We left The King’s Longhouse and headed back to the inn. It was now fairly late and so once we got back in our room we basically both shed our dresses and after putting them both away carefully we collapsed into our beds for some well deserved sleep. I would have to tackle the problem of raising a fighting band and a couple other concerns tomorrow. After a few random thoughts I found my self drifting into slumber with pleasant dreams.
The next morning I awoke and the sun was just starting its climb into the sky but also to discover Mya was missing. She had left a note on her bed that she had gone to check some things out on her own and would be back before I needed her. I sighed and proceeded to get dressed without her help. I chose my more common dress outfit instead of my breeches. It wasn’t Nordic fashion but it was far more acceptable than the breeches that would have left not much to the imagination as far as my backside. I was just finishing combing out my hair when Mya returned. She was dressed in her more mobile outfit with her pants, cloth boots, tunic and gloves. Her knife was in plain sight and her two throwing daggers were on her leather bracers on her wrists.
“Sorry to be a little late my lady, but I have some interesting information you might find useful.”
With that she began to braid my hair I a single braid down my back and speak of what she learned.
Mya had gone to the Worker’s Quarter a few hours after I fell asleep and confirmed a few suspicions she had. Firstly given the nature of Nordic culture there was indeed a thieves’ guild and Ragnar was the capital of it for the Nordic Kingdom. Using all her stealth skills Mya had discovered that the leader of the guild was a fortune-teller deep in the Worker’s Quarter. She also learned that one of the chief people for information was indeed Old Mary who could be found my the central well by the Water Gate. She also informed me that I was currently the talk of the town and it wasn’t just the stranger in our midst kind of talk. The Banner of Rosenhall had reignited a lot of old memories.
The pubs were alive with stories of my father and the king’s exploits together as they fought in the various wars and battles that lead to King Bjorn’s ascension to the throne. She also found out the story of my dress. It had not been made for me but for my mother. The dress-maker had gone to his favorite watering hole and Mya had followed him. It is there that the man spilled the more complete tale of how my father had come to him and commissioned the dress for the King’s Sister whom he planned to marry. The king disapproved but the couple was in love and so when there were no other options left they secretly boarded a ship and came back to Rosenhall Manor. The dress-maker revealed that my father and the king had a pretty large argument that came to blows in his shop when the king discovered the dress. It took the guard to separate them and my father almost ended up in the dungeon. Instead he had eloped with my mother.
Mya was convinced we would find out more if we went to Old Mary and the fortune-teller in the Worker’s Quarter. I had already planned to do so for other reasons but Mya now confirmed the importance of it. I also had to start building a warband and as far as I could see I had three options. I could go to the Guild Hall and see if their were any willing workers to become soldiers. I could do the same in the local villages that surrounded the city. Finally, I could go to the local pubs and see if their was a mercenary band of some sort that was looking for work.
The last option was the better of the three. Mercenaries are already trained to fight and probably have some experience doing so. I probably could also find some troop types that are not normal for Nordic Warriors who are known as great axe men and hunters. I might find some cavalry or crossbowmen. The only problem was of my options, mercenaries were the most expensive. I was not sure how much King Bjorn’s stipend would be and I needed to budget carefully for food and supplies. Running a warband is as much about economics as it is fighting.
That said, I knew it might be more economical to raise my own band from hardy Nordic men. The Nordic axe men were legendary in their reputation as foot soldiers. Their double throwing axes and two-handed battle axes made them fierce offensive fighters. To move a Nord up to this level from a raw recruit would take some time and a lot of training. In the end I decided to pursue all avenues and see what came up.
I also had to think of one more thing. I was going to need some support for my warband. In particular I was going to need to find a camp follower or two to cook, sew and take care of the other needs of the men. I probably could find someone at the guild hall as well. My path was now pretty clear for the day. Head to the guild hall to put in my work requests for both men and camp followers. I would then have to head to the bathhouse to take a bath. I would then have to go first to Old Mary then the fortune-teller Mya had discovered and finally I would have to enquire about mercenaries at the local pubs. It was going to be a full day.
We headed downstairs and were met by a messenger from the King in the dinning area. He presented a document to us that authorized the expenditure of royal funds for our warband and set that financial level at an amount that indicated based on what I knew to give me enough funds to support a small company of about twenty to twenty-five men. I could do more but then I wouldn’t turn much of a profit and I needed for the long term to make a profit.
After consulting with Mya briefly, she took up my banner and we headed into the streets toward the Worker’s Guild.