Ruins of Calrad: A Mount and Blade RP Game Thread (started/ pm to join)

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Ruins of Calrad- A Mount and Blade RP

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The city of Zendar. The only independent city in all of Calradia, not sworn to any lord. On the surface. However, a scholar digging through the origin of the city has hit upon the truth: Zendar is sworn to a certain family within its walls, who seem to be descended from the last true kings of Calrad.
A quiet tremor runs through the land. The common folk can't know what that means, and they aren't told. But the lords can, and do. They know that a true heir to the Throne of Calrad would topple all of their kingdoms. The common people, those who remembered the old ways, would rise up. Many lords would defect. The kingdoms would fall, one after the other.

And so the city was burning. Sea raiders, they said. They were not sea raiders, though they carried no banners. The guard was drawn up in front of the massive gates. A tall, raven-haired man- the lord, to look at him- rode back and forth in front of them, shouting.
"... Should any of you fear death, turn away! Back to your homes! I will not die in the company of such cowards!" he shouted. No one moved. A great knock came on the door, a battering ram. "Good! Now, form up, friends! We go once more unto the breach!" The gates shattered, and the guards charged, the lord on his horse leading the charge.

In a large manor house, a woman is sobbing as her youngest is bundled up and armed. The head of the household guard stands stiffly, not knowing what to do. He'd failed to keep their heritage a secret. It was his fault, and his alone. He watched as the youngest- no more than fourteen- is armored and armed, and given a map. He's being sent away. The rest of the children are already gone. Killed at the end of the escape routes. The men outside were methodical, and had found them all. Or, all save one. There was a single route not blocked, a tiny crawl-space out to the river. It was long, and uncomfortable, and the boy was the only one who could fit.

And so the city burned, and the last heir escaped. Months passed, and no word of the boy came. The king- or kings- who ordered the destruction were satisfied. The threat had passed. Things returned to normal in Calradia, feast and tournaments and wars. And caught in the center of it, a small handful of people, some of high birth, others lower than low, with an auspicious destiny. This is their story, a tale of incredible people in an incredible time.

Welcome!


Time to get down to business, then. Make your first posts, and we'll start off on our mad adventure.
(Oh, for reference- the burning of Zendar is a well-known event, but it's contributed to sea raiders. So. Also, it happened about three months before the game begins, so few people will still be talking about it. It's important, though. Obviously.)

Dogmatic99:

Floris2123:

Mr.Ivebeenframed:

Fishtie:

Geth Reich:

Tyrannical:

ThreeWords:

Grasshopper:

Outside the window, the sounds of his childhood awoke him from slumber. The sounds of people talking, merchants bartering, animals barking, children screaming, hooves clacking, and footsteps on the paved roads played like music in Galen's head. He pushed himself out of the bed and into his clothes as the tavern keeper below shouted at his subordinates about spilling drinks. He splashed his face with some water that the tavern keeper puts outside their doors and in the bowl, Galen saw his face once more. The water settled in from it he could see the ridges carved into his face, his broken nose, and the still healing flesh. Now its a permanent reminder of what needs to be done and what kind of revenge he needed to give out to atone for such a blow. His men were still in captivity in Khergit lands and he promised to himself he would free them no matter the cost.

Footsteps caused Galen to turn to its source and he saw Verdan's familiar frame. Verdan had been with him in the battle and escorted him back to Dhirm so that he would recover. He owed Verdan his life but he refuses to call upon the favor that Galen has yet to give. Verdan is a stout man with large arms and a bushy, brown beard. A bow and its quiver is slung on his back with his nordic helm tucked in his right arm near his sword.

"Should I tell the men we are leaving?" Verdan asked. While Galen was out of commission, Verdan was the one who mustered as many men as he could after Galen ordered him to after receiving a letter from a lord who informed him of his lost men. Galen had money left over from his bounty hunting days so that wasn't the issue until now.

"Not yet... still need some denars before we leave." Galen breathed out. He rubbed the sand of his eyes as he walked towards the staircase. "The tavern keeper is a start. Tell them we are leaving within a moment's notice though..."

"Aye aye!" Verdan said, rounding a corner as soon as they got to the ground floor of the tavern.

The place was quaint but during the nights the place was rowdy and full of life. Still, men lounged even if the light of day was at full blast. Galen walked to where the bartender was, who was dutifully wiping the wooden counter free from grime and spilled ale.

"I hope my boys weren't too rowdy last night. I'll make it up for you if you've heard of any jobs for a man like me. Hopefully anything to do with a little bit of action."

Trish span around the blade of her opponent, using her momentum to trip the opponent making him fall on the ground. She gracefully stepped towards him and placed her sword on his chest. The man looked up at Trish and sighed "It seemed you were better again, Tristan." Trish smiled as she extended her hand "You are better then last time, Jonas, don't worry. You will be as good as I am someday." Jonas smiled as he took her hand and she pulled him up. Jonas began wiping the dirt off his armor, he thanked her for the lesson and then walked back to their camp.

Trish heard clapping and turned around to see Sir Henry "It seems you are busy as usual 'Tristan'," Sir Henry said with a sly smile. Trish smiled as she walked over to him "I was just training Jonas, he still has much to learn," she said, smiling, she only really felt free to be herself around Sir Henry. "You care as much about your men as usual, that is one of the reason they are so loyal to you," Sir Henry smiled as he looked at the camp. "It smells like breakfast is ready, lets go to the camp and eat." Trish nodded, "Sounds like a good idea." Both knights walked back to the camp. The party cheered as they joined them, Arthur, also nicknamed 'The Cook', began passing food around. Breakfast consisted of some salted pork, a few slices of bread and some cheese.

Trish smiled as she grabbed her breakfast and walked towards her tent. The men weren't surprised that their leader didn't join them for breakfast. 'Tristan' had told them that he had been horrible wounded and that he had many scars on his face. And that was why he kept his helmet on at all time, and if he wasn't wearing it, nobody was allowed to see him. Her men had much respect for her and that is why they allowed her to eat in peace. Gregory, also known as 'The Night Guard', was patrolling the camp site, he had been with Trish since the party had been build. He had sleeping problems which was why he volunteered to take many night and morning shifts, the other men were completely fine with this. As it meant they could get more sleep.

Mr.Ivebeenframed:

"I hope my boys weren't too rowdy last night. I'll make it up for you if you've heard of any jobs for a man like me. Hopefully anything to do with a little bit of action."

The innkeeper eyed the man suspiciously. An archer, to look at him, with face like ground-up meat.
"You can help by getting out." he growled, then turned and exited to the kitchens.
It would appear that his men had caused something of a problem.
The barmaid approached him, shaking her head. She seemed to be the daughter of the innkeeper, a pretty lass of seventeen or so.
"Forgive him, he's sore at your men. If you're looking for work, go see the fabric merchant. He owes us a bit of gold, but he's been having trouble with bandits. Tell him Serina sent you. He'll tell you the story."
She whisked away, busy as ever despite the time of day.

