Milamber's Journal

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Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Sat May 23, 2015 1:25 pm

One
I write this from the relative comfort of my quarters in Minas Tirath in an attempt to find a stable center to the discord that swirls around us.  I have cleaned away the cobwebs and laid the old mattress in the heap with the rest of the rubbish.  

I had forgotten I had ever purchased this old dusty journal, and certainly had found no use for it until now.  Only good fortune it has remained here in my book-case, sitting with a scattering of half burned candles, maps, and other tomes.  In the corner, next to an open door leading outside to a narrow terrace, sits a heavy oak chest wherein is stacked a suit of field plate armor and padding I’ve not worn since I was young.  Concealed under a floorboard is a long case containing a masterful Greatsword I wielded long before I was given the blade Croiche by Lord Lindsey.

As I look over the dusty remains of a life I lived here, I am struck by the absurdity of it.  I know only a tiny fraction of my life was ever spent here, but strangely this room and house are filled with more memories than would fit in a man’s life.  I feel like a goblet filled over and spilling to the table, like a piece of toast with too much butter.  

I have done and seen more in my life than my lifespan could warrant.  I mean this not as a hollow boast of experience, but a matter of purest fact.  Something is wrong, and I’ve lived more than a mortal should in too little time.  Only the Valar can tell the implications of what has happened, or perhaps, they cannot.

I have every memory of how I came to that field.  I passed there from my latest ranging from Rohan tracking a spy from Umbar.  I had been camped in the field with Vanimo for several days having just left Minas Tirath.  I had just arrived at the field moments before after receiving a note in the night asking to meet with me there, an obvious ambush.  Those and more, all true, all struggling to discredit the other memories and claim dominance.  

But the oddest thing; after arriving there, however I did, my memories from that moment forward reconcile themselves with perfect and simple clarity.  

And I was not alone.

Of course Vanimo was there, upbeat and preening.  Where else would he be?  Also, I recognized Diorwine, a peerless spearman of the horse-lords dressed in heavy knight’s mail and plate.  Strange, he seemed at once to have just emerged from battle, and yet be at careless ease.   Bosalith, a swordsman I’ve met only once, sulked in one edge of the field.

The rest were unknown to me.  I saw a man in robes that I at once recognized as being of a style of Old Numenor.  The height of fashion in my old protectorate of Arnor were His Majesty Al-Pharazon sent me to… my mind wanders and I have lost the thread of that thought.  Yet another half truth hidden from me in a fog.  I fear I may yet go mad.

An Eldar noblewoman with the grace of her people stood to one side of a slender second-born warrior bearing spear and shield.  What I saw in her gaze as she looked on him that was not unfamiliar to me.  The fire of mortality can inspire a strange longing, even envy perhaps, in the hearts of the undying.  

Listlessly pacing to and fro was a fair haired soldier of Rohan, clad in worn leather armor and bearing a spear and sword.  His gaze was hard, with an impatient mirth and seemed to measure each of us in turn.  I know the look of a man more accustomed to living from horseback than walking, and wondered how he came to be here without his steed.

The field was bordered on each side by lines of silver birch trees, topped to the south by the sweeping peaks of the White Mountains.  While the Bard made niceties with the strange eldarmaid I stole out to check the surroundings.  My fears of lurkers about were not confirmed, and on my return we decided to make for Minas Tirath, a mere two leagues distance around the shoulder of the range.

A brisk walk and we were in the open.  I ranged ahead a short ways, not favoring the awkward banter I have come to expect from such abrupt meetings.  Soon we were on the king’s road in the Pelennor Fields and among the normal morning traffic of farmers and craftsmen peddling wares to the gates to sell at market.  

I am always struck by the grand gates leading into the city itself.  Past an avenue leading to two great stone towers, the gates lay between them.  Wrought entirely in steel and iron, they stood open, leading to a wide courtyard behind them spanning the whole of the first tier of the city.  There were many guards at the gate this day.  Among them I noted were some wearing the ancient winged mithril helms of a Guard of the Citadel.  I found this curious, as I seldom have seen them in regalia away from the tower.

I made so as to enter without comment, but was called out by the attendant sentry as I passed.  He demanded my name and I replied.  He knew of Diorwine, Vanimo, and myself it seemed, and alerted the watch captain.  He was a hard man with a blade shaped nose.  While I can’t say I recall speaking with this man before, he certainly knew us.  He seemed somewhat incredulous, stating it had been fifteen years since we last visited the city.  Another puzzle?  Or another clue to the last?

After the officer instructed us on the rules of the city, we proceeded in good order the residence I purchased with Vanimo and Ace on the third tier long ago.  It was set in white stonework with dark ashwood framing and stucco, its back to the wall of the fifth level.  It is a wide but shallow three story affair with two terraces looking out to the east.  

The others have taken ease in the great-room below and a fire is lit in the hearth.  There is much I still need to do before I lose the sunlight in cleaning and repairs.  I’ll write more when I have time.


Last edited by Milamber on Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Sun May 24, 2015 2:14 pm

Very nice. I really like your imagery. That's one thing that's hard to flesh out as a GM, but really shines in a journal narrative. Also your paragraph on how you arrived was quite subtle. I had to read it two or three times to understand its full meaning. But yes, that is the state of things for Milamber right now, somewhat different than the rest of the group.

Preening? The Bard? Well put....  Wink
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Sun May 24, 2015 11:44 pm

Thanks! I meant to have the 2nd half done today but I was distracted by frivolous nonsense. (have you seen Otherspace? Very funny.)

Correction:  house is against the wall of the fourth level if it is on the third.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Mon May 25, 2015 9:40 pm

Coming from you, it must be a British comedy. This means that there is a 92% chance that it is not, in fact, funny. Wink


Incidentally, the way that the levels are named (at least in the Atlas I have) is from outermost to innermost. I do it the other way around. I.e. the 1st Circle houses the Palace and the Tower. So yes, your house in the third level could be either against the wall of the 4th level or the 2nd.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Wed May 27, 2015 10:03 pm

(have you seen Otherspace? Very funny.) wrote:

Coming from you, it must be a British comedy. This means that there is a 92% chance that it is not, in fact, funny. Wink wrote:

Actually, Other Space is not from across the pond. It is in fact a new science fiction show that can only be found on Yahoo Screen, which is Yahoo's answer to Netflix and Hulu. I haven't seen an episode of it yet, but it does feature the likes of Joel Hodgsen from MST3K fame who plays the ship's engineer. I might get around to it eventually.

Sorry for my absence on these forums. I've had to switch to a new computer as my old one (dearest Mac PowerBook G4 rest in pieces) follows the way of all faithful electronic devices who perform at peak efficiency for optimum results. Silicon Heaven.

What's this I hear you say? Silcon Heaven? There's no such place? Well, then I have a simple philosophical question for you to ponder, one that may require a lifetime of careful thought and contemplation. It is simply this...

Then where do all the calculators go?
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Sat May 30, 2015 12:37 am

I record these thoughts sitting by a shrine to Nienna within the halls of healing.  Menfolk in general are not pious in these times, so I find solitude and reflection here.

That afternoon we had a messenger at the door.  It didn’t take long.  Men with coin seem to take us as mercenaries.  The aspiring patron wished to meet over dinner at an overpriced feast-hall frequented only by the wealthiest of the city’s denizens at the water’s edge outside of the walls of the city. All too predictable, a wealthy man who wishes to impress and demonstrate his means in the negotiations to come.  It made me feel I was being manipulated.  

I was against it, but our guests and Vanimo were more favorably inclined.  I suspected an ambush to be honest, and so was not so difficult to persuade to come as well.  We made our way by foot out of the gates as the garrison sounded eight bells at the start of the dog’s watch.  It was a fair day in the fields as we strode southwest towards Harlond and the river-docks.

Harlond is the center of much of the economic traffic which sustains the great capitol of Minas Tirath.  The Anduin River is the trading life blood bringing many foodstuffs and goods that cannot be grown or crafted by the city itself.  In point of fact, though Minas Tiras carries ample food stores for a siege, they do not produce enough alone to provide for the entire populace without outside support. The town of Harlond was walled and turreted with a double walled gatehouse facing to the north bordering the Noeg Echor, the furthest defensive out-walls of Minas Tirath.

The inner township itself is centered on a network of markets and warehouses surrounding a system of piers in the inner harbor.  Close by the southern edge was the building we sought.  The structure was well built of solid stone, perhaps an old guild-house.  Within the chambers were remarkably well appointed with fashion and art of elven style.   This is another mystery to me considering the nature of Gondorians.  Many men now fear and mistrust the elves, and know little of them in these lands.  Do the patrons of this place do not know of the significance of the art? More likely this is were elves who must do business with the Capitol choose to rest.

An orderly ushered us to the rear of the establishment where our host waited.  This room was more finely appointed, with genuine elven furnishings. Here the young man greeted us.  He was a wiry and thin young fellow with a callow face and worldly eyes and wearing a rapier on his hip.  He introduced himself as Stephan of the Grand Duchy and bade us sit.  

We sat, and we ate…  but I must linger on the food a moment to give it justice.  The fish was true ocean harvested tuna.  It seemed fresh, even so far distant from the ocean.  It was searched and served with black pepper and encrusted with sesame seeds oils.  There is no fish finer than the tuna, as any sane person can tell you.  It is dense, flavorful, and filling.  A bad tuna is still tuna, but a great tuna is like a poet working labors over your tongue.  

I'm ashamed to admit there was a fair bit that was said then I may have missed between Stephan and the others, being distracted by my excellent meal.  I grasped some of it, saving the rest of the fish for later and seeking to catch up.  

Stephan, it seems, hails from the southwest below the White Mountains in a territory he calls the Grand Duchy.  He remarked that the Duchy has been out of contact with the rest of Gondor for over a century, until officials from Gondor arrived at their border recently seeking taxes and soldiers.  The ruler-ship of the Duchy asserted independence, and a brief conflict was fought between the states. He asserted they won, though he concedes Gondor did not commit a great deal of resources into the matter before withdrawing.

Stephan has since then made it his life’s work to create alliances between nations for an eventual war with the Enemy.  His engine for these alliances is establishing trade lines to bind them closer together.  He has up to now worked to create trade with the Duchy between them and Rohan to the north, and Gondor to the east.

On this account I am undecided if he is truly acting under altruistic intent for the greater good, or mercantile self interest under a thin veneer of good intent.  The answer to such a question is not trifling to me, as such may determine a direct measure of how far he could be trusted should his interests be tested. I find it odd he would simultaneously assert an independent and isolated homeland, and try to bind the nations together more closely.

He then informed us of his suspicions that Sauronic agents and other monsters are actively gathering power in the Duchy.  Goblin tribes in the mountains are slowly uniting.  A new stronger breed of goblin he called “hobgoblins” have been seen as well.  Finally, an Umbarian fortress has been established on the border of the Duchy, called the Black Eagle Barony.

With this foundation, he made clear the meaning of this dinner. He seeks to move our attention to the Duchy to fight the agents of Sauron in his lands.  When he heard of our arrival in the city, he recognized some of our names from previous rumors.  Should his tales be true, then there is a blade to the southwest of the Kingdom of Man with its tip resting between the shoulder-blades; a threat not to be disregarded.  Still, I will not be used carelessly by one who I have not come to trust.  My blade edge is heavy with blood, and I admit I am loath to add thoughtlessly to it. Indeed, it would seem his peoples current troubles may be a direct result of their spurning of Gondor's protection, making his lands appear vulnerable and ripe for the plucking. Even if this is true, the common folk of the land should not be made to suffer for a lack of foresight by their leaders.

