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Thread: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

  1. #161
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    If trying to convey that the Arabian peninsula is not just one big box filled with sand then I think you've done a wonderful job! Concerning the Kaaba, I think it again shows the power of assimilation from the early Abrahamic religions to create an easier passage from one's former religion to the new one, also makes converting them a lot easier I'd wager. (I know that Roman Paganism did the same with converting local deities into a roman one, or linking it to a Roman deity, but the Abrahamic religions are still around while Roman Paganism is, well, gone). It's fascinating to think this structure has been standing at that exact spot centuries before the rise of Islam and yet when you hear about it you can only think of said religion. Indeed it makes one wonder what its purpose was back in the day, to which God.

    Suffice to say, I think this is a great update!

  2. #162
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    To quote an author we all know:

    As a general point to you all, I'd to thank everyone for commenting, even just the short "I liked it" ones.
    I liked it.

  3. #163
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    I must say...I liked it!

  4. #164

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    Hey everyone,

    Many apologies for the massive delay in getting the next update up. I wanted to get two scenes in, but finally decided I should just do one, rather than having such long breaks between installments. So the next bit is done already, and will be uploaded tomorrow. I just want to wait an evening to let it settle and then proof-read tomorrow to make sure nothing is wrong/missing. The update after that is already started though, and hopefully won't be so long in the making as this one here. At any rate, thanks for being so patient and bearing with me through this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaeft View Post
    Looks like these guys are going to be meeting soon, and it promises to be an intriguing encounter! I shall be anticipating that eagerly. In the meantime, a great chapter as always, with very nice writing. Thank you for the character list, I must confess I had forgotten who Tharin was.
    Thanks Swaeft. The meeting will indeed be coming soon. There are still a couple scenes to be set in this chapter, but the encounter between Mun'at and Tharin will take place before this chapter ends!

    I am also glad the character list has proven helpful!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Yes, I do (wrongly) tend to imagine the area as a "big sandbox", your skilful descriptive writing does an effective job of dispelling that illusion! Like Swaeft, I'm intrigued about what will happen when Tharin meets the people he's be sent to talk to. This building resentment sounds like it may cause problems down the road, assuming that Mun'at and his men survive their current predicament.
    Glad to hear that Alwyn! I myself have been learning a lot while writing this, and I have been trying my best to fold my newfound knowledge in in subtle (or not so subtle ) ways throughout. Regarding any resentment or consequences of that between Tharin and the Nabati, I will not say. No spoilers here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    If trying to convey that the Arabian peninsula is not just one big box filled with sand then I think you've done a wonderful job! Concerning the Kaaba, I think it again shows the power of assimilation from the early Abrahamic religions to create an easier passage from one's former religion to the new one, also makes converting them a lot easier I'd wager. (I know that Roman Paganism did the same with converting local deities into a roman one, or linking it to a Roman deity, but the Abrahamic religions are still around while Roman Paganism is, well, gone). It's fascinating to think this structure has been standing at that exact spot centuries before the rise of Islam and yet when you hear about it you can only think of said religion. Indeed it makes one wonder what its purpose was back in the day, to which God.

    Suffice to say, I think this is a great update!
    Yeah, the info on the Kabaa was actually super cool I thought. I knew there was something there, and that it was important, but the exact details of it are quite interesting. It seems that before the rise of the Abrahamic religions as the powers they are today, their ideas stood alongside those of other faiths without much issue. From my research it seems that Bakkah (Mecca) and the Kabaa was a meeting place for many sub-cultures and regional religions, and the temple over the black stone housed not just idols to polytheistic deities of the area, but also to the Jewish god Yahweh. There is also evidence that the significance of the site was emphasized/bolstered by a prohibition against violence within a certain radius of the Kabaa. Thus, the city of Bakkah became a neutral hub where treaties could be signed, tribes could settle disputes, or trade could happen unhindered. All things that made the area successful and resilient, even during times of changing powers and climatic shifts. Interesting stuff, to say the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    To quote an author we all know:

    I liked it.
    Quote Originally Posted by McScottish View Post
    I must say...I liked it!
    Thanks guys! I guess I'll keep writing then
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  5. #165

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    Well, it has given me time to catch up, so I'll forgive you just this once. Even though massive delays are unacceptable. :/
    Of Wolves and Blobtits
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    The best Witcher 3 AAR the world has seen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    A polished masterpiece!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Hey! I never said any of those things!

  6. #166

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    On page 6 currently. You really manage to bring a feeling of 1001 nights alive. The ancient desert is a mysterious, evershifting place, and your writing skills capture that quite well. Your maps are a great help, altogether with your glossary. Some nice ups and downs so far.
    Detailed review will follow when I'm through it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    Well, it has given me time to catch up, so I'll forgive you just this once. Even though massive delays are unacceptable. :/
    Look who's talking.

