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[ASOIAF][SI] No Promises

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Nugar, Jan 29, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue: Be careful with that thing.
    Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    No Promises



    I killed for the second time when I was six years old.

    It took some begging, and some creative arguing, but a few fairly enthusiastic temper tantrums and a promise to be careful eventually convinced my father, the king, Robert Baratheon, to let me keep an unstrung heavy crossbow in my room to play with along with my wooden swords and the wooden toy warhammer I used to ingratiate myself into my father’s good graces.

    My dear mother Cersei wasn’t that enthusiastic about it, but when I told her it was so I could protect her and my unborn sibling, she softened and smiled indulgently. I was pretty diligent about making Robert proud of his son, but I always put the most effort into making sure Cersei loved me. I couldn’t rely on how much she doted on her children originally, not given the head full of dark, unquestionably Baratheon hair I sported.

    I had been born as the dark haired, originally stillborn first born child of Robert and Cersei, before she started having her brother’s kids. I don’t really remember it, but I do know that I was born pretty sickly, but got over it by the time I was a year old.

    They named me Eddard, after Robert’s best friend, much as Ned Stark’s firstborn son was Robb. At my tender age of six, I had one living sister, Myrcella of the golden hair, who I doted on as much as possible, and another sibling on the way. There had been a blond brother, Joffrey, who survived birth but died before he could leave his crib. Tragic, really.

    So I managed to get ahold of a crossbow. It was heavy as hell, but I was pretty big and strong for a six year old, since I had Robert’s warrior genes and had been effectively training since before I could walk. Most crossbows were just made of wood, with only a few nails and braces here and there to make them work, but this was a nice one. Mostly wood, of course, but with metal plates and action, and the winch used to cock it used iron gears.

    I had a few bolts I’d picked up here and there stashed in my room, and even a pair of strings from the armory. The problem, of course, was stringing it.

    The damned thing probably had a draw weight of two hundred pounds, maybe more. I have no idea exactly how the armsmen string them, but I’ve got ideas and I’m actually pretty familiar with crossbows. I simply used a length of good thin rope tied to the arms of the bow, then twisted with a short, sturdy stick to slowly draw them together. Once I got that as tight as I could, I hooked the cocking winch to it and had it restrung in less than ten minutes. Then, of course, I had to unstring it again, because I didn’t want it taken away from me too soon.

    I practiced quickly stringing and unstringing it whenever I could, mostly at night, after everyone else was asleep. I also spent some time lugging it around my rooms, practicing aiming with it and getting used to the weight. I ended up making a sling for it that let me carry it at my side, and would allow me to fire it from the hip. I feared my own inaccuracy, but there was no real way to actually practice shooting the thing. I’d just have to get close.

    Meanwhile, Cersei produced my little brother, Tommen, as expected.

    I must confess, I was not expecting him to have black hair.

    Tommen was the talk of King’s Landing, of course. A feast was planned, various letters of congratulations arrived, and there was a steady stream of important visitors to the family apartments. I guarded the inner door to the sitting chamber, greeting them all with my big fucking unstrung crossbow.

    Oh, there was laughter. Mixed in here and there was some admiration and praise, especially when I said I wasn’t going to let this brother die like my last one. Cersei got positively misty-eyed at that, and Robert, when he was around, seemed pretty happy at the sentiment, too.

    Of course, there were the occasional snide whispered comments about the silly boy with the unstrung crossbow, so all I could do was protest that no one would string it for me.

    And when I heard that the newly minted Master of Coin was coming to pay his respects, I slipped my string and tools out of my clothes and quickly had the crossbow strung. A bolt hidden in a big vase finished my preparations, and I was ready when Petyr Baelish showed up with some guy I didn’t know, escorted by Arys Oakheart, who had been waiting at the entrance to the apartments.

    “Halt! Who goes there?” I challenged in the deepest voice I could manage, which wasn’t very.

    Ser Oakheart, who had been tolerantly putting up with my shit since this began, smiled at me, not yet recognizing the threat. “Arys Oakheart, my Prince, escorting-“

    SPUNNNNG!

    It was a good thing I had aimed for the chest, instead of the face as I’d actually been tempted, because the bolt went high and to the right, punching clear through Petyr Baelish right below the left clavicle. It missed the heart, but I think it hit the top of the aorta, because blood positively fountained out of him, his mouth gaping wide as he slowly sank to his knees and toppled backwards.

    “Oops.”

    When a man kills a man, that’s murder. But when a child does it, well…

    That’s an accident.

    So yeah, I got a pretty decent spanking. Worse, they took my crossbow away from me, and it was years before they’d let me touch one under anything less than direct supervision. Still, I think Robert was a bit proud when, after I asked him how old he’d been when he killed his first man, I solemnly informed him that I had beaten him.

    Don’t play games with a chess master. Kick over the board and shoot him.


    *********

    Note: The chapters below have been rewritten. Follow the threadmarks to get to the real chapter one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  2. NakedFury

    NakedFury Know what you're doing yet?

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    This is perfect. If you can't beat them, shoot them.
     
  3. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    Sandor was negotiating for more horses from the four men up front, while Rusty, my dog, skulked out of sight behind them. The two of them seemed to have it under control, so I took a chance to look back over my shoulder.