I advised Stephan I would confirm his account and have an answer for him tomorrow.  My companions agreed to the same terms.  Stephan agreed to this, but stated he wished to depart soon, and should we agree he would arrange passage by ship and initial work with his brother Piotyr. Piotyr had recently captured a herd of wild horses on his lands and sought escorts to drive them to a remote elven village near his lands. Stephan felt this would be an effective introduction to the lay of the land and cover to explain our travels there. I find this line of thinking odd, why would I need an explanation to conceal my travel's intention. Any agent of the enemy would know, wherever I travel, I go to hunt them.

We returned to Minas Tirath as the sun set, and while the others rested at the house, I climbed to the upper reach of the city by the garrison of the citadel.  I turned away from the prow and tree, and found my way to the place by the old way.  I spoke with him and words were exchanged that I shall not write here.  Enough to state my concerns for betrayal were assuaged, but I still intend to be cautious.  I returned to our companions and we agreed to take the task at my urging.  The message was sent and arrangements for passage have been made.  We have secured the needed supplies, funds, and equipment from the city.  We depart early tomorrow by riverboat.  

I take comfort and ease in the anticipation of finding proper purpose and action again.  I have come to derive life and direction from the oath I took a lifetime ago to devote myself to opposing the Enemy.  I wonder if I would outlive my purpose should we ever find victory.

I will relate more when I have time.


Last edited by Milamber on Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:13 am

Two

We rest now in the shade of a river shack along the bank of the Shutturga River.  The water is deeper here and clear, running slowly to the south on its journey from the White Mountains to the great sea Belegaer.  The sun falls, and I suspect danger lurks in the night this evening, but I will speak to that in due course.

We departed Minas Tirath on a sturdy shallow drafted trading vessel.  Its fat ribbed frame held ten oarsmen on a side, and was captained by a thick-browed and bearded man spending his retirement from the navy putting his skills to a commercial trade.  

This far south, the Anduin River is wide and slow, and so the oarsman plied themselves to speed us downstream.  It was mere days before we passed the grand city of Pelargir on the north bank, and soon we found ourselves on the vast maze-like delta of the Ethir Anduin.  

As the Anduin River nears the sea, the repeated tributaries adding to its girth finally burst free into hundreds of smaller waterways that split and merge moving out towards the ocean.  Some are deep and safe to pass, but more end in shallow streams and mud threatening to scuttle any ships not knowing the secret routes.  And even these may change by the year.  The last time I came this way, the captain was forced to hire a pilot from a fort near the beginning of the delta, and then drop him off on the isle of Tolfolas where he would then contract to the next ship finding its way upstream.  Our captain kept his gold, and was able to navigate the waterways himself.  I cannot but be assured this captain is a wealthy man indeed.

Our ship turned north along the coast of Belfalas, its hills sweeping up to the grey peaks of Dor-en-ernil.  Farming and fishing communities speckled the lands as we rowed slowly past.  Soon we neared the white towers and columns of Dol Amroth.  Only once have I walked the roads of that fair city, and it is the fairest of all the cities of Gondor.  The prince’s banners of silver and blue rose and fluttered in the winds, and I felt a quiet yearning to rest here for a time.  When my work is done, I could call such a place home.

Our labors do not bring us now to soft places, and so we passed the fair harbor without pause.  Further unto Edhellond we made our way, and there met the next ship in our journey.  Master Kalanos captained a large river-barge tied in a half mile upstream along another river I had never traveled upon, but Stephan remarked was called the Volaga.  It was fair to look at, with fresh deep green water set on either side by aspen glades.

Master Kalanos is a short, barrel chested man.  His bald pate and muscled arms were tanned like cured leather and showed a strength earned by long years at an oar before he mastered his own vessel.  He efficiently coordinated the transfer of goods between the ships while we looked on.  Soon the oarsmen were pulling us up-stream against the gentle current.

We traveled the water by day and anchored at night, making camp.  My new companions have fallen into a quiet but tense camaraderie since we first met in the clearing a few short weeks ago.  The strange wizard Agrippa in blue and green robes, for it was soon clear he was such, holds himself apart.  He styles himself a count among many other titles.  He claims to be a noble of Arnor from another time and reality.  This means little to me, so long as he performs his job and seeks no special favors.  

His sorceries seem considerable though. On the first night in camp, he cast a spell of warding he told us would alert him to any approaching danger for the entire night.  It seems a fascinating and useful spell, one that might have saved me much grief on certain occasions in the past.  Still, the risk is great.  Calling upon such power could draw the attention of the Enemy to us before we are ready.  Vanimo and I spoke with him, and he is a stubborn man.  He seems convinced of his abilities.  Perhaps he has such power so as to draw magic without fear of discovery.  I hesitate to gamble the element of surprise we still possess against it.

My opinion of our other companions was still unformed at this time.  The man Sean Beathan moves with a near elven grace for a mortal.  I suspect he has eldar blood in him.  

Diorwine and I are both quiet men.  We’ll sit and say nothing for hours at a time.  Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had.  I’m glad to have him with us, as he is without a doubt the greatest spear-master I’ve ever met.

Bosolith seems listless and sullen.  He is a large thickly muscled swordsman who keeps to himself, and as I know little of him, I give him his space.

The man Peludo Alfarero is puzzling to me.  He seems at first glance to be a lout, more at home perhaps bloodying faces in a bar or worse.  I suspect there is more, something driving him.  He carries himself in a way I’ve come to recognize that dangerous men carry themselves.  He bears watching.

For several days we continued upriver in this manner.  It was on an otherwise unremarkable day such as that, when bandits found us.  Vanimo rose to his feet and fetched his bow.  Of course I did the same.  His instincts for danger I take for granted.  The threat soon revealed itself to us in the form of a carefully laid ambush on the river.  A steel trap was hidden below the river’s surface, catching the hull of the ship.  As we lurched to a stop, a flight of arrows pelted us from our starboard side.  There were shouts as oarsmen were struck.  An arrow lodged itself in my leather chest-piece, cutting my ribs with a shallow gash.

The archers were hidden in a dark patch of shadow and trees about ten yards back from the riverside.  Perhaps two-score of them, though in the glaring sun overhead it was difficult to be certain.  Vanimo called upon his magics and shielded us both with a web of sorceries that would nudge aside any arrows fortune thought to cast our direction.  Our other companions took cover out of the line of fire, aside from Diorwine who took up his crossbow and joined us at the railing.

I began to shoot into our foes.  Breath, draw, lose.  Steady gaze, sharp eyes.  I lost myself in the pattern of it, and as each shaft found its mark, I was releasing the string on the next.
 
A cry of pain from Agrippa behind me took my attention.  I turned and noted the sorcerer lying on the deck, gripping the shaft of a barbed arrow deep in his side.  I crossed the deck to him and drawing upon the spark of fire I keep hidden on a chain around my neck, passed healing magic to his wound.  The arrow was sealed in the now closed wound, but we did not have time to extract it.

I did not stay to see if he recovered, and turned towards the guardrails to continue the fight.  As I did so, the deck lurched beneath my feet, lifting and heaving to one side.  The nose to the ship came about towards the shore and we started moving.  

I dashed to the edge and could see a heavy chain being pulled into the woods, reeling us in like a hooked fish.  Seeing nothing I could do about the chain, I set back to launching arrows into the bandits on the shore.  I emptied half of my quiver into our foes before our ship reached the shore, and I take satisfaction in that I don’t recall any of them missing the mark.  

I could hear Vanimo firing beside me as well, and between us we had reduced our foes by a third while their arrows sailed past us, launched by volley.  Even then I was impressed at the intestinal fortitude of our assailants for not breaking ranks at this point.  A mark of determination, or desperation I cannot say.

As our ship beached itself on the shore, the bandits set down their bows and took up spears they had waiting close to hand.  They then marched forward to us in a loose sloppy formation showing no training or experience.  They were armored in makeshift leather armor, bearing no sigil or crest I could see.  Sean called out to us, stating he saw a rider in yellow behind the row of foes facing us.  Squinting my eyes I could not spot him in the shadows beyond.

We formed a fighting line back from the ships guardrails, thinking to force them to climb up to us, then strike them down.  It was then I heard commands shouting from the hilltop in the tongue of my forbearers, Adunaeic.  While I could not see the speaker, I heard him commanding our attackers to move around the ship's bow and flank us.

Diorwine and I moved to intercept them as the six spearman sprinted around to the ship's port side below us.  We vaulted the ship’s guardrail to the ground perhaps six feet below the level of the deck.  It was unfortunate the sun was angled in such a way to create shade on that side of the ship, making the drop seem somewhat shallower than it in fact might have been.  Luckily for me, the ground was soft mud and caught my fall.
-This is Vanimo setting the record straight.  He totally face-planted.  Hil-ar-i-ous!  P.S. Stop leaving your book out.
The six were on us quickly.  The enchanted spear in Diorwine’s hands then started acting bizarrely against his will without warning.  It spun in a great circle, striking me in the face, and then leaping from his hands into the river leaving him unarmed.  I rose to my feet with my blade dropping several of them, giving Diorwine time to ready his sword and finish them.

In this time, Sean, Stephan, and the others had finished the attackers on the starboard side of the ship handily.  We used a great deal of magic in this fight, and so the enemy has almost certainly seen us now.  Let him stew on it while we thin his flock.  The opening move is ours.

The ship had been damaged by the trap and chain, and had to be repaired.  While we waited, we tended to the wounded and searched the camp of our ambushers.  The leader in yellow who gave the orders was nowhere to be found,  but we found the tracks of several horses leading into the forest.  One of the horses was likely his from behind were the archers had lurked.  The tracks of two other horses used to pull the iron chain also fled into the woods.  

I moved into the woods searching the perimeter for stragglers or spies hiding.  During this, Agrippa cast a strange spell making a cloak fly like a bird, which Vanimo rode to find the ones who attacked us.  I did not know any of this at the time, but spied Vanimo flying away between the trees.

By the time I returned, I discovered Vanimo was missing and overdue as the enchantment only lasts a score of minutes before failing.  Aggripa assured me he had informed Vanimo of this fact and had instructed him to return before then.  As upset as I was, I could not fault the wizard for this.  Vanimo knew the risks.  While trying to decide what to do, I noted that Diorwine’s spear was in his hands again.  I do not trust that weapon.  

I departed into the woods searching for him.  A fools errand really, how does one track a bird unless you can see it?  The short answer: you cannot.  I struck a line into the forest in the direction I saw him fly for several hours with no luck.  Night had long since fallen and I prepared to return satisfied as to how useless this choice had been.  It was then I was ambushed.  Two creatures had been stalking me in the dark.  

There were on me before I could react, fighting as a team, keeping me between them.  They were large, moving lightly on all fours with a feline grace.  It was dark in the woods, but I could see the outline of them well enough.  My neck was seized in powerful jaws and I was forced to the ground while the first closed in to finish me.  I cut my blade in a desperate arc as the corners of my vision began to turn to starbursts and I could feel darkness creeping up on me.  By chance my blade struck home, driving into the creature.  

I released its grip and I wheeled around driving Croiche into the beast’s neck.  It shuddered once and lay still.  Looking around, its partner was not to be seen.  Whether it had fled or was watching me from the shadows I could not say.  I climbed a tree and bandaged my wounds as best I could.  I then retraced by steps toward the ship, stopping to be sure of my way as I went.

Vanimo was already returned when I arrived as the sun rose.  Satisfied, I took my meal and was soon asleep on the ship as we left the shore and continued up-stream.  When I awoke, Vanimo recounted how he had found the man in yellow robes, and several enormous goblins riding on great wolves.  Stephan remarked that those were likely the hobgoblins he had spoken of earlier.  Vanimo had hidden from them when the flying spell on the cloak faded, and spent the rest of the night getting back to the ship through the woods.

