Girl Genius:

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The fact that Agatha is supposed to have tea with the matrons of Mechanicsberg makes me happier, on the whole, about the likely outcome of the Red Citadel sequence, which may or may not include Klaus. (One expects it does...) I just can't imagine Agatha having tea with the matrons if anything TOO critically awful occurred.

And I'm hoping it means we see more of Mamma, Arella, and The Lady in White.
Mostly Harmless.
[up]The conversation with Kaja that brought up the tea, if I recall correctly, explicitly placed it after the big confrontation with Klaus. Which I think is going to be face-to-face, considering he was after all planning to leave in pretty short order.

To be honest, I expect the tea might still have to happen even if half the group that went to confront Tweedle were dead — but it does seem to suggest an outside limit on how badly this can go.
27578 GreybeardFan11th Apr 2013 03:59:43 PM , Relationship Status: Mu
My Engine
It suggests that the Tea becomes a Council of War. I hope the Jägergenerals are there. With bogz, if not snails.
If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be? Aaah!
27579 Corgi11th Apr 2013 04:01:21 PM , Relationship Status: Puppy love
Hound of the Internet
No food commentary at the moment (toooo tiiiirrrrrrd), but I do have an essay sort of thing for you, now that I have power AND connectivity restored (don't ask).

In 1146, Géza II of Hungary married Euphrosyne, sister of Grand Prince Iziaslav II of Kiev.

That's an useful spot to start, given the coincidence in names and the fact that Géza is attributed as the first of the Hungarian kings to starting hiring in the various sorts of German tradesfolk to settle in Transylvania.

Yarth history up to this point seems generally parallel, barring the odd Spark here and there, to our history — the Romans conquered the Dacians (Getae) who were living in this downright idyllic basin created by the sharp-edged Carpathian Mountains and the mighty Danube River. For all the rough reputation of the mountains, the lower lands are lush and support a wide range of fruit trees and other crops.

(Another side note, while I was looking at things to assemble for this — the Dacians/Getae allegedly had a fondness for wolves, and wolf-shifting. Lycanthropy came early to Transylvania.)

The Romanised Dacians survived the withdrawal of the Empire, and had to deal with miscellaneous other conquerors before the Hungarians over in Pannonia (a former small seabed, and lovingly described by Steven Karl Zoltán Brust in his science fantasy series) got their acts together and decided Transylvania was theirs. I mean, wouldn't you?

The Huns had already come and gone through the area, giving this new kingdom its collective name; the Mongols were coming, and heralds warned the Transylvanian and Pannonian inhabitants well in advance.

We know the first Castle Heterodyne was built in 1042, which allows a small assumption that the clan were already fairly well-established and in control of the territory. When the Mongols arrived not many years after, Agatha's 'ancestors learned so much from them!'

Our Hungarians only had to worry about Mongols. Their Hungarians, and the rest of Europa, had to worry about the Mongols AND the Heterodynes. This brings us back to mercenary Germans. Although the primary reason for Géza II's invitation was border defense with the Szeklers against invaders, Germans were also sought for their mining expertise and ability to develop the region's economy. The first settlements were WSW of where Beetleburg and Mechanicsburg seem situated, but over the next handfuls of decades, towns built by colonists and fortresses built by the Teutonic Knights (who were quickly kicked out for appearing too powerful) and Kirchenburgen would be found all around the Transylvanian Plateau.

The Mongols ravaged the area in our timeline, despite the best defence the colonists and the Hungarian armies could put forth. I should like to extrapolate that the Heterodynes ended up eating the Mongols for lunch, then took over the ravaging themselves. In the mid-1200s, instead of Mongols tearing it up and leaving, I put forth that the Heterodynes tore it up and said 'That was fun!' then said 'Mine.' From this point on is when the Heterodynes started to become the continentally-feared power we hear whispered of in the histories.

Despite the devastation, though, there were still plenty of survivors from all the major ethnic groups — the native Dacians, the colonist Germans (who were being called 'Saxons' by the locals) and the Szekly/Magyar from the west. People who fight for a land tend to get stubborn about it. In our history, the ‘Sachsen’ became a legally-protected sort of bourgeoisie, with privileges the Romanian (read: Dacian) peasants never got.

