My father was a Steppe nomad. He dropped me off at the nearest town when I was of
working age, and I toiled as a smith for many years. Got my own smithy, lost it all in some
horrific event that is generic as they come. Headed off on my own, with not much more
than a big axe and a horse. It was time to vent a little frustration, chop off a few heads,
step on a few provincial pinkies. I was a mercenary captain, and by God, I’d be a bastard
about it. First things first though; I had to get a reputation, and I had to get some men.
So off I trotted to the nearest village, a fist full of coins and a head full of steamy ire.
It didn’t take long before I was sending a few unfortunate men under the ground; my horse
meant that anyone who wasn’t similarly mounted was easily dispatched, first with my crossbow,
then with my axe, slashing at them without much danger of the blows returning. A few villagers
started to follow me, and I took great pleasure in beating the pulp of their youth into the unforgiving
hardness of a trained soldier. They were fodder really, just there to distract the enemies while I rode
around dispensing my own kind of cruel justice. Some of them survived, most of them died, but it
was the looters and deserters who roamed the land that really suffered. Those I didn’t kill outright
were sold into slavery, their possessions harvested for anything of worth and then sold on to the
many merchants of Vaegirs.
After a while I met a few people who deserved to have names. They survived longer, dying a little
less easier. Most were just as contemptuous as the villagers, bringing their petty squabbles to my
attention, only to be dismissed as the pathetic worms they were. I had no time for them, I was
on the fast track to Lordship. My tools became more advanced, my horse became an interchangeable
commodity, swapped out for something faster, meaner and better protected as soon as I had the
money to spend. The name of Brennan Melhar resounded in the tournament circuit as a man to
be avoided; I’d bested Kings in combat; both in the tourney ring and on the field of battle.
Such renown I knew. The King decided I was a suitable commander for his army, vested a
village to me in return for my oath to his side. I was now a Lord, had my very own colours.
A white field with a black slash, white axe contained within. It was a simple symbol of fear
to instill in the hearts of all those who opposed me. Instead of charging straight for my
small group, the villains of the lands fled before my warband, terror driving them ever faster.
Instead of targeting deserters and common criminals, Lords were my objective, and the
ransoms they garnered. My wealth became swollen, my village prospering despite being on
the border with our enemies. My men were surviving longer, becoming grizzled veterans with
expensive equipment, no longer wet-behind-the-ear whelps of boys. Things were starting
to look up.
Then I received a quest from the King; capture a Lord of the Khergit, the loathsome horse
masters of the south, so that he could trade him for a cousin. My army was large enough
to take on a smaller Lord, certainly, but it would be a close run thing. Riding back to my village,
I saw it had been taken by the enemy. Fury driving my masked visage, I spurred onwards,
seeking out the heathen scum who had contained the audacity for such a move. In the icy
fields of the mountain lands I found him. A Lord with an army of similar size to my own, but
nowhere near as trained as my men were. I grinned, and charged.
Hubris got the better of me. I ordered my cavalry to dismount, thinking that we wouldn’t
need the added advantage of our horses to defeat such a disorganised force. We were cut
down, a mace to the back of my skull sending me crashing to the ground. My army was
slaughtered, my companions scattered, and I was a prisoner of war, the source of entertainment
for the bastard who had stolen my village.
It took a few days, but I managed to escape, retreating to friendly lands. I began to rebuild
my army when I was struck by a thought. Much like a Bernard Cornwell novel, the lands
seemed to be engaged in a pointless cycle of epic saga and tales of revenge and wickedness.
Nothing was changing. I passed a town, remembering when I had won a tourney there.
This field had been the stage for my first major victory. That village is where I had slaughtered
a group of bandits. And here I was, repeating it all again, rebuilding my army just so I could
go through the same ritual again and again. This was not a land I knew, and these nations bore
no meaning for me. My blade fell to the floor, and I mounted up, deciding to find something
else to entertain me.
Boredom Mounting, Blades Dulling will be a series where I go through the many mods of
Mount & Blade, trying to find one that encapsulates the quintessential Medieval
experience for me. Perhaps it’s the fictional world Mount & Blade takes place in,
or the lack of any recognisable conflict within it. Yes, there are familiar stereotypes
within the game, but it seems as if they bear no meaning to me. So I shall try and find
something more involving, for there is the potential for a great game here;
there’s an excellent engine, and a lot of fun to be had building up an army, but I need
it to mean something to me. We shall see if I’m successful.
( For those of you looking to play the game, I was running it with the following
graphical mods which certainly improved the aesthetics considerably: Graphical Enhancement Textures v2.5,
Graphical Enhancement Resources v2.51 and HDR Add-on v1.1 )