The Lords of the Marne

Page 2 of 4 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:26 pm

"You seem to underestimate how much roads are important here. No road was built since the end of the Roman era and the few that survived the centuries are not maintained. That's why your Master's wish to build a new one was so...polarizing. Especially to thoses living off the river. But now we are far away from such mere economical reasons. That Sigebert was bold enough to try to murder you in Clermont in broad daylight is not a good sign. My guess is, he is planning far worse.

Beside, Sigebert was on the Duke of Auvergne's side only because it was most profitable for him. But now, since you received Chateau-Thierry and not him, and that Berenger denied him the title of Master of the Seine, at the same time making it clear that he doesn't want the Count of Meaux to become any bigger, he doesn't have any reason to stay with the Auvergnats any longer."

In Chateau Thierry, the confidant listened to the captain before answering.

"Well, they are named savage lands for a reason. They are the unexploited lands between the villages and the cities, not unlike thoses we can find everywhere in the world. No man alone can survive there, and thoses who do live in theses forests and swamps are there for a reason. They tend to be lumberjacks, poachers, mercenaries and bandits all at the same time, depending on the season and of the pay.

We can try to bait them with a few of ours disguised as monks or pilgrims. Or scout the forest ourselves. But, how are we going to protect our men if Bertou does take the bait ?"
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:10 am

Bardas Acacius, Road to Chateau-Thierry

"You truly believe he will try to abandon Berenger's realm? I'd imagine he is still quite wealthy without those things.
He obviously has enough money to hire a half-dozen mercenaries, and still enough power to set traps for me lying in wait in Clermont should his mercenary army fail."

Bardas spoke, his eyes always moving, observing, waiting for another ambush.

"Do you think he could stalemate or even win if he declared independence, or whatever it is he has planned?

Although, if that the situation in which we find ourselves, I'd imagine Chateau-Thierry would be one of his primary targets.
Before he is brought down, that is. The prize he believes that he was denied.

Guard Captain, Chateau-Thierry

"That is my worry as well." The captain began
"I do not know those lands, or the customs of these savages.

I am not sure if I can spare any men from their posts at this point and risk them not returning or even having any men captured and ransomed.

If this is the work of the Count of Meaux as Esaias seems to believe, we'll need as many men as we can.
Hopefully our numbers will ward away a full on assault, at least.

This is going to end in a battle. That much is obvious now.
I feel it, I'm sure you and the men feel it, even a city man like Esaias knows it.
That's good though, we know battle. I have little patience for men like Count Sigebert and his nobleman games."

The captain sighed before speaking again:
"I suppose we should follow through on the base in the north, that may be able to stop or delay an attack.  Who are the most well reputed mercenaries in the area?
I'm no fan of mercenaries, but, I'd like to keep our options open."
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:51 am

Lord Theorodic :

"It is not impossible, I'd say. It wouldn't be a first either. If he manage a stalemate, he could obtain independance in all but name. I guessed this plan has always been on his mind, after all he only helped Berenger because it was useful for him, but I think the recents reorganizations of the Duchy into a Kingdom and the obvious ideas of centralization that flies around in the Clarus Mons must have pushed him to act now, when it is still possible for him to do so.

Chateau-Thierry will obviously be he's first target, with maybe Paris and my Soissons. I don't know what kind of supports he think he have to be this bold. It frigthen me, to be honest. But maybe he won't go that far or hasn't planned yet to do so, but I wouldn't bet on that."

The Confident :

"There is still some settlements of what we call "Free men". They are farmers that own the lands they cultivates. They don't have to do corvées for their protectors and once they paid their taxes, they are free to do what they want with their productions. I know some of theses camps are ready to sell their swords for the right price. Should we try to contact them ?"
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:27 am

"A very disturbing thought, hopefully Chateau-Thierry can hold against Sigebert's army, should it come to that..."

Bardas was quiet for thee rest of the ride, focusing himself on looking for ambushes, and generally, contemplating his next moves in his mind.

Meanwhile, in Chateau-Thierry the captain spoke:
"I suppose that is a good idea, see how much money they're selling their services for.
In the meantime, I'll speak with Esaias and see how much money we can spare for this."
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:00 am

The guard captain took in his days worth of respite, his arm rested over a crenelation, looking out towards the Seine which ran through the Barony, the orange sunrise looking back at him off the rivers reflection.

He had to think how to explain the situation to Esaias, the lead in the north, possibly the source for the bandits raiding the farms was within their reach, but no soldiers could be spared at this time, patrols had to remain less an attack be launched on the Barony.

So, the option decided upon was mercenaries, an able group had been found in the north that was willing to take the job. But, as payment they expect grains and cattle, which, with the raided farms, would be quite difficult.

They would also accept silver, but the captain knew that a lot of the wealth had gone to rebuilding the fortifications, getting food supplies shipped in from the settlements to the east, and towards paying for the new temporary recruits, and the supplies that came with them.
No matter, the captain thought, this is my duty, I'll do the job no matter what happens.

The captain was expecting flat-out refusal from Esaias, but the main seemed quite keen on resolving the bandit issue and keeping the farms safe.

The relationship Esaias had been trying to maintain with the farmers, getting rather uneasy, could be quelled if it was seen that he was taking action.

Esaias agreed to cover most of the costs in silver himself, the rest being siphoned off from where it safely could.
It seemed that Esaias had been living fairly comfortably in Chateau-Thierry for the past year, and had saved up his Imperial allowance. Letter was sent to the mercenaries, that the silver was ready to be change hands once the job was completed.


