Chronicles of the Eight Mercenary Wars
As told originally by Ser Mælgrim
Crouthur in the Red Book of Years
In those days, the Black Falcon Mercenary Company lived as bandits. Fortune had spun against them, and they abode in the darkest reaches of the Raedstan Weald. And their numbers were Ser Maelgrim Crowther, Lady Cynara deWakelegh, Lady Ceolmhor an Lochard, Herr Lanze von Lancaster, Rowena Lancaster, Thomas Phinney and Demian the Smith.
And the White Wolf Mercenary Company made home a fortified encampment at the southernmost edge of the Raedstan Weald, in order to shield the woodland villages and mountain towns from reavers. And their numbers were Ser Owen Godwinson, Sir Ralamean, Lady Faelan, Nicholas deNetley, Vlademir Ylseniv, Erick Blood-Axe and Siegfried von Gemen.
The Black Falcons had spent their treasure upon fine weapons and drink and many other things besides, and in mere months found themselves beggared in a land with no need for a company of war-wise adventurers. And so they fell to living as outlaws at the fringe of the great forests.
Now it came to pass that Ser Maelgrim sought a path by which the Black Falcons could once again rise to fame and riches. For he accounted it poor fortune indeed that his loyal band of mercenaries should languish in the hostile woods while their blades rusted and their spirits grew despondent.
Therefore, he set forth to train new recruits in the lands at the base of the mountains of the far-flung lands of sun and snow. And many young and eager students flocked to his school of arms. And he bethought to himself to raise up a mighty army under the black banner of his troop, and once more stalk the land as a Captain of fell repute.
In his sojourn in the lowlands, a great marvel was shown to Ser Maelgrim. For it came to his ears that in days of old, the reaving Northmen had passed this way, and left many chests of their hoarded silver behind for safe-keeping. And so an enterprising company might follow the ancient cold tracks of the Vikings and perchance discover a measure of their wealth beneath the earth.
So Ser Maelgrim betook it upon himself to gather information and clues as to the Northlanders’ hidden hoard so that he might bring the Black Falcons a chance for greatness once more. And as spring bloomed into summer, the Black Falcons felt hope kindle anew in their hearts, and they began to march to the Raedstan Weald.
Now following the seventh Mercenary Wars, neither the Black Falcons nor the White Wolves met one another for quite some time. For while the call of war was still strong within each of those worthy companies, they felt it meet to give one another a wide berth until the traditional season of the Mercenary Wars should draw nigh.
So it was that the White Wolves, too, marched for the Raedstan Weald’s innermost glens and hollows, to meet with the Black Falcons for the Mercenary Wars.
That season, the rains swelled the banks of the streams and rivers to overflowing. The grey skies cast grim shadows upon the sodden earth and the forests of the Raedstan Weald were silver under a net of dew and glistening under a veil of rain. The thunder-drums of giants echoed in the mountains, and their somber rumor shook the very trees.
(here endeth the fragment)