We're into the final stretch of Medieval Chaos' season and this mission was probably one of the best I've had this year; Kampi went hard and I was sore for days following so I knew it was good. Kudos to Devon for organizing it!
The first Day of the Moon
Month of Wine
Local Year 5315
Divine Association: Lokki, the Trickster.
Literal Meaning: Gift
Interpretations: Exchange, Giving, Receiving
- Right-side: Aid, Generosity, Sacrifice
- Inverted: Burden, Debt, Obligation
This past seventh day, the dire armies of Northbrook returned with a vengeance, and only through our combined effort did we manage to defeat them. It was only by a timely warning were we able to attempt to bulwark the town and gather our forces before we clashed.
The hours before the indication of this looming threat were calm, as they often are before adversity. Some days prior, I received a message from an old friend requesting aid and I felt obliged to help; they begged me to keep the reasons for their request secret, so I have refrained from mentioning them by name in my journal on the slight chance it falls into undesired hands.
Whilst I prepared what was asked of me, nearby in the holy grounds of Ithus, Relan (whom had recently been appointed Regent by proclamation of King Willumarius, much to the bishop's chagrin) was discussing things with a new arrival: Brother Hector; he was a pilgrim of sorts from a far off abbey that worshiped Ithus. I had no idea that Relan's faith stretched that far beyond Arrakis.
|Brother Hector and Ayla sparring with an neophyte.|
After handing over the requested preparations and sharing a few sparse words, I began my Watch duties. After personally making the effort of recording the listed laws into my journal for convenient reference, Captain Milo had me retrieve the javelins left in the moat outside Fort Rowanoak and restock the ballistae.
I must say I did not enjoy trudging through the swampy moat but I turned down the offer given that Milo could send the jötnar to assist me; they mean well but somehow I believed their feebleminds would only serve to further vex the task. Regardless, this was a job that had to be done, especially since this folk of this town are too focused upon their own to give a thought to upkeep or defence.
Sometime after completing that assignment, my sight fell upon a bound individual being roughly 'escorted' into town from the Northwest road by two Hrognites: Abbott and Theos.
Once within the town's limits, they began to torture the crazed man, proclaiming that since he was a follower of Northbrook (that in itself was a major offence), by our laws they were free to offend him as they saw fit ("during wartime, citizens are permitted to perform major offences against recognized enemies of Dagger Deep."); though allowed, I did not approve of their cruel methods, nor that they were quite willing to perform them in public view. Hrogn rightfully has their reputation for barbarism by such deeds.
After a particularly distasteful inquiry, the desired information was extracted and the gathered crowd spread the news: the man was an advanced scout for a force of Northbrook over a throng in size and not more than an hour or so from the Deep.
Though the town lacked direct leadership that day (no nobility was present; not even the newly appointed Hand, the dwarf Ivar Ironsinger; apparently King Willumarius found the successor of the late Marcus unfit for the role. It was said Ivar was south in Helm's Deep attending to his new appointments and making preparations for some sort of Order he's developing), several members did their best to rally the townsfolk for battle and bolster our meagre defences.
The cleric Phoxx and I set to the task of erecting makeshift barricades at the North and West gates of town, both of which sorely lacked any sort of gate; with aid we hastily constructed rather solid barriers from the materials at hand. The Southern and Eastern gates we had clever folk set up hidden hazards if any foes were to advance via those routes. In fact, just after I finished requesting a boorish trapper to attend to the Eastern gate, I ran afoul of a hidden device that slashed into my maille whilst I was scouting through that gate for any sign of the enemy. Luckily my armour kept me from being wounded, but unfortunately I had not the time to have it repaired before we began to hear the beating of Northbrook's war-drums.
After a valiant battle we managed to defeat the first wave of their forces, during which we managed to capture and remove one of their cardinal leaders. The removal of such a key figure so early into their invasion was most likely quite a blow to their morale and hampered their war effort; unfortunately not as much as we hoped, for Northbrook soon pressed a second advance, this time dividing their focus between the North and West gates.
Caught in a pincher, our forces were nearly routed, but our foe withdrew apparently seeking something beyond our mere destruction.
After regrouping we took stock of our situation: rumour had spread that Northbrook was here seeking a brand of vast power; a piece of a map that was recovered off of one of their warriors leant credence to this and it was believed the location they headed for next was the fire portal. There was disagreement on the next course of action: some (mostly Hrogn) called not to lose any time pursuing the enemy and whilst others thought it best to remain in town and gather our strength. I initially felt it was my duty as an active member of the Watch, to stay and help organize a plan.
