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Showing posts from September, 2010

A question about site formatting

Hello all,

I recently changed the colour scheme of this site while fiddling about with Blogger's new templates and found that I couldn't replace the original.  The white and green replacement was a bit hard on the eyes and uninspiring, so I have switched yet again to another format.  If you have any opinions about this one (softer colours but perhaps the text is now harder to read?), please let me know in the poll in the right margin or leave a comment down below.



A Climactic Meeting with Fate in the Chapel of St. Narcissus

Taken aback by the black-clad figure approaching him from across the ruined chapel, Duke Jiri finally recognized him, crying “Who?… Why? …Velimir Milutin!”.  Jiri was somewhat stunned, as he had not seen Velimir in very many years.  Velimir was one of Duchess Franka’s cousins, and he had been a prominent and accomplished young officer in King Wastrelmir’s army that was vanquished by Viceroy Surov.  Following that battle, he had been imprisoned and the Viceroy confiscated his baronial domain of Pivow in Wladruja.  Finally ransomed by his family, he left Syldavia an exile, gaining service with the Duke of Zadar.  That is no coincidence, Velimir surely knows some of these would-be rebels, thought Jiri.  Velimir had finally returned having taken Holy Orders as an initiate of the monastic house of St. Stanislaus, one of several socially and politically-prominent men who had became initiates in recent years.  And this is no coincidence either – these are the men who the Bordurians are tryin…

Jiri marches to Starisveta

The early morning found Duke Jiri and his commanders before the walls of Douma, marshalling up their little army for the march to Starisveta.The force comprised the town’s garrison and the levy from Douma and the surrounding countryside.Enough newly-called up men were present, sleepy and only a matter of hours from their farms, that the organization of the army proved somewhat chaotic.
It was, however, a clear morning and it promised to be a fine day for marching.The light, still a soft gold after the dawn, glinted on the polished metal in the men’s armour, harness and weapons, and picked out the bits of red cloth (the colour of Hum’s flag) they wore .The army, which was otherwise plain in homespun linen and wool, thereby gained a sparkling, dazzling effect for a moment.Duchess Franka rode out from the town and joined Duke Jiri and her son Konstantin once the troops were finally in order.She carried the standard of the Duchy of Hum in her own hands and rode holding it aloft before hand…

Eve of departure

At the end of a long day organizing the levy soldiers and the wagons and mule trains to support them, Duke Jiri found himself at his table in the Great Hall accepting a silver cup of wine from his wife and then offering a toast to the officers and knights who were to ride with him in the morning.  A hearty cheer rising from the throats from the men and women in the hall answered the toast.  A second and more jubilant cheer came as a squad of servitors who were sweating from the kitchen’s heat hauled platters of roasted geese in.  With appetites honed by the imminent prospect of adventure, comradeship and of an encounter with unknown dangers, the Duke’s guests were in a high mood and so feasted grandly. 
Jiri and Franka left as soon as it was seemly to do so and retired to their chambers.  There, the two looked out from a window, onto the castle walls, the town and the harbour, which were illuminated by moonlight.  Waves rolled and crashed on the sandy shore, where a string of small fi…

Stépan Gladic meets the mysterious visitor

Stépan Gladic roused his troop of young knights in training, nearly three dozen men in all, and set them to work preparing their horses and armour.  Those who had made the long and hurried trip back to Douma with Duke Jiri were still tired and stiff, they grumbled to be turned out into the stable yard.  Despite the privileged origins of most of this group, Stépan had forbidden them the service of squires until they completed their training.  Until that time, they had the rank of common soldiers and they had to work alongside the common men tending the animals and their own kit.  Stépan had set a personal example in their training, himself working in the stables and in the mud, training riders, teaching the use of sword and lance, shoeing the horses and seeing to their health.  The regular cavalry troopers, mostly an experienced and competent lot who were used to Stépan’s egalitarian leadership, followed his example and looked at the young blue bloods with a mentoring, if  sceptical, e…

The council hears Jiri's plan

Duke Jiri looked over his group of officers, gathered together on the highest battlements at Douma.  He had their rapt attention.  His just issued words  “prepare…threat…Borduria”  hung pregnant in the air and in the minds of the officers and all went still.  Jiri steeled himself and continued.  “I have called you up here so that we may speak in privacy a few minutes and not be disturbed by Baron Dokovic or some agent of his.  All that I say is in the strictest confidence.”

“The Bordurians are overextended and vulnerable and have been since the Venetians and their Crusade arrived in our lands.  Our “friends” the Venetians have managed to convince the Bulgars to join their expedition against the Byzantines and so Viceroy Surov has had to raise both troops and treasure for his Bulgar overlords, even as he looses Ragusia to his supposed allies.  One could almost feel sorry for him!   Sorov has stripped inner Syldavia and Borduria of men and is raising new taxes.  He must be gambling on a q…

Jiri calls a Council of War

Hello all,
I have neglected this blog quite a bit this summer, having been on the road almost continually - I'm just back from yet another trip, this time to Paris!  More on that later, suffice to say I spent all the time I could in some excellent museums (when I wasn't sipping champagne on the terrace, of course).  

When last I wrote, Duke Jiri had just returned from an eventful hunting trip to his stronghold in the town of Douma. During this trip he learned that there was a popular uprising in his Duchy and that the agents of Hum's Bordurian overlord, the Viceroy Surov, were working in various ways to impose direct Bordurian rule on his Duchy.  After vacillating like a Syldavian Hamlet, Duke Jiri has decided on a course of action...   I have written a new bit for the story of Duke Jiri (just read on below).  I have also prepared a little map of the Duchy of Hum, western Syldavia where I have sketched out the route of Jiri's recent travels and added some place names whi…