Company of the Meatshield

The Battle for Castle Agwain

From the moment the militiamen crested the final hill to overlook Castle Agwain, the signs were ominous. Orcs were everywhere. Their fallen comrade still weighing on their collective minds filled them with bloodlust as they descended upon the Orc Horde’s supply lines and slavers. The battle was harsh and again the militiamen suffered a casualty. Flint engaged the first orc and killed him easily enough, but before he could attack again he heard a whistle in the air and his world went dark.
From behind the battle, Relic was praying, he seen the javelin take flight and strike the Dwarven fighter in the face. He heard a metallic scrape before watching Flint Ironcock sink to his knees. Relic ran over. Praying harder now he called on his deity to provide healing, and he watched as the dying dwarf stabilized. A black and bloody void looked up from the socket that was Flint’s left eye.
The militiamen and their elven allies fought hard and killed a dozen or more orcs before taking control of the caravan. Among the caravan they located a cart of elven slaves and liberated them, while taking a prisoner of their own. Relic watched over the prisoner and prepared himself to do what a cleric of Lathander would never do…interrogate and torture a captive. Mordo, nearby was caressing the Wand of Watoomb, and seemed to consider the greater meaning of what Relic was considering and slit the throat of the captured orc.
The Militiamen continued forward and once again entered into battle with the orc horde surrounding Castle Agwain. Oran couldn’t keep his footing and fell at the beginning of the battle. With Flint comatose and Oran’s maladroit attack the battle seemed more difficult than it should have been. From the distance, a clarion pierced the air and seemed to uplift the militiamen’s spirits. The battle turned and the orcs fled. Crashing sounds were heard in the distance. George, the owl familiar, reported to Mordo that the orcs were being attacked by a large host.
The Orc horde was crushed by mid-day. A phalanx of Elven warriors easily killed or chased off the remnants of the enemy force. The militiamen’s elven allies at once recognized these elves and half-elves as The High Wood Rangers. Introductions were made. The leaders were Commander Dalion and Skyridge the Wizard. With them a human from Secomber named Calidore. Skyridge had a prisoner of his own; a wounded orc and Relic and Cecil requested to partake in any forthcoming interrogation. Hamus only rolled his eyes.
Oran’s legs seemed stronger now and carried Flint into the castle. The Host was welcomed in the streets as they moved to the Baron’s castle. Calidore had first audience with the Baron and provide complete situational awareness since leaving Secomber and delivered the missives as directed by Edward Selarn. The good Baron called for a feast to celebrate the victory of the day and to lift his people’s spirits.
Skyridge, Cecil, and Relic made their way into the dungeons of Castle Agwain to interrogate the orc. Skyridge took the lead with Cecil in the ugliness of the affair. The torture was painful; the orcs hands were perforated with dagger strikes. Relic demanded answers. It would appear many were given. They had the name of the enemy: Gokor Gurlune the Hobgoblin General of the Southern Dark Army. Relic and Cecil learned more information through their repugnant actions.
Meanwhile, with the banquet just starting, the militiamen mingled with the townsfolk and with the human from Secomber. The conversations were light and entertaining. Hamus demanded that things get a move on and predicted at least 45 minutes would pass before anything happened. He was right. During this time Mordo and Calidore discussed spells but reached an impasse on the idea of sharing. Oran apparently made a perverse joke to Rhyme who was singing for the banquet. Dirk and Calidore had a lengthy conversation and seemed to have much in common. Dirk mentioned his new long sword and felt overcome by the story of how he received it. In this moment, he gave his short Sword of Quickness to Calidore. Flint, still bedridden in the hospital wing, moaned then took a sip of water and fell back into a deep sleep.
Dinner was served and Cecil, Relic, and Skyridge joined the festivities after their torture session. The Baron made a great speech and thanked his new friends from The High Wood. The Militia men were seated near the back of the banquet hall with a great view of Rhyme and the entertainment off to their left. Calidore was seated next to Skyridge at the head table.
A stranger entered the room. The clandestine figure that paradoxically attracted the attention of the guards and the militiamen entered and surveyed the room. Dirk recognized the man immediately. It was Durvel Nightshade his mentor. Straightaway they began to communicate using the thieves cant. Hedgewick was identified as a murderer—the same halfling who was playing music with Rhyme (with exception of that one minute where he disappeared off stage). There was a cash reward. 10,000 gold pieces to capture Hedgewick alive. 5,000 gold pieces dead. Without a second thought Dirk told his militiamen.
Mordo seized the opportunity and in the crowded banquet hall he began to cast a spell. Calidore noticed first and found the activity strange. Skyridge also noticed and recognized the spell. Mordo cast a charm spell on the halfling who was completely immune to the spell’s effects. Hedgwick still playing on stage stopped and glared at Mordo. As the music stopped, Skyridge called out Mordo demanding an explanation. The good Baron was also angered by the lack of respect shown by the guests at his banquet. Hamus was visibly annoyed and walked off muttering something about going back to his room.
