Private Tales The Patrician's Edification

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Olvir

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Strenhold
Logan Banick

"I never really understood the whole 'Vel' thing."

Olvir overheard one of the young guardsmen nearby chatting. He was leaning against the wall, clutching his spear as his fellow stood just opposite him. The young noble sat on a barrel just a few feet away, sword leaning between his knees as he listened to the conversation going on just a few paces away from him.

"I mean, don't make much sense. Why is it Strenhold and not Vel Strenhold? What's the difference?"

"Yeah, I don't get it. I mean we're still in Anirian territory."

The young noble cringed slightly, and he wondered just how bad education had gotten in the Guard. Maybe civics lessons weren't at the top of the list but, Kress. This was a simple fucking thing. Intricate to their society, least it used to be when they still conquered cities. "It's an honorific."

"Huh?"

The guardsmen said, peering at the young Noble.

"It's an honorific, granted by the King." Both Guardsmen looked at one another, as if they still didn't quite understand. "It has to be earned. Either because the city has some great importance or because someone and or some army did a great deed there."

Ollie shrugged. "Strenhold hasn't done much of anything. It's barely even a city, more of a border outpost for the Guard."

One of the soldiers scratched his chin, nodding in affirmation.

"Yeah. Place is kind of a shithole. Don't even know why we keep it."

A wide smirk touched Ollie's face, and he had to stifle a slight laugh. His head shook, but he didn't offer any more civics lessons. Strenhold, he knew, was a projection of power. A small presence on the border with Cortosi and just a stones throw from the Savannah. That was why it was key, and why he was here.

Aisling had told him it was time to see the real world. Get a taste of things beyond merchant houses and handshakes. He and these soldiers would be going on a mission, though just what that was he had no idea.

But he was sure that whomever was leading it would find great displeasure in having a little noble tagging along. An opinion Ollie was determined to change.
 
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Logan Banick

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Shortly upon riding into Strenhold at the head of a banner of Knights numbering twelve strong, a little accident occurred. Logan Banick turned his horse round a corner, and a plumb middle-aged peasant woman was crossing the path. She wasn't paying much attention and was startled when one of the other Knights called for her to "Make way!"

The woman, carrying a chamberpot, accidentally splashed its foul contents onto Logan's left sabaton and greave. Vile shades of yellow and brown streaked down the steel.

And the peasant woman looked up and saw Logan in full and took two fearful steps back. She fell to her knees on the trodden path, soiling her dress, and set the chamberpot aside and meekly bowed her head. "I-I-I am so sorry! I was careless! I should have—"

Logan dismounted. Squatted down before the woman, dropping a hand onto her shoulder. "Might you tell me your name?"

The woman looked up, her round face streaked with a couple fearful tears that had spilled over the lids of her eyes and down onto her puffy cheeks. "Livvy. My n-name is Livvy, sir."

"Livvy." Logan beamed. "That's a lovely name. Do you know that?"

She looked a bit confused, but her fear was fading. "W-What?"

Logan gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze. "Oh, but of course you do! You're a gorgeous woman, Livvy. Allow me to guess, if you would. Hmmm...four kids?"

Now she looked delighted. "Oh! How did you know?"

Logan gave a satisfied nod. "Merely luck that revealed to me that right number. Yet my luck pales in comparison to that which has been bestowed upon your husband, Livvy. Tell him that Lord Banick sends warm regards." Before Livvy could even begin to process that the particular Knight she'd spilled refuse upon was, indeed, the nobleman leading them, Logan said, "Now stand. Let's have a look at you."

Both of them stood, and Logan's sweeping gaze took a quick assessment of her. A considerate fist touched his chin. "You swung a fearsome polearm during your time in the Guard, didn't you?"

Livvy hazarded another smile, brushing back some of her faded blonde hair behind her ear and graciously averting her eyes. "Well, I'm afraid those times are long behind me, sir. My days are spent milking cows, churning butter, and looking after my young ones."

