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Bright Days and Dark Words - the First Day

Started by Eclecticon, Oct 27, 2020, 10:01 PM

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Eclecticon

After a seventh chair is hastily fetched, the Council of the North sits at last.  No sooner have his guests taken their seats than the Master stands, the rich brocade and furs of his robe on full display as he spreads his hands.  His words echo from the high ceiling of the Town Hall.  "To all those who have journeyed from far lands to speak for their people, I thank you and bid you welcome.  To all those who have come to voice their cares and petition the rulers of the North, I likewise thank you, for it is through such measures that news of both the dangers of the world and its opportunities might be brought to the ears they must reach." 

"And let us not," he continues, "lose sight of those opportunities!  Peace now reigns in the North, and the kingdoms of old are risen anew!  The Forest Road, once a memory preserved only in old tales, now traverses Mirkwood from one side to the other, and the rivers at each end run to further lands still!  No longer need we huddle close to our hearths, grasping only that which we already have, for a new age of Middle-Earth is dawning wherein the wealth of all the Free Peoples might be joined, and the lives of all thus eased.  I urge each Man – yes, and each Elf and Dwarf! – seek out the traders of other lands, and bid them welcome to your own!" 

As he continues, Grimbeorn studies the faces of his fellow council members.  King Bard fairly beams, clearly sharing this vision of a bright and rich future.  King Dáin's face is reserved, but he nods approvingly at the mention of the Forest Road.  Legolas sits still and inscrutable, betraying little hint of what consideration he may have for this talk of trade and commerce.  Recalling the Elves he saw and met in the Elvenking's Hall, Grimbeorn wonders whether he is even awake.  Gailar of the Woodmen drifts, her attention captured far more by the carving of the hall's timbers than by the words of the Master.  Mogdred watches intently, drumming his fingers on the arm of his chair in visible impatience.  As the Master resumes his seat, to polite applause, he goes to stand. 

Bard, however, is quicker to his feet, and his speech follows suit.  "The Kingdom of Dale commends this talk of trade and opportunity.  But not all of us are so fortunate as to have our coffers so filled with coin!"  His jest is greeted with polite laughter, including from the Master of Esgaroth, who adopts an expression of mock offence.  "For those who dream not of far horizons and the hubbub of markets, but of the smell of loam and the songs of the harvest, I have another offer.  The lands that were once the Desolation of the dragon have burst once more into life, and the only shadow that now lies upon them is that of the Lonely Mountain at dawn.  The soil is rich, the fodder plentiful, and my invitation is open to any and all who wish to settle and make new steadings in the Dalelands.  Let the merchants seek their silver, and let our gold be that of endless fields of grain!" 

This is received with a cheer from many in the audience.  Hathcyn marks many young Woodmen, second sons and others drawn northward by the promise of Dwarven silver to work on the road, adopting the wide-eyed miens of Men in the grip of inward visions, and it is easy to suppose what such Men, born to a hardscrabble life in the Vales and beneath the trees, might see. 

Then, as Bard sits, does Mogdred, his patience at an end, leap forth.  "Pretty are the words of those who prosper, while we who dwell west of the Wood protect you!  For there is not one among you here who would not have felt the sting of orc-spears were the shield of Tyrant's Hill not blocking the gaze of Dol Guldur!" 

Legolas shudders, barely perceptibly, at the mention of that name, but Mogdred continues unheeding.  "The riches you speak of are a phantasm, if strong hands are not present to ensure that fouler things do not simply take them from you!" 

The Master, concern (and perhaps offence at the young king's tone) furrowing his brow, raises his voice.  "What do you seek by such talk, you who are known to few of us here?" 

Mogdred, his tone now one of conciliation, replies quickly.  "I seek only to remind all those gathered under this roof not to place their trust in dreams and wonders.  I speak of the Forest Road, which as you say was once mere memory and now is the key that unlocks the door for traders to venture west, and settlers to go east.  I tell you, the Northmen will fall, one by one, if the road cannot be secured!  And so," he concludes, "I offer to place the road under my protection, and the protection of the crimson moon." 
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: While the Council is meeting, Grimbeorn will be occupied with its proceedings, as will Arbogast much of the time.  Matt, Grimbeorn can, of course, choose to skip sessions if there are other things you want to do, but that will be noticed and may have its own repercussions.

The rest of the Fellowship won't have standing to speak, and won't be able to influence the shape of the North.  On the other hand, they can operate more freely.  Doug and Tom, let me know where Esgalwen and Hathcyn are and what they're getting up to.

