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Battle By Night

Tags: Brihtwine,  Coenred,  Immin,  Pishgob,  Burzag,  Gulok

Short Summary: The Rohirrim finally descend upon the Mordain orcs who have been sneaking about their land. They are successful in driving the enemy off, at the price of one Rider's horse.
Date (real-life): 2010-09-23
Scene Location: Tiar Forod, East of Fangorn; the Wold

[+TIME] Middle-earth time is:
Nighttime on Trewsday, Day 3 of January.
Execute the +TIMEFRAME command for year information.

Real time is: 14:21:18 MDT on Thu Sep 23 2010.

Tiar Forod, East of Fangorn
A light Winter snow is falling and you pull your garments closer in an
attempt to stay dry.
*************** You are unable to see the moon above. ****************

A lonely stretch of road runs north and south with the eaves of Fangorn, skirting that forest's eager stretch. Overgrown, underused, the path gives evidence of little -- if any -- traffic; though it skirts Fangorn, it comes too near perhaps for comfortable travel. As far as the eye can see stretches the road and its companion forest. The east is empty, clean, a long and gentle horizon that offers no interruption to the sky panoply.
Uruk Camp
Obvious exits:
 North leads to Tiar Forod, at Limlight River.
 South leads to Tiar Forod, East of Fangorn.

Night lies over the plains near the towering dark form of Fangorn, and a cold breeze sways the gnarled trees. Snow falls from the sky, though as yet it is light in its assault. In stark contrast to the white flakes, a black shape sneaks its way beside the road here, and upon closer inspection it is a bald-headed orc-scout clothed in dirty leather. His clawed hands clutch a small bow, and a ragged quiver holds a few sparse arrows. "Think they're about again, the horse-filth?" Burzag asks, speaking over his shoulder to another.

         Hearing the crude words of his fellow Uruk scout is the Uruk Gulok, he is crouched down and in his hands he holds a crude scimitar, spitting upon the snow covered ground he grumbles "If they are, they will die and we dine on horses." Dark eyes scan the area looking for movement

Some distance away, out of eye and earshot due to a subtle rise and fall of the land, is Immin son of Eadwine along with a group sent out from the camp of the Rohirrim. Orcs lay close by, that much is known. Voicing his thought quietly, he calls out in his native tongue, "Let us continue on northward. They cannot be far now if the last report is not far off."

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Hoofbeats fall soft on the freezing ground and are muffled by the snowblanket. Amongst the riders is Brihtwine. The young man leans low over the neck of his dun stallion, murmuring gently in his steed's air. "Have a care, Siglaf. The snow may hide dips or holes."

At the sound of Immin's voice he glances up, and then round. Straightening in his saddle, he peers into the darkness. "I think I see-" He stops and sighs, crestfallen. "Just the snowflakes, he admits, glaring grimly northward.

As Gulok crouches, the first orc does the same, halting and peering with red eyes into the snowy dark. Fangorn nearby is given a particularly long and suspicious glare. A nasty laugh is Burzag's immediate response to his fellow. "That's the spirit, yes. Been too long since the boys earned a bite of horse meat." He licks his lips.

"Just have to watch out for them hooves, and wretched spears." And then he seems to curse at himself. "Skai, why did all them warg-riders have to scurry up north for that blasted summons...leaves us with nothing, garn."

         Licking his cracked and scarred lips Gulok grins a moment then spits once again and says "If we see them we will kill them, put their heads on their own spears." spitting again "Warg riders.."

Immin spurs his horse forward, hand holding his spear as the riders venture on. The rise in the land is not steep and is easily crested. In the darkness of night, with no moon, little can be seen. "Shapes down there or are my eyes playing tricks? He glances around and spots Brihtwine. "You see them?"

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine shakes his head in response to his fellow Rider's query; then, perhaps realizing that visual cues will aid little in this murk, he voices his response: "My eyes see movement, but I fear it is no more than snow swirled on the wind. Listening may serve better ..." Siglaf snorts, once, uneasily, and his rider sits up a little straighter, shifts the long spear he carries into a better position. "There /is/ something," he murmurs, and then guides his mount so that he is just to the east of Immin. Their companions likewise fan out to seek the unseen menace.