And so the strange man in yellow works with the goblins.  He spoke Adunaeic during the battle, the language of Numenor.  This means he is almost certainly from Umbar, and the Black Baron Stephon spoke of.  The men who fought us did not appear to be Umbarian strangely, being from many peoples and poorly armed and trained.  They responded to his commands spoken in his tongue though during the fight.  I look forward to asking him about these things when we finally meet.  Now was not the time for that, as we had promised to guard the ship and crew.

Another day of travel and we found ourselves at a shack by the riverside.  Here we parted ways with Stephan.  He gave us directions to his brother Piotyr, and indicated he was proceeding up the river further to Iliakans where he has a lumber camp.  He told us the shack belongs to Mrs. Misha, and we left a few silver coins for food here.  He remarked she lives with a bear, so as to not alarm us should we encounter it.  With that he took his leave.

We rested there for a time.  I checked the grounds, and as I did so I saw the bear lumbering our of the woods towards the shack.  It was injured on its side, and with some coaxing we drew it close enough for me to cast a healing spell on it.  Rather than calming the beast, it fled the area.  

We tracked the bear to a nearby cave where it was hiding.  Seeking to understand why Mrs. Misha was missing and why the bear was injured, Vanimo cast a spell, allowing him to gaze through the earth into the cave.  The bear was hiding there alone and so this revealed little to us.

We returned to the shack and began to search for clues.  I found it odd that in addition to the bear’s prints all around the grounds, there was evidence that a pack of wild boars had been through the area.  Perhaps they had injured the bear?

It was Sean that found Mrs. Misha in the river, jammed up under the dock by the ferry.  Her neck was punctured and her body drained of blood.  This was clearly not the work of any boar.  I had seen this before.  My brother was one such…

It was Peludo who examined the body by the river.  The man was in a foul mood, and asked me why I had not found her before.  He struck a light blow to my head then.  That short sighted fool.  Can he not see he travels with seasoned killers?  Had he struck any of the others so thoughtlessly he may have been cut down before I could raise a warning.  I hope he learns control before that happens.  

I glared at Peludo and recommended to them that as night was now approaching, we take shelter inside the shack and bar the doors as best we can.  If this creature is what I think, they can strike silently in the dark with utter stealth.  This is a good night for the sorcerer to cast his wards I think…

I will write more when I can.


Last edited by Milamber on Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:19 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:33 am

Milamber wrote:-This is Vanimo setting the record straight.  He totally face-planted.  Hil-ar-i-ous!  P.S. Stop leaving your book out.


Hilarious! I love it.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:22 pm

I cleaned up some of the entries and did some editing.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:29 pm

These are excellent. Keep them coming if anything for the extra experience points to elevate our characters above the Valar themselves. Or maybe Joe the shopkeep across the way. He appeared to be rather powerful.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:33 am

Three

The study window is shuttered, and Piotyr’s man has drawn a heavy drape across to shroud the tell-tale light of the candles within.  One such gives me enough light to recount the day’s events here.  All about me is the anxious energy of the besieged.  Men of action forced to stillness, made to wait for the coming bloodshed.  The orcish war-drums beat outside the walls, coordinating the coming assault.  

It had better be an assault, for a retreat would be a bitter disappointment.

I sing this prayer to the Lord of the Hunt.
Oromë, be I thy hound,
O Lord Tauron guide my chase,
and give no rest to my quarry.
Be thou my vision,
O Lord of the Forests.

When last I put quill to parchment, we were resting at a river shack just a day prior.  The poor woman who maintained the way-point was found murdered and drained of her life blood in the river with two puncture marks in her neck.  We could find no other sign of the creature that slew her, though I know the signs of such an attack.  

My cursed brother is one such creature.  Doomed by the machinations of an older enemy to thirst for the blood of the living.  I know not how many such creature may exist, but they are powerful, and almost impossible to slay, and equally skilled at stealth.  

Mother, I shall avenge your torment.
Daughter, I shall endure your hatred.

The night passed without incident as we kept our watch in turn.  The wizard Agrippa used the enchantment that would give warning of any approach in the night.  I fear our reckless use of magic of late will have dire consequences, but our feet have been on that path since the river battle days prior.  

Despite our precautions, nothing occurred to truly threaten us that night.  The great bear returned during the night, and scratched at the door seeking entry.  We denied it such, as its near violent temperament the day before belied Stephon’s accounting of it being near tame.  I feel a twinge of sympathy for the beast, losing its friend and now being shut from its home.  It will soon find peace in its natural ways I am certain.

As morning came, we gathered our belongings and prepared to strike out along the roadway to Piotyr’s home.  We found the half eaten carcass of a buck outside the door, a gift left by our ursine visitor. Peludo wasted no time in butchering the good meat still on its haunch while Sean and I walked the grounds.  We found no sign of visitors during the night aside from the bear.  It seems the attention of the cursed blood-drinker has since departed to other places.

We finished our tasks and fell to an easy marching order on the well worn trail leading into the forest.  The trees here came in loose patches and clumps.  The groves of aspen so thick near the river’s edge soon gave way to white ash tickets and scattered bitternut hickory trees.  Low brush webbed the base of the trees, not so thick as to prevent passage off the road, but enough to provide ample cover against spying eyes. Deer trails crossed our path often, making me suspect this area is not heavily populated outside of the few settlements we have seen.  The home of Piotyr could not be housing a village that would support many hunters.  

I stayed at the front of the formation as we made our way, with Diorwine just behind me in his heavy armor.  Diorwine is a strong and sturdy warrior, and wears his half-plate and mail armor every day.  I can only imagine the calluses he man must have to spend so long in such armor.  He spends an hour each night just to maintain it.

Still, the armor was loud to my ears, and could only serve to announce our approach far in advance of our arrival.  I found myself ranging ahead as we went, keeping an eye open to give us an early warning before we reached the home.  Good fortune that I did so, as I was several hundred yards ahead, I spied smoke rising from the trees, and the shouts of battle.  Two black wargs ridden by filthy goblins were in the road ahead, and when they spied me fled into the forest.

I turned and hurried back to the company and told them of my observations.  We decided to form a skirmish line and approach the battle to give them aid.  We spread into a line and advanced towards the battle.  I laid aside my pack with my food and camping supplies to return for later so as to not weigh me down during the coming battle.  It is good fortune that I keep this journal, quill, and ink in a satchel else I would not be able to record what came after.

We had only advanced perhaps fifty yards in this manner before we heard them, a pack of some half-dozen warg riders tearing through the underbrush towards us.  They approached us from the trees on the left side of the road, and so we curved the same side of our battle line back to receive them without being flanked.

As I think back, I have battled warg riders on only one other occasion that I can clearly recall.  We were ambushed at night on a hill-top, beset on all sides.  I nearly perished in that fight, for one of the beasts pinned me to the ground and tore at me.  Only the steel armor I had worn that night and lucky thrusts with my dagger saved me.  The beast is far more deadly than the rider.

History mirrored the present in this engagement.  We had time to loose a single volley of shafts before they we upon us, in our line and among us.  The beasts taunted us in the cursed tongue of the enemy, crying out for the blood of the elves in our numbers.  I was able to cut down the first to reach us, and as I turned to meet the second, I lost my balance, cutting myself in the process.

I was quickly pinned beneath the creature, and was saved by the quick actions of Peludo, freeing me to deliver a mortal injury to a third before they fled to the trees.  

The smoke was still thick and the sound of battle hung in the air ahead, and so we gathered ourselves and pressed ahead quickly.  The road turned to the left and came to a stone bridge, whose flagstones spanned the narrow forest river we had been pacing.  Just beyond the wall of a well fortified stead was engulfed in oily flames spilling black smoke.  We could barely make out the battle that lay beyond.

Vanimo took the lead and whispered an incantation, raising his hand and at once the flames were quenched.  The air was still thick with black smoke, and we charged through, taking two score orcs unawares in the courtyard where they were battering down the doors to the inner tower.

It was quick and bloody work, and none of them had time to flee before all of them were laid low.  To the north-east we could hear the coarse shouts of more enemies.  We raced through damaged fences to the field beyond and caught sight of perhaps fifty more orcs withdrawing to the trees.

A man called down to us from the tower, and soon we were introducing ourselves to Piotyr and his household.  He had two sons and his household staff, who were not fit to fight.  Piotyr struck me as reasonably rugged and practical, though I suspect he would not had withstood the siege for any longer if we had not arrived.  It would appear our timing was fortuitous.

After getting the lay of his stead, our thoughts turned toward defense, as it seemed inevitable the orcs would regroup and recommence the attack.  The central building of the stead was two stories tall with the windows on the first floor being boarded.  Attached to the main building by way of an interior hallway, was a stone tower on the north-west corner of the estate.  This tower was four stories high and offered a commanding view of the area.  To the east of the building was a series of animal stalls and fences.  These had been ransacked, and the horses made off with by the orcs.

There was severe damage to the south and west walls, and a wooden structure in the south-west yard had been burned down.  We resolved to concentrate our defensive efforts into channeling any attacks into a cul-de-sac to avoid being flanked from all sides.  We built barricades to block the east and west entrances to the yard, forcing any attackers to come from across the stone bridge from the south.  That narrow causeway would serve to stretch the attacker’s lines, and give us the opportunity to pick them off as they came.

Sean is handy with a longbow, and Piotyr had a large magazine of ammunition available.  Sean therefore positioned himself in the tower-top with his bow to support us once the battle was joined.  Piotyr and his staff set themselves to constructing the barricades.

While they worked late into the day, we could hear the goblin war-drums begin beating in the forests.  There were two groups, one south of the river across the bridge, and the second north of us, likely the same group that fled our advance with the horses.

It seemed certain the attack would come with the night, when the goblins night-vision would give them greatest advantage.  I conferred with Vanimo to find a way to cancel that advantage, and perhaps give us advance warning of the attack. We resolved to a plan using Vanimo’s skill with light magic.  Given how dire the situation was, and that we were already surrounded by agents of the enemy, we threw caution to the winds.  Vanimo began fashioning enchantments of light onto the fletching of arrows.  I would fire these arrows into trees and beams around the perimeter of the fortress, creating a ring of bright light.

He also fashioned the spell onto the tips of ropes, which we hung in the courtyard, illuminating the most likely field of battle.  The work seemed to enrage the orcs hiding the the forest around us, and the beating of their war-drums only increased as night fell and the lights went up around the manor.

One of these glowing arrows I had launched across the river into the truck of an old oak tree just beyond the stone bridge.  As we continued to secure our defense, a bold goblin dashed to the tree and seized the shining arrow.  He tossed the arrow into the flowing waters, followed a second later by his own arrow riddled corpse. Fair bow work by Sean.

The path across the bridge was now obscured, and so we talked about a more permanent solution to illuminate the bridge.  Vanimo agreed to a rather bold if dangerous solution.  Under the optimistic cover of our bows, Vanimo would run forward on foot and cast his light spell directly upon the flagstone of the bridge.  He will then race back to the tower before they have time to react.  

If any foes dare to pursue him across the bridge, Sean and I would make short work of him with our arrows.  I sit now on the second floor by the window, bow to hand while I jot this entry.  Vanimo insists on voiding his bladder before attempting this, something about less weight letting him run faster.  

I don’t see why he is concerned.  He will have magic wards protecting him from arrows, and no goblin will be fast enough to catch him in time unless he trips.  

I’ll write more when he returns.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:06 pm

Four

This is Vanimo. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing in Milamber’s journal. In fact, I’m sure you want to know why Milamber isn’t writing all of this himself. Let me tell you why. I’m writing this because if Milamber does, he’ll either skip the really great things he messed up or just plain embellish the things that he actually did. Besides, he sat out of most of the action today.