I caught up with Aly on the weekend and her thesis is now at the 'ah fuck it' stage of the editing process.  I'll take over Laeral until she's recovered a bit.
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

Oct 28, 2020, 07:31 AM #2 Last Edit: Oct 28, 2020, 07:34 AM by tomcat
Esgalwen stood within the hall watching the lords and masters speak, her eyes ever falling on Mogdred. He had changed and yet his bitterness was ever present as a badge upon his chest. The Dúnadan could not help but notice the trappings upon this new 'king' - some of which she had assisted in obtaining. The armor and arms sent north from Gondor had made it as far as Mogdred, and he had hoarded them unto himself. Now he had taken the Toft as his own and believed that it was by his folk that the north was kept safe.

The impudence stung at her. Was it not Gondor that had secured the gates of Mordor to this day and kept the Shadow at bay - lest the hordes of Sauron overrun all? Then her mind shifted to a local memory in which she had hands on experience - Stoneyford and the battle of the Toft-men. It was Beorning and Woodmen blood on that field, not the men of Amon Bauglir. Mogdred had merely capitalized on the situation when Vidugalum was unseated and his cruel forces were driven from the field. Under the same crimson banner had the previous 'king' commanded, and now it was Mogdred.

This would not sit well with the Beornings and Woodmen within the hall.

Such a fool you are, Mogdred, she thought to herself. Even as you gain, you lose. Your bitterness drives you and it molds like-minded men to you, but it does not give you the wisdom you need to lead.

Her thoughts quickly shifted to Gandalf's warning. The Shadow was here and it would threaten all endeavors of the Free-folk. Was Mogdred its agent? Was she a fool those years ago to vouch for him, as she had?

Esgalwen cleared her thoughts and focused once more on the leaders that sat upon the dais, and the words they spoke.
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]

GandalfOfBorg

 :ooc:
Grimbeorn will do the following:
- attend the gatherings of the council
- meet with his folk and see that they patrol the city as well, keeping an eye and ear out for anything amiss as I'm sure they remember the fair but stay clear of Mogdred's folk, not to mention discuss with them the business of the council
- break bread with his companions as often as he can, learn of the coming of Gandalf and his message, share the council talks, get their opinion on things, and just be content in be able to relax with them
- on occasion, walk the city himself to get a sense of the place and listen for any ill news from beyond the gates


Telcontar

Hathcyn had an idea and he believed it would address several problems at once. He first went among the dwarves foo the hall. Not the major Lords from Erebor, but those who had worked on the road or knew Rorin. The conversations all began the same way,

"What will you do as the road nears completion? Will the King Under the Mountain send his folk to guard the way forts and act as caravan guards? Few will be the wagons that will pay tolls if the path is not made safe. And here is this man west of the wood and far from the either opening of the road offering to be its steward. Surely this road was built and devised by the folk of Durin, and here is a mannish king who takes all into his hands offering to guard it. This man is not Bard. But what about another course? The road will soon be done, but it will still need repairs, maintenance, as well as guarding. Why not keep the workers you already have? Why not recruit from the work gangs for this task. These men have worked for you in the past, they know the forest, and they know the work. Many have no where else to turn when the job is finished. The cost would be slight to set these men up and offer them room at the way forts for wives and families. They also already have the skill to hew an haul wood. How much more traffic would there be on the road if the workhouse became barracks houses and men of good standing and loyalty were appointed over them who had a stake in the sucess of the venture? Surely then there would be no strange king of men demanding tribute or easily turned from guard to brigand."
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

Telcontar

Lets seee what I can do with my new Inspire skill
Rolled 2d6+1 : 4, 6 + 1, total 11

Rolled 1d12 : 2, total 2
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

Telcontar

T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

Eclecticon

Those who he does not know give their answers coldly before turning away and those alongside whom he has laboured speak with apologetic eyes, but each Dwarf he speaks to gives the same answer. The Road was laid by the stone-cunning of Durin's sons, and it is by the same hands that it should be maintained, for Men know nothing of the spells graven into each and every stone that will preserve the way for another age of the world, and Mannish craftsmanship would a poor substitute indeed.  'Let your people tend to their fields and pastures, and let us tend to the stones beneath,' one says. 

:ooc: We're going to run this as an encounter.  The Council isn't a democracy - it'll make its decisions by consensus, or not at all.  At the moment, it has Mogdred driving his proposal to act as the road's protector.  If you can convince the Council members otherwise, your history with Rorin, Bofri and all the other Dwarves involved will mean that the company will get assigned the responsibility (in return for a permanent share of the tolls).
 
