They skid to a halt on hearing the door burst open as three armed men and a pack of vicious looking hounds erupt from within....
After a tense moment it becomes clear that the local ranger and his two woodcutter brothers are sympathetic to the Elf cause, especially when they catch sight of the horde of screaming greenskins bearing down on their cottage!
Not to be outdone another Orc warrior and a Goblin round on one of the swordsmen attacking the troll. They don't fare so well as the elf who, maddened by his Lieutenant's death, virtually cuts the luckless Goblin in two and, smashing the Orc in the face with the pommel of his sword, sends him crashing to the ground! Having been given a little breathing space the troll comes round like a bear with a sore head (and eye!). Things are looking pretty grim for the two Elf swordsmen...
Back at the cottage the Ranger and two woodcutters sprint to defend the wall in front of their humble abode, whilst the dogs lope around the other side of the building to meet the intruders. Two of the Elf archer jump the side wall to join in the defence of the cottage.
Looking wildly about them the surrounded Elf swordsmen abandon all hope and recklessly throw themsleves at the newly recovered troll. Spurred on by desperation their frenzied attacks leave the creature reeling as blow after blow deepen the ragged gashes that already rend its side. With a howl the the mutilated troll sinks to its death whilst the orcs look on in astonishment.
They are not shaken for long as the Orc champion, bellowing a challenge, downs one of the beleaguered elves. His warriors take up the charge but the second exhausted swordsman manages to fend off their attacks, downing one in the process!
As the second band of Orcs advance on the cottage the Ranger looses off a volley at the Warrior Bull as he bullies his minions forward - the arrow finds its mark catching the Orc in the thigh and sending him crashing to the floor.
The archers on the hill turn and run for the safety of the homestead's walls. In their haste they loose their footing in the dense heather of the hill... The carnage continues at the foot of the hill and the one of swordsmen's cries reaches their ears as the Orc champion and his warriors bludgeon him to death as he too makes a run for the cottage with his comrade!
Things aren't much better back at the wall - One of the woodcutters falls as an orc sword finds its mark. Another two Orcs turn on the lead dog as it approaches them hackles raised and teeth bared. The Goblin archers try and put a few arrows into the back of the fleeing Elf swordsman but again their aim is off.
Panic is clearly setting into the Elves' otherwise levelheaded conduct! The archers making for the back of the cottage and the road beyond it once again loose their footing, as does the swordsmen as he looks over his shoulder at the gibbering pack of orcs hot on his tail! The two archers defending the cottage attempt to cover their retreat - one forces the Orc champion to dive aside with a well aimed shot, whilst the other overshoots the second second band of Orcs in his haste.
The Ranger fares better, felling the Orc Warrior Bull with a point blank shot! A swirling melee erupts over the wall as the second wave of Orcs crash into it. The remaining woodcutter forces his first attacker to dodge backwards from his glinting spear point. However he finds himself outnumbered and is smashed to the ground by his attackers. The Ranger fends off another Orc, sending it sprawling back into the dirt.
As the situation begins to look increasingly desperate the Elf archers defending the cottage remember their objective - get the warning message to Merlinas! They begin to think of skulking off round the back of the cottage! The Elves on the hill find their feet again and not wishing to consider the prospect of being left behind they dash forward to catch up. Unfortuately one Elf falls again on the hill, whilst the other topples over the wall, landing in a heap pn the other side! The Elf on the hill recovers just in time to receive the Orc champion's charge!
At this point any semblance of an orderly retreat dissolves - The archer on the hill is cut to pieces. ..
The fleeing Elf swordsman also meets a bloody end from his pursuers! Two Orcs jump the wall to pursue the recovered Woodcutter and the ranger finds himself almost the sole defender of the homestead!
The only ray of hope to shine through for the men and Elves is the onslaught of the hounds! Downing their first adversaries and survivng vicious counter attacks the dogs win the upper hand, tearing the two Orcs to pieces that stand in their way! Sadly their effort is in vain - as three of the Elf archers finally make it to the road and head for Merlinas, the cries of the dying and wounded fill the air. The Ranger is downed finally, despite felling another Orc with a close range shot! The woodcutter is no match for the two slavering Orcs facing him and he suffers a similar fate. The Orcs pause a moment to watch their quarry slip away down the road before turning their attentions back to the poor unfortunates left behind...
So all in all a very enjoyable game - the second half was much quicker as we knew the dice rolls by then - got quite tense as we both rolled our dice hoping for the right number of dots to come up! The only thing that felt a bit odd was the clumsiness of the Elves - trying to use multiple moves to get them across the board and to the road meant a few extra initiative rolls and once Herndil was dead those rolls had to come in under 3 - a 50/50 chance of success (the wife wasn't brave enough to gamble for more than one extra action each time!) and with her terrible luck with the dice they ended up faltering more often than not!
Still she gained a somewhat Pyrrhic victory - the message got through but at what cost...