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Thread: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Sep 26]

  1. #161
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby Pumpkin
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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!

    Chapter XXXI: Éomer Returns
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  2. #162
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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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
    Cookiegod's Avatar Civus Divus Ex Clibane
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    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. :/

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    From Socrates over Jesus to me it has always been the lot of any true visionary to be rejected by the reactionary bourgeoisie
    Qualis noncives pereo! #justiceforcookie #egalitéfraternitécookié #CLM

  6. #166
    Derc's Avatar Campidoctor
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    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 Hashidi 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 Hashidi 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; June 04, 2019 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Link to part VII added
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  9. #169
    Cookiegod's Avatar Civus Divus Ex Clibane
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    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. :/

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    From Socrates over Jesus to me it has always been the lot of any true visionary to be rejected by the reactionary bourgeoisie
    Qualis noncives pereo! #justiceforcookie #egalitéfraternitécookié #CLM

  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
    Cookiegod's Avatar Civus Divus Ex Clibane
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    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!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    From Socrates over Jesus to me it has always been the lot of any true visionary to be rejected by the reactionary bourgeoisie
    Qualis noncives pereo! #justiceforcookie #egalitéfraternitécookié #CLM

  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.

  14. #174
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby Pumpkin
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    I think it's a short and strong chapter! The paranoia Far'am feels is very authentic and is conveyed perfectly to the reader. A very enjoyable read!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11
    Though if you could write a portion of my PhD thesis for me that would free up my schedule a bit
    I feel your pain. I just finished my thesis, not for a PhD though, and it has left me drained and dead inside. Good luck!

    Chapter XXXI: Éomer Returns
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  15. #175

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    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.
    Thanks Alwyn. I'm glad both of those points came across well. Far'am is an interesting character to me, being a bit between worlds and also to some extent an outcast from both, and I enjoy thinking about how he would react to certain events.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    I think it's a short and strong chapter! The paranoia Far'am feels is very authentic and is conveyed perfectly to the reader. A very enjoyable read!

    I feel your pain. I just finished my thesis, not for a PhD though, and it has left me drained and dead inside. Good luck!
    Thanks Turk, and I'm glad to hear you can sympathize with my pain The academic work is interesting as well, but it draws on many of the same pools of inspiration and ability, and sometimes I feel overtaxed doing both. But I will continue doing my best to keep both sides moving forward!


    To all readers, in an effort to stay in top of this I have decided to set myself more regular updates. Not every week or even every other week, as sometimes weeks can slip away without me noticing, but I am going to try to have one update by the 15th of each month, and a second by the end of the month. So (at least) two a month if things go as planned, and possibly more if I'm on a roll. And to stay with that newfound goal, here is the next installment of your favorite Nabataean AAR!
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  16. #176

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

    Continued from Chapter 4 - Part VI


    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 tribe.

    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: Son of the Athtar Yazi' clan and great leader of the Hashidi warriors of the northern plateau. He is also in league with the Qayl against Mubsamat.
    Hasan: Deceased brother of Karab.



    Chapter 4
    New Friends, New Enemies


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part VII)


    A gentle wind danced over the ocean of dunes, its toes digging out thin rivulets in the sands and causing slides and flows, their whispering notes joining together and multiplying until the dry waves nearly roared. Further inland the umber mountains presented a terrifying aspect, a world of dessication, devoid of life, but where the dunes met the sea soft breezes carried borrowed rains and the scents of salt, fish, and the memories of stunted upland juniper. There were no trees and few large beasts on the rolling fields of sand, but the landscape teemed with low grasses and scrabbling shrubs, with slot-eyed goats and unseen birds singing in the day. However, despite the unkempt beauty of the place Mun'at's soul was heavy, his eyes clouded.

    He glanced over his shoulder at the column following, and Rana'in, a dozen paces behind, nodded, a thin smile on his lips. But Mun'at could not find the strength to return the offered goodwill. Since escaping the wintry grip of Hijaz's upper valleys they had stopped at every village they found, every petty settlement or scattering of patchwork farms clinging to the scant waters of some unnamed half-dry riverbed, and again and again Mun'at had given his sermons. At first his words had come slowly, unnaturally, but with each retelling his message had become more clear and forceful. And they had believed him. They had listened, their eyes lightening with a hidden fire, and each time his company resumed its march they had grown in number. True, their convert recruits were a generally poor lot, lesser sons and orphaned shepherds for the most part, but there was a flame inside them that could not be quelled. A lust for brotherhood, for freedom, for deliverance from the everyday tedium and worry that plagued any settled tribe. It was a lust that Mun'at had kindled. He had promised them a better life, one of purpose and meaning, and they had believed him. But it was a lie.

