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Monday, 13 February 2012

The Reaving of Linden Way...

Howdy folks and welcome to the third and final instalment before we get to the big showdown at Orc's Drift. Not to give away too much about which way the battle went, but I write this report with a heavy heart. As you can see from these previous posts I did become rather attached to the small settlement of Linden Way and the many and varied characters who dwell there -










Crikey - hadn't realised I'd written so much twaddle about them! 

 Anyway, not to give too much away at this early stage, but the neighbourhood is not quite what it was anymore...

The Reaving of Linden Way

Magyar Ironfist, Chieftain of the mighty Kwae Karr Orcs, curled what was left of his upper lip in disgust. A low rumbling growl emanated from the brutish Warlord as he tried to decide which sight was more offensive - the pitiful human village with its even more pathetic defenders which lay further down the road, or the foul smelling and decidedly moth-eaten Shaman who was furiously scratching his crotch before him.

"Give it a rest Bagrash!" 

"Sorry Oh Mighty Chief, scourge of the Northern Wastes, terror of Ramalia, crusher of..."

"Enough!" Roared Magyar. Oh how he hated such craven belly-crawling... 
"So shaman, I gather we are graced with the presence of our Lord and King, F'yar."  

" Yes your Mightiness.. erm, I mean... yes, he has lent his support and that of his elite Guard to our cause, Master" Bagrash ducked backwards automatically as he saw Magyar's already tortured brow contort even further. A huge fist whistled through the space the shaman's head had just vacated. 

"Bah, that cursed dog mocks me. Already the yellow cur wastes my strength on such paltry quarry as this. Now he seeks to further paint me as a weakling by showing up here and robbing me of what little sport there is to be had. If he thinks he can come swanning back in here and..."

Bagrash settled back onto his haunches and began investigating his groin again. Preparations A through to G had failed to salve the burning irritation he felt down there - maybe his next concoction might do the trick... 

"... and never before will the world have seen such red ruin as that which I shall rain upon the people of Linden. And I will strike down upon them with great vengeance and furious anger..."

Magyar's ranting washed over the old Orc, almost soothing in its familiarity. Bagrash began to feel himself nodding off. There wasn't much to do but wait - it didn't matter which meat-head was in charge - they all seemed to shout him as much as each other. If Magyar nursed a grudge against F'yar and coveted the throne so be it - just as long as old Bagrash didn't get in the firing line.

"... and fireballs - we'll need lots of them, and lightning. Are you listening you scabrous old goat?!" 

Bagrash mumbled his assent to his Master's demands and took his leave to begin his magical... and medicinal preparations... 

The column of marching Orcs came to a shambling halt as they came to the edge of the woods that covered their approach to the sleepy village of Linden Way. Magyar Ironfist, would-be Crusher of the North barged up and down the ill-disciplined ranks.


"When I say halt I mean stop you miserable worms!" Several troopers nursed their heads as the Chief asserted his command. 

"Oo's ee callin' a worm?" muttered one of the Orcs. Kwaekarr Otes took pride in his work, as did all the Kwae Karr tribe, and he disliked baseless slurs on his abilities.

His mate, Red Eebrek, leaned over and whispered "Nevermind 'im - Muss be that lot up at the front."  

A roar erupted from the front of the column, "Shut up! Silence!" Magyar Ironfist glared at the lines of warriors drawn up in front of him. 

"Now then lads, listen up - this here's the plan. We're going down there and we're going to level that village. I don't want anything left standing, crawling or breathing. But first we're going to let our glorious leader and his F'yar Guard have the first go. Be a shame if anything nasty were to happen to him. At least he's got us to watch his back..." 

The air was rent with a terrible sound - that of Magyar Ironfist's attempt at evil cackling, and worse still - his minions' lacklustre attempt at joining in with him.


Behind the Orc column emerged a unit of archers, who took up position behind the hill that overlooked the settlement. Grinning evilly, they lit torches and prepared the fire arrows for their first volley.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the hill King F'yar gripped his saddle more tightly as his startled Wyvern mount let fall another mountainous pile of dung. What the hell was that dolt, Magyar, playing at, raising a racket like that?!


"'Ow long 'ave we to stand 'ere then?" groused Ing Ulnook, glancing warily at the proximity of the Wyvern's latest deposit.

"Dunno - depends wot 'im up there sez, dunnit" Chim Neepees was the proudest member of the F'yar Guard and would brook no lip or dissention. 