    Smoke was rising over King’s Landing, the early evening sun lighting it up with a baleful glow. We had maybe four, five hours before dark, and for all we knew, men were already chasing us.

    Cersei had stopped crying, sitting behind me on my horse, and now just held desperately to me with her arms around my armored middle. I wanted to stop and check to see if her cheekbone or nose was really broken, but at least with a swollen face she didn’t look like the beautiful queen she was. Besides, we had ground to cover before scouts caught us, so all I’d been able to do was give her a small dose of laudanum.

    Myrcella sat quietly in front of me, wrapped in a cloak, clutching the music box I had given her when she was eight. She was quiet, subdued, but she wasn’t crying and she did what she was told. She had the naive confidence of a child in her big brother’s ability to keep her safe. Myself, I had some doubts. After all, I sure as FUCK didn’t see this coming.

    With Joffrey and Baelish dead, everything was going to be okay, right? Even Robert’s worst excesses were somewhat curbed. Time to build some shit, make some friends, low key prepare for dragons and ice zombies. Too bad I made the classic Eddard mistake and trusted people. King’s Landing, no, Wester-, no, fucking Planetos was full of vipers, assholes, monsters, and selfish bastard motherfucker sons of bitches. I was only 14, right? I had time.

    At least my head was still connected to my body.

    My shield was hung over Cersei’s back, a cloak draped over it to hide its fairly distinctive crest and colors, and my hammer hung at my side. Tied to the saddle behind my mother was a blanket wrapped bundle of arrow quivers and two bows, plus a spare sword. I did have arms at the ready, however. A pole screwed into the hilt of my faussart, turning it into a glaive suitable for use from horseback. The distinctive swirl of its false valerian steel, wootz, and the actual valerian steel of its edge were both covered in lampblack. I held it one handed, blade up and ready.

    I liked glaives. The pokey properties of a spear or lance, with the choppy slicey abilities of a sword, all on a stick to give you some heft and reach. I left off the hook bits, though. My glaive was made for murder, not unhorsing riders.

    A good thing, too. I heard a sharp cry of pain from one of the men, then the sounds of multiple swords clearing sheathes ahead of me. I turned back in time to see Sandor’s valerian steel edged backsword split a man from shoulder to opposite hip, and Rusty dragging a screaming flailing man along the ground by his calf.

    I instantly spurred my horse forward, lining up then thrusting the point of my glaive into the side of the nearest armsman as he turned to see my approach. Cersei tucked her head down and hugged me tighter, while Myrcella grabbed on to the arm I held the reins with as the warhorse planted its hooves and skidded to a stop before we trampled my dog.

    Fortunately, that was all I had to do as Sandor quickly clashed with the other man, who was armed with little more than a whacking stick, laying his neck open with a gurgle before sending him sprawling with a mighty shove. From there it was little more than a simple reverse and stab to kill the man on the ground. Rusty, being well trained, immediately backed off and looked around for more fun, panting happily.

    “What the fuck, Sandor?” I asked. “You were armed with a bag full of gold and the promises of the richest man in Westeros.”

    “Two of ‘em had Stormlander accents. Couldn’t risk it,” he replied, giving mercy to the choking man he’d laid out, then wiping blood off his blade.

    “Ah.” I paused. “Good call.” With everyone in the immediate vicinity, I didn’t need to be on immediate guard, and we needed to gather supplies. “Help the girls down.”

    Cersei kept Myrcella close as we busied ourselves looting the place. It was a modest pasture and corral, holding about twenty horses, with an associated barn, used to supply the armsmen who patrolled the surroundings of King’s Landing. We picked it because it would have everything a small group of riders would need for a long distance trip, and almost all of the men had been summoned to King’s Landing to deal with the Lannister men in the city.

    We’d already rode hard for almost four miles from King’s Landing, and our horses were a bit tired. Oddly enough, Sandor’s horse was worse off than mine despite my extra passengers. Even at 14, I was as big as the average man, but Cersei and my sister didn’t weigh squat. Meanwhile, Sandor’s horse had both of our camping packs, plus Sandor’s big ass as well. Poor Rusty had been forced to run alongside us, his mail dog armor vest forming a makeshift seat for Cersei.

    Armsmen’s gear wasn’t as good as what we usually used, but at least we had our personal travel packs. Mainly, we were picking up consumables. Tins of dried food, tubes of goose eggs packed in wool, bags of somewhat fresh corn tortillas, plus the traditional westerosi trail foods like jerky, cheese, and sausage. Bedrolls plus spares, oilcloth tarps, plenty of waterskins and some water barrels for the horses. Bags of oats and grain, and even a few hay bales because why not. The horses were going to be the big limiting factor of our journey. I also added a couple of crossbows, and quivers of bolts and arrows. Lastly, I packed on what I remembered as standard adventuring gear. Rope. Shitloads of rope. Torch makings. Candles. Spare flint and steel, with packets of charcloth tinder. And finally, two carboys of lantern fuel, which we packed on the very last horses in our pack train, because they’re made of amber blown glass from my glassworks. Although protected by sturdy wicker woven tightly around the bottle, they still get broken sometimes and no one wants to ride a burning horse no matter how cool Ghost Rider was.

    Although annoying that we couldn’t have the stablemen do it, Sandor and I were probably just about as fast. I briefly wondered if I should feel bad about killing the men, but frankly I was already hyped up on adrenaline and as such it barely affected me.

