• 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

Legolas

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Congratulations with the well-desevred AARland awards! Unfortunately, I've been unable to keep up with the story, with the exams et cetera. But once I'm done with that (and finished with Children of Hurin), this AAR is on the top of my "to-read" list, and I hope to be able to comment more about this work once I'm done reading it.

What I can definitely say now is that this was one of the few factors that helped me make the decision to start my own AAR :)
 

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The juggernaught keeps rolling, relentless as a Panzerkardinal.

All's well with the world.
 

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Legolas: Wow thank you very much and I'm very flattered ! I wish you luck on your exams and I'm looking forward to seeing you again when you've finished !

RGB: Gott ist in seinem Himmel ; Alles is richtig in Der Welt ! XD I hope I said that right

Edit: LOL so many comments lately that I didn't get to see Grubnessul's and thrashing mads and duggy's so here's my responses:

rcduggan: LOL nice , thanks XD Barely legible indeed ! Congratulations on your awards too ! Warlords Forever !

trashing mad: Thanks very much and I'm very honoured by your patronage ! Congratulations on your wonderful awards as well ! Very well deserved !

Grubnessul : Thanks !! Wouldn't have gotten here without your support so thank you once more , Grubnessul and hope that the updates will continue to be good entertainment for you !
 
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kleomenes

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I'm baaaaack! Been out of it with comp. issues, but I've returned. *looks at page count* Looks like I have a little... some... a huge amount of catching up to do! :D
 

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Congrats on the awards! No doubt in my mind that you and Timelines deserve 'em. :)
 

Myth

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just caught up again! it seems interesting, that the current modern troubles with the Timepiece seem to be expected--and have been for the past centuries, as if prophesized or something. granted, with such an apparently important relic that probably can't be helped, as anybody might want it, but it does say something about their preparedness that they're scurrying around the globe trying to catch up to events.
 

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Kleomenes: Welcome back kleomenes !! I'm very glad to have you back ! You've always been a great reader so it's always an honour to have you on board !

Karasuman: Thank you very much ! Time to get drunk and be merry !

Myth: Glad to see you caught up ! And yes , the Timepiece's importance has been handed down from Janus to Janus for generations . Though why they need to know the information about it aside from protecting it will continue to be a mystery !

p.s. UPDATE COMING NOW
 

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Chapter XLII: Partners​

December 24, 1582

One of the detriments of being an ocean vessel was that the House of the Rose was always wanting for fresh water. The thought itself had not dawned on Antonio the first few weeks he had been detained simply because he had not pieced together the true nature of the House itself until his unsuccessful attempt at escape. He was once again reminded of this curiosity as he stood in the seemingly endless reservoir of fresh water sprinkling from a wooden spout above him.

The cool unsalted water touched his head with a smoothness that matted his dark hair against his features and proceeded all the way down the length of his body. Naked in the bath, he still, nonetheless, held an article in his fingers—that ring of gold and eye of sapphire which now stared back upwards at him as he gazed down upon it. It was a constant reminder of a sky that he could not see and of a touch he could not feel.

“Hurry it up in there!” banged one of the guards against the bath’s door.

Antonio was not at all startled by the sudden noise and neither did it change the tranquility of the water filming around his contours like an icy comforter. As he looked down at the ring his thoughts continued to churn. If the freshwater was abundant on this vessel, either other vessels would need to service the House to supply it with water or it frequently made stops to ports to resupply. Either option presented itself with an opportunity to escape.

Antonio placed the ring back onto the ledge where the soap frothed in the moist ether of the wash chamber. Pulling on a chain above him once more the water spouted downwards onto him. The contraption was quite simple; a reservoir of drinking water and bath water were kept in a large tank somewhere on the vessel and it was most likely kept in the next room. One of the reasons how he knew was because hidden at the very top of the wash chamber was a small gap between the wall and the ceiling. Depending on the day this gap would sometimes overflow with fresh water. All of these little details would be his surprise. All of these would mean that he would finally be rid of his captors—for now. He planned to return and burn every single one of them on the vessel into the sea.

