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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Yes I have seen the future and it looks bright. What kind a of AAR will this be another comedy, a narritive, history book?
 

Qorten

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Will the great phargle create a new masterpiece? Will he set the standard for AAR-writing in the EU3-forums even higher? Will he dethrone canonized's epic Timelines?

This and more soon on Paradox Interactive! Stay tuned!

;)
 

EnragedKiwi

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I'm debating whether the object in the image is a half eaten apple, or some kind of one eyed shrimp...
 

phargle

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John.



John
"To him, a world surpassing all he owns
A gift most kingly from the king of kings
For all the songs his soul no longer sings
And emptied of the hundred thousand thrones"
( click for music )


John Cadbury rubbed a thumb against the yew bow in his hand. Some soil had become attached to the wood, and it was caked on enough that it wouldn't yield to pressure or spit. He scraped it away with the ragged edge of a fingernail, and then used his teeth to get the dirt out from under the nail. The ends of his fingers tasted foul, and he made a face before glancing around to see if anybody noticed his nervousness. A look about him reassured him that he wasn't the only one. Thomas Cheverall, a stout man John had known since they were both boys, seemed to be staring right through the thick forest that was keeping them hidden. Thomas was chewing his own nails, biting off the ends and spitting them out. Hundreds of other men kept low and quiet in the woods, and there was a stench like sweaty wool that seemed to lodge in John's throat. His hand repeatedly felt for the cross he wore on a cord around his neck. He was not a coward, but he was afraid. He wondered if Thomas was afraid too.

"I an't clean," he whispered hoarsely.

"No," Thomas agreed.

"It an't proper dying and being like this."

"No."

"Are you clean?"

"No."

A few of John's neighbors gave him dark stares, and he stopped talking. The sound of ragged breathing and murmured prayer competed in his ears with the distant noise of the men-at-arms in the clearing. John couldn't see them, and his imagination worked hard conjuring up terrifying images of English defeat. When the killing started, those men closest to King Henry would almost certainly be the first to die. Ghastly scenes of lances pulverizing bones filled John's head and he found himself gasping out loud. A filthy fellow hiding behind a nearby tree hissed at him to be quiet, and John looked away like a scolded dog. He tried to think of something else. The more he tried to not think about dying, the more the thought dominated his mind.

"I'm scared," he said to nobody. "Thomas, you scared?"

"I am."

"I'm scared," John said. "What do you see? Can you see?"

"I can."

"What is it? They're here? Is there many?"

"They're coming," Thomas replied.


John shuddered and moved a hand uselessly from a tree to his face and back again. A few people scowled and tried to hush him. An angry stare from Thomas silenced the criticism.

Turning his empty gaze away from the scowlers and looking at John, Thomas blinked for a moment to focus his eyes. Big and brown like a deer's, they nestled above bearded cheeks in a way that should have made him look cheerful, and probably did once upon a time. War and disease had drained the fat from his face and given him a gaunt look that did nothing to fend off the panic overtaking John. Thomas seemed to try to give a comforting smile, which only revealed badly-damaged teeth, so he quickly closed his mouth. John laughed nervously, and that formed creases on his face and made the filth stand out even more.

"You really aren't clean," Thomas agreed mildly. He leaned over and wiped a large finger across John's forehead. John started to protest, but Thomas ignored him and tossed him a skin of water. John caught it and stared at his friend. "Well?" asked Thomas.

John shook his head. "It's all you got."

Thomas looked away. "I don't expect I'll be thirsty in the morning," he chuckled to himself. Then louder, "It's okay, John. Just don't get too clean, or some French noble will see your fair locks and fancy you a woman." He grinned back at his friend.

"I an't a woman," John said, but he couldn't put any anger into the words. The big man's kindness had broken through his dark mood. Wetting his hands with the water, he scrubbed at his face as best as he could. Clean enough to meet Jesus Christ if it came to that, he eventually decided, and wiped his hands dry on his coarse tunic. Then he had a thought. "Seen Walter?"

"Hm."

"Cook. Where's Cook? I an't seen Cook since morning."

"Your cousin is nearer the edge of the woods," Thomas rumbled, and he gestured without looking. John squinted and his mouth hung open in a way that made it evident that he couldn't see what Thomas was pointing at.

"That an't Cook," John finally complained. "I don't know who that is. I can't see no Walter out there, and-"

John stopped talking as Walter approached. "Are you two fine sons of England looking in vain for the stealthy Walter Cook?" asked the ragged, cheerful man in a mock whisper. Gangly and thin, Walter grinned readily, and his bright eyes seemed to be complemented rather than marred by the muck on his face. He spread his arms out wide as if to give Thomas a bear hug, but gave him a smirk and a wink instead when the large man held up an interposing hand. He marched right past John and peered into the woods. "What are you looking at?" he asked with apparent sincerity.

Uncertainly, John frowned, "Nothing."

"Why's he surly?" Walter asked Thomas, but Thomas seemed to be listening for something and irritably waved him away. Shrugging, Walter turned back to John. "It was me that just scouted those woods," he whispered. "They're clear, son."

