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Thread: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 14th February 2021]

  1. #141
    Welsh Dragon's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 15th August 2020]

    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Hey Welsh, just started the CiG in my AAR and had a continued read of your AAR before. Worked great to get in the mood, just like a fine Whisky.
    Especially like your description of the land, all these little details about the culture, and the Author's Notes of course. Allow to challenge you in MAARC and do some advertisement for TFTB at the end of the campaign. Oh, and to give you a +rep, of course. Keep going!

    PS: River ambushes are a classic
    Hi Derc,

    Sorry for the slow reply, I've had a lot on my plate recently. I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy my tale of Toutatis, and thank you for the many compliments. I also happily accept your challenge to a duel of the Caesar swatters, though I think you'll be getting to him a bit quicker than I...

    To anyone reading this, if you haven't read Derc's AAR "Derc Plays Through World History" yet I highly recommend it! He's taken on the mammoth task of writing an AAR across multiple Total War games and eras, writing in a variety of styles and which makes for a very entertaining read.

    As for Toutatis there are more chapters coming, I just want to get this next run of chapters finished before I start posting them as I've been going back and forward quite a bit tweaking things as new elements and ideas come to me.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  2. #142
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 15th August 2020]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 23: The Nature Of War



    (A deserted Suessiones village.)


    It seems that Axona smiles upon us, as we cross her river without incident and are soon on our way south through the Suessiones' lands once more. Such an easy crossing is a blessing as I half expected the Remi to have lain in wait for us. But it seems even their rapid advance has not reached this far just yet. I can only pray that such good fortune continues. We may be past one moment of danger, but I have no doubt many more lie ahead.

    The river also marks a boundary of sorts. The dense forests of the north pull back a little from the road to reveal open fields, where Suessiones farmers grow their crops to feed themselves and trade with the larger settlements. There is honour in such simple tasks. All must eat after all and not every member of a tribe is born to fight. Though all may be called upon to do so when the time comes.

    As we travel I cannot help but notice the differences between this journey and our last. There is no sign of the raiding parties that hounded us on our approach to Noviodunon. No attempt made to slow us down, sabotage our supplies or pick off an inattentive warrior or two.

    The villagers we pass along the way are also different. Though we receive hard looks from those we see, and overhear the occasional harsh word, they are no longer as defiant as they once were. Many prefer to keep their distance altogether. Perhaps it is knowing their warriors have been bested, either fallen in battle or withdrawn to lick their wounds and live to fight another day? Perhaps they fear retribution if they strike at us? Or maybe they have had their fill of battle for the time being?

    Either way they are a changed people. The Suessiones once boasted that they had not lost a battle in generations, dismissing the occasional defeat as trivial skirmishes, not true tribal warfare. But they can make this claim no longer. We Nervii have seen to that and their loss in battle is clear for all to see.

    But it seems that with the defeat of their army and the fall of their capital, the Suessiones have lost some part of themselves as well. Where once they were filled with endless pride in their own achievements, real and imagined, now they face the truth of the matter. Being born Suessiones makes you no better than those born into any other tribe. Respect is not a birthright. It has to be earned, through the choices we make and the life we choose to lead. If you can prove yourself to the gods and to other men, then maybe you have earned the right to be prideful of your accomplishments. The Suessiones forgot that.

    Still, it is a sad thing to see a people who have lost their heart and a harsh price for a tribe to pay for their defeat...

    Yet that is the nature of war.

    ***

    A little later than I'd planned, but this is the first of what I hope to be some semi-regular updates for Toutatis Favours The Brave, taking us into the new year and beyond. Thank you everyone who is continuing to read my little tale as well as any new readers joining us for the first time. As you can see recent events have left Boduognatus a little introspective, but those looking for more action can rest assured it will be arriving soon. The Remi are coming!

    Lastly a belated Merry Christmas to you all. Here's hoping for a happier, healthier year in 2021!

