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)
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: (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.

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: (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: (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.
laure: (Laure)
My name is Laure.

Yes, it's pronounced like "lore". Who knows? Perhaps it is from my legend that the word was drawn.

Drawn by the stories I have heard about Calradia and its kingdoms, I have decided to join a caravan to Praven, in the Kingdom of Swadia. Here on these pages I will tell you my tale.

The caravan I joined has taken me through the heartland. Green shoots of wheat, barley and oats are beginning to push through the dark soil of the rolling hills, and on the lower slopes of the snowcapped mountains, herds of cattle and sheep are grazing on the spring grass. Occasionally, I catch sight of one of the great warhorses that are the pride of the Swadian nobility. The land here is rich—but also troubled, as the occasional burnt-out farm bears witness.

It was some relief when I crested a ridge and caught sight of the great port of Praven, its rooftops made golden by the last rays of the setting sun.

But on my very first night here, I was jumped by a thug in the street! )

January 2011



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