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KonradKnox
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PostSubject: Guild Lore   May 12th 2016, 2:00 pm

As I wake amongst the empty battlefield, the first thing I notice is the black, moving, circling sky.
I see them in that sky.

The earth, reddened with blood and dead meat; a few hours ago this valley boomed with shouts of camaraderie, it was filled to the brim with voices full of vigor, love, fury, and hatred. Clashes of steel in the name of the lord, prayers and curses. Now all that's left is dead meat. A lucky survivor, I wake, and push away from myself the body of a man. He lay on top of me, bloodied and maimed. My work? Did I kill him? Can't remember. Broken bones, but I can walk, I can crawl. With dread I look up at the clouds once more, I have to get moving, get out before they come, away from here, before they start to feast.

Black, unforgiving, uncaring, the birds cover the havens above. They were here when the battle begun - scouting, waiting. We, the humans took our turn. Now they take theirs. The quiet is what these birds understand, the stillness which clouds every field after the people have killed each other.

The cries of the wounded - a meal call. The sounds of coughing, punctured lungs, the scent of vomited blood - a welcome invitation.

The ravens heed their nature's call. They've been patiently waiting for their food to finish its dance of steel and fury. Now they hover, they know this time so well. Grim harbingers of death. They descend... by the end of the week there will be naught but bones here. The ravens will eat what the jackals don't.

Have to get out.

As I crawl, a lone raven descends, landing on a hilt of a sword stuck in the ground. It belonged to an armor clad cavalier just hours ago, a man charged with a mission, a protector. Now his shield a dining table, his sword - a chair.

The raven thinks naught of the irony, it gives me an evaluating glance, and hops off the hilt onto the cross guard, balancing, choosing to jump further down, walking closer to me, across the bodies.
A simple question in its face, in its cocked head, in its unblinking eye, in its pointed beak, in its impatient swallowing throat:  "Are you done yet?"

No, not done yet. Not ready to be eaten. For you see, my friend, I'm just like you. A survivor. I'll walk amongst the dead the same way you do: leaving their bodies beneath my feet.

I'm not your food. I am your brethren.

I find what strength is left inside and stand up.
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PostSubject: Re: Guild Lore   September 21st 2016, 1:48 pm

Having fled the country, Konrad ends up in the west, meets a group of wandering mercenaries and stragglers along the way, and makes it to Cain Freemont's house in Florin, where he imparts upon the people his story and the lore of the Ravens. There and then the pact to survive is made, and the flag is drawn, and the group decides to become mercenaries. Konrad registers a charter with Heidel's Magistrate.
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PostSubject: Re: Guild Lore   November 28th 2016, 3:45 pm

Some recent events in chronological order:

---

Ravens of War received their first contract commission from a guild called Gerudo, lead by a vile and cunning wizard and politician by the name of Doctor Lazarus. He has involved Ravens in several political wars and used us to demoralize other guilds, and on one occasion completely destroy one particular guild.
That guild dissolved under our combined pressure. Usually we ended up serving as an attachment to a coalition Lazarus assembled, a strike force, quick and mobile, on the side.
Lazarus always paid well, but eventually disappeared. The Guild Gerudo was taken over by a new leader, Lazarus's first lieutenant, who did not wish to pursue the same political goals, and no longer needed our services.

---

Ravens receive their second contract from a guild called Vahlok. It involved a few rescue and recovery operations and on one occasion, an assassination. It was carried out by Konrad personally.

---

Odelia Blackgrave, a blind fortune teller - tries to read Konrad's fortune. Konrad, always dismissive of prophecies, being disappointed in predictions before, and already rebellious against the concept of Fate, does not believe her. Odelia warns him that his blacksmith, the man who mends his armor, wants to kill him, that he was paid off, so say the dreams. Odelia did not use cards or crystal balls, she admitted to all those things being distractions for the customer, explaining her visions as a natural born talent.