John bristled. He wasn't sure whether he was angry because he was being called son by a man half his age, or because he was sure he saw someone in the woods. "I don't know who that is," he repeated angrily. Then, "You oughtn't be so glib with us all dying today."

"I'm not dying today," Walter stated matter-of-factly.

"Down!" Thomas growled in a sudden shout, and a thousand arrows fell from the sky.

* * *​
 
Last edited:

Enewald

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Hundred years war, angls vs french nobles thinking clean brits are free whores? :D
 

Lord Durham

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phargle said:
Thomas blinked for a moment to focus his eyes. Big and brown like a deer's, they nestled above bearded cheeks in a way that should have made him look cheerful, and probably did once upon a time. War and disease had drained the fat from his face and given him a gaunt look that did nothing to fend off the panic overtaking John.
Nice description. I like the tense interplay between the characters culminating with the cliffhanger in the last line.
 

coz1

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This is good stuff, phargle. Nice dialogue and feel for the language. As LD said, there is a tenseness in the prose. Something big is about to happen, it seems. Keep it up!
 

phargle

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Howdy, folks. This is my new AAR. It's different from the last few I've done, and I hope y'all like it. It's nice to see new faces that I don't recognize from my previous efforts, and I hope you are all soon joined by old fans. :)

Nethros, thanks for the wildly excited welcome. I will sign any part of you fit for public consumption.

applerunner, a narrative. I know comedy is how I'm seen, and hope this is well received nonetheless. I want that future to remain bright!

Qorten, my opposition to the vile villain canonized is reserved for sweeps week. . . in any case, my writing is not particularly terrific yet, and I don't presume to dethrone anyone other than myself! The thumbs up are appreciated. :)

EnragedKiwi, the object is a girl sitting crosslegged and naked, with an arm extended and a hand held slightly limp. I love your name, but that is because I love all New Zealanders as a matter of principle.

Enewald, you pegged it almost exactly. Think you can get it more specific? :)

Lord Durham, thanks for the cited paragraph. I dug it, and was pretty pleased with being able to segue from the description to the impact in a way that was fairly seamless. Thanks for saying nice things about the dialogue as well. It's something I struggle with.

coz1, thank you, sir! Tenseness (and sparseness) is my thing. I don't like wasted words, and am prone to brevity when I write. My hope is that my instincts aren't short-changing the story.

Thank you, everybody. Now for the next update!
 
Last edited:

canonized

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Ahh the phargster tries his hand at narrative . Good luck to you , sir XD .

So first chapter . Dirty is all I have to say ! It was a good way of placing us in that same soldier position ; the spartan nature of war and the existential concepts of being lost (such as searching for Cook) and about the absurdity of bourgois life (such as with the cleanliness) really roared out of this one .
 

phargle

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The Destroyer.



The Destroyer
"I hope they cannot see
The limitless potential
Living inside of me
To murder everything
I hope they cannot see
I am the Great Destroyer"
( click for music )


The destroyer stood apart from the French line, and the soldiers that passed by moved around him like wind whipping around the eye of a storm. With his arms held out to his sides and his palms facing forward, he walked with eyes closed through the encampment, a figure of light in a dark sea of heavy filth. Beneath a hood was a crown of locks that enfolded his shining face like a aura made of gold, and a blue rich with the color of tired blood came forth when he opened his eyes. He smiled the contented smile of the unaccountably evil; a youthful, closed-lipped smile borne of unrighteous bliss, behind which white teeth grinned savagely.

Men were gathering nearby to set up pales, the business of which was made easier by the muddy ground. It was dirty work in the pre-dawn hours, and the men went about it diligently but with griping about the necessity of their task. The arrival of a French duke insisting that the men return to the rearguard send the entire affair into disorder. The soldiers seemed more than willing to do as the duke commanded, but a knight countermanded the duke's order. The two fell to arguing and the soldiers rested on their shovels and did nothing. The destroyer saw all this and approached, and was ignored as he listened in on the conversation. The knight spoke first, his exasperation barely concealed.

"My Lord Duke, with respect to your proposed plan, prudence suggests a more cautious approach."

"Yes, yes, Constable, but my plan is more prudent," the duke replied, youthful exuberance animating him. He pointed a finger sharply to the south, indicating the English. "They," he continued, "are planting all of their men-at-arms in the middle even as we speak. The terrain itself will be a list for our mounted knights!"

"Agreed," the knight offered reluctantly. He appeared to be contemplating the point, and the slow cadence of his response combined with the deep gravel of his voice in a way that seemed to grind down the duke's argument. "The approach is not as favorable for a charge, while the openness makes us vulnerable to a volley of arrows."

"Your plan would send a commoner levy to do the job ordained to us by God," the duke quickly countered. "In his wisdom, God has given us an opportunity to reclaim our honor. What sort of men would it make us to stand back and watch archers do our work for us?"

"Living men," the knight condescended. That send the duke into a rage, and he shouted cursed at the knight's face for the better part of a minute.

