Evangeline, Nation-Breaker - An AAR (Chapter 37 Posted)

Ogrecorps

Knight
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The following is my AAR, inspired by Floris' own. This AAR is now on both the Paradox and Taleworlds forums.

If you want to know my tactics, strategies, settings or mods you will find most of your answers if you read carefully. For those you don't find, shoot me a message. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments in this thread or in a PM. I read other AARs only sparingly as I am very susceptible to subconscious imitation and don't want to accidentally mix styles so please don't be offended by my apparent disinterest.

I am writing this as I play through the game so please excuse any delays between posts. None of the gameplay is embellished, all of the numbers are accurate though the occasional dramatic device is employed to allow room for the character of Evangeline to roam.

I am ALWAYS interested in critique and LOVE to hear what you liked or your favorite parts so please feel free to comment. Also, I will be updating this first section of this first post as I feel it is necessary so it's best to check in here first every time you come back.

Before you become concerned that I have quit please note that I wrote and posted the first 20 chapters in 25 days. Chillax, my little adventurers. I will post a final comment if I ever quit.

Additionally, as a little bonus, I will be going back through my chapters and adding author's notes telling some of the true stories of how some things came to be in Evangeline's life. I will mark them with some bright color and leave them behind spoilers. I DO NOT recommend reading a chapter and then the author's notes right after it for the sake of continuing the suspension of reality for enough time to appreciate the story before seeing behind the curtain; I promise you it really ruins the magic sometimes.



Chapter 1

The exact origins and history of the most controversial Evangeline, often called the Nation-Breaker, are unknown as are her motivations to seek the reconstitution of the Calradic Empire. Her legacy is tainted by interpretation as those close enough to most accurately record her history are also too close to maintain objectivity, hence the wild variations in the descriptions of her as a person, a warlord, and a ferocious battle queen. With thanks to these contemporary and therefore untrustworthy  accounts for their creativity and telling personal bias, I most humbly present the surviving contents of her lost and now found personal journal.

The pages have not weathered well the wears of a long life in saddlebags. Besides damage from water, age, and even a few mild scorch marks - though they seem more the type gained from a careless candle than more traumatic events - clearly to be seen are two distinct arrowhead piercings, one a simple wound in the leather and first dozen pages in very nearly the center of the upper left quadrant, the other a vicious tear at the bottom right corner. This second wound is almost definitely that of a 4-point broad-headed arrow, an invention out of time with the journal's author - and yet, there is significant blood soaked into the rear pages of the book from that arrow, testament to the violence through which this journal was forged. The gouge indicates a path by the more modern arrow of nearly sticking in the book like the first one but instead being deflected to the flesh behind it. This blood makes the words chronicling the years beyond completion of her empire unknown, at least in her own words. The campaigns overseas, failed colonies, and final gift of self-governance are known facts and less subject to interpretation so yes, if one had to pick one time or the other - her rise or her retirement to a very different obscurity than that from whence she came - to hear of it through her own words, this one would prefer her beginning.

Is it appropriate that the rear of the book be obscured by blood? More blood was shed in her name and less by the battle-queen herself in that time - even her journal shows grievous protection long after her death - but towards the end of the legible sections I found her mind to be... wandering from the paths of war. I don't know, perhaps you will see what I did or something else. With that, I leave you to make your own decision. Her first legible entry is mysterious in its subject...

"Ugh, this place, this godforsaken place... When I am free of it my first action will be a bath; my second will be to burn it to the ground. They never should have thought to keep me here, they never should have tried this way when remaining where and how I was had not yet been seen to be a failed option. Frustration mounts but I have my out already: the large horse called Winston; he can take me out of here... He can carry a bag or two as well..."

My own interpretation from reading the rest of the journal indicates a sinister tone in her last line of that first passage. I cannot be sure of course but my gut tells me that the 'bag or two' would be filled with something worse than just idle possessions. Somebody else's possession if they were lucky, them or part of them if they were not. An angry, vengeful tone permeates much of the early journal and I cannot put it out of my mind that Evangeline, Eater of Armies and Nation-Breaker, was fully capable of murder, not just battlefield violence. I... have no proof, I have only the sense that she was dangerous long before she commanded armies.



Author's Notes:
I didn't like the dry approach of describing the character formation decisions I had made to start Evangeline (I don't even remember them now but that her father must have been an impoverished noble since she has a banner - a banner chosen because it looked so cool above the troops of a Khergit lord once upon a now erased game...) and didn't want to follow the same formula repeated so many times of contriving a backstory for her. This has actually served me rather well as it leaves some fluidity to her roots.

In all honesty, I don't really know what she is talking about in that "first legible entry." It just sort of spilled forth and so I went with it. I think it was a good start to her, showed a little madness early on... As for the picture, obviously it was added later. I saw her and just thought she looked so pleasant, cute even and that it would make a good visual introduction.

After having read some other AARs I decided that I didn't want to dilute mine with too many comments from me or too much off-topic discussion. I wanted just the story as much as possible so that readers catching up on chapters didn't really get to see just how fake everything is: A fictitious story based on a video game written by an amateur. To that end this OP originally just launched into the story, starting with "Chapter 1". Since then I have added to it extensively and wished that I had reserved another posting above "Chapter 1" for the mood-breaking instructions/details. Additionally, after taking a few days off of my extremely fast pace I started to get questions about whether the thread was dead or not so I felt like I needed to address all of the when's, how's, and where's that were coming up, sort of an FAQ because I still didn't (and don't) want to lay out all of the real world details like what mods I'm using and so forth - though that information might be useful to some.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 2
March 23, 1257 - Early Morning

"'A pretty girl' they say, 'a pretty girl' they have said too many times. I swear, if this ridiculous brother of the merchant has not been suitably humbled by his captivity and feels as though he has something besides thanks to say to me he may just feel my blade - as his captors will. First I just have to find the reticent bastards...

