Midnight in Prague, Episode 2 (WIP)Narration: “It was early morning, still dark outside, when I prepared for my intrepid journey. Before I went outside, I ground up the finger of an Egyptian mummy and put the powder in my tokay wine. It tasted terrible, but I knew that it would protect me from disease. Then I put on a plague mask, and I filled the beak with Turkish roses, Arabian frankincense, and Indian sandalwood. The pleasant smells were a welcome relief.”Jaroslav: “Did you really just drink that concoction?”Vaclav: “Yes, I did, and now I am going outside.”Jaroslav: “I will stay here and guard your belongings for you, master.”Vaclav: “You are a very brave man, Jaroslav. What would I ever do without you?”Narration: “The streets of Prague were deserted that dawn. The air was dense and humid. In the sky, I could see thick clouds of some noxious and asphyxiating gas or vapor. I knew the clouds were full of miasma, bad air that spreads disease. The clouds swirled around a point like the center of a storm, as the sound of thunder pierced through the sky periodically. It was not like the loud boom of normal thunder, but rather a high-pitched shrieking or wailing noise.”Vaclav: “I-I can’t breathe! Help me!”Narration: “Slowly but surely, the clouds coalesced into the form of a human hand. The ghostly appendage descended from the sky, at first slowly, then accelerating rapidly. I could see it was reaching out to touch me… or it would have, had it not suddenly vanished not even an ell’s length away from me.”*Vaclav kneels and folds his arms in prayer while gazing up into the sky*Vaclav: “Heavenly Father, thank you for sparing my life from this terrible pestilence.”Narration: “There were still castle guards patrolling along the Golden Lane, but they were too busy chattering with each other to notice I had broken quarantine.”Guard 1: “Rumor has it he was executed for highway robbery via longitudinal impalement.”Guard 2: “No one can survive that.”Guard 1: “Oh, but he can.”Guard 2: “The weather is very pleasant lately, isn't it? The sky is clear and the sun shines brightly like it never has in these cold lands.”Guard 1: “I hope this weather continues.”Guard 2: “It is strange that so few have died from this plague, yet so many have gone mad from isolation.”Guard 1: “It is almost as if this plague causes disease of the mind, not disease of the body.”Guard 2: “Perhaps it does.”Guard 1: “Our steel helmets will protect us from the evil spirits that wish to penetrate our skulls and overthrow our minds.”Narration: “It was clear that only I could see the clouds of miasma in the sky or hear the sound of the storm. If I had been touched by evil, then perhaps I could see it in ways others could not? Yet because of my very nature, there was nothing I could do about it. I knew I had a heart full of fear and hatred and was incapable of love, which also made me unworthy of any love from others. I was doomed to walk the Earth alone and in sorrow until the day I die… except I was not. The priest at Bethlehem Chapel had kind words for me.”Priest: “Do not think you are unworthy of salvation just because you were born different from other children. The martyr Saint Christopher was born with the head of a dog. Jesus Christ came for everyone. I think what you witnessed in your dream was not an angel, but a demon in disguise trying to deceive you. It is the inherent nature of a demon to deceive souls into damnation, but all men have the choice to be good or evil.”Vaclav: “To have the head of a dog is to merely look different. My temperament is what is different, and that matters far more. I am less than a man. I am more like a dog than Saint Christopher.”Priest: “My child, may God have mercy on you and give you the blessings of happiness. Pray that he will protect you from the demons that are assaulting your mind.”Vaclav: “Thank you, father.”Priest: “I almost forgot. Many months ago, before the plague began, a gentleman in Polish attire left a letter that was intended for you and insisted that only you break the seal and read it. He was swarthy. Perhaps he is a Lipka Tartar?”The letter: "In the name of Saint Mark the Apostle, the martyrs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria, and all of the angels and saints, may this letter reach its intended recipient.Dear Vaclav Miksanek of Tabor,My name is Antonius Iskandar of Cairo. I am a gentleman scholar, a poet, a swordsman, and a devout Coptic Christian. It was I who sold you the mummy’s finger. I was born in Egypt, but I fled the country for Poland after the Turkish conquest in the year of our Lord 1517. That means I am a very old man, and I must pass down my wisdom to the next generation before it is lost forever. Today I reside in Bohemia and I am an alchemist in the court of Kaiser Rudolf II. I understand you are interested in learning this noble and ancient craft. I am sorry to hear that you were expelled from the University of Prague, but I can help you achieve your dreams without sacrificing your principles. I can introduce you to the inner circle of the imperial court, where your unique talents will be appreciated. Who knows, perhaps you may even become a prince some day?From,Antonius Iskandar of Cairo, imperial alchemist for Kaiser Rudolf II and descendant of Imhotep"
