This story takes place in the Kingdom of Magincia. Ikku is a mercenary captain with a small castle on the southern edge of the central province.
Ikku and his two companions have decided to setup this mercenary company. The 'White Ravens' is an excellent name for a mercenary company. Ikku arrive at his keep alongside his companions Arlo and Anne. Arlo is a spearman and a former member of the royal guard. Anne is a freelance fighter and a skilled duelist with the sword.
Ikku met them during his early days as a wandering bard. He wandered much in his youth and happened upon Arlo and Anne in the mist of battle defending a caravan from bandits. Though they fought fiercely, the battle was not going their way. Ikku intervened and saved both their lives forcing the bandits to retreat. They have been grateful ever since.
Arlo and Anne have had some epic disagreements over the years, and often use you as the impartial tie breaker. Due to this, many clients started referring to you as the captain since you seemed to make all the decisions for the group. Arlo and Anne did not mind, as long as they were getting paid. Over the years, they have even grown to respect your leadership. After Ikku saved enough money to purchase land and build a small castle with a decent keep, he realized you had to hire staff as well. Ikku hired an advisor named Redford, an older fighter past his prime, and Stanton, a very efficient quartermaster. He also employed a healer, guards, and other servants.
Ikku, Arlo, and Anne were all sitting in the castle's main chamber discussing possible mercenary work.
Anne was first to speak, "Ok, so we spent all this gold and now we have an official mercenary company, I think it is about time we took a new mission. How about we head north? I hear there is plenty of work there."
Arlo laughs, "To the barren and rocky North? Sure, there is plenty of work there, but also plenty opportunities to lose your head in the process. Barbarians constantly raid there and the majority of people we would be working for would be cutthroats."
Anne smiles, "Sounds like my kind of place. I'm tired of escorting lords on trade missions."
Arlo hisses, "Those are decent paying jobs with a low amount of risk."
Anne smirks, "That is exactly what I am talking about. Low risk, Low reward. I say we look for better paying jobs! What do you say Ikku?"
Ikku says, "I agree with Anne."
Anne nods, "See even the captain agrees we should start doing real mercenary work."
Arlo simply shakes his head.
They continue arguing for several minutes until the door to the chamber opens. Redford walks in and takes a seat beside you. He hands you some fresh new mercenary job opportunities and you start looking them over. He asks if you would like a status report of the company's finances and resources.
Redford starts going over the company's current situation…
Stanton has done a good job in maintaining our supplies and personnel. We have more than enough food to last through winter and finally enough guards to secure the keep when you three are out on mercenary contracts.
Here is our status report:
The White Ravens
Keep Defenses: 5/5 (Basic)
Resources and Supplies:
Armor Quality: Level 1 (Basic)
Weapon Quality: Level 1 (Basic)
Gold in the Treasury: 1000 gold pieces
Redford nods and sits down.
Ikku then review the current mercenary jobs in front of him, Arlo and Anne wait to hear what he will suggest...
+ To escort the Lord +
Anne shakes her head, "If this Lord ends up being as rude as the last one, I can't guarantee I won't gut him."
"You better not", exclaims Arlo.
You look over at Redford, "You have any additional details on this Redford?"
Redford thinks for a few moments, "Hmm, apparently it is a newly appointed Lord of a small castle south of here."
Anne laughs, "You mean further in the swamplands? He must have pissed off somebody."
Arlo looks back at Anne, "Are you telling me you wouldn't take a Lordship of a castle in the South if offered one?"
Anne shakes her head, "And be knee deep in mud with bugs biting me? I'll pass on being Lord of Swamp Castle Arlo."
Arlo sighs, "Sometimes I just don't understand you Anne."
+ Help a Lord collect taxes from a small farming village up North +
"This one looks interesting", says Anne, "I've always wanted to be a money collector."
Arlo gives Anne a surprised look, "You want to be a tax collector?"
Anne nods, "Yeah, I like the feeling of a bag of gold coins in my hand and collecting from a village could make us a small fortune."
Arlo looks at Anne suspiciously, "You know you can't keep the gold you collect, right?"
"Oh, I know, but who’s to say a few coins won't get lost during transit?"
Arlo shakes his head, "You're unbelievable. Just when I think you can't go low enough, you surprise me."
Anne bows, "Thank you Arlo, I take that as a compliment."
+ Escort a merchant caravan +
Anne feigns falling asleep, "Out of all the missions you choose the most boring one captain."
Arlo responds for you, "I think the Captain chose the mission that had the highest pay for the least amount of risk."
Anne covers her face with her hands in annoyance.
Ikku look over at Redford, "Have any further details on this mission Redford?"
Redford responds, "Apparently the merchant purchased a large supply of wheat and heard stories of bandits attacking merchant caravans."
Anne perks up a bit when she hears the words bandits attacking.
Redford continues, "Apparently he just wants to make sure his goods arrive without any issue.
+ Provide protection for a local tavern +
Anne rubs her chin, "Hmm I wonder if they will give us free rum." Arlo looks upset, "I think its best you stay sober for this one…you know how you get when your drunk." Anne hisses, "That was only one time Arlo."
"One time too many if you ask me", replies Arlo.
"Enough", you reply. Ikku look over at Redford who is scratching his red beard, "Redford, why would they pay so much to guard a local tavern."
"It’s probably due to the festival", replies Redford, "Around this time of month there are a lot of festivals and they happen to correspond with some jousting and arena competitions. Ikku get all sorts of people during those events. They probably want us to take care of any drunks that cause problems or decide to start a fight."
+ Clear the streets of vagabonds for a Lord +
Anne scoffs, "Sounds like a job for a common thug". Arlo shakes his head, "Sounds like an easy mission for decent pay." Anne sighs, "Well at least I might be able to bust a few skulls."
