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By Sword and Steel: Chapter VII:; "Bloody Carnage and War!"
Topic Started: May 9 2017, 12:58 AM (517 Views)
Nialldubh
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By Sword and Steel

From victory comes life
From death come peace
From love comes hate
From joy come'
the will to live!

~ Free Companies Song

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Nialldubh
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Garek felt good to be back in the saddle, the horse were well keep, but sluggish after so long in the stables with little proper exercise.

Birds sang as the passed through the fields on each side of the road, further on they could see the forest that surround Tatha town. They kept going, the days getting longer and the nights shorter.

"It will take two days to reach the river and the northern border of Tatha and the southern border of Oskia!" Said Garek.
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kintire
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Zenobia nods

"Yes Master."

She evinces no regret at leaving Tatha. Entertaining the crowd has been enjoyable, but she had chafed at the confinement, and while she has not complained Garek is aware the constant cold has depressed the daughter of the sun kissed south. She brightens up at the bird song and the glowing green, but he does feel she has crossed Brythunia off her list of places to settle!
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Nialldubh
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They pass many villages which show the evidence of cruelty of the Baron Gilburt with many hanging trees and gibbets on the way north. There were many side roads leading off the main road to various other parts of the province and other baronies to east and west; but they maintain their route to the north and Oskia.

At the end of the second day they reached the River Sonthe and took a ferry across the wide rushing river, the snow melt kept the waters high and fast moving, but this was common to the river people and they handled the craft with ease as it was pulled to the other side.

They had left Tatha with little problem, though they felt it would be more difficult to enter under the scrutiny of the scribe that watched them go after taking their names.

They had entered Oskia and the village on this side was more relaxed and pleasant; meaning normal, the usual scrutiny seemed pleasant to the cruel stares of distrustful mercenaries. The local guard; sternly but politely, directed them to the local tavern where Zenobia could end her deception at least in their rooms, though even Tatha could have spies within these borders.

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kintire
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Zenobia relaxes visibly as the Barony of Tatha is left behind, but she encourages Garek to maintain the disguise. "We want to give the Baron's spies no cause for suspicion until we have to, and changing stories from one border post to the next is unwise!"

Once in the inn room, though she relaxes. It is not likely anyone will be listening in to a private room outside the barony!

"So how are we going to approach this? We can't just stroll up to this Lord Frantisek and ask him to lead a revolt can we? Also, might be worth finding out what he's actually like. Wouldn't want to overthrow one tyrant to replace him with another!"
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Nialldubh
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Garek agrees with for the present; at least till they further away from the border. "We can get to know the knew land policy as we travel, but from what I am seeing thinks are look a lot better than what we left!"

"We approach the Lords of Oskia as messenger bring news of the west!"

The common room was busy, and the presence of local villagers made life seem pleasant and normal and Garek was content to sit and relax at a table with feeling the risk of having one's throat cut.

But to them both the feeling of ease and lack of suppression was evident...
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kintire
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Zenobia sits at Garek's feet, but she too is much more relaxed than before. The atmosphere is more pleasant, and she feels safer with townsfolk than mercenaries.

"It sounds like he'll be an easier man to talk to than the last. Lets hope this Frantisek lives up to your expectations, master!"
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Nialldubh
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"We can only hope, but things look a lot better here and I am without doubt the good people of Tatha would be joyous to live such a easy life as this.

The night passes and they ready the next morning; the road turns north-east to a large group of hills, on one which was the city of Oskia and the keep of the Baron Maffeo.

It took a day to reach the city and they made their way to an inn close to the castle gates. It was a busy town, merchants, townsfolk coming and going and little trouble.

"We should seek an audience soon; the reason for entry is to bring new to these far distant lands for a price!"
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kintire
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Zenobia nods.

"Do you need me with you? I could try and pick up the local gossip, maybe find out about Frantisek's reputation. As well as whether there are any decent mercenary companies about!"
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Nialldubh
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"I want you with me," he said grimly, "but not as my slave. Let them see you as what you are. Armoured and ready for battle. I want to show them we are ready for war!"
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kintire
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Zenobia tilts her head "Are you sure that'll go over well? Oh well. They're your people, after all, and you seem to understand how they tick!"

She rises lithely from the floor at his feet and heads upstairs. A short time later she returns, armour ringing to her confident stride, raven black hair falling from the back of her conical helm, the deadly bow slung nonchalantly over one shoulder, and her blade swinging at her hip.