Cole Scuttul weighed into the discussion, "S'awright fer flyboy up there - bet the smell dunt reach that far." 

"Yer, maybe e's gonna flush out dem humies with by... buy-a-loj... buy-a-loj-sickle weapons?"

The rest of the Big'uns turned and looked at Indukt Shuneater. 

"Wot are yoo on about?" Normally taciturn to the point of muteness, Harth Fender shook his head - that boy had some strange new-fangled ideas. 

The F'yar Guard didn't have long to wait as it happened. With a great cry the serpentine reptile laboured into  the sky, once more lightening its load as it went - much to the disgust of the earthbound Orcs below.


"... And so men, that is what Ramalia expects of you. Honour, valour and - cough, cough - the laying down of your life in her name - cough"  This last part of the rousing speech that Captain Leofric had just delivered, spurred on by several pints of Bludweiser Light, was muttered somewhat sheepishly and speedily into his sleeve. 

"What was that last bit, sir?" A dozen or so suspicious faces regarded the young captain with hostility through the smokey and noxious atmosphere of the Inn. 

Sergeant Corbin Grincheux rolled his eyes, and with typical Breton sang-froid suppressed the urge to cuff the little upstart around the head. It was bad enough that they had been given a rabble of  the highest order with which to defend this miserable hamlet - important only for the crossroads it squatted on. Now their recently, and in his opinion, unwisely promoted Captain, still wet behind the ears and possessed of the most romantic and unrealistic ideas about the Arts of War, was sapping morale with his little pep talks...

Then there was the little matter of the Captain's "favouritism" for that scurrilous rogue, Ric. Grincheux narrowed his eyes as he glared at the boy in question. There was something the grizzled old sergeant couldn't put his finger on about the lad - was it the strangely smooth complexion, the lithesome figure or girlish laugh? Yes, he thought, Leofric should definitely lay off Ric - it just wasn't proper for an officer to moon about so much over one of the enlisted men...


The settlement of Linden Way buzzed with life like a fat bluebottle, beating its last reserves of energy against a windowpane. The village Inn, The Slann in Space, had been occupied, unsurprisingly, by the majority of the militia. Across the road in the stables, Wilfrid Post engaged in his usual pastime of trying to persuade his stable "boy", Thori Dittori, to be his next jockey. 

Over in the village store, Grunville Longpockets kept one wary eye on his goods and the other on the militia men stationed there. The presence of the village's mayor, Leofwine, did not reassure him. In fact presence was overstating the matter, as Leofwine was barely functioning as a human being, suffering as he was from a hangover of monstrous proportions...



"Ohhh my head. By all that is holy won't someone fetch me a hair of the dog" 

Hrothgar, the local landowner's head yeoman, and Grimwald, one of the village's woodcutters, looked at each other over the prostrate form of their great leader. The other regular conscripts shifted uncomfortably, shifting their glances to avoid making eye contact with either of the old timers. 

"What are we going to do with him - he must have had at least two pints of that Troll-Breath Stout last night!" mused Grimwald.

"Nevermind the wine - its the ale he wants to leave off" Hrothgar observed reproachfully.

"Might , I, er, r... re... re... rec..., er recommend O' Hurley's patented Corpse Reviver, sir? Only 15 groats?" Grunville treated the soldiers to his most ingratiating rictus grin.

"Now if I had been able to train as a Doctor I might now be in a position to assist dear boy - fancy a jelly baby - they're a new invention of mine!" Tom the Baker flashed the bemused company a toothy grin, "No, well nevermind..."

Gladyss tutted impatiently, removing the lead stopper from a stout earthenware flask and releasing a miasma of poisonous fumes into the air. "Nevermind him, drag the poor old mayor over here and I'll sort him out." 


The relative calm of the village was soon to be disturbed. Up in the watchtower, the militia's archers and scouts scanned the horizon. Jaws dropped and alarum bells rang as sharp eyes caught sight of the approaching Orc column.


At that, the pub emptied quicker than the time Aulden Bitte, Arthur Bitte the landlord's father, first discovered he was incontinent. Captain Leofric led his merry band out to the boundary fence, ready to sell their lives dearly.



Unfortunately the staff of the Slann in Space displayed no such fighting spirit as they began heading for the hills. Taking advantage of the situation, the less savoury elements of the militia stayed behind, helping themselves to another round - on the house of course!


