Author Topic: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel  (Read 351 times)

Clarence Dannel

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Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« on: 31 July, 2017, 06:59:00 AM »
Plague broke out in London. Lord Clarence, the vassal of London, looked down to see spots on his own hand. Well, that at least explained the feeling of malaise. Lord Clarence and the others boarded the newly built plague ship Clarence had recently commissioned, foreseeing the current outbreak the moment the rats swarmed the city. The H.M.S. Death's Pale Horse would make its maiden voyage while the timbers were still fresh enough to smell the forests.

Several locals and servants from the Tower also contracted the Plague. The holds were full, as were the railings. “Morbid name for a ship 'tisn't it, m'lord?” Blacian, the assistant chief servant, followed Clarence down the steps from the deck of the ill-fated ship.

“This is a plague-ship, Blacian, not Cleopatra's Royal Yacht. The name fits the function, and if you wonder why Death rides a pale horse, find a mirror.” The servant was clammy and covered with boils.

“Don't need one, m'lord, you're as pale as a spirit....and also seasick I suppose....I'll fetch the mop...”

This ship was no one's home, but if treatment did not arrive soon, it would surely become everyone's grave. Nonetheless, all on board approach death knowing full well that they followed the Emergency Plague Protocol laid out by the hopefully-not-soon-to-be-late Lord of London.
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Clarence Dannel

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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #1 on: 01 August, 2017, 07:09:12 AM »
The captain of the H.M.S. Death's Pale Horse called Lord Clarence to the deck. It was the second day the ship had sat at sea off the coast of London. Lord Clarence had recovered from the Plague. That recovery seemed to fate him to watch helpless as everyone else suffered and died. This captain who called him wasn't even the captain—he was the first mate with a field promotion. The old captain was dead.

On the deck, the captain handed Clarence the glass and pointed off the port bow. Through the scope, Clarence spotted the King's flagship. Raising the view to the masts, Clarence's suspicion was confirmed. Two flags flew from the main mast. The first was the new Plague Flag Clarence had designed the week prior to the outbreak: A large black circle of a boil, surrounded by a white outline of raised skin around the boil, on a field of red—the red of blood. The second—the second indicated who was on board, not even this record dares say. Clarence sunk his head, his fears confirmed. This wasn't the only other plague ship he'd seen in the past day. How many friends and fellow nobles was this now? This epidemic had become a nightmare.

They buried Blacian the servant that morning. He died during the night. The kid was only 14 years old. “Forgive me for sayin', m'lord, but I loath it when ye are right." Clarence had predicted this Plague and had also predicted that the dilapidated condition of London's Theological Churches would exacerbate the crisis. The old captain had already died, and the new captain—who cast off his own name in preference of being called “Charon,” after the boatman who ferried souls to Hades—had Clarence perform the funeral.

“Blacian was a servant. His name in older English meant black, I think, and the black death was Blac's death too. We devote his soul to Teos, and his body to the deep.” The fish would eat well tonight....but the Black Death might then come for them too.

“I may be an officer of State,” cried the despondent lord, “but when I return, there will be religious reform!”
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Clarence Dannel

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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #2 on: 09 August, 2017, 02:19:38 AM »
His left foot rose from the gang-plank of the Plague-ship, and rested once again on the ground of the city of London. Lord Clarence gazed at the city. The Plague had left London, but it had not left London untouched. There was something foul in the air—a sense of the dread and death that had struck the city. The wounds of the boils had mostly healed, leaving a few scars.

Help had not come from London. It had come instead from Exeter and all the way from Flanders. They had worked tirelessly to rid London of the Plague, while London stood impotent and helpless. London was forever in her rescuers' debt. Their toil would never be forgotten.

The physical pain diminished with each passing day....but not the heartache. Clarence feared the news he knew he would now have to receive, and watching from the harbor, he saw that news coming in the form of one of London's stewards. Someone of highest rank had died—that much he knew. Was the it the King? the Cardinal? ...the Drillmaster? “M'lord, Eike Repgow died at sea from the Plague off the coast of London.”