Floris2123:
Trish de Molay

Nearby, the village of Azgad sits on a peninsula north of Praven. A force of bandits- really no more than a dozen- rolls in, and a brief scuffle ensues. The most arrogant bandits ever, to attack a village so close to the king's seat, take control of the town. A few villagers escape, and flee into the morning. Several head towards Praven, and will pass by the camp of the Knight Order before noon. They didn't rightly know what they were looking for, just some vague notion about telling someone and getting help.

Raddas pulled his turban down, shielding his eyes from the raging sandstorm. "Alright boys, listen up. A teeny little Khergit Caravan is coming through here. No more than 8 men. We're gonna hit em hard, shoot their horses first. Those little steppe bastards are useless without their horses." growled Raddas. His men silently nodded in agreement. They knew that the last person to interrupt Raddas is now one of his favorite tent ornaments.

"You... you... and you." he ordered, "follow me, we'll distract them on the northern side. "You four, hit em from the side when we've got them charging. The rest of you, cut off their escape." he spurred his horse into a fierce gallop to get ready to intercept the caravan.

It was noon when Jakob reached the border between Khergit and Sarranid lands, the land changing from verdent grassy steppe to sandy plains. With the new enviroment came new temperatures: the heat rising quickly and making the welts on his wrists where he had been bound itch. That itch was an unplesant reminder of his position in the world-not that he needed many of those right now he thought, eyeing the terrain warily. Not too far off to the south was a village resting atop a hill and beyond that the castle it belonged to, nestled strategically between two mountain ranges. Jameyyed Castle, if he remembered his A Study of Worthy Fortifications of Calradia -surely the lord of such a holding would be in need of skilled blades and keen minds?

Jakob wagered that he would but to go before a nobleman in his current state was simply unacceptable-there was every chance that the guards would turn him away from the gates as a begger, if they didn't take pot-shots at him for fun. No, something had to be done to improve his appearence and give him back a fraction of his respectability, so he resolved to head to the village first in order to find a willing tailor or unwary watchman. Even peasant clothes were better then tattered prisoner rags, even if they had to be liberated from a slowly cooling body.....

"Thank you m'lady." Galen stepped outside of the tavern and into the streets of Dhrim. The buildings looked the same as any city he's been in and despite nostalgia the city brings, he's grown to hate it. The streets were too narrow for him no matter the width and maybe that's because of how much time he's spent in the wilderness.

He walked into the marketplace to see the merchants peddling their wares to potential customers. Galen even spent a few minutes at the blacksmith to look at the armor, wondering what it was like to wear such heavy armor into battle. Then he looked at a weapons dealer who had weapons from all reaches of Calradia. The bows there differed in quality but the war bow really clung to his mind. Finally, he arrived at the fabric merchant's stall.

"Serina told me you've got a problem, is there anything I could do to help?" Galen asked.

"This is what you bring me, Lucius? This is what you bring me?"

Maelum looked on at the crowd of rowdy Nords that had assembled before him. His old company had suffered some bad losses after their last big job and their supplies had dwindled. After that the rest had gone there own way, one after the other. And each of the worthless gits took more than their fair share of the coin with them. The only one that had stayed was Lucius. A weedy, red headed young lad that they'd picked up in Praven. He was useless in a fight and timid to boot, but Maelum liked the boy. He reminded him of a puppy... with three legs. And to his credit the boy could write and work the numbers. So eager was he to prove himself that he'd gone out and found the biggest, hardest looking brutes he could and made sure to tell them a mercenary company was recruiting in the local tavern. Nine had actually turned up.

The streets of Sargoth were packed with MAelum's kind of people. Forward, tough and relatively honest. The nords were his kind of fighters, a bunch of foot sloggers. And they looked after their own, something sorely lacking in his native Swadia. He was born in the wrong country.

Maelum made his way to the front of the group and cleared his throat. He'd spent the morning working on a rousing speech to inspire loyalty and get them riled up. "Wel-" He was quickly drowned out by the bunch of them trying to out shout each other. This wasn't going to work. He had to show he was a man they HAD to listen to. So with that in mind he singled out the biggest man in the line up. A bald, bearded man with a gut the size of a keg. It was like looking into his bleakest of futures.

So after making a mental note to ease off the red meat Maelum walked up to the big man without a word and nutted him in the face. flooring him like it was nothing. After that, he laid out the ground work of how things would be if they signed up with his troupe. Not a very inspiring talk but he got a cheer at the end before he told them all to go over the Lucius and make their mark on their contracts. The boy was like a Saranid swordsman when it came to wielding a pen and someone had to to do the paperwork. Maelum never did have a lot of letter.

With a good group gathered up Maelum had to find a way of getting them paid. 15 Denars wouldn't get him far. He was the one in charge now and Maelum was determined to become more than some back footer sellsword. It was time to get started, he shuffled through the collection of papers Lucius had gathered from the job board in Sargoth town centre. Looking for a good paying bounty or escort job... maybe a kidnapping.

Trish joined her party after breakfast. "It is time for another training round," she said, looking around. The men nodded as they grabbed their weapons. Trish climbed on her horse and saw the unmotivated look on a few faces, she though of a clever plan to motivate them. "Whoever manages to beat me gets 20 denars." Trish said, looking at the men. The men all looked a lot more motivated to train now. Trish eventually managed to beat them all in a duel, this was not a big surprise however. The fight against Sir Henry had been a close call, but eventually Trish had managed to beat him too.

The men were busy training with each other when Trish spotted an exhausted looking farmer running towards their party. Trish gave her horse the spurs and rode over to the man. She stopped right before him and dismounted. The man began painting for air. "Please help my village!" he begged Trish when he finally spoke. "Calm down sir, I will help your village but you need to tell me more first." The man nodded, he still looked panicked. "God bless you sir. And ask whatever you need to know to help my village." There was hope on the man's face. Trish said, "We need to know which village you are talking about, and what problem there is." Trish and the man were walking back to the camp. "Everyone gather around!" Trish ordered and her party quickly joined her. She offered the man some water, which he accepted gratefully. He began telling them about his village and the bandits.

Trish nodded as the man finished his story. "You will help my village right? He asked, a bit panicked. Trish nodded, "The knight order lives to fight injustice, crime and protect the weak, and this is all three of those things. We will break up our camp and ride towards Azgad at once. It would be best for you to rest for a while, search for your fellow villagers and then return to your village. We will have freed it by the time you arrive." The man smile was a mix of happiness, relief, and hope, "Thank the gods sir." Trish smiled as she stood up. "You all heard me men. Break up camp and be ready to ride in 10 minutes." The soldiers ran towards their tents and began to pack up, Trish also packed up her things.

8 minutes later Trish and the rest of her party were on their way towards the village of Azgad. Trish was furious, she could never understand what fueled such barbaric men. But she would strike the bandits down, they would free this village and make the world a bit safer. Because of their horses and the speed with which they were riding, Trish was sure they would reach the village in about 2 hours.

Tyrannical:
[Raddas] spurred his horse into a fierce gallop to get ready to intercept the caravan.