The mercenaries scouted the lands described to them "follow the road until you come upon a tree with two broken branches facing north, from there, about 100 feet ahead you'll find the clearing." The note read, apparently, the mercenaries were quite used to receiving directions in this manner, and sure enough, their scouts came upon the clearing, manned by two or three dozen adequately armed men, most had primitive clubs or makeshift spears, but a few had swords and fewer still had armor.

The mercenaries thought it best to memorise the patrol patterns, look for any consistencies, and use their knowledge to surprise the bandits.

As night fell, and at least one dozen of the bandits slept, the mercenaries made their move, sneaking into tents, or alongside the bedrolls of the sleeping bandits, quick, practiced movements were made; slit throats,or piercing of the hearts, all while covering the mouths of the victims.

The patrols, memorised, were exploited, and small-scale ambushes were set up, making quick work of the patroling bandits.

It was not until a bandit came across his dead friend, and realising that nothing could rouse him, went to grab his shoulder and shake him awake, immediately felt his hand drip into the still warm blood pooling underneath the body, the bandit, shocked began to run for help, being shot down with a well placed arrow, but not before letting out a cry for help.

The scene was rapidly torn from tranquil jaunt down a familiar pathway of murder to a truculent gauntlet in the middle of the campsite.

The mercenaries we able to hold their own, prioritizing the stables as their grounds, which would make sure that none could get away, at least not far.

The mercenaries made fairly quick work of the remnants, the majority of the troublesome warriors with swords and armor were isolated and attacked from all sides. It was over just as quick as it started, at least with all the adrenaline flowing it seemed to be over just as quickly.

The mercenaries tore the camp down, scavenging whatever they could: leather, timber, foodstuff, armor, weapons.
A special request was made of the mercenaries: any papers, especially contracts you come across, bring them back to Chateau-Thierry and you'll be given a bonus if we get what we're looking for.

The mercenaries tore the camp apart, taking whatever they needed, piled the dead, burnt them, and left for Chateau-Thierry to receive their payment.
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:52 pm

The mercenaries did a fine job. By the end of the night, there wasn't much left of the camp, everything the bandits hadn't already used or send somewhere else was looted by the privates soldiers.

Unfortunately, "Bertou" was not among his men, and there was no sign of written document anywhere in the base. Obviously, the bandits didn't knew how to read or write so they had no use for contracts. But the mercenaries had the good idea to keep the leader of the base, another brute just a few years older and not that much more brain than the rest of his boys, and to bring it back to Chateau-Thierry.

Once back at the little bourg, the free men took their payment and returned to their villages, if their employers had no more uses for them. The bandit was brought back to the dungeon to be interrogated. A lot more work was needed than for the dwarf to make him speak, but in the end they all do. He didn't revealed much : Bertou was not happy with the recent turn of events and the lost of one, now two, groups of his men. He ordered the "spoils of war" to be brought back in others bases the bandits have in more secured parts of the forest. They managed to do so for the most part, but the mercenaries managed to find them the night before they could send the last shipment.

Of the revelations of the criminal lieutenant, the Captain and his men could make a more precise picture of who Bertou was. Bertou "the Butcher" did not receive this nickname because of past massacres he led, even if he had some bloody episodes in his career, but because it was his job before he and nine friends leaved the city for a life of crime. Bertou was now at the head of a large group of bandits operating from the unexploited lands between Soissons, Paris and Reims, and quite respected by others criminals in the region. It was not the first time he take such job, to strike one peticular location for a season, and if he managed to grow this big, it is because he is under the protections of a few franks lords. The lieutenant couldn't give any name, only Bertou knew them.

Finaly, the bandit told the guards he was certain this time, something big was coming. Bertou acted strangely during the raids, without the passion he traditionaly had. He said strange things, such as they needed to save their strength for later, that it was just the start of a much larger, more lucrative, operation and that soon, they will all live like lords.

Obviously to save his life, the lieutenant said he could organize a meeting with Bertou if the captain wanted, to see if the warlord could be reasoned with. After all, he was here for the money first and foremost.

It is at around that time that Barbas and Theorodic reached Chateau-Thierry. The lord of Soissons saluted the Vice Baron before going on to his realm.

"I have the feeling we will see each other very soon, friend." He said to the agent of the Emperor. "Prepare for the oncoming storm !"
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:53 am

Bardas was welcomed back to Chateau-Thierry by Esaias, who gave him an overview of what had been happening.
It was surprising to Esaias that Bardas had already known the basics, that the Barony was under attack, and the farmlands were being destroyed.

Esaias was able to deliver some good, previously unknown news to Bardas though, two groups of the bandits were destroyed, and both of the leaders of those groups were locked away in the dungeons. That, and the man behind the bandits was known, a man known as Bertou, and that the captain could tell him more.


"Well, it's not so simple" the captain began.

"We had hired mercenaries to gather some intelligence, and found out that this Bertou has been raiding the lands between Soissons, Reims, and Paris, and that this Bertou has been gathering his strength for an upcoming operation, and that he is funded by one or some Frank lords, we can guess that it involves Sigebert in some way, and, well, and this is just an opinion, but, this Lord Theodoric, you've said good things of him, and you may wish to ask him about this Bertou, but, I believe we must be cautious, there is no saying that Theodoric is not involved in a plot against us in  some way, and that his friendship is a ruse in order for us to lower our eyes away from our north. I hope I do not disrespect you by saying so, Your Lordship. Also, the prisoner has said that he could get us a meeting with this Bertou, but, I had not acted, as I had no way to trust him, but, I will relegate that decision to you, now that you have arrived."

