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Gold and Blood [Past Tech]

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Mareyland
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Gold and Blood [Past Tech]

Postby Mareyland » Sun Jan 02, 2022 12:49 pm

OOC: Please do not post without permission. If you want to get involved, send me a Telegram. This RP is set in the year 1791.


Franklin County was one of the largest counties in the Republic of Mareyland. It covered a large stretch of the country’s southwestern frontier, near the headwaters of the Langston and Asheulot Rivers and nestled up against the Whitetail Mountains. It was large by virtue of its relative emptiness - much of the land was unsettled, and it had few settlements that could honestly claim the grand title of town. Instead the rolling piedmont was covered in forests of oak and hickory, broken up by meadows and tributary creeks. Families had, with great labor, carved small homesteads into this landscape. These white settlers lived in a tense coexistence with the land’s native inhabitants, the Ura. There was peace now, but everyone knew the stories of their terrible raids, egged on by the Royalists during the War for Independence. Many people had experienced that brutality, or knew someone who had experienced it, firsthand.

Connor Rollins had heard the stories, but to a boy of twelve years they were no more real than tales of knights and dragons. Young Connor was just one year older than the Republic of Mareyland itself. So his main concern as he played in the creek near his family’s home was not the risk of being killed or abducted by a fearsome Ura warrior, or any risk at all. He scampered over rocks and fallen trees with the gleeful sense of invincibility that was the domain of youth. It was while he was balancing on a trunk that had fallen across the creek that he noticed something in the water, glinting in the sunlight.

Connor eased himself off the tree - his care not for his health but for the condition of his clothes, just repaired by his mother - and took a step into the creek to get a closer look. It was a rock, but it looked different from the others around it. It felt different too, as he lifted it from the gently running water. It was heavy, too. Connor dropped it into his satchel, which had been left laying against a tree. His mother liked to see the strange rocks and flowers that he found while he was playing. It then fell to the back of his mind, and he did not remember to take it out of his satchel and show his parents until they had finished their evening meal.

Samuel Rollins had fought in the War of Independence. He had been at the Battle of Pembroke, and seen the vaunted redcoats break and run. He’d seen the war come to a shocking end, with the surrender of their pompous Lord General. But long after he forgot those moments, he would never forget the sight of his young son drawing, from his plain haversack, a ten pound nugget of solid gold.

* * *

The discovery of gold - not just gold, but gold that was apparently sitting there ready for the taking - drew a flurry of people to Franklin County. Most of them were men hoping to strike it rich by finding gold in the stream beds. Then there were the merchants, who took the easier path to wealth: selling supplies to those hopeful prospectors. And less present but no less involved were the men who claimed to have pieces of land in Franklin County that they were willing to sell. After all, finding gold wouldn’t do a man any good if it was on someone else’s land.

Unfortunately, almost all the land deeds purchased by the dozens, soon hundreds, of new inhabitants of Franklin County were fraudulent. Most of the county was, in fact, the property of the Stafford family. They had acquired vast tracts of land in the Republic's infancy, looking to eventually profit from their sale. But their claims were often ignored, and families of aspiring yeomen felt no compunction about settling wherever they liked. Since no great migration into the Franklin County region had taken place before the gold rush, the benefits of evicting squatters had been far lower than the expense of claim enforcement.

But now there was greater profit to be made. So Henry Stafford, the family patriarch, took action. He began to more proactively seek out squatters, or those who had purchased fraudulent patents to land that was rightfully his. If he could not make these new settlers into paying tenants, then he would drive them off. He had aid in this endeavor from the Cawthorne family. They were one of the first families to settle in Mareyland, and through the generations they had amassed a great fortune. Thomas Cawthorne had no intention of being the man who saw those fortunes decline. He arranged a marriage between his daughter Annabelle, and Daniel Stafford, Richard's younger brother. Through this family connection to the Staffords, the Cawthornes could gain access to the newfound gold fields. The Staffords, meanwhile, gained a powerful political ally in the halls of power.

No one stopped to wonder what the Ura might do in response to this new influx of white settlers. The natives had been pushed, through war and disease and demographic pressure, further and further west since the arrival of the first white colonists. The lands in Franklin County were some of the last lands that they held claim to within Mareyland’s borders. Now even these final hunting grounds were under threat. The Ura had gone to war with Mareyland twice in the last forty years. Now, some of the more aggressively-inclined chiefs among the Ura called for their people to take up the hatchet once again.
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 9:58 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Mon Jan 03, 2022 11:14 am

Tazal was one of the largest Ura villages left within the borders of the Republic of Mareyland. It was where the chiefs of the nation met in regular council, to settle disputes and chart the course for their people. These councils were not all-powerful; they could dispense wisdom and advice, but the power of their words came from the respect that was shown by the leaders of the individual villages, bands, and clans that made up the Ura people. If a particular group of Ura thought the course that the council had charted was wrong, then they could and often did strike out on their own path. Thus, a careful consideration had to take place before a decision was made. Too much dissension and the nation would shatter like glass, and each little piece could be trampled on by the Mareylanders as easy as sand underfoot.

In most cases, the danger of disunity helped to motivate recalcitrant chiefs to move towards consensus. But now, this new influx of settlers into the lands that the Mareylanders had dubbed “Franklin County” was splitting the Ura in two. Ura land, supposedly guaranteed by treaty with the Republic, was being encroached on. Where white settlers appeared, their animals appeared too. Soon the forests would be infested with rooting pigs, or chopped down. The hunting grounds would shrink into nothing. The ambassadors of the Mareyland government had made great speeches about upholding the treaties, but these words rang hollow in the face of what the Ura could see happening.

So some began to argue for action. Leading them was a young chief, whose name was clumsily translated by the Mareylanders as “Fox Tail.” He had fought in the war twenty years ago, as one of many Ura warriors recruited to serve as scouts and guides for the soldiers of the Crown. After the war, when the Royalists had abandoned their supposed allies and ceded the whole land to the new nation, he had risen to lead a band of Ura. Now he stood before the council, a tomahawk held tightly in one hand at his side.

*words in bold are translated from the Ura language*

“They intrude on our lands,” he stated angrily. “They should be made to pay a penalty for their trespass. The longer we permit this, the more of them there will be. We must strike now, and scare them away!”

“White Crow thought and spoke the same way,” an elderly woman said from her seat on a slightly raised platform. She was old enough to remember the war which the Ura had launched nearly forty years ago, when the Genovian colony of Arcadia had been annexed into Mareyland. The Mareylanders had insulted and angered the Ura, and a war chief named White Crow had sought to instruct them in their errors. Instead the armies of the colony had burned villages and massacred their inhabitants, no matter their age or sex.

“You would have us march ourselves into the fires that the Mareylanders have prepared for us,” she continued. “This is for President Winslow to make right. We cannot dispense justice on his behalf.”

“Waiting for the whites to correct themselves is like waiting for a fox to befriend the chickens in their coop,” Fox Tail retorted. “Our choice is clear and simple. Either we drive these invaders from our lands, or we will lose everything.”

“White Crow offered us this same choice,” the old woman said sadly. “And when our warriors went to fight to save our lands, we still lost everything.”

“So you would have us die slowly, begging on our knees?” Fox Tail’s disdain was obvious in both his voice and eyes. “Make your choice. I have made mine.”

The old woman felt every one of her years weighing on her, as Fox Tail turned derisively from the council and walked away…taking most of the young and eager chiefs, and their warriors, with him. The council broke down in their wake. War seemed as inevitable as the rising of the sun. The question would be, how many of the Ura would follow its drumbeat? And how many would be left when peace was made?
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 9:59 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Mon Jan 03, 2022 7:40 pm

Robert Stafford had received a large grant of land in western Mareyland for his service in the War of Independence. He had reserved a portion for himself, a thousand acre estate which he called Woodville Manor, and then divided the rest into farms which were leased out to tenants. Besides their rents, they could bring their wheat to be ground into flour at his gristmill, and they could distill their corn into whiskey so long as they parted with a portion of the product. His son Henry had continued to expand the family's holdings, and now he owned nearly a quarter of Franklin County. As gold rush mania swept the territory, many Stafford tenants began eagerly sifting through creek bed stones, looking for their own nugget of riches. Some of them had begun to neglect their farms, and their balance of payments.

The irritation was clear in Henry Stafford’s voice as he said, “If they do not pay their rents soon, then I will have them thrown off the land.”

“Sir, the last winter was harsh,” replied William Swann, one of the agents employed by the Stafford family.

“They could have prepared, if they hadn’t spent their time panning for gold,” Henry retorted. “No, Mister Swann. The rents will be paid in full when they are due.”

“Well, mister Stafford, Robert, I mean,” William said hesitantly. “He always -”

“My father could sometimes allow his heart to overrule his mind, when it came to the management of the land, and the tenants,” Henry said firmly. “I am in no mood to extend whatever indulgences he granted.”

“Yes, sir.”

Henry Stafford dismissed Swann, who left the room. As he stepped through the doorway and out into the hall, he passed by Annabelle Cawthorne Stafford. The new wife of Henry’s brother Daniel was an elegant beauty, and always seemed too large a personality for this frontier living. It was a far cry from the Cawthorne family estate back east, certainly.

“Miss Stafford,” William raised a hand to his head and tipped an imaginary hat. Annabelle smiled warmly.

“Mister Swann,” she said in greeting. “Is Daniel back from his hunt?”

“No ma’am,” William answered. “I was just here to speak with his brother about the leases.” Not wishing to trouble the woman with any of the details, he made his excuses and departed. Annabelle stepped into the study where Henry Stafford stood, staring out the window. He turned around and looked her up and down, his eyes lingering longer than they should have on the wife of his brother. The marriage had seemed good when first proposed. Daniel Stafford was kind and gentle, and while Woodville was dreary and isolated it had a sort of frontier comfort. But Daniel Stafford seemed unaware that he remained married after the wedding night. He did not seem to shun his wife by design; he simply held other pursuits, especially fox hunting, in higher priority. Henry Stafford, on the other hand…he had taken very good notice of her.

“Did I hear right, that you intend to throw people off their farms?” Annabelle said as she closed the distance between them.

“I have to,” Henry said. “If we let rent payments lapse, some other family might make a claim that we’ve forfeited title to the land.” Everything came down to land, as it always did in Mareyland. Whoever owned the motherlode, the vein from which the gold nuggets found by farmers like Samuel Rollins were coming, would reap its rewards. That was why Annabelle was here in the first place, though her arrival had certainly not been without its pleasant benefits for him. Henry Stafford put a hand on her shoulder, then let it slowly travel down to her upper arm, which he squeezed reassuringly. "It's none of your concern anyway," he said.

"It seems...heartless," she protested. "They're just trying to make a living too."

"Well, they should have done a better job of it,” Henry retorted. “It’s not my job to protect them from their own mistakes.” The hand drifted down to Annabelle’s waist, a silent invitation which she was about to accept, when she spotted something in the distance. Through the window of the study, she could see a party of riders gallop out of the trees. Her husband was finally returning from his hunt. “Another time,” Henry said upon seeing the disappointment bloom on her features.

“Another time,” Annabelle echoed. “I suppose he’s going to have stories he wants to tell me.”
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Tue Jan 04, 2022 4:44 pm

New Adeleux, New Columbia
Government House


“That is disturbing news, Governor. We cannot afford to lose the gold shipments - not with a war against Vionna on the horizon. You’re sure it’s six weeks?” Lord Lindsey Brankton sat supping his wine to cover his anxiety whilst Governor Holloway considered his reply.

“It might be as few as four. We’re recruiting prospecting parties to head on new expeditions.” Richmond Holloway tentatively answered the old aristocrat’s query. Though Brankton had little power while sat in Holloway’s humble study, he could be dangerous back in Frankenlisch and the Governor didn’t wish to jeopardise his position. “Of course, with the planting season, there’s less surplus manpower but we can also recruit from our native allies.”

Brankton wiped his lips with a handkerchief and gestured frantically at the Governor while he swallowed the last dregs of his wine. “Yes, there’s a point. Why can we not step up trade with the natives to make up the deficit?” He asked.

Eyes closed, Holloway shook his head. “I have explored that option.” He explained. “They say they have no more gold and I believe them. If the gold shipments are really that vital, our only hope is the interior, or the mountains of the north.” He allowed himself to grumble a little, “of course, if His Majesty’s Government were to allow us to expand trade with Mareyland…”

A cacophony of coughs and huffing noises broke out from Lord Brankton. “And risk infesting New Columbia with the republican scourge?” He suggested unhappily, narrowing his grey little eyes even further.

“It’s a matter of priorities, Lord Brankton.” Holloway reasoned. He snatched a glance at the grandfather clock by his door and sighed. They had been discussing the situation in New Columbia for an hour and a half and Lord Brankton, it turned out, was uncommonly good at handling his wine. “Ah,” the Governor fell back on his last resort, “Jennifer should be back in a few minutes. Will you join us for dinner, Lord Brankton?”

Awkwardly, the aristocrat shuffled to his feet. “Oh dear is it really that time?” He looked over the clock. “I’m afraid not, Governor, I must pack for the journey home tomorrow.” He excused himself, “I will speak to the cabinet about your proposal. If it is our only choice then trade with Mareyland it must be.”

Governor Holloway, who knew how much Brankton hated the lady of the house, replied disapointedly. “Oh, ‘tis a shame. Upon your return perhaps…”

“Yes, yes, of course.” Brankton had already began backing towards the door as politely as he could manage. “By the time I am back, hopefully your prospecting parties will have returned. Give my regards to your wife.”

“I will.” Holloway could not help but smile as the Viscount, velvet-clad and sweating, slammed his back into the door as he scrambled to leave. “Farewell, my lord.” He forced himself to say, to avoid breaking out laughing.

Before he jogged away, Brankton managed a respectful bow of the head. “Good day, Governor.”

Governor Holloway settled down at his desk of polished oak and chuckled. A footman came along to check up on his employer. “Ah, Watkins,” Holloway greeted him, “I’ll take a light dinner in here if you please. And bring up a bottle of the bubbling white - Jennifer won’t be back for hours.” He grinned.
Last edited by Vionna-Frankenlisch on Sun Jan 09, 2022 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Tue Jan 04, 2022 10:48 pm

Otis Norton had moved his family to Franklin County just a few years after the conclusion of the war for independence. He had saved up enough money from years as a tenant farmer back east to put down a payment on a tract of land on the frontier. It was a long way from civilization, but the big cities and their fancy folk had never held much for a poor farmer like him. Out here he answered to no one. He and his family worked hard to clear the land, build a house, and sow the fields. Whatever couldn’t be grown, raised, or made on the farm he could obtain through barter. He’d kept his gun, a musket that he’d been given during his time in the army, and acquired another for his oldest son to carry. Beyond hunting, they were a reassurance against the possibility of attack by the Ura, or frontier bandits.

