laure: (Ergellon)
My apologies to those who were following this only to see the blog come to a screeching hault. We had a hard drive crash, and I lost Laure. Technically I have nearly a year more of her diary written than what was posted here (my latest online entry was May of 1257, but my most recent offline entry is dated February 7, 1258), however given that she inadvertently 'died' and we've fallen way short of our goal... well, comment here if you are sad. If you are, I may start over. Or if anyone knows a way to retrieve her file, I haven't formatted that drive, so maybe there's hope yet...
laure: (Battle Laure)
I found Emir Uqais near daybreak. He was riding away from Durquba, and I could barely keep up with him. However, I was ultimately able to bring him to a stop and report on my scouting of Tash Kulun, Rduna, and Halmar. He was pleased, but quickly rode off again.

He was headed to a siege. At Halmar. Halmar! Not just a castle, an entire city.

I fell in behind him, eager to engage.

We were successful, of course. Perhaps this whole running with a realm is the way to go after all. There's strength in numbers. I not only took part in the battle, but helped clear the last of the resistors from the streets as well as the castle.

Good times, man. Good times.
laure: (Laure at Court)
I'm busy this morning on a scouting mission for the marshall, Emir Uqais.

A messenger somehow tracked me down in the middle of the desert, and gave me my profits from my recent investments. My ironworks are unfortunately under sequestration on account of the war with the Khergits (it's located in Tulga, well within Khergit territory), but even with just the brewery I'm making a profit. Excellent.

My scouting of Tash Kulun, Rduna, and Halmar complete, I think I'll head back to Durquba to report to Emir Uqais.
laure: (Battle Laure)
I was feeling lots better this morning. I'm almost felt up for a battle. Strike that, I did feel up for a battle. The Sarranids were planning to take the castle at Uhhun. I'm not sure how you pronounce that. Maybe it's as if you're agreeing to something. Maybe it's as if you're clearing your throat.

At any rate, I wanted in on it.

Uhhun's a big castle, nestled on a rocky bluff. It couldn't be done with a ladder. This was siege tower territory.

I was sick of being knocked unconscious, and my archery skills seem to be improving, so I decided to hang back a bit from the fight and see if I could pick off a few people off from afar, with much success. Ranged weapons for the win!

But then I ran out of arrows. No matter, I ran around a bit, pulled some arrows out of the ground (22 arrows! Can you believe it?), and got back in the fight. Upon my return, we had breached the wall. The sound of the men in close combat, growling and yelling, punctuated by the sound of steel on steel... exhilarating.

Exhilarating, of course, until I found myself pressed up against the edge of a tower by six angry men. Then it was less exhilarating and more frightening.

I panicked. I jumped over the wall, hoping my legs wouldn't break upon landing. My legs survived (but only just), and our men took the exterior of the castle.

Then it somehow fell to me to clear the last of the bastards inside. I... was knocked unconscious.

Yes, again. Thank you for pointing it out.

Despite that, the Sarranids took the castle. Not that I got to see it happen. Why are we always successful when I'm unconscious? Seriously. Still, I guess it could be worse.
laure: (Battle Laure)
Already we have been called to war. Excellent. The Sarranid Sultanate are at war with the Khergit Khanate, who were besieging the town of Ahmerrad. I met up with the Sarranid marshall, a graying commander by the name of Emir Uqais, and together with the assembled army we rode to Ahmerrad.

But our fate did not lie at the walls of the city as anticipated. Instead, the Khergits broke off their siege and met us out on the open desert. Many were their number, but ultimately we had 529 to their 478. Our greater numbers did not make for an easy battle by any means, however. The Khergits have fierce cavalry troops, lancers and horse archers.

I found myself at the edge of the battle, fighting an incredible warrior indeed. He speared my horse in the chest more than once, but the hunter remained miraculously on its feet somehow! I rode off a ways so as to fire upon the man with my bow, but it seemed I could do no damage. Ultimately I regained my bravery and rode in close enough for the swing of my sword, and prevailed. With his body limp and bleeding into the sand I was able to see that he was actually a Khergit lord. No wonder he had been such a worthy foe!

But ultimately they bested us. At one point it was me against perhaps fifty of their men, and I was knocked unconscious by a couched lance. When I awoke, the next battle was to begin, and while our numbers were still slightly greater, I could tell we were overwhelmed. In short, I left.

My troops were not happy with that decision. Klethi in particular felt the need to speak up. I know the shame! Why must she rub it in my face?