Midnight in Prague, Episode 1Narration: “The end of the 16th century was a dark and tumultuous time for many. The Spanish were at war with the English and the Dutch, the Turks were at war with the Hungarians and the Romanian principalities, the Japanese were at war with the Koreans, and the French were at war with themselves. Almost everywhere in the world it seemed there were wars, and plagues, and famines, and disasters. Everywhere, except in Bohemia under the enlightened rule of Kaiser Rudolf II in Prague… here there was peace.”*swords clanging noise*Narration: “…relatively.”*more swords clanging noise*Narration: “My name is Vaclav Miksanek. I am a young gentleman scholar, a poet, a swordsman, and a devout Protestant. I was raised in Tabor, an early Protestant stronghold during the Hussite Wars almost 200 years ago. I had few friends when I was a little boy. I was afraid of the other children, and I spent most of my days reading books and playing with stray dogs. I was often bullied, but it made me stronger. When I grew up, my mother and father enrolled me in the University of Prague, founded by Kaiser Charles IV in the year of our Lord 1347. As a studious man of letters, I never liked it there. The other students were really only interested in drunken debauchery, and most of the professors were no better. Yet they were still insufferably self-righteous and condescending to me in class, and my heterodox views had earned me many enemies. I always felt unwelcome and unwanted. I felt as if I had come from a different world.”Vaclav: “The Earth travels around the Sun, and so do all of the other planets. Retrograde motion is simply what we see on the Earth’s surface when another planet passes by us or vice versa. Tycho Brahe has proven with his observations what Nicolaus Copernicus and Aristarchus of Samos before him have proposed. By the way, is that defense from Camillo Agrippa or Salvator Fabris?” Professor: “What evidence do you have to prove that there are no epicycles? You are rejecting thousands of years of astronomical knowledge. Also, you will not succeed in attacking me with Joachim Meyer.”Vaclav: “Occam’s razor states that the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one, and epicycles are hopelessly convoluted. If God is perfect, then how could he create such an inefficient and inelegant system? Besides, Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation proved that Ptolemy’s estimate of the Earth’s circumference was wrong and Eratosthenes’s estimate was correct. Could he not also be wrong about geocentrism versus heliocentrism? Where have you been for the last 50 years?”Professor: “Where have you been for the last 100 years? No one studies Johannes Liechtenauer or Hans Talhoffer anymore.”Vaclav: “Can your epicycles explain why you still haven’t hit me?”Bystander 1: “Well that argument certainly escalated astronomically.”Bystander 2: “What are those two bookworms even talking about? Who challenges his own professor to a duel?”Bystander 1: “Vaclav also challenged two other professors to duels. All three of them are one after the other every hour on the hour.”Professor: “Only a Protestant would have such an unorthodox view of nature.”Bystander 2: “What’s wrong with Protestants? I’m a Protestant.”Bystander 1: “Most Bohemians are, and they have been for almost 200 years. What kind of Protestant is Vaclav anyways? Lutheran? Utraquist? Unity of the Brethren?”Bystander 2: “Unity of the Brethren, but they are on good terms with the Lutherans.”Professor: “Just because you are the son of a Hungarian Countess does not make it permissible for you to humiliate me in front of my whole class.”Narration: “I suppose I lied about being a gentleman. Of course, my mother wasn’t really a Countess. She was a Slovak peasant from some remote and wild valley in the Carpathian Mountains who fled as a refugee after the Turks invaded Hungary, taking the identity of her slain mistress with her when she resettled in Tabor. She married the disowned illegitimate son of a local patrician who was just as impoverished as she was. Eventually, they borrowed or swindled enough to invest in new silver mines in the Erzgebirge region near the Saxon border, and by the time I was born their wealth was finally beginning to catch up with their lies about their wealth. We were burghers, but not nobles.”Bystander 1: “Let's leave and go to the Gasthof to quench our thirst. That lecture was so dull and tedious.”Bystander 2: “I cannot turn down wine and women. We will drink until we forget.”Headmaster: “Stop! Stop this fighting now! Vaclav, you are officially expelled from this prestigious academy for your reckless behavior and disrespect for authority.”Vaclav: “Headmaster, do you really think I am the only one who has disrespected authority and behaved recklessly?”Narration: “It was unfortunate my schooling had to end this way, but my valet soon arrived with good tidings.”Jaroslav: “Master, the imperial stables are hiring grooms for the Kaiser’s horses! We will be able to live in an apartment on the Golden Lane in close proximity to the castle just like his guards!”Narration: Not long after that day, a plague swept through the city of Prague. All citizens were ordered to stay quarantined in their places of residence, with few exceptions. At first I found the new circumstances to unexpectedly be quite pleasant. Now I had as much time as I wanted to pursue my own studies that truly mattered to me. However, as time passed, I became afflicted with the disease that all scholars are vulnerable to… melancholy. In addition, I began to have terrifying nightmares.Vaclav: “Jaroslav?”Jaroslav: “Yes, master?”Vaclav: “Do you