The caravan ambled along, not a bit concerned. Bariyye was said to be a fairly safe city, and the young caravaneer had been told it would be an easy route. They weren't carrying anything especially valuable, just a few bundles of cured hide.
They came up across the broad, clear desert, completely unsuspecting and completely unprepared, with seven Khergit horsemen and one caravan boss.
It was a slaughter. Raddas and his men hit from the north, scattering the rest of the party before them, then the rest of them hit the scattered forces.
It was an unexpectedly easy win, for some small amount of gain. His men were getting restless. They were in a bad place, where only a few caravans went, and the local lord was beginning to tire of them preying on what little commerce there was.

Mr.Ivebeenframed:

"Serina told me you've got a problem, is there anything I could do to help?" Galen asked.

The man looked up, alarmed. He shook slightly, as he carefully placed his hands on his stall, in plain view.
"You tell her I will have her money. Just please don't hurt me." his voice shook, but he kept his face solid. "The bandits have only gotten worse since Rindyar fell. I've lost almost everything. Please, just tell her I'll have it eventually."
It would appear he thinks Galen is a loan collector.

Geth Reich:
It was noon when Jakob reached the border between Khergit and Sarranid lands, the land changing from verdent grassy steppe to sandy plains.

The village of Mazigh was small, but it seemed fairly wealthy, from the trade passing through between the Sultanate and the Khanate. They did have a tailor, but he catered more to women and farmers, no clothes fit to approach a lord in.
Alternatively, there was a small barracks in the town he could slip into- at a risk, mind you- and either steal watchmen's clothing or kill one of the sleeping watchmen and take his armor and weapons, at a greater risk of being caught.

Dogmatic99:
[Maelum looked] for a good paying bounty or escort job... maybe a kidnapping.

Three bits of information immediately presented themselves: Nords were cheap, and often payed in food and supplies rather than cold, hard denar. The third thing? Many contracts were for single swordsmen looking for a quick meal, not a company of soldiers.
However, two choices presented themselves after Maelum discarded the pointless thing- he really ought to teach the lad what was worthwhile and what wasn't- that would provide some of the cash he needed.
The first option was a bounty hunt, a particularly wily outlaw who had slipped through the fingers of the last man to chase him for five hundred denar, and the adulation of his victims, who were many and varied.
The other was an assassination, whatever the paper said. The job was to head to the city of Tihr- really no more than an afternoon's ride- and lure out a particular man who owed the job provider some money, and either kill him and take it or theaten him into giving it up. It would provide a thousand denar, but it may not be the best idea to start off by being known as a killer.

Floris2123:
Trish was sure they would reach the village in about 2 hours.

Two hours passed, and lo and behold, the village was in sight. The bandits, however, were nowhere to be seen. Judging by the horses tied up outside, they were in a slightly larger house. The residents all seemed to be hiding inside, those who were still alive.
They could, if they chose, attack the bandits straight away, with no stealth or trickery. Or, they could set an ambush or two. Slightly less direct, and slightly less honorable. The choice was hers.

Raddas growled angrily. This was not what he expected. But still, as usual, they had taken the vast majority of the prisoners alive, including the caravan boss himself. "You!" he turned and faced the whimpering man "Your caravan is near empty. WHERE IS YOUR CASH CHEST!" "I...I have no idea what you're talking about" cried the boss.

Raddas swung his mace angrily at the sand next to his head. "Tell...me...NOW!" "We don't have one! It was a poor season!"
Raddas growled again. This caravaneer was trying his patience, but then he smiled menacingly. "You." He gestured to one of the bandits who walked over grinning maniacally. Raddas pressed his knife into the bandits hand. "Torture him until he tells us where the cash chest is hidden. Then when he has... torture him for another minute for making me mad."

As Raddas turned and the bandit started towards him, the caravaneer screamed "OH GOD NO! IT'S HIDDEN IN AN ALE BARREL! THE TOP OF THE BARREL IS FILLED WITH WOOL! PLEASE BELIEVE ME!" Raddas turned to the wreckage of the caravan, and sure enough, there was a small chest brimming with denars. Raddas put the chest in his saddlebags and turned back to retrieve his knife. "You see that? You just downed your torture to a missing finger." He removed the ring finger of the caravaneer, who then promptly fainted.

"GATHER UP WHAT WE CAN BOYS! BACK TO CAMP!"

With the man's voice, it was obvious that he somewhat feared him much to his surprise.

"Oh, you mistake my intentions my friend. I was just asking if you needed help. Serina told me you had some bandit troubles and that's it. I'm a hunter of deer not a damned tax collector." Galen leaned on the stall, looking the man in the eyes. "I'll strike you a deal. I'll find the bandits, get everything they ever stole from you, you pay off the tavern keeper, and I get a cut. Is that fair?"

Justice or money. Those were his options.

"Well needs must." Maelum muttered folding the bounty notice into his coat for a later day. Criminals came and went but a 1000 denars would set his fledgling company up pretty and sweet. "Lads we're going to Tihr!"

A few hours later and the party had arrived in Tihr, just as the sun was beginning to set. Maelum was the first to arrive, being the only one with his own horse. As for the rest, they arrived by trading cart. It cost Maelum the remainder of his cash, making it even more important that this job went off with out a hitch. As soon as they arrived he set his men about finding any information they could about the mark.

By nightfall Lucius had worked his wordy magic again and had more than pulled his feather-light weight. He had found out that their target frequented a tiny tavern just off the main street. Maelum and a detachment of his crew waited outside the pub in a cramped back alley. The others were inside the establishment mingling with the crowd and keeping an eye on the mark.

Eventually he came stumbling out, reeking of drink and better yet; alone. At a wave the group of hired swords (or axes in this case) were on his tail. Trailing behind him at a distance. After a good while of stumbling the fellow found his way home. Just as his keys were put in the lock Lucius came scrambling forward crying in his childish little voice. "Sir! Sir, help it's my mother! She's broken hip!" It was enough to cause a distraction. The man seemed more startled than concerned and for all his muddled senses Lucius was able to grab him by the hand and lead him away from his door and right into Maelum's waiting arms.

"Hello deary." He smiled before punching the in the gut, causing him to keel over. Maelum slung the fellow over his shoulder as his lads nabbed the key and opened up the house and made their way in. Once they were all gathered and had locked the door behind them, Maelum slumped his charge in a chair in the living room and tied him to the chair. "You three," He said pointing to some of his lads. "Search the house, I don't want any surprises." He turned to Lucius. " You go upstairs lad, look for any valuables and don't come down till I tell you. You two go with him." He motioned to a pair of of his Nords. There was no need for the boy to see what was about to happen.

Once everyone was about his task, waking up his captive and shooting him an affable grin. "Now my good sir. You owe a client of mine some money and he's sent me to collect. The question is how are we going to do this? Now just because you're tied up and your home's been invaded doesn't mean we can't be civil. What's your name sir?"

