Session 5 – A day of rememberance
Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest and reflection; what with the beheadings of would-be assassins followed that eve by Rorin’s funeral bier. But the foggy eve led to a night of smoke and chaos! Orc drums sound out a war-beat, and giant missiles fly overhead to crash into the city and burn all that is not crushed beneath them. Trunau is under attack!
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Sunday, 19th of Gozrun 471 (continued…)
With the drums rising in crescendo, we run for the walls. Panicked people flee past us. In the distance we see the glow of fire beyond the wall so bright it turns night into predawn.
When we arrive at the wall, there is a knot of people near the gate. Others are yelling out orders. Carson and Halgra are there, and so too is Frum. Their primary concern seems to be to direct the panicking throngs to the Long hall. Frum has divided the militia into smaller groups. He sends groups to check the edges of the town to make sure no orcs are trying to climb in, help those in need, and verify that the walls are well defended. We are ordered to light the commons beacon, and so we grab a torch and run! As we move out, others come to Frum for orders. The stream of militia is almost as great as those fleeing the lower quarter.
We see Jarin, loaded for bear, racing for the inner gate. His path crosses ours. Behind him run a stout group of elder dwarves, massed for battle. While Jarin’s beard is still in disarray, his eyes are steel and his focus sharp. I’m not even sure he noticed our presence.
The sounds of burning stone impacting timber structures makes us deaf while the drumming from beyond the walls controls our heartbeats. Over it all are the screams of the injured, the panicked, and the defenders. The cacophony assaults us and almost staggers us as we run.
As we turn the corner, Brinya has her back to the beacon. The crowd has turned against her and is refusing to let her leave. Some have weapons out and are yelling about making Brinya pay. The crowd threatens her with a torch. The beacon is unlit and if the locals light it — it will become Brinya’s pyre. Amidst all of this Brinya’s Hopeknife glows blue, as it did when it was given to her at the funeral. At the time the colour barely registered.
Tiva starts yelling at Sebastian, the leader of the mob, that his god will count is false words against him! She shouts at any and all who defend him and insist they let Brinya leave as she cannot be responsible for all that happened this day! Sebastian is properly cowed. The beacon gets lit and Brinya gets a moment to catch her breath. As the fear leaves her, she gives us Rorin’s knife in the hopes that it will protect us and heads with the others towards the Long hall. Sif pockets the knife.
With the beacon lit, we run back towards the inner gate. The sounds of panic have died down with the last few stragglers being helped or carried through by defenders. The wall now is manned. They start to lower the portcullis. Jarin plans to climb down the mountain side of Trunau and meet up with Frum’s forces who will sally out the main gate. Ideally, punching through the orc hoard causing all this destruction. No one is too sure of the state of the city on the other side of the dwarf gate. From the fire’s glow, it can’t be good. Frum and Jarin’s groups head out in opposite directions, Frum’s forces going through the gate and Jarin’s forces heading back into the upper quarter.
There’s an explosion on the other side of the wall, and timber and sparks flash past the gate. Frum and his people are lost in the fire and billowing smoke. We learn from above that the southern tower has fallen. Carsen orders us to go into the inner quarter to fortify Fromm’s position. He orders us to make our way towards the dwarf’s gate, and verify that the evacuation of the lower quarter is complete.
As we go through the portcullis, Matron Agrit and Halgra are there. Agrit nods to each of us. She stops Shamus and hands him a wand of sandstorm (7 charges, color spray). The command is netgua. She calls out a blessing on us all as we leave the safety of the wall. We are young, and so – while we bow our heads in thanks, we don’t really believe we’ll need it.
Outside the wall, a group of Iomedian and Aabadarians have set up a make-shift field hospital. Two militiamen man the barricade. They let us through. As we proceed down to the well, another flaming stone lands between two buildings, sending up a shower of splinters and sparks. There’s a mix of mostly humans, some children and a few orcs along with some guards and dwarves as well. They are all either dead or unconscious.
