browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

(Odd Ideas) Some Strings Attached

Posted by on September 7, 2011

Some relationships may come with baggage. Some deals come with extra strings attached. And sometimes, when you take over a nation, you get their customs and institutions too.

Othar’s Little Problem

When Othar the Bold led his small horde of tribesmen through the Kingdom’s lands and vanquished the King’s army, the populace hailed him and his men as heroes. The King had been a cruel and petty tyrant with a penchant for excess punishment and abusing his position in many ways. A charismatic and able barbarian leader sounded really good. Othar was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t have to burn and loot to get rich and the endless supply of good wine and willing women kept his men satisfied. So he became the new king and for a while he enjoyed it immensely.

But after a year Othar had started to regret his decision.  The harem of the most beautiful and intelligent women in the lands had been nice for a while. But as an uneducated nomad warlord, he felt uneasy when the women could discuss politics, art or mathematics and his knowledge was limited to war, horses and cattle. Also, he strongly suspected that they played a larger role in governing the land than he did.

The local advisers were no better in his mind, they were seasoned administrators and had assimilated his tribes’ elders into their ranks at surprising speed. Most days he felt like a royal seal with a pulse. However, the lack of power wasn’t as frustrating as the lack of good enemies to fight. The kingdom’s neighbors were either stronger than it and his warriors had become used to the comforts of their new homeland.

Othar also suspected that the myriad strange customs and rituals he had to fulfill as king were designed to keep him too busy to recreate his predecessor’s reign of blood and sadism. The springtime rituals had been nice and energetic, but now the winter had come and he found the indoor activities boring. He hadn’t even had time to go out hunting with his favorite falcon.

Now, Othar feels the need to do SOMEthing! If being a king is this boring, maybe he could run away? Back to the steppes or across the sea to this new land he keeps hearing about? They need people with experience leading armies over there, he has heard. With a few trusted men, he could take with him a good part of the treasury. And maybe that smart, raven-haired woman from the harem would come with him?

Leave a Reply