Drear and cold do the timbers of the gate look, their solid weight turning their former promise of shelter and safety into a cruel jest. And yet, closely-set as they are, still there are gaps between them through which Esgalwen can see the movement of one behind them: a gate-keeper at his duty. "Ho there!" she calls to him, hoping to rouse some fellow-feeling for those seeking shelter from shared foes, if not simply from the rain.
No response comes, though, until the blast of Hathcyn's horn. Esgalwen can plainly see the figure behind the gate start, and at last a reply comes through the gate in the Westron tongue. "What's this? Be you Men? Be away! Away with you!"
We're now into an Encounter (or Council, as the new edition calls it, and which I rather prefer). I'm going to skip Introduction rolls. Or rather, given how well-known you are in these parts, they're going to count as normal interaction - i.e. 'let me in, you idiot, don't you know I'm...'.
There is, of course, an element of time pressure here.
The Longspear would not go quietly, nor would he allow this company to be defeated in spirit if not in arms. Once more he raised the ram horn to his lips and let a challenging blast be heard. In his heart he hoped it would be heard somewhere by Grimbeorn, or at the least crack the resolve of those who barred the gates against them. He remembered too the siege of the Tarn and how even the glimmer of hope sometimes sustained men when there was no reason to believe it.
The ram horn sounded clear and bright despite the rain.
In all his years, Gwaithlim has never felt so dejected, so without warmth within him. This venture has been nothing but folly after folly for him. Trial after trial in the past he'd always seen a way through, a light beyond, but this day there was none for him. He fell in with the rest, just trying to keep them moving to give him the purpose to keep going himself.
If a 17 is a success, what she is looking for is who might be standing defense here, if anyone. Are the gates in normal fashion, or do they look previously broken and reset? Is there any firelight from within the compound? Do shadows move within or without?
Esgalwen looked at the gates of the homestead shut tight to any that might approach. The young man at her side - the one who had called out - made to move forward, but the dúnadan laid her hand on his shoulder to cause him to pause.
"What is it?" he asked - his hair matted to his face by the constant rain.
"I don't know yet," answered the ranger.
"They will let us in, surely! These are our people."
"I am not sure," said Esgalwen, shaking her head.
"You think this a trap? Why?"
"It is what I would do."
Her stolid face caused the men to look at her and then to the gates before them. Esgalwen kept her bow armed and ready, as she lent a close eye to the gate and the defenses around the homestead. Awareness roll. Also including a Battle roll for tactics... if not necessary, it can be ignored. I also am going to include my Enemy-lore (orc).