I’ll start at the beginning. Actually, I’ll start in the middle, right when a huge Warg was on top of me, trying to eat my face. Literally, it was trying to eat my face. The Orc that was on top of the Warg was stabbing me with his spear. It even got me once, putting a hole right in my chest. What a time to be fighting a battle without armor! Pretty much the only thing keeping me alive was Peludo’s shield that kept flashing into my narrowing field of view when the Warg tried to bite me or the Orc tried to stab me.

One might wonder why I was on my back with a Warg on top of me trying to eat my face. I’ll tell you:

It’s Milamber’s fault.

He had this idea to light up the area with my Continual Light spells. We were draping shining objects out of windows and stuff like that to really lighten up the outside of the little fort. It was actually a really good idea, and worked quite well. With a few castings the entire area was as bright as day. Then Milamber had the idea of putting some light on the bridge over the river. It’s made of stone, so we couldn’t just shoot an arrow at it. Milamber’s idea was for me to run out, cast my spell on a flagstone, and then run back. What could go wrong? he said. Easy peasy lemon sqeezy. That’s a direct quote.

Ya. Sure. He glossed over the part where I’m underneath a Warg and am about to die.

I went out anyway, just to prove how wrong he was. And then the Wargs came and tried to eat me. And where was he during this entire time? Comfortably shooting arrows from the second floor.

Peludo’s pretty quick about downing the Warg and the Orc on top of it. I’d tell you that I was pretty cool and did my share, but that’s not true. I just got one little stab in the Warg, just enough to bloody the tip of my sword with the thing’s nasty innards.

Once Peludo got the Warg down, I scooted back a bit and stood up. By that time Pyotr had run out past me with his spear, stabbing things and doing a pretty good job. But in an instant there were about a dozen more wargs with their riders charging across the river and rushing us. There were so many that they started to get crowded with the bodies of the dead and crippled Wargs, and some literally knocked down Orcs to get to us. Deorwine and Pyotr got knocked down by Wargs, and it was looking pretty bad for us. This was not a battle that we would likely win, and we really needed to get back into the manor house.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I used the huge powerstone I own. No one knows that I have it except for Milamber, because when I die of course he’s going to be there, going through my pockets and grabbing useful things for himself. Normally I wouldn’t have channeled so much magic. I agree with Milamber; subtlety is wise when casting spells. But we were in a rough spot. And what could be worse? So what if Sauron knew where we were? What’s he going to do? Send two Orkish armies to kill us? So I used the stone to cast a huge Create Fire spell. I filled up the courtyard with blazing fire, leaving just enough room on the edges of the flame so that the manor house wasn’t caught in the flame, and to make sure that none of us got burned up.

The spell worked as intended. Sheets of flame rose from the ground. The Wargs couldn’t make it through. Except for one Warg that stood in the flames and kept on attacking Peludo. I kid you not. The Warg was on fire. The Orc on top of it was shrieking and covering its eyes, but that Warg didn’t care. It just wanted to eat Peludo. Now that hairy bastard (Peludo, not the Warg), he learned a trick or two. He had started to chop off the legs of the Wargs. That was pretty smart. He did that to this crazy flaming Warg. It went down, crippled, and after taking care of the rest of the Wargs on this side of the fire, we were all of us able to retreat and get inside the fortress. Pyotr slammed the door shut behind us and barred it.

The party wasn’t over. As soon as we were done on that side of the house we heard a shout from the tower: Orcs were attacking from the other side. Agripps surprised me by casting a Minor Healing spell on me, and I ran up to the second floor to look out one of the windows. Sure enough, a force of about fifty orcs or more was making its way towards us. They weren’t rushing us either. They were in formation, with their shields out and carrying spears. They looked like a professional fighting force. They came from the north east, but they conducted a wheeling maneuver to attack from the south east, where the doors to the manor are more vulnerable. I guess those little bastards have been practicing.

Arrows poured from the tower. Even in the darkness a few found their mark, but it wasn’t enough to stop their advance. They continued on, clustering their shields together to provide the maximum protection from the arrows.

Their efforts were for nought. Agrippa cast Distant Blow on Deorwine’s spear. That was really quite clever. That made Deorwine like some sort of mighty seige artillery piece. He stabbed the Orc king in the eye. Then he stabbed the king’s bodyguards in their eyes too. He kept on doing this until the Orcs figured out things were going wrong, and they broke and fled. This didn’t stop Deorwine from stabbing them in the back until he couldn’t see them any more.

That was the end of the Orkish assault for the time being. We made arrangements for watches. I rested for a bit, and then got up.

I made the rounds to all of the stations where the awake defenders were. Pyotr’s youngest son, Matvey, had an intricately worked man-sized composite bow. From the looks of the bow I suppose he had been one of the more effective archers who had been loosing arrows down on the Orkish attackers. You don’t give a bow like that to someone who can’t use it, especially a ten year old kid. He was wearing a suit of leather armor that had obviously been fitted for him.

Taras is Pyotr’s oldest son. He’s about twenty or so, and is tall like his father and also has red hair. He’s trying to grow a horribly ugly mustache. I guess he’s trying to be like his dad, who has a full beard. He carried a longbow, and has a broadsword on his belt. I didn’t see him ever use it, so I don’t know how good he is at it. He wears simple leather armor like his brother.

Alfana is Taras’ wife. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she’s obviously from Rohan. She’s also decked out like a warrior, wearing chain and carrying a round shield on her back with a broadsword slung at her side. She uses a bow like her Rohirrim brothers, small enough to be used easily on horseback, but big enough to hurt if she shoots you. She had the fire of death in her eyes. I almost think that she actually enjoyed being in the middle of a huge battle with the very real possibility of death. I’ve met people like that before. They’re not usually good conversationalists, and tend to philosophize endlessly about death and fighting and such (Milamber, anyone?) but if they’re on your side they can make all the difference in a fight.

The other women of the family weren’t combatants, yet they made their own rounds. Darya is Pyotr’s wife, and she brought glasses of wine and water to those who wanted it. Kuzma is Pyotr’s mother, and Irina his his daughter. She’s pleasantly plump, and rather nice to look at. She caught me looking at her ample bosoms. She blushed and giggled. The two of them were busy in the kitchen, and brought around bowls of steaming stew and fresh bread to everyone. Kuzma had a long knife in a sheath, and not the kind that you use to chop potatoes. When I looked at it, she told me that it was to slit the throats of the remaining survivors should we get overrun. That should have made me uncomfortable, her talking about killing her own family and a baby. It didn’t though. Maybe I should talk to Milamber about that. Masha, weeping for her dead husband Hakos, reminded me time to time that other people are not prepared to expect death to come at any moment. That makes me happy that there are people who are not like me.

One funny thing happened. Agrippa had achieved what we call “free flow” when he cast his spell on the spear, and so the spell wasn’t going to end until Agrippa actively ended it or until he slept. Deorwine was supposed to hand his spear off to Peludo when he went to sleep. That way if we got attacked again Peludo could be our one man ballista. When Deorwine was relieved by Peludo though, he wouldn’t give up his spear. He went to bed still clutching the spear. I thought that was pretty funny.

A few hours after the Orcs had broken their assault, we heard the Wolfskull tribe pack up and leave. The Red Blade clan left some time during the night too, but we didn’t hear them go.

That morning Pyotr, Deorwine, and Peludo went out to explore. Sure enough, the Wolfskull and Red Blade were gone. Peludo found some odd looking silver statue of a broken tower that the Red Blade had left behind. Who knows what that means. He also took a pair of earrings from the Red Blade king. He didn’t want to let me look at them. I admit, I got a little cross when he said no. I even offered him five silver for them. Finally he let me look. They were pretty neat, for Orc jewelry, but they were probably made by Man anyway. They turned out to be common bloodstone set in tarnished silver, not really valuable, but still pretty. The flecks of red in the black stone reflected the light of the sun in a fun way. I gave them back to Peludo though. I have better stuff.

By the time that they got back, Taras was chomping at the bit to get after the horses that had been stolen. He had saddled the horses that were the personal pets of the people who lived in the manor. These horses had been safe in the stable, and had not been run off with the other horses that were in the corral. Taras had his own warhorse, and he lent us the one that belonged to Pyotr. Peludo took that one. There were three others that belonged to Pyotr’s wife, mother, and daughter. Taras reminded us that these horses were for riding, had not been trained for war, and that we should be very careful with them.

I chose a bay mare named Vesper for my mount. She was very attractive, with a gleaming coat and perfectly combed mane. We took to each other instantly. She’s calm and relaxed, but she did very well keeping up with all the riding we did today. When I would dismount for a break, she would nuzzle my shoulder after she had had her drink in what ever stream we had stopped at. Still, like Taras had said, she’s a riding horse, not a fighter.

There weren’t enough horses for everyone, so Milamber decided to stay there. He said that there was plenty to do at Sukiskyn, and would help out Pyotr. I guess it’s just as well he stayed. I’m not sure how much he would have liked what happened.

We followed the horse tracks as they left the fort. A blind ant could have done the same. There were Orc tracks mixed in with the horses’, but that was to be expected. I guessed that fifty or so Orcs had stolen the horses. After a few hours another trail merged and mingled with the one that we were following: these were the tracks of the Wolf Skull tribe, with the Warg tracks very prominent. So great; we were following two tribes now. It turned out fairly well though. For us that is.

A while later we found out why the Wolf Skull was trailing the other goblin tribe. We came upon the scene of a battle. Dozens of dead Orcs were everywhere. The tribe that had stolen the horses all had snake tattoos on them. The dead were mostly from this tribe, but there were several of Wolf Skull Orcs and a couple of Wargs. There were also more than a dozen dead of the pure white horses, hastily stripped of their choicest cuts of meat. Taras almost wept when he saw the dead horses, but at least half of our Orc-related problems were over.

The trail of horses continued, this time accompanied solely by Warg tracks. We followed them to a homestead of sorts. We were in a thin forested area, and could see up ahead quite well. We saw a circle of three wagons, with some tents and a corral with the horses we were looking for. A woman and two men were there. They had seen us, so we rode up to them.

The woman walked forward to meet us. She was tall, almost as tall as Milamber and me. She was dark haired, probably with plenty of Numenorian blood in her. She introduced herself as Fyodorll. When we told her of the horses we sought, she struck a mercantile tone. She told us that she purchased them from a troop of Goblins passing through the forest. She feigned surprise that they were stolen. Fyodorll told us that she would be generous and return the horses to us if we recompensed her the price she paid the Goblins – three pieces of gold for each horse. Taras was unwilling to negotiate. Neither was Peludo, who had no problem telling her that there would be violence should she not return the horses to us.

Violence, however, seemed unavoidable. Even though I had looked this way and that, I had not seen the crossbowman hidden on our right flank to our rear. Wisely, perhaps, he shot Agrippa first, the bolt burying itself in his chest to the leather fletchings. Agrippa wheeled his horse, which took a few steps before he fell from his saddle.

Peludo charged Fyodorll on his borrowed warhorse and knocked her down. I already had my bow out with an arrow nocked, and took a shot at one of her men in front of us, who was drawing his sword. To my surprise (I’m not a bow champion like Milamber) I struck him well and deeply. Peludo chopped off the head of the other man as he rode by. The fight was over, and they surrendered. The smug sniper came out of his hiding spot with his hands raised.

I began to see to Agrippa. He was badly hurt, and I grabbed my gear and started to extract the quarrel. While I did so, Peludo asked me what kind of a person would have financial dealings with a band of Orcs. I figured that normally they would just kill someone and then take their money, but if they stood to gain from future transactions they would be willing to make a deal. I told such to Peludo. It was clear that he was working himself up to kill all of them, even though they had surrendered. I didn’t care. My attention was on Agrippa, and if Peludo killed all of them so be it.