I wonder if the scum that attacked me in Praven's early morning streets fresh off the caravan had intentions to say something about this 'pretty girl?' We, sadly, will never know unless the pained 'hoomf!' from the first crossbow bolt in the chest and the sick 'crack!' of his head smashing back on the pavers of the alley from the second to his cheek were his way of expressing lasciviousness... Although terrified - that everything I was and hoped to be would end in the next seconds - and excited - at my first true combat with arms - I remember thinking that it was an amateurish and disrespectful to lower one's shield in preference to readying a killing blow whilst a dozen yards away - especially with a crossbow aimed directly at oneself. Crossbows are simple and dangerous in anyone's hands and as such I prefer them to bows. Scared, exhilarated, and noticing that my attacker displayed stupidity, arrogance, and a serious lack of discipline: that's apparently me under attack and I approve.



It really is too bad that merchant arrived to hustle me inside as I would have liked to search the cretin for anything of use. As it is, the merchant himself nearly received a third bolt but as I looked to raise the bow I realized I had not loaded it. Again, however, I approve of my instincts as I only noticed I had picked up the battlefield cleaver that had so recently been raised against me when the merchant firmly slipped it out of my hand to replace it with the body. Despite his conspiratorial tone I trusted him immediately though I am still unclear as to the cause for his caution.

On my way to a near village with the merchant's money - of which I am quite sure there is much more I can find as mine - I feel quite fast and free on a horse by myself but it is clear I will need companions and subordinates to rise to a place more suitable for my abilities. I saw the nervous body language of some travelers as I approached quickly and relished the fact that though I may not be a bandit as they had feared, there are few bandits who would bother to find a horse to chase me. Clearly I will have to choose my companions and troops carefully to maintain mobility; that which is slow is always vulnerable in some way to that which is fast. Do not flies eat away a horse's eyes in time without care? That is perhaps a poor example as I have no intention to be a mere fly.

I have heard that the Swadians enjoy terrific battlefield advantages on their heavily armored warhorses as they are heavily armored themselves as well. The ability to do damage simply on contact and to disrupt formations through a mass of horse flesh and steel are certainly welcome advantages. I will seek out, then, mounted troops to observe. Perhaps I can learn from my enemies as I go. As yet I have no enemies but in this land so torn by war and shifting loyalties I have no doubt such will not long remain the case.

When requesting information on and traveling to these little towns I see that it is clear the wars have sapped the population to nearly unsustainable lows. There is so much rich land and so many delicious animals! Calradia would be well-served by peace-time prosperity and her people would see a massive boom in population simply from a lack of people dying in war and then another boom from dispersed fear of untimely death for a child by a raid. Villages would suddenly become prosperous and the fertile and uninhabited lands in between would be settled. Resources would flow, craftsmen emerge, and Calradia would surge in strength. A wise ruler would put in place the frameworks of sustainable Calradic greatness on the way to the throne; and greatness this land could have! But I must concentrate simply on feeding myself first, outrunning those who would prey on a 'pretty girl,' and learning to kill those who my apparent charms disarm first."



Author's Notes:
I prefer crossbows to draw bows because they require fewer skill points and do so much more damage. The faster rate of fire might be nice but isn't enough and I NEVER use a bow on horseback if I can avoid it, again because of the number of skill points needed. I just tank usually...

You careful readers might notice the dead man in the picture has a mace but I say he pulled out a "battlefield cleaver." First, the cleaver is a real item in the Floris Mod Pack (version 1.0, no longer available as it has been updated to 2.3 and is continuing on...) I was using and Evangeline really did face one from that first bandit. However, I didn't take a screen shot of this pivotal first victory so to answer demand for more screenshots I had to recreate the event by starting several (6 or 7 I think) female characters (with the same initial decisions so that they would have the same gear) until I finally got a good screenie. You may also have noticed that according to the ammo count, no bolts were used... I killed that particular man with sword, switched weapons quickly and took the screenie. Evangeline really did, however, kill the first man with one shot to the head at point blank range. All the other doubles were deleted upon failing or completing their task.

When Evangeline is talking about feeling fast and free and the Swadian knights I am hinting at my preference for heavy cavalry.

The rant about future prosperity comes from noticing that there is often a lot of open space between villages on the map.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 3
March 23, 1257 - Nearly Noon

"Of my first real battle I can only say just now that my hands are still shaking! My heart thunders in my chest and I care little that I care even less about my man who died! 11 looters! 11! I killed them ALL! We were moving from a little village to the next attempting to gather a mere handful of willing men to take on the kidnappers of the merchant's brother when they burst out of the underbrush where they were hiding like little squirrels, no doubt! I couldn't imagine 11 men and TWO horses ever hiding in a space so small! Sophisticated looters, these! Two horses but raiders can they call themselves to be? I'm afraid not for I was the only one present with an idea of how to ride and fight, taught to me by my father and brothers...

The looters came on and at first I was nervous for my 3 mere peasants so ordered them to stay back. I shake my head at the stupidity of thinking I could protect them but then remember exultantly that though I protected them not, I rightfully have blood from head to toe, little of it mine and what IS mine I am unsure of the source yet. I rode hither and yon, thinking nothing of the numbers I faced except to avoid large clusters for though I know my faithful Winston is a tough young man of a horse, too many hits or one in just the right place and he'd have left me to my feet which I doubted would outrun theirs. My rusty old sword sang a horrid little song as new sounds of such a blade crashing into and tearing through flesh filled my ears and added to my horror at the dire situation I was in. Had Winston been struck a deadly blow?! Would they slice those large muscles he needs to move me to, through, and beyond them?!