Bardas listened to his guard, and thought for a moment before speaking

"No, you do not disrespect me by saying so, do not worry. I trust my brothers here more than our new neighbors, especially in a hostile situation such as this.

I had thought about that on mine and Theodoric's ride here, that perhaps those mercenaries sent to ambush me were never meant to kill me, but they were hired to act as such, and Theodoric was to 'rescue' me from my hapless situation, hoping to make me see him as an ally. Though, I must say,  I did not pick up on any malicious intent during our initial meeting, nor on our ride back here. Though, I will still attempt to keep a safe, friendly relationship.

In fact, I believe I will write to him, you said this Bertou has been operating near Soissons, correct? If I write to him, he should be able to share something with us, however minute. If he comes across as though he's cheating us, we can keep an arms lenth distance away at all times. I'll begin penning the letter, in the meantime, you should probe the prisoner on how we are to believe he can be trusted, act as though you're a moment away from releasing him, but, you just need some more information on Bertou so 'we know we can trust him.' Good luck, captain, we're all going to need it."

The two men clasped each other's wrist and went their separate ways. The captain, to see if he could get anything more out of the prisoner, and Bardas, to write his letter.

Bardas placed his signet ring into the wax on the paper, leaving his family seal behind, the letter hidden beneath the seal read:

"To His Eminence, Lord Theodoric of Soissons,

Your Lordship, I hope all is well in Soissons, and that you and your kinsmen are of good constitution.

The situation in Chateau-Thierry isn't as grave as I was imagining, and is proving fairly manageable, as of right now that is. I pray it remains so for as long as the Lord will grant us.

The reason for my letter, so soon to our departure, is that I have been hearing news from the more affluent men who have passed through Chateau-Thierry,which was confirmed by some of my local recruits. They speak of a band of marauders that has terrorised the area between fair Soissons, Paris, and Reims for some time now, and has been led by a terrible 'butcher' of a man, I was hoping you might be able to shine some more light on this, as from what I've heard, your holdings have been attacked, or have been threatened of attack by this 'butcher'. I hear these stories, and I wonder if this is the man hired to destroy Chateau-Thierry's farms.

I hope you are able to find a moment to grace me with a response.

Yours,

Bardas Acacius, Vice-Baron of Chateau-Thierry"
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:57 pm

"Yes, yes, how to meet Bertou, yes." started the prisoner. "Well, you choose a place, you come in armed, put yourself distant enough from the forest so no arrow can touch you and then Bertou will appear and come to you ! But you have to release me first, to contact him. yes ?

I know, I know, how can you trust Ol'Burty here, yes ? Ol'Burty ain't no liar, yes ! Did my things, Did a lot, but no lie, no ! Send me without weapon, right through the forest, and Ol'Burty will get Bertou to speak with you, yes ! So, if you have gold, he might stop. Bertou want gold, oh yes he want gold. I want gold, but Ol'Berty don't matter. Bertou matter. And he want gold. He want money to buy things, good things, like lands, lot of lands, and lil'shops here and there. Bertou like cooking, sure he does, even if he will never admit it, eh....shouldn't have said that. No.

Anyway, you get me out, and Bertou will come to you. For gold. Yes. He'll come for the money."

far away from the almost insane mumbling of the prisoner, Sigebert was looking at the horizon, from the highest window of his dungeon when a servant came to him.

"You Excellence, the lord of Orleans as responded to your letter. He's on board."

Sigebert smiled, before asking. "And the lords of Normandy ?"

"The Marquis of Rouen refused, as you thought, but Caen, Evreux and Eu have accepted your offer. They will sign a ceasefire once you've joined them at the proposed location."

"Perfect." Commented the Count. "What about the others fronts ?"

"The count of Vermandois is in. Verdun might join us, but nothing is less sure. After all, there is still too much conflict in Austrasia to completely turn his back from Lorraine."

"As expected. Now we might get ready. Tell our mercenaries to stop for now and to wait until they get new order. Fetch me a horse. Tonight, we will go, invisible to our dear "Kings" spies, meet with the Normands. If there is something that might unite them, it sure as well will be to fight outsiders meddling with their buisness !"

Sigebert laugthed, and leave the room, the servant silently following him.

A few days later, a letter from Soissons arrived in Chateau-Thierry. A response to Barbas that read as follow :

"To his Eminence, Vice-Baron Barbas Acacius.

It was a pleasure to hear that the situation is not yet out of your control. Your letter fond us, my kinsmen and I, in good health and yet untouched by the problems that befell on you. We pray for you to rest well, despite theses attacks.

About this Butcher you speak of, I have talked to my guard's captain about him. It seems we indeed know such a man for some raids on the fringe of our domain. Nothing out of the normal for the most part, except some tendencies to attack patrols when he can. He never did it to us specificaly but some of our neighboring knights had problems on their territories once, when he personaly set a farm on fire to forces them to come and ambush them. This is because of this incident that we know about his nature as a butcher, since he still use his old working tools, but now as weapons. They haven't kill or make prisoner anyone of importance, maybe a few monks here and there, some merchants. Never attacked a bourg of correct size before. The definition of "small fry" if I may say so. But if you ask, It certainly mean you think he is the one behind theses recents attacks. I expected more common names to come out, or even some free men bands, but it is true there isn't as many Renegades Lords as there once was and they aren't as welcome has in their prime.

