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

Currently Viewing (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

monnikje

Master Knight
WB
Best answers
0
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.


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.


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.


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?
 

heckani

Sergeant at Arms
Best answers
0
Oh my! You´re back! This is the best thing that has happened! The unbelieveable has happened! AGAIN! You, sir, are a true hero! Amazing to continue the reading after having read your AAR so many times to bring back memories. You´re a maginificent writer, I wouldn´t be suprised if you one day decide to go from short stories to a full best seller book!

Hope you´ve had a great time during your 6 week trip through europe. I think many of us has no words, I at least don´t despite my rambling. This made me so incredibly happy to read about what you´ve been through the past years, and of course your legendary AAR, and will certainly give your thesis.

Welcome back my lord. You´ve truly been missed, and its save to say that some heroic legends, truly exist and even come back from the dead! You´re the proof of that!  :wink:
 

monnikje

Master Knight
WB
Best answers
0
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.
 

monnikje

Master Knight
WB
Best answers
0
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?


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.


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.


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.


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.
 

monnikje

Master Knight
WB
Best answers
0
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.'


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.


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.


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.
 

monnikje

Master Knight
WB
Best answers
0
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.



*****
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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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

monnikje

Master Knight
WB
Best answers
0
@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.
 

heckani

Sergeant at Arms
Best answers
0
Finally got the time to read the last few chapters, and look at the beautiful pictures of the castles. I especially liked Grad Otocec, that looked so peaceful, the one near the river. Loved it.
And of course the ultimate medieval castle Burg Hohenzollern. It´s incredible how it looks. Real eyecandy and beauty, almost makes you want to take a battering ram and start ramming the gates!  :iamamoron:

And not the least, the Heidal Kirke in Norway, it might not be a big magnificent church or cathedral, but i prefer churches like these, reminds me of a local village church/chapel.

Anyway thank you monnikje for coming back, and finishing the last few chapters. I truly hope alot of people who thought you ahd abandoned it, will come back in time and read through it. It truly did hit a big epic climax in the end. I liked the small beginning to the magnificent ending. On a personal preference i would had preferred the same style as you had throughout all chapters, with a mix of the last chapters, but with you losing the save game that would be near impossible to do properly. In return you gave us a wonderful twist, and yet another proof of your excellent writing skills. Thank you for creating all of this, its been read over and over, and sure will not be the last time. Floris will always be remembered. It´s been such a pleasure. In fact, might just have to go start all over again, because why the hell not!

On an umimportant note, I noticed a few gramma errors in the later chapters, which I had not noticed you have in your previous chapters, or at the very least, they were extremely rarely, but thats what happens. It didn´t matter at all, nor do I care for such things, it just felt more like you had rushed them more than the older chapters. This is just me wondering if you did rush it or didn´t read through them as you perhaps did with your previous chapters.

Anyway, thank you, from all of us. So many have loved your series, and also of course the famous floris mod, and meeting the man himself (Always wanted to buy him a glass of ale, but seems like he rather want a fortune of denars to become my rival and chop my head off once he doesn´t need me in my campaigns, cheeky bastard.  :shifty: )

Whatever you will do in the future, I wish you the best of luck! And I hope we will one day hear more from you again.  :wink:


 

Arakan_Shriek

Recruit
Best answers
0
Gaaaassssppppppp

It's here! I came back here randomly, for nostalgia... I never could have realized that it had finally ended.

It truly is the end times!

Also thanks Monnikje for finally being able to finish the series. So much appreciation :grin:

EDIT: "Greetings. How are you gentlemen? All your castles and towns are belong to me." I love it!

Monnikje are you planning on doing anything else? Or will the legacy of Floris simply live on forever?
 

D3monic

Sergeant at Arms
WB
Best answers
0
OH. MY. GOD. :shock: I expected a lot of things. I even expected Floris to succeed in his attempt to break the curse only to die short after, but i did not expect this.

BRAVO!

 

ismjahson

Recruit
Best answers
0
I know this has been dead forever, but this is my first time reading this and it inspired me to register on the forums. I've been using floris for a long time without knowing the story behind it, and I must say it is a killer read. Is there any place it's compiled as one book?