But no. They all died one by one with my blade through their heads, shoulders, faces, necks, upraised arms, and even a couple of shields. Though I knew it not at the time, upon inspecting the wreckage I wrought I see I broke two shields with my attacks! To be fair, there WERE two survivors in the looters' party, one apparently knocked out by one of those broken shields as part of it was driven directly into his face. But truly! What am I to do with surviving looters? Set them free, keep them, or kill them? So, by the time my two men recovered their wits there were no survivors and more fresh blood mingling with the rust down my blade... I love to watch it run, even now, bumping along on the uneven surface...

I sit by our fire in the looters' hiding hovel, our only fare - smoked fish - untouched beside me, and ignore the two men who chose to follow me as they assist each other with their wounds. Any thoughts that they might receive their healing care from one such as me, the woman, were never uttered and likely banished as they woke to find me slashing and dancing in victory and practice alone, stilled stained with the blood of the brave or foolish. I replayed as much as I remembered through my arms and legs, imagining the battle on foot as Winston chewed grass by the stream were there was no blood or emptied bowels to color it... A brave and reckless moment that might have been wise and bold was riding directly at the looters' only archer - the last one alive due to the distance allowed by that bow and the mobility of his mule - and waiting for his inevitable arrow to hit my old round shield before swinging again on his companions below. I ran him out of arrows it seems... after the last looter on foot ran from me - unsuccessfully - with blood around his ears, I faced off against my final foe but mostly, his horse. I had no interest in an equal battle now that I had reduced the odds to 1 against 1. His horse took more slashes to its face than I expected but, of course, fell. Then the man was killed with my next blow as I rode by screaming my victory within, maintaining frenetic concentration without.

I must say, if I am to have mounted troops they will need to know of the tactic I improvised to win against that last foe. In words, one need only have a determined enemy who is a bit slow-witted, a combination I am sure will be found aplenty on battlefields to come. When riding away from said enemy, turn to one side for a few counts then turn back and ready a slash to that side. A simple enemy will have the head of his horse there waiting as you have just wasted your lead but presented your side and blade to his mount and... mount versus blade... too many times and the blade will win. To bring oneself around for another attack simply continue that second turn until heading back the way one came and repeat when the enemy is positioned to fall for the confusion swivel again.

It only occurs to me after the fact that the two horses I killed to better have their riders at my mercy could have very conveniently served to carry all of my remaining troops instead of riding along myself and getting to watch them hobble in the dirt and mud...

In the aftermath I took a green hood and old kite shield for my own, stored a few other hoods and weapons that seemed like they could be used in the future, and promptly realized that I would need a lot more space to store a lot of new and unexpected items. Also, in the aftermath I realized that that second horse was actually a donkey! I thought it looked a little funny when I cut its nose nearly off!"

With this detailed battle description, we first see the exuberant bloodlust the young woman named Evangeline would display through much of her early journal. It is clear from this entry that she is a capable cavalry woman even early on, a trait completely synonymous with her as we know her now. Never have I seen a representation of her without being mounted on a horse, a mighty blade and large shield in hand. It is refreshing to hear of her describing her early equipment as rusty and old: Evangeline too, was once a mere girl on a (likely) stolen horse.





Author's Notes:
I started Evangeline once I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the game mechanics and how those early decisions affect everything thereafter but while I was still relatively new to the game so taking on 11 looters and killing them all was a HUGE event for me, personally. My hands literally were shaking afterward and I was extremely happy/energetic. As for the mention of horses, they were actually mules, another thing added with the mod pack along with bows for the looters too. They have since been returned to their feet and rocks...

"rusty sword" and "new sounds" are both hints: the first to some creation decision or another and the second to the new sounds in the mod pack that really did startle me and caused the thoughts you see above.

The talk of two survivors exists because two were knocked unconscious but I couldn't take prisoners yet.

The "confusion swivel" served me well for a long time but was replaced by its big brother, the "slash n weave." Instead of all that set up for a single blow - though the swivel works great to lose a tailing enemy - I turn to one side more than 90 degrees and slash a horse-face then turn back about 200 degrees to do it again. You'll be riding slowly enough that a pursuer can't effectively use a lance (too close too) and too far for him to use his sword as you are trying to hit the nose of his mount with the tip of your blade. After some carefully executed slash n weave you can reduce a half dozen enemy to walking on their own feet pretty easily.

As for the picture... It too is a reproduction from one of Evangeline's doubles. In the real battle there were 11 bodies and two mules laying pretty much in a line through some trees and both Evangeline and Winston were nearly dead. In this reproduction she fought only 4 looters but I was pretty far off my game at the time so she kinda took a beating... The end result is pretty similar though: blood and arrows everywhere, bodies in the field... Also I seem to remember the real Winston being grey...
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 4
March 24, 1257 - March 30, 1257

It seems that Evangeline quickly developed a love for battle as she is disappointed that she "only split one skull" in her second battle but felt great pride at the eagerness her new recruits showed in "bludgeoning and blading" the other 3 looters. The entry that describe this is, unfortunately, almost impossible to read else I would gladly include it here. She seems to express frustration that the invasion of the aforementioned kidnappers' hideout was delayed a full 2 days by the injuries sustained by one of her recruits in the previous battle. Though giddy and eager from her previous victories, she was not about to risk all and lose a vital battle for want of one peasant with a club. The attack was successful though apparently not the dead-of-night surprise she had hoped for. There are indications she had archers to contend with but no loyal Winston with whom to ride them down. Instead she commanded her men to stay close and moved methodically through the little camp. Seeming suitably pleased by the rescued man's thanks, there appeared no need to run him through as she mentioned that she might have done.

