• The Writers' Study All-Seasons Fair

    The Writers' Study All-Seasons Fair
    by Caillagh de Bodemloze

    Ladies, gentlemen and Writers' Study imps...

    ...welcome to the Writers' Study All-Seasons Fair!

    The Writers' Study playing field is dotted with stalls and games, and garlanded with bunting. Since the Writers' Study exists in every part of the world simultaneously, some of the trees around the field are covered in blossom, while others are a summery green and bearing ripening fruit, and the leaves of yet others are beginning to turn to gold and copper, or are already bare. Over at the far end of the field, through the crowds of visitors, we can see big marquee with a brightly-coloured sign outside it proclaiming "REFRESHMENTS!!" Underneath, in smaller letters, we see the disappointing note: "Not open yet! Come back later!" The two grinning imps standing next to the brightly-coloured sign might be considered a warning that the refreshments could easily contain some... unusual... ingredients.

    The closest stall has a banner announcing "Writers' Study Competitions!" and a sign listing the most recent winners:

    In the Monthly Creative Writing Competition, the winner of MCWC XVII, after a hard-fought contest, was Words of the Forgotten by Admiral Van Tromp.

    The list for the Monthly After Action Report Competition is rather longer.
    MAARC LXXIII was won by La Fleur et L'épée by Axis Sunsoar, while
    MAARC LXXIV's winner was An Orc's Tale by Maltacus.

    All three of these very deserving winning entries were mentioned in our rather belated Christmas and New Year Reading List.

    The 75th MAARC - a long-awaited occasion - has a sign of its own. The winners were:
    in First Place - Toutatis Favours the Brave by Welsh Dragon
    in Second Place - An Orc's Tale by Maltacus, and
    in Third Place - To Earn A Kingdom by Turkafinwë.

    The first and second place winners have been mentioned in previous visits to the Writers' Study. The third place winner is described in a little more detail below.

    Tale of the Week has been busy, with several new winners to announce. They are as follows:

    Axis Sunsoar for TotW 269: Solstice
    chesser2538 for TotW 270: Three Kingdoms
    Welsh Dragon for TotW 271: Henry VIII
    NorseThing for TotW 272: Industry
    Adamat for TotW 273: Chichen Itza
    King Athelstan for TotW 274: Slavery
    Adamat for TotW 275: Carnival

    Just beyond the Competitions stall stands a table. On the table stands a beautifully-lettered sign saying "Guess the Weight of the Cake!" In front of the sign is a list, to which we could add our name and our guess. Next to the sign is a cake. Well, most of a cake. It would appear that an imp has been here before us...

    The next area of the field is given over to smaller stands, where individual After Action Report writers can present their own work. For the convenience of the browser, the stands have been grouped according to the game each is based on.

    The Warhammer section is never very busy, but it's almost never completely empty. One of the current AARs is The Chief in the North by Mercenary2479. It provides us with an interesting and unusual pair of protagonists, and shows us their cruelty, as well as the cruelty of their enemies. For the tourist, there is a visit to that most remarkable of places, the Longship Graveyard.

    Rome II
    New Town by Alwyn is the most recent AAR to be posted in the Rome II section. It has already earned itself a number of fans for its brief but effective telling of the story of Carthage, and her attempt to conquer the Mediterranean and deal with the threat of Rome.

    Shogun 2
    Happily, we also have a new Shogun 2 AAR to look at - White Stone, Black Stone, by waveman. With his usual flair for characterisation, and some exceptional screenshots, waveman tells us about the Hitachi no Oda through the eventful life of Iwamoto Sanjurou.

    Between the Shogun 2 area and that set aside for Medieval II, a crowd has gathered near a maypole, and some imps are engaged in traditional folk dance around it. Since the imps hail from all around the world, however, there is some confusion about precisely which folk dance the imps are engaged in. At least one imp is attempting a poi dance, while others are swinging each other around in a square dance. Four imps are carrying batons, so are presumably dancing a weapon dance. Still others are dressed in bright silks and appear to be doing some kind of Indian folk dance, though it's impossible to tell for sure, as all the imps are trying to hold on to the maypole ribbons and dance around the pole while simultaneously performing a dance from their own region. This results in numerous collisions and knotted ribbons, but the imps, chittering and giggling, seem to be enjoying the chaos, and the crowd is clapping along happily to the very eclectic and rather confused musical accompaniment.

    Medieval II
    As always, Medieval II is too well represented for us to look at everything, so let's begin with a glance at The Danish House of Hen. As the title suggests, Darkan shares with us the fortunes of the members of the House of Hen. The story begins with betrothals, and includes intrigue, warfare, politics and strained familial relationships.

    Also on display, we have two shorter AARs. First, Song of the Sleep-Bringers by thecheese. This is a Sweboz AAR, written in an almost epic style - except for the humorous footnotes! Sadly, there is, so far, only one post in this AAR, though we hope for further updates in future. We also catch sight of Every Bright Light Casts a Shadow, in which Krazyfilmer123 introduces us to the conquests of the Holy Roman Empire under Henry IV and Henry V.