"Ahh, fun as it was playing the part in Tatha, its good to get the old stuff back on. Alright, Garek, lets go pick up a useful figurehead for your vengeance and the delivery of the people of Tatha! Oh wait... did I say, 'useful figurehead'? I meant, beloved leader! Sorry I'm not used to this language."

She gives an impish grin, and makes for the door.
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Nialldubh
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Garek grins and walks after her, taking her side as she reaches the street and marches straight for the keep's gate to demand an audience with the Baron of Oskia stating that they had news to deliver from the west!

Messengers or travelling people who brought news of far away places were much prized in every country, it was only way others could learn of occurrences in far off lands. Mostly merchants were the main source but some made it a profession to tell their tales at a price; Garek would be one of these people to gain entrance into the keep!

The Captain of the Guard is called and Garek and Zenobia are ushered in; much like a champion, newsgivers were prized for their profession and the Baron's guards wasted no time in leading them through the courtyards and innergate to the castle.

Within, they again were ushered into the great hall of the keep...

"Wait here," commanded the Captain; Garek nodded to him polity and waited.

Only a few nobles and officers were in the hall, it was mid-evening and the business of the day had probably been done; but hopefully some would return to hear the news once runners had been sent for them with word of forthcoming knowledge!


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kintire
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Zenobia glances around the hall, but of course she has no idea what Frantisek looks like. She assesses the mood, however, staying slightly behind Garek and keeping a general eye on the exits... just out of habit.
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Nialldubh
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It takes time to gather the lords; so eventually Garek and Zenobia are introduced to the majordomo who organises some food and wine for the guests. He also has the servants pull a long table from against the wall and arrange chairs around it for the lords when they arrived.


Over an hour passes before most of the knights, lords and Captains that could be gathered arrived and sat them selves at the table.

The majordomo introduces Baron Maffeo who sat at the top of the table and Garek stood and nodded in a show of some form of courteous gesture.

Garek proceed to explain the events in the west, the war between Aquilonia and Nemedia; he explained news he had of the Border Kingdom and other news he had heard in taverns from far off lands form other merchants and travellers he had met in his journeys.

This stretch well over an hour and the light had faded into night as it was still early spring; about nine bells.

Zenobia also had her chance to explain, even when it was a few years old news of southern events that she had knowledge of.

Soon, most started getting tired; sometimes a messenger would receive a private audience with a interested person or group to return and speak more; though it is common for a scribe to take note of events and copy them in more detail later!

Garek stood one more time; and explained what he had seen in Brythunia on his travels north. He mentioned Tatha which rouse at lot of discernment. Garek pretended to give no concern to their reaction, but continued to describe in detail the horrors he had witness till he soothed his speech at the end, so as to not create an outburst of emotion and aggression.

The meeting was ended, and the baron sat with his high lords discussing the very important event of the war in the west.

Garek scanned the crowd for any sign of discontentment of his last statement...

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kintire
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Zenobia relates the events in Shem and Koth, being careful not to include anything that only someone as close to the events as she could know. But she spends most of her time watching the crowd for reactions. As Garek moves on to events in Tatha, her attention sharpens, seeking anyone to whom this might mean something.

And if anyone addresses another, she listens for the name Frantisek.
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Nialldubh
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At the mention of the Barony of Tatha; most of the men their growl and curse the Baron Gilburt; but one hangs his head in shame, those lords around him, keep silent trying to comfort him.

Zenobia and Garek kept note of the man; a man in his late thirties and with a mop of curly red-brown hair and shaven face. His clothing was noble; though a little old and tatty, not that it was truly noticeable, as most of the other nobles were in their old garb, except for the Baron and a few high ranking lords, who were in their best.

Garek and Zenobia were allowed to stay; not usher out in a rush. They mingled, some of the lords and captains asking questions that they needed clarified, mostly on the war in the west. One did approach Garek about Tatha, asking about the state of the noble district; Garek explained as much as he could and the man left in a gruff way.

Garek noted he was one of the lords that kept close to the one who had hung his head in shame at the mention of Tatha; this had to be Frankisek or someone close to him.

Zenobia and Garek more closer to that group asking some quests of their own. Playing the part of newsgivers, they pretended to extract news they may take with them to other parts of Thuria.