The last stream of liquid drained noisily into the hole in the floor with a sputtering dénouement and was replaced with the earthy wooden pitter patter of droplets synapsing between Antonio’s fingers and the floor. His face, staring at the wooden planks below him, grew slack with resignation as his features were studded with tiny mirrors burgeoning downwards to his jawline. Tonight, he knew another ship would be coming to resupply the House; not only did he know because of the timing he had memorized but also because he had taken the initiative of using up as much of the fresh water as possible. Tonight he would make his escape.

---​

Miss Jiang rolled the stone upon her dagger with a precision that displayed the hallmark of her trade. Her ordinary complexion stared back at her through the double edges of her blade. Smiling with half crooked teeth at the display of perfection in the sheen, she sheathed the weapon among the others she had just recently tuned.

“Will it be tonight then?” was the accented voice from behind the curtain.

“He will try to make it out through the fresh water access. I’ve seen him probe around the gap near the ceiling.” Miss Jiang responded coolly as she stroked yet another sharp object with her stone.

“You’ve been looking at him while he bathes?”

Miss Jiang said nothing but simply grinned.

“No one will say that I wasn’t justified in killing him if he tries to escape,” mused Miss Jiang while her eyes still followed the slinking rubs of her stone on steel. “When he tries to get onto the other boat during his evening bath I’ll be waiting for him.”

There was no further conversation but the tall European figure behind the screen slid back into the other chamber satisfied with what he heard. As for Miss Jiang, this would mean the solidification of the House. No more distractions. There was no blush on Miss Jiang’s face as she remembered spying on her naked charge. The surprise of the first day upon finding the scar on Antonio’s pelvis had long since passed in the surmounting worry of a House divided. No, she thought, Nia would not be reunited with this apparition of her past. Her skills honed in the schools of intrigue in Paris will stay forever in the House of the Rose.

---​

Antonio barely ate his dinner while the telltale signs of another pit stop for the ship coming were approaching: the strange alacrity of all the men and women on board—a sign that fresh food and wine were being imported. He stuffed what was left of his rice and soup more so out of need for energy than any want of taste. Even while he ate, the figure of a ring burned into the flesh of his right hand which clasped onto that object with such intensity.

An hour after dinner and Miss Jiang had arrived as usual to usher him to his evening bath. Although the double bath wasn’t necessary, Nia wanted their guest to be clean especially in the sometimes uncouth holdings of a sea-faring vessel. Miss Jiang held his towel and the two large men escorted him to the latrine and bath chamber as per usual. Miss Jiang could see the man undress inside the wooden chamber before quickly locking the entranceway shut. It was time.

Using the chain to pump some water, the rushing noise was enough to mask the careful climb that Antonio began towards the gap at the top of the wooden wall. Peering with straining eyes into the darkness beyond; he could clearly see the moonlight reflecting off a portion of the dimness: it must be the portal by which the other ship would dump the fresh water.

After the confirmation, he briefly stepped downward only to lather his body with the soap provided as much as possible. Although his stay at the House of the Rose lessened his overall figure, he was still a bit too bulky to fit through the aperture and thus needed a little lubrication.

In complete silence hidden by the gushing of the water from the spout, Antonio squeezed and scraped his way past the wooden portal and found himself submerged in the mass reservoir of the hold. It was an eerie feeling in the night for the waves only glimmered with the faintest of moonbeam and fostered the idea that the pool went down into the very abyss of some Chinese hell.

Careful to navigate the surface with as little disturbance as possible he approached the open doorway that led into the open air. Already, he could hear people talking above and counted two voices amongst the silences of the night. Hiding underneath the wooden planks he watched the shadowplay of two workmen scraping along the edge of the silver screen which was the reflection of the water underneath the doorway. A sudden surprise caught him as water gushed inward: the men were obviously refilling the tank manually.

Counting the intervals between their movements to their boat and onto the hold, Antonio grabbed hold of the edges of the opening when he knew the others were away and reached upward. With only his underpants clinging to his bathed skin, his dark eyes darted about anxiously to spot signs of any detection: none.