"Nonsense. Had I a spare halberd and Strenhold a dire peril, you'd fall into that familiar back rank and effortlessly wear that mantle again." He cocked his head, seamlessly switching subjects. "Might you direct me to the nearest well, Livvy?"

And, thoroughly relieved of her trepidation for what she'd done and what could have happened to her because of it, Livvy gladly pointed out the town well. Logan led his banner of Knights that way, stopped to wash up, and rode on.

There was someone here in Strenhold he needed to meet. Someone he hadn't seen in years. Strenhold wasn't the largest of towns, that much was for sure; a hardy frontier village, like many of them in the north, right near the precipice of where fertile grasslands turned into rugged Savannah (and, in Strenhold's case, where the grassland likewise gave way to arid pre-desert badlands). It didn't take long to find the company of Guardsmen.

And there he was.

Logan guided his horse up, dismounted in a clean motion, his heavy cloak billowing in the descent, and walked right up to—

"Olvir Weiroon." He smiled and extended an armored hand to the younger man. "I heard a delightful rumor that you might grace Strenhold with your presence, and I'm heartened to see it proven right."

Olvir
 
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Olvir

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Olvir found himself somewhat startled by the jovial armored man standing before him.

From everything he knew of Anirian Knights, and that was what this man had to be, they were stern and stoic. Men and women who had earned accolades above all others. It was said that an Anirian Knight was a match for a Dreadlord of the third level.

A contention which would not have been stated without a hint of truth to it. They were soldiers, the best that Vel Anir had to offer.

Olvir had expected a gruff and outright grumpy leader to this mission. Not someone who would walk up to him and happily over a shake of his hand. Whats more, the shock of the Knight knowing his name had him utterly perplexed. "I err..."

He extended his hand, shaking with a slight reluctance.

Then something suddenly struck him.

A memory that barely clung to his mind, one form nearly a decade ago when he had been but a small boy. He remembered the face of the man in front of him.

"You're a Banick!" Ollie suddenly exclaimed, though there was no edge of anger or annoyance to his tone as there might have been with other members of his family. It was well known that House Weiroon and Banick outright hated one another.

If it had been Augustus or Adonis standing here they likely would have spat in Logan's face. Not Ollie though, he only smiled at his own stupidity. "I ahh, mean. Thank you for letting me be here."

The nobling corrected himself.
 
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Logan Banick

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He seemed a bit hesitant, Olvir—Logan felt it in his hand. Not without good reason, of course.

You're a Banick!

As he went on to state, and Logan couldn't help but to grin. 'Twas true, they were all scarcely more than a year removed from the old way of things, from the "Kingdom" and the oligarchy of Houses which held the true power. The coming and going of a single summer and single winter was hardly enough to ameliorate the fractious tensions under the old Alliance of Houses. Banick and Weiroon, of course, being on opposite sides of that dividing line.

Logan had to be grateful to Lady Luck. There were a fair number of other Weiroons, Pirians, Viraks, and mayhap even some Sirls or Luanas or Urahils that could have been here in Olvir's stead, and who would not have been thrilled in the slightest to see him—this solely on account of his family name.

"A Banick indeed. Theodore hasn't yet seen fit to marry me off to foreign royalty," he joked, taking the stab at himself over the idea of losing his own given surname.

Olvir moved past his surprise.

"I've allowed for nothing, Olvir," Logan said. "Your sword arm speaks for itself, so I've heard. It's a shame we've not had occasion to fight side-by-side until this day."

Logan looked up to the taller noble. Mayhap a touch on the skinnier side, but he was by no means deficient of a warrior's poise. Logan couldn't say what Olvir's exact age was—neither were well acquainted with one another—but he looked like he'd already served some years in the Guard, or had some lessons in martial pursuits.

"Did you fight in the Revolution?"

