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Mr. Capiatlist

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On a thin, one-way street not far from downtown in a neighborhood that has resisted both the forces of entropy and gentrification, stands a brick building nestled between the Art Deco facades of bigger and better things. It's an unremarkable three-storey affair with a myriad of windows and a single oak door behind a wrought-iron grate. Two flags hang from the front door - first a navy blue banner defaced with the white skeleton of a platypus; the second a mess of flags within flags bearing the words Resurget Cineribus, "It will rise from the ashes".

Stepping inside the smell of fresh wood sealant is overwhelming. Tables are neatly surrounded by chairs, but they all empty. The bar is lined with stools, only one of which is currently occupied - by @coz1. He chats idly with the man behind the bar, a short man whose eyes belay that his attention is actually on the TV in the background where a scrappy football(soccer) team decked in maroon and gold struggle to contain a counter-attack in the midfield.

Covering the ancient wooden veneer, pictures of friends new and old hang. Old trophies sit in cases. Banners and flags from 'round the world fight for residence in the limited space. A corkboard is covered in notes and encouragement from over fifteen on-and-off years of patrons. Framed on the wall is @Stroph1's quote gun, long out of service.

You work your way over to the bar, trying not to sit uncomfortably close to the others while fearing that you'd never get your drink if you were any further away. @Mr. Capiatlist looks over from the game, empty glass and a worn rag in hand.

"You look new here," he says with a chuckle.

"I-it's opening day" you stutter.

"I know, you still look new. We have some rules here," the bar tender says, pointing at a framed list behind him.

Code:
- Stay "in character" as best as you can
- Try to promote others more than yourself
- Always be encouraged to discuss the craft of writing
- Quoting is okay, but please use the multi-quote feature
- Off topic chatter is encouraged, but stays in the bAAR
- Mr.C decides what is on the taps, in the cellAAR, and in your glass :P
- No fighting
"Now that you've read those, what can I get you?"

-----

The Tab (tm):

Code:
Coz1: Drinks on the house
Macke11: ||
Nuada Airgetlám: ||||
RossN: |
J_Master: |
The Number 9: |
loup99: |
Nikolai: |||
stnylan: |
Bullfighter: |
OtakuStrategy: |
 
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Macke11

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It's a cold, but calm evening as a young man at average length walks down the street. He has heard stories of older writAARs. These stories are of a bAAR where such men and women could get together and discuss the fascinating art of writing. Though he doesn't know exactly who they were, and are in some cases, he knows that many who had attended the bAAR had been very good writAARs.

Just a few minutes ago the man had been at home reading the AARland News. He had been glancing briefly through the main page, looking for something interesting. Then he had found it, among things like "Best Character Writer of the Week: coz1" and "Weekly AAR Showcase: Meh, I Can Take 'Em — a CK2 Hohenzollern HIP DisastAAR". A small rectangle with text caught his attention. "Mr. Capiatlist revives the bAAR". The magazine was from yesterday. It did not take the man long before he was heading down the street.

'There it is,' he thinks, 'the legendary bAAR'. In front of him is the building. It may not seem too impressive, but the flag of a skeleton platypus tells him he's at the right place. The animal simply looks too familiar. He starts moving, but stops half a dozen metres from the door, which seems to be made of oak wood. Hesitation grabs him and he thinks, 'maybe I'm not a good enough WritAAR to be here?'. He stands there wondering for what feels like an eternity before he finally wins his fight against the hesitation and starts moving with quick steps.
"All the others must have been thinking this way too, when they first entered. Or, at least most of them," he adds as he wisper to himself.

Macke11 opens the door cautiously and can't prevent himself from walking a little nervously. His gaze sweep across the room and he is massively surprised. Almost no one is there, only the bAARtender and a single guest. He had been thinking the place would be crowded, but now, he realise, there would be space for an elephant in the room. If you take away the chairs and tables. 'Or, wait,' he thinks after a closer look, 'maybe not.' The place is not too big after all, but nice and cosy nonetheless. After coming to the conclusion that people will flood to the bAAR eventually he moves to a stool at the bar. He sits down as far as possible from the others, while still being close enough for the bAARtender to notice him and turn his attention from the TV, on which his eyes are currently fixated.

Waiting for the man, who he assumes is Mr. Capiatlist, to turn his attention to him, he looks around the room and find a few portraits on one of the walls. He quickly realise that they are pictures of some WritAAR legends, and likely also frequent attendants of the old bAAR. Half a minute or so passes before Mr. Capiatlist looks in direction of Macke11.
After a short explanation of the bAAR rules the bAARtender asks what he can do for Macke11.

"Oh, I don't know..." The young man thinks about it briefly and then decides. "Just give me something simple and cheap. Unfortunately I don't have much money at the moment."

