• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Throne

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How are you a filthy communist?
Not everyone chooses to be Commie, some are just born that way. They can't help it.
 

canonized

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RGB: ROFL . Let's not forget the mechas , eh ?

ColossusCrusher: Answer is in the interview XD

comagoosie: Ahh , instead of nuclear radiation , we'll get some Keys radiation to make Godzilla XD Remember when Raul put the broken Key piece next to the piece of paper ? XD Burnt right through !

Throne: How hilariously appropriate for our wonderful RGB XD
 

unmerged(59077)

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canonized said:
Throne: How hilariously appropriate for our wonderful RGB XD
Yep. Born Red. Heart beating to the left and bleeding red. Common human condition.
 

canonized

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RGB said:
Yep. Born Red. Heart beating to the left and bleeding red. Common human condition.
ROFL nice . Update coming tomorrow XD
 

ForzaA

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canonized said:
ColossusCrusher: Answer is in the interview XD
Doesn't make sense though...

if you don't like red, you're a commie? :confused: :eek:o
 

Throne

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Doesn't make sense though...

if you don't like red, you're a commie?
Well, according to RGB's post, we're all commies. :)
 

unmerged(59077)

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Throne said:
Well, according to RGB's post, we're all commies. :)
Either that or beetroots.
 

comagoosie

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comagoosie: Ahh , instead of nuclear radiation , we'll get some Keys radiation to make Godzilla XD Remember when Raul put the broken Key piece next to the piece of paper ? XD Burnt right through !
and you got that from my post :D I am proud!!

3000th post :eek: I beat you :D
Either that or beetroots.
where did you find the similarities between communists and beetroots? :D
 

canonized

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ForzaA: ROFL , ask Kaixxor not me XD

Throne: Communism: It's a party XD

RGB: o_O you'll have to explain that to me

comagoosie: Haha I recall !

UPDATE IS NOW !
 

canonized

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Chapter C: Hoarders and Wasters​

6 April 1610

“I’ve already eaten,” Abdullah whispered to his companion.

“Speaking such half truths will only make your masters angry, Abdullah,” Zeren replied while carefully shoving half of the halfway rancid bread to the older friend, “don’t make both me and Allah angry at you… even for well intentioned deception,” the younger one chuckled.

Abdullah reluctantly took his portion of the food before slinking down beside Zeren. The dimness of the night allowed him to ignore that some parts of the bread was beginning to show signs of degradation. Nonetheless, he ripped away the more offensive particulars before chewing at the minor meal. Their silence and heavy dress had been altered to match their new surroundings—something that Abdullah was particularly adept at procuring. It was something necessary now that they were in the lands of the enemy—the Spanish controlled Macaristan.

It was usually Zeren who was in charge of acquiring foodstuffs, but even Abdullah had to lend a hand in this department—there was just too little food to go around, it seemed. The town was host to a Spanish garrison. Although they were mostly Austrians and resident Hungarians that filled the tercios’ ranks, it was the officers that spoke Castillian.

In that narrow alley which the two found as their niche for the evening, there were only two light sources: the moon and the windows of the castle upon the hilltop. It was there that late into the night, the revelers of the local count were enjoying their succulent meats and fresh fruits. The rest of the town was starving. Even while having to house the soldiers, the count and his court continued to purchase most of the food and buying more and more clothes that they seemed to be fettered with them as they walked the streets and half choking underneath the embroidering and fluff.

The merchants had been just as bad, Abdullah recalled. Perhaps sensing what the wealthier aristocrats had been doing, the merchants started to hoard their profits as well. Instead of passing it on to purchase food from the farmers, they bought cheaply and kept stores of gold for themselves hoping to ride out the change in fortune for the city. Abdullah had been tempted to steal some of the pouches of gold that each of the merchants kept around themselves like the jewels of a tiara around their stomach, but each guarded their loot so well that all seemed to sag under the heavy weight of their idle gold.

“The farmer did not seem to care who we were,” Zeren said absently. “He was just happy that he could sell something to me. He apologized that it was beginning to rot, but apparently the local merchants refused to buy more than what was needed and left the rest to decay.”

Abdullah chewed his food in silence. His ears could hear both the emptiness of the town streets and the faint reveling of the castle—the minstrels and the drunken debauchery were taunting the town with their lyrical noises. “We are slowly catching up with her, at least,” Abdullah explained optimistically, “Apparently, Leyla has been doing good deeds here before she moved on; she spent a whole day ‘donating’ to the poor.” It was here that Abdullah chuckled a little: he did not bother to say that the gold was from the misers and spendthrifts of the area.