It is all I can say about this matter, even if I must agree it is not that much. I still hope it would be useful.

May God be with you,

Lord Theodoric."
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:37 am

"Yeah, yeah, I'm thinking about releasing you, and I really would love to." The captain began, turning from the prisoner in order to hide his grin.

The captain turned back and continued.
"But.. well, it's the Baron, you know? He thinks you serve no purpose to us, and that you're a liar, that you're planning on ambushing us, thinks I should 'cut out your lying tongue' as he said, for not giving us any real information about Bertou.

Heh, you know, this is real routine operation in Constantinople. Mutilation that is, these guys don't even think about it any longer. You know, they've got men who train for months just to remove peoples eyes without killing the victim, real sadistic stuff, great pay though. They don't even flinch about it, it's all just a job to them...

Ahem, right, where was I? Well, I'm something of a novice when it comes to mutilation, but I've got to start somewhere if I'm going to get myself a cushy job in the city poking out eyes, and removing other, ultimately unnecessary body parts. Real shame, that. It's just your tongue though, that should be a lot easier for me to cut off than an eye. You won't even miss your tongue probably, and the cut heals real fast I've heard, not from the victims themselves, obviously, but still, it'll stop hurting a few months later.

I hate to do this to you, but, you've got nothing that the Baron wants to know about Bertou"
The captain pulled a dagger from his belt, and held it to a candle's flame.  
"Unless... you do? Maybe you could save your tongue by putting it to use and speaking?
Hmm, hope this candle's hot enough."

Bardas read over the letter, and felt somewhat at ease, as much as he could.

The shipments of armor and weapons had arrived, Imperial soldiers and trusted Frankish soldiers were prioritised, as they were the least likely to abandon with their armor, the rest of the soldiers added onto their armor and weapons, with pieces from the formers old gear. An outside wall was beginning construction, made of timber and earth. Shipments for stone were sent out whenever money was available to replace portions of the timber and earth wall.

Soldiers were sent back out to regular patrols as confidence in new defenses grew. Life had started to return to the farms, and regular amounts of tax could be expected soon if things remained safe for enough time.
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:05 pm

"No please ! Please !" Squirmed the prisoner, livid after what the little monologue of the captain. "Just ask me anything you want to know ! I'll tell ! I'll tell !"

avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:53 pm

Everything was falling into place. Sigebert looked at the men gathered around him. Hardened by constant war and crime, united here by the thin yet strong link of common interests. In front of him, the three lords of Normandy. Forever at war with each other for the whole Duchy, but with their kin, the Marquis of Rouen as it was his new title, joining the Auvergnats, they now shared a common fear to be one day invaded by theses southerners and forced to recognize Rouen's dominion over their cities. Never.

Beside them, another powerful ally, but this time from the north. The Count of Vermandois, Otton the Elder, accepted to join Sigebert and his party in this peticular entreprise. He too felt threatened by the Auvergnats and had some old feud with some of their vassals. If they succeeded, then he could retake most of the land that he had lost, so long ago.

At Sigebert's left, the Count-Bishop of Verdun waited for the reunion to start. He was a vassal and a strong supporter of the Austrasian, but he managed to secure his land during their fall and now felt like re-starting a frank enterprise against the Auvergnats, their foreigns allies and to steal from his rival of Reims his dominion over religious matters in Francia.

And finaly, At the lord of Meaux's right, a living legend. The Renegade Lord of Orleans. Even there, hishand rested upon his black sword, his face was concealed under a helmet he never took off, because of how much he had been defigured during one of his many fight with Michel the Just, lord of Bourges and his great rival. He came because he hoped to gain much wealth from this adventure and revenge upon his old foes. The rest didn't matter much to him.

And at the helm of this loose confederation he, Sigebert, stood. He rose from his chair and look again at theses knights, theses figthers, theses thugs for the most and smiled at them.

"Sirs, friends, let's get started. First : the western front..."
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:47 pm

"Very well, I hope you're thinking more clearly, the Baron should drop your punishments if what you tell us is true.

So then, who were Bertou, you, and the men hired by?
Don't lie now, I know you're smart enough to keep up on Bertou's affairs, I know that brigand mentality, you're all looking for his weak points, and how to exploit then.

How did the man or men that hired Bertou get in contact with him?
If he was able to do it by himself, then we don't need your help to arrange the meeting, isn't that right?"

The captain continued to hold his dagger to the flame, watching the metal grow brighter.

"Think carefully about your words, these may be the last ones you ever speak."
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:03 pm

Da, Da... listen. Bertou, we follow him because there's money to be made around him. One day, he and a few friends joined one of the bigger groups at the time. I know because I was a footsoldier at the time for Jean Lil'foot, the boss of the group. So, he came, and started to make some friends and all. Wasn't half of a brain, so Jean, he made Bertou one of his boys, keepin' in check the others, you see ?

Except Bertou wasn't just another boy. He became pretty popular with the grunts and that angered Jean. Jean tried to banish him or to kill him but then, out of nowhere, Bertou got like, lot of stuffs and convice some peoples, me included, to back him up and take over Jean and the other boys. Well, it was pretty good stuff, you know ? So suddenly Jean didn't look like a so good leader after all and we riot. Bertou kill him, of course, and a few who stayed loyal to the end, and he even let us take our shares of Lil'foot treasure. Not much but still.