But the threat to the Norton family livelihood wasn’t savage men in war paint; it was a single man, in expensive clothes. He called himself Samuel King, and he was an agent of the Stafford family.

“Look here, mister King,” Otis insisted from the threshold of his door. “I have my patent, and it doesn’t say a damn word about the Stafford family.” The lawyer had asked to be invited in, and Otis Norton had refused out of hand. He wouldn’t have this minion making himself comfortable in the house he had built.

“I understand that, mister Norton.” Samuel King stood there, infuriating calm as he cast dark clouds over the Norton homestead. “But I’m afraid whoever sold you that patent was deceiving you. Mister Stafford is the lawful owner of this land, and he never authorized any sale.”

“So he says now,” Otis retorted. “Now that they’re finding gold here. Years and years I’ve been living here, with no problems. But now, Sam Rollins’s kid finds a chunk of gold in Marley’s Creek, and suddenly the lord of the manor comes down from his castle.”

“Mister Stafford sent me out here as soon as he learned–”

“Couldn’t even come out here and face me himself,” Otis sneered.

“And he has empowered me to make an agreement with you,” Samuel King powered through the disdain. “You’ve improved the land, and mister Stafford recognizes that. So if you’ll just sign a lease…”

“I bought this land!” Otis shouted, taking a step towards the lawyer. The bookish Samuel flinched at the sudden increase in volume but held his ground. “Now just cause Henry Stafford has some piece of paper in some desk, he thinks he can make me give it up?”

“Not give it up,” Samuel said hastily. “Just…adjust the terms of your occupancy. A fair and reasonable annual rent.”

“And rights to the gold, I assume?”

Samuel King threw a glance towards the rocker box, used to sift riverbed sand for gold, that laid against the wall of the Norton home. His plot of land included a portion of the creek where the initial gold deposits had been found. Like many farmers, he had gone off in search of his own riches.

If any is found on the land,” Samuel said slowly. “Then mister Stafford would of course be willing to work out some suitable arrangement.” Samuel paused, ominously. “Mister Norton, let me speak frankly. Mister Stafford has tasked me with ensuring that his lands here are in order. He gave me very clear instructions: if you won’t sign a lease, then I’ll have to go to the courts.”

Otis Norton spat on the ground in front of him. The county court was so deep in the pocket of the rich and powerful that it might as well be their stockings. They’d rule in favor of Stafford and send the sheriff to throw him off the land. They’d destroy everything that he’d spent so much time and sweat to build here. His wife Nora came to the doorway, investigating the raised voice. Otis looked back to see her standing there, looking at him with concern in her eyes.

“Damn…” he muttered his breath. “Alright, King. Come inside and show me these lease papers.”

* * *

The sound of axes cutting into wood echoed through the forests, as men in waistcoats and shirtsleeves labored to cut back the treeline around Fort Wilderness just a little bit more. Of course, the construction of the fort’s walls, blockhouses, and buildings, not to mention the need for fuel, had already consumed a wide swath of lumber. The fort was surrounded by tree stumps, like gravestones for greenery. But Major Edward Gray wanted a greater field of fire surrounding the fort. There were rumors of unrest among the Ura, and the little savages could use the trees to snipe at the fort from cover. So the soldiers of the Second Infantry Battalion of the Third Brigade of the Second Legion of Mareyland had plenty of work to occupy their time.

Fort Wilderness had been constructed only a few months ago, when news of the gold rush had reached the capital of the Republic. There was more than just the threat of Ura raiding to motivate its construction. Franklin County sat on the nation’s border, with the Imperial domain of New Columbia on the other side of the Langston. The border, especially near the mountains, had never been settled to the total satisfaction of either side. The Kingdom of Midsomer had never found sufficient cause to press the matter with Frankenlisch, and when the young Republic of Mareyland had tried it had sparked a short war, which had nearly led to the loss of much more than a few miles of frontier land. And that was just over disputes about lines on maps. Now, with the gold...

President Winslow and the Senate, usually not ones to hand over great sums of money to the military, had approved the expenditures required to build a fort in Franklin County and station sufficient troops there to secure the interests of the Republic. Besides the Ura, and the New Columbians, the presence of regular soldiers could also prove useful if the backcountry people, who were never ones to do what the government in Eureka wanted, became restless. This many-headed problem had required a fairly large commitment. Fort Wilderness housed a battalion of regular infantry, with their blue coats and red facings, plus a company of riflemen whose coats were brown, and finally a troop of dragoons.

The line infantry spent most of their days on fatigue duty, while the light infantry and dragoons went out on patrols. These patrols could not possibly cover the entire county, but they at least showed a visible government presence here at the fringe of society. At the moment, Major Gray considered boredom the greatest threat that his men faced. Boredom bred a desire for distraction, which could lead to all sorts of ills. The remedy was to keep the men busy and productive, whether that was with patrolling, laboring, or drilling. In the meantime, Edward Gray could pass his time at Woodville, and the handful of other places where any decent socializing could be done.
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:19 pm

Jacob Kip had never been a man to shirk from risk. He couldn’t afford to be; if you were going to make your living in the native trade, as he did, then you had to be willing to accept that there would always be some amount of danger close at hand. There were plenty of stories of traders killed for seemingly no reason. The Ura could tortue a man to death in excruciating ways. But anyone who thought the Ura were mindless savages was simply ignorant. Like white men, they had their moods and their tempers and their traditions. A clever man like Jacob Kip could navigate them, and establish a relationship which brought mutual benefit. But even after many years of work in the trade, Jacob knew much but still understood little. The Ura were not as unlike white men as some claimed, but there was a great chasm which separated their way of life and thinking from his own.

This, like the danger, simply had to be reckoned with and then put aside. Business came first - it always did. The Ura wanted, no they needed his goods. They had no workshops or smithies. They could not produce the muskets and powder which they used to hunt and fight, or the metal tools they used, or even the fabrics they wore. They relied on the trade to obtain these goods, and in return they supplied Jacob Kip with valuable skins from the animals of the forest. These skins would go back to the coast, and many of them would cross the Tempestia to be used in clothing factories in the Old World.

Furs and skins were the mainstay of the trade, but the other thing which left Ura lands were slaves. The Ura used the weapons that they obtained from the whites to wage war on the peoples across the Whitetail Mountains, and sometimes with the tribes who lived to the south in New Columbia. They would take captives, and some of these captives would be sold to the white men. Strong young men and pretty young women were the most valuable offerings. Sometimes they would offer to return a runaway who had suffered the misfortune of falling into their hands. The trade with the Ura provided a small but fairly steady source of new slaves, to supplement the natural increase of children born into slavery. The Senate had banned the importation of slaves from abroad, in an effort to prevent total demographic disaster. But the trade with the Ura happened within the Republic, and there were no laws forbidding domestic exchange of property.

Jacob Kip would travel his usual route: up the Asheulot River from Belina, first in a large keelboat whose crew would perform the arduous task of rowing against the current to propel him and his cargo upriver. When they reached Lively Falls, the boat would be unloaded and the cargo transferred to a waiting pack train. Accompanied by a few teamsters and guards, Kip and his convoy would use Ura trails to reach Zendra, an Ura village where Kip and other merchants had come together to build a fortified trading post. From here, traders working for Kip would gather, collect an allotment of goods, and then disperse back to other villages and trade. They would then return, and the new cargo would be gathered up for the journey back to Cedar Point. From there it would be sent on its way to its final destination.

His departure from Belina had been delayed, however, by a strange request. A letter had reached him from James Seabrand, one of his business partners. Seabrand handled the acquisition of the trade goods which Jacob Kip transported into the backcountry. That meant he had lots of contact with foreigners - and one of them had been asking around, looking for an escort into the backcountry. Seabrand had passed them onto Jacob Kip as a way of oaying back a favor from another merchant. So now he was waiting at the riverside docks for this foreign noble. All Seabrand had given was their title, which was “the Comtesse de Caventi” - whatever that meant. Jacob assumed that he would recognize them when he saw them. A foreign noble would stick out pretty clearly.
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:24 pm

New Columbia
North of Sirenport


The first prospecting party had not taken long to gather. A lack of funds had seen many of the projects in the city of Sirenport put on hold and labourers had few options to make up their pay for the rest of the year. Rumours of war with the Kingdom of Vionna had driven several, eager for prize money, into the hands of the Navy frigates who sat menacingly in Siren's Bay taking on supplies for their trip home. A few, twenty in all, were judged to have the skills necessary for the trek north and so were signed onto the prospecting party.

In total the party would number roughly 100 people. As the journey was not a long one, it was better to have a larger group. The Frankenlischian colonists had long since learned that it was better to be well-prepared than to be fast-moving. A larger group was less likely to come under attack and could carry more supplies of their own. Forty years prior, a party of four hundred had even existed carrying a whole town's worth of temporary buildings packed up in wagons - today the settlement they had built was eight-hundred strong and named New Irrington.

Leading the party was Captain John Dugholm, a man of much talent and experience, though perhaps past his prime. At fifty-eight, Dugholm had seen it all. He had captained a settler ship at the age of twenty-four after an insignificant naval career and had since become a legend for Sirenporters. He had reorganised the defences of the colony, led raids against hostile natives and led trade talks with friendly ones. He had lived in comfort since the excitement of his twenty years of good service for Sirenport, occasionally breaking it to command the militia - as he did in the short border war with the Mareylanders. He had initially been approached to help organise the expedition but had swiftly risen to command it and had even paid out of pocket to equip it with much of the equipment it would need.

Two farriers with an apprentice each were hired to care for the horses of the expedition. A pair of blacksmiths from Eldham were seeking funds to open a smithy in Sirenport and happily signed on to the expedition on the condition that they could keep the provided tools. A brewer's apprentice of some experience was brought along to see if the wild barley of the northern hills was suitable for making beer. Several gentlemen volunteers were encouraged to come along as protection and they were augmented by several marines gladly lent by the naval brigs in the bay and by the port admiral. A gunsmith, his assistant, and an old fletcher were brought along for the sake of the men's weaponry. There were enough guns for a musket a man and a donkey carried four-thousand cartridges in its saddlebags. Assistants were provided by Sirenport's butchers, carpenters, and masons to support the part. John Dughom openly forbade the bringing of prostitutes, though he turned a blind eye to the addition of four attractive 'washer-women' to the party strength. A translator, a young woman from Vladimirska, was brought along to talk to the natives though she insisted that her sister, an artificer, would have to come along also.

Captain John Dugholm finished signing the last contract an hour before midnight on the day before the party set out. Each member of the party was paid a flat rate for their services and there was an option, on the expedition' successful conclusion, for land to be provided or other remuneration to be negotiated. With seemingly the whole colony waving their goodbyes and wishing the expedition well, the party marched out of Sirenport the following morning. Eighty-four men and nine women in total, the staggered column trudged out of the gates of the colony. Heads held high, they set off into the north.
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:01 pm

Dinner at Hunting Creek was always an elaborate affair. Whatever the humble protestations of its owner, who promised merely “a plate of mutton and a glass of wine,” in fact the meal was a sumptuous four-course affair, with soup, salads, and several kinds of meats prepared in elaborate fashion by the enslaved cooks. Of course this was to be expected - as a gentleman, William Lee had a reputation to maintain for both humility and generous hospitality.

Another fact of dinner at the Lee mansion was that one was almost never the only guest at the table. The Lees entertained constantly, with no shortage of people who wished to come and spend time with the man who had led the Mareyland Army to victory in the war of independence. After the war’s end, General Lee had shocked the world by resigning his commission and retiring to his expansive farm estate. He had steadfastly committed to that retirement from public life. Even when the architects of the new Republic of Mareyland had sought him out to lead as President, he had refused. His time in the public service was over.

Instead, he had indulged himself in his true passion: the management and improvement of his farmland. Edward Arlington had been one of the General’s aides during the war, and lived nearby on his own Woodlawn plantation. As a frequent guest at the Lee’s table, he had seen many times how the General might answer, with kindness, any question put to him about the events of the war, or about politics. But when the subject of conversation moved to the land, then Edward saw the spark of passion glow brightly in the older man’s eyes. He could go on for hours, talking about crop rotation and different types of plows, and the qualities of a good overseer.

This evening, however, the dominating topic was the gold rush in Franklin County. Edward Arlington had brought his family, as had the planter John Parke. Parke's wife Elizabeth sat next to her husband, while their young daughter Hannah was off playing with William Lee's children, Augustine and Nelly, under the watchful eye of the Lee's hired white housekeeper. Edward Arlington's son John was mostly interested in making eye contact with Amy Everheart, an attractive young woman who was sitting next to Eliza Parke. Amy was an orphan, who had lost both her parents to the last great outbreak of yellow fever and thus been adopted as a ward of the Parke family.

“All this talk of gold has electrified the country,” she declared. “But one hears talk that the savages are stirred as well.”

“Idle talk always turns to the Ura,” John Arlington said, his voice a mixture of reassurance and cocky unconcern. “They aren’t likely to risk an insult to us now. There’s no Royalists to stir them up this time.”

“It has certainly made something of a mess of the frontier,” John Parke interjected. “All kinds of landless folk, making their way out there, trying to stumble their way into riches.” He scoffed. “And then there’s the villains who prey on them. You know, I've heard it said that more than half of the squatters have false deeds.”

“And the Senate has done nothing to try and impose order?”

Edward Arlington shook his head in response to the General’s question. “The Senate doesn’t understand the severity of the situation. All they can think about is the wealth that the gold will bring.”

“Which will be none, if it’s not exploited in an organized manner,” John Parke insisted.

A man in livery entered the room, his skin on the lighter side of dark. He stepped to William Lee’s side and said something softly to the general, who nodded.

“Wash tells me that the dessert course is ready,” he announced to his guests. “Sally, would you go and bring the children in from the parlor? And tell Catherine to tidy it up.” He smiled at the other women around the table. “Then you can escape all this boring talk of land and gold. I’m sure little Nelly has a new piece she’ll want to play for you.”

When the ladies had bustled out of the room, and the dulcet sounds of the family piano began to flutter down the hallway, the men returned to the matter of land and gold.

“You must be firm with these people,” William Lee told the other gentlemen. “Land that you cannot subject to your personal management always tends towards a displeasurable state. The next best thing is to place trustworthy men in authority over it.”

“Such men are in short supply these days,” Parke said with disappointment.

“Indeed,” Lee replied. “Why, this past week, I discovered that one of my overseers had fallen to the temptation of drink in the middle of the day. If a man will not conduct himself in good fashion, how is he supposed to command the workers?”