Olvir
 
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Olvir

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Olvir smiled at the man's casual nature, finding himself almost enamored with the older boy. Despite their difference in height, Logan carried himself as more of a grownup than Ollie could hope to. At least in that moment. "Better than being married to someone here, I suppose."

He jested, remembering what his own fate had almost been.

"Ah, a little yeah." A skill that he had acquired mostly on his own.

Father had never quite approved. House Weiroon did not have much of a martial tradition. The sword that hung at his side was from near two centuries ago, when the last of his Ancestors had truly served in the wars against the Elves.

It's name was...he frowned for a moment, it's name was not important, but Ollie had rescued it from the ancient basements of the Weiroon instate. Since he'd found it he'd worked diligently to master it's use, even if he didn't need to. "No, I didn't."

Olvir said, pulling his hand back and scratching the back of his head. A flicker of embarrassment in his tone.

"I aahh." He shrugged. "Father sent me away at the time."

Sebastian had lost one child to the Guard, and he had resolved not to lose another.

Even with the decree that Nobles had to serve a year in the guard, Sebastian Weiroon had exerted enough pressure to avoid that fate for Olvir. Much to the young man's chagrin. A fortune had been paid for him to instead be sent away, studying in Alliria at the University there for a year.

A dispensation handed out by the King himself. "I'm eager though to be here today and help how I can."

Ollie offered, hoping it would be enough.
 
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Logan Banick

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"Neither did I," Logan said, a thin smile crossing his features. One of the most important battles of his lifetime, of Vel Anir's history, and he hadn't any opportunity to fight.

Disappointing and disheartening, he could not lie. But Logan had a much more pertinent role to play.

"My time was spent convincing my father to stand House Banick down." His tone became grave for a moment, "Each passing moment, more of our sworn bannermen, soldiers, and Dreadlords were dying for a lost cause." He brightened then. "But, after much argumentation, aided perhaps by the proximity of danger to the Banick Estate, Theodore did heed what I had to say. On the condition that I stay inside the Estate."

He opened his mouth to say more, but decided against it. Certainly Olvir would have heard what happened to House Sirl. Logan knew of the arrangement between Weiroon and Sirl to have Olvir betrothed to Elspeth, and...well, his earlier joke aside, he wasn't sure how Olvir truly felt about her. Mayhap he heard the news of her, mayhap not; she was not to be found anywhere, and many presumed her dead. Bringing the subject up seemed much like sprinkling salt in a wound to Logan, so he let it lay unspoken.

I'm eager though to be here today and help how I can.

"Good, good." He glanced over at some of the nearby Guardsmen, back at the mounted Knights, then returned his gaze to Olvir. "I should hope that you've been informed of our mission here in Strenhold, yes?"

It wouldn't surprise Logan if Olvir had merely been directed here to the north with only a vague idea of what he specifically would be doing. Just go, he imagined Olvir being told, you could use the experience. Something along those lines.

Hopefully it wasn't the case. But if it was, then Logan would apprise him of the situation. There was certainly a reason that Anirian Knights had been deployed here to sleepy little Strenhold.

Olvir
 
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Olvir

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Olvir listened carefully as Logan explained what had happened to him during the Revolution.

Getting such a glimpse into the workings of another House was rare, even nowadays. It was an odd thing to hear about. Aisling had told him what she'd done during the revolution, witnessing Elise Virak defend herself and all the chaos that had happened that day.

He was not entirely sure what he would have done had he actually been in the city.

It was a question he was scared to have an answer to, one that hung over him like a cloud.

Then his next question came, and shame was quickly replaced by embarrassment. He had in fact not been told anything at all. Not for the lack of trying of course, but it seemed that this whole thing was supposed to be somewhat hush hush.

"I am afraid not, Sir." Olvir answered, much to the chuckles of some of the soldiers. "I was just told to come here."

He smiled, though it was clear he didn't like the situation any more than Logan. "And well..."

A shrug. "Here I am."
 
