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CHAPTER 10 - Covetous Eyes

Started by Eclecticon, Oct 01, 2020, 01:38 PM

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Eclecticon

Oct 01, 2020, 01:38 PM Last Edit: Oct 01, 2020, 09:26 PM by Eclecticon
Chill blows the northern wind across the Long Lake, bringing faint tidings of proud Dale and Erebor, and the brimstone scent of the Withered Heath and the unheard fury of young dragons.  It unsettles the placid water and sets the thin ice of December's first days to tinkling like a thousand tuneless bells beneath the thick piles of Lake-Town.  Above, the Men of the Lake go about their business, for the holiday of Dragontide has passed and there is yet much to be done in the tightening grip of winter.

Nor are they alone.  From across the North, emissaries of the Free Peoples have come, high and lordly in their furs and adorned with gold and gems.  Bard, king of Dale, is the latest arrival, his long ship and its twin escorts having docked at noon, disgorging what appears to be no small portion of the royal court.  Then stood Esgalwen of Ithilien by the side of beautiful Una, his queen, as the Master of Esgaroth welcomed the Dragonslayer with all possible pomp and ceremony.

The same soon will occur when Grimbeorn presents himself as the emissary of his father and the speaker for his folk beyond Mirkwood.  The son of the bear has decided that he has clung long enough to his anonymity, biding his time in the company of Hathcyn his heorthgeneat and their companions.  Behold him now: a mantle of wolf fur about his shoulders, sark and trews of fine wool beneath, rings of silver on his fingers, thick of beard and dark of brow. 

As the Master and the King by turns address the assembled crowd, he lets his mind wander, back to a warm autumn evening by his father's hearth, the enchanted serving-hounds slumbering contentedly by the embers and the Men who dwell at the hall withdrawn beyond the thorn-hedge at their chieftain's request. 

"Soon, you'll follow that road of yours to Lake-Town, beyond the trees, and speak for me there."

"Is this a command, father, or is some foresight come upon you?" 

"Huh!  Neither.  But you'll do it, because you know it has to be done.  I know you're not much more for clever words than I am, but you need to be seen as my right hand.  I won't walk the vales forever, and don't think that there aren't those who would fall upon the folk like wolves to take your birthright from you!  Aye, both without and within.  Viglund has been raiding the lands of some of the northern clans, and paying stolen silver and cattle to others.  Mark me: our quarrel with him has far yet to go, and not all those who swear to stand by us will do so when we give the call." 

"Well, what would you have me do there?"

"Hmph.  Speak.  Don't speak.  Use your judgement, for I've not a fool for a son.  But watch the thegns.  Some of them will go to speak for their own concerns.  I can't stop them, nor would I if I could!  Look to what they say, and what they do." 

He is shaken from his rememberings by the voice of Hathcyn Longspear, who strides forward, the bear standard snapping in the wind.  "My lords, I present Grimbeorn, son of Beorn, whom Men name for the Wolfslayer!" 


:ooc: This chapter is going to be a little different from our usual 'go somewhere and get the shit kicked out of us do some thrilling heroics' style, in that (unless things go pear-shaped very quickly, it will hang largely on a series of social encounters.  Characters who wish to take part in official negotiations can use this opportunity (once Grimbeorn and the other magnates have been properly welcomed) to make introduction rolls – I'll let you decide which skill to use according to how you want to play it. 

Fear not – there will be plenty of behind-the-scenes things to do for those who aren't sitting down in the Council.
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

GandalfOfBorg

A hand on the shoulder of his standard-bearer and friend provides reassurance and direction, Hathcyn moves to the side.  The Great Bear's heir takes a mighty stride forward.  He stands quiet for a long moment, feeling the eyes upon him and murmurs begin after a tense moment of silence. "Greetings, thegns and lords, from the vales and western reaches of Rhovanion.  To the Master of the Lake, many thanks for your and your people's hospitality.  To the Slayer of Smaug, I bring the tidings of my people and my father, Beorn.  Good health and long may you and your queen reign in peace and wisdom."

