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The Battle for Tihr

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amondrubee

Veteran
Prologue

"Where. Where is she?" asked Captain Phalus, almost as if in desperation. The tavern keeper pointed upstairs and the aging soldier strided across the creeking floorboard and up the narrow stairway. He stopped for a moment to wipe the mud off his mail boots, and to straighten his overcoat. His hair was trimmed, his face bore scars from many wars, his buttons sparkled in this dimly lit corridor. Phalus wanted to look his best.

And what would it matter? As Phalus approached the door, thoughts raced telling him the occupant did not care for titles and appearances. Hadn't she stood before King Harlaus himself and defeated the unbeatable Lord Stammar? Rumour had it she only rebelled to end King Harlaus' tyranny. It had been a year since Tihr had been conquered and the people were for once at peace.

Lady Isolla... the very words carried a weight of legend. This person supposedly took down Lord Plais' army of 100 single handedly. Some speak of her as a power hungry spoilt brat trying to usurp what doesn't rightfully belong to her.

With a heavy heart, Phalus knocked the door.

"Come in." a serene voice answered calmy.

Phalus entered. Only a candle gave any light to the room. Lady Isolla wore a simple tunic, nothing a noble would ever wear, she bore no weapon and had no guards in the room. She must be confident in unarmed combat or an ignorant fool to leave herself open to assasins... Lady Isolla sat in repose, raised her eyebrow, appearing to be waiting for the captain to speak.

"Our scouts have reported seeing a ship heading towards the dock." said Phalus. "Their banners are of Lord Clais of the Kingdom of Nords. From the design of the hull, it seems like a trading ship..."

Lady Isolla got up instantly and dashed out the room. Captain Phalus followed his liege, confused at her response and surprised at how much effort he's using to keep up with her.

Standing on the high walls of Tihr, Lady Isolla looked at the dock, discerning the number of ships planning to dock. A number of Swadian knights were dispatched to greet the ship's crew when it docks. From here, one could see all the villages near Tihr. The double walls were built of stone, seperated by a long-winded ramp, making Tihr almost impenetrable when defended by a battalion of archers.

Lady Isolla's eyes widened and shouted "Raise the alarm!"

It's just one unarmed trading ship... thought Captain Phalus. Why in the name of Tihr is she-

Then Captain Phalus saw it too. Behind the lone trading ship, were more Nord ships. Too many trying to dock at the same time.

The Kingdom of Nords have come to wage war.
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
Incase we are, I'm liking the look of this. So if we're not, say and I'll retract my post.

Thane Johtain Lut'Hur, landless Thane and Oath-sworn of High Jarl Ragnar, sweated despite the harsh seaborne winds which blew in from his ancestor's lands beyond the sea and Tihr as he bounded over the thin grass of coastal Calradia. The thick strips of confining banded armour, chain and leather bound tightly over his chest and shoulders, were not something to be worn on such a day of heavy marching but he bore the weight without complaint. All of the men who followed their Thane bore the same faded scarlet banded armour and huge white shields on their backs, and again not a single one complained under the weight, for were they not the Huskarlry? The few men that marched with their Thane were the best, for despite being little more then a landless raider, Johtain could train men and did not allow for raw recruits in his campaigns. The group had ran at a mile-crushing trot since the dawn meal and the sun was nearing its pinnacle now, and the hours of mindless marching and running in full gear that their Thane had made them do now payed off. They would reach Tihr befall nightfall and with plenty of time to take it from the upstarts there. Johtain grinned like a wolf beneath his Nordic Helm.

As the small warband neared the top of a hill, Johtain raised his hand and halted the Huskarls at his back. The few men unstoppered leatherskins of stream water and chewed on salted fish as they waited. Johtain himself waited at the summit and watched a young man running recklessly towards the group, wearing nothing but a thin shirt, leggings, boots and a long seax like the ones his men kept in their boots should they lose their swords or axes in melee. The young man almost fell over the hills summit and bowed to the Thane, exhausted and panting heavily. As he regained his breath, he stood and addressed Johtain.