Edward kept his chuckle silent. Now that the subject had turned to William Lee’s own farm, it would not be easily redirected. Further discussion of the troubles of the frontier would have to wait.
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Tue Jan 11, 2022 6:26 pm

In the village of Zulten, the Ura war chief known as Fox Tail gathered together the other Ura leaders who shared his conviction that the white intruders must be driven out with force. Chiefs representing dozens of bands and clans, commanding the loyalty and respect of hundreds of warriors, came to Zulten to declare themselves as brothers to Fox Tail. The man’s charisma, and the seemingly inescapable truth of his words, swayed many to his side who had long harbored doubts about the tendency of the Great Council to choose accommodation over confrontation. It was also apparent that Fox Tail’s words resonated more powerfully with the younger chiefs. The elders shook their heads and spoke sadly of times gone by when the hot-headed had chosen to seek speedy resolution through war, and reaped a terrible harvest. But youth could not be contained - Fox Tail and his allies would have to learn for themselves why their elders drew back from the precipice.

*words in bold are translated from the Ura language*

“This is the season where the great trade convoys arrive,” Fox Tail told a gathering of his most trusted supporters. “We must wait until they have come bearing their gifts, and only then shall we strike. The fools will help to supply the very kindling that will set them aflame.”

“But when we attack, then there will be no more trade,” one of the other chiefs said cautiously. “Our powder will only last so long.”

“We will find other ways to gain it,” Fox Tail declared. “The Winnemac, beyond the mountains, are rich in trade. Through them we can acquire more powder and shot. And perhaps they will join us in our war." The Winnemac were one of the most powerful native nations on the western side of the Whitetail Mountains. They traded with powerful colonies established elsewhere on Caprona, and had little to do with the former Belgravian colonies between the mountains and the sea.

To buy powder and shot from the Winnemac, the Ura would need goods to trade. They could trade some of the produce of their fields and the game animals they hunted in the forests, but that would not be sufficient to entice the Winnemac to part with their bounty. But they could offer other things: captives, and plunder from their enemies to the south. People like the Kaweni, who had warred with the Ura for centuries. The Kaweni traded with the mighty Empire which claimed the lands to the south of Mareyland, which meant they had many riches for the Ura to take.

Fox Tail selected his captains, the men who would command the war bands, and sent their south across the the artificial border which the white men claimed to divide the land. They would strike in the Ura fashion, with surprise and brutality, and sweep over the Kaweni villages like a sudden flood breaching the banks of a river. They would kill those who resisted, and those who the captains judged would not make sufficiently pliable captives. Those who could be controlled, like women and children, would be marched north for sale to the Winnemac, along with whatever trade goods, furs, and other plunder could be looted from their unfortunate victims.

In addition to gaining the means by which the Ura would keep themselves armed in the coming war against Mareyland, the raids against the Kaweni would also blood the newest generation of warriors. Fox Tail's followers tended to be younger, and some of them were young enough to have missed a chance to fight against the colonists in their war of independence. Now they would have their first taste of war.
Last edited by Mareyland on Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:23 pm

Muttering vaguely to herself, Eleanor tossed the remains of her cigar aside. The lit end glowed madly, as if angry at being disposed of. Eleanor did not pay it any attention, her mind had already turned from the cigar and she was tugging on her gloves. Caventi was one of the hottest parts of Gallandia and its Countess was still tuned to the temperature of the land of her birth. "Long ago..." She accidentally thought aloud and chastised herself for it mentally. The man she was supposed to meet was called Jacob Kip and he would take her up the Langston River and into Ura lands where she would begin her adventure.

If her family could see her, Eleanor thought, they would most certainly not approve. The whole idea of leaving Gallandia had horrified her mother, but that had been nine years ago and her mother was three years dead. From leaving Gallandia in hopes of finding a Vionnan investor or husband, to adventuring into savage lands. "Marie would not be happy..." Again, Eleanor spoke her mind on impulse and slapped one hand harshly with the other to punish herself for it. The expedition alone would shock her late father, if he could see what she was wearing then he would likely have disinherited her. For she wore the scarlet of Frankenlisch, Gallandia's recent enemy. Three years of service in the army of King Cedric II had hardened her and she was proud to wear the Frankenlischian uniform still. A sword of the Frankenlischian mortuary style hung at her left side and the weight of the steel was a reassuring drag on her belt.

The Comtesse's time in Mareyland had been short, she had arrived only a few days before on a packet boat from Sirenport. She had little interest in staying in Cedar Point any longer than she had to and once she was sure everything about her person was in order, she made the unladylike concession of jogging to her destination.
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:35 pm

Vionna-Frankenlisch wrote:The expedition alone would shock her late father, if he could see what she was wearing then he would likely have disinherited her. For she wore the scarlet of Frankenlisch, Gallandia's recent enemy. Three years of service in the army of King Cedric II had hardened her and she was proud to wear the Frankenlischian uniform still. A sword of the Frankenlischian mortuary style hung at her left side and the weight of the steel was a reassuring drag on her belt.

The Comtesse's time in Mareyland had been short, she had arrived only a few days before on a packet boat from Sirenport. She had little interest in staying in Cedar Point any longer than she had to and once she was sure everything about her person was in order, she made the unladylike concession of jogging to her destination.

Jacob Kip had been right about one thing - the foreigner did stand out pretty clearly. After the initial shock, Jacob had found himself only mildly surprised by the fact that the Comtesse was a woman. It was only back in the lowlands that women kept to the home. The rich ladies of Annesburg and its surrounding plantations had no need to bother themselves with labor, not when they had plenty of slaves to do it for them. But on the frontiers, everyone in a family who could contribute, did - unless they wanted to starve, or freeze, or be carried off by the Ura.

But to see a woman strolling down Cedar Point’s dirt roads in a scarlet red uniform, that was shocking. The last time there had been redocats in Mareyland was during the war of independence against the Belgravians. It had been a bitter, partisan war in these parts. Loyalist and rebel militias had matched raid for raid, massacre for massacre. Memories of the brutality of the Belgravian army were less than twenty years old, and still fresh in many minds. Those on the side of the Crown left standing at the war’s end had mostly departed for new, safer lives elsewhere.

The sword at the Comtesse’s waist had kept anyone from doing anything rash, but she jogged to the docks under plenty of eyes. Jacob Kip met her near its edge, the loaded keelboat gently bobbing on the water behind him.

“I would hazard that you are the Comtesse de Caventi,” he said. He extended a hand. “Jacob Kip, at your service. The cargo is all loaded, so we’re ready to launch.” He stepped onto the keelboat and held out a hand to assist Eleanor across the small gap between dock and vessel. Then, with a shouted order to the oarsmen, the heavily laden craft began to move up the river.

“That’s a…provocative uniform to wear ‘round these parts,” Jacob commented some time later as they moved down the waterway. “Is that what ladies wear in Caventi? Last time there were redcoats here, they weren’t exactly pleasant guests.”

From Cedar Point, it was a multi-day journey up the river. The keelboat would halt on the shore each evening and the crew would pitch tents to camp for the night, then resume at daylight the next day. As they traveled further north, the forests surrounding the river got thicker and they went longer and longer between seeing any other people. The crew supplemented their preserved rations with hunting birds and game animals for fresh meat. When they reached Lively Falls, a long stretch of rapids that signaled the end of the navigable river, the goods aboard the keelboat were loaded into a waiting collection of pack animals for the final leg of the journey to Zendra.

“So,” Jacob said to the Comtesse as they drew near to the village. “I was told you were looking for a way out to the Ura towns. What will you do now that you’re here?”

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:21 pm

Mareyland wrote:Jacob Kip had been right about one thing - the foreigner did stand out pretty clearly. After the initial shock, Jacob had found himself only mildly surprised by the fact that the Comtesse was a woman. It was only back in the lowlands that women kept to the home. The rich ladies of Annesburg and its surrounding plantations had no need to bother themselves with labor, not when they had plenty of slaves to do it for them. But on the frontiers, everyone in a family who could contribute, did - unless they wanted to starve, or freeze, or be carried off by the Ura.

But to see a woman strolling down Cedar Point’s dirt roads in a scarlet red uniform, that was shocking. The last time there had been redocats in Mareyland was during the war of independence against the Belgravians. It had been a bitter, partisan war in these parts. Loyalist and rebel militias had matched raid for raid, massacre for massacre. Memories of the brutality of the Belgravian army were less than twenty years old, and still fresh in many minds. Those on the side of the Crown left standing at the war’s end had mostly departed for new, safer lives elsewhere.

The sword at the Comtesse’s waist had kept anyone from doing anything rash, but she jogged to the docks under plenty of eyes. Jacob Kip met her near its edge, the loaded keelboat gently bobbing on the water behind him.

“I would hazard that you are the Comtesse de Caventi,” he said. He extended a hand. “Jacob Kip, at your service. The cargo is all loaded, so we’re ready to launch.” He stepped onto the keelboat and held out a hand to assist Eleanor across the small gap between dock and vessel. Then, with a shouted order to the oarsmen, the heavily laden craft began to move up the river.

“That’s a…provocative uniform to wear ‘round these parts,” Jacob commented some time later as they moved down the waterway. “Is that what ladies wear in Caventi? Last time there were redcoats here, they weren’t exactly pleasant guests.”

From Cedar Point, it was a multi-day journey up the river. The keelboat would halt on the shore each evening and the crew would pitch tents to camp for the night, then resume at daylight the next day. As they traveled further north, the forests surrounding the river got thicker and they went longer and longer between seeing any other people. The crew supplemented their preserved rations with hunting birds and game animals for fresh meat. When they reached Lively Falls, a long stretch of rapids that signaled the end of the navigable river, the goods aboard the keelboat were loaded into a waiting collection of pack animals for the final leg of the journey to Zendra.

“So,” Jacob said to the Comtesse as they drew near to the village. “I was told you were looking for a way out to the Ura towns. What will you do now that you’re here?”

Eleanor, Comtesse de Caventi



Eleanor had been pleasantly surprised by Jacob Kip. She had expected a grubby bargeman and was glad to encounter a gentleman trader. She made a mental note to thank James Seabrand for setting her up with a decent travelling companion and almost slapped herself as the first word or two of the thought accidentally slipped from her mouth. The keelboat was of sturdy construction and reminded Eleanor of the ones which carried coal in Frankenlisch, though Kip's vessel was certainly larger and better built for the arduous task of moving against the tide. The crew were disciplined enough and the guards kept to themselves. Unwilling to disrupt the basic tranquility of the voyage, the Comtesse spent most of her time reading in solitude or conversing with Kip.

At one stage of the journey, Jacob Kip had finally spoke his mind and pointed out Eleanor's style of dress. She chuckled cruelly to herself before sweetly explaining, "I have spent the last three years a soldier, Mister Kip. The armies of King Cedric are always looking for new officers and they were happy to take me, though I saw only one real battle." She straightened her coat out and smiled, "I saw the people staring at me. But I do not know of redcoats in Mareyland, Mister Kip. Was Frankenlisch here? Before my time perhaps?"
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


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Mareyland
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Postby Mareyland » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:12 pm

Vionna-Frankenlisch wrote:"I have spent the last three years a soldier, Mister Kip. The armies of King Cedric are always looking for new officers and they were happy to take me, though I saw only one real battle." She straightened her coat out and smiled, "I saw the people staring at me. But I do not know of redcoats in Mareyland, Mister Kip. Was Frankenlisch here? Before my time perhaps?"

Jacob Kip’s eyebrows raised at the idea of women officers - he was not shocked by the idea of a woman fighting to defend her home or killing animals, but commanding men in battle? It was quite outside the realm of what he, and most Mareylanders, would consider proper or even really possible.

“Ah, no,” he said in response to her question. “Not Frankenlisch. Well, unless you count what happened a few years ago.”

To call the events of four years ago a “war” was probably overly dignifying. Militia from Mareyland and New Columbia had fought a series of skirmishes around the headwaters of the Lannachee River, where the border had always been less than clearly defined. Things had escalated when New Columbia sent a flotilla of ships and a small army to try and capture the city of Caroline as negotiating leverage. The Mareylanders had scraped together enough troops to stop the invasion in a bitter battle on the outskirts of the city, and in the lull that followed cooler heads prevailed and struck an agreement to settle things.

“No, if you say ‘redcoat,’ here, people will think you’re talking about the Belgravians,” Jacob went on. “That’s who ruled this land, until we threw ‘em off. There was hard fighting ‘round this part of the country. Lot of personal scores got settled. But we whipped ‘em, in the end.”

The pack train entered Zendra, which was located on a small hill. The village was surrounded by a wooden palisade, and outside the wall there were fields where the Ura grew corn and other crops. Women and children were at work in the fields, sowing the first seeds for this season’s harvest. Behind the wall, the village was made up of more than two dozen buildings. Most of them were homes of wood and bark, but in the center stood a larger structure, next to an open area. This, Jacob told Eleanor, was the council hall where the village would meet and hold their rituals. As they entered the village, the pack train gathered an escort of Ura villagers, dressed in a mixture of deerskins and fabrics. Jacob said a few words in the Ura language, and either what he said or the way he said it made a group of small children who were following him laugh.

Standing in front of the council hall were two Ura, one man and one woman, both adorned in clothing and jewelry that spoke to some higher status in the village. With them was a white missionary, who acted as translator. The woman, who was many years the man’s senior, was the one who spoke first, in the Ura tongue.

“We welcome you, Jacob Kip, back to our village once again,” she said in a voice heavy with age.

“I am honored to partake of your hospitality,” Jacob replied in English.

There was then an exchange of gifts: one of Jacob’s crew came forward with a collection of blankets, shirts, and tools. An Ura laid out a number of skins beside them, and the two emissaries each gathered up the offered items and retreated.

“Now the formalities are done,” Jacob explained to Eleanor. “Everything with the Ura has to be preceded with gift giving. A little grease for the palms to get business started on a good foot.”

Jacob and Eleanor were invited to a feast in the council hall, while the rest of the men in the pack train went to unload the trade goods into Jacob’s storehouse, a building with log walls and a brick chimney on the edge of the village. The feast was a crowded, lively affair. The participants sat in a wide circle around the hall, while men and women danced in the center. The missionary sat himself next to Eleanor and introduced himself as Samuel Forman. He had been proselytizing to the Ura for several years, and though he had found little success in obtaining conversions he had picked up their language along the way. It was he who explained the ceremonial purpose of the dancing in the center.

“This is a celebration of the end of winter, and the onset of spring,” he said. “The men will go out soon to hunt and trap, and they believe they must first ask forgiveness of the spirits, for killing their animal brothers.”

Suddenly, the male chief, who had not spoken since their arrival, jumped up from where he sat and let out a blood-curdling war whoop. At once, a dozen warriors rushed at Jacob and Eleanor, seized them, and dragged them out to the large open space in front of the council hall. Jacob, cursing and shouting demands to be let go, struggled fiercely but futilely in the strong grip of the warriors. As they were taken outside, they could hear more whoops, as well as shouts of alarm and pain, from the direction of the storehouse. A single pistol shot cracked.

