WARBAND & M&B Pendorian Stories

Deer

Sergeant
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noosers said:
You should have given the lass a name, Deer!

If you´re lucky and curious enough you may find one or two references to a story character posted till now in PoP 2.0. A little something I had to do to award your efforts!
well, i was planning that se would leave her old name behind, with the rest of her past.
But i considered her to be called Rebecca (and i am really bad when it comes to last names).
But if the D'shars are more arab inspired, and not simply normades/middeleast, we should maybe consider a more arabic name.
 

Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar

Master Knight
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The History of the Queen of Pendor

Preface:
The view from the top of the castle tower in Sarleon encompassed quiet land sleeping beyond the river lapping lazily at its banks, its waters cut by the odd leaping fish.  Further on, the moving dots of peasants working their verdant fields in peace bore testimony to the Kingdom’s stability.  Peace, a state once well nigh unthinkable in Pendor, now was the rule, disturbed only by an occasional Vanskerry raid, bandit group or an audacious, overly ambitious Lord.

    “Your Majesty, its hard to believe that it has been more than twenty years now since we united Pendor, isn’t it?”

      “Sir Roland, oops, sorry, Grand Master Roland.  I didn’t hear you approach.  I was just thinking the same thing.  We’ ve grown old, my friend.”

      “Sir Timothy, Sir Rayne and I were discussing our impending old ages over a flagon last night.  It is high time, M’Lady, that you summoned the scribes and dictated an accurate history of our exploits, so that time does not distort our accomplishments once we’re gone.”

    “It will anyway, you know.  Depending upon who is in power, what events transpire, and how future kings wish to aggrandize their own deeds, we’ll either be damned as ruthless conquerors or praised as saints who could do no wrong.  Victors, successors and their scribes write history, not those who did the deeds which made it.”

    “Perhaps.  But we’ve a chance of preserving the truth of what we did, if only you’ll have it written.  Do you know, M’Lady Cygne, despite all the years we’ve known one another and all the tales we’ve told around our campfires, you never said what brought you to Pendor in the first place.  You must start our story there.”

    “Very well, if you insist.  I’m not convinced future generations will give a damn about the ramblings of three knights in their dotages, a fusty physician, an elderly Lord and their old bat of a queen, but I’ll not do this alone.  All of you, every single one of my loyal Companions, shall tell our story with me.  Otherwise, I might steal all the glory and claim you merely accompanied me in my travels!”

    “I’ll order wine, send the scribes to you and summon the others.  This will be thirsty work.  After you, M’Lady.”

Pendor United, as spoken in their own words to Chief Royal Scribe, Ulric and Royal Scribes, Thomas and Raymon by Queen Cygne and her Companions in Sarleon.

My earliest memories are of a tumbledown manor house in the outskirts of Barclay, staffed by my father’s doddering retainers.  Some fine silver goblets, rich tapestries and my father’s rusty armor on its stand contrasted sharply with the rough furnishings of our Hall.  We ate the same fare as our peasants: bread, cheese, game from my father’s hunting and strong ale brewed by Hal, his steward.  Old Mag, Hal’s wife, was forever harping at me to behave like a lady.  I never quite managed it.  She was the only mother I knew, as mine died bearing me.  I was a child of the outdoors, galloping across the fields, hunting with my father, learning bladework from Tomas, his elderly Captain of the Guard.  A grand title, that, for a kind old man with a rusty sword commanding ten peasants armed with bows and cudgels!  Once, when he’d had a bit of Hal’s ale, Tomas told me that he’d been my father’s squire, in the glory days when my father was a Knight of the Dragon, a Pendor Lord’s younger son who’d made a great name for himself in tournaments and battles.  I asked my father to tell me about those days, but he refused to speak of them, saying only that he saw no point in raising the ghosts of a past long dead and buried.

On my thirteenth birthday, my father sent me to Lady Alicia, wife to Sir John of Ferncliff to learn the ways of a court.  She was horrified when I appeared in trews and a boy’s shirt, unkempt hair in a rough braid, and immediately set to work.  As I’d never worn a dress before, I loathed my skirts and tripped constantly until she showed me how to walk in them.  I destested embroidery and my work was patterned more in my blood than with my clumsy stitches.  Then came the dreary sessions with her children’s tutor, learning to write my name, add some numbers and suffer through a few boring books on deportment.  I persevered, and then discovered an old book of knightly tales and legends, written in the bardic style.  “The High Kings” it was called.  It set my path.  I vowed then and there to become a knight like my father had been, to do bold deeds, conquer evil enemies and be famed for my chivalry, sung of by the bards.

When word came of my father’s sudden death, I was devastated.  Sir John broke the news to me that I could not inherit our fief, as only male heirs could succeed their fathers.  Mine had willed his estate to his friend, Sir John, who promised to hold it in trust for me, as dowry when I married, along with a small amount of gold left me by my father and his armor, which he said should go to my first son.  Marriage!  What the devil did I want with a husband?  I’d no intention of settling into a routine of embroidery, court intrigue and endless childbearing, married to some lordly lout who got drunk each night with his men, smelled of his stable and preferred hunting to conversing with me.

In short, I took my gold, donned my father’s armor, and ran away to take ship for Pendor.

    “Hah, you’ve not changed noticeably over the years, wife!  Though I don’t get drunk every night, and rarely smell of the stables, you know.”

      “You know I wasn’t describing you, my heart.  Best give Sir Rayne a thump on the back – he seems to have wine up his nose and he’s choking.”

    “Your Majesty, the Physician Ansen is here at your summons, he says.”

    “Please admit him at once and then you may go.  Ansen, how are you?  Did I pull you away from some ancient scroll, or were you lecturing your students?”

    “The former, M’Lady, but in a good cause, if Sir Roland’s message is true. Please don’t let me interrupt your fascinating narrative.”