It appeared that the militiamen were about to be arrested. Oran suddenly began to wretch. A sharp burning pain erupted in his side and he collapsed. Relic ran to his side and announced that he may have been poisoned. The Baron was close to a rage and told both Oran and Relic to get out and see their comrade Flint and possibly referred to them as filthy drunkards. His rage turned back to Mordo and he demanded an explanation. Mordo’s execution seemed imminent.
Dirk intervened and introduced Durvel to the hall. Durvel gave a look of shock and then rage for being betrayed by his own apprentice. Dirk explained that Hedwick was wanted for murder of a noble man in Waterdeep. Hedwick vehemently denied the allegations. The Baron fuming decided to hold Hedgwick for questioning and ended the feast. The town’s folk looked at the militiamen in disgust. Durvel vanished into the shadows at his earliest opportunity.
Oran still clutching his side suffered a bout of diarrhea like nothing he ever experienced before. He concluded it must have been Hedgwick thinking that Oran was hitting on Rhyme. He spent the night next to Flint. Flint in turn wished he lost his nose rather than his eye. The militiamen all retired to their rooms. Calidore also retired to study his spellbook.
The next day Skyridge and Dalion decided they would reinforce Castle Agwain with half their forces. With the remaining 100 riders they left the Castle to ride to Daggerford. The time was an estimated seven days. The wounded dwarf and Oran were put into a wagon to convalesce. The rest of the militiamen opted to ride in the wagon and enjoy having an escort for a change. The 100 riders were roughly divided with half riding upfront and half to the rear with the short supply line in the middle. Command rode at the head of the supply and behind the vanguard. Command consisted of Skyridge, Commander Dalion, Kelson Darktreader, and Calidore.
It was late afternoon on day one that the host entered a heavily forested area. Both Arcteryx and George, the magic users’ familiars, were aware of enemy forces moving through the woods. Even though the woods seemed fairly dense the enemy moved with speed. Ahead it would seem the host had fully engaged the enemy. The rear was flanked and the militiamen and command were attacked from both sides. With virtually no warning the 100 riders were ambushed.
The militiamen were attacked from their wagon. Arrows and javelins flew through the air. The wagons provided minimal concealment and arrows glanced off Oran’s plate mail. To the right side of the host’s column an ogre-mage thundered out of the woods, a devastating attack lined up. About 20 orcs and hobgoblins charged at the wagon, and something more sinister was entering into the battle.
Cecil the Elven Warrior stood up among the chaos to see the massive ogre-mage approach. Drawing a magical arrow from his quiver, he took aim and fired at the Ogre-mage just as it was about to cast a spell. The arrow fired straight and with devastating impact. It slammed into the ogre’s mouth and exited out the back of its head. The monster was dead and fell backwards like a tree crashing down in the woods. The shock of the charging orcs was obvious. Relic used this time to enthrall the advancing horde. Preaching, he held seven or eight from advancing further. Flint ready to fight jumped out of the wagon and attacked an advancing hobgoblin bludgeoning it to death. Oran dispatched two more with ease. Magic missiles fired from Mordo’s fingertips. The battle was going well. Out of the woods, a new challenge emerged. Falcon returned.
He demanded to know the location of his master’s wand. It was clear things had change with Falcon aside from the fact he was no longer stone. His skull looked fractured and he appeared undead, but stronger than anything the militiamen have encountered to date. Mordo attacked, but his spells did nothing. Cecil fired an arrow and it glanced harmlessly off Falcon’s armor.
From Command, Calidore killed an orc trying to flank Mordo, and then cast a wall of fog to nullify the orc archers flanking the militiamen. From horseback he attacked again with his bow. Oran, Cecil, Hamus, and Flint smashed their way through the orcs to engage their old comrade. Something was seriously wrong, and it seemed like their attacks could barely faze the undead warrior.
Command was overwhelmed from a direct attack as a fireball exploded down on them. Dalion and Kelson advanced. Skyridge, viciously burned by fire, fell off his horse dying. Calidore was only slightly injured; he tended to Skyridge and moved him back away from the battle. He picked up the wands that had fallen from Skyridge’s belt. A magical wall of stone or ice materialized ahead cutting the militiamen off from the vanguard. Calidore identified a black-robed figure on the battlefield before moving Skyridge next to the body of the slain ogre-mage.
One hundred feet away, Falcon attacked Hamus and wounded him badly. Relic was on the wagon holding the orcs enthralled. Dirk was hiding in the shadows and launched an attack against an orc whose head was decapitated with one stroke of the flaming sword. Oran engaged Falcon in an epic battle with neither one landing a blow. Cecil’s arrows took out orc after orc. Falcon stabbed at Oran, now wounded felt the warmth of his own blood. Hamus launched another admirable attack that pushed Falcon back. Virtually uninjured, Falcon demanded the wand from Mordo.
A shriek penetrated the air. Was that the sound of a dragon?
Mordo disappeared.

And here’s where our adventurers start the next session on March 21st.

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craigpettie Calidore

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