Anyway, that's how he got here. The others big names in the forests didn't care, because that's just how it goes, you know ? We didn't complain either, but we ain't that dumb. I mean, the whole mess was shaddy. Like, how did Bertou suddently got so rich at the right time ? He arrived with, like, only his trusty cleaver ! Everybody smelled there was someone behind him, be it some blue blood or lil'Jesus.

What I'm saying is that, we knew he wasn't clean. But thoses who asked question soon got a cleaver in their shoulder or face. All the while, there was some peoples coming around, meeting Bertou alone, first at the edge of the camp, then directly in his tent. Everytime, that meant we where going on a raid with easy loot. So nobody really complained and everyone shut it.

But some friend of I smelled there was more. So they spied on Bert' when he talked with theses strange caped men, never the same one, and saw he took big cut, before and after, from them. Strange thing, I think Bertou' can read, because everytime, he get some piece of paper with like, letters -that's what they call thoses lil'black thing on paper right ?- and look very seriously at it before saying yes -I never heard him say no-. Then he throw it in the campfire. But once, I managed to take a lil'bit of this paper before the fire completely ate it. 'T was all black but there was a lil' circle of cire on it, with a drawing on it. It looked kinda like some heart with lil'flowers over it. Flowers with three petals yep. I've lost it since then but that was long ago.

Listen, that's all I know ! I can even show your men where Bertou's main camp is but please ! Not the tongue !
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:35 pm

"You may be of use yet." The captain took his blade off the heat. "I'll ask His Lordship if you've earned your freedom.

Would Bertou be willing to speak with us, or would he attempt to kill us?
Even if we arrived with you in tow would he not be suspicious?
You've been gone for some time and you arrive back with soldiers of the town you've been targeting escorting you? That's no good.

Even if he accepts and welcomes you back you'll probably become a target, he'll be thinking that you're a spy.
You should probably try to find some honest work after this, maybe become a guard somewhere if the sword is what you're best at.

Alright, I'll speak with the Baron, I'll ask him what your fate is.
Say, this might help your chances, would you be able to identify the seal with the heart and flowers if you saw it again?"
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:40 am

"Well, Like I said, Bertou like gold. Anyone with gold is worth speaking with."

The bandit started thinking and scratching a pustule on his arm.

"I...may have not thought that one through." He said. "Well, I still now where his base is, so discussion or not... you see. I mean, I'm like, already a traitor so why not go to the end of it, eh ?"
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:35 am

"Well, you're a lucky man." The captain said walking back into the dungeon after a time, another soldier in tow.

"I've convinced the Baron of your potential usefulness, and so you are to set off with a group of soldiers led by my friend here."
The soldier accompanying the captain was the same confidant from the earlier interrogation.  
"Do not make me look a fool because of my kindness."

"I'll set you up with a nicer room somewhere and bring you some better food. You'll be under guard, you understand."

The captain opened the cell, and the two soldiers led the prisoner away.

When the next morning came, a group was gathered in the center of the Barony, Bardas, Esaias, the Captain, the Confidant, and a group of two other soldiers.

Bardas appreciated how much power this confidant had, he was trusted by the Captain, and was viewed as a near equal to him by the Frank soldiers.
Bardas wanted to test this man before he was granted anything official though, this was a good enough test he thought, he let the man know as much.

"I know you've been briefed already..." Bardas addressed the confidant.
"You're to determine this Bertou's position, and his level of control over his men. Would they fall without him, that sort of information.

Establish camp, attempt to make contact, scout the area.
Preferably when contacting Bertou try to isolate a lone rider or a small group, and have them take word back instead of riding right in.
Take notes if needed, I want a detailed report on your return.

I trust these are common sense tactics, but depending on how you do..
Well, you will be rewarded accordingly. I do pray that it is rewarded and not penalised.
Though, I'm confident in your success, as is your captain."

Bardas set the group off, the prisoner acting as a hostage-guide.

Meanwhile, Bardas tasked Esaias with looking for an armorial or an equivalent of sorts.
It was an attempt to search for this 'heart with three petalled flowers' symbol.
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:12 pm

Being in the forest seemed to bring the bandit much joy. His long legs walked over roots and other obstacles without much of a thought, his tall and skinny body already gnarled by a life among the trees. His feet seemed to be unable to produce any kind of sound, no matter the ground, and his crazy-eyes looked everywhere around him, searching the numerous clues and marks only an outcast like him could see. He guided the group through the trees, despite the complete absence of any kind of passage. Many time he had to wait for the other before he could continue, as he was too much like a fish in a green and brown sea.

"See ? See ? I'm waitin' for ya." he mumbled, smiling with all of his yellow and black teeth. "No trick, no no no ! Deal's a deal ! " He would say.

"Look. We're just behind the ol'camp. Y'know ? the one you destroyed. T'was my job to look for it. Eh." He then pointed to somewhere deeper in the forest.

"Two posts in this direction and this one. T'is where we send the goods once we did the counts. Mules have paths for them but we won't take them. Too risky for you, eh. Watchers watching !"

"But only one is interessing because only one is linked with the main base. That's where Bertou is. That's where we're going."

"Be quick ! Be swift ! Watchers Watching ! Follow my step carefuly ! You don't wanna be lost here oh no no ! No place for goods peoples here."

The day slowly passed away, but darkness grew far quicker than it should have, as the closer they got to the center of the forest, the denser the vegetation was. But after a while, the bandit paused and looked through a bush and made a sign to the confident to come and see.

"Look ! Look ! The camp ! It seems pretty active. Maybe they've recalled everyone ? Dunno."