But she got her wish. Urubay Noyan of the Khergits caught up with me, and would not let me run a second time. However, due to some last minute maneuvering, more Sarranid troops had caught up with us, and the margin was much more comfortable. Over two to one, in fact: 478 to 209. Better odds. We dove back in, though my head was killing me from the earlier blow. I did not seek out the front lines, kept my horse moving, the sound of its pounding hooves echoed in the pounding within my skull.

Again I was knocked unconscious. Some little bugger with a mace.

The troops kept up the fight. Klethi would be pleased. As I lay unconscious, we lost many men. But not as many as the Khergits.

When I awoke, Urubay Noyan was standing over me. In chains. "Stop! I yield!" he cried. Though it barely seemed right, I was allowed to take him as my prisoner, along with a handful of his troops. It hardly seemed fair.

Somehow, my party came out with forty-four men standing. How, I have no idea. But I should not question the gods.

As darkness fell, I rode past another battle, this time between two Sarranid nobles and the Khan of the Khergits. The Khan! I was feeling horrible, of course, having only just recently regained consciousness, but the odds were too good to pass up. Think of the reward that would be given if we could take their ruler prisoner! We jumped in on the Sarranid side, bringing their numbers to 168 against the Khan's 77.

Perhaps not one of the best decisions I've ever made. Eventually I found myself as the sole cavalry on the Sarranid side. But I was barely cavalry; my horse wasn't doing well. I decided to take a risk. I found another horse, and rode in front of it to keep it from bolting. The horse stopped, and I dismounted with the intent of riding the other steed. Just then a Khergit lancer killed my horse and scared the other one off. I then tried to kill him just for his horse, and eventually succeeded, but his horse ran away. I as I was running back to the relative safety of the other infantry, I was shot in the back.

Shockingly, while unconscious (again), we won (again). We were not fortunate enough to take Sanjar Khan prisoner, but we freed many Sarranid troops, and I hired them into my band of mercenaries, bringing our numbers back up to what they had been before the battles.

Baheshtur pulled me aside, and complained about the number of casualties we'd suffered. "Whatever Baheshtur," I thought. "Perhaps you should have fought harder." I checked my tongue, though, and told him merely that I hoped it wouldn't happen again.
laure: (Laure at Court)
Rode from Durquba to the nearby town of Bariyye, which rose from the desert at dawn. Gorgeous city, an oasis on its outer wall.

Sadly, there's nothing interesting within the city's walls. No new blood for my crew, no interesting peasant quests, nothing at the market to catch my eye. So I left.

While riding in the heat of the desert afternoon, I came across Emir Lakhem, who I stopped to speak with in the hope that he'd need some taxes collected or something similarly remunerative.

He was wearing a very lovely coat, an embroidered yellow and burnt orange number, which looked far too hot to wear in this climate. He asked for my name, which I gave him. Though I come from a distant land, he knew of my name, and asked if he could hire me and my men for an upcoming campaign!

The contract is only binding for a month, so I decided to take it. It'll give my men a chance to test their swords in battle.
laure: (Firelit Laure)
Sure enough, a tournament! Seems to be a contest of archery and swords, a bit of javelin throwing. Straight-forward stuff. As ever, I placed some sneaky bets on myself, and again things turned out rather well. I took home 2500 denars.

Afterward, I hit the market and found a lovely and large bag of Bodkin arrows, which I promptly bought in celebration. Much as I would have loved to have invested in something with greater return, I've been really coveting a decent bag of arrows, and I've only about 3500 to my name. Need a bit more than that to invest in baked goods or wine making.

At the tavern I met a farmer who was having a bit of trouble with desert bandits in his village. My crew and I easily did away with them. Again I refused their payments of cabbage and dried meat. They're peasants. Those days aren't too far behind me, and I remember what that's like.

So, in short, Durquba was made of win. Win for me, win for my men.
laure: (Default)
I have arrived in Durquba, too late in the evening to inquire about the tournament—the arena doors were locked.

The tavern held no joy for me, either. No interesting prospects, only moderately interesting wine.

Looking forward to tomorrow.
laure: (Default)
The tournament master at Narra tells me there are tournaments to be had soon in Sargoth and Durquba. Both of these are fairly far flung from my present location here in Khergit territory, but I've never been to Durquba. It lies in the lands of Sarranid Sultanate. I've longed to go there, because I hear they have some amazing cavalry amongst them and I'd like to hire some on in my company.

