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Year 2950: A Darkness in the Marshes


Vladim

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Cecil Brandybuck

Within the wooden palisades, Cecil grew restless. He felt like a squirrel driven into a crook. He would have to leave that tree eventually. He wondered how he would meet it. He wondered how his comrades would meet it. 

The people of Stonyford were a people of impatient kindness. Their warmth and generosity seemed less about sharing wealth as with sharing hardship. For every flute or cozy blanket, there was a wooden shield lining the walls and though they slept peacefully, there was always an eye to the hills. The Summer heat was welcome to Cecil. He found himself fishing with Gramtyng late into the evenings, letting the Anduin cool his toes and send him dozing. It was a leaner living than he knew, but he grew to appreciate every gift he was given all the more for it. Still, he felt strangely relieved as he waved goodbye to Avina, for there were perils to face in all directions home. 

 

~~ooOOoo~~

 

The journey back through the marshes certainly did sweeten the still present scent of Stonyford. There were fish in the meadow waters, but also stranger things. The ground was no longer solid.  As he looked at the horrible mound of sheer rock before them, he knew only something truly miserable could stand to live there, high upon its misty screen.

He struggled to remember precisely what the old wizard had asked of them.

“Why not wait until the evening? If there’s something up there, it will have to come down. We could find a spot in the reeds and be patient. If someone starts a fire, we will know. If they come or leave, we will know.”

OOC

+2 Hope, +2 AP, (1+3) XP added

I will refrain from choosing a Fellowship focus at this time.

No upgrades at this time.

 

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Dahr-Ol of the Beornings

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Dahr-Ol and Elfwynn talked at length apart from the company frequently as the time to leave approached. Sometimes in the common tongue. Sometimes in the hill tongue. It did not take a master linguist to guess that Dahr-Ol wished Elfwynn to remain and heal. He often pointed towards her injury and back out to the wild. Avina for her part was inscrutable on the matter, perhaps custom dictated she let the couple find their own way in such things.

Dahr-Ol wandered down once during the evening while Gramtyng and Cecil were fishing. Gramtyng had asked him about Avina, and his feeling that she was ill at ease.

"I think my mother fears two things. Never in her life has she met a living horse lord, as we call your people. Stories are told by the sorcerers. Sometimes trophies from raids or battles are displayed. Always your people are invoked as traitors, the enemy, the reason for our misfortune. It is lies of course, meant to misdirect my people's misery from the real oppressors and onto you. I myself had not realized, until we found the northern tower and we had our visions, just how great a slaughter the battles for the north had been. My mother also knows that I placed a great barrier between us when I rescued Elfwynn.

I believe she fears that you were raised to hate us as much as she was raised to hate you. We always knew on some level there were lies, but until we moved south who could really know the truth. She also fears you hate us because of the matter with Elfwynn, among the hill people if I had caused another family the distress I caused you and Idunn, a grudge that would span generations might well have followed.

If we come this way again together, we should hunt a buck first. Bringing a gift of food, and sharing a meal would do much to show that no grudges are kept over the matter with Elfwynn. Unless their are...."

Axe stats: Damage 9/Edge 10/Injury 20

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Elfwynn did indeed desire to continue with the company, and in true hill woman fashion made her points strongly. At times when the argument was had in the common key themes often emerged.

"What wounds should separate betrothed from betrothed? Your mother followed your father into sheer madness. You should have seen the sorcerers after you left. A mother sow robbed of offspring would have been less dangerous. I survived the Viglundings... how could the Uruks be any worse? And who exactly kept those first blows from landing on you?"

 

Name
Persuade Elfwynn to stay
[7] (2,4) = 13
tor(2,no) 7,2,4
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Gramtyng, son of Fastredtoken_1(5).png.ef12265c3f3702a2086fb7dc92be835c.png


Riders of Rohan | Standard of Living: MartialCallingTraits | AP: 13 | XP: 11 | DP: 0


Valour: 4 | Wisdom: 4 | End: 27/27 | Load: 15 | Fatigue: 0 [+1] | Hope: 13/14 | Shadow: 6 [0] | Parry: 6 | Weary: No | Miserable: No |Wound: No


Skills: Body 5 (8) | Heart 5 (7)| Wits 4 (5) | Weapons | War Gear | Equipment | Songs