Through the bush, the men could see tents dispersed among the trees. But there was also ropes hanging from the branchs, where, if one looked hard enough, strange wooden plateform could be seen, hidden among the leaves.

"That's where we hide the "treasures". That's also from where the watchers watch." The bandit said, as if he knew what the confident was thinking.

"So... what do we do ?" He asked.

Meanwile, after a long, long time looking through the Armoirals in Chateau-Thierry, one member of Esaias staff came to see him, with one of the document he had to look through.

"Sir ?" He asked. "We haven't found any blason with an heart on it among the families and cities of the Meuse. We are looking through Champagne and the Seine right now but I think you might want to see this." He timidly said, before showing a page he had marked.

It was the blason of Meaux : A great golden "M" on a red and green shield. The M was strangely curved, but there was something more...

...three "Fleur-de-Lys" crowned the M.
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:57 pm

"We wait. We watch." The confidant responded.

"We'll need a fortifiable position close to here, once we get an idea of their movements, supply lines, and the rest, we'll make contact then.

There's too few of us, too many of them, I'm still not sure they won't attempt to kill us all, you included."

Once the men had an idea of the camp's activity they would search for a defensible position nearby, and would search for nearby settlements that would be willing to supply the men if this operation ended up taking longer than expected.


Back in Chateau-Thierry, Esaias studied the page his assistant brought him.
"I.. I believe that could be seen as a heart, especially by that dullard bandit, and those are definitely flowers...
Meaux, was it? Hardly a surprise, I'll tell Lord Bardas at once."

Esaias was about to set off before turning around and patting the assistant on the shoulder.
"Ah, er, yes. Good work, I'll be certain to tell Lord Bardas of your success."
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:00 pm

The bandit camp was of a respectable size. Some parts of it, such as the platform on the trees, were permanents but most of it was still tents and such easily transportable constructs. There was maybe sixty men in the camp and while most of them seemed just like the raiders the Otmian already met, but a non negligeable minority of them, maybe twenty or so, were better armed and equiped and looked far more threatening and trained than the others. They seemed to be in better health too. While not wearing their armors all the time, when in service, they had Broignes of metal or padded armor, helmets, some shields, spears, swords, bows and arrows in number. Most of the time, theses "elites" seemed to be on the plateform, watching over the camp and the forest for any attack.

The ex-bandit also designed the man he said was Bertou the Butcher. A bald short man, with a stout appearance and little black cruel eyes. He wore clothes of a better fabric than the others and took the first part of every meal. While is equipment seemed to vary on a day to day basis, there was always, at all time, a long, shiny cleaver at his side. He shouted orders, was violent with almost everyone, except maybe with his "elite" troops that he treated with maybe more respect, and seemed always angry.

But at the end of one day, he jumped out of his tent and shouted orders while hiting anyone unlucky enough to be close to him at that time. "Make your package and faster than that ! We're moving ! And y'all better arrive at destination by the end of the night or I swear to lil'boy and his mum, I'm gonna kick your arses so bad ye gonna shat by yer mouth !"

It took a very short time, shorter than what could have been expected of such a disparate troop, to be ready for a long march. And then, following the shouting of their leader, the bandit dissapeared among the trees, in the direction of the west.
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:27 pm

"How convenient" the confidant said, not even trying to whisper, his voice blending in with the bustle of the camp below.

"Ugh, come on then lads, we'll wait until they're out of camp, search the area for anything we can use, or anything interesting and then we try to sneak up behind them, and isolate some stragglers.
I'm not too worried about losing an army, we'll be able to find their tracks and catch up easily."

Once the last man was out of camp, the group waited a few moments to make sure the area was clear, before moving in to inspect the camp. Once the camp was searched, finding anything or not, the group would move in the direction of the bandit army, quickly trying to catch up before slowing down once they were close. The group would follow behind, looking for an opportunity to intercept someone.

In Chateau-Thierry, the mood of the people was much better, and more lively, farms returned to life, and traders of all sorts passed through the town centre. Bardas put on a noble face, but was worried still, the wooden fortifications had almost all been replaced with better materials, and the guards all were some of the finest equipped for any town of Europe of this size.

But, would it be enough? Thirty six men guarding the Barony, make that thirty three with the three men who were off investigating Bertou's camp, or make that thirty four if it came down to it, Bardas had a rather nice set of armor himself, fashionable but still practical.

He needed something, some information before he screamed aloud out of frustration, it would be at least a few days before the three men arrived back, and maybe they wouldn't, that was a possibility to consider as well.

Bardas would try to attempt to buy off a merchant passing through town that was headed off in the direction of Paris, he would try to convince the man with coin to try to get some information on Meaux for him.
Get past the walls and into the city proper and report back what you see, the general attitude, military movement, any intelligence that you can gather from the people. The better the information, the better the pay.
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:52 pm

For an army of thiefs and whores, the men of Bertou left the place strangely clean. The kind of trashs one can expect so many men in arms to produce had been burried and the only things left were the plateforms in the trees. The cords had been taken out but if any of the soldier had one, they could see that up there, there wasn't much either. Bertou's men visibly took everything, treasures, food, weapons... the only thing left was the surprisingly complex construction for a band of outcast and graffiti upon the trees such as "Androu was here", "I'm bored" and such.

But beyond that, the army was indeed very easy to follow, even through the forest. The confidant and his compagnons will have to follow them for two days and as many nights before the army reached their destination. They could have been faster but they obviously stopped as soon as they reached a good-enough location, visibly not wanting to find themselves travelling by night.

