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CHAPTER 15 - Banners Bloody and Torn

Started by Eclecticon, Jan 24, 2023, 02:05 AM

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Eclecticon

Bright is the day, and bold are Hathcyn's words, but few are those who step forward.  One is a youth of perhaps seventeen winters, broad his grin beneath his flaxen hair.  The other is Luindîs, who shows no sign that the drinking of the previous night affects her still. 

"You?" Gwaithlim asks under his breath as he passes her. 

"And why not I?" she whispers in reply.  "Should I forsake the chance to witness an adventure of Esgalwen of Gondor, and of Hathcyn Foresthelm who is famed alike in song?"  She grins.  "High and noble as you are, you forget perhaps that we who dwell among the roots and glades must defend ourselves also, for the warriors of the Elvenking cannot be everywhere.  And perchance you shall see," she adds, tossing her head toward the bow and quiver slung upon her back, "that I pluck the strings as well as I blow upon the flute or beat upon the drum." 

Grim-faced and sparing no needless word, the company makes its crossing of the Anduin.  Low and sluggish run its waters beneath the already-warm July sun, and the weed-covered stones of the Dwarf-bridge that once bestrode it from one bank to the other now make for waystations in the crossing, and with the aid of these no member of the company, whether they fare on four legs or two, has to strain themselves to arrive sodden on the western side. 

From there, the path ahead is less certain but Hathcyn knows well the mind of his chieftain, and Esgalwen the mind of her friend, and each taking council from the other they recreate as best they can the path of Grimbeorn and of his army.  For a stoutly-defended homestead lies less than a day from the riverbank, and there the Wolfslayer would find allies and a rallying place for the western clans.  Before they can arrive, though, a gloom-filled cloud sweeps down from the mountains ahead to blanket the sky, and a dreadful sight meets their eyes. 

Upon the trail, surrounding what was perhaps once a cowherd's hut, lie the fallen bodies of several dozen Men, torn by orc-sword and pierced by goblin-shaft and now given over to the appetites of a lone wolf who even now tears at the flesh-feast before it.  As the company grows close, it raises its gory snout from its meal and lets out a high-pitched howl.  Before long, others answer. 
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

"This bodes ill, but I saw no sign that any crossed the ford. Esgalwen, did you see anything to the contrary? I'm afraid we've ridden over anything that was not obvious on our first crossing."

Then to the others, "be wary, stay together and do nit stray."
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

tomcat

With Hathcyn's question, Esgalwen dismounts and begins to give the ground a keen eye - looking for tracks or clues.

:ooc: is our group mounted? I assumed so, but let me know if different. Esgalwen does have her horse.

I am going to give an Explore test and a Hunting test. Paul you take the skill result that seems most appropriate, but she is trying to discern when or if Grimbeorn passed this location.

TN 14 explore 3d
:00: 1d12 : 3, total 3
Rolled 3d6 : 1, 6, 2, total 9


TN 14 hunting 2d
:00: 1d12 : 4, total 4
Rolled 2d6 : 4, 3, total 7

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: She is willing to throw a :vv: to either roll, if it would help. The Explore test would result in a 20 and the Hunting a 15.
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: Ah yes, the famed dice-rolling of Esgalwen strikes again...

Gwaithlim, upon seeing the beast gnawing upon the carrion and its called, he looks around from his vantage to see where the answering call comes and attempts to discern how their proximity.

 :ooc:
 :00:
Awareness - 1d12 : 4, total 4
Rolled 2d6 : 2, 5, total 7



 :ooc: The other curious question is Men dead at the hands of orcs... are their bodies of the Enemy about?  Does the wolf stay or run off at the sight of the company?
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

Telcontar

Hathcyn jerked at the reigns of his horse and moved into the field of carnage. He was experienced with orcs and their ways so his eyes looked for clues that a less experienced warrior might miss. 

 :ooc: Paul, I am tapping my Orc Lore here to see what I can deduce from the scene. Intent, size, patterns, etc.

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

Eclecticon

Feb 22, 2023, 01:36 AM #36 Last Edit: Feb 22, 2023, 01:58 AM by Eclecticon
Esgalwen and the wolf each keep a wary eye on each other as the former dismounts to read what might be read from the tracks left in the earth.  On closer examination, she can see that the bodies of Grimbeorn's slain warriors are mingled with those of great wargs, their sides pierced with spears and their heads split by the blades of axe and sword.  Here and there, an orc also lies among them, more than one still pinned beneath the beast that was clearly its battle-steed.  The tracks of wargs leave the field in all directions but many follow, and now hide, footprints of Men, hurrying west and south. 

"Warg riders," Hathcyn growls, his heart quickening at the thought, for though the slain foes before him are plainly of the tribes of the Misty Mountains, it seems that they have adopted the ways of their southern kin and have learned to ride the great and ferocious beasts of the mountain slopes into battle.  Ill this bodes indeed for their company, for besides the Fellowship itself only two of their number are mounted, and none are well-practiced in the art of fighting from the saddle. 

