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Tough Decisions

Tags: Grimbeorn,  Mobeorn,  Rika,  Witch-king,  Bagaglok,  Brev

Short Summary: A small camp of Beornings is ambushed by Mordain Orcs, and in the blackness an even deeper shadow lurks. The shapeshifter, Mobeorn, finds himself faced with a hard decision--to fight against the Shadow and the goblins, or to yield to its request and thereby save the trapped villagers.
Date (real-life): 2009-10-23
Scene Location: Western Mirkwood Ruins

[+TIME] Middle-earth time is:
Nighttime on Mersday, Day 6 of April.
Execute the +TIMEFRAME command for year information.

Real time is: 22:28:02 MDT on Fri Oct 23 2009.

Mirkwood Ruins - Inside the North Gate

The great wooden gates lie here, smashed open and burned beyond repair. On all sides now is the great forest, though to the south the ruins of the village are not yet completely reclaimed by the great treetops of the forest. Old burnt timbers lie on the ground, as if cast about from above. Scorched branches and the remains of a flet - a few burnt planks, are in the canopy above. There has been another fire in this area, recently, and the smell of charcoal, and burnt rotten wood fills the air. A patch of the canopy above has been opened by the fire, and a column of light shines into the center of road. The light casts through the black fingers of the leafless branches and casts bent shadows on a Great troll lying across the road. Underbrush is already beginning to cover the packed dirt road, weeds and vines masking rubble and ash from the fires.

 The patterns of starlight coming through the trees' canopy is clear enough for you to make out the distinct ruts in the ground which hide beneath the underbrush, as well as see the wreckage of village buildings which lie close to the south.

OOC: There are +inspectable objects in this room: troll
Obvious exits:
Up, Ruined Stables, South, and North


"Over here somewhere."

A small group of Beornings, it might seem from the looks of them, have made a bit of a camp here in the abandoned Woodmen village. The flickering firelight from the campfire reveals they have spent the day cleaning up the place, a pile of rubbish off to one side, and a half dug pit for burying things in. Now, the last of the group is settling down to sleep, and the words that are heard were spoken by a large brown-haired man, gesturing where his partner in the night watch that he seems to be taken, should be stationed. Mobeorn, once he has spoken, peers off into the darkness, moving a few paces from the firelight and the camped and sleeping Beornings so as to adjust his eyes better to the dark.

[Rika(#16961)] One of the Beornings tosses restlessly, unable to sleep. She eventually sits up, rubs her eyes, and plucks a few bits of earth out of her ginger hair, shaking it free of small pieces of twig. As she does this, she looks toward the spot where Mobeorn has moved. "Is something the matter?" the young woman called Rika whispers. She looks unsure whether Mobeorn, with his back to the group, will hear her.

And it is in the darkness which prowls creatures of the night that would be seizing advantage of the lack of the scorching sun; there are dark shapes that skulk about amongst the gnarled trees. The faint flickering from the distant campfire is enough to peek through the edges of the gloom, and its presence no doubt causes whatever lurks in the shadows to do so quietly. Perhaps curiousity brings them closer, and foolishly they draw too near. No sure forms are revealed from the blackness, and yet should the Beorning watchers look hard enough, they just might glimpse the flash of yellow eyes from beyond the brushes.

Behind the approach of the orcs, a blackness seeps to contrast with the firelight toward which they creep. But the shadows are not alone in the wake of the uruk-hai -- an icy finger of cold tracing against the air follows suit, and the keen nose of Mobeorn might pick up a dread they have known before.

Lucky for yellow eyes in the dark, the overly large Beorning turns toward the young woman now addressing him, taking his eyes off the forest for the moment. "There's always trouble here. Damn fool idea to come out here overnight to try to clean up the place anyhow. Do they think they'll rebuild the village after all these years? Defend it against the scum that fouls this forest now?" He shakes his head, eyes going back to the forest now, though not yet sniffing out what he ought to.

"If you want to help out, though, stop standing there and come stand watch. You brought a weapon, right?"

It's then, though, the Mobeorn's nose wrinkles and he turns, eyes searching the growing darkness.

[Brev(#30997)] Amongst the Beornings, one stocky-set young fellow has already rolled himself in his blankets, over-eager for slumber - though a woodsman's axe lies ready by his hand. Now, as a chill seeps through the air, he rolls over, whimpering in his sleep, then jerks half-awake and mumbles indignantly, "Who took my blanket?"

It seems smell inspection is the chosen method for tonight; many orc noses sniff the dank air, collectively enough to rival the keen senses of the Beorning man. The luminous pinpoints of evil light flash back and forth between the two speakers, and then again as the younger one stirs. The darkness that comes in their wake simultaneously drives a sharp fear and excitement through the Uruk group that yet lies in wait beyond the reach of the flames that now contest with the cold that creeps forth.

And as the the orcs fan out stealthily within the shadows of the ruins, the blackness in the trees behind them beyond grows all the more. Softly, slowly it seeps about the broken stonework, spreading out to subtly claim yet more of the forest beyond the reach of the firelight.