A sharp pain struck Clarence in the chest, causing him to collapse down to the planks of the dock. “M'lord! M'lord!” It was the grief that struck him down. Clarence had seen Eike's Repgow's ship near his own Plague-ship. Their ships had not been alone. One would not return. Rising to his feet, Clarence ordered ceremonies of mourning throughout London. He would not send a servant to tell this news to the King.

Someone had erred, and that burned in Clarence's blood. A Healer who refused to heal, Wicked Fiends who had cast those Plague-ridden rats into his city to bite, to devour, to destroy....these were the Agents of Death. Captain Charon had to be taken to a monastery in the countryside, for that much death had destroyed his sanity. Glancing back, Clarence saw city guards restrain the captain as he writhed in his madness on his way to the wagon that would transport him. His expenses would be paid from Clarence's own accounts.

It is time now to move on from this calamity, to rebuild, to embrace what is good....and, perhaps more important than anything else, it is time to breed innumerable litters of cats.
« Last Edit: 09 August, 2017, 02:29:04 AM by Clarence Dannel »
Clarence Dannel, Vassal of London
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Clarence Dannel

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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #3 on: 17 August, 2017, 05:28:21 AM »
It is said that in the annals of history there are some who participate, and there are some who spectate from the sidelines and make commentary. Such was the case with Lord Clarence at the Battle of Munster on the eleventh day of August, in the year thirteen-hundred and seventeen.

There were not enough natives for all soldiers to fight, so the rest watched. Lord Clarence stood on hilltop next to Judge Fulco and the rest of the bored soldiers of Operation Herman. They watched as a few warriors of Ireland approached in their finest armor. “Have they come to join us?” Fulco asked.

“I think not, Fulco.” Clarence watched as Malachi Ap Rhys, a Irishman with a Welsh name, charged at the natives by himself. “Rather impressive—he actually took a few of them out for us before falling. I hope he's not injured.” Two more Irish soldiers appeared from the horizon. “Gentlemen, this is a classic example of mimetic desire—Ireland only wants Munster because they see someone else wants it.” None of the other nobles had heard of mimetic desire. Clarence was on his own with that one.

After the battle, John Costello awoke from his nap, “Did I miss the battle?” Upon realization of the truth, John became irate, started muttering something in Irish Gallic, and staggered off to find a tavern with some ale and a whole chicken for him to devour.

Lord Clarence would later describe this mimetic desire in his Treatises on Ireland as “weak,” “child-like,” and “utterly lacking in mental or physical prowess.” He described this first visit to the Emerald Isle as “a pastoral, idyllic land filled with green fields covered by small, yellow pansies.”


In 1973, a page of illuminated manuscript was discovered with a depiction—not of the battle—but of the three bored English nobles on the hilltop. The artist is unknown. Some believe it was Lord Clarence himself who painted it, but others argue he would have made himself taller and believe the artist was instead just another bored soldier. In any case, the illumination was discovered deep within the Tower of London (Lord Clarence's home of that time) buried under a pile of 14th Century grocery lists and an anatomical drawing of a quill-less porcupine.
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Clarence Dannel

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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #4 on: 20 August, 2017, 02:22:41 AM »
His left eye twitched for a moment in the dim candle light. Clarence strained to focus on the paper in front of him. It was late for such work, but late hours never bothered him. The twitching in his left eye, however, made work more of a challenge. “Alas, I shall just finish this page, then retire for the night,” he resigned. “Remember, now, the pain is a gift.”

It was, in truth, though it felt more like a gift when it didn't bother him. It was a squalid leftover of the first time he contracted the Plague as a youth, barely past the brink of manhood. So was the intermittent ache at his right thigh. It had not defined his manhood years, but it had shaped them. What manner of man would he be if not for them? Humility is having a right view of yourself, and mortal man lives but a moment, then withers like grass. Infirmities are a tonic to keep pride at bay. He thought of Alfred, King of Wessex, whose example gave Clarence the inspiration to also see his own mild infirmities as a gift. “Alfred the Great,” Clarence always thought that man should be called.

