The Mercs Journal - May 7, 2000
Almost a year has passed and we have two months left on our contract. The war the Corsairs expected has not materialized and things have been quiet. The company has doubled in size to over 80 men. Captain Rohn has done his best to maintain readiness and alertness with success. We are now as ready as we will ever be. All that remains is for “The Sons of the Stalkers” to be tested.
In the meantime the men indulge in things that will help them keep their edge. A sparing contest is taking place and it is down to the final pair. Mersis, a The mysterious but deadly swordsman will face Captain Rohn. Both are the objects of heavy wagering. Mersis is much more experienced, but Rohn has showed some inspired swordsmanship up to this point. The match is decided too quickly for the spectators' liking, with Mersis emerging as the winner.
All seems well until the following night when a merchant is discovered speaking to the men and trying to lure them north to the ranks of those who oppose the Corsairs with promises of gold. The man is found out and taken by some of our mercenaries and is given over to Mandor. After making sure the prisoner is secure Mandor searches the merchant's belongings finding several maps and an impressive amount of wealth. Much more than such a merchant should have.
Before the merchant's fate can be determined the Corsairs arrive. Captain Tarikadar of House Ginaz along with his Sergeant-at-Arms and Pilot. He also brings two other men who are introduced as representatives of the Corsair Prince Telechrist. Yet they look like no natives of Umbar. Tajon has strong features on a lean body, and his bodyguard Basu is a Blonde norse-looking giant of 6 and a half feet. Unknown to the Mercenaries, they are ‘Varangi’, Northmen raiders long-ago banished from the North into the deep south of Harad. (GM’s note: Basu is now an NPC but was created and once played by Carlos Saldivia. The character is 10 years old.)
Once told of the merchant the Corsairs are most anxious to question him. They are taken below into the bowels of the keep by Captain Rohn, with Andram and Mandor. The group comes upon Seth as he is returning to his seat, and the pale-faced merchant vacantly staring at the wall of his cell. The merchant's attention is quickly drawn to this group of visitors. The Corsairs ask to question this man alone. Rohn, Andram and Mandor depart and only Mandor notices Seth step into the shadows and seem to disappear from sight.. The Merchant is told of his fate and is stripped of his clothing and questioned by Tajon. In the morning the merchant is transferred to Corsair Captain's ship which is anchored nearby where he is questioned by a professional, although the ordeal proves to much for the man and he dies.
The complications do not end there. The following day the Corsairs catch one of the local boys being a bit too free with his hands while handling their silverware. The matter is taken up to Captain Rohn and while Tarikadar wishes to make an example of the boy, Rohn is more lenient as he is the one who will have to stay here and deal with the boy's friends and relatives long after the Corsairs are gone. A compromise is reached. The boy will lose a finger for his attempted pilfering.
Andram escorts the boy to await his fate in the keep's dungeon, a place much feared by the locals. On the way there the boy runs away when Andram is distracted and almost makes his escape. Only Andram's quick thinking and even quicker reflexes prevent the boy from avoiding his fate. Once recaptured, the boy goes meekly down into the keep's depths. Once below Seth, who has taken this duty, which nobody wants but he somehow seems well suited for, takes the boy in hand. During the exchange the boy wets himself, so great is his fear of this place and what is to become of him.
Later that same day Rohn meets with Tarikadar to discuss an opportunity for the mercenaries. The Corsairs seek to teach a lesson and will do so by raiding out a Haredain settlement. Two score soldiers from the “Sons of the Stalkers” will be required for this task, about half the Company's strength, supported by an equal number of Corsair soldiers. The proposal is received and the details left off until a meeting on the following day…a meeting that may decide the fate of The Sons of the Stalkers.