A hiss of breath escapes from between the shapeshifter's teeth; his deep brown eyes hold the sparkle of what little starlight there is left still and seem to pierce the night. "Build that fire up!" he hisses toward the encampment. "Wake up and arm! There's trouble brewing!" Staring back into the growing darkness, he frowns deeper. "And worse," he mutters to himself.

[Brev(#30997)] "It's round you!" someone else retorts to the mumbling Beorning, more annoyed at the disturbance than anything else - but then he, too, shivers. "Something ... doesn't feel right." Though here in Mirkwood, as night falls, who would expect anything other than to be watched?

The half-asleep fellow sticks out an arm and gropes around, perhaps seeking for a second blanket; instead his hand falls on the cool, smooth haft of his axe. As Mobeorn's barked order full wakefulness comes, and as men move about to fetch branches, he tries to wriggle free of the prisoning blanket so that he can help them.


As the rousing call to arms springs out in the musty area, the Orcs are quick to drop the cautious approach; now, without warning, a handful of grimy brutish creatures burst out from behind the charred remaines of stonework and wood. Gruesome howls come forth as the foremost goblins make the first charge upon the camp, weapons gleaming in the fading firelight. Still other Uruks choose to keep cover behind the crumbled stone shapes; bows are fitted with black arrows as the creaking of wood drifts upon the air.

A muddied red cloaked form is of these who linger yet behind, though he is no archer himself. For now it seems, the shaman Bagaglok is content with observing the proceedings from this vantage point some distance away.

And then a word rings out from the blackness of the shadows; low and terrible, spoken in a dark tongue. "<Mordain Uruk> Halt!" it cries, and from the lightless depths of the forest a figure melts. Tall and hooded it comes toward the rear of the orc party, passing the red-cloaked figure to stand against the firelight.
"<Mordain Uruk> Stay your blades until the order is given," the figure rasps over those gathered, and a dread follows every word.

The men and women of Beorning here spring to arms--blankets are tossed off, axes are drawn and bows, for those who have them, are strung. The weapons were kept close by, but precious seconds were wasted in gathering their wits and arming. A few even pick up flaming branches from the fire, brandishing them.

Mobeorn is at the forefront of this group; the air arund him shifts as in the darkness he assumes a bear shape.

A brief panic of confusion immediately follows the fell voice that utters the command, and there is a flurry of movement as the Orcs abruptly cease in their advance; much jostling and scrambling passes as the group attempts now to pace back a length away, and many of the twisted beings trip and are trampled in their haste to comply. Poisoned darts are stayed, and no Orc-bow yet sings.

As the dark shape draws nigh, the shudder that spreads amongst the Uruks is visible, and they stand awkwardly at attention, eyes peering about nervously; a few of the goblins appear reluctant to step in retreat, but fear rules them, and they nevertheless do as they are ordered. The rear of the Mordain party grows more crammed as the Orcs shift in reverse, and the tarnished scarlet cloak of the shaman is heightened in contrast to the mass of mail and leather armor. Bagaglok stands motionless as the black figure passes, and his gaze remains determindely away from that dread being. Despite the terror that presses down as with an iron fist over the Orcs, the shadowy presence yields from them a sort of sick confidence that is not shattered even as the large bear emerges from the other side of the firelight.

"You wear a skin ill-suited for talk, kin of Beorn," hisses the voice of the black figure over the night air, now choosing to use the words of the Common Tongue.

"<Atliduk> Back! Now! To the village!" The bear barks an order in its own language; a few of the villagers will likely understand. And then again the light around him shifts to reveal the man once more. "What more do you want now?" Mobeorn growls in the common tongue.

As the villagers begin to move away in fear and confusion, perhaps some idea of Mobeorn's command has been guessed by the dark figure opposite him, and the Nazgul seethes out an order of his own. "<Mordain Uruk> Let none leave."

But then the black-robed menace turns his cowl to face the Beijabar anew and he adds in the Common Speech: "I come to remind you of the price of peace, shapechanger. Perhaps your wits will be sharper with your people so close to the butcher's knife."

"My wits are sharp enough," Mobeorn answers in a growl. "Do you think I'm a fool enough to trust the likes of you to honor your word? When has the enemy told else but lies and deceit? See what your kind did even here," he gestures to the ruins around them. "Fouling the forest with blackness."

A fresh rush of clawed feet and iron-shot boots thunders as the Orcs spring forward once again, the tidal wave of their attack splitting deftly in twain as the creatures fan out on either side of the camp; flowing with the steady course of the renewed charge, Bagaglok draws his own weapon forth as the Uruks attempt to encompass the entire scene of desolation. Dark scimitars and other fell blades glint cruely in the night, and various throaty cries of thrill escape fanged mouths as the goblins close about the fleeing forms of the villagers.