“She has a conviction to her… it’s virtuous,” Zeren mused allowing himself a wrinkle of a smile. “I’m sure the men of the town thought she was some kind of perfidious thief.”

“At least the farmers and the families here understood,” he explained before quoting, “‘الضرورة تبيح المحرمات’,” in Arabic and then translating it into Turkish: “‘Necessity permits what is forbidden’; and in this time of war, necessity is sometimes the only thing we have.”

---​

Formerly Colonel Hidalgo inspected the rear of the Spanish lines upon his horse while the whistle of cannons exchanged ordnance on either side of the river in front of him. It had already been nearly a month since General Schenkhuizen had left to attend to matters in Madrid and had put him and Lieutenant Benitez in charge of Alexandria. “Hold the city until I return,” were General Schenkhuizen’s only instructions. The General gave Hidalgo a field commission over the other colonels for now and assigned Benitez to his staff for the time being.

General Hidalgo, along with many of his peers, was a veteran of the various campaigns in central Europe against Protestant insurrections and into England as well. Many of them also had been directly involved in the defense of Jerusalem before they retreated to Alexandria. “The men are exhausted, General,” Lieutenant Benitez rode up to him. Hidalgo had placed Benitez at the head of the cavalry detachment.

“I know…” the General replied, “but we have to hold this side of the Nile for another night. We can’t let them encircle the city.” General Hidalgo had stationed the majority of his reserve force along with Benitez’s cavalry detachment a few miles up the river Nile in between Alexandria and Cairo. The garrison placed in Cairo, although harassed by constant rebellious mobs from further up the source of the river, would be able to hold against most Persian and Turk advances and, if necessary, be sacrificed. It was at the port of Alexandria where the only way Spain could receive reinforcements via the fleet could be got. It was this that prompted him to protect the vulnerable areas in between the two citadels.

Using the Nile as a natural barrier, he was hoping to force the enemy to either attempt a passage across the river, or remain idle on the other side. Benitez would keep pace with the other cavalry in case they would attempt to find a passage somewhere and distract the infantry corps.

“General!” a lieutenant came up to him unhorsed, “the Persians are withdrawing from their side of the Nile!” he said loud enough so that the infantrymen in front of them could hear it.

General Hidalgo nodded in thanks to the messenger before gazing at the faint spots in the distance of the first of the Persian flank to quit the field. Something about it did not stir well with him, but he was not as perceptive as General Schenkhuizen about these things.

“Should we go after them?” Lieutenant Benitez asked.

“No…” the General replied bitterly. “Let them run.”

---​

Their first instinct was to run back to the doorway to the previous circle. “We can let it pass us and then head in behind it,” Raul had told them while sloshing through the garbage back where they came. The more they ran, however, the more it became exceedingly clear that the doorway had disappeared somehow.

“We should have passed it by now!” Riku exclaimed over the loud ravenous slicing of the metallic death machine behind them.

“When we triggered the trap, it must have closed the entryway,” Madeleine explained.

“Then we just have to outrun it until we get to the entrance around the circle!” Raul shouted.

Although the second instinct seemed like a sound one, breathing in that sickly atmosphere was more painful than it seemed at first. It had perhaps been a half of mile of running before they all showed signs of slowing down. “This is no good,” Madeleine called out hoarsely. “By the way the walls curve, I estimate that it’s at least two more miles to make the whole circuit…”

“This pollution is making this very difficult,” Riku growled as they tried to keep pace with the thundering machine behind them.

Nonetheless, they all continued on while dodging the shallowly encased pieces of rotting meat and bile. The dirty mud stuck to their boots every time they pressed on and the smell assaulted their nose and even infected their tongues with every inhale. Just another mile, perhaps, Madeleine thought to herself over the hungry crash of metal against metal as the machine behind them followed the circle with them; its three heads were bobbing up and down as if to make sure that there was no escape from claw or iron tooth.

Willem dropped to the floor. All stopped when they heard the unnatural sound of him hitting the dirtied ground. When the others came close to him, it was clear what had happened: a river of blood had soaked around Willem’s bandage and reddened his pant leg all the way to his boot. Raul and Riku both pulled Willem up and began to carry him along. “Idiots… just leave me… none of you are going to make it if you carry me along…” Willem was saying.

