The Tortured Road. Act 1 'Soviet Surprise'
DES THE SLOTH.
“Aye, i wouldn’t go near t’place if they geve me 50 gold pieces and a dozen cow! It’s no tha i’m scared cuz i aint scared of no living folk! – but its t ghosts! I can hear em owling at nite!
My bruvver was warned by a woman who saw 3 ghosts playing cards on her bed! I fink it wasn’t a simple game cuz she watchin them for ages and ages he says …..She had a strange pressents bout errr tho and was o-ways looking closely at everyfing with just th one eye but i dunno if she was telling, you know….th troofe bout the cards – Ghosts cant play cards - can the?…..I never met er but my bruv is onest and clever…he counts you know…with his fingers! And he would not lie….”
“But i know what i know and there’s no man on this land who’d get me t rescue those troops - even if they paid me 50 golden cows and dozen gold pieces! You wont catch ‘Des the sloth’ roaming on tha land wiv any ghosts ghostin abou. Anyhow all em prisoners ah cursed by now n probably dead! Cursed by the past!… Not me tho i’m safe you know - i neva went in for all that fighting lark! It’s not cuz i’m afraid you know! I’ve got bad back n weak bones…. Besides, that island of war should be burned to the ground! The soil’s damn cursed yee tell yee n’ t air is fowl with somefing rotten, somefing not even good ale can sort owt!!…
“Another drink Des?”
“Aye top er up will you chief – Aye son - make it a double this time will ya!”
THE DEMOCRATIC REALITY!
The days were hard work and very long, farming and quarrying were difficult jobs, and for most, the only real comfort was strong ale and a good woman – there was a common joke among the simple people and it was often muttered….’Welcome to democracy’ The words echoed louder than how they sounded, and at times correct interpretation was a hot potato for the most skilled. It was post Communism and there were feelings of unrest and confusion and the promises of a better life seemed a distant dream…Indeed ‘Welcome to democracy’.
Education was ill afforded to those families who weren’t educated before, and the gulf between the rich and the poor (or the educated and not) was well seen and felt by everyone. The poor folk generally disliked and envied the rich, whilst the rich used the poor! It was a marriage conceived straight after the end of English Communism, despite conveniently being engaged for centuries.
In 1167 post war England, the lives of people changed radically and it must be said for the better, but the many taverns serving cheap ale, the unskilled and the aimlessly unemployed highlighted the real plight of the poor in England. Times for all the working classes were a struggle to say the least and it was the newly appointed King Bob who wanted sincerely more than anyone to change things around.
The cogs of free England began to turn and by February 1167 the last shreds of English Communism had all but melted away (ran away to be technically correct), the result notably from 17 years of hard and bloody fighting. New England was emerging out of the dim shadows of Communism – Shadows that had been a permanent fixture since 1087 …And the people cautiously rejoiced.
THE POST WAR PROMISE
“It is said that ‘time’ is the magic ingredient to a better future, coupled with honest politics and definable long term goals - the lives of people will never be better and more profitable. Britain WILL be a super power, the small will join the big and the very fabric of society will embrace the new riches that will become available!” King Bob. 27-01-1167. Speaking at a gala celebration.
The people lapped up the King’s words like a hungry cat.
ENGLAND 17 YEARS EARLIER. 1150.
The horror that was deeply ingrained in most working class peasant was that communism failed them and the trust between the different social strata’s lost! The powering force behind economic stability was heavily dismantled by those who took advantage of their position. The very roots of communism and the ideology of ‘fairness, ‘equality’ and the ‘collective’ had been striped out from underneath their feet by those greedy men who just wanted more! The men at the top wanted to be higher, much higher, and it came at a costly price of ‘freedom’ to many.
The lands of harvest that were once gloriously efficient began to suffer dramatically by the loss of workers and the grounds beneath the men, women and children who did persevere with the intolerable hardship became more and more bleached with the blood of innocence. Those who opposed the strict regime were dealt with severely by the Manufactured War Machines of Communism – the right way (people would be told) was the communistic way!
Destiny was seemingly crying out loud and clear to the masses of the poor lands for action and change; and the people knew it. Listening with pricked ears for news that could give them direction they pressed on with their lives – surviving months of victimized hardship.
Then one grey evening the news that they’d been eagerly waiting for arrived!…. A legend from the East was prepared for change and was actively seeking the people’s strength of arms.
The message ‘a legend’ was sick of Communism and taking a stand came as a blessing to the masses! Not only did it proverbially unlock the tight restraints that held so many but it also created a kind of invincibility not accustomed before. Slowly new hope arose in the lands of England. Gone was the stuffy air in which so many breathed and replaced with fire, passion and the need for justice. Attitude changed dramatically. Knowing the people had a good leader as well as a cause to fight for, solid purpose began to flower on what was blackened hard rock in the minds of people; otherwise engaged in a life of misery.