The archer scout offers a hiss of agreement to the second uruk, and he pats his bow lovingly. "Or stick 'em fill of needles," his fanged mouth pulls into a grin at the thought. "And then we can eat, and bring the rest back to camp." Although goblin eyes are keen in the night, and a few of the Riders have crested the hill, Burzag is not looking in their direction. He does however, give a big sniff at the air, spitting a little afterward. "Something stinks a little...you catch it too?"

         Sniffing the air he too spits upon the ground and says "I smell them.." then his dark eyes begin to search the horizon, seeing the riders and smelling their foul odor he points with his scimitar and says "We eat well tonight.."

Immin rides along, topping the hill. He lowers his spear so that it is ready for any charge that might come. Glancing around at the dark shapes of his comrades, the Rider sighs softly. "First one..."

Coenred comes riding up to the hilltop and halts his horse next to Immin. "What have we here?" He asks the rider while lowering the head of his spear as well. The green pennant on it, depicting the emblem of Clan Eowain, almost touches the snowy ground.

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine's helmed head turns fractionally toward Immin. "First what?" he asks, puzzlement echoing in each word of the rolling Rohirric tongue. "If there is trouble ahead ..." he pauses, for Siglaf is clearly uneasy, dancing sideways a little. "Then it is our duty to put it to flight." Jaw set, he sends the dun stallion cautiously forward down-slope, perhaps expecting that the action will flush out said 'trouble'.

At the voice from behind his shoulders tense, but he does not turn lest he receive an arrow in the back for his pains.

"Why? You see something?" asks Burzag, and he turns about to peer in the direction Gulok is pointing. His own crimson eyes narrow and he hisses anew. "Ha! Look at that!" he nods his head to the mounted shapes upon the hill; he seems to have not noticed the Riders who have fanned out. "They were kind enough to bring their pets. Horse, horse, I want a horse." Drooling a bit, the scout searches around excitedly in his quiver for an arrow. "I want that one, and that one, and that one," the pitiful creature in his anticipation seems unable to choose between the three about the hillock. Even as Brihtwine begins to move his steed down the rise, the uruk sets a wooden shaft to his bow.

         Eyes glaring coldly at the foul human riders the Uruk Gulok signals some of the other scouts and says in with crude words "Get your arrows ready.. Shoot at their filthy beasts, we want the meat." hissing at the end he then spits upon the ground and waits to see the arrows fly. Looking to the Uruk in front of him he says "fire when they are in range.."

Immin glances over at Coenred and looks relieved (if one can see in the dark his face). "There are reports of orcs close by. We would be able to see them if there was a moon tonight. Should we go on?" He turns and looks at Brihtwine, not liking that his comrade is moving away from the others.

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine halts, somewhat below the rise and ahead of the others. To one with night-sight, he must make a clear enough target - though the soft skirl of snowflakes may ameliorate that somewhat.

[Coenred(#30388)] "No, get yourselves off the hilltop and back behind the hill. I don't like the idea of orcish archers taking advantage of the night," mutters Coenred. "If they are out there, let them come around the hill and then descend upon them," the Aethelwigend intructs the patrol.

Out of the snow comes a she-orc, smallish, but crafty. She goes on her legs, on all fours, then on her legs again, snuffing the air. She licks her lips, coming closer to the others, keeping out of sight. "Hungry now, but too many humans near," she says. "We should get what we came for and go," she hisses, sibilant as the night-wind.

Burzag laughs again, red eyes glinting with expectation, and he nods to his Gulok. "Yes, yes," he hisses when the she-orc's voice speaks nearby. "We came for their horses, and we want them. We'll just kill one or two and then leave with dinner." The arrow is pulled back to rest just below his jaw, and with a twang it is let loose. Whether or not it hits the closer form of Brihtwine will depend on the mercy of the snow and wind. "Someone get in closer, garn," the scout growls to any of the others.