"I see." The horselord nodded to the explanation. "Yes, there is bad blood between our people - at least, some of them. From what I've been told yours and mine ancestors had shared these lands - us, in the Rhovanion, yours, in the west. There were a great many battles, after that kingdom was ruined, mine went north and founded Framsburg, where more clashes happened... Then our people split. Most of mine went south and some went on to become my ancestors, some settled here and became the Leofrings. Yours... Some became the Hill-men, and others went far south and became the Dunledings. Those are the ones whom I was told stories of... None all that pleasant." Gramtyng turned to face the beorning: "I wont lie to you. I have a great deal of dislike for how what you've done. Had you only asked me - or anyone - for help, instead of going it alone, we'd have been better off. At the very least, I could have tried to mislead Viglund - but you are honest to a fault. There was a time when I'd even hated you, and even now, it is hard for me to trust you again." The horselord shook his head. "But generation-spanning grudge? No. If you'd killed Idunn or caused her death - even then, that grudge would end with you, and you alone." How it would end, he did not explain, but in his mind, it was clear enough. "I do so wish I'd have slain Viglund in a duel, back then. Perhaps a day will come when I will go back and finish the job. But there are other oaths to keep, first." Gramtyng barked a dry laugh. "There is no grudge between us, Dahr-Ol. But my trust, that will have to be earned again. Perhaps a hunt is a good start."


"Wait for dark? It'll be even hard to make our way up, if they've a camp up there. Orcs can see in the dark keenly, not like us. But... Looking around the perimeter is a good idea. Maybe there's an easier spot to climb. We need to get up there - at least a few of us, and look around." The bard sized up the mountain with a look of disgust mixed with no small amount of hate. "...The road seems like an ill idea. Fighting our way through is not what we're here for... So. I'll go up first, attach a rope, then we can scale it easier. It would be easier if a second person went to support... How good are you at climbing, Dahr-Ol?"

 


OOC/Actions

 

 

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Dahr-Ol of the Beornings

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Dahr-Ol kicked at a rock with his foot for a moment or two as he considered Gramtyng's words.

"In truth you and Barin probably know my former people's history better than they do. The sorcerers twist every story to suit their needs. Perhaps if we complete that hunt, you could tell a few tales. My mother was ever curious about the truth behind the legends. I think she would appreciate hearing the other perspective.

I agree that I was rash. But in that hall, could we really have held a debate about the situation? Prying ears were around us at every turn. I could not watch a childhood friend used that way. I do not pry into your past, but I notice that you have not visited home in a long time. Surely, you made a stand on principle and paid a price for it?

We did consider some plans that would have left doubt in the mind of Viglund. All of them would have involved the sort of deception the Hill people are known for. All of them would have run the risk of discovery and great bloodshed. Ultimately, I decided that there was no point in leaving my former people if I did not also leave the deceits and manipulation behind as well. They may call me rash, hot headed, and foolhardy. But they cannot call Beorn a liar who sent spies to work deceit. In truth, I fully expected Beorn to expel me from this clan. I expected him to trade me for Idunn's freedom. And I would have voluntarily gone.

As for killing Viglund, he is on his way down the same path the sorcerers took. He will oppress those he does not consider sufficiently loyal or worthy. He will destroy his name over time. His thrall taking will not solve their problems. We would do better to assist the freeholders without demanding anything in return. Let them decide for themselves who they choose. The good people will seek us out.

I will bother you no further on the matter, if at some future time I prove myself worthy, I will gladly hunt with you."

 

*****************************The Dwimmerhorn******************************

"If there's not a sorcerer or two hiding in that foul temple I'll be shocked. Cecil and Gramtyng are both right. They will have to come down. And they do see better in the gloom than us. We should keep a watch through the night. No campfire. No cooked food. Especially meat. We saw them track the river man by scent. If a breeze picks up from our back, we will have to move down wind. Like hunters watching a water hole.

Orcs are not known for their discipline. A fight will erupt. A hunting party will emerge. Perhaps another escape. I cannot say what, but they will not sit quietly for long if they are up there. Tomorrow, with the dawn, when orcish eyes will be the most tired and the least useful we should make a circle about the base. We can better choose our method of ascent, if we feel it necessary after we have watched. As for my arms, I have climbed my share of rocks and cliffs above the headwaters of the Anduin. But above me there was never a hostile force.

We should look for this place's secrets first. I am sure it holds some."

Axe stats: Damage 9/Edge 10/Injury 20

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As the company considered their options, a rapid consensus emerged: to stay put for a while, and observe the place, and see if they could not learn its secrets from the safety of their position.

