JP between Winteroak, Bandorchu and Lucian

Timestamp: Fang - Odonine camp

ir Zane stood up along with the rest of the warriors as they formed a circle around the combatants. He held on the Tarmen's weapon as the warriors in the circle started hooting and cheering and seemed to be making bets on the outcome. He was pleased that Tarmen had not shied away from the challenge. It would have been a huge loss of face in front of the War Chieftain.

A tall slim warrior to his right indicated that he would bet two of his knives on his clansman. The Knight of Salos understood the significance of it and motioned towards his belt, at a dagger. The man nodded back. On the other side of the circle he saw Melandra betting her own horse on Tarmen against 4 ponies. He almost groaned loudly. Horses were at a premium in Ostiarium and he hoped Tarmen delivered now.

Alexis cheered Tarmen on as he pitted himself against the Odonine warrior.
Man was clearly in his element, and managed to come out on top quite impressively.

She hoped the physical exchange cleared some of the tension, but she wouldn’t bet on it. Given the reactions to both Melandra and herself, bringing women, armed ones at that, might not have been the best call.

Sir Zane grinned unashamedly when Tarmen sent his opponent down with a well placed kick. After collecting his winnings he approached his soldier and handed him over his machete. "Well done my boy." He slapped Tarmen hard on the back as part of the boisterous theatre in front of the other warriors. "Now sit and drink." He looked around that the camp knowing more challenges likely as the day wore one. He needed to get negotiations started or even better yet finished as soon as possible with Koshnem.

The group sat next around the fire once again, eating and drinking. Zane sat to the left of the Chieftain with Balt nearby, translating as and when required. With pleasantries and the observance of customs out of the way it was time to get to business.
"One hundred steel swords and one hundred long bows." he whispered. "Half delivered before winter wanes, and the rest after the deed is done."
The Chieftain listed to the words of Knight and looked him in the eye. Sir Zane continued. "We will also want access to one of your iron mines in the lower plateaus." the man tore into a chuck of meat. "One third part of all ore mined will be returned to your people." came the final proposal.

The Chieftain was looking at Alexis and Melandra nearby. He asked something in his own language pointing two greasy fingers the the women. "He is asking why our women carry weapons?" Balt translated. Sir Zane stopped himself from groaning. This was why the Lord Commander had asked Melandra along and why he had instructed Zane to have the clanswoman in his party. To unbalance the mountain folk who looked at women as second class citizens.
And while other men around the fire seemed outright offended at their presence, the War Chieftain appeared truly curious.

~Aaaaand here it comes…~ Alexis sighed. This was not going to end well.

Still, she looked at the chieftain evenly before answering.

“Where we come from, some women learn to fight, too.”

Now in Garrah, men still lead the clans. But somewhere along the line, out of necessity, they had come to a conclusion.
Limiting half of the population to doing house shores, warming beds and carrying children, when they could be maintaining homesteads and equipment, tend the fields and guard the life stock from predators - animal and human one’s alike - was a waste they could not afford.

He laughed at Alexis interruption. Others nearby did not. A woman spoken only when spoken to. "Insolent and proud. Like a wild horse." he said to a chorus of laughter. "Maybe someone needs taming her." Balt eventually translated.

Tarmen could not have said it better. It was the first time he truly noticed the lack of women in the crowd gathered and it…. Well it bothered him.
He couldn’t explain it, but there were benefits to having women in a crew. Depending on who they were though, he shivered at some crews that had NOT been compatible.
The chieftains comment to Alexis did rub him the wrong way though. She deserved far more respect, even with her morals.
“Then you truly do not understand the creatures. Horses and women will refuse a partner that think themselves superior. To break their spirit is a detriment in many of our cultures.”
He looked to Alexis, nodding in consent to her speaking.

Sir Zane wanted to intervene but this was exactly what the Duke had planned. Insert a moral and passionate thematic into the negotiations to unbalance the natives.
The man Tarmen wrestled early chipped from across the fire. "She yours?" goading both of them. He than made a gesture of slapping the air to general laughter.

Now from anyone else Alexis would have taken offense being likened to a horse, but she understood the spirit in which Tarmen had spoken and nodded her thanks imperceptible.

She slowly rose to her feet giving Zane a look that could have frozen over a burning furnace.

“I take it that is what you were aiming for… Sir?”

The knight could tell his grandmother that he did not see this coming.

The mercenary turned her gaze to the laughing men.

“Want a demonstration?”

At her hostile challenge several Aghul warriors stood up and pulled their weapons out. "Pick one." Balt told her while the War Chieftain looked on in amusement. Explaining that these sort of duels were meant to last until first blood was drawn. Although many times it resulted in death.

~So with weapons. Good.~ Alexis locked eyes with one of burlier men who grinned at her condescendingly.

It might have looked like defiance but it wasn’t. Being overly emotional got you killed on the battlefield.
But when they did not think a woman could fight, they also wouldn’t think a woman capable of tactical consideration.

Alexis smirked at the man.

“How about you, sweetheart?

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