    Mun'at let out a heavy sigh, his eyes alighting on a boy of perhaps fifteen or sixteen years, his cheeks still smooth and offset with a splash of youthful scarlet. The general tried to recall when the child who thought himself a man had first joined them; at Hamra or Jedida, Bir ibn Hassani or Khoreiba? Eventually he simply shook his head. After all, it no longer mattered where they had found him. The boy, like the rest of them, now belonged to the Nabati, to the United Tribes. For that was Mun'at's lie. He promised freedom, all the while expecting obedience and servitude. He spoke of brotherhood but set himself above those who followed him. And he championed peace while leading them to war.

    The boy moved past and Mun'at gazed after him, entranced by the gentle slope of his shoulders, the easy, almost carefree swing of his steps. He had been with them now for perhaps a week at most, in the company of strangers who dealt in death and carried its threat with them at all times, and yet he seemed content, at peace even. For his subtleties and deceptions in omission Mun'at felt himself a fraud, but there was a boy before him who was smiling, free, in the presence of brothers. The general lowered his eyes to the earth and after a moment he felt a soft touch upon his wrist. He looked up to find Rana'in beside him and silently they began moving again together, the old warrior's palm still resting upon his arm.


    At the center of Ma'rib there was a low mount, a bald and cracked fist of red stone upthrust into the sky, its earthen knuckles adorned with high walls and distrusting battlements. Day and night it looked down on the city below, standing guard over the floodplains and long fields, but its eternal vigil was a guise only. Behind the walls, behind the bows and spears, lay a maze of verdant courtyards and shining rooms, each ringing with laughter, song, and the soft bubbling notes of fountains and pools. Behind the facade of stewardship and protection lay a small world of fabricated luxury, of pleasures jealously hoarded, hidden away from the eyes of common men. Every joy that could be had under the eternal sun was there to be found somewhere in the great palace of Saba'. But for each angel that moves men's lighter thoughts there exists a demon of no less might commanding the dark undercurrents of our desires, and not all the rooms of that place were graced with goodness. In the deepest recesses of the citadel lay a labyrinth of black cells, their blank stone walls slowly dripping, the air suffocated with the stench of smoke, fear, and the sickly metallic aroma of blood. The only light in that place came from the torches set at irregular intervals, their flickering flames failing to dispel the shadows and instead giving them shape and depth. The greed and ambition of noble hearts was bred in the palace above, but it was here in the dark that such passions were truly allowed to flourish.

    In one room, perhaps a mark cleaner and brighter than the rest, there stood two men, a woman sitting opposite them, her olive fingers slowly rapping on the table before her. The steady click of her nails on the old pocked wood made them shift uneasily, made them fear the color of her current sentiments, and she seemed to relish their disquiet. After a moment more she stopped, gently steepled her hands before her, and began to speak, her voice even and untroubled.

    "What news have you for me?" Mubsamat asked, the corners of her mouth suddenly turning up ever so slightly, the flash of warmth disarming and yet somehow troubling.

    Halik Il'Yakif took a hesitant half-step forward. "My Queen," he began, "since the return of Karab and his warriors it would seem that your fortunes have begun daily to wax. The Lord of the Northpass has shut himself in, closed the upland valleys as best he can, and placed trust only in the few clans that cling to Sarat's stony slopes. The Hashidis remain with him, as they ever will be, but his other allies distance themselves more and more." He paused briefly then, and concluded, "The northern tribes have become suspicious and quiet."

    "Yes." Mubsamat said flatly. "The northern fools never were graced with far sight. I expected no less of them." She quietly shook her head to herself before continuing in more earnest. "But what of the half-Qatabani, Far'am Rafshan? His measure has never been clear to me, yet I sense he could be of some use to our cause. Have you any tidings of him worth relating?"

    Halik glanced at the man beside him before answering, his brow creased and unsure. "My Queen," he said slowly, his eyes downcast, "we did as you asked, but the man has left the high plateau and is even now riding for the borderlands of the east, to the lower plains of his half-blood tribes. Far'am Rafshan has quit the lands of Saba'."

    Mubsamat looked momentarily thoughtful, her lips softly pursed, but the expression soon gave way to a broad smile, the marks of gaiety out of place in the vault beneath the earth. She then fixed Halik and the man beside him with flashing eyes and said sweetly, "Son of Sha'ram Il'Yakif, I have another task for you and your companion."