At this point it also seems that she had become embroiled in a plot against the captain of the watch in Praven with the same merchant that had already employed her for the above rescue. What precisely her role was no one knows as both the merchant and captain disappeared shortly after her involvement. Speculation abounds and ranges from Evangeline killing both to take their possessions and positions to her being employed as the merchant's spy to gather information. Her journal is mum on this point but my assessment of her personality concludes that her holding a blade to the throat of the captain or even ambushing him with a rock to stave his head in is entirely within reason. I dismiss out of hand any talk that she betrayed the merchant to the captain or the king as none of her actions thereafter indicate a penchant for such treachery. Well, except for her treatment of the little-known wanderer Marnid who she apparently accepted into her company then stripped of possessions and ran off in preference to two warrior companions instead. His trade skills were eventually replaced by a woman, Ymira - though I am getting ahead of myself.

Traveling amongst the villages and cities first in Swadia then through all the lands of Calradia, Evangeline seemed surprised to find that nearly everywhere she went there were those willing to join someone, anyone and fight somewhere for something. This lack of direction appears to have annoyed her and tongue lashings were common when new recruits displayed unconcern toward their ordered actions. It seems as though she demanded obedience on the battlefield but encouraged independent thought off it. Alas, even in the end she remained despairing at the lack of individualism and purpose in her subjects but still forwarded her gift to us despite little hope that it would succeed. Also during her travels she seems to have met a man calling himself Nizar. He is mentioned only briefly at first and said to be "a complete ass, untrustworthy and excessively self-satisfied." Though undoubtedly a superior warrior to herself she felt strongly that she could make do without him, his "ridiculous self-aggrandizement, and his inevitable betrayal."

Funds running low, it seems Evangeline began hunting looters around the city of Uxkhal for a bounty offered by the local guild master. Accumulating throughout her encounters with them she expressed frustration at their foolish tactics: sending their mounted troops first to get overwhelmed then the infantry streaming in, entirely uncoordinated. Having no way to track the looters, Evangeline found the inability to get any information from other travelers to be an annoyance. After sending "a new companion skilled and equipped with a bow, Baheshtur, out to forage for some fresh meat and having him come back less all of his arrows on a previously-just-stubborn-but-now-also-limping donkey" she gave up on foraging altogether.

During a few battles she fondly harkened back to that first glorious slaughter as she rode about "staving-in faces and whatnot," untouched by the enemy. At one point she describes a battle with a mounted looter: "I was sure he meant to run - which I certainly will not abide when I'm being paid for heads; wait, am I? I'm not sure he actually mentioned bringing back any trophies... Hmm. I will need to lose some baggage then. Anyway, I thought he meant to flee so I attempted to cripple his mount but he turned to look at me just then and took the hit in his arm. Strangely enough, this caused him to rein the donkey in and give me time to swing again - a blow that nearly missed altogether thanks to my being slow to slow down. That blow convinced the donkey it did not want to continue and the next convinced him that slumping out of the saddle was preferred to continued resistance. I agree that it was." She also makes mention that that very battle was the first in which her company received no serious injuries, though Baheshtur was still out of combat from "riding directly at a tree and wondering about the weapons that sprouted up around him while stopped" during a previous battle.

She had some words of praise for her "fast-learning and increasingly reliable troops" though she also stated that "the newly-instated Evangeline Protocol consists of one simple directive: If I'm coming to kill it, MOVE. This stems from an awkward moment when I crashed Winston into the spear freshly thrust by one of my men into the last looter whilst my saber - thanks Baheshtur! - descended on that looter's skull. Unfortunately Winston was only going fast enough to flip me out of the saddle instead of breaking the spear or knocking them both down.

I rolled with grace that surprised even myself, throwing my shield and saber to each side as I came out of it. Turning, I spied the militiaman at fault inspecting the looter's corpse to see if he had earned my fast-becoming-traditional reward for making the last kill - which he had not - and stormed towards him. A comrade alerted him to my approach and his eyes widened. I remembered this man from that very first battle so he was wise to fear me - and wise to instinctively drop his weapon though he kept the shield. I ripped the club from a soldier's hand and continued my approach, unsure of what I intended to do but thinking it had something to do with making him hurt... I raised the club and warned him with 'shield up!' then took a running step and kicked him square in the abdomen as he blocked his head. Though a grown man and wearing significant armor, he had the good sense to fall over and gasp for breath. I shouted some things I don't rightly remember at him then turned to find I had my first suck-up: a new recruit with my saber and shield in hand while he struggled with Winston's reins. It was adorable and he wasn't wearing a helmet so I might have broken a knuckle punching his lights out."

Sometime soon after the Evangeline Protocol was instated she made a near-fatal misstep, eagerly mistaking a group of 18 mountain bandits for mere looters. She and her 18 soldiers were alerted to this distinction by the war darts and military scythes they suffered through. Unfortunately, Evangeline was possibly the most surprised when, after ending two lives, she took the butt of a dart straight to the chest, knocking her from her Winston and taking a blow to the head from the next passing bandit. Luckily, her troops fought on and won despite grievous loses: 7 killed including her first hobilar, 8 wounded. The loot was apparently good though...  At this point the someday-to-be-queen had had enough of hunting looters and enough money to move on in search of others to join her group but believed in following the contract through - despite the numerous Rhodok armies in the area that were undoubtedly scattering her prey to the winds.