Trish and the rest of her party approached the village, carefully looking for ambushes. When they made sure there were none she looked at sir Henry. After a short talk they made a plan, they hid the horses outside the town and went into the house of the village elder. The village elder looked afraid, he was holding a large club and said, "Leave at once or I will kill you!" Trish held her hands up showing she wasn't a threat. "I am no threat to you, village elder of Azgad. I was approached by a few people who fled from your village, they asked me for help. And as my code of honor demands, I have come to help you."

The man's expression changed, he smiled a bit as he lowered his club. "But if I want to save your village, I will need your help," she said. The man nodded, "Whatever you need... Who are you anyway?" She smiled and answered, "My name is Tristan de Molay, I am the leader of the knight order. But that is all irrelevant right now, what I need you to do is gather as much people as possible and make a lot of noise. It will draw the bandits out of the big house, and when they give chase we will ambush them." The man nodded, "I understand, I will gather the villagers at once." The village elder left his home and ran towards the closest house. Trish strategically placed her men around the village.

They were all holding their swords and shields ready. A few villagers gathered in the village square, they were all holding 2 pans. They began beating them against each other as hard as they could, making a lot of noise. Trish and her men were all ready. As soon as the bandits went outside the battle would start. The villagers would flee and the bandits would chase them. But what they didn't know was that they would be ambushed by well armored men. Trish prayed their attack would be successful, she saw that all her men were still in place. The door of the house opened, it was now or never.

Tyrannical:
"GATHER UP WHAT WE CAN BOYS! BACK TO CAMP!"

Their earnings from the venture- though not as great as might be hoped- were fairly substantial, several rolls of cured hide and 250 denar from the small chest.
Raddas' men gathered up the loot from the dead, and prepared to ride.

Mr.Ivebeenframed:
Galen leaned on the stall, looking the man in the eyes. "I'll strike you a deal. I'll find the bandits, get everything they ever stole from you, you pay off the tavern keeper, and I get a cut. Is that fair?"

The man looked at Galen very intently, then nodded, relieved.
"Oh, thank the gods. I couldn't hire anyone without gold, but I couldn't get any gold without hiring anyone." he stammered. "The knaves have a camp somewhere east of here. I don't quite know where. You might want to ask at Amere and see if anyone knows. Oh, and... You have my gratitude." he said, regaining his composure somewhat. "I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't come along."

Dogmatic99:
"Now my good sir. You owe a client of mine some money and he's sent me to collect. The question is how are we going to do this? Now just because you're tied up and your home's been invaded doesn't mean we can't be civil. What's your name sir?"

"James." the man stuttered. Being drunk, scared, and tied down weren't very conductive to being clever.
The house was fairly plush, with well-made furniture and such. It was readily apparent the man wouldn't have any trouble paying the debt.
"I didn't borrow any money! He's lying, I tell you! Lying! Spare me! What's he paying? I'll beat it! Just let me go!"
Whether or not the man was telling the truth was of little matter. Money is money. But having a reputation for taking jobs then reneging on them isn't a good thing for a mercenary, especially not in the Nordic kingdom.

Floris2123:
Trish prayed their attack would be successful, she saw that all her men were still in place. The door of the house opened, it was now or never.

The bandits exited, only a few wearing their already-meager armor, though all had their weapons drawn. Eight of the bandits exited, looking confusedly at the villagers with their pans. The villagers turned and ran, dropping the cookware as they did so. The clatter of the falling pans completely covered the sound of Trish's charge. It was over before it even began.
There were four more men inside, who now knew there was an enemy outside. Unfortunately, they had no ranged weapons so they could only attempt to find defensive positions.
[I tried to find a roll dealing with fighting inside, but I couldn't see anything. Yay. So roll a normal d20, if it's 5 or above you win, anything less and you win and lose one man. I haven't posted the rules for ambushes yet, so you just kind of won that one. :|]

EDIT: Oops. I dun goofed. Fixed now, I hope.

Gerick Crito hummed a tuneless ditty as he sat under the massive tree that dominated this bend in the road. He realized that he might look a little silly, out here in the open, carving a small bit of wood while apparently not doing anything else. This section of the road was a bit far from the woods proper, but trees and bushes were still scattered about in various sizes.

Just as Gerick was realizing that he would have to actually decide what he was making soon with the bit of wood he heard a bird call out from a short distance down the road. Gerick, having lived in the area all his life easily identified it as a rare 'man trying to imitate raven'. Gerick sighed resignedly; Michal was certainly energetic, but he still needed to work on certain aspects of his profession. Gerick shook his head clearing that though, he had other things to deal with at the moment.

Sheathing his knife and dropping the bit of wood, Gerick pushed himself to his feat and whipped a bit of dirt from his hands. It was only a minute or two later that the caravan rolled over the slight hill top and into view. Gerick left his bow by the tree as he began to stroll over to the carts, if everything went well he wouldn't need it anyways.

"Hail!" He cried out from a small distance with a smile. "How does the road treat you?" Gerick asked as he approached the man who was obviously the leader. "Perhaps you've heard that these are some of the safest roads in all of Calrad, well it's true I tell you." He continued, projecting a bit of pride. "Though..." He suddenly trailed off a little, his voice becoming lower and more conspiratorial. "maintaining such safety is a bit costly; perhaps I could ask you for a simple donation of say..." Gerick glanced over the carts quickly and did some quick arithmetic "40 denar to make sure that the roads stay safe." Though Gerick's smile stayed friendly and easy his eyes held a steely edge as he watched the caravan leader for a response.

Well that was an interesting offer. A thousand denars was good but more than that? And on his first day as a company commander. With that kind of money Maelum could hire a fresh batch of men - veterans - and still have money left over to kit them out in some respectable gear. He could see it now, Standing there at the head of a mighty shield wall, his sword held high and proud... he couldn't lie he was tempted.

But he had been in this game long enough to know that reputation is what pays half your bills. That was his reasoning behind taking this job. This kind of job pays well and spreads the word that you're not a man to be trifled with. Someone to be feared if it all goes right, which was exactly the kind of man kin gs like to hire to their sides when the swords start coming out. Still the men he had with him were looking at him expectantly. He could see it on their faces, their greed fighting with their personal sense of honour.

James clearly wasn't lying about his offer. This house was plush, the man was set up. Maelum found it hard to believe he had to borrow money when the contents of this floor could probably net more than the price on his head. MAybe he was right. Maybe his employer was lying.... but that didn't matter now. dice had been cast and the plan hadn't changed.

"James you seem like a good man and I'm feeling generous. I'm going to help you get yourself out of here. I have, this very morning, hired myself a good animal and cart to bring my men and any supplies I need from place to place. Now for a limited time I'm willing to use it to take you and your valuables to safety." He signalled to his men to start carrying James' valuables out to the cart they had used to get to Tihr. "I'm willing to act as escort for you this night James. So what's it going to be?"

