12th Foreyule, 2949 (Winter)
The calm before the storm.
As dawn breaks the companions decide that it is time to leave. They spend the morning tending to the wounded, but one soldier- Beoric- lives dying, struck by a poisoned Goblin arrow. His wife grieves by his side, but they convince her to take her husband with the evacuees even though it will kill him off quicker. They organise the remaining townsfolk, who board the rafts and set off up the river, to join the rest of the townsfolk a few miles along, in their makeshift camp in a copse of sheltering willows.
In the afternoon, with the Orc army visible on the horizon, smoke from numerous fires darkening the sky, the six companions ride off North, abandoning the town. A day’s travel finds them meeting up with King Bard and his army: Bardings, Men of Lake-town, Elves, Dwarves, even some Woodmen and Beornings. A sizeable force, but still outnumbered by the Orcs. The King takes counsel from them and is heartened to hear that they have delayed the enemy, long enough for the King to gather what men he could. They advise making a stand, and the King agrees. He tells them that their role in this is over, but if they wish, they can stand with him and fight. They agree, and the six companions take their place amongst the ranks of the army, waiting for the Orcs.
Scouts report back: the Orcs and their Wolves have crossed the river, and seem to be urged on by some unseen terror. The enemy are recklessly advancing, not bothering to scout ahead or plan, and by nightfall the Orcs are there.
On the night of the 13th Foreyule, as the sun sets behind the mountains, the two armies clash with the cacophony of war: Orcs and Goblins surge into the spot where the six companions hold the line, arrows and spears fly, an Orc falls dead to Galia’s bow; another to Gilthannas arrows; Dafydd Ap Alfred and Gerold wade into their midst, spearing and cutting down more Orcs; more fall to the Elves bows.
Gerold becomes frenzied, but his lack of armour and reckless behaviour does him no good in the heat of battle. Soon he is stumbling to his knees, is knocked back by an Orc’s curved blade, and then takes a blow to the head, and falls to the muddied ground!
An Orc spear sails through the air, impaling Galia in the side. She pulls it free, and ignoring the pain, continues firing into the mass of Orcs.
Alberic and Storr stand back-to-back, cutting down Orcs that are swarming over them; all seem driven, some look terrified, all push forward, outnumbering the remaining companions. Spears jab and swords slice, coats of mail deflect blows, Orcs are knocked back, but more take their place. The companions feel the weariness of battle descend, and then the heroes surge forward as the swarming Orcs suddenly lessen; more Orcs fall, Goblin Archers are struck down by arrows…
…and then a creaking, groaning sound. A wagon, pulled by large black horses, comes into view behind the line of Orcs. In the wagon is a gibbet, the corpse of Beoric standing inside, its eyes filled with a baleful light that the companions recognise. The creature speaks:
“Fools! Your time is at an end, the Gibbet King is here!”
The corpse points a bony finger at Storr, who feels a chill creep through his bones. A moment of sheer terror passes over him, but he shrugs it off; an Orc takes advantage of the lull to press his advantage, battering at Storr’s shield.
Dafydd leaps over the bodies of the fallen, stabbing an Orc as he does so, reaching the clearing around the wagon. He thrusts his spear at the Gibbet King, sending skin and rotting flesh scattering. The corpse stares at him: its eyes seem to swell, taking up his entire world, and Dafydd shakes his head to clear it, bewildered and opening himself to attack. A sword swings high, but his helm deflects it with a resounding clang.
Alberic follows his friend, knocking an Orc aside as he too heads for the Gibbet King, swinging his axe and smashing over the side of the Gibbet. The creature points at the Woodman, and he is momentarily frozen in place!
The remaining Orcs surge forward: one falls to Storr’s blade; another falls to its death as Alberic decapitates it. Dafydd, still stunned and vulnerable, finds himself surrounded by Orcs: they pummel him, and only his coat of mail prevents him from falling.
The Gibbet King turns its attention to the Elves: a bony finger points at Gilthannas, but the Elf is strong in spirit, and simply pulls back his bow, ready to let fly with another deadly arrow…
End of Session
XP Awarded: 1 each.