think that a man who commits suicide can still be saved and go to heaven by the grace of God?”Jaroslav: “If you are asking that question, master, you must be planning something you will regret, and it is my duty to protect you.”Vaclav: “I don’t deserve to have you as my servant, Jaroslav. I don’t deserve anything that I have. Why do I get to live like a prince while others starve, freeze, or die from the plague?”Jaroslav: “We are not exactly living like princes, master. This apartment is small, squalid, and the rent is much too high for us. At least you pay me well.”Vaclav: “A prince has to pay stipends to his knights, or hire mercenaries and build bastion forts to protect his subjects, and he has to borrow lots of money from the Fugger and Welser families of Augsburg and go deep into debt if he does not want to burden his subjects by raising taxes.”Jaroslav: “Well spoken, master. You should take out another loan so we can live in a better apartment.”Vaclav: “No. I should sell all of my possessions, give the money to the poor, and become a pilgrim to visit the Holy Land.”Jaroslav: “You have read too many hagiographies and are starting to believe them, master.”Vaclav: “Someday I must learn to work miracles.”Jaroslav: “Have you considered trying alchemy like Kaiser Rudolf? He has a huge laboratory deep within his castle and he invites scholars from all over the world.”Narration: “When I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a prince, but not because I believed in silly fairy tales about fighting dragons and evil sorcerers or rescuing damsels in distress. The crushing weight of the true duties of a prince are disappointing to many, but the idea of participating in a game of grand strategy on a vast global scale only made being a prince more appealing for me. Politics, diplomacy, economics, warfare, and so on would provide a practical use for my intellect. Perhaps I could even make the world a better place? It is a thinking man’s power fantasy. I read every Fürstenspiegel I could find, including the writings of Niccolo Machiavelli. However, as I grew older and learned my intellect was either unneeded or unwanted by a society that primarily values social graces and conformity I could not offer, I began to grow world-weary. Instead of changing the world, I wanted to escape it. Gradually, the idea of living happily ever after with a fair maiden, a notion I had once dismissed as frivolous, became very appealing to me. Yet I had no career, no degree, no money, and no social graces, so I knew I had no chance. The only happily ever after for me would be in the hereafter. Sometimes I considered becoming a monk in some secluded hermitage, or even simply disappearing into the vast Bohemian forests and living among the wolves. Yet I could never entirely commit to abandon my ambitions to make something of myself.”Vaclav: “If I could learn to heal the sick, cast out demons, and turn lead into gold, then perhaps my life would be meaningful and I would not be ashamed of who I am.”Jaroslav: “Get some sleep, master. You will go mad if you are always at work and never rest.” Vaclav: “I cannot rest. If I am not at work with my studies, then I succumb to melancholy.”Jaroslav: “Perhaps you simply have too much black bile in your spleen? Please try to get some rest.”Narration: “I tried to sleep that night, but for many hours I simply laid awake wriggling in pain and screaming and moaning in agony. When I finally fell asleep, I dreamed that I witnessed what seemed to be a visitation from some terrifying celestial messenger… an angel of death.”Demoness disguised as an angel: “You are predestined for damnation, mortal! There is nothing you can do to save your soul! You will be thrown into the lake of unquenchable fire for eternity!” Vaclav: “Have mercy on me, dreadful apparition!”Demoness disguised as an angel: “Your name is not written in the Book of Life.” *the demoness disguised as an angel shows an empty spot on a page within a book via a portal* Vaclav: “I read about those things in the Book of Revelation. If salvation is by faith alone, then have I been faithless? What have I done wrong? What can I do better?”Demoness disguised as an angel: “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.”Vaclav: “You are quoting the Gospel of Luke. Please, I beg you, show me God’s mercy!”Narration: “I was familiar with the doctrine of Calvinist predestination, but I never believed it. Would a merciful God leave man without a chance to choose to accept the free gift of salvation?”Demoness disguised as an angel: “You are an unholy abomination, the spawn of the devil! Your mother was cursed by a vampiress, the infamous Blood Countess who rose from the grave, so that all those born of her womb would have the nature of a savage beast! You are like an animal, a monster with no self-control, or a broken machine!”Narration: “Thoughts are free. Who can guess them? They fly by like nocturnal shadows. No person can know them. No hunter can shoot them with powder and lead. Thoughts are free… That is how the song went, but sometimes a thought does not originate in one’s own mind. I knew that the visions in my dream were real, but from where did they really originate, and was the revelation about my true nature indeed true? I decided I must pay a visit to Bethlehem Chapel, where Jan Hus once preached almost 200 years ago, to confess my sins. I would do so, even if it meant breaking quarantine and swimming through a sea of death.”