As Mr. Capiatlist heads to get Macke11 a mug with beer, the newcomer decides to ask these two men a question.

"So, I suppose you two are Mr. Capiatlist and coz1. I've not read too much of your works, though I would like to do so sometime in the future, when I feel I've got the time. I just need to ask now when I'm here with you, what was it that caused you to start writing? What made you discover the Art of Writing? If there's any distinct thing you can put your fingers on?"

(I hope I've understood this bAAR thing correctly?)
 
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Mr. Capiatlist

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The bAARtender puts down his trusty rag and the glass he persistently cleans and turns around. With a flick of the wrist he pulls up a bumper and drops it down on the back counter. So many to choose from, he thinks. His fingers dart from one tap to another before eventually landing on a tried and true local favorite. A golden lion roars triumphantly on a scarlet background on this particular handle. No, not some fantasy series call-out, rather a favorite of home - "Stroh's" it says. When the bumper is just a bit too full, he tips out some foam and fills the rest with golden beer.

Turning back to his customer, he drops a thin coaster down on the wooden bar and then follows it with the pint glass.

"What made me write?" he asks rhetorically, eyes wandering back to the game as the captain in maroon squares up to an unruly referee. "It's not always an easy one to answer. In the throws of writer block or the grind of editing I sometimes question it myself. In the end, for myself, I went through a phase in high school after reading too much literature and writing too many five-paragraph essays and I found myself hating reading. I still have a lot of trouble reading. But there were stories I wanted to read back then so I started writing them. My current series, outside of the forums, has been consuming my time and it can be hard to predict when it will want all my time and when it will want none of it. I have a lot of work to do and so I always have trouble keeping up here on my writing on the forums. In my head time spent writing AARs is time not spent writing my book series."

He balances his hands in the air like a scale.

"It's hard to justify doing something for free when you can do it with the hopes of getting paid. Plus my main series, a second world fantasy, offers more room for creative control. In the end I find it more enjoyable as well."

Mr.C punctuates with a shrug.

"What about you?" he asks @Macke11.
 

Macke11

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Macke11 frowns as he thinks about the answer.

"It's hard to point out a single thing, but I think I was simply so impressed and fascinated by others' ability to create descriptive texts. Though I've always enjoyed writing more or less, my thought is that it all started when I found AARland. It was a day in the autumn about a year ago... Wait a little, I've missed my anniversary of one year in the AARland! It was the 7th of November when I wrote my first words here."

He thinks about how that day feels so recent, but also so long ago.

"Well, anyway, it was sometime late in the year when I took some time glancing through the, at the time, unfamiliar forum. It might have been when I had just watched parts of a succession game on youtube, although I'm not sure. Then I stumbled upon Divine Influence - A Quantum Leap Succession Game, and one of the AARs in there caught me: Player 2 - Pedrinluigi - Sultanate of Kilwa. Back then I thought it balanced pictures and text in a good way. For that sake, I still think it did, but I've learned to enjoy novels too. I immediately began to seek through the forum after similar texts, without success, likely because I wasn't familiar with the area. There was possibly one AAR about Sweden which I read a little of, but it didn't feel the same way."


Macke11 stops briefly to decide how to continue.

"So I went ahead and created my own AAR, The Indian Republic. I no doubt wished to create something similar to what i had read. Sadly, when I review it these days I find it a disaster and honestly don't think I deserved the Writer of the Week and NewcomAAR of the year 2015 awards for it. A few bits of badly written text, barely visible in an overload of too big pictures. I don't think my other works, The Forgotten Vikings and Adorno and Nordmann, were any different. And neither the start of The Pacific Empire. Of all these four AARs there's only one which I have maintained for more than a few months. It is actually slightly more than nine months since I started The Pacific Empire, back in February this year. Despite how I think it gets quite good later on, it unfortunately has a few problems too. Not too long ago I began working on the project again after a three months long pause. It has since an early stage had a low frequency of updates. I soon lost the will to do it, but still pressured myself to continue for the sake of providing the content people were waiting for, and to for once finish an AAR. The result was a few hard months. I've hopefully learned something from. At least I feel like I have, since I began writing again mostly because I wanted. Mostly that is."

Macke11 can't prevent a growing smile.

"I guess I still have the feeling that I need to finish the project, but, however, in a less stressing way."

Something suddenly appears in his mind.

"Last year has not only provided me with experience of writing in English, which is not my mother-tongue, I've also realised how much comments and support mean to your will to continue something time-consuming. @HIMDogson , @delpiero1234 and @The Number 9 gave vital help and support in my early time as a WritAAR. @atwix and @silentsam5 showed continous interest in my second AAR. @Jack45 has meant a lot for my co-op AAR with @TheRealUnknown ."