Around him he could only see the wooden fortress floating alone in the night with a small ship connected with a wooden plank and rope directly ahead of him. He apparently was standing upon a ledge that ran the girdle of the House and also provided a service entrance for the loading and unloading of hold material. With his escape nearly at hand, his only problem remaining was on what to do with the two men without being heard. If he attempted to cross the plank to the smaller ship, they would surely see him; but if he stayed on the ledge, he would surely be seen the next time the two walked across with their loads. Only two seconds left to decide.

Reaching to the plank with both hands he slowly dropped his entire body from the ledge and swung it underneath the plank simultaneously grabbing hold of the other side of the wooden bridge with his right hand. Supporting his entire weight with his upper body, he carefully approached the smaller ship hanging from underneath the walkway and moving hand over hand. Antonio grabbed hold of the hull of the smaller ship just as the two walked the top with their precious supplies.

The supply boat itself was a simple affair. Fitted with the usual sail of the Eastern sort, it housed a small chamber by which supplies could be protected both underneath the deck and above deck. It was that chamber above deck that Antonio decided he must go to. Shifting all the way to the opposite end of the craft and waiting for the two mariners to once again head back to the House, Antonio scaled the rear of the boat and nearly rolled into a thud onto the deck. Quickly recovering himself and holding in pants of exhaustion, he slipped into the inner chamber of the top deck hold. Ducking behind a barrel of fresh water, he waited.

The two men returned once again speaking in a foreign tongue to each other. Almost jovial if it weren’t for their scarred and weathered faces, they suspected nothing when a torch cracked the back of one of their skulls. Before the other could let out a cry, Antonio had unsheathed the first one’s sword and pierced through the very throat of the remaining adversary.

With a gurgling cry of pain that was easily masked by the sloshing Pacific, both opponents fell dead onto the deck. Replacing the torch quickly, he rushed to the front of the boat and cut off the ropes connecting him to the House and pulled the plank back onto the ship. Although the ship configuration was of a different design, he easily understood the basics of navigation and began bringing the small vessel about. It did not matter where he would go just yet since only escape was at the forefront of his mind…

The ship was coming about albeit slowly. He figured that even with the House vessel trailing him, this lighter construct would fare better against the waves. It was certainly no Galleon, but all he would need would be five or six knots to outrun his pursuers. If necessary he could start dumping the excess water and supplies on board. With these preparations in mind and the dark horizon suddenly open to his navigation, Antonio almost failed to notice the shining steel rushing towards him.

Using the mariner’s sword, he was able to deflect the object in time while almost falling back onto the deck if it weren’t for his hold on the helm. The dagger made a tuning ding against his blade before creating a resolute thud against the wood of the hull.

“Good eye,” was the familiar voice that rolled into the evening coldness like a chilling taunt. Miss Jiang uncurled from her hiding position on the ceiling bars and dropped down gracefully on her tip toes onto the deck.

Antonio shoved a dowel into the spokes of the wheel to hold the course steady before positioning his sword menacingly at the approaching adversary. Antonio barely had the breath to say anything in return but instead took a quick second to inspect the movements of the larger ship now beginning to pull away.

“If you’re looking for me to call for the guards,” Miss Jiang explained, “I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. It’s only you and me, Antonio and I’m afraid that you’re going to die.”

Circling to his right as he watched the young spy step to his left, Antonio attempted to blink more concentration into his tired body. In this style of fighting there would only be one stroke. Either both would die or one would be alive. There would be no second chances in the way that they both wielded their weapons. One bore with the confidence of the House, the other with the desperation of escape.

As the moon strained to watch in awe at the final stances each took, Antonio’s breath seemed to find its end. The fluid motions of the two bodies lunging at each other sang a silent chord of resonating steel. The two approached each other in the darkness of the night and became partners in a dance of steel and blood.

---​

December 25, 1582

Jesca watched over the counting of the silver pieces now streaming into the coffers of Infinite Castle. It was not just so much for the sake of curiosity that her careful eyes enumerated each dropping disc, but also to make sure that none of her subordinates were pilfering from the community fund. For someone as astute as Jesca, she understood well that there was little honour among thieves.

“How’s the counting going?” someone asked from the periphery of the accounting chamber.

Jesca resisted the urge to turn her head. Not in front of everyone else, she thought. She merely returned with, “Welcome back, Lex.”

