Chapter 38: For pork and chicken
25 November 1259
War brings out the strangeness in a human being. The battle cry that haunts my camps now, and which is spinning out of control, is entirely my fault. I'm not sure anymore what my intentions were when I cried it in that village, only that it was catchy. It all started ten days ago, just after I had conquered the two remaining Khergit cities. They had still six castles left, so it was time to finish the job, starting with the one closest to me at that time: Distar castle. I had just conquered Tulga, and from there the castle was just a few hours marching away. Me and my army arrived at night, and quickly prepared the ladders. There weren't that many defenders, but the ones there were defended the place very fierce. Stupidly enough I had forgotten to bring my crossbow, and my horse wasn't able to climb the ladders. So I walked with my lance and sword towards the battle. Once again the Khergit displayed their fine sense of defending a place by running down the ladders and meet us in the open field, where my archers had the advantage. We drove them back, and defeated them all. The castle was mine.
I should have noticed something was wrong, but I was too much in a party mood to bother. Right after this conquest, I took my entire army and marched on to the former deep Khergit lands, to Tulbuk castle. I wanted to act quick and swift, like I had done with the cities, so I didn't take any time to station any defenders in the freshly conquered castle. It wouldn't be necessary, I thought. The only free Khergit nobles with a small force were busy plundering my villages, so I had nothing to fear from them. But when we arrived at Tulbuk castle, I discovered that ladders wouldn't be enough: I would have to build a siege tower, which would take me 48 hours. I ordered all the lords accompanying me that they would have to remain following me, and started to build it. Unfortunately this was the exact moment that Ymira decided to leave me. Not again! I tried to talk her out of it, but my words didn't help: she left, even before her training was finished. Maybe our paths would cross once again, but for now she just wanted to disappear into the trading cirquit. Even during the fight for Tulbuk castle, her leaving haunted my thoughts. Even after we captured the castle, I kept thinking about her. What had I done wrong? Or wasn't it my fault? She didn't fit into the group, that I had seen. But she always agreed with my actions, even though she didn't like the way general affairs went. I hope to find her again one day, to complete her training.Ymira decided to leave my company.
With Ymira leaving the group, the morale of my men dropped very low. Some men even deserted to search her out, in the hope she would favour them in her new endeavours. So I stationed my siege army in Tulbuk castle, ordered my nobles to go Ichamur and rode myself as fast as I could back to Khudan, to pick up more food and give my men some time to relax. The campaign was going on for just a week, but already I had made great progress. In the palace of Khudan, I met lord Rafard, whom I allowed to enter my services. Then I talked to my wife, and gave the city of Tulga to him. After these affairs of the state, I returned to Tulbuk to pick up my army, went to Ichamur to fetch my nobles and rode to the next Khergit outpost: Malayurg castle.
I rode with my men until I arrived at the small village near the castle, Tash Kulun. When I arrived there, I thought about the party. And that no-one had been willing to sell me any pork or chicken. Until that moment Ymira had been talking me out of any rash action, but now that she'd left, I decided to grab what should be mine: I plundered the village while shouting 'For pork and chicken!' Many of my fellow soldiers took over this battle cry, and before I knew it, the only sound echoing between the houses was a cry for pork and chicken. Shocked by this, the Khergit offered me 4700 denars for the captured noyan Brula, which I accepted. Also Marnid was quite shocked by this all. I eased his mind by saying this wouldn't happen again, but the moment I said that I knew I couldn't keep that promise. At the same time some Khergits decided to lay siege to Ichamur, so while I sent my army back to defend that city, I rode like hell to deliver my pork and chicken to my household inventory in Khudan.Finally I've got pork and chicken!
When I arrived in Khudan, I received news that Khergit forces had also started to besiege Distar castle, where I hadn't had any men stationed. So I gathered much mamlukes and some of my Khergit tribesmen: the mamlukes to slay the Khergit, and the tribesmen to station in the castle once I got there. I rode as fast as I could, coming through Ichamur. There the Khergit offered me 1700 denars for Tansugai noyan, which I accepted. Unfortunately I arrived too late: the castle, without any defenders, had fallen to the Khergit again.
Without much help, I started to build ladders. But before I was finished, I heard someone shout the nobles were coming: looking up I saw that my lords had broken the siege of Ichamur, and came to my help. When they arrived, I attacked. Once again the Khergit used their famous 'run down the walls'-tactic, which was absolutely ineffective against my archers and mamlukes. Once the Khergit are gone, hopefully this strange tactic will disappear from Calradia, although it makes it easier for me to defeat hostiles.During the second siege of Distar castle, the defenders ran down the ladders once again.
After I recaptured the castle, the Khergit offered me 3100 denars for Urumuda noyan, which I accepted. Then I gathered my army to march to the place I am now, at Malayurg castle. But before I got there, I convinced Mirchaud noyan to join my ranks: I will appoint the next castle to him. I asked him to march along with me, but when we got to this castle, his former associates ambushed him. 338 Khergit me and nobles attacked him in the back, thinking they could quickly wipe out his 60 men. They were wrong. What they had overlooked was the main Hollandic army marching behind, which joined the fight. Once they were all there, I led 1307 men them in four waves, and defeated that last bit of resistance. I even took Akadan and Dundush noyan prisoner, and let the nice Vlan noyan go. A few nobles escaped, but I'll catch up later with them. Now I'm before the gates of Malayurg castle, making camp for the siege. The men are ready and eager, and everywhere I hear them whispering: 'For pork and chicken!'
Since Floris' stats haven't changed, I show you some reports. As you can see, I've got a lot of friends and my party size limit has raised with my greater renown.
Even though the Rhodoks had declared war on the Sarranids, their territories haven't changed yet. So the only change can be found in the former Khergit territories.