8 bandits stepped out of the large house with their weapons drawn, all of them wearing meager armor. The villagers fled and Trish and her party charged as soon as the bandits gave chase. Trish ran towards the largest of the bandits. He looked confused and lifted his 2 handed axe. He swung his axe at her, she ducked avoiding the blow. She then quickly rose and stabbed her sword forward, piercing the man's chest and heart. He looked surprised and then fall backwards on the ground in a puddle of mud and blood. Trish looked back to see the rest of the bandits also laying dead. She made a gesture and asked Sir Henry, Gregory and Jonas to join her. Jonas looked a bit panicked, but he lowered his helmet and joined Trish near the door.

Trish quickly gave them orders, she would charge in first followed by Sir Henry and Gregory and then Jonas. Trish opened the door and charged in. There were 2 guards standing near the door. Trish smashed her shield against the head of one of the guards, and stabbed the other. She then quickly took her sword out of the dying man, side stepped and stabbed the other stunned guard. Sir Henry ran in, jumped over a table and smashed his opponent's head in. Gregory ran toward the last opponent. The bandit made a downward chop with his axe. Gregory parried the blow and Jonas appeared behind him, attacking the distracted bandit and slashing his throat wide open. Blood spewed from the wound as the bandit slipped and hit the ground.

Sir Henry began cleaning his 2 handed sword, Gregory thanked Jonas. Jonas was looking a bit shaky. Trish placed her hand on his shoulder, "Good job Jonas, I knew you had it in you." Jonas forced a weak smile, Trish lifted her arm and said, "Take any valuables the bandits had, and meet me outside." She walked outside, heading towards the place she had promised to meet the village elder. She spotted him looking worried and walked over to him, "All of the bandits are dead, your village is safe now." Trish said, the village elder seemed relieved.

"Thank you my good sir. I'll be back." Galen gave a friendly nod to the man before leaving.

He walked outside of the Dhirm where he saw Verdan and his men, ready to ride out.

"Well? Any leads?" Verdan asked, eager to serve.

"We're heading to Amere, my friend. There's a fabric merchant in need of our certain kind of help. I'm expecting bandits and nothing more. The villagers there will tell us where to seek although I have faith in out skills don't you think?"

"We wouldn't be nowhere without it." Verdan smiled. He looked to the men. "We're heading to Amere! I expect a few hours march to the place now get off your arses and get to marching!"

Galen arranged a plan inside his head. On the way to Amere he would ask any of the merchants if they have seen or heard of any bandits nearby and once he actually got to Amere he would ask the head of the village. That was a no brainer but using his tracking skills, he would arrange his band of merry men to stop march and see if there is a scent they could follow given it didn't rain. His men were skilled hunters and archers, with only five infantrymen armed with shields, swords, and javelins. This allowed them to be quick and hard-hitting as Galen favored speed over strength any day.

Sorry for the late post. Busy day yesterday.

Fishtie:
Though Gerick's smile stayed friendly and easy his eyes held a steely edge as he watched the caravan leader for a response.

The caravan leader looked suspiciously around the area. He didn't see anything unusual, and there hadn't been any bandits on the road. Except this rather scruffy-looking man, but he seemed to just be a tollsman.
"Well enough, lad." he said the Gerick. "Jonaas, fetch the man's coin. Traveling this area is a relief from the Woods of Ehlerdah, from whence we just come. Tell me, then, who keeps the roads safe? A militia?" he asked, as a caravaner fetched a purse. Several of the guards shifted uncomfortably. It wasn't a large sum, but it was a strange request nevertheless.

Dogmatic99:
"I'm willing to act as escort for you this night James. So what's it going to be?"

He was obviously uncomfortable- his possessions were important to him, and he seemed to not trust Maelum too much. Ultimately, however, he knew he didn't have much choice.
"Well enough." he sighed. "Take what you like. I'm not likely to be able to stop you." He sounded quite defeated. It was obviously not an ideal settlement for him. "However, would you allow me to leave a note for my wife? She's in Veluca with her mother, and I would loathe for her to come back to me being gone and the house ransacked with no explanation. "

Floris2123:
"All of the bandits are dead, your village is safe now." Trish said, the village elder seemed relieved.

"Oh, gods bless you." the man said, kneeling. "True knights are a rare sight in this accursed land. You are one such, and destined for great things."
The bandits hadn't had much. A five days' provisions, and a few rusted knives. Not much worth carrying back with them, in truth.
From here, the world was wide open. She could ride south, to Suno or Praven, and look for bounties. She could ride east, into Nordic lands. The world was her oyster, as it had been for many before her. It was up to her to make it what she wanted.

Mr.Ivebeenframed:
Galen favored speed over strength any day.

Galen was, unfortunately, wrong. No merchants ever appeared on the road, having been driven away, and the village elder knew nothing of a bandit. They did, however, know of a certain Khergit party who'd lost most of their horses and been cast out. The ancient, wrinkled man assumed they had been preying on the merchant, even this far west. None of the villagers knew where they were, but they always came from the direction of forests to the north.

Tyrannical:
snip

In the city of Bariyye, the local lawman is signing warrants. He stops at a particular one, and laughs.
"Wily bastard's still alive? Not for long, at a thousand denar. Seems the lord is tired of the pest."
The bounty was, of course, Raddas. One thousand denar for his head, 50 for each of his accomplices. "Desertion, Murders and Banditry. Armed and dangerous, approach with caution." The man laughed, and signed his name on the warrant, and called for the poster. He wanted this bounty out as soon as possible.
It would not be long before serious bounty hunters were after him. A day or two, before word got out to the townspeople. Before three days would pass, he'd have serious bounty hunters after him.

Raddas sat in his tent counting out his coin. "right..." he muttered under his breath "That makes 250, which makes my cut 50, and 20 for each of the men... not counting the leathers... which should fetch another 200... which brings my cut up another 150." Most of his men couldn't do simple arithmetic, so it was very easy to fleece them out of their fair shares of the loot. "Now if I take the equipment we took and add them to the loot, I think I'll be able to..." Raddas didn't finish that thought.

One of his men burst into the tent "Raddas!" he shouted fearfully. "Boy, you'd best have a good reason for disturbing me. Remember what happened to the last idiot?" he growled angrily. "Y-yes sir... you cut off his ears and left him in the desert to starve, but this is important!" he thrusted a piece of paper at his boss, which was promptly snatched from his hand. "1000 denars! Ha! So what? They upped the price?" he laughed, as his hand dropped to his knife. "That's not all sir! Heavily armoured slave drivers have been seen on the horizon. They'll be here in a couple hours!" That caught Raddas' attention. "Right. Grab everything we can. We're leaving. We can't fight that. Anyone who isn't ready in an hour is left behind. Kill the captives. Leave them burning here. Show those Bariyye pigs what happens when you anger me."

"Oh, gods bless you." the man said, kneeling. "True knights are a rare sight in this accursed land. You are one such, and destined for great things." Trish smiled as she looked at the man, "It is always the duty of a knight to help someone in need. Perhaps our paths will cross again." Trish turned around and headed back to her party. They had gathered at the edge of the town with their horses. Sir Henry rode towards her and said, "The bandits didn't have much of worth sadly. They only had a few rusty knives and about 5 days worth of rations."

