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Recent content by monnikje

  1. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    @BondBroker: Or is it just fantasy?
    @King_Harlaus: Sssst, it's actually a secret. You are the first to figure it out.
    Thanks! Good to hear that you like the ending.
  2. monnikje

    Finally finished 'Me, Floris'

    Hi guys, There is a small thing I wanted to share with you. After quite a few years I finally finished the AAR 'Me, Floris', on which this mod is based. So if you want to know the story of Floris, how he ended up in Calradia, how he fared over there and how it all ends, just go to this thread...
  3. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Epilogue
    3 March 1264

    Dear Diary,

    For almost 30 years I've travelled the world, sailed the seas and seen strange lands. But for the past few months I've been really lost. I've sailed with several different ships, which have all sunken in different storms. Five times I've been rescued from certain death while clinging to the remainders of the ship's debree. But this time, on my sixth attempt, my ship stayed save. We braced the storms and survived. I have no clue tough where these storms have led me. The sun still rises, and the sea is still blue, but the stars all look different. The old constellations I have learned to trust have all disappeared, and new ones blink in the night. I don't know how this is possible: all I know is that I'm very far away from my home.

    Home... I haven't been there in 30 years. My dear Holland. For all I know my children and everyone I love must think I'm dead. I don't know if I ever can go back, but I can at least try. It is easier to forget my past and move on to what lies ahead of me, but if I understand the contents of this diary correctly, that will bring me only sorrow in the end. I must remember the past, and this diary is perfect for that. I can't remember any of the previous attempts I made to conquer Calradia, but this diary showed me at least the sixth one. For almost three decades I must have travelled there each time, tried to make my way and failed, forgetting each attempt after I set sail, ending up at one of the harbors again and again. I still don't remember anything else but my former life as Floris IV, former count of Holland: born in The Hague in 1210, becoming count when my father Willem I died on 4 February 1222, and my marriage with Machteld of Brabant in 1224. I even remember the six beautiful children we got. They must be married adults by now, with children of themselves. How I long to see my unknown grandchildren, and how torn I am knowing that I can't .

    I remember how my rule as count of Holland ended at that stupid tournament in Corbie, France, in 1234. After my duel with Philippe I fled, and got driven away by a storm in Zeeland. That must have been the moment I started to visit Calradia for the first time, never able to escape. It is still hard to believe what I have written the past seven years in this diary, especially since I can't remember anything of it. But I have to believe. If I ever want to escape the claws of Calradia, I have to conquer it and prevent its destruction myself. I should meet Hakim as soon as possible: he seems the most reasonable man around those parts. Together we must make a plan. He must see that him winning isn't the solution.

    Things are about to change. I heard from the sailors that we will soon dock in one of the harbors of this land, Calradia, in one of the six kingdoms. There I will find a way, hopefully before the country finds out that I know what it really is. And if I will fail in this next attempt, I will just have to try again, saving this diary to show me the way. To teach myself of the errors, to show myself a way out. Calradia: brace yourself, for Floris is coming to town.

    000floris.jpg


    *****
    Gameplay notes
    This is it: the final chapter of Me, Floris. I had this ending planned for quite a while. I want to thank everyone for reading the past few years. It has been a wonderful ride.

    The pictures from chapter 60 show the following:
    The first one shows the interior of Blagaj Tekija: an old Dervish monastery near the village of Blagaj in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
    The second one shows the sunrise near Rio, Greece.
    The third one shows lake Vänern as seen from Vänersborg, Sweden.

    You know, I think there have been a lack of castle photo's in the past few updates. That's why I want to finish with a few photo's of castles I took during my holiday. I put the names between spoilers so you can still guess.

    061a.png

    This one should be easy. It is of course the Muiderslot in Muiden, the Netherlands.

    061b.png

    Burg Hohenzollern near Hechingen in Germany. I took this photo from another hill, looking down on the castle in the fog. I also saw a snail killing a mouse and devouring it, but that's a story for another time.

    061c.png

    Reichsburg Cochem, in the German town of Cochem. I actually climbed on a roof to take this picture.

    061d.png

    Castello Malcesine, in Malcesine, at the Garda Lake in Italy, not too far from Venice.

    061e.png

    Grad Otocec, in Otocec in Slovenia. This nice castle is lying on a small island and the shores of the river have nice forests. It's a really peaceful place.

    061f.png

    Ok, not a castle, but I think you guys would like this small church: Heidal Kirke in Norway, on the road from Oslo to Trondheim.

    061g.png

    Schloss Anholt in Isselburg, in Germany. Germany has quite a few nice castles.

    061h.png

    Castelul Bran, in Romania. This is the castle which Bram Stoker based Dracula's castle upon.
  4. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Chapter 60: Rebirth
    16 December 1263

    Dear Diary,

    Yalen is gone, along with almost everyone. I was as far as I know the only person to escape the destruction of the city. A city filled with all the Nord, Rhodok, Swadian, Vaegir and Khergit people, along with a lot of Sarranids. But not all Sarranids. Hakim had gathered an army of a thousand men, men who had not fallen for the call of Calradia. He had marched slowly, avoiding any contact and arriving just in time at the final battlefield to witness the end of the world as we knew it. He saw me jumping on the roofs, saw Nelda and Ragnar both conjuring the destructive force of the land itself and concluded that if he wanted to survive, he had to stop them. And so he did: with a folley of arrows he pinned both of them to the walls, allowing me to escape the final destruction. Now there is only a big crater filled with lava left.

    His men had build a small mosque, where he guided me after I had escaped the desintegration of Yalen. There we sat down, had a hot but bitter drink he called 'coffee' and just stared at each other for quite a while. When we finished our drinks, he finally broke the silence by saying: 'I have won, but I couldn't have done it without you.'

    When I kept silent, he continued: 'You have no men left, Calradia has lost all its power: I'm the only ruler with soldiers. I could easily have you executed and be the only one left.'

    'No, you can't kill me,' I replied in a soft voice. 'You could try, of cours, but you could never end my life. Not here.'

    'Ah, you have figured it out,' he replied with a smile. 'That's a first. You came further then the last few times.'

    060a.png

    The interior of Hakim's small mosque.