Three weeks later Konrad's armor strap fails which results in him nearly dying, and being saved on the edge of death by Lady Ireul Halifax, an evil alchemist who sell his equipment and planned to use his body for experiments. Oddly enough, his body reacts positively to treatment, and Konrad hired Ireul to be the company alchemical medic, offering her a hefty salary. Her gifts in dark magic also come in handy.

As soon as Konrad recovers from five stab wounds, he and Ireul travel to find the blacksmith and murder him.

As soon as that is done Konrad returns to Heidel and hires Odelia Blackgrave as his personal seer, to predict battle outcomes and analyze odds of getting into business with certain campaigns.

---

A long campaign for The Brotherhood ((TGB)) begins. They pay Ravens 100 million silver for assistance in taking 4 fortresses. Ravens successfully take 3 out of 4.

In the middle of this campaign a guild called Honeybadgers also hires Ravens simultaneously, riding on The Brotherhood's success, and Ravens do a side job for them, taking Awakening Bell in the name of Honeybadgers, and getting paid another 25 million.

---

Odelia Blackgrave dies of an unknown disease. Nothing Ravens had, magical or alchemical or herbal - could save her.

Without her predictions, the Ravens once again fly blind, relying only on instinct.

---

After a hard battle and a blood earned victory in the final engagement for The Brotherhood, Konrad returns with Ravens to camp. The typical RoW setup includes a big campfire in the middle, sentries on watch in a perimeter, logs and benches set up around the fire, wagons and horses parked at the flanks, and tents are in the heart of it all. The captain's tent is red, large, holds the war chest (collected loot, property of the company, gets deposited in city banks periodically, or divided amongst members every week if plunder is of particular wealth), his cot, and a war map table. Usually a knife through it, holding it in place against the wind, as the tent is usually open for entry, unless a private meeting holds. Half the time Konrad sleeps with the tent open. Konrad always answers questions about the future, and presents all new job contracts to the group around the fire, and if the job is agreed upon, the planning and mapping begins with the officers in the big tent once volunteers are determined.

Those members who have closely followed the business, would know that the ledger with The Brotherhood has been fulfilled, and now we are on leave until a new campaign brings us work. Ravens will pack up the camp and head for city. Some Ravens go fast asleep as soon as head hits pillow, others even sooner, at the campfire, as soon as food hits the belly. While some, have not returned even through the night, roaming the battlefield, plucking off stragglers, finishing the wounded, experimenting on flesh, whatever the hell the demented people on the crew do.

Civilians on partner contracts, members of RoW who don't travel with the camp - receive fat checks in the mail at the end of this week for their various services.

---

As work gets dry, Konrad insists that Ravens attempt to procure ledgers of ownership over territories themselves. Motions are being made to open a sub company, using the existing funds, to fund a shipping business. The main question is - where?

---

The fires of The Brotherhood campaign just barely died out and the smoke was still in the air, when the Ravens have faced a threat on another front. Their claim to the Saunil Camp territory was disputed by the original lord of the turf, a Notorious division of Calpheonian bannermen, aiming to reclaim the position and with it, the charter. The battle was bloody, and many have perished from wounds. Almost every key character received a wound of some sort, and to save the majority of the men and women, Ravens had to give up the position and retreat into Serendia. Luckily, the profits from the previous jobs have absorbed the cost of lost siege, and their professional reputation did not suffer, for they were not on contract. The band was up in the mountain camp, licking up wounds and making way to Heidel, to consider new options and plan a search for profit. Konrad, Aiping, and Nasriin study the maps of the land and evaluate scout reports. A heated debate takes place in the captain's tent, while the mercs prepare for the uneasy toils of their road-driven life.

---

Aiping Soulfyre and her crew retire from the company in favor of a more peaceful way of life.