Lexington White was perhaps the most valued asset in Jesca’s arsenal: Tall and eminently handsome, he represented a welcome change from the usual set of ruffians and rejects that perpetually marred the Infinite Castle with an ugly contemplation. It was no secret that Lex was Jesca’s favourite either. Rumours, especially among the Chinese agents working for the Guild, had it that his name is actually a form of “Rex” since their language permits such an interpretation. They recognized it as the Christian designation for King—a worthy counterpart for their strong willed princess. Most people, however, recognize the favouritism as a natural consequence of Lex having never failed a mission and having never hesitated to protect his mistress.

“Making contact with the Spanish spies wasn’t hard,” Lex began as his tired men made their way through different passages for respite, “All you have to do was walk into Shanghai or Nanjing and you’d get trapped in one of their nets before you take a second step in those cities.”

Jesca let out a scruff snort. Despite her elegant features, she exuded a careful appearance of severity; lest these brigands and spies begin to think they could seize her position.

“What did they say?” Jesca inquired without taking her eyes off of the sparkling circlets of silver.

“They say that they have two requests at the moment,” Lex relayed while placing some of his equipment down on the furniture around the chamber. “One is to inform them of troop movements and to deter military functions around the capital—”

“So they’re going after Beijing after all,” Jesca said mostly to herself.

“Yes, it would seem that way. They also said that they’re looking for another missing operative of theirs—a Duke Antonio.”

Jesca nodded almost dispassionately while waving a hand in acknowledgement.

“Is that the latest advance from the Guild?” Lex asked with a silly grin on his handsome face. He walked up to the side of Jesca and watched the counters make an orchestra of wealth for them.

“With this, we should be set for months if not years,” Jesca concluded.

“It looks like the Guild’s very interested in Spanish domination here.”

“Perhaps. So long as we get our money I don’t care if they want to invite Saracens for dinner.”

There was a short pause and Jesca stole a glance to her subordinate. Lex returned her gaze with a tired yet resolute smile. Like a moment of comfort, it was a shared spirit of mutual determination passing between them: they could make it.

“So why haven’t you begun operations already?” Lex questioned curiously turning his head back to the dirty handed accountants. “Too busy counting your silver?”

Jesca crossed her arms and tilted her head mischievously. “Today is better a day for celebration.”

“Well I did pull off another great mission but that’s hardly reason to throw a party,” Lex joked.

“No, idiot,” Jesca corrected as she stepped forward towards the shining metal organized along the today, “Today we will be celebrating Christmas.”



Interlude​

When Tom awoke, his grogginess was worsened by the dimness present inside the mansion. Although it would be the usual time for him to wake up in California, here in Osaka it was sometime in the dark hours of the early morning. The presence of the night did not, however, discourage the rumbling in his stomach.

The folds on his bed were an elaborate affair, but then again the entire complex was a beacon of European style elegance. Hanging portraits, ornate chairs, grand staircases, glittering chandeliers; everything had a pristine quality to it. In such a proper home, Tom suddenly became afraid that food service was not simply a ‘walk down to the kitchen and open the fridge’ affair. He thought he might as well try anyway.

Finding the kitchen in a barely lit house the size of a small village—at least that’s how it felt to Tom—was like trying to find the end of a large labyrinth. Luckily, the dining room lent itself to being displayed and easily pointed to the direction of the kitchen. Just as Tom thought, there were no servants or cooks awake at this hour of the night and he was faced with the daunting task of choosing which of the four monolithic stainless steel refrigerators to open. With digital displays and soft gel buttons he felt as if one false move in an attempt to get food would result in alarms being set off and the cooking timer counting down a self destruct device.

Nonetheless, he approached the one closest to him and was about to take the handle when the light invaded the room in a blinding array of white. Turning quickly with pinched breath, Tom suddenly noticed Rodrigo nearly stumbling into the tiled chamber.

“Rodrigo!” Tom called out quietly in surprise.

“Got hungry too, huh?” Rodrigo quipped with a grin while walking forward.

Rodrigo superseded a speechless Tom and opened the fridge. Rummage through the various items and occasionally taking out one or two dishes sealed in plastic containers, Rodrigo seemed to barely notice how strangely Tom was looking at him.

