More Poles

September 29, 2014

Yeah, I still haven’t had any luck getting shots of the rest of the Cossacks. But I spent some time on my Polish subject yesterday and he got to participate in a huge battle between a large number of Poles and one of the Swedish armies that spawn as part of The Deluge questline. So I got enough shots for a couple of days’ worth of posts.

The first shot I got is Jerzy Halecki, who is one of my favorites.

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It was very foggy, so that’s why everything is a bit yellow.

Like Gritsenko, Halecki seems to be one that was just made up for the game.

Next we have Fyodor Obukhovich.

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He’s probably the first lord you actually meet in the game if you follow Clermont’s advice and do the quests that the town elder gives you in Zamoshye. He also only exists within the game.

That is Jan Skrzetuski behind him, but from the other side his face was all bloody and I didn’t like the shot I got of him, so I’m going to try to get a better one because he is important.

I suppose this next guy is important too though. I mean, he *is* the King; Jan II Kazimierz Waza:

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He was elected in 1648, during the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Yes, I said elected. Did you know that the Polish Commonwealth had elected kings rather than an absolute monarchy? I thought that was pretty interesting. The king’s power was held in check by a parliament (the Sejm) and a senate. His brother Wladyslaw was king before him, so being an elected position doesn’t necessarily mean that it strays far from ‘royal’ bloodlines. But it can. His family had also held the Swedish throne until his father was deposed by his father’s uncle in 1599, leading to a long feud and many wars between Sweden and Poland, including this Deluge in 1655.

Heritage

September 25, 2014

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but we decided last week to take a break from raiding until the 6.0 patch. Suddenly, activities that I had been considering but unable to do because they happened to be on raid nights were all open to me. One of the first pieces of mail that arrived at my new address was a booklet of community education courses. I could learn a new language, pick up knitting, do some exercise classes (Lord knows I need more of that) or … hey, line dancing. That looks like fun. I also looked at upcoming polkas and found two local clubs that hold monthly meetings/dances. Hmmm, the one I chose is on Wednesday just like the line dancing classes. Line dancing … polkas … line dancing … polkas … classes that I have to pay for in advance and attend for 8 weeks in a row, or only happen once a month and I come if I want and pay when I get there. Yup, polkas win!

So last night I got all gussied up and left the house to go polka. I drove out to the VFW, told the ladies at the table that it was my first time there, plunked down my cash and bam. I’m a member. I even got a membership card. :D

I sat at a table off to the side by myself where I had a good view of everything … the other tables, the dance floor, and the band. There was about 10 minutes still before the music would start, but the doors had opened nearly an hour earlier so people could enjoy snacks and chitchat. Since I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t bother to get there early. After a few minutes, a man came around selling 50/50 tickets. I said no thank you but I guess he didn’t hear me, but he was very nice and I didn’t want to be rude, so I went ahead and bought some. He introduced himself, asked my name, and asked if it was my first visit even though I could tell that he knew very well that it was. You know, just friendly ice-breaking. And of course, asked if I was Polish … I told him no, but I am Czech, that’s close enough ya?

I happen to live in a city that has a very large Polish population. There’s a weekly Polish newsletter and a radio station that plays no less than 2 hours of polkas a day, 7 days a week…during the 5pm-7pm drive home. After a rough day at work nothing brings a smile to my face faster than a polka. If it happens to include a HUP, HUP, HUP-AH from the performer that smile will quickly turn into a big grin. You see, I grew up in an area that had a very large Czech population … in fact, my grandmother was pure Czech. So I expected to get asked many times whether I was Polish, and in fact I did get asked several times, but since I could truthfully say ‘No, but I am Czech (mostly)’ that gave me plenty of polka cred.

Anyway, as soon as the music started, couples were out on the floor. I watched carefully, hoping I would remember what to do if someone happened to ask me to dance. Now, if you’ve ever watched, you’ll know that each man sort of has his own style. Some are more flamboyant, some barely move, some like to have their lady turn in a circle every so often (my Dad did that. He’s probably the last person I danced with before last night). After about three songs, the man who had been selling the tickets asked me to dance. I said sure I’ll try but it’s been 20 years so be patient with me. Well it worked out alright, I was rusty but not terrible. A couple of songs later, another little man asked me to dance. I had seen him and his wife out there for every song so far. Like the first man, he introduced himself and asked my name and asked if it was my first time there. After that dance ended he said I should move over to their table instead of sitting by myself, so I could talk to people, so I did. I met his wife and the other couples at the table. They all expressed surprise that I came all by myself but hey, if it’s either go alone or don’t go at all, well …

I danced with him a few more times over the night. And the band didn’t just play polkas and waltzes, they did mix in some other things as well. So naturally when (ugh) Achy Breaky Heart was played (I curse you, Billy Ray, you killer of good country music) the ladies waved me out there and I was like, um … I don’t know how! Apparently I have not spent enough time watching my Tauren huntress /dance because one of the guys had to take me to the side and attempt to teach me to electric slide. Hey look, I didn’t need to go to the line dancing class after all, I can learn it at the polka!