Trish nodded, it wasn't much but it was enough for now. She was thinking about her next move. "How does going to Praven sound?" she asked Sir Henry, he replied with, "That sounds like a good plan Tristan, I am sure we will be able to find work there." Trish nodded, she had thought the same thing. "Everyone follow me," she ordered as she rode south towards Praven. She also saw that Jonas looked more confident, he looked more at ease and her party seemed to be in good spirits. Just like her, her party were all people with noble intentions. So when they helped defend the weak, or acted honorable they usually got in a good mood.

Trish gave the order to stick close together and watch out for enemies. Forest bandits were very numerous in these parts, and she didn't want to be ambushed. Though even if they did attack, most of their bows were not good enough to pierce their thick armor. Still, she didn't want to risk it so her party rode in a tight formation, with their hands close to their shields and swords.

"However, would you allow me to leave a note for my wife? She's in Veluca with her mother, and I would loathe for her to come back to me being gone and the house ransacked with no explanation."

"Well can't say that's not fair enough James my lad." And with that Maelum had the man unbound and had Lucius fetch him pen and paper. He also made sure that the boy watched over his shoulder to make sure James didn't write anything he might regret. James was quick and finished his letter promptly. During the hurry of the men loading the cart to high heaven Maelum managed to take a peek at the letter. Maybe he didn't know much about words but he'd seen enough to know when someone was writing in a hurry and let their pen get sloppy.

He whispered to Lucius. "Think you can copy that?".

The boy nodded like a whippet. "Easy enough sir."

"Good man." Lucius set about making a crude forgery of James' note. Ticking off all the needed points.

My creditors are coming after me, I can't take the shame, I am fleeing the country to start a new life with my Saranid mistress blah blah blah.

This made sure that it looked like James had fled in the night. Which made sure that the authorities didn't come looking for him or his killers. After he was done Lucius sealed up his own note and tossed James' into the fire.James was too busy gathering his belongings to see it.

Their work was done quickly and the party made their way out of Tihr and into the night roads that linked the Nordic coastal towns. Half-way between Tihr and Sargoth their party came to a stop. "For natural matters." Maelum said. Some of his men leant or sat by the cart to rest their legs. Another went behind a nearby tree.

James was sat on the seat of the cart, starring wistfully at the full moon. Maelum ushered him away from the group and out to one of the rising hills, common among the rocky coastal routes. The two of them stood side by side looking out at the roaring sea. The sea was a nice change of scenery from the endless trees of Swadia. Maybe it was because he was still new to the northern coast but Maelum never tired of the sound of waves or smell of salt and seaweed in the air. If a passer-by had seen them stood there they might have thought the two looked respectable.

"You can see the fisher out tonight." Maelum said, pointing up at a random constellation.

James looked up, exposing the soft crown of his head. "I think that's th-" he was cut short as Maelum drove a hatchet into the back of the man's head. Quick and painless. James slumped silently to the ground. Maelum sighed in his own personal frustration. He longed for a straight fight but there was no need to make James suffer more than he had to.

"Needs must." he muttered to himself. He undressed the corpse and proceeded to hack into it with a vigor. Finishing up by cutting off the ring hand. The blade was dull so it took him a few strokes, blood squirting everywhere and the soft wet slap of cold meat. Oh for the battlefield. His work done, Maelum wrapped up the bloody hand in James' coat and took the rest of his clothes back with him to the gang. Someone could make use of some new trousers and when someone finally found James it would look like a bandit or sea raider attack and a messy one at that.

"We're done here." He called to his lads and they grouped back and were on their way. none of them asked why he came back alone.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sargoth, later the next day.

Maelum was waiting out the back of an abandoned warehouse in one of the shadier areas of Sargoth. Alone, or so it seemed. He had sent Lucius off with two of his lads to sell off the contents of the cart they had managed to swindle from James. They were nice bits, he hoped to get a good price for them and was sure the boy knew enough about math stuff to get it for them two bearded Nords could give him the appearance of someone not to be trifled with.

He had the other seven hidden and scattered around the nearby street corners in case his contractor decided to try something. His boys blended in nice, looking scruffy and in place with the neighbourhood. He loved ambushing ambusher, they always looked so surprised.

Eventually a ragged looking man approached him. Maelum casually held up the bundled jacket.

"You have what we agreed on?" The ragged new comer asked, his voice rasping.

"Do you?" Maelum growled back.

Tyrannical:
"Right. Grab everything we can. We're leaving. We can't fight that. Anyone who isn't ready in an hour is left behind. Kill the captives. Leave them burning here. Show those Bariyye pigs what happens when you anger me."

The hunters- slave drivers, to look at them, but somehow not- came over the dunes, scouring the desert for the damned bandit.
Unfortunately, all they would find were the charred remains of the captives, and some hoofprints. Knowing they'd never catch the wily thief that way, they turned away and returned to Bariyye.
Not all would give up so easily, and there were a few who would hunt him out of principle more than for money.
The next crowd wouldn't be fled from so easily. A group of Sarranid cavalry, faster by far than anyone else in the desert. It would take them a few days to set out, but they would set out eventually. And it would be a fight, for certain. Where and when would be up in the air, but come they would.

Floris2123:
Trish gave the order to stick close together and watch out for enemies. Forest bandits were very numerous in these parts, and she didn't want to be ambushed. Though even if they did attack, most of their bows were not good enough to pierce their thick armor. Still, she didn't want to risk it so her party rode in a tight formation, with their hands close to their shields and swords.

Strangely, they encountered not one bandit. It would seem their victory at Azgad, small as it was, had sent the local banditry into hiding, for the moment.
They arrived in Praven without incident. It was quite odd, but not that unusual. Bandits this place to the capital weren't all that brave.
Trish could do as she wished in the city. The banner of King Harlaus flew over the gates, and the city seemed prosperous. The lord was in his hall, and the guild master was in his pavilion, ordering people about and... Whatever it is a guild master does, exactly.

Dogmatic99:

"Do you?" Maelum growled back.

There were two noises, both terribly familiar to Maelum. The clink of gold, solid and heavy and lovely, and the rasp of a knife. Both were presented to Maelum, one to his hand and one to his throat.
"If you're ordered to come alone, come alone." the man hissed. "Our employer does not take well to being disobeyed." The knife dropped, and the purse of coins slid into Maelum's hands.
"We have more work. This was just a taste. I have the notices here, if you want them." The man produced a small bundle of pages from beneath his ragged cloak, and offered them to Maelum. "You'll find men like yourself are well payed by our employer."

"Jonaas, fetch the man's coin. Traveling this area is a relief from the Woods of Ehlerdah, from whence we just come. Tell me, then, who keeps the roads safe? A militia?"

Gerick smiled, it was good to see things going so well. "No, nothing of that sort." He said. It was a touch surprising that this leader apparently hadn't heard the rumors about the area, though Gerick thought that wasn't much to complain about.