To Durquba!
laure: (Laure)
Ah, Beltane. Best not to think about that too much, and instead discuss happy things.

I won another tournament. This time at Tulga. What a grand tournament! All javelins and archery. I think I may have found my niche. Another 3500 in winnings.

After the show, I went to the tavern. And who should I find, but Bunduk! His 200 fee was easily paid, and he is now a member of my party.

I decided it would be prudent to again invest my winnings, not just go off and buy a round for everyone at the tavern (tempting as it was). The guild master set me up with a brewery for 2500, with an anticipated profit of 187 a week. Not much, but decent given the investment price. I think if I continue in this vein, spreading my investments out across all of Calradia, I'll end up with a steady income stream regardless of who is at war with whom.
laure: (Firelit Laure)
While riding through the land of Vaegirs looking for more men, I learned of a tournament at Curaw! Unexpected, but welcome. I've a bit of money as of late, but no real income stream. Things are good right now, but in reality I'm living hand to mouth, so such opportunities are very welcome indeed.

I won the tournament, which gave me a total of 6094 denars. That lack of income, hand to mouth thing? Time to start taking care of that.

I paid a visit to Curaw's guild master, and inquired about various investment opportunities. A brewery would cost me 2500 and turn an estimated profit of 211 per week. Another possibility is a bakery, which is only 1500, and would turn a profit of about 132. Ultimately, I went with an iron works, from which tools are made. The investment was a bit higher (3500 denars), but the return is good. They estimate 546 denars a week!

The iron works will pay for itself in no time at all, and then turn nothing but profit. Good profit at that.
laure: (Battle Laure)
[After an inexplicable hiatus in posting...]

With the recently earned money from the tournament and tax collecting, I have decided to continue my ride through Swadia in search of more hands. I met no new warriors in Dhirim, but I did meet a farmer from the nearby village of Ushkuru who begged us to help rid his village of bandits. Finally, a fight! The battle was swift, we emerged victorious. The peasants offered to pay us in food, but I declined, stating that they needed it more than we did. Not true, perhaps, but I felt as if I'd gained some honor. I could use some honor about now.

After the fight, Ymira came to me. She said that she'd learned a great many things already from just that first battle. Flattering. She also said that she thought a woman of my renown should have a fief by now.

Not this again. It's only the women of my party who say such things, really... should I believe them? Then again, King Graveth is no woman (I'm sure of this, as he has a beard) and he said much the same thing.

Sigh.
laure: (Laure at Court)
City of Uxhal.

In the tavern there I met a nice lass named Ymira. Her father wanted to marry her off to one of his business partners, an old man well past the age of 30! So she ran away. I have taken her into the company. She can ride, and she's good with traders. She also has some skills in first aid.

I still miss Katrin, but these new companions are a friendly enough lot.

It remains to be seen how well they fight... we still need to find a battle. Spirits are still somewhat low.
laure: (Firelit Laure)
Headed back to Praven. Perhaps Bunduk will still be there; I'd like to hire him.

Morale is dropping among my men. The tournaments were good for me, but the men need blood to cheer their souls. Hopefully we will encounter bandits or deserters on our way to Praven.

Unfortunately, Katrin is not untouched by the melancholy of our group. She thanked me for taking her into the company, but told me she finds this life no more to her liking than driving a wagon. Too much cold, she said, too much hunger. I asked her to stay, but she wouldn't hear of it. I am sad to lose her.

When we reached Praven, I found that Bunduk had gone, but I met a man named Nizar, who fancies himself a warrior poet and a great lover. He is a good looking black man, to be fair. And he's on a horse. I decided to take him into my party.
laure: (Battle Laure)
I tracked down Graveth, gave him his denars. He made no more mention of how I should fight for him. It's a relief, really. I'd like more time to gauge the political situation before committing to anything. Then again, it's not as if he's asked me to become a vassal, so I'd probably get a month to month contract at best.

Still, freedom. I like freedom.
laure: (Firelit Laure)
While collecting taxes, the people of Jelkala raised up in revolt. We beat them down with quarterstaves and finished the businesss at hand.

Afterward, Katrin approached me. "Aye, lassie, I just can't help thinking to myself," she said, "you've made quite a name for yourself, haven't you? Fighting and marching up and down the length of the land. Why, I suspect if you were a man, some king would have offered you a fief by now. Well, you may still get what you deserve—you'll just have to prove yourself a bit more."