    His words stunned and alerted me. The last few times? I have came here before, lived here a life, and started over? It's like a song played over and over by a bard. Am I the subject of an everchanging balad, it's words changing with each telling? If each song started fresh with my arrival in these strange lands, I would of course not remember anything of the previous sang version. The fox Renart doesn't remember anything that is about to happen to him when a bard starts telling his epos, does he? That leaves one question: 'How come you remember it if the song of this land starts over every time?'

    With these words Hakim shook his head, smiling sadly.

    'The funny thing is, I don't remember anything. I just have a feeling. I can feel the country in my veins, I feel how it is dying and being reborn. Yalen isn't the only place that has sunken and is being lost to the blazing fire: the entire land breaks to pieces. Fire engulves everything, and water cools it down. Come, look at how the sea is taming the pit of Yalen.'

    Together we walked outside and witnessed how the sea indeed started to flow into the big gaping hole. Beneath the hot steam a new land arose.

    'With me being the only remnant of the old land, not counting my soldiers of course, the guardianship is left to me. It's a powerless guardianship tough: I can't change anything myself. But this is why I can now feel things in my guts that I haven't felt before. And the past few years I have pieced together things just like you. You inspired me.'

    We both witnessed how a new soil was created by fire and water, how the land was being reborn. It was a magnificent sight. But it paled by the red hot blaze that raged across the mountains. I finally knew why the sky was red. Not because the sun didn't want to come up, but because the rest of the lands had already fallen prey to the hotness of hell. The lands were being remade, as if God had decided to start over.

    060b.png

    The land is being reborn.

    'How long do you think we have, before the fire reaches the shore?'

    Hakim thought for a little while. 'I think a few days. Then everything will be destroyed, and we will all be reborn, not knowing what has happened before. There is no escape. I think we should enjoy our final days.'

    That was not something I could do. I could not await the final moment without trying to do something. If the entire country was being remade, respaped and resung, I would start over by entering the harbor of Praven on a ship. I would set foot again, being attacked again. It would all start over. But I would come from the sea. On a boat.

    'Hakim, what if I boarded a boat and set sail? Sailing away from Calradia? What would happen?'

    'No matter in which direction you sailed, you would end up in the harbor of one of the Calradian cities. No matter how long you would sail: once you gazed upon these lands, you would forget all your time spend here and start over.'

    It was a derpessing thought. But if I only forgot, and wouldn't be engulfed by the wild waves...

    'I think this is my best chance tough. I would need to be as far away from these lands before the final heatwave would reach the shore. I would also need ragged clothes, for those were the things I wore when I first came tho these shores. There is a slim chance there and I want to try it.'

    'I tell you, you will forget it all. But these are your final days as well, so if you want to sail in ragged clothes ...' I could see in his eyes he suddenly understood. 'Yes, sail in ragged clothes. Men, prepare one of the Nord vessals! You, you and you, you will be poor sailors. Dress according to that. And you: find some captain's cloths for yourself. The rest: help in the preparations. We need the ship to be ready before nightfall.'

    I couldn't help myself but smiling. I might start over in a few days, end up in a fresh Calradia in a few months, forget everything I had done, but at least I would then have one tool that would allow me to win. One instrument that would make me emperor and let me defeat Calradia forever. It was time to set sail.

    060c.png

    I would have to sail across the sea, to end up where I started.


    *****
    Gameplay notes

    The pictures of chapter 59 show the following:
    The first one is Kaiserburg Trifels by night: it's an old German castle in the western part of Germany.
    The second one is the view at Byrkjelo, in Norway.
    The third one is Meteora in Greece.
    The fourth one is the mosque of Ferizaj in Kosovo.
  5. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Chapter 59: Downfall
    15 December 1263

    Dear Diary,

    I was trapped. And not only I: my entire army was inside the city of Yalen, surrounding a fortress filled with hostile Nord, while we self were surrounded by the hordes of Calradia. The night was dark and full of noises: everyone was preparing a siege, a battle, a final confrontation. This was the moment that would determine our fate forever. This was the perfect time for the world to hold its breath. And since it was windless, I guess that's exactly what the world was doing.

    How many men had I lost already? How many men would fall before this struggle between me and the world would finally be over? It wasn't of my concern, I couldn't care. Not now that I knew that they weren't men. I had figured out what this world was, and it wanted to prefent me from gaining the upper hand. I was winning, I had the lands gathered and the people behind me. But now I was trapped. The walls were breached, so there was no protection from them. In the morning everything would change. Where had it gone wrong?

    059a.png

    I await the morning.

    In the morning the sun again set the sky on fire. The fortress was as impenetrable as the previous day, the city was in ruins and every inch was filled with people, the campment outside was filled with hostile ... Whatever they were. Thousands upon thousands surrounded my army. The Rhodoks must have felt the same way when I had laid siege to them a day before, with the difference that a red fog was now creaping over the landscape. Clouds apparently had been rolling over the mountains during the night and had joined the hostile army headed by my wife.

    I shouted orders to prepare for the attack. They would not have to breach the walls: the makeshift fortifications my men had put up during the dark hours would definately not be sufficient to stop them. Before I'd know these creatures would swarm the already crowded streets. But they were not the only problem: I surrounded the Nords, who could attack to all sides given the chance. Containing one army and defending against the other: it was absolutely the worst situation I had gotten myself in. How did I manage to screw this up in such a way?

    It wasn't long before the first arrows and bolts began flying around. I could hear them clattering on the roofs of all the houses. The sky was filled with wood. For a moment I feared that they would light the city, with everyone in it, but seeing no flames erupting, I breathed releaved. I could only imagine the confusion at both hostile camps: they were firing, but weren't getting any response. When the noises of arrows hitting tiles stopped, I knew it was time for the next phase: invasion. The creatures moved to the walls, protected by a layer of fog unlike anyone had seen before. Thick as syrup, dark as the terror of the night, red as the blood filled sky. All my men awaited their entry in silence.

    059b.png

    Clouds came rolling through the mountains as a sea of terror.