    We grabbed six more horses, with enough supplies we should be able to avoid people for at least two weeks, a month or more if we slow down to forage.

    Cersei was too out of it to ride by herself, and Myrcella was too scared to leave her big brother, so once again I left most of my gear on another horse. I quickly put Rusty’s leather and mail vest on, and got the big dog on top of one of the pack horses as well. He slobbered dog drool and armsman blood on my face when he was up there, a big doggy grin on his face, and obediently hunkered down. This wasn’t his first ride.

    I spat and wiped my face as best as I could.

    My other ‘hound’ helped me get situated with my passengers, then mounted up as well. Both of us led three horses, all saddled as well in case we had to change.

    We were traveling west, into the setting sun, so both of us pulled out protective cases that contained the finest achievement my glassworks had yet produced.

    Mirrored wraparound sunglasses.

    Myrish glassmakers I’d imported from Essos. Tints and compounds from all over, sourced with help from Maesters and craftsmen. Precision (somewhat) machining arranged with the best smiths I could hire. Alumina column chromatography, fractional distillation, petroleum manufacture, vacuum pumps and vacuum chambers. An ultrathin layer of silver deposited on formed, hardened glass. They often got broke, scratched easily, and despite my best efforts, tended to be a little bit warped. They still fetched a tiny fortune apiece, with backorders for years.

    And goddamn it, I was leaving it all behind. My glassworks, my steelworks, my damn laboratory, my distillery, even my god damned theater! I personally turned King’s Landing into the industrial center of the seven kingdoms! I’m why we’re only a million dragons in debt and most of that is to me and Tywin fucking Lannister!

    And FUCKING ROBERT BARATHEON has to go all OURS IS THE FURY and try to kill everyone he fucking sees because he caught Cersei fucking Jaime! Don’t swing that hammer at me, you fat fuck, I’ll hit you with a couch! We’re just lucky Tommen is at Summerhall with Kevin Lannister and Tyrion is over in Myr chasing more glassmakers for me.

    “Prince Eddard?” Sandor asked carefully, rousing me from my brief, let’s be honest here, blackout impotent rage. “Are you ready?”

    There was a lot of meaning packed into the way he addressed me just then. A lot of caution. Although I never called him the Hound, it was a pretty good nickname for him. He was loyal and uncomplicated, but he was also just like an abused dog, always knowing that, when things got bad, the boot could be coming.

    I don’t abuse dogs. I had to calm down.

    I shook my head, kissed Celly on the top of her cloaked head, and put my glaive in its upright socket.

    “It’s 600 miles to Deep Den. We’ve got fresh horses, a burning city behind us, a few hours before dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”

    Sandor grunted, relieved I had perked back up. Absolutely great bodyguard he was, he was terrible at banter.

    Suppressing my flash of disappointment, we rode for Deep Den.


    *********
     
  4. NakedFury

    NakedFury Know what you're doing yet?

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    wow did not see that coming.

    I mean who would go apeshit crazy if they caught their wife fucking her brother? am I right? crazy I tell you.
     
  5. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    The irony, of course, is that the SI is actually his son, but since in this continuity he finds out about the incest cuckoldry, Robert thinks the SI is NOT his son.
     
  6. Generic_Generica

    Generic_Generica Verified kōhai Moderator

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    ...

    So uh.

    That escalated quickly.

    I mean you went from shooting Petyr Baelish dead to King’s Landing is on fire, Bob’s pissed as fuck, and the SI’s on the lam in all of two chapters.

    Nice.

    I’m not sure what else to say, I sort of just wanna watch things burn :v
     
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  7. NakedFury

    NakedFury Know what you're doing yet?

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    Understandable. When such things happen you sort of go crazy and full of rage. Reason takes a backseat.


    And like Generic mentioned, this went sideways so damn fast. Hoping to see how you take this and how canon goes out the window.
     
  8. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    Yeah, canon events are moooostly out the window. I mean, obviously, Bobby B is gonna die at some point, Varys still has his fingers in a lot of pies, Tywin is still a monster, plenty of shit going down in Essos, and everyone wants that fucking throne. But things will play out a lot differently, since some players are off the board, some are still on it, and the SI ain't fucking playing at all.
     
  9. NotaWriter

    NotaWriter Not too sore, are you?

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    Doesn't the SI look a lot like Robert? I mean he is probably angry right now, but he should realise that once he calms down
     
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  10. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    Robert should calm down.
     
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  11. Snake/Eater

    Snake/Eater Myth Maker of the North

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    Robert isn't going to Listen to anything while Varys has both of his Small soft oily and tight Fingers in the King's ears.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  12. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    The sun was going down, and this was the last hill before it truly got dark. I called for a halt and fished my personal binoculars from my satchel. Myrish farseers were barely fit for cullet in MY glassworks. I made the best goddamn optics in the world. Of course, that was mainly because myrish lenses were hand ground, whereas I got mildly fascinated by Victorian era stuff once for a computer case build and discovered the wonder and majesty of antique ornate lens grinder machines.

    My binoculars were still pretty bad compared to the technology I remembered, but I could manage about a seven by fifty with acceptable levels of distortion. By comparison, the best myrish farseer I’ve seen managed about a four X magnification with heavy distortion and was nearly impossible to keep focused.