“Have you not slept yet?” Tom guessed allowing Rodrigo to dominate the food gathering.

“Not a wink,” Rodrigo replied almost viciously, “spent a good portion of the night interviewing that witness.”

“What did she say?” Tom asked taking a seat on a stool near the center island of the massive kitchen.

There was no answer. Tom felt as if Rodrigo was either reluctant or too fatigued to successfully come up with an explanation.

“It’s around breakfast time back home; want me to make you an omelet au fromage?” Rodrigo finally asked.

Tom took a second to answer with a stunned nod. It was then that he suddenly realized and remembered how little he actually understood of the things going on currently both in his periphery and his world. He looked down at his hands on the ceramic island top and he found himself holding his fingers together in a state of anxiety. He asked himself why this had to happen.

His thoughts were interrupted by the soft hushing noise of eggs and cheese spreading out along a nonstick pan. A hint of salsa and some peppers made the browning mixture seem appetizing saying nothing of the aroma. Like someone coming out of a trance, Tom did not even realize that Rodrigo and he passed the whole time without conversation. He watched the other boy tiredly flip the omelets in the air with a kind of muscle memorized precision. Who was Rodrigo really?

When Rodrigo finished, both young men sat on opposite ends of the island and began eating their respective meals. There was strangely no eye contact once the food was served; there was no conversation. Tom was too lost in his thoughts and Rodrigo was fatigued. The only noise was the clatter of silverware against plate.

“It’s delicious,” Tom managed to say after finishing.

Rodrigo looked up and smiled in return.

“Well I better get back to my room. I want to freshen up and maybe take a shower…” Tom added. Rodrigo nodded an acknowledgement in time to see his friend put the plate away into the sink and slide away into the main chambers.

“Are you sure he’s the one you want for this?” Hayato’s voice suddenly came from the other end of the kitchen. “Your partner in this terrible business we’re in?”

“My dear Matsujun…” Rodrigo began tiredly speaking almost as if he was in a drunken stupor. “Tom is more than qualified. He has the right spirit for the job.”

“But he’s a Protestant, Janus, are you sure we can trust him?”

There was a passing moment of silence as Rodrigo stared down at his empty plate.

“He’s different…” Rodrigo muttered tiredly leaning forward on the countertop with his elbows. “You just have to trust me.”

Hayato might have objected more but his cell phone began to buzz inside the confines of his pants. Flipping it out quickly, he chatted in his native tongue as Rodrigo began to doze off on his plate.

“Rodrigo,” Hayato quickly called forcing Rodrigo into an attentive glance, “I didn’t want to tell you until I received confirmation but we’ve pinpointed the Wolf cell here in Osaka.”

Rodrigo’s eyes immediately flashed open exuberantly before he said, “I didn’t know you were already looking into that!”

Hayato just made a silly grin and said while turning around, “Call it a belated Christmas present.”

Chapter XLIII: Christmas Climax (coming soon)
 

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So is Rodrigo trying to Kira someone? Will L figure it out in time?
 

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RGB: XD Very clever of you !! I'm glad you picked up on the chapter plate picture XD

Judas Maccabeus: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... everywhere you go ! I'm glad you're enjoying it JM ! Yes , Miss Jiang and Antonio ; one of them or both will die !
 

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canonized said:
RGB: XD Very clever of you !! I'm glad you picked up on the chapter plate picture XD

Judas Maccabeus: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... everywhere you go ! I'm glad you're enjoying it JM ! Yes , Miss Jiang and Antonio ; one of them or both will die !
bah you're not going to kill of Antonio do you? :mad:

Anyway, great update as always
 

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Antonio looks doomed. I don't envy that "partnership". :(
 

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Karasuman said:
Antonio looks doomed. I don't envy that "partnership". :(
yeah. i know
 

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Grubnessul : Who knows ! After all , Marcus in the future did say that no Janus has ever escaped the House Alive !

Karasuman : Poor kid , at least if he dies he'll be able to be with Isabella in Heaven !

rcduggan: XD can't dance ?
 