"I am Garek," introduced Garek, "and this is my companion Zenobia of Shem!"

"I am Lord Rudolf," said one, "this is Captain Fadyenka, Lord Frankisek and Lord Abelard. He said going around his company.

Garek nodded civilly, "Lords, captain!"


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kintire
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Zenobia at least is not pretending: she is eager for news and fascinated by all of it. But she focuses when they approach the group they need.

"An honour to meet you, my lords!"

She bows, then steps back slightly, examining this Lord Frantisek on whom so many hopes are being placed!
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Nialldubh
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Zenobia sees Frankisek as a capable man, but perhaps lacking in social power; though it would seem that the province of Oskia had no appreciation with Gilburt; the Baron of Tatha; though they obviously are not willing to pursue it while Gilburt and his host remains in his side of the river and do not threaten their lands.

"I hear Lord Frankisek, that you are the rightful lord of Tatha," said Garek, not wasting time, "pray tell why it is you have not made any attempt to regain your rightful inheritance and claim to Tatha."

Frankisek may have look a little startled at Garek words; but he sneered, not at what Garek said, but at what he had to talk about! "The Baron Gilburt," he near spat, "should hang from one of his own gibbets, but I have neither the wealth or influence to cause any changes within Tatha!"

Garek looked at him, his head slightly tinting to get a better view; sympathy showed in Garek's eyes as he could see the man stress!

"Perhaps if we could talk in private my Lord, we could have a reason to be of mutual benefit to each other!"

Frankisek paused, then gestured to a door, "my friends shall accompany us, they also have concerns with Tatha!"




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kintire
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Zenobia misses a beat and glances for the exits when Garek plunges directly in like this: In Shem such an approach would get a whipping at least. But they do things differently in the North, she reminds herself.

She is a little disturbed, however, at the size of the group in these discussions. if she were in the Baron';s place she would definitely slip a spy into Frantizek's circle. She quietly watches the group for anyone whose responses seem a little out of step...
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Nialldubh
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Zenobia if fact thought the truth, if Garek had been in Aquilonia or Nemedia, he would have refrained; or perhaps a direct statement to Baron Maffeo would have been worded better and approached with less forthright bluster, but Garek had seen something in the Lord's eyes and candour at this moment was better than evasion!

The small group entered a small chamber that had an arrowslit shedding light into the room. A small stout wooden table was in the middle of the room. Only a few chairs were present around the room, so the captain ordered more from a servant and wine!

Zenobia's fears were unsated as she scanned the men, she could not tell if what they hide behind their eyes were for good or bad.

After the chairs were placed and the jug of wine and goblets laid on the table, Frankisek spoke, "so, what is it you wish to talk about?" he asked.

The wine jug had been brought in on a brass tray and Garek lifted off the jug and proceeded to pore his gems onto it!

"I wish to help to return to you want is rightfully yours, this might not be enough to equip an army for a year, but it will help; and with your support, and perhaps," he said turning to the other lords, "your friends, we could force an engagement that will dislodge Baron Gilburt from power and replace him with you, my lord!"

Those around the table were surprised to see such a fortune in gems, also their distrust of Garek was obvious and the expectation of a trap apparent!

"Why would you do this?" stated Franisek through grinning teeth.

"Because Tatha is my families home," replied Garek.

"You do not look Brythunian," Stated Frankisek, the tradition tawny hair of Brythunian was not a characteristic of Garek, his fathers darker hair was predominate and he did not look like a Brythunian.

"No this is true, but Baron Gilburt had my mother sold into slavery and removed from this land many years ago and I crave justice upon his and his own!" Garek growled. Garek explained much of his life and what he had learn of Tatha; the failed rebellions and about the people who wished to still see Tatha free.

"You must aid us, you must aid your people!" Growled Garek...
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kintire
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Zenobia watches calmly, assessing the reactions of the group. She does consider Frantisek briefly, but Garek is focussing on him. She considers the reaction of the others.

As Garek tells his tale she too listens, as there is some of this she has not heard.

And then, as they reach the moment of decision, she turns her attention to Frantizek, with an assessing air...
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Nialldubh
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Zenobia sees interest in the eyes of the other men, though Frankisek look hesitant, though determined in mind.

"This man speaks the truth Lord Frankisek," said Lord Abelard, a stocky tawny haired fellow with a thick moustache, "we must strike, with this man's support we could; if we move quickly and decisively reach Gilburt's keep which is rightfully your and retake Tatha!