This social status and the original intent of importing these demi-mercenary populations suggests where the Barony of Wulfenbach originated, although the documented (Secret Blueprints) regard of the most recently late Baron and Baronin Wulfenbach – and by extrapolation, plausibly their predecessors and so on in reverse – for the peasants over whom they had responsibility is exceptional for the time. This exemplary attitude of service-from-above was passed on to their son and heir, who we know intended to instill it in his own students, as noted in the novels (“The Baron insists that those with lands that need planting in the spring should help oversee the process personally, and actually assist if they’re old enough.” “He says that it gives them a better appreciation of where their power comes from and who’s actually keeping them fed.” – Chapter 5, ...Airship City)

The rapid expansion of cities populated by the Saxons led to Transylvania being known in German as ‘’Siebenbürgen’’ and ‘’Septem Castra’’ in Latin, referring to seven of the fortified towns – presumably the following list [names in German/’’Sachsen’’ (Romanian) [Hungarian] {Latin})]:
Bistritz, formerly Nösen(Bistriţa)[Beszterce]{Bistrita}
Hermannstadt (Sibiu)[Nagyszeben]{Cibinium}
Sächsisch Regen (Reghin) [Szászrégen or Régen] {n/a}
Kronstadt (Braşov) [Brassó] {Brassovia or Corona}
Mediasch, ‘’Medwesch’’ (Mediaş) [Medgyes] {Media}
Mühlbach, ‘’Melnbach’’ (Sebeş) [Szászsebes] {n/a}
Schässburg (Sighişoara) [Segesvár] {Castrum Sex}

This is the source of the arms of the Siebenbürgen:ßfürstentum_Siebenbürgen.png – the seven towers (you'll have to tweak the URL). You can easily see how this relates to the Wulfenbach single-tower badge and to the Mechanicsburg seven-towers-assaulted arms. My interpretation of that design, for what it’s worth, is not an attack on a specific city as much as symbolic of how the Heterodynes, using Mechanicsburg as a base of operations, have dominated the Seven Fortresses and the surrounding lands in general. It’s a brag.

History is, of course, complicated and has many things going on simultaneously. In our timeline, the cities were founded between 1142-1208; the Mongols invaded during 1241–1242 and again in 1285. During this same period on Yarth, the Heterodynes would have been gobbling up Europa, heading towards the Valois in the west/northwest from their southeastern stronghold, growing stronger and stronger from appropriated troops, tribute and loot. As of two centuries before Agatha’s time, ‘the Heterodynes had been unchecked for centuries’ (...Clockwork Princess) – that’s four or five more centuries of mass gleeful violence than the hotspot warring of our timeline. Except that the Heterodynes obviously protected their own – in some way or another - Transylvania’s survival is nearly miraculous and Budapest’s, no matter its current post-Wars condition, even more so. This does still beg the question of the location of Sturmhalten and Balan’s Gap, and how far the Heterodynes’ immediate terror spread before stopped by the Coalition. That may yet be hinted at in time.

For now, though, we have a good idea of one of the major forks between our Terra and Agatha’s Yarth, and the developments which might be extrapolated from those changes. As terrible as some of our own wars have been, we can see how much worse it could have been with Sparky ingenuity driving Ares’s war chariot.


For an excellent view of the countryside in question, relatively unmarred: ‘’A Transylvanian Bimmer-Go-Round’’

edited 11th Apr '13 4:15:34 PM by Corgi

Yay, Corgiessay! (Actual thought later, just squeeing now.)

edited 11th Apr '13 4:13:46 PM by PK

27581 Corgi11th Apr 2013 04:16:17 PM , Relationship Status: Puppy love
Hound of the Internet
27582 OriDoodle11th Apr 2013 04:26:48 PM from East of West , Relationship Status: Consider his love an honor
Wow Corgi thanks this fills in a lot of possible storm king analysis.

That I'll get to later when babes agrees that napping is what she should be doing.
wearer of many chevrons
I'm really hoping the abbess is awake and coherent so she can face the fact that the New Heterodyne is the real thing. I want to see the reaction.

edited 11th Apr '13 5:19:17 PM by OlBear

If it moves, eat it!
It would have been wise to gift Agatha with a weasel or two as an early-warning system.