    The streets were shrouded, hidden by the countless enemies, who themselves were hidden by the menacing clouds. I could almost hear them thinking what had happed to me and my ten thousand men strong army. Had we flown away in the night? When the last of them had entered town, and lady Nelda met halfway with king Ragnar, I finally gave the signal my men had been waiting for. From all sewers, attics and other hidden places my men sprung forward. Storming out of the houses, coming out of the ground, we overwhelmed the invaders. The streets were packed: there was barely any room to fight, with almost the entire Calradian population packed in these streets.

    Who are the devils? The creatures who aren't people, or the men who crawl out of the ground? With all the fog swarming around I couldn't tell who screamed the most. But since I was able to walk through the streets, I assumed my side was winning. Calradia hadn't expected me to pull of this stunt. But what could the land do about it, now that almost everyone in the world was together?

    Just as soon as my thoughts had formed that sentence, I felt that the country had an answer. The ground started shaking, everyone stopped fighting. Something was amiss. The fog began to press heavily on the ground, crushing everyone who stood in between them. I tried to hack my way through with my sword, but a fog couldn't be hurt by mere steel. With the screams from men being crushed all around me, I did the only thing I could think of: climb on the roof of the nearest house. Once up there I could see the destruction the clouds were bringing. Not only the people were being crushed: the ground itself started to collapse. Entire blocks were being pushed down, sections of the city were disappearing in a deep darkness. Tiny islands with houses were left. And all I could see was the fortress, standing tall, with Ragnar and Nelda raising their arms and eyes as red as a bloody fire.

    I jumped from roof to roof, trying to get closer, but with every step I came closer, the two seemed to get farther away. Rocks were flying around, houses falling or floating: the land itself was being ripped apart by forces to great to comprehend. To understand. To imagine. But still I witnessed them with my own eyes. Beneath me everyone was falling, dying, resurrecting and dying again. How could I end this madness? I had thought I had found a way, thought that if I could unite all people in a way that was unlike something Calradia had ever seen, I would be able to break the spell, to defeat the country. But it had unleashed a self destructing force that was even worse than the burning rocks falling from the sky. The land was killing itself and every inhabitant in the process.

    059c.png

    The ground had fallen away, splitting the city in separate islands.

    Nelda and Ragnar. They could have each other. As long as I could end this madness. There I jumped on another building, another roof. And another one collapsed. Then I heared a horn afar, a distant sound. Who had escaped this slaughterhouse? Even Ragnar and Nelda, as servants of the land itself, were surprised by it. I turned around and saw another army marching towards the remnants of the city. There could only be one person cunning enough to escape the fate of this city, the fate the country had in mind for its people: Hakim. The man with his own agenda.

    Before I knew it, arrows were in the air, flying over me, towards the two hostile rulers. I could see both of them being pierced, rammed into the walls behind them. It would not kill them, at least not for long, but slow them down enough for me to escape the last remnants of this dying city. Immediately I jumped from roof to roof, away from the fortress, the city center, the destruction. Behind me a long screach sounded and everything started to collapse. Not just parts of town: everything. A quick look behind me showed me how the fortress sank away, taking my wife with it. Her screams would haunt me. Hopefully she wouldn't follow these screams.

    I kept on jumping, until I finally reached the damaged walls. As I slipped through the cracks, the ground swallowed the last remnants of Yalen. Nothing remained of the city and almost all inhabitants of the world but a big gaping hole. Deep beneath I could see a red light and feel an unearthly warmth coming towards me. The city had gone straight to hell. As I stared down, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Hakim took a look, and then silently guided me away. Without saying a word we walked towards a buiding his army had erected upon arriving: a small mosque. There we would talk. There we would be safe for the moment.

    059d.png

    The small mosque where Hakim took me.

    *****
    Gameplay notes

    The pictures of chapter 58 show the following:
    The first one is the Doge's palace in Venice, Italy.
    The second one is an overview of the old town of Prague, Czech Republic.
    The third one is castle Liechtenstein, in Austria, just a few km south of Vienna.
    The fourth one is an overview of the Italian town of Merano, not too far from the Austrian border.
  6. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Chapter 58: Conquest of Yalen
    14 December 1263

    Dear Diary,

    My army descended from the mountains and marched towards the Rhodok city of Yalen. Harim was on the move and I couldn't risk him joining the Rhodok-Nord alliance. I needed to get this battle over with before he'd arrive. If he would oppose me, I needed to be ready. And if he would side with me, he would be a much needed asset to fight the armies of Calradia. I had ten thousand people under my command: it should be possible to conquer this city, even now that the Nords had sailed up and joined them in a most unlikely alliance. But what if I could convince them to join me, to fight Calradia at my side? To be part of a new and reborn empire? It was an idea worth pursuing while my men got ready for the big fight.

    So I commanded my army to set up camp and begin the siege, while I sended messengers towards the gates to convince both Ragnar and Graveth to have a chat with me. For an entire day they put their diplomatic pressure on those two rulers, until they returned with an invitation: I could join them in Graveth's palace. Should I do that? I would be in the heart of the enemy's capital, at their mercy. But it was my only shot at uniting the lands without loosing too many men. I took my precautions and rode through the city gates, through the narrow streets until I reached a magnificent square, where one of the strangest palaces I had ever seen stood. It was like a normal castle had been flipped: the dungeons were on top, for example. It just didn't make any sense.

    When I entered the throne room, both Graveth and Ragnar were waiting for me. My adversaries, but especially Graveth was a real noble at heart. He was the one giving me free passage. Ragnar didn't seem to be pleased by this fact. For a moment we stared at each other in silence, not knowing what to say. I was the first to breaking the silence: 'Greetings. How are you gentlemen? All your castles and towns are belong to me. Calradia is on the way to our destruction. You have no chance to survive. Join me, and we together can rule the land as emperor and kings.'

    I could see that king Graveth was considering my offer. His land had practically fallen, everything was lost except this city. But it was king Ragnar who stood firm, who said that I had no right to invade these lands with my strange ways. That I was a pest, a scourge that needed to be eradicated. For a moment I wondered if he had undergone the same transition as my wife, if I could better burn everything to the ground, including the inhabitants. But the look on Graveths face convinced me otherwise. Even if Ragnar had bend his knee to Calradia, there were still men of free will within these walls. Too bad they wouldn't join me out of free will: I would need to force them into my army by conquering the city. With this knowledge I left. They kept their word, for I walked unharmed out of the gates. The next morning the battle started.