---

Following the events of the Saunil Camp, after some discussion, Konrad took the gang to Keplan, and the Ravens recovered their wealth and lost ranks and resources after a successful recruitment and restocking campaign in Keplan and around Keplan Vicinity.
The Lord of Keplan inquired the Ravens to look into mishappenings at Longleaf Sentry Post and Keplan Hill. Charged with this new paid project, the Ravens set off to occupy and oversee these territories, keeping them under martial law, patrol the roads for criminals, set up customs posts, and take their share of the profits while doing so. Being used as extra militia force ain't no glory job, but it's an easy job, and just what the band needed to recuperate their might. An occasional thief or a land dispute - the worst it got. Those of a more murderous disposition are probably getting pretty antsy, forced to play peacekeeper.

Civilian contractors, you hear note that the Ravens are stationed at Keplan.

Word goes around of a new medic practicing in Keplan - Corrvis Verritaz.

---

Claire Janatris maintains Ravens' guild safehouses:

At some early hours of the morning the scent of breakfast would fill the Calpheon safe house. Crispy bacon stacked by the pound, dozens of eggs in various styles, a hearty oatmeal, a lighter barley cereal, a batch of grits, slices of ham, cheese, pickles, butter, and a basket of fresh bread with an assortment of honey and jam have all mysteriously found their way to the table and cabinet counter space. A tea has been brewed, and a pot odds coffee beside it. Fresh milk and cream are not far away. A note has been left on top of a stack of plates, it reads "Regain your strength. If anything else is needed, I will return at midday with lunch."

---

The Ravens' continued presence near Keplan vicinity has cut down on the mishaps in the area. Seeing the Saunil Camp weakened again, the lords of the land having pulled back their forces, Konrad stubbornly moves the troops back in and re-establishes martial order, renewing old surviving contacts to receive royalties for the guild. The gang now occupies the Camp once more. They'd have some weeks before a force strong enough to drive them out can assemble.

Upon returning to Calpheon safe house, Claire would find a small cage containing a live raccoon, with a note on the cage's top.
"Caught this guy ruffling through my bags in camp. People wanted to skin him, but I thought he might amuse you. Good work on the place. Your salary has been deposited into your accounts. Konrad."

Claire considers the curious caged creature. "Well Bandit, if you are clever enough to steal from Knox I suppose you can stick around." Smirking at the raccoon she places a small collar on it claiming it as her own.

---

Ravens signed a contract with the Grim Angels company to back them up in a territory fight on the day of their choosing with a location of their choosing. The priority tasks were to be scouting, finding the enemies, taking down their forts, and otherwise assisting the Angels and being at their disposal, if needed, creating defensive perimeters. There were two battles within this contract, one was won and one was lost.

In the same month, a contract was given to the Ravens by Cadel Ridria, a young lord, procuring a marriage to Lady Claudia Greythorne. Another man sought Lady Claudia's affection and hand, Zauron of Ashen Knights. He was thought to plot to assassinate Cadel or perhaps abduct Lady Claudia. Claudia's family, the Greythorne clan, vowed to provide security for their wedding, but they wouldn't be enough. We were asked to come in as bodyguards and possibly extractors.

---

Having been stationed long enough in the Calpheon Area, Keplan Hill, Keplan Vicinity, Crioville, and Saunil Camp - the Ravens have heard news of more profitable venues, as Lord Crucio sends back for them with missions in Mediah and Valencia. Headed for Omar Lava Cave and Cadry Outpost to secure a route for shipment of teas, spices, and whatever those goods are cover for (probably narcotics), the Ravens fly East. Should they succeed, their coffers will fill to a billion silver.

---

The night was rough. Dying flames, the scent of smoke and blood filled the rocky landscape beneath the star filled sky.

