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Author Topic: Blood on Ice Spilled  (Read 4372 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Blood on Ice Spilled
« on: November 21, 2015, 07:37:45 AM »
The battle was over, and it had been terrible.

The king had thought butchering the Boubons would be easy. Smash their men at arms, and scatter their mongrel horsemen. That the Boubons would hire mercenaries, adventurers upon return, and even demi-humans to fight under their banner had been a cause for mockery among the King's court.

The battle was drawn out across a frozen lake, our lines were scattered, as the footing was poor. We marching thinking we would fight like the heroes of old. We ended up screaming and dying, our blood spilled across the d**ned ice.

The Boubons were almost assured of their victory, but there was one fatal flaw in even their own immaculate plan. When one lives near dragons, one must always take them into account. Neither the King nor the Boubons considered Snowshadow in their plans. The dragon considered the frozen lake part of it's domain, and suffered few to trespass. The clamor and clangor of the mortals killing each other woke the beast. Did the dragon feel threatened? Was it merely annoyed by the noise?

Snowshadow came down from her peak and shattered the face of the lake. Three gouts of flame ended the battle, with those not incinerated and not drowning, fleeing for their lives.

I was one of those lucky enough to avoid the black waters under the ice, and the ghostly white flames that boiled around our armies.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 08:09:09 AM »
Bogdan sheltered in a copse of trees not far from the edge of the broken lake. The armies were scattered, and the different troops and clans that both had brought to the field were in disarray. Unharmed, amazingly, unharmed. Bogdan still had his sword, but his shield, his pack, and his comrades were all gone through the ice. He brushed the ice out of his beard and knocked the rest off of his cloak and armor. The hard part might just be arriving, getting away from the thrice cursed lake and back to a semblance of civility without being killed by the Bouboni conscripts, his own Kingsmen, the strange beasts that lived here in the forsaken shadow of the of the Dragon's mountain, or the whole matter of the dragon itself.

He had seen the beast fly over twice since dawn.

He felt like a field mouse with a great owl hunting overhead.
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Offline Murometz

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 12:05:12 PM »
Pahvil drew breath and felt his lungs burn. He began to crawl, using his axes to pull himself along, the jagged ice beneath him cutting through the boiled leather and into his flesh like so many shards of broken glass.

He did not know how long he crawled but at last he felt solid, moist earth beneath him. He rolled onto his back with a painful groan, and stared up at the sky.

The mountain loomed overhead. The mountain from whence the beast had come.

Pahvil's particular outfit, the "Flying Axes", had been hired by the Bouboni to help fight the King's forces. They numbered a mere two hundred, yet the men of Darm's Wood were known to be vicious fighters, respected for the uncanny skill with which they wielded their hooked, throwing axes.

The great beast's initial assault, decimated the Flying Axes ranks. Pahvil could still hear the horrid screams of his fellow axe-fighters, as they plunged into the black waters beneath the broken ice.

That was hours ago. Or days. He could not be certain.

Pahvil sat up with another groan. He had broken ribs, of that he was sure, and his thigh was bloody and mangled, bone showing through, though the near-frostbite kept the pain in his leg somewhat at bay.

He still gripped an axe in each half-frozen hand, and began then to clang the blades together, breaking the eerie silence around the lake. He was hoping for an answer, a similar sound of clanging blades, letting him know other Darm's Wood axe fighters were still alive...somewhere, somehow.

No answer came.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2015, 12:24:48 PM »
'Stop making that infernal racket,' Bogdan shouted. He ducked behind his tree cover, eyes plastered to the sky, searching for the dragon. Part of him wanted to run, trees were flammable, but were cover, d**ned if you do, d**ned if you don't.

'The dragon's still a-wing,' he said in a lower voice, 'and kings and chieftains aside, we're all mice right now.'
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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2015, 01:05:46 PM »
Pahvil ceased his clanging as he heard the man shout.

The voice did not have that effeminate Boubon lilt, which Pahvil had come to loathe during the Bouboni visit to Darm's Wood a month back. They came with their wagonloads of silver and their honeyed words...