To make that happen, though, you'll need to bring as many Council members around to your way of thinking as possible.  Insight rolls can help a lot here - each one has something they want from the discussion, so it's not just a matter of racking up successful rolls.  The usual tolerance threshold applies, though, and Hathcyn's failure will count, as word makes its way to King Dain...
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: Also, as before I am making use of the Eye Awareness rules, so try not to roll :~~: s. 
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

Hathcyn saw that his line of reasoning was not having an affect. He knew and did not expect men to be able to do what the dwarves had done. But stone alone was not all that mattered. The trees would need to be cleared, the growing of trees pushed back, the axes of men were needed for both  wood and villainous orcs.

There were few here who knew him, and less still that he knew he could influence directly. He pondered a moment and thought.....

'Hathcyn you fool your playing a game you cant win. How does the fox get a chicken from the coup? Not by asking the farmer. Knowing when he sleeps and when he closes the gate is more important.'

A fox like thought occurred to him and working among the throng he blended instead of coming forth, he listened i stead of speaking. He moved towards the direction of Balin the dwarf. Here was one whom he heard was adventurous, one who knew the merits of others. Yet not so high as the king. He would start there.

Insight
Rolled 1d12 : 6, total 6

Rolled 3d6 : 4, 2, 2, total 8
T. Gingras

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

Eclecticon

:ooc: Arbogast will also try an Insight roll:
:00: 1d12 : 9, total 9
Rolled 2d6 : 5, 3, total 8
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

Hathcyn blends himself into the crowd, moving slowly about the knot of Dwarves that clusters around Balin.  It is clear that they do not wish others to know of their concerns, and the Longspear has time to marvel at how the commonly known blunt manner of Dwarves can be replaced at need with a remarkable talent for speaking cunning words that cast only a shadow of their true meaning.  But after a time it becomes clear, less from their speech and more from their tone, and from the way in which they hold their heads and hands, that they see the road as more than a passage.  To them, it is a treasure, no less part of the patrimony of Durin than Erebor, or the fabled Arkenstone itself, that once was lost and now is not so much made anew as recovered from the grasp of Mirkwood itself, and thus of greater worth than any quantity of mere silver.  It is a thing, not only to be defended, but revered

If king Iron-toes, or whatever he styles himself, is any judge of his people, Hathcyn thinks, then he will take their love of the Road to heart, no matter what his own feelings may be! 

Not far away, Arbogast approaches Esgalwen, bowing politely, if clumsily, to queen Una.  "I know not precisely what value the Master of this town places in the road, as I am not a trading man, but I believe that the King of Dale has similar concerns to those I have for my home and hall, albeit," he adds, "on a grander scale."  Leaning in, he murmurs "would you agree that he sees the road for a way for the movement he desires of folk west of the Wood into his own realm?"
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

Nov 07, 2020, 04:58 AM #12 Last Edit: Nov 11, 2020, 05:49 AM by tomcat
Esgalwen nodded and responded quietly, "For certain - the road is a gateway and wealth of the mountain will draw many folk. Those that cannot, or do not wish to leave will be left in a precarious position. There will be an imbalance of strength and the weak shall be taken by the strong to subjugate. I believe we witness the foundations of this now being set."

Her eyes never left the dais where the lords were seated and in particular, Mogdred of the Toft. He would take advantage of those that stayed, all in the name of protection, but there would be little compassion. What she had witnessed of him thus far, save upon Amon Gaublir those many years ago, was always his brashness. Never humility. Never softness. Mogdred held strength above all other things. This new king would rule with an iron hand, as he had learned in the pits of Dol Guldur.

She questioned herself again for her appeal to Ecthelion II and the resources she provided to Mogdred. Esgalwen knew she would need to approach him soon to make a new appeal for him to show wisdom - to learn from the hardships he suffered. It was the duty of a king to heal and unify his people and lands, not to hold them under his boot.

"There will be bloodshed if they are not careful in these proceedings," she spoke once more to her friend. "We are not high lords, Arbogast, but we have the ears of those that sit upon the dais. We must do all we can to help guide them in their choices."
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]

AlyC


Eclecticon

Nov 10, 2020, 10:47 AM #14 Last Edit: Nov 11, 2020, 03:43 AM by Eclecticon
:ooc: Huzzah! Good to have you back.  Laeral can be wherever you would like her to be - probably either in the Town Hall or scouring the streets of Lake-Town for anyone looking suspect.

More story coming today!  This I vow!

EDIT: Given that Laeral hasn't introduced herself, and doesn't know any of the principal movers and shakers on the Council (except Grimbeorn, obviously) it might make more sense for her to be somewhere else.  That will give me an opportunity to move another part of the story on.  Does that suit you?
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