"Heh. That would piss me off too. Did you feed him?" he asks sarcasticly.
"Seriously, though I think you're needed here. I need men and women worth their salt. Will you have a problem commanding orcs?"
He leans in close.
"Xavier, I'm not one to discard tools or weapons. In my soon to be barony, we've encountered orcs. Orcs that contribute and want to be part of what I'm doing, want to be Caratiosians. There are of course orcs that don't, that will soon be a problem. I also have goblin archers, and minotaur that is a Knight of Zak'Ryn'Del that has become one of my Dominii, who will probably begin training other knights. I believe in the vision of Caratos, and those who want in and can conrtibute and work, get in. I have Sr. Sgt Derbin training orc milita as we speak, and they make damn fine warriors.
If the natives here settle down and want to join me, I'll take them as well. Caratos is more than a home, Xavier. It's a way of life we give to the masses.
Can you work for and with a crazy visionary, I guess would be a better question." he pauses...
"As you can see I'm not much concerned with political suicide. I'll do what Xenon, my heart, and Caratos demands, first."
He leans back in his chair as you finish speaking, studying you intently for a minute...
Finally he speaks, "You ARE crazy... but I'll do it." then he holds up a hand to forestall your reply, "But I have a few... rules... I'll take your orders, but my men are MY men, they fight for me because they know I'll fight for them, I won't follow foolish orders that'll get my men killed," his eyes harden as he speaks, "I'll throw you in a cage before I'll let you get men killed. You ok with that?"
"As any of the men I've served with so far could attest: I'd expect it. I've never given a command I wasn't willing to do, or went along and did myself. I understand that that will change, but so far it hasn't and won't.
I am not a mamby pamby desk jocky. I am a code 4, and a Lord's Captain. I was well on my way to earning my citizenship through blood and sweat before my family got it's Von back. I would hope my orders will make sense, LC. I believe we have an accord." he'll offer his hand.
"This is of course assuming I can sway the Lord's Major, or the Doukas."
He takes your hand, "Well you don't get intimidated and you don't overreact... you may just be a man worth serving under. I'm yours."
With that he'll follow you over to the LT and your brother, your brother stands to salute but is waved back down. The rest of the evening only confirms your recruiting decisions have been the right ones as you discuss who else to bring on board.
I'll ask for Xavier's orders, and take them with me to the Doukas.
"Sir, there's something I need to clear up in regards to my cohort. I need Lord's Captain Xavier, but it seems he's been assigned to the 235th. His orders should read assignment to the 739th. If you could correct his assignment, I'll get out of your hair, sir."
He takes the orders, then smirks up with you, "Attempting to pull the wool over my eyes Lord's Captain? Thought I wouldn't recognize the name of one of my best Lord's Captains? Expected I wouldn't remember that just a week ago he instigated a Lord's Major into tossing my office?" and he chuckles and signs the correction, "Believed I wouldn't appreciate the opportunity to have a way out of punishing him when he was right in what he did?" and he hands it back to you.
He laughs, "Get out!" but he's smiling as you leave.
Two days later you'll be getting your toiletries to go take a shower when the wooden door built onto the front of your tent pulls open and slams shut again, the Lord's Major Von Thane stands there, his face red as his uniform tunic!
"Who the bloody hells to you think you are Lord's Captain!?"
His face drops all emotion.
"I am on my own time and I will do no such thing, Lord's Major. The Doukas has corrected the Lord's Captain Dermot's assignment, and he's now with the 739th, under my command, as the Baron of Andronica. I need to build a cohort. I will use who I can. I've already rescued one person from the 235th, why is this one any different, sir?"
You can see his rage mounting towards violence, "Rescued? You sorry excuse for a nobleman, but then that's what I should expect from an upstart piece of filth like an Andronicus! That piece of dung deserves the assignment chosen for him! He needs to learn respect for his betters, as do you! Perhaps you both need to be reassigned to the 235th, where you can learn a bit of culture!"
He reaches for his sword, pulling it an inch from his scabbard and leaning forward... off balance, he may be enraged but his movements are that of a person with training but no experience. "You Piece of orc dung, you don't give me orders!"
And not a threat uttered, you can win with diplomacy. LOL
Titus stands there a sec and boggles at what just happened.
I killed almost a literal boatload of pirates...what did he think he was going to do? Makes me mad to consider there are men that stupid that hihg up in the chain of command...oh, locked in a cage indeed. he thinks to himself.