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Logan Banick

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Logan smiled, thin and a touch rueful was the line of it. Of course Olvir had been left to flounder in the dark. This wasn't the first time a son or daughter of one of the Houses, Great or minor, had come under Logan's watchful eye in the north. Not that Logan himself was particularly special in this regard, no. It was a common enough practice for the nobility to arrange for their promising young lords and ladies to be given a small taste of the battlefield, to put the skills drilled into them by tutors to use and to garner experience for them in matters of strategy and leadership. Olvir seemed no exception.

But, by Kress, why were they always sent out without foreknowledge of what, precisely, they would be getting into? Logan would never understand it.

"Fair enough," he said. "Here is our situation:

"Simply put, the Haedui, a tribe of Savannah folk friendly to Vel Anir, have been suffering raids from a large force of aggressive Ngonya Beastmen from the west. We are here to assist the Haedui, for they and their lands serve as a buffer and relieve pressure on the Army of the North."


And, of course, because the Haedui were human and the Beastmen were not. One could ascribe other characteristics and motives to the Beastmen, thinking that the Empire had either convinced them directly or goaded them indirectly into probing close to Anirian lands, yes. But, bottom line, old animosities and prejudices did not disappear overnight, nor even within a year—the Republic was a spark of change, and some things changed far slower than others.

Then Logan's expression became somewhat stony. "I feel I must warn you, Olvir, of the Commander of the Guard forces we will be embedded with. I've worked with Commander Edan Orrucks before, and I can say to you that he is...a man whose company is difficult to endure. Especially so for you and I."

Olvir
 
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Olvir

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Ollie listened carefully to what Logan said, nodding every so often to make sure the man knew he was actually paying attention.

He knew most of the details of what the man spoke of. Though his family had not planned for him, he’d made sure to prove his own usefulness. Over the years he had studied everything from politics to strategy.

His view on things were still…inexperienced, and there was doubtless thousands of nuances that he missed out on, but he could understand most things. The Republic was new, but they were not foolish. Most of it’s executive Council were former Generals, they knew how important this area was. ”I’ve read about the Ngonya. They’re fierce fighters.”

It was hard for any Anirian to admit when someone else had Martial superiority, and although that was not the description exactly attributed to the Ngonya…it was close enough. The Beast-men were towering creatures, and a single Gor could supposedly take on two or three Guardsmen simply due to his size and strength.

His brow furrowed when Logan continued to describe the Commander, the warning and obvious one.

”Ah…well…” Ollie shrugged. ”Can’t be everyone’s friend, I guess.”

A lesson his father had taught him very early on.
 
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Logan Banick

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"Indeed we cannot," Logan agreed. "A shame though it is."

Even within the old alliance of Houses, there were malcontents and belligerents and all manner of ill-spirited actors, some of whom were still alive today, a few of whom were even elected representatives in the new Republic. Logan easily considered himself a team player, but that was the thing with teams, was it not? Being on one meant you were not on its opposites. Unity was a grand ideal, but it was the sky for which one reached whilst one's feet were stuck in the mire of exclusionary mud, stained with names like Banick or Weiroon, Anirian or Haedui, which more often than not made for a setting apart than a drawing together.

To take opportunities to breach barriers and clean off some of that differentiating mud was all Logan could do here in his small corner of the Republic. To be welcoming instead of standoffish.

So, before they would set off to have what was sure to be a thoroughly unpleasant check-in with Commander Orrucks, Logan would do just that: continue to be welcoming. Friendly. Mayhap Olvir had had some equally unpleasant encounters with a few choice Banicks in the past, hence his surprised outburst. Logan would endeavor to be more than only his surname.

Shifting the subject fluidly, he asked, "How's your family faring these days, Olvir? Provided that news hasn't been distorted by distance and the retelling of many mouths, I hear that Aisling has taken on quite a large portion of responsibility."