The others knew he was correct, but they did not say a word in reply. Carrying him along, they pressed forward with the added weight on them. Madeleine did what she could to help them carry Willem but already, their endurance was fading. The sound of Cerberus menaced them from behind like a torrent of knives.

“Another… mile … I think,” Madeleine panted as she forced boot out of the muddy suction. Within her thoughts, she also knew that they would not reach the door in time at this rate…

Willem, although painfully holding onto his side, could see Madeleine’s expression a she held the torch in her one hand. Her face became confused and angry at the same time. He understood it well. Willem grimaced and shook himself out of the hold of the others finding the inner wall and hanging upon it. “I’m leaving you all here,” he said to them resolutely.

“Shut up and—” Raul was trying to say as he reached out a hand to Willem. The Dutchman unsheathed his sword, however and forced the others to stop.

“Willem what are you—” Madeleine tried to say. She wasn’t sure if it was the stench or the look in Willem’s face that choked the words inside her throat and forced bitter liquid to squeeze from between her eye and her lid for just a second.

“I will never forgive any of you if you…” here, Willem similarly couldn’t finish as he gripped his side. “The machine is already almost here…” he continued nonetheless as he unhooked his pack and threw it at Riku. He reversed his sword and presented the handle to Raul. “It was my father’s,” he said almost angrily, “bring it back to my home for me.”

“Willem, I’m—” Riku objected.

“Do it or you insult everything I stand for!” Willem fired back with as much anger as he’d ever shown to any of them. Raul took the rapier from him. Willem looked next to Madeleine who seemed paralyzed with her arm holding up the torch and her body half shaking. “There’s a piece of paper in my pack,” he explained, “When all of you make it out of here, open it. It’s for you. Now Run!”

There was a pause of a second or two but Raul grabbed onto Madeleine with a growl and started off again. Riku lingered for a second longer before chasing after them. As the torch Madeleine held receded past the corner, darkness enveloped Willem. As the light decreased, the noise of Cerberus approaching increased.

Willem said his prayers out loud, as if to defy the uncouth noise of the machine and he slumped back against the wall of the circle with his hand clutching his wound. In the pitch black of the stinking dump, Cerberus had finally caught up with him.

Madeleine could barely run in the proper curve when she heard the scream from behind her. Leave it up to Willem, however; his scream was one of defiance and anger rather than that which more befitted the dying. Madeleine could barely breathe as they continued down the path. The rest of the way the three passed in silence and none looked back. Although weighed down by heavy feelings, all three finally did manage to make the full round and slip into the corridor.

They could not say a word to each other as they went down the decline. Only footsteps falling unevenly on the now stone ground was the only indication of communication between each of them. As if something pressed them on, they found only comfort in the progress of walking into the next circle.

“Madeleine…” Riku was the first to say.

“Yes… I know.” Madeleine replied quickly. “This is the circle of the Hoarders and Wasters. Damned for eternity, these two opposites roll giant boulders at each other.” Her voice lacked any of the alacrity of explanation that she used to possess. The liquid on her face had dried so recently that it resisted the movement of her cheeks as she spoke. “Just as these men made money and riches as dead and idle weight on them, so they must fight each other with dead weight. Just as they thought nothing was greater in life than the game of money, so they are stuck in an eternal game with their opposites screaming ‘Why do you waste!’ and the others ‘Why do you hoard!’”

“So we can expect…” Raul was trying to say but a stone slab suddenly shut out the corridor behind them and a low rumbling vibrated the stone ground. Raul answer came in the form of a boulder rolling in from the right.

All three started running once more in the opposite direction. Although their legs were already fatigued, they made speed down the left side of the hall as the rock made chase behind them.

“This circle should be shorter in circumference from the last once!” Madeleine explained with a shout, “We should be able to get to the next corridor soon.”

Heaving breaths—which were thankfully now free from the awful stench—the three rounded the great circle with relative ease. It seemed that the boulder was not as fast as the three headed mechanical instrument above. Strangely, however, as the stone behind them seemed to get further away, the noise inside the ring increased and increased.

“I see the next door!” Raul shouted, but it was not the only thing he saw. Approaching the corner ahead of them was another boulder. All stopped their running and turned back. Yes, the other rock was still careening their way and closing in as quickly as the other. Eyes raced back and forth along the curves of the walls and all three stood with backs to each other as the rolling stones gravitated together for the hit.