Our ship docked in Javiksholm without incident, though we’d had to outrun a Vanskerry longboat on the way.  I still remember my first step onto the wharf.  A voice in the back of my mind said, “The die has been cast.”  I needed sword and horse, so I walked into town to find the weapons maker’s stall.  Midway there, I was stopped in my tracks by yet another voice, a woman’s, proclaiming me a long awaited champion, whose duty it was to fight the evil overwhelming Pendor and unite the land.  Fat chance I’d succeed at that, I thought; assuming I was fool enough to try!

I’d enough gold for a Zweihander and a hunter, with money over; (my Barclay gold coins were worth thrice as much as the Pendor denars) so proceeded to the tavern to hire some men.  Pendor did not seem the sort of place to traipse about in unescorted.  I’d seen the Red-jacket thugs threatening a merchant in the market, demanding “protection money.”  If public goings-on of that sort were allowed, doubtless worse villains lurked in the countryside.  And that, of course, is when I first met you, my husband.  Why not carry on from there for a bit, while I have a sip of wine?

    “I stood in the tavern, a feast for any maiden’s eyes, resplendent in my sapphire and gold armor.  In walked a girl in rusted armor, swaggering as if she owned the place.  She accosted me immediately.”

      “Yes, and you behaved most churlishly to me, then demanded that I repurchase your horse for a vast sum of money, before you’d join my company.”

      “Company!  What company?  All you commanded at that moment was that stubborn hunter of yours that kicked everyone who came near him.  How was I to know you might turn out to be a capable captain some day?  I wasn’t grumpy, I was sad at having to sell my warhorse, Dancer.”

Since I’d nowhere near enough coin to hire Sir Timothy, I turned to the other person standing in the tavern; a runaway rich boy named Ansen.

      “I wasn’t rich at the time, M’Lady.  I had about ten denars to my name, a knife, and the clothes on my back.”

      “At least I didn’t have to pay you a fortune!  And it was your idea that we recruit in the villages and train up our troops, as well as ourselves, in the training grounds.”

My remaining gold just covered a horse for Ansen, a cheap coat of mail and a sword, which initially was more a danger to him than to any enemy.  We bought a bit of bread and cheese and some smoked fish in the market, and set off for Sarleon, because I’d a notion of forming a mercenary cavalry company, and Ansen said the men of Sarleon were fine cavalry material.  En route, we were attacked by bandits, of course, and through sheer good luck overcame them.  Neither of us could use our swords skillfully, but we killed three and stunned five of them.  Their ransoms enabled me to hire the first of my troop, ten naïve peasant lads from Stagheart.  In Avendor, we met Donovan, do you remember how sadistic he was, Ansen?  Still, he knew his business as a trainer, and I was able to curb his inclination to flog the men whenever one of them sneezed.

    “Hah, if one of them so much as coughed, he threatened to hang him, as I recall.”

    “Enough, he was a brave man, for all his cruel ways, and you must admit he was a fine trainer.  Without what he taught you of bladework, you’d have been dead long ago, instead of spending your days sneezing over dusty scrolls and bullying your medical students.  You’ll recall I sacked him later at your insistence.”

    “I learned considerably more of battle from Sir Rayne, ma’am, and in a far more pleasant manner.  I credit him with my battlefield skills, not that bastard Donovan.”

In any event, we soldiered on, honing our skills on the bandits that popped out from behind every bush, then began fighting the Mystmountain Raiders in Ravenstern.  I used every spare denar I could find to hire more men and equip them, as well as recruiting refugees and peasants we rescued.  Once we became a half-decent warband, we tackled the Vanskerry Raiders, and sold the loot we didn’t want for fine sums.  By then, Donovan had left us and Sigismund had joined; though I had to pay a village’s ransom to the inkeeper for his bar tab, before he’d join.

    “M’lady, you’ve accused me of that for years!  The money was not just for drink; it was for food, a room and a bit of a gambling debt.  I was a bargain, at that, for all you complained of the cost.  My armor alone was worth what you paid the innkeep.”

      “You were drunk as a lord, and a surly bastard to boot, and you know it.  I had to put your head under the pump before you could walk straight enough to join my men at the gate.”

      “My advent began your successes, too, don’t forget.  It was at my urging that we first fought and whipped one of those Rogue Knight companies.  You used to avoid them.”

I concede that point to Lord Sigismund of Sinclair Keep.  That battle was a near thing, though, and I valued the men we lost to that fight above the loot we had of them and their ransom money.  Still, a few more battles, and I had a fair sum of money to spend, so I repurchased Sir Timothy’s horse for him and he joined the company.  By then, the Sarleon lads had matured into fine knights, and our cavalry was growing in fame.  We took on larger groups: Heretics, big bands of Vanskerry Raiders, hired more men and equipped them better.  Soon, “Cygne’s Company” were in great demand to escort caravans and Lord’s wives when they travelled.  Thank the gods, we no longer needed the pay for delivering wine or herding cattle from one market to another!  I’m proud that we never raided caravans or villages, poor as we were in the early days.  The villagers grew to trust us because we saved them from bandits and never took a denar for doing it.  I valued recruits above their paltry offerings, anyhow, and they were even poorer than we were. 

      “Your reputation preceeded you, else I’d never have joined your company, however much gold you sent to my Order.”

      “I remember your saying that, my Paladin.  And now you’re Grand Master of the Order of the Dawn in Pendor, so you were wise to join us when you did.  Remember Kaverra?  She stopped by last week, while she was here on business.  She has nine grandchildren now, and is the most prosperous merchant in Windholm.  She’s building yet another warehouse, she says, since her sons can take care of the increased business.”

    “She found time to call me an idiot yet again while she was here, too.  I said it long ago and I say it now, she’s a peasant who never knew her place, for all she was a good soldier.”

    “Still on your high horse after all these years, Sir Rayne?  Admit it, you were just put off by her nickname, and she took advantage of that.  She never threatened to wear your family jewels for earrings, as she told Kassim she’d do if he insulted her again.  That’s why he left us.  He threatened to beat her and cut out her tongue, so I told him he had to go.  On the subject of beatings, I seem to remember your threatening Sara the Fox with one.”