"A band of like minded fellows, driven by survival and greed make no mistake, but I understand they're kept in line by a man of great strength and skill." He shrugged a bit, "Something like a wolf to keep the jackals at bay, right?"

Gerick continued with a bit of small talk as he waited for the purse trying to keep the desire out of his eyes. "The locals don't seem to mind either." If anything Gerick thought the small villages liked it when his crew spread their take around a bit, buying goods and services from them.

Jakob had been watching the sentry waddle along back and forth for the past few hours, commiting his patrol to memory in the fading light. The man ambled towards the furthest extent of his route from the barracks, a bored expression on his face as he passed several store-houses and out of view of any witnesses. At last: it was now or never. The nobleman crawled out of ditch he had been hidden inside and crept as quickly as he could towards the watchman, senses honed by years of border conflict alert to anything that might indicate a change in guard. He reached a sand-stone house just two dozen feet away from his target, pressed himself flat against the wall and, satisified that he was hearing what he needed to hear, steeled himself for the deed at hand. It was beneath him but he was painfully aware he had little choice.

Pausing only to sigh at the indignities of life, Jakob slipped around the corner with muddied sword drawn and approached the guard. The distance might have provided an alert soldier a good chance to detect his would-be assassin but even Calradia's finest watchman would have been as clueless as this man was in his shoes. Jakob approached quietly and with a sudden gesture ended the man's life and his pissing break, a startled squeak escaping his mouth only to be stiffled by Jakob's hand. Dragging the unfortunate Sarranid's body into some undergrowth and moving quickly lest he risk his prize being ruined by blood and urine, Jakob stripped the corpse and put on his uniform, taking the contents of his purse and hiding his spear amongst the foilage for good measure. Wearing a uniform allowed him to stand a little taller then he had in prison rags though it still offended his sensibilities that he had been forced to resort to the practises of midnight assassins when by all rights he should have been escorted to the local lord by a guard of honour, but there was no time to think on that. Sure that the body was hidden well enough to avoid discovery for at least a day and counting on the watch commander to dismiss a missing sentry as merely another unwilling peasant deserting, Jakob took the reins of his steed and made haste to Castle Jameyyed, intent on presenting himself to the local margrave as a eager sell-sword (no matter how much the idea of being a common mercenary stuck in his throat).....

"We have more work. This was just a taste. I have the notices here, if you want them." The man produced a small bundle of pages from beneath his ragged cloak, and offered them to Maelum. "You'll find men like yourself are well payed by our employer."

He left Maelum standing in the cold rubbing his own throat. That could have gone better, could have gone worse but could have gone better. He silently waved in frustration at his lads, he didn't know how they were onto him but it must have been his men's fault. They just shrugged.

He met up with the rest of his crew at the tavern, with the job done it was time to consolidate. Lucius had come back with an empty cart and a well stocked looking purse. "Looks like you got a good haul, Lou." Maelum grinned.

Lucius beamed back at him. "Nice bonus for us Captain."

Captain.. that sounded nice. But he couldn't call himself that, right now Maelum felt like a low down crook, leader of nothin' but a gang of thugs and thieves. Not a captain, not a solider or a leader of anything close to respectable. Maybe they were right about him, maybe he had fallen too low to be saved. No; there was no sense dwelling on past things. Lucius got out the ledger book, its more present pages sadly blank. He laid it out on the table and Maelum shuffled the work papers his mysterious contact had given him.

Bit by bit he and Lucius went through every word and number, he liked to take these quiet moments to practise his words and numbers. With time he wouldn't need any help with it at all. Right now his exercises consisted of working out how much they had with the thousand denars he'd been paid plus the extras Lou got at market, then checking out his papers, seeing if there were any good jobs in them.

Trish was surprised by the lack of bandits. She didn't mind though, a short rest was never a bad thing. The party of heavily armored knights rode into town. A few people looked up and were a bit surprised, before going back to their daily activities. Trish saw the banner of King Harlaus and also heard whispers that he was in town right now. "Everyone, we will probably stay here for about one day, so make the most of it." The party quickly dispersed leaving only her and Sir Henry.

"Could you try to find us a quest Sir Henry?" Trish asked him. He nodded, "I will be back as soon as I can." Sir Henry rode off and Trish went towards the castle. She looked at the palace guard, who was protecting the front door. "I would like to go in and see the king. My name is Tristan de Molay, also known as the leader of the knight order." Trish was looking at the guard from her horse and wondered how long she would have to wait. A second guard was called. He listened to the message and then disappeared inside. He would tell the king, Trish wondered how he would react.

"Where are we going Raddas?" asked one of his men. They had been riding for days now and were almost into Swadian territory. "We're going to set up camp near Tihr, and try to intercept as many Nord caravans as possible! They won't know what hit em, slow bastards." laughed Raddas.

The word "Khergit" made Galen's eye visibly twitch. He looked at the forests where the elderly man pointed out where they were coming from. Those tall trees were his environment and those Khergits were his sworn enemies. His hands began to shake with excitement and Galen strode towards his men. Verdan followed close behind. There was a fire in his chest and he would have to ask for a bigger cut.

"Men!" Galen shouted. At an instant they all stood and looked towards Galen. "Today we hunt men."

-----------------------------------------------------

Galen and his men reached the forests quickly but by the time they reached it the sun had sunk below the horizon. That was no change to most of his men who were accustomed to the night through frequent hunting. They set up camp just a walk from the town and the men who were not used to the night watched the camp as Galen and 8 of his men went into the forest with darkened clothes, and mud-covered faces. Galen and his men draped nets with loose holes in them over their bodies. They filled most of the holes with branches, leaves, and other foliage nearby. Galen learned this trick from his father and his father before him as a way to hunt or stalk dear without being spotted so easily.

The plan was simple, track down the Khergits or whoever was hiding in the forest but Galen's pace was slow. They were to keep their eyes out for any trace like always. On the way they would enhance their camouflage to the point that it would be harder to spot them. If it was day that they come upon the camp then they would simply wait until night came again. For food they would rely on forests for sustenance and since most of them were all hunters then it would be no problem.

When their suits were done Galen led his men into the forest with slow but steady steps. While the rest of Calradia were probably in their beds, Galen was hunting a different kind of animal.

Fishtie:
Gerick thought the small villages liked it when his crew spread their take around a bit, buying goods and services from them.

The lad whose name was apparently Jonaas brought a small bag of gold, and handed it to the merchant, who weighed it carefully, then smiled. He tossed it to Gerick.
Anyone else likely wouldn't have noticed it, but to a bandit used to the sound and feel of gold, something about it was subtly wrong. The merchant smiled innocently, and turned to go.
He turned back, struck by a thought. "The man who leads these men, he is not a engineer, is he? I have heard stories of the bandit engineer of Suno. I would like very much to make his acquaintance." Whether or not to reveal himself to this strange man was up to Gerick, or whether to order his death for paying with evidently false coin.