The Ura forced the two now-captives to their knees, surrounded by warriors and other onlookers. The male chief came out of the council hall, a hatchet in his hand and fire in his eyes. Samuel Forman came racing out behind him, shouting in the Ura language. He began to half-plead, half-argue with the chief, occasionally gesturing to Eleanor and Jacob as he spoke. After a few minutes that seemed an eternity to Jacob, the priest let out a sigh and his shoulders slumped - not in resignation, but in relief.

“Chief Fox Tail has decided that you shall be prisoners of the Ura,” he told them. “The rest of your people…have already been killed. He claims your goods as spoils of war.”

“He’s either mad or drunk,” Jacob snapped. “When word of what he’s done reaches the government, they’ll come and burn this place to the ground!”

The chief, Fox Tail apparently, seemed to understand the trader’s words. He laughed and said, simply, “Let them try.”

The two prisoners were taken to one of the bark-covered homes, which turned out to be the home of the missionary Samuel Forman. Warriors were posted to guard the door, and Samuel told them in no uncertain terms that attempting to escape was unwise.

“That chief was going to split your skulls,” he explained. “I told him you were more valuable alive. Either as hostages, or as messengers. Hopefully the latter, once the Ura come to their senses and decide to end this insanity.” He ran a hand through his short hair, trying to release some of the nervous energy.

“One of us has to try to get a warning out,” Jacob insisted. “If we can get word to Fort Wilderness…”

“If you take a step outside these walls without permission, they won’t just kill you,” Samuel said firmly. “They’ll torture you, and then me, and probably her too.” He gestured to Eleanor. “You’re safe, as long as you’re here under my protection.”

“So you’re our jailer,” Jacob sneered. “Is that what you promised them, when they planned this?”

“I had no idea this would happen,” Samuel protested. “That chief, Fox Tail, he came to the village a few days before you. I knew he was talking to the warriors, but I thought he was planning something against the tribes across the border.” The missionary shook his head. “Who knows what else he’s put them up to?”

* * *

Across western Franklin County, the Ura struck with deadly ferocity. Just as they had in the 1750s and 1770s, they began by striking isolated homesteads on the edge of the frontier. Families were awoken by the terrifying whoops as warriors, their faces painted in red and black, burst into the small log cabin homes and dragged off the occupants. Women and young children were most often taken as captives, to be “adopted” into Ura clans, sold as slaves to other tribes, or occaisonally taken over the border and ransomed to the New Columbians. Men of fighting age were typically killed, either immediately or after ritual torture. As before, the attacks were intended to spark fear that would send the whites running for the safety of the east. The first refugees began to stream towards the larger settlements, bringing with them the news that Mareyland’s oldest and most hated foes was once again on the war path.
Last edited by Mareyland on Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Neo Prutenia
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Postby Neo Prutenia » Mon Jan 17, 2022 12:23 pm

Peperkorn Estate, Annesburg

Formerly the city home of one James Wilkins—once a Mareyland lawyer and politician, who remained loyal to Belgravia and emigrated there once the war of independence concluded—now the home of the most influential Prut immigrant and expat to Mareyland, Ulrich Elvirasson “Peperkorn” Kühn. The current owner was keen on promoting its new name and role to play in the city’s everyday life, as Kühn preferred people associating it with his lucrative black pepper import business rather than the former regime. Much fewer folk were feeling raw about pepper and other spices than the Belgravians, which was good for his business. And business he made!

Kühn actually ‘inherited’ the nickname of his predecessor, Wolfgang Gudrunsson Peperkorn, who first purchased the property right after it was seized in the aftermath of the war. A mercenary and officer in the war, Gudrunsson made a name for himself during the conflict as an effective if somewhat overly aggressive leader, and he got it cheap because of his postwar status and the association with previous owner. Then he used his connections back home, the wherewithal he made during the fighting, and contacts in Annesburg to start the business. The first several years went reasonably smoothly but eventually he became disillusioned with the political circumstances of Mareyland; the saudade for the United Provinces he actually fought for, and general melancholy that gripped him in the mid 80s made him reconsider his life in Mareyland. He sold the property and business to Kühn, who was a trade contact and business associate of his from Prutenia, then returned home. Kühn didn’t mind the politics, and his attitude—and ability to procure apparently any luxury Annesburg’s elites happened to fancy at the moment—helped him thrive far more than Gudrunsson ever did. And Annesburg had its new Peperkorn.

The last decade he expanded his business to general spice imports. Black pepper and its cousins remained his main focus, and kept his estate wealthy, but he also occasionally enriched Mareyland’s tables with saffron, sage, cinnamon, poppies, and so forth. Kühn had invested in local salt production and had several salterns in or close to Annesburg to his name. These he regarded with utmost care and visited frequently and visibly for he took up the local elites past time of land and property cultivation as a way of fitting in and keeping with the habits of his social caste. While the planters enjoyed bragging about their land and yields and bonded labourers’ productivity, Kühn would do the same with his salt ponds, praising the yearly ‘harvest’, how many men he had in his employ, and he was never shy to remind his associates that there was no plate worth eating from free of Kühn’s ‘produce’.

Given that he was a moneyed and prominent inhabitant of Annesburg and of Prut persuasion, Kühn was also somewhat of an informal leader for Mareyland’s Prut minority—mostly mercenaries-turned-settlers from two decades ago and their descendants, and occasional recent arrivals looking for a less competitive market than back home. And he also acted as a de facto ambassador and representative of Prutenia in Mareyland. He enjoyed being kept and keeping others in the loop about the current events, and the semi-frequent social and diplomatic events he attended because of his role. On several occasions he played the role of host and guide for Prut dignitaries and high profile visitors to Mareyland. For this he was granted the dignity of Otenz, although he didn’t officially add it to his name, considering such a bit crass and distracting from his own accomplishments. Conveniently it spared his Mareylander peers having to memorise a foreign dignity and title as well as his foreign name, thus avoiding potential faux pas and associated grievances. He did of course respect those that bothered to commit to their memory both, and he joyously appreciated any such effort.

It just so happened that this particular morning Kühn had another opportunity to pursue his passions for diplomacy, finance, business, and family matters, the latter of which was quite a rare treat for him, given that he was an ocean and half the globe away from his home and family far to the south of the Equator. Once about every three months or so a specific ship from Neo Prutenia would visit Annesburg, bringing news, certain supplies and documents, and visitors. Because of his works for the Hanseatic Republic Kühn enjoyed several important privileges, including the privilege to requisition the crew and vessel for personal errands or special cargo. So, about every three months he would get a crate or two or seven with ‘gifts’, for him and his friends in Mareyland, and in return he’d offer guidance and shelter to visiting Prutons, provide legal counsel if and when necessary, and make sure things were going smoothly with the Mareylanders. And on this particular trip the ship would bring his nephew to visit and perhaps join him in his endeavours in Annesburg. Well, his nephew and along with him a tonne of desired goods from Neo Prutenia, but it was mainly the nephew that made him feel so elated all day. All week. The better part of the last three months.

He had been corresponding with his elder sister for half a year now. It was a bit of reconnecting with his roots, true, but Kühn was, as he always did, looking for new avenues of business to pursue. And he’d need trustworthy partners for such. And if you couldn’t trust your family, who could you trust? So his sister, Elvirasdochter Kühn would certainly be able to facilitate finding candidate if she happened to entertain his ambitions. Luckily she did! And as the current head of the family her word had considerable weight. To curry her favour he accepted the nephew, but he was warned:

“Take my second youngest, Kenelm. He has a quick wit and a clever head glued to his neck, but he’s headstrong and imprudent. Temper this obstinacy of his, and improve his judiciousness; then you can count me as one of your investors. Good luck, little brother!”

He’d last seen the boy about ten years ago. So when Kenelm was about half his current age. He hoped the lad and he would be agreeable to each other, as Ulrich was twice Kenelm’s current age. Quite the gap, but not insurmountable.

A house servant announced the visitor, or rather visitors. A man and a ‘woman’, although the servant apparently didn’t know how to describe ‘her’ better. The man, or rather the lad as described by the servant appeared to be his nephew as the letters depicted him—roguishly handsome and athletic young man, fierce eyes, auburn hair, short and kempt, properly shaven, proper clothing improperly worn, and so forth. He had a habit of pulling up his sleeves and keeping a few too many buttons unbuttoned. His sister warned him that his nephew also occasionally sported a ’black eye or scrape or bruise or other such blemish as proof of his mischief’. If the servant was to be believed then Kenelm had no such visible mar to report. For now. Ulrich instructed the servant the let them inside and inform them he would join them soon.

“Uncle!”

The lad sauntered toward and hugged his uncle, Ulrich, rather fondly and in quite a vigorous manner. While you wouldn’t assume such from his size and frame, Kenelm had considerable heft in every move, and a parlous fortitude to back it up.

“To finally meet the fabled spice king of Ahnsborg! You make the Kühn name proud, uncle Ulrich!”

Ulrich reciprocated of course, as much as a lifelong businessmen accustomed far more to accounting than outdoor activities could reciprocate to the lively lad that had several inches over him. Height and width both.

“Oh, you’re too kind, lad. Far to kind! If someone brings pride to the family, it’s this strapping young man before me! Look at you! You’ve grown so much in the last decade, I almost wouldn’t recognise you. Such vim! You must have found your calling splitting mountains with a hammer, or perhaps seconding as your ship’s main cannon hurling shots at pirates when you’re out of powder! ”

“Hardly so, dear uncle. Just a constant regimen of work and physical activity, and our grandmother’s cuisine. Although, I was perhaps a bit overenthusiastic during my studies. May have overdone it with the duels and such. What can I say? The Kühn men are a spirited and springy bunch, are we not?”


They both laughed and exchanged a few more quick pleasantries. Good start, both thought. Ulrich glanced at the figure sitting behind them, gave a nod, and asked his nephew to introduce them.

“Kenelm, this lady wouldn’t be your mistress, would she?” Ulrich smiled.

I’m afraid not. But you ought to know her. Take a gander.

Ulrich gestured to the woman to stand up. She did so; now he knew why the servant was so confused. Statuesque didn’t even begin to describe this stunner of a woman. She was extraordinary tall, easily over 6 feet, and visibly taller than either of the two men. Disregarding her striking good looks for a moment, as much as that was possible, she was the epitome of health, perfect posture, and youthful firmness and liveliness. She hid those traits behind a big fan and parasol, as needed, and under a large brimmed hat with a distracting colourful greenish-blue feather, and she did so in a very deliberate and trained manner. Such looks would make other envious. For a moment she smiled, but that faded quickly as she apparently became noticeably disappointed with something.

“Uncle, you’ve forgotten me…” she whimpered somewhat but remained stoic.

The ‘uncle’ bit barely registered. How could they be related? She wasn’t his elder sister’s child. Perhaps one of the other two? Perhaps the progeny of one of his two brothers? One sister and both brothers would be tall enough to be her parent, but neither of them were this beautiful. The Kühn family were of good stock, true, and known for the general good health, long lifespans, and great stamina. And they were certainly fine looking, better than average he reckoned, but this girl might as well be a fey or of equally eldritch descent. Who was she?

Kenelm began to laugh. He wasn’t mocking his uncle, but he was obviously enjoying the unpleasant situation. In fact, he may have expected such, and he may now be enjoying the fact that he predicted exactly this would be how this encounter would play out. He gave them half a minute of uncomfortable fumbling, before he finally intervened:

”Uncle Ulrich, may I reintroduce you to your niece, Kor-Agathe Gerdasdochter Kühn. he paused for a moment, then confirmed again. ”Yes, you heard me right. Aunt Gerdas daughter, Agathe. Kor-Agathe, sorry!”

“Little Löckchen! My little Agathe! The studious child of my dear sister Gerda?! The little diligent one who spent most of her days secluded in the library, or wandering the woods picking flowers? Is this really you?”


She smiled, happy that her uncle finally recognized her. She took of her hat, letting her hair loose. Now Ulrich definitely recognised those curls and colour; the Kühns tended towards reddish-brown hair, often but not always light in tone. Agathe’s hair was strawberry blonde, the only one in the close family with this particular trait. It was also very curly, but many Kühns were also curly-haired. She must have taken after her father’s side then, although he couldn’t exactly recall the father. To think that that erudite and demure girl would grow into this bona fide virago, as if she sprang from the pages of heroic novel…

”Yes, uncle Ulrich, of course it’s me! I’m glad you do remember me.”

They hugged. Much less vigorously then uncle and nephew, but far more comfortably and in a pleasant manner, and definitely with no less affection.

”And you’re a Kor now as well? I guess that makes sense. You were always a learned person, the scholarly type. I’m very glad for you. For the family! What an honour.”

“Dearest uncle, and please don’t be offended, but me being a Kor is one of the reasons I chose to travel with Kenelm here.”

“No offence taken, lass. I was just about to inquire why you’d bother to travel so far, just to see an old man juggling numbers and handling spices. Spices which you’d find in better quality and quantity back home no less!”

“Oh uncle. Seeing you, and what you’ve accomplished here is great. Don’t sell yourself short.”

“Aw, lass. How kind you are to your uncle!”


Keenly sensing that the two of them would be stuck in a loop if he’d not interfere again, and feeling a bit out of the loop given that he was the actually invited and important guest here, Kenelm imposed on the conversation.

”Agathe, you boffin, back down a little. Uncle Ulrich is being polite. Leave him some space. He’s surprised is all.” He touched her shoulder, as if to ‘calm her down’, then continued speaking with Ulrich. ”Uncle, I’m glad you’re extending the hospitality you’ve offered and shown me to Agathe as well. I simply could not have left her on the ship, with the crew, as a surprise for later. I wagered you’d take us both in without hesitation. Such good a judge of character am I!”

“Ah, better to beg forgiveness later than ask permission, lad? Your mother warned me. About how your mind works.”
He gave him a nod; it was not certain if he did so approvingly or not. ”I’m glad Agathe’s here. Although, I know that ship, that crew, and the captain quite well. Very professional, and very reliable, those folks. Don’t you speak of them in an ill manner, even if only implied. She’d have been safe on that ship most definitely so!”

“Certainly, uncle. But her reputation! That crew enjoys a certain fame, a certain notoriety in this port it seems. True, they happen to never pick fights, odd for sea folk, and they happen to patronise the taverns and gambling dens of this city far less than would be expected and more importantly desired by the locals. Which is even more odd for sea folk. But! They also happen to be rather generous to the lady-folk of a specific and very old profession, and are well known to enjoy their company and leave their coin in said lady-folks purses. I’d even wager more than a few have some progeny in this port, hence their generosity. Why, said ladies are already coquetting around the harbour, dallying about, distracting the crew. Can’t have a Kühn woman there during such events unfolding. It’s unbecoming.”


Agathe crossed her arms, smirked, and raised an eyebrow. Ulrich gave it a thought, then appeared to agree with some reserve.