He grabs his stuff and takes a shower.
Later that evening, he will mention without details to Dermot that he spoke with both the Doukas and the Lord's Major and everything is taken care of.
By the end of Drabinol you'll have your full half Cohort built and ready for travel. Dermot proves to be a good judge of character and you accept all of the personnel he recommends without reservation. He also has far more command experience than you and you find yourself learning the basics from him of how a larger force is mobilized, organized, and run.
The summer heat hasn't abated, but it has become more tolerable as you've become more accustomed to it. You begin the trip back to Andronicus at the head of a massive column of Slaves, Civilians, and Militia, wagon loads of equipment and food and water.
The trip is mostly familiar to you, the grass is greener and taller, the air hotter and even the breeze brings no respite, but otherwise everything is the same.
I'll warn the LC of the potential for Orc raids, although I do not believe they would attack so large a force, but, prepraredness is a virtue.
I'll also make sure the captain is ok as far as repairs for his ship goes before we leave.
The Captain is actually getting some upgrades done to his ship... free of charge. His biggest complaint actually is having to fend off all the volunteers. He's replaced the crew he lost and then some and still gets requests. He expects he'll be back to Andronica no later than the first of Dacono, which is about the same time you'll get there.
The LC takes your warning very seriously, asking you for information on their abilities and attack formations, skill level, such and so forth. He's not humoring you, he considers it a credible threat and the well being of his men depends on his taking it seriously.
The first night you camp is a cluster with the LC running around crazy trying to get things done the way he wants. The second night as well... by the end of the first week however the Lieutentants and Sergeants know their roles and things become more smooth.
The green grass doesn't disappear but the countryside gets hilly and eventually intermittent bits of rocky outcropping. The LC sends out scout teams in pairs to clear each outcropping to avoid any ambushes.
Four weeks into your trip you'll reach the first estates and roads, the very farthest of your current civilized domain.
Each one will offer a feast in honor of your return. Taking all the offers would add considerable time to your trip however since you'll pass by a total of nine estates on your way to the castle. On the other side, you'll get a chance to more personally connect with many of the Dominus you've had the least interaction with.
LC will pass on a report to you of signs of battle on the road ahead. A minor thing, there are 12 dead Goblins and a single orc. The pattern of the battle looks as if they were laying in ambush and someone ambushed them first. He says the scouts say the attackers wore Caratosian Militia footware.
"Very well. Shame to make it this far with no altercations...battle ready formation, if you please, LC."
When we're about a day out, I'll send a runner with some scouts to the city to announce our arrival, if the LC hasnt already taken care of it.
Your arrival at the castle is met with fanfare! Streamers and banners in Andronicus colors line the streets and fly from the battlements. People come out of their homes, clapping and smiling and clearly happy to see your safe return!
Anthony, the Consigliere and Megalos, Tertius, and Alliandra are the first to greet you as you arrive at the castle, the castle staff and many more are there as well.
LC turns over command to the Cohort XO and follows you through the gates into the castle grounds.
Magelos is there and Derbin and Tertius is there...
If my staff of dept heads are there, I think that's all I need for now.
I plan on either calling a dominus meeting to fill them all in later, or letting Magelos take care of it.
This meeting is to basicly let everyone know what happened, my promotions, the new troops and workers and their families we have.
We should finally have enough people to get our infrastructure up and running for things planned, and for a new fort and barracks, as well as new towns for the new Komis...
I want trak and Grush there, but if they aren't im not going to play favorites...not yet anyway :P
I'm going to try to keep the happenings of my two hats seperate, for ease of operation of those folks in cahrge of them.
I'll have docs ready for Magelos to proclaim him Komis...
Then hit him with what's going on, the scope of things happeneing will grow rapidly.
I'll also have promotions for Derbin and Tertius, and take rec's from them on who under them derserves it. We'll have a formal promotion ceremony for them.
Later I'll have a formal inspection for LC and Derbin. I had planned on having Derbin run things militarily, but I landed an LC so that will change...I'm also going to incorporate my existing troops into the 739th.
Well there's a bit of shock but once people get used to the idea they like it.
Megalos appreciates the promotion to Komis, "Thank you m'lord, I appreciate your generosity, this will allow me more time with my family, since it'll be my duty to stay in one location more."
