The Tale of Magnus

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Master Knight
Magnus of Haen's father was a veteran warrior, but at first the son did not take up that trade; he was a craftman's apprentice, and worked as a smith. However, he became disillusioned with the craft and eventually developed a rare streak of wanderlust. So, he set out from his native village of Haen in search of adventure.

He set out for the port city of Tihr, but was waylaid by a band of nine men wearing rags and furs, and, in some cases, nothing; he valiantly spurred forth on his horse and fitted a bolt to his crossbow. He retreated to the high banks of a small stream and waited for them to cross; for his father had ever taught him to choose his battlefield. As they approached, he shot a few times and cursed quietly; his skills in the weapon were somewhat less adequate than might be hoped. He shot one man in the belly, however, and the man fell down, bleeding to death and mewing softly; another received a bolt in his right chest, but only cursed and kept on running at Magnus. The latter drew his sword and attempted to kill one with it, but received a blow across the chest with a falchion. His breathing was harsh and the cut was bleeding severely, but he killed another man. Then, as he drew back his sword to attack another, the man's falchion swung forth and slashed his chest again, compounding the earlier wound. He feel unconscious and bleeding from his horse, alive through some miracle.

He escaped a few days later, discovering that his binds were loose and working them off, before grabbing his weapons and money, and jumping back on the horse. He made it to Tihr, barely, where a good doctor volunteered to heal him. He paid the man a few dozen denars - he couldn't spare many more - after he had healed completely, several days later. The wounds had been shallow, despite the falchion's potentially deadly force.

Magnus headed to the marketplace after his recovery, with around one hundred denars to purchase something. He started to realize that almost everything in the shop far exceeded his money-bag's contents, and so sold his hunting crossbow and bolts; but that garnered little more than a dozen more denars. Then he remembered the tools he had brought with him; in the adventuring life, he figured they wouldn't be much use. So he sold them and, to his delight, he got four hundred denars! He went back to the arms merchant to buy back his crossbow and bolts, but their costs had been jacked up ridiculously, the bolts alone costing ten times more than what he had sold them for.

All of the good equipments' costs were exceedingly high, he began to realize. So he said farewell to the doctor, packed his bags, and rode from the gates of the city, the gulls crying above and the surf crashing against the dull gray beach. He travelled South and East, to the city of Sargoth. On his way there, just North of the village Odasan, he saw in the distance the high banners of a noble, and rode to a near rise to see if he might make out what scene was occurring. It seemed that a Nordic lord was battling a party of sea raiders; Magnus saw that the former far outnumbered the latter, and, figuring he had nothing to lose, joined the lord in his battle against the raiders. Anyway, his cousin, Sturni from Fearichen, had been killed by sea raiders the previous autumn.

The battlefield was enshrouded in mist, but he could make out low hills and the occasional tree. He could not quite yet see the raiders, but the Lord's men advanced with him. They formed a long shield wall, with the archers behind, and advanced carefully; Magnus marvelled at the number of them and the uniformity of the black-and-white banners painted onto their shields. The raiders eventually appeared and, to Magnus' surprise, there were only a few of him. All these soldiers to kill but a few sorry raiders seemed overkill, but he would gladly partake in the brutal vengeance that Nords by custom enacted on sea raiders.

One of the raiders received a throwing axe in the neck from one of the Nordic soldiers, and the other was mobbed by the entirety of the Lord's - Lord Dirigun, he remembered - army. He was killed quickly, and then his body was stripped and hung from a tree with its hands and feet removed. To Magnus' surprise, Lord Dirigun confronted him after the battle, and told him that it was good to see him here. Magnus had never met the man, and shrugged, puzzled. He travelled with the army for the rest of the day before leaving a few miles off Sargoth.

When he arrived at the town, it was midnight. The streets were all but abandoned but the merchants were still doing business, so he looked at the armorer's wares. He found a scarlet gambeson which he liked, and bought it; it left him nearly pennyless. One of the soldiers in Dirigun's warband had told him that he had racked up a sizable amount of money by hunting down the local looters with a few friends, so Magnus, emboldened by his participation in the battle and his new armor, went off in search of "looters". He privately suspected that looters might have been the type of folk who had defeated him so easily previously, but the man had made it sound quite easily so Magnus ignored his doubts. Still, he searched for a smaller band of them.

He found no bands of ill-armed men wandering around but one, who had around ten or so members, as best as he could make out from a distance. He quelled his fears and confronted the group. The man said something about a robbery and to give him all his money, but Magnus boldly replied, "I'm not afraid of you lot. Fight me if you dare!" and indeed they did dare, for they outnumbered him severely. The band's leader retreated back to his men, and then they advanced as one; the man hadn't dared fight him alone as Magnus was better armed and armored, and had a horse besides. Still, these dangers made him all the juicier a target for them, for Magnus had seen the want and jealousy in the man's eye as he had challenged him.

The mist still hung in the air, but it was lighter than it had been previously; Magnus could see the low hills in the distance, and the trees that studded the landscape on which his fate would now be determined. He spurred his horse forth and drew his sword, praying to God and to Olo, His true Son, before charging at the band. As he drew nearer he came to realize that this was the same band that had defeated and wounded him previously, recognizing a few of their cruel faces; and, spurred on by his hatred for them, he killed several immediately, swinging his sword in great sweeps as he rode past them. He discovered a tactic that worked quite well, whereby he let his horse run them down slightly so that they were dazed and fallen to the ground, and at the same instant swept his sword back and slashed them as they tried to recover. With this method he killed the entire band, slashing and stabbing incessantly until blood slicked his blade and reddened his sword-hand.

[advanced to level 2]

[Getting back into writing, and I figured writing from my adventures in M&B would both renew my interest in the game [lately I've been playing only the Warband beta] and in writing. So all of this is written straight from a character I just made now; as the events unfolded I would pause, minimize, and write some more, and then continue playing. I've obviously added some bits of characterization and such, but other than that the story is largely unchanged from the actual events. Hope you enjoyed it, more on the way.]



Master Knight
As do I. :smile: Maybe I should also start something like this... haven't been writing for a long time now.


[quote author=Socks]He spurred his horse forth and drew his sword, praying to God and to Olo, His true Son, before charging at the band.[/quote]
Hmm, Wher've I heard that name before...


Sweet.  Originally I started out like that but straight off I realized that it could be more so I started adding.  I have had a good time writing in TW forums.


Master Knight
[Thanks guys.

Yulgar: Yeah, I did pure fictional work in Tales of the Blade last fall [it's still in D&S afaik], but it failed eventually and I lost interest. So I'm starting small.]

Magnus earned some good loot from the skirmish; two falchions, some furry armor, and a few hats. The falchions were in poor repair so Magnus intended to sell them rather than keep them for himself, and the furry armor looked as if it'd provide less protection than his gambeson. He kept a hat, because he had been raised on the cold Nordic coast and had seen men who had lost their ears to frostbite. So he rode towards Sargoth once again, his new loot in his bags and a true victory under his belt. He was undeniably proud; however, his chest ached terribly and it seemed that the wounds left by his first battle had re-opened and were bleeding incessantly. By the time he got to Tihr he could barely ride his horse, but he nevertheless headed to the shops before searching for a doctor. He received a measly thirty-eight denars for his efforts, but he was still happy at his success, and felt little remorse at the deaths of the men. They had, after all, been savage looters who killed men and children and raped women; he was doing good by ridding the world of them.

It was the third of April by the time he was fit to travel again, he having been under the doctor's care for almost a week. The sun dawned bright and clear over the houses and taverns of Sargoth, and he went off to the shops to see if there was anything worthwhile he might buy with his two hundred denars. Finding nothing worthwhile, he continued on his wandering path, traveling along the Old Road by Vayejeg into the Suno Vale to the South. The rolling pastures and gentle slopes were alien to him, although his father had claimed ancestry from the region, which was only slightly to the South of Haen; Magnus' mother was, of course, a true-blooded Nord, her own parents having immigrated from Nordslaand only a few years before birthing her.