Hot on the heels of the Bitte family and other assorted hangers on was Wilfrid Post and Dittori - maintaining a steady gallop!



Like a bear with a sore head, the newly revived Mayor Leofwine led his men out of the store and onto the crossroads to see what was going on. Behind them Gladyss and Tom the Baker succeeded in prizing Grunville's iron grip from the store's doorframe, and proceeded to drag him away from his beloved shop. 


The cause of the village's alarm swung into view as the Kwae Karr Orcs marched down onto the approach road, accompanied by much howling, clashing of weapons and gnashing of teeth.


Behind them the Orcish archers gained the summit of the hill, swinging their bows up in the direction of the enemy.


A line of fire extended across the ridgeline briefly before soaring into the sky as the Orcs let fly their first volley of flaming arrows at the village store. Smoke began to rise up from the building as it began to smoulder. 



The F'yar guard continued their advance through the woods to the South West of the settlement.


With a piercing shriek King F'yar came hurtling out of the sky and landed with a crash on the main street. The wyvern looked about and squealed in delight at the tasty treat arrayed before it. Not even the fireball Bagrash hurled at the store to its right could distract it from its prey!


The long neck darted out with horrible speed and slavering jaws closed around the struggling forms of Grunville and his wife! The Wyvern chewed thoughtfully - if it had been able to understand such concepts as sweet and sour, it might have remarked on the contrasting flavours now filling its mouth.

F'yar's lance whistled past Tom Baker's left ear. As he ran from the snarling Orc he shouted back, 

"Killing me isn't going to help you! It isn't going to do me much good either!"


The militia swung into action like a lame chimp. Reacting heroically to this new threat, Leofwine scurried back into the cover of the smoking store as the Wyvern swooped low overhead in pursuit of the rest of the villagers. 


The archers in the watchtower snapped off a volley at the receding reptile. One arrow somehow found a soft spot, as testified by the enraged squawk the Wyvern let out! 


Undaunted by the large number of Orcs making their way down the road Captain Leofric led his men to close the gap. 


Undaunted by the scurrying militia forces standing in their way the Kwae Karr column marched steadily onwards. Behind them the archers sent another flaming volley into the stores. Leofwine's detachment began to think twice about their choice of shelter as the building began to turn into a raging inferno!


The F'yar Guard emerge from the woods and threaten the Militia's left flank.



F'yar wheeled and brought his Wyvern into another low swoop over the village, his target this time - the fleeing bar staff of the Slann in Space! Turning on the monster, Aulden Bitte raised his stick in defiance, only to be crushed underfoot!


 F'yar fixed Arthur's daughter, Fancia Bitte, with a lecherous eye before skewering her with his lance. Such was the force of his thrust that Arthur fund himself transfixed as well!



Muttering his incantations once more, Bagrash extended his crooked and foul-smelling finger once more and unleashed another two fireballs. This time two of Captain Leofric's men burst into flame.


Back in town, Tom the Baker carefully crept up the street. The way ahead was blocked by the enormous bulk of the Wyvern and terrible sounds drifted down the road. 


He wasn't sure how he was going to get round to freedom but Tom felt sure some opportunity would present itself.


Again the militia's archers opened up on F'yar and his Wyvern - their hopes were raised as several arrows found their mark, and dashed as the missiles bounced off the creature's hardened scales.


Helga, the Slann's formidable barmaid, rolled up her sleeves and prepared to sell her life dearly for the one she loved. However, the wretched sobbing of the terrified busker, Elwin Presslay, was severely testing that love. She let her heart soften a moment - the sight of an enraged Wyven would be enough to unman most men - was she being too hard on the lovable old rogue? Without stopping to look back, Helga grabbed her man, threw the whimpering form over her shoulder and ran to safety!


Magyar drew his Orcs to a halt at the entrance to the village. To his right he could see the F'yar guard also approaching. Why not let them make the first move, he thought, he and his Kwae Karr Orcs would mop up the mess they left.


The archers upped sticks and began moving down the hill. They had done their worst to the stores and the next target was the watch tower. Another volley of firey missiles flew through the air and smoke now issued forth from the tower.

And yet the Orcs' cheers were cut short - something was moving in the ruins before them...

Barrachus the insane illusionist had been disturbed!


Dimly aware of another magical presence on the battlefield, Bagrash sent forth another to fireballs, condemning another two militia men to an incandescent end.



Meanwhile, F'yar's Wyvern had landed astride the road to Meledir. With nowhere left to run, Wilfrid and Dittori's racing days were over before they had begun...