The other encouraged Frankisek to respond.

"What of Baron Maffeo, what if he refuses me the right to reclaim my people's land?"

They hesitate for a moment...

"True, there is a chance the Baron Maffeo may reject the plan, but you can not but try; he too resents the presence of Gilburt and his malignant ways!" Stated Lord Rudolf.

Frankisek slowly pondered the problem, "true, he does despise the retch!"

Garek waited patiently as the Lord Frankisek looks at him, "what do you suggest if we can proceed?"

"Hire mercenaries from near and far, get them to assemble and move south, it cannot be a precise plan, we must move quick and the only force we have on our side is 'might is right! For we have no time to plan a careful campaign!"

"They nod and agree; then spend hours into the night discussing their objective.

Frankisek would first have to confront his uncle, the Baron of Oskia for his permission to make war on Tatha, it might not be in his interest, and he could not go against his uncle's wishes, but he would present the people of Tatha great need and argue in their favour!
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kintire
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Zenobia rather allows her attention to wander during the detailed discussions. Not her favoured field! But she does continue to assess the reactions of Lord Frantizek's companions, and she does pay close attention to the discussions on persuading the Baron. There, she may be able to be more help!
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Nialldubh
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The night was late and most had much to think about and time alone would give them what they needed. Garek scooped the gems again back into their pouch with no objection from anyone else, they still had to get the Baron of Oskia's opinion and there was no use pretending otherwise.

Garek and Zenobia were walked to the gates of the castle-keep by the four men, then went on their way to their inn.

Zenobia saw only enthusiasm in the faces of the four, but her scans into the local area were hindered mostly by the dark, though convenient torches were placed at places along their way, any spy would be have plenty of hidden places to watch them from without fear!

They reach the inn and settle...
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kintire
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Zenobia relaxes, removing her armour with a sigh and dropping into a chair.

"Well I think that went well. Well enough that we don't want to be going back to Tatha until we are with an army. I hope that pleasant captain from the first village leaves the Baron's service before we have to meet him in battle..."

She stares into the fire for a moment.

"So now its all down to the local Baron. I know nothing about him. All we can do is wait!"
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Nialldubh
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Garek nods, "yes, wait!" He ponders.

Garek fills their goblets of a good wine and commence to empty his and refill, holding the goblet between each hand, he too sitting watching the fire!

"If we are lucky, any small unit of mercenaries will flee, if we can push into Tatha quick, the other borders will be weak, it would only be logical for them to withdraw from the war!"


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kintire
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Zenobia shrugs.

"It would... but given they dislike the place and are in disfavour it would have been logical for them to quit by now. Oh well."


She retires, still wondering what the Baron of Oskia will decide.
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Nialldubh
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"A contract is a contract, any mercenary that fails that task with be in disrepute; they must abide by their contract our dishonour their profession!" States Garek.


The next day about mid-day a servant of the keep arrives and explains that Lord Frankisek wishes to speak with then and bides them to follow.

They arrive back in the keep and are escorted to Frankisek's personal chamber in another part of the keep. Frankisek is there with his three comrades from the previous day.

"Good news," roars a joyous Frankisek, " my uncle agrees, though he has put some concessions on us, we have his permission to continue!"




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kintire
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Zenobia takes a deep breath. Her feelings are a mixture of delight and foreboding. She knows that the people of Tatha need to be freed, but she has seen enough of war to know the price. Still, there is no room for doubts now. All that remains is to find out what free companies are available. Then one of his remarks jogs her mind.

"What concessions?"
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Nialldubh
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Frankisek turns to Zenobia, "the main concession is that Oskia cannot be involved, this is difficult in some ways as my estate of Gugjir is on the western border of Oskia with The Horse Lords of the Lema Plains. But if we are discreet, the Baron will allow for any presence of mercenaries coming through the land of Oskia!"

"The other concessions are mainly personal, which can be rectified by me in due course and are of truly no concern," he turns to Garek, "he is even willing to give you a good prices for your gems, he has contract with wealthy merchants that owe him many a favour and as it is in his interest to be rib of Gilburt, he is willing to help us in some ways, though not obvious, well he hopes. He also promised a small battalion of four hundred footmen when we are close to achieving our goal; again we must keep this aid secret!"




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