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  3. #143
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 15th August 2020]

    This chapter shows well the ramifications of battle outside the battlefield. The tribe is shook as a whole and needs to find a new way of living, their pride humbled and part of their identity destroyed. They either break as a people and get swallowed into the Nervii culture or find a new way of preserving their identity. Glad to see your still working on this Welsh Dragon!

    A belated Merry Christmas to you as well and let me join in on your wish for a happier and healthier 2021!

    Chapter XXXI: Éomer Returns
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  4. #144
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 28th December 2020]

    The use of the deserted village and the explanation of this are very good. I agree with Turk's comments, the mixture of sadness at the lost pride of the Suessiones and the recognition that this is the nature of war work well.

  5. #145
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 28th December 2020]

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    This chapter shows well the ramifications of battle outside the battlefield. The tribe is shook as a whole and needs to find a new way of living, their pride humbled and part of their identity destroyed. They either break as a people and get swallowed into the Nervii culture or find a new way of preserving their identity. Glad to see your still working on this Welsh Dragon!

    A belated Merry Christmas to you as well and let me join in on your wish for a happier and healthier 2021!
    Thanks Turk. That's a good summary of what I'm aiming for here, showing war in all its facets and not just falling into the warrior culture = glorifying war trope. About the only thing that you can know for sure about any war is people are going to get hurt, one way or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    The use of the deserted village and the explanation of this are very good. I agree with Turk's comments, the mixture of sadness at the lost pride of the Suessiones and the recognition that this is the nature of war work well.
    Thanks Alwyn. The picture of the deserted village is actually one I created specially for this scene, loading up the Noviodunon map in Custom Battle and then looking around the map for some of the smaller buildings which dot the map.

    And a belated Happy New Year to you all! The gap between this chapter and the next (which I'll be posting today) wasn't meant to be so long, but life has a way of making a fool out of schedules.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  6. #146
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st January 2021]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 24: The Rear Guard


    As Belenus' bright chariot begins it's journey back towards the earth once more, it seems that he too smiles upon our journey. The sky is clear, the light he casts down upon us warm yet not too hot. Ideal conditions for a tribe on the march and we are making good time because of it.

    As I smile at the thought I also quicken my step a little. It is a long way from the rear of our column to the front, and some might question why as Warlord I would make this journey at all. I could certainly send runners to check on the rear if I wished. But I will not have my people thinking I have abandoned them or taken them for granted, even those that drive the ox carts on which our supplies are carried and the rearguard beyond.

    I know some warriors view being assigned to the rear guard as a punishment, robbed of the chance to draw first blood in battle and at times forced to wade through the mud churned up by many warriors footsteps. But to me it has always been a place of honour, where I once stood and watched as others raced into the fight. They may not be the first to enter battle, but they are often the last to leave a battlefield, standing guard whilst others take a drink and rest. And should the Remi or some other threat choose to attack our flank, it will fall upon them to hold the line till their brothers and sisters can come to their aid or stand and die so they may leave to fight another day.

    As I stride forward I begin to notice new sounds joining those of an army on the march. Singing carried upon the breeze like the lightest of feathers. It is a good sound to hear, for it means the warriors are in good spirits and ready to face whatever challenges await them.

    As I get closer still, the sound resolve into words. Something about a Remi Chieftain's daughter and her impressive... attributes. But I only hear a few lines before they come to an abrupt end, replaced by guffaws of laughter and a familiar voice asking for the next request.

    “So what'll it be next gentlemen? Perhaps a little something I heard about a Trevarii Tribesman with a talented tongue?”

    I really shouldn't be too surprised. Tanco always did pick up the most scandalous tavern drinking songs on his travels and he uses every opportunity to show them off. A trait he and Gwydion shared I might add, especially as they taught each other half of them.

    Though I have sent out more scouts to track the Remi's advance and perhaps gain some idea of their numbers, this time I have kept Tanco close at hand. Though some warriors look down upon him and the other scouts as somehow weaker, for they do not usually fight amongst the warriors in battle, his singing has always been good for morale. But my main reason is that his recent knowledge of these lands may prove invaluable and whilst he is younger than Caxtos or I, I also trust his council.