Interlude​

“I can’t get no… satisfaction,” was blaring from Pablo’s Rolling Stones “Greatest Hits” album. He had spent the past few hours listening to the various vinyls he kept along his shelves in his apartment in Osaka. Ever since his little run in with that Voice last night, he had wanted to clear his mind of the suggestions and promises made.

“You’d be able to see her,” kept ringing in his ears. It’s probably why he wanted to listen to music that wasn’t in his native Castillian tongue; the flow of the song took over and there was no need to understand its lyrics. “You just have to do this one last job for us,” the voice continued in his head.

Pablo increased the volume on his stereo system and sat back further in his chair. In the safety of his apartment, he let himself feel drowsy for once as the noise permeated the room. It was enough that he agreed to do it; he did not need to hear that voice over and over again. That strange voice.

The switch to his stereo clicked off and he stood up from his chair. He pulled off his tight fitting shirt and tossed it to his bed before stepping into his bathroom. Looking at himself in the mirror, the myriad of scars along his body coiled around him like an eastern dragon. The cut that had healed along his lip was only the most recent addition to his strange discolouration—something he had acquired the year before he met… Taguchi. The name of that young man forced him to look down at the basin. Some blood was trickling from his nose. He wiped his nose carelessly with the back of his hand; he comforted himself with the knowledge that he did not give any fatal blows to the young man. Looking back up to the mirror, he could see that his eyes were tired and bloodshot from the pharmaceuticals that he had shared earlier.

He closed the door to his bathroom and started the shower. He just had to accept, he thought as he stepped into the bath. “After all,” the voice haunted him, “this is what you were born for, Roxas. A life of violence.”

He wanted to disagree, but the thoughts of seeing her again suppressed the distaste. He would do it, he resolved again: he would bring Thomas Royce to them. “Save that sullen little man,” the voice asked of him, “save him with your wrath.”

Chapter CI: The Wrathful and Sullen (coming soon)
 

unmerged(60841)

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The cliffhangers are killing me. Enjoyed the subplot, and feel quite badly for Willy, though I'm not yet sure we've seen the last of him. Where's Lucifers beard when you need it?
 

canonized

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JimboIX said:
The cliffhangers are killing me. Enjoyed the subplot, and feel quite badly for Willy, though I'm not yet sure we've seen the last of him. Where's Lucifers beard when you need it?
Haha , I love cliffhangers XD . Yes , Willem Van Axel , Requiscat in Pace .
 

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canonized said:
Haha , I love cliffhangers XD . Yes , Willem Van Axel , Requiscat in Pace .
I take it this is a little deception? Most likely Renault is gonna meet ole Willem very soon ;)

In any case... Interesting! Seems the situation in Egypt isn't quite right yet...
 

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Avernite said:
I take it this is a little deception? Most likely Renault is gonna meet ole Willem very soon ;)

In any case... Interesting! Seems the situation in Egypt isn't quite right yet...
ROFL I really do spoil you all with comedic endings don't I ? XD

I really do need to just start killing everyone XD
 

comagoosie

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Yes! another update! Chapter 100 too :eek: Good to see secondary characters appear again, especially General Grubby, even if he isn't present, as long as his name is mentioned ;)

Abdullah seems to want to be the middle east Robin Hood, maybe he will get his chance to prove that he is.
 

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General Grubby a secondary character? :eek: He's the only main character dating all the way back from season 1!

Nice update, the boulders sounds like Indiana Jones again :)

And did you hit at that Willem is really dead or is he going to be rescued by Renault?
 

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Didn't you say the heroes had to go 'through' Cerberus?

Our hero must still be alive!

TheExecuter
 

canonized

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comagoosie: Yep :D , 100 chapters , woohoo !

Grubnessul: Yep XD in the spirit of underground labyrinths XD

TheExecuter: Haha , perhaps ! I guess I can't deny it , I haven't decided on Willem's fate just yet . How he escapes Cerberus however ... well XD
 

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A murderous cliffhanger!! XD And Willem, a good way to end it all :cool:
 

canonized

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English Patriot said:
A murderous cliffhanger!! XD And Willem, a good way to end it all :cool:
XD . Indeed ! Haha , If Will is actually dead XD