The Defense of Jisr Al-Doreaa

This is an excellent update of an old classic.

Two books in one, the author’s have brought Swinton’s Duffer’s Drift and re-written it for the modern conflicts (which bear more than a passing resemblance to the Boer War). Swinton’s book is in the second half of the volume.  The basis for Duffer”s Drift (if you aren’t familiar with it already) is that a young officer en route to the Boer War has a series of dreams about his first independent command. In each dream it all goes horribly wrong, but on waking he learns some lessons which he then takes with him into the next dream (without remembering the details of the previous dream). Over the course of six dreams he manages to learn enough lessons for a successful outcome.

The scenario is well set out, with appropriate maps and there is a good logical flow through the dream sequences where the young officer progressively learns from the situation. Although the situations and capabilities are not identical, you can easily compare the Boer War situation to its more modern counterpart about a century later. The lessons are broadly similar, and for those interested in how to train young officers or soldiers then it makes a worthwhile read.

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Ars Magica – Lumen

Recently Lumen has been on a trip to Waddenzee with several of her friends from the covenant at Triamore. (See for the write up).

From her perspective the journey was mostly uneventful apart from:

  • premonitions of the attack on the ship they were using (during which she mostly made attackers fall asleep);
  • some searching on a swamp near Waddenzee where she realised that she could spontaneously cast to power the punt they were using; she also made a bird;
  • the visit to Waddenzee itself, where she rescued one of the local women from ill use, employing her as a second maid;
  • a night excursion just on the mainland on return where a lot of time was spent searching in the dark for a particularly unpleasant creature, which was later found to be called a Lamia.

So what does Lumen take from all that experience? Before she went off she had a desire to learn to read Greek, she also had some fondness for getting out and meeting people between her winter study sessions. So she has spent the journey up getting to know something of the places she has been. A little of that will also have been reflection on her Parma as she was going to visit a covenant that may have been unfriendly. She also spent a three encounters searching for things (two of those in the dark) and she spontaneously cast at least three spells. On the way back she spent some significant time trying to communicate with her new maid, so some language skills there. She also used her second sight.

So her autumn/winter study priorities are likely to be:

  • learn to read greek;
  • read some sort of bestiary to find out more about lamia (and similar sorts of creatures);
  • read up on parma magica, ignem and terram (in that order)
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