    Others I cannot be so certain of.

    I have seen little of Liscos since we departed Noviodunon. But what I have tells a story all of its own. Though the Angry Beasts are clearly pleased to be heading off to battle once more, their leader continues to boil with rage at the way our argument ended. I think he cannot even stand to look at me more than honour demands, for fear of what he may do. Such rage can only be contained for so long. Perhaps the Remi will provide battle enough to douse the flames, but I have my doubts. It is not in Liscos's nature to back down from a fight and I will have to keep an eye on him I'm sure.

    Cambo too may be a concern. The Sly Wolves have perhaps the strongest ties to the Remi of any Nervii clan, having traded with them for many years even before Cambo rose to lead the clan. It is a relationship I may be able to take advantage of should the opportunity present itself. But equally I cannot help but remember the way that he and Liscos acted together at the Tribal Council. If Liscos were to openly challenge me for the position of Warlord would Cambo and his Sly Wolves support him? Would others? I shake my head, for this I cannot know. At other times I would relish the chance to prove myself once more against such a fearsome opponent as Liscos. But we have far greater enemies to face right now than each other.

    There are at least some for whom I have no such concerns. Caxtos and his Hill Warriors are as always unwavering in their support. They are one tribe who have never complained at taking their turn to guard the rear, or stay behind and defend our settlements whilst other go to war. Always a staunch line of spears in defence of their brothers, their homes and their tribe.

    I think the day I have to worry about them turning their weapons upon their fellow Nervii is the day I know the gods have truly abandoned us all. I pray such a thing never comes to pass.

    Nimo and his small band of Eburones also continue to impress me. They acquitted themselves well against the Suessiones, fighting alongside the Hill Warriors and earning their respect. Not an easy task. In Nimo they also have a leader who while lacking in experience, is young and willing to learn, not just from other chieftains but his fellow warriors as well. Much to my surprise One-Eye has also proven himself to be an able second, handling small matters and troublemakers so Nimo can focus on leading their tribe. The two make an unlikely pair, but one which may lead the Eburones back to their former glory.

    However my main concern is still the Remi. They surely must seek to profit from facing us, as why else would they have entered the lands of the Suessiones in force? Even the largest trade convoy would not need such protection, and why would they make war against the Suessiones when the two tribes have such a strong bond between them? Although I do not yet know exactly how many warriors they bring, if they are as flush with these strange coins as the Suessiones were they can afford to send many warriors and mercenaries to claim their prize.

    Perhaps too many... It is a worry.

    But I am interrupted from my thoughts by one of the young warriors from the vanguard. A slinger if I am not mistaken, as I can see the pouch in which he carries the small stones which are his chosen weapon. A humble weapon, but no less deadly because of it.

    “Report from the scouts Warlord. They found a messenger on the road ahead. From the Remi. Says he has a message he'll only give to you.”

    I raise an eyebrow. The Remi wish to talk it seems. That is... unexpected.

    “Search him, then have him brought to me,” I reply. “Let's see what the Remi want.”

    *

    Authors Notes:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Belenus is a Celtic god often associated with the sun. Called the "Fair Shining One" or "The Shining God," he was one of the most ancient and most-widely worshipped Celtic deities and is associated with the ancient fire festival and modern Beltane.

    Interestingly there are 51 known inscriptions dedicated to Belenus, mainly concentrated in Cisalpine Gaul (Aquileia/Carni), Noricum and Gallia Narbonensis, but also extending into Celtic Britain and Iberia, which shows just how far belief in this particular god seems to have travelled.

    Much like the Greek and Roman god Apollo, the Celts also believed that Belenus rode the Sun across the sky in a horse-drawn chariot each day. So it seems reasonable to me that they might have used Belenus and his journey to describe different kinds of light and refer to times of the day. I've tried to reflect this both here, with Belenus' journey used to describe the Sun passing noon and also back in Chapter 22 when Boduognatus refers to Belenus' “fingers of light” reaching towards the surface of the River Axona.


