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Old 05-22-2020, 04:34 AM   #1
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Exile (CK2)

In the mid-90s, a cute little car said Hi to the world. As a teenager, the quiet simplicity of Dodge Neon's, "Hi." ad struck me so powerfully, it became my car of choice ever since.

Even now, as I pack my dark grey 2005 Neon - the last year it saw production in the United States before its relaunch in certain countries internationally, I can't hold back my smile. I love this car and so does my dog as he leaps in the backseat and settles in with a yawn.

Dog and car - the only cute things in my life. Well, I suppose the Surface Pro I toss in the trunk as the last item, too. Clunk as down goes trunk - a sound prelude to my getting in and starting up the car. But I suppose that's better - the way things are right now, the obligations of a wife, much less children, would be too much to handle.

No, it really is better this way as I back up out of the garage and down into the street that river-winds through my townhouse complex. It's easier to get away - to escape while this contagion ravages the country, compounded by the mouth-breathing morons whose malevolence and selfishness will murder us all.

Out of the complex, out of the city, out of the state, out of civilization entirely. I'd considered the mountains near my adopted town for sanctuary, but desert life is not appealing. Too many snakes and scorpions.

And so it's Go East middle-aged man. Past the centuries, past the course of the sun, back, back into the past and the Midwest whence I sprang.

In the passenger's seat, a stack of heavy and thick books - "Medieval Nobility - An Illustrated Series".

A modern-day, real-life Decameron I'm not. But there will be stories nonetheless.

I take my time driving across the country, stopping periodically only to refuel, take the dog for a walk, and purchase gas station supplies. Beef jerky suffices - it's a source of protein, though I don't know if it's low carb. Then again, my life is not a 600-lb one, even if my stomach has run to fat thanks to too much sugar. And not even a steady diet of Marlboro Special Blend 27s can cut the appetite enough to ward off the creep north of 200 that seems to be my adult weight - over 40 pounds north of the buck sixty I maintained in my marvelous metabolism high school years.

Two weeks of paid time off will be sufficient to get me where I'm going and then some, while I settle in. I learned from the mistake of another friend who hadn't taken a vacation in a year, then upon being one of the casualties of the current economic crisis, discovered that his now-former employer didn't pay out for unused PTO. He's still angry about that - not that I blame him. But it was still a good lesson for me that didn't cost me the currency of my own experience. I do try to learn from the missteps of others.

Which isn't to say that I take every bit of advice I come across. In a small Nebraska 7-11, I pick up a few bottles of Vitamin Water, despite hearing the snorting memory of another friend. "They're just sugar bombs pretending to be water," he'd said one soft early May evening as we sat out in his back patio, stoned on Oxy. I'd laughed as I looked at his monk-bald head, though he was militantly atheist. "But it tastes good," I answered. "Whatever," he shrugged. "Your funeral." Joke ended up on him, though. I'm a free man, whereas he's serving time. Went up to Alaska and somehow got caught with indecent pictures of young folks. Funny - in the four years of our weird rivalry-friendship, I never got a hint of those predilections. Maybe the cold made him crazy.

It's not cold during my journey, thankfully. It's late spring, the warm breath of summer apparent in the weather even as I head further east before turning us north. The rolling hills, plains, and plain greenery of my first two decades plus eventually blur past - a natural landscape I despised when I longed to flee, but which I now appreciate after ten years of the endless beige where I have lived up until the point of the present plague.

A couple days after entering my native region, I'm in a thick, hilly forest, and coming into view is the cabin I spent summers with my family. Following my parents' death, I'd bought out my sister's share, sensing I would want to go back some day. Turns out I needed to come back. This is no palatial hunting lodge - no fancy bed, hot tub, or orientalist room awaits me. It's just a small living room with two bedrooms, a small bathroom, and a tiny kitchenette.

After unlocking the door and letting the dog inside, I take some time to inspect the exterior, The wood's rotting in places and in need of replacement, but I don't have the money or the handyman skills for that right now. Fortunately, the run out back where Hopper does his business still has its metal mesh, if slightly rusted from unseen thunderstorms.

Yes, this will do nicely while I wait out the epidemic.

Once I've unpacked, I sit at the solid, unlovely old oak table with the four chairs and arrange the volumes of "Medieval Nobility" on the table, randomly flipping each one open.

Time for me to pick a family and start reading.
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:50 PM   #2
Cap Ologist
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Can't wait!
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Old 06-02-2020, 04:48 AM   #3
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap Ologist View Post
Can't wait!

Thanks! I'll be updating more slowly than usual (obviously) because reasons, but glad you're along.

****

"There is perhaps no tale more interesting in Northern European history than that of the Kolguyevids. This particular tribe of tundra Nenets lived on the island that gave the group and family its name - Kolguyev Island. A 1,350 square mile circle a mix of moraines and bogs, the island stretches 50 miles across and goes no higher than just under 550 feet at its highest elevation.

In short, Kolguyev Island looked to be the last place to ever spring a notable dynasty. It was a small, imperfect, and inhospitable circle of an island - a spit of land in the equally minor and shallow Barents Sea.

The Nenets themselves are a nomadic peoples, following their reindeer herds from summer to winter pasture and back again in a rhythm that echoes those of nature's seasons. What made the Kolguyevids different was their limited range and the ingenuity of one man - a garrulous, slightly deranged by today's standards, chief who ascended to leadership of the island in 769.





Nabitko Kolguyevid (historians have assigned the eponymous island name as the family name for convenience sake) was a boisterous, gregarious man who won the leadership of the tribe through his diplomatic arts. No skilled warrior, he foresaw a future in which the Kolguyevids would spread far beyond their island, acquiring territory on the mainland and securing a permanent foothold. No longer, he reasoned, would future generations be bound to their lonely ice home in the sea.

But in order to secure that future, the tribe needed to change its mindset from pastoral to warlike. And this came through an aggressive building program - twinning augmentation of the island's natural, glacial defenses with training the able members in the art of combat.

Initially, the people were skeptical. Why change a way of life that worked? The Kolguyevids had been left alone on their sanctuary, free to preserve their culture and language. No one sought to invade, and it all seemed like too much trouble - too much disruption.

Until Nabitko cut out his own eye in sacrifice to the gods.

Seeing this heroic gesture, the tribe fell into line. After all, if the chief was willing to devote himself literally body and soul to the cause, why should the people be less devoted?

Unfortunately, the chief's decision to reinforce his devotion a decade later by cutting off his own hand backfired. He died at age 50 from his self-amputation injuries. Nonetheless, as the below chart illustrates, his efforts at strengthening the might of Kolguyev Island succeeded admirably. Now it was up to his chosen successor and favorite son, Tatva, to go forth and realize his father's dreams..."

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Old 06-06-2020, 02:10 PM   #4
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Removing one's sensory organs and limbs strikes me as the height of insanity - after all this isn't Heavy Rain or being stuck alone in the wilderness, where extremity removal is an extreme measure of necessity for survival. Then again, I'm a man in the wilderness with a dog, so who knows? Maybe I'll reach the point where I'm driven to such measures. Hopefully not, but it's easy to be blase in the late spring, before the blush of summer. Winter might well whisper another story - particularly if this pandemic continues apace.

As I sit outside the front door, listening to the leaves murmur with the wind shaking by, I muse. Cigarette bit and lit between teeth. I still have enough supplies to last a couple days, and thanks to a signal booster, the Internet connection to continue my remote work and ensure income. In the distant valley, the buildings of the nearest town look sleepily up at me. Though I only intend to make runs as absolutely necessary, civilization is not far away. But again, the snow and ice that heap on as early as November and have been known to stretch into April in the long, brutal cold stretch will present difficulties.

But that's a half year away, I suppose. No reason to register on the panic index so soon.

Hopper bounds out for a pet and roll to belly scratches. I'm careful to keep the ashes away from him. His grey muzzle concerns me, as has the fact that he hasn't known these climes not much kinder than Kolguyev Island.

Speaking of, time to head back in and resume reading. Although the first chapter was more boring than expected, perhaps it'll pick up in the second round.

***

If Tatva Kolguyevid was known for one thing, it was that he was an exceptional military commander. 19 years old when he became Chief, he dreamt of uniting all the Nenet tribes into a single kingdom. He hastily summoned the army and set sail for Kanin, but that speed proved his undoing, as the war ended in a white peace. Learning his lesson from that mistake, the chief learned patience, waiting until his forces were fully ready before striking again. This second excursion was successful - giving the Kolguyevids access to the mainland. A quick conquest of Mezen immediately followed.

Not long after, he saw the opportunity to wrest the High Chiefdom of Zavarot from a divided ruler and took that domain with ease. The new vassals - his first - would later prove problematic, but for the time being, it was a key step in realizing his dream.

Having forged a considerable territory, Tatva, who became known as the Lucky for his ability to so speedily expand and consolidate the Kolguyevid power base, decided that it would be prudent to move his capital to Kanin. This would make mainland excursions far easier, and later events would prove this decision one of the most prescient of his life.





The buildup policy of his father Nabitko continued, and High Chief Tatva II's military prowess and focus on his new capital of Kanin led to the establishment of a permanent regimental grounds - further bolstering what was already becoming one of the strongest and most powerful territories in that part of the world.





Yet, all of these efforts were not cheap. And so Tatva organized military raids into the much wealthier high chiefdom of Bjarmia to the southwest. Realizing during the raid that this was a military inferior, the high chief went to war - recognizing that it would involve a vast gain of territory - just enough to crown himself King of the Nenets once he raised the money.

Unfortunately, the campaign was a disaster. Thousands of tribesmen rose up and crushed the technologically superior Kolguyevids through sheer force of numbers. Worse, the High Chief was trapped and only escaped with his life by allowing his best friend to be imprisoned. It was a dishonorable decision that permanently stained his reputation and standing.

Bankrupted after this humiliation, Tatva recognized he needed allies. Fortunately, about this time, his eldest daughter came of age - a brilliant young woman who would help secure the family's future.





Through this marriage to the son of a powerful Pecheng warlord, Tatva II entered into an alliance and again warred for Bjarmia once the treasury recovered. The Pechengs joined in, and this time there was no mass uprising in response. Bjarmia was won. And now it remained simply to wait.





However peaceful Zavarot was externally, internally featured strife. Tatva II's first wife had only produced daughters. While the High Chief did have sons, it was with his brother's wife. None ever detected the lovers, and it is only through recent DNA testing that scholars have discovered every single one of the alleged children of Tatva II's brother and his wife actually were sired by the High Chief.

It was not until Tatva II's second wife that a son was finally born. Not that it mattered for the succession - the electors still overwhelmingly favored the High Chief's younger brother over the son

At 54 years old, facing an undesired succession (even if it meant his sons would resume the throne after his brother's death), Tatva II was running out of time to raise the funds to be king.

And then it all fell apart. The originally conquered High Chief of Zavarot made his move.





Nenyts slayed Tatva II in the duel, taking the High Chiefship back and - most devastating of all - the Koguyevsid home island.

Ironically, this result meant that Tatva II's lone son and not the brother assumed power following the High Chief's death by duel. Lucky indeed that the outcome he desired came to pass - though at a monkey's paw bargain.
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2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

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Old 06-06-2020, 04:22 PM   #5
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Unfortunately, while the subsequent ruler managed to gain enough territory to qualify for creating the throne, his vassals soon outpowered him and that stupid duel event fired again. Once again a loss, and down to a single scrub county (Mezen) because the game wouldn't let me inherit my prize county with chosen heir (that part followed correctly, but I don't understand why it defaulted me to the worse of the two situations - other than it was eldest son?)

Anyway, I was so disgusted by that, I quit. The duel mechanic is stupid and it seems like there's zero reason to ever do it. Either you die and lost everything or you instantly become Craven.
__________________
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
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