hadn't slept soundly for a single night since the inquisition had begun. It was bad enough that her husband was one of the ringleaders of the whole business. She had tried to voice her misgivings to him, but Zila had flown into a rage when she questioned him. He had never let go of his grief for their poor lost son, and was determined to have his revenge. Nothing – not the truth, not common human decency, not even God Himself – would get in Zila's way.

What was worse, far worse, was the way the trial had split the entire county. Half the village seemed to be eager to see the poor woman burned, while the other half bowed their heads and prayed to God for mercy every time Borisz went to work. It was worse, Anna believed, than the Pecheneg war had been. All the Pechenegs had cost them were the lives of their young men and a year's harvest. This inquisition threatened to rip out the very soul of Fehér.

Sara let out an especially anguished scream, and Anna shuddered, wishing it would just end. It seemed that God was listening, because the scream stopped with ominous finality. There was only silence after that.

Anna leapt to her feet and ran out of the house towards the jail. Half of the village was already there, it seemed; everyone wanted to know what had just happened. Anna pushed her way to the front of the crowd, and walked into the darkness of the jailhouse.

Zila, the bishop, and the inquisitor were standing outside of Sara's cell, conferring quietly among themselves. Borisz was inside of the cell, holding an iron rod that still glowed a faint dim red and looking sheepish. Sara – no, Sara's body – lay... But no, Anna didn't want to think about that.

"Did she say anything before the end?" Bishop Imre asked.

Borisz shook his head and stared at the floor. "No, Lord Bishop, I'm sorry. She never did break. Or recant. She certainly didn't say anything about the books."

"Damn you, Borisz, how could you be so incompetent?" Monsignor Dezsõfi snarled. "Those books were the most important thing about this whole business! With them lost, we've lost everything!"

"I'm sorry," Borisz said in an incongruously small voice. "She just... died. She's stood worse. I didn't think..."

Zila shook his head sadly. "It's over, then. For the time being, at least. If the old woman was in league with any other witches, we'll just have to wait for them to reveal themselves so we can track them down."

Dezsõfi sighed. "Very well. Borisz, pack up; we'll leave in the morning. Imre, I'll leave the rest to you. Burn the body in public and scatter the ashes in the river. Leave nothing behind. If you find anything else, we can return to finish the job."

The men turned to go, but Anna remained where she was, staring at the dead woman's face. Her features were mutilated beyond recognition. The kind, soft-spoken woman whom Anna had known for years was entirely gone.

That night, and for many nights thereafter, Anna dreamed she was in the cell, and a man dressed all in black was there with her. The man stared at her, and laughed at her as she trembled in fear. He held a red-hot poker, and his eyes glowed with fire; but the face was Zila's.

Gyulyafehér, Hungary
Eve of the Feast of All Saints, 1078 AD


"It's gotten worse," Zila said, sounding defeated. "This morning I had to bind her to a chair to keep her from tearing at her face with her fingernails. I don't know what else to do."

"Drink this," his father said. Attila wasn't sure what his father was giving Zila; he was hiding in his cellar listening-post again, where he could overhear everything that went on in the count's office. He wanted to find out what was wrong with Anna, because he hoped he could make it better.

"It's the red-eyed man again," Zila said after a long pause. "That damned old bogeyman has come back to haunt us again."

Máté snorted in derision. "You don't actually believe..."

"Who knows?" Zila said before his father could complete his sentence. "It's real enough to her. Whether this is just some mad vision, or the work of a witch out for revenge, or the Devil himself doing this as a punishment, I don't know. I just don't know any more."

Attila heard his father's fingers tapping on his desk, an old nervous habit of his. "You've spoken with the bishop, of course?"

"Yesterday," Zila answered. "He says this could be possession, but he has to investigate further. He'll try an exorcism on her if it's warranted, but..."

Then Anna started screaming again, and Attila heard both men rise hastily to their feet and hurry out the door. Anna was shouting something about a knife, and fire. Her descriptions of her mad hallucinations could be quite graphic at times.