That’s exactly what he did, removing Fyodorll’s head and then moving on to the other two. Had Milamber had been here I wondered if things would have gone differently. He tends to respect surrendered foes, but still he has no kindness for those who are on friendly terms with Orcs. I think the outcome would have been the same. There would just have been some more philosphizing.

I finished with Agrippa as best as I could while Peludo looted the bodies and the campsite. He found some neat things. Fyodorll had an opal ring, which after some discussion Peludo gave to me. It’s pretty. It’s gold with five stones set around it symmetrically. It fits on my pinky finger perfectly. They’re not powerstones, but maybe I’ll keep it anyway.

In addition to the horses stolen from Sukiskyn, there were two more warhorses and eight riding horses. I chose a warhorse for myself, a blue roan. I named him Rochallor, probably the least creative name given to a warhorse by an Elf ever. It seemed to fit though. He could tell that if he stuck with me he would see lots of action. When I first approached him acted like he wanted to kick me in the face, but after a few minutes he let me mount him as if he had known me since he was foaled. He trotted around the campsite as if he were looking for enemies to run down. He seemed disappointed that he had not been in on the action earlier.

After a while Agrippa came to. He was really worse for the wear, but we didn’t feel like we could stay in the forest over night. We discussed our options with Agrippa. Even though it would be very painful, not to mention dangerous for him, he agreed to let us tie him to his horse so he wouldn’t fall off, and we started back to Sukiskyn. The ride was fortunately uneventful, and we got back to the homestead.

Pyotr was delighted that his son had come back alive, and with most of the horses. He and Milamber had not been slothful. They had dug graves for the fallen, and had even completely rebuilt the horse pens for the white horses.

Pyotr had a little party for us, serving whisky from the Dunlands. A few got drunk. I contented myself with a couple of glasses of wine, served to me by a blushing Irena. Then everyone went to bed, except for the sober ones who stayed up to keep watch. Agrippa cast Mystic Mist on a large portion of the homestead, just in case.

So here I am, writing in this journal, setting the record straight. Hopefully we don’t get attacked by any more Orkish armies tonight. But I probably just jinxed us.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:33 pm

Nice entry! I was worried the narrative would have a gap in it with my absence.

I can't say I disapprove of a little frontier justice being meted out to an Umbarian dealing with orcs.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:40 am

Milamber wrote:I can't say I disapprove of a little frontier justice being meted out to an Umbarian dealing with orcs.

Of course not, but I doubt he would have participated in the slaughter. He would have stayed in the background, implying his disapproval, all the while satisfied with the outcome.  Wink
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:47 am

Milamber would have wanted her carted in front of Piotyr for judgement as he is more or less the local lord.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:24 pm

There I read it, and I know exactly how it happened. Vanimo broke the fourth wall and realized he could just take the journal from Milamber frozen in place. He wrote the entry and misplaced it mostly to mess with Milamber's head. That's how the caper went down.

Milamber would have wanted her carted in front of Piotyr for judgement as he is more or less the local lord. wrote:

Deorwine didn't care one way or the other. They were beaten into submission and were losing what they had gotten from the enemy. If Deorwine were never to meet them again, so much the better. If he were to meet them in battle again, he would have killed them without a thought. That simple. The end.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:33 pm

The Son of Dior wrote:Deorwine didn't care one way or the other. They were beaten into submission and were losing what they had gotten from the enemy. If Deorwine were never to meet them again, so much the better. If he were to meet them in battle again, he would have killed them without a thought. That simple. The end.


Well, Deorwine's position was rather clear: he said nary a word as Peludo worked himself up to murder these valiant foes who surrendered in good faith, and then did nothing as the bloodshed unfolded.



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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Well, Deorwine's position was rather clear: he said nary a word as Peludo worked himself up to murder these valiant foes who surrendered in good faith, and then did nothing as the bloodshed unfolded.

Actually I was off gathering the horses. But of course, the callous and uncaring disadvantages played into it too. Deorwine's seen so much death and bloodshed in his day, killing and death are as natural as taking a breath.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:20 pm

That seems to be pretty typical for this group. Vanimo didn't bat an eye, and Heber - I mean Agrippa - would have killed them if he had been conscious. I wonder if Milamber would have insisted that your foes be taken to Sukiskyn, or if he would have merely suggested it.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:51 pm

Chapter 9

I write this entry in the shade of a high cliff-face near the entry to a stooped gold mine.  It is evening and there is a light rain about with a stiff breeze.  The angle of the sheer stone above me has conspired with the wind to offer a dry spot where I can sip my beer and write without wetting the pages.  I can’t help but appreciate the rugged beauty of the lands about.  There are few places in the east of Gondor as wild and tangled as this.  The mountain spurs rise clean of the wildwood below.  The hills here are sparse with ash and oak.  High yellow grass and brush cover the ground between.

We have found ourselves in the north-eastern highlands of the Grand Duchy in our hunt, and are resting here this evening before we continue.  We are fortunate none of us were injured in our recent adventure inside.  Sadly, while we were able to offer assistance to Master Vissaryon and his enterprise here, we found no more useful leads in our search for Stephon.

Our opportunity to save Stephen is quickly narrowing I suspect.  If he is still alive, he likely regrets that fact, as none are gently used who find themselves at the tender mercies of the orcs.  Nonetheless, we told Piotyr we would try and save his brother, and if at the end the most we can accomplish is to recover his remains and avenge him then so be it.  Looking now to my companions, I suspect they have reached the same conclusions.  The urgency of the hunt has gone out of them, and we are now fallen to a methodical process of hunting and destroying whatever works of the enemy that present themselves, hoping for a new lead in the chase.

Surely though our quarry, the hobgoblin king, has gone to ground and eluded us for now.  An orc of sweet words it seems, he spent his bile on his lesser fellows, but would not take the field himself.  To look at the lack of a trail, it is apparent he took careful care to evade us.  Where do they hide now?   These wolves who have so long hunted the shepherd’s fields in these lands have now become the flock, and learn to taste fear.  I can take at least some comfort in that thought, though unease at some of our deeds to reach that end.

When last I wrote here, we were recovering at the shore of the nameless lake to the southwest of here.  Lord Gloridel and his companions had departed several hours before, when Diorwine and Agrippa arrived from scouting the ranges west of us.  We compared notes and found nothing new that was promising to us.  We agreed to once again split up and search.  Pelludo and Demerel will scout north of the lake to the mountains edge for clues.  Diorwine, Agrippa, Vanimo, and I would make for the mining camp where I now find myself.  We agreed that we would meet at the camp in four days time.

The next morning we broke camp and set out our separate ways.  Our map is of poor quality, and we should look to its replacement as soon as possible.  According to our map, the mining camp was several days to the west and slightly north.  Even so, Agrippa and Vanimo were able compare the look of the mountain ranges we could see with the lay of the map, and decided it was likely we needed to travel more to the north.

This paid off well in our favor; else we would surely have overshot the mark by several days, and have missed our agreed time meeting with our fellows.  Departing the shore of the cursed lake, we lost all bearing of the mountains, for the lake is encircled all in thick woods.  Oak trees matted and twisted branches with ash and yew, all of them covered in lichens with a thick twisted under-bush.  The travel was slow at first as we pushed and hewed to make progress through a forest untamed by settlers.  

The trees were nothing like the great looming darkness in Mirkwood where sun touches nothing at the ground.  This was an untamed sprawl whose histories were lost to the songs of the west.  After the second day of slow travel, we broke free of the forests, and found ourselves on the foothills of the White Mountains.  A great ridge rose to our north, jutting south of the ranges.  If reports were to be believed, the small hobbit and dwarven mining camp was to be found on the east side of the ridge.

A further day of travels uphill was welcome.  The winds were strong, and air was fresh as we ascended, crossing back and forth so our steeds could find purchase.  The cliff face where I now write this came into view late in the morning.  At the base of the grey wall was an open area cleared of grass.  A fair sized fire pit ringed with stone benches had been installed.  Water barrels, sacks, crates, and wagons could be seen arranged in neat and fastidious rows around the camp.  

The entrance to the mine itself was a hole in the rock so low and subtle I did not notice it at first glance.  It is tucked into the shadow of a crease in the stone face low to the ground.  A narrow gash in the rock perhaps five feet high.  The entrance was at once difficult to spot, and would be simple to defend from within.

Our approach was marked by a single dwarf posted at the mine entrance.  He wore no armor, but bore a heavy lumber axe over his shoulder.  His grey beard was knotted in an intricate braid and tucked into his belt-front behind a silver buckle marked by a blue gem.  The rest of his attire was more humble garb, though clean and free of the dust I would expect of a miner recently at his craft.

He stopped our approach outside of the camp.  He regarded us without moving, and then called out “Who are ye?”  I called back “We are travelers and mean you no harm.  We would have words.”  

“Ah, well.  Come in then!”  He replied, unlimbering his axe.

We followed him inside, crouching low and turning sideways to fit through the entrance.  It widened slightly inside, but still remained so low that I was in a perpetual stoop to save my head banging on the stone ceiling.  

A short passageway led us to a wider chamber, perhaps twenty feet wide.  The interior was clean and had some gentle appointments including a few small chairs and a table.  Seated at the table was a portly halfling peering over several documents by the light of an oil lantern suspended above the table by a hook drilled into the stone ceiling.

The gentleman was well dressed in practical garb of grey and olive green, festooned with pockets.  He had curly brown hair dropping down to mutton chops on his cheeks and impossibly bright green eyes.  The room was sweet with hobbit pipe weed smoke, and I noted the smoldering light of his pipe resting in on a pewter tray on the table.  It was a marvelous thing to be honest, hammered silver shaped in the image of a dragon holding a wooden bowl with a long thin stem.  The dragon was forged such that you could set the thing down and it would stand upright on its legs and tail.

He introduced himself to us as Master Vissaryon, and asked after our purpose here.  Having no other explanation as to our profession, I introduced us each to him, and stated we were professional orc hunters.  I explained we were seeking to rescue the brother of Piotyr of Sukiskyn who had been taken by raid, and were tracking all orcs were could find in the region.

Vissaryon’s eyes betrayed a keen interest as he listened to my explanation.   He admitted he had heard nothing of hobgoblins or any human prisoners.  He was only passing familiar with Sukiskyn and Piotyr by reputation.  He quickly added that he might have a professional business proposition for us.

He told us he had a problem, “just the sort that professional orc hunters might be useful for.”  He began this business venture with his brother Takaryon he explained, and had hired a number of dwarven employees.  The mine had done well, and they had struck a lucrative gold vein.  Vissaryon obtained all the needed permits and such to mine it.

Recently, they opened a new side passage and broke through into a natural cavern.  This cavern was infested with goblins.  Vissaryon quickly assured me that the goblins themselves, while dangerous, could be routed if he was to marshal his men and perhaps hire a few irregulars to clear them out.  But there was a further complication.  

“A giant spider” he said.  He explained that when they broke into the cavern complex, they started checking for resources.  There was a collection of stone pillars, stalagmites and stalactites, blocking off one side of a chamber.  They broke though that, and soon after found themselves set upon by a great spider, which quickly incapacitated his brother and several of his employees.  They were forced to flee, and had not yet decided how to proceed.

Agrippa’s eyes sparkled, and he quickly launched into negotiations with Master Vissaryon for a contract.  It was agreed Vissaryon would pay a sum of fifty gold coins for the return of his brother and employees.  Personally, I can see the value of Agrippa’s keen business sense.  I would likely have just set out to do the task without such a deal, and once again been paid in a firm handshake and slap on the back.

The deal being stuck, we set to planning.  Vanimo cast an enchanted light spell onto a number of coins and other objects for our trip below.  Doing this delayed our expedition a couple hours, but it was necessary, as I’d not trust just a simple lamp in such an encounter.