    Continue to Chapter 4 - Part VIII
    Last edited by Kilo11; July 30, 2019 at 04:58 AM. Reason: Added link
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  17. #177
    Swaeft's Avatar Drama King
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 31]

    I somehow managed to miss your previous update, which means I was in for a treat reading two updates at once. I think you'll find me a broken recorder if I started to praise your writing and character interactions again Out of everything I am most eager to see what happens to Far'am, especially since he now has renewed purpose. Special mention also to Mun'at who seems to be going against some of his morals now...

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  18. #178
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 31]

    It sounds like Mun'at and Mubsamat are both working towards the same goal, the unity of their people. It also seems that Mun'at is feeling the responsibility of his command as a heavy weight, almost like Frodo carrying the burden of the One Ring - he wants this but finds it repellent, too.

  19. #179
    Derc's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 31]

    Aaalright, read it up to this very point and its finally time to repay your for all your faithful, motivational comments in my thread. Phew.

    You know why I took so long? Because I take my time. I need a lot of it, not because I'm weary of what I'm dealing with, but the opposite. Good things are worth my time to delve into. That's exactly the reason why I have some video games with playing times far above average.

    Your AAR delivered (so far ). I read it straight after Skotos' and Cookies AAR. Every AAR feels different, no doubt, but I could not make out a "better" or "worse". They're all awesome. Which is why I view MAARC only as a plaything.

    You really have a skill for descriptions. You did it well, made the magic of the land and the feeling of the characters come alive. One could feel the character's conflict, wandering the endless sands, conquering a city, doing the dirty deed of a soldier's lot ...

    This is a rather unusual scenery you've chosen. It's very brave of you to dedicate your story to such a mysterious place in such an interesting time, giving praise to cultures long forgotten.

    I had a delve into EB II. And what did I find there? Ooohh...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Very interesting to see the groundwork of your AAR. I can see how you build the characters around these traits, all the while imagining your own things into them.

    Without much further ado, here's the obligatory list :
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11
    1. Al-Hijr, Chapter 2, Part III
    2. Dedan, Chapter 3
    3. "For an hour they stood watching the horizon, the flickering images barely growing in that time. For an hour more they stood, and still the distant figures trudged on, moving painfully slowly, almost deliberately so"., Chapter 3, Part II
    4. "We have come to unite the desert peoples." he said. "To bring law to these lands that have so long been bereft of any. [...]", Chapter , Part II
    5. "Hmph. Khalil, you are bold and you are daring, but you are rash, short-sighted, and foolish also. [...]"
    6. "I'm from the U.S."
    7. Mubsamat's infamous interrogation scene
    8. Defeated Bandits, Chapter 3, part 5
    9. "While taking the dog for a walk [...]"
    10. Chapter 4
    11. Money, Chapter 4, Part III
    12. "He would go to each tribe as a prophet of freedom, an apostle of brotherhood, and show them the way to everlasting peace.", Chapter 4, Part III
    13. Landslide, Chapter 4, Part V
    14. "Does anyone happen to have or know of a good geographical map of the Arabian Peninsula?"
    15. "Sorry for not responding to this sooner, or getting moving along with things in the story. The last month has been kicking my ass, as I had to write a paper for a conference I am hoping to present at."
    16. Glossary | Dramatis Personae
    17. "Part of what I wanted to convey in this update was the variance of climate and landscape that can be found there, as I imagine that most of you, like myself, just imagine that whole area as one big sandbox, with some rocky outcroppings. More to the point, the general assumption is that it is just desert. One of my aims here was to remedy that false assumption to a small degree."
    18. \emph{was} fa\c{c}ade, Chapter 4, Part VII
    19. "Do chapters feel like real chapters?"
    20. [Chapter length]
    1. That was a very dark and strong part. You really managed to instill an oppressive atmosphere there.
    2. That part of the misinformation was very refreshing. Nabateans almost had slaughtered each other. Phew.
      I liked your maps a lot. Very helpful and very nice to look at. I have to say I didn't even miss some fierce battle screenshots all too much. Your AAR works really good as is.
      Mun'at's conflict sitting around in the city was compelling. I could feel the interal conflict of this restless nomad's soul.
    3. That was so well described that you actually managed to activate this ugly feeling in me. The feeling of waiting and being at unease. Bravo.
    4. I could spam an entire textwall for it, but let's keep it short. Why would someone willingly give up their freedom to some foreigner for the sake of 'unification'? Yes, this is the global goal and yes, you did manage so far to let this seem like a hard task. Everything comes at a price. Your last part, 4 - VI, was very intriguing in that regard. I hope it will stay challenging for the Nabateans to unite the tribes. Let's see what you have up your sleeve with the Sabaeans and eastern Arabia.
    5. Loved this.
    6. This one I did not. Disgusting.
    7. Well, the smell of rape was in the air. Tbh there was a lot of potential but it was a very dangerous scene, both in terms of story and storywriting. Could also have screwed up a lot.
    8. Very mighty scene where evil had to be done to prevent further evil.
    9. Oh yeah, the best ideas appear in everyday's situations.
    10. I love your detailed descriptions in landscape and behaviour of the locals. You did your research.
      Although sometimes your descriptions are a bit too dreamy. Or romantic, if that makes any sense. Perhaps just my imagination.
    11. The burden of the rich man, well explained.
    12. I start to understand why the arabs cover the image of the prophet Muhammad.
    13. Huh, that was unforeseeable. Bravo. Liked this. Poor Hasan.
    14. Pretty dumb answer but I always found Google Earth together with its various plugins and huge community very helpful for any problems I had in terms of geography.
      Do also keep in mind, however, that ~2500 years have changed the landscape. Some wadis have appeared, others vanished. Well ... wth cares anyway?
      Also, I demand more Fata Morganas!
    15. I've read this multiple times in this thread.
      No need to apologize for anything. How would Cookie have to feel otherwise?
      Hey, shouldn't you as a philosophy guy know that you shouldn't stress yourself all too much?
      Here - have a pic from Spec Ops, a very philosophical game (Set in a devastated Dubai btw.). It fits both you and the story.
      Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    16. Very, very useful and I'm grateful for it.
    17. It took me some time to figure out this was to indicate a shift in scenes. I thought it was just something decorative.
      Now that I know it, it's all the more helpful. Great idea!
      It looks pretty btw. Well done, Cedric. Adds a lot to the atmosphere.
    18. I am very happy that you help fighting these false assumptions.
      It would be a pretty dumb and somewhat stereotypical thing to assume that all of the Middle East is a barren desert. Most of the places in the world are very diverse.
      Guess where the following pic was shot.
      Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