    058a.png

    King Graveth's palace.

    It was as if the sun peeked over the horizon and decided that enough was enough. The sky coloured red by the sunrise, but it didn't go away. Calradia was giving a clear signal: there would be no forgiving. The land would be soaked in blood, be coloured red as the sky was at this moment. Today was the day I would unite the people or die trying. I don't know if I imagined it, but for that brief moment I believed that everyone, on either side of the city walls, felt the same. There was a silence that cut through everyones hearts, a silence that was heavier than the boulders that were being loaded into the trebuchets, a silence that burned more red than the sky. A silence which I broke with one hand gesture.

    Even before I finished lowering my hand, the trebuchets hurled their deadly cargo towards the city walls. A hundred rocks heavier than anything a man could carry tried to breach the walls at several places. If I hadn't seen the goodness in Graveths eyes, they would have been soaked in burning tar. For now I needed to capture the city and let the people join me. Some payloads missed their target, hitting the ground or the houses behind the walls, but most were spot on. Another load followed. There was no need to save the walls or any structure inside: it was the people I needed, not the buildings. There were enough empty towns in the country right now. Buildings could be rebuilded. And they would need to be, seeing another payload of rocks hurling towards the thick walls.

    The destruction of the walls was something no-one had seen before. All wars had as a goal to capture each others holdings, not destroy them. Even my own men were in a state of shock seeing how my machines of war slowly tore down one layer of stone after another. Bricks were scattering, men were engulved in rumble. We could hear the screams, the pleas, between every round of firing. Dust was everywhere. Then, when the walls finally came down, I gave the order to attack. It was time to enter the city for the second time. Thousands rushed forward, as a sea of men, ready to engulf anything in its path.

    058b.png

    The city of Yalen.

    Arrows flew hence and forth while my men stormed the battlements. Cracks in the walls were used along with siege towers to gain access to the city. Thousands ran forward, climbed ladders, fought. Men fell down. Hot tar was poured down, but still my men kept coming. As locusts they swarmed the walls, overwhelming the Rhodok defenders. It must have been the shock of this quick attack, the feeling of total defeat that drove the defenders back. Or the gut feeling that the walls were lost anyway after my barrage earlier this morning. The resistance wasn't as fierce as I had expected.

    As the dust started to clear, I walked forward. The walls were mine: soon the rest of the city would follow. It wasn't long before the gates were opened and my men really started to pour into the city. Quietly I stepped over the bridge, under the gate house, avoiding to put my feet in any body. The red sun loomed over us, the ground was starting to get sticky. The world had turned red. The red roofs of the houses fitted the world perfectly.

    The streets were narrow and there was resistance everywhere. Everyone was fighting. I saw even the women engaged in a deadly game of martial arts. I didn't know tapestry could be that deadly. There was fighting all around me, but still I walked on. My bodyguards prefented any real harm to come over me. I moved forward towards the palace. My men were already tearing it apart, in search of both kings. They were not to be found. Along with the Nord warriors, and the elite Rhodok crossbow soldiers. They must have retreated to one last stronghold: the small castle at the edge of town. Hard to reach, a deathtrap that would haunt you if you just looked at it. That was where the final fight would be. I gazed upon the fortress, as it loomed in the red clouds.

    058c.png

    The last stronghold in Yalen.

    I could not get any war machines or siege towers close: it had to be ladders and men, lots of men, who would swarm the fortress. Lots of casualties. But that was the sacrifice that had to be made. The men were still fighting in the streets and narrow alleys. It all depended on my conquest of this fortress, if I could get to Graveth and Ragnar. So I send my men forward.

    Bolts and axes flew down. It was a rain of pain, cutting more men down than the defenders had previously. How many weapons had they stashed away within their battlements? And what was Ragnars role? Where would he stand? Would he and his Nord warriors really surrender to me? I watched as more men came towards the battlements, more ladders were pulled up and pushed down, more men fell in a pool of blood and burning tar. Half the people of Calradia were gathered in this small space. Two armies, mine and the Nord-Rhodok-alliance, were tightly packed. Then a horn sounded. Slowly the descent of weaponry from the fortress stopped, and my archers halted too. As quick as I could I ran towards the highest building I could find and looked out towards the lands behind me.

    It was first very faint, but I quickly realised that I had ran out of time. It was too late: lady Nelda and the hordes of Calradia had arrived at last. All the remaining men and women, living or dead, or in between, or something completely different, were marching towards the city. I was trapped. I had surrounded a hostile force, and would be surrounded myself this evening. Would there be any chance I could reason with the people inside the fortress? The answer came when several Rhodok crossbowmen were thrown of the battlements, followed by king Graveth himself. The Nords had joined Calradia, raising the old imperial flag. Now I was surely trapped.

    058d.png

    The view to the land.

    *****
    Gameplay notes

    It's great to be back :smile:. I had indeed a good time during my trip. Too bad no-one tried to guess where I took the pictures. Maybe you guys can have a go with the ones from this chapter? Anyway, here are the answers:

    Chapter 56:
    The first picture is the old royal castle in Krakau, Poland. I took it from the other bank of the Vistula river.
    The second one displays grain fields in Bohemia, in the Czech republic.
    The third one is Zamek Grodziec: a castle in Silesia, southern Poland, near the village of Grodziec.
    The fourth is Festung Hohenwerfen, a castle in the Austrian Alps, about 40 km south of Salzburg.

    Chapter 57:
    In the first picture you see the inner courtyard of castelul Bran, in Romenia, not too far from Bucharest. This is the castle Bram Stoker used for Dracula.
    The second one shows the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria: the snow is in Italy, the trees in Austria.
    The third photo shows the sunset in the national park Lovcen in Montenegro.
  7. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Chapter 57: A deserted kingdom
    12 December 1263

    Dear Diary,

    Clouds were rolling over the mountains, obscuring everything behind them. A fog as thick as butter surrounded Culmarr Castle by the time we arrived at the gates. We faced no opposition. No arrows came flying down, no tar greeted us with its hot embrace, no stones rolled down the majestic cliffs. Only fog. Thick, white fog. Even the most hardened soldiers felt unnerved by this scene. I pushed everyone aside and walked towards the gates. They rose high, hardly visible from across the stone bridge. Were the archers waiting for me to cross it alone, to strike me down without any support? Maybe it would be better to send someone else ahead of me. No, I would do this myself. For some reason I was anticipating what I would find, but still my heart raced like a hare on fire. I felt that everyone behind me was holding their breath.

