Monday, 22 August 2011

The Handover - Narrative

A light mist was rising from the damp grasslands in the southern borders of Altengard. Skeet Moontail sniffed the air briefly. The pinkskins were still following. The item he had stolen from the village didn't seem like much, a lump of orange coloured translucent rock, but the Warlock Council were getting paid a handsome amount of silver for the movement of the rock which would soon be out of his hands. The goblins were waiting in the hamlet ahead and he could smell orcs on the fresh morning air somewhere off to the left.
Suddenly, a group of horsemen crashed through the underbrush and Moontail recognised the spoor of the man-things from the ruined village days ago. Quickly ordering his rats into some semblance of a defensive formation he instructed is Ogre-rat to kill the horsemen while ordering his jezzail team onto a nearby rise to take a better shot at the interlopers. Moontail himself headed to the hamlet .
In the hamlet the goblins awaited the arrival of the wererat pack. Their leader worried that rats were untrustworthy even by goblin standards but had no choice. An incursion by his tribe further north would have encouraged the humans to investigate and that would not fit the master's purpose at all. The chieftain new that his orc allies were out on his flank watching for the rats and that reinforcements would be here soon. It was just a matter of waiting.
The human adventurers and their retinue moved quickly over the cold grasslands, the Mirish thief quickly picking up the tracks of the wererats. The pack came into view and after some long range shooting the rat-thing monstrosity, easily the size of an ogre, charged the Mirish mercenaries. A lucky sword thrust dealt the beast a cruel blow, but elation was short lived and the loud report of a massive handgun was heard briefly before one of the light horsemen was blown bodily from his saddle. Falling back with their wounded the Hykar and Mirish horsemen gave the rat-thing breathing space to pick itself off the ground and roar defiance at the humans.
Looking out from their vantage point in some light woods the bugbear leader spotted some human cavalry and some elves if his eyes did not deceive him. Of the rats there was no sign, but the opportunity to crush some skulls was too tempting. Unleashing the tethers of his war dogs and yelling his own guttural war-cry the bugbear war patrol burst from cover right into a hail of missiles from some human crossbowmen and their elven allies. The fight was over quickly with all the patrol dead or dying in the long grass before the human line. As the death mist clouded the bugbear leader's eyes he thought that perhaps after all this was not a good day to die.
The sound of fighting was troubling the goblin leader. It was obvious now that he and his warband faced some difficult choices, run in the face of an enemy to avoid losses and detection or wait on the cursed rats in the hopes of retrieving the gem the master needed so dearly. Just as he was about to order a retreat two things happened. The promised reinforcements, wolf riders and giant spiders, arrived and the rat warrior came over the nearby rise and rushed towards his position. Quickly giving orders to his Black Moon bodyguard and his archers to take up positions and provide cover he anxiously waited the delivery of the gem.
The reinforcements split in to two groups. The spiders scuttled off towards the bugbears position while the wolf riders rode straight at the human mercenaries. The spiders gave some account of themselves avoiding the withering fire that had destroyed the bugbear war patrol but were soon embroiled in a battle against Border Knights which they had no real chance of winning. Speared on lances and trampled under hoof the spider threat, while never underestimated, was quickly dealt with. The wolf riders were less fortunate, the Mirish cavalry and their Hykar mercenaries aided by Elven bow work shot every goblin out of his saddle.
Foul magic had dealt with the last of Moontail's rat pack. A suggestion whispered on the wind had sent the packrats running and endless befuddlements had left the ogre-rat insensible to the battle raging around him. It was too late though, sensing that the tide of battle was unstoppable the goblins and the remaining rats completed their dark deal and fled southward.

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