As we set out into the mine, Vissaryon warned us not to touch the webbing of the spider.  It was poisoned such that one would fall asleep immediately.  

The passage into the mine was well cut and regular.  The walls were braced and reinforced with timber from trees outside.  Master Vissaryon had provided us with a crude sketch of the mine and what he recalled of the cavern they had broken into.  We paused for a moment to admire the impressive gold veins and flecks in the side passage while we made our way deeper.  Master Vissaryon it seems could afford to spend gold in plenty to save his kin and resume the work here.

In the furthest passage we found two dwarven miners standing sentry where the regular shape of the mine gave way to the humid air of a natural cave.  They nodded and allowed us entry.   We held our lights and proceeded into the narrow passage single file, as there was no room for us to walk two abreast.

Diorwine in his heavy plate armor took the lead.  His spear was held forward in a readied position.  I came after.  My newly acquired elven blade was ill suited for fighting in tight quarters.  After me came the wizard Agrippa, and Vanimo took the rear guard, sword and shield ready.

It was only a short unopposed walk to where we found the room described by Vissaryon.  A wall of stone columns had been broken through on one end of a large chamber.  It was clear that these columns did not come to be here by natural causes.  Magic had been involved, and it smelt to me of a cage.  Behind the columns, Agrippa found a pedestal set to hold some manner of jewelry.  Whatever it once held was gone.

In a small chamber at the back of the vault, Diorwine found a room filled with webs.  Three sacks were attached to the rocky ceiling, containing what could only be dwarven or halfing bodies.  I set to cutting the sacks open with my knife, taking care to avoid touching the webs lest the poison we were warned of affect me.  Vanimo busied himself trying to clear the webs from the victims as I set them to the ground.  

At some point, Vanimo fell to the ground, senseless.  At first I was alarmed we might be under attack, but it was soon clear he must have brushed against the webs and been poisoned.  The strength of the effect was such it left no doubt it was cursed magic.  No mortal venom is so strong.

Agrippa’s magics were enough to dispel the venom from Vanimo, and together we carried the hobbit and two dwarves back to the mines.  Master Vissaryon wept, and affirmed we had found his brother Takaryon and his two employees.  He gladly paid the promised purse of fifty gold.

We mentioned the strange pedestal and missing necklace.  Takaryon told us they had found the necklace, and his brother had taken custody of the thing.  We mentioned this to Vissaryon, who reluctantly brought the item forth.  It was of strange design and I had never seen the like.  Agrippa assured us it was magical in nature.  
We told Masters Vissaryon and Takaryon we were concerned the item was cursed with a foul magic.  Over Vissaryon’s reluctance, Takaryon was able to convince him to give the strange item up.  We hid it away to deal with properly at a later date,

Still, the task was not done, and we rested while Agrippa used his magics to revive the poisoned miners.  Being refreshed a few hours later, we steeled ourselves the proceeded back into the caverns.

We wound our way through the cave, still in single file, searching for the demon spider.  On three occasions, we found goblins in the tunnels, desiccated and drained of blood by the beast.  At the last, we came to a large vault.  Within were scores of orcs, all kneeling to the ground as though mesmerized.  To one side of the chamber, the great lothesome blob of chitin and hate worked at wrapping one of the orcs in webs.  I have never beheld such a creature in all my years.  I had heard tales from the sylvan elves of Mirkwood of the spiders that infest those forests, though I had never met one.  This beast may have been of like family, but seemed larger than the stories I had heard.

We charged in, at once in battle.  Diorwine and I moved to a direct assault, spear and blade flashing and stabbing at the creature.  It hissed and jabbered in a foul forgotten tongue, and leapt to the ceiling out of our reach.  While we had assailed the beast, Vanimo laid into the kneeling orcs with his blade slashing almost faster than the eye could follow.

Behind us, Agrippa spoke words of power in measured tones, and the great spider twitched and hissed, losing its grip on the ceiling and falling to the ground.  Diorwine and I were upon the beast in an instant, cutting the creature down, where it twitched and did not move again.

Vanimo called a warning, and we saw the orcs had risen to do battle.  We charged amongst them and made bloody work.  Not a one of them survived.  

Amongst the orcs were the wives and young.  What happened next pains me to write on.  I made cause that we could not slay the young.  That despite their dark nature, to put them to the sword would be a wrong and honorless act.  All the rest stood against me though, and despite my discontent, I cannot argue against what Vanimo spoke then.  He could not take the chance.  All orcs turn to evil and blood-thirst.  Not by choice, but as a result of what they are.  Should they be spared and then grow to fullness, many would die at their hands.  And that blood debt would pass to us who let them go.

In the end, I stood aside.  I did not raise my blade, but did not stand to protect them.  I am disquieted by this nights work.  No matter the reasoned arguments in favor of the deed, I cannot think that taking the life of the young who cannot raise a hand in defense is anything but a monstrous act.  I wonder now in the stories that might be told amongst orcs and trolls of the wicked deeds done by man to their children, would they be right to hate us and think us beasts?

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Forgive us Nienna.  I fear we have brought you only tears this night.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:45 am

Chapter 5

It's me, Vanimo, again. Telling the story and making sure it's told right. That night we had settled back at Sukiskyn. We really didn’t expect another Orkish assault, but we had watchers in the tower with bows anyway. Also, Agrippa cast Mystic Mist over the area centered on the great hall of Sukiskyn.

Many were still drunk, and I felt it necessary to take a position on the second level of the tower. Irina joined me. She had many questions about Elves and our culture; I was more than happy to answer them. The cool night breeze flowed through the arrowslits, through which the stars shone brightly. To conserve my night vision I kept the lantern shut. Right in the middle of my recitation of Dendilanië’s poetic history of the creation of the Two Trees, Milamber came down from the tower and told me that someone was coming. Most went downstairs to the great hall. I stayed up there and kept an eye on who was coming, bow in hand. Milamber woke up the sober persons and everyone took a position.

Moments later we heard Alfana shout out a challenge to whoever it was that was coming. In the brightly lit gloom I recognized the voice of Kalanos answer her. Someone was with him – another man not a goblin or anything. I went downstairs and told the others who it was. Pyotr opened the door and Milamber and I went outside to meet them.

Kalanos and his companion looked terrified. Their hands were straight up. Kalanos told us that his companion was Gregor, who was from the lumber camp Ilyakana. Pyotr told us that they could come inside. That presented a problem. To us, there were a few wisps of haze; to Kalanos and Gregor – not having been inside the circle when the spell was cast – it appeared that there was a roiling impenetrable mist of frightening magic.

They approached with their hands up still. Milamber game them a clumsy explanation of what the Mist was. They accepted it, swallowed hard and came inside. Pyotr led them to a seat. Milamber asked them about affairs for they were from.

Still looking around wildly, Kalanos told us that most everyone at the lumber camp was dead, and that Stephan was captured by Orcs. The two of them survived. They related the story that after they dropped us of at Misha’s Ferry, they continued on in their river boat to Ilyakana with their supplies. Stephan wanted to stay a couple of days to make sure that the equipment was satisfactory. This never happened; a few hours later they were attacked by Warg-riders. The camp is not unaccustomed to the dangers of the wild, but there were at least forty Orcs with their mounts. They identified themselves as the Wolfskull clan. Stephan fought well and killed a couple of the Goblin, but was overcome. Kalanos and Gregor were captured along with Stephan and watched what happened next. Many of the lumbermen were tortured and eaten, including most of Kalanos’ crew. The rest were killed. They even destroyed his boat and then gleefully lit it on fire.

Early the next morning, a very large Orc – probably one of those Hobgoblins that we’ve heard of – arrived. He was well spoken and polite, called Stephan his special friend, and would be taken to the lair of the Wolfskull king, to be taken elsewhere from there. He asked Kalanos if they knew where Sukiskyn was. When they replied in the affirmative he suggested to them that they should go there, as there were mighty wizards and warriors there who could save their lives. They were allowed to leave, and made their way as quickly as they could here. The hobgoblin leader called himself Vlack, and said that he was a king.

Suddenly – the middle of Kalanos’ narrative – Gregor stood up, screamed, and ran into the closed door. Milamber grabbed him, threw him to the ground and restrained him, not too gently. The commotion caused Kalanos to run off too. He ran into a wall and fell down, stunned. I asked Agrippa to end his spell, which he did. This immediately calmed down Kalanos and Gregor almost immediately. Milamber helped Gregor to his feet, as I did for Kalanos.

We started to discuss our options on how to rescue Stephan. It seemed clear that the whole thing was a trap, but that’s something we’ve dealt with before, and didn’t bother us too much. Pyotr suggested that we all go to bed and finish our discussion in the morning when more people were sober.

The next morning the women of the household were up early cooking a tasty breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. Once again Irina made sure that she was the one who served me. I think she might be flirting with me.

I partially healed Agrippa of the wound he had received from the bandits in the forest, but he didn’t trust me and told me not to cast Major Healing on him twice. I didn’t. While we were discussing our plans he cast Analyze Magic on the mail shirt that he had picked up from the bandits. It turned out to have a level of Fortify on it. I thought that was pretty neat. Hopefully it would mean that our mage would last a little bit longer.

We had decided to go to Ilyakana and pick up the Orc trail there. Once again the household lent us the horses that we needed for those that didn’t have them. We took Gregor with us when he told us that he knew the area. He would later regret that decision. He didn’t know how to ride a horse, so Kuzma lent him hers, an older mare with a pleasant disposition and a steady gait.

Gregor did seem to know the area. He led us on a maze of game trails though the undergrowth. If there weren’t armies of Orcs around it would have been a pleasant ride. The weather was clear, the trees of the forest dappled the sunlight, and we crossed many clear streams on our way. He led us almost directly north.

In the afternoon Gregor informed us that we were a few hundred yards from the camp. Milamber and Sean scouted the clearing ahead. Milamber returned shortly and told us that it was safe. We rode to the camp. It sloped gently down to the river. I saw some shacks and tents, and the burned remains of some shacks and tents. I also saw Kalanos’ boat. There were about 40 human bodies, and a half dozen Orc ones. They were all stripped of meat, and most of the dead humans showed signs of torture.

In the meantime, Sean had started looking around for tracks. He found plenty of Orc tracks amongst the human ones. Gregor showed us where the hobgoblin king was standing. His prints were large, and Sean and Milamber didn’t have difficulty differentiating them from the other Orc tracks. All of the Orc tracks led south. We reasoned that these were the same forces that had attacked Sukiskyn, and that a different group had led Stephan off.

Milamber and Sean found a very large pawprint from a Warg, much larger than a regular Warg print. They went in the same direction as the others. We started to follow them. Gregor questioned our actions, and wanted us all to return to Sukiskyn with him. Milamber told him that he could either remain with us, or go back to the homestead on his own.

Gregor became alarmed, almost to the point of panic. He didn’t want to come with us to fight an Orc nation, nor did he want to risk death by going back to Sukiskyn on his own. I admit he had a rather good point, one that we had not thought about prior to our departure. Milamber told him that we had a hot trail on this hobgoblin and that we weren’t going back to Sukiskyn. Agrippa told him that he was on his own.

In the end Sean volunteered to take him back to Sukiskyn and then come back and find us. He felt that it would not be right of us to have Gregor help us all this way, and then tell him to either be off on his own or to come with us on our misadventures. I had misgivings about this, and worried that he would either perish on his own or somehow not be able to find us again. No one seemed to share my doubts, but it didn’t matter and it turned out all right. Sean and Gregor left right then, even though it was the evening already.