 

OOC

How you proceed is completely open, but I'd like some rolls to support your actions. Some ideas include:

  • Circle the place, try to move around (while remaining at a safe distance) to get a better view through other angles. That's an Explore check, TN 14.
  • Approach the place, seeking to investigate. If you try to do so unseen, it's a Stealth check, TN 14. Remember Radagast's blessing (+attribute bonus for free).
  • Inspect the place over time, either from afar or from near, from your current position or another one. That's an Awareness check; the TN will depend on your specific position.
  • Etc.

You may split up, if you want, to cover more ground (though that may make you more vulnerable if there are enemies about).

Good luck!

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Barin Greycloak
lhV7Mo1.png

Whilst his companions debated the best approach for evaluating the mount, Barin and Núr peered through the mist and the gloom at the rock before them, trying their hardest to spot anything in the stone of the mount, or the stonework of the fortress atop it, which would give hint of a weakness or an advantage which they could exploit.

The dwarf shuddered when Dahr-Ol and Gramtyng discussed climbing the rockface, as whilst his stone-sense was likely the best amongst all of those present, his athletics was certainly not.

Keeping his head close to that of his young ward, he discussed features and any possible opportunities in hushed murmurs, using Khuzdul so that anyone, or anything, eavesdropping would be unlikely to be able to determine any stratagem which might emerge...

 

OOC

Just some flavour text for now ... although @Vladim if you want any specific rolls to determine if Barin and Núr can spot anything obvious from their current vantage point just let me know...

 

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The two dwarves observed the fortress from afar. They knew mountains well. Especially Barin, whose folk once called the Grey Mountains home. This hill was small and insignificant compared to the mighty slopes of Ered Mithrin, but it still presented a formidable obstacle-especially given the fort atop it.

As Barin studied the rock, he considered the wisdom of a climb. Such a feat would be a daunting endeavour, and perhaps even deadly: for he could not find a place or path that would offer an advantage. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to move, and observe the hill of the Dwimmerhorn from another angle. With some luck, it might reveal a better path for any companions brave enough to attempt the climb.

 

OOC

Given Barin's auto-success with his Mountaineer trait, he can identify that the climb is a daunting one (Athletics TN 20). Failure could result in injury (lost endurance) or even outright death!

Perhaps observing the black hill from a different location would reveal a more approachable path-if you are willing to risk being spotted by any potential enemies.

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Gramtyng, son of Fastredtoken_1(5).png.ef12265c3f3702a2086fb7dc92be835c.png


Riders of Rohan | Standard of Living: MartialCallingTraits | AP: 13 | XP: 11 | DP: 0


Valour: 4 | Wisdom: 4 | End: 27/27 | Load: 15 | Fatigue: 0 [+1] | Hope: 13/14 | Shadow: 6 [0] | Parry: 6 | Weary: No | Miserable: No |Wound: No


Skills: Body 5 (8) | Heart 5 (7)| Wits 4 (5) | Weapons | War Gear | Equipment | Songs


"I am very opposed to waiting. We've tarried long enough already, and avoiding patrols, engaging another hunting party, freeing another captive... no. Circling around is wise; its not as if we can take the normal path up." Gramtyng offered his own view and fell silent.


OOC/Actions

 

 

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Dahr-Ol of the Beornings

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Dahr-Ol watched and waited. He whispered to his companions:

"Think of this from the perspective of the guards. What alerts a man first to the presence of an enemy? Sound and movement. We deny them both if we stay still. They will be watching, looking for figures walking through the mist. Listening for the clink of metal. They will not expect any to be watching them.

They will be afraid that we bring a large force against them, not that some small group waits in secret. Wait for daylight, when they seek to rest, then from a distance we might safely scout the mountain. For now, let us focus our attention on the high places and rock outcroppings. They would be the most likely sentry positions."

Axe stats: Damage 9/Edge 10/Injury 20

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Name
Battle check to locate sentries
[6] (5,3) = 14
tor(2,no) 6,5,3
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Time continued to pass.

Dahr-Ol spied the fortress. He could see no signs of enemies present within-but perhaps his were not the keenest eyes in the company. What he could, however, evaluate, were the defenses of the fortress. For one, the narrow path that led up the hill terminated in a gate, and despite its half-ruined state, the Beorning still expected it to be a strongpoint. No doubt arrow-slits and murder-holes decorated this place, and any enemies could easily rain death down on the intruders. Approaching it seemed folly.

On the other hand, the surrounding walls were not too tall-rising as high as eight feet in places where they remained unruined, or so the Beorning estimated. They did not need to be too high, for they sat upon the sheer edge of the cliff. The main obstacle here was the difficult climb; but if a climber were noticed, they would prove easy target against the fortress' defenders, who could simply hurl down rocks that would make any approach incredibly dangerous.

