March 31, 1257 - April 3, 1257
A number of small passages appear independent of dates or locations but I have included their possible date range, lumping them together here:
"We passed within sight of a looted village, my first from this distant vantage point, and I felt hate, despair, sorrow, wrath swell up inside me. That would NEVER be me or my company, we would never do such a thing to anyone."
"Emboldened excessively, it seems, by my now seemingly numerous personal victories I managed to get beaten senseless by a drunken louse who I suspect may have been playing opossum though for what reasons I can't be sure as I haven't soothed my ego far enough to invent them. Baheshtur - which I have decided to pronounce 'basher' - found me dumped unceremoniously outside the tavern swinging my sheathed saber at passing feet and muttering incoherently, or so I am told..."
"God, Borcha is ugly. I would say that that man had better be glad he is a skillful tracker and scout else he'd be of no use to any woman anywhere but I actually suspect that is precisely why he developed such skills."
"In yet another tavern searching for yet another worthy adventurer I ran across the thoroughly disagreeable Matheld. Though I sympathized with her mistreatment, she maintained a haughty tone throughout her unsolicited and lengthy explanation of the wrongs piled on her. Her strong sword arm would no doubt be as useful Nizar's - who I suspect may be a threat as he was remarkably also in that same tavern - but under my style of leadership I will tolerate only minimal distraction and controversy, two categories I have no doubt at all she would have contributed heavily to. Besides, she mentioned intent to raise and army to return and claim her rights. Am I not raising an army now that she could usurp? I can't seem to stop talking young men in villages into joining us, even as the money flows out of my hands... Ever since that burned village I've... I've felt the urge to defend them, strangers... Regardless of my unconscious aims, however, I am in no position to offer serious contest to any of the banner-carrying parties I have seen roaming the land. I need to travel more, experience more, explore my options... This place is piled high with opportunity, I shall pick carefully.
On a side note, due to my hunger and the cold of Reyvadin the only thing I could think of to say to get Matheld to stop speaking turned out to be an ironic 'Your brother-in-law was right, women shouldn't lead. Go back home and tend your hearth.' I think the confusion such a rebuke inspired may be all that saved me from another quick beating. On my way out Nizar attempted to regale me with some verse or tale of his no doubt tremendous deeds since we had last met and at far too close a proximity, causing me to flinch at the SMELL of the man. I couldn't place it but it seemed like something I should know."
"I am unsure of the exact cause but the most likely culprit is that I simply have a terrible sense of direction. I observe our little map, I listen to directions, and I still always end up wandering off course. The most direct route is never taken between two points, always there is derivation from the best course and all too often I find forests both large and small along the way to slow us even further. I would kill, literally kill for a better sense of direction. I suppose I should offer a better sacrifice than just blood since I do that just for practice anyway..."
"Passing from Dhirim to Reyvadin to Curaw I noticed a severe difference in the prices of iron amongst them with Reyvadin charging the most. I rightly assumed this meant they would pay the most and quickly found myself up nearly 1400 denars! Then... Then I spotted a beautiful weapon I'm told is a scimitar. Handling it lovingly as the weaponsmith explained its attributes, I climbed atop a nearby sawhorse - much to the confusion of the weaponsmith though it did not disturb his speech - and joyously slashed slowly at enemies near my feet. The weaponsmith explained that the weapon was in fact an elite scimitar and therefore longer and sharper. He also said that it had been carefully crafted for balance but he didn't need to tell me, I was in love with its wicked grace already - and thus I lost all of the money I had gained from trading iron and then some, just over 2000 denars. I have no doubt I shall enjoy this blade for a long time to come and it shall help me earn many thousands more than it cost. For the first time, I found myself casting a critical eye at all the wares of the horse, armor, and weapon mongers with unclear intent for the future."
"Ran out of food AGAIN. Gah. You know what I really need? A quartermaster. I need someone in charge of keeping the troops in gear and food and that man will no doubt need a smith; who will need an apprentice for the lesser work. The baggage train for a smith could be tolerated and even divided up to keep from slowing us down. All this nonsense of swarming into a town or village and having everyone mob to the various craftsmen - ironworkers, leatherworkers, brothels - for repairs then the other merchants for the rest of the gear the men are entitled to after passing their trials is almost too much. I have to pry my troops out of shops and women's arms with the flat of Basher's saber every single stop ; I refuse to use my beloved head-splitter Annabelle for such work as slapping half-naked men and women. Oh how those silly wenches glare... I'm tempted to fetch Annabelle and sever a limb for their impertinence; these men are MINE until they die and even then they are deaths I send them to.
Additionally, I foresee frustrations equipping my specially skilled irregulars, another job for the quartermaster I don't have. I have already established a hierarchy amongst the two I have where I take the best for myself and pass the rest down. Basher had his saber returned to him and the rusty cleaver that he had been using was passed down to Borcha, ugly Borcha. When next I find something for myself I will personally have to pass items down again and I can only imagine what that will be like when I have even more irregulars, nearly a dozen or so, I expect.
On a side note my insistence that my irregulars pass on what training they can to the lesser warriors in the company seems to be paying off as every day another recruit or two passes his trial. I think the men are spurred on by the fact that I keep a partly inverted battle order and therefore as soon as they reach the point where I will provide them with a horse they will be the last into battle. This forces my lesser troops to the front to fight and learn and earn their reward of relative safety. However, it has been too long since we had a fight. My troops number 43 now: I need an enemy to slim my payroll some or provide me with loot to convert to cash. Luckily, I find myself in Khudan now and am told there are worthy bandits roaming to the north and east."
"Those bandits are cursedly fast..." Author's Notes:
I have always thought Borcha to be almost too ugly to look at thanks to that impossible frown...
Evangeline's eventual quest for the liberation of the people of Calradia was not at all planned from the beginning. Instead it developed slowly as I sought out her reactions to the events that seemed significant. That first burning village was actually the one just west of Dhirim that starts with an 'E'.
Like most of the companions I refused I couldn't pick a solid reason for leaving Matheld behind except that I really didn't like her. As for Nizar being smelly, in the beginning of this I felt like I had to address almost everything including the fact that I kept running into him in taverns. I'm not sure when or how the smell thing came about but a couple of random synapses fired and I was inspired to say that he was smelly. For a long time as a reminder at the bottom of my writing file I had "Nizar smells like a camel!" Which is somewhat ironic since he is the only companion that comes with a horse and the smell of camels is known to upset horses. Perhaps everyone else could let horses come and go but only one horse could stand Nizar and thus he had to buy and take it with him everywhere.
The part about Evangeline's sense of direction is a tiny fist shaking at the fact that frequently the party will deviate from the most efficient route (a straight line) travelling and wind up hills and through forests the wrong direction unnecessarily, taking extra time in getting anywhere. This was before I knew about CTL+Space.
Oh how I love curved blades... I really wish that Heavy Sabers were longer...
Then I did a little complaining about how much work it is to care about details such as passing items down the line of companions and keeping my troops fed. Many of these are remedied with various mods but I think mine got fixed with Custom Commander - not sure though.