    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  7. #147
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st January 2021]

    The warriors singing of bawdy tavern songs is a nice moment, especially as this connects with Tanco and Gwydion so we're reminded of this facet of their personalities. I enjoyed your use of Celtic beliefs about Belenus as well as the reflections on the different leaders - I'm rooting for Nimo and One-Eye, as an unlikely pair who may regain the glory of the Eburones. I wonder what the Remi want to talk about and whether this will be an opportunity or a trap for the Nervii.

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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st January 2021]

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    The warriors singing of bawdy tavern songs is a nice moment, especially as this connects with Tanco and Gwydion so we're reminded of this facet of their personalities. I enjoyed your use of Celtic beliefs about Belenus as well as the reflections on the different leaders - I'm rooting for Nimo and One-Eye, as an unlikely pair who may regain the glory of the Eburones. I wonder what the Remi want to talk about and whether this will be an opportunity or a trap for the Nervii.
    Thanks Alwyn. Yes, if there's one thing I've learned from reading soldiers accounts and novels written by soldiers, it's that humour is an essential part of staying sane in a warzone, plus it gave me the chance to explore characters a bit more. Another is faith, whether it's in a god or gods, a system of belief or just in the people fighting besides you. I couldn't really do an AAR called Toutatis Favours The Brave without involving the gods, but I'm enjoying exploring the Celtic pantheon further and as the Nervii encounter other cultures I hope to explore them as well. As for Nimo and One-Eye, they weren't really intended to be more than minor characters (Nimo was a general in the initial playthrough who didn't spawn when I had to restart, and One-Eye was me just trying to have some kind of name for a minor speaking part,) but they've given me the opportunity to do an underdog story with them and also gives me some slightly outsider characters who aren't Nervii.

    As for the Remi, well funny you should mention that...

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 14th February 2021]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 25: Messenger of the Remi


    While the rest of the tribe continue to march, I send for the other chieftains and also Tanco. Whatever the Remi's message, having it heard by all the chieftains together will send a suitable message to both them and the Remi. Despite our differences, we are united in a common cause. If the Remi wish war, they will face our combined might. And if they want peace, then they will know I negotiate on behalf of all the tribes who stand with the Nervii.

    In short order we gather in a small clearing to the side of the path. It is not much, just a patch of grass amongst the trees where weary travellers can rest their animals without blocking the way, but it will do for such a meeting. We await the Remi messenger, each keeping our own council. But when he appears he is not quite what I was expecting.

    First he is little more than a boy, with an unruly mop of blond hair atop his head and barely any stubble on his chin. Amongst the tribes messengers can often be young, for they are also flight of foot and able to carry messages great distances without getting tired. But this one? Standing beside the warrior who guards him to me he looks young enough to be her son.

    He is also clearly not a Remi. They tend to have more meat on their bones, while this one has barely any at all. His clothes hang loose upon his lanky frame, though the developed muscles in his arms show he is not unfamiliar with hard labour at least. Perhaps a Suessiones farmer's son then, for his clothes are a far cry from the finery the Suessiones chieftains wear.

    The boy looks around at the gathered chieftains his face showing fear and awe in equal measure. Though he shows no sign of having noticed Tanco, who stays to the shadows, casually leaning against a tree eating a piece of bread with one hand, while his other hangs lazily beside him. Tanco may often play the fool, but he also knows when it is better to be neither seen nor heard. And though most would miss it, I know him well enough to know that trailing arm is not too far from a blade, should the need arise.

    I clear my throat slightly to get the Suessiones' attention. When the boy looks at me I see even greater fear in him, his eyes opening wide like the moon upon a clear night. I feel some sympathy, for we must seem an intimidating group to one so young. Clearly he is not used to speaking with the leaders of his own tribe, let alone the chieftains and warlord of another.