    I watched the road carefully for a while. This late in the evening, traffic had been light, mostly farmers carts and trader wagons. I ignored those. We’d passed dozens so far. No, I was looking for large groups of men on horseback.

    And, after several long minutes of careful searching, I didn’t see any. I couldn’t help but sag a little in relief.

    “Nothing?” Sandor asked as he swapped gear with the lightest loaded pack horses, the two that mostly carried horse feed. Their light load was put on our former mounts.

    “Not even anyone that could be a scout. We might actually survive this.” I put the binoculars back in my satchel and started helping.

    “Maybe your lie about going to Dorne worked,” Sandor offered.

    When I heard the screams come from Cersei’s apartments, I immediately charged in, Sandor behind me. I found Jaime dead, his chest stove in from an obvious hammer strike, Cersei down on the ground possibly dead, and Robert literally so far gone in his rage he was frothing at the mouth and swinging his hammer around at nothing as he ranted gibberish. As soon as he saw me run in, he’d immediately tried to kill me, but fortunately he was on the other side of a sofa. I gave him my best football tackle, with the furniture in between us. Slammed that fat alcoholic fuck across the room and into the wall. His might be the fury, but mine was the couch. Sandor got our weapons while I checked on Cersei, and when Ser Barristan Selmy came in, ready to kill us all in defense of Robert, I backed him down at crossbow point. He’s the finest swordsman alive, and he might actually be good enough to block a heavy bolt at close range. Fortunately for me, he knew better than to find out. We left them both tied up, and the last thing I’d said as we were leaving was that we had to get to a ship and make for Dorne. A quiet comment, not obviously meant to be overheard, but only meant to mislead.

    I snorted, though. “Dorne? Nobody’s gonna believe we’re headed to Dorne. The dornish are cunts and fucking hate us.”

    This time, it was Sandor’s turn to snort. “And how much effort did you put into settling that grudge of theirs? My brother’s head, Lorch’s head, the sun clock, the sword and the spear? You spent a fortune trying to make good with Dorne. I could see you risking it.” He paused. “They’d have your Queen Mother’s head on a pike. Maybe you and your sister would survive it.”

    I was glad we were busy, so I could hide my embarrassment. I really had spent a literal princely fortune trying to make good with the Martells. I even topped everything off with eight wootz naginata type glaive blades for the Sand Snakes, with a cheeky little note requesting they not stab me with anything.

    I got a note back promising that they wouldn’t stab me with those blades.

    Funny. Also not very fucking funny.

    “Yeah, well, that’s how I learned the dornish are cunts,” I muttered. “Staying the fuuuuuck away from Dorne.”

    “Jon Arryn,” Cersei said with a bit of a slurred lisp.

    “Mother?” I asked, looking over from where I was filling up our two lanterns with fuel. It wasn’t dark yet, but we weren’t going to stop when it was, either.

    “He’s too cautious to allow Robert to kill us if he can stop it. My father will already want vengeance for Jaime. If we die, nothing will stop him from burning King’s Landing to the ground. Arryn will stop or stall any efforts to chase us. He’ll be happy with us exiled.”

    “Ahhh, that’s probably true,” I admitted, now that I thought about it.

    I noticed Sandor sending me a warning look. It took a second to figure it out, but then I got it.

    “It won’t stop everyone, though,” I added, and saw Sandor nod. “But yeah, we should be able to avoid mass pursuit. Hopefully, we can outrun big groups and outfight scouts.”

    Once we had most of our stuff moved, I decided to pass a few things to my family.

    “Mother, here’s a knife I want you to carry while we travel,” I announced, pulling it from my pack. The infamous catspaw valyrian steel dagger that could have caused so much trouble in the future, except with a decent guard and a hilt more like a bowie. Seriously, that dragon horn hilt was a self-stab wound waiting to happen. I had one exactly like it, except in good wootz, and copies were a common product of my forgeworks. I called them catspaw knives, of course, and they were the height of fashion among rich nobles.

    Cersei slid the blade out a little, stared at it in brief amazement, then gave me a hard to read look through her swollen face.

    “You made a lot more valyrian steel than you let on, didn’t you?” she asked almost accusingly, any real heat dulled by the painkiller I’d given her.

    I just gave her a smug smile but didn’t reply. One of the perks of being a known genius is when you suddenly declare you’ve successfully replicated valyrian steel, and you show the lesser, more easily reproducible version you’ve made, wootz, people tend to believe you when you say you managed one real batch but ran out of the secret ingredient. If House Royce ever found out what really happened to Lamentation, they’d stop at nothing to have my head on a pike. That was how I got the thin strips of the real thing to edge mine and Sandor’s blades, as well as for a few other projects. Unfortunately, I’d also wasted the real stuff for the edge of the two blades I sent to Dorne. Fucking Dornish.

    Leaving Cersei to strap it to her thigh, under her dress, I also pulled out a much smaller knife. It was a swept point skinning knife, my reproduction of the sharpfinger, and I presented it to Myrcella.

    “Celly?”

    “Yes, Big Brother?” Gigantic green eyes, loose golden curls, and a high, sweet voice.

    Oh god, my heart.

    “You see this knife?” I asked, and she nodded. “This is a very special knife. It’s named Rabbitslayer.”

    She stared at it with appropriately wide eyes.