         As Burzag releases his arrow so do the rest of the Uruk scout, sending their crude arrows flying towards the foul smelling horsemen. As the arrows fly Gulok grins evilly and says "Bring their beasts down. Yes. We eat good." tapping the tip of his scimitar upon the ground as if anxious, waiting for the humans to get near.

Immin nods and turns his horse around to head back down to safety behind the hill along with those nearby who have heard the order of Coenred. "Brihtwine's still out there!"

[Brihtwine(#30715)] As there is the whine of arrows on the air, so too the wind shifts, and Siglaf skitters sideways. Wyrd is kind, and neither beast nor man feel the arrows' bite, though one black shaft skims past mere inches from Brihtwine's helmed head. The young man leans forward over the dun stallion's neck, and urges in soft Rohirric: "Go, Siglaf, go." Then horse and rider are returning uphill at a gallop, taking a weaving path to maze the arrow-senders.

"Closer?" The she-orc shakes her head. "If you've a wish to die and not bring home the prize... nor eat. Get you down in a hollow and draw them out, the freaks. Slit horse-belly under them, that way. Shoot up, stab up, and roll. 'Get closer.' Ha. You first."

Coenred curses softly at the news that a man is out alone in the dark but then he hears hoofbeat coming uphill. "Brihtwine, retreat behind the hill, we will lure them there," he calls in the speech of the Mark. At the same time, he turns his horse and rides downhill on the side of the Rohirrim just so much as to disappear from sight on the other slope.

         Grunting as the she-orc complains, Gulok hisses "I will go. You be stupid and scared.." and with that he quickly and silently takes off at a run, moving into the darkness towards the horsemen, moving out to the far side silently.

"Stop, stop! We're just wasting precious darts," snarls Burzag from the fore of archers, and for a moment he lets his nailed fingers slip away from bowstring. "They're running back, the cowards." And then his nose wrinkles at the she-orc's advice. "But if I hide in a hollow here and now, they still won't come now that they've seen us...we've waited long enough, garn."

Bravely -- or better perhaps, foolishly -- he steals off after Gulok's shape into the dark. "Get them, get them," the scout almost purrs to himself.

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brithwine continues his zigzag flight, obedient to Coenred's orders. Almost it seems he will reach the crest of the hill, and Riders and Orcs can continue their long standoff ...

But then Siglaf's hoof comes down on a thin patch in the frozen snow-crust and the dun stallion falters, his breath snorting out in twin plumes that rise in the chill air. The mishap will put steed and rider within easy reach of the silent Gulok.

The she-orc motions to the blue band around her arm, then gives a soft, sneering laugh. "The both of you might as well go attack. Either way you're dead after tonight; might as well serve Them first. Kill the horse-lords and get the horses and I might let you eat man-flesh afore you die." She growls, then shakes her head, moving closer, drawing her scimitar and chuckling again.

[Coenred(#30388)] "Circle!" Coenred calls a command and the riders of the patrol form a circle upon their side of the hill, spearheads poking outwards. But where is Brihtwine? Unruly, Coenred spies into the darkness where the rider should appear.

         Hissing back at the she-orc the Scout Gulok continues to run, his scimitar at the ready, slowing up so as to let the others catch up he continues to run headed for the horse riders, a foul look in his eyes.

Glancing over his shoulder before he gets too far away to see, Burzag seems to espy to blue band on the she-orc's arm, and he swallows for a moment. Clearly, it pays to look before speaking. But onward he still darts after Gulok, and already he is preparing another arrow. Pausing for an instant, he shoots it blindly over the dip of the hill in effort to urge the hiding humans out once again. "Look, there!" the scout chuckles darkly, pointing a finger to where Brihtwine's horse has faltered. "Quick, before he gets far away."

Immin pulls on the reins and takes his horse into place as part of the circle. He levels his spear outward and watches for movement. His place is facing where Brihtwine should be coming, but there is nothing yet.

Pishgob shakes her head, her eyes glinting. "Never send in a boy to do a she-orc's work," she says, mock-sadly. She keeps her scimitar drawn. "Maybe I'll feed them, alive, to each other."

