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CHAPTER 15 - Banners Bloody and Torn

Started by Eclecticon, Jan 23, 2023, 10:05 PM

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GandalfOfBorg

 :ooc: Beware the tricksey lights
Gwaithlim Weapons
Great Bow  Atk: 2d -- Dmg (0h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
Swords       Atk: 2d -- Dmg (1h): 5/11/17 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
                                    Dmg (2h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16

Eclecticon

Leaving the suspicious waters behind them, the small company marches on into the night, barely pausing until at last with weary feet and aching legs they reach the hall of Gelvira Pot-Stirrer, by the very banks of the Old Ford itself.  The hall and its folk have prospered greatly with the opening of the Road, and several outbuildings now cluster around it from whence loom the shadows of wains and the unmistakable scent of horses and oxen. 

In the pleasant cool of the summer night, the guests of the hall have moved their tables and benches outside.
 There Gelvira, wizened hostess and once counsellor to Beorn, keeps several youths busy serving ale and baked mushrooms but little heed do the guests pay them, for by the light of a bonfire dances the lithe figure of an Elf-maid, her steps finding sure accompaniment in the piping of her flute.  As the company draws closer, they hear the fluting stop, the dance apparently at an end. 

"The song again, of the maiden and the wind!" calls a voice from one of the tables, and the Elf-maid answers eagerly. 

"Of course, friends, but mind that you keep that cup full, for the singing is thirsty work!" 

Then, as Esgalwen at last recognises Luindîs, who once troubled her for the tale of Duskwater's redeeming.  If the recognition is shared, however, the Elf shows no care of it before launching into her song, keeping time for the other guests to join in the chorus with the beating of a flat drum.

    Lo!  To the south was born a maid in an Ithilienic glade
   And though her home was hardly humble she ranged far,
   For she knew she wanted more when first she set foot out the door
   Upon the way no force in Middle-Earth could bar. 

   Yet as she started to unfurl why then her father told her 'girl
   A shieldmaiden of Gondor you shall be!
   And you shall serve until you're old and you shall do as you are told!'
   She wasn't sold and so a loner became she. 

   For this maiden had a mind of an exploratory kind
   And though duty bound her to her land and kin,
   She lived each and every day in a wanderlusting way
   Never once accepting walls to hem her in. 

   'Twas a wind blew in one day, from where it came she could not say
   She knelt and felt its breath take up her hair,
   And said 'I'll follow where you go!' and then the wind began to blow
   Toward the north and to the folk awaiting there. 

   Ahooo said the wind! 
   Ahooo said the sky! 
   She said 'I'll follow where you go!' and as the wind began to blow
   To the north-lands did she turn and did she fly. 

   Many miles and many days and many narrow northward ways
   Alone to Wilderland she found her footsore path
   For though accompanied by good and brave companions to the wood
   The perils of the forest hounded them to death! 
 
   Upon a pin the wind did turn and her guts began to churn
   As she fought her way from darkling forest free,
   And the wind upon her hair, it said 'the road for those who dare
   Will test and tear you but that's how it has to be.'

   Ahooo said the wind! 
   Ahooo said the sky! 
   Yes the wind upon her hair, it said 'the road for those who dare
   Will wound and weaken you but that's how it must be.'

   And so it went as year by year she vanquished fear by dreadful fear
   With no-one dear to cheer the battles she had won,
   Until it chanced that by and by she caught the King of Dale's eye
   His helm and mail gleaming 'neath the northern sun. 

   He said 'come maiden, take my hands and settle down upon my lands!
   My hearth and hall and mead you'll call your own.'
   She answered 'nevermore shall I, for I am sworn unto the sky,
   And naught but wide and boundless wild may I call home!'

   Ahooo said the wind! 
   Ahooo said the sky! 
   She answered 'nevermore shall I, for I am sworn unto the sky,
   And the paths of Wilderland I walk alone.'

   And to this day with sword in hand she treads the paths of Wilderland
   Never knowing where her wand'ring way shall wend,
   And with the wind still in her hair she'll take a blow and never care
   Knowing only that the road will twist and bend. 