”Alright, lad. What you explained seemed reasonable. Agathe, you are of course welcome. More than welcome. Now, would the two of you care to join me for a meal. I would love to hear the latest news from home, and I’m sure you’ve got many questions about ‘Annesburg’ and ‘Mareyland’.”

OOC comment: I’ll use the color grey to denote when someone is speaking in the Prut language. Keeps things snappier and the narrative flow smoother.


Factbook: The Prut Meritocracy | Prutopaedia (TG feedback appreciated) | National Policies | φ(._.) - Shoot me a TG if you want to RP with me

Always assume I'm the exact same tech level/reality as you are, with access to the exact same technology/abilities; I just happen to prefer very strict MT. IC name: Prut Meritocracy

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Mareyland
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Founded: May 26, 2021
Corporate Police State

Postby Mareyland » Tue Jan 18, 2022 1:59 pm

William Finch arrived in the Ura village of Zore as he had every spring for the past several years. He brought with him a pack train full of goods, which he would trade with the Ura for skins and slaves. This time the natives welcomed him to the village with a lavish feast and ceremony, with plenty of food and copious drink. Finch thought nothing of the extra festivities - unlike some of the men who plied the Ura trade, he had never considered it necessary to learn anything more about his trade partners than was absolutely necessary. He disdained them as simple primitives, worshiping pagan spirits and ruining themselves with the plentiful alcohol he provided. He did not question why the Ura might suddenly want to ply him with rum - he eagerly partook.

The drink was coursing through his veins when he seized the nearest Ura by the collar of his linen shirt and demanded that they bring out “his girl.” He shoved the man away, sending him stumbling to the ground, and Finch laughed. He repeated the demand several more times, shouting it at the Ura around him. Finally, an attractive young woman stepped forward out of the crowd. Finch leered at her as he advanced, the alcohol making his steps a bit unbalanced. The woman did not recoil, for she was long resigned to her role. She was what the Mareylanders called a “trading girl,” a woman selected to give her body to the white traders. Such customs had developed out of necessity, to channel the lusts of the visiting traders, who might otherwise assault whoever they could get their hands on. Such violence had been common in the early years of contact, and the equally violent deaths meted out to the perpetrators had sparked long blood feuds. In time, Ura villages realized that it was easier to sacrifice one to keep the flow of goods open and avoid retaliation by the traders’ fellow colonists.

Finch seized the woman by the wrist and stomped off towards the home he occupied during his time in Zore. Once inside, he clumsily removed most of his clothing and then half-climbed, half-fell onto the bed. He pushed himself up to a sitting position, and beckoned for the woman to join him. The growing effect of the strong drink caused him to slur his words. The woman slowly removed the outer layers of her clothing as she approached. She climbed onto the bed, straddling the trader on her knees. William Finch did not see the blade - he felt it as the woman drew it across his throat. He started to gasp but the sound was choked off as his life poured out from the fissure, spilling onto his shirt and then the blanket beneath him. As the darkness closed in around the edges of his sight, he saw the knife in the woman’s hand, stained with his blood. His brain, though struggling to continue functioning, recognized the shape of the blade and the make of the handle. It was one that he had traded to the Ura. He tried to laugh at the bitter irony, but all he could manage was a sort of wheezing sound. Then he fell silent, forever.

* * *

The first indication that something was happening were the fleeing settlers, some of them still in nothing but bedclothes, who appeared at the gates of Fort Wilderness shouting their heads off about the Ura coming and attacking their homes. As more and more refugees sought the protection of the fort, Captain Martin Shaw was left as the officer on the scene. His superior, Major Edward Gray, was away at Woodville Manor enjoying the hospitality of the Stafford family. Shaw had sent a messenger to ride for Woodville with the reports, but it would be several hours before he returned. But if even half of what the survivors huddling inside the walls of the fort was true, then he could not afford to wait.

Shaw assumed that it was merely one band of Ura, who had decided to buck their tribe and go off to kill whites. This was unfortunately common, especially when the savages had indulged their seeming unended appetite for alcohol. The typical response was to try and track down the perpetrators, and if that could not be accomplished then the villages would be pressured to give them up to face Mareyland justice. Shaw promptly began to organize a force to go out in pursuit of the raiders, as well as dispatching messengers to the nearby settler towns to give warning and muster the militia. A show of force, Shaw reasoned, would bring the Ura back to their senses.

To capture the Ura raiders, Major Shaw dispatched a force of just over 120 men - sixty mounted dragoons and sixty riflemen. Isaac Green, the captain commanding the troop of the dragoons stationed at the fort, volunteered to command this force. They departed Fort Wilderness, heading northeast, where the most recent refugee arrivals had come from.

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Neo Prutenia
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Neo Prutenia » Tue Jan 25, 2022 10:51 am

Peperkorn Estate, Annesburg

It took a while for things to settle down in the house after the arrival of the two new family members, and with them a rather substantial infusion of Prut wares, goods, and news. Ulrich Kühn was particularly interested in the latter; the first two days or so, when he wasn’t entertaining his guests or forced to eat, he spent mostly reading up on all the news. Kenelm made sure to hand him over in person all the correspondences, newspapers, almanacs, and pamphlets from back home, some from the queen city of the Prut Hanse, Lieblich, some from great trading city of Zelisch, and some general ones from here and there and everywhere. In Annesburg he made his fortune by trading spices, but he maintained his good position by trading information and contacts, so keeping up with the happenings in the Prut republic was while not necessarily vital still an important component of his trade. Most of the news he couldn’t directly use to benefit his own business, but he could always find some angle to profit from. In this batch of three months’ worth of news nothing much concerning the spice trade was going on. There was an opportunity to buy shares in one new merchant ship from Lieblich, which he considered. That would be a very secure investment. But it was also an opportunity to present to his friends and peers in Annesburg. Another opportunity was in his business correspondences, specifically with one Erich Hertasson Koppertorger. The man was a well-known figure in the Prut porcelain business, and he inquired if Ulrich reckoned Mareyland might be a good new market for his wares. He did, or at least Ulrich figured introducing Koppertorger to relevant parties in Annesburg could be viable. So Ulrich had several reasons then to organise a bit of a get-together with other prominent families.

And there was a bit of pride involved as well. Two crates of premium wine from Prutenia’s east had arrived as well—a terroir that any self-respecting oenophile was familiar with and more often than not quite fond of. Ulrich would occasionally restock, this being such an occasion, and he would fortify his cellar with bottles of proven provenance. He had made it his habit to ensure that every winter Glühwein was to be found on his tables and in the glasses of his guests and the inhabitants of the Peperkorn estate. But this was a winter treat ideal for combating cold and miserable weather and lifting up spirits. He definitely wasn’t shy about sharing his wine in the summer either; merriment was merriment after all.

So Ulrich was hatching a plan. Many plans in fact. Not that Ulrich Kühn organizing a party was a surprise for anyone in Annesburg. One could expect one about every three months like clockwork. He only postponed such events to accommodate local religious holidays and avoid clashing with any more prominent balls and banquets, as he would consider it poor form to inconvenience a much expected cotillion or debutante ball people were looking forward to. His banquets were usually more relaxed private affairs—good and engaging food with a veneer of exoticism to keep things interesting, a variety of drinks from his homeland including rich tea and coffee as well as the best of wine, ale, and beers, a few amusing games to entertain the guests, and then he’d retreat with the gentlemen to talk business, leaving the ladies to their own games and gossip. Occasionally he was ‘asked’ to host and introduce young people when it was convenient, mostly so that two or more other potential hosts wouldn’t get bitter over who’d act the matchmaker and arranger.

But now he had two young family members under his roof, and this had certain implications and expectations. Implications and expectations he wasn’t too keen to ponder—just thinking about the immense differences in naming conventions between Prutonic and Mareylander folk, not even mentioning how vastly differently families organised in either nation, gave him headaches. But he couldn’t just invite his male peers and snub their wives, as that would be insulting and rude. Even crude and crass, inviting someone to your home no less just to talk business. So it had to be a proper banquet. A banquet his nephew and niece would obviously be present at. A dashing young lad and a splendiferous young woman. Neither of which would be familiar with Mareylander customs. Headaches.

And he was a bachelor as well. Ulrich had a mistress, Edith, a wonderful Mareylander woman that actually was also the mistress of the house and handled the staff and servants, and conveniently she prevented any nasty rumours about Ulrich being a confirmed bachelor. He certainly wasn’t. Most of his peers chalked it up to his foreignness and tolerated this particular habit of his out of politeness. And in general they were de facto a married couple, the difference being in religious and cultural customs. Edith even took ‘Keen’ as her surname, since that would be how every reasonable person from Mareyland would roughly pronounce and write ‘Kühn’. Alas, him being a sort of bachelor then, and his close family also being eligible but electing to remain bachelor and bachelorette might be too much for his peers. Hopefully it wouldn’t. The man just wanted to do business. Headaches.

***


Kenelm and Agathe were very polite guests, trying their best not to impose too much on their uncle. Both generally understood that Ulrich was a businessman first and foremost, and on several occasions he shared and confirmed this passion of his with them. To be perfectly candid, on more than few occasions he’d run through the estate all giddy about some bit of text or news or trivia he read and explain to either of the two or both if he happened to catch them together how he could spin it into some elaborate scheme to increase his wealth and influence. They found it inspiring, how he loved engaging in his passion, and Ulrich enthusiasm was kind of rubbing off on them as well. Especially Agathe.

Kor-Agathe had the opportunity to explain to her uncle why she joined Kenelm and appeared at his doorstep unannounced. She also apologised for the fait accompli of her arrival. And had her uncle not welcomed her, she’d have understood that her presence and upkeep may have been too much of an imposition and she already had a plan to try and join the already present Mareylander Prutonic community. Of course Ulrich never would have behaved in such knavish a manner to force his niece to trek through an unknown land to meet the local Prut minority. And Ulrich was right in recalling his niece being a studious person; since her very early teens she had been studying. Her focus were herbalism, botany, and medicine—in fact, she was in Mareyland exactly to study this particular continent’s herbs and plants. Back home she was already a somewhat accomplished healer and apothecary. And Agathe was particularly interested in the folk remedies of the Ura people, the indigenous inhabitants of Mareyland. Her deduction was the rural folk of Mareyland and the Ura elders and shamans would have the most extensive knowledge of herbs, medicinal, recreational or otherwise, and therefore would be worth consorting with to catalogue and document everything. She also reckoned her academic background and scientific approach would help in such an endeavor, and she was the most qualified person to compare Prutonic herbs with local ones and find parallels or perhaps precious new effects and combinations.

Agathe was also very much familiar with the intricacies of beer brewing. Proper Prutonic beer brewing. She came to Mareyland with hops, among other useful seeds and things. Enough to start a crop and produce a viable harvest should the local climate and soil permit it. And she knew from some earlier writings that Mareyland had a sufficiently large Prutonic migrant community that she likely could have convinced them to invest in a communal brewery. It was certainly a bold plan, her uncle had commented when he had heard about it. Agathe was however very realistic about how much time it would take to catalogue the herbs and plants of Mareyland, even if everyone was agreeable and provided her with help and their ken, experience, and knowledge without hesitation. Interestingly Ulrich didn’t mind her starting a brewery; he merely had confirmed it wasn’t necessary for her to do so. He very much encouraged it as a business endeavor for her to consider, but he promised her he’d pay for her upkeep while she was studying here.

Agathe was thankful for Ulrich’s help and support. She also got the probably right impression that her uncle likely didn’t really understand the scientific importance of her work here. Perhaps Ulrich merely dismissed local aptitudes for herbalism and healing. Perhaps in his many years here he picked up on the Mareylander habit of generally being dismissing of Ura expertise and lore, and the somewhat condescending attitude towards the rural folk and ‘lower’ classes. But he did support the idea, and he respected her for her very much earned title of Kor even if he didn’t exactly understand much of it. And it’s not like she was opposed to indulging her uncle about the brewery. He’d probably welcome a local source for quality beer.

Where she failed to indulge him, and where she generally butted heads with both her uncle and his mistress Edith was the matter of the servants. Of course she knew beforehand that Mareyland was a slaver society. Agathe didn’t approve. She was considerate and wise enough to understand that her opinion mattered little to the locals and that she was quite unlikely going to cause much of a change in local attitudes toward slavery—perhaps a few years earlier, when she was in her teens, she might have rebelled or she might have been more vocal and overt about her distaste. She was far more rational about it now. But she did not approve of her uncle engaging in this particular ‘business’. Perhaps calling it a ‘business’ of her uncle’s was a bit too harsh. The man had a dozen servants, who happened to be slaves according to Mareylander laws. They were at least treated very much as hired help and even paid, but they didn’t really have a choice when it came to their employer, did they. Not that any one of them would have wanted to switch from Ulrich and Edith to any planter or similar fellow. Still, it made her uncomfortable.

Kenelm on the other hand seemed to handle it much better. If he experienced any discomfort about it, he hid it well. Although it might have been so because of a mistranslation, since it was explained to him using terms he’d be familiar with but which didn’t necessarily apply in this situation. As far as he knew, these ‘slaves’ were ‘thralls’. The Prut languages don’t have a native word for ‘slave’, but ‘thrall’ would be the closest analogue; ‘thralls’ were most commonly prisoners of war. So in Kenelm’s mind, given that all the ‘slaves’ were darker skinned than the Mareylanders, he concluded that those must then be the native Ura people, who lost a war to the Mareylanders. So now they were captives here. Or something like that. He wasn’t sure, and he wasn’t spending much time thinking about it. Whether or not the house servants of his uncle had a choice in the matter of their employment was of little to no concern to him. He treated them properly, as befitting a Prut gentleman, and didn’t pay much attention to the legal framework they lived and were employed under.

Generally speaking Kenelm kept himself busy. He wagered his uncle would need some time to catch up on Prut matters, so he indulged in a few passions and vices. In moderation of course, not wanting to embarrass himself or his uncle with any antics, at least this early on in their relationship.

When not in the house, he frequented the city and in particular the harbour. He had already built rapport with the crew, and they introduced him to a few choice locales here, which were frequented by interesting folks. They may not have necessarily been Kenelm’s social peers, but they were interesting. And Kenelm was interesting to them as well. One week in Annesburg, and Kenelm was already building a reputation as a gamester and a cardsharp and a good one at that, and as a knife thrower. In fact, he even settled a debt with a recalcitrant welsher who owned him some coin with his knife tossing skills. He had the sod against a wall and threw a dozen knives, all ending close to his debtor’s skin and embedded in said wall after several good throws to the delight and entertainment of the crowd, which reciprocated and tossed a few coin his way. Even a bit more than the welsher owed him. They had a good laugh about it.