 

OOC

@thesloth since that Battle check was successful, I gave some strategic information about the main dangers of this fortification. Determining the presence or absence of enemies requires an Awareness check, so I have not provided that info.

I think it's ok to remove Elfwyn's pic from your posts for now, since Dahr-Ol managed to convince her to remain in Stonyford to recover.

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Barin Greycloak
lhV7Mo1.png

“A climb up the rock here would be tantamount to suicide!” Advised the dwarf. “If we’re not taking the roadway up, then certainly circling the mount and checking from another vantage point would be advisable, but best wait until the dawn when sentries will be tired or changing their shift.”

 

 

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Cecil Brandybuck

Cecil tightened his lips at Barin’s words. If they could not find a cliff… they would have to take the gate’s path. Would they be so bold? He turned to Gramtyng and in a flash of despair could again hear the company's charge into battle - the horse lord's blade flashing dull and obvious. He again felt Dahr-Ol's warm blood pooling at his elbows along a miserable path to Stonyford.

Yes, they might.

“I would sooner walk through the mines of Mountain Hall than walk up that hill, whatever therein might be. If we must approach, let us do it strangely. As Dahr-Ol says, they do not expect us. We have not camped the bog for weeks and those at Trader’s Isle are likely gone.”

He spent much of the passing time watching for signs of flame or smoke from the tower buildings.

 

Edited by Modest_Proposal (see edit history)
Name
Awareness
[10] (6,5) = 21
tor(2,no) 10,6,5
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While the others discussed matters at length, Cecil sat and watched the half-ruined fortress from afar. The distance was great, and the task difficult, but one thing was clear: there was no sign of flame or smoke, not from the tall buildings and not from anywhere else. The ruin seemed as dead as the grave, abandoned fully to the ravages of time. Half-hidden in the mists, it had an eerie, haunting look and feel.

Time passed, and the hobbit watched on. There was little of note to report. But as noon-time approached, a bit of light penetrated cloud and fog, and the hobbit thought he caught a short-lived gleam shining from the fortress. It seemed like the kind of thing one could see reflected off of polished metal: a spear-head, or a sword, or ring-mail maybe. Perhaps the place was not entirely unoccupied after all? Or had it been simply a trick of the light, or one played by the hobbit's own eyes?

 

OOC

Let's say that some time passed with the PCs observing and doing what you rolled for. Now it is almost noon.

You are free to proceed in any way you wish, and roll the skills that make the most sense. At some point, night will come, which will make some tasks harder (e.g. climbing, perception skills) but for now you still have time.

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Dahr-Ol of the Beornings

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Dahr-Ol watched and waited. He whispered to his companions:

"Cecil, perhaps now would be the best time to circle the rock. They will be as hindered as can be hoped for in this light. We will also have our best chance to see anything useful. Whatever that flash of light was, it might be more easily understood from another angle. Perhaps from the other side, some secret will be revealed."

Axe stats: Damage 9/Edge 10/Injury 20

Curiosity killed the bearIf we agree to walk the circumference of the fort I would like to invoke my Curious trait during the explore or awareness check for determining something further about the source of the light.

 

Edited by thesloth (see edit history)
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Gramtyng, son of Fastredtoken_1(5).png.ef12265c3f3702a2086fb7dc92be835c.png


Riders of Rohan | Standard of Living: MartialCallingTraits | AP: 13 | XP: 11 | DP: 0


Valour: 4 | Wisdom: 4 | End: 27/27 | Load: 15 | Fatigue: 0 [+1] | Hope: 13/14 | Shadow: 6 [0] | Parry: 6 | Weary: No | Miserable: No |Wound: No


Skills: Body 5 (8) | Heart 5 (7)| Wits 4 (5) | Weapons | War Gear | Equipment | Songs


Gramtyng simply shook his head at the hobbit's words, and did not comment further. To Barin, he replied: "Storming the gate is just as likely suicide, and the enemy would know that we have found something out, which would make this entire job for naught, if it isnt already. But I agree, we ought to circle around; no reason to make things even harder for ourselves when up there is likely a larger group of orcs than we faced." The horselord sat on a nearby log and focused his eyes on the hillside, attempting to, at least, survey this side of it while they still had light. When Dahr-Ol called to them, he'd gotten up without a word and nodded, starting on the trek around the fortress.

 


OOC/Actions*

If TN is 14 on Awareness, I will use a point of Hope on my roll.

Edited by Diofant (see edit history)
Name
Awareness
[3] (6) = 9
tor(1,no) 3,6
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