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Tag: beorn

Beorn's Quest (part two)
Since we had followed Oderic's tracks to the village, we decided to talk to the people he might have returned to to see if he was still hiding somewhere nearby. When we entered Helmgut's hovel and tried to extract any details from him, he was despondent and lost in drink, so we left. Then we asked around where we might find Brunhild, Rathfic's wife, and were directed to the burial mounds outside town where she crouched in silent vigil.



Poppy gained her confidence and the girl admitted that Oderic had visited her a few days ago, and told her of his flight from the orcs. She attested that Oderic had killed Rathfic by accident, and that Rathfic had been the one to draw the knife while the two men argued. Durim argued that by evading Beorn's justice, the man had all but damned himself, but if he could be returned to the Carrock to face justice, he just might be spared.

The brash young man had reportedly left to head west, across the river, and so that is where our trail led next. One of the boats had been stolen; we found it abandoned on the opposite shore, a few miles downstream.

The Hound tracked him relentlessly, until we found ourselves near the Gladden Fields, and woods where wicked men were said to live. At the remains of a camp, we found splinters of a broken shield and the riven haft of a spear. The Hound determined that one man had been set upon by many and a struggle had ensued--apparently, our quarry had been snared by someone else!

It was easier to follow the trail of many men, which had headed directly into the woods. The Hound, followed by the sneaky hobbits, crept into the forest to scout ahead. After a few minutes, Durim followed, noting a wisp of smoke on the horizon that suggested an encampment might be found nearby.

Poppy and Drogo soon outdistanced the Hound, who was being more cautious. The hobbits were trying so hard to remain quiet they forgot to listen, and didn't noticed a group of sentries until they were nearly on top of them! Four men of dangerous countenance were stalking carefully through the wood, one of whom glimpsed the hobbits out of the corner of his eye and quickly looked toward them. Poppy disappeared into the underbrush and Drogo froze, relatively unobscured on a deer-path. Poppy threw a rock, distracting the men enough for Drogo to crawl away, but alerting them that something was amiss.

Drogo retreated far enough to come across the Hound, and explained the situation in a whisper. As they wondered whether to wait it out (gleaning some information by watching them) or try to go around, Poppy recklessly threw a rock at them, capturing their full attention. The Hound stepped up boldly and charged into battle with Canna at his side.

Two men armed with bows aimed for the hobbits while The Hound threatened the others with his steel. Durim came running, having heard the commotion, and immediately hit the dirt as an arrow sailed past him. He stood and faced his attacker, trying to rally his companions, but the battle was almost won already; the Poppy and the Hound had dealt with their men and Drogo fired an arrow through the neck of one of the archers, killing him instantly. The fourth man tried to flee but was run down by Canna and The Hound.

When the three surviving men had been restrained, we considered our options. It could be hours before our prisoners woke to be interrogated, and by then their camp might notice their disappearance. So the Hound decided to scout further, followed again by Poppy (to his chagrin), while Durim and Drogo sat quietly in the wood, awaiting the inevitable sounds of battle.

The Hound made his way to the wicked men's camp, and was surprised to see that it was even larger than the village of Stonyford. The camp consisted of perhaps a hundred people, including women and children, many of whom were clearly slaves. So the men were slavers who had been press-ganging innocent people! That seemed to explain what had happened to Oderic. But as he scanned the encampment from the vantage point of a tall tree at the outskirts of the clearing, the Hound saw a young man who must be Oderic, sword in hand, consulting with the apparent leader of the bandits! Stunned by this revelation, but only just, the woodman made a quick estimate of how many armed men there were in the camp (approximately 40!) and returned to the others to share what he had learned.

Durim supposed Oderic had impressed the slavers with his steel--overlooking that the young man might have been in league with them for months. Regardless, a frontal assault would be suicide, and it was clear that there was no easy way to sneak into the encampment and confront the boy, and no guarantee he would leave peaceably if we were to somehow manage it.

When the captured sentries awoke, we got what we could from them. They knew Oderic but didn't trust him. Their leader, a fearsome man named Valter the Bloody, apparently had been learning what he could about Oderic's home. Our captives didn't know what their next raid target was, but it sounded like they were getting ready to set out the next morning.

It appeared that Stonyford was in danger! We set out quickly, and kept a hurried pace to get to the village as soon as we could. We told them of the danger to the town, and implored them to leave, and come with us to the safety of Beorn's house. Helmgut refused to leave until The Hound, with shadow in his heart, threatened to feed the old man to his dog, piece by piece. By the end of the morning the townsfolk had gathered what they could and had started the slow trek to Beorn's house. And none to soon--on the morning of the second day, a column of smoke rose behind them, portending the destruction of the village. Durim likened it to the plight of the Dwarves of Erebor, and as such, lightened the spirits of many of the villagers; for Beorn would surely rout the bandits, and there would be no dragon awaiting them when they returned home.