And what a destination. Meaux was there, waiting behind its wall, where the Meuse and the Seine join, its roman cathedral shining in the morning light. And in the plain before the city, Bertou and his men joined another troop gathered there, of maybe forty or so men-at-arms of various quality. Siting in the middle of them and greeting Bertou like one greet an old servant, was Sigebert, smilling like he was living the best day of his life. Not so long, maybe an hour or so, after Bertou joined his master, knights from all around the Seine came, bringind with them three to seven men each. Soon, the gathered troop was more than close to two hundreds men in strengh. There wasn't enough armor for everyone and strangely it was maybe Bertou that had brought the closest thing to a real warband.

The army set camp in front of Meaux to rest, while the count, Bertou and the knights joined the longest tent to discuss strategy. They stayed there for the day and the night after, and then leave to their goal : direction Chateau-Thierry.

Meanwhile, it is in a state of panic that the merchant Bardas bought off returned to Castel Theodoros. On his way to Paris, he saw no sign from Meaux of war but once he reached the city of the Robertian, the gates had been closed and fire was visible, coming from the houses of the city. A strange manifestation took place on the port, with men screaming "Franche Francie ! Franche Francie !" or "Free Francia" while raising barricades and setting fires, figthing the men of the Count. On his way back, he heard a town caller informing the village that, "Sire Sigebert, lord of Meaux, deemed unacceptable the dominion of the Southerner over the true Franks and such, him and his glorious alliance of the "Francs Seigneurs" united against the tyranny of the southerner and for the restoration of a true Frankish realm, free of the taxes of the despot Berenger !"

But it wasn't the end of it. The merchant also heard that the Normands, even when they traditionally are too preoccupied figthing each other, formed an alliance with the "Franches Seigneuries" and besieged Rouen. And, later that day, a horsemen came from Soissons, his horse half dead from the run, and transmited a message from Theodorus. It only said :

"No time. Vermandois and Verdun at my and Reims doors. Army from south spotted at the instant, maybe Sigebert. Trying to unite the loyalists left. The man bearing this letter must join Clermont. He already have a document with me and our friends names on it and their seals. Add yours, and he will warn the Kings in our names.

May God watch over us,

Theodoric."
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:57 pm

"Damn, damn, damn." Bardas muttered, reading the letter over. "Too soon."

He added: Acacius, Château-Thierry to the letter, along with his signet.

He hurried the rider on his way with a fresh horse, he wouldn't be needing them all, they couldn't man the walls after all.

He had to remain somewhat calm, as much as he wanted to scream out for the captain.
But he couldn't do that and risk sending the populace into a fright, and so, he quickened his pace, grabbing the nearest servant.
"You, get me the captain. Now."
The servant nodded, and ran off, not wanting to anger his lord. The captain came running soon after, after hearing from the servant that Bardas seemed "Rather serious."

"Thank you, please wait outside the door." Bardas said to the servant.
The servant nodded again, and walked outside, closing the door behind him.
"My lord, what is it, I heard-" the Captain questioned, before being cut off as Bardas' calm facade broke.
"It's.. I couldn't tell the servant should he become nervous and unable to tell you in his blabbering..
The war is on, Soissons, and Reims are under attack, it's Sigebert, of course it is."

"My, how soon will they be here?"

"I am unsure, within the day, I'd imagine if it has begun. Perhaps the next morning."

"Hmm, lucky for us that he didn't go for that road, eh? That should buy us some time."

"Ha! A true blessing, that.
Oh Lord, what are we to do? If they're sieging two cities... They must have a massive army at their disposal. I can't-"

It was the captain this time who cut off Bardas, remaining calm.

"We clear out the farms, bring everyone in behind the walls.
If things are especially dire we arm every man with whatever weapons we have, and we sneak the women and children out towards.. Epernay perhaps.

Send that Esaias out to gather an army in your name, drawing from the unaligned Franks if you believe it necessary.
We'll survive this, I'll inform the men, and have them bring everyone in."

"I- yes, thank you. This has been the obvious outcome for some time now, I know, but it still seems so sudden.
I'll meet you in the town centre, let me just get my armor and my sword."

"Don't thank me, my lord, you've done as much as you could in the time given.
The fortifications you had built will last countless generations.
We'll be ready for them, hopefully they think they have us surprised."

"Good luck, captain."
"Good luck, my lord."

Bardas would don his armor, and while headed down towards the centre, he encountered Esaias, and told him of the situation.
This visibly frightened Esaias, but Bardas needed the man to keep calm.
Bardas took off his signet ring, leaving a portion of his finger noticeably untanned.
"Take this, brother. Gather an army with the promise of payment from our family, and from the Empire if our name isn't enough."

Brother. Our family
This was the first time Bardas had called Esaias by anything other than his name.
Though they shared the same name, there was no blood shared between them.
Esaias was just a servant, an excellent one at that, from a distinguished line of noble servants.

Esaias didn't want to let down his Lord, his friend.
"I... I will. B-brother." Esaias said apprehensively.
"Thank you, stay safe." Bardas responded.

Near Meaux, the confidant knew that his time was now, if he showed initiative, he'd probably get an estate on one of those Greek islands, he thought.

He spoke his plan to his men, and offered the bandit with them an opportunity to join them, if he agreed, he would be welcomed.  
If not, he would be tied up and left behind for whoever to find, or to not find.