Continuing to scour the area for what could only be 1 or 2 more bands of brigands the company came into battle with a group of forest bandits, quite skilled with their bows. Unfortunately for them, Evangeline held her line just below the crest of a hill. Fortunately for Evangeline they were not smart enough to sense the trap until too late. "Cantering Winston forward from sheer impatience to spring my ambush I found myself over the top of the hill facing a dozen bandits drawing their bows and looking down their arrows directly at me, some even smirking at the pin cushion they would make of me, I think. I kicked poor Winston hard in the sides and ducked behind my shield as we took off, screaming 'get 'em!' or something to that effect. I heard a flight of arrows pass through the air behind me and peeked my head out turning Winston to circle them so as not to provide a steady target growing smaller as I fled but instead continue testing their aim as a laterally moving target. My men swarmed over the hill and plunged blades into the idiotically turned backs of my most recent band of enemies. This is a tactic I must use again and really could have helped with those deliciously well-armed but tough mountain bandits..."

The final band of 3 looters became Evangeline's test to herself to see if she still had what it took. She ordered her men to stay put and rode out herself to fight them. Again, a man on a donkey with a bow was the last one of them standing and standing he was until her "saber caused him to slump across his similarly dead former mount." She expressed relief that the 3 arrows in her shield were not any higher else she'd have "eaten" them instead. It also appears that the lady's investment of time and effort to teach the less experienced of her group paid off as after that battle one young man managed to pass his trial for militiaman.



Author's Notes:
In choosing the narrative style of my AAR I looked around at others and found 3 different approaches: 1st person (the character writing the story), 2nd person (someone writing about the character from their perspective), and 3rd person (a non-entity with no fixed perspective telling the story). I have never been fond of doing the same thing as everyone else so all three of those options by themselves were out. So I combined the first two. Additionally, sometimes I slip into the third as well. Chapter 27 is a good example of that and I knew I couldn't write it any other way so I had to figure out a way to explain how someone, the Historian in this case, would know what Evangeline thought and felt in the dungeons of Dhirim. That explanation is that he extrapolated all of that from the facts and accounts he had on hand. As to the exact time period the Historian lives in, I have left that as nebulous as Evangeline's past because it has not yet had to be addressed.

As for the usefulness of this mixed story-telling method, sometimes I need to brush lightly over large swathes of gameplay and Evangeline's journal being unreadable helps greatly because then I can use the Historian to paraphrase. He also allows me to change the meaning of in-game events like the simple little merchant quest above.

In choosing my companions I first looked at what party skills I needed: Looting, Engineering, tracking, spotting, pathfinding, first aid, wound treatment, surgery, trade, and tactics. Then I looked up who already had them. Jeremus was a shoe-in as the doctor, Borcha to take on the 3 scouting skills, Ymira for her trading and Artimenner as the engineer. I ignored tactics for a while because I didn't understand it but later assigned it to Baheshtur since he was by then a very smart fella. I don't remember how everything sorted itself out but the first 4 listed above got priority and everyone else got sorted out around their likes and dislikes so that my final list included them, Firentis, Rolf, Lezalit (he also got special consideration for being a trainer but that was undue) and Alayan. I didn't pick the rest because of personality conflicts but couldn't write them all off as that so had to come up with some other reasons throughout the story, some better than others. Nizar, for example, could not be included which was fine with me because I never liked him and before I fully understood how companions work I really DID think all the things Evangeline voices above including that he might betray me somehow. Once again, this was when I FIRST met him, before I started Evangeline.

The bit about Basher being sent to the woods to forage was my way of saying I wanted a foraging skill - WHICH I HAVE! Thanks to Floris' Mod pack.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 5
March 30, 1257 - Suno

"Unkind as it may be to say, that ridiculous 'Count Floris' nearly made me break a rib as I fought to contain my laughter! 20,000 denars?! Not likely in this lifetime and all so he can rebuild his 'empire?!' He rattled on and on about stuff and things beyond count or comprehension, most of it certainly made up, and finally asked for a sure FORTUNE I can't even BEGIN to imagine parting with for the assistance of a single man! Let me ask you, how am I to be benefitted by this man using my money to rebuild himself to some supposed former glory? Will he take the money and go off onto great things, returning to hand me my share? Would I accompany him and forget my own new-found capabilities and precious freedoms? And just exactly what kind of superb financial situation would I have to be in to afford 20,000 to a knight in a tavern who claims to be great? Why, I would have to have an 'empire' of my own before I took that plunge! Ha! What a capering loon..."


I cannot help but smile at this passage every single time I read it. Evangeline's reaction to the storied Count Margrave Floris IV is truly priceless as she mocks his word and doubts his truth. The fact is that Count Floris IV should have been known to her prior to that unfortunate meeting where she had been used to being the fierce and capable one, even - as you read above - taking on her own troops who were too scared to fight back. Count Floris IV was a man of nearly singular vision and ability and more playful by far than the vicious battle queen. His influence stretched far and where it struck it did so with potency. Evangeline, still young in the world, couldn't know of such things so of course she mocked the mighty trader-knight.