Milamber started following the trail of the great Warg. It stayed with the tracks of the main army, but the prints suddenly disappeared after only a few miles. Milamber cast around trying to pick up the trail again, but was not successful. I’m not a tracker, and so can’t give a professional opinion about what had happened. I stayed seated on Rochallor, bow in hand with an arrow nocked, shield slung on it guige, and patted his neck. He really really wanted to fight, preferably Orcs. To keep him occupied, I rode around the perimeter as Milamber tried to regain the track.

We set up a camp, somewhat outside of the lumber camp. Milamber and I had to talk Agrippa out of casting defensive spells. It seemed like it was not a good idea with so many of the Orcs and possibly a Sauronic mage in the area. He didn’t like it, but acquiesced. Fortunately, nothing happened that night.

The next morning Milamber tried again to pick up the trail. It was as if the Warg has disappeared into thin air. Milamber spent hours looking for where the Orc went, but could find no sign of him. We again discussed our options. Agrippa pulled out the map that we had gotten from Stephan. He cast the Seeker spell to see if he could locate Stephan. When he did so, he had a vision of Stephan in a cage. He was bound hand and foot, and was blindfolded. It was dark. Agrippa then cast the Trace spell. He told us that Stephan was about 45 miles away to the south east, and pointed out the exact direction.

We went back to our camp, and hung around for the rest of that day. Agrippa drew a line in the direction that Stephan was so that we would know where to go in the morning. The next morning Sean was back. He had returned Gregor and had even given him a gold coin for his help. I think Sean is probably the most decent one amongst us.

We started off in that direction. The going was slower, as we had no guide for the trails and were trying to go a specific direction without straying. A few hours into our ride we got to the edge of the forest and into a grassy plain. A mile or so off we saw some burned out structures. We rode up to it and found a homestead that had been burned to the ground. It had appeared to be fortified with a tower and a palisade, but there was no much left. There was no one alive.

There was nothing for us there. We continued on the rest of the day, making some good time in the grasslands and moors. We had returned to the forest when night fell. Again we had to ask Agrippa to not cast any defense spells. The next morning, we were on our way again. Fairly soon we came upon a surprising sight: a petrified forest within the forest. The trees, undergrowth, even small animals and insects were all turned to stone. Whatever curse had fallen upon this area we couldn’t say. It was too dense for us to really move through it, almost like a wall made out of stone.  It seemed fairly impassable where we were at, especially with our horses, so we decided to reconnoiter it.

Agrippa cast Flying Carpet, and Peludo went straight up pretty high. When he came down he reported that we were at the north west portion of the forest. It was elongated east and west, and shorter to the north and south. He went back up and headed towards the center to see if there was anything there. He didn’t see anything.

We rested there for a bit to recuperate our strength. We decided to go around the haunted forest, heading south and then west. Sean told us that he thought that Stephan – based on Peludo’s description of its size – was inside of the forest. Peludo thought otherwise and said that Stephan was further away, and so around we went. At any rate Agrippa pointed out that there would have to be a path into the interior if Stephan was in there. After a little while we did indeed find an entrance; it looked like a path into the stone forest. Milamber found some Warg tracks going in. Milamber suggested that we go in – and I agreed – but Peludo continued to convince us that Stephan could not be in there. Boy was he wrong, but he might well have saved our life with his error in judging distance.

So we kept going, and finally got to the eastern edge at around the end of the day. We set up camp. Because of the obvious dangers of camping next to a haunted forest, Agrippa cast Mystic Mist.

That night Agrippa woke us up. He had heard the shriek of bats and their flapping wings go overhead. We started to equip ourselves for battle, with Deorwine of course putting on his plate suit with Milamber acting as his squire. We saddled our horses just in case we needed to make a break for it.

We waited in silence. An hour later nothing had happened. I took the saddle off of my horse and went back to sleep. A few hours later I was woken up again; Peludo had heard things moving through the underbrush. I got up again and put on my armor again.  While Agrippa stoked the fire Milamber cast the Light spell, and sent the little candle flame out of the circle of Mystic Mist. He sent it this way and that, looking for enemies, but it didn’t take too long before it was lost in the trees. He had it come back to him.

Sean pointed out something that he heard in the forest. I could hear them to; they were close, maybe 20 yards. Milamber sent his light over that way. The sound stopped. Milamber shouted out “Whoever’s out there, identify yourself!” In response we heard the deep laughter of several Orc voices. Milamber continued to shout challenge at them. The rest of us kept preparing for an immediate assault. We stayed hunkered down where we were at, which played into their hands perfectly as they slowly surrounded us. “Hindsight”, as they say, “is eagle sight.”

We started to picked sounds from the other side also. This put them on two sides of us: the south west and the north east. Milamber had a plan to capture one of them. I cast Missile Shield on Milamber, and Agrippa cast it on Sean. They advanced, with Milamber sending his light ahead of him. They didn’t get very far out of the mist when they heard that same laughter again and something crashed away from them. They came back to our camp.

We rested. Milamber kindly boiled some hardtack for us. I voted that he never cook again. Agrippa agreed, but Peludo was chowing down on the boiled hardtack like it was gourmet stew. While this was going on we heard the bats fly over us again. I don’t know if they were scouting us or trying to frighten us. If it was the latter it didn’t work – we’re a bit too experienced for that. Minutes later we heard some more of the troops moving through the forest. They weren’t trying to be quiet this time. They took up a position to the south east, and minutes later a last group moved into position on the north west. We were now surrounded by what we expected to be a small Orkish army.

It was once again time to consider our options. They did not seem intent on attacking us; at least they hadn’t yet. I wondered if even a larger army was on its way. Milamber suggested that I cast Continual Light on the fletchings of some of his arrows. I did so, and he shot them into tactically advantageous places. They lit up the forest wonderfully.

Surprisingly, they did not attack before dawn, and the sky grew grey and then blue. We discussed several different plans. One of them was to make a succession of Mystic Mists towards their line, but that was not feasible.  I tried to create a distraction by crafting an Illusion of us flying away on our cloaks. Milamber untied the riding horse and let it wander off. It walked around out of the mist, but it stayed close to us and the other horses. They obviously weren’t fooled. At around noon we heard an Orc shout out that it wanted to parley. We tried to keep up the charade and kept silent, even though it started to taunt us.

His taunting worked. We began to formulate a plan of attack.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:24 pm

Chapter 6


It was around noon. Appropriately for a battle, the sky was overcast and threatened rain. We knew that the Orcs were still out there, although we didn’t hear much from them. They maintained discipline rather well. The taunting had stopped a little while ago, but we were still riled up and wanted to go kill some Orcs.

Milamber wanted Missile Shield on both of us, but I felt that doing so would fatigue me too quickly. He cast Lend Strength on me though, so I did end up casting Missile Shield on both of us. Agrippa cast a Concussion spell and held it ready.

The terrain was very dense, with thick trees and heavy undergrowth. Archery would not be much use to us, and we left our bows behind. Because the undergrowth would hamper us more than it would provide us with an advantage, we decided to attack on foot, leaving our horses in the Mystic Mist.

Our plan was simple: charge. We ran out at the Goblins together. They were only a few dozen yards away, and saw them soon enough. There were a dozen or so of them with their Wargs, and were almost in a random formation amongst the bushes, but must have heard us coming as they were already mounted on their Wargs. We advanced a short way and Agrippa let loose his Concussion towards the ground in the midst of our enemies. He struck the ground a bit close for comfort, putting Milamber within range of the concussive effects and stopping him momentarily. Still, it had its desired effects on many of the enemy.

We continued the charge towards them. They charged us, and the melee was joined in a confusion of Warg fur and smelly Goblin. It was a frightful battle. After the first clash both sides lost any sort of group formation, with Goblin, Warg, and Man (with one Elf) darting to and fro across the battlefield as the split-second tactics demanded. Our lives were likely spared by Agrippa’s Concussion spell; the Wargs and Orcs came to their senses a few at a time, and by the time the last of them had joined the fray, we had already killed several of our foes.

Both Milamber – due to his immense skill – and Deorwine – due to his nearly impenetrable armor – were practically invincible on the field. Milamber went this way and that, killing swiftly whatever Orc or Warg was foolish enough to get within reach of Croiche. Milamber was untouched throughout the fight, and the bodies piled up wherever he went.

Deorwine wasn’t quite so lucky. He stabbed and parried, and parried and stabbed, but one of the Wargs got a lucky shot in and bit him on the arm, crushing his armor a little and leaving bite holes in it. The blood flowed freely from his arm, spilling out of the couter.

I did not fare so well. I had learned from our previous encounters to not let a Warg knock me down and get on top of me. I moved this way and that, slaying Orcs, cutting their throats, stabbing them in the eye, or slashing their brains. I found myself face to face with a charging Warg with a mounted rider. He tried to take me down, but I moved aside and as I did so I slashed at one of its legs, and then the other. The Orc got a luck strike, stabbing through my armor and into my chest. It wasn’t so lucky when its Warg went down and was pinned underneath it. I cut a surgical gash in its neck and let it bleed out.

In the meantime, another Orc charged me from the side, adding another stab wound to my chest. I took out its arm and then its eye. But I was grievously wounded and began to falter. My gambeson was soaked with my blood, dripping onto the forest floor. I continued with the fight though. Another Warg was upon me, and there were none of my friends close who could help me. I couldn't afford another wound. I stabbed for its chest, and as it began to react I flicked the blade upwards into its eye, ending the life of that Warg.

Soon we were mopping up the straggling Orcs that had come last to the fight. Agrippa was very bad off. He had been bitten in the throat by a Warg, and had stumbled off beneath a bush and had lost consciousness. He was bleeding out. Milamber took his powerstone and cast Major Healing on him, and then the same as well as Minor Healing on me. I was feeling much better. I cast Awaken on Agrippa, and he came to. I then cast Minor Healing on Deorwine, who told me that he was fine and that it was just a flesh wound.

Our deepest fear was that we would be attacked by the other groups of Orcs that had surrounded us. Although we were fairly well healed, we were exhausted from casting spells and from the fighting. We were in no shape to fight again, especially because we would be attacked by a group two or three times the size of the one that we had just fought.

We returned to our defensive position in the Mist and Milamber called out to the hobgoblin “I’m willing to discuss terms of your surrender!” After his challenge was met by silence I had an idea. I ran out, accompanied by everyone but the still hurt and fatigued Agrippa, and dragged an unconscious but alive Orc back with us. We tied him up. Milamber continued to taunt Vlack. I sat down to rest. I was still very tired. Deorwine did first aid on me, binding the wounds that had not been healed by magic. I began to feel much better. We tied up the Orc and performed first aid on him. He came to a quarter of an hour later. He was not happy to be tied up, but was most unhappy about being in the mist. He screamed in fear, and then had a seizure and fainted.

Agrippa and I had a discussion with Milamber about killing our captive. I felt that we should kill him anyway, no matter what Milamber said. After the Orc came to, we started to question him. He indicated that he was willing to talk to us. My knife at his throat helped. He told us that he would tell us everything. He told us that they have a king named Kloss, they had a lair in the middle of the stone forest. The hobgoblins are from the mountains. One of them lives with them sometimes, and orders the Orcs around, including their King. They were attacking the homesteads to find a map at the behest of Vlack. He didn’t know why, or anything about the map. Tactically, he told us that his group fought us, but that they were waiting for the other Orcs to assist. He didn’t know why they never did attack us. He insisted that he wouldn’t fight anymore, and would make a deal to not fight. Milamber told him that he would take his fighting hand. I agreed, upset that we weren’t going to kill him. I told Milamber again that despite his objections, I wasn’t going to let an Orc walk away.

Milamber, Agrippa and I had a long discussion in Westron, which the Orc didn’t understand. Milamber wanted to send a message via this Orc. The message was to issue a public challenge to King Vlack. Milamber’s thought was that since the Hobgoblin King ruled through strength, if he refused to fight he would become weak in the eyes of the other Orcs. If he did accept, then Milamber would kill him. That wasn’t a bad idea, but nevertheless I insisted that we chop off both of his hands so he could never fight again.