Wisely Kenelm didn’t report this to his uncle. He did mention his fondness for games of chance, albeit he liked the risk involved in them and the thrill of a good game of deception and insight, more so than the potential of winning. Most of the time he’d immediately spend the lion share of his winnings to pay for a round or two of drinks for everyone present and he was generally a good sport. Unless he was cheated. Then suddenly the knives began flying. Well, that one time. And that other time, but that was a pure demonstration of skill and no bets were involved. And he needed to find new people to play with, since the last three months he had cleared out the crew of the ship he arrived on and no one was addlebrained enough to keep trying to play him. Ulrich did make some promises of introducing him to a few of his friends to shared his proclivities, but he also demanded Kenelm be on his best behavior and to consider that he was here for the long term and had to plan accordingly.

At least now it was clear to Ulrich why his sister sent him his nephew. The lad was too cocksure; he was skilled and able, certainly, but Ulrich needed to find a good outlet for that confidence before Kenelm got himself into more trouble than he could handle.

***


“We’re having an event. A banquet.”

“Oh? What is the occasion, uncle?”

“Ah, but do I need an occasion to invite friends over for a good meal, strong drink, and some lively entertainment.”

“Fair enough. Uncle, it would be a nice opportunity for me to earn my keep. I play the harp, and my skills are quite passable. I could entertain your guests a bit then, play them a few nice sounds.”

“Do you, Agathe? Well, that would be delightful then!”

“One caveat, uncle. I don’t have one. If you could get me an instrument, any harp really, I could practice a few tunes and play.”

“Consider it done! I’ll have Edith ask around.”


Kenelm stroked his chin. Sadly he couldn’t play any instrument, and his singing was atrocious, both in performance and content of the lyrics. But he wanted to contribute too, somehow. “Say, uncle Ulrich, your guests wouldn’t enjoy…”

“No knife throwing in the house, lad.”
Ulrich thought for a moment, then added. “Nor in the garden!”

“That’s fair I suppose. I’ll think of something then.”

“Don’t stress over it, Kenelm. I occasionally invite friends over, for fun, and to have a nice chat about business. Neither of the two of you needs to concerned yourself too much over it. Kenelm, you’ve certainly already contributed a lot by the good news you brought me. And Agathe, your offer to play is very much appreciated.”


Both of them smiled. They were visibly happy about their uncle’s approval.

”It’s also a nice opportunity for the two of you to get to know some of the more prominent citizens of Annesburg and Mareyland in general. It would certainly help with your ambitions here. Or at least it couldn’t hurt your ambitions. We’ll see.”

“It’s certainly going to be interesting.”
Factbook: The Prut Meritocracy | Prutopaedia (TG feedback appreciated) | National Policies | φ(._.) - Shoot me a TG if you want to RP with me

Always assume I'm the exact same tech level/reality as you are, with access to the exact same technology/abilities; I just happen to prefer very strict MT. IC name: Prut Meritocracy

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Mareyland
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 154
Founded: May 26, 2021
Corporate Police State

Postby Mareyland » Sat Jan 29, 2022 1:23 pm

Dinner was almost ready at Woodville Manor. The Staffords’ cook, an enslaved woman who labored alongside her daughter in the kitchen which was built a short distance from the home itself, had been working for hours to prepare the meal. The Staffords had a visitor staying for the day and the night - Major Edward Gray, the commander of Fort Wilderness and the highest ranking Army officer in the area. The Staffords had realized the value of cultivating a good relationship with the Major and he was no stranger to Woodville.

They had all been gathered in the parlor, discussing the latest news from around the Republic, when the butler announced that there was a message for Major Gray. It had been delivered by a uniformed courier, who had then ridden off.

“He said he had to inform Bearen,” the enslaved man told Major Gray. “He told me to make sure you received this.” He handed over a single paper, folded over and marked with the initials M.S. - Martin Shaw, the man Edward had left in command of the fort while he was away. He unfolded the paper and read the words hastily scratched onto it.

Mjr Gray,

Ura attacking farms north and west of fort. Survivors say large party. Have sent out detach. under Cpt. Green to pursue.

Yr obt svt,
Cpt Shaw

If the messenger was going on further, that meant he was going out to get the county’s militia mobilized. That meant that Captain Shaw felt the garrison of Fort Wilderness would not be sufficient to handle things. And that was concerning.

“I must return to the fort immediately,” Major Gray said brusquely. He snapped his fingers at the servant waiting near the door. “Bring my hat and coat, now!”

That brought Henry and Daniel Stafford, as well as Daniel’s wife Annabelle, out from the parlor.

“Is it something serious?” Daniel asked.

“Just some drunkard savages making trouble, I’ll bet,” Robert Stafford opined from his chair in the parlor.

“Surely you could at least stay through dinner?” Annabelle Stafford asked.

“I’m afraid that would make me derelict in my duties, ma’am,” Edward Gray replied. The enslaved man returned and Gray practically tore the coat and hat from his hands in his rush to don them. “I do apologize, but this requires my attention.” He paused, as if suddenly aware of the scene he was making. “But I will call again, once this is resolved.”

“I do hope you will,” Annabelle replied with a flirtatious smile. Henry showed Major Gray to the door while Daniel and Annabelle returned to the parlor. He sent one of the other house slaves down to the stables to have the Major’s horse brought up.

“This business with the Ura,” he said in the low voice while they waited. “Should we be concerned?”

The major’s face showed uncertainty, which belied his answer. “Your father is probably right. Nothing more than some drunken fools. But…do you have guns here, mister Stafford?”

“A few fowling pieces,” Henry replied.

“Make sure they’re in good condition,” Major Gray said ominously. “And if you have any staff who know how to use them well…”

“God, it sounds like we should be expecting them to come down the drive any moment.”

Major Edward Gray looked Henry Stafford right in the eye, unflinching. “Sir, I’ve fought the Ura. They’re masters of the forests. So they might just show up on that carriage drive.” The sound of an approaching horse could be heard through the door. “If I can spare men, I’ll send some here. Tell your tenants to gather in.”

“What, here?” Henry looked more appalled by the idea of tenant farmers gathering at Woodville Manor than by the notion of an Ura attack. “For how long?”

Edward opened the door, letting in a gust of air. “Until we sort out what’s happening…and put it down.” Then he was gone.

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Mareyland
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Founded: May 26, 2021
Corporate Police State

Postby Mareyland » Sun Jan 30, 2022 9:10 am

Neo Prutenia wrote:"Don’t stress over it, Kenelm. I occasionally invite friends over, for fun, and to have a nice chat about business. Neither of the two of you needs to concerned yourself too much over it. Kenelm, you’ve certainly already contributed a lot by the good news you brought me. And Agathe, your offer to play is very much appreciated."

Both of them smiled. They were visibly happy about their uncle’s approval.

"It’s also a nice opportunity for the two of you to get to know some of the more prominent citizens of Annesburg and Mareyland in general. It would certainly help with your ambitions here. Or at least it couldn’t hurt your ambitions. We’ll see."

“We’ve gotten an invitation,” Edward Arlington announced at dinner. “To dinner with Master Kuhn, at Peperkorn.”

The dining room was sparsely populated this evening - the Arlingtons were not entertaining visitors, and in between visits to the estates of friends. Edward and his wife Mary sat opposite from one another at ends of the table, while their son John, who they affectionately called “Jacky,” sat on one side. The family’s enslaved servants had just cleared away the dishes and tablecloth from the main course, and now the family was waiting for the second course of pies and tarts.

“Master Kuhn, the Prut, right?”

Edward nodded in answer to his son’s question. “Indeed.”

“He just had a cousin, or nephew, something of the sort, arrive in Annesburg,” Jacky continued. “He’s a bit of a hellion, if the rumors are to be believed. A gambler, and a knife-thrower to boot.”

“Well, then I’m sure you’ll get along fine,” Mary said with a playful admonishment. Edward had repeatedly expressed frustration with the young man, who was far more interested in dogs and horses than with self-improvement.

“He also has a niece,” Jacky added. “Built like an Amazon, they say.”

“Jacky!”

“No, it’s true,” Edward interjected. “John Parke met her, in passing. She was investigating something to do with brewing. He said she was the tallest woman he’d ever seen.”

"Do you think the Parkes will be there too?" Jacky asked. He was especially keen to know whether their ward, the attractive Amy Everheart, would be attending this banquet in Annesburg.

"I imagine they will," William replied. "Master Kuhn hosts one of these banquets every so often. No doubt he will have some business proposition to discuss."
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 01, 2022 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Mon Jan 31, 2022 2:54 pm

Zendra, Ura Territory
Eleanor, Comtesse de Cavanti


Eleanor sat happily through the festivities. She had observed the village with utter fascination upon her and Kip's arrival and marvelled at their simple lifestyle. She decided disappointedly that coin would mean little to these folk, and that she would not be able to take home any tokens of her visit to Zendra. The Comtesse enjoyed a short conversation with a missionary named Forman, she thought him kind but got the impression that he had not found much success in his calling. When the dancing commenced, Eleanor observed every movement with smiling intrigue.

When the chief suddenly jumped to his feet and let out a wild cry, Eleanor was caught by surprise but did not suspect that things were, in fact, very wrong. Her first assumption was that this was merely another part of the festivities. She was soon disabused of that notion. Fearsome-looking warriors rushed forward to seize her by the arms and Jacob Kip with her. Shocked, the noblewoman uttered an indignant yelp but swiftly fell silent. The pair were dragged from the village hall and thrown to the ground outside. Eleanor looked at the chief and looked at the hatchet in his hand. "This doesn't look very promising," she muttered accidentally but was prevented from slapping herself by the warrior restraining her.

The missionary Forman had a short, pleading conversation in Ura with the chief and then sighed relievedly. Eleanor could hardly figure out what had gone wrong but was at least relieved that it seemed their lives would be spared. “Chief Fox Tail has decided that you shall be prisoners of the Ura,” the missionary explained in English. “The rest of your people…have already been killed. He claims your goods as spoils of war.” The Comtesse remained grimly silent, trying to tidy up her hair which had been put quite out of place by the whole affair. When the three of them were taken to Forman's house, Eleanor sunk into a chair and sat listening unhappily to the conversation of the two men. She shuddered slightly when the threat of torture arose but trusted Forman's word that he had nothing to do with the capture.

"What did we do? What went wrong?" Finally able to speak, Eleanor asked in equal parts confusion and misery. "There is no chivalry in this!" She added indignantly, "I am a Countess! It isn't fair..."
Last edited by Vionna-Frankenlisch on Mon Jan 31, 2022 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Mon Jan 31, 2022 5:28 pm

New Columbia
Border Territories, North of Sirenport


Captain John Dugholm's prospecting party had made swift progress. Ninety-three people and eighteen pack animals had went their way north and made contact with two prosperous native villages. Kaweni tribesmen had made some generous trades with the party and the translator from Vladmimirska, a young Miss Katya Okruskia, had proven a skilled negotiator - if a little unsuited to the climate. There was a brief panic when a spatter of gunfire was heard but this merely turned out to be a Kaweni hunting party firing a volley to bring down a bison. On the first night, Dugholm paid the elder of Ja'che'Kaw'a in quality horseshoes so that the party might stay in the village for the night. On the second day, the party camped in the open and in relative comfort thanks to the wealth of preparation and provisions that had been put into the enterprise. John Dugholm consulted with the other leaders of the party and they decided that on the third day they would force a march to Ja'che'Kaw'to, a Kaweni village to the northeast, where they would spend that night before heading deeper into the border territories the next day.

With a full breakfast in their bellies and well-aware that the trek would not stop until Ja'che'Kaw'to was reached (Sergeant Bill Hoppen of the marines seemed convinced this would take nine hours) the party set off at eight in the morning. The four hunters of the group were sent ahead of the column as scouts and to forage for additional supplies. Meanwhile, the rest merely trudged on, Captain Dugholm leading the way. Sergeant Hoppen marched by the Captain's side carrying the map in one hand and a halberd in the other, he excitedly pointed out minor landmarks as they marched and Dugholm smilingly tolerated the towering NCO as he was a very talented navigator.

In the distance, a plume of smoke rose steadily across the landscape. In all likelihood, Captain Dugholm explained, it was from a ceremonial pyre. Many of the northern tribes held grand festivities to usher in the new spring and the Kaweni were no exception. Dugholm told those close to him of the time he was present for this festival in the Kaweni capital of Mi'che'Kaw, a native settlement of ten-thousand Kaweni and five hundred bannermen from smaller tribes. One of the officers, a naval lieutenant named Grace Amcotte, asked Dugholm if the natives were godly people.

"They are a very spiritual people," Dugholm responded to the butch young woman, "but most tribes have no organised religion. It is why our missionaries have been so successful amongst the southern tribes."

Amcotte, fourth lieutenant of the 'Cape Carrin', stroked her chin as she thought. "Are they good soldiers?"

Dugholm considered the question for a moment then shook his head, almost sadly. "They are good warriors. They are very brave." He decided to reply simply.

Sergeant Hoppen had gotten his estimate right and, with most of the party flagging, the trek was finished just after five in the evening. The ruins of the village of Ja'che'Kaw'to were charred black and its butchered inhabitants lay unburied in the open. The people of the column removed their hats as they viewed the grisly scene from a distance. The animal pens were empty but none of the previous occupants were to be found, dead or alive, most items of value had been stripped from the houses and a missionary's hut was found with accommodation for two but only the old preacher himself was found with the back of his head caved in.

"This was no quick savagery. An organised raiding party did this." Dugholm concluded as he talked through the situation with his officers. "The animals could have been carried away quickly by a handful of men but they had the time to loot the buildings too." He pointed to a line of corpses kneeling before a totem, "those men must have been executed after capture. And where are all the women and children? There must have been more than the few bodies we've found."

Hoppen was red-faced and fuming at the massacre but kept his emotions under control. "Could be they escaped?" He offered, hopefully, though his expression betrayed his doubt.

Dugholm ran a hand through his beard. "No," he shook his head sadly, "we would have come across them by now. They couldn't have fled north." He crouched by an elder, the native had the same dark brown hair as Dugholm and, like the Captain's, it was turning to salty grey. "We'd better give these people a decent burial." Sergeant Hoppen agreed and trudged away to gather some men and tools. Some of the party clubbed together to line up all the bodies while Hoppen and twelve of the labourers dug graves. Katya Okruskia rubbed her sister's back as the artificer puked at the sight.

The discovery of Ja'che'Kaw'to and its grisly fate had cast a dark cloud over the whole party. The padre, a middle-aged vicar desperate to do missionary work before he became too old, gave a short service as they buried the villagers, fifty-one in all. The thirty labourers of the party got to work on shoring up the log and earthwork palisade of the village while Sergeant Hoppen and the other eleven marines took a bag of cartridges and trained their shooting for an hour. The few buildings which were still habitable were made up for the night while tents were pitched to make up the difference. The party slept uneasily. Who or what had caused the massacre was up for debates and minds whirred as more and more horrific ideas were suggested around campfires. John Dugholm plotted the route for the next day. They were headed deep into the Border Territories, out of Kaweni lands and into the domain of the Ura.
Last edited by Vionna-Frankenlisch on Mon Jan 31, 2022 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mareyland
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Corporate Police State

Postby Mareyland » Mon Feb 14, 2022 1:07 pm

Vionna-Frankenlisch wrote:"What did we do? What went wrong?" Finally able to speak, Eleanor asked in equal parts confusion and misery. "There is no chivalry in this!" She added indignantly, "I am a Countess! It isn't fair..."