Geth Reich:
Jakob took the reins of his steed and made haste to Castle Jameyyed, intent on presenting himself to the local margrave as a eager sell-sword.

It took him an hour to reach the castle, his horse terribly wearied and not entirely sturdy to begin with. The dawn was still a distant thought when he arrived at the hilly gates, however.
Jameyyed Castle seemed to be a fairly prosperous place, the walls clean and solid and the night guards outfitted in shining armor. They glanced askance at the dirty peasant seeking entry to the castle so late at night, but opened a side door for him anyways. He obviously wasn't much of a threat.
The banner above the gates, Jakob remembered from his lessons on the varied nobility of Calradia, was that of Emir Mundhalir.
Unfortunately, there was little to see inside of the castle, and nothing to do but wait for the dawn, it would seem.
Dawn. At dawn, Jakob was allowed in to the castle proper and out of the courtyard. The lord was breaking his fast, but was willing to take a supplicant, so Jakob was ushered in.
"What's this, then?" the man asked, hardly glancing up. "Out with it."

Dogmatic99:
Maelum shuffled the work papers his mysterious contact had given him.

There weren't terribly many, actually. Only four. However, several required more than one page of description.
In short, they were all illegal and dishonorable, but well-paying. Another murder, for infidelity this time. Hunting a group of bounty hunters outside the city. Delivering a bribe to a certain nobleman in Suno. Attacking a particular caravan. Nothing too difficult, but all unpleasant. The rewards were vague, though each promised around a thousand denar. If he took them on, Maelum would soon find himself with more money than he knew what to do with. Though whether or not his Nordic men would stay with a common bandit or not was a different question, even if the gold is good.
The bounty, stuffed into Maelum's pocket in a hurry, was produced and smoothed out. The choice was still there, now that he had some denar to get started with.

Floris2123:
Trish wondered how he would react.

Evidently, she didn't have to wait long. The guard was sent back out, with firm orders to bring in the godly knight. The king had been at the tournament when she bested her mentor, and was eager to see the knight up close. And offer a job, if the opportunity arose.
"Ah, Sir de Molay." the king remained seated in his ornate throne. "My greetings. What brings you to my court this morning?"

Tyrannical:
"We're going to set up camp near Tihr, and try to intercept as many Nord caravans as possible! They won't know what hit em, slow bastards." laughed Raddas.

The bounty hunters were still hot on their tail, and would overtake them before too long, somewhere in on the Swadian border, likely.
[Will be finished out once I know where you're at, roughly, so we can figure out which mods you need for your combat roll. :|]

Mr.Ivebeenframed:
Galen led his men into the forest with slow but steady steps. While the rest of Calradia were probably in their beds, Galen was hunting a different kind of animal.

While the rest of Calradia slept, the 14 Khergit remnants were gathered around a meager fire, trying to warm their bones as they watched a spit turn. A horse. A soldier sat nearby, obviously the owner of the horse. The Khergit and their horses always had special relationships with their horses, but it seemed that they'd had no luck hunting or pillaging.

Galen and his men quietly observed this scene as they approached over a low rise. The moon was high in the sky, with only a few clouds scudding across the brilliant stars. Even this far south, spring nights are cold, and Galen's breath hung white in the air.
They were ready to start the attack, any time. Just waiting on a signal from Galen.
[Roll a d20 with a +9. +2 for forest ambush, +1 for decent commander, +3 for mostly archers, +3 for them having no idea of enemies. There's 14 of them and 9 of you, so get 13 or above and you'll win. Sound good? @ me in the chat if you have a problem with it.]

The castle's oppulent interior was the closest thing to home Jakob had seen in a long time and it was making him nostalgic. What he didn't appreciate were the inhabitants; from soldier to steward, every man he passed had looked down on him with barely concealed scorn, seeing only a dirty peasant. To be subjected to such withering gazes by his inferiors was an outrage! Not to mention this margrave's casual contempt for him; especially infuriating for Jakob considering the man looked more like a senile old man then a soldier. Drawing on every ounce of tolerance he had and knowing that any attempts to put these lowly desert curs in their place would be met with force, Jakob spoke:

"Honoured Emir Mundhalir."

The Sarranid lord glanced up in mild surprise at the "peasant"'s lack of deference and distinctive accent but continued to pay more attention to his meal then Jakob.

"Honoured Emir, I wish to enter into the service of the Sultanate. I am a veteran of numerous border-wars in my native Swadia, forced to abandon her by the incompetance and weakness of the King and now I seek a new master to wage war for. I swear upon the honour of the gods themselves that there is no finer commander in Swadia then I and I will gladly perform any service required of me: all I desire is a chance to prove myself."

The bounty, stuffed into Maelum's pocket in a hurry, was produced and smoothed out. The choice was still there, now that he had some denar to get started with.

That tore it! This whole business has stuck in his throat from the start, screw 'em, the lot of 'em. Maelum scrunched up the dirty job sheets and threw them into a near by fire. As he watched them blacken and shrivel into nothing a plan formed in his head. From what the bounty said his mark was a slippery one and had given more than his fair share of hunters the slip. no way he could commit a list of crimes that long and get away without help, odds are where ever they were hiding they had men with them. Well Maelum wasn't about to be caught unprepared.

If he was going to get back into the job of honest soldiering then he was damn well going to do it right!

His troupe numbered at eight men, not including himself and Lou. Maelum himself was well armed ready, Lou didn't belong on the battlefield so he never included in in any fighting matters. The men themselves were a ragged bunch, two of them had brought their own shields and hatchet axes; the rest made do with large two handed things, more suited for chopping wood that skulls. But they had a fighter's spirit, each of them and a natural talent for violence. Yes sit the Nords were living up to their reputation.

Now he had the coin he could afford to get them some better gear and maybe hire a few extra hands... maybe some archers, they'd come in handy.

"Lou, give me a report on the company." He knew about the thousand Denars they'd collected but hadn't covered his bonus funds yet, nor had he paid much attention to the men. It was time to get a grip on his new company. "Tell me how much did you get for James' stuff at market?"

Trish didn't have to wait long. The guard came back with the orders to take her inside. Trish was happy to hear this. She dismounted and gave her horse to a stable boy. She then walked inside of the castle, lookeing around impressed. She entered the hall with the king. "Ah, Sir de Molay," The king said sitting in an impressive looking ornate throne. Trish bowed before the king. "My greetings. What brings you to my court this morning?"

Trish rose and looked at the king. "Greetings King Harlaus. As you know I lead a group called the knight order. I have come here today with a proposition for you. I would like to make the knight order into a large and mighty group, our goal would be to protect the weak and fight against injustice. I hoped that you would be so kind, as to allow our base to be made in the Swadian lands. "

Trish seemed a bit uncertain before continuing. "And I also had another question. I hoped that you might also be interested in investing in the knight order. We would use this money to hire new members. Because if you were to support us, we would be able to help protect the Swadian civilians much better from bandits and other scum. I would be indebted to you if you accepted to either or both of my request." Trish bowed once again. She prayed that she hadn't insulted the king in anyway.

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