    “I want you to carry this knife, okay? Just in case. It’s not to play with, and you shouldn’t even pull it out unless we tell you to, but I want you to carry it. And if a bad guy grabs you, you have my permission to pull it out and stab him with it, okay?”

    She nodded seriously. Myrcella was always a smart girl, very quick to learn and very careful to follow instructions, which had been important to establish before I ever let her anywhere near my workshops, which fascinated her. Besides, she was nine, almost ten. More than old enough for a good blade.

    I got a leather strip and threaded it through the loop of the sheathe, turning it into a necklace that would stay well hidden under her dress.

    “Thank you, Big Brother,” she said seriously. “But I won’t need it. You’ll keep us safe.”

    “That’s right, Kitten, I will. But what do we say about safety?”

    “Attitude, supervision, plans, equipment,” she recited dutifully.

    “And always as much as we can get,” I added, hugging her.

    With that, we finished our preparations and made to mount back up, but she balked.

    “Can’t we rest longer?” she asked with just the faintest bit of whine. “It’s making my butt hurt.”

    Hmm. “Do you want to ride behind Sandor?” I asked. “It should be more comfortable.”

    She shook her head. “Can I ride by myself?” she asked hopefully. “I’ll be careful, you can see me, I can hold on to the packs, and… ummm…”

    Cersei’s head snapped up, the potential threat to her daughter cutting through her drugged haze with impressive speed.

    “We’re not going to be galloping?” I said, as much to Cersei as to my sister.

    The Queen glared.

    Myrcella gave me big pleading eyes.

    I sighed. Robert had a lot to answer for. I had a sexy kancolle type shipgirl recreation of the Greyjoy rebellion naval battles planned in my theater for next month. I didn’t need this shit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  13. Generic_Generica

    Generic_Generica Verified kōhai Moderator

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    You keep mispelling Dorne.
     
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  14. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    Shiiit. Thanks. Fixed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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  15. BlueHelix

    BlueHelix I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Man, it's kind of hilarious to see the SI just having this really successful thing going, and have it all crashing down on him because one of the nominally non-evil characters lost their shit.

    Good stuff, Nugar.
     
  16. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    Glad you think so. I mean, I'm a guy who likes his comforts. I like camping and stuff too, but I do love my comforts. So obviously if I'm going to be a decent SI, I need to get kicked out into the world to adventure. Otherwise I'd sit in my castle, make things, fuck whores, and produce cabaret burlesques. While not unworkable as a setting for a certain qq subforum, this has broader appeal.
     
  17. cezyou

    cezyou Know what you're doing yet?

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    I always have a bit of trouble believing the personal reproduction of stuff like gunpowder, or in this case 19th century optics and steel.

    Though wootz is simple enough for me to believe that an SI could get some made and tempered/hardened/whatever and ready for use eventually, I'm less sold on being able to pass it off as the base for valyrian steel, or a lesser version. High carbon is better but definitely not magical like valyrian. I'm definitely not sold on being able to do that and also a bunch of other similarly large tasks.

    And reproducing things like optics runs into the 'building the tools to build the tools' thing, doesn't it? I don't know much about glassmaking, sure, but to sell me on the fact that you could reproduce it, you need to actually demonstrate the knowledge of production, not just tell me that you have it.
     
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  18. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    To be fair, Robert has good reasons, given both his personality, and medieval legalities and ethics.
     
  19. Winged One

    Winged One Not the Simurgh

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    No, he has in-character reasons. They're not good ones.

    Though even by the setting's fucked-up societal and legal standards, I think trying to kill the son that's actually obviously his was overreacting.
     
  20. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    I was referring more to his being deeply angry, because catching your wife fucking her brother is something that it's normal to get angry about, and in-setting, reasonable to be violently angry about. His reaction to the SI was not him thinking, it was him being too angry to think.
     
  21. Winged One

    Winged One Not the Simurgh

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    Oh, yes, that's true.
     
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  22. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    That is absolutely fair and I'm delighted to explain. One of the reasons this idea wouldn't leave me alone was because I goddamn love uplift/time travel things, but I always wanted more of the nitty gritty. Blackfish out of water was more about the technology evolution of war. Oh god, am i the mannis now and game of kings and sis involved more tech stuff. AJTs Greyjoy alla breve had the most tech and the biggest uplift, but was also less believable for it. One, he was there longer than the others, starting as a kid rather than already an adult, and he was more about finding other people to branch off and develop their own stuff, but I still wanted to see more challenges.

    I've always considered myself a good choice for that kind of uplift from medieval tech, because I've had a lot of technical jobs and hobbies. I used to do historical reenactment with my wife, thats where I picked up blacksmithing and some other stuff, so I'm actually familar with the actual stuff they'd probably have tool and tech wise. The hilarious part is, while i do know all kinds of incremental advances for that tech level, I don't actually know that much about the intermediate step to actual industrialization. For instance, I know the theory and a fair number of details of making wootz and pattern welded steel. Those are a step above classic crucible steel. However, the bessmer process of efficiently making large batches of steel would benefit westeros far, far more... but I couldn't remember it.

    When I decided to do this, I wanted to do it honestly. What could I make if I had those resources? Not 'what could I make with those resources and access to the internet', no, only what I knew how to make at that point.

