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Author Topic: Bryald’s Journal – Part 9 – Into the Wastes  (Read 1577 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« on: September 10, 2009, 04:35:52 PM »

We rode out of the keep before first light. Forty-two men, all mounted and equipped for what we hoped would be less than a week in the wastes. The morning was typically cold, I could see my breath, but I was still covered in a cold sweat. I was afraid, even with forty well-armed men surrounding me. This was not a trip to the practice yard; I could die a thousand miles from my home. As we rode at speed to the north, I looked back at the keep seeing just how small it was, an island of safety in the vast northern plains. I never thought I would be leaving its security to ride into the heart of the Shadow. 

The patrol was evenly divided between out two companies, twenty men each, with two scouts from Clan Banoch. The scouts would lead us to where they believed an orc tribe had established new warrens. When we made our first stop to water and walk the horses, Dulthas, the Dorn sergeant, told us what was to come. We would ride for the rest of the day, camp, and move on foot the following morning. Ten men would take the horses south and wait for two days before moving back north to meet us. He explained that the horses would draw too much attention and couldn’t travel the route we’d be taking. That news wasn’t well received by my fellow soldiers. 

As we rode north, I was surprised by the abundance of animals and the plains of tough grass that stretched as far as the eye could see. I expected the area to be lifeless, a barren wasteland destroyed during the fighting of the Second Age. That was not the case, we skirted around wild boro herds and splashed through countless small streams. If not from the threat of the Shadow, this land would be dotted with dornish farmsteads and herds. Now the land was empty, waiting to be bathed in blood when the Shadow once more marched south. 

That night we kept a cold camp, sheltering against a rock scarp to stay out of the wind. As I tried to sleep, I could hear the wind whispering to me, dark tales that the men around me would betray me and lead me to my death. There was a malevolent presence in the very stones we laid on, pulsing deep in the earth like blood through a body. Was I the only one to hear the whispers, to feel this darkness? The camp was still and the others slept soundly; maybe it was just my own fear and an imagination run wild. Whatever the cause, I was happy when dawn finally broke and the whispers ended. 

The morning passed quickly, as we carefully threaded our way through the broken hills. Just before noon, the scouts signaled for us to get down and we crawled toward the top of a large wooded hill. From our vantage we could look down into the valley below and hear the sounds of dying boro. There were hundreds of them being hacked apart by orcs. The scouts saw the start of at least three warrens and estimated that three to four thousand orcs were in this valley alone. There was no way of telling how many more might be in the hills beyond. The Mhor’s information was right; at least one tribe had moved south and was now within a five-day march of Ergel’s Keep. We had come as far north as we dared, it was time to bring our grim news back to the keep and House Falon.
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Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  Games and Stories (Moderators: Kane, Bleak Knight)  |  Topic: Bryald’s Journal – Part 9 – Into the Wastes
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