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Where the wolf howls, the orc prowls

Tags: Bernar,  Celys,  Hrodwyn,  Shavyak

Short Summary: Warriors of Esgaroth on a training exercise, led by Bernar, Celys, and Hrodwyn, are surprised to meet Shavyak and the orcs of Isengard near Iach Celduin.
Date (real-life): 2013-02-03
Scene Location: Dale-lands: West side of the Bridge (Iach Celduin)
Date (in-game): February 8, 3058
Time of Day: Dusk
Weather: Clear
[Dale-Lands Main Code Library(#28224)->Bernar] 
=-=-=-= Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Real Time: Sun Feb 03 21:58:46 2013 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Trewsday, nighttime on a clear winter's night, February 8 of 3058
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service =-=-=-=

Bernar, Shavyak

A bridge across the water far to the horizon, and mingled against the sharp winter sky's dusk. A cold sun through purple and pink over rolling land. On the east side of Mirkwood the winter is deep, but missing the harsh breath of the Hithaeglir. This coldness the Fighting Uruk-Hai bring, in steel, in step, in skill. Within a small patch of woods, an island of trees offshot and misplaced from ancient roots farther west, they hide. It is familiar land. Bloodied before with more than their own.

Shavyak scans the open area behind him, sapplings attempting to regain what was destroyed, and wanders alongsdie the pair of warg riders and their mounts. Two per sub squadron. One engineer. And a mingle of others to complete a dozen. A few peer at a scrap of leather spread on a stump. Scrawled with their portion of instructions and lay of the land, a deep conversation continues. "I dun care what they bother with'n them doodlins," Shavyak comments to the riders. "Not like we know this land all 'at well; we will better with you fellars. Wish they'd told me what our little group sposed to be up ta." He adjusts the strap for his quiver, and idly flexes the wood of his bow. The beasts remain quiet with some creatures recently acquired and lengthy leg bone. The War Drummer steps in moss wrapped boots closer to the edge of the trees.

From the east come riders, well-lit despite the dusk. Every third man bears a torch or lantern aloft in his off-hand, and the others have theirs within reach. The emblems of the King's Men are common among them, the royal crest - a crown - in yellow or golden thread, depending upon their rank. But some officers and one-third of the patrol wear the colors and heraldry of House Karath: red and blue, with the crossed golden sword and golden axe symbolizing their ancient ties to the folk of Erebor. There is a strange division between the older and younger folk: many of the older have a black arrow underlaying the golden crown of the royal House Girion, or worked otherwise into the iconography of their armor.

All told, the resplendent, many-hued company number fifty, at most. Outriders, with covered lanterns that shine in only one direction, pace them a mile or so out from the main group.

At the left side of the company, on a warhorse that would seem tremendously oversized were it not for the great bear of a man it carries, rides Bernar, the Lord of House Karath. On him, the crossed golden sword and axe have a black arrow, as well. He is speaking, his head turned to face the soldiers: "The importance of scouting is not to be underestimated. It is one of the most dangerous and yet most crucial roles in any army."

He looks ahead - he cannot yet see more than a dim outline of the woods that lie east of Mirkwood proper, and it fades in the dusk even as he looks. But he knows what is there: "Any cover could hide an enemy. Take those trees. Any enemy could hide a camp in there, were they not too numerous." They move on, the soft clop of their horses hooves counting the staccato notes of a brisk walk.

[Celys(#13888)] One of the companies of spearmen, all afoot, wears blue cloaks and carries the banners of the city of Laketown, and one banner with the silver tree of the House Taurdain. The Esgaroth Watch has come, with some of their finest warriors--scruffy-looking scrappers with weather-worn faces and battered armor and cloaks, the lot of them. The scrappiest of the lot is Celys of Taurdain himself, Watch-Captain, armed with an old sword and a great bow. He is accompanied by a wiry-looking sergeant, who relays his soft orders with a great bark. So it is that gruff cries of "Hold formation!" and "Stay sharp!" keep these spearmen alert as they march, looking for signs of the enemy.

[Hrodwyn(#12320)] Holding at the rear of the Dale-landers behind the Esgaroth Watch is one final mounted squad of the King's Men. This group, young but with sharp eyes, facially unimposing yet somehow exuding a potent strength, is led by Lieutenant Hrodwyn of Karath.

The Lieutenant rides easily with a sword at her side and a bow strung over her shoulder. All the while, she looks calmly into the darkness surrounding the troop while tapping thoughtfully on the pommel of her sword. And, although she gives no verbal orders, the rest of the rear-guard is equally watchful, attention focused on the night.

A sliver of gray descends a shadowed western slope, matching movement with the gusts of wind. Reaching the brush that hugs the woods the shape rises from a crawl into a crouched run, and under the edge of the oaks and beech it takes to a run. Past Shavyak, the wolves, and riders. Straight to the stump where between ragged breath the Raven scout reports, "Ten hands of troop. Horses and spears. We won't be crossing the river at this point. Leastways not this night." Krip, Wolf Company Lieutenant, declares, "Signal the adjoining squads."

Cutting across the hills, the Wargs cry as their bones are stolen away. Their brethren answer across vast distance. Shavyak smiles, jaggedly and wet. The riders give their mounts a sharp tug at the chain, and they sit into obedience. "Some good singin' there, fellas," the War Drummer comments. One call to alert. A second howl to request aid. The squadron's leader marches forward to Shavyak's side, readying his own bow. "That light there," he notes, "that ain't sun there coming over the river. Looks as if our Raven eyes count well."

"Strange," says one of the sergeants in with the heart of the cavalry patrol. "There were no reports of wolves in Iach Celduin." But the howls cannot be denied.

Bernar frowns at the sound. "I do not know that it is true this day," Lord Karath says, addressing his troops once again, "But there is a wise proverb: 'Where the wolf howls, there also the orc prowls.' We must be vigilant. Strange things come from Mirkwood."

The foremost of the outriders, with their lanterns shining only forward, are about three-fourths of a mile from the stand of trees.

[Celys(#13888)] Celys gestures his company to a brief halt at the sound of the wolves howling. "Trouble can't be far," he says quietly. "Guard the flanks. Be ready to form a shield wall at my signal." These orders are then relayed by his sergeant, and the watchmen proceed, looking ready to drop into a battle formation at any moment.

[Hrodwyn(#12320)] With an exchange of looks, Hrodwyn's small squad fans out, breaking from a group into a straight line running perpendicular to the rest of the Dale-landers. As for the lieutenant herself, her position is in the middle of the line, and her eyes take on a new urgency as they seek to penetrate the night. Likewise, the other members of the rear-guard look about, eyes intense, necks sometimes craning forward. An uneasy intensity lingers on them all.

"Remember, Shavyak," tutors the Lieutenant, "We come to breed fear. To strike forth here would only fuel their hopes. They have bred often and well, these Northmen - to have so many away from their towns? Certainly there are vast hosts beyond. The open lands south. Thats the path we take this time."

"Ain't gotta be tellin' me, yer fanciness, sir," the War Drummer responds. "Makes 'em think we come with all them Redeyes or Flamers likes we has 'afore. Ain't gots to remind me 'bout how the last'n went. They strong here to the north. Lets see what they keeps in they britches, down t'other way, if'n ya follows." He draws his bow, "But not without makin' em think we'll do that foolery all t'over agains." Drawing his own, the Lieutenant answers, "You might just have a brain in that burnt up skull after all, Shavyak." They watch the approach, as those equipped in their small band match the leader's choice of wield. Slowly their breath rises and falls, cruel harmony to gusts of frigid air.

Those scouts farthest to the front are now slowing their horses and peering into the denser darkness of the woods. One advances to enter the brush and scrub, while a second stays back and watches him.

Bernar gives a quiet order, "Loose formation," which is relayed on back through the cavalry, and they spread out, giving each horseman more room to maneuver, and making them less susceptible to an ambush. There's probably nothing but wolves - but this is training, after all.

[Celys(#13888)] Celys eyes the rest of the formation thoughtfully. "Hold back, form up," he says. His formation slows to a halt, raising up their shields defensively. "Let's see if I'm right."

[Hrodwyn(#12320)] Hrodwyn's rearguard halts a short distance from the Esgaroth watch and pivots, fanning out into a semi-circle that not only covers the rear but gives its primary attention in that direction. She alone does not partake of this formation but rather moves her horse forward to the center of the squad, facing forward but alternating her attention in every direction. The tension in this last group of riders rises, slowly, steadily...

Three gusts of wind and the air is still. Two breaths again and a hush. Four blasts of chill and then silence across the hills. Krip drops his bow shaking his head with dismay, "No pattern. A storm is behind us. The Will is distant, and this night tastes too fair for my palette." He slings the black wood over his shoulder as he meets the squad's Engineer. "Put anything ugly together?" he asks.

"By the mornin, sir; fore the She-beast get back in my sky I'll have her eye and they's," responds the tinkerer with confidence. "If they gets a cosy and starts a fire for the night," he adds. With the arrow upon the drawn string, itchy finger long held at bay, Shavyak's grip slips. A single wide stick of feathered Uurk make darts through the dusk. A Warg-Rider, now mounted, strikes down at the fool of a brute's helmet. The ringing of metal to his skull brings the mighty wolves to new chorus.

Shavyak launches an arrow...
Ow! You've been injured for 8 hp's by the bowshot.
ARB: Please RP this injury accordingly.

The arrow soars past the scouts now entering the wood, and the twang is noticed. The shaft flies into the group of cavalry, and strikes true into Bernar's shoulder. He grunts, turns his head down to examine the black-feathered arrow, and calls "Orcs!" to his men. His adjutant comes over and begins to speak to him, but the Lord of Karath shrugs off the concern. "I've been hit worse." And his armor did reduce its force. Still, he sounds a bit hurt and angry as he raises his sword to point forward. "Scouts to the edge of the woods! Track if they pull back! Cavalry forward! Lieutenant," he calls backwards, "Make sure this isn't a diversion!"

And they push through into the woods. Thanks to the arrow, it isn't a surprise when they find uruk-hai staring them down. And each man and woman tries to push past and through together, swords hewing down. Bernar finds himself facing an orc without an arrow strung. He takes an arcing swing downwards as his horse pushes forward.

You attack Shavyak with your Longsword...
Your attack against Shavyak lightly wounds him!

[Celys(#13888)] "Shield wall!" cries Celys then; as his men snap into formation, he draws his long bow and looses an arrow in the general direction of the apparent location of the orcs. He then drops the bow and draws his own sword and joins the formation--a wall of Lakeemen, ready to face any danger.

"Ghosties, ghoulies, they horses be out this world," screams Shavyak running from the onslaught of hooves upon him. He hastily slings his bow over his shield arm and stumbles a series of steps after poorly jumping over a fallen log. The earth thunders about him, and the Wargs respond. Tearing jaws and jarring whips of tail and spinning speedy legs they dance across and past the path of the horses - and return striking, clawing, biting anew.

"Blades up you meritless rabble," screams Krip, to find the warriors far more seasoned than his Command's tenure. They stand steadfast and well armored striking at legs of equine and human attackers alike.

Several horses take scratches and grazes, and two go down, hamstrung by the wolves' sharp teeth. As the horsemen plow through the orc lines to the emptier forest beyond, Bernar calls out in an echoing bellow, "Reform on the far side of the woods! Reform!" Some of the greenhorns are having trouble with their horses, in the presence of the wargs. Some of the older men are, too: it seems the horse's experience of this kind of battle is more important than the rider's, in this case.

The two downed riders quickly find their throats cut by the wargs, their riders, or the uruk-hai infantry line.

"Dinnnnnnnnnneeeeeeerrrrrrr" bellows Shavyak in the speech of caves, working with the buckles on the leather straps of his War Drum. The sight of man-blood furies the spirit of the Uruk Warriors, and they dive into their deaths and glory. Krip readies his blade, stepping slowly and firm towards the center of the skirmish. He sets his feet in fighting crouch.

"Sonny yer a bold man, cold man, old man, bliggy bliggy bloodied all on yer face," calls Shavyak across the din, rumbling baritone and furied imitation of the common tongue.

[Celys(#13888)] "To me!" Celys' shield wall marches forward implacably towards the line of uruk-hai infantry, until, at a single gesture from the Captain, they raise their spears and run forward with surprising discipline for a charge--and once the formation has clashed against the orcish lines they reform. Celys, armed with his sword, hangs back from the charge at first, then jumps in once the forces are engaged, moving with surprising grace and skill for a mere watch-captain.

Gradually the cavalry recover cohesion after their charge. Bernar points with his sword back along the side of the trees, and they set off at a gallop to ring back towards where they can hear the sounds of a battle joined.

Meanwhile, the rear guard remains ready for any sign of a larger orc force. Two of the scouts are galloping back to Iach Celduin, dispatched as soon as it was clear an enemy force was present, lest news not otherwise reach the garrison.

From the north and south and west pairs of Wargs and Riders tear across terrain. The second call is answered, reckless bowmen born on each of the wolves backs. They fire relentlessly, emptying quivers. A cascade of deep rippling horns echoes signals over great distance. Torches light a sudden twinkle over the plains. Seven. Eight. Nine. None is near; but each is all too close.

Shavyak bellows his approval across the grasslands, "We will, we will, CHOMP YOU!" He raises his sword and turns about ready for his maker.

[Celys(#13888)] Celys' men manage to hold their line until both sides break from the fight; they once again drop into a shield wall formation, remaining a defensive bulwark until they get the opportunity to withdraw from the battlefield.

The rear guard fans out, its mix of light and heavy cavalry engaging the wargs cautiously, attempting to keep them from the flanks of the Watch and Bernar's heavy cavalry and maintain a clear line of retreat.

A horn blasts three times from that heavy cavalry as they near the recently-disengaged line. Slowing to a trot, they cover one side of the spearmen, opening the way for them to speed their withdrawal.

"Mud on yer face," curses Shavyak, the gash across his back bleeding. The Wardrummer's sword remains clean. "Into the hills, Uruk," barks Krip, "And toward the lights! Follow the wolves to regroup!"

Blinded in battle and leadership, the Lieutenant realizes his order is useless, once within the light of another company's torch. "The woodcutter.. that wardrummer.. is he here?"

Shavyak barrels across the countryside, holding his makeshift shield behind his head.

Date added: 2013-02-04 01:02:17    Hits: 74
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