    The answer was less than I hoped but more than I feared. So I decided to figure out what would be most useful and likely, the kind of stuff I would focus on.

    I'd started with clockwork. One, its the most thinky, and least requires material science that would need to come first. I love those old clockwork automata, like the silver swan, the peacock clock, music boxes and ballerinas and cuckoo clocks. Clocks and astrolabes and sextants opened up the ocean and the world. trade lead to exchange of ideas and commerce and was just generally awesome.

    I've taken apart clocks and watches and was fascinated by a cuckoo clock my sister got when I was a kid.

    But when I tried to sit dowdown and actually draw out a clocks workings... I'd forgotten too much. Failure. I could make a thing that spun hands when a weight dropped or a spring unwound, but I could not fucking remember how the regulatory mechanisms worked. Haven't looked it up yet either, I'm hoping I'll figure it out.

    But glass? I couldn't source most of the materials in a medieval setting, but if I had local glassmakers, I could show them quite a few tricks.

    As for wootz being false valyrian steel, I'm going by the 'watered' markings and the images from the tv show. Thats magical wootz. Wootz has a wide variety of patterns and some of them look just like the blades on got.

    Gunpowder is easy. Everyone knows about sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal, and even if the ratios are in doubt, you could figure it out. Most people don't know where to find saltpeter, but its actually easy. Crystals of it grow on shit, and if there was one resource medieval people had, it was shit. Petermen farmed it, creating the idea conditions for it to from, though they didn't know it was made by bacteria. Over time they figured out that urine was better than poop, and how to make sand pits under barns and stables to also get it from animal urine. Basic distillation cleans it up, and its a super common starter for a lot of chemical processes.

    Thats actually irrevelent, though. I didn't bother with gunpowder. One, guncotton, and thus powder b, or even cordite if I want to get risky with nitroglycerine production, is superior. Two, the assholes of westeros have enough of a habit of killing each other without me making it easier to do wholesale. I might do it to fight the white walkers, I would almost definitely introduce it before I died, but I don't want to live through ww1 amateur hour.

    The practical upshot of all this is I'll be absolutely delighted to explain my works. the only reaon I haven't so far is because I didn't want to do a big info dump this soon.

    What do you think, though? There's room in the next scene I could have doubleD muse on his works. In a bitter kind of fashion as he flees into the wilderness.

    Yes? No? Opinions needed desperately, I think the story kinda hinges, at least somewhat, on the balance between fiat and infodump.
     
  23. Cybork

    Cybork Cybernettik Orkanizm

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    A quick snapshot of his major tech successes and failures would be good. Perhaps have the characters spend some of the trip discussing his belief that his various contraptions he's been working on will change the face of war/agriculture/mining/metalwork/etc and why they think he's being overly optimistic.

    Ideally information regarding this stuff would be worked into the story. Maybe have Tywin lecture him on why these inventions are a waste of time and how such an interest in manual labour is unbecoming of the crown-prince. The SI can then explain, in detail, exactly how each of his inventions will be beneficial (leaving out the bits Tywin wouldn't approve of), with Tywin providing his own commentary. Have them argue over it.
     
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  24. cezyou

    cezyou Know what you're doing yet?

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    The disconnect for me has happened already, since all that we know of the introduced so far in-story is a listing ("my glassworks, my theatre" etc.) and a general reference to the history OTL. Approach-wise, the first impression of the first three sections has already been blown. Being told 'I put a lot of time into these glasses', or even 'I tried this this this and this before making these' is just not as effective as the narrative actually showcasing any technical knowledge and ability.

    If the story were already structured around going back and reviewing things, then reflection or musing would work. But you began chronologically (with Petyr) before shooting forward to the meat of the story, which doesn't produce the same reaction. So (for example) a structure of beginning with the look back to King's Landing on the run from Robert, before leaping back to points of time related to tech that he mentions (including Baelish, or the challenges that the SI faced in reproducing and surpassing Myrish glasswork), would allow that sort of technique. Instead, barring any really clever writing from you, you've already locked yourself into the present.

    From here, barring revision of what's already been written, you should focus on establishing that Eddard really does have a technically-oriented mind. That way, you could maybe 'buy back' some of the readers that overeagerness knocked out of the story. The most straightforward and obvious way to do this is probably to present problems not solved by tools made in the past, and him McGuyvering a solution out of what he has in the present.
     
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  25. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    We slowed down in the dark, but kept going all through the night, our way lit by my lantern. It burned fuel but later in our trip we could afford to slow down. For the moment we needed distance. At some point after dark, we branched off the main road and took a much smaller, less used road south. That only lasted about three hours, and we split from the road again, this time taking to the fields. This close to King’s Landing, there were plentiful farms and fields, and we used their roads and pastures to disguise the passage of our horses as we entered true wilds.

    I had stacks of maps in waterproof tubes in my pack, and a compass, so I could at least keep us going in the right direction. Our aim was to cross the Blackwater river to the south and then continue straight west as the raven flies. That would cut a couple hundred miles or so off our trip, since the Goldroad made a big swing to the north, and also lower our chances of running into anyone out searching for us.

    Sandor did most of the actual leading of the party. He was more experienced, especially at cross country travel, and had a better sense of direction. I could get lost in a sack, and Sandor knew it. All I did was provide the compass and maps, brought up the back, and brooded on being kicked out of my comfy home and fun workshops.

