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The army departs

Tags: Lorthrain,  Leofric,  Louse

Short Summary: Lord Lorthrain of Girion, with the hunter Leofric at his side, leads the King's Men and the soldiers of House Karath to reclaim Buhr Marling. Watching from afar, Louse is much moved.
Date (real-life): 2011-05-31
Scene Location: Dale-lands: Approaching Esgaroth
Date (in-game): January 3053
Time of Day: Morning
Approach to Esgaroth

The rolling farmlands of Dale extend to the north and south on either side of the Esgaroth Road, however dominating the the view to the east are the rolling waters of the long lake, and the town of Esgaroth which sits upon it. Spanning the distance from the shore to the thriving town on the lake is a large bridge of wood, flanked by a pair of guardhouses. Banners fly streaming from the bridgeposts in the wind off of the lake. The bridge is busy, and the sounds and sights of life in the small city are apparent acrossed the short span of water.

Obvious exits:
 Wooden Doors leads to Stables.
 Lake-town Ferry leads to Esgaroth Docks, Western End.
 West leads to Hillside.
 Bridge leads to Esgaroth Bridge.

=-=-=-= Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Real Time: Tue May 31 15:40:53 2011 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Sunday, early afternoon on a clear winter's day, January 22 of 3053
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service =-=-=-=

The morning light is bright and eager as it bursts over the Long Lake and the fabled town of Esgaroth. Lances of golden fire race across the water's surface as though rekindling the breath of the Dragon whose bones now lie beneath it, and the winter air is crisp and breezy, setting the banners and the flags of the Laketown's taller buildings gently flowing.

And gathered to see it is the mustered might of the northern Dale-lands; the forces sworn loyal to King Brand drawn up in ranks upon the gentle slope wends down from the hillside westward to the shores of the Lake itself. Fully a thousand men are gathered here, drawn from their various quarters and ready to march southward, and their own banners are no less impressive.

The standard of Brand's House of Girion rises above all others, but here too can be seen the colours of House Karath, the noble emblems of the King's Men and the Order of the Black Arrow, and even the heraldry of those few from Taurdain who have chosen to tread the miles to the plains of Rhun in defence of the realm.

Six hundred footmen can be seen arrayed in regiments, the body of the King's Men that are housed within Thrush Hill Tower and the various smaller towns nearby, and beside these stand the auxiliary troops; archers and warriors from other walks of life. A hundred or squires and pages are present to lend aid to their lords and knights of the Black Arrow, and a hundred more healers, smiths, tanners and cooks also stand behind this guard of might from the kingdom. A force indeed to be reckoned with, so so they doubtless hope, and now hey await merely the word to move out; a gentle murmur of anticipations running through their ranks.

And walking across the bridge of Esgaroth to join them is one Lord Lorthrain; spotring his armour and readied it seems for battle.

Louse and one of her cronies have found an excellent viewpoint from which to watch the muster, and now the child sits perched atop the crest of the stable roof. The youngster's mouth is slightly open, and from it comes an awed murmur: "Ain't never seen that many men 'afore. Must be more'n fishes in the Lake!"

[Leofric(#27475)] With him is the hunter Leofric, with his shining new shortsword belted to his side, and his bow slung across his shoulder, Walking down the lengthe of the bridge in strides. The sun does not glint on his rayment of leather and cloth, though his uses will be away from the frontline itself and among the bowmen and rangers during the coming battles. He surveys the scene with some awe. Over a thousand men crowding the bridge and spilling into town and the hills on the other side, all armed to the teeth in anticipation with the upcoming scrap with the easterners. Leofric's heart is saddened, however, by the thought that many of these men will not return home. The easterners will not leave without bloodshed, and one of his friends may have been the first victim. As Leofric walks by Lorthrain, this troubling thought shows on his face. Though the men of the Dale outnumber the easterlings if estimates are correct, the death toll would reach into the hundreds on both sides if a clever solution was not found, and soon.

All this and more is doubtless running through the minds of most of the men, but, at the sight of the Girion nobleman, their Lieutenant no less, the King's Men at least seem to gain a measure of resolve. The crest of the King upon his breast draws their own chests up in pride, and as he pauses before their throng Lorthrain smiles grimly yet proudly.

Still, he does not address them as yet, turning to speak privately to Leofric at his side. "We hace much work to do, my friend, though we would all choose not to have to do it. Do not grieve in advance for those who may not return; insted be glad and grateful that they choose to stad here at all, and risk that very fate for the good of their fellows."

Louse's companion twists round, then nudges and gestures back to where Lorthrain stands. "Look, Girion." Louse's pinched face screws up as the child wonders in a stage-whisper, "Who's that with 'im? Don't look much, do 'e?"

[Leofric(#27475)] Leofric nods grimly. "I would find a better way, if I could. But it all depends on the situation. Do you think the easterners are already inside? If so, then I fear we have already gained casualties. Namely, Barlin." Leofric shakes his head again. "I have no doubt we will win, but the cost is high, even with favorable luck. If they have breached the city, I say we starve them out to avert loss of life on our forces. If they come out, we rain arrows on their hides."

A grim, sorrowful smile is given then by the Girion lord to the huntsman, and he nods gently. "I would find a better way, too, Master Leofric, if the chance to do so is afforded to us. And true; we do not know what awaits us in the south. We must, however, prepare for the worst, and if the town is taken already, we must take thought to those that have not been able to escape. But soft; we shll have time to ponder that riddle as we draw closer, and gain more knowledge of the situation we face. For now, let us rouse the men as best we can, and set off with as merry a heart as possible..."