A Kingsman then? Did it matter? The battle was most certainly over, and the man was right. The Dragon was still a'wing.

Pahvil looked up once more, searching the gray skies, then glanced at the man who had spoken.

"Aye, mice." Was all he could muster, then added softly, "Pahvil Tyutar of Darm's Wood. I fought for the Boubons, though with little ardor, and with no interest in their particular cause. Kingsman, you? Though it matters not anymore, you have the right of it. I see no crows or ravens. The beast will be back."

A new wave of pain made Pahvil shut up.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 01:51:53 PM by Murometz »
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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2015, 06:44:31 PM »
Silence and light met Jorstin as he suddenly awoke. The suddenness of it caused him to twitch which brought a burst of cold to his body. Slowly he brought his legs up to his chest testing the movement against expected pain. Nothing permanent he thought to himself, just bone chilling cold and some soreness at the motion.

The silence was only broken by the chattering of Jorstin's teeth as he lay curled in a ball trying to salvage what little heat his lean frame could provide. He had been back by the wagons when the battle lines met. His appointment this day was to watch for treachery amongst the hordes of mercenaries they had hired on for the battle. The weight of a pledge based on the weight of gold often got lighter the closer to battle it came. This time they hired many more mercenaries than usual to ensure today's victory. All that planning, gold and maneuvering towards this single battle...all for naught. In all the calculations they made, the dragon was never a factor. When was it the last time it was seen take wing? Was it an obvious oversight?

Jorstin slowly extended his legs preparing to take stock of his current status. The battle lines were well against each other when he went to the wagon to change into a stolen set of Kingsmen garments. He was midway into changing for the next phase of his orders when the dragon hit. Uncertain of the dragon's target he dodged quickly to the sparse trees by the ice's edge. More focused on survival than comfort, he only got as far as Kingsman boots and leggings and was without an overshirt or coat when he was caught by the dragon's attack.

Still shivering, Jorstin when to his feet and leaned on a nearby tree to steady himself. Looking around for anything to cover himself, he spread his eyes over the carnage. By the look of it, the dragon had been back a few times. He had no knowledge of when he was knocked out but a melted trail and smoking carcasses and horses said that his quick movement must have saved his life. His review of the area went to the edges of the battle and the end of the flame's path. There it looked like men found death by something other than dragon's breath. Most any men-at-arms is bigger than Jorstin's skinny body so anything would fit. Anything is better than his current situation when he may soon freeze to death.

Jorstin tested his steadiness with a few steps and wrapped his arms around his torso only covered by a shredded white undershirt. He slowly made his way to the nearest corpses without tendrils of smoke misting out from them.


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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2015, 09:23:10 AM »
'Bogdan of the Rothlorian Highland, Old Wolf clan, and kingsman to a dead king,' he said. 'I have quarrel with anything but the ice.' he said.

A thin shrill sound echoed over the vale, carrying on the cold winds. Bogdan stiffened, that was not a good sign. There were fell beasts, not as dire as a great wyrm drawn from it's lair, but to a mortal man, being ended by a dragon or a half ton ice wolf was still death.

'We must leave, fell beasts will be drawn to this, the dragon's fire and the stench of death...' he said. 'Which may draw the dragon out again.'
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Offline Murometz

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2015, 07:03:55 PM »
"Aye" Pahvil agreed once more. The Kingsman made sense. The axe-fighter groaned as he rose. The blood pumping from his leg had finally coagulated and was now frozen black. With broken ribs, every breath caused him tear-inducing pain.

"I may yet die this day, but not before that one" he said gesturing toward a stumbling man, whose spindly arms were wrapped around a torso with nothing more than an undershirt. "He'll wish for the dragon's fire soon enough as he begins to freeze."

"We left a makeshift camp at the base of that mountain, hours before the battle." He spoke to Bogdan again, adding in a quieter tone, "There is a way through Snowshadow Mountain."