Having witnessed the gruesome end of two more of his fellow villagers, Tom the Baker nervously ran his tongue over his many teeth - there must be some way past...

Making his mind up he sauntered nonchalantly up the street towards the hissing monster. Of course he'd be able bluff his way past - and if not the beast would be so surprised at the offer of a jelly baby or two that he was sure he would be able to slip past...
... Mind you he didn't like the way the arrows the archers were firing at it were antagonising the creature, ineffectual as they were!


Beset on all sides Captain Leofric ordered a formation change. If there was a thin red line it was here as the few remaining militia men spread themselves along the fenceline in line abreast.


Barrachus glared through the window of his beautiful villa - green faces stared back in surprise at him. Emotions chased each other across the insane old magician's face as his multiple personalities fought for supremacy. In a moment of rare lucidity Barrachus made the connection between his race's age old enemy and the deep seated hatred that was growing in the pit of his stomach - a hatred that would rule him for the next half an hour or so!

Barrachus began intoning the words that would cause the foul creatures to visualise their worst nightmare in a terrible hallucination. A corona of light began to form around the old man's outstretched hand, tendrils of unnatural fire flickered about him and...

... fizzled out. The old man was left muttering confusedly, trying to remember what had annoyed him so much just a moment ago!


Seeing that there was no way the humans were going to come anywhere near endangering the life of King F'yar, Magyar cursed and advanced his column towards the village. The ragged remnants of the militia that guarded the boundary fence were no threat - two were cut down by his Orcish archers as he watched and the survivors seemed transfixed by the advance of the fearsome looking F'yar guard.




King F'yar looked down incredulously at the ridiculous figure strolling up the gore spattered street towards him. Was the imbecile actually... yes! He was actually whistling! And twirling a small paper bag in his hand. This wouldn't do at all.

Kicking the Wyvern viciously, F'yar swooped down on the strange figure. His mount opened its jaws wide and with a strangled "Fancy a..." Tom the Baker was no more...


With a great shower of sparks and protesting timbers the village store finally succumbed to the flames. Bagrash, his face taking on a demonic aspect, lit as it was by the flickering fire light, drew himself up and launched another two fireballs. Screaming through the air, they slammed into the already smoking watch tower. Inside the archers escaped any harm, although their position was becoming increasingly precarious.


There cover quite literally blown, Mayor Leofwine and his detachment charged across the still burning ruins and into the Kwae Karr column. The mayor brought his great sword around in a wide arc and smote the Orc chieftain. Staggering back Magyar shook his head clear and, unharmed, retaliated by braining one of the militia.


As things were getting decidedly warm in the watch tower, the archers quickly spilled out onto the street. Looking round for new targets they spotted the Orc archers in the distance. One arrow found its target but at that range did no damage.



Barrachus felt the familiar spinning in his head and his ears filled with whispering voices as the madness once again claimed him. This time his condition left him trembling in fear - suddenly the world was an inexplicably terrifying place for the old man.

With the multitude of leering green faces still glaring at him from the hillside, Barrachus sought safety in number. As if by magic two illusory (and strangely non identical) clones materialised beside him. Now completely confused, the Orc archers continued to ignore the mad old bird!


Back in the village the situation was looking increasingly bleak for the militia. With a bloodcurdling cry the F'yar Guard charged the much reduced company guarding the fence. Another soldier joined his brothers-in-arms in the mud, felled by a cruelly barbed Orc glaive. And yet not all went the Orcs' way. Poor old Induckt Shuneater gaped down at the gaping hole in his midriff. Looking up he glared at the equally surprised militia man on the other end of the offending sword, before falling to the ground, stone dead. 


The Kwae Karr Orcs felled another luckless soldier, whooping with wild abandon as they pushed back and enveloped the small band of valiant fighters.

 

King F'yar looked about him for his next victim. His Wyvern snorted disappointedly as the lack of fresh meat. With a shrug of its wings it turned and shambled towards the fracas going on between the Kwae Karr Orcs and the last remaining militia men to see if there was the odd scrap going spare.


Out for revenge, the Orc archers ranged in on their human counterparts. The volume of arrows compensated for their poor marksmanship and one of the militia's archers fell dead.


Penned in on all sides Mayor Leofwine's men fought back with a strength born of desperation. An Orc trooper fell to the onslaught and Bagrash himself reeled back, clutching a deep wound in his side.