Torva, Tiva and Sif run to nearby houses looking for survivors, while Shamus and I check over the wounded in the hopes of finding one or two still alive. One militia man seems to be a reservist. There’s a bottle that’s rolled away, its cork still in the defender’s mouth. We take the bottle and his bag of bandages. Quick prayers and short blessings are the best I can offer in the time I have. This is the first time I’ve seen an Orc up close. While they don’t much resemble Gog, they are bulky beasts with jutting tusks and protruding brows. They are also grass-green in color.
Torva finds someone in the building freshly hit by a burning stone, and rushes in to help. Sif accompanies her. Inside they find an older man trapped beneath a burning beam. His wife begs them to help. Despite the encroaching flames, they lift the beam, and the wife manages to drag the older man out. With Torva and Sif’s help, the four of them escape the building before it collapses.
Three orcs come out of a side street, and spot me and Shamus near the well. Shamus races forward, brandishing Matron Agrit’s wand. Upon his utterance of the command word, a colorful spray of sand engulfs the Orcs. One falls over and convulses, while the other steps back wiping his eyes. The third is unaffected.
The third orc hefts a double bladed double axe and stomps towards Shamus. He swings wild at Shamus as he drops to his knees and then the second orc charges the last few feet and swings at Shamus. His axe comes down, catching Shamus squarely in the shoulder but the mighty blade just slides off. Beauxite lets out a tiny roar and charges the axe wielder that endangered his master. The orc tries to sweep Beauxite away with the haft, but Beauxite dances easily out of the way while nipping at the orc’s ankle.
Tiva charges from the nearby house she was checking, under the tree, and straight at the orcs. She cleave into the second orc with her Dwarven claymore. He ignores the blow and roars at her. I follow suit and charge the orcs, bringing my new masterwork Lucerne Hammer down on orc number three’s shoulder. The blade slips easily under his armour and comes away baptised in blood.
Shamus brings forth snow into his hands and throws it at orc number 3. The orc falls back from the blow, and his head shatters when it hits the ground like so much ice.
The second orc takes a wild swing at Tiva, misses and overcompensates with the axe. Tiva and the second orc trade blows, while I flank with Tiva and slam the orc in the head, felling him.
Sif and Torva join us with Councillor Plumb and his wife. We bring them back to the make-shift field hospital, before returning to the well.
Just behind the first row of houses we spot more Orcs going into a building.
Beauxite rushes into the doorway and locks his tiny jaws around the furred boot of orc number 4. Four tries to kick Beauxite away, but Beauxite darts to safety. Shamus stops to load his crossbow while Tiva and Sif rush up. Their blows miss, but at least Four has dropped his loot and taken out his weapon. Torva calls on Angradd, the Forge-fire to protect her, then attacks orc 4. Four tries to attack Torva, and she successfully deflects his blows. When Orc 4 realizes that there’s a row of bonnie lasses before him, he growls at them just before he is slammed by multiple attacks and a crossbow bolt, and drops like a ton of bricks.
A female orc (#5) throws bolas from the doorway on the other side of the building; the bola strikes Torva and pull her off balance! I step in and smack Orc six from over Sif’s shoulder. It just seems to make six growl more.
Beauxite darts in again to bite orc 6, but this time he gets smacked out of the way. He goes to ground near Shamus, who does his best to protect the poor cliff jumper. Tiva brings up her Claymore and spars with orc 7, trading a series of blows off his armour, she manages to catch him in the gut with an up slice, making him stagger back and bump into the wall. While orc 6 is distracted by Beauxite, Sif’s axe catches him in the gut and cuts into his sternum. The blood arcs over her head and Orc 6’s intestines spill out over his shoes. He falls over backwards and chews air, spasming as he dies.
Torva clambers to her feet but she’s still tangled in the bola. Her shot is short and misses orc #8 entering the room. The female orc 5 draws a great axe and swings at Sif. Their axe-handles clash, but orc 5 isn’t able to connect. Orc 7 takes a swing with a double-axe, but it’s easily dodged by Tiva as she drops to a knee and lets the axe pass over her. The injured orc 6 takes a swing at Tiva, and she spins on her knee, and orc 6’s falchion slams into the floor by her side.