  7. #167

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    On page 6 currently. You really manage to bring a feeling of 1001 nights alive. The ancient desert is a mysterious, evershifting place, and your writing skills capture that quite well. Your maps are a great help, altogether with your glossary. Some nice ups and downs so far.
    Detailed review will follow when I'm through it.
    Thanks Derc, and I'll be looking forward to the detailed thoughts. Don't ding me too hard on the lack of pics though There is a plan to include some, but Skotos is going to be providing them, and I believe he has been very busy of late with his work on the DEI mod. Hopefully he'll be able to bang some together sometime soon though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    Well, it has given me time to catch up, so I'll forgive you just this once. Even though massive delays are unacceptable. :/
    Look who's talking.
    I'm glad it's given you time Cook! And I must say, I always love the back-and-forth between you and Derc. Maybe it's from your time together in the hotseat campaign, but the two of you always make me think of an old married couple (in a good way ).
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  8. #168

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Apr. 18]

    Continued from Chapter 4 - Part V


    Dramatis Personae

    Nabati:

    Mun'at Ha'Qadri: General of the Nabati army, tasked with uniting the tribes of Arabia and subduing the Saba' confederations that control Arabia Felix.
    Shullai Ha'Maleki: Prince of the Nabati, riding south under Mun'at's command.
    Ravîv'êl Bikrum: Crown Prince of the Nabati. Currently governing the conquered settlement of Dedan.
    Malka Qênu: King of the Nabati, and leader of the united tribes.

    Rana'in: Elder warrior and long-time friend of Mun'at.
    Khalil: Raider under Mun'at's command, usually tasked with leading the cavalry and light skirmishers.
    Haza'el: Captain of the Nabati.
    Wayyuq: A spy and pathfinder in the service of the Nabati, but not of their tribes.

    Sabeans (Saba'):

    Mubsamat: Queen of the Saba' with ambitions to end the tribal rivalries that plague her people.
    Tharin: Captain of Mubsamat's guard, tasked with contacting the approaching Nabati on Mubsamat's behalf and bringing them over to her cause.
    Lord of the Northpass (Qayl): Ringleader of a group of Saba' nobles arrayed against Mubsamat.
    Halik Il'Yakif: Landowner and noble of the Saba' who initially followed the Qayl's plans but has since been turned by Mubsamat.
    Far'am Rafshan: Half-Qatabani exile in league with the Qayl.
    Karab and Hasan: Sons of the Athtar Yazi' clan and great leaders of the Houthi warriors of the northern plateau. They are also in league with the Qayl against Mubsamat.



    Chapter 4
    New Friends, New Enemies


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part VI)


    The eastern sky was still dark as Far'am Rafshan timorously stole forth from his home, hoping to lose himself in the shadowless pre-dawn gloom. He skipped and slid through the maze of alleys that wove amongst the smithies and workshops, his eyes nervously darting over every broader avenue, every point of light, hunting for dangers. However, no voice was raised in challenge against him, and no cry betrayed his passage through the sleeping city. The cooling forges gently sighed, the occasional pops of the contracting stone causing the half-Qatabani to leap in fear, but other than their sporadic outbursts silence reigned uncontested.

    For the better part of an hour Far'am walked, stooped and moving crabwise from shadow to shadow, until finally he reached the limits of the foundry city and saw with relief the low thatched stable where he had left his horse the prior evening. He hastily glanced over his shoulder before entering, then quickly readied his mount, and in an instant he was pounding southeast over the cold upland plateau unlit by sun or moon.

    The moment the receding outlines of the crude settlement had vanished behind he allowed himself to breathe easier. He had seen no one during his escape, no sign to indicate that he had been followed, and even if some spy had witnessed his departure Far'am would be able to see any figure following on the long plain at his back. No, he was for the moment safe. With that assurance caressing his mind he couched himself low in his saddle and absent-mindedly perused the dusky vistas, allowing his thoughts to wander over the events of the previous days.