Eclecticon

:ooc: Okay, we're going to kick off mechanically now, with Grimbeorn rolling Courtesy to see how well he delivers his introduction.  No matter the result, he's going to be seated at the big kids' table and he'll be allowed to speak - this is more to determine how much weight the other great ones will give to his words. 

:00: 1d12 : 9, total 9
Rolled 1d6 : 2, total 2
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

:ooc: That's a fail as-is, but within the realm of being saved by a Hope point.  Matt, let me know what you want to do. 

More story when I can post again. 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

GandalfOfBorg


Eclecticon

Oct 06, 2020, 09:48 PM #5 Last Edit: Oct 06, 2020, 10:53 PM by Eclecticon
Well are Grimbeorn's fair words received by the Master of Lake-Town and the King of Dale, who incline their heads approvingly.  There is also a murmur from the surrounding crowd, who find the son of Beorn to be far from the rawhide-clad barbarian told of in the tales that have spread from west of the wood.  As he turns to face the crowd, Grimbeorn marks those of his father's thegns that make up the loose legation he has brought with him: Æthelwold Red-eyes and Claudas Bare-legs watch impassively, while Walcaud Shield-gnawed grins and nods encouragement.  By his side stands Wulfdan Broken-jaw, son of Wulfdas Ram's-blood who is now too frail to journey far from his hearth.  The young thegn bears an expression on his face that Grimbeorn, far as he is, cannot fathom. 

After the Beorning æthling come others.  The Elvenking, it seems, has not deigned to attend the council in person, sending his son Legolas in his stead.  Lordly stands the elf-prince, speaking briefly in the Sindarin tongue then repeating himself in the Westron speech: "Many greetings in fair days, friends, Men of the North.  May your counsel be wise and our meetings end with warm hearts."  The few dignitaries who accompany him remain silent and inscrutable.  Though their garb is scarcely richer than that of the Beornings, there is about them a great stillness, an apartness from the affairs with which Men might busy themselves from one day to the next. 

As the Elves move to one side of the enormous door to the town hall in anticipation of the dignitaries still to come, the crowd shifts and parts before the richly clad and well known figure of the Dwarf Balin, son of Fundin, who strides at the head of a procession of equally important Dwarves.  Reaching the centre of the square, he raises his voice, and announces "my lords, the King Under the Mountain!"  As the echoes die away, the assembled crowd a hearty cheer and king Dáin appears, a vision adorned with golden rings about his arms and a gorget of beaten silver upon his breast.  Only his boots, their toes iron-clad in the mode of a common miner, mark him out as anything but a Dwarf-lord re-emerged from the shadows of an elder age.  Mounting the stairs, he speaks softly to the Master of Esgaroth and seizes king Bard in a great embrace.  Much beloved are the pair, who have together brought great prosperity to the Men the Lake!

Upon his heels comes Gailar, daughter of Lathfan, an elder of the council of Woodland Hall, to speak for the Woodmen clans, and Caewin the Generous, bearing the gilded helm forged for him by Rorin the Roadmaker.  He announces himself as Lord of the Sunstead, and wins a cheer of his own when he tosses handfuls of silver pennies to the assembled crowd.

As at Ceawin's signal, the lesser folk - merchants and traders, thegns and clansmen, begin to come forward.
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

:ooc: This is the point to have your characters introduce themselves if you want them to address the open council.
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Telcontar

 :ooc: hell no! I'm not saying anything, I'll let the plot muck this up for me.
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h :00: 2 :dmg: 9 Edge 8 Injury 16