Author's Notes:
Unkind as it may be of me to say, Evangeline's reaction the added NPC Floris was entirely my own and the description is accurate. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read "20,000 denars" and almost choked I was so shocked. I rattled off the first part of this chapter and then realized that I, Ogrecorps, was being ungrateful to monnikje who created the very mod pack I was enjoying so much and whose AAR contains so much useful information I had immersed myself in to even get to the point where I thought I knew what I was doing and so could START Evangeline. However, the reaction was genuine to her character so I wanted to include it. I thought about it some more and realized the solution of using the Historian to express some of my gratitude and reverence. My distrust of Floris being worth the 20,000 was not helped, however, when monnikje read the chapter and commented in the thread that he awaits "the moment (I) can miss those 20,000 denars." I began to wonder if he had included a practical joke in his mod pack, despite the extreme unlikelihood. Now however, if I could only hire one companion it would be Graaf Floris.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 6
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.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 7
April  4, 1257 - Ichamur

"ANNABELLE HAS TASTED HER FIRST BLOOD. It was sweet, and warm, and she loved it dearly... Two mere bandits attempted to ambush me upon entering Ichamur, a curious greeting to the lands of the Khergits... They were smart enough at least to attack from before and behind and even scored a hit with javelin I believe. I admit I felt serious trepidation when the javelinier ran dry and produced an enormous cleaver to charge at me with. He missed his first swing and luckily for my fragile shield he never got a chance at another. Slicing with my beautiful Annabelle as he stumbled, a mere shift of my wrist found wicked steel sliding through his soft, surprised neck... I think the fact that after I retreated into an alley to get them both ahead of me and his friend did not come back out but only I did should have been enough warning. However, it seems he relied on that giant cleaver as much as I worried about it shattering my shield. Oh, and I found a purse of 100 denars on one and that neither of their hide shirts was any good at cleaning off their own blood; how useless of them.

Incidentally, my next stop was the tavern where I met the woman adventurer most like myself: Klethi; I couldn't imagine anyone else I could immediately take to so much! I liked her, I liked her but I couldn't trust her as far as I could throw her! She was DANGEROUS, and capable and great with a blade but she was a damned thief! I liked her so much but all of  those capabilities are the type that when the issue of theft came up and established itself as a deal-breaker they all added themselves to the list of why she had to be kept far, far away. I couldn't accept her though I wanted to hug her and at the same time knew I'd be exposing my 4th and 5th rib to her, an unacceptable risk. She was a killer and a loon but a dishonest one and therefore unreliable. I paid for her drink out of spiritual kinship then made sure to let her see that I still needed to clean the fresh blood off my dear and lovely Annabelle. The look of her was one of caution. I'm sure she understood that I too can find a heart with my blade and would be watching her carefully whenever next we met."

"An incident with steppe bandits: more blood for Annabelle and the profit of several ponies, one of which I have named Boris and now ride. It is not yet time for Winston to leave us but that may come soon...  Just prior to entering Ichamur Borcha, ugly Borcha informed me of a nearby attack on a group of farmers by a pack of bandits. I didn't feel like rushing out in the night to help just then but emerging from the city with two more deaths on my hands I was completely interested. We cleaned them up easily and the peasants were grateful to us for their lives but I was grateful to them for the scene that greeted the end of the battle: dozens cheering and waving weapons triumphantly in diverse and some brightly colored clothing... I wish had been able to capture the image but my mind slips, even now and image fades...

Back in Ichamur to sell the enemy's bloodied gear I spied a large and lovely heavy saber, the big beastly kind so perfect for smashing/slashing through skulls and leaving that ridiculous surprised and split-down-the-middle look behind. I immediately saw that it was shorter than my beloved but I did consider buying it for one of my irregulars. However, I quickly concluded that they too would carry elite scimitars instead as the range would make up for any lack of battering damage. I also decided that I would not be buying anything subpar. This decision indicated I should be on a long, long path but going to where?

In a flash I saw the freedoms I had to have for myself on that journey and the freedoms I would not allow to be denied those living in burned and as yet unburned villages. That in itself presented itself as a purpose, my purpose: to end the abuses of these wars. Looking to that distant goal was blindingly far so instead I looked to my current state of things: my men, my companions. I had done well so far with my company and would, as my first order of business, continue searching specifically for other talented adventurers to add to my ranks of irregulars. From Ichamur I would head to Tulga and then the Sarranid lands. I would see what advantages, practices, and people all the lands held before choosing my enemies."





Author's Notes:
The truth of Evangeline finding her purpose is that her character was started for a few reasons: I felt I had figured out the ideal combination of creation decisions for my playing style so of course HAD to make a character (female because let's face it, girls are nicer to look at), because I wanted to finally make a go of having my own kingdom with no vassals at all (just for the sake of difficulty), and I wanted to start an AAR. Nowhere in there was why, who, or what she is.

As I considered what equipment I wanted for my character I knew what future I had in mind for her but as I tried to explain my gaming decisions to you readers so you would know what was going on I had to put myself in her mindset and try to come up with reasons. In doing that I realized that she was making a momentous decision by refusing to buy the heavy saber in preference to waiting for elite scimitars. Up until now she has had no purpose, just anger, violence, and a will to survive which meant wandering about looking for trouble with no long-term plan. It was then that it occurred to me that the very same realization I had just made (that this was a longer-term decision than any others she had made) would also occur to her, providing a vital moment of serious consideration about her future when this whole thing started because I wanted to tell you guys about my weapon choices. What was she doing here? Why should she plan so far out and choose so carefully? Because she sure as hell wasn't going to let herself be dominated and go back to the life she had known before we met her. Having taken that step and being unable to ignore the people who had been subdued the way she refused to be ever again, Evangeline saw her whole course in life in front of her - all from considering the lengths on two slicing weapons.

 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 8
April 5, 1257 - April 11, 1257

"Borcha, ugly Borcha... I find myself staring intently at him as he speaks wanting to, to just... SLAP THAT GODDAMN FROWN TO THE BACK OF HIS HEAD! My fingers itch and my eyes twitch when he goes on for too long. I think he sees that and, unknowing of its cause, still manages to wrap up, shut up, and go away."