“Fair?” Jacob Kip laughed bitterly. “The Ura don’t know the meaning of the word. You’d be better off looking for chivalry from a wolf.”

Samuel Forman shook his head. “The Ura are not without honor -"

“Don’t speak to me about their honor,” Kip snarled. “I fought in the revolution. I was at Rutherford. They’ll butcher anyone when it suits them. I saw women full with child, slaughtered like animals. They cut their bellies open.”

That gruesome imagery stunned the missionary into momentary silence, but he soon recovered his facility of speech. “The Ura have their own code. They can be brutal in war, it’s true. But they never harm a captive woman or child.”

Jacob snorted derisively. “Sure they don’t.” He turned to Eleanor. “We need to find some way to escape. I’m not about to sit here and wait until they decide to burn us alive.”

“But as a prisoner, you have some protection,” Forman insisted.

“Until we don’t anymore,” Kip replied.

Unfortunately for Jacob’s plans of escape, the missionary’s home had just a single means of entry or exit, and that was guarded by two stout warriors. The trader suggested they try and make a hole in the wall of the home after nightfall, but Forman dismissed the idea: they would be watched continuously, and there was no way to do such a thing silently. The trader fell into a sulk, his arms crossed in stony silence.

Hours passed. Samuel Forman prayed, inviting Eleanor to join him if she desired. The first of the raiding parties sent against the settlers began to arrive, with their plunder and captives. They brought in lines of people, their wrists bound and linked to the person ahead and behind them. Women and children were seemingly parceled out, with different Ura coming forward to claim them based on some invisible hierarchy.

“The women and children are adopted into the tribe,” Forman explained as the process unfolded. The warriors guarding the door allowed them to stand at the threshold, as long as they made no sudden moves that might be seen as trying to run. “They’ll be treated like kin, if they follow orders. The men…”

The Ura dragged two such men out from the line and into the center of the crowd. Young Ura children rushed out to strike the men with sticks, laughing as they did.

“The men will be tortured,” the missionary continued. “The Ura believe that an individual can serve as a vessel for the whole. They will die to avenge the wrongs that the Ura believe they have suffered at the white man’s hands.”

* * *

Captain Isaac Green had marched his detachment of dragoons and light infantry into the forests, headed for the Ura villages closest to the places where settlers had reported coming under attack by the savages. As they marched, they encountered more refugees, fleeing their homes in fearful anticipation of Ura raiders. Green sent them in the direction of Fort Wilderness and pressed on.

The risk of ambush was on everyone’s mind. The Ura were masters of the forest, and as they traveled further the foliage grew thicker around them. Men gripped their muskets and rifles tightly. Captain Green tried to keep men out on the flanks, but the thick brush inhibited their movement and kept them from moving any meaningful distance from the main body.

The detachment was in the midst of fording a small creek when the dreaded ambush finally arrived. The sounds of the forest were suddenly overpowered by a hideous whooping cry, and the crack of musket fire. Balls flew out and cut into the Mareylanders, knocking a dragoon from the back of his horse and into the water. Another man cried out in pain and clutched at his leg.

“Up at them, men! Give them the bayonet!” Green drew his sword and swung it in the direction of the shouting - or at least where he thought it was coming from. It seemed to be emanating from all around them. But the Ura did not stand and fight, that much he knew for certain. If they could muster a charge and scatter the warriors, even momentarily, they could regroup and withdraw…

More musket balls found their marks. Horses let out pitiful cries as they fell. Men used their corpses for cover as they fired and tried to reload. Captain Green tried to rally the men and get them up, but they were frozen in place. Surprise and fear had undone them at the instant the first war cry echoed from the trees.

“Up, damn it!” Green went to strike a dragoon with the flat of his sword, but while the blade was still in the air he doubled over in pain. A musket ball had struck him in the belly, a fatal wound in the most painful way. He fell to his knees and clutched at the bleeding wound. Darkness began to creep in at the edges of his vision. The war cries began to get closer - the Ura were leaving their concealment and coming out, with hatchets raised, to collect their scalps.

Vionna-Frankenlisch wrote:John Dugholm plotted the route for the next day. They were headed deep into the Border Territories, out of Kaweni lands and into the domain of the Ura.

The Ura had come to Ja'che'Kaw'to and laid it to waste in accordance with Fox Tail’s design. Not only did the war party come away with prisoners to trade with the Winnemac across the mountains, and the plunder they had gathered from the village, but they had struck a blow which would weaken the Kaweni. The Ura knew from experience that their enemies would become allies of convenience for the white colonists when war was brought to their settlements. Striking first would deter such cooperation and reduce the number of warriors that the Kaweni might bring to bear against the Ura.

Most of the war party had moved well beyond the village, driving their group of terrified prisoners as fast as they could towards Ura lands. But the leader of the party, a chief named Bounding Elk, had left some men behind to watch for any pursuit. These rearguard scouts saw the New Columbian prospecting party arrive at the ruins of Ja'che'Kaw'to. From concealed positions on the village’s outskirts, they counted the number of people and animals that entered the destroyed settlement. When night fell, the two fastest runners were sent to catch up to the main war party and inform Bounding Elk of the new arrivals.

The war party that had struck Ja'che'Kaw'to was too burdened by its plunder and captives to do anything about the prospecting expedition, but the scouts reported it was a large group, with a substantial pack train. It was a target that could not be passed up. So Bounding Elk sent the runners onward, back towards the Ura villages, so that a new war party could be assembled to strike. In addition to its plunder, any captives could be ransomed back to the New Columbian government for more supplies. And such an attack would further remind the white people that the interior lands still belonged to the Ura.
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 22, 2022 12:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Tue Feb 15, 2022 4:18 am

New Columbia
Border Territories, North of Sirenport


Day broke in Ja'che'Kaw'to and it promised to be the perfect conditions for the march north. It had still yet to rain, but the sun seemed unwilling to unleash its full potential and a soft wind ensured that it would be a pleasant day's trek. Captain Dugholm and the officers had all suggested names for their group, 'the party' having finally been deemed not ostentatious enough, and everyone had been invited to vote on the matter. Finally, it had been decided by majority vote that they should be called the Royal Sirenport Expeditionary Company and they seemed proud to have been deemed worthy of such a title (albeit by themselves).

Soon enough, the discoveries of the previous day began to worm their way back into minds and conversations and the grim faces returned. Father Lougham and the lay missionary who accompanied him, a teenage scribe from Eldham, kept a record of the fifty-one dead they buried the day before. After a short investigation of each body, Father Lougham concluded that the list should read:
A Record of those Souls slain at Ja'che'Kaw'to in Suspicious Circumstances

- One Ordained Missionary of unknown Christian or Andyist Denomination. (brains bashed in)
- One Kaweni Tribal Elder. (shot in the chest with musket or pistol)
- Five Kaweni Male Children (mostly killed by bludgeoning)
- Three Kaweni Female Tribespeople (throats slit - though I have not conducted a 'detailed' investigation, I must sadly conclude that these women were unnaturally violated before execution)
- Thirteen Kaweni Male Warriors (battle deaths, mostly shot by muskets or killed by bludgeoning, one killed by means of fire)
- Twenty-Five Kaweni Male Tribespeople (various means of death, ten executed ritually with brains bashed in, seven killed by means of fire, two shot, five too damaged to ascertain - these men probably did not bear arms during the attack)
- Three Natives of unknown Tribal Origin (killed by musket fire - found on the outside of the village, those who ran furthest? or possibly the attackers?)

Under Captain Dugholm's orders, talk about the events at Ja'che'Kaw'to was to be kept at a minimum as they could not be sure what had happened. He called a short meeting with the officers but their only conclusion was the obvious one that it had been an attack by other people, the identity of the attackers was up in the air but Father Lougham decided that an Ura raiding party must have strayed too far south. Lieutenant Amcotte suggested civil war amongst the Kaweni tribespeople and before anyone else could weigh in Dugholm adjourned the meeting. Packing up the camp took only half an hour and Dugholm declared that their next target of advance would be Pi'oke'Kaw'ko, a Kaweni trapping post and watchtower and their northernmost settled point. Pi'oke'Kaw'ko was at the edge of a forest at the foot of the great mountains and Dugholm prayed that whatever had pillaged Ja'che'Kaw'to had not already reached the outpost.

Whatever they might find, it was Pi'oke'Kaw'ko that the Royal Sirenport Expeditionary Company would be marching to and, hopeful of success and fearful of attack, they set off from the ruins of Ja'che'Kaw'to with caution in their heads but anger in their hearts.
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Postby Mareyland » Wed Mar 09, 2022 12:29 pm

Fort Wilderness was bursting at the seams. In addition to all the refugee settlers who had fled to the fort for protection from the Ura, it was also the rally point for the local militia companies responding to Captain Martin Shaw’s summons. The militiamen were not the well-dressed volunteers that one would find in the coastal lowlands, where rich men avoided service by supplying funds for weapons and uniforms. These were farmers and artisans, dressed in whatever clothing they had been wearing when the news reached them and carrying an assortment of weapons. The refugees filled them with both rage and fear - gathering at the fort, they knew, could leave their own families and homes defenseless against a similar fate.

Then the survivors from Captain Green’s flying column, bloodied and exhausted, began to stagger out of the woods. The sight of uniformed regulars in such a state of distress sent ripples of concern through the militia. Major Edward Gray knew that the number of men under arms at the fort would soon begin to diminish, as the farmers deserted their militia obligation in order to return and protect their homesteads. And the ambush of Captain Green showed that this was no isolated war band going rogue. The Ura were truly on the war path.

Major Gray sent more messengers out, headed back east. The government had to be informed of what was happening, and he needed reinforcements. For now, all he could do was try and prevent the Ura was targeting any of the larger settlements in Franklin County. The militia would be dispersed back to their communities to defend them. The remaining regulars would concentrate at the fort, both to defend the refugees who would doubtlessly continue to arrive and hopefully respond to any new attacks. It wasn’t much of a plan, but until he had more men, and especially men who could move skillfully through the backcountry, it was about all he could do.

Vionna-Frankenlisch wrote:Dugholm declared that their next target of advance would be Pi'oke'Kaw'ko, a Kaweni trapping post and watchtower and their northernmost settled point. Pi'oke'Kaw'ko was at the edge of a forest at the foot of the great mountains and Dugholm prayed that whatever had pillaged Ja'che'Kaw'to had not already reached the outpost.

Whatever they might find, it was Pi'oke'Kaw'ko that the Royal Sirenport Expeditionary Company would be marching to and, hopeful of success and fearful of attack, they set off from the ruins of Ja'che'Kaw'to with caution in their heads but anger in their hearts.

The strategy that Fox Tail and his fellow war-minded chiefs had developed for dealing with the Kaweni was a simultaneous, or close to simultaneous, attack on as many of their settlements and outposts as possible. The intent was to cause chaos, sow fear, and prevent one group of Kaweni from going to the aid of any other. Villages like Ja'che'Kaw'to had been easier to strike with surprise than outposts like Pi'oke'Kaw'ko, with its watchtower that provided more advance warning of any approaching parties. The Ura war party chosen to strike the post had therefore settled into a sort of siege - sniping with rifles from the cover of the forests, killing any animals outside the walls, and keeping the Kaweni trapped inside. This was a good strategy for preventing Pi'oke'Kaw'ko from sending aid - or warning - to other Kaweni, but it did not give the Ura any chance to take the plunder, scalps, and captives that they desired.

By the time the Company came within sight of Pi'oke'Kaw'ko, the Ura’s patience had run out. Their leader, a chief whose name translated roughly to White Lock, derived from his striking white hair, had sent warriors forward with torches to set the watchtower and wall of the post alight. The sound of war whoops, shouts in the native tongue, and the crack of musket fire filled the air, as the Ura fired at the Kaweni defenders who were in turn trying to kill the torch-bearers before they could reach the walls.

The arrival of the New Columbians forced the Ura to break off the assault. They had no desire to fight two battles at once, and Bounding Elk’s messenger had sent word that the Company was marching in their direction. Frustrated in their efforts, but satisfied that they had at least performed their role in the larger scheme, the Ura broke off the attempt to fire the wall and withdrew into the forest.

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Postby Neo Prutenia » Sun Apr 10, 2022 5:26 pm

Peperkorn Estate, Annesburg

It was a wild month full of both odd and ordinary events. Or perhaps it seemed like a month, maybe longer, maybe shorter. Such were the times. The quickest form of communication was “person on horseback” after all, and in Annesburg that was mostly “reliable lad sauntering through the city streets”, so it sometimes took a fortnight or so to organise and coordinate. Not that people minded too much; no one was in a particular hurry for social events. It would have been unbecoming anyway! Most unbecoming.

Ulrich Kühn wasn’t an unbecoming person. No, no. He was a man of protocol, of propriety. So he corresponded, confirmed, and coordinated his friends and acquaintances in order to make a most delightful banquet. He gave them plenty of time and forewarning, so they could prepare and arrange the necessities.

And he also wasn’t particularly keen on presenting the business plan to his associates too soon. He wouldn’t be able to reply to his colleagues in Prutenia anyway, not until the next regularly scheduled ship came and set sails south again. Too soon, and they might get restless, might reconsider or start second-guessing their decision to invest. Or worse, some calamity could befall them and they would be forced to reconsider! So the timing had to be just right. Entice them, wine and dine them, get them to invest, send their money or guarantees with the ship. Done. And then they’d enjoy the dividends some time later.

It was easy to find investors with his countrymen, who were used to transoceanic ventures and general activities and opportunities in the maritime trade. And he wasn’t the only Pruton men in Annesburg or around, just the most prominent one. To be germane, most of his countrymen would prefer a southern route to a northern one given the near omnipresence of Pruto-Hanseatic vessels south of the equator compared to north of it. But the more adventurous ones, the less risk-averse were right here in the north, plying their trade and trying their luck. Even his nephew, Kenelm, was technically such a man, albeit a bit too daring for Ulrich’s tastes. His niece too, come to think of it. Not too adventurous that is, but here to try her luck.

But! The lad he reckoned might be a liability while they organised the banquet. The lass would certainly be an asset Ulrich figured. So he gave them their assignments at the beginning of this and hoped for the best.

***


The lass, Agathe, he figured would be an asset? Yes. And no. Agathe was charming and heavenly, most of the time. She got along well with the staff—although she did very audibly disapprove of their so-called ‘legal’ bondage and legal status—and they were pleasantly surprised by the new dame in the house and member of the household, pro tempore if be. They did have to get used to her statuesque presence first, and her relentless self-sufficiency. But that took a week or so. Maybe a bit longer for the more superstitious servants, the elderly ones that is. Too tall, too beautiful, curly hair—must be a witch! She had a sense of humour about it.