    If this is an act, it is a very good one.

    When he finally speaks, he at least confirms my earlier theory. He sounds like a Suessiones farmer.

    “I... I... ah... I brin' a message from the Remi. King Iccios sends um... greetin's and congratulations on your victory. 'e says 'e was coming to 'elp, but you didn't need it. But as 'e's 'ere, 'e would like to meet you to talk about a... a...” The boy pauses. His face scrunches up in concentration clearly trying to remember the words exactly and struggling. I wait patiently, though I hear grumbling coming from some of the others. Most chieftains are not accustomed to waiting.

    “A mutually beneficial agreement!” His face lights up with triumph, as if Belenus' favour has shone down upon him. But I see that it quickly fades, remembering I imagine in whose company he is. For one such as he a chieftain's power must seem like that of the gods, for he will have had little say in tribal affairs.

    “What did King Iccios offer you to deliver this message?” Caxtos prompts, his voice kindly but firm. He does not want to scare the boy, but we need to know more about how he has come to deliver such a message. Why him and not a Remi messenger if their words really are truthful?

    “'e gave me a coin for coming 'ere. And 'e says there'll be two more if you say yes and I come back with your answer. That'll pay to fix the 'ole in the roof and let pa buy two more cows!” The boy replies excitedly, his face beaming with joy at such simple pleasures.

    I shake my head slightly, feeling both anger and dismay. The Suessiones chieftains lived in such finery, while this boy has had to take on the dangerous task of delivering a message to an enemy just to pay for a dry home and some cattle. How is that a way to lead a tribe? But I cannot let myself be distracted right now and I still need to know more of the Remi's offer.

    “Where would we find King Iccios?” I ask. It seems the boy needs prompting to deliver his message. I once again find myself questioning why Iccios would choose this boy for such a task.

    “Oh.” The boy stops. He rubs the back of his head in thought, and for a moment I fear he has forgotten the last part of the message. Without a location how are we to meet? But then it comes to him.

    “Oh yah. 'e says to meet at the tree that looks like a spear, where this path goes through the trees and kind of curves to go around a 'ill with trees on it... or somethin'.”

    It is perhaps not the most detailed directions I have ever heard, but from where he now stands behind the boy Tanco surreptitiously nods. He knows the place.

    “And when does he intend us to meet?”

    The boy pauses, then starts counting on his fingers. At a third attempt he seems to have the answer.

    “King Iccios said 'ed be there for another three sunrises. Or was it two? Nah, definitely three.”

    “Is there anything else?” I ask.

    “I don't think so.” The boy replies, scratching behind his right ear, a bead of sweat running down his face and looking more than a little nervous. If there is anything more to this message I think I shall have to hear it from Iccious lips.

    “Very well.” I turn to the warrior guarding the boy. “Donnia, take the lad here to get something to eat. I imagine he's quite hungry from his journey.”

    “Aye Warlord.” She replies. Donnia is of the Hill Warriors and takes after their chieftain when it comes to speaking. A woman of few words.

    “You did well,” I say to the boy, making sure to smile as I say it. Scaring him further will achieve nothing at this point and we may need to talk to him again. “If you think of anything else I should know, ask Donnia here and she'll bring you to me.”

    The boy smiles back and nods, I think happy as much at the idea of eating as having delivered his message without being killed in the process. He is a far cry from the last messenger I had dealings with. What kind of chieftain sends a boy from another tribe to carry his messages anyway?

    The two wander off, the boy glancing around once more. If he is a spy then his covering act is worthy of any bard or scout, though my instincts tell me he is what he appears. A farmer's boy caught up in the affairs of other tribes. As for the message he brings, I honestly do not know what to make of it. Though once the two are out of earshot it doesn't take long for the other chieftains to make their opinions known.

    “You waste time listening to that halfwit and then you feed him?” Liscos says, backhanding the air dismissively. “Kill him and lets be done with it. We can give the Remi their message in battle.”