      Eh?
      Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
      Diyala River Valley, Iraq
    19. Ewww. You vile LaTeX user! It's incredible not having found any errors whatsoever, then in the last update ... that! Make it go away before it burns my eyes. Ewwww...!
    20. You asked that question somewhere. I can't seem to find where.
      To answer it: Well, the forum software encourages to read this post per post, not as chapters. The chapters themselve, however, felt slightly different from each other. I can't explain well, as I'm not of a chapter guy myself, but heck - if you would make a book out of this, it would already be well readable.
    21. Just right.


    Sorry if my post may feel a bit mixed up but checking and writing so much was pretty exhausting . I hope it helps as much as it can.

    TL;dr: Mun'at has the following to say about this AAR:

    "I like it!"

    Nice research you did, nice writing. Really, keep it up! But don't stress yourself all too much pls.


    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë
    I feel your pain. I just finished my thesis, not for a PhD though, and it has left me drained and dead inside. Good luck!
    Exactly the situation I am in right now.

  20. #180
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby Pumpkin
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: May 14]

    I wonder how Mun'at is able to convert so many to his cause. I would've thought that the different tribes would be very suspicious of outsiders no matter how beautiful their words are, or how much they promise, come to think of it especially then. Perhaps the livelihoods of the tribes are so in danger that they are desperate for any kind of salvation. Nonetheless he must be a very charismatic speaker indeed.

    I was really intrigued with the "lie" that Mun'at is spreading and the concept behind it, him finding he is a fraud and should tell people the truth yet he knows this is what needs to be done. It made me think on the nature of lies and what makes them viewed as 'lesser' in value by the majority of mankind than the 'truth'. People always preach that the 'truth' is something very valuable (and it is don't get me wrong) and that lies are something to be avoided and generally viewed as bad, yet we all lie and often the lies we tell are more powerful than the truths we speak. Then again what is the truth? If you live your whole life believing a certain lie is the truth does it in the end matter that it was a lie? To that person I don't think so, in that case, I think, the truth doesn't matter. I think it's a very interesting subject to examine and I could probably talk about my opinion on it for hours so I will stop myself right here. Still this chapter inspired me to revisit my thoughts on it which is lovely.

    Chapter XXXI: Éomer Returns
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