These constant reminders brought life always into focus, and spurred him onward, to press on to whatever service he might able offer those worthy of it. The people of London: he was their servant, ever since Michael took the throne of England and assigned him stewardship over the capital city and its surrounding countryside. It's an honor to serve such people, where even the commoners are more noble in truth and in deed than many nobility of other lands. That's why the lords of England are the servants of the people, and the King, servant of all. England's greatness is the greatness of her people, and that is greatness indeed.

Alright now, that page is finished. He probably shouldn't have pressed on to finish it, but it was done now, so, no matter. He picked up the lamp and started walking down the corridor from his office to his bedchambers. There's that thigh ache flaring up—probably from sitting too long and staying up too late. Best that the servants had already gone to sleep, lest they see the slight limp in his gait.

A piece of cheese made its way into his mouth followed by a cup of water, fresh drawn from the well in the lower levels of the Tower. He stood by the window as he prayed his nightly prayers. He prayed for the people of London—his family, he always called them. He prayed for England, prayed for her King, and prayed for a good night's rest, that it might bring him the strength to serve well in the day ahead.
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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #5 on: 22 August, 2017, 05:54:44 AM »
The smell of cow manure is only fragrant perfume to one who has longed for the simple life after spending too much time away from home. Clarence spent the early dawn inspecting his new herd of cows. All of them were White Park cattle, the premiere breed of England.

The largest of the herd was the alpha female, Boudicia. She was as large as a bull, and despite her massive girth, she carried herself with a grace that the swiftest deer could never surpass. Her white horns sloped upward, each as long as Clarence's lanky arms, and both culminating in red, pointed tips as long as a man's hand. Boudicia was only cantankerous when defending one of the other cows in the herd or fending off the advances of Maximus, the local bull, which she did with ease, for even that ill-tempered one-and-one-quarter ton bull knew better than to test his strength against that of Boudicia.

The sun was still touching the horizon as Lord Clarence made his rounds, gathering the day's supply of milk. The innkeepers of London will be making cheese past sundown with how much these cows were producing. As Clarence groomed Matilda, the second largest cow in his herd, Boudicia started to grunt and snort in agitation. Clarence looked over and saw the massive cow rear up in her stall. Her shoulder broke the timbers separating her stall from the next. Dairymen fled out of the barns as if fleeing from a fire. Clarence ran past the dairymen and toward the frightened cow as a sense of horror washed over his entire body. What on Earth could possibly unnerve the fiercest cow in the whole of England?

And there, he saw it. Hideous, deformed, and out of proportion with the rest of reality, it was the size of a male goat, and its teeth were as large as a goat's horns. “I loathe these large rats!” Clarence shouted.

The rat saw him and turned to charge at the lord. Clarence rolled out of the way and reached for the long sword resting on the wall of the barn. Ever since these demonic aberrations appeared in London, Clarence had kept a number of long swords in conspicuous locations around his estates. A servant, thinking himself clever, had carved “In case of rats...” in the wood above this long sword. The rat bit Clarence on the leg—his good leg—and proceeded to hiss and squeal as it scratched and pawed at the prone lord. Clarence struck the rat square in its hide, only drawing a minimal amount of blood.

The rat stepped backward several feet to regroup. That's when Boudicia seized the opportunity and stomped the rat with both front hooves, bringing her full weight down upon the abomination. The rat squeaked in pain, wriggled free, jumped five feet into the air, and bit Boudicia's right nostril. Boudicia roared. Clarence had never heard a cow roar before. He leapt to his feet, grabbed a bottle of mulberry brandy a dairyman had left behind and a lit lantern with his other hand. In one fluid motion, Clarence broke the bottle over the dire rat and slammed the lantern into the rat's back, shattering the lantern and spreading its flames.

“Return from whence thou came, thou devil!” The rat shrieked as the flames tore at its back, yet, it bit Clarence on the arm—then the chest, and the stomach, and....Clarence wasn't about to let that progression continue. With a downward stroke of his long sword, Clarence split the occiput and severed the rat's spine. The rat was dead, but another would emerge from the abyss in a few hours.