Macke11 laughs silently.

"Possibly because he was the only one to show support. Last but not least The Pacific Empire, the project I'm the most proud of, would not have lasted long without @sebas379 and @guillec87 . It has come to my knowledge a few months ago how they are good at just that, showing support for others' works. Both have won the award Fan of the Week several times and rightly so."

First then he realises how much he has been talking and decides to ask Mr. C another question.

"So, I think that is a good summary of what made me write, what works I've created and some of the people of importance to me in AARland. Now I wonder, do you have anything interesting to tell about the old days in the AARland? After all, you have been a WritAAR years before I even found the AARland."
 
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Nuada Airgetlám

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If someone had been watching the outside of the bAAR for some hours, they may have noticed a pattern. A long-haired man walking past. And past again. Well-wrapped up against the chill, yes, but without much obvious reason to tread these streets repeatedly.

He stops in front of the bAAR front door, composes himself, and walks in.

Clearly he has heard something of the great bAARs of the past and is eyeing up the interior as he walks to the bar. He spots a figure in conversation with the bAARtender, and a figure sitting by himself. He decides to approach the latter, selecting a seat two further down the bar. It is unclear how much of the ongoing conversation he has heard but he is surely paying attention, given how quiet the bAAR is. He glances over the portraits, and confirms whom at least two of the men are.

Being not very thirsty yet, he can indulge in waiting for a pause in the ongoing conversation.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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With only a nod to the newest (non-)customer, Mr. C thinks about some old stories.

"Yeah, a long time ago there was a writer by the name of @Satcho who wrote a little tale called The Rest Stop to the West. It was a strange place, full of users becoming characters and was very reflective of the old, closer-knitted AARland. It'd certainly give us moderators reason to get involved today, but back then things were different, slower. I strongly recommend you give it a look, but I cannot promise it'll hold up any more. Been a decade since I read it."

The old vet digs through the book a bit, smile slowly creeping across his face.

"Heh. Seems someone was a little naughty."

He points to his own act of necromancy, dated 2006

"Funny how time changes us and the places we enjoy."
 

Macke11

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After asking Mr. C the second question Macke11 notices how the bAARtender nods, looking straight past him. A quick glance across the shoulder confirm the young man's thought, a new person has arrived. He somehow feels the newcomer is familiar, though he can at first not remember why. Then it all clears, it's @Nuada Airgetlám. He has been quite an active contributor of ideas on things for AARland to gather around, things to make it a tighter community. So, Macke11 tinks, it is really no surprise that @Nuada Airgetlám is here now. A smile appears on his face and he nods welcoming to the newcomer. Then he realises that Mr. C has started answering his question and immediately turns to listen curiously.
Macke11 nods when Mr. C has finished talking.

"I'll certainly take a look at the story you recommend when I feel for it. You know, a good thing with meeting people like you is that you can get recommendations. You won't need to track the good stories, instead you can get told about which they are."

"On the subject of "thread necromancy", I think it can be more than a little funny to see sometimes. I once, probably on one of my exploration trips around the forum, found the story 1492 Campaign - Turkey. But it was not the story that brought me there. Instead it was the fact that the latest message was from 2011, while the AAR itself had began in the year 2000. It was so long time in between that I couldn't just skip past it. It was hilarious when I saw the reason. Someone had found the AAR in 2011 and read it and, I suppose, missed to check from when the story was."


Macke11 chuckles slightly with the next sentence in his mind.

"So a person from the forum staff suggested that the case would be called "thread archeology"."

With the new customer coming to his mind, the young man then decides to end the current conversation.

"It was nice to talk to you Mr. C, but now I think you have another customer to serve. And I've got my beer to drink."

Macke11 smiles as he, for the first time, turns to his drink.
 

Nuada Airgetlám

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The newcomer turns his head towards those who were just speaking.

"Good evening. A fine place here, and hopefully one that will be fondly remembered in years to come. Perhaps after someone digs up this thread in a dig?"

The last sentence ends with a smile. His eyes wander to the quote gun belonging to @Stroph1 as if trying to pierce mysteries. Then a look at the others at the bar.

"I take it that the quote gun saw action once? And are there any specials tonight? "
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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The bartender's eyes quickly snap back to the old quote gun.

"A long time ago. Things were a bit
less civilized back then. Had rules to enforce. Honestly toward the end it was my duty to keep it cleaned and ready for use, that's how it ended up here. I am about as strict as them come and even I couldn't see the point in stopping people from being organized."

Without thinking, Mr.C picks up his trusty rag and a clean glass to clean further.

"The jAAR specializes in beers, whiskeys, wines, ciders, meads, bourbons, and other adult beverages made right here in the lovely state of Michigan. They are always on special for full price."
 

Nuada Airgetlám

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Nuada nods in understanding.