Gods, not Klethi, too. We ride to find King Graveth. Should I offer my sword? I really wanted to hold off, be my own woman for a time more. But everyone dropping hints like this is perhaps more than I can bare.
laure: (Battle Laure)
Klethi approached me as we were riding away from the weekend of feasting in Veluca. She said that I'd made quite a name for myself there, and that she suspected that, were I a man, a king would have offered me a fief by now. She said ladies shouldn't come to expect things like that, and that men will find any excuse to not reward us for our work.

I haven't told her about my conversation with King Graveth. I'm not sure what to do.

We're on our way to Jelkala to collect taxes for the king.
laure: (Default)
So, yeah. The tournament in Veluca.

It did not go well. Déjà vu...

But it turns out that there's a feast going on, and that there'll be multiple tournaments each day for a few days.

In my second tournament I actually did very well—I won, in fact. Afterward they invited me up to the castle for some wine. There were a few counts there, all of whom were rather nice to me. Flirted with me a bit, I think, though I'm not much good at gauging these things. Still, none of them struck my fancy, and in reality no one is going to seriously consider sharing my tent on the battlefield. It's difficult, being a lady of war in these times. Men don't take you seriously.

Do I wish to marry? At some point, perhaps. It might even be necessary in order to build my standing in Calradia. In reality, it may mean marrying for power, rather than love or desire. My heart sinks a bit at the thought. But why worry about that, when it's so far in the future? Sigh. Yes, why worry indeed. Perhaps because I can't help it.

I don't know if it's the fact that I'm preoccupied with this new idea of seeking love or what, but the rest of the tournaments in Veluca did not go so well. I participated in two more, and lost them both. But the valor I'd proven allowed me access to the feast, which allowed me to hob nob a bit, and the king gave me a gig collecting taxes (always profitable).

So, not a total wash. He also hinted that a person of my valor should lend my sword to the realm. I'm not sure I'm ready for that just now.
laure: (Laure)
So, yeah. The tournament in Sargoth.

It did not go well. I'm ashamed to even write these words. I didn't have much money, but I bet nearly everything we had. In the second round, I was given a two-handed sword and no shield, and got on the wrong side of some blokes who were wielding axes. I did not last long. We are now nearly penniless. 35 denars, to be precise. 390 less denars than will be necessary to make payroll this week.

Some good news, though - that lame hourse I bought just five days ago seems to be all better. I've decided to ride it and have given my courser to Baheshtur, who seems to be quite a good horse archer.

As for the cash flow problem, which has now become an even greater issue due to my poor showing in the tournament? I guess I'll start flagging down passing nobles, and hope they need me to do profitable things like collect taxes or hunt down more murderers. I don't think I have the patience to just run letters all over creation, as they generally only pay 30 or so denars for that and I need a bit more than that just now.

I think I'm desperate enough that I'll start visiting villages and towns after dark, hoping to get jumped in the streets. I'm generally pretty good in actual hand-to-hand combat (I have much better armor than what's allowed at the tournaments), and bandits usually have some cash on them. It's sad that I've been reduced to this.

There's a tournament in the land of Rhodoks. In Veluca...
laure: (Battle Laure)
Praven. There were two men of interest in town: Artimenner and Bunduk.

Artimenner's an engineer. While I see myself needing such skills eventually (for constructing ladders and siege towers to take castles and cities), I think those days are unfortunately still a ways off. He may prove himself in battle in the meantime, but he wants 300 denars just to come on board. Were I in need of his engineering skills, it would have been worth it, but as it is, I've told him good day. Perhaps our paths will cross later at a more opportune time.

Bunduk, on the other hand, seemed immediately useful and only wanted 200 denars to join on. When I went to check my purse, though, I realized that I only had 548 to my name, and my men would soon need to be paid. I told Bunduk I couldn't afford his services just now.

I had to question myself. Why was I on this grand tour, looking to take on skilled soldiers, when I hadn't the cash flow to support such an endeavor? I realized that, in truth, I'd taken on this new plan out of mere boredom. Not a very wise reason.

The problem: I need money before I can get more men. I've been doing okay with killing bands of raiders, but not enough to really pull me up out onto solid ground. How else to make money, I wondered...

Then it came to me: tournaments. I'd won the tournament in Praven, right after coming to this land. My skills have greatly improved since then. Surely I can risk placing some sly bets on myself and really make some money. I went to the arena in Praven and asked the tournament master where the next tournament would be. Sargoth.

So, to Sargoth it is. We ride.

January 2011

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