    When I got to the big wooden doors, I noticed that one was ajar. I beckoned to my companions, who quickly ran towards me. Together we opened the heavy oaken door and entered the castle. Our drawn swords pierced the fog, letting narrow bands of light through. There was no wind: the fog had settled and intended to stay. Every step we took reverberated all around us. Slumbering echoes of a once busy castle seemed to finally awake again. Ghostly sounds were all around us. What happened to the people here?

    On the courtyard I heard whispers coming from the well. Did all the people pass away while their souls got trapped deep beneath the mountain? Wary I stepped closer and looked down. Darkness. Even if the fog hadn't obscured my view, I wouldn't have been able to see the bottom. I shouted; my words echoed along the stone well down. To my surprise an answer came. I couldn't understand much of it: the person down deep was speaking too fast for the echo. But when he finally calmed down, I asked him for his name. The answer he gave me shouldn't have surprised me:

    'I'm a veterano!'

    'No, I asked your name. Not your rank.'

    'I already said so, I'm a veterano.'

    It was of no use. The echoing didn't help either: to fully understand what happened here I would have to get him out of the well. And looking at the fog, listening to the silence being broken by my army, I'd rather know it sooner than later. There was no rope ladder long enough to get him out, so we lowered the rope with the bucket. Unfortunately the soldier had broken his wrists in the fall down, so it was of no use. How would we get him out? He was just a soldier, not an important figure that would rise again, like my late wife. With that exact thought I knew how I should free him. I called my best archers and let them gather around the well. Then I raised my arms and exclaimed:

    'I hereby declare that you shall henceforth be called lord Diederick, and shall be given the village of Bazeck to govern, as a loyal vassal of the kingdom of Holland.'

    Before anyone could grasp what I had just done, I lowered my arms, after which twenty arrows, with ropes attatched to them, whizzed down the well, piercing the newly named lord. Immediately all the men started to pull and soon the body of the soldier was outside his narrow prison. Looking at his bloody remains I felt some doubt. Had I made the wrong decission? I commanded the maidens travelling with me to clean him, and lay him to rest in his room. I would see him in the knight hall.

    057a.png

    The misty courtyard of Culmarr Castle, with the well.

    I didn't need to wait for long before lord Diederick appeared in the knight hall. Murmers were going around. How could he rise from the dead? How could I know this would happen? But no-one would dare to interrupt his tale with such questions while I was listening.

    'My liege, I was just a soldier before you bestowed this grace upon me, but I did hear a few things.'

    It was like hearing myself echoing. These lands really got to me.

    'Rumours of your army spread to our lands. An army greater than Calradia had ever seen. Cities emptied, castles abandoned, all in a quest to destroy our lands. More men than the eye could see. Like a swarm of locusts you would descent upon us. Them now, since I'm now one of your lords. Thank you, my liege.'

    I waved my hand so he would continue and not rattle on with thanks.

    'King Graveth thus ordered everyone to gather at the coast, to abandon all cities and castles like you did and face you with an army htat would rival yours. I dared to queston my former lord, by asking if it would be wise to basically hand all our estates to you without a fight. But upon hearing these words he shouted at me: "We! Are! Rhodoks!", after which he kicked me in this well.'

    After hearing lord Diederick's tale, I decided that there was no time to lose. We would need to cross the mountains in order to get to the sea.

    057b.png

    The mountains I would need to cross.

    The mountains were high, the passes dangerous. And even tough the earth has warmed up and the mountains were not as snowy as they should be in December, it was would still be a hazardous and cold experience. With the army I had gathered I figured we would loose most of the men and women if we would attempt to cross this dangerous landscape. Thus I decided to not go there. From Culmarr Castle we rode south, towards Etrosq Castle. It was as deserted as Culmarr. Even in the village of Dirigsene no people could be found. Dumar and Epeshe were no different. All hope abandoned, no-one left to tell any tale. Everyone had obviously headed to the coast.

    Upon reaching Dumar I let my army west, towards the city of Yalen. My army filled the entire mountain valley that lay between the village and the Rhodok capital. If there was one place where king Graveth could make a last stand, it was at that city. Slowly my army approached. I had send scouts ahead to tell me if I could savely skip this city, like I did with the castles and villages, or if this would be the location where the battle would take place.

    Today scouts from all winds returned. King Graveth has indeed entrenched himself with the entire Rhodok population in the city of Yalen. But he wasn't alone. Thousands of ships had arrived. The Nord had defied the seas and sailed around the coast. A new alliance was born: they would help defend the Rhodoks. The siege of Yalen would be moer violent and bloody than any battle Calradia had seen before. Maybe the ten thousand men and women following me now would not even be enough to take such a well defended city.

    Then more news came to me. An enormous army marched from the north-east. Nelda is coming. Everyone who had not joined my army is now part of hers. She is angry, and Calradia is using her to march against me. Can I conquer the Rhodoks, Nord and face her? I'm not sure, but I have to try. Just as I was watching the sunset over the Rhodok coast, the final scout returned. He told me that another army was on the march. Camels, horses, elephants: desert folk were crawling from beneath every rock in the wastelands in the southern part of Calradia. This could only mean one thing: Hakim is making another move. But what is it? Will he join the Rhodoks in their resistance? Join me in the offensive? Or will he have his own agenda? I need answers, and I need them now.

    057c.png

    The coast where the armies will clash.

    *****
    Gameplay notes

    Still the battle I had promised so many chapters ago hasn't happened yet, but don't worry: the stage has been set, and soon everyone will fight.

    Once again I used some holiday photo's. Can you guess where I've been? And where I took the photo's from the previous chapter?
  8. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Lord Brutus said:
    It is truly a miracle!  The dead walk among us.  :party:
    That reminds me, I still need to watch 'The Walking Dead' one day. I read quite a few of the comics tough.

