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CHAPTER 10 - Covetous Eyes

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

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GandalfOfBorg

But the throng lunged and was so thick that he couldn't see what caught her gaze.  Changing his attention to what sounded of a fell source, he waded through the sea of people to put himself between whatever might come and those that sat above.

Telcontar

By force of habit and his own disposition he had grown accustomed to not look where he was directed. Ever watchful of deception he let others look to the disturbance while he looked to see what might be taking advantage of it.

(Will Wary do anything for me in this case?)
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

tomcat

Oct 13, 2020, 09:03 AM #17 Last Edit: Oct 13, 2020, 09:06 AM by tomcat
Quote from: Eclecticon on Oct 12, 2020, 07:03 PMEsgalwen, 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: Question, was the confusion started by Gandalf to distract, or is there two things going on at once? I will respond but will make any edits if I have misread the narrative.

Still on her guard as she looked to the old man with a questioning gaze, Esgalwen's demeanor began to change with the slow recognition of he who spoke.

She remembered him from a dell within the forest, just a year past, where he and the Company had spoken regarding ill-tidings in the north near Gundabad. This memory, along with many tales from her youth of the travelling, grey pilgrim made her more the curious now.

"I recognize that scent - it is the pipeweed oft smoked by a friend of mine."

"And is this friend a small, dark-haired chap by the name of Bracegirdle?" The old man asked through clenched teeth.

"He is. You are the wandering wizard - Gandalf is your name."

"It is and I am... at your service," smiled Gandalf.

Esgalwen looked back to the queen and answered, "You may have a moment, but understand that my duty is to the Queen of Dale, who stands at my side. Know this, too, wizard that though the stories told of you speak of greatness, my steel will keep you from her should you mean ill will."

"I assure you, I mean no threat to Queen Una."

"Then speak freely - your words will need be shared with the queen, as well, for I do not intend to leave her unaccompanied."
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: Doug, the two things are unconnected.  Unless, of course, they are.  It's hard to tell with wizards. 

Tom, this will be one of those times when someone who isn't Wary wouldn't get to roll, but Hathcyn does.  Let's see what he notices:

Awareness TN 14
:00: 1d12 : 6, total 6
Rolled 3d6 : 1, 2, 2, total 5
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 13, 2020, 09:54 PM #19 Last Edit: Oct 13, 2020, 09:56 PM by Eclecticon
Ever the watcher over his lord and kinsman, Hathcyn casts his eyes across the confusion of the crowd.  He spares particular attention for the Beorning thegns, heeding the words of the chieftain to his son, and is rewarded by the sight of a figure wrapped in a dark cloak against the cold wind and moving against the tide of lake-folk.  As the figure passes the knot of thegns, there is a flash, ever so brief, as something is passed from one hand to another.  From this distance, even the keen-eyed hunter cannot tell what has been exchanged that might have shone so in the morning light, or who might have been the giver or receiver.  Then the moment passes.  The Beornings follow the crowd, as eager as anyone else to know what is taking place, and the dark figure turns around the corner of a house. 

By the Town Hall gate, the eyes of Gandalf the Grey sparkle as if the light of his pipe bowl were reflected in each pupil.  "And I am glad of it!  For both she and her husband are in peril, as are all those who will gather in this hall.  The minions of the Eye are abroad - yes, even here! - and they mean to strike if they can, though I know not against who precisely.  I have watched foul things gather about the shores of the Long Lake, and I know what calls them.  You, or your companions, have faced its like before," he says, his brows gathering like storm clouds, "in the shadow of Mount Gundabad."   


:ooc: Matt, Aly, I haven't forgotten you two, but it will take a little while for Grimbeorn to get where the action is happening and I'm not sure what Laeral is up to (being Suspicious, she could also make an Awareness roll to see if she spots something Hathcyn has missed). 
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

Queen Una's breath hissed at the wizard's news, "Tell me Gray One, is this threat near to him now?"