"The city is but half a horizon away, Lord-Thane. A man in armour can clear the distance before the turn of the tide. The walls bare the Upstart Swadian's banners, and the seaborne assualt is close at hand. Or so I hear from the other runners. Even the sea bandits seem to have gone to ground, Lord-Thane."

Johtain nodded his acceptance of the news and threw the young man his banded armour and the rest of his wargear, along with a skin of mead. The young man went and changed from a scout to one of the Huskarls despite his clear exhaustion and shared the mead between his brothers. The sea wind cut across the sweat on his forhead with a pleasing sting and Johtain clicked his neck as he watched another peasent party go past them, keeping their distance and their fear keeping them quick. He wouldnt have bothered them even if he had the time to; he had learnt long ago that a man that went around pillaging the peasantry resulted in that same man going hungry the coming Winter. He shrugged his Huskarly Round Shield into a more comfatable position on his back. He needed to revarnish the white background and five-pointed golden star, the seasalt on the wind was starting to wear at it. He hoisted his warhammer and great axe on their slings over his shoulders, checked his one-handed axe form his belt and shouted the march again. His men shouldered their shields and weaponry, put their food away and set back into the mile-eating trot, follwoin their Thane towards Tihr.

 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
The sun was setting over the flat land of weathered stones and rugged coastal grasses as the few men sat around small fires, chewing on salted fish and hard stale bread. Johtain was sat around one such fire, still wearing his armour as the others where. He drank water and let the men drink the last of the mead. The day had passed in unrelenting miles of cold winds, hard ground and harsh sunshine, and some men had almost slept in the mind-numbing trot, whilst others sharpened weapons as if they were sitting by a campfire. The sun's retreat past the horizon marked another break and so the men had stopped and rested again, as the encroaching darkness swept from the sea like a heavy mist. One of the men approached Johtain and knelt;

"The runners we expected from the other Thanes have yet to arrive... they should have been here at noon. If one dissapeared it might be an accident but... one of ours dissapeared. One of ours simply dosn't dissapear." the man said and Johtain nodded. Without warning he stood up and looked around, beckoning two of the sitting men to him.

"Before the sun sets, find any tracks within an hours run. Take two others with you, full armour and arms. Go." The stell in his voice marked no discussion and the men shouted at brothers or friends and bounded into the night into two groups. Uneasily, the Thane sat down again and picked his great axe up, putting a wetstone down its edge in silence.

Several hours later in a night illuminated by a near full moon, the men came back, panting like dogs who had brought down a fine stag. There hair was slick against their heads as they pulled off their helmets and sat down heavily with their brothers, the two leaders kneeling by their leader's fire. After a quick exchange, they too joined their brethren. Johtain looked up at the stars and yawned. SO there were others in the area, maybe just another sea raider's warband, or maybe the reason so many runners had not returned...

With a roar he shouted at the band of Huskarls and ordered them into a march. Grabbing their equipment and slanging it over their shoudlers along with their weapons and shields, the men set into a trot into the stygian darkness of a Nordic night, bounding over the grass in the direction the tracks where heading. The Swadians could wait one more day. One of his men had not returned to his brothers; Thane Johtain felt anger in his bones and smelt blood on the night air.
 

Dragon13

Knight
Wow. You guys are good at coming up with stories. As much as I want to join in, I just wouldn't make much sense, so I'll stay out.
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((The problem with the Z thread was that so many people joined, I'ms till in it but rp's only work if theres about 5 people in playing constantly, so if you want to join go ahead! And I dont think a planning thread is neeeded but if you think it will help then sounds good. And you're stories are pretty damn good too Ludial. I'm not sure if they know yet, but theres a band of 30 pissed off huskarls coming you're way :grin:))

As the first spear of molten dawnlight thrust itself over the horizon, the Huskarly warband approached a coppice of rare woodland on the coastal flats. To the south was the Yalen Valley, and Johtain had long wondered at the fireside tales of cities of architecture and silks and velvets and wines. There was good cattle ground there, maybe he would boost his band with whatever captives and peasents he could find on the way and take Yalen or someother fine southern city after this conflict. No, he thought, a castle near the coast with cold halls, large fires and thick walls would do well enough. Maybe even Tihr, Ragnar could be generous. Johtain would make sure he and his men were the first over the walls to stake their claim...