    I intend to post the next chapter a little quicker: no more four-year delays (I hope).
  9. monnikje

    M&B LibrAARy - After Action Report Listings

    I have updated the LibrAARy till this moment.
  10. monnikje

    AAR: Me, Floris | Completed | Chapter 60 & Epilogue posted (19-09-2015)

    Chapter 56: The gathering storm
    5 December 1263

    Dear Diary,

    Two hundred of my finest men. That was the amount of soldiers I took with me when I left the city of Khudan. But word spread quickly: after all those years, finally War would return. The harbringer rode again, ready to reap the seeds of destruction. Messengers rushed in all directions and returned with nobles and their men from every corner of my dominion. Every day more of them joined my ride west. By the time I saw the gates of Reyvadin, a thousand men trembled the ground behind me. It was as if the earth itself shivered. Maybe it did.

    Everywhere I saw the destruction the rain of fire and rocks had wrought. Craters were the scars Calradia left upon itself. Trees were no more, forests had burned down. Some houses and even villages had felt the wrath from the sky. Columns of smoke rose. The sight reminded me of the wars that were fought until Hakim's peace. But there was a difference. Now a slight glow could be seen, even at night. It was as if the warmth of the sun had hidden beneath our feet. Winter is coming, but at this rate snow will stay far away. I did see some snowflakes falling, some as black as the soul of the lands, but none could stay. Some melted before they even touched the ground. The ground has a fever: it wants to get rid of me.

    I waited for two days at the gates of Reyvadin. There were too many men to fit in the town, but with the warmth all around us, it wasn't that big of a problem to camp outside. It felt like I laid siege to one of my own towns. That's madness. But it did give all the armies in the land time to gather around. Something has awaken. Everyone could feel it. Everyone could fear it. Everyone wanted to fight it. People from the countryside, their homes destroyed a couple of days earlier, all followed the trail I left behind. Not only the nobles were gathering men: the village elders roused everyone to join me in my quest. Raiders halted their regular plunder business. It was as if everyone had turned into moths and flew to the bright light I emitted. A beacon amidst the storm clouds that turned even a bright day into a shady and dark time.

    056a.png

    The city of Reyvadin. A storm is brewing, the clouds are gathering.

    Then, after two days of waiting, a messenger from Khudan arrived. Even before he had the chance to speak I knew it was time to continue our march. He looked like he had run for his life. Even his horse collapsed when he finally dismounted.

    'My king,' he started, hoarse and breathless, 'your city... Khudan... has fallen.'

    All around me a murmer arose. Did the Rhodoks sneak past us, had they felt what was coming for them? I could hear men mutter words of turning around and recapture the town. Weapons were drawn, horses saddled. But everyone fell quiet when I rose my hands. I looked the messenger in his eyes and asked what happened.

    'It's your wife. We didn't understand why you had the door sealed with her body still lying in it, but now we know, now we know.'

    I anticipated his next words, but still they started to hammer me down. All around me soldiers' stared to lose hope.

    'Moments after you left the knocking started. First softly, but soon it became an avid pounding. Screams we knew no creature could make came from the room. Your advisors gathered some men from the garrison and started to break through the door. If they had only known, they would left the door shut. We all feared for what was coming. What kind of monster would profane your wife's corpse?'

    I shook my head. Why hadn't they obeyed my strickt orders to leave the door closed? Maybe I should have taken everyone and abandoned the city entirely.

    'Once the door was broken down, the advisors could have a first look in the room. There they saw Lady Nelda, as beautiful as on your wedding day. Like nothing had happened, none of the cruels that were bestowed upon her had taken place. The only thing different were here eyes. A flame burned inside them, consuming everything she gazed upon.'

    Listening to his description, I heard more than he was telling me. This was a regular messenger, not a member of nobility. A man living in the town like peasants lived on the land. But his speech didn't match his status. His skin didn't look like he was a fugitive from a town where disaster had struck. And the more he spoke, the more obvious it became. I drew my sword.

    'Chaos erupted. Men fell and rose again. Women joined their ranks like something had possessed them all along. People fled, but there was nowhere to go. I managed to escape the city by climbing down the tower, via the room she had been locked in. For some reason that was the only way that wasn't blocked. After I got out, I saw the walls crumble. Clouds descended from the sky, erupted from the ground. None escaped the crushing fate laid upon them. I ran over the bridge, which crumbled after each step. I barely made it past the river. When I finally reached the village of Tismirr, the smoke started to clear. And the ground began to tremble. Like a thousand feet marched in unison. That was the moment I took a horse from the villagers and rode as fast as I could.'

    Fear. That moment it became palpable. I would lose my men before the first battle if I didn't act now. It needed to be cut short before it spread. I rose my sword, and shouted: 'Men! Back in Khudan I told you that we stood at a crossroad. Now we have crossed it, and the crossroad itself is not pleased by it. You heard the words: Khudan has fallen. But the enemy is not one you have fought before. Calradia has stricken again. We need to move and gather everyone for our march. Train every person. Empty the city: we march today!'

    While men started to cheer, I looked once more in the eyes of the messenger. There it was. I could see it clearly now. I couldn't help but smile and realised that I only needed to keep as many people close to me as possible. With this realisation I got on my horse an rode with the army over the plains near Derchios Castle.

    056b.png

    The plains near Derchios Castle.

    To get to the Rhodoks I needed to cross the lands of the Nord get through the largest of my three enclaves. Not a journey I was looking forward to. How much of a fuzz would the Nord make when they saw an army even larger than the one that had defeated them all those years ago crossing their lands? There was only one way to find out. We marched across the mountains and into the woods near Tilbaut Castle. All the common folk were getting training on the road and even before we left the trees behind us, most of them were past the recruit stage.

    As we stepped over the plains near Derchios Castle, I spotted a troupe of sea raiders. What were they doing so far south? Together with my two hundred finest men I rode towards them. There was no way for them to escape. The horses circled around them, all seventy of them. They were ready to fight, but I could smell the fear. With everyone ready to jump on each other, I dismounted, walked towards their leader and asked what they were doing here.