    “She may be the most famous bard in Pendor, M’lady, but the only reason she’s not also the most famous tart in Pendor is due entirely to her age, not her inclinations.”

      “Bah, she’s been respectably married for years now.  Where was I?”

      “The day I joined you?”

      “Right.  That huge band of Heretics would have had us all for sacrifice, had you not arrived when you did, Sir Roland.  I’d never seen anyone fight so skillfully or kill so many men so quickly.  When we spoke after the battle, I did think you a tad pompous, though.”

        “Mea culpa, M’lady.  I was young and on a mission, and thought rather highly of myself, since I’d just been raised to the rank of Paladin.”

      “You were a good man and an amazing fighter, so a bit of pomposity mattered not to me!  Did Sir Rayne join us before or just after our stint as mercenaries to King Ulric?”

      “ I joined you just after that, M’lady.  You hired me with that large reward he gave you for bringing him the head of the Chief of the Red Brotherhood Guild in Sarleon.”

I well remember that fight.  I’m grateful we finally stamped them out.  The bandits, however deplorable they were, had some reason for their banditry.  The Red Brotherhood were nothing but hardened criminals and filthy slavers.  Speaking of slavers, I heard Ramun had died, at the grand old age of ninety-two.  He likely outlasted every slave he sent to the galleys and elsewhere, the old reprobate.  He never forgave me for outlawing slavery in Pendor, though he had more money than any king by the time I made him retire.  He outlived his usefulness to Pendor, since no one has strings of captured prisoners to sell him any more.  I still laugh when I remember all the times I sold Red Brotherhood guildsmen back to their own!  I always enjoyed the looks on their faces when I paraded the prisoners before them.

To be continued.
 

Gordulan

Sergeant
M&BWB
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Here's the beginning of the tale i am writing.

1. The Beginning

Upon a day nearly 30 years ago a D’Shar incursion came deep into Noldor territory where it massacred the rangers who were posted there, only the women survived. One of these women was my mother who was raped by what she told me was a noble. One year later i was born, my name is Cuwen, in noldor it means unclean for i was only half elven and only half as radiant as my peers, i had my father’s eyes my mother told me.

I was taken a distance from by my teachers and peers, not only because I was unable to string a bow, neither was I able fire one as accurately, but my skills with a sword were unmatched, i was able to take on nearly 5 of my peers. After ravenstern sent an exploration force which was decimated by rangers my mother died by a lucky shot from one of their archers. I was not furious, in fact, i was relieved for my mother had taken distance from me ever since i was born, she told me that I reminded her too much of my father.

Having no ties left to my birthplace I left to search for my father. I left with my family's ancient longsword. After hiring myself out to village elders to aid them in their hour of need I was given the most promising piece of information I had ever received, apparently the incursion was lead by none other than the late D’Sharian great Khan and that my eyes reminded the elder of him, making my way to the capital I was horrified to see my father’s head on a pike above the main gate and a sign ”This is the head of the traitor king Saleanor his lust for power dishonoured him, and pray you do not make the same mistake”. The text was made from what looked like coagulated blood.

Climbing onto the wall I ripped off my father’s head from the pike and destroyed the sign into splinters, I broke down and started weeping, i was later shown into the dungeon by two guards. There I met Gordulan, a captain in the Old D’Sharian army under my father, or so he told me. He told me that my father was not a powerhungry maniac who had no limits, but a just and fair ruler.

In the evening I was dragged by two guards into the Khans hall, he saw my father’s eyes and commanded that I was to be slaughtered in a week. On my way back to the dungeon the guards fell dead, i noticed the daggers in their backs, instinctively i drew one of the dead guards swords, when a whisper told me that if he wanted me dead i would have been dead already. He told me to follow him. Having no option but to trust him I kept up with him as well as I could, we came to a halt outside the widow of the tavern and the mysterous man hooted just like an owl to my surprise, the barkeep came out and showed us to the basement doors and opened them.

As we were about to descend into the murky depths of the basement a small sack was placed over my head, obscuring my vision, a voice whispered that it was for my own protection. Darknes swallowed me up. After what felt like an eternity the bag was removed. I was thrown into an empty stone hall, the only decoration there was a sturdy stone pedestal, the only word of the faded lettering on it i was able to perceive was "Qualis". I then noticed a large azure gem the size of my fist, i was confounded that i had not seen it earlier. It was placed upon a highly decorated pillow. When I tried to touch it an arrow whizzed past my eyes, I jumped back. A man with a blue coat and a longbow then came to my attention. Yet again I was confounded, he was standing about 60 feet away and had not hesitated to fire the arrow, I yelled that he could have killed me. He simply introduced hmself as though nothing had happened, his name was Diev Woodensen, i recognised that name from my youth, he was one of the few humans the noldor in my village had respected instead of resented.

**Gordulan's Extra**​

I had awoken in the dungeon, as always, i heard a dragging noise outside and saw the door open, a shackled man was then thrown in. I saw the guards take what looked like a noldor sword, it wouldn's surprise me if the guards would put it on the black market, corruption had done much to this town, then my mind started working again. A Noldor here?! Impossible! They keep to their own in their woodlands resenting humans mostly. I had not seen a Noldor man's face before. But a woman's face i had seen. The late khan wished to take one as wife, but was ambushed on his search, I was there with him. We managed to fight them until we had slaughtered almost all of them, strange that only women were part of the assault force. all but one fled, the one that was there was radiant, the kahn had his way with her later that night. I can understand why she stayed behing while her companions fled, it was as though these Noldor could read minds. the khan was satisfied if he got one, so if all ran hey would be hunted down again, most of them would be killed. In the morning the woman had dissapeared, we made our way back and Khan Saleanor was greeted with a dagger in the back, all who abandoned him after that incident were spread out to guard different villages, some were sent to be bodyguards. But there were ten who would not bow down to the "new" khan. I was one of them.

***************************************************************************************​

2. The Revelation


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________​

Some feedbacks would be nice :grin:
 

Rilder

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBNW
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saxondragon said:
Nicely done... :smile:  The fish Knight.  Great concept.