Having watched most of the battle from inside the pub, the more roguish elements of the militia decided to finally make an appearance. Whether to come to aid Leofwine in his heroic last stand, or to slink away while most of the Orcs were busy in their butchery wasn't immediately clear...


The remaining archers caught sight of their old enemy once more as F'yar and his Wyvern emerged from the village. Easily scoring several hits, the archers again cursed the lack of penetrating power their arrows.


The three Barrachuses again attempted to terrify the Orc interlopers with another hallucination, however, their collective insanity had reduced them to simpletons, and once again the crucial incantations were forgotten.


The entrance of F'yar and his Wyvern into the fray was the last straw for Leofwine and his not so happy few. Two of his men were snatched up into the air in the creature's slavering jaws, a third was run through by the Orc King's lance and the viciously spiked club of the Orc chieftain, Magyar Ironfist, was the last thing he ever saw.... moving very fast.... towards his head.


Cackling and whooping the Kwae Karr Orcs wheeled round and plowed into the back of Captain Leofric's unit. Caught between the F'yar Guard and Magyar's mob, the militia men didn't stand a chance...


Ric, on seeing the demise of her favourite captain - the man she hadn't realised she loved until this last, final and terrible moment, gave a great and anguished cry before charging F'yar! Her compatriots had little choice other than follow her into battle!


The Orc archers amusedly watched the three curious humans gesticulating wildly before them, until their Boss, Jeem Boawan, knocked a few heads together and directed their attention to the bowmen who were happily loosing their bows at King F'yar.

Boawan's intervention must have been effective as only one of the four humans was left standing after Orcs' volley!


Looking around him dazedly, the surviving archer pinched himself to check he was alive. A wild euphoria welled up in him at his miraculous escape and so lost was he in his sheer delight at being alive that he failed to notice the air becoming increasingly charged around him. Suddenly, with a great bang and whiff of ozone, a bolt of lightning forked out from where the Orc shaman stood. The poor old archer never knew what hit him!


F'yar made short work of Ric and the last few militia men. Only one survived that brutal attack...


 ... and he promptly ran for the only place he felt safe - the pub!


Epilogue

The fire must have reached the top shelf liqueurs above the bar in the Slann in Space, as the Orcs' celebrations were interrupted by an enormous concussion.  Unfazed the Orcs set their minds once more to the task of draining the enormous hogsheads of ale they had liberated from the Inn's cellars.

Magyar Ironfist picked his teeth with the end of the rib bone he had been absent-mindedly been chewing. He noted that Bagrash didn't seem to be scratching his delicates as violently as he was normally wont to do and easily resisted the urge to enquire further. Knocking back another bucket of ale, the chieftain grinned to himself - the day had been a good one. His reputation as crusher of the North was coming along nicely and he'd hardly lost any warriors doing it. Admittedly F'yar hadn't met a sticky end - the dog had the luck of the devil sitting on that arrow magnet of a mount of his. Yet a plan was hatching in the wily Orc's mind - if the enemy couldn't be relied upon to get rid of the pretender then maybe he should look elsewhere. What was that old saying - if you want something doing, get someone even bigger than the last lot you forced to obey your every command!


So as I hinted at earlier - a bit of a massacre for poor old Linden Way! Mind you both sets of players were a little wary from the lessons they'd learned in the previous scenarios - the Orcs in particular were especially careful to guard against significant losses what with the final showdown imminent. This wasn't a problem and in fact fitted rather nicely into the way the various characters and forces might have acted within the narrative.

Final scores then were -

Militia - 2.5 - yes you did read that right!
Kwae Karr Orcs - a massive 31!

This meant that (quite fittingly) the Kwae Karr Orcs would be spear-heading the attack on Orc's Drift, arriving as they would be on Turn 4 - those engineers had better get cracking with those mealie bags!

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. Great pictures, great background and humor make it a great read.

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  2. I loved the report and the scenery and of course the figures. Bravo!

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  3. Thanks chaps - just got to muster the energy to write up the final battle!

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  4. What a fab report! Really enjoying these bat reps and looking forward now to reading about the final showdown at Orc's Drift

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  5. We played this one yesterday and came up with a very similar result, even without F'yar. Five orcs killed, and four villagers escaped.

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  6. Thanks Kingsley!

    Interesting to hear of someone else playing through these scenarios Stuart - how did you get on with the others?

    Looks like the militia is set to have a hard time of it whichever way!

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