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine slides down from his steed's neck, spear gripped tightly. Released from the extra weight on his back, Siglaf is able to pull his hoof free of the prisoning ice and earth. The young Rider breathes a long slow sigh of relief and prepares to remount - it is then that the hissing of Gulok reaches his ears. Swallowing hard, Brihtwine scrambles up to his steed's back in a rather ungainly fashion and wheels the stallion round so that he can jab blindly into the darkness.

         As the horse wheels about Gulok is upon it, though he does not expect the movement of the beast, for as it spins about its rump crashes into the Uruk scout, sending him to the ground with a crash.

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine's spear meets naught but air, for the attack, when it comes, is in a direction unforseen. Siglaf lets out a ringing neigh as Uruk claws bite deep, scoring bloody trails across his hindquarters. Brihtwine's own shout is a single word full of shock and remorse: "Siglaf!" He twists round on the horse's back, sending the spear swinging in a sideways arc towards his horse's tormenter. The initial blow is aimed to knock the offending Uruk clear, rather than to stab - plenty of time for that later.

         Scrambling the Uruk scout Gulok catches the spear across the face, knocking him back down.. Spitting blood and teeth he slashes out with his scimitar aiming his weapon at the horses legs as he lays upon the ground.

As the spear hit sends Gulok flying, a snarling contorts Burzag's fanged mouth. His gnarled bow is flung clumsily over his back, and with a scraping of metal, he yanks free the scimitar at his side. "Out of the way, fool," he mutters to his fellow. "I'll do it, skai." Crouching low to the frozen earth, he slips forward, daring a slash with his blade for the horse's side once he is within range. His gaze darts a wary look toward the top of the hillock, perhaps fearful of a sudden charge.

Once more Pishgob snorts, and she laughs again. "Call if you need help, lads." Her voice hisses on the winds, cruelly amused, and she settles against a rock, blending with its shadows, watching, waiting.

Coenred raises his spear and points it into the direction whence Brihtwine's cry has come. "Advance," he shouts. "For king, clan and country!" With that he nudges his stallion Coifi into a gallop and signals his riders to follow him around the hill.

Immin hears Coenred's command and spurs his horse forward, spear at the read to skewer all who stand in his path. "Onward!"

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine's spear makes contact with a very satisfying thud, and the young man's lips pull back from his teeth in an almost feral smile. It is short-lived, for at that moment Gulok's scimitar slices deep into Siglaf's leg. The dun stallion stumbles, neighing wildly.

It is that stumble that saves steed and rider from Burzag's blow, which slashes harmlessly through empty air. It also pitches Brihtwine sideways.

The young Rider lets his motion become a slide; no sooner have his booted feet touched earth than his spear is seeking blood again. This time it is a stab, aimed squarely for Gulok's chest. "Die, filth," he hisses in accented Common speech. If it leaves him open to a blow from Burzag - well, one cannot have everything. And he has his shield.

And indeed, Pishgob's waiting and watching is rewarded with a show for her amusement, as Bihtwine and Gulok seek the death of each other. Meanwhile, Burzag offers a new cursing as his scimitar meet naught but the air, and he teeters for a moment, off balance. When he has settled himself, it is only to jerk his head around at the shouts and sound of galloping hooves. He swallows again, and licks his lips nervously. But Bihtwine is still closest, and it is for him that the scout's blade aims for in a second attack.

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine's shield proves its worth as he raises it to meet Burzag's thrust in the dark. The scimitar glances off the shield-rim and scores lightly across the young Rider's ring-mailed arm. An attention-grabber, certainly, though hardly a serious injury. His jaw grimly set, Brihtwine turns to meet the new threat with a jab of the spear toward Burzag's armpit. Or side, or anything else that might present itself.

At his side Siglaf, clearly in pain, is struggling to stand.

"A ha!" Aiming for Burzag (the dark blob that looks most orkish close by what Immin takes to be Brihtwine and his steed), Immin lowers his spear and urges on his horse to either spear or trample down the creature attacking.