Saxondraogn
Heh I see that Fish Knight story got a reference to in a rumor .
 

SXIII

Knight
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Nice. Keep the story alive Gordulan.

I found an inconsistency in your story. In the first chapter you wrote "...it massacred the rangers who were posted there, only the women survived...", but in second chapter you wrote "...We managed to fight them until we had slaughtered almost all of them, strange that only women were part of the assault force. all but one fled, the one that was there was radiant..."
 

Gordulan

Sergeant
M&BWB
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mhm, i never said that there were men in the company in the first chapter, did I now. And besides, Cuwen was not alive at that time, and gordulan was, so the society cuwen grew up in had an influence on him, wouldn't you teach your citizens that humans were ruthless if you were a resentful elf??  :razz:
I'm trying to follow two paths, the old captain, most of whose story will be in memories and his observations and cuwen's.

P.S.: that is all the first chapter, i even added the second chapter's title under the extra.
 

Misguided

Sergeant
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Not sure why I didn't put this here before... oh well.

My Pendorian story.  There will be more to it I am sure.

------------
Aftermath
------------

And then they were gone.

An eerie silence descended on the village; a deceiving peace mirrored in the breathless stare of a gut-shot child, too confused to realize she is dying. Even the fires seemed to burn quietly, the smoldering remains of the houses of her neighbors. Each was a pyre, a pathetic monument to the memory of those so easily forgotten.

A breeze blew through the smoking ruins, gentle fingers of wind brushing strands of hair across the eyes of the dying girl. It carried the smoke and the sickly-sweet charnel stench of burning families. In the wake of its passage, the calm was shattered by the crashing fall of the burning longhouse. The girl’s head jerked up as she awoke to her pain, and the roar of the renewed fire was punctuated by her high, heartbreaking keen.




“Filiadh, I think this one is alive.”

The rebel lord stalked over to where his surgeon was picking through the razed village in a search for survivors that had, until that moment, been in vain. When he got there he could not, for a moment, see whatever had caught Ansen’s attention. Then a tiny, soot-blackened arm separated itself from the muddy ruin that had been the foundation of a home, and he saw that what had looked like just another lump of blood and grime was in fact the body of a child, a black-fletched arrow jutting angrily from an ugly wound in its belly.

“My god,” said Ansen. “It’s a little girl.”

Filiadh looked down at the weakly moving child and watched her eyes, shockingly blue in her mud covered face, flutter as pain and fear glazed them into incomprehension. “Can you save her?” he asked.

“I don’t know, m’Lord. She’s been wounded in the stomach. Hurts like this are difficult to heal.”

“Try.”

“If you say so sir. Don’t get your hopes up, though. She’s strong, or she wouldn’t have survived the last three hours, but I’ve seen grown men die of lesser wounds.” The surgeon shook his head before calling two men over to aid him.

“Ansen,” said the haggard lord, “This was my village. My people. Mine!” He shook his balding head, and resumed in a quiet, almost subdued voice, “And so is the responsibility. I owe a debt to these dead, and the only person left alive to receive payment is that little girl. I want her to live.”

The surgeon nodded, but resignation tightened his lips as he bent to his work. Filiadh placed a hand on his shoulder. “Tell me, Ansen. Those men who died of lesser wounds… were they tended by you?”

Ansen looked up with a smile that was almost natural. “No, m’Lord. No they were not.” He took a deep breath. “I’ll do my best.”

Filiadh nodded, gave his friend’s shoulder a tired squeeze, and turned to survey the wreckage that had once been a thriving community.

His eyes hardened. Bandits he understood. In fact, many used the term to describe his own men, now that he had rebelled against the grasping weakling in Ravenstern and taken these lands for his own. He knew the hardscrabble life that could lead men to kill. He had lived that life. But this? This was the work of no bandit. Two bodies had been found in the wreckage which did not belong to men of the village. Both wore livery, and the story it told chilled the old warrior’s blood.

His village had been sacked, its people brutally raped and murdered… and it had been done by a lord of Sarleon.
 

Misguided

Sergeant
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Probably because I already posted it. :grin:

I just didn't put it in this thread, which was silly of me.

(It is also on the wiki under Lore/Tales from Pendor.)

Hope ya liked it, even if you'd seen it before....  :wink:

:mrgreen:

-Misguided
 

Trokia

Regular
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There should be a writing contest, I love reading these and I want more. Greedy I know but I think it would be good.

Prize wise, hmm maybe a unique avatar or banner. Something like that, or it could be polled and entered into a
Pendor hall of fame type thing.

Just a thought what do you think?
 

Misguided

Sergeant
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Its a good idea, Troika.  So good, we already did it!! :grin:

Eyegrim, the Three Seers, Boris the Raven, Alaric von Bruhaha, Sir Timothy, Sir Roland, Sigismund....

All of them are in the game because people in the community submitted (A TON) of stories, and the best ones got their hero/villain/etc. in the game :grin:

-Misguided
 

Trokia

Regular
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Really, thats cool, beats my prize ideas hands down.

Actually is there any "official" hmm backgorund/history text thats available to read
 

Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar

Master Knight
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I'm working on one now, but have only posted in installments as I don't want to throw out a bunch of spoilers too early.  It is from the viewpoint of my character looking back after winning the game.  I keep having to put it away and work on Pendor instead, so it has gone slower than I though it would.
Have you checked out the link to LittleMikey's wiki?  It is somewhere in the Pendor Forum.  He is still working on that.  Also, how about you contribute your own story?  Everybody is greedy for more stories!

Sir Roland was my baby, modelled after the Templars, named, of course, for the protagonist in Song of Roland.

Did you read SD's story at the beginning of the Forum?
 

Trokia

Regular
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Yeah I'm working on a story I have to write with a pen first tho just a little thing I have,
an yeah I've seen the wiki been sort of helping him with it thats why I have loads of questions
about the names of areas, meaning of names/titles etc just to help flesh out parts that have been started.



Thanks I had missed that, how with it as big as it is I'll never know...
 

Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar

Master Knight
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The D'Shar Territories are modelled after Afghanistan and the Tribal Territories with overtones of the North West Frontier Province.  The Lords' names are a blend of Persian and Afghan, and some of the titles are Turkish.  All the towns and villages are named for real ones in that area.  SD let me rename all of them and also redesign the Lord's face codes so that they look like Afghans and Persians.  Their god comes from Persian mythology as does the god of the Jatu.  The raider tribes are named for real Afghan tribes.  Sysyphe made the tribal yurts.  Kassim, the D'Shar npc is a fairly typical frontier tribal, in his speech and behavior towards women.  The rumors about blood feuds, people getting killed at weddings, etc. are all true stories from my own experience.

The Empire is loosely taken from the Roman model, as are the Lords' titles, Marius Imperator, Justus Dux, etc.  They really should have two names and their title appended at the end, but that got a bit unwieldy.

The Fierdsvain Lords and Vanskerries are obviously Norse.  SD outdid himself on names there, I think - Inar Hairybreeks, Jarl Gunar Goldtooth, etc.

My next story installment will talk about the Pendor pantheon and what the gods are and do.  They are a total mishmash of Roman, Greek, Persian, Zorastrian, Inuit, God knows what-all.  I gave Mikey the god listing for his wiki.
 

Ares

Grandmaster Knight
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I'm working on one myself, though having a D'shar princess who now rules most of Ravenstern is giving me some trouble. Even the best laid plans wander off if you don't watch them. I really enjoyed part 1 of your story Fawzia, I was wondering when the next was due.
Keep guarding that custard,
                                        J.
 

Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar

Master Knight
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Ares said:
I'm working on one myself, though having a D'shar princess who now rules most of Ravenstern is giving me some trouble. Even the best laid plans wander off if you don't watch them. I really enjoyed part 1 of your story Fawzia, I was wondering when the next was due.
Keep guarding that custard,
                                        J.
There was an Afghan queen who co-ruled Herat, who is still revered today for her patronage of the arts, education of girls, architectural skill.  She imported painters and poets from Persia and all over the Middle East, scribes and writers from India, etc.  You might want to model your D'Shar princess after her in your story. 

I have played D'Shar many times with a female protagonist, especially during the Beta stages when I was bug chasing D'Shar faces and talk.  I usually started with the Fierdsvain, for infantry, then took Ravenstern, then moved on to the D'Shar Territories.  Since in POP you don't have to conquer all the factions, I stayed on terms with the Empire so as to recruit Legionnaires and crossbowmen there.  You can win POP as a D'Shar!
 

Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar

Master Knight
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Continuation:  History of the Queen of Pendor

I’m also pleased the Sailors’ Guild has replaced the galley slaves.  Those new sails they make in the Fierdsvain are a great boon to the Pendor navy and our merchant captains. They hardly need oarsmen any more, unless they are becalmed.   

My chief memories of those years are of being cold, wet and frequently hungry.  And tired;  I was always so tired. Our old wounds ached, as they do to this day and our new ones throbbed painfully, despite Ansen’s ministrations.  We sweltered in our armor in summer, froze in it in winter and sloshed in it when it rained. Our campsites were always either too hot or cold, the ground soggy or hard, the smelly inns and the Lords’ halls were ever chilly and damp. I used to wonder if I’d ever be comfortable again.  Not that we’d much money for inns in those days; we only stayed under roof when we had wounded in need of shelter.  I never grew accustomed to the miasma of blood, old sweat, and horse dung which enveloped us.  When we did stay at an inn, I danced at the prospect of a bucket of hot water and some privacy to wash.  I hated merely tossing cold stream water on my face and neglecting the rest!  I loathed my greasy hair, hanging in a limp, stringy braid.  Most of all, I detested the smell of old blood on my armor, my face, my horse! 

    “You almost started a mutiny, that time you ordered all the men to wash in a stream.  They kept their armor, horses and weapons in good order, which is all they considered important.  I doubt most of them had ever bathed in their lives before that day.”

    “Yes, and you were amongst the mutineers, until you discovered how pleasant it was to actually be clean all over, weren’t you, Sigismund?  Only Ansen appreciated cleanliness back then.  I gave up nagging the men about it very quickly.”

    “A good thing or they would have deserted in droves.  And I’d have been amongst the deserters!”

In our early years, gold was short and food shorter, though I tried never to let the men go hungry.  My Companions and I went without on many occasions, so that the men might eat at least a little something.  Some of the troopers were good hunters, which helped out considerably.  I well remember the time Sir Rayne came off his horse, trying to spear a rabbit with his lance!

    “I knew you’d not be able to resist telling that story.  At least add that I succeeded in killing the hare!  You gobbled up your share of the stew we made of it, too.”

    “Hah, that was nothing compared to Sir Roland’s lance work with the deer!”

We traveled incessantly, fighting virtually every day, sometimes twice and more.  Some of the big battles took days.  We charged again and again, against waves of enemies determined to overwhelm us.  Sometimes I still hear death cries in my dreams, along with the clash and clang of swords on armor, the whoosh of arrows that missed and the thunk of those which found their targets, the screams of wounded horses and men.  By then, mad Madigan’s prophecy had been retold throughout the length and breadth of Pendor, and even some of my own men believed us to be the heroes who would fulfill the Prophecy.

I did not.  I still held the opinion that only a fool or a madman would attempt to unite Pendor.  I hoped someday to take a castle with a village attached, to guard our borders, keep the peasants safe and let the men marry and settle there.  I wished for a small quiet corner of Pendor, ignored by the warring factions and squabbling Lords.  You need not tell me how silly a dream that was.  Even then, I knew in my heart that it was no more than a pretty fantasy.

