The Battle of Bowen's Field
Dawn broke to the bustling sounds of Beornings readying themselves for their journey to battle. Grimbeorn, son of Beorn, stood in the center of the yard, shouting orders in his booming voice. “Ready yourselves, kinsmen! We ride to battle!”

Feeling somewhat restless ourselves, and wanting to assist these fine folk in defending the villagers, Durim, The Hound, Drogo and I decided it would be best to ride along and lend our limited knowledge and talents. There were about thirty Beorning men in the column heading south, amongst them Wiliferd, the young warrior of Stonyford, and Helmgut, Oderic’s father. Helmgut clutched his wineskin tightly, and as we marched toward danger it never seemed to leave his side.

Grimbeorn called Durim to his tent as camp settled at the end of the first day’s march. “Though I do not know you or your companions, my father has advised me to use your knowledge and talents on this quest. But let it be known, our goal on this mission is first to defend any villagers, to take this Valter the Bloody, dead or alive, and to capture Oderic alive, that he may be judged at the Carrock of Beorn.”

“Then this is a noble quest,” Durim replied somberly. “We shall aid you in whatever way we can. The encampment was a grim sight, full of warriors, with many good folk captured and enslaved. We would gladly rid the land of this Valter, and see justice done.”

The following morning, The Hound scouted ahead of the column, all but disappearing in the tall grass ahead of us. On the horizon ahead appeared a dark, oddly shaped cloud. It grew quickly, undulating in the sky. Soon it was close enough to see that the cloud was in fact a great flock of black birds. Fear grew in our hearts as the flock swooped low over our heads, sending men, hobbits, and dwarf diving to the ground and running in fear. As they passed over our band, Grimbeorn stood and bellowed, “Fear not Beornings! We must be brave in the face of dark omens. We march!”

Though clearly shaken, we gathered ourselves and braced our spirits, marching south once again. The Hound, Canna fast at his heels, met us along the way. “Those black birds,” he said to Grimbeorn, “they were the Crebain, servants of the Shadow. Used as spies by dark forces. I sense something foul afoot. We should be wary.”

“Indeed,” said Grimbeorn, “your scouting and knowledge of these things is useful. I would ask that you continue, and send back tidings of any signs of trouble you might see. I will send out scouts of my own as well, but your keen eyes may see what others miss.”

On the third day, I joined The Hound on his scouting mission. We crept through the tall grass and soon came upon signs that a large party had passed this way. The trodden grass belied a large force of men, who had been heading north, but turned at the crossroad and marched east, toward the dark forest Mirkwood. I scurried back to Grimbeorn and made my report.

Gathering Durim and a few of the Beorning warriors around him, Grimbeorn quickly scanned the map he pulled from his pack. “It is well done that you found these tracks. It appears that they are heading toward Bowen’s Field, a small hamlet to the east. We must hurry, for the people there have no defenses.” Standing, Grimbeorn called out, “We march with haste, kinsmen!” and the Beorning party settled into a quick jog. Shouldering my own gear, it was all I could do to keep up.

Shortly we smelled smoke on the air and came upon a farm, the house set afire and the animals slaughtered in the field. Fixed to the side of the barn, in a grisly display, was poor Geral the farmer, studded with arrows. Geral’s dead eyes stared out of a face twisted in fear.

Grimbeorn’s countenance changed from determination to anger, as he rushed over the next ridge with the Beorning company at his back. Hearing shouts and the clanging of metal, we steeled ourselves for the fight. Durim charged ahead, in the midst of Beorning warriors, his axe gripped tightly in his fists. Drogo held back with several other archers. The Hound and I skirted to the side, looking for villagers in need of help. The battle was a frenzy of shouting, smoke and the clash of metal. We faced nearly fifty raiders, who were well warned by the battle cries of the charging Beornings. Wiliferd, his face painted with fear, held his sword white-knuckled as he faced his first foes. Helmgut clutched his own two-handed axe with practiced ease, and as he took down his first enemy the haze seemed to clear from his eyes and he stood taller, rushing into the thick of battle.

The sounds of children crying perked my ears as the Hound and I rounded a corner to see a family huddled against the side of a burning barn. Seeing the defenseless family clutching each other in fear, two of the bandits sought to claim their lives. The Hound and I attacked. Canna growled and snapped at the bandits while I stepped between them and the family. “Run!” I cried to them, “back that way! Run to safety.”

“Ah, little girl!” growled one of the bandits. “I’ll take that tiny sword ye got and stick ye with it!” He swiped at me as I rolled to the side and my short sword slashed out, cutting into his leg. He fell to the ground with a cry and I jumped up, smashing the hilt of my blade into his face. He went out. The second bandit, struggling against Canna’s fierce bites, stumbled and fell to his knees in the dirt. The Hound knocked him out as well, and we turned to the trembling villagers. “Run, I said! Don’t just huddle here and die! Save your children.”

They nodded, their fear fading. Clutching at their children, they ran to safety behind the band of Beorning warriors. In the village’s center, Durim flung himself between Grimbeorn and three bandits. Lunging from one to the next, he took their blows valiantly, defending Grimbeorn so that he could lead his men. Beornings surrounded the group, and with great shouts they smashed against their foes. Grimbeorn nodded thanks to Durim and bellowed another rallying cry, his axe held high.

