Mirtul, 1st Dilundi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We subdued the bandits after a vigorous exertion. Despite our many wounds and their even more wounds, only one of them died and none of us. Thanks be to God! We bound them all, wounded and less wounded and took rest in their own camp. It was well accoutred for a wilderness camp and we found a great wealth of furs, skins and pelts, likely all plundered from local inhabitants, as well as a quantity of drink and coin, also stolen no doubt.
I have spoken with their chief, a Mannishwyn named Samga who appeared to be of either Ugrian or Samoyed descent. She possessed a remarkable constitution and great skill with her axes and a lack of ability to speak civilly. She was so persistently foul when I sat with her after she awoke that I was compelled to gag her and return her bound to her fellows.
I had a more fruitful conversation with one of the others, a young Yrchishmin of Kamalar descent named Meuakos. From him I learned that we had already encountered all of the members of this bandit gang, but that they consider themselves a part of a larger bandit kingdom centered around a lake to the northeast. As this is the same general direction run by the Vardar River, I wonder if this lake is the source of the river. We will investigate this rumor when we have the opportunity.
I will allow our captives a nights rest and we will return to Lady Samaras’ Trading Post on the morrow.
Mirtul, 1st Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We have returned to the Trading Post and I held trials this morning on the bandits that we have captured. By their testimony it was confirmed that the woman named Samga was their leader. She did neither confess nor repent when given the opportunity, choosing instead to profane myself, those standing witness and those providing testimony. As an unrepentant thief and malefactor, I sentenced Samga to death by hanging to be carried out immediately through the use of a nearby limb and a horse.
The other defendants were repentant and pled for mercy. They have each been sentenced to servitude for a term of 4 years honest labor, overseen by myself, the Lady Samara or Koldo Bolibar or by an individual deputized to the purpose by one of the aforementioned. Food, clothing and housing will be provided for them or they will be provided for sufficient time and opportunity to obtain such things for themselves, for the duration of their servitude.
I am pleased with these sentences, as the 10 indentured servants will provide much needed labor for the work of refurbishment and establishment of the Trading Post as a business. With Master Bolibar and his 2 hired guards,Andoni Ibarra and Manus MacGlaisin, to oversee the work, the Lady Samaras and Master O’Glaisin will be able to accompany ourselves on our trips of exploration.
We depart for our first expedition 2 days hence, on 2nd Dominica.
Mirtul, 2nd Urosi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This land is rich with spring. We have travelled a good 40 miles in the previous 4 days, a pace made possible by our baggage pony, the stoic nature of Lady Samaras and the woodmastery of Silviu. Our course was initially north by northeast until we came upon the good Vardar River whereupon we turned to the east by northeast and followed its course upstream.
The woods are thick with many broadleaf great trees, bright green with new growth; oak, chestnut and walnut among them. In the open spaces, great caneberry brambles alternate with grassy pastures. We have seen trail of bear, wolf, great cats, dear, elk and wild boar. Small creatures and birds are abundant, as are flying bugs of all description.
As we approached the Vardar, the ground frequently became marshy and inconsistent. The trees grew taller and their branches created perpetual shadow beneath. The great river itself ran swift and cold and was well stocked with fish and waterfowl.
We came across evidence of some hunting bands of Border Hills folks, but have spied neither homestead nor settlement.
Mirtul, 2nd Casimiri, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This noon we we had another sharp fight with those strange savage creatures we first met when we rescued Konstante Biterei, and Luukas was again wounded by them. Their numbers and the fierceness of their initial assault nearly overwhelmed us, but we proved to be their betters and escaped with no harm, save for poor Luukas who has no love lost for these savages.
We have finally met the first Border Hills folk on this venture, a troop of Elarkish tribesmen of Kamalar descent. They were of the Silent Mammoth tribe we were to discover eventually, but our encounter was not one of immediate camaraderie.
The tribesmen and women were initially quarrelsome with us and they were upset by our presence in a patch of winter radishes, a food source apparently critical to many Kamalar tribes of the Border Hills region in the spring months. Luukas was greatly interested in the winter radish, but a fight with the Silent Mammoth tribe was averted only through the efforts of Silviu, the sole individual capable of speaking their language.
It was during the crux of this dangerous standoff that we all were set upon by a mass of the savages, the Silent Mammoth as well as our own party. They sprang upon us from the cover of a small defile that they had used to approach near to our position before we became aware of them. Using my arts and my skills I was able to fend off 3 of the attackers until Silviu came to my aid. Silviu laid about himself manfully with his axe, eschewing the use of his bow due to the suddenness of the enemies onset. He and his great wolf friend handled 2 attackers of their own before lending assistance to me. The Lady Samaras cast her powers upon them and put one of the savages into a magical slumber, but was forced to defend herself from the assaults of another until Master O’Glaisen was able to come to her aid.
Alas, Luukas is a worthy companion and a man amongst those learned in the ways of healing and plants and he does not lack for bravery, but he is no great warrior and was wounded twice by the dagger of his assailant. One he took in the shoulder and the other took his ear. The wound looked disfiguring, but Luukas believes there will be only a scar and an unusual angle to the ear once it is healed.
Mirtul, 2nd Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
This evening we have camped amongst an outcropping of rocks with a stream running nearby in a cascade. We happened upon a wild pig, trapped by a foot snare, and thereby found ourselves dinner. Silviu discovered a wolf trap nearby, several covered pit deer traps as well and many more snares. He recovered several animal carcasses and was able to free a couple of uninjured or lightly injured animals. Sometimes I do wonder about his softness for beastkind and how such a quality finds space in the heart of a hunter such as he. Nevertheless, we will be busy for tomorrow with the skinning and preparing of the hides and meat of the dead animals.
It has been three days since Luukas took his wounds and he is recovering well with no sign of infection.