Other orcs come scurrying out of the dark, gibbering a bit. The Rakarg nods, her lips twitching in amusement, though she is wary now, and hunkers down, touching the ground. "You don't have much time to save your skins, lads. Fools. Do you think these, here, travel alone? Not in a mail-shirt. Garn." She spits, then slaps one of the scouts. "Stop your whining and loose those arrows or I'll gut you for them myself."

[Coenred(#30388)] Coenred laughs grimly as he aims for the next scimitar-wielding creature in sight. Nine feet of ash wood with a steel tip approach the orc at the speed of a gallopping horse.

Burzag, for his efforts, wins a skewering to the shoulder, and he howls in pain. His free hand darts up to clamp over the wound, and as he pulls himself away, he licks the black blood off his fingers. The scout peers hungrily at Brihtwine's struggling horse: a good meal there! But at the same moment Immin and Coenred's charges are spotted, and the orc hisses lowly. Perhaps it is not too late to ask for help; and he shouts, "Rakarg!" And then Burzag is turning in an attempt to escape from the thundering horse feet and spears that are pointed his way.

The scouts who are smart enough to actually obey orders, fire off their arrows into the gloom, seeking to fell any in the sudden Rohirrim advance.

Pishgob assesses the situation quickly enough, and she hisses her displeasure. She calls out to the archers, lifting her voice. "Fire! Three rounds to cover as you fall back. You know the drill. The rest of you, run, maggots, run if you want your hides. You've fouled this up enough, but some's too useful to die yet. Run!"

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine gives a grunt of satisfaction as he feels the spear strike its mark again. Almost, it seems he will pursue Burzag, for he takes a step forward. But then the ragged sound of Siglaf's breathing recalls him to matters more important. Trusting to his comrades to continue the chase, he turns his own attention to the dun stallion. His right hand holds his spear before him in a defensive barrier, whilst with his left he explores the extent of his horse's injuries. "Oh, Siglaf," he murmurs hoarsely.

The shouts and catcalls in the harsh Uruk speech he ignores completely.

Immin misses, wide of his mark. But he does not relent as he sees more dark blobs in the night attempting to scurry away. Riding on, he picks a new one and keeps his spear aimed low to catch them on the ground as he grits his teeth.

[Coenred(#30388)] And so does Coenred, narrowly, as he thunders past Burzag. The other riders of the patrol begin to drive their spears at the orcish intruders and Coenred turns around for another charge.

One of the uruks is struck full in the chest by Immin's spear, and there he slumps, a lifeless weight until the Rohir can shake his body off. Another creature narrowly avoids the trampling of his stallion's feet, while others are not so lucky; at least three have already fallen beneath the assault of the Riders. Burzag, for his part, keeps on running, glancing over his shoulder. The bow is taken up again, and he pauses now and then to fire off a shaft as the retreating orc-archers do the same.

[Brihtwine(#30715)] Brihtwine, oddly, does not join in the chase to drive the orcish marauders off the Mark's clean soil forever. Rather he is kneeling by his mount, who has slipped back into a bed of snow that is now red-stained. The young Rider's face is quite white and wet with more than just the gently swirling flakes of snow. His spear is laid almost gently down at his side; instead from his belt he draws a small dagger. His head bows and he murmurs softly in singsong Rohirric, his left hand resting against Siglaf's heaving flank. A final plea to Wyrd, a quick jerk of the knife, and it is done.

Tomorrow he will face up to his actions. Tomorrow there will be ceremonies to be performed and a circlet of braided hair to burn. Tomorrow there will be superiors to answer to, and a future to be faced. But tonight, for this one Rider, there is only sorrow.

Immin reins in his horse and pulls his spear from the body of the orc he has just killed. Looking this way and that, the Rider sees that the orcs are fleeing into the darkness. Linking up with others, he moves to pursue.

A swirl of snow, a gust of wind. First there is an orc, and then there is not. As the night deepens, the clouds thicken, and even the lumninescence of the snow does not much help. Here an orc, there an orc, and then they are gone, retreating, fleeing from the hot wrathe of the horselords. A skirling of the dread east wind, and then they are gone.

Date added: 2010-09-23 19:40:14    Hits: 95
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