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: (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.
laure: (Laure)
This courser I've been riding is decent. Fast, certainly. But I've always been fond of hunters. They seem to run about 1500 denars in the marketplace, though, and that's still too rich for my blood. I have to have enough money to feed and pay my forty-four men. That's no small thing.

But! Today in the market I found a lame hunter for only 600 denars. I've purchased him. My hope is that he'll eventually heal, so long as I don't ride him.

Sigh. Need more cash flow. Need to build up money for investments. I'm tempted to accept a mercenary contract soon, but my guess is that the extra cash won't make up for the lack of freedom. I'll have to think on that.
laure: (Laure at Court)
I collected taxes for four days. People got angry, but no one actually threatened me with violence, thankfully. I was then able to easily track down the King, and he allowed me to keep 1335 denars for myself. Excellent! I then asked him where Count Meltor was, as getting that other 300 denars is also important. The King told me the Count was at Rindyar Castle... but I've since found out that Rindyar is currently under siege.

That complicates matters.

But I rode that way anyway, through the night...

...and was jumped by some forest bandits. Only seventeen of them, though, and I've been doing a decent job of recruiting men, so I had twenty-five in my number. I decided to take the bandits on rather than pay their toll. My first real battle! My first true test!

Stupid me, I am the only one in my party with a horse, and I rode straight into the bandits before the others could catch up on foot. I hate to admit it, but I was nearly killed. However, ultimately the rest of the men arrived and saved my arse. We lost four recruits, but captured five bandits. That'll make for a bit of change at the next town if there's a ransom broker to be found, and I can always find more green recruits.

Better yet, I was able to finally loot some Not Silly clothes. I was able to ditch the toque for a fashionable black hood, as well as a better outfit than the nomad armor (which, quite frankly, made me look like I had a dead animal draped around my shoulders).

I immediately changed clothes, right there on the field of battle. I am very pleased to tell you that I no longer look like a gnome.

I then headed on to the city Dhirim, in search of the horse merchant. I could use a better steed, and could no doubt give this old swaybacked saddle horse to Klethi, if she knows how to ride. If she doesn't, I can teach her. The ride to Dhirim was somewhat eventful... we nicely eliminated some bandits from the village of Emirin en route, and the villagers paid us in grapes, cheese, and grain, for which my men were grateful.

At Dhirim, after picking the best of the spoils gear-wise for Klethi, I sold off our loot but was unable to find a suitable steed in my price range. Sigh. Oh well, having some money in my pocket is always good, I suppose. I headed on toward Rindyar, recruiting as I went. That siege on Rindyar, it turns out, was unsuccessful. I located Count Meltor, who was out patrolling his lands. 300 more denars for me.

These odd jobs are making me weary. I think I shall instead ride from city to city, looking for allies in the bars and participating in any tournaments I can find. If some bandits show up, we'll fight. Gods willing, we'll win.

At Reyvadin I found a nice courser, and I bought it for 1200 denars. That left me nearly broke, but I'll find a way to make up for that at a tournament soon, I hope. Coursers are fast, and that's what I need right now: speed. Speed to run from larger groups of bandits. Speed to find glory more quickly. Or perhaps I delude myself.

It also turns out Klethi doesn't know how to ride a horse. Silly girl.
laure: (Battle Laure)
I rode into Veidar in the late afternoon to hunt down the murderer.

Veidar's a decent little village, not doing too poorly, set just below a hill in pleasant rolling woodland. I rode around and around and around the village, looking for that scoundrel with the ridiculous name. Finally found him hiding behind a fishing shack. He seemed to have been living inside it, subsisting off herrings. I told him he fit the description of Sigmar Hot-Head, which he of course denied. I told him to put down his sword to prove his innocence, and he retorted that I'd have to earn my silver. "Alas that you cannot be made to see reason!" I sighed, slicing him open before riding off to claim my 300 denars from Count Meltor.

On my way to find Meltor, I had the extreme privilege of running face to face into King Harlaus. He noted my banner, and made mention that he's always looking for good warriors to fight for him, once they've proven themselves... maybe one of these days. We'll have to see how he does against his foes before I sign on with him. He had an excellent task for me, though, one that couldn't have come at a better time—to collect taxes from the city of Praven. I'll get to keep one-fifth the income!

I rode straight to Praven... Count Meltor's pitiful 300 denar bounty can wait.
laure: (Laure)
Good news! I found Count Meltor. He was having a battle against some Khergits. I waited for the battle to subside and delivered my letter. He was grateful, and in fact was so grateful he gave me a quest. I'm to hunt down Sigmar Hot-Head (yes, that's evidently his name), a murderer who's hiding out in the village of Veidar. I'm not even sure where Veider is, but I took the assignment anyway, because there's 300 denars in it.

Turns out Veidar's a bit far, but still in Swadia. Back towards Praven, a fairly safe ride. I sure could use this money, as I don't have enough to recruit troops at this point... I've barely enough to pay the mercenaries I have.
laure: (Firelit Laure)
I rode to Rindyar Castle, but it turned out the Count wasn't in. Dammit. Now I have to go find him. An awful lot of work for 30 denars.
laure: (Banner)
I have decided to traverse the length of Swadia.

In my wanderings, at the tavern in Uxhal, I came across a lass named Klethi, who seems to be a bit of a kleptomaniac, but proficient enough with throwing knives. She said she needed to leave town before it was discovered that she'd stolen a valuable amulet, and I figured she might prove to be a good addition to my band of mercenaries, what with the knife throwing and the sticky fingers. She insisted I give her 200 denars, but it seemed worthwhile. I was broke as a result, but having another lass along for the ride has been nice. I confided in her that I secretly aspire to be queen of this land, all of Calradia, and she said said I'd make a fine queen... particularly if I remembered the people who helped me get there. I shall have to file that little bit away for later.

I rode on toward Dhirim by way of Emirin. I have been successfully recruiting villagers as I traverse the land. We then came across Count Montewar of Swadia. He noted my banner, and suggested that I was the bastard daughter of a puffed-up cattle thief, or that perhaps I had stolen the banner. I was tempted to say something like, "Maybe now I'll take your banner. And your cattle. And your life," but instead checked my tongue and offered my services. The bastard had no tasks for me, then tried to flirt. Outrageous.

I had better luck when I ran into Count Clais, who didn't sass me quite so much, and had a letter he needed to run to Rindyar Castle, which wasn't too far away, so I took the job. A mere 30 denars, but it's a start.

January 2011



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