    It had been nearly a week since Karab returned from the northern passes with his diminished party. News of their fate and the circumstances surrounding it had travelled quickly, but all was shrouded in rumor and partisan confabulation; even in the face of tragedy the tribes and clans would not miss an opportunity to cast aspersions and doubt amongst their neighbors, their allies of necessity and enemies of habit. However, whatever might be the ultimate truth of the matter, Far'am knew one fact with certainty; upon their return Karab and his Houthi warriors had immediately gone to the Lord of the Northpass, presumably to relate the tale of their misfortune, and since then Far'am Rafshan had heard no word from any of them. His co-conspirators against the Queen seemed to have lost faith in his fidelity to their cause. They had abandoned him. And then he began to see the shadows, the silhouetted forms lurking in darkened doorways or looking down on him surreptitiously from the rooftops. At first he had written them off as nothing more than random occurrences, individuals simply going about their business but whom his fearful mind sought to cast as villains, and then he saw them more and more. Lying upon his bed in the dead of hours of the night he would hear scratching footsteps on the roof, whispered words, and day by day he spied hooded figures watching him, always half-concealed and gone by the time he had hurried toward their distant hideaways. Though he could imagine no reason why, Far'am Rafshan had seemingly become an enemy, a danger to be closely watched. The suspicion and its possible consequences were, however, injustices he would not idly bear, nor without action on his own part.

    Far'am briefly slowed his horse and turned to look in the bags slung across its back. Over the previous days he had quietly hoarded a small quantity of flour, dried dates, and hard cheese, enough to keep his strength during the lonely march to the borderlands between Saba' and the lower plateau of the Qatabani tribes. It would be an invaluable resource. However, the necessities of survival were not what interested him, and his searching fingers quickly brushed aside the higher parcels, feeling their way to the contents hidden below. His left hand then slid over the surface of a bulging sack, the motion kindling a small yet unmistakable sound, and Far'am leaned further forward, peering into the dark recesses of his baggage. The sun still lay hidden in the east, but the morning sky had begun to blush, and the rosy light of the virgin heavens was briefly caught and reflected, the dawn shining in hues of silver and gold.

    With a self-assured sigh Far'am carefully retied the strings of the coin purse and pushed it down below his more pedestrian goods, but as his eyes again raised to the road ahead he felt a sensation that had become over-familiar of late. Slowly, with a dread rising inside, he turned in his saddle, and saw across the lightening plain far to the northwest two shadows watching him. The veiled sun then leapt forth and in an instant the distant figures were lost in the shimmering haze that danced over the horizon. Far'am's jaw set as he shook his head slowly, disbelief and anger possessing him in turns. Then, suddenly, he stopped and quietly said a single word under his breath.

    "No."

    And with that he turned back to the sunrise, to Qataban, to his sundered kindred, and he began riding with all haste, fury in his wake.



    Continue to Chapter 4 - Part VII
    Last edited by Kilo11; May 14, 2019 at 06:18 AM.
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  9. #169

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    I liked this new part a lot. Good writing, smooth intro, you actually know how to make proper linebreaks and spacing (nerd!), there are no spelling mistakes that my eyes could find, you even made me hungry for dates, but! BUT!
    There was one mistake you seem to have missed:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The link in the last line doesn't work. :/
    Of Wolves and Blobtits
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    The best Witcher 3 AAR the world has seen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    A polished masterpiece!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Hey! I never said any of those things!

  10. #170

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    I liked this new part a lot. Good writing, smooth intro, you actually know how to make proper linebreaks and spacing (nerd!), there are no spelling mistakes that my eyes could find, you even made me hungry for dates, but! BUT!
    I'm glad to hear that. I was actually sort of unhappy with some bits in this one, but figured I had maybe just been looking at it too long. At the very least, it seems my self-criticism did some good.

    And of course I get my linebreaks and spacing correct! What do you think I am, some sort of Philistine?! But more seriously, I do find the spacing to be important, also for storytelling purposes (the breaks show when new ideas or events are starting up), and I do plan to at some point make a thread in the WS with some of my thoughts and suggestions for doing that well. So keep an eye out for that

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod
    There was one mistake you seem to have missed:
    Spoiler The link in the last line doesn't work. :/
    Nope, not a mistake. That link will become "active" once the next update is online. I made myself a template for posts, so that the formatting always stays the same, and part of the standard post is the backward and forward pointing links, so they always go in and remain dummy links until the next post is up.
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  11. #171

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    Yeah but not being able to click it and read the next one is kind of a big flaw. :/ I want to read it noooow!
    Of Wolves and Blobtits
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    The best Witcher 3 AAR the world has seen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    A polished masterpiece!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Hey! I never said any of those things!

  12. #172

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    Yeah but not being able to click it and read the next one is kind of a big flaw. :/ I want to read it noooow!
    You got me to actually laugh out loud with that one! So well done there.

    As always, I am doing my best to get things out as quickly as I can. Though if you could write a portion of my PhD thesis for me that would free up my schedule a bit, and then I could make sure you get your updates in a timely fashion... Do you think you'd be up for that?
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  13. #173
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    Far'am's feelings of abandonment and fear come across powerfully. I like the way that you hint at what he sees and make the reader think, to fill in the parts you aren't making explicit.

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