Bandits, outlaws and the Red Brotherhood were everywhere in Pendor. My elimination of the root causes of banditry has certainly prevented most of the peasants from taking up robbery as a career.  Now their farms are secure, their taxes more reasonable, and the villages prosper.  No one steals their harvests or burns their fields.  We allow them to hunt in the Royal Preserves, and no sheriff hangs them and confiscates their land for poaching.  Bonded labor is outlawed.  I credit two things primarily for the lack of bandits in Pendor today: abolition of Jus Primae Noctis and the fact that those who take up banditry are hanged instantly and very publicly.  Sir Timothy objected when I erected gallows outside each village gate, but it worked!  Some of the Lords complain that I took away their “rights,” but they keep to our law, particularly since I ordered Lord Andre executed for defying it!  His bones still dangle from the gallows outside Talon Castle as a reminder to his fellow lords that they, too, are fully subject to punishment for lawbreaking.

The Snake Cult was threatening to overcome the Empire, which was also beset with Rogue Knights.  The very name of Azi Dahaka makes me shiver to this day.  I hate snakes!  Her priestesses were walking death; even their breath could kill, not to mention their javelins.  “Kiss the priestess and taste her divinity,” indeed.  Hah!  I’d sooner kiss the backside of an Anaconda Knight!  Which, I confess, at the height of some of those battles I sometimes feared we’d end doing!  The Cobra Warriors and Anaconda Knights were formidable foes and even their Cultist rabble fought well.  We all bear scars from those glaives they carried.  The loot was certainly good, though, and Red Eye, my Netherworld charger was a fine steed. The gold from our loot and Red Eye were the only good anyone ever had of the Snakes, I’d wager.  I thank Astraea and all the Pendor gods that we triumphed over them and rid the Empire of their foul influence once and for all.  They’ll take no more girl babes from the Empire to feed on snake venom until their minds are warped with evil.  May the gods grant they never return!  Though the Snake Cult no longer invades Pendor, they yet lurk in the old Empire, and we must maintain our vigilance against them.  Perhaps one day, I will lead our forces there to end them forever at their source.  Though she gave a qualis gem for ransom, I regret allowing Maltise to go free.  She is still out there, I'm sure and still a threat to us.

The Heretics terrorized Sarleon and the Fierdsvain as well as venturing into Ravenstern.  They recruited Sir Timothy’s Grand Master and with his traitorous assistance destroyed the Fortress of Snows in the hills above Poinsbruk.  In Erida’s name, they raised that massive army and she sent them demon warriors.  No King was brave enough to challenge them.  We had to do it.  Gods, what losses we took!  I truly thought we were going to lose that battle, though we began with a force nearly equal to theirs.  Eyegrim and his undead army were as revolting as they were lethal!  I still consider the battles we fought with the Heretic Army and the Dread Legion amongst the diciest of all our battles. They and their horses resembled pincushions, so stuck with arrows they were.  Yet they continued killing us and more kept coming.  Those axes they bore were fearsome.  I was four times carried off the field during the battle with Eyegrim, and all of us were badly wounded by the end.  We finally triumphed, but I still count the cost in men’s lives excessively high.

Ravenstern was also plagued with the Mystmountain Raiders and the Jatu near Poinsbruk.  Between Wulfbode the Slayer and the Mystmountain Army, they were in a sad way, and Vejovis’ meddling made the situation even worse. 

    “Much as it galls me to say kind words of Andonja, the fact that she and her Catsclaw Clan joined us in the battle against that army of 800 Mystmountain Raiders was part of the reason we won that day.  I was surprised by her loyalty to you, since she’d left the year before to return to her clan.  She paid for that loyalty dearly, as the Mystmountains cast out her entire clan for her deed.”

    “Ah, Timothy, you just disliked her looting methods, because they offended your knightly sensibilities.  You cannot call her ‘uncivilized’ any more, at least.  She is quite the lady of the manor, now she’s married to Sardan.  I heard she rules him, as well as her settled clan, quite strictly now that they all occupy his fief in Ravenstern.  Without her at his side, I don’t know if he could ever have reclaimed his lands.”

To this day, Diev Wodensen maintains that UllrVetr manifested as his bow during our battle with Wulfbode.  Do you all remember that enormous mountain cat which fought beside Wulfbode?  If it was indeed Vejovis, we finished him, and he’ll yowl for the Mystmountain shamans no more.  Diev took out that cat with one shot from his “godly” bow, and the remainder of Wulfbode’s army fled back to their mountains.  He well deserves his position as Mayor of Rane for that one act alone, though I’ve had yet another complaint from the richer merchants there that he taxes them too heavily and the lower classes not at all.  Diev is also feuding with Governor Gregory again, and doubtless I’ll have to intervene.  Did you know that Gregory proposed marriage to me after we conquered Ravenstern?  I declined the honor, as I did not desire a husband who preferred his pageboys to women!

Certainly, every archer in Pendor claims UllrVetr as patron and guardian.  Now that we allow the Mystmountain clans to trade in Ravenstern, they raid no longer (or not much anyway) and some have even married villagers there and taken up trading in furs.  I misdoubt they’ll ever make farmers, though. The Mystmountain clans were vicious fighters, for all they were never well-armed or mounted.  I enlisted some of those we captured, and they were excellent in defense of Laria, side by side with the Vanskerry Raiders I’d recruited, that time we were under siege from King Ulric and half of Sarleon.

Koningur Valdis and the Fierdsvain lords were trying to fend off increasing Vanskerry raids led by marauding Jarls who claimed their land by  right of axe-law, since they’d conquered the Fierdsvain and settled there, marrying into the noble families who once held sway.  The Vankserries considered their settled cousins’ lands to be fruit ripe for the picking and their cousins soft and luxury-loving.  If a Fierdsvain Huscarl is soft, I’d like to know what the Vanskerries consider hard!  I owe a debt to Kodan Ironsword for my understanding of the Vanskerry Raiders.  We all thought they raided for gold and just the fun of it, and never guessed that if they did not raid, their families did not eat!  Now that we let them sell their weapons in the Fierdsvain, they make a good living that way, and can buy their provisions instead of raiding for them.  It worries me a trifle that so many of them are migrating here to settle, but perhaps they will follow their cousins’ example and not cause too much strife in the Fierdsvain.  So long as they behave themselves, I don’t have the heart to forbid them a home here. There are new shrines in the Fierdsvain now to Vankserry gods, both Saxon Dragon, god of their axes, and Haf Sigla who sends winds to their sails.  Supposedly, his winds always blew in the direction of Pendor, so they came here to raid. Some of the shrines sit side by side with Thallo Ver Shures’ shrines.  The Fierdsvain farmers still claim she walks their fields in springtime.  The young Vanskerries have turned out to be fine soldiers in the Pendor army, and Governor Valdis swears he can keep things under control.