From behind Torva, I manage to shatters the female orc 5’s arm with my Lucerne Hammer.
While Shamus tried to care for Beauxite, Tiva slams her blade into orc 6 and pushes, until the blade cuts deeply into orc 6, killing him.
Sif takes a swing, but the female orc 5 manages to duck out of the way. Torva hops backwards and swings her chain. The chain smacks orc 8 in the neck. Orc 9, brandishes a big axe and tries to jab Tiva. She lets go of her sword and hops backwards. As the axe blow swings by, she returns to retrieve her sword. The female orc #5 manages to smack Sif in the shoulder, making Sif’s arm goes numb. As the female orc #5 screams at Sif, the hammer comes down on orc 5 and strikes her in the face, dropping her at last.
Shamus fires his reloaded crossbow at Orc 9. But the bolt caches in the orc’s armour. As we try to continue to hammer at the orcs, one manages to successfully hit Tiva. With a clean shot, I manage to slam the hammer through Tiva’s attacker’s face and out the other side. The hammer slams into his jaw, breaking it. As the hammer is pulled clear, the orc falls dead.
After the fight Torva stabilizes Beauxite and heals him. She then heals Sif and Tiva of their wounds.
From outside we hear more crashing of boulders, one of which falls close enough to make the ground shake and fill the air with splinters, dust and soot. As we come outside we see that the tree has been hit with a boulder soaked in pitch, and what’s left of the tree is now alight.
The neighbouring house has a hand-cart just outside, partially full. An orc is leaving the building with his arms full of loot. Sif runs up to the orc and hits him squarely with her axe. The orc holds onto the doorframe to keep himself upright. Torva races up, whips her chain underhanded and smacks the orc in the chest, driving him backwards. Shamus flips over the cart, making lots of noise. I run up to the door and wait. I don’t have to wait long, as a second orc comes out in response to the noise. I strike him as he steps out of the building. He looks kind of confused, tired and pissed of at the same time. Amidst the chaos Tiva starts to “sing”. It’s more of a chant really, a litany of slights, complaints and grudges that drives those that hear it to greater feats of madness.
As the orc steps out of the doorway, my hammer punches through him and kills him. The last orc stumbles out, but when he swings at us his sword gets caught on the upper lintel and he telegraphs his moves. Sif has lots of time to bring her axe into a full overhand shot. She misses the head, but the axe cleaves into the shoulder and slices down until it gets into the pelvis.
Torva calls the blessing of the war god on herself and races into the fray around the corner. Shamus sneaks up and shoots the fleeing orc in the gut.
The female orc throws a bola, and I block it with my polearm.
A giant green thing with a boars head full of large teeth awaits us around the corner. As I approach it, I swing at it and connect. The beast takes a swing at me with a claw, but the blow is only half-hearted and the claw rakes across the scales of my armour.
As Torva prays for Torag’s blessing, Sif and Tiva rush into the fray and Shamus fires his crossbow. The bolt bounces off the female orc. A ½ orc militia-man (by the name of Daktani) takes a water skin off his belt, winds up and throws it at Sif!. It splatters against her. The stuff is sticky and drips all over before it catches fire! Sif roars at Daktani through the fire and the pain.
I takes a step back, take a short grip on the hammer, and swing up; catching the creature beneath the long sloping snout, snapping it backwards. Her body follows its head, and she crashes into the ground and dies.
A few orcs runs from the tower into a nearby building, right past Torva, who smacks one orc around the neck with the mass of her chain, its end whipping into the orc’s face, knocking her flat and killing her.
Enraged, Sif races up to Dak Tani and plows her shoulder into him—knocking him off the cliff. He impales himself on the spikes at the base of the cliff.
