1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Princes of the Universe, Part II

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Stories & Tales' started by Sisiutil, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. mrrandomplayer

    mrrandomplayer Hopeless Situation Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Messages:
    3,319
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The land of prequel memes
    Please tell all of the former S and T'ers on NES and IOT to return to S and T and make new stories! Even Terrance and Nuke! It will start a revival of S and T!
     
  2. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13,623
    Location:
    Workwork Workshop
    Even though this idea is certainly bumptastic, I'm currently preparing 3 (Yes, that's three) projects over at the NES forums. I'm also in a bunch more.

    Also, no Civ games :shrug:

    So sorry, that's a no.


    IN other news, I'm so excited!
     
  3. GreekAnalyzer

    GreekAnalyzer Back from the Dead

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,936
    Wow, really good Sisutil!
     
  4. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Messages:
    6,899
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Thanks for the compliment. And for staying on topic. ;)
     
  5. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Messages:
    8,051
    Tiens donc!, Sisiutil left Newbie Question thread to join back the S&Tales.

    :goodjob:
     
  6. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Messages:
    6,899
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Well, I wouldn't say I "left" it. I'm fond of newbies. Especially since, after seven years, they're in short supply now.
     
  7. GreekAnalyzer

    GreekAnalyzer Back from the Dead

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,936
    I've always wondered, how did you get your name?
     
  8. mrrandomplayer

    mrrandomplayer Hopeless Situation Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Messages:
    3,319
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The land of prequel memes
    I think it has to do with some myth from the Vancouver area about a beast that will give you happiness if you understand it or something like that.
     
  9. Moai_Spammer

    Moai_Spammer Nihilandros

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,866
    Location:
    Alabama baby
    so if i understand sisiutil, will he make me happy?
     
  10. CFCoasters

    CFCoasters Riding the Lightning

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    Messages:
    364
    Sisiutil's already making everybody happy! He's back to updating, remember? :D
     
  11. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Messages:
    6,899
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Close... sorta...

    Sisiutl is a mythical sea creature of the Nootka people who are native to the west coast of Vancouver Island. (No, I'm not Nootka, but as I live nearby in an area previously inhabited by First Nations for 40,000 years, I do what I can to honour their culture.) Sisiutl has two heads, usually depicted as wolfs' heads, with a body usually depicted as a human head. It is a symbol of a warrior's protection. To earn this protection, you must stand your ground if Sisiutl confronts you; every instinct you have will tell you to run, but this will result in your death. By standing your ground Sisiutl will see its other face; as all living creatures live to discover and know their other side, Sisiutl will appreciate your gesture and will bless you and protect you for the rest of your days.

    Native depictions of Sisiutl are almost always wall plaques that would have been displayed in a private place, i.e. the family's longhouse.





    (BTW, I purposely mis-spelled it "Sisiutil" a long time ago because, in typical Internet fashion, "Sisiutl" is often taken as a user name/e-mail address. Then again, since it's a native word rather than an English one, its "proper" spelling is a matter of conjecture.)
     
  12. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Messages:
    8,051
    Or the answer was simply google searching his avatar or simpler, make Save As and the naming gives away the username.
     
  13. GreekAnalyzer

    GreekAnalyzer Back from the Dead

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,936
    That wouldn't work if say, it was made up by Sisiutil. That's a fascinating story though.
     
  14. baseballpie

    baseballpie Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2,090
    Updates! HOOOOOOOOORAAAAAAAAAAAY!
     
  15. DroopyTofu

    DroopyTofu Double Bass Double Bass

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,307
    Location:
    South of the Treble Cleff
    That line made me grin. :) Well, the whole thing made me grin, that made me grin and breathe sharply.
     
  16. Sprig

    Sprig めんどくさい

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,976
    Location:
    Wellington, NZ
  17. Vylinius

    Vylinius College Student

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    539
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Apartment of Janky Wifi
    The Story that made me join finally continues! All hail Sisiutil! Also amazing update.
     
  18. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    5,047
    Location:
    In Dystopia
    Glad to see this story back :)
     
  19. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Messages:
    6,899
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Chapter 17 – Scipio's Victory

    Marcus Scipio and the Battle of Tiflis

    Part 4

    “Are you sure that’s wise, sir?” Scipio asked. “Going... ‘hunting’... for Genghis Khan?”

    Cato grunted impatiently. “Have you ever played chess, Scipio?” he asked brusquely.

    “Can’t say I have sir,” Scipio muttered. Growing up in Rome’s impoverished Subura meant Scipio had not had any exposure to the “game of kings”.

    “It’s quite simple at its heart,” Cato explained with forced patience. “Capture the king, and you win the game.”