Halfway through the band takes a break and they have the meeting. We actually stood and said the Pledge of Allegiance to open. Who still does that? That is awesome. I had to stand up when they introduced the new members. At the end of it we played a quick round of Bingo because that was the theme this month, then the drawings. It wasn’t a straight 50/50, they do 3 or 4 for various amounts, then had a few other prizes too, like coozies and a polka CD. I like that better than one drawing for a big amount, it’s more fun with more chances to win something. Afterwards there was more dancing and then it ended with everyone in a huge circle holding hands as we sang God Bless America.

So, I may have come alone, but by the end of the night I had made several acquaintances and I guarantee when I go next month, I may arrive alone but I won’t be alone when I get there.

P.S. This really has nothing to do with Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword but it does somewhat explain part of the reason the game has such a grip on me!

Rebellion

September 22, 2014

So, each of the three big factions in the game has their own special questline. I didn’t do the Cossack Hetmanate one, The Secret of the Black Mace, on my main character because, well, it requires starting a rebellion within the Commonwealth at one point and I had already sworn my oath to Hmelnitski. I wasn’t willing to ask him to release me from his service. BUT … I have that other character Ani, my ‘let’s play as a woman’ project. She had started the questline as well, and despite gaining much favour with the Cossacks they had not allowed her to join them. So since she was still neutral I decided to work on it with her. She had to go find Janusz Radziwill, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania, and help him overthrow King Jan Kasimir.

So, the first quest he gives me is to capture a city or fortress, so that we have a capital to work out of. Obviously, I cannot accomplish this alone. So I go talk to various Poles, hoping they like me or Janusz enough to join us. Those that agree who hold fiefs, well, those holdings automatically switch sides to Polish Commonwealth (rebels). Those who don’t, we have to fight (if I approached them in the field to ask them). And yes, Janusz does fight by my side.

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I was able to gain Berestye Fortress and Lida Castle this way when Jerzy Halecki and Jan Sobieski agreed to aid us. Jan Zamojski also came along for the ride, but he had no holdings. Ok, so, those castles don’t count since they already have lords. We still need to capture one. We rode around to the Pole-owned fortresses, asking for more joiners and looking for one that had a low enough number of defenders that we could take it. The only one that had low defense at the moment was Myadzelsk Castle, owned by Andrejz (Andrezj? Andrzej. Silly Polish spellings. Can we just settle on calling him Andrei?) Kmicic. I didn’t really want to take his castle without first asking Pan Andrei to join us, but he wasn’t home and I didn’t know where to find him. So after a couple of circles around all of the other options, I just took it.

Once Janusz was settled in, he sent us to capture Kiev, which turns into a Polish town automatically at that point in the questline. I was a bit upset about that, I mean, they put Anton out of his city just like that with no warning or battle or anything! So we rode over and found that the city defenses were about equal to our numbers. Hm, doable but it wasn’t going to be easy. So we set about besieging it and after the first battle, as we were laying explosives for the second assault, Oginsky went to Myadzelsk. Oh. Yeah. We probably should defend that eh? But we’ve almost got this … I made the fateful decision to stick with my siege. It didn’t succeed, but Oginsky sure did. With the defeat of Radziwill, the rebellion was ended in its infancy. Jerzy, Jan, and Jan went back to serving King Jan and I was left neutral. Lesson learned, defend your new fief first! And maybe try to take something closer to Kiev as your capital so that you are nearby if needed.

Alone and in despair, I rode up to Lavrin Sinonos to vent my frustration. He offered me a mercenary contract with the Cossacks (finally). So that attempt ended in failure and that character is now just another Cossack. I made a new character to have another attempt at the questline. I also helped my new Cossack brothers take back Kiev, which was then given back to Anton, thank God. I would have really felt awful if I had inadvertently caused him to permanently lose his city.

Oh, a funny thing happened before all of this. I happened to be visiting Kiev on business and noticed that Jan Skrzetuski was being held in the prison there. So I took a walk around to see if the guards would let me in to talk to him. They did, so I wandered around and then chatted with him a bit. One of the options that always comes up when talking to another lord is “What are you and your men doing here?” So I figured I had to see what he would say.

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Easy there, Jan! Geez, someone woke up on the wrong side of the cell this morning, eh? hehe

So Many Ivans

September 18, 2014

So, I haven’t had any luck trying to get shots of the Cossacks I am still missing. I did hang around with Shumeiko and Vygovsky but wasn’t lucky enough to get a shot of either one. I did grab this one, though, because it amused me.

Ivan, Ace, Ivan, and Ivan.

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And that’s not even all of them, that’s just Vygovsky, Sirko, and Hmara. There’s also Bogun and Fedorenko. And of course, that’s not even counting the ones in the Muscovite Tsardom! These guys and their Ivans are just as bad as the Poles and their Jans (Kazimir, Skrzetuski, Zenowicz, Sobieski, and Zamojski).

Speaking of the Muscovite Tsardom, well, they are now history.

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So instead of Cossacks, I give you a couple of Russians who joined our side. These are both from sieges because we have been busy taking all of the Swedes’ stuff.

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Prince Andrei Khovansky (on the left in the screenshot) is the son of Ivan (lol! see?) Khovansky, who led an uprising in 1682 about which an opera, Khovanshchina, was written. As far as I can tell, Andrey only appears in the opera, because every single reference I could find to him is in conjunction with some performance.

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Warlord Vasiliy Buturlin served as the Muscovite envoy in the signing of the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654. As far as I can tell, he has no relatives named Ivan.


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