    Compasses on Planetos were kind of weird. Just like on Earth, magnetic north wasn’t the same as true north, but here it was off by fifty degrees or more. Not that even the Maesters could give me a better idea of ‘true’ north than ‘that way’. I think the poles might be flipped, too, but I might have been misreading the field, because I’d forgotten a lot about magnets. Still, at least it pointed in a consistent direction, and I added a second, nonmagnetic arm to show actual north. I also added the traditional mirror on the back, so you could see who’s lost.

    Hint: It’s me. I’m lost. I’m lost as fuuuuuck.

    But I keep following Sandor who keeps following his compass, the way lit by our lanterns.

    Lanterns, not torches.

    I want to say that our lanterns are also special, better than the usual oil lamps of the locals. And it is, a little bit. The flame is protected by a pane of flat, clear glass, and the sides are mirrored to focus the light better.

    But what I wanted was a gas mantle lantern. It turned out that gas mantles, the ‘Coleman’ type lantern still used in my last life, were pretty hard to make. In a gas mantle lantern, a loose mesh bag, or mantle, which has been impregnated with rare earth minerals, is pIaced over a fuel nozzle. When lit, the cotton of the bag burns away, leaving a fine rare earth metal mesh in the shape of the bag behind, which absorbs the heat of the flame and incandesces even brighter than the flame. I knew that they were impregnated with thorium dioxide dissolved in nitric acid, known to the locals as aqua fortis. I knew that thorium is heavy as hell and sometimes found in the same sorts of sand as gold or platinum. I even found what I’m pretty sure IS thorium. But I remember bright white light, and delicate but not stupidly fragile mesh.

    What I got was some sort of ghastly greenish light and a mesh that fell apart at the slightest jiggle, or sputter of the fuel. It was bright, I’ll give it that. But totally unsuited for portable lanterns, and not much fun to read by, either. Frankly, it gave me headaches.

    I was still working on it as recently as yesterday, because good lighting makes for more work hours in the day, and potentially it was going to be worth a lot of money, because it leveraged several of my previous successes.

    Uniform glass panes, for one. My first big success. Robert hadn’t been interested when I showed him the small, perfectly flat piece of glass I had managed to make by taking an existing bit of glass and getting a smith to melt it in his forge and pour it onto a bed of molten tin, which is used in making bronze and fairly common. This is the float method of making glass. Liquids generally form a perfectly flat surface, and tin is both denser and has a lower melting point than glass, so if you pour molten glass onto a puddle of molten tin, the glass will flatten into a uniform sheet, then harden enough you can slide it out and finish cooling it. Cersei didn’t know what to make of it, either.

    However, dear Grandfather Tywin knew an opportunity when he saw it. He hired and imported my first set of glassmakers, from the biggest glass industry around, Myr. He still gets sixty five percent of the profits from the float houses, but he also paid for and owns all the infrastructure there, too. I get fifteen.

    I negotiated better for my next big project, and managed to wrangle a substantially better deal. Partially, that was because Tywin hadn’t screwed me over because he was greedy, he screwed me over as a lesson for me to be a more shrewd negotiator, and bent on the second deal because I tried really hard and got Cersei and Jaime and Tyrion involved as I tried everything from guilt to threats.

    Because when you have flat glass, like the pane in the front of my lantern, you’ve also got the most important ingredient for the mirrors, in the back and sides of my lantern. And mirrors are incredibly easy. Dissolve silver in nitric acid, again, aqua fortis, add pure lye, ammonia, and either formaldehyde or pure sugar. That last ingredient was the hardest. Try as I might I could not get a decent product out of sugar, which was really hard to get in Westeros anyway, but formaldehyde is made from methanol, and methanol is wood alcohol, and through a fair bit of trial and error, I got my mirrors, and my biggest money makers.

    The first one was given to Cersei, so that she could ‘see that she was the most beautiful woman in all of Westeros’. Ah, the flattery of a child. So cute. So honest. So guileless. I already missed being able to do it.

    And I quickly stacked another development on it. Next thing you know, I had simple lathes built for lens grinding, instead of the laborious and lopsided hand grinding method my glassmakers knew, and I showed them how using a lens to magnify the image on a mirror worked better than just looking through the lens. Maesters loved my ‘star seers’. Everyone else loved my ‘spyglasses’.

    Steam engines had proven difficult, though. They’d be incredibly useful, especially in industry, and I’d give my own mother for a train to make this trip across Westeros, but apparently spending high school and college as a gas and diesel mechanic doesn’t actually make you qualified to reinvent steam engines from scratch. I had small proof of concept with a lot of problems, and that was it.

    Speaking of problems. I always thought that printing presses would be pretty quickly adopted once people realized the potential. Sure, it was the death knell to the tradition of priests laboriously creating illuminated manuscripts, but no one would mind that, surely? I was willing to let the priests of the seven run the printing presses, at least for a while.

    Oh HELL no. I mean, I was already on thin ice with the church, because a couple of my favorite maesters were on the outs with some really important priests, and when faced with the choice between faith and reason, choose reason, right? I was told by some members of the Most Devout, the main council of leaders, that while my talents were surely the blessing of the Smith, I was headed astray. Basically, I was rocking the wrong boat, and I needed to stop. I tried going around them, to the maesters, who did like the idea, but the next thing I know, there’s rumors about me being ‘unnatural’ and my works being ‘tainted’.