Attila sighed, and settled down on his knees. Then he pushed aside a loose stone in the cellar wall, and reached into a hollow behind it. He pulled out a large, leather-wrapped bundle, and began unwrapping it.

He arranged the books in front of him, and held his candle close so that he could read the covers. For most of them, even that was no help; they were in strange, indecipherable alphabets. Three of them were in Greek letters, but only one of them was in actual Greek, and even that was a strange, ancient-sounding Greek, not the kind that Attila had learned from his father. It was closer to the low Greek that some of the Macedonian traders used. It was hard to make sense of it, but from what Attila could decipher, there were some powerful spells in the books. Perhaps one of them could help Anna.

Attila wished he could read the other books, and hoped he could find somebody who could teach him the languages in them. He had to be careful about who he asked, though, since the inquisitors had killed Sara because of these very books. But he was determined to understand them, and master their secrets. Somewhere in them, he was sure, was the way to defeat the man with red eyes, and he had sworn to do whatever he could to stop that old demon. Enough lives had been lost to it already. Attila wasn't going to stand by idly and let it take anyone else from him.


feher-6c.jpg
 
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cthulhu

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MacRaith said:
Only one systematic archaeological dig has been conducted at the site, by Dr. Howard Carter of Miskatonic University in 1929

When I read this, I just knew I'd like this AAR. :D

If Attila doesn't get himself convicted for witchcraft or killed while experimenting with the spells in the tomes, he'll be quite the sorcerer by the time he's twenty years old.

Great story, MacRaith! :)
 

J. Passepartout

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Attila is tricky enough that I think (and hope) he will survive. I wonder what his reaction will be when Lázárus shows up again, if he will cooperate or not.
 
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Atilla the Great Sorcerer. Don't think Zila will be too thrilled by this though. Great update.
 

angryclown

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Great update

"Klatu, Verata, umghfhlmmm..." :)
 

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cthulhu said:
When I read this, I just knew I'd like this AAR. :D

If Attila doesn't get himself convicted for witchcraft or killed while experimenting with the spells in the tomes, he'll be quite the sorcerer by the time he's twenty years old.

Great story, MacRaith! :)
Didn't you know that "Iä! Iä! Shub-Niggurath!" was Pecheneg for "Hi, Mom!"? :D This is what happens when you read the entire Lovecraft library when you're sixteen, and then move on to some of his disciples (Robert Bloch is the best of them, in my opinion. And Derleth is the worst.) Maybe I'll work some Deep Ones into the story; the Black Sea is conveniently close, and "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is by far the best of HPL's stories. (Zila might even turn into a fish-man... Nah, too obvious.)

J. Passepartout said:
Attila is tricky enough that I think (and hope) he will survive. I wonder what his reaction will be when Lázárus shows up again, if he will cooperate or not.
I hope to deal with this in the next chapter. Hopefully I'll get that written tonight or tomorrow.

prussiablue said:
Atilla the Great Sorcerer. Don't think Zila will be too thrilled by this though. Great update.
Another thing I hope to deal with in the next couple of chapters. ;)

angryclown said:
"Klatu, Verata, umghfhlmmm..."
That's Pecheneg for "I have a stomach ache"... :p


Thanks again for reading!
 
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Veldmaarschalk

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I have garlic and a wooden cross nearby, when I read this AAR :)
 

coz1

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Nice, MacRaith. Or I guess I should say, not so nice for Sara. Poor woman suffered too much for their stupidity. That Bishop will never learn, it seems. And, I hope Attila is careful with those books until he can find someone prepared to use them properly.
 

J. Passepartout

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I remember reading what I believe was one of Bloch's stories when I was a kid. I didn't really understand it, due to my age. It was about this guy who is living with his relatives, who eventually disappear, and he keeps seeing this large black tree-like thing.
 

unmerged(40258)

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Wow, just caught up with this awesome AAR.

i cant wait to go back home, so i can go to Alba Iulia and look for this Tower of Fear.

Great writing, made me turn the lights on when i read the scene where the Red-eyed man meets Sugarka.

and there is something Decebal said:

"If I had let you Romans take care of it, He would have been free within a decade, and It wouldn't have been far behind."

IT?

:eek: