23rd Afterlithe, 2948 (Summer)
The Company arrive at the House of Beorn as evening draws in, escorting a pair of former thralls that they captured during their first adventure retrieving the stolen Sickle of the Full Moon. These are Roderic and Beran, thralls who were working for Viglund and his men, forced to steal the sickle or watch their families suffer.
Nearly two years have passed since that day, and in that time the two men have paid off their debt to the people of Stonyford and requested an audience with Beorn. As Thanes of Beorn, the Company have been asked by Ava to escort the two men to see their leader.
At Beorn’s house they join him and his men for the evening feasts, sharing gossip, drinking and singing, and enjoying the longer summer days. There is a sense of peace and joy about the past week, with no sign of Orcs or bandits to trouble anyone. Even their journey from Stonyford was without incident.
As the farmers, herdsmen and guards leave for the night, Beorn ushers the companions and former thralls outside to the porch, where he tells the Company that Roderic and Beran have asked for his help freeing their families from enslavement. He has agreed and wants the companions to go with them and to come back with their families.
That night they talk to the men, asking them questions about the village where they came from, its defences and layout. They tell them what they can, although whatever they know is two years past.
● Roderic and his family lived and served the thane of the village,Thane Grimbar the Butcher.
● Beran lived under the roof of Maracar, one of Thane Grimbar’s warriors. His sister (Avina) is wedded to the same man, and Beran had to suffer the humiliation of serving them both and
watching his sister wed and tolerate Maracar’s affections.
● The village is surrounded by a simple earthen rampart with a gate, patrolled and guarded by a pair
of men at all times. They have a couple of hounds and several geese that act as guard dogs too.
● There are a dozen men that can fight, although only half are warriors.
The village, Raven’s Bluff is five days from Beorn’s, two days past the Elfwood, close to the river along the ridges and hills of that region. That length of land is under the rule of Viglund and while Beorn wants them to free the slaves, he also wants them to try and avoid killing anyone if they can… although he will understand if they have no choice.
They set out the next day, travelling easily through the Free Lands of the region, stopping for the night at the Easterly Inn before skirting the woods and heading off towards Raven’s Bluff. Here the land rises in green valleys and snaking ridges, dotted with trees and strange pinnacles of rocks. It is simply enough for the Company to make their way unseen to a high ridge overlooking the village, and they make camp in the shelter of tall trees. They disguise Roderic and Beran, with deep hoods and crude masks, in case anyone sees and recognises them, then spy on the village in the shelter of the valley.
Their plan is simple: draw out as many of the warriors from the village as they can, then… well, then they’ll see. First, they light a fire, bright and easily seen from the village. While Roderic and Beran keep out of sight, Dafydd Ap Alfred and Alberic pretend to be the soul inhabitants of the camp along with their two ponies, whilst Popo Took and Wilibald Took hide away in some nearby bushes, and Gilthannas hides behind the trees, keeping a keen-eye on the approach from the village.
As night deepens, three men leave Raven’s Bluff and make their way up the ridge, cautiously but open, and as they approach the fire they call out, asking to share the camp. They come forward into the light, armed but not threatening. They talk, trying to learn what they can from each other, but no one is willing to give anything up, and the men from the village start subtly threatening Alberic and Dafydd, telling them that this land is ruled by Viglund and that strangers are not always welcomed, unless they have business or have come to trade. Dafydd doesn’t take kindly to that and, seizing his spear, leaps to his feet and threatens them in return.
The three men start to back away, weapons out, but before they get anywhere, Dafydd leaps forward and thrusts his spear into one of the men’s chest, killing him swiftly. The others surrender when Alberic waves his axe about, and the others reveal themselves. The remaining two men are taken captive, bound and gagged. Leaving Roderic and Beran to guard them, the others discuss their next step, and decide to repeat it the next night, but in a different location.
In the morning they bury the body under stones and earth, then break camp and escort their prisoners further along the ridge, and set up a new camp. That night they light a new fire and move into the same positions as last night, with the prisoners watched over by the two former villagers. Deeper into the night, Gilthannas and Popo, with their keen-eyes, spot four more men sneaking up to the camp. They quickly tell the others, and all hide away amongst the trees and bushes, leaving blankets over packs to create fake sleepers by the fire.
As the four men approach the camp, the companions leap out and surround them, and Dafydd convinces them to lower their weapons. They take the men prisoner too, and once they are gagged and bound and moved out of the way, the companions settle down for the night, and ponder their next move.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 1 each.