Then Pahvil heard the first howl. "Wolves are coming. Gods know what else. Come with us if you wish to live." This was shouted to the confused looking man in the undershirt again.
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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2015, 12:20:02 PM »
Any number of mountain beasts have been making themselves known in the past minutes culminating in the distinct howl of wolves. Need to find some cover before they descend on the valley. He was not in any shape to defend himself nor make the trek back to the Boubon camp. Pausing his self-hug, he checked the hidden pockets in his pants with numb fingers and was reassured by what we felt. Lost a lot from the coat but still not defenseless at least. A few bodies were near by now. Looks like a head wound from the blood splatter. Hopefully it was a clean blow that kept the coat out of the blood.

A shout careened across the landscape. Jorstin cringed with the force of it and looked to its source. One was obviously a Kingsman, the one that probably shouted. He was with another that looked in bad shape. After a moment he corrected it to really bad shape. Jorstin stopped for a minute and reviewed his surroundings again. He missed these two on his first review, no telling what else he had failed to notice. This failure of perception made him think that his own injury might be worse than what he first thought.

Jorstin continued his walk to the body and relieved the corpse of a fur lined coat, gloves and a cap with ear flaps. Small blood splatters were all over it, frozen in memory of his death. A mercenary from the Snow Lion clan out of the north by the style and weapon. A small clan with not much for flat land, less for farming but a very vibrant hunting area. They had a harsh winter and the pull of trade and gold was too much for them. Ferocious fighters and their clothes will be padded and warm. He struggled to move the stiffening body as he rolled it and fought the arms to get the jacket off. At then end it was released with a snap that put Jorstin on his ass. Shaking his head at the cold that was taking over his body, he finally managed to get the clothes on.

A quick scan of the bodies found a couple shoulder packs that he collected and he faced the Kingsman and his mercenary companion. After a final look around, and failing to see anything else of significance, Jorstin decided he might as well join them. The threat of the approaching creatures was enough to throw his dice into the game and see where it goes. A Kingsman, a mercenary and a Boubon...this sounds like a bad tavern joke in the making.

As he approached within knife throwing distance Jorstin said, "Well met friends. Whether it be the wolves that are closing in or the returning of the dragon to feast on this generous course, either way I would like to be away from this battlefield." Looking at the injured one, "The smell of blood is thick here but we will soon have to dress that wound to save your life and protect our movements. A dragon's shrieks will eventually gather many a beast from all directions once they measure it safe."

The Boubon camp was up a difficult climb and a well fortified area and Jorstin was not willing to return that way. Reports had the King's camp at the base of the mountain. That is probably the easiest. For now, time to be helpful. Jorstin entered their area looking for a way to assist the wounded man.

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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2015, 07:36:54 AM »
A huddled mass shivered on the frozen bank downstream, covered by heavy white furs which had been scavenged from the corpse of a mercenary. Lyric Hydennhal drew the covers closer around her body. She had been sucked into the surging waters when the horrendous beast set its flame upon the ice and it was through sheer luck that she had managed to claw her way out of the icy slush before darkness consumed her. She would have long succumbed to hypothermia if she hadn't managed to strip off the soaked outer layer of her garments and cover herself with the cloak.

"@!#$..." She whispered through chattering teeth. Lyric stared at the longbow which lay in the snowy bank before her. It was weathered and was well used, but for its age, it was obviously well cared for. She had named that bow - Melocum - the old tongue for 'song'. With it, She had carved out no small amount of fame serving under the kings banner. Leader of the Ravenflight Clan, was she; tasked with directing her brother and sister archers in battle. Well, no more. Lyric doubted any of her clansmen had survived that calamity. She had personally ensured that they were in the middle of that forsaken icy river - poised to flank the Boubon horde. "@!#$." She repeated. Stronger this time.

The bow was her life. Nearly three decades dedicated to the weapon. An aim as sure as stone and hands as still as death. She took pride in her skill. Lyric looked down to her hands, and this time a small bout of quiet yet hysterical laughter preceded her expletive; "@!#$!"

