Bringing home the Bacon

Our heroes decided not to go to sea again until the following spring, but wanted to investigate rumours of war along Translavonia’s borders; so on 27th October 951, an expedition of ten set off by land for Saczow. The party consisted of Radovan, Miguel, Pavel, Yezid, Pedrag and Dragoldub, along with four grooms.

Riding through Atraverso, the party come across the broken palanquin of a merchant’s daughter; the two litter bearers and a bodyguard standing around arguing about how best to fix the contrivance. Radovan was suddenly and immediately, struck to a blinking halt by the radiance of the girl’s smile, her veil blown clear of her youthful and undeniably pretty face. After a moment’s stupefaction, he leapt from his horse and snatched the frightened girl from her splintered carriage. Placing her firmly side-saddle on his own horse, he asked if she was unhurt, before turning to her bodyguard…
“Here, you, lead my horse to your lady’s house.”
Turning to the bearers, he commanded them to bring the broken carriage along behind, whilst he walked alongside his rescued damsel…

The rest of the party made their way to a well known ionn with stables on the outskirts of the town, where some time later, a blushing Radovan made his return. He related how the merchant had thanked him heartily for the safe return of his daughter and offered to reward him, which Radovan gallantly refused. He went on to say that although the merchant’s visage had clouded, when he asked if he might call on the man’s daughter when the group returned, he had nonetheless agreed.
Miguel sighed and said to his friend…
“He probably saw the look in your eye…” He chuckled… “or the swelling under the hem of your tunic!”

After that, they reached Saczow without further incident and Miguel gained an audience with the Duke’s chamberlain, the Duke himself being absent from the city. Miguel learned that the most pressing problem faced by Duke Miroslav, who also claims to be king of Hvratka, was a series of raids across the border by his northern neighbours, the Bosnjani. This was indeed troubling, as the lands of the Bosnjani form part of his kingdom and are ruled over by his own Warlord, the famed, Ban Pribina.

The Heroes decided on a personal reconnaissance of the troubled area and a couple of days later, set out for the northern border. As they reached the border region, they were met at the village of Grudnjak by a deputation of villagers led by the headman Vuk Bascović. However, Vuk and his fellows were not asking for help against Bosnjani raiders, but begging our heroes to halt the depredations of a rogue wild boar.

The next day, the villagers beat through the local woodland, driving the offending boar into a thicket, which the heroes could not enter mounted. Taking their spears, Pavel led the way into the thicket, Yezid and then Pedrag to his right and Miguel and Radovan to his left. Dragoldub stayed with the grooms and horses.

Not far into the gloomy, treacherous thicket, Pedrag found himself face to face with the grim boar, which, enraged by the villagers beating him through the woods, instantly charged him. Pedrag deftly struck the massive beast between the eyes with his spear-point… but it failed to pierce the thick bone of its skull and the boar careered on, knocking Pedrag head over heels into the brush as it hurtled past.

The enraged boar crashed past Pedrag, leaving him battered and bruised amongst the thorns, then turned and charged back, this time aiming at Yezid, who met it equally resolutely. His spear penetrated its shoulder, but the minor wound only served to enrage the beast further and it bulldozed the Orentine into the thicket just as it had Pedrag.

The wild hog next charged Pavel, who stood his ground manfully enough, but to no avail. The beast knocked him to the ground and began to gore him, before he could regain his feet. Fortunately Miguel and Radovan were on hand and attacked the beast’s flank with their spears allowing Pavel to scramble to his feet. Miguel initially failed to significantly injure the boar, but Pedrag, charging in on its other flank, struck between its ribs, inflicting serious damage. Pavel and Pedrag lunged again, joined successfully this time, by Miguel and Yezid, driving the beast to its knees, where Radovan inflicted the killing blow.

picture of boar attacking man

"Ah, if only Vlad had been with us", reflected Radovan. "Things would have been so much easier then. He was a man for a wild boar. At least that is what I think he was saying last time in the pub - but who could really tell." Bringing his thoughts back to reallity rather than absent barbarians he had a quick mental toast to all of the current and previous members of the comradeship.

Our heroes re-joined their horses, all suffering cracked and battered ribs and multiple cuts and bruises. The grateful villagers joyfully carried their vanquished tormentor back to the village, where he was gutted and spitted, before being roast. The heroes enjoyed the feast of rather tough but tasty boar steaks, washed down by the village’s sour wine and muddy beer. Those, who felt able, enjoyed the hospitality of the appreciative and lusty village maidens.