Later, Ikku just about to announce the mission when there is a loud knock on the door. He yells for whoever it is to come in, and a servant walks in with a strange look on his face.
"What is it Ben?", you ask.
"Well Lord…I mean Captain Ikku, there is someone asking to see you."
"Well, what do you know, we have customers coming to us already.", replies Anne.
"Let's go see what this person wants.", you reply.
"Right behind you Captain!", exclaims Anne.
The trio walk outside on top of the ramparts and see a young lady waiting outside below. Based on her clothing, Ikku guess she is a merchant's daughter or something.
Before Ikku can say anything Anne yells at Arlo, "How did she get pass the moat. Don't we have a drawbridge?"
Arlo nods, "Yes, we have a drawbridge, but it doesn't need to be up all the time. I lowered it."
"Dammit Arlo, keep the drawbridge up", exclaims Anne, "If anybody can just walk up to our gate and say hello what is the point of it?"
They continue arguing for some time. The young lady looks confused at what she should do.
The young lady speaks, "You're The White Ravens right? I want to hire your services."
"In what capacity might I ask?", Ikku reply.
"Well, I need your protection.", she replies.
Anne raises an eyebrow, "Protection from what?"
"Well, it would be better if I explained inside, could you open the gate please?", she replies.
Anne looks over at Arlo and mutters, "Well at least you closed the gate Arlo."
The young lady looks flushed, "There are some men after me."
Arlo nods, "And…why are they after you?"
Anne chuckles and whispers something crude to Arlo.
The young lady looks exasperated. "Please I have been walking for nearly two days now to get to you. I have money." She pulls out a bag of coins. Given its size it must have at least 500 gold pieces.
Anne's eyes grow wide, "Arlo, open the damn gate…now!"
The gate opens with a loud clanking noise. The young lady nods her head in thank Ikku and walks inside. Ikku invites her into the main dining hall. Anne sits down with her feet up on the table and yells at the servant to bring some wine and bread. Anne asks for the young woman to hand her the bag of coins.
When she does she takes a gold coin from the bag. Anne examines it and then bites it. She smiles in approval, "It's real." Arlo takes the bag away from Anne and gives it back to the young lady.
"Alright, you're inside now. Tell us why you need protection.", you say.
The lady takes a deep breath, "I saw something I shouldn't have. My name is Vera and I work for a nobleman in the town of Gilbert as his head servant. My Lord Garon is a rather shady person, and there had been more than one occasion I witnessed him meeting with bandits and thugs in the middle of the night. One night he asked me to welcome some late-night guests inside. I did so, and I knew something was off right away. All the men were armed and covered in blood. I was told to help Tom, who was the stable hand, tie up their horses. As we left to that, I saw they had brought a man in chains who was presumably their prisoner. I didn't recognize the man at first, but later I realized he was the head guard in charge of guarding the town's granary. I told Tom and he told me to forget about it, as it could only get us into trouble. When we returned I noticed that the prisoner was gone and that my Lord was talking to the armed men. He seemed to be upset and said something along the lines of…no one was supposed to see you. The head bandit shrugged and said it couldn't be avoided. My Lord noticed us listening and ordered me to go to the kitchen and bring food to our guest in the wine cellar. I did as he asked and when I went there I saw two armed men guarding the entrance. When I told them I was there to give food to the guest inside, the reluctantly let me in.
While, I was in there I saw the head guard, he was a kind man and was a friend to my father. He recognized me almost immediately. He begged me to help him. I told him I wasn't sure of what I could do. He handed me a letter that was written with a mix of dirt and his own blood. He said if I could get this to the mayor, that would be more than enough. I agreed because of his relationship with my father.
I took the letter and went outside. While I was seeing to our other guests, one of the armed men got too touchy and started groping me. I slapped him, but he got angry and pushed me down. My lord got upset and told the armed men to sit down, which he did, but during the fall I accidentally dropped the letter. One of the bandits picked it up and read it before showing it to my Lord. My lord looked at my furiously and started yelling at me saying he thought he could trust me. The bandit that spoke earlier looked at Lord Garon and he nodded. They then grabbed me and began to take me outside, presumably to kill me. While I was out there expecting my inevitable death, Tom came and attacked the armed men. He managed to knock one of them out with a club, and desperately fought with the other one. I grabbed a dagger from the downed man, and helped Tom fight off the other bandit. I stabbed the bandit in the shoulder causing him to wince and lower his guard while Tom hit him with his club knocking him out as well. Afterwards, Tom told me to search the two men and take whatever I found. I searched them and found many valuables including a jewel encrusted dagger.
Tom went to the stables and told me to grab a horse. I told him I couldn't ride well, so he told me to get on his mount and hang on tight. We left with several armed men yelling behind us. They began to pursue us and shot at us with arrows. One hit tom and he was bleeding from his back and chest. We went over a bend and came to a fork in the road. Tom was looking weak and he told me that I needed to quickly get off and hide. I objected, but he insisted about it. When I hid, the armed men quickly caught up and Tom began riding in one direction to mislead them, and they pursued him. I ran in the other direction. I managed to make it to a nearby village and spent the night in a shed.
The next morning, I heard the town crier say that two fugitive servants were on the run and they were accused of stealing property from Lord Garon. I panicked…I immediately went to a local merchant and sold the jewel encrusted dagger for a new outfit and as much gold as he was willing to give. I then bought passage with a small trading caravan that was heading south. Afterwards, I had the feeling that it was a mistake as they may use it to track which direction I went so I left the caravan. I was starting to feel desperate when I saw your keep. I asked a nearby traveler whose it was, and he told me it belonged to a mercenary group known to solve people's problems."
After she finishes she waits to see what Ikku will say. When Ikku agrees to help Vera, she looks quite relieved to hear you say that.
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