Gwaithlim, wary while his companion reads the tale of this woeful field, marks how the lone wolf keeps a careful distance from the well-armed Men but does not flee before them.  Around them, the howls sound again, clearly louder and closer.  Others of its kind, or perhaps worse still, are coming, and will be here uncomfortably soon.
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 is not like Grimbeorn, or any folk of the Vale to leave their dead to lie as carrion," said Esgalwen. "Whatever has occurred here did not end here. I can only assume Grimbeorn led his troops off in haste - either in pursuit," she paused for a moment and looked to Hathcyn, "or in retreat."

The encircling howls had her reach to her back and draw her bow, which she quickly bent and strung. Esgalwen's horse whickered nervously. It was a stout beast, but it was no warhorse, and neither was the Dúnadan a trained mounted-warrior. The Rangers of Ithilien moved about with stealth and secrecy, but primarily afoot. Horses were only used to convey a person long distances in haste.

Esgalwen undid the leather thong that secured the flap over her quiver and then drew an arrow and nocked it to string. "Hathcyn, we either need move forward now in pursuit of Grimbeorn, or I fear we shall be dealing with our own pack of wolves."
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

"The wolves it seems are inevitable. Perhaps we should give them a taste of our steel now to keep them off of our tracks later. Have we surmised where Grimbeorn has gone?"
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

GandalfOfBorg

Not knowing the man long, Gwaithlim figures Grimbeorn a strong and capable warrior and battle leader, so, not being a competent tracker, the elf looks about for the more tactical position to head towards.

 :ooc:
 :00:
Battle -  1d12 : 2, total 2
Rolled 2d6 : 6, 4, total 10

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

Few are the prospects that Gwaithlim finds for a strong defence here, for the land this close to the river is low, its hills gentle rolls in the land rather than steep fells.  Neither do any works of Men offer help, for whatever simple fences the folk who built this dwelling may have raised have been cast down, broken and trampled beyond repair by the hands of orcs and the feet of fighting warriors. 

As the howling draws ever nearer, the men who accompany the Fellowship start to draw closer together as those without shields seek the protection of those who carry them.  Then from among them comes the voice of Herwig, a proud and stalwart man whose kin dwell in the mountain foothills.  "Not far from here lies the steading of Ferthald and her kin.  Its walls are stout and its gates strong, and I'd sooner face wolves and orcs from behind them than out here!" 

Mutterings of agreement accompany his words, and it is plain that many of the Fellowship's followers are ready to make for such safety as the steading may offer, with or without their leaders' direction.  Gwaithlim, though, finds his heart sinking.  There might we find what we sought, he thinks, or the wolves and their horrible riders may fall upon us when we are strung out like beads upon a thread, disordered and weary.  Oh, where to face them and how?
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 missed the Wolfslayer and in this moment felt that command of this company fell to him. Now he was responsible for others and not just his own actions.

 "Let us make for the steading. A low wall will be better than no wall. Stay together and remain steady. If we are over taken we will have to stand and fight."

He signaled out two riders on good horses.

"Make to the steading with great speed and make sure it is not held against us. Everyone else, with me!"

THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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

Eclecticon

:ooc: Here's where I'd say 'roll Battle or Inspire, whichever is worse, to see how well you get them moving', but both of Hathcyn's scores are exactly the same and 'roll three dice plus the Feat die' just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

Battle/Inspire (TN 14)
:00: 1d12 : 9, total 9
Rolled 3d6 : 6, 2, 3, total 11
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

Off speed the riders with Hathcyn's words still ringing in their ears, and the warriors on foot make for the steading with all possible haste, for the heavy clouds even now begin to loose their waters upon the land, and cold water soon finds its way through the seams of cloaks and down the backs of necks.  The Beornings and their allies do not tire, though, for the wolves can soon be glimpsed through the rain, hackles high and jaws agape.  Here and there, one bears an orcish rider, their swords held loosely by their sides. 

This in itself Esgalwen finds troubling, for though the rain hides their numbers enough different beasts and riders can she mark to guess that they outnumber the small band of Men at least somewhat.  And yet, they do not press their attack.  Spurring her mount close to Hathcyn's, she voices this thought.  "Longspear, you know the ways of orcs better than any other here.  How do you read this riddle?" 

"I have no art to know their minds," he replies.  "But it's in their nature to destroy, and only when it serves some greater, blacker purpose will they restrain themselves.  I don't know what that purpose is, but I know there must be one and I mislike the knowing without being able to do anything but keep to our course." 

Still, the Fellowship's men keep in good order as they trudge along the increasingly muddy path through the deepening darkness, and it is not until the waning twilight shows the nearby palisade of what can only be the steading of Ferthald that matters change for here, at last, the thought of their prey finding save haven proves too much for the pursuing pack.  With a howling to chill the blood, the wargs spring, closing for battle. 
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

Quote from: Eclecticon on Mar 01, 2023, 11:25 PM:ooc: Here's where I'd say 'roll Battle or Inspire, whichever is worse, to see how well you get them moving', but both of Hathcyn's scores are exactly the same and 'roll three dice plus the Feat die' just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

Battle/Inspire (TN 14)
This dice roll has been tampered with!
:00: 1d12 : 9, total 9
Rolled 3d6 : 6, 2, 3, total 11

Lol, maneuvering the LM to roll for you is a tried and true method regardless of which version or server the board is on!
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

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