A/N: When I first tried out Mount and Blade I sucked at the mechanics, but I learned to love the game. Looking through this site, I saw that there wasn't a plethora of stories on it even though it is such a versatile game with many possibilities. I hope it isn't too late for someone to read mine. Note that this isn't an After Action Report. Hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1

May 30

Tihr, Nord Empire

The gates opened to a thriving, crowded, and disgusting Tihr; a city populated mostly by the Nord's destitute and ruffians. Here I stood, after six months of training and most of my money spent on travel and protection. My name is Richter and I come from Kulum near the outskirts of the Nord Empire. I left my family to seek riches and fame that I can bring back to them and allow us to rise from our poor state of sharecroppers. I've always dreamed of owning my own farm near the fertile plains of Sargoth or opening a wares shop in Wercheg and that is what brought me to Tihr today.

Tihr is hosting its annual tournament for the entertainment of King Ragnar's vassals. Most of the finalists will be enlisted into the army, bought by one of the vassals to the highest bidder, armored, and knighted. Although the kingdom has been at peace for some years following a ceasefire with the Vaegirs, there has been talk of war among the taverns. Some drunks have claimed seeing the Vaegirs rearming the border and sending more men to their castles. I thought it was all foolish chatter, but I always felt a knot in my stomach and hoping my family will be alright.

Walking through the market district, I couldn't help but notice the large groups of people looking at weapons and armor. For most of the day, I couldn't find a single inn that had space. It seemed to me that there was going to be a lot of participants and a sudden nervousness came over me as I saw a group of heavily armored knights walk out of an inn. How am I supposed to beat knights with only six months of sword training while these people have been doing it all their lives?

By evening, I finally found a place to stay. The Sleeping Dragon it was called and it smelled worse than the city's sewer system. Located in the seediest part of town near the docks, I saw filth like no other. People dumped their excrements on the floor below where hungry, dirty children begged or stole from the hapless travelers who lost their way into this hell hole. I saw a person give a coin to a child and was swarmed by others in the vicinity. I kept a tight grip on my gold and sword. If one of the rascals even got an inkling of coming up to me with his grubby hands, I flashed my sword at him and kept going.

Every now and then you would hear a cacophony of hacking coughs. When I didn't have my hand on my sword's pommel, I held a handkerchief (a keepsake of my wife) to my mouth and nose.

I paid for the room and received a key. The innkeeper showed me the downstairs' lobby where they served a gruel-like substance for food and the bathroom, then, took me upstairs to see the room. He was a very fat man who moved quite agilely despite his girth. He told me I was going to be sharing with someone else and I told him I was fine with it.

The room was furnished sparingly, only two beds with a chest on the edge and a nightstand in between each other. A single candlestick stood on the small table which the innkeeper picked up and lit. "It seems your partner has gone out," he said, flashing me a toothy smile. "He'll most likely come back soon." He left, squeezing through the doorway and huffing down the stairs. I dropped my things in the chest and fell on the hard bed. Even the pillow felt as though it was made of wood.

I heard some rushed footsteps run up the stairs and suddenly there was some kid at my door. "Are you the one the innkeeper was talking about?" she said in between breaths. She walked over to the other bed and crossed her arms. "I was hoping for a female companion, another sword sister, not some dirty, perverted old man."

"Then, get another room," I said, turning over so I didn't have to look at her. She was a blonde who cut her hair very short and seemed to be at the peak of her maturity.

"I can't. All the other inns are full and even though I don't like it, it is better than sleeping out in the streets," she said. She stood and rummaged through her chest, cursing at the gods for the luck they gave her. She whispered something about losing money to street urchins and getting lost from her group. "Aha, found it!" I rolled over to see what she was talking about. In her hand was a deck of cards. "It's going to be awhile until the opening ceremony, care to play?"