    The last stall we look at in the Medieval II section is that showing To earn a Kingdom by Turkafinwë. This is an AAR on a grand scale, telling the story of Aragorn's quest to become king of both Arnor and Gondor.

    Eras and Non-Total War
    In the Eras section we find an exciting new AAR, The King's Men, by Mereschal. This tells of the kingdom of Adûnabar, in the Fourth Age, and of the darkness embraced by the ruling house.

    Meanwhile, in our Non-Total War area, we see the Elder Scrolls AAR The Doom Drum by Gandalfus. Aranath Direnni has been captured, and escaped both his original fate and a dragon attack. But what will he do next?

    We pass through an archway garlanded with origami flowers to reach the Creative Writing section of the field. The stalls here range from sleek, futuristic pods to tables that look as if they've been taken from a medieval hall. Some are colourful, while others are ominously dark. There are so many of them, and we only have a short time before the refreshments tent will open...

    We begin by going into the poetry tent. First of all, we come across a rather unsettling sort of stand: Warman's Occasional Poems, where there seems to be a theme of horror running through the poetry. It's well worth reading, but we turn away to find something happier as a contrast...

    ...and we find mad orc's My love, which although more cheerful in tone, is perhaps not entirely happy.

    Elsewhere, meanwhile, some slightly unusual things are happening. Kyriakos has provided us with an assortment of his translations of poems by Constantine Cavafy. And NorseThing has started a thread about poetry in general, and has written a sonnet himself.

    Just beyond the poetry tent, we catch sight of the short prose stalls. Here, again, we find the work of Kyriakos - Cheating and Immobile. These pieces are so short that almost any comment would be a spoiler, but as always with Kyriakos's work, they are intriguing and full of description.

    Also in this area, we find NorseThing's humorous The State of the England Speech, as well as three stories that are both poignant and very personal: My Friend Matt by chriscase, A Tribute to my Dad by La♔De♔Da♔Brigadier Graham, and Standing there by General Brewster. Again, commenting in any detail on these would be too much of a spoiler, but they are all highly recommended.

    Turning back towards the refreshment tent, we pass by a strange wooden contraption. Perhaps surprisingly, in the twenty-first century, it's a pillory - an occupied pillory! As we approach, we see that the victim is Alwyn, the Director of the Writers' Study, wearing what seems to be a waterproof version of his official robes of office and grinning broadly. Looking more closely, we see that he is being targeted by wet sponges, rather than rotten fruit or stones, which might explain his cheerfulness. Standing by the bucket of wet sponges is an imp. No doubt he is supposed to be collecting the fee and handing out the sponges, but he seems to be throwing just as many sponges as the line of customers. Judging by the imp's giggles, he is enjoying this opportunity to see his boss looking rather less dignified than usual.

    Suppressing irreverent smiles, we move on, and wander through the pieces of longer creative writing. There are fewer of these, but we take our time, enjoying the writing.

    Iron Aquilifer has returned with The Constabulary - Manning The Walls. Although there is only one chapter so far, this story, set in a spacefaring future, promises to show us characters facing difficult moral choices in their attempts to keep the peace and uphold the law. The next stall is that of mad orc, writing in his distinctive style. Today the work on display is his Death In The Sands. Beginning in Morocco, it tells of duplicity, adventure, and violent death.

    ♔Old Dragoon♔ has continued Ad Usque Fidelis, his dramatic and gripping tale of the life of Uliaris, a soldier in the Eastern Roman Empire during Justinian's time. Uliaris has been poisoned and left in a compromising position. He has escaped, but how will these events affect his future? Finally, we stop to look at Life of a freerider by Adamat. Another new piece, this will tell the story of Lothar, who has been wrenched from his village life and dragged off to fight for the local nobleman. Adamat's descriptions make it easy to imagine Lothar's experiences, and we can only hope that Adamat will find the time to continue this.

    As we finally reach the refreshment tent, we turn and look back at the field. There is much we have not had time to look at, and even as we have walked through the fair, people have arrived and put up new stalls that we have - sadly - not yet seen. Indeed, there's a whole new enclosure within the AAR section for Thrones of Britannia AARs. Well, one visit isn't enough to see everything in the Writers' Study. We'll have to come back another time to see the rest. For now, though, we'll go and enquire about the exact ingredients of the tea and scones before consuming anything...
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Owlparrot3's Avatar
      Owlparrot3 -
      Very good, your writing shines even while writing the writers study fair!
      I should check out those AAR's .
    1. Admiral Van Tromp's Avatar
      Admiral Van Tromp -
      A great recap as usual, Caillagh!
    1. Turkafinwë's Avatar
      Turkafinwë -
      Well that was an enjoyable trip through the fair.
    1. Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar
      Caillagh de Bodemloze -
      Thank you all for your very kind comments.
    1. Mhaedros's Avatar
      Mhaedros -
      As always your work is a pleasure to read my friend.
    1. King Athelstan's Avatar
      King Athelstan -
      Splendid work old chap!
    1. ♔Greek Strategos♔'s Avatar
      ♔Greek Strategos♔ -
      Excellent! Thank you for the trip!
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