    'That's a nice head you have on your shoulders. We roam where we want. We raid everywhere, terrorise all! Drink from your skull!'

    I looked him in the eyes.

    'The gods decide our fate. We could face the fire raining from the sky. But when the sea started to rise and waves taller than the highest tower, sweeping across the shores, we knew it was time to leave our homeland behind.'

    The change in words: it's not sublte anymore. I can see it, hear it, feel it. The skies rain fire, the ground gobbles up cities, the sea washes away shores. Calradia is fighting the people. The land is fighting me. And we thus all become one. The sea raider must have felt something too, for he and his companions joined my ranks when I asked him. No-one is to be left behind. We marched and more raiders joined my ranks. Scouts spotted some Nord nobles with their armies, but they kept a distance. Once Calradia would cross their lands they will join, I'm still sure of that. But for now they kept to themselves and tried not to get involved in this new conflict.

    The plains were easy to cross. There were plenty of grain fields: with the men I had they were soon no more. I would need everything stockpiled for what was about to come. Soon we entered my own country once again, towards Kelredan Castle. But when it finally became visible, all men were shocked to see that only ruins were left. A direct hit from one of the burning rocks. The consuming flames must have done the rest, but only to the castle itself and not to the surrounding trees, leaving no survivors. Or did they join the land? If they had, they weren't here.

    056c.png

    All that is left of Kelredan Castle is a ruin.

    After the sight of what Calradia could and would do to everyone living here, we quickly marched on. There were more woods to pass and rivers to cross. I send messengers to both Suno and Uxkhal: all the people needed to gather as much as they could and abandon their homes. Everyone was needed. If the cities weren't emptied, they would end up like Khudan and Kelredan Castle. If that fate hadn't befallen them yet.

    Me and my army weren't the only ones reaching the bridge. The people of my domain had heeded my call to arms. All men had become soldiers. Everyone needed to fight for survival. We are an army unlike Calradia had ever seen. We are legion. We are one. And we march together to the Rhodoks. Crossing water with such a huge body of men takes a lot of time, more than I had anticipated. But once we were past it, we could ride to the mountains, who were rising up right before us.

    It is impossible for the Rhodoks to not have spotted the army marching their way. I'm also sure Hakim is aware of the fact that his peace is about to be shattered to pieces. But so far I have seen no sign of any of their activities. Men flood the passes, climb their way up the mountains. Like a swarm of locusts we blacken the land. But now we finally reached our goal: Culmarr Castle. It lies in front of us. The moment I laid my eyes upon it clouds started to roll over the mountains in an attempt to obscure my view, to hide the castle before it is too late. It is too late. I'm here, along with ten thousand men. Soon king Graveth will join my ranks or perish.

    056d.png

    Clouds start rolling over the mountains at Culmarr Castle.

    *****
    Gameplay notes

    Rallix said:
    Satrab said:
    Hey, when is the next chapter, that everyones is waiting for ? :smile:
    Ten years from now. You will have lost all hope that Calradia will be defeated, then monnikje, will come in like torrent, reviving your dreams. ...Or next week.

    Ok, it has been almost four years, so I'd say it's about time for a new chapter. What did I do in that time? Well, first I worked very hard on the Floris Mod Pack. That took all my time. In 2012 I decided to stop it and concentrate on finally finishing my thesis (if you are interested, you can have a look at my thesis over here, but be warned: it is in Dutch). After I finished that I started working, which is one of the biggest time sinks you can imagine. Ow, and I still judge for a Dutch short story competition every year.

    For the AAR I used a kind of evil warped version of the Floris Mod Pack. We did break savegame compatibility with version 2.5, so I couldn't use that, so I made a kind of hybrid with still a lot of bugs in it, but hey, it worked. I guess that's also the reason the game was able to have a peace lasting more than two years. Then, when I was writing my thesis, my computer died. My motherboard and my harddisk were gone. Luckily I had a backup of my thesis, but the evil warped version was gone forever. So even tough I still have the savegames, I can't play with them any more, since no compatible version exists anymore. That was a big bummer and hindrance to continuing the AAR, but it didn't make it impossible. If I could only find the time...

    This summer I went on a roadtrip through Europe for six weeks and made some really cool photo's. I decided to finish the story using these. So from this moment forth the story drives the chapters, and not the game. But I think the AAR had evolved to this point already anyway, so it won't be too big of a problem. At least I finally get the chance to finish it. And you can try to guess where I've been by looking at the photo's.
  11. monnikje

    Dev Diary 23 December 2012 Feedback

    Use this thread to give comments on the dev diary of 23 December 2012!
  12. monnikje

    Dev Diary

    Heya everyone,

    after a long period of quietness, we felt the need to get back in touch with you, answer some questions, address some issues and clarify the general state of affairs. First and foremost - the recent patch, which was long overdue, and an explanation for why it took us so long.

    Link to the topic with the patch

    Monnikje
    As you might have noticed, I've been very inactive the past few months. I haven't strolled around, haven't replied to many pm's: I was absent. And I'm sorry for that. But I can assure you: it was with a very good reason.

    When I started this mod a little over two years ago, I worked more than full-time on it. The first version was just a dozen mods mashed together, which I built in a few days (altough I had experimented with modding in the previous months), but for version 2.0 I worked for two months 7 days a week, almost 12 hours a day. Then Duh and Caba`Drin joined me, and later Windyplains, and I got help from a lot of others too. We all worked very hard on getting where we are now. But as you might guess: it took a lot of my time. That's not a bad thing, for I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot from it. Unfortunately I have the habit of forgetting the rest of the world once I focus on one thing. Like my study. Let me tell you something about that.

