I had come to the North Gate to finalize preparations to depart in the morning. I needed a wagon and a couple of oxen to pull it for all the provisions for the men. I was also hoping to find a horse for myself but that was actually low on my priority list. Flashing the kings’ note under the wagon wright’s nose got me a wagon and a fine pair of oxen. I headed to the stables by the north gate and had just started looking at horse-flesh when the stable master came out and greeted me warmly.
“Lady Rosenhall, it is good to meet you at last. I was hoping that you would be stopping by. I have something for you.”
“Yes, I have a horse for you and one for your companion as well.”
“Where did these horses come from?”
“You might say from your father.”
The stable master then explained that my father had left several horses behind. The king left them alone because instructions had been left by my father that all of them and their descendents were to fall to his house should one come to claim them. He had said though that some of my father’s horses be sold or be breed out to others to pay for the cost of upkeep. The stable master had managed to keep two of the direct line to this day and because I had arrived, they were mine by right. I ordered them to be brought out.
The stable master knew horseflesh as the two that had been kept were in fine shape and strong. Both were reddish-brown with white markings. The first was a stallion that had a red mark on his forehead that resembled a sword called ‘White-blade” and the second a mare that was slightly smaller but her white markings were on her legs called “Day-walker”. The stable master had even kept my father’s old saddle, saddle bags and bridle so the horse with the star was already mounted with equipment. The mare didn’t have any but I negotiated for some so Day-walker would be ready to go in the morning.
“Mistress, your father seemed to think of everything.”
“Mya, that is what worries me. It is like he knew I would come here. I don’t like the feeling that I am fated for something.”
“Perhaps not fate my lady but just a hope.”
“This is a lot of provision for ‘just a hope’ my dear Mya.”
Truth is I felt like I was falling into some fatalistic trap but Nala the Seer had told me that my ‘fate’ required my cooperation. The Rose Dress, the Crown of Sophia, King Bjorn being my uncle, the help from the Thieves’ Guild, Oluf’s mercenary band and now these horses were all things my father had left for me to use. When I came to Altar I had perceived my father had left me nothing but in truth he had hidden it from even me and left it for me to find her in Ragnar. This was not fate but an opportunity left by my father to me. The question of how I would use this opportunity was a still a question I would have to answer myself.
The only flaw I could see in my father’s plan was their was no guarantee that I would have come to Ragnar and Altar for that matter. How did he know I would come this way? Fate in that sense seemed to dominate but did it really. Opportunity was something I followed all my life and Altar was the only land near my homeland that had truly a lot of opportunities. Also looking back on it father had not spoken of Altar much but his servants were always talking about it including Mya. Did my Father suggest this to them?
It really did not matter right now though as I was here and I was taking up the gifts he had left for me. I knew I had a possibility to be something great here but I was going to need help. To be Queen would require uniting all the lands of Altar and that would mean either war, diplomacy or both. It would also take time. My uncle was the king of the Nordic Kingdom and I had no desire to be a usurper. Perhaps he would wilfully serve under me once I controlled a couple other of the kingdoms. Look at me, I am talking like a Queen and I can’t even raise a proper warband yet.
I also still had one problem – I had no armor of my own. I had come to Ragnar in a white shirt and cotton breeches with leather boots and that is pretty much what I had still. I mean I had added a fine dress and a few other things but to fight from horseback was going to at least require a shield, spear and a padded tunic. I had none of these things and I was getting into a lot of debt with my uncle the king by waving his paper around.
I headed to the Blacksmith Quarter to find something I could reasonably afford with my own money I brought. Mya helped a lot but I ran into too many who wanted to give me free things. I turned them all down and finally found a smith on the outer wall section of the Blacksmith Quarter. The guy was a true smith and valued his work more than noble platitudes. He also had really good steel. I managed to get a long spear with a magnificent tip that was double-edged. He threw in a padded jerkin vest for a few more gold pieces. It left me with little personal cash left but I felt better knowing it was my own and not on credit. I could find a decent shield though that I could afford so I made a commitment to remind myself that one of the first spoils I would take would be decent shield.
With my final purchases all that was left was to get a good night’s sleep. Mya and I headed back to the inn, ate well and then headed back to our room. My dreams were of me at the head of a large army with a crown on my head.