On his way down the Old Road he spotted in the distance the armies of two great lords clashing; a Swadian and a Nord, if he was to judge. He didn't get involved in the clash, figuring that the battle could go either way, unlike the previous battle against the sea raiders, and continued past them until he reached a small Swadian castle named Kelredan. It was made out of stone, with wooden hoardings lining the walls and peering down from the main keep. He walked his horse up to the main gate, was barred with a metal portcullis on the outside and iron-framed wooden doors on the inside, and called up to the guards to open it. They peered down at him, conferred for a minute, and then the portcullis grated slightly and was raised; someone inside pulled open the doors. He walked up the sloped courtyard to the keep, where he asked entrance; it was granted, but once inside the hall, he saw that the lord wasn't there. He wondered if the man had been the Swadian who had been battling the Nords on the Old Road.

Magnus left the castle then, not knowing why he had visited it in the first place, for it was still morning and he had a day for travelling. He was not entirely sure where he was going, but he knew that he dreamed of adventurer; of clashing lances and shattered shields, swords arcing through the air and clashing against mail. Of course, that was the area of the knight, who was born from nobility, which Magnus definitely was not. His father, meanwhile, had been a mere footman, wielding his pike, shield, and sword, and deployed most often against cavalry. The man had died of the pox when Magnus had been fifteen, along with half the rest of Haen and several neighboring villages. He had always been somewhat distant to Magnus, showing much more affection towards his wife than his son.

He went to the North-West from Kelredan, and circled around a party of footmen - more looters, he suspected - heading towards the nearby village of Ruluns, which he had visited as a child, with his father, as they had been searching for a new home; Magnus' father hadn't had a house, since he had just retired from his lord's service and, while in service, had just travelled and quartered with the rest of the army. They hadn't really liked the village, and had continued on for a few more villages before finding an acceptable cottage in Haen. Magnus' memories of the time were increasingly blurry, and he couldn't remember much of Ruluns, except that at the time the Swadians and Nords hadn't been warring.

As he rode up to the village, he saw that Ruluns seemed more impoverished than he recalled, but he suspected that that might be a result of the fancies of youth. The village was built of wood and thatch, in the Nord style, and seemed quite poor. A few villagers wandered the streets but most, he suspected, were out tilling the fields. He rode his black mare up to the largest building in the village, a large hall with a curving thatched roof and a projecting square building from the side. Standing in front of the entrance to the hall was a man with a rather sad face, like a mutt, wearing a friar's robe, a cap, and some shoddy wrappings above his shoes. As Magnus approached he turned to face him, and said, "Good day sir, and welcome to Ruluns. I am the elder of this village." The man's tone contradicted his weary-looking countenance, being somewhat bright and chipper. Magnus was caught off guard for a moment, but then replied, "Good day, Elder." As with Kelredan, he wondered why he had come here. His sense of aimlessness bugged him, and he decided that he should establish a purpose.

First off, he decided, he would need some men. He'd be hard pressed to accomplish anything worthwhile on his own, and his close scrapes with parties in the past had led him to believe that force in numbers might help. So, he asked the elder if he had anyone who might want to join his service. The man responded that he could think of five such individuals, but that Magnus would have to pay each of them ten denars. Magnus checked his purse and, affirming that he had around two hundred denars, affirmed that he could afford to spend fifty. He responded to the man, "Tell them to make ready," and gingerly handed him the money. Later that day, as he was leaving, the five recruits walked up to him. None of them had a horse, although he hadn't particularly been expecting them to have any such wealth, and the best weapon among them was a rather battered old pick. A few had scythes as well, which he supposed would make decent makeshift weapons.