    Yeah, alright, fine. It got put on the back burner, with the maesters using it for picture prints but little else. I could wait. I was going to be king, and then we’d see who got to talk shit.

    Fuck.

    I wasn’t going to be king.

    My mood as black as the night around us, we rode until dawn.


    xxxxxxxxx



    We were hardly the first to use the straighter path to Deep Den, and there were already roads there. Time crunched and ambitious merchants, occasional mass army movements, all sorts of people used those roads. They were just cruder, narrower, poorly maintained, and poorly patrolled.

    Ideal territory for bandits.

    Sandor and I discussed it a bit, and we both agreed that the risk of bandits was better than the risk of armsmen. Bandits tended to come in groups of four to ten men, poorly armed and worse armored, with modest skill and worse discipline. Armsmen tended to come in groups of twenty to thirty, with good horses, good armor and weapons, and the discipline to stand and fight together, and not give up just because a few of them died.

    We had relatively little to fear from any groups from King’s Landing, but we couldn’t outrun ravens sent to the outposts along the road. Since the area we were passing through was Reach territory, the most populous of all the seven realms, we might not even run into any highway thieves.

    True, Cersei was in for a bad time if we lost to bandits, but Myrcella was young enough she’d probably escape the worst of it. Who knows, their knives might actually save them.

    Cersei would at least be able to slit her daughter’s throat, then hers as well.

    Sandor and I were probably dead either way, it’d just take longer if we got shipped back to King’s Landing in chains. Against bandits, though, I was willing to bet on me and my hounds. I might be only fourteen, but I’d been trained by Jaime Lannister, Robert Baratheon, Sandor Clegane, and Ser Barristan fucking Selmy, and I was pretty decent. I also had a pair of ‘oh shit’ plans in my satchel, along with a trump card.

    Cersei fell asleep against my back around midnight. Celly, tied comfortably so she wouldn’t fall off, slept on the same pack horse with Rusty. The horses drooped and walked slowly, but we still made miles before sunup.

    Finally, in a sheltered, forested valley between two hills, we made a barebones camp, no fire, and settled down for rest. We’d ride only at night until we crossed the Blackwater.

    You know the best thing about having a war dog as a traveling companion?

    You always have a trustworthy companion on watch while you sleep. That’s really useful, especially if you were too tired when making camp to notice all the rooted up ground a hundred yards or so from your chosen campsite, and a fucking herd of wild pigs shows up midmorning.

    One. One ‘oh shit’ contingency remaining in my satchel.

    Wild boars are tough as hell and so brave as to be functionally insane, but a shrapnel grenade in the middle of a suspicious but not yet hostile group will send them squealing.

    Good damned thing, too. I’d bet on us against bandits, even small groups of soldiers or guards. I wouldn’t take the bet against a herd of wild boars.

    Of course, then we had to immediately get up and put some distance between us and the commotion, just in case. The only good part was we took a hindquarter with us. Rusty ate well, too.


    AN: Maybe this works? It's kinda infodumpy but it's also got plot revelent stuff... I don't know. Not fully satisfied, but I kinda like parts of it as well. If I have to, I'll go back and change things.
     
  26. Winged One

    Winged One Not the Simurgh

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    Heh. "Grandson, I know you deserved a better share. But you also deserve to not suck at negotiating, you little idiot!"

    Good dog. :)
     
  27. wichajster

    wichajster Know what you're doing yet?

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    @believability of uplift. It helps to show also failures - what was done here, but I would expect many, many failures for every success.
     
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  28. Gindjurra

    Gindjurra Know what you're doing yet?

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    I find myself wondering, reading that -- could it be that the Land of Always Winter is cold because the Great Other lives there, not because it's the north pole? If the actual pole is further away in another direction, that would explain the oddity of magnetic north being so different.

    After all, not all planets have to be perfectly Earth-like in their climate zones, and a larger planet with lower mass (so gravity remains similar) could be large enough to have a lot more space between those zones.
     
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  29. Nugar

    Nugar Know what you're doing yet?

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    Tywin is one of my favorite characters. As a character. I imagine dealing with his shit personally would get old fast. He just wants a grandson he can be prould of and confident in. One who will protect the family and crush everyone else without succumbing to the demons of friendship, trust, and compassion.


    Can you believe when I was originally planning this story out, I didn't have a dog? I was writing and I paused and dropped my hand down and snapped my fingers a few times so Dixie, my female german shepherd, would come over for a good scritching, and I'm like, 'Waiiiit a minute. I could never not have a dog. You can trust dogs.'



    I did mention failures. The fragile, ugly gas mantle. Lack of steam. Pissing off the priests to the point they don't even want printing presses. There were more but it was a big infodump as it was.

    Yeah, by all known definitions of how seasons work, planetos makes no goddamn sense. Its magic. So I figured compasses would be weird, too. Also, the warning that winter is coming will be the poles switching.

    There's also some stuff I have planned about the difficulty of setting up lat and long with sextants and astrolabes on a planet that don't act right.
     
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  30. Winged One

    Winged One Not the Simurgh

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    :D
    When you put it like that, I feel like most nobles are making a mistake by not having dogs. Trustworthiness is a rare and precious thing in-setting.
     
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