Snapping back to the frigid morning, the Thane signaled left and right, 4 groups or 5 splitting off form the main contingent to search the woods, all armed with the savage throwing axes they loved. The tracks were fresh an ex hunter, now wearing the scarlet of a Huskarl, told him.

"If they have any runners like we do, any scouts on horseback of foot, or any stragglers they will pass this way, Lord-Thane. I've no doupt. Witht he freshness of these tracks I'd bet my shield-arm that they're within an hours storm-pace." The storm-pace, a savage and unrelenting march that varied from fast to murderous speeds that Johtain had invented himself. In training it often killed of left the raw recruits behind, and even the Huskarly hated the need for such a pace for fear of arriving without the energy to kill as well as they might. The Thane nodded and looked as the groups came in from the woodland. They all showed no signs of an enemy in the thicket, so Johtain detailed sentries in threes and full armour, ex hunters or trackers or woodsman and all now Huskarls, to hide in the low trees and bushes at the woodlands edges. No fires were lit.

"If the group left anyone behind, or are still following us, the tracks lead ahead so their runners will follow them as we have. Our tracks look like we've passed through here. If you see anyone, send one of you back to me and the other two to apprehend whoever it is. Hold them but a moment and the warband will be at you're back to aid you."

Johtain moved to turn away, but looked back over his shoulder with a rare grin. "Stop anyone who comes this way, but try not to kill them. We want to give a good impression of Nordic hospitality."

 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((I know of the modify button but I choose not to use it this once. Is the dude behind me, who wanted to attack us in our sleep, the psyco nutjob that you were talking about earlier? The guy who comes and goes as he pleases with the great axe? Sounds like my kind of guy if he is! Just let Johtain get into a fight with him if theres the chance... please! Now just got to choose what to use.... one-handed axe, Great axe, seax, warhammer, shield... :twisted:))
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((Nah I figure that a band of heavily armoured men in full arms can't really compete with a lightly dressed and expereinced lass in a race, so wholed up in that coppice with some sentries watching and waiting for anyone to catch up with us, before moving on to Tihr.  And is you're band all skirmisers? I'm hoping so hehe))
 

Dragon13

Knight
Ludial said:
((yes, they are all skirmishers. But don`t get your hopes too high - there`s a reason I like skirmishers so much :wink:))

Heh. I can't tell if your khergit or Vaegir right now...one reason why I do not want to post...and maybe a reason we need the planning thread so that I'm not so clueless...

Well, Irkun and Mercuth, anyway.

Also, I like the Rhodoks. Lol...I can't think of a way to get them involved at all, or just one sergeant-type... :???:
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((Khergits die if they charge a well-formed shield wall, but ya' know how Nords daydream. Maybe that city here, maybe that one there. Johtains as likely to go for Yalen as he would for Curaw. If he dosnt get Tihr of of the wolf Ragnar he might go and sign his allegiances to the Yalen commanders... who knows?  :grin: And hope you dont mind me double posting, I'm guessing nights come with the time between posts.))

With a sense of anger kindling in his chest, Johtain sparred with one of his Huskarls. Both men stood shirtless and sweat draped their long hair and beards down their shoulders, their chests heaving from the unrelentless bout. As the Huskarl lunged once again with his wide-bladed sword, the Thane trapped the blade's length with his axehead, turned around and pressed the shield onto his opponents back. With a shout Johtain put all his weight onto the wide shield and the Huskarl collapsed, the weight of the shield and his Thane too much in his awkward position. The move had saved Johtains life more then once, and he'd yet to meet a foe who could counter the use of a shield as a weapon. All the Huskarls had sharpened rims of iron on their shields at his command.

Walking shirtless still in the dusklight despite the chill encroaching from the far-off ocean, Johtain ordered fires to be built far out around the woodland. Any enemy within an throwing axe range would be illuminated by the fires, and the sentries would not have to squint at shadows that could fray the nerves of the bravest. As well as this, groups of fully-armed sentries were posted around the tiny thicket whilst the others all slept close enough so that the sentries could hear their snores. The Thane was irritated at the loss of a day of march, and the Winds alone know what was happenning at Tihr, but he would resume that on the morrow. Yill then, he would not be caught offguard.
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((Shall we move this to the discussion thread? And its night, so isnt it time for you're nutjob to make an appearance Ludial?))
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((You have my sympathy there mate, Ilike the cold and I have exams soon too. Take ya time then, no rush. I mean we've got until the zombies come! haha))
 

Dragon13

Knight
((Well, thanks to Kalnia, I actually have an idea that makes sense.))


Drano was feeling anxious. He was awaiting a party he had sent to scout the area to return. His soldiers consisted mostly of sharpshooters and elite spearmen, which he handpicked himself. King Graveth himself had ordered him to do a reconnaissance of sorts; Once a weak, Drano sent out a soldier to return to Graveth with reports on what was happening; the Nords could decide to do an invasion, if they wanted to. Their Huskarls were a deadly force...if they captured Tihr from the Swadians, at least.

Finally, the scout party returned. The captain of it, a Sharpshooter, named Rain, came up to Drano.
"We were forced to retreat into the night. A huskarl group was sparring, and they had just ended. They seemed to be lighting fires for whatever reason. We had to retreat to prevent being spotted. You would be surprised how fast they are, yourself, liege."

"Well, then...did you manage to overhear anything?"

"No, liege. They had armed soldiers all around their encampment. We would almost surely have been seen if we had gotten any closer. But they seemed to be running to Tihr relentlessly, at least until today, where they stopped. We might be able to find out something else tomorrow, but for now, that would be impossible."

"I see. Did you finally count how many Huscarls were there?"

"No. There seemed to be quite a few, though, less we were hallucinating. Taking a hidden shot at the practicing huskarls would alert the armed patrols, and we would almost surely be seen, leading them straight to here, if we were to run."

Drano seemed content with this, but Rain had seen what he thought to be the leader, as all the huskarls seemed to obey him; after they had finished sparring, he saw huskarls scurrying to get fire, what was surely his command, as most of them started getting torches and the like.

"He also seemed the most well-trained of the group, and happens to know a nasty shield bash, with what I've seen."

Drano nodded. "That is good, Rain. Now, we should sleep. I will send a Spearman to Graveth tomorrow, and we will move, just in case one of the sentries spotted you, or saw shadows."

Drano got up and retired for the night. He wore his armor in his sleep in hostile territory, just in case they were ambushed. Rain bowed, and also retired.
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((Sorry to be posting more then anyone, but I want to stop being a damn recruit without spamming and I like writing this stuff so here I go again. Its just a filler so I'm not going to change anything to spoil the nutter's arrival.))

Waking from a few hours sleep, Johtain stared silently at the frozen starlight shining from a perfectly black shield of a sky. He could never slumber for more then a couple of hours, but the lack of sleep had never caused fault with in his life. He could lie dormant for eons in Valhalla, but this life was too short to lie in vunerable uncounciousness. With a quiet grunt, the Thane pulled his beard and long, plaited hair free of the frost where it had frozen to the ground, leaning on his warhammer to stand full. He checked his armour for dampness but felt none, shouldered his shield, warhammer and great axe, checked his single-handed axe at his belt and walked past the snoring men. They were the best he could find, the ones who had survived his brutal training to wear the crimson banded armour; they could outfight and outmarch near any man or woman, could outdrink many too, and sneak across a landscape, in full arms, silently... but for the life of him, Johtain wouldnt be surprised if their snores could be heard in far away Wercheg. After kicking one of the more spirited snorers into silence, the Thane grinned and walked to the sentries.