    He turned away, leaving Scipio staring doubtfully at his commanding officer’s back. Moving carved ivory playing pieces around a board was one thing; but in the real world, Scipio had learned through hard experience, nothing was so simple.

    “I’ll tell you another thing about chess,” Corporal Lallena muttered to Scipio as he fell in beside him once the Colonel had moved away.

    “What’s that?” Scipio asked.

    “The pawns rarely survive,” Lallena said.

    The Corporal exchanged a look with his Captain, then they silently fell in behind their commander.

    Colonel Cato led Scipio and his hand-picked squad of Riflemen from the 14th Legion down a back alley, away from the wider street by the city walls, and away from the relative safety of three well-armed Legions of Roman infantry. The alley narrowed quickly, requiring the thirteen Romans (hardly an auspicious number, Scipio thought) to walk single-file. As in many Roman cities, laws in Mongolia restricted only the size of the first storey of a building; thus, the second storeys of the homes on either side of the alley jutted out across the passageway below so that they nearly touched and blotted out the sky above. Scipio glanced up at the low, slap-dash hovels crouching above him and licked his lips. He half expected a window to open at any moment, followed by a raised alarm, tossed offal and other refuse, followed by an ambush by angry Mongolian infantry.

    “Sir...” Scipio began to say.

    “Quiet!” Cato hissed back over his shoulder. His piercing blue eyes flared with anger for a moment, then he turned away.

    Scipio grunted softly. Evidently the precariousness of their situation had not gone unnoticed by his commanding officer. That gave Scipio some small measure of satisfaction. Not much, but it was better than nothing.

    After several tense moments, the group emerged from the alley at one end of a small town square. Cato led the group at a quiet run across the abandoned square to another alley opposite.

    “It’s quiet,” Necalli whispered.

    Cato nodded curtly. “The locals are holed up in their homes,” he whispered back to the group, which leaned in closer to hear him. “Hoping and praying for the fighting to end. That’s to our advantage.”

    “Where are we going, sir?” Scipio asked tersely.

    Instead of snapping at him, Cato surprised Scipio by smiling. “Horses,” he said.

    Scipio frowned. “Horses, sir?”

    Cato nodded. “The key to understanding Mongolians, Scipio!” he whispered fervently. “Their greatest pride... also their greatest weakness. As we’ll see. And prove.”

    Cato led the group through the alley, past one house, then around a corner. They climbed a set of worn stone stairs that curved around a hill between still more close-set, ramshackle houses. Once again they found that the passageway they had taken ended at the entrance to a small plaza, but this time Cato held them back.

    “You sure you haven’t been here before, sir?” Scipio asked his commanding officer.

    “Not in this lifetime,” Cato answered with the briefest upward twitch of one corner of his mouth. “Intelligence. From one of our best agents.”

    Nara, Scipio thought. It had to be. He felt a nervous twinge in his gut as he thought of the beautiful spy he’d grown to love. Of course she would be here. Hadn’t she eagerly volunteered to spy for the Romans in every tight spot they’d encountered during the Mongolian campaign? It amazed him that she had survived this long—then again, it amazed him that he had survived this long. What if, at long last, in this final battle, their luck ran out? He didn’t want to think about the possibility.

    Fortunately, Colonel Cato drew his attention back to the task at hand. The older man pointed across the low square, drawing the Riflemen’s attention. Two tall, broad wooden doors, stained dark brown, stood opposite, an entrance into what Scipio could see was a large, broad whitewashed building with a tall second storey. A large wooden cart sat outside the wide doorway.

    “Stables,” Cato whispered to his fellow Romans.

    Scipio’s brows rose. So that’s what Cato had meant in his earlier reference to horses.

    “And... at the other end of the stables, sir?” Scipio said, his mind working quickly.

    “Our quarry,” Cato answered.

    Scipio couldn’t help smiling. He could hear the eagerness, the hunger in Cato’s voice. He’d seen the old man fight. Whatever complaints he might have about his new commanding officer—and he had many—at least the man was a soldier. He might be humourless, harsh, and even reckless, but he could fight, and he clearly enjoyed taking the fight to the enemy. A man after my own heart, Scipio found himself acknowledging.

    “So how do we get in?” Scipio asked.

    Instead of answering, Cato reached into the inside breast pocket of his coat and drew out a pocket watch. Scipio had never seen one of the new-fangled (and expensive) devices before, and stared at it curiously. Two arrows, one short, one long, pointed to two different numerals—the longer one to XI, the shorter to II.

    “We wait,” Scipio said. “Not long now.”

    Thus, in silence, the Roman riflemen waited. One trooper pulled out a pipe, but Cato turned, frowned at the man, and shook his head. Again, Scipio smiled. He found himself reminded of old Cinna, who sold over-ripe, bruised fruit from a dingy old cart in the Subura and who also seemed to have eyes in the back of his head. Scipio swore he still had bruises on his forearm from the many times the fruit merchant had grabbed him when he’d tried to steal something, anything, to quiet his growling stomach...

    Suddenly, Scipio’s reverie ended. From somewhere nearby, the Romans heard the pealing of a church bell, marking the top of the hour. Cato’s tall, wiry body tensed; the other Romans read his mood and quietly prepared themselves for action. Scipio shifted his weight to keep his legs from cramping. From across the square, he heard a thump as if from a heavy latch being drawn back; then he heard a loud, low creaking noise and the two great doors began to open outwards. Three Mongolian men dressed in long, dark, stained deels came through the opened doors and walked out to the cart.

    Cato’s hand went up, holding his men in position. He turned to address his fellow Romans over his shoulder.

    “Civilians,” Cato murmured. “Capture them if you can. Kill them only if you must.”

    Scipio’s brows rose once again. “Yes, sir,” he whispered. Here he’d thought of Cato as completely ruthless, and the man had surprised him yet again. Like Necalli, Scipio found himself actually beginning to like the man.

    Scipio turned to his Riflemen. He gestured to Necalli, Lallena, and three others. He pointed to two of the men in turn, then to one of the Mongolian stable hands, until each pair of men had an assignment. His men nodded in understanding. After one last gesture, holding one finger over his lips, Scipio led his men out of the alley and across the square at a quick, quiet run.

    The stable hands never had a chance. They heard the Romans’ footfalls approaching but were slow to react. By the time they looked up from their routine task, a half-dozen hard-faced men had approached to within a few metres of them, holding long firearms topped by wickedly sharp bayonets. The Mongolians barely had time to gasp and raise their hands before the Romans surrounded and grabbed them, pulling them down to their knees.

    Cato led the rest of the Riflemen across the square. Once rejoined with Scipio’s group, they tugged the terrified stable hands to their feet and led them back into the stables. There, the Romans drew the large doors shut yet again, then looked to the stable hands, who now sat on the straw-strewn floor, doing their level best to keep their bodies from quaking in fear but utterly failing.

    Cato knelt down and spoke to them in Mongolian. Scipio had learned some of the language during the war, though he could not consider himself fluent. But he heard and understood enough: Cato briefly told the Mongolians that they would not die unless they resisted. That seemed to ease the men’s terror... a little.

    “Bind and gag them,” Cato ordered the Riflemen, pointing to a large wooden post and then to a coil of rope hanging on a nearby wall. “We’ll have them released when we’re done.”

    Once the Romans had secured the Mongolians, they climbed up a rickety flight of stairs to the main floor. Here, they found themselves in the heart of Tiflis’ stables. Horses stood in stalls on opposite sides of a long, straight aisle. Some of the beasts stirred and whinnied at the sight of the men moving past them, but most of the animals just stood in silence. The air smelt of stale hay, urine, and horse dung.

    “I suppose it’s a step up from the sewers we usually find ourselves crawling through,” Necalli muttered.

    “Not by much,” Scipio replied.

    The Romans kept glancing around warily, but in the distance they could hear intermittent gunfire, and they realized that every able-bodied Mongol must be out defending the city, not tending to their precious horses. They kept moving through the cavernous stable, a little more confidently than before.

    At last they came to the far end, where they found a large set of double doors almost identical to the ones they had come through on the other side of the huge building. Cato walked up to the doors and pressed his face against the wood so he could peer through the slender space between the doors where they met. He grunted. Scipio couldn’t tell if the sound was positive or negative.

    “Sir?” he said.

    “Look for yourself,” Cato responded, the slightest of smiles appearing on his thin lips.

    Scipio pressed himself against the closed doors and peered through the gap. Across another square he could see the entrance to a house. The building gleamed in the afternoon sun, its outside walls richly stuccoed rather than simply whitewashed. Columns stood on either side of the bright red front door, and the street number of the building appeared to shimmer warmly from a plaque beside it. Gold? Scipio marvelled, wondering at what sort of homeowner would risk embossing the outside of his home with real gold. Someone who had no fear of being robbed, evidently.

    “Finest house in Tiflis,” Cato whispered. “Belonged to a local merchant. Hah! Smuggler, more like. His family made a fortune selling contraband... dye, silk, and the like.”

    “Pricey stuff,” Scipio muttered. “And hard to come by back in Rome.”