But after hearing that Hrogn was outnumbered and in need of aid, I set off with a few others including Hector with intent to render assistance, but after trudging across the plains to the distant jeers and insults hurled at us by Northbrook and seeing that the scant force of Hrogn had become undead thralls, it became clear to the Brother of Ithus and myself that at best we could stall the enemy by sacrificing our lives in hope that the main force would follow our example.
We brought low a few aptrgangr by both conviction and steel, but the tide of their warriors soon washed over us and we fell.
I do not how much time had passed before Relan's familiar touch pulled me from the grey realm, but I was again on my feet, sword in hand, singing death to those who sought to harm whom that I cared for. We plunged in and out of battle until the sun began to sink beyond the horizon. We travelled the lengths and breadths of the realm, trying to prevent Northbrook from achieving their goal; to be truthful, it felt like a hopeless task, for our forces were scattered, our information unclear, and our strength fleeting. We had but fleeting torch light to see clearly by.
Things began to proceed in our favour when we successfully caught their sizeable force in a pincher at Galadriel's, soundly defeated them, and afterwards recovered the relic they sought: a wicked sword that drained both the essence and life-force from those who openly wielded it. Theos of Hrogn now possesses it, and has vowed to those who demanded its destruction that he would carry it only until the remainder of the Wretched Court of Northbrook are destroyed.
Let's hope that promise is kept, for he who breaks a solemn oath is nidth and his spirit bound to suffer in Náströnd, inside the depths of Helheim.
With their forces shattered and their leadership broken, the remaining forces of our rival fled back North. The folk of Dagger Deep were once again victorious.
Exhausted from the day's ordeals, I sated my hunger with a bowl of stone soup from the trading shop Strange Things From Strange Lands, brewed by its proprietor, the wood elf Elora. Just as we (Myself, Relan, Claudia, Elora and her half-tree(?) son, Seyden) were discussing various things, a far off wail drew Relan and myself, along with other curious folk, from the comforting lighted areas of town to the tall ranges of Calen Tor.
There we came upon a scene of late carnage: a small encampment lay in ruin and there were few scant remains of the previous inhabitants. We estimated that the disturbance that occurred here was not recent but couldn't be older than a week or so at the most. Above all these grim sights, the most unsettling thing seen was an the insubstantial form of a man: similar to a wraith in incorporealness but neither did it bare the dark and distorted visage common to such beings, nor did the emotion that palpably radiated be not anger, but sorrow. It did no harm upon us, even when we attempted and failed to touch it; it just lingered.
This apparition muttered unintelligible things before and when we hauled the corpses back to town, where we hoped that through Relan's miracles the affliction that prevented their rejuvenation could be removed. After a brief session of prayer to Ithus, we returned to see the bodies had been placed outside of the bar; another nearby event that drew my attention, but I saw that Watch Captain Milo was present so I decided not to investigate it at the time.
Back to where we had moved the bodies away from that turbulent scene, Relan was having no luck restoring life to them, but the improved illumination allowed us to better discern their condition: all but one showed severe deterioration; the one that didn't had a deep, bloody cavity in the centre of his chest. The spectre lingered closest to this body above the others, and we suspected some sort of connection. Through faint words it whispered to Relan, he and a small party darted back into the fields of Calen Tor in search of something they believed they missed.
Soon Relan returned, carrying a small object he claimed was incredibly hot; when he dropped it into my gauntleted hands I felt that he was indeed correct about its heat: it burned like a ember and it's weight and hardness was like a stone, but was in the shape of a heart. After quickly making the association I returned the blistering object to the chest cavity of the corpse.
With a great cry of pain the corpse sprang to life; it ranted and raved as Relan attempted to calm and question it. I did not consider myself to be helpful in such matters, given Relan's better way with speech than I, so during that time I chose to join myself in the other concern:
Abbott and some other folk had confined an individual in the stockade; one whom they claimed was a mad experiment from Anhk. I was willing to be lenient earlier this day when that prisoner was a follower of Northbrook, but as I gathered this man had not broken any local laws and he was being unjustly held and tortured by Abbott and his entourage; personal vendettas are not to be settled in such a way. Just as Milo and I made to cease this unruly affair, the bound individual vanished without a trace.
Having finished with his consoling of the once dead man with the burning heart, whom was discovered to be the hirebrand Duggan, Relan soon joined the perplexed crowd that was beginning to disperse from around the now empty stockade. Vexed and exhausted, I must admit I vocally expressed my displeasure in a most unbecoming way and declared myself off-duty for the remainder of the night.
As much as I desired a drink (or several) I felt I needed to be alone, so I said my farewells to my mentor and my captain, who respectively expressed their appreciation for my devotion and dedication that day; Milo even stated that I was due for promotion to senior guardsman.
With that, I returned to my nearby camp and fell into a deep slumber.
Praise Be To The Æsir
Ref 'Kampi' Vandillson