Pyrate Character Sheet TemplateWhat is your... Name?Alias/ NicknameRank/ Position on your ship?Ship's name? what class? her Armament? Total crew?weapon of choicebelt and baldric loaded with? How many pistols? axes etc do you carry?Appearance, dandy or common sailorMost famous, or infamous feat or trait?Greatest ally?Greatest rival?Appearance?Greatest secretWhat are your origins...1.Parents names and trades?Country of Origin?childhood friends?Siblings?Hometownyour family's ClassChildhood hobbies and interestsWhere you always criminal and mischievous, or did something happen? were you corrupted? falsely accused?What was your relationship like with your family?What was your relationship like with the other people you knew in your hometown?Prominent Historical Events that made an impact on your backstory?Was there a civil war?Did the Dynasty of your homeland change?Was your country invaded?Was your homeland at War?How did these events personally affect you, and your family?Did they change the way you viewed the Nobility? Religion? Foreign Countries? Did you become a pirate explicitly because of National events? such as a cavalier in exile, or a convict shipped out by Cromwell?Were you a privateer in a war? Who did you sail with?Did you take part in any major or minor historical battles?Is there any Historical event which affected you, or you participated in?Crew Relationships How do you get along with...Any Special friends and shipmates?The Captain?The Quartermaster?The Master Gunner?The Ship's Doctor?The Navigator?The Bosun?The Cabin Boy, and powder monkeys?Other Misc Crew?Shantyman?Friends in Port:1: The Governor?2: Crooked Officials?lovers?The 'Working Girls' of the islandThe Governor's Daughter?Any crooked Officials?other citizens of the port/ islandthe local fenceHow did you become a pirate?how did you attain your current rank?How did you join your crew?If you were elected Captain, what events transpired?What brought you to Pirate Waters?How did you go from living an honest life, to piracy?How did The Powers that Be, Lords, The Navy, World Events, factor in?Notable Moments of your career?greatest treasures and ships stolen?Greatest escapesHistorical pirate raids, ie, sack of Panama, etc you participated inDid you take any Royal Pardons?do battle with the King's/ Queen's Navy?How long was your career?Did you know any famous historical pirates? what were your relationships with them like?How did/will your career end? How rich did you become, did you spend it all, or save some treasure or invest?Were you ever rewarded if you did any privateering?Personality:Good or Evil pirate?Do you have some form of Moral Code?introvert, or extrovert?Gruff or social?Are you flirtatious or silver tongued?Demeanor?DnD Alignment?Traumatizing past experiences?Wit and cunning, or brute force and intimidation to get what you want?What Fictional and Historical Pirates inspired your character?Debauchery Ashore what do you spend your plunder on?Do you have any Political Pretensions and how do they play into your career? Jacobite? Orangist? EtcDo you Have any Special skills? Related or unrelated to your rank on your ship, and how did you learn them? Who taught you?Write a brief account of what it would look like if your character was attacking or looting a merchant ship: please include personality traits and interactions.Write a breif account of what it would look like, if your character was to be encountered on shore. please include personality traits and interactions.Favorite and why:Vice/ Debaucheryweaponshipfriendwench/ manislandprize ship takentavern yarn, either own experience or retellingshantyballadpart of your jobExploitFood, and drinkcelebration in port you've been toPossessionsThings you've stolen...
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