Eager to use his newfound numbers, he doubled back and attempted to find the looters he had circumnavigated previously. He found their tracks easily enough, and followed them in a looping route that led him to the area between Kelredan and the village of Nomar. The latter seemed to have a fire or something, as Magnus could see a faint trickle of smoke in the sky to the South, where the village lay. No matter; he had caught up with the looters, and could see them in the distance. From what he could tell, they had seven or eight men, to his six. He readied his men and his horse, and spurred forth, eager to lay waste to the kind that had wounded him previously.

Abruptly the looters reversed and charged, still small specks in the distance. The apparent battlefield was a large, open area, with a few gentle hills and scattered pine trees. Birds sang softly in the distance, and the soft brushing sound of the grass swaying in the wind pervaded the air. The recruits, almost all of whom had somehow acquired heater shields, eagerly rushed forward, and Magnus spurred forth. He told his men to remain at their position while he killed a few of the men; he trusted much more in his horse, armor, and sword, than he did in the recruits' untrained wildness. He feared that if he did not weaken the opposing party, he might lose men.

So he rode his horse forward, riding up the gentle slope of a small hill obscuring the enemy, and, as he was nearing the top of it, the looters appeared at the top of the ridge, just in front of him. He charged, sword drawn back, poised to slash downwards. He cut one of them across the chest, but the man got up again; the next one was killed, and black blood spurted out of the slit in his neck where Magnus' sword had sliced him. He wheeled his horse around and cut down another, but another of the men drew back his falchion and dealt Magnus' horse a raking blow across the flank. The poor beast screamed hideously, but continued onwards as Magnus led it; Magnus, fearing the possibility of his horse being killed and himself being forced to fight on foot against five or so men, shouted back at his men to charge. He dealt another slicing blow at a looter, who parried it rather skillfully with his club; Magnus rode onwards and killed another man.

His men had arrived by now, and one killed a looter quickly with his pick; the same man advanced forward and dealt another mortal blow to another enemy, laying him out across the floor, blood leaking from a tear across his face. There was only one of the enemies left now, wearing furs and with a small green cap similar to the one Magnus had looted previously. Magnus waited behind and let his men mob the poor bastard, who had only a few stones to throw and a knife to defend himself with. One of the recruits knocked the man out with three deft blows with his club, but Magnus didn't take him prisoner as they were low on food and money. He shared out the loot-money with his men, who wanted to go to town to buy better equipment. Magnus obliged them, saying they would head for the nearby Suno, but first we wanted to investigate Nomar, being curious and somewhat apprehensive about the smoke he had seen previously.

His joy at the victory over the looters was suddenly extinguished as he neared the village. The houses were almost all burned down, and corpses lay around, collecting flies. Browning blood stained the earth as flies buzzed around, landing on bodies. A crow landed on a corpse and started pecking at it, and one of the recruits gave out a cry and lobbed a stone at it. It vanished upwards in a flash of dark feathers. Magnus, terribly eager to leave the scene of carnage, bade his men say their respects and then went on his way towards Suno. It would have taken quite a bit of nerves, he thought, to have killed the village so close to Kelredan Castle; perhaps, he thought, those who had done it had done so while the castle's lord was away, as he had been when Magnus had visited the castle. Oh well, he thought. Best not give it too much thought; such things happen in war. Nevertheless, he wondered, shuddering, if it had been a Nord who had done this. Swadia and Nords were at war after all, and were directly next to eachother; and the entire Suno Vale was in a precarious position, with several Nordic castles close by to the North, and Rhodok ones to the West. Magnus decided he would leave the area and its strife as soon as he stopped by Suno.

Once he reached the town, he stole all his loot from the skirmish with the looters, except for a club; once he had more wealth and food, he might use it to take prisoners, and sell them. He wasn't sure who would buy bandit prisoners, but he figured that there must be someone out there. The two men that had participated the most in the conflict and thus rewarded with the most money, meanwhile, bought aketons and spears. Since the sun was starting to set, they decided to stay the night in the town; they left at dawn with a few loaves of bread bought from a local baker.