Octavia and Dardanos announce they've set a date for their wedding, the 8th of Peloso, and they'd like you to marry them. (As Baron you can proceed over weddings, though generally a priest would)
Once he's had some time to think about it, he already knows who he wants for Hippotis of his Komis, "Trak, Grush, and Dominus Marinos."
Derbin gives a report, the gatehouse is finished except for the portcullis, they need more iron. There's been two minor engagements while you were gone, no militia casualties occured, they were precision strikes against mostly goblins lead by Tertius. (That gets your LC's attention in a big way)
You now have 50 fully trained Orc warriors and 32 goblin archers. A handful of goblins showed up asking to join the Bearclaw tribe, they were from a tribe recently taken over by the Black Spider alliance. They said that the Black Spiders now has a force of almost 2500 warriors and three times that many goblin fodder.
Megalos' two children who came to train are ready to be inducted into the militia, "I'd put em up 'gainst da best comin outta Targos an bet ev'ry bit I own Sir!"
Derbin snorts at the promotion, "Bah.." Course when you suggest he doesn't have to take it his head snaps up and his back straight, "Yer fer gittin to big fer yer britches Sir, ya don' promote a soldier den take it back!"
Tertius nods but doesn't really say anything when you tell him about his, but the expression on his face says he takes it as a responsibility and not a reward.
He'll also have a talk with LC, tertius and Derbin regarding the spec ops idea. First we need to identify those that are canidates, and then among those that are leaders.
Yes, I want a delta force.
Titus OK's magelos' suggestions, then advises that he needs dominus for his other Komis and Komis for them as well...he'll also like advice, since he knows the area, the best places to locate 2 or 3 more Komis, and where to start building. Based on this, he'll bring in his militart council and decide where to build the actual fort. he also mentions his desire for a naval fort at the mouth of the river.
I'll have the map with me when I come down next weekend, it's kinda hard to plan a lot of that out without one. I envisioned you building three Komis in a triangle pattern with your Barony seat of government in the middle. An alternate plan would be to keep your seat of government where it is because of the castle, or at the port since once it's up and running it's likely the majority of the economy will run through there. All three are good plans it's just a question of which one you'd prefer.
Delta Force - You can certainly train specialty troops, but your LC would warn you not to create your own code 4 as that could be perceived as an attempt to make yourself Emperor. On the other hand he sees the value of having them... just don't go too far with it, and when real code 4 are eventually assigned here you turn them over to them, you should be fine.
Your consigliere will come up with his suggestions for where to assign resources. He puts all but one engineer at the port, all the masons as the quarry, and splits the slaves up, sending the bulk to the port and the rest with the remaining engineer who he assigns to building the roadwork for the second Komis. "Once roads are up then we build the estates m'lord." He also suggests that it would be a good idea to assign some militia to protect the slaves building roads.
"My goal isn't to create my own code 4 anymore than it is to create my own army. We are all the Emporers men, and it's our duty to get those rare gems that can, to shine in his service. If we can get tactical use out of them too, in the mean time, then it's a win/win."
If no one objects, he'll go with the consigliere's advice. Is Anthony still working with the man?
Also, he'd be spending as much time with his kids aside and around all of this as he can as well. He's missed them, and Allie too.
We may have to build her a proper academy for all of the new children...
The month of Petroni seems downright cool after the heat of the previous months and by the end of the month your asking the servants to turn the heat back on... A bit disconcerting since it's still quite hot.
The LC and Derbin have gotten along fine over the last month, arranging the cohort and training schedules. The LC often compliments Derbin's dedication to training and his knowledge, "He doesn't waste his time teaching them to look pretty, but rather focuses on actual battle skills."
Towards the end of the month your Consigliere suggests you visit the port and see the progress. The docks have been expanded to fit three ships, with a skeletal system in place that'll bring it up to eight. Roadwork has been laid out for a city of 20,000, but there are only a handful of buildings. A medium sized fort is under construction as well and is placed to best repel pirates. The plans for the fort provide for archers windows and ballistae that'll provide enough range to be able to hit ships at sea.
You continue your tour along the coast and see roadwork outlines showing you very rich estate lands of green rolling fields, this area will be very profitable.
Eventually you turn inland again and the lands get rockier, you'll want to assign hardy men to turn this land into fertile estates.
