Journal Posts

Tag: ambush

Captain (Part I)
The hobgoblin’s captain surveyed the scene before him.

Two lines of spike filled pits had been carefully excavated in a V-formation. The lines stretched over fifty feet long and were ten feet across, the pits divided by narrow walkways of reinforced earth every 10 feet or so, with small stakes above ground marking the passageways. The pit sections were lined with sharpened wooden stakes that rose to just the lip of the pits. Woven reed mats lay across the top, blending into the surrounding ground and concealing them from sight. Part of the top sod that had been stacked aside during the digging had been placed carefully on top to further create the illusion of solid ground.

The removed earth had been raised into a central mound several yards back from the center of the formation. Canvas dyed to match grasses covered the mound, staked down securely to deny the ever fickle wind an opportunity to betray the deception. The remaining top sod was being placed over the canvas-shrouded mound, intact grasses waving in the breeze. Outside the formation of pits, shallow bunkers had been excavated as well, and the mounded banks of soil were draped in more grass-stained canvas and sod, creating low turf-walled tents.
“This had better work, Captain. An awful lot of labor being done by warriors,” one of his sergeants growled from beside him.

The Captain looked down at him, one eyebrow raising. “Your lack of understanding is noted, Kregnik. It will work as planned. And when it does, you will carry my share. Perhaps someday you will learn strategy.” He turned back to the nearly completed ambush. “For now, fetch me Jongar and Gierka.”

“Sir.” Kregnik straightened, thumped his chest in salute and ran to find the lieutenants.

**

“You understand the plan, Jongar?” the Captain asked as the false dawn began to light up the eastern sky.

“Yes sir. I will take the reserves and wait in the hills.” The young hobgoblin paused and looked eastward. “I should leave now if we are to be off the plain by full light.”

“Go.”

“Honor to you, Captain” Jongar said as he saluted and turned to leave to gather his troops.

The Captain watched the activity for a moment before addressing his remaining officer. “Gierka, get your troops in the tents and the scouts deployed. We leave at dark. A full night’s hard march lay ahead of us if we’re to strike the target as planned.“

Gierka thumped his chest solidly in salute and spun sharply to stomp off into the dim light of pre-dawn. The Captain’s ears barely picked up the muttered ‘Finally’ that Gierka uttered on his exit. That explains Kregnik, he thought, Pity. Gierka’s been loyal but he’s never understood tactical advantage. He will have to fall in the skirmish, now or soon. I will not have my command questioned. Fortunately, he won’t question leading a suicide charge. He crossed his arms and contemplated his subordinate’s future fall.

**

The Captain slid on his belly next to the scout at the edge of the copse of trees the hobgoblins had stopped in. It sat on a small hill overlooking the small farming complex several hundred yards away that was the target of their raid. They had been on a dead run for most of the previous night, going past the outlying farms and getting behind the outpost of the Masili horsemen. It had taken all of the dark to reach this position, and his troops had collapsed after setting the camouflaged tent in place. Tonight would be an even harder run after the raid, carrying spoils and slaves, and with the horsemen in hard pursuit most likely. That was all part of the plan, and the twenty hobgoblin warriors under the tent knew their parts, if not the details. The Captain had specifics in mind to maximize his window of opportunity.

The complex had three buildings, two habitations and a storage barn, along with the typical small outbuildings. The three dogs had not found the hobgoblins yet. A few horses, chickens and a cow were next to the barn structure. From his view, the Captain could see figures walking about in the fading light.

“Any sign they are aware of us?” he asked the scout. The hobgoblin had tufts of grass woven into his cloak, and the cloak was weighted to not move in the breeze.

“None, Captain.”

“Good. Same recon information?” the Captain began reaching into his belt pouch.

“Same as when we surveyed it. Three adult males, four adult females, four young of indeterminate gender. One adult male and one adult female are white-haired but move well enough. Three dogs are fat and lazy and stay near house unless one of the humans is about.” He paused briefly before adding, “No horsemen have come through this day.”

The Captain paused a moment in pulling out the spyglass. It was a relic, scavenged by his forbearers long ago, and part of his symbols of rank. He quirked an eye at the scout’s form. Another one questions this mission. Perhaps Gierka will need to die sooner than expected. Pushing aside thoughts of attrition he raised the glass to his eye, shielding the lens from the light by habit even with the setting sun behind him. The figures jumped into view and he was able to make out details he had not been able to with the naked eye. The white haired human male was walking between the buildings. Although old for a human, he was definitely still a threat. He scanned the rest of the complex, noting details and refining the plan for this evening’s raid.

**
The attack had gone smoothly. Moving in after dark, the hobgoblins had dispatched the dogs quickly with only a few barks and a yelping whine. Waiting for the inquisitive Masili to open the door to investigate, he held his troops back until both doors had been opened. Arrows from the dark took the two younger adult males out immediately and the hobgoblins swarmed inside. The dropped lanterns were extinguished before the flames could catch. One of the females had to be killed in the struggle as she fought the raiders. The old humans were killed as well – the old never make good slaves – and the old man had fought well, cutting down Koret before being overwhelmed. That was his only casualty, although several sported minor cuts or scrapes from the assault.

The remaining humans were trussed and bound, gagged to prevent noise and blindfolded as well. The hobgoblins went to work gathering food stuffs and other spoils. The Captain checked the night sky. Time was still on his side, but they would have to move soon. He went to inspect the captives as the troop bundled the spoils and began to gear up for the march out. The two adult females would be satisfactory, young enough to have several seasons of use. The four young humans though…the smallest one would barely stand as tall as his waist. He considered briefly, then slipped his dagger out from its sheath, pulled the human upright and slit its throat. “Too small for slave,” He grunted as blood sprayed outward. He let the body go slack before flinging it away from him.

He turned to find Gierka waiting, a bundle over his shoulder. The hobgoblin eyed the corpse, “Wondered about that one.” He brought his eyes back to the Captain’s face. “Bundles are fixed, troops are loaded. Scouts have brought in the tent, we’re ready to move. On your order?”

The Captain stood a moment, until he saw Gierka’s eyes flick almost imperceptibly to the dripping dagger still in his hand. Slowly he wiped it clean on his wrist before sheathing it again. “Form up for march, four abreast. Leave a trail. We want to make sure they follow us. I’ll set the final piece.” Gierka nodded and turned to bark orders at the rest of the hobgoblins.

The Captain looked once more at the sky and went inside one of the houses. Finding a sheet, he slit a hole in it. He pulled a cloth wrapped bundle from his pouch. Unwrapping it revealed a candle, marked in increments. He trimmed off some and fixed it in a holder, pushing the candle through the slit he had made. He set the candle and sheet on the table. The candle would burn at a specific rate, so he knew when it would reach the cloth. He soaked the sheet with oil from the extinguished lantern before lighting the candle. Making sure it caught well and there were no errant breezes, he left the structure, closing the door behind him. One of his troopers, a young soldier called Grutichik, was waiting at the door.

Nodding with a grin, he chuckled, “Neat that, Captain. Delayed burn. Give us some running time before getting their attention.” He shifted his pack and saluted.

“Good that you understand. This is all a draw tactic. The real operation is back at the pits. Now move, soldier, unless you want to face the horsemen in the open.” Stepping out, he saw the troops standing with packs and slaves on their backs. The horse was loaded as well, chickens tied by their feet around bulging panniers of grain sacks. “Move out” he barked as he broke into a mile eating trot.
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Tags: ambush , hobs , Masili
Epic × 2!
In my blue world...
It should be obvious plain that we nae ended up like the aforementioned hobs as we’re sittin’ here partakin’ of this fine mead an’ meal an’ nae festerin’ in a pile of gargoyle dung… unless they shite pebbles or rocks or somesuch… ye’d have t’ask Arcelli as he’s the undisputed regional expert on the scatological habits of the fauna of both sides of the Rhenia Majors. Tablein’ that discussion t’a time when we’re nae eatin’, however, I’ll continue.

So given that we was forewarned by Raylen’s somewhat vague though still helpful words of warnin’ from Neguma we was vigilant for signs of ambush an’ fair confident that, as workin’ fer a wizard has its perks in the magical armaments department, we should be on a might better footin’ than the ill-fated hobs of the mighty Gashronk tribe. Spring weather in Salpia bein’ what it is, we was enjoyin’ a second day of cold rain as we entered the western pass – Salp luck bein’ what it is there was fog hangin’ less than a stone’s throw over our heads as the pass narrowed down makin’ keepin’ an eye skyward more than a bit of a pain in the arse.

Funny thing ‘bout the inevitable, even if a body is prepared fer it, it can still surprise ye. So ‘twas when a hunk of stone the size of a ox cart come barrelin’ out of the fog above ‘tis safe t’say that one or more of us might have let out a coarse word or three.

So providin’ ye can imagine a oxcart with a wingspan every bit of seven paces across an’ what stands twice the height of Hokur here ye’d have a fair guess as t’what landed right spank in front of Arcelli – which is t’say betwixt Signore Caccitore an’ the rest of us – an’ took a swipe with them great talons what glimmered an’ shone like glass in a temple window.