As Lorthrain and his companion's sombre march takes them past the stables building, Louse leans over to get a better look. One single wooden shingle dislodges itself from the stout roof and tumbles groundward.

[Leofric(#27475)] Leofric nods, and continues walking across the bridge amid the throngs of armored men. When you have scarcely seen a few hundred men in one place before, a thousand is jaw dropping. This is what is going through Leofrics mind right now, along with the estimated number of dead by the end of he week. He is awe inspired but horrified at the same time. "Life was so much simpler before I left the woods" Leofric concludes outloud. "How do you organize such a mass into a co-ordinated unit? Do you just yell charge and see who comes out with the most men?"

A grizzled veteran close to Leofric appears to catch his words, and chuckles to the younger fellow. "You have to first trust the man next to you, lad, and know what he's going to to before he does it. And guess what? That takes drills, drills and more drills. But don't you worry; I've been in these King's Men nearly all my life, and we've got good commanders; they won't let us down, you can count on it."

Meanwhile Lorthrain watches Leofric move on, ere with a blink of his eyes he hears the shingle land with a plop into the water; turning his head in mild interest back toward Laketown. Squinting in the morning sign, placing his hand to his brow to shield his eyes, perhaps he catches sight of the child lingering upon the roof, for he grins to himself; permitting himself a small wave.

Louse lets out a small squeak as the offending tile breaks free, and as Lorthrain's gaze turns her way the child hugs the rooftop desperately, somewhat red about the cheeks. When all that is forthcoming is a wave, the youngster lets out a heartfelt sigh of relief, and lies still.

[Leofric(#27475)] Leofric nods to the veteren "But how by the dragon do you manage a whole blinking army without one side not knowing if the other has retreated? It seems to me the right hand would never know what the left was doing if youd pardon the metephore."

The veteran at leofric's side laughs aloud at this, earning a scowl of disapproval from his sergeant, and he grins widley, slapping out a hand to the young hunter's back. "That right there should give you a clue, lad. See how that sergeant had his eyes on me the moment I raised my voice? They're awar of what's going on, trust me. The right hand is taking to the left hand all the time in battle, through runners and the like, and even without those they've gone through drills of their own. Drills, drills, and more drills."

He grins. "I'ts all in the training, lad. No substitute for experience, after all..."

And just as the man finishes, Lorthrain turns back to face the troops, and with a clearing of his throat he nods to the herald at the van. The herald blows twice upon a silver horn, ere he cries out in a great voice: Forces of the noble King in Dale: stand to attention!"

[Leofric(#27475)] Leofric is silent, anticipating a speech from Lorthrain. There can be no other reason for a sudden stop to the activities in this manor. He stands aside to watch.

As the man stiffen and the hubbub in their midst dies down, Lorthrain calls out to address them.

"Hail, brave warriors and defenders of Dale, and welcome! Here we stand with a grim task ahead of us, one that many would not have wished for, and we do not know for sure what awaits us. Many of you know the reasons for our muster, and all of you have heard at least of the threat that has been reported, but let me say now: we gather here for another prupose besides that.

"Many times have our lands been threatened, and I speak not of the walls of Dale or the wodden streets fo Esgaroth. I speak of our younger townships in the south, our dwellings and homes that have given us so many fine men and women in the wake of the Dragon's Fall. He covered the land in his Desolation, and even as The Bowman ocnquered him, we the descendants of Bard in Dale and those whom we are proud to call our friends have conquered the damage wrought to theis one fair land. Our farms, our guilds, our townships, our prosperity; all have come through this great league we call the kingdom of Dale, and every part of it is precious to us.

"Thus, we do not march to war now, merely to avenge the insult to our King, nor do we march in conquest to add to his glory. We march because this threat is a threat to what we have built, together, as Bardings and as Northmen, in this place that was once no more than a wasteland. We march to defend the homes and the livelihooods of our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, and preserve all that we now hold dear, and of which we may take the utmost pride.

"And finally," he concludes, "we march to show that a blow to one is a blow to all, and no man among us is a sacrifice. We march, my friends, for the kingdom of Dale, not her King, my kinsman, and so let that ever be the deepest duty each of us may bear..."

[Leofric(#27475)] Leofric smiles slightly, and applaudes with the men. The uproar is loud and chaotic, but the sergeants soon have things back under controle. As Lorthrains speech ends, Leofric says "An excellent speach lorthrain. May it prove heartening in the days to come. But now, what can I help with before the march south begins? The men have done plenty and I feel like a layabout."

As the sergeants see to the business of readying the march, Lorthrain smiles to Leofric. "Your fleet foot will be useful, my friend. A party of scouts will track ahead of the column, and I should like you among them, with Masftiff. You'll be our eyes and ears as we move southward..."

And with that one sergeant in particular roars out: "Men of Dale! Move out!"

And with that, of a sudden, the tramp of iron-shot boots can be heard as the fighting men of the King begin their trek to Buhr Mahrling.

[Leofric(#27475)] Leofric says a hasty farewell to Lorthrain before sprinting ahead through the columbs of men to the fron, where the scouts are beginning to set off.

Some, if not all, of the words, carry back to the pair watching from atop the stables. The elder of the two pokes at the younger. "Louse? Reckon they'd take another squire - Louse?"

The morning sun is warm, and Louse and companion really had to rise rather early ... Louse's head had been nodding, and now the child starts a slow slide down the shingles of the roof. She lands on the ground with a most undignified thud, glances round, embarrassed, and hides in a bale of hay. Looks like the show is over.

Date added: 2011-06-01 05:23:08    Hits: 89
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