As you return to Andronica you'll swing by the Quarry which is now in full production. A town larger than Andronica has sprung up and you see now why Anthony has been spending a lot of time here. Most of the buildings are a hodgepodge of whatever wood they could find, mud, and sometimes even simply cloth. These people are living poor, but you just ordered the first lumber sent here and you can see it's only arrived a day or so ago and is guarded by Militia. The Quarry itself is at full production and even capable of expanding should you wish to.
You return to Andronica and life is good for awhile. Your day to day work has grown, but also your assets with which to get that work accomplished. You've settled into a routine with Alliandra that is nice, if not as far as you'd like things to go. Essen has developed a reputation now as one of the best fighters in Andronica and has even had a couple challenges. He handled them well, defeating but not killing them both. Tessa visits infrequently but when she does she always leaves behind beautiful new paintings. Your runecaster proves to be as capable as he is rude, and you find your drinking from goblets with cooling runes and eating from plates that keep your food warm. You also begin to see endurance and strength runes on the castle walls and the cook informs you that he can handle the heavier workload without more staff because of the new runecarved stoves.
You sent a letter to your father informing him that you need more Dominus... a lot more.. and that you need some with experience with horses (A tall order there aren't a whole lot of horse experts in the empire) and you statements showing your tax payments to the Doukas as well as about half of your treasury in actual coin (Roughly 15 gold Crowns) Your Consigliere explains that your lack of vices and excesses has a lot to do with why your treasury is so strong. (ie. you don't spend money on wine and prostitutes and parties and friends)
You also asked for any assistance he can send for starting the TRAM system, and told him not to send any family because of the pirates.
Alliandra, ironically, decides on her own that she is going to be Octavia and Dardanos' wedding planner and asks you for some money. She wants to put up streamers and flowers and transform one of the ballrooms for the reception and iced drinks and...and..and.. You get the idea.
The LC reports that two raiding teams of orcs and goblins has been caught trying to cross the river. They used very poorly constructed rafts and were easy to pick off, none of them even made the shore line. No militia casualties, 24 dead goblins, 3 dead orcs. They orcs had clan marks on their shoulders with a second black spider clan mark below it.
She blushes, "No, but I'm sure she'll be okay with it!"
The LC shakes his head, "No I think it's status quo, the composition is the same as the raids they were setting up before the cohort, according to Lord's Sergeant Derbin and Senior Sergeant Von Andronicus. The only difference is we caught them before they got into Andronica and set up in place."
"I know Octavia, Allie...she may not be as appreciative as you think. Is she going for dwarven traditions or humsn? Is it a big cerempony or small? I'm sure she'd love the help, but I'd ask her, dear."
She pouts for a second, then smiles at you, kisses you and runs off... presumably to find Octavia.
She eventually gets her way, Octavia lets her handle the wedding plans with a melding of the two traditions, which basically means a traditional Caratosian wedding with drums. The only real question is how it's all paid for, do you pony up as the representative of the bride's father or do they pay for their own wedding?
The days leading up to the 8th of Dacono are noisy and active but in a happy way as you are tasked with writing your own lines for giving the bride to the groom and officially announcing Dardanos as a member of the Von Andronicus family. Alliandra has bleachers built in the courtyard, "You guys can put off exercises for a week, this is more important!" she states with the emphatic certainty of a woman who will not be budged... even Derbin gives over quickly, but only so much as to move the training outside the castle.
The day before the wedding Megalos and his entire family, Tessa, the Hippotis's Marinos, Grush, and Trak, all show up with their families. Every Dominus that is Von Andronicus, as well as a few others, also arrive. Lord's Captain Dermot sends his regards, "Someone's gotta watch the line so you won't have to worry." is his excuse. Tertius is there and you'll see him holding hands with the woman who's husband he killed during the skirmish at the Marinos estates.
The morning of the eighth your manservant lays out your nicest clothes instead of your training outfit. A doublet of Andronicus blue and brass with matching pleated trousers and polished black boots. You feel like your in a dress uniform. You dress quickly and a maid servant combs your hair, "Lady Alliandra's orders m'lord, she says your not to look like you've a mop on your head today." and she smiles.