Now Hokur is havin’ none o’ that so’s he barges right up an’ commences t’tradin’ blows with the beastie allowin’ Arcelli t’get back a bit so’s he can feather it proper without havin’ his head swiped clean off. Raylen’s castin’ as fast as he can pray an’ I’m doin’ likewise, only without the prayin’ part an’ with a fair deal more noise as bards is wont t’do. The beastie, fer its part, was clawin’, an’ bitin’, an’ tossin’ its head an’ dealin’ a powerful drubbin’ t’our doughty McMercson but our openin’ salvo must have hit it fair hard as it was nae able t’take t’wing which would have been worse than it standin’ there tradin’ blows in a tactical sense so’s there was that, but unless one of us other three did somethin’ drastic an’ quick we was gonna be deprived a swordsman in short order and permanent.

So it was that Raylen, havin’ throwed as much of Neguma’s enlightenment the critter’s way as he could t’good use – I swear it looked like the beastie was a lode stone and Arcelli’s arrows were iron filin’s the way they snapped to its hide – sees that Hokur is comin’ up in a bad way so the daft bastard gallops Clod, sorry – gallops Niko right up t’the beastie an’ executes the most amazin’ display of horsemanship I’d seen from him t’date – mind ye, this is the self-same feller what crowned himself king of the door lintels nae more than a fortnight prior. But truth be told, our dear priest managed somehow t’dismount, draw his weapon, an’ whack the beastie in one fell swoop that right rang the critter’s bell but good, an’ more important, took its immediate attention off of Hokur.

Recognizin’ a boon when he seen one, Hokur jumps back t’where I can smack him with a curative chorale that went at least some way t’ward gettin’ him back in the fight afore Raylen got himself squashed. O’course, the beastie was havin’ less luck than a bum in a bordello tryin’ t’hit Raylen so’s Hokur was able t’take the time t’angle in where there was the greatest tactical advantage.

Regardless of bein’ made of stone come t’life an’ big as the aforementioned oxcart, the beastie stood no chance with the three fellers’ concentrated cussedness assisted by what little I could toss in on the side. I nae know who got in the last blow but when the critter passed from this mortal coil it did so in a shower of rubble the likes of which you’ll nae witness unless yer there when lightnin’ hits yer auntie’s out house!
Session: Happy Anniversary, Bizachez! - Saturday, Jun 22 2013 from 6:00 PM to 4:00 AM
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Tags: ambush , Battle
Epic × 2!
Bolly-cocked
The big man put down his tankard to use his hands while he spoke. “Fetchin’ th’strange an’ peculiar is wot we’re paid t’ do, so’s no surprise we be findin’ ourselves ridin’ on untrod paths through th’backside o’civilization high up in those mountains. Aspen bark two hands square was jus’ wot we was lookin’ t’acquire, an’ ye nae be findin’ that in some lowland merchants stall. Them trees jus’ nae be right, bein’ all white instea’ o’ a proper brown bark, so’s goes to reason a wizard a have a use fer ‘em. Nae that we cared, the gold is good an’ it keeps fer interesting tales aside from a fair amount of uninterstin’ travel across th’land.”

“Cor’ iffen I were left t’me own t’find most o’ wot we been sent t’gather, we’d nae be half as successful, bein’ that fightin’ an’ fuckin’s me studies, but that’s wot ye ‘ave a Bard an’ Ranger fer. That, an’ a Priest o’ Knowledge. So’s ‘tween thems that do th’ thinkins an’ me’s that does th’ killins – nae that Arcelli nae brings death a-rainin’ down when he so chooses – we’s been right good at our aforementioned task o’ acquirin’ th’odd an’ peculiars of th’ List.”

“So’s as I were sayins, we be pickin’ our way through some mighty unknown high country t’gather some bark o’ those white trees. Bein’ that th’ pale woods only grow near th’peaks, we had t’go fair far up. An’ anything tha’ goes up must come down, an’ so did we, which wa’ much more likeable a journey.”

Hokur paused while he took a pull of his ale. “Now, Arcelli here is out an’ about, doin’ ‘is lookin’ arounds t’make sure none o’ the local beasties decide we’d make a lovely addition t’their bellies, when wot does he come upon bu’ a trio o’ brutes plottin’ our demise. They was perched above th’trail th’rest o’ us were meanderin’ along, us wit’ nary a care in th’world an’ enjoying th’ lovely countryside.” He grinned broadly. “Aye, we was bored silly an’ nae payin’ any attention t’wot were about t’come at us.”