"Another irregular recruit, Ymira. I will not like her but she will prove useful; these things I know. Another woman, Deshavi, was rejected - sort of. In truth, I hired her from a tavern in Narra - delayed the  trip to Sarranid lands until more money is found - and immediately upon her returning to the group the frown of invaluable Borch, ugly Borcha impossibly deepened and she mirrored it. I could see right away there would be problems so, like Marnid before her I uh, stripped her and sent her back. Amazingly, she reacted just as amicably as Marnid! I got the feeling that were I to ever speak to them again it would be like I had never stripped them of clothing and weapons and kicked them out to the world. Strange folk... Her armor is actually my armor now and Basher gets his own back!"

"I was offered a bounty on Khergit bandit leader and sorely wanted to accept but they are damn fast, it'd be a waste of my word to accept."

"Finally, a battle! I'm not sure how my militiamen felt about fighting 12 of their own kind but they delivered a flawless victory that included completely unforeseen - no pun intended, you'll see - benefits for dealing with Borcha: conical (and comical) helmets with HUGE nose guards! As long as I'm around that man will never take it off except to possibly put on an even more complete helm!"



"A woman named Katrin and a man named Lezalit in a tavern... I hadn't the money to hire him as a trainer and soldier though money was precisely why I had returned to the mountains near Veluca, none too far from my first personal defeat in battle. I remembered those bandits were slow and well-armed and expected to run some down, bring justice upon them, and profit from it. The woman though... I couldn't tell what it was that stopped me... I liked her plenty well and was sure she'd be useful but something deep within me reverberated with misgivings..."

Shortly after leaving Veluca Evangeline's party chased down a medium-sized party of mountain bandits and late in the battle she found herself surrounded by those impressive cleavers she was fortunate enough to face only one of before. This time, however, her personal scimitar was not enough and she again faced what she refers to as 'personal defeat.' However, as can clearly be seen by the passage below, Evangeline did not let that stop her from continuing to raid against the raiders and even added to her personal bias against them.

"'Do you sell it back to them just so I can chase them up in the mountains and bring it back to you again all bloodied?!' I demanded of the merchant. 'I mean, why not just streamline the process? They come here, I kill them, and we split the money they brought!' At the moment the idea left my mouth I thought it actually wasn't half bad but first, wouldn't work more than once and second, I couldn't be sure that just because whoever came dressed, acted, and bought used equipment like a mountain bandit was actually a bandit so ambushing them would be... unfair. I SWEAR I picked up the same cleaver off a dead man 3 times now and sold it to that merchant in Veluca each time... Maybe I should just bury or burn the stuff and then I'd start seeing these little wretches running around with rocks and hatchets instead of the same javelins and military scythes! Bastards! Agh! How I hate them..."

"40 bandits down, 7 manhunters saved (kinda had the tables turned, huh?), and ROAST DUCK FOR EVANGELINE! That last one tried to squirrel away but Annabelle licked his head - and a good thing too! That damned accomplished hobilar was trying to take my duck prize from me! And these merchants! What business do they have running out of money?! That's no business at all, that's BAD business most surely! I mean really, I'm only bringing in all the gear of 40 dead men! Well, all the gear worth bringing which is another spot where my non-existent quartermaster and his attendant smith are failing me. I should really fire them as soon as I find some to hire..."


It is now clear that the reward for the last kill is roast duck, a choice that might have been made whimsically for the victim's apparent failure to, well, duck.
 

MacHyper

Regular
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I'm still learning so my English isn't well enough to understand all but the things I understood are great and i really want more!  :grin:
 

Lord Brutus

Archduke
M&BWB
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How come every time someone says, "Awesome, keep it up," or other words of encouragement, the OP takes two weeks off? Or like Monnikje, two months off? lol
 

killer110

Sergeant Knight
WBWF&SNW
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Lord Brutus said:
How come every time someone says, "Awesome, keep it up," or other words of encouragement, the OP takes two weeks off? Or like Monnikje, two months off? lol
Eva is probably playing the game so she can write and monnikje is working on his mod.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 9
April 12, 1257 - April 13 1257

"What use is a man like that?! Floris ran to hide on the stairs with the rest and just let the drunk ambush me by the door! I walked in and there he is, THE SAME MAN THAT BEAT ME BEFORE! He burbled something offensive and attacked immediately but this time I killed him dead! No favors for leaving me alive last time, I put him down. And where was this mighty Floris? Hiding with the others, not a word of warning nor even the kindness to beat the man away from the FIRST stool by the ONLY door so the next person had to deal with him immediately! ASS!"

"Alayan and Lezalit have joined my party and they are both grating on my nerves while having completely opposing effects on that silly woman Ymira. I swear, if the dramatic aspects of this company do not die down something else just might... Annabelle itches at my leg as she passes - it has been too long since the last enemies felt her smooth and slim tongue, my hand aches to slice her through... not bone or at least not skull-bone but instead... I don't know... I'm thinking I want to cut someone's arm off. Yes, that feels like it would be a satisfying slice-crunch-slice... I want to take someone's limb or limbs. As I write this I am staring off into the distance and slashing my Annabelle around to more thoroughly imagine the feel of separating man from arm. I notice my soldiers are all scrupulously out of range and not looking at me. These wenches of Tihr best be careful, my hand strays easily these days and though a mighty warrior I am not, perfectly capable of severing a woman's hand bearing impolite gestures I am. Basher has taken to getting into rooms before me to clear our troops out so that he receives the scorn and hand signs I might find myself in serious trouble for responding to."

"Bunduk seemed like a fine man and handy in a fight but I can't for the life of me explain why I decided to go on without him... He will likely swing for desertion if he stays drinking in that tavern... A shame it would be."