   Ahooo said the wind! 
   Ahooo said the sky! 
   The wind ever her hair she'll battle darkness and despair
   Knowing that she'll walk her road unto its end. 

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

Feb 06, 2023, 07:40 AM #17 Last Edit: Feb 06, 2023, 07:52 AM by tomcat
:ooc: That is fantastic!

Esgalwen watched the elf dance and sing and it took a few moments until she realized the words were about her... Luindis had put her tale to rhyme!

Esgalwen listened to the words sang and her smile broadened as the crowd joined in the gay chorus, and the Dúnadan found herself weeping. The music bolstered her and she knew she was not alone or forgotten in this land that was not of her birth. It was not that Esgalwen needed to be lauded upon - she did not come here to find fame and fortune - but for so long she had felt alone. Unsure of her decisions and whether she had left a life behind that would have served a far better purpose.

But no... the elf sang of exploits for which she had taken part and Esgalwen knew that her departure from Minas Tirith had been the right choice. There was a reason for her calling here... just as there might be reason for her meeting with Dernhuin, a few weeks past.

The song ended to a raucous cheer and the ranger wiped the tears from her cheeks. She smiled at Gwaithlim and then pressed herself into the throng to meet Luindis, once more. The elf-maiden gave a bright smile and spoke, "Hello Esgalwen of Gondor, it has been long since we last sat and spoke of tales."

"And yet I find you telling mine own," the Dúnadan woman nodded happily. "And I thank you for such a gift."

"You liked it?"

"Oh yes, it made my heart smile and has cast much gloom from my mind."

"Then I am pleased... and I do not feel I owe you any of this mead that has been poured in my cup!"

"No, you owe me naught, save to sit with me once more and tell me tales of where you have been, if you please."

And so the two women did that, finding a place to sit and talk even as the crowd called for more songs.
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

Hathcyn laughed at the music and slapped a bystander on the back and grabbed a mug. Half raised to his lips he stopped.

The thought came upon him like a physical blow and he placed the mug down. If this were the seat of war then why the merry making? Where was Grimbeorn and the wolves and orcs?

He looked around at the assembled people and growled at the elf, "this looks like a wedding not a war...where is Grimbeorn?"

He grabbed the arm of one of the men. "Have you heard any news of the Carrock? Where is Grimbeorn Wolfslayer!?"
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18

Eclecticon

The man, a stocky, broad-bellied fellow dressed in the manner of a trader out of Lake-Town and smelling noticeably of mead, stammers out his reply to Hathcyn's question.  "Why, across the river!  He...  He arrived yesterday, as I did, and barely stopped before taking his men across the ford.  His promise of payment, not to mention his talk of fame to be won, drew away all but one of my guards, too!  We've been awaiting news from the other shore, but nobody has crossed since.  Truly, I don't know when we'll be able to go over, or what in the world I might do to keep my goods safe after we do!" 


:ooc: Thanks, Doug.  The song is part of what's become an ongoing project to write some doggerel about every PC who sticks around for longer than a single adventure.
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

It only took a moment for Esgalwen's concerns to return to their task, as she heard Hathcyn question the crowd.
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

"There will be no need of guards should their purpose fail, for what is here alone will not stop that which would beat the Wolfslayer. Yet some still here might add their strength to his cause."

For the moment he let the matter lie for nighttime drinking and then a cold rest was no way to muster men.

In the morning he beat a different tune.

Hathcyn went to his mount and withdrew the banner of the Beornings and upon his ram horn blew forth several notes. Surely there were folk here who were sound enough to fight.

"The Great Wolfslayer asked in his way for those to come with him. Well, here is the Banner of the Folk! Who by will or by oath will join us and make for the ford? CARROCK! CARROCK AND THE BEAR!"