The frozen river wasn't the only source of Lyric's agony - Fire before Ice. Snowshadow's breath of death had bathed her liberally before cracking the ice beneath her feet. Her hair was half singed away; a tangled, mottled mess. Her face bore blisters and sores which would likely leave her scarred beyond recognition. She cared not about this, though. No, there was worse; her left arm was twisted and curled beyond recognition. Blackened skin and flesh hung loosely and no less than two fingers were completely gone. The held the crippled arm against her body - this was beyond healing.
"@!#$."

Finally, the woman stood. Enough strength had returned to her now. She eyed the bow on the ground longingly for a second before she turned and stumbled upstream, leaving the weapon to be claimed by the snow.
Lyric had died in that battle. It is best that she be forgotten.



How long she walked, the woman didn't know. Eventually  the corpses along the shore told her that she was at the scene of the battle. She had appropriated a mace of cold iron from the clasped fingers of a frozen corpse - the fingers actually shattered free with the weapon as the tugged it away.
Finally, the sound of voices led her to a trio of men in various states of misery. From what she could hear as she approached, the men were planning to make way to one of the camps further back. As good a plan as any - they were probably all going to die out here anyway. Two Boubons and a Kingsman, by the looks. She did not think she recognised the kingsman.

She tugged the white furs closer to herself with her emaciated hand and spoke with a creaking voice once she drew near, "I... Let me come with you!" That came out more pleading than she meant. She spoke again, "That is, uh, there is safety in numbers. We can help each other." She eyed the Boubon folk warily, her good hand clenching tightly on the shaft of the mace - These were not her friends, but under the circumstances...
"My name is," She paused, "Erravin. I am... was, Kingsman." Erravin - Lost; Gone astray in the old language.

Erravin stood firmly, doing her best to stifle the shivers brought on by the harsh climate.
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Offline Strolen

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2015, 06:41:28 PM »
That one will die.

Jorstin was unable to pull up any kind of empathy and the lack of caring surely showed on his face. Too much death already today, no time to worry about people I don't even know. Two cripples and a Kingsman. Who in the Seven Tundras did Jorstin piss off in a past life to deserve this mess. Jorstin was a loner. One who traveled the outside of most circles without many that actually depended on him. Sure, people needed him...for gold....for advice...for information...for death. But Jorstin long ago accepted his position where any friends were a liability. Until he could gauge his situation, or found the value in these folks, they would live and protect him.

Best to let the Kingsman take responsibility for the two liabilities. Jorstin figured he wouldn't be the one to volunteer to care for them. Three out of four pouches he carried were poison anyway, not much he can do. Although there are the roots of a Devil's Claw that could reduce swelling and the pain. Depending on the depth of snow, they might stumble upon some.

Jorstin remembered the bags he picked up from the caasses and started digging through them. The Snow Lions were known for their love of life and a great fight. While other clans reveled in a warrior's death, the Snow Lions appreciated a long life of good fighting and showing off the scars that proved it. Bread, cured meats, extra shirt and a foul smelling concoction of ink and herbs to put in cuts amongst other mundane things. It would help heal while magnifying the scar once it sealed due to the absorbed ink. Only for light wounds, need a fire poker to cauterize most other wounds...or a healer. The rest of the contents and the extra pack went onto the snow in a small, pathetic pile of trinkets and personal items.

Jorstin shrugged his jacket higher on his neck, put on the shoulder pack, readjusted the hat to fully cover his ears and put his newly gloved hands under his armpit to keep them warm. He then looked around in expectation of the Kingsman to once again take charge. Jorstin was of a mind to follow and reveal as little as he could to this group. Warmth was creeping back, two wounded to feed in incoming creatures and a bag of food when needed. Jorstin was in no hurry.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2015, 04:01:29 PM »
A long ululating cry echoed across the lake hollow, high and piercing. It was both good, and terrible. It was terrible because it was the hue and cry of the Meh-Teh, the wild white fur covered men of the north. A head a half taller than any Kingsman, and twice as strong, they avoided conflict with the King, and Boubon, and the other nations by being hermits of the mountains. They cared for little aside from blood and death, fire and looting. The stench of dragonflame was strong, and there was much death around the edge of the lake, ripe pickings for the savages.