The concern for her husband now paramount, she clenched at Esgalwen's arm. The ranger placed a hand atop the other woman's in hopes to provide comfort, all the while she scanned the people around her for any apparent threats. Her hunter instincts made her muscles tense, ready to spring should there be a sudden assailant. Esgalwen's other hand gripped firmly around the hilt of Nimronyn.

Not waiting on Gandalf to answer the queen, the Dúnadan's voice came calm and slow. "Am I the first to whom you have presented this information? Why do you not take it now before the gathering council?"

Her gaze reached out through the throng in an attempt to locate Arbogast or Hathcyn, or even Euric if he were there among the King's guard.
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

"Not so close that swords need be hastily drawn," the wizard answers quickly, "but its call to the dark things of Middle-Earth is easily heard, for those with the ears to do so, and so I know it to have designs on this place, and on its people." 

He frowns at Grimbeorn, and the Beorning aethling's gaze, nearly settled on the three by the door, slides away once again.  "As for why I do not bring it before the Council, think what that news would do!  Some would withdraw at once to the safety of their halls, and the rest, in their bright valour, would immediately set a hunt for an enemy they would never find.  The opportunity of the council meeting would be lost, perhaps never to be recaptured." 

As he speaks, his expression softens, bushy eyebrows and much-lined brows rearranging themselves into such an expression of doubt and care that Esgalwen is struck by how old he suddenly appears.  "In truth, I know not if I am right to keep such a thing concealed.  Perhaps wisdom would win out over their warriors' hearts, and they would see that there is more than one way to show boldness before an enemy.  But I cannot worry over-long, for I will soon have business elsewhere.  All I may do now is leave my cares in the hands of those that I might trust, and in your line I have placed my trust for many generations without ever being disappointed." 

"And with that," he says, rising to his feet, "the hour is come when I must be away.  I hope to be back before Yule, but if I am not, keep your watch, Ranger, and keep it well."
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: Doug, there's time for Esgalwen to ask maybe one more quick question before he goes, if you have any to ask.  Tom and Aly, let me know what you want to do with what you've seen.  Matt, I think I'll get the update of what Grimbeorn discovers up on the weekend. 
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

As the tide of people swirled and what he saw was carried away the Beorning closed his eyes. He thought to paint the picture in his mind as he had seen it before it was changed or altered in his memory. When he opened his eyes he hoped it was firmly planted there so in time he could see more or learn more.

When he did Grimbeorn was already down in the crowd striding, but Hathcyn remained where he was incase the disturbance was a feint. 
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

tomcat

Esgalwen nodded quietly at the wisdom of Gandalf's reasoning, but then wondered at his aged face and his comment of generations. How many lives of men - or even Dúnedain - had the wizard lived? What was he if not a man? For surely he had been part of the tales of her youth - an old pilgrim that came and went with the times. Yet here he was, just as old but never changing... like Radagast.

Gandalf's sudden rise started both of the women and Esgalwen stammered with her words, "But.. but... you are here! Will you not stay and be part of this council? Surely your counsel would be greatly sought by those within."

"I believe their counsel is sound already and they are already aware of what needs done. To unify these people
of the forest realms and strengthen the bonds that are there. They have seen the darkness of evil, long in the form of Smaug, and so they will know when it comes again." With a twinkle in his eye, he smiled, "And with allies like you and your company, they will have strength to help them lead."

She looked at him and a fear was in her heart, "The blunt mattock swung at you is easy to perceive and hopefully avoid. Such are the Enemy's tools with his orcs and wargs. I do not believe that these kind of blunt weapons are what you warn me of, Gandalf. Instead I believe you speak of the evil shadow that grows within Men's hearts. Tell me, is that what we must now fear?"

The wizard cocked his head to one side and looked into Esgalwen's eyes and she knew. When her mind focused once more on where she was, all she could see of him was his tall hat bobbing away through the crowd.

He was gone.

Esgalwen looked about her at the throng of faces - men, women, children and now elf and dwarf. Some were young and fair, others old and weathered, all different of skin tone and hair. Who among them now conspired against the Lords of these realms? Who among them would see it all burned away under the banner of the Shadow?

