The Veiled Blade

Session Twenty Seven

Waking the Rudeboys

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Jeffric, who is being the scout for the group and leading them through the dense forest, begins to notice the sudden appearance of sharp craggy rocks interwoven amongst the trees and shortly the ground beneath his feet becomes damp and somewhat marshy. As he pushes onwards the trees suddenly peter out to reveal a clearing filled with craggy pointed rocks and he spots a crude wooden compound in the distance, constructed against a jagged outcrop of rocky cliff. He ventures a few more steps forward and suddenly detects movement somewhere in the distance – losing his bottle he instantly turns tail and runs back into the trees and halts the group, informing them of what he has seen.
As usual, there is a great debate about what is to be done about the new discovery and a lot of conjecture as to the nature of the construction – is it a lookout tower (it isn’t), or is it a human settlement (it isn’t). They discuss how to proceed with many of the group wanting to simply skirt past the structure, but this is easier said than done as the terrain is impassable on the left flank and hard going on the right. A few of the group want to scout out the compound, but there is great resistance to this idea and after some heated arguments it is settled on that Jeffric will resume his scouting but will aim to follow the tree line all the way around to the right in hope of learning of a clear route to avoid the construction.

The woodsman duly strikes out on his own and stays within the trees, never venturing out into the rocky clearing. As he comes close to the right flank on the structure he spots something odd up ahead amongst the trees – it is a stake driven into the ground at chest height, on top of which is a rotted head of an indistinguishable greenskin. Looking about him Jeffric sees that there is in fact a multitude of these stakes driven into the ground, each bearing greenskin bodyparts such as hands and heads. There are also bones scattered across the ground and closer investigation reveals that there are both Goblin and Orc bodyparts present and that all the heads are facing the East, as if warning people away from the structure. At this point the woodsman decides to check the ground around him for traps and sure enough he discovers a shallow mantrap filled with sharpened stakes. At this point he decides to return to the rest of the party and report his findings.

The group is disturbed to hear about what has been found and decide that they want nothing to do with the compound and opt to follow Jeffric back to the spot with the stakes and push on past to safety and to their goal of Grenz. The core group decides that they will strike out alone and will leave the rest of the party at the woodline in case there’s a need to beat a hasty retreat all the way back to the ship. Making their way, very very carefully, the group manages to creep up to the spot where the woodsman found the first stake – then they opt to spread out and check for further traps; and they do indeed find more crafty snares and pits scattered across the ground before them. Unfortunately, Jeffric has a slip in attention and uncharacteristically misses a trap trigger and only narrowly avoids being smashed by a levered branch; the result of which sends birds cawing into the sky. The group freezes – terrified that they have now alerted the inhabitants of the compound to their presence; The woodsman decides to move out to the woodline to check the situation.

Upon gazing out amongst the trees Jeffric can now see that he is positioned directly in front of the entrance of the compound, some forty feet away, with craggy rocks obscuring his view. He can make out that the front gates of the compound are open and as he looks more carefully he detects that a number of hunched green figures are lithely weaving in and out of the craggy rocks, coming ever closer towards him. He turns and flees back to the group and warns them of the fast approaching threat; they all take up positions behind trees and await the arrival of their attackers. A short time later and six green figures appear a short distance away and the group fires a number of arrows, which all miss. Arrows are fired back in response but these too fail to hit their mark; and then the two groups close in on each other and a desperate hand to hand battle ensues. Fickenja immediately turns and flees, hoping to find her way back to the core of the group but in her wild panic goes off in the wrong direction and blunders into a pit trap, injuring her leg. The Orc’s attacks are wild and ferocious and if it were not for a heady mix of the group’s skills, luck and dexterity, they would have quickly succumbed to the greenskin assault. Cadrigar, the elf pedlar, breaks his bow and then manages to avoid most blows, receiving only a light wound and kills one enemy. Jeffric manages to avoid blow after blow with a series of parries and heavily injures his attackers in return for receiving a number of wounds himself. Carla the mage has little time to cast any spells and is forced into hand to hand combat as well and manages to kill one of the attackers and receives only a light wound. Heinrich the herdsman assists his colleagues with his bow before closing in with his sword, injuring a number of the Orcs but receiving heavy wounds in return. Durgar the dwarf pitfighter loses his sword in the skirmish but manages to grab an Orc blade and delivers much damage to his enemies, taking out a couple. Ulric also manages to kill one of the Orcs after being engaged with much reticence having wanted to flee the scene.

Fickenja, having gone wandering into the woods, hopelessly lost and badly wounded, manages to eventually locate the main party and informs them of what has happened. Old Krieger is less than convinced on what course of action to take and the Palace guards are reticent of becoming involved in fighting Orcs. The female beggar has to make a couple of heartfelt attempts to persuade the disparate group to follow her back to the group before they agree.

With the initial Orc attackers finally dealt with Carla runs to the woodline and observes a horde of some twenty-thirty Orcs, complete with bowmen, drummer, Chieftain and Shaman, charging out from the compound towards her; she runs back and tells the group of the impending doom and all of the group, less Jeffric, wisely decide that they need to get the hell out of there before they are massacred. The woodsman foolishly wastes time laying in the dirt, trying to cover himself with leaves until he finally comes to his senses and quickly goes running off after the others who have already fled the scene at high speed. Most of the group is either lucky or careful in beating their retreat back apart from Ulric, who blunders headfirst into a pit trap and is heavily wounded – having to be picked up and carried by Durgar.

The group manages to blunder back into the rest of the main party halfway back to their original point. They can all hear the Orcs crashing through the woods and they quickly decide that to head back to the boat would be a waste of time and a failure of their mission – they opt to keep moving forwards, but to avoid the Orcs and their compound, by striking out at a perpendicular angle in an extended line with the core group leading the way. They make a move and slowly but steadily make progress despite the sound of nearby angry Orcs spoiling for a fight when suddenly, from out of the forest, an Orc scout emerges, right next to the core group. Perceiving the severity of the threat to their lives Durgar, Carla, Fickenja and Heinrich immediately set upon the scout and manage to slay him with a series of blows, only narrowly managing to prevent him from calling back to the main contingent of Orcs. Leaving the ever present greenskin danger behind them, the expedition proceeds its journey through the woods to the ruins of Grenz.

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