The wound in the side Konrad took did not tickle. Taking out one fortress position and wiping out the front vanguard force, the Ravens saw three more armies coming. Crushed between three flanks, their choices were limited to avoid lethal outcome. Preserving most of the forces and minimizing loss of life, Konrad pulled out the tax revenue, and folded the mining operation. Scrambling the paperwork and packing up the officer tent, Konrad rode to Lord Crucio that very night, before even tending to his injury (the medics had plenty of work on their hands), to report the loss of territory, and receive a grant of authorization to use a heavy military class cavalry unit - a war elephant. The treaty with Calpheon, prohibited Heidel regulars to form heavy cavalry, but somewhere in the beureaucratic lawmakings of the sovereign, Konrad and his educated officers found a loophole. A flaw to exploit, under which, an elephant could be registered as an exotic animal for entertainment, as long as the military grade armor for it was not attached to the same owner. It took days of preparing paperwork, but eventually all permits were acquired, and the loss of Omar Lava Cave had pushed the final rock to fill the bucket. Crucio agreed, and signed the permits, elevating Ravens of War to a whole new operating class. Something that Calpheon government should never see defined.
The company's bank accounts took 300 million hit to the capital budget to afford this luxury, but the promise of further military success made the investment far worth the pay.

Jihl and Sparrow would have their operating tents red with blood these couple of days.
The little elephant grew well and healthy. Various mercs called it by different names, everyone came up with their own, some called him "Lancelot", some called him "Gumbo", some called him "Stomper". Konrad too came up with his own affectionate name for the little beast, as he visited him at night in the cage. Reaching out to touch the sleeping animal's trunk, he looked into the dunes on the horizon, foreseeing what will come soon. "Storm", Little Storm, that's what Konrad called him. He had hopes for the guy.

Meanwhile, the Ravens have switched their attention back further west, concentrating their resources on Olvia shipping routes, acquiring occupation rights to territories along Olvia Coast. Konrad, in parallel with working on permits, now is out to make deals to license RoW as a shipping company. It's only a bit before he snaps and asks some of his more educated members to take over the paperwork, which he's got mountains of now, and he's scratched a hole in his scalp sitting at nights with candle light and books.

---

Together with resources of House Redria and capital of the Ravens of War treasury, the Raven Shipping and Handling company was officially established.

---

Ravens of War had procured a license for a heavy armored class cavalry squadron and now possess a three war elephants.

---

The continent prepares for a wave of mass immigration from distant lands.
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PostSubject: Re: Guild Lore   November 28th 2016, 3:47 pm

Last night, in a secret meeting with Lord Cadel of House Redria, a contract agreement was reached, signing Cadel into a partnership with the Ravens. As a result, Raven Trade and Shipping Company was founded, using Redria's noble name and blood-earned starting capital. Cadel owns a 70th share of the company investments, and in return pledges his house assets to Konrad's service.

The deal was sweetened by absorbing the cost of Gramgax and Nasriin performing a personal job for Cadel: retrieving a stolen much valued heirloom, leaving no one alive in the process. Konrad paid for the job, urging Cadel to speed up the signing.
The secret meeting was interrupted by a thrill seeking woman, who was held up by the Ravens and nearly executed, but deemed worthy by showing intelligence (not attempting to proceed inside), a possibility to hire her arose, and Synifae (that was the strider's name) was given the Ravens HQ address.

Konrad has accepted a meeting with Intalia, a waitress for House Greythorne. It is yet to come to a date. Some information might be gleaned about the house, if the captain plays his cards right.

In parallel, Konrad finished the heavy cavalry unit paperwork for Domongatt and the Ravens had finished growing the elephant. Storm grew to adulthood, and a mighty fierce beast he is indeed. Now, Ravens toil, preparing and crafting the much sought after top grade military class armor for the beast. Not some wooden scraps amature operators use. The real deal. Titanium, vanadium, and steel alloys, coupled with exotic grade plywood. Storm will have top equipment, to offer him comfort and protection in battle.

This acquisition with strengthen the company greatly.

----

Konrad finds Jihl and Sparrow, and introduces them to a large brawny man in a peculiar suit of armor, with a peculiar looking arm (which he can describe himself).

"Lady Jihl, Sparrow, I'd like you to meet someone. This is Mister Alibastia Craine, one of our combat operatives. He's shown considerable skill with animals and knowledge of their comfort and maintenance. With a farmer's past background as well as current cavalry background, Mister Craine can be considered well learned in the ways of making animals comfortable in battle, making sure the gear fits, nothing rubs the joints in the wrong places or obscures the animal's vision."