"If the sight is ugly to your eyes," breathes the voice of the Ringwraith in reply, "you should be glad of the offer to see less of such things. I come with the same bargain as before, though now I demand it of you, lest your people fall prey to my servants' malice. Will you roar and snarl to speed their deaths, or bow your head to spare them?"

No cowards and no novices at fighting, but the villagers take what chance they can to try to flee toward the road, brandishing firery branches if they must to try to break through the ring of orcs.

"But you kill them now already!" Mobeorn roars, turn between turning back to help the fleeing Beornings and the dark figure's threat.

The wave of Beornings and Orcs meet with a deafening clash of metal; for those humans wielding nary but a blazing torch, the cold thump of steel soon rends several of their branches into crudely sliced stumps. The slower villagers are swiftly overtaken, and the Uruk throng shows no mercy as it continues its blunt assault; fangs are not forsaken as tools of battle, and yells of pain split the forest gloom as a few of the hungrier goblins seize the opportunity for a bite.

A sizzling piece of branch is thrust outward, a little too close for comfort; there is a hasty whirl of fabric as Bagaglok turns to the side to avoid the cursed flames, and he hisses in annoyance at the small boy who carries it. "This is not your place, whelp," the shaman rasps darkly as he swipes his scimitar out, seeking to knock the burning stick from the human's hand. Perhaps, there is a bigger purpose to his choice of direction--there are some ruins that are themselves wooden scattered about, and the torch would surely set them alight if they are dry.

Seeing the small human boy facing the orc, a fiery-haired woman hurries forward to the boy's side, her axe raised. In the light of the flaming piece of wood that's tossed away by the scimitar, it can be seen that this woman is in her late teens at most- still young herself. Wide-eyed and a little breathless, Rika raises the axe and orders Bagaglok, "Back! Get away!"

"... them ... stop..." Mobeorn snarls in a barest hiss, seeing the fighting begin. "... ... ... things ... ... ... ..., ... ... ... ... go ... back ... ... .... Leave ... ... ... the ... ... peace. ... ... ... ... ... you ask."

A long hiss fills the air between the Witch-king and the Beijabar, ere the cowl of the Nazgul dips in agreement. "<Mordain Uruk> Let the rabble go..." he rasps to the uruk-hai. "<Mordain Uruk> They are no longer needed."

A yellow-eyed leer is given as the lass steps forward to the boy's aid, and an unpleasant laugh drifts toward the pair. "And you are to save him, then?" The cloaked form of the shaman growls, watching as Rika bares the sharp axe in defense. "The prowess of a maimed man yet surpass the intimidation of the both of you combined." Despite the tone of the Orc's voice, the sight of the brandished axe seems to deter Bagaglok, and he does not yet attack.

The boy's torch lands upon the wood ruins with a dull thud; there is nary even a spark, for the ground proves damp under the oppressive canopy. The other Uruks in the background continue their strike--then, the dark being speaks again, and the creatures turn their hunched forms in its direction once more; the frightened villagers that still seek to escape are no longer hindered, and the Orcs withdraw, though some clearly take a few of the fallen forms of unfortunate Beornings with them as they do so.

It is then that Bagaglok turns to leave, leaving only a venemous growl of discontent to flit between the two that would oppose him.

Only one word is spoken to the villagers as the orcs end their attack, letting the Beornings flee, and that word is in the local tongue, Eothrik. "Go!" Mobeorn's voice crashes through the forest, then he turns and speaks to the dark form, using the common tongue. "Very well. I will do as you ask." He turns his back on the west and Beorning.

"Come," says the Ringwraith in answer to Mobeorn, and he turns to beckon the Beaijabar eastward. Thither lies the shadows of the forest, and the Nazgul strides silently into their midst, leaving the direction of the uruk-hai to the Shaman, Bagaglok.

With that, the Beorning man follows, not looking back on his land and kin.

The flame-haired Rika stands a little taller as the orcs begin their retreat, not shrinking back at the sound of Bagaglok's growling. She stands a little uselessly for a moment, just holding her axe aloft; this young warrior girl is not yet seasoned with experience. Then she shakes herself, as if waking, and guides the boy (and any others who will follow her) to flee in a group toward home.

The movement of the horde rises to an awful racket, Orkish cheers to accompany and speed on the departing humans. A heavy veil seems to be removed as the darkness heads into the East, and the goblins are more at ease to do as they will. A cluster of eager snaga swarm about one of the lifeless forms of the Beornings, and are simultaneously shot a dark gaze by Bagaglok as he passes them. "Not here, you mindless worms," he says, pausing for only a moment to twack the closest lanky Orc with the blunt of his scimitar; the yelp that follows is ignored. "They have gone for now, but there are some who might yet return; there are many of you--drag it back to camp if you wish to feast, or at least further off."

With a horrid air of triumph, the remainder of the Uruks return their way into the dark of the forest once more, bringing along whatever prizes they can carry. There is no doubt in their awful minds that the camp will see a satisfying dinner this late eve.

Date added: 2009-10-25 18:11:24    Hits: 59
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