Whistling low to let the men know a brother approached, he knelt by one of the groups of sentries who were occupying the dark hours with one man watching the horizon behind all the others shields propped against each other, and the others playing dice, eating salt fish or dreaming of some blonde-haired, long legged maid from a long ago night in some coastal village. After talking with the group, he left a small flask of stormbrew to warm their hearts, and moved to the next. He would check on men he knew he would find no flaw in, and Johtain thought, and then go back to the dead fire's embers in the thicket's centre and sharpen his axes. On the morrow he would march to Tihr and stake his claim to the double walled port with his axes, hammer and shield, dueling any lords or thanes if need be. Johtain grinned in the darkness.
 

Hietala

Grandmaster Knight
In the dark streets of city of Uxkhal, which was just being destroyed and raided by both Khergit and Rhodok forces. The sky was dark and grey, a sinister fog covered much of the ruïns. Luka was leaning with her back on a wall, with an arrow struck in her chest. The arrow did miss the hearth, but a stream of blood dropped from the wound. Her black hairs of medium lenght covered her face. The cold ground she was sitting on was hard. A few metres away from her, some stakes were impaled into the ground. Things that used to be people were stuck on it.
She slowly pulled the arrow out of her chest. She moaned silently of the pain, looked at the arrow and threw it away. She slowly began to reminisce on the past...

*Flashback*

The Lord's hall was decorated with golden ornaments, red silk curtains, and a statue. Luka and the three soldiers that accompanied her had never seen such thing fancy like that. Lord Etrosq was busy talking to a messenger. He gave the messenger a letter and applied to Luka.

Lord Etrosq: Well, if it isn't that rather promising new mercenary leader?
Luka: *Smiles* At your service, my lo...
Lord Etrosq: *Interrupts her* Despite that, you are lucky that a war has locked Calradia for many years, you would be mere thieves in peacetime, i say! Back to business, i summoned you here because i want to hire your company for a few months...
Luka: Certainly, my lord.  *thinks*: Silly nobleman...
Lord Etrosq: Now, what is your company composed of, if i may ask? I want quality for my money.
Luka: I control about one hundred Sharpshooters, modelled and trained after the Sharpshooters in your regular army with quasi the same fighting qualities as your Sergeants.
Lord Etrosq: Well, i guess it'll be fine, i will send you a message with your first mission tomorrow. You can go now...

One month later 

On the balcony of Etrosq's castle, two figures were sitting in armchairs. Two goblets of wine were on a table between them. Etrosq was leaning his head on his hand and stared deep into Luka's eyes.

Etrosq: Well, you brought us some successes the last month... though at that last siege we suffered heavier losses than usual...
Luka: Yes, but we are training new volounteers who enlistend into my band. Anyway, have you already thought over...
Etrosq: That if i woul like to fund your growing band? Well, i would like to, but i want something in return for that
Luka: And that is?
Etrosq: I want to spend only one night with you.. one night, and you'll get the large funds you need.
Luka: Eh..? 
Etrosq: You should've noticed in the last month...

After a short silence, the two went upstairs...


*End flashback*

"Tomorrow, i start repressing this" She thought. Suddenly a man dressed in black lammelar armour and a black coat stormed onto her. She grabbed her bastard sword and succesfully parryed one blow from her attacker. Her attacker struck again with his scimitar. This time, she was pushed onto the floor again. The attacker held the tip of his sword near her neck. "I am going to die" she thought.

Unknown man: Don't be afraid, i won't kill you
 

Kalnia

Sergeant Knight at Arms
((Ok Ludial, tired of waiting so sorry but psyco dosnt attack tonight. Kinda annoyed that the owner hasnt replied as of yet, guess the acions moving away from Tihr then.))