    “I have to agree Warlord,” Cambo adds, the Sly Wolf looking calculating as ever. “Why would the Remi give up where they will be so easily? Why even tell us they are here? This is most likely a subterfuge to lead us into a trap.”

    There is a general murmur of agreement from the rest and they are probably right. What do the Remi really have to gain from a meeting like this? If their intentions are honourable then why not send a member of their own tribe to deliver the message or even have a trader carry it? They are hardly short of merchants.

    But I am also reminded of my words to Sacrapo before we left Bagacum and those to Liscos only days ago. We cannot fight every tribe at once and hope to claim victory. They are too many and we are too few, even with whatever warriors the Eburone can muster to join our ranks. To face the coming threat we will need allies... Perhaps even Remi ones.

    I rub my chin in thought, my beard coarse against my fingers.

    “You cannot seriously be considering this.” Liscos growls, his eyes alight with anger once again.

    “I would not be a good chieftain if I did not.” I reply.

    “Boduognatus, is this wise?” Caxtos asks, reading my intentions clearly enough.

    “Probably not,” I concede after a moment. “But with what is at stake it is a risk I must take.”

    Liscos looks ready to explode, but I do not miss Cambo's restraining hand on his arm however brief. Those two...? But I do not have time to worry about tribal politics right now.

    “I intend to send the boy back with a message of our own.”

    “You're sure he'll remember the way?” Cambo says, a flicker of amusement mixed with scorn.

    “I won't be sending him alone.”

    I turn to my best scout, who is currently cleaning his fingernails with the tip of his dagger. With the boy gone he has slipped back into being the fool it seems.

    “Tanco I'll need proper directions to this 'hill with trees.' When the boy leaves I want you to take two scouts and follow him. I need to know everywhere he goes and whoever he speaks to. If he returns to the Remi army see if you can get an estimate of their strength and numbers, and whether they're preparing for battle. But I need to know before we meet them, so don't take longer than you have to.”

    “Ah it'll be good to stretch my legs in the great outdoors after all this boring marching. And who knows, maybe they're telling the truth? Who wants a battle on a fine day like this anyway, wouldn't you agree Chieftain Liscos?” Tanco says mischievously. He never did care much for decorum... or it seems his own neck. It's not wise to poke a bear too often.

    Before Liscos can say or do anything I turn to face the other chieftains.

    “We will meet with the Remi. If Iccios really means what he says, well that will be a first. If it is a trap, we will see this for ourselves. Whatever they intend, I have no doubt that the warriors here are easily a match for anything the Remi can throw at us!”

    At this there is a begrudging agreement from most of the chieftains, who could do little else without appearing to throw doubt on the skill of their own warriors and themselves. Though Liscos still fumes and Cambo is as hard to read as ever. It is the best I could expect given the circumstances. But as they leave to return to their warbands I silently pray to the gods I am right about this. Because we will pay a very heavy price if I am wrong.

    But as Gwydion used to say, it is much easier to fight an enemy if you can find them first. And much easier to make an ally if you approach them with an open hand, not a closed fist. Which the Remi will prove to be, only the gods know for now.

    ******

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.
    Last edited by Welsh Dragon; February 14, 2021 at 12:26 PM.

  10. #150
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 14th February 2021]

    Delicious story-telling, I enjoyed the encounter with the young messenger, particularly his dialogue. The details are done well, such as the effortless stealth of Tanco and the retraining hand on the arm of fiery Liscos. Boduognatus does seem to be taking a risk, but his previous words to Sacrapo sound sensible - and hopefully Tanco's mission will reveal useful information.

  11. #151
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby Bunny
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 14th February 2021]

    I agree with alwyn wholeheartedly. The encounter with the boy is incredibly enjoyable. The attention to detail, the pauses, the writing of the dialogue it paints a clear picture as to how the encounter goes. I can see it clearly in my mind. Two very fine chapters Welsh Dragon!

    Chapter XXXI: Éomer Returns
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