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Another excellent update good sir, you've got me on the edge of my seat again ! ( No surprises there! )

Also, I'd like to congratulate you on your well deserved awards ! I'm glad to see that there are so many readers enjoying the fruits of your labor - I know I certainly have. I read your speech and there's simply no way to express the honour I feel to in some way be a part of your glorious project.

Keep up the great work my good friend ! SIEG TIMELINES ! :rofl:
 

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Panzerkardinal said:
Another excellent update good sir, you've got me on the edge of my seat again ! ( No surprises there! )

Also, I'd like to congratulate you on your well deserved awards ! I'm glad to see that there are so many readers enjoying the fruits of your labor - I know I certainly have. I read your speech and there's simply no way to express the honour I feel to in some way be a part of your glorious project.

Keep up the great work my good friend ! SIEG TIMELINES ! :rofl:
SIEG and thanks ! :D Hope you're having a good week ! Always an honour to have you on board !
 

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You’ve Been Canonized!: TeeWee​

Good evening and welcome once again to You’ve Been Canonized! our weekly interview segment here on Timelines where we take authors who have been kind enough to drop a line here and ask them questions about themselves , their thoughts no Timelines and about their latest AAR project ! If you’re new to the programme , I’m canonized author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed To Control the World? This week we have TeeWee on the programme author of the Showcased AAR The pAARiahs of Europe – Fighting for the Hussite faith ! Let’s get to the questions !

Part I: The PAARiah Revealed !
TeeWee answers some of our questions about himself !

canonized: First of all , thank you for agreeing to doing this , would you tell us how long you've been on the forums and how long you've been writing AARs ?

TeeWee: I've been on the forum for a few years, but have only recently started reading in AAR-land

canonized: What got you started writing AARs ?

TeeWee: Well, just reading some, I guess. Several of the gameplay based ones were nice to follow, though I can't remember anything specific. Then I had a few aborted attempts at one and finally, I started on the PAARiahs of Europe as my first real AAR. I guess I've always written tidbits, but never invested much time in it though

canonized: As someone who experimented before finding a niche, what kind of advice would you give for new writers who might like to try their first AAR ?

TeeWee: As a beginning AAR writer myself, for the style I'm using (narrative style), I'd say, be prepared, get a good plot, and make sure you actually have the time. And of course, read a lot to see what you like and what sort of things work. Be prepared to throw away lots of pieces!

canonized: I know that the narrative style is often a very difficult one since it asks a lot of the author but you have so far expressed just how good at the style you are . Why did you choose this particular route for your AAR ?

TeeWee: Thank you for the compliment! Several reasons. The first is that I'm not good at capturing the "right" moments to make screenshots etc. for a good gameplay one. I like the good narrative AARs, though I seldom have the time to follow one. And I've been playing with writing something in my head, but always failing on finding a good subject, or getting it down well on paper. Playing that EU2 session proved ehm... inspirational. It's also something of a practice of writing for me as well. My previous writing forays ended, well, badly, because my viewpoints were all disjumbled, so I was toying with a story told from a single viewpoint character. And this is it!

canonized: From reading your work , it's definitely gotten a large spectrum of emotions and feeling . Have any of your real life experiences influenced these parts ?

TeeWee: Probably, but not consciously though. Obviously, I've never been in a XV century war before. Pavel (my main character) is a good observer I think and kind of a rational person. In that sense, he's not unlike me. I'm not really sure though where my (apparent) ability to show these emotions and feelings come from in the story, as I myself am a rather closed person I think.

canonized: What would you say is your most difficult task as a narrative writer ?

TeeWee: The most difficult thing for me as a writer is, I think, describing the world itself. I seem to focus my writing on character interactions. I just can't seem to describe physical attributes in any way!

canonized: Have any books that you have read helped to inspire your writing ?

TeeWee: My main fiction genre being fantasy, I've of course read Tolkien. But that's almost completely unlike what I'm writing. George R.R. Martin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Steven Erikson are my favourite writers. And for the pure grit of battles, I guess nothing beats Mary Gentle's Ash plus many more, but that would be an entire subject by itself!

Part II: Readership
TeeWee shares some of his thoughts on Timelines !

canonized: So what brought you to Timelines to start reading it ?