Though the course of the battle bode well for the Beornings, we wearied under the vicious attacks of the raiders. From the rear, Drogo and the other archers’ arrows rained into the battlefield, striking the bandits and slowing them.

The Hound, snarling in fury, faced a small band of raiders. As he raised Wolfbiter to strike, the men quailed in fear and broke, running for the distant tree line. I snuck through the village, flitting from shadow to shadow, seeking out Oderic. I saw him, fending off two Beorning warriors. He fought with grace, and while he parried their blows easily, he did not strike to hit them in return.

“Oderic!” I cried to him. “Surrender and throw down your sword. This is not the way! Your father is on the battle field. Will you let him see his son die like a coward, rather than face Beorn’s justice like a man?”

The tide of the battle had turned, however, and the Beorning band was flagging. The Hound was struck a nasty blow and fell to the ground. Durim, who had suffered much in his defense of Grimbeorn, also fell. Drogo ran to his side to prevent further attack on his fallen comrade. A commotion began near the rear of the field, and a grim chant started up amongst the Beorning warriors, growing louder with each shout: “Beorn. Beorn. Beorn! BEORN!”

His claws a blur, Beorn took to the battlefield in the form of an enormous black bear, tearing through the bandit raiders like nothing I’d ever seen. He flew through his foes, and the battle broke as men began to flee in fear. The Hound and Durim, regaining consciousness and finding their feet, noted Valter, Oderic and two other bandit men running off the field. We pursued, shouting for aid.

As we caught up to them, the miscreants turned to face us with their weapons at the ready. Tears streaked down Oderic’s dirty face. Valter laughed menacingly, his face awash with arrogance.

“Oderic, son of Helmgut!” shouted Durim. “Now is the time to prove if your heart is noble or corrupt!” Oderic faltered, his arms dropped to his sides in defeat. His sword, which had been swung with skill, slipped from his grasp and stuck quivering in the dirt at his feet. With a strangled gasp, Oderic looked down at himself in surprise as the blade of his companion’s spear jutted through his chest, thrust from behind his back. “What have I done?” Oderic gurgled as his life’s blood spilled from the wound.

“Coward,” muttered the bandit, leaving the spear jutting from Oderic as he drew another blade.

“Faron, kill the dwarf. You, take the hobbits,” Valter ordered with a laugh. The bandits lunged. Durim reacted quickly, burying his axe in the belly of the one called Faron, who crumpled to the ground in a heap. Valter’s sword flashed in an attack on the Hound, hitting him and knocking him to one knee. Durim’s axe whirred through the air, bashing into the head of the third villain, who collapsed in the dirt with a grunt. Valter, facing the four of us alone, swung once more at The Hound, who fell to the blow. In desperation, I hurled myself at Valter’s feet, allowing Durim to strike, but Valter deflected the blow easily. Valter, laughing, kicked me to the side and I blacked out.

Though I came to moments later, I was too dazed to get to my feet. Drogo had drawn his sword and hurled himself between Durim and Valter, but was tossed aside as I had been. Durim, with a mighty shout, swung his axe high and smashed the flat of the blade against his head. Valter’s knees buckled and he fell to the ground, unconscious.

Quiet fell around us, as our fight was the last of the battle. The Beornings were tending to the wounded and securing the villagers. We tended to ourselves and Grimbeorn tied Valter, hand and foot.

Durim searched through Valter’s belongings, uncovering a cloth sack out of which tumbled a withered human head. The gray skin pulled tightly over bone belied a long dead relic. A rusted iron band circled its crown. Durim nudged it over to The Hound with a booted foot. “What do you suppose this is, friend?”

The Hound shook the last daze from his eyes and looked over the ghastly thing at his feet. “I’ve heard of such a thing. Some dark force has enchanted this, to carry his orders over great distance. It is an evil thing, and should be destroyed.”

Striding up, Grimbeorn agreed. “Indeed, it is a treacherous thing. Do what you must to see it destroyed.” With one blow from Wolfbiter, the head crumbled into dust.

Durim, turning to Grimbeorn, spoke. “I am sorry that we could not recover Oderic alive. It seemed as though he might surrender, but these criminals stabbed him in the back.”

“Friend dwarf, this battle was well fought. Perhaps Oderic found the justice he deserved, after all. We shall take this Valter back to the Carrock where he will meet his doom.”

As we worked our way through the town, looking for villagers and wounded warriors we came upon Wiliferd, whose tunic was soaked in the blood of his enemies. The fear had left him, and he strode through the camp as if hunting for more foes. In a mill near the center of town we found a mother and her two small children kneeling over the body of Helmgut. They told us how he died, defending them to his last breath from three bandits. Calling for assistance, we collected him to be buried with a hero’s honors.

Once the dead were buried and the villagers secure, our band made its way back to the House of Beorn. There, we feasted once again in celebration of our victory, toasting the honored dead. Grimbeorn gave us each a small pouch of silver as a reward for hunting down Oderic. For his valor on the battlefield, he awarded Durim with a bejeweled axe belt. Ava, having heard a tale of my rescuing the villagers, rewarded me with another hefty purse of coin. That evening was spent with rousing songs, and tales regaled of the Battle of Bowen’s Field, and in the morning our small party departed for the Easterly Inn to rest.
Session: Game Session - Thursday, Feb 07 2013 from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM
Viewable by: Public
Epic × 2!