Olvir
 
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Olvir

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"Ah. Yeah she has." Olvir said with a slight frown.

In the old days he knew that talking about any of this would have earned him a scolding and a half. His father would likely have sent him away to the summer estate and kept him there for a few weeks at the very least. But these weren't the old days.

Not anymore.

"Things are...uhh." He shrugged. "Stressful."

Olvir admitted. "I think she's doing a good job, but House Weiroon has been working closely with the Republic and they don't make it easy."

He frowned for a few seconds, as if he were thinking about something. His hand flickered to the hilt of his sword, as though holding it made him feel better. The young noble stayed quiet for a few beats more, then spoke again.

"I guess that's part of why I'm here." He shrugged. "Maybe same as you?"

Ollie asked, almost hopefully.
 
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Logan Banick

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...House Weiroon has been working closely with the Republic and they don't make it easy.

A thin, humorless smile at this. An event on the scale of the Revolution could never be wholly a good thing. Simply put, there were too many people involved, all with views that differed by slight degree or differed by the breadth of an ocean. Perhaps no one exemplified this more than Commander Orrucks, but Olvir would find that out and make his own judgment of that soon enough.

"Myself, I answer more to the Guard than I do to my House. Especially these days." As Olvir had already said in his own words, the Great Houses simply didn't have the sway they once did a year ago. The table hadn't been completely turned, yet it was close enough. "The North beckons, and I answer. Hence, here I am."

Logan made a small gesture with his head.

"Come, let us walk and talk."

He took the reins of his war horse and led it along. Olvir was likely already familiar with the Guard encampment here at Strenhold, at least having seen it, and thus would know they were heading that way. No need to put off meeting with the Commander; they'd have to endure it sooner or later.

"Yet, as much as I have found purpose in the North, there will come a day when I shall be called upon to bear the responsibilities of my House. I have a duty to the Banick name," and then he chuckled, joking through exaggeration but serious underneath, "one that I will fulfill by blessing my House with a great host of sons and daughters!"

Then that more serious tone took precedence. "My father Theodore, though a resilient man in his age, nevertheless is stricken by illness after illness, it seems, and I find myself considering what might happen. My eldest brother Cecil is far more concerned with his affairs abroad, and it is suspected that he may well abdicate his right of succession. Walter would gladly take up the mantle as Head of House, yet...he has had more than one brush with death on his military escapades, which I do not believe he will abandon. If Lady Luck is overly whimsical, that, of course, may leave me as one of the youngest Heads of House Banick as ever known."

He glanced over. Smiling, taking this potential outcome of events in good stride, though he as well admitted, "Stressful. Mayhap every House, if they were compelled to pure honesty, would testify to the same in these tumultuous times."

Olvir
 
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Olvir

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Olvir listened very carefully to every word that Logain said.

He had never in his life had a conversation like this, had never thought that another Noble of a similar rank…and funnily enough station would be so open. A year ago this was utterly unheard of, unthinkable.

Growing up his brothers had taught him that the other six families were to be feared, watched for. They were daggers in the dark, knives that were trying desperately to find your throat at every turn. The Game of Houses had been dangerous.

Even as a child He had heard rumors about the Virak’s making people ‘disappear’, about the Sirl’s cursing their enemies; literally. All of them had tricks, traps, and plans. Even Weiroon, even Banick.

Olvir frowned. ”Well…least running a House is easier than running a nation.”

It was a poor jest, but was true in a way. Bannock had once been a part of the Ruling Alliance, one of the Houses that had decided the fate of all Anirians. Some of that power was stil there of course, but it was not quite the same. Not after the Revolution.

Ollie smiled awkwardly, then continued.

”Most of my life I was an afterthought.” He confided to Logain. ”I’m the youngest, and…not exactly planned. My brothers are the important ones, or were I guess.”

Now it was Aisling. ”What I’m saying is…maybe having a direction isn’t that bad?”

He asked the other man, feeling lost for one himself.