Chapter 25: War and love
14 November 1258
It's war. I was barely three days at peace when my neighbour, king Yaroglek of the Vaegirs, decided to try to usurp me. Hadn't he heard about my recent victories over the Swadian and Khergit armies? Or didn't he believe the reports? Anyway, I was ready for him. He was just a minor irritation. There were larger problems a bay: my vassals all started to hate me for no apparent reason, and I still had financial problems. That last one I could easily solve by trading more, but the first... Before I could work on either, I heard about a Vaegir noble nearing my village of Tismirr, so I gathered many men, mainly mamlukes, and rode over there. I met boyar Doru heads up, and even though he had a larger army, I charged him immediately. Using my proven tactic to ride through their flanks, I easily defeated him and killed two third of his army, while the other part ran away. Even though Doru escaped, another victim followed him soon: boyar Beranz came in his footsteps, something that he lived to regret. I captured him, but let him go, as it was the most honourable thing to do. And to conclude the row, I fought against boyar Harish, whom I also captured, but let also go.
After I sold my prisoners in the city to some ransom broker, and had sold the loot of the dead bodies, gaining enough money to get through another week, I heard that king Yaroglek himself was on his way to my capital, along with quite a few of his nobles. After the three battles I needed to tend to my wounds, so I waited for them to come to me. I waited till he had looted Tismirr, right under my nose. But as near dead as I was, I just couldn't ride out yet. Lord Gastya accused me of being a coward, solely on this event. The next day I saw that boyar Rudin had wandered off from the main army. Feeling better, I rode to him and was just in time to save some villagers, who were very gratefull for my action. I let the boyar go, who was also very pleased with me. This was apparently a sign for the Vaegir army to disband, since also boyar Khavel rode separately away. I caught up with him, but we actually had a good chat. I lend him my surgeon Jeremus, he told me all about his feelings towards king Yaroglek. We parted in better understanding of each other. Then I met king Yaroglek all alone, with his army of 310 men. He was confident, and didn't want to talk much: only to fight. So we fought. My 93 men cavalry were far better skilled than his army, and the outcome was even far better than I had estimated it would. Only four deadly victims at my side, while king Yaroglek had to see 235 of his men slain. Even though he escaped, I had brought him a severe blow.As I crossed the river, I came to the aid of several villagers. As you can see, I now always ride with two steel shields: one in my hand, and one protecting my back. It has saved me on several occasions, so I'm slowly buying more of these shields and giving them to my companions.
After these victories, I knew I had to push further ahead. I had gathered from the loot and from selling prisoners enough money to get through this weeks wages, so I could do something more bold: I gathered my siege army, told Rolf to sent messengers to all my vassals to join me in this new campaign and rode to Rivacheg. They had brought the fight to me, and lost. Now it's time to strike back.
I reached the city unhindered - although I saw that I would have to clear the land of many bandits in the near future - and started a siege. Immediately I started to build a siege tower, which took me 48 hours. After I started the preparations, boyar Doru and three other lords rode out to attack me. I had 92 men ready for battle, while they had 382. Hadn't I fought with even worse odds? But this time I had not only cavalry, but also quite a few crossbowmen who I had to protect. In the end 20 of my men were killed and 48 wounded - good that this happened early on, so they could heal during the construction of the siege tower - while 181 of the enemy were killed, 10 wounded and 191 had ran away. The tactic of riding to their flanks worked once again. I managed to capture boyar Vlan, but let him go. I won't change my honourable course now.
While I continued to construct my siege tower, some sea raiders though we were an easy prey. They soon learned to regret that thought. It seemed all the bandits from the land wanted me to stop this siege: first the Vaegir nobles, now six waves of sea raiders. It exhausted my men, hindred the construction of the siege tower and pretty soon - even though I defeated them all - I was forced to abandon the siege, due to the fact that I had ran out of food. And without food, my men would soon starve or leave the perimeter.All of my personal villages had been raided: I simply wasn't able to maintain the siege much longer.