    I started studying astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam back in 2000. Some courses were easy to do, some (especially the die-hard mathematics ones) were very hard. In the end it took me seven years to finish my three-year bachelor. During this time I also picked up writing, participated in contests and even getting some stories published. After I finally got my bachelor I didn't want to do my master in astrophysics: I wanted to do something completely different. So I switched to the master 'Redacteur/Editor', which is a special master to become an editor in the Dutch publishing industry. Because of my writing I was able to make this switch: to go from one of the exact sciences to a more language based study is a big step after all. But I managed, and finished all courses within a year, after which I did an internship at one of the largest fantasy and science fiction publishers of the Netherlands. After that all I had too do was finishing my thesis. And that's where I got off track again. I couldn't get myself to work on the thesis, so a year passed in which I gamed a lot, wrote stories, won a trip to the Paradox Interactive Convention in Stockholm where I met lots of guys, including Armagan himself, got introduced to Warband, started an AAR, experimented with modding and finally started one very big mod myself (this one!). But then I really got hooked, and spend another two years working on the Floris Mod Pack. I have absolutely no regrets, but all this time my thesis was hanging like a sword of Damocles above my head.

    Last summer that sword came crashing down. I had to choose: abandon my study, or really work on it. As you can imagine, I choose the latter. And I got hooked. I make long days again, but I really enjoy working on it now, so that's not bad :smile:. Now my focus is on the thesis, and as you can imagine... I forget the rest of the world. Unfortunately this time that includes you guys. Since the beginning of September I barely visited this forum, haven't replied to pm's and have definitely not worked on the mod. Most people might be able to divide their time between the two, to work part of the day on the mod and another part on the thesis, but unfortunately I can't. When I go for something, I fully go for it.

    Some have already asked me what my thesis is about, so let me explain it here for you all. It's about popular scientific books about astronomy and astrophysics that were published in Dutch in the Netherlands between 1801 and 2000. These are books explaining for example what a star is, how many planets our solar system has or what the Milky Way is for normal people who know nothing about this subject (or only a little bit). Books you would pick up when you just want to know what is up there while knowing nothing about the subject. So not the die-hard scientific ones. I first looked at how you can explain difficult subjects for a broad public, then I catalogued all these kind of books for the nineteenth and twentieth century and the next step will be to look at different books form different times and see how the subject was explained to the public over time. As you can see, I've combined both my studies astrophysics and editor into one subject for my thesis, and absolutely love it. As a matter of fact, I wrote an article about some history of astrophysics that has been published in an online magazine this week. It's in Dutch, but if you can read that, you might have a look over here.

    This explains my absence. I'm sorry that I have abandoned you a little bit, but now you know it's for a good reason. And what about the rest of the team? They also had to focus more of their time on real life. Ranging from college to work to family. But everyone is doing well.

    The project
    Naturally the question arises what this means for the Floris mod pack. The majority of the team would enjoy creating one more version for you. The largest motivator is that we already poured quite a bit of work into said version and a large portion of the new features are finalized, the largest problem is that we still have to fuse, test and fix things into a polished state, but lack the time to do so at the moment. The next longer period of free time we ll have is going to be sometime early next year (Feb/March). Before that time, we will be absent again, but it is likely that once we reach that date, there will be another large push for the project.

    After that push Floris will be in a finished state for us. We have added many interesting things, we have made and fixed many mistakes, we learned a lot and we had much fun, yet eventually things become less attractive, one needs a change of pace and we feel that that point has been reached. Don't fall into despair though (:razz:) - Floris is entirely open source and once we move forward, we wouldn't mind, if somebody else were to continue working on or with the pack (some already do - see Cozurs Mod here). And besides that, the Workshop will still continue as an independant project. Additionally the team may come back together and kick off a new project, when Mount and Blade 2 comes out. No promises though. Since we're not that actively working at the moment, we'll also take down the recruitment sticky and we would like to apologize to those that did not receive a reply to their application - we should have found the time for at least that much.

    Wiki

    While the rest of the team was occupied by other obligations, imemine did a great job on the Floris Wiki. Have you recently taken a look at it? Not only can you find information about the different features of the mod pack, you can now also see all the items and their stats. The Wiki is a rich source of information that gives explanations for all aspects of the mod. So if you are wondering what a certain feature does, what item is better, which companion to choose, you should head over there, especially now that it contains almost all necessary information.

    The trip
    On a completely different note: last summer Duh and Nordous (from Nordous Sceners Guild) visited me! It was really a great week. Nordous travelled with his wife and two friends through Europe, and stayed a few days in Amsterdam.  Duh stayed at the same time at my place. Not only did I show them around the city, we also visited Muiderslot castle (you know, which is present in the Floris Mod Pack as Tevarin castle). Here are some impressions:
    The photo's are made by Nordous.

    603461_369559449783161_474799720_n_zpsb7886fd0.jpg


    This is Tevarin Castle... erm... I mean, the Muiderslot!

    DSC_3276_zpsb93060f9_klein_zpsbada1559.jpg


    Here we see the front left tower while standing under an archway.

    387073_4052232979249_674543983_n_zps74dcbd08.jpg


    And here we see that same tower from the inside of the castle.

    DSC_3429_zps8391bac1_klein_zps84520531.jpg


    This is the left wall as seen from the inside.

    DSC_3382_zpse3c70cdc_klein_zpsa7cb8451.jpg


    And when we look up, we see the inner castle.



    The gang is standing in front of the gate. Nordous is making the picture, so we won't see him. But the big guy with the blue shirt is Duh, and the small guy in the middle, the one wearing the one and only Floris t-shirt, is me. Wait, what... a Floris t-shirt?

    IMG926_klein_zps4b00cd7b.jpg


    Yes, a Floris t-shirt. I got it this summer for my birthday.

    208bl9t_klein_zpsaab433e7.jpg

    Enjoying the night life in Amsterdam, can you spot Nordous?
    It is really nice to finally see someone you've worked for almost two years with, and spoken almost daily to. I showed Duh around in Amsterdam in the only way you really should see the city: by bike. Canals, leaning houses, the whole deal. And of course there was time for gaming! We even did some modding while we were at it.

    We are aware that overall these are bittersweet news, but we hope that the good parts triumph over the bad ones. In that spirit we wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year.

    PS: If you want to respond to this dev diary, you can do so over here.
  13. monnikje

    Permissions for using Floris as a basis for your mod

    Permissions for using Floris as a basis for your mod The Floris Mod Pack is a compilation of a lot of other mods, along with a lot of our own work. We not only provide the source, but give you the possibility with the Dev Suite to recompile the entire mod with your own adjustments. Of course...
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