Large pockets of scattered villagers and townies regrouped, using the precious little time prepared for war. Secretly uniting and massing under one banner, the ordinary folk trained like seasonal killers and gathered the necessary strength for combat. Training and educating under the guidance and leadership of a famed hero: Robert of Morpork. He preferred simply to be called Bob…
The young man was astutely clever and incredibly strong but more importantly very down to earth – the people warmed to him instantly. Legend has it, he was the only person the ‘Manufactured War Machines of Communism’ feared. For he had a deadly past and knew how to organize and fight impeccably with limited resources. Subsequently he gathered a somewhat mythical reputation over the years. Fortunately for the people of the lands he was anti-Communism and was ready to die for democracy if it meant England would be a better place.
So the fighting began in the early months of 1150 to the surprise of the brutal leaders and throughout the lands of England enough blood was spilled on both sides to fill a small swimming pool, but liberation did occur and the wheels of freedom and change started to creek and then turn. Land by land, year after year Communism ceased to exist defeated by the will and instinct of men.
The Fighting was (some would say) systematically beautiful with organisation and precision that hadn’t been seen before. Bob played his strengths to his opponents weakness’ like a chess Grand master executing a killer strategic move. He was exact and very deadly, conquering the many strongholds that looked impenetrable to the naked eye….
And so the huge numbers of triumphant people overwhelmingly rejoiced. ‘Democracy’ became the by-word for “Freedom” and the thought of life without shackles became for 17 years the food that drove so many to overthrow the brutal power-hungry.
So in the darkness rose a strength of men that wasn’t witnessed before – courage to fight against the principles they loathed. And when the pot looked empty and desperate and hopeless it was all but an illusion, a mirage if you like to simply fool. The pot of strength, courage and valour and all the other attributes that are synonymous with being a person of high value were always there! There in abundance; it was just, well, always suppressed – control tactics, some of the more learned would speak of…The true spirit of men capable of change was in full colour – And it was because of sheer will and determination, guided by non other than Bob the magnificent.
The people of this new freedom were ready for a fresh start and Bob wanted to be the chief builder of this dream. On the 22-01-1167. 17 years after the fighting first began…The people made Bob King of England. He promised greater things in the years to come, immediately challenging the concepts of the past and vowing to make England a place of envy among the world elite….Such vision had been celebrated by all and England prepared for dramatic change….but naturally there were glitches…
THE KING’S FIRST DECISION. Beginning of 1168
Unknown to many, save a few drunken villagers who incidentally passed on the news - fragments of Communism still manifested themselves on a distinctive shaped island in central England – The Manufactured War Machines of Communism (or MWMC for short) had kept the island a secret to many and unfortunately captured a band of passing troops whilst they were returning home battle wiry….Doh… It’s understood that the MWMC’s since fled the land like cowards in fear of being crushed by an inevitable army from Bob.
The welcomed news that Communism had officially died traveled like a fine wine across the land, seemingly invigorating England as a nation. So it was no surprise then that the last bands of Commies disappeared into the neighbouring woods fearing for their lives. Leaving the helpless POW’s at the mercy of the elements.
We write the year February 1168. King Bob is furious at the recent news of the captured POW’s and has also heard disturbing other news from a very special and mysterious servant known as the ‘Prophetess’. (a long time friend to the King) She’s felt the presence of red forces assimilating around the island of a thousand faces the very same island the troops are being held on..
“God knows what they are, maybe some rebel communist force….but so soon after???” The King ponders.
Big smells and bad teeth have also been forecasted…. The King wants YOU to deal with the situation at hand, and at the same time exploit the natural resources that surround the brave prisoners… and as you’ve shown great skills in the past he thinks you’re the right person for the job. He arranges a small army for you and bids you farewell…..
You acknowledge gracefully King Bob the first and then turn to walk out to fulfill his request… But before you turn full circle to exit the room, he leans over and grabs hold of your shoulder…Looking paler than the moments before he whispers in your ear “Beware of the Ghosts – the wandering ghosts of Communism.”
You stand there silently, speechless at what the respected King had said – motionless you nod your head in bewilderment and leave the castle with the prearranged troops still hanging onto the cutting final words the King uttered….
Game Objectives (Normal): Defeat the invasions,
Amass 40 Iron,
‘’ 60 Stone,
‘’ 100 Bread,
‘’ 1000 Gold,
Complete the castle,
Free up the captured troops.
You’ve got 15 game years to complete the task.
Seasoned professionals…(I know you’re out there) …It’s recommended to play on hard or very hard for reasons that are pretty obvious! Good luck in your quest….and remember, ‘the ghosts – the wandering ghost of Communism’ :o)
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