Milamber explained our offer to the Orc: we cut both of his hands off, and he carry our message to King. Otherwise we would kill him. The Orc thought about it, and agreed. Milamber wanted to put the Orc to sleep before chopping his hands off. I rolled my eyes. Never would we be shown any mercy from Orcs should we be captured. Milamber choked him out, then cut his hands off. He bound the wounds and stopped the bleeding, then cast Major Healing on him. Milamber cast Missile Shield on him so he wouldn’t be shot by any Orcs that were still surrounding us, and then showed him out. We rested.

An hour later, nothing had happened. We decided to attack again in the same direction, and if they weren’t there we would wheel around and attack a different group. I cast Missile Shield on Milamber again, and gained free flow. Because of this unexpected boon, Milamber decided to reconnoiter first. He snuck quietly through the forest and got to the battle site. He found no new tracks that would indicate that other Orcs had come to the scene. He completed a circumference around our campsite. They were all gone.

Milamber all of a sudden had a thought: they wanted a map at Sukiskyn. All of the powerful defenders were now away from the manor. King Vlack must have led his troops of, and was now heading there to attack and get the map. We headed out. Milamber started to track the Goblins. They seemed to head in the direction of Sukiskyn. We would never be able to catch up to the Warg-riders until it was too late. We decided to have Agrippa cast Magic Carpet, head back to Sukiskyn and warn Pyotr that an Orkish army was on the way.

Agrippa took off. He slept that night in a tree. He got to Sukiskyn around nightfall the next day. He landed and hailed the manor house. They let him in, and he spoke to Pyotr. He told him the story of our activities, including our thoughts about the impending attack on his house, as well as the discovery that they had been attacking the area settlements to get a map. Pyotr knew nothing about any map, and said that he didn’t own any map.

Despite the very real danger, Pyotr decided to stay there with his household. He felt that he could not leave his home, and was willing to take risk his family’s death in order to defend his home. Agrippa asked whether Stephan might have left a map in his belongings. Pyotr showed him a chest that Stephan kept at Sukiskyn, and at Agrippa’s request he broke it open. There was nothing there but a few knickknacks, a change of clothing, a few souvenirs from far-away lands. Agrippa looked at tapestries, paintings, even behind them, but didn’t find a map. Agrippa stayed only an hour, and then he flew off on his blanket.

He stayed again that night in a tree, and found us the next evening. Despite my misgivings about being discovered Milamber had shot an arrow with a glowing fletching into a tree, so he didn’t have too much difficulty finding us. Before he landed, he asked that I cancel the Mystic Mist spell that I had been casting to keep us safe in the forest. Milamber was being a sneak, and wouldn’t wake me up. Agrippa just unrolled his bedroll outside the circle, made his own Mystic Mist, and west to sleep. Right after that Milamber woke me up – it was my watch – and went to sleep himself.

Despite my previous request, Milamber made us breakfast. More boiled hardtack. I fired him from the job as cook again. We let Agrippa sleep in, and when he woke up he told us the news about Pyotr deciding to stay there.

We continued with our quest to find Stephan. We figured he must have been in the lair inside the stone forest, and started to head back to the entrance that we had previously found. Night fell before we got there, and we camped that night so that we would be rested before we began our assault on the Wolfskull lair. The night passed uneventfully.

The next morning I led everyone to where we had found the path into the stone forest. The path was clear and easy to follow. The stone foliage had been cut away, and we were able to ride down it quite easily. We weren’t able to leave the path, as the forest was thick with stone underbrush. Even though it was daylight, it was fairly dark inside the forest, with the stone branches and leaves blocking out most of the sun. We headed to the north east, following the path. This path started to cross other paths. At each intersection, Milamber got off of his horse and looked at the tracks, analyzing which way the tracks were going, and which path most likely led us to the lair. We followed his lead.

We had ridden for a few hours; we guessed that we were more or less in the middle of the stone forest. I heard Goblin voices ahead. They were talking quite loudly. I alerted the others. The goblins were chattering in the Black Tongue about how they were going eat my heart, chop Milamber’s hands off, flay Agrippa alive, and open up Deorwine’s metal case and pour molten lead down his throat. They were even naming us by name.

Milamber spurred his horse forward, and the rest of us followed. As we rounded a slight bend, we saw a patrol of about a half dozen Orcs ahead of us. They were dismounted; a couple of them held torches. We weren’t being sneaky, and they spotted us instantly. One of them shrieked. They turned around and started to run away.

We chased them and killed them swiftly enough from horseback. After we had done that, Deorwine pulled his spear out of one of their skulls and asked if we should take any of them alive. We checked the bodies, but they were certainly dead. We moved on.

We came to a small river that blocked our path. The water was pitch black, and not because of the darkness. There was a petrified log that went over it. It didn’t seem safe to get the horses over it, so we dismounted and tied our horses to convenient stone branches. The bridge led into a very large hollow tree. There were torches burning inside of the log. Milamber volunteered Deorwine to cross the bridge first, and the rest of us came after. As we crossed, there were some voices coming from inside the hollow tree, but soon they went quiet.

Milamber shouted out in the Black Tongue for them to surrender. We entered the room, and there was a handful of Orc guards. The fight was on. Milamber told Deorwine to take them alive. Deorwine obliged him by stabbing the first Orc in the eye. Milamber again told the Orcs to surrender. Agrippa cast Icy Touch and then Throw Spell on it. Somehow I had been relegated to the rear, so I moved in and ran around the others to position myself for an attack.

After a couple of them attacked Milamber, he had had enough and started striking back. He decapitated one, but when he tried to strike the other it parried and partially knocked Croiche out of Milamber’s hands. Deorwine stabbed that Orc in the leg, hopefully making Milamber feel better.

They started to run away. Milamber ran after them and instead of regripping his sword he let go with his right hand, drew his broadword, and in the same motion brained the Goblin. One of them had run into a side room. Milamber peered into the room. It was a large bedroom of sorts for Wargs and Goblins. There were bits of bones and discarded flesh on the floor. He stepped into the room and started to sheath his broadsword, walking towards the Orc. Agrippa and Deorwine watched the other door, holding his icy spell. I decapitated the Orc that Deorwine had downed and moved into the bedroom with Milamber.

The Orc threw its spear at Milamber, and actually struck him, striking him fairly hard in the side. Milamber almost ignored him, and finish sheathing his sword. The Orc drew a shortsword as Milamber regripped his greatsword. After the Orc attacked Milamber to no effect, he returned the favor and chopped off its arm. As Milamber was telling me to take him alive, two swings from my sword to its neck took off its head. That was it for the those Orcs guarding the entrance to their lair.

Milamber and I started to move together up to the door where Deorwine and Agrippa were. I cast Minor Healing on Milamber to bring him up to speed, but he was still hurt a bit. Milamber told me that he was done trying to take prisoners. He seemed irked that he got hurt. As Milamber and I moved to the door, it opened, and Agrippa threw his spell at that Orc but missed. Deorwine stabbed it twice in the heart. It fell dead. Another one peeked around the corner. Deorwine struck at it but it deflected the blow. Milamber in a blinding motion drew a long dagger, threw it, and struck it in the face, burying the weapon almost to the hilt. It almost shrugged the blow off and made a useless attack against Deorwine.

Milamber got fancy, showing off. He stabbed it in the face, and as he returned his weapon to guard position he tried to strike the inside of the small cross guard of his throwing dagger to bring it back to him. He missed though. The Orc was still up. Deorwine stabbed him and he finally went down. Milamber picked up his knife.

We moved further into the room, and looked around. It was an Orkish common room, with some tables and other crude furniture. Their lair was cleverly crafted from the structure of the stone forest itself, with room created by placing stone branches and other cut rocks in the spaces between the petrified trees. All throughout the lair there were puddles of urine and piles of feces scattered randomly around. In one corner of this room there was a cage – the same one that Agrippa had seen Stephan in during his vision when he cast Seeker. There was an old woman in the cage.

I wandered on, looking for more Orcs to kill. Agrippa, surprisingly, started to care for the old woman, while Milamber started to interrogate her. I went into the next room. It was a throne room, but what I saw was a pleasant shock. There were about a dozen or more dead Orcs and half a score of dead Wargs in there. There had been a fight of some kinds; there were limbs and heads scattered amongst the pools of black Orkish blood. On the throne there was a pile of random body parts, innards and such. On top of that pile was a head, and on top of the head was a crown made of iron. Milamber took the crown as a souvenir.

Deorwine and I continued on from the throne room into some sort of an antechamber or foyer. We went into the next room. It was a very well appointed bedroom. There was no poop in there. It looked like some sort of nobleman’s room, with velvet bedclothes on the ten foot long bed, an armoir, nice furnishings, even a terra-cotta incense burner. Even though there were places to put things like clothes and books, the room had been emptied. There was a store room off to the side with some human body parts, as well as another bunk room for eight more hobgoblins.

We left, taking the old woman with us. We exited the lair, untied our horses, mounted up, and headed off through the haunted stone forest. We started towards Sukiskyn, as we had to drop off the old woman and resupply before we headed out again. Once we made it into the regular, slightly less haunted forest, the old woman started to tell us her story, alternating between heaping lavish praise on us and weeping uncontrollably.

Her name was Babushka. She lived in a farming homestead named Cherkass. We eventually deduced that that was the burned out home stead that we had found while looking for this place. They were attacked, much in the same manner that Sukiskyn was attacked a short time later. Many of their household were slain, others were taken captive by the various Orkish tribes that made up the assault. Babushka and her young granddaughter were taken by the Wolfskull Orcs, and were hauled off to their lair. Her granddaughter was gang raped, tortured, and hacked limb from limb. Her remains were thrown into a cookpot.

Babushka knew Pyotr quite well. She told us that Stephan arrived some time after she did. He wasn’t there long. A very large Hobgoblin named King Vlack treated Stephan very well, even though he was tied up and kept in the cage. He wasn’t there long, and was taken away to a place called Xitaqa by some others of the large Hobgoblins.

Babushka told us that a little while ago, the Wofskull king, who’s name was Kloss, came in with his Orc and Warg troops. He seemed very angry. He was followed by the King Vlack. They were arguing about something, but they weren’t speaking Westron so Babushka didn’t know what. Suddenly Vlack and his entourage set upon the Wolfskulls, killing most of them. Vlack told the few regular Orcs that he left alive to wait there, because soon they were going to be killed by Milamber, Vanimo, Deorwine, and Agrippa. Vlack told those Orcs that if they killed us that he would be pleased, but if not they would be dead anyway. He told Babushka that she would be rescued soon and apologized to her for her rough treatment.

We continued on to Sukiskyn, riding in silence.
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Agent Tash on Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:20 pm

I'm honestly glad you wrote this one rather than me at his point. You remembered several details I had forgotten. Very well done!
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:47 pm

Deorwine wasn’t quite so lucky. He stabbed and parried, and parried and stabbed, but one of the Wargs got a lucky shot in and bit him on the arm, crushing his armor a little and leaving bite holes in it. The blood flowed freely from his arm, spilling out of the couter.

Ha! Tis' a scratch!
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Re: Milamber's Journal

Post by Casey on Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:30 am

The Son of Dior wrote:
Deorwine wasn’t quite so lucky. He stabbed and parried, and parried and stabbed, but one of the Wargs got a lucky shot in and bit him on the arm, crushing his armor a little and leaving bite holes in it. The blood flowed freely from his arm, spilling out of the couter.

Ha! Tis' a scratch!

LOL I guess my "just a flesh wound" comment wasn't as subtle as I thought.
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