Inspire:
This dice roll has been tampered with!
Rolled 1d12 : 5, total 5
This dice roll has been tampered with!
Rolled 3d6 : 2, 4, 3, total 9

Fixed a typo and if the pacing or story allows this scene.
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18

GandalfOfBorg

Gwaithlim sat in comfort of the evening, letting the others deal with their folk as necessary.  It truly was a surprise to meet one of the fair-folk in this place for his kind hadn't made it a practice to mingle with other folk without great need and singular purpose.  The song that was sung was skillfully crafted and pleasant to listen.  If he did get some time to converse with this Luindis, it certainly would be an interesting talk.
Gwaithlim Weapons
Great Bow  Atk: 2d -- Dmg (0h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
Swords       Atk: 2d -- Dmg (1h): 5/11/17 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
                                    Dmg (2h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16

Eclecticon

:ooc: Right - I'm going to do a quick roll for Gwaithlim now, 'cause I completely forgot to do it the other day. 

:00: 1d12 : 10, total 10
Rolled 2d6 : 6, 1, total 7
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

Watching the elf-maid and the Dúnadan together, Gwaithlim cannot help but smile, like an indulgent parent beholding their child making a new friend.  For are the carriers of the fire of Númenor and the Tawarwaith alike not as children to the Sindar, and deserving of their wise guidance and brave protection?  As Hathcyn accosts one of the wain-drivers, Gwaithlim allows himself the luxury of relaxing in peace, a mug of mannish mead in hand and a warm fire before him, treasuring this moment in an age of war and sorrow. 

But not long does fate allow him to abide in ease, for a suspicion comes upon him as he glances at Luindîs that only grows as he sees the shine of firelight not only through her hair but, to a degree perhaps only his elf-eyes could mark, through her skin and flesh.  For far from the protection of the great Elf-lords, the tides of time take their toll on the long-lived Elves, not in the way old age takes over and eventually ends the lives of mortals, but by slowly consuming their physical bodies.  And as certain as the setting of the sun, each and every Elf who refuses to sail over the Sea and instead chooses to linger upon the shores of Middle-earth is doomed to fade.  That the fading has taken this one so far already is a sure sign that she has, in her heart, forsaken Valinor. 

This paints the minstrel-maid's efforts to woo the heart of Esgalwen in a new and underhanded light, for can such a one be trusted?


:ooc: Tom, we'll pick up with Hathcyn's rallying call once the evening's drama is done (which may be straight away, depending on what, if anything, Matt wants to do). 
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: Looks like Gwaithlim is keeping things under his hat for the time being.  Further storyness to follow. 
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

Feb 10, 2023, 03:48 AM #26 Last Edit: Feb 10, 2023, 04:00 AM by GandalfOfBorg
:ooc: Sorry, trying to decide what to do

The day wanes and night so waxes.  The Men retreat to slumber, leaving the Elves around the fire.  Gwaithlim was slow to speak while the other seemed more personable and engaging, not typical traits of Quendi and more like the younger, and conversation drifting from Mannish into Sindarin as it closer.  Gwaithlim probes deeper in Luindis, striking nearer his concerns.

 :ooc:
 :00:
Insight -  1d12 : 5, total 5
Rolled 1d6 : 1, total 1

I'll add 1 Hope if necessary.
Gwaithlim Weapons
Great Bow  Atk: 2d -- Dmg (0h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
Swords       Atk: 2d -- Dmg (1h): 5/11/17 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
                                    Dmg (2h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16

GandalfOfBorg

Gwaithlim Weapons
Great Bow  Atk: 2d -- Dmg (0h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
Swords       Atk: 2d -- Dmg (1h): 5/11/17 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16
                                    Dmg (2h): 7/13/19 -- Edge: 10 -- Injury: 16

Eclecticon

Quote from: Telcontar on Feb 07, 2023, 09:49 AM"The Great Wolfslayer asked in his way for those to come with him. Well, here is the Banner of the Folk! Who by will or by oath will join us and make for the ford? CARROCK! CARROCK AND THE BEAR!"

:ooc: This was a handsome effort, but Grimbeorn's already taken just about all those who were willing to fight for him across the Anduin with him.  A good speech shouldn't go unrewarded, though, so let's see how many stragglers there might be to add to the ~20 (in fact, bugger it - let's just say it's 20) hardy souls already following you:

Rolled 1d6 : 2, total 2


I'd add the AP for his Inspire roll, but my computer currently has a bad attitude about opening PDFs.  Would you mind doing the honours, Tom?
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: i'll try when I get home from work.
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18