After a few more days we arrived at Beorn's house with our refugees in tow. Hearing of the bandit army, Beorn became fierce, and not many hours later a fighting force began to assemble. "We ride out in the morning! To Battle!"
Session: Game Session - Wednesday, Jan 30 2013 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Tags: bandits , Beorn
Beorn's Quest (part one)
After guarding the Easterly Inn for a year, the wise hound Shadrach was ready to return home to his master. Dody asked us to accompany the noble canine back to Beorn's house. We set out at once, glad to stretch our legs again after a cozy winter.

It was a pleasant journey until Poppy's ears perked up at the sound of a boat bumping against the shore of the great river. Creeping closer to investigate, she came across a terrible scene: Two dead men lay in the boat, apparently felled by orc's arrows. Orc raiders this close to Beorn's home was worrisome.



We looked over the wreck, but the clues we found only heightened our fears: The men were clearly thanes of Beorn; loyal warriors entrusted by the great chief to protect and serve. At the bottom of the boat lay severed lengths of rope, and one of the thanes' swords was missing, as if a hostage had sat there but escaped in the chaos of the ambush.

Durim repurposed the boat as a funeral bier and we pulled the bodies of the men along the road to Beorn's house.

First the dogs came out to meet us, howling almost mournfully, and then Beorn himself came striding up on long legs and cried out "I know these men!" and bid us enter his home and tell him the story of how they had died. While we could only speculate on what had happened, his despair was tempered by appreciation for our returning the fallen beornings.



That evening there was a feast (delivered on sheepback and waited by dogs with the ability to stand upright on hindlegs), and a wake, and the Hound told him of adventures in the forest--a sad tale, but moving--and Durim related an unpolished, but very well received verse about our adventures rescuing Dindy in the High Pass. When the dwarf's account reached its climactic resolution, wherein we battled the goblin chief in his dining hall, Beorn cheered. Overall the mood of the Beornings was cheerful and reflective instead of somber, especially thanks to the presence of the delightful hobbits who sang and cavorted merrily.

That night, after Beorn had left and shut the door behind himself, Poppy woke to hear strange noises, like the sound of a large animal shuffling and snorting outside Beorn's hall. When she snuck out to determine the cause of these noises, she saw large tracks in the mud, like those of a huge bear, but could not see the source of them.

In the morning, Beorn had returned. A pile of dented helmets of goblin-make lay in a heap on a table--apparently the great man had been busy last night!

Over a delicious breakfast of honey-cakes Beorn told us more about the slain men, Odo and Merovech, who had left some time ago to act as roaming justices and settle disputes in the many towns under Beorn's protection. It appeared they had been returning with a prisoner who would stand trial at the Carrock, and that that prisoner had escaped, taking the pouch of silver they had carried.

As he had quickly grown to like us, the great chief asked us to complete a quest on his behalf: to track down the escapee and bring him back, preferably alive so he could face Beorn's justice.

We agreed, and set out at once. Heading south, we picked up a trail we hoped would lead us to our escapee. Following the signs we came across a slain orc, suggesting our quarry was a trained swordsman. Then we came across a kind farmer, who told us he had had a guest, a young man calling himself Oderic, who had paid him a whole silver coin for a night's rest. Now we knew our quarry's name, and set out on his trail once more.

Later, in the woods, we were attacked by an orc raiding party, evidence that the shadow is gaining strength in the North once more. We fended them off, slaying them to the last despite their leader's hideous toughness; Canna dove in front of his master and was wounded, but the Woodman dressed it neat and had no fear the dog would recover quickly.

We headed east, and met some men on the path who had heard of a man by that name who had been accused of murder in a village not far away, called Stonyford.

We picked up the trail and indeed it led to Stonyford. We were met with an odd hostility by the town elder, his daughter Ava (who was de facto leader of the village due to her father's advanced age) and an obviously inexperienced boy swordsman, who we learned had been promoted to town defender after the former holder of that title--a man named Rathfic--had been murdered.

Though defensive and reluctant to give us information, we were able to get some of the story around Rathfic's death. It was said that Oderic, foster son of a man named Helmgut, was a troublemaker, somehow entangled with Rathfic's wife, a young woman named Brunhild, and the conflict had somehow escalated into cold-blooded murder.
Session: Game Session - Wednesday, Jan 23 2013 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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