Upon my return to Khudan, I saw two of my vassals, count Plais and count Gastya, under attack by boyar Druli. Of course I came to their rescue: together we defeated the Vaegir lord. Even though the common people of Holland cheered for me, both lords were still unsatisfied. So I decided to go away for a while, riding to Suno and other faraway cities, to gather suplies for my starving city and of course to make a huge profit. When I arrived in Suno, I of course visited lady Nelda. Her rich family and of course great influence were really appealing, especially now in my times of trouble. So I decided I should marry her. She was overly happy when I asked her on 16 October about our future: she proposed to me, instead of the other way around! All I now had to do was ask her father, count Klargus. He found it a splendid idea, but he demanded that we both would bring in a dower. Once I could pay 18,000 denars, she would be mine. That's a huge sum of money in these times, so I really needed to raise more money! And fast, since lady Nelda gave me 30 days to complete the deal. Trade routes, here I come.Count Klargus thought it was a splendid idea for me to get married to his daughter, but I needed to raise 18,000 denars.
I continued to Praven, to get some ale. When I got to that city, I met with count Montewar, an old friend from my time as count of Swadia. I promised him I should deal with all men fairly, which was the last straw to convince him to join my cause. Finally I managed to convince someone to join my kingdom, and be a vassal of Holland, instead of taking every man that came flying by. He's currently also the only vassal who likes me.
As I rode on, going from city to city to raise money for the dower, I heard a plea from lady Bernatys: her husband, count Mirchaud, was taken prisoner in Ergelon castle, and she'd liked me to rescue him. I rode over there, and asked some nearby villagers to make a fire. This drew the attention from the guards away, and made it easier for me to ride in, kill the guard, steal his keys and free the count. It was easier than I had thought, and count Mirchaud was very pleased with me, as were the people of Swadia.
A lot less pleased was lord Gastya. On 10 November he really hated me, and left my kingdom. He swore vassalage to the Khergit khanate. Good for him: he was a traitor anyway. I should have never let him join my side. And if things continue as they are, Plais will soon follow his steps, and Fraichin and Belir will do the same one day. I just can;t trust them anymore. Luckily I've got count Montewar now, who stays faithfully at my side.
It was a lot harder to get that 18,000 denars than I had thought. The wages for my men back home were high, and my villages looted: every week I lost 4,000 denars. And these events didn't speed things up. Maybe I was careless in the beginning, buying steel shields for my companions and improving my men. I shouldn't have done that, not with this speed limit. In the end I was really troubled: there were only a few days left, and I had by far not enough money to pay the dower. I was fearing the loss of lady Nelda, until I arrived in Praven, where a tournament was held. The past time I had practiced a lot with the lance, the speciality in this city. I bet heavily, and won a lot of money. But still it wasn't enough.I think I killed that poor horse... What an insane amount of damage I did there in the arena of Praven!
The next day, the last one of the month I had gotten to bring the dower, I was able to participate in the second day of the tournament in Praven. Another chance to win money. And although the odds weren't as good as they were, due to my recent victory, I was still able to get the last bits of money, and ride like hell to the city of Suno. Now I'm officially bethrodded, and will soon marry to lady Nelda.
I have really no idea why my relation with my old vassals just keeps on deteriorating. It's going down pretty fast: -4 every few days. The moment lord Gastya left, my relation with him was -72! Maybe it's related to the bug? All the lords I had during this bug are deteriorating, while lord Montewar is even more pleased with me. Aw well, those irritating lords will leave me soon anyway, so I can concentrate on convincing friends to join my side.
Here is a picture of Floris' current stats. By the way, I've got an insanely high right to rule. I arrived one and a half year ago in Calradia and now everyone recognises me as the emperor incarnated!
Even though I didn't conquer anything this month, there were some changes. Swadia had been at war with Rhodoks, Nord and Khergit at the same time, which they obviously lost. The surprise lies in the fact that they lost so few of their territories in such a war.