A few of his men claimed knowledge of the region, and informed him that to the South-West there was a pass through the mountains rimming the South-Eastern side of the Vale; to the West were the Rhodoks. Magnus determined that the party would remain in Swadia for now, and so made for the pass. They passed the village of Elberl, at the spur of the mountains at one side of the pass, but, seeing as it was morning, they continued onwards. The pass did not rise terribly high, and was far below the snowline of the peaks to either side, but was considerably narrow and densely forested. They made it across the pass in good time, reaching the village at the other end, Ehlerdah, by noon. They stopped for a bit at the village and ate some food, but did not tarry and continued onward. The forests did not clear on this side of the pass, although there was a long strip of farmlands between Ehlerdah and Senuzgda Castle. Magnus rode alone a beaten path through the farmlands towards Senuzgda, and, as they traveled heard in the distance a great din. Against his better judgement, Magnus lead his party towards the sound, to the right; and eventually they saw that there was a massive battle being waged in the forests. They saw the banners of many lords, and through the haze and trees noticed the alarming numbers of one of the armies. A thousand at least, Magnus judged, correctly, and the opposing force must have had no more than one hundred. Magnus, his damning curiosity sated, journeyed back towards the strip of farmland.

They were still in the woods when a man wearing hood and leather, and carrying a longbow, called down; "Well, well, look at this! You'd best start coughing up gold, or me and my boys will have ... " his voice became indiscernable, but Magnus nevertheless shouted boldly back, "I'll give you nothing but cold steel, you scum!" The man disappeared, presumably to get the rest of his band, and Magnus prepared for a fight. The country around here was wild and untamed, with large hills and thickets of trees scattered across the landscape, largely obscuring view and making mounted combat more difficult than otherwise. With that in mind Magnus dismounted and walked on foot, with his men.

He assumed that the bandits would have longbows, which would be the death of them, he suspected. However, the two more fortunate of his party had apparently bought crossbows as well as the rest of their new equipment; where they had gotten the money, as the looters had not had much, Magnus did not know. Nevertheless he walked at the head of his party, a clear target, he feared, due to his bright red gambeson.

To his horror, they were set upon from far above; a towering slope was suddenly before them, and longbows snapping arrows forth from its top, the soft clicks of the crossbows answering back occasionally. Magnus feared that the longbows would far overpower the two crossbowmen, as they not only had the superior ground, but outnumbered them and had a higher rate of fire; with that in mind he told the two to sheath their weapons and pull out their shields, and charge with the rest of the men. They advanced as fast as they could up the slope, and the bandits moved down towards them slightly for better shots; and then suddenly, they were on them.

Magnus slashed repeatedly at a man in a jerkin, and was rewarded with two wells of blood opening in the armor; another bandit dealt Magnus a glancing blow with his axe. His gambeson had come in use he suspected, as the blow had not drawn blood. He slashed again and killed the first man, and then immediately thereafter the axeman. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a bowman aiming at him, and whipped the shield around. The arrow flew far to the side anyway, and he rushed the man, sword held high. The bandit pulled out a staff, but Magnus slashed open his face and then stabbed him in the chest, and he crumpled forward, blood spilling onto the ground. In front of him Magnus saw another archer, this one aiming at one of the recruits; the man loosed, and Magnus charged wildly. The archer in front of him turned to aim at him, but another bandit behind Magnus beat him to it - Magnus felt a sharp pain and tremendous pressure his ear, and fell forward, blackness consuming him.

[yeah, the arrow actually went through his ear. I don't know how I would have explained if it went through his face or something :O I guess he'll just have problems hearing things to his left now.]



Master Knight
[gah, I was typing up another chapter but accidentally clicked the 'back' button; when I hit forward again, the entire chapter was gone :/]
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