Torva goes to the door of the tower, but an orc on the other side manages to bar it from her. As Shamus and I give Torva our support (and the door another shoulder), Tiva cuts the rope bridge and the rope ladder falls away. She does a couple of rude jesters in the general vicinity of the orcs below.
With the door finally open, Shamus steps into the doorway and uses the wand of sandstorm on the orc defenders. The blast of colorful sand kills one outright. He then carefully steps out of the way. Tiva runs up, and Torva and I move into the room, reposition and start attacking the orcs.
As the fire goes out on Sif, she roars and strikes the orc beside her, cleaving into him.
The drumming kicks up and the orcs become further enraged.
One steps up with a falchion and tries to spin around behind me and comes down after a faint; it hits the armour and cracks a few of my ribs beneath. The other tries to hit Sif, but she interposes with her axe and breaks up his attack. A javelin slams into Torva’s poltroon through the open trap door above.
Shamus moves closer to the trapdoor and reloads his crossbow. Tiva strikes the orc close to Sif and kills him. Sif steps past Tiva and cleave into the other one. She cuts off his leg and she gives him a coup de gras.
Torva quickly blesses her weapon and scampers right up the ladder. From the roof comes a blood-curdling scream that resonates. Torva withstands it, but the rest of us need a moment to shake it off. It leaves me feeling weakened, and everyone looks a little paler as the sound finally dissipates.
I scramble up to the next level, in Torva’s wake. Three orcs stand here ready to defend the level.
Orc 1 strikes Torva with a spiked chain. Orc 2 drops his javelins and draws his falchion to attack. Orc 3 hits me with his falchion, and I drop like a ton of bricks.
Shamus does his magic thing and shifts up to the top of the ladder quicker than the eye can follow. He uses the wand of sandstorm on two of the orcs. Orc 1 and 3 fall to the ground, leaving Orc 2 standing.
Tiva works through the fallen orcs below, killing the unconscious ones before they can wake.
Sif clambers up to the second level, over Shamus who’s just at the edge of the trap door. Orc 3 manages to clip her with his chain. Torva clambers over to me and touches my wounds, with a prayer I am breathing clearly anew. Still unconscious though. The drummer above beats a relaxing tattoo and everyone feels the weariness of the siege battle grow. Torva shakes it off. Sif doesn’t notice the effect, but Shamus falls off the ladder, which wakes him up oddly enough. Orc 3 takes a step back and swings as he changes his grip on the chain. Sif casually knocks the chain away with her axe.
Tiva races up the ladder and helps Shamus up the last few rungs.
Sif steps forward and strikes orc 3, knocking him back. Torva follows Sif to get a clear shot and Torva finishes him using her chain in a wide arc to slam into his head and force his body to slam into the wall. He slides to the ground, unconscious.
The drummer on the roof chants something and a glistening sheen covers the ladder.
Tiva takes care of the fallen orcs. Shamus tries climbing the ladder. Torva brings me back to consciousness with her healing art.
Once we’re up on the next floor, Tiva closes the trap door down to the lower level, and puts her sword away so she can climb freely. Shamus clambers up the ladder and avoids the greased portion of the ladder by using his arts to move directly up to the third floor. Sif drinks a potion to heal some of her injuries. Torva takes time to heal herself before climbing up the ladder.
On the roof stands the drummer and a small angry wolf with a jet black coat of fur and eyes like embers. It bites Shamus’ wrist! The drummer rips off the remnants of a burned piece of paper from the top of his giant drum and starts reading from another page beneath. His soothing tone makes Torva waiver slightly, but she snorts and his charming verse passes her by.
Tiva can’t quite get up the ladder, as the grease is making climbing difficult.
Shamus uses the wand of sandstorm on the drummer and the dog. The dog gets overwhelmed and falls aside. The drummer starts coughing and stumbles briefly away from his drum.
As the rest of us get to the top of the tower, Sif races forward and attacks the drummer. He seems distracted and the page atop the drum burns away. Shamus takes a pot-shot at the drummer with his crossbow as Sif winds up and crushes the drummer with her axe.