"Civilised is a word that gets used a lot around here. Who is or isn't, with empires and pagan warlords and whatnot. I suppose it comes with the territory. Hard to think about these things when you're dragging up a society or keeping one together with metaphorical tape."

He scans over the taps.

"I'll have what Macke11 is having. Full price of course."
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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"Sure."

Nearly out of thin air a bumper appears and the bartender drops it under the plethora of taps. He scans for a particular one and then finds it. "Atwater - We drink the best and ship you the rest." it declares. He pulls the tap toward him and lets it fill about 75% full of a black ale before letting the head settle. Then he tops it off.

Mr.C picks the pint glass up and drops it off in front of @Nuada Airgetlám, who is surprised that it smells of coffee and vanilla, but looks nothing like @Macke11's.
 

Nuada Airgetlám

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Nuada Airgetlám is indeed surprised but tries not to telegraph it too visibly.

"Thanks."

He begins to sip in between talking and continues:

"It is quite the task to keep older AARs in public view. The sheer number for one, image hosting links breaking over time, and even I imagine bias against AARs of 'old' games. I for one think it's admirable for you and others to make the effort to make these more visible to new AAR fans."
 

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The door opens and a man in his mid-thirties enters, another stranger... well perhaps 'stranger' is not quite the right word for though he has never set foot in here before he has passed the streets by for many years without quite entering either this establishment, or its distinguished predecessors. After a moment of looking around he strolls over to an empty stool and takes his seat.

"Gentlemen," he says and delivers a friendly nod in way of greeting, yet seems content to let the conversations continue until or unless they include him. He does look thirsty however.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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The bartender notes his new patron, his nervous tick giving away a strong desire for something light, fruity even. A straight-sided pint glass waits patiently on the counter under yet another tap. "Dark Horse" it says.

"This is a favorite of mine," Mr.C says while pulling on the tap handle. "The rumor around these parts is that the brewery was offered to become the 'official beer makers of Nickleback' by the band itself, and turned it down in much the same way that the Cossacks spurned the Sultan. You have to respect that."

He places the glass in front of @RossN. There is a wonderful aroma of fresh Michigan raspberries, and the taste too.

Mr.C turns back to @Nuada Airgetlám, "There is a lot of difficulty in keeping the 'general' part of AARland functioning. We can try to stir the pot as best we can, but after a while the lees has to settle out of the wine. Recently the awards have been the front lines. Not sure what can be done, but we're going to have to cut the weakest so we can refocus our efforts. Not to mention the quarterlies which I haven't seen in... well... it feels longer than a quarter."
 

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RossN glances at his drink in bemusement before taking a few sample sips. A puzzled frown crosses his face but after a moment he smiles, obviously having decided he likes it. "Thank you sir."

Sitting back on his stool he does an exceptionally poor job of pretending not to eavesdrop on the ongoing conversation.
 

Nuada Airgetlám

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More sipping, with a nod to the newcomer @RossN before replying to @Mr. Capiatlist .

"There is a great opportunity with the end of the year looming. The annuals obviously, but also to resurrect the quarterlies. To be honest, I was only aware of the ACAs that Mister @DensleyBlair has put up most recently."

He pauses before glancing between the bartender and patrons, including @RossN and @Macke11 .

"Do you think there'll be an upsurge in vistors around Christmas? People with time off, etcetera?"
 

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Macke11 notices that @Nuada Airgetlám is directing the question to everyone in the room and looks up from his drink. For a few seconds he gather his thoughts, like he with a quick glance sees the others are doing too. Then he starts talking.

"I don't know. After all I've not been here for too long, so I have no experience of earlier christmases. My guess is that there'll be a few more people with time to spare, but probably also those who leave to celebrate the holiday. I myself don't know if I'll be active or not. What I can say is that life is impacted by countless factors, far too many for us to calculate, far too many to have in mind."
 

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Mr.C waffles his hands.

"Sometimes the active become inactive, the inactive become the active; the producers become the consumers, the consumers become the producers. Sometimes someone will get into a kick and produce more material in a week than most of us produce in a month. It's hard to predict. I don't bother any more."
 

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RossN looks thoughtful, taking a long sip of his drink before speaking.

"I agree there seems much variety at this time of year. You do see some who with one thing or another have let their stories go quiet before taking the opportunity to pick them up again. I will admit though that I am less familiar with some of the newer games and their stories, something I should probably remedy!"
 

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Having had a few more sips while listening to the varied opinions at the bar, Nuada Airgetlám pipes up again:

"So, unpredictability is the only predictable thing about the season. Fair enough! On the note of stories, I'm going to be able to again give proper attention to my own in a few days. And actually finish the CK2 game, my first ever to completion."

This last bit with a wink.
 
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