The destroyer looked upon the two men and saw that the first was Charles, Duke of Orleans, while the knight was Charles d'Albret, the Constable of France. He analyzed them both. In the constable, he saw authority and ability, but he also saw that the man lacked the conviction to stand his ground for long against a nobleman so much his senior, even a youth the likes of Charles of Orleans. He envisioned disagreeing with the knight, and saw the battle turn on a disastrous mounted charge against the English line. He envisioned discrediting the knight, and saw the debacle worsened by a rearguard slaughter. Turning his thoughts to the duke, he measured the boy's pride and found an angle. Intervening, he stepped into the conversation and faced the boy. When he spoke, the light melody of his voice was nearly musical.

"A determined barrage from both crossbowmen and archers," the destroyer suggested. "The glory and honor will go to he who suggests it."


Charles blinked and nodded slowly. Speaking to the constable, Charles affirmed what the destroyer had said. "Well then, I say no half measures. If we are to send in the archers, let us send in all the archers and all the crossbowmen in reserve. The English will be crushed for a generation."

The constable looked aside, shaking his head uncertainly at the proposal. "It is too much," he said slowly. "I'd like to have a reserve, just in case-"

"Damn it all, constable," swore the duke. "What is too much? If you fear defeat, let it be England's double measure of defeat instead!"

"I don't fear defeat, my Lord Duke. I merely remind you of the cost of the plan, and counsel caution."

"We shall take our cost from their ransoms, and all the troubadours need remember is the brave charge of our cavalry as we ride upon King Henry and what remains after our archers have their fill of killing! Keep the men-at-arms as a reserve. You shall have your caution and I shall have my glory."

The destroyer moved on.

Advancing into Tramecourt, he shut his eyes gently and stepped through the wooded underbrush. The air was crisp and still, with the sharp chill of the morning dew being disturbed only by the occasional warm breath coming from nearby men. He could feel the sun rising in the east, its rays beginning to cascade through the barest slits afforded by the closely-packed trees. The warmth tickled the mist and kicked up eddies, carrying some of the forest floor in lazy dances into the air. Concentrating to ignore the new sensation, the destroyer sunk his focus into the existing ones. Several men-at-arms were concealed far to the north, well out of line of sight from the English lines. The were moving through the woods of Tramecourt. Nearer and to the south, one man stepping lightly across the blanket of Autumn leaves. The breathing was soft, softer than the footfalls. A scout, perhaps? The destroyer opened his eyes and walked toward him. Not before long, he saw the English scout, a ragged and assured youth not a hundred yards from the main line. He approached and stared closely into the youth's eyes. They were focused on a point far in the distance, near the French lines; near, but not at, the destroyed concluded.

"Go to your friends, Walter," he whispered. The man gave the distance one last appraising look, and, grinning with confidence that he had outsmarted any would-be flankers, crept away. The destroyer watched as the youth departed. He could see the hidden English archers from here. They were close. And they were afraid.

With a smile, the destroyer held his arms out to his sides. He closed his eyes and waited. He did not have to wait long. The barrage of arrows and bolts fell from the sky like a vast hand bringing death; they moved around the destroyer like wind whipping around the eye of a storm.

* * *​
 
Last edited:

Storey

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phargle said:
"I'm not dying today," Walter stated matter-of-factly.
Which is usually said just about the exact time someone dies. :D Good start phargle. :cool:

Joe
 

Pwn*Star

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Do you like Nine Inch Nails much? ;)

I like your choice of background music, as Trent's instrumentals are some of his finest work. It's not that i dont like his vocals, but most of his texts are quite silly. And afterall, what he does best is producing these wonderfully detailed pieces of sound, with multiple layers of effects. Awesome.
 

EnragedKiwi

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phargle said:
EnragedKiwi, the object is a girl sitting crosslegged and naked, with an arm extended and a hand held slightly limp. I love your name, but that is because I love all New Zealanders as a matter of principle.
Hmm... I think I see her outline but the shadows are sort of funny.
Also, I love how the two chapters are happening at the same time. The Destroyer seemed sort of angelic as apposed to evil as you mentioned, but maybe that's just how I read it...

I'm not actually from New Zealand, but I get that a lot. I made this name up ten years ago when I was pretty young and didn't know that New Zealander's were called Kiwis. But there are plenty of other kiwis that may become enraged!!

Like this:


Or this:

:p
 

Throne

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Hurray! An AAR with my name in it!
 

phargle

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Apr 14, 2005
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And there its. I am pretty pleased with it.

canonized, maybe I got dirt on my mind with the mechanic stuff I'm up to, but it felt conveyable. I stayed clear of more stinky dirt conveyance because I figuerd that'd be distracting. Oh, and it's not my first narrative, but not many people remember or read Solomon.

Storey, yeah, the killing begins right after Walter speaks up. :)

Pwn*Star, your name intrigues and delights me. I do like NIN, and it's currently all my iPod at work has on it. A lot of it struck me as useful background music for the story, so it's the theme I'll be running with until I run out, I suspect.

EnragedKiwi, I like you even though you are not really a kiwi.

Throne, welcome aboard, matey. Your name will feature prominently for some time to come.

Thank you for reading & commenting!