Him and his men grabbed torches and worked their way to the outskirts of the Sigebertan rebels camp, each lighting a tent, before running like mad off to hide.

The plan was to get the rebels to stay behind searching for culprits, hopefully delaying them, and hopefully them not noticing before the fire spread some.
The men hid for a moments before running off towards the Barony, stealing any horses they could along the way, riding two to a horse, if necessary.
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:34 am

Sigebert the Boar hunter :

The fire took well during the night. The men struggled to stop it but they finaly managed to. Sibgebert looked at the burned down tents and the like. Nothing of too much importance but it was not a good start.

"Sire, what do we do ?" Asked one of the knight to his master. The count of Meaux grumbled something. Men didn't slept well that night, if they slept at all.

"Nothing changed. We have a tight schedule and no time to loose. Gather the men, we march."

The knights looked at each other, uneasy. An army of tired men wasn't really a disciplined army. But orders are orders and they executed themselves.

"I have already lost 30 men for this. You better make it worth it." Said Bertou, visibly irrited by this bad start. Sigebert resisted the desire to cut the ears of the bandit and it was with a soft voice that he managed to answer.

"Do what you are told and you will have what we agreed on. Your name will be cleaned and you will become a lord, with your own estate. But only if you obey order."

Bertou smiled at the idea and nodded before returning, barking orders at his men. Sigebert leaned over to one of his servant and whispered in his ear to keep an eye for anything suspicious. Theses fires didn't light themselves alone, after all.

The Unaligned Franks :

It was hard to find cooperative men. The freemen seemed cold at the idea of joining this fight. While not said, they obviously wished to wait and see in which direction the wind was turning before taking actions.
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Hellas on Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:18 pm

Bardas and the captain got their men into position, and told them to be ready for an army to appear on the horizon, from the direction of Paris.

As soon as they saw the men, they were given orders to unleash their first volley, hopefully breaking some of the attackers morale if they thought Chateau-Thierry would just roll over and let their bellies be sliced open.

Damn Sigebert and any demands he might have for the Barony, Bardas thought.
He could imagine what those demands might be
"Bardas Acacius must surrender himself and the Barony would be spared of further conflict." Please.
Sigebert was a viper, he would slaughter every man in the town if it meant zero possibility of retribution.
Even if he did surrender, what of the men from the Empire that had come with him?
Would they be spared? Doubtful.

Bardas shook the thoughts from his head and steeled himself.
"Use the anger, Bardas. Use it." he thought to himself.

Orders were given to dig small foot traps on the field outside of the Barony.
Hopefully that would slow the army down some.
Bardas wished he had more time to build traps, but he couldn't have done so during peace time, and risk injuring innocents, and look himself like the aggressor.

Alright, the time was now, the food supplies looked.. Alright. Good enough to last for a time.
Bardas and his 36 men were all defended fairly well, Bardas having spent a small fortune giving his men some of the finest armaments in all Francia. They would need it.

The 37th man, the bandit from before had decided to join the confidant, and fight alongside the Barony. Bardas didn't know what to think of this, he could be a detriment, but he also could end up providing useful intelligence on how to beat Bertou. Bardas knew one thing though, he couldn't turn an able soldier away at this time, and so, the bandit was given a decent set of armor and weapons.

Esaias meanwhile, tried his best to convince the leader of these unaligned Franks to join him.
He showed the man the golden signet ring, with an engraved quill, the family symbol, and told him all the wonders of the Acacius family: How they counted themselves as one of the wealthiest families in the whole of the Empire, their years of dedicated service to the Throne of Solomon, and their penchant of keeping their word, their years of service during all manners of turbulent times proving this. Esaias promised that the Empire and the Acacius family had wealth unmatched and that being on the good side of both would leave him a very wealthy man himself.
avatar
Hellas

Posts : 359
Join date : 2015-12-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Grand Auvergne on Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:05 pm

The army appeared at the end of the day, coming out of the forest, their armors red in the light of the dying day. They followed the banners of Sigebert and his knights, tired of a long, very long day of walk.

As soon as they arrived, they took over the main checkpoint, blocking the roads and denying an access to the river for the besieged. They laid their camps there, raided what hadn't be brought inside the fortifications and collected some woods for the fire and prepared themselves for long, long weeks of nothing.

A night passed, then, three riders came before the gates of the city. Siegebert was easily recognizable in the middle of them. They got close enough to the walls to be heard, but far enough to not be completely exposed to the bowmen's warth.

"A message to the Greeks of Castel Theodorus ! The protection and titles granted by the Auvergnat Tyrant have been declared void by a Council of true Franks lords. It has been decided that no harm shall be done to Barbas Acacius, his kin and servants if they leave Francia peacefully. That, after all, it was the fault of the Auvergnat and not their.

If they refuse however, then the Council has seen no reason to not use strenght if needed. Agent of the Auvergnat will not be tolerated."

Meanwhile, Esaias struggled with the unaligned Franks. From the elders of villages to the knights and barons, all seemed set on waiting for a winning side to appear. Promises of rewards from the Acacius family made its effect, but they asked for tangible proofs and not empty promises. Some knights agreed to join the Greek's side. One lord, however, didn't receive Esaias but came to find him.

"My master as heard about your liege situation." Said the servant. "He wish to see you, to reach an agreement that you might find in your best interest."

The man then showed a ring with a strange tower graved on it. The blazon of Provins.
avatar
Grand Auvergne

Posts : 180
Join date : 2016-09-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The Lords of the Marne

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 4 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum