Chapter 10: Cattle and Caravan
10 September 1257
Today I write from my own castle. It's so good to have my own room waiting for me. Last month I was still in Praven, where they didn't like me very much. That changed after I hired Nizar. Not because of him, but after I left the tavern and got his service, I did something about my standing in the Swadian capital. I had encountered this Sarranid man lost in the tavern, looking for a job, which I was glad to provide him. With his help, I managed to drive some Praven cattle to Reyvadin, but not directly: via a detour along Veluca, where I dropped off the caravan that had been following me to Praven. It must have been a strange sight: almost a hundred cows running through the fields, the woods and even the mountains, followed by a small military company with people form all over the six kingdoms, to be concluded by a group of a dozen merchants riding with a lot of valuables. The peasants from the villages we passed all walked out to see us pass by. After I had dropped of the merchants in Veluca, I rode with the cattle to Vaegir lands.
Cows, soldiers and merchants: a strange combination.
While I drove the cattle from the kingdom of Rhodok through Swadia, a messenger from king Harlaus reached me: he had decided to give the freshly conquered Uhhun Castle, and the village of Uhhun, to me. I knew it would pay off to have a good relationship with the king. It's the most Nordic territory from Swadia, but given the fact that Emirin is quite north too, that's not a big deal. I now know that my rebellion will have to focus around the area of Dhirim. I'll need to get lords from other kingdoms also behind me, if I want to establish a good base of operations there.
Anyway, I drove the cattle onward, and decided to visit to the lands of Uhhun after I'd went to Reyvadin. Reyvadin lay on the route to Uhhun. While I rode onwards, I realised that it might be a mistake to rely too much on the Swadian king. He has already proven to be weak and egocentric, but the land I would claim as my own his influence was sparse. I would need to track down all the lords from the lands around Dhirim, and appease them.
On the route I had hired a young girl, Klethi. That might have been a mistake, since she was sniffing around in Artimenner his stuff, trying to steal some of his blueprints. So I sent her off to Khudan: she seemed to have some connections there. Keeping her and Artimenner separated might be the best course of action. Also, Swadia and Rhodok went to war again. I guess I won't be visiting Jelkala anytime soon. When I arrived in Uhhun, I immediately ordered Artimenner to build a school there too. In the long run, that will be the best course of action. And in the castle I ordered him to build a prison tower. If I want to become the supreme ruler of Calradia, I'll need to be able to imprison everyone who opposes me until they see the wisdom in worshipping me, Floris. Also I garrisoned some of my best troops in the castle, to take some more inexperienced ones with me: I'll need to train them, to shape them into a battle hardy force to oppose any thread that might endanger my claimant on the throne.
My newest additions: Uhhun castle and village.
After I had delivered the caravan to Shariz, I returned to Praven. On the road I hired recruits from all kingdoms, except Rhodoks: since Swadia was at war with them, it wouldn't seem wise to intrude there at the moment. My goal with the recruits was to train them all in three different disciplines: archery, cavalry and infantry. I'd find out who would be best in each, best suited for castle defence and for riding along my side. When I'll have found that out, I'll hire more specialized men from all around Calradia, to build an army no kingdom can oppose. But first I had to find out who the lords ruling in my claimed area were.
The area I claim, encircled with a red line.
While I rode from village to village, from city to city, from castle to castle, I learned who ruled where. Now I'll be able to search for those specific lords, and gain favour with them. And maybe I'll be able to point king Harlaus into conquering some of these places, and giving them directly under my control. While inquiring I fought off some bandits raiding a few villages: the people around here will like me, no matter what. Now I have a day off in my own castle, before I'll start the quest to appease all those different lords.
Here is a picture of Floris' current stats: