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Lesson in stealth

Tags: Bardur,  Sahgigoth,  Agaracuk,  Shavyak

Short Summary: Two Dwarves out early for a spot of scouting find more than they bargained for!
Date (real-life): 2013-02-17
Scene Location: Rolling Dales
Date (in-game): March 3058
Time of Day: predawn
Rolling Dales

  Vegetation grows lush and wild, fed by the River Celduin which flows through the valley. Here, the river flows from northwest to southeast. A small but still well-defined road appears to follow its entire course while a larger, more heavily traveled road heads north, cutting past the great curve of the river. Many tracks, made by wagons, horses, and humans, suggest that this road probably serves as a major trading route through Rhovanion. Though sparsely populated, this valley is punctuated here and there by the odd farm or homestead, and in the distance can be seen the dark eaves of Mirkwood to the northwest, and the tiny town of Finney which stands to the southeast.

Obvious exits:
 North leads to Rolling Dales.
 SouthEast leads to In the Dale-lands, passing by Finney.
 NorthWest leads to Iach Celduin.


Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service

Real Time: Sun Feb 17 15:02:39 2013 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Monday, late night on a clear spring's night, March 19 of 3058


The deepest hour of the night is past, and dawn is not far off, as the chirruping and twittering of the first birds indicates. Spring stars wheel in a clear sky, gazing down on the land so recently ravaged by orcs. The patchwork of fields and forest is marred in several places by burning, or by worse. Here a mass of splintered and charred wood hints at the fate of a passing wagon; there the smouldering remains of a farmhouse (hopefully deserted in good time) cause the air above to waver and shimmer. Almost one might think the pinpoints of heavenly light to weep.

Perhaps dawn will bring a lifting of the shadow that lies on these parts - but some have not waited for dawn. A pair of squat, stumpy shapes are already making their way across the land, heading south and east from the spot where the Dwarven caravan is currently halted. No doubt they hope to cover more ground by rising so early. They crest a hill and for a moment a helm-clad head is silhouetted against the sky until the other Dwarf pulls his companion down. "For Mahal's sake keep /down/," he hisses, loudly. "A drunken goblin could spot you a mile off. Do they teach Skalds nothing?"

"I was only trying to get a good look," comes the plaintive reply, equally loudly. "That's what we're supposed to do, isn't it?" It is Bardur, perhaps the only Dwarf in the caravan still wet behind the ears when it comes to danger. Either the Dwarves are /very/ low on numbers or he's been sent out because he's ... well, expendable.

[Sahgigoth(#27594)]      In a dark thicket of the valley's forest, not far from where the two Dwarves tread, a single, lone Uruk is drowsily enjoying the equally lonesome company of a worn waterskin. The fetid stench of rough, immature ale permeats the air around it, as the carousing Uruk brings the crudely-crafted decanter to its swollen, cracked lips and takes another deep swig, the vile liquid trailing in thick gobs between its broken tusks. With a wet, gulping sound, it downs the last contents of the waterskin and flings it wearily away, letting out a wet, rotten belch. A thick frown registers on its feral face as it flinches, patting its belly several times afterwards.

"Bloody rotgut.", the Uruk exclaims in a gritty, slightly slurry voice, as it tries to huddle closer to one of the massive, ancient trees nearest to it, seemingly oblivious to the trailblazing companions.

Agaracuk's stomach growls as he skulks along a hedge row, bow in one hand and arrow in the other.

Other than the occasional murdering frenzy, these lands have proved futile to the large-bellied Isendrim and his stomach has now grown to know agitation. He scratches himself upon some low branches and curses lowly. At least, he thinks, it is dark out. The white eye, as he calls the sun, has grown wearily common on this (overlong, in his opinion) raid. "I just need to get a bite and a bit," the well-known and glutinous Agaracuk mutters to himself.

If it wasn't for the unheralded success these orcs from the secret southern mountain enclave have achieved, surely more orcs such as the layabout Agaracuk woul have returned to the caverns long ago. Agaracuk -- always the coniver and societal sponge -- surely wouldn't even be away from camp on a usual basis to do something like patrol, but: "Me grog..." he mutters brusquely. "Nothing to drink and me with a thirst. Me with hunger and nothing in the pot." His red-rimmed eyes the terrain for prey.

He passes a gap in the flora and suddenly hears a clanking and scuffling sound, as if something was quickly slammed to the ground.He perks up and looks around furtively. His gaze flickers upon a nearby hillside and his head tilts.

The Dwarven companions watch the world in silence for a while, and then the more experienced of the pair, Skorri, lectures his companion in a gravelly murmur, "You need to keep with the lay of the land. Make use of local cover. Like that." One gnarled hand indicates a thicket below. "Come on."

The fact that no birds are singing therein is completely lost on the pair, for after a moment's delay they start creeping down the hill towards it, Skorri managing a fairly respectable crouch and Bardur (who is favouring his left arm) doing his best to follow suit, the occasional clank of sword-belt against the studs of his leather jerkin or thud of a boot into a dip in the ground he hasn't spotted. The skald does halt at one point to cock his head and murmur, "What's that?", but Skorri mutters back derisively, "Your belly rumbling, likely."

[Sahgigoth(#27594)]      Scratching the back of its war-tidden neck, the small goblin groans in annoyance as it bumps its head against its battle-axe's shaft, the weapon's thick shaft biting deep in the tree bark right above it. Cursing loudly in its foul language, the Uruk stands up and dislodges its weapon, spitting a thick gob of phlegm aside and casts a furious, withering gazes about.

Half-chewed ears flick, as the sound of clanking metal reaches the thicket. Its drowsy manners instantly gone, it hisses and rushes towards the sound's direction, its frantic movement snapping several twigs and wreaking havoc in the forest's thick undergrowth.

[Agaracuk(#25152)] Though overburdened by armor and near-obesity, Agaracuk is still equiped with a surprisingly subtle (orcish) mind. He knows what he heard and he knows what it means. "Ain't no animal out there," he murmurs, crouching closer to the terrain. The occasional smacking of leather and the telltale -clank, clank- of metal reaffirm his position on the matter. In the distance, he sees some of those apparently local and repugnantly short creatures.

 "Gar! What luck!," he crows, perhaps too loudly. Agaracuk looks around nervously before his smile comes back, even broader.

His luck, as war profiteer and dirty trickster/opportunist, has been awfully good so far against these diminutive folk -- why should it end now? He grin fades, replaced with determination (fueled most likely by hunger), as he moves out from his cover near the farmer's hedge row. He holds his arrow up to the air, testing the wind. Sniffing, he thinks he can even smell the hairy creatures. He shakes his head vehemently and scowls.

Fangs bared, eyes gleaming, Agaracuk slips an arrow to his bow, aiming at the skulking, noisy, noisome dwarves. He draws his bow and fires at one.

*Agaracuk launches an arrow...*

*Agaracuk's arrow flies wide, doing no harm.*

Even a helmet-hampered Dwarf can't fail to notice all the ruckus Sahgigoth is making. At the first snap of a twig Skorri's axe is in his hand (unsurprising really, given he'd been in the process of drawing it anyway in case there were any overhanging branches needing hacked away). He halts just clear of the trees, swinging said axe from side to side menacingly.

Bardur, meanwhile, is less prepared. "Wh-?" he begins, when an arrow flies past his ear and thuds into the turf not far away. Well, that answers that. The young Dwarf throws himself flat in an instant - he's learned the proper response to these arrow things now! - and tugs his jewel-hilted broadsword from its sheath. And ... hesitates. Lying flat as he is, he's not much of a target, but what of his companion? He risks lifting Then begins to worm very slowly and determinedly on his belly toward the direction he thinks the arrow came from, grunting every time the motion jars his shoulder.

[Sahgigoth(#27594)]      "Skai! Curses of the Nine on your stunted limbs, runts!", the agitated Uruk growls, as Skorri's axe clips the leaves right next to it. Its initial look of dismay as numbers seem to be against it quickly becomes a calculating, avid glance, as it focuses its single good eye on Skorri and squinting heavily. The sudden twang of the arrow is lost upon it as battle lust boils visibly, its wretched features contorting into a hideous scowl of thick hatred. Without further ado, it brings its rusty-battle axe crashing against Skorri's side, seeking to disembowel the stout Khazad.

"Them fellars gots paybacks due," Shavyak whispers to Gargarbanthuk, "with or without'n the time for gettin my steps back." Cringing in lasting discomfort, he is slow to rise for this fight. His anger, however, seethes across his fangs. He dons his helmet.

Agaracuk crouches low again. "Flames and darkness!" he curses and smacks his fist into the earth. "Gar!" he cries/mutters and raises his hand up shaking it. He strings another obsidian barb to his overlong bow, scanning the horizon with his preternatural hunting skills, bred beneath the deep, ominous caverns of Angrenost. But! his prey has vanished!

Adept with a bow, and unused to actually missing a target, the orc takes a second to take in the scene. He doubts any creature can see him -- what with his useage of nearby cover and his superb nightvision -- but he surveys the terrain none the less.

Surprised, he notes that he is not the only of Morgoth's spawn in the immediate area. A faint smile once again appears on his dirt-encrusted face as he sees the dwarves embattled. He ponders for a moment, then lowers his bow. With a measure of aplomb, the orc fits an arrow to his bow and waits, judging.

The time will soon be right.

Agaracuk continually scans the horizon for the dwarf he first aimed at -- gone now, vanished into the night -- even to one with a moonlight hunter's vision.

Skorri's wild axe-swings pay off as the stout blade catches against that of the rusted battleaxe, deflecting the brunt of the diminutive orc's swing. With a disgusted exclamation of, "Goblin filth!" the Dwarf thrusts the offending weapon away and takes a step back. Retreat? No, he's simply getting in position for a blow of his own: the axe rises and then falls in a mighty arc aimed at cleaving Sahgigoth's skull in two (plus any offending greenery that happens to get in the way, of course!)

Bardur, meanwhile, continues his worm-like wriggling in what he hopes is the right direction. There's one problem - now that the arrows have stopped he can't /see/ that wretched archer. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea? Sighing, he slides back towards Skorri and his opponent - no chance of missing them, with all the racket they're making.

"Tales from the gray-heads says our fight with the bearded halfsies," replies Gargarbanthuk, "be as old and wretched as the orange she-beast of the sky. We hates the man-meat for they steal all the land; we hates the beardies for they tries to take our mountains. Them's our homes, its deep hate. Like poisoned blood."

Narrowing his single eye, brow furrowed over the riveted patch hiding the dead one, the Wardrummer answers, "I don't need no stories to hates 'em. If'n I can't ever make no little Yaks? Then they ain't gonna make no more'ns of they broodlings." He adjusts the straps on his wide wooden drum, turning the solid bottom forward before him.

[Sahgigoth(#27594)]      As its battle axe meets an abrupt and jarring end to its trail by Skorri's decisive parry, the Mordain shaman scurries a few steps backwards and hisses angrily as Skorri's blade barely misses its own neck, the fine axe whooshing extremely close to his vitals. Fear clearly registers on its ugly snout as its opponent is joined by his fellow Khazad. Immediately falling on the defensive, the small goblin keeps backtracking for a good moment, before abruptly advancing and aiming another ambitious, lopping vertical swing at Skorri's belly.

*Sahgigoth attacks Skorri with his Battle Axe, but he misses by a mile.*

Skorri is less inexperienced than his companion. When his downward blow meets nothing but air and a bit of branch (sharp twigs go flying in all directions) he lets his momentum carry him past and sideways, out of the range of the shaman's return swing. "What's the matter, too short to reach?" Skorri taunts, this time going for a sideswing instead. There's one small problem: the orc is retreating /into/ that spiny thicket. If the broader Dwarf wants to follow he'll have to start hacking a path.

Bardur, meanwhile, has slid far enough downhill that he risks standing up. Away to the east the sky is lightening and he's silhouetted agsinst it for a moment as he looks round for something - anything! - to hit. Preferably not Skorri.

*Skorri attacks Sahgigoth wildly.*

*Skorri badly wounds him!*

[Sahgigoth(#27594)]      Skorri's sideswing is skillful and fierce; the diminutive Uruk is no match for such a determined and measured onslaught. As the Khazad's axe bites deeply in its ribs, the goblin's black robes are sliced open and its scabbed, blemished grey skin shows beneath. The already tattered fabric of its robes is brutally shredded and almost instantly, a gush of foul black blood erupts from the nasty wound, along with a feral howl of agony from the shaman's throat. The blade's momentum thrusts Sahgigoth deeper unto the thorny growth of the thicket, where thorns and sharp twigs batter and sting the beleaguered goblin mercilessly. Letting out a high-pitched yelp of pure fear, the goblin unceremoniously turns its back and retreats deep into the forest, going straight through the thorny bushes, disappearing in the lush greenery.

Looking to his lesser traveled drummer-mate, Shavyak commands, "Beat that skin like it cursed yer Broodmarm. Make 'em think we doubled up the forces. Let 'em know we ain't never heard the word terrafiza.. terrifi.. tarniflicka.. whatever it is. Ain't no fear in this gear, ya hear?" His evil grin locks in place, wet with blood hunger.

Proceeding forward defiantly in step with the thunderous drumming, Shavyak's multidude of wounds hurt less each step. His claw shakes from the fierce grip readied upon his swordhilt.

Skorri gives a yell of triumph as his blade sinks into something less brittle than twigs. "That's more like it," he mutters happily, pulling back his axe in preparation for hacking away enough greenery to follow the orc into the thicket. It's wounded, after all, surely it won't go too far? His triumph is short-lived, however, as a thunderous rattle echoes on the air, shaking the ground underfoot. The axe halts mid-swing and he turns, slowly.

Bardur is already gazing unhappily toward the source of the sound, waiting to see what emerges to people the currently empty landscape. "That doesn't sound like one archer," he states the obvious. Then, worriedly, he queries his companion, "What do we do?"

Skorri chuckles. "Do? Keep that sword up. Whatever comes round the curve of that hill, you stick them with the pointy end." Sound advice.

The rumbling continues a ferocious crescendo. Is it growing closer? Upon one flank the raucous music grows - and is answered in the distance from another drummer of equal fury. Unimpeded by bramble, brush, or briar, the brute that is Shavyak marches through the half-shaded light of dawn in the thickets. Close now. Closer. Closer still. He can hear their voices.

Within feet now. Almost within reach. He steps one more large pace and snaps a thick branch beneath his heavy foot. He looks down - and finds footprints. Half-sized, yet deep from a heavy body and perhaps heavy gear. The enemy is near.

Agaracuk notes that Bardur has dropped his guard as he scan the horizon and is no longer prone. "Brilliant!" he smirks as he sees the dwarf downhill from his original position. He scowls in agitation at the louder-and-louder drums rolling up from around him. Still, he is orcishly optimistic: "More target practice!" He bumbles around in the bushes for a second with his arrow hand caught in some hedge thistles, but manages to bring his arrow to bear eventually. Slowly, he draws the bow and readies for another shot at the obfuscatingly distant and overlong-stubbled miscreant that is Bardur.

Agaracuk draws the bow back... he draws it back further... but the sudden rhythm of the pounding incessant drumming throws his aim off as more and more "musicians" join the clamor. He shoots accidentally low, cursing in tandem with the shot. "Stones full of holes!"

*Agaracuk launches an arrow...*

*Agaracuk's arrow flies wide, doing no harm.*

Bardur nods at Skorri, swallows hard and mutters a fragment of some Dwarven chant under his breath, no doubt to keep his spirits up. As the drums draw nearer the jewel-hilted sword in his right hand is visibly trembling, whether from nerves or anticipation. He starts to bring his left arm up to support it then hisses, winces and lets it drop back to his side. Wait ... wait ... Then that twig cracks, suspiciously nearby. Like the string on a bow, Bardur snaps: with a wild yell he charges blindly toward the thicket that could certainly conceal at least a dozen orcs, jabbing violently with his broadsword.

Skorri is rather more cautious. When an arrow-shaft slides clattering to the ground nearby he looks startled but then proclaims confidently, "Right at the limit of their shot. We should be fine, long as - wait! What? Bardur, come back!"

Too late to stop the green Dwarf from running right /into/ bowshot range, the older, more experienced (and more heavily armoured) Skorri can only plod slowly after, brandishing his axe menacingly.

"Rumble, tumble, stab ya stumble," Shavyak calls joyously at the emergence of an enemy. Quick snips of blade rip small gashes across his plated thigh-guards - steel of ultimate skill making its mark. His practiced blade knows the ways to fight much taller foes, and his swing downward upon this opponent shows his lack of certainty in the strike.

*Shavyak attacks you with his Short Broadsword!...
...and he hits! Ouch!*

Bardur seems quite taken aback when the bushes he was trying to stab give voice. "That," he announces primly, "does not scan-" The words cut off in an "Ugh!" as the orcish blade is deflected off the side of his helmet (there's good workmanship in that!) and takes a chunk out of his newly aquired leather armour, leaving a red gash beneath that's not just the Skald's fine claret-hued tunic. He, however, knows exactly how to fight against a taller foe - hasn't his comrade Dorn told him? Crouch to make yourself smaller and aim for the hamstrings! He can't quite reach those so he settles for sidestepping and then jabbing toward the nearest knee. "Stab and sting, sword-blade ring," he returns, ready to afflict Shavyak's ears if not any other part of him.

*You attack Shavyak with your Short Broadsword...*

*Your attack against Shavyak moderately wounds him!*

The wobbling step of the injured Wardrummer becomes another notch less steady - with such mass above the legs that now bear a slash each. "Songs ya makes, but bones I breaks," he howls poor imitation of common, sweeping jagged black steel around and low. He holds his shield centered before his damaged nethers, feet planted. The legs shake, as does the shield - this giant of an Orc is damaged.

*Shavyak attacks you with his Short Broadsword!...
...and he hits! Ouch!*

Agaracuk rumbles something in the horrid tounge of orcs and sets another arrow to his bow, lighting-fast, after he sees his first miss. As the almost-concurrent events unfold away from him, he sees Bardur charge over toward what, from his angle, looks like a hidden orc. Moving toward the foliage, Bardur unwittingly has blocked Agaracuk's longbow fire by passing in front of a tree. Still, the grizzled orc realizes, there is his companion. From his comforably distant firing range, Agaracuk decides to rain death down upon a new target. It should be easy enough, he figures. Despite both of his missed shots, ash-faced Agaracuk blooms ever optimistic in regards to his archery -- much to the dismay of his opponents, historically.

The swarthy orc takes his aim steadily, draws back and looses this foot-and-a-half black-fletched dart toward the dwarf.

*Agaracuk launches an arrow...*

*Agaracuk's arrow flies wide, doing no harm.*

Flushed with his own success, Bardur is a fraction too slow in stepping back and the jagged black blade catches him in the right thigh, the leather jerkin taking the worst of it. There's a thin line of red welling beneath. The young Dwarf's breath is quickening now, and though his teeth are set in a grimace of pain and effort there's a light kindling in his blue eyes. Limping only a little, he sidles sideways to jab at the other knee, declaiming eagerly, "Bright blade bite, win this fight!" Ever-hopeful, he is.

Skorri, meanwhile, is brought up short in his lumbering run by the arrow that flies past a mere yard from his bulbous nose. At a distance as he is, he can only turn and glare impotently at the archer, howling, "Come out and fight, coward!"

*You attack Shavyak with your Short Broadsword...*

*Your attack against Shavyak moderately wounds him!*

[<#25152>] Agaracuk stands up tall, brandishing his bow. Apparently, now visible in the half light, the orc is about 50 yards away -- standing near a low hedge row and brandishing his often-errant longbow. He quickly pulls another arrow from his sheath. "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH>" he cries and readies another shot. "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH>"

 Putting all of his weight on his forward the grizzled, heavy-framed orc lets fly yet another arrow, determined to dine on Khazad this early morning.

*Agaracuk launches an arrow...*

*Agaracuk's bowshot hits Skorri, lightly wounding him.*

Agaracuk's speech, motivational or otherwise, is met by a defiant yell, "Come here and say that!" And, suiting action to words, the angry Skorri starts to charge uphill towards the hedge. It's hard work with his heavy ringmail armour, but ... he's a Dwarf. All is going well until that next arrow, which lodges in the shoulder of his axe-arm. Not a cry escapes him, but the stony features grow rather more grey in hue. Stumbling to one knee, he closes the fingers of his other hand round the shaft and tugs impatiently ...

Agaracuk laughs at the blubbering ball of bluster as it blunders up the field at him. He guffaws anew when his arrow slaps into it's shoulder. He speaks slowly and deliberately: "You will die. All you have known will pass and fade. And I am the reason."

Agaracuk draws another barbed fletching from his quiver. This time, he aims a bit lower -- hoping to gut the dwarf with a shot to the belly. He takes his time with the aim, as the annoyingly small target is moving around trying to extricate the arrow from itself. He chuckles again at the thought of trying to draw such a vicious and ragged arrow tip from out of a wound. In his broken speech, Agaracuk roars out: "I will put you on the ground and then I will drink your blood and snap your bones for the marrow!" The massive orc almost sings the last words before releasing the next arrow.

*Agaracuk launches an arrow...*

*Agaracuk's bowshot hits Skorri, lightly wounding him.*

Skorri's tugging at the arrow is to no avail. Gritting his teeth, the Dwarf prepares to snap the arrow-shaft off instead. Stiffly, he begins to exert pressure ... twang! The second arrow finds its home in his left side and the Dwarf lets out a roar of pain.

That alone is enough to cause Bardur to blanch and begin to back away from his orc - his first orc, larger than life and twice as fearsome! - slowly at first, then he turns and closes the gap in a stumbling run. "I think," he states diffidently through flushed features that match the pretty red patch at his shoulder and the thin line of blood trickling down one leg, "that we really ought to report back." What? Who said retreat?!

Skorri does not even attempt to pull out the second arrow. Instead he stares dumbly down at the second shaft; it is some time before he can focus on his companion. "Aye," he agrees rather curtly. He takes one step and then another, then it becomes a shambling run.

Bardur, for his part, trots along quite willingly and even tries to support his companion with an arm under his shoulder until a bellow of pain warns him off (he would choose Skorri's injured side!) He does not look back. If more arrows come his way, they will be quite unimpeded.

Date added: 2013-02-18 12:22:09    Hits: 136
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