As the fires were kicked out around the treeline, the blazon sunlight ran across the coastal plains and burnt away the last of the misty dawnwinds. Johtain stood and watched his men putting the fires out with mail and leatherboots stamping on the glowing embers. Hoisting his warhammer, great axe and Huskarly Shield onto his back, the Thane stared out northwards into the face of a harsh seaborne wind and thought of his future. Ragnar would not be pleased that he had wondered so far south of Tihr when he had been ordered to attack it in combination with the sea attack. Surely without his forces assualting the walls the attack would fail, a seige would begin and the bearded Monarch would be in a black rage for the months it took to starve the rebel Swadians out. And in that mood he would have no qualms in removing a lesser Thanes head for impudence and disobedience.

As Johtain pondered his future, a keening cry cut through the wind and brought his attantion back to the cold morn. A messenger hawk, one of the Nord's more specialised techniques, was being carried on the winds towards his warband. With a chirp it landed on his arm and the leather-hooded head looked around for a scrap of meat for its reward. Taking the message from its talon and handing the magnificent bird to one of the Huskarls to feed, the Thane looked at the runes on the thick bark-parchment. Ragnar, it seemed, was furious as he had predicted. The assualt had not as of yet taken place and the Nordic Lords were pinning the hold up on Johtain's armoured shoulders. That meant he would be relieved of his head should he go back, and his men would be flogged in squares from Sargoth to Wercheg as an example. Walking over to the bird, he took the small lather mask off and removed its heavy footholders and let the bird fly free. Now it would not return to its original handler but spend the rest of its days unemcumbered by leather or message.

With a loud shout, he calle dhis men into a circle. All fifty knelt, the wind blowing over them like it would a pack of wolves. They listened as their Thane explained the situation and kept the iron-cold face beneath their fierce Nordic helms. They did not think, just agreed as they're Thane told of cities to the south of green fields and rich harvests past the Rhodokius Valley and in the Swadian Central Plateua. With a roar and a shout, the Huskarly warband entered into their mile-crushing march. The Huskarly were going south.
 

Dragon13

Knight
((Hietala, I had no clue that the Rhodoks and Khergits were at war with the Swadians. Random information FTW!
Also...O Boy! Marching towards Rhodok lands with a small band of highly trained and determined Rhodoks.))

Drano was awakened by Rain, who had an urgent look on his face. He had heard some noises around the Huscarl campsite, and went to investigate alone. He had to run quite fast to avoid being spotted by the charging huscarls (They were moving at a standard charging speed for Rain, so I put charging there). Rain wasted no time in explaining, and started talking before Drano even got up, exhausted as he was.

"Sir! The huscarls are marching toward the south- hard, it seems. They may be heading to Swadian lands, but also may be marching towards our homeland. Or both."

"What! We do not stand a chance if we confront them head-on. Get all your soldiers under you armed with crossbows. Now. The best thing we can do is to use some guerrilla tactics when they come closer...or if they come by this way. It's the best we can do for now."
"What about our spearmen?"
"Bah. It's no use sending them out to their inevibteble deaths...I shall have them retreat. Better for them to have a use later than die now. They shall retreat to my castle. I pray that all shall make it unscathed." Drano gave the command.
(( I'll say that Rhodok troops had recently captured a castle from the Swadians, while they had been preoccupied with Tihr. Hey, if their at war, why not? :razz:))

Drano looked around at the campsite, and made a hastily written note. He handed the regular reports and the new piece to a spearman that hadn't left yet, as he knew that he would be a messenger. He took off at once to Jelkala.

Rain's scout party retreated to the trees nearby. They were adequate at hiding in forests, but not the best by far, and they knew it. Nontheless, they could release a few bolts without being seen at a time. All troops there had Crossbows strung, as did Drano; he didn't prefer it, but he knew a thing or two about firing a crossbow. Now, they had to keep alert, and perhaps they would have to move quietly, if Rain misjudged where the huscarls just MIGHT show up...

((Yay for trying to make up good story material. :p))
 
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