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Showing posts from March, 2010

Duke Jiri's long road to Douma, as imagined by Prof. Halembique

Just after dawn, Duke Jiri arose with his retinue and descended the mountain.  At the edge of the trail, they met Dragan the huntsman waiting with three of the mounted crossbowmen and two horses with empty saddles, one of which limped from a wound in its flank.  “Welcome Dragan, you succeeded with the Bulgars then?” asked Jiri.  “Yes, we did my lord. There were only two of them in the end.  They were a very dangerous pair but we managed to catch both. We had a little luck with the low sun and their carelessness.  Piotr was very unlucky, however.  We buried him in the woods back near the bridge” replied Dragan. 
“Ah, no!   That was a brave risk you all took on our behalf, my thanks to you” said Jiri, with regret.  After a long pause Dragan continued “We buried the Bulgars in the woods as well and hid the carcass of one of their horses as best we could in the dark.  We saved the Bulgars’ clothes and caps as we thought that they might come in handy should we be spotted by another patrol”…

Professor Halembique’s dream pt 4

Following the directions given by Dragan, the huntsman, Duke Jiri lead his troop of knights down the track and up the mountainside to the shepherd's hut, arriving as the evening light began to truly fade.  With a torch hastily light, a quick inspection showed the place to be a very cozy and well-built stone hut with one simple room and a stone-paved floor.  It was a rather elaborate affair for a simple shepherd and it was apparently in regular use. With only the barest of gruff orders from Stépan, the young knights were soon putting their hands to good if inexpert use, unaccustomed to menial work as they were.  Horse were unsaddled and brushed down, the hut was swept out, a fire set in the hearth, and a saddle blanket covered the hut’s small window in order to shut out the chill air and prevent the light of the fire from showing their presence.  Soon the group were resting in the very crowed room and nibbling on their modest rations. 
Jiri stepped outside to take the first watch an…

Prof. Halembique’s second dream pt 3

A revolt in Hum? Jiri’s head was frozen in confusion at the news. How? There had been no clue that this was in the wind, things had been calm just a few days ago. While Jiri struggled to collect his thoughts, the messenger, a cavalryman based in Douma, continued: “…and as well, my lord, Bordurian soldiers forced their way into the monastery of St. Narcissus and arrested several monks. The rebellion broke out almost right away. Lord Drogo, the castellan at Douma, sent me as soon as our scouts could confirm what was going on”.

Jiri began to regain his composure as the messenger spoke. He finally placed the young man as intelligent soldier by the name of Matija, the son of a respectable burger family. That the Bordurians are arresting monks would surely be enough of a provocation for an uprising. Trouble is going to break out everywhere if these arrests are widespread. The cloister of St. Narcissus is in Starisveta, that is about five leagues or so northwest from Douma, near the coast. …

Prof. Halembique’s second dream pt 2

Dusty from a few days on the road, Duke Jiri and his party arrived at his hunting lodge and set about making themselves comfortable, well-fed and merry.  The next day, the group set out in eager pursuit of an elusive stag who had shown himself near the lodge.  Jiri hung back with his huntsman who,  while scanning the woods and then, nocked an arrow and nodded into the trees, whispering “My lord, there is a stranger standing in the trees just over there”.  Jiri followed the huntsman’s eyes, “Ah yes, so there he is, and right on time.  It is safe, but keep your finger on your bowstring and your eyes open for anyone else, I must not be disturbed”. 
As Duke Jiri walked forward, out from the trees stepped a man with a long sparse beard dressed in a weather-stained brown cloak.  He lead a non-descript nag whose bridle he tied to a branch, then he bowed to Jiri saying in reedy voice “My lord”.  “So, what news do you have to tell me?”  said Jiri, closing his own cloak about him.  Jiri disliked…

Project progress and a small change in direction...

...Or is it two directions at once?
When I started my Syldavia project, I hadn’t paid much attention to my world of little lead men for quite some time.  Back in the day, when I lived close to an active gaming group, I had been quite active in Napoleonic wargaming and I built up some substantial armies in 15mm, along with the trimmings (terrain, including a number of scratch-built buildings).  I packed all that great weight with me during a few moves and I remain happy that I did so as I liked peeking at them and putting them through drills from time to time, even if I didn’t get around to playing much.  Solo wargaming is prone to periods of drought, at least in my case.  After my long-slumbering urge to paint and play returned again, I looked for something new to try out.  This turned out to be the SYW and my own Imagi-Nation project, having been inspired by stumbling onto EvE and a few related websites.  I can clearly recall the very fun hour during which I surfed onto both Der Alte’…

Prof. Halembique’s second dream

Prof. Halembique stirred in his chair, let out a long exhalation, and then settled back into his chair and his dream. (Please note that this story precedes that related in the post of Feb. 10).
Jiri Almazout, the Duke of Hum, departed from his home in Douma to go hunting on a family estate at the northern frontier of the Duchy.  For a self-respecting Duke (that is to say, a man who goes to bed at night thinking it possible that he will be king by morning), Jiri was travelling as lightly as he could.  He had with him only his favourite horse, a very imposing, well-muscled and nervous animal with a gleaming back coat, his hunting steed and a small party consisting of a guest (a visiting French knight on pilgrimage to Jerusalem), a handful of apple-cheeked and enthusiastic youthful noble companions, a more sober kinsman who was a long-time member of his personal retinue, his falcon-holder, a huntsman, an equerry, an Italian cook, a small troop of mounted men at arms and crossbowmen (one c…