"Nizar's pride must have stung as I ignored him completely and instead left with a wretchedly unhappy man named Firentis. The man killed his brother and thus when I said 'redemption' he was mine forever more. I shall enjoy using him, able as he is, for my personal defense. Incidentally, outfitting both Firentis and Alayan from my store of weapons, armor, and horses has significantly reduced that store, bringing it to completely reasonable levels! I can't say how many more able folk I will find to add to my irregulars but I foresee the need for one skilled in healing arts at the very least. Ymira has been doing well but I think she should focus on the one skill that no one else has: getting me good prices for my loot!"

"Sargoth is under siege! I was threatened by a firmly held pike when I attempted to view the fighting itself as more than 500 Vaegirs stormed the walls held by a faltering bunch of Nords numbering less than 200. We left the city swiftly and still I craned my neck and stood in the stirrups to view any fighting I could. I was sorely tempted to declare sudden allegiance to the Nords just to take somebody's arm but the soldiers at work there were hard and dangerous men who would think nothing of running me right through. Suffer I would, yes, and die for nothing fore I likely wouldn't have even gotten my arm... I see now that I will also need a man with skills in engineering. To end the abuses of these wars I will need to take towns myself and those walls are a problem..."

"Another heavy saber spotted in a shop and though the impetus for my crusade, I will not wield them. My mind thinks it right but my sword arms feels the length and light razor of Annabelle and cannot be torn away. We are running hard on the heels of these legendary sea raiders I hear so much about. Having dispersed much of the gear I've lugged along this far we are now rolling along quickly, quicker than we've ever been, QUICKER THAN ANY ENEMY NORTH OF THE KHERGIT LANDS! This is the way it is supposed to be."

I have always imagined a feral grin when she ends that statement. The woman was a wolf and her troops were developing into her pack, mounted and armored, a powerful spear striking with the force of a hammer.
 

Ogrecorps

Knight
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Chapter 10
April 14, 1257 - April 17, 1257

"Ymira's puny neck muscles are making it difficult to outfit her with something more than a bunch of padded cloth... AND ROLF! What a laughable yutz! He was almost as funny as Floris but requested only 300 denars so I hired him. I will keep him close to me to see just how long he can stand the fact that no one in my party is every going to call him 'baron' ever again. That should provide some entertainment. "

"Finally into the Sarranid lands! Deshavi did not seem amused as I hired one of her gawkers to the company. When the man said that he could knock down walls my eyes must have lit up for his speech became much more relaxed and assured. We have yet to see if he will mesh with the rest but I am confident I can find uses for him; no one claims engineering skills without at least some fore in this land, at this time, to fail in arts unknown to others brings the simplest of repercussions: violence."


"On our last day in Sarranid lands I discovered two things. Noticing cheap iron in Ahmerrad I spent all of our money on it, unsure of where I would sell it for profit. As it turned out, the next town over took it for a price nice enough that even after paying the week's wages an hour later, I was still ahead over 100 denars. My next discovery was made as I exited a local tavern in Shariz and smelled the strong odor of Nizar; so strong in fact that he had to be extremely, dangerously close. I immediately struck backwards with a small dagger I carried but hit nothing. 'He's quick!' I thought, then 'let's see him dodge THIS!' as I spun to face him, slashing Annabelle through his space. The camel standing there looked very friendly one second then blind, bleeding and screaming the unearthly warble that camels apparently do when in extreme pain the next. This noise brought the camel's owner out of a house nearby in time to see me - much to his horror and fury - finish up my accidental camel murder to stop the beast's pain. He came at me screaming and I thought I would have to take him down but he stopped a pace out of range. Screaming, gesticulating wildly and babbling at an insane rate in a language I didn't understand it became clear that the man was almost as upset as the camel had been.

I was suitably mortified and apologetic. Instead of wasting time trying to explain that I had thought a man was stalking me across the continent and had finally proven my suspicions correct by attempting an ambush, I produced a purse of a few hundred denars and tossed it to the man. Clearly well-versed in dealing with flying bags of money, the man was immediately silenced and deftly caught it, opening it quickly. His expression and body language promptly changed to that of a gracious friend. He pressed his hands together and bowed a few times, happily indicating that I should take my new property.

Apparently I had given him too much, having only intended to pay for the offense, not the camel and everything packed on it. I tried to explain that he could keep the camel and everything it had been carrying - some of which was crushed and smelled sickly sweet, perhaps a kind of fruit or just the natural smell for a recently slaughtered camel - I just needed some of the money back. However, he simply continued backing away, smiling, bowing, and waving my dead camel at me.

Basher arrived with Firentis and Rolf just in time to keep the watch from - I THINK - arresting me for possession of a smelly dead camel right next to the only tavern in town on a busy night. Rolf seemed to have some grasp of their language though from what I could tell he was only pissing the watch off further. I didn't have the money to throw to get them to leave so instead I knelt, splashed both my hands in camel blood, drew them down both sides of my face and screamed the war cry of camel killer.

In the stunned silence I slapped my hands on the chests of the two men standing beside me - Firentis and Rolf I found out later; Rolf was fine with it, Firentis was displeased - and charged, bloody hands held before me like claws. The watchmen were disgusted with my hands-only blood-bath, shocked at my facial blood-bath, horrified at my hand-printing two of my men, and running away before I took 3 steps.

With them gone I instructed Basher and Rolf to search the camel corpse for anything intact and useful -of which they found nothing - then find a butcher to buy the thing. Firentis I nearly had to slap to regain his attention and sent to round up the men so we could leave promptly. Shariz would not soon forget me but I couldn't guess if that would gain me respect or arrest when next in town.