    “That is, until they start drinking.  They’re as bad as ever Kodan’s lot was when they’re drunk.  Some of them tore up the Valonbray tavern last month, and the innkeeper swears he’ll ban all Vanskerries from his premises forever, if it happens again.”

    “You are their general, Sir Rayne.  Speak to your captains about instilling better discipline; dock their pay, but don’t complain about their behavior to me.  The innkeeper presented an extortionate bill for the damage to me, and I paid it – from the army funds, I’ll have you know!”

    “I’d mix them in with our other units, if they weren’t more effective fighters grouped together.  Perhaps it is time to scatter them throughout the army.  I’ll consider doing that.”

The Jatu were at war with everyone in Pendor, under Warlord Zulkar and K’Juda, called “the Ravager” for his torture of prisoners and foul temper.  They particularly had it in for the Noldor, though they despised everyone else more or less equally.  K’Juda’s hatred for the Noldor, as I remember, bordered on the obsessive.  He mounted Noldor heads on poles outside his tent, and it was rumored that he had a veritable forest of them.  Beating Warlord Zulkar was hard, but he fought like an honorable general, and kept his word to me to retire and battle no more.  He has proved a valuable addition to the Pendor Council, as well.  He is very wise in the ways of warfare, and certainly keeps the Jatu from causing much trouble. 

Indirectly, thanks to Warlord Zulkar, we gained our first toehold in Pendor, don’t forget.  After we rescued the Bahadur Khan from him, Kadan gifted me the fief of Yasin, in the D’Shar Territories.  Overseeing D’Shar tribals was like herding cats, but we got them into line eventually, as Yasin grew in prosperity under my stewardship.  Their headman was furious that I insisted the girls must attend the school I had built, along with all the boys.  Luckily, his replacement showed more wisdom.  I have always held that an educated mother produces healthier, more intelligent children, and that argument finally won the day.

When the D’Shar weren’t at one another’s throats with their tiresome blood feuds, they were fighting D’Shar Outlaw Raiders, Sheik Shalavan, Buriligi of the Desert and all their neighbors. Still, Governor Kadan has done well at keeping the D’Shar more or less quiet, if not entirely peaceful, and Xerxes is a fine judge.  I don’t think anyone could completely cure the tribes of their habit of feuding amongst themselves.  I still have that lovely Singalian Temptress armor I took as loot after our battle with Buriligi’s followers.  I can still get into it, too.  Damn, but those Omen Seekers could fight!  I’d swear their battle skills exceeded those of their men, and all of them were amazing riders.  Shalavan was nothing but a jumped-up bandit, for all he named himself a sheik.  Still, those Outlaw Raiders of his put up a fair fight.  He’s another I don’t regret killing.  Buriligi finally died foaming at the mouth in a fit of madness in the Torbah dungeon, still swearing to eradicate all he deemed unclean, whatever that was.  He never made any sense when he preached, but I understand he was entertaining to watch when he raved

At least Governor Marius keeps the peace with the D’Shar, though I doubt either side will ever forgive the other for their mutual atrocities.  The Legionnaires still harbor a deep distrust of the D’Shar to this day, though most of the ones who fought against them have long since retired.  I think Marius and the Empire stay loyal mainly because we destroyed the Snake Cult for them.  You now have the harvest festivals you so wistfully described to me many years ago, Sir Roland, with Damia’s altar heaped in harvest fruits, and music and dancing in town squares throughout the Empire at Festival time.  With Damia Provideo the reigning goddess of the Empire, things certainly are better there now!

The Adventuring Companies caused trouble with their treasure hunting and intemperate greed, raiding caravans as well as battling one another, us and the Rogue Knights. I actually liked Meregan Kierlic and Kodan Ironsword then, as I do today, though we had to fight them in the end for the sake of peace in Pendor.  Kodan’s lads still patrol the coast and keep off the Vankskerry raiders and Meregan’s aid proved invaluable in eliminating the Red Brotherhood and the Rogue Knights.  I’m glad they came over to our side eventually, but it was certainly a struggle to persuade them to throw in their fortunes with ours.  Both were as stubborn as mules and remain so.  I had hoped they might mellow with age . . .

The Rogue Knights were a threat to all Pendor – Boris the Raven, Syla Uszas, Oswald de Fleur.  Those three were appalling foes, particularly Boris.  I was twice carried off the field in that battle and Boris broke my collarbone that day with just one blow from his morningstar. I’ve no liking for killing captured prisoners, but those three merited it.  I don’t regret killing them in the least. It was all I could do to refrain from ordering Syla Uzas publicly drawn and quartered or boiled in oil.  He deserved far worse than the swift death I gave him.  His very existence was an affront to the gods and all humanity, foul sociopath that he was.  Oswald de Fleur was not quite as evil, but he richly merited death as well, for the misery he caused.  The rest of the Rogue Knights were just well-born outlaws, or foreigners come to batten upon Pendor’s misery, and were not much trouble to deal with once our war band had some size to it.

Then, of course, there was Alaric von Brouhaha, the Rabble Lord.  I don’t regret granting him his life in exchange for his promise to retire and cease rabble rousing.  He was an amusing villain. I understand he requested on his deathbed that he be buried in a cask with a mug of ale in each hand. Sara the Fox wrote a funny ballad about him, of how he once found and unstopped a bottle with a magical creature inside.  As per her song, the genie offered him two wishes, anything he desired, in return for freedom.  Alaric wished for a mug of ale which never emptied, no matter how much he drank from it.  When the genie asked him what he’d like for his second wish, he asked for another mug of ale exactly like the first!  Certainly, none of our other foes invited us to drink with them before we fought!

