November 7th, 2007


Snowdonia small town and vet nursing

I have a pair of Welsh NaNo characters. Both have decided they are from near the Snowdonia National Park (and one even works within the park as a ranger/warden/etc). The other one is a vet nurse that works on the outskirts of the park.

Is it realistic that said vet nurse's practice has gotten rescues from the park (even if they are shipped off to another facility later) and handles a variety of farm animals? Idealistically, I'd kinda like it to be a semi-rural practice, but that's not so important.

So what I need is a semi-small town that might fit the bill. I don't care if it's just a blip on the map and doesn't see much tourist traffic. I need it to have a couple pubs, and be within a day-trip (meaning there and back in one day -- even if it's a long day) of bigger city.

I'm still looking at maps, but being American, am utterly clueless as to Welsh geography. Help?
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Male infertility

I've got this story about a girl who gets pregnant, but not by her boyfriend. It's important for said boyfriend to know right away that it isn't his, and the best way I know to accomplish this is to make him sterile. Now, the problem is that I haven't been able to find any drugs that could do this, and I don't want it to be caused by cancer or surgery, and most of the causes I can find are things you really only find out about after you've been trying to get someone pregnant and then go to doctors to find out why it's not working.

Is there anything that can cause my character to be sterile that he would know about despite not trying to get his girlfriend pregnant and is not fatal/otherwise physically damaging? It would be good if it could be incurable.

I tried Googling "male infertility" and related terms, but like I said, for the most part it's just things you would find out about after seeing a doctor because things apparently aren't working.

Number of guards needed

I can't even begin to think how to phrase this for google.

I have a small party of scientists that are being sent to another planet to help with a short term project (ie, about two weeks). They are being accompanied by a military guard, and one of the scientists is Very Important, so the military commander is adamant that nothing happen to him.

How many military personnel would he send so that there would be someone on guard 24 hours a day? Would four be enough? Or would it be more like 8? They don't really expect trouble, but they've had problems in the past.

Thank you for your help!

ETA The guards will be working in three shifts over a twenty four hour period. I assume that they'll need more guards during the day (when the scientists are up and working) than at night, when they're asleep.

ETA2 Okay, I think I've got it!
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Guardsmen in 13th century castle

I've been searching in every book on castles in our school and public libraries (and that is a LOT of books), and while I've found plenty of good information on the structure of castles, the lives of people in them, and the defense of them, I haven't found what I'm looking for.

I have a smallish castle in a fantasy world modeled pretty closely after the 13th century (Edit: there are significant cultural/religious differences. The basic living conditions, level of technology and methods of warfare are the same). The castle is basically a mott-and-bailey redone in stone instead of wood. It's in hill country, with mountains not too far away.

The lord, Simon, was recently called to court. (He's a war hero, and the king wanted him there to add prestige, honor, etc.) His wife, Signy, is left behind to tend the estate along with their young daughter, Lia. (Their son Laury is off squiring for another lord.) It's summertime, and this part of the realm has been at peace for twelve years. There is a road to the capital city, where court is being held, and while it's for the most part safe (as far as 13th century roads were safe, anyways), there are places with outlaws etc.

My questions are thus.

1) What kind of force would Simon have at the castle while everyone was home?
2) How many of these guards/soldiers would he take with him for a journey of this sort? How many would he leave behind with Signy?
3) How large a force would it take to capture the castle with the number of men-at-arms he left with Signy? The attack is a complete surprise, and they manage to lay hands on Signy before anyone in the castle really knows what's going on.
4) Is this set of circumstances believable? It's very important to the story that Signy be in the castle while Simon is gone, although Lia could conceivably go with her father. It's up in the air right now if Signy is with child; if she would ordinarily go with Simon, this might explain why she would be at home.

Thanks, all!

Edit: Some more about the circumstances of the attack.

Edit to this edit: There was very bad wording on my part here. Let me rephrase.

One of the men in the attacking force (who is disguised as something NOT an enemy soldier-- I haven't decided exactly as what yet) begs for shelter from the castle (before Signy knew that there was a force coming at her). Signy lets him in. He stays overnight, and during that night the attacking force sneaks up to the castle. Come morning, the man begs leave to thank Signy, she goes to accept his thanks, and he puts a dagger to her throat and uses her as a tool to force the guards to open the gates. The attacking force comes in and slaughters Signy's guard.

About Simon: as I said above, he's a war hero. He was also born a commoner. He managed to sneak a message into a besieged city during a rebellion, allowing the forces in the city and the army coming to relieve the city to coordinate their attack and beat the besiegers into a bloody pulp. That battle was the turning point in the war, and the rebellion failed. The King-fellow, whose throne had been saved, decided to reward Simon with a gift of land-- the person whose land it used to be had sided on the wrong side of the rebellion and had his head removed. I don't know exactly how big the lands are.

Edit 2: What sort of title would Simon have, with the situation above? I doubt that he has much power in the realm of politics, or that his land is of great strategical importance.