But with the mistress of the house, Edith Keen? The first few weeks were a nightmare, for Ulrich at least. To say that they did not get along would have been the understatement of the decade.

Edith was a most excellent steward—somewhat stern, true, and with a mean streak, certainly, but always fair, just, and impartial. She was hard on the staff, and quite obviously so compared to Ulrich who was rather lax, but she never treated them unfairly or with any malice. Edith was of the opinion that too friendly a treatment of their ‘inferiors’ would result in increased chance of drapetomania and related issues, and she was certainly aware that their peers would judge them, harshly so, if things weren’t handled properly. Maybe she figured she had to compensate for Ulrich’s remissness in regard to the slaves. The man was a merchant and businessman, he treated them as ‘staff’ rather than ‘servants’, and he probably failed to see any harm in that. Edith definitely treated them like ‘servants’, firmly, and watched them like a hawk. Peperkorn wasn’t a plantation of course, some leeway was given, but not too much. Never too much, absolutely not. And in a way, they were an effective couple.

But Edith could easily influence her Ulrich, and the servants knew very well that this was one of the better arrangements possible in Mareyland for people of their colour and heritage, so everyone played along. Agathe was another matter. She was impossible to influence, impossible to convince otherwise, and just plain and simply impossible.

It started with minor things, their first fight and Ulrich first in many headaches caused by the two women butting heads. Agathe dared, dared picking up her plate and helping the servants after dinner! Her, a proper lady doing such, while servants are around standing idle getting odd ideas in their heads! Agathe countered that no ‘proper lady’ should leave a mess, especially ‘her own’ mess behind after any activity. It didn’t get much better in the following days. Agathe had a small garden’s worth of herbs, plants, and spices with her, and she used them liberally. She even cured the stomach ache of an older servant—the remedy turned out to be a brew of chamomile and fennel, and she forbid him from eating onions or drinking while his stomach settled again. Witchery! And apparently she hadn’t been satisfied with witchery at home, she had to do such in town too. Tried to leave house, unescorted, to collect herbs, exchange recipes, and research local brewing practices; the local malt and hops were of particular interest. An unmarried woman, tracking alone through the city—the dangerous harbour city full of ne’er-do-wells and roustabouts—to collect herbs and brew beer. Did she want to get hanged as a witch?! Because that is how you got hanged. Edith had a servant accompany her at all times, despite any and all protestations; Agathe relented only after her uncle pleaded with her and explained that she wasn’t in Prutenia.

They mostly clashed over the servants. Agathe fiercely insisted to do things herself and to be active. Edith disagreed, but couldn’t do much about it. Ulrich tried his best to stay out of it hoping things would resolve themselves eventually. One of them had to tire of it at some point, no? Sometimes it even got silly. Edith, in order to affirm her ‘dominant position’ in the household, started wearing high-heeled or platform shoes around the house to appear taller and more imposing. The servants, being rather savvy reckoned that Agathe was unlikely to stay in the house forever while Edith most definitely would, made sure to let Edith know she was the mistress of the house. They also toned down how much they expressed their appreciation for Agathe.

But things did improve, and quite a bit so. Two events helped.

The first was a birth. A servant woman’s pregnancy was due, and it was a difficult one. For once showing some proper sympathy, for a fellow woman at least, Edith was very concerned and tried her best to if not help then at least not interfere. Luckily for Peperkorn Agathe had enough knowledge and a bit of experience with such things as well, and helped deliver the baby. She had been a birth attendant before, several times, but her sisters and aunts did the actual midwifery. She kept the soon to be mother comfortable, coordinated with her, and instructed the other woman present. It took quite some time, but that evening the cries of a healthy baby boy could be heard in the estate, and the first baby cry so far.

Edith mellowed out somewhat after that night. At least for a time. She thanked Agathe. She even admitted to her that she was very happy, giddy even about the birth; she was a bit sad too. As a nullipara and now well in her late thirties, she had to experience it vicariously, and she didn’t think she would ever give birth. It would have happened by now, wouldn’t it? She was experiencing a sort of saudade during those days. Perhaps she had always been experiencing such, but now it was, for a spell, more intense. Agathe gave her more leeway and space after that, and he tried to have more patience with her attitude toward the ‘staff’ as well, seeing now that Edith could have and show sympathy and empathy for them.

There was still some butting of heads going on, but the tone was more jovial. And Edith did sing her praises about Agathe and ‘her man’s most resourceful and beautiful niece’; she mentioned the lass often and portrayed her positively to her circle of friends and acquaintances, ascribing her more peculiar habits as ‘foreign customs that do no harm as unusual as they were’. In a way she also hoped to perhaps marry her off, which to Edith seemed a desirable outcome for any woman. Midwifery wasn’t her forte, but matchmaking? Perhaps.

The other event that made the two more tolerant of each other involved Edith’s vanity and Agathe’s herbalism expertise. Agathe had a stash of natural henna, a particular hair dye she used for ceremonial purposes. It wasn’t cultivated in Prutenia in large quantities but it was easily found and imported from neighbouring countries and was thus common enough. Or she had assumed such. Apparently it wasn’t that common in Mareyland. She offered to dye Edith’s hair. Edith, ever suspicious of all things witchy, was reluctant at first, but relented after Agathe made one of her curls a fierce red the next day. Soon Edith had a lustrous red-brown hue instead of her slowly fading grey-ish brown. The ‘witch’ shaved off a decade at least. Edith even felt younger and more energetic, and she appreciated it quite. Ulrich appreciated it too, not having seen that particular henna-red in quite some time. He also deemed it a possible business opportunity, but for another time. Perhaps wait and see how the ladyfolk would react and if it would catch on.

***


Baerbach, upstream from Annesburg

Kenelm meanwhile was blissfully unaware of what had transpired in the Peperkorn estate during this months’ worth of preparation for the banquet. He was far too preoccupied with having a great time with his new friends. Friends that conveniently were not involved with Annesburg’s gambling circles nor had the habit to toss knives around. Now axes? That was another matter.

Just a few hours ride upstream from Annesburg, was Bear Creek, a hardy patch of land named after a tributary of the Pellisipi river. This particular patch of land, while reasonably fertile was more difficult to work than many far more arable parts of Mareyland, and it was inconveniently far less suited for cash crops and plantations, hence of lesser interest to most people in the nation that had the money to invest. It would also have been an inconvenience for general William Lee, a leader of the revolutionary army back then, had it not been for a sizable contingent of Prut mercenaries and servicemen who helped during the revolutionary war that suddenly found themselves sans employment due to Mareyland winning said war. An arrangement was made—the land was sold under the condition that it be worked by Prut farmers. The general, having witnessed their commendable performance and contributions, held them in high regard, and so the Bear Creek got its first permanent settlers of the Prutonic persuasion.

At first the settled Prut were a sort of Wehrbauer-type residents, but this changed rather soon, given that Mareyland was safe and Bear Creek—Baerbach to them—slowly started to turn into a series of cooperative hamlets. Nowadays, fifteen or so years after the last shots were fired in said war, the area is mostly known for its odd customs, strange religion, pretty decent cheese and milk products, quite good leather, and unusual amounts of wheat, substantially more than one ought to expect from the geography and topography alone. It turned out that the good general William Lee had an excellent eye for talented cultivators of land and rightly judged the Prut settlers to be good homesteading material. Wheat, ‘nature’s gold’ to the Prut, turned out to be a good crop in Bear Creek. Enough that the area became a natural supplier for Annesburg and it made quite a pretty penny doing so; enough to draw others. And with that came intermarriage and slow integration.

But Kenelm wasn’t particularly interested in the wheat and cows, and related leather and cheese. He had seen and experienced plenty of those back home. He had found his people! The Baerbachers were a hardier and rougher folk than most of his peers back home. Given their mercenary background and history this wasn’t much of a surprise. Doubly so since they lived and worked in a hardier locale, and they were well aware that they lived there as an ethnic and religious minority for the most part, tolerated for now because of their impact now almost two decades ago. They had that frontier spirit and impetuous attitude, a passion and fire in their hearts, a good fire, a good Eld. He instantly felt kinship with them.

And they welcomed him with open arms. He wouldn’t be the first liaison from their de facto Otenz, Ulrich Kühn. Ulrich habitually stayed in touch and acted as a mediator for the Baerbacher community. Even visited from time to time. They also enjoyed easier and more favourable access to his salt, which was of particular importance to the health and prosperity of their livestock, and in general their health and cheese-making. He also reserved a yearly allowance of spices and other goods from Prutenia for them, mostly for their festivities, the equinoxes and solstices in particular. They in turn helped him often with his salterns and other businesses and provided him with clout if necessary. Ulrich generally also helped them stay sharp by keeping in touch with the authorities and informing them about fighting and policing opportunities.

It took Kenelm about a week to get to know Bear Creek, and soon after most Baerbachers. Well, most of those relevant to him and closer to his age group and persuasion. There were some shenanigans, a chase involving a goose, and an encounter with a bear, but those were footnotes to Kenelm. He took an instant shine to the Baerbacher sport of axe tossing, a sport they picked up from woodsmen and the other folks from the Whitetail mountains during and after the revolutionary war. It had grown quite in popularity within the community. Hatchets also happened to be a convenient universal tool in Bear Creek, so the sport stuck around. He did need another week to get a hang of it, as he was used to his knives, and an axe had to spin in a different way. At the end he did manage and was deemed a decent thrower by the Baerbachers. Still much better with a knife. Or gun for that matter.

He did get a most excellent opportunity to go on a hunt with the locals. A way for him to hone his gun skills that his uncle couldn’t disapprove of? Why that sounded delightful to Kenelm! There was a bit of woods near Bear Creek—and there was always a bit of woods wherever Prut were, even if they had to plant the trees themselves, for the forest was to Prut what water was to fish—and they hoped to find perhaps a bear or some other impressive trophy. No bears sadly… Luckily more likely. They did stumble upon a herd of wild boars. They carefully stalked them and tried and successfully isolated one particularly big tusker, while the rest of the hoggery skedaddled. A new mate of his, Harald, turned out to be quite the sharpshooter. Two shots through the beast’s skull, clean hits, but the boar kept standing and chasing them for a good hour before bleeding out enough for Kenelm to finish him off with his hatchet and knife. Good hunt.

Since he was sent to Baerbach with the instruction to ‘make friends and be useful there’, he considered this event a success. And his new friends even helped him transport the boar to the Peperkorn estate as a surprise for his uncle. A general delivery of foodstuffs was due anyway. So everything was put on a cart and hauled to Annesburg while the sang songs from the old country and far south. The banquet was going to have a hearty spice boar stew, Kenelm decided. And his uncle had to agree to his devious fait accompli.

***


The family was there, everything was sorted, or at least appeared to be so. The estate was ready to welcome and entertain guests. Edith, the very pleasantly looking and now impressively red-haired Edith, had everything under control; everyone knew their roles and assignments to the most minute detail. For example, since we already established that she wasn’t lacking in vanity, she had instructed the servants to carefully and in a very calculated manner use fans and bellows to spread the amazing spicy aromas around and near the house and garden, and to a lesser extent the street and neighbourhood. The air was marked by those mouthwatering scents. Reliable servants were posted to take care of any carriages. Everyone was washed. Everything was cleaned and gleaming. Ulrich was ready to welcome his guests.

Factbook: The Prut Meritocracy | Prutopaedia (TG feedback appreciated) | National Policies | φ(._.) - Shoot me a TG if you want to RP with me

Always assume I'm the exact same tech level/reality as you are, with access to the exact same technology/abilities; I just happen to prefer very strict MT. IC name: Prut Meritocracy

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Mareyland
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Founded: May 26, 2021
Corporate Police State

Postby Mareyland » Sun May 01, 2022 1:01 pm

The guests of Ulrich Kühn arrived in their coaches as the appointed hour for the banquet arrived. Men, their wives, and their older children arrived dressed in fineries. The coachmen were almost entirely enslaved black men, dressed in livery chosen by the families who held them as property same as the coaches and horses they guided down the streets of Annesburg. The promise of a Kühn banquet had lured many of Mareyland’s elites.

Edward Arlington, a former aide to the great General William Lee, stepped out of his coach followed by his wife Mary and his son, John Lee Arlington. Unlike many of General Lee’s former comrades, Edward had not gone into politics. He had remained at his estate, imitating the example of the general and focusing on managing his land. His son, whose second given name represented Edward’s depth of devotion to the hero of Mareyland’s war for independence, had something of a reputation as a rake and wastrel. John Lee, or “Jack” as most people called him, had just returned from a stint of school abroad. Rumors swirled about the reason for his sudden return - the most common refrain was that the young Arlington scion had fought a duel over an illicit romance.

John Parke and his wife Elizabeth - Eliza, to her friends and confidantes - arrived soon after. Accompanying them was the ravishing Amy Everheart, a young woman whose parents had both been claimed by a yellow fever epidemic several years ago. The Parkes, distant relations on her mother’s side, had taken her in as a ward. Her physical beauty was enhanced in the eyes of suitors by the estate they would stand to control by becoming her husband, but Eliza Parke was fiercely protective of her and insistent that the young woman had no need to rush into a union.

The brightest star of the constellation of guests was undoubtedly Thomas Cawthorne, who arrived with his wife Louisa Radcliffe Cawthorne and their son Richard. The Cawthornes were the oldest of the Old Families, among the founders of the colony of Mareyland, and they had sat atop the highest rank of wealth and power for generations. His wife was from the Radcliffe family, who were second only to the Cawthornes in history and position. Thomas Cawthorne was a sitting Senator, representing the county which included the city of Annesburg. His son Richard had served in the War of Independence as another aide of General Lee, alongside Edward Arlington.

The most notable absence was the great general himself. William Lee had sent a message along to Ulrich Kühn, begging his forgiveness for not attending the gathering. His son, Augustine, had taken ill suddenly and the family could not leave Hunting Creek manor.

* * *

The thing on everyone’s mind was the news coming out of Franklin County, on the edge of the nation. The first reports of Ura raids had initially been dismissed or disregarded. There had never been a period of total peace on the frontier, and a certain level of violence from the uncivilized Ura was to be expected. But after the first scattered reports came more detailed information. It wasn’t just scattered raids - it was a county-wide coordinated assault, seemingly intent on driving out all white settlers. Even more worrying were rumors, not yet substantiated by hard evidence, that the natives had already delivered a check to the Regular Army contingent stationed at Fort Wilderness. Talk of war with the Ura also included talk of the gold rush, and how this sudden violence from the natives would affect Mareyland’s ability to profit from the deposits.
Last edited by Mareyland on Sun May 22, 2022 12:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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