    “Enough, it’s late and I weary of talking.  Scribes, you are dismissed.  You gentlemen may linger to finish off the wine, but I am going to bed.”
TBC
 

Trokia

Regular
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The weary warrior - Shimers of a new dawn.

Echilon waited for death. He had been waiting for many years; death always but not quite within his grasp. Instead of chasing it, he waited for it to catch up to him.
His journey had taken him across all the lands of Pendor, his every step slowly becoming heavier than the last. The heat of the southern deserts had taken his strength, the western waters had drained his ability, the eastern forests had worn at his mind.
The final part of his self would be taken away by the frozen north of the cloudmist mountains. Echilon waited for death to take away his soul.
The tightly packed snow crackled as his great sword Trojis drove deep into the ground. A soft grunt came from her wielder as the blade struck down deeply. Echilon looked about his surroundings, releasing another frozen sigh.
He spoke to himself, his gruff old voice grating from scars and years of drinking.

  "Good a place as any"

Mist hung over the mountain but his keen old eyes could still make out the village of Shapeshte a ways to the south. He reflected for a moment on the woman he had met there and the kindness she had shown by letting him sleep in her barn for the night.
One memory of kindness layered upon a thousand of pain and suffering. In another life he would have come to the village a conqueror, tyrant or saviour. It didn't matter any more; the separation between good and evil had long been blurred in Echilon's mind.
He shook away thoughts of war and moved towards his sword. He leaned heavily upon Trojis and she bent slightly under his weight as he sank to his knees. The sound of the crunching snow echoed slightly over the mountains; he had not noticed the silence before.
Echilon sensed death's approach.

The air no longer moved as it had, the soft scratches of frost stopped nipping at his cheeks. His hands no longer tensed, the steady steam of his breath no longer gracefully wafted towards the morning sky.
Echilon was one with winter, as frozen and unmovable as the mountains around him. This was the moment he had been waiting for all those long years. He could yet feel the fire within him, a part of himself that refused to surrender to weakness and self pity.

  "Come on old man, not here," his soul, his strongest ally, fought for life, full of passion, zeal, pulsating with power.
  "Too far" he thought, "Too many lives taken, too many dead friends," His train of thought was momentarily interrupted by a sound upon the wind. No, it was nothing.
  "And Anja, poor sweet Anj..." there again, for a time he sat still concentrating, blocking out all other noise, all thought, waiting for the discernable sound of...
  "Help me please, someone!" came a woman's voice clear as the snow beneath him, followed by the unmistakable excited howling of mountain men.

His soul ignited and spoke once more.
  "Come, Echilon Adamas son of Lowen, put away your doubts, redemption is waiting for you. Take up your sword and become the man you once were." The cold was returning.
  "What if I fail her, what if she dies?" he asked himself.
  "She will die if you take no action. She will have a chance if you try." Echilon's face twitched at the touch of frost upon his nose.
  "I...I will try, Anja, for you I will try" With no more thought he opened his eyes, the brilliance of dawn sat before him.
  "Hmm, how apt" he smiled to himself as he stood up stiffly.

A hand clasped around the leather grip of Trojis, he could feel her warmth once more. As the fire had returned to him so had it to the sword.

Echilon rushed past the wind, whipping it with Trojis, mocking the slippery mountains with his balance and pace upon the untrodden snow. It had taken a lifetime to lose his skills and a moment to regain them.
He could sense tension in the air, he could feel the fear of the woman he ran to aid.
Countless times he had lived these moments, in countless different ways, yet something felt unfamiliar.
A unique awareness swept through his mind. Echilon was rushing to his destiny -  one last charge of the bloodline of Adamas, Scourge of Torbah, Champion of Rane, Harbinger of Sarleon. So many names for the many sides of one man.
He cast away all thoughts and slowed his pace, as his prey became visible through the mourning mist.

He stooped behind a rock to reconnoiter for a moment; there were eleven men, seemingly lightly armored in chain mail under woolen hides. The women was out of sight, but he could hear her.
Despite his battlefield cruelties, he had never harmed the defenceless. He remembered an old friend's motto:

  "Fists for pride, weapons for war. Defend your pride and kill for war."
  "Silly old bastard, whats that got to do with it" he muttered to himself placing Trojis onto the snow. She sank softly, bathing in the cold as a shimmer of blue rippled like water across the blade.

As the morning mist became heavier, Echilon dug up a handful of the snow surrounding the rock he had hidden behind, and made a small pile. With a small hunting knife, he chipped away at the boulder as quietly as possible, gathering small shards of rock.
Packing the rock and snow together, he mustered up five balls. The men were laughing now and his suspicions were correct. Peeking around the rock, Echilon saw that another mountain man had appeared, larger than the others, clearly the leader in his armor and furs.
Echilon crushed the snow in his fist as tightly as he could. He slowly rose, assessing the situation prior to attacking. His experienced eyes automatically registered the men's positions, their individual sizes, as he chose which to aim at first.
He picked a target, arched back his arm and let fly the first ball, quickly followed by another.

The first snowball skimmed past a tree branch and exploded onto the head of a mountain man, he turned confused, one hand rubbing the back of his head.
The others looked confused and some were suppressing laughter. As the first man looked upward, another ball crashed into his face; he screamed more in shock than pain
and quickly wiped away the snow as howls of laughter came from around him. As the man lowered his hands he saw the blood upon them.

"Attack!" he shouted as another ball hit a comrade on his right, blood and snow billowing into the air.
"Attack, attack!" the rest had taken note of his shouts and in confusion and anger faced the direction of the deadly snowballs.  A soft laugh came through the mist.
"The mighty mountain men afraid of a few snow balls?" came a mocking voice. Ignoring the woman the large mountain man grunted to a few of his men.
"Find him, kill him." they nodded in acceptance of the order and with raised axes charged into the mist.

to be continued...
Big thanks to Fawzia