The good news was that is they were willing to make that much noise, Snowshadow had likely taken to roost and was no longer a-wing.

'We need to seek fortification, there is a signal tower a league from here, to the east. It was Kings Corps before we abandoned it. The stoneworks should still be there, and I know the words to grant us passage inside,' Bogdan said. 'Bereft of banners, I think until we part ways we should look upon each other as brothers in desperation, or perhaps when we are old and crabbed, we will tell our children of this, like we were adventurers-upon-return.'
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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2015, 11:16:33 AM »
So that was why the scavengers were staying away. The Meh Teh were descending upon the shattered battlefield. There were four of them, Pahvil thought, with two seriously injured, including himself. The axe-fighter doubted their chances of survival but gripped his weapons tight, and hesitantly followed the Kingsman across the icy, blood-stained expanse.

"First, I will tell my children, never listen to snake-tongued Bouboni" Pahvil mumbled under his breath, as he went ahead, scanning the horizon for white-furred savages. 

He did not trust any of the other three, but that mattered little now. Survival. That was all that mattered. Or there would be no tale-telling or old age to look forward to.
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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2015, 06:57:19 PM »
"s**t." The Meh Teh were one of the three clans whose services were not purchased for the battle. Knew they wouldn't join the Boubons, of course, but it would have turned the tables in the Boubon's favor the second the King's men saw their charge. Kind of like now...but on the wrong end. Well, in hindsight, probably would be dead with the rest so a futile thought. Either way, this is not good.

Out loud to the others, "The easy plunder should gather their attention for long enough. If they spot us though, the won't halt their bloodlust. We must be quick and quiet and get into cover!"

Quickly moving forward to offer his assistance to the Flying Axe tribesman, Jorstin slowly reached for his good arm to support if he accepted. "We need to move silently and you need help. It will hurt enough without you trying to move by yourself. You are strong man but a stumble on the ice can cause the strongest to gasp." To himself Jorstin thought this one was the worst wounded. In a pinch he could slip a knife into his ribs and straight to his heart and force a quiet collapse. Easy enough to convince the others he died of his wounds while freeing himself to act as needed. Or he could die on his own. Just as well. Need to survive this and figure out the state of things! He waited to see if the Flying Axeman's pride would allow the assistance.

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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2015, 09:50:25 PM »
"Alright", Pahvil sounded resigned, allowing common sense to quickly override his stubborn instinct. Leaning on the man (the scent of wet snow-lion fur was strong on him), he stuck one of his axes into a customized sheath on his back, and gripped the other even tighter.

"If...when they come, let me go. If you try to help me, we'll both be slaughtered."

With that they moved. He was kidding himself. This man smelled of "thief" and opportunism. If the Meh-Teh didn't come (fat chance now), the man would no doubt shiv him as they walked. But again, no matter now.

He saw then, out of the corner his eye, some huge white thing loping down from a hillock like an ape in heat.

"They come. At least one does." He looked to see if the one who called herself Erravin was following them.
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Re: Blood on Ice Spilled
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2015, 05:29:45 PM »
The meh-teh paused, lifting it's horrific face up to sniff the air. It was a hard and cruel face, one that was sculpted by the cold winds and the hard rock of the mountains. It was covered in white fur, even it's face, but that didn't hide the large teeth, and the slick of blood running down it's face and onto it's chest. It wasn't wounded, they were not that lucky, it had been feeding. The creature sighted them, it's nostrils flared as it took in their scent.

It didn't bellow, or call out to the others. The meh-teh had scented their weakness, their injuries, and had decided that it was going to take them all. The lucky ones would be killed and eaten quickly. The unlucky might get to see where the meh-teh lived, and why there were no females among their peculiar tribe. And then be eaten.

(The meh-teh stat wise is comparable to an ogre, the PCs have a moment to prepare their weapons before the lone beast is upon them. It has a club, an offhand strike, and can grapple and use a bite)
" If the muse comes to your bedside, don’t tell her you’ll f?$! her later."- Allen Ginsberg