Why do I get the impression that every Heterodyne has had that cake conversation with their advisors at some point?
"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
27586 Euodiachloris11th Apr 2013 06:37:43 PM , Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
[up]Well, a few probably rolled with sausage and beer, rather. [lol]
27587 GreybeardFan11th Apr 2013 06:38:35 PM , Relationship Status: Mu
My Engine
I can just see it: Let me eat cake or I will eat you!
If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be? Aaah!
[up][up]Or a well-plenished harem. That's another option.

edited 11th Apr '13 6:39:18 PM by Hippogrif

Mostly Harmless.
Everyone has felt the need for dessert/special occasion food after a long hard day, at some point in their life. I suspect the page was based don a real-life incident.

Bring on the next Page!

edited 11th Apr '13 6:48:53 PM by ElfKid

"May you live in interesting times."- Chinese curse.
While there are no Heterodynes in the picture, I feel this sketch is somehow relevant to the conversation:
Slavic Fairy Tales: Still working my way through, with at least one more text-book type thing on the way. That said, Agatha appears to be at the point where the Hero has been enchanted by the Enemy Tsarina so that he sleeps/fails to recognize the heroine/marries the ET, and she has to win him back. Tarvek, conversely, appears to be on the arc of the Hero's story where he shows his goodness, earns his allies and Animal Associates, and attempts to Save/Win/Wow the princess. Both he and Agatha would appear due for a great honkin' pile of Impossible Deeds.

I'm going to have to think some about Gil. I have trouble imagining him as merely the enchanted, passive McGuffin.
Mostly Harmless.
27592 Lightningnettle11th Apr 2013 07:21:29 PM , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Agreed, passive and Gil don't go together well. The Foglios use tropes, but not slavishly. evil grin
27593 Euodiachloris11th Apr 2013 07:29:24 PM , Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
[up]<throws remote-control at somebody before heading back to bed> wink
[up]No. I think what they're doing is letting each of the primary characters serve roles in the fairy tales, but each is the "supporting character/McGuffin for the others. I don't think I've located Gil's "core" stories yet...though I'm suspicious that Klaus is Koschei the Deathless to a degree. Agatha's sometimes Vasilisa the Fair.

And oh, are there ever a lot of "Three Beautiful Daughters..."
Mostly Harmless.
27595 Mauri11th Apr 2013 09:30:05 PM from Where was I again?
Absent-Minded Professor
[up][up] *receives the control to the head* I guess I should go to bed so the update will go live.
27596 GreybeardFan11th Apr 2013 09:40:13 PM , Relationship Status: Mu
My Engine
Of course, with a well-orchestrated operation Tweedle might be drawing Agatha and the whole company right into a trap. When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way/And if they want to rumble we'll rumble them right!
If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be? Aaah!
27597 Lightningnettle11th Apr 2013 09:45:15 PM , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
I haven't been reading the particular fairy tales, but it seems to me that Gil is the hardworking peasant boy who is secretly a Prince, surely the Slavs have their version of such. Much like White's Arthur, with Klaus playing Merlin.
Hmm. So far we have peasant boys who *become* princes. I don't think I've run into an Arthur-type, though, yet.
Mostly Harmless.
27599 Lightningnettle11th Apr 2013 10:04:58 PM , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
That might work, a bit, too; for Klaus, a Baron has become Emperor, almost as great a step. I can't quite get Gil into that mold though, what with Klaus for his father and his mysterious title of Highness.

With his sense of mischief though, Gil could be a trickster hero.

[down]Lancelot was hardly evil, according to most versions I've read. Part of the tragedy.

edited 11th Apr '13 10:09:42 PM by Lightningnettle

27600 OriDoodle11th Apr 2013 10:06:19 PM from East of West , Relationship Status: Consider his love an honor
Gil is an Arthur type un-brainwashed.

The son of a woodcutter, who ends up being the son of a king. Fighting for good against evil, even the evil of his relatives/lovers (Zola/Morgana), believing in the faithfulness of his Queen even though she is tempted by his best friend and once time loyal right hand (though Tarvek tells it differently).

At any rate, I'm sure Gil sees himself as an Arthur type. ;)

Before you respond Grif, please remember that this particular forum does NOT believe that Tarvek is evil, afaik. <3.

edited 11th Apr '13 10:07:10 PM by OriDoodle


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