“Well ole Arcelli decides to ambush th’ambushers, makin’ thems th’ ambushees instead o’ us an’ him now th’ ambusher of th’brutes tha’ were formerly th’ambushers. So he sets up an’ soon as we ride, all niggly-a-do and bolly-cocked unawares inta view, he starts wit’ tha’ bow of his t’give those ogres a few new fashion accessories. Aye, I said ogres. I said they was brutes, wot’d think I meant, some biggish Salp bandit wit’ a bad hairlip? O’cor’ it were a threesome of ogres, wot else would be up int’ hinterlands like that? Ev’n a Salp’ll take t’easier lowlands.”

“Now, ye’d think tha’ once they’d started wit’ sproutin’ feathers, they’da break and things’d get real interestin’ but they was so intent on their plan o’ mayhem, they’d nae gotten t’ message they was now th’ambushee instead o’ ambusher. Th’ one bint whispers t’ th’ other jake what had hopped up an’ hollered when Arcelli feathered his arse t’stay quiet – I’m ‘ere t’ tell ye, an ogre’s whisper is like that o’ a bellerin’ pig caught under a fence rail, and by whisper I mean leanin’ out from behind a tree wit’ her shushin’ and sprayin’ spittle a good ten feet. So’s th’ one ducks back down behind th’rock he were hidin’ behind, which o’cor now his arse is stuck out th’other side an’ wavin’ like a peacock’s tail was Arcelli’s arrows. Now, we’d all seen her shush ‘em, so’s we’ve stopped on th’trail and start addin’ feathers o’our own t’those that Arcelli sendin’ in.”

“Ogres is nae renowned fer intellectual prowess, an’ it appeared we’d stumbled on a right brilliant example o’ tha’, as they nae came a chargin’ out but tried to sneak inta a better position to get th’ drop on us, nae a realizin’ our flingin’ arrows and bolts themways meant their ambush was now busted. Th’ third one, he grabs th’bush he was hidin’ mostly behind and hoists it up, roots an’ all, and makes wit’ th’ eeky-sneaky. Fer truth, seein’ a wobblin’ Ogre try t’ tip-toe holdin’ nothin’ but a buckbrush in front fer cover’s enough t’make any man miss ‘is shot by laughin’, regardless o’ th’fact a good backhand from one o’ them’d send ye flyin’ minus a few teeth at least, or yer head at worst. Th’fella ‘hind th’ rock got enough of Arcelli’s pokin’s an’ decided t’ take a dirt nap. And th’She-ogre … would that be Ogress, Raylen? Or does She-Ogre suffice fer it?” Hokur asked the priest with a quirked brow, as he paused for a drink.

“Ogress would be the proper form, although She-ogre does carry …” Raylen began.

“Ogress it is then! The ogress, she’s all ‘Shhhhh! and spittle spray ev’n as Dirt-boy lets loose a resounding fart as he settles inta dead. Well, that musta settled it fer ‘em, an’ th’ two left decided t’spring th’ambush that were already sprung. Unfortunately fer th’Ogre-inna -bush, leaves nae stop arrows an’ bolts so he be th’next to go deaded.”

“Now as I said afore, fightin’s my area of expertise as such, so’s when the Ogress comes boundin’ down t’ lay inta us, I naturally move t’ th’ fore. And Raylen here reminds me, I’m not at all up to snuff, what with havin’ some lingerin’ effects o’er dealin’ wit’ somethin’ best left untold.” Hokur took another draught before continuing. “Tha’s one o’ th’ problems wit’ traipsin’ ‘round in gods-only-know-wheres, is sometimes ye run inta things that ne’er should see th’ light o’day, ev’n in tale. An’ that’s all I’ve got t’ say on that.”

“So’s the priest here unlimbers that stick o’ his and shakes out a few while Her Ogressship is come boundin’ down th’ slope, wavin’ a small tree o’er ‘er head an’ lookin’ t’ make ‘im a permanent part o’ ‘is saddle. Just as th’ beastie swings, Raylen scoots Clod there t’ th’ side an’ th’ breeze from tha’ blow would’ve been right nice on a warmer day, ‘cept fer th’ dust she raised in findin’ not a crunchy priest’s skull but th’ ground instead. Well Raylen was havin’ none o’ that now, so afore she’d recovered he whirled tha’ mace o’ his around an’ sent a blow straight up inta ‘er nethers that’d make any man flinch an’ lifted ‘er straight up on ’er toes. She musta stood like that a good three heartbeats afore her eyes rolled back in ‘er ‘ead an’ she toppled o’er dead as dead.”

“Aye, with that kind of crunch, it were nae any wonder.” Maeve said with a shudder.
Session: Candygram for Mongo! - Saturday, Feb 16 2013 from 6:15 PM to 3:15 AM
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Epic × 2!