Konrad turns to Alibastia

"Ali, this is Lady Jihl Verulis, our company surgeon. I recently asked Jihl to find books and expand her knowledge and expertise in the area of animal husbandry, so that she can also act veterenarian. And this is Lady Sparrow of the Aya clan, as you may recall, she is a medical expert qualified in the far eastern medicinal methods. I would like all three of you to cooperate in making sure our cavalry battle units are in good condition and receive proper care."

"I want to point something out of great importance to you three. I would like the animals to not just be in good physical shape, but in good care for their minds as well. This includes horses, hounds, and elephants. A word of note on the elephants. These animals are bonded to me. I tamed them, and they know my scent, shape, and voice. They are warming up to several others, and I want them to feel they're part of the family. They were raised in gentleness and discipline, both. I want them to be comfortable, I want them to feel empowered in their armor. I want these animals to like battle, to enjoy it. I don't want them to suffer. If you know any strategies to do so, please employ them."
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PostSubject: Re: Guild Lore   November 28th 2016, 3:49 pm

With the help of Gramgax, Nasriin, Cadel, and Rosuane, the Ravens make a deal with a merchant named Jaycin. Supposedly, rumor goes that the man can move things.

Time would put that to the test.
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PostSubject: Re: Guild Lore   November 30th 2016, 9:05 pm

Konrad Knox, Alibastia Craine, Kaedalus Verulas, and the mysterious warrior Maridius periodically meet up to practice sword fighting techniques.

* * *

Nichole Faggiano has signed a contract of employment with the Company.
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PostSubject: Re: Guild Lore   December 11th 2016, 5:28 am

------------------------------------------
Guild update.

The days of turmoil.
Countless waves of immigrants and invaders from distant lands swept all areas of the known world, from the desert cities of Valencia to forests of Calpheon. No stone was left unturned as the world plunged into war between heavily competing companies, armies, guilds, corporations, gangs, churches, and cults.
Ironically, the conflicts were so wild, so savage, none could pause and consider business. War was everywhere, yet there was no work for the Ravens. Too much immediate momentum to hire mercenaries.

The Ravens were knocked out of the Balenos coast by opponents so fierce that operating Olvia Coast was simply not safe anymore. Ships were sunk, ports looted. It was time to fold operations once more.

It's been a hard and toilsome few weeks, as the company chased opportunities, the Raven sticking its beak here and here and there, knocking and knocking at various territories, and hitting the stone every time.

Knox threw the men and women into a new war before their prior injuries even had a chance to heal. Supernaturals had an easier time than mortals, but none of the core had faultered in their will or loyalty.

A few losses to the lethality of war. Jaycin jumped ship, Cheto was killed in action, Quintus vanished in battle, Kael was crushed by a hwacha volley...
But those who still walked, walked with their restless commander.

At last... it paid off. Far far in Valencia's east coast, a territory far away...

A victory. Solid.

Konrad's finger was initially on the map pointing to the Oasis at Pilgrim's Haven, but of all the unlikely choices, Nasriin shifted his hand to the far eastern point, a coastal cliff at Gavinya, a region Konrad did not even have charted on his maps.

And so the Ravens rode east, to scout out a region only she knew about. Rash, but useful, as ever, Konrad had to admit.

Here, at Gavinya, the Ravens faced three contesting crews, but they were nothing but an inconvenience, a couple of desert rogues and mercenaries. Nothing of the numbers and scale that Ravens brought, no trained professionals, no expensive equipment.

Konrad wrote back to Crucio Domongatt and secured the ledger for the property.

How long would it be, til someone equally or more powerful would find out about this place?
Who could tell? And perhaps it did not matter just now.

The shipping company shifted operations to Valencia, and made a 310 million silver profit, paying for months of backed up pay.
At last, they could rest for a while.
-----------------

Inspired by the victory, new contracts for mercenary work started pouring in.
Kray returned to business and once again donned Raven uniform, having found no luck in the noble guild he tried joining.
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