TeeWee: Simple: your first writer of the week award!

canonized: Haha , I do remember that first WoW and Eber was kind enough to point out the rarity of having a narrative AAR like mine . What would you say makes Timelines unique in its narrative style ?

TeeWee: Well, it is so epic in scope. You have an alt-present with its own alt-history, but you also have reflections of our presence in it. Of course, it was also one of the first EU3 AARs, so that makes it special as well. I can also see you put effort into it, with attention to all the different plotlines in present and past. As well as many references to popular culture. And many writers would have collapsed under this almost megalomaniacally grand story, but you just seem to handle this without a problem!

canonized: Thank you ! Indeed the scope is large and many times I've had to make the sacrifices of choosing who to write about for how long . As an accomplished character writer such as yourself , what are your thoughts on the characterizations in Timelines ?

TeeWee: I'm able to recognize most characters; so that means they're distinct. That's I think the most difficult part of writing different characters. It's not just two clones in scene one, and two other clones of the same person in scene two. I'm not sure how to explain it better, just that the ability to distinguish between characters without reading their names is both very important and very difficult. Isabella is a fun character to read. She is very unpredictable for me, so that's fun. It's also fun to read her from different perspectives, from her own perspective as well as from people near her. That's one thing that's definitely an advantage of having an ensemble cast! And I like Tom as well, for he plays a somewhat similar role for the reader as Pavel does in mine: a kind of anchor for our reality.

canonized: Yes ! And Tom is also a focal point of difference with the otherwise all-Catholic cast which usually puts him in awkward situations . Being a writer of a religiously divisive time yourself , what are your thoughts on the interplay of religions in Timelines ?

TeeWee: Well, it's obvious you have a much better grounding in the religions you use than I do. I have very little real life experience with religion in general and the Christian faiths in particular, except for those aspects which permeate society through accepted moral codes and such. So I guess, I think "get" much less out of the story than you may have put into it. But it's clear that questioning the accepted social standard, be it religion or otherwise, is done in a thoughtful and believable manner.

canonized: That’s very flattering ! Is there anywhere in particular you'd like to see Timelines go in the future ?

TeeWee: That's hard for me to say, but still, I like the way your alt-history explains to the reader how Tom's world works. And because it's so heavily foreshadowed, I'd like to see how the alt-present relates to our-present. But I guess that's where the Timepieces are for

canonized: speaking of the Timepieces , do you have any guesses on what they are ?

TeeWee: Well, my current theory on your universe is that it's like a broken mirror. There are multiple shards of the real world and all those shards are but a reflection of this. All those shards share something in common, like a common "mythology" and "truth". Timepieces are ways to access either other shards or the "real world" those shards are reflections of. Evidence for the "different shard" theory is of course Tom's maps. It cannot be a coincidence that those maps are of our-reality Earth. So maybe our reality is the common mythology (or the other way around!) Your story may be the common mythology or truth for our world!



Part III: A Crusade in Central Europe
TeeWee discusses his beautiful work and the future of his writership !

canonized: I think that part of your strength as a writer is to be able to have depth in your characters ! In fact , the moral ambiguity inherent in the spectrum of characters you have really shows a realistic treatment of the struggles of ideology and war . Where did you learn to write characterization such as this ?

TeeWee: I really don't know. This is my first real attempt at writing something. I have used a trick to help me though, and that is to use only a single perspective, that of Pavel. I think that up till now, I haven't made the mistake of shifting slightly away from that perspective. This forces me to interpret the events through Pavel's eyes. And of course, I repeat again, I read a lot. Mostly in the fantasy genre, so I have a lot of exposure to narrative writing. And I know enough to keep things simple I guess. As for the realism and moral ambiguity: it's all in the setting of the story and research. Wikipedia helps a lot.

canonized: When I first began reading PAARiahs , I noticed immediately that despite the focus on such a big turning event in the history of Bohemian/Czech history , you chose to write it from the perspective of a commoner . Tell us why Pavel is the eyes that we see his world through ?