As you make your way down to the courtyard you hear the kitchens running at full steam ahead preparing the reception feast. You step out into the courtyard and are amazed at the beauty and glory before you. Rows of chairs create a pathway down the center of the courtyard, with bleachers to either side for the extra attendees. Flowers and streamers of Andronicus Blue and Brass adorn every chair, fixture, and wall space to be seen. As they walk down the isle they'll pass under eight arches adorned with flowers and garlands. Some people are already in place excited or nervous, some of the women are even crying already. You make your way to the front and Essen cuts you off, "Father, if you'll follow me?" and he takes your hand, guiding you with a level of solemnity you've never seen from him. He places you to the right of the raised dais where the bridge and groom will stand, he whispers under his breath, "I hope your vows are good father, or Tessa and Alliandra will fight over who gets to kill you." and he gives you his usual grin and slips away to guide another guest to their seat.
The remaining guests begin to file in quickly, Essen and Anthony, Durzo, and half a dozen kids who's names your unfamiliar with take each one and lead them to their seats. As the last guest is placed the beat of a hundred drums fills the air. It takes you a moment to realize it but it's coming from under the bleachers!
Dardanos steps into the courtyard and walks down the isle, as he passes under each arch the rhythm of the drums changes, growing in pitch and intensity until he arrives at the dais and the music stops completely!
Everyone turns towards the door to the castle as a soft melody of flutes fills the air, the doors open and Octavia steps out in a dress of blue with brass threading, her eyes sparkle with a dazzling radiance of pure joy and her golden blonde hair outshines the flowers expertly weaved through it! Your struck by her beauty and femininity, having always seen her professional attitude and nonchalant effort as boyish. But there's nothing boyish about the woman walking down the isle today. The flutes grow in intensity and pitch as she passes under the arches, wind instruments are added to the mix as well and finally the drums return as she passes the seventh arch creating an orchestra of sound perfectly intermingled... and coming to a perfect halt as she passes the last arch to stand beside her future husband.
Xersis steps forward resplendent in his priestly robes, takes a moment to glance over the assemblage before turning towards you, his voice booms with a confidence and vigor you've never seen in him, "Baron Titus Cassius Von Andronicus, as the steward of your ward and sister Octavia Xenda Von Andronicus, do you bless her marriage to Dardanos Aristides?"
"As her Baron, I do bless this marraige. Her service to Andronica and it's people have been exemplory, as well as the man before us that she has chosen. To join the two makes them each stronger, and the barony stronger becasue of it.
As her warder, I do bless this marriage, she has chosen a fine man to take her the rest of her journey through life, and I would wish no other. I know he will keep and love and honor her as she deserves, and she him.
As her brother, Titus Von Andronicus, I do bless this marriage. I warmly approve of this matching, and welcome Dardanos Aristides as a brother. I know he will carry himself in all ways in honor and strength.
In all of my stations do I approve, Father."
I dunno what he's supposed to do next, but he will do whats appropriate.
Change as her brother... to:
"As her brother, Titus Von Andronicus, I welcome Dardanos not only as a brother in marriage, but also by law. <pulls out the document> The patriarch of the Von Andronicus family also blesses this union, and hereby accepts Dardanos as a Von Andronicus, legally. I know he will carry himself with strength and honor, and strengthen the Von Andronicus name."
Octavia beams and Dardanos looks like he took a block of stone to the forehead! The audience applause drowns out the thank yous that you read on their lips, and finally the priest has to call for silence.
Finally people quiet down and Xavier clears his throat, "Under the light of Xenon and in front of the people of Caratos, do you Octavia Xenda Von Andronicus take Dardanos Aristides Von Andronicus as your husband? Do you swear to live and breathe as his wisdom and honor and take action only to the betterment of you both?"
You catch sight of Alliandra crying and smiling at the same time as Octavia responds, "I most certainly do."
"And Dardanos Aristides Von Andronicus, do you take Octavia Xenda Von Andronicus as your wife, to provide for her well being and strength and take action only to the betterment of you both?"
He nods firmly, with no question of doubt, "I Do."
"Then under the Light of Xenon and for all Caratos to see and hear, I pronounce you husband and wife!" and before he can say anything more Dardanos scoops up Octavia and kisses her deeply, the crowd breaks into laughter as Xavier reverts to his usual demeanor, "Oh... oh my..." he stutters.
Just then flares fly up into the air bursting into thousands of beautiful stars in brass and blue and the crowd ooohs and aaaahs.
Later that evening as the dancing begins Alliandra comes up to you with a smile, "If it is not too bold, for a humble citizen to claim a dance with a Baron?" and she holds out her arm to you.