    “Who do you think bought the stuff from him?” Cato said. “Yes, Temur’s family grew fat on Roman gold over the centuries. It must have galled him to give up his precious home to the great Khan.”

    “Doesn’t look especially well-guarded,” Scipio remarked. He could see no evidence of any guards outside the house.

    “Of course not!” Cato said. “All the guards should be out fighting.”

    “Won’t Genghis Khan be with them?” Scipio asked.

    Cato grunted disapprovingly. “You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Lately, however, the ‘Great Khan’ prefers to console himself with airag while his generals guide the battles. We’ll find him in there, if our intelligence proves true, and it certainly has thus far.”

    Scipio said nothing, but he felt increasingly apprehensive. It had all seemed far too easy thus far. And in his considerable experience, nothing, absolutely nothing in war ever turned out easy. Quite the opposite. It was all hard work and terror and blood and death, interspersed with far-too-rare moments of dumb luck. He had a soldier’s healthy distrust of anything “easy”.

    “Well,” Colonel Cato said, “there’s no time like the present, is there?”

    Cato gestured to Sergeant Major Necalli and some of the other Riflemen who stepped forward to remove the large wooden bar that held the stable doors closed. They set the bar on the hay-strewn floor while Cato and Scipio eased one of the doors ajar. Scipio licked his lips while Cato leaned out through the opening to scan the quiet square. He turned to the squad of Riflemen and nodded.

    “We cross the square together. Sargeant, you’ll kick open the door,” Cato said, looking at the large, imposing figure of Necalli as he said the last few words. “Then we enter the house and find Khan.”

    The Riflemen said nothing. They had their orders, and they would fulfill them. Or die trying.

    The Colonel led the way, setting out across the square at a wary run, Scipio and Necalli on either flank, the rest of the Riflemen in a group behind him. The sun glared above them from a clear blue sky. They could feel heat rising from the sun-baked cobblestones through the soles of their boots. The white stucco mansion ahead of them gleamed harshly in the sun’s bright glare. They reached the centre of the square.

    It was Scipio who spotted the first dark shadow on the mansion’s rooftop two storeys above. Before he could react, several other figures appeared above them. He opened his mouth to shout a warning, an order, but whatever he said was lost in the sudden crackle of musket fire.

    Scipio’s shako tumbled off of his head. Dumb luck once again, he thought quickly, before that thought fled when he saw many of his men weren’t so lucky. Three Romans had fallen to the ground; two more had stopped dead in their tracks, one clutching his left arm, the other his right shoulder. Around him, the other Riflemen had come to a standstill, either staring upwards or down at their fallen compatriots.

    One of the fallen Romans was Colonel Cato.

    “Rifles!” Scipio shouted. “Return fire!”

    As one, the Romans raised their weapons and took aim at the figures on the roof. The Mongolians saw the threat and ducked down behind the edge of the mansion’s roof. The few shots the Romans took flew harmlessly over them. But the Romans had a moment before the Mongolians could regroup and reload.

    Scipio glanced around. Necalli, thank all the gods, had been unharmed.

    “Grab the Colonel!” Scipio told the big Aztec. “Retreat!” he shouted to the rest of his men. “Back to the stable!”

    Necalli lifted the limp form of their commanding officer and ran back to the stable doors at a dead run. The other Romans followed, some pointing their weapons toward the mansion roof to provide cover, others dragging or helping their wounded comrades as they retreated to the stable. Now and then they heard the crack of a musket above and behind them, but they had moved out of the weapons’ range.

    Necalli pushed the stable door closed as Scipio assessed the damage. Silo had a musket ball in his shoulder, another Rifleman, a young Spaniard named Diaz, had one in his arm. Two more of his men lay writhing on the dirty floor of the stable, gut-shot; death would come for them, but not easily. And, lastly, Colonel Cato. A dark wet bloom around a hole directly above his heart, along with the older man’s utterly still form, told Scipio everything he needed to know.

    It had all gone to hell, Scipio reflected bitterly. His commanding officer lay dead while a troop of Mongolian musket men held his pitifully small force at bay. They were trapped behind enemy lines in a city filled with enemies. The Mongolians would be coming for them soon. They’d fight. Of course they’d fight. They were Romans. But they’d die. They’d die to a man, just a few metres from the Great Khan himself. The last sound they’d hear, Scipio reckoned, would be the sound of Genghis Khan’s triumphant laughter.
     
  20. mrrandomplayer

    mrrandomplayer Hopeless Situation Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Messages:
    3,319
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The land of prequel memes
    Cliffhanger...
     

Share This Page