Clarence was bathed in his own blood, and in pain he staggered toward his magnificent cow. Wounds now marred her flawless snowy hide. He missed the days when the only danger in dairy farming was getting kicked by an ornery cow. (For the record, that cow was Gundrada, and she was delicious.)
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Clarence Dannel

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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #6 on: 26 August, 2017, 07:37:09 AM »
Clarence hesitated at the threshold of London's Parish Church. He had not stepped inside since the former priest closed the doors of the church to the sick and the dying mere moments before the Plague devastated the city. Any time he had prayed since then was either at the Cardinal Palace or privately at his home, where he said his prayers every night just before sleep.

Now the wayward priest had been replaced, and Father Mortimer, the new priest, opened the doors of the church wide, welcoming all of London to enter. Clarence gazed deep into the sanctuary to see the dimly lit frame of a humble church servant sweeping the stone floor. Even as a silhouette, it was clear that this figure smiled at Clarence once he noticed the lord's presence. Clarence set a tentative foot inside the door.

Before long, Clarence felt his body carry him further into the church. He slid into a hard oak pew near the front. His eyes looked forward, toward the altar, and up to the gilded inscription on the altar's ledge. It was written in Latin, a passage from the sacred texts. Clarence stared at the passage he had read a thousand times before, and yet, he looked at it as if this was the very first time it had entered his view. It meant all the things it had meant before, but now it seemed to Clarence that it meant something more.

Clarence glanced over at the humble figure sweeping the floor. The light through the windows shifted, and Clarence got a glimpse of the figure's face. It was Father Mortimer himself. That sight drove home what the passage on the altar's ledge meant to him at that moment. It spoke of the time at the end when Teos would make everything new, and in so doing, put an end to illness and death. Though this present moment was far from the end of time, yet it seemed that this was a symbol, an example—a type, even—of the newness that was promised.

After hours of earnest prayer and rededication, Clarence arose slowly. His back was stiff, and his legs found it arduous to lift his stout body. The stillness in those quiet hours had tensed Clarence's body, but it had refreshed Clarence's soul. Thus, with soothed soul, rested mind, and tired body, Clarence returned to the Tower of London.

On his way home, Clarence stopped by the cemetery to pay his respects to those brave men, women, and children who had served England to their dying breaths during what was now known as The Great London Plague. Blacian the Servant, Captain Pelagius the Ill-Fated, a baker known only as “Al,” all the crew of the H.M.S. Rocco, as well as that of the H.M.S. Orpheus—countless names and countless people....countless to all except Lord Clarence. He knew all their names; he remembered all their faces. He had even made many of their orphaned children his wards. Thus this plague had made them beneficiaries of his nobility via adoption. It was the only good to come from such great ill, that, and Father Mortimer's call to the ministry.

2,527 people had died, and 431 orphans were made in the course of that one horrid week. Now with Father Mortimer as the Priest of London, such misery would surely shrink away like shadows from sunlight. Clarence looked forward to the newness that lay ahead.
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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #7 on: 03 September, 2017, 06:09:13 AM »
“Lean forward.” The maid pealed the old bandages from Lord Clarence's back, revealing a long gash across the left flank, just below his arm. It would leave a scar, but that was all. Clarence was fortunate. He had answered the King's call to arms and had made himself present at Dublin, where he fell on the field of battle to a Kievan mercenary.

Mercenaries. They were all Ireland had to defend themselves in this war. Dangerous move: Mercenaries, by definition, are motivated by something other than the interests of the nation who hires them.

“Ouch!” Clarence winced as the maid cleaned the wound. She was thorough. Gisele was from a small village along the Rhine River, and her talent was in preventing infection. The mercenaries and this girl from the Rhine brought to Clarence's memory the story of his grandfather, Malcolm Dannel.

Malcolm was born in the lowlands of Scotland on a modest family farm in Autumn 1215. The ink on The Great Charter was still wet from King John's pen, not that it mattered to the Scotch. Malcolm's father was a carpenter, which left little time for farming, and his grandfather (the farmer) was already seventy. By the time Malcolm was eight years old, he was operating the entire farm himself.

Five years later, a recruiter from a mercenary company came to town. The recruiter told stories of far off wars in far off places, for the Church and for glory. The tales he told filled the young man's heart with dreams. So Malcolm lied about his age, telling the recruiter that he was sixteen in order to be accepted into the company. His stature and his farm work gave him the physique that sold the lie, and he mustered into the company during the Spring of 1229. He passed the care of the farm to his younger brother Alexander, and boarded the ship.

The company fought first in the East. Later they blazed a trail across the deepest reaches of the mountains, in the hearts of lands few non-natives ever see. Malcolm never saw the glory of war as much as he saw the horror. He watched his brothers-in-arms bleed out beside him and heard their dying cries—cries for their mothers and wishing to be home again. He saw commanders of the company loot, plunder, and burn villages to the ground. He even saw them turn on their employers, taking their gold, and then their lives. Yet Malcolm's causes were always just. At the end of seven years, he had liberated a people from a tyrannical king, ended atrocities, and saw justice restored.

At twenty, Malcolm sailed with the company up the Rhine River and, near Alsace, met and married a local girl. At sight of her, he left the company and returned home to Scotland. The next morning, Malcolm went into a field with his long sword and threw it as far as he could. His young wife was with child that first year but later died in miscarriage. Five months later, Malcolm married the daughter of a York noble and eventually moved the family farm to Northampton, England, which his son later sold in order to move to London, the place of Clarence's birth.

Clarence looked up. His grandfather had done great and noble things during those wars, yet nothing could shake loose the horror of it all, nor could it assuage the dangers of mercenary companies. On that thought, Gisele finished replacing the bandages. Perhaps the wound would not scar after all.
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Re: Excerpts from the Annals of Dannel
« Reply #8 on: 07 September, 2017, 06:03:50 PM »
The Cornish rebel's mace sailed through the air, striking Lord Clarence in both calves. Clarence toppled downward in a daze, falling face first into a slab of granite rock. The battlefield was covered in bulging, folding mounds of granite. This was the expanse of the Cornubian batholith. If not robbed by violence, the beauty of this unique landscape would have stopped Clarence in his tracks. He was stopped, alright, but not by the beauty around him. He tried to rise, but the Cornishman's mace struck his helmet twice in rapid succession. Down he stayed.

The battlefield was a blur of men and metal. Steel flashed back and forth in a cascade of visual music, the Sun bouncing from one surface to another, too furious to keep eyes from blinding from the light. There were the English soldiers pressing the Cornish on the left of the line. Scotsmen and Swedes came bearing up the center with an indomitable spirit. One let out a battle cry that split the air.

The twenty-ninth rebel that the scouts had noted in their reports was in fact the leader. Lord Clarence received an intelligence report from one of his officials who had fled the county. This rebel movement had appeared out of nowhere with no apparent causality. They declared themselves independent from the King of England and called themselves the Citizens of Neo-Dumnonia. Their leader's history could not be found, as his name was not known. He called himself King Doniert and was known by no other name.

Clarence rolled down the slope, sword in hand, and when the rebel stepped forward for another blow, Clarence impaled his sword right through the side of the rebel's foot. The rebel reeled back, putting all his weight on the other foot. A pause, a struggle for a moment, and the still-prone Clarence elevated his blade to slice open the backs of the rebel's knees. The rebel fell down dead, and Clarence, still prone, felt little better than his opponent. He turned his weak head to one side and saw the battle rage on.

Rebel King Doniert swiveled his war hammer over his head in an arc, taking out soldier after solder in rapid succession. His wide strokes left him open to counter-attacks, however, and the falling soldiers chipped away at him—a cut here, a blunt force trauma there. He dispatched yet another soldier on the field, but the constant tiny wounds had battered him and drained out his strength. He staggered toward his next opponent, a brave Viking warrior. The Viking grabbed Doniert by the neck and shoved his head into the pool of standing water at the Viking's feet. Doniert drowned on the field, ending his rebellion on the morning of the fifth day of September, 1317.

...And 700 years later, to the day, on a continent that had not yet been discovered, another mass of water threatened a long-distance relation of Lord Clarence. [OOC: Evacuating from Hurricane Irma. See y'all later.]
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