"My Queen," she said turning to her charge, "might I suggest we make our way to the Hall, now that the parade of dignitaries have passed within? It would be safer for you there."

:ooc: Knowing how cryptic Gandalf always was, I am going to assume that he would not be so blatant as to answer any direct question and so I came up with the narrative and dialogue above. If I missed something, or overstepped your story, I can adjust it.

If the dialogue is not clear enough, the gist of Esgalwen's thoughts and question to Gandalf are that Mordor would not come at them right now with a host of orcs - it would be the subtle poisoning of relations that would serve him best at the moment. The poisoning of Men's hearts.

Anyway, I am going to roll an Awareness check as she scans the people and places around her and the queen while she escorts her to the safety of the Lake-town Hall.
TN -- awareness 2d
:00: 1d12 : 3, total 3
Rolled 2d6 : 1, 1, total 2

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]

tomcat

:ooc: Wow! Way to go Ranger! Could you be anymore oblivious??
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]

Telcontar

Hatchyn was below and carrying the banner of Grimbeorn rose to be closer to her. He saw her gazing into the crowd looking for something.

"Lady Esgalwen, did you see it too? When the disturbance occurred two who were hiding in the crowd took it as a signal to meet and exchange something. I saw but a glint of metal and then they were lost in the crowd again. Could be nothing, could be something. My instinct tells me the later."
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

tomcat

Hathcyn's words brought Esgalwen from her thoughts and she realized her distraction, even as she moved the queen through the square. This is no way to protect her, the Dúnadan chided her self. The Beorning's words escalated her concerns and she answered, "No, Hathcyn, I fear not. My attention had been captured by another within the crowd and I saw naught but the concerns within my own head. What did you see?"

After his quick reiteration, "Help me see the queen inside to safety and then you and I can find a place to talk in private. Mayhaps the Fire-watcher can join us."
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

The press of bodies along Bridge Street is barely credible to Grimbeorn, used as he is to life at his father's house, with a mere handful of other Men within shouting distance.  Here, they hem him in on all sides with barely a glance at his fine clothes.  Nor, as the crowd jostles and shoves its way through the market square, is he overly surprised to see a shock of red hair at his side and realise that the Elf Laeral has joined him without him noticing.  There is little opportunity to speak of questions, nor does the noise of the crowd make it easy, and in any case there is only one question that seems to unite all of Lake-Town.  What has happened to cause such commotion? 

The frustration of the crowd is palpable as it nears the tollhouse that marks, for all intents and purposes, the western edge of Esgaroth.  Its gates, stout and businesslike in the manner of Mannish works, stand shut, and the voices of the crowd drown out whatever may be happening beyond them.  Grimbeorn's first thought is to force his way though the crowd and demand that he be allowed into the tollhouse, but Laeral, seeming to know his mind, catches his attention with a hand on his shoulder.  Shaking her head, she says 'This way.' 

The two of them instead move south, where the throng thins as it approaches bridges over a narrow canal, and the Elven Quarter beyond.  Laeral leads the Beorning across the bridge, and while a trio of warriors in the garb of the Sylvan kingdom appear, they melt back into the surroundings as she produces a pendant from beneath her sark, a sign of her allegiance to Lady Irimë.  It is then a simple matter to find an elevated spot on the edge of the platform, from where the entire scene becomes clear. 

Between the outer gatehouse and the tollhouse gate, a party of armed Men on horseback is confined.  Bright is their mail beneath cloaks which show the signs of hard travel.   From their saddles hang sheathed swords, and on their backs shields, each one bearing a dark red circle.  Before them, their leader stands in his stirrups, dark his hair and furious his mien even at this distance.  In a clear and deep voice, he bellows "I am Mogdred, King of the Vales and lord of Tyrant's Hill!  I demand entry and a seat at the Council of the North!" 
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: oh man I love this guy. Who knows what his true intentions are, which way will he fall between light and dark? Its always interesting when he shows up. We have developed him so much more than the source material!
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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