TeeWee: I have several reasons for this. One is that I don't really know enough about the ruling classes to write them effectively. It's also much easier I think to relate to a commoner, since they have, in essence worries which are similar to our own. And it's interesting to see how large events impact the lives of the people who are swept away by those events.

canonized: And you do an excellent job with that allowing us also to identify with someone who is closer to what our position might have been in that era . Could you also tell us why you chose to write about the Hussites ?

TeeWee: That's a coincidence. As I said earlier, I've had several attempts at writing an AAR. The one I tried before PAariahs was more of a history book one for Savoy, over an entire grand campaign, in a diary style for the rulers. For several reasons, it just didn't work at all and I gave up on that attempt (not the idea though: it still lives!) Then, I was playing some abortive EU2 campaigns, with Ottomans and Austria. I've always noticed that Bohemia country with its weird Hussite rebellion, even in earlier games (Denmark). And in one game as Austria, I got clobbered by those Hussite rebels. So I thought, let's play them myself! And after reading through some event files (EU2 AGCEEP, so those were quite rich in background) I got a feeling this was a nice piece of history. And the game turned out to be interesting enough to contain a seed of a story.

canonized: You mentioned earlier that you used wikipedia , what other kind of research did you do for this subject before you began ?

TeeWee: I'm afraid it's quite limited to Google and the wikipedia. Only very recently (after starting to write) have I taken up history books as reading material, so I don't have any books relating to this area. I do try to make sure I get things right. So if I can't really back things up, I tend to avoid using it. The positive thing is, though, that readers of the story have actually commented on the accuracy of the writing. So I guess I've done something right!


canonized: It's actually quite fun when I've read it and to be honest I really thought that you were either a Czech yourself or that you've studied the period quite well . Even the names seem to flow rather easily ! Speaking of names , we also have had a recent death in your work and it has been affecting the characters greatly . I think the humanity of the characters speaks volumes of the work and makes it a truly human drama ; where can we expect to see Pavel and the Hussites in the future ? Any sneak peeks ?

TeeWee: Thanks! The names are just stolen from famous Czech names and baby names books etc. Anyway, as for the future: Jan Zizka was already old when the rebellion started and is not getting any younger in the field. At some point (soon!) he will leave the fight to the living. Somewhere after that point, choices will have to be made by everyone. The movement itself and its leaders, but Pavel as well. Remember that Pavel has, up till now, not really consciously made the decision for his path yet. He has been swept up by events. Sooner or later, he will have to choose. I hope he chooses wisely.

canonized: Speaking of decisions I know there's a lot of apprehension (which you build up nicely) with Tomas and the dangers of fanaticism and radicalism . Could you tell us about the excellent buildup of this character that you've done and also if it has any implications on modern society today ?

TeeWee: To be honest, Tomas started out as a tool, a mirror for Pavel. The same things happen to them, but their reactions are totally different. I think that's called a literary foil. Then, he slowly began to have more and more flesh to him, as I wanted to build on the old friendship between Tomas and Pavel a bit. And now, he has more flesh to him and he is a very important character, much more so than I originially intended. As for a reflection on today, I have a strong view on fanaticism and the very bad effects it has on society. Fanaticism disables reflection on your actions and that is always a bad thing. In that sense, the writing is relevant to today. And it is valuable to see how seemingly good causes can be used to drive people to do terrible things in its name.

canonized: An excellent message ! Lastly , what are your plans for the future ? What other AARs will you be doing after this one ?

TeeWee: Hahaha. Let me finish this one first! Seriously though, I might try my earlier idea on Savoy again. Or something with a bigger cast: the fortunes of a merchant family over time, and the way it falls in and out of favour with the regime. I've been playing with the idea of using Melaka as a background for that. The bigger cast and the scope in time will be the biggest challenge for me there.

canonized: Thank you once again and good luck in your future endeavors TeeWee ! We’d also like to thank our audience for once again reading this week and we hope that you tune in next week when we go from Central Europe to Central Asia and interview our good friend Karasuman ! Have a good week everyone !
 

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Always glad to see TeeWee's excellent work highlighted.

A good read!
 

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RGB said:
Always glad to see TeeWee's excellent work highlighted.

A good read!
Indeed it was :D Glad you liked the interview !