Eclecticon

:ooc: I suspect that neither Esgalwen nor Laeral will want to do so either, but I'll give their players a day or two to say as much. 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

tomcat

:ooc: Esgalwen will stand by the queen and be silent.
Narrator: Darkening of Mirkwood | Chronicle of the North | Tempest Rising | To Boldly Go | Welcome to the 501st!
Esgalwen [♦♦♦♦○○] Dmg 9/11  |  Edge 8  |  Injury 16/18
Nimronyn [Sindarin Pale gleam] superior keen, superior grievous longsword - orc bane
Foe-slaying - when attacking a bane creature, reduce Edge of weapon by value of bearer's Valour

Shadow bane [when in Forward stance, add 1 success die to each attack]
Skirmisher [if carried encumbrance is 12 or less, increase Parry by +3 when in close combat stance]

Eclecticon

:ooc: Looks like Laeral will do the same. 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

Arbogast takes his place in the snaking queue of petitioners and minor delegates, between a Barding lordling who the Fire-watcher guesses is here to find a bride for his son and a Dwarf of the Iron Hills who makes no secret of his wish to see the new forest road extended across the Upper Marches.  His conversation is polite but limited, and he tries to give away as little as he may of why he is here.  And why indeed am I here, he wonders.  To speak for the folk of Sweartmereseld, yes, but what issue have they that would be brought up at a council such as this?  As the line shuffles forward once again, he decides Well, I shall wait, and I shall see.  An nought else presents itself, I may lend my voice in support of any matter Grimbeorn might raise.

Finally his feet, weary from a cold and dreary wait, ascend the stairs before the Town Hall, and he finds himself facing the well-practised welcoming smile of the Master of Esgaroth.  Offering a bow, he introduces himself.  "Greetings, honoured host.  I am the Fire-watcher, come to speak for the clans of the Black Tarn.  I thank you for the opportunity to do so." 


:ooc: This'll be a Courtesy roll:
:00: 1d12 : 2, total 2
Rolled 2d6 : 3, 3, total 6
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

Oct 12, 2020, 04:40 PM #12 Last Edit: Oct 12, 2020, 07:04 PM by Eclecticon
:ooc: Well.  :roll:  He'll burn a point of Hope to have that stick. 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

Arbogast finishes his introduction and finds that his hands are shaking.  Fool, he chides himself, that you who have stood fast against the terror of the Shadow would lose your nerve at speaking to a merchant prince! 

As goes to move on and let the line behind him continue to move forward, there is a cry from away to the west.  The northern wind carries away the sense of the words but the tone of surprise, and possibly fear, is clear.  All about the square, heads turn one to the other.  The Master looks at king Bard, who glances anxiously at his queen.  King Dain narrows his eyes and fairly glares at Grimbeorn and Legolas, as if willing to suspect treachery of anyone born west of the Long Lake. 

Within seconds, the crowd begins to flow westward into Bridge Street and the merchants' district.  The Master and his guests hesitate, unsure whether their best course lies in following the people or withdrawing into the Town Hall.  Esgalwen, standing fast by the side of queen Una, finds her hand instinctively on the pommel of her sword, though no foe can be seen.  All at once, the sounds of disorder seem to fade into the background and a familiar scent, redolent of comfortable nights by an open fire and the lengthy discourses of Bandobras Bracegirdle on all topics and none at once, fills her nostrils.  Turning without fully knowing why, she sees the figure of an old man half-concealed against the Town Hall's front door, as if one of the carven decorations  had chosen this moment to spring to life. 

"A word, if you would, Lady of Ithilien." 


:ooc: Righto - as is my wont, there's two things going on here.  Anyone who wants to can easily push forward through the crowd and find out what's going on to the west.  Laeral, or anyone who can make a TN 18 Awareness roll can also see through a wizard's spells and make out what's going on with Esgalwen.  You're welcome to try the latter before deciding on the former. 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

GandalfOfBorg

Grimbeorn's eyes more focused upon the lords than the crowds, seeing their eyes and attention shifting in his direction of those out of western Rhovanion.  Yet those of Esgalwen were elsewhere...

 :ooc:
 :00:
Awareness -  1d12 : 2, total 2
Rolled 3d6 : 5, 1, 3, total 9