Our Great Northern Orc Tribes needed some heavy fortifications (and feasting spots!) of their own.
“What does a Great Northern Orc Temple look like?”
That question was asked at the crafting counter one fateful day. Those type of questions usually result in a hobbying frenzy and output of newly-actualized factions or architectural style. This question was no exception to the tool.
After construction on both the Great Northern Orc Temple and Orc Hall was complete, the workers and lesser chiefs got housing as well.
King Kvig led his army to victory over the Varak orcs who had appropriated the mines of Hellgate from Kvig’s vassal Vestar Vastar. (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #52- The Battle for Hellgate Mines). Kvig now had to decide who to install as jarl over the newly-recovered mines.
The Kildarian knight Baron Vulmar was outspoken, “We Kildarians have won many battles for you, King Kvig. Vestar has wasted the lives of many warriors and many more miners. Give me the mines and let Kildarian expertise get you rich! I will have these mines spilling forth silver the Vastars’ couldn’t even imagine.”
Vestar Vastar was enraged. “Generations of Vastar blood have paid for Hellgate silver! My clan has fought the Varak orcs time and again. These are my lands by right!”
Kvig surveyed Vestar and his many injured and poorly-armored bonders. Then King Kvig looked to Baron Vulmar and the Kilarians. The elite knights stood tall in their bloodied chainmail. It seemed an easy decision.
“Baron Vulmar shall have Hellgate mines and the keep at Sigivald Hold,” announced Kvig. “Any of Clan Vastar who wish to stay will be given positions defending the lands, or working the mines.”
“Odin curse you, Kvig Melgarson!” exclaimed Vestar. “You and your witch-queen have brought my son to death’s door and cheated my clan. I will have repayment for all your wrongs.” Vestar Vastar gathered a few loyal men and left Sigivald Hold.
As the rest of the warriors of Clan Vastar prepared for battle, Bleddyn’s ulfhednar scouts brought a respected adversary to him. Bjorn the Mighty (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #50- Sword and Sorcery) had come to fight against the orcs. Bjorn looked to show his gratitude for the mercy Kvig and Bleddyn showed him (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #51- The Warbringer).
“The orcs gather at Hellgate Pass. I have brought my men and those of my kin who would join you and push the orcs back into the mountains,” said Bjorn. “Bleddyn, take my brothers among your ulfhednar.”
Bjorn introduced his cousin Karlsefni. Karlsefni had been a slave to the Varak orcs in the west.
“The Varak orcs look to reclaim these lands on the lake,” said Karlsefni. “We have tracked a new group through Hellgate Pass. They scream for blood, King Kvig, and they are coming with a War-God.”
“War-God?” asked Kvig.
“You will see on the battlefield,” answered Karlsefni.
King Kvig, Bleddyn and Wynston marched their troops to Hellgate Pass, and saw the orcs there ready for battle.
Scores more orcs assembled in tight formations, blocking the road through the pass.
King Kvig’s men responded in kind, spreading their forces in a long line across the pass.
The War-God stood before the orcs and bellowed to his troops.
The heavy infantry of the Gautrian army trudged into the pass.
The speedy ulfhednar and mounted knights sprinted across the gap.
The War-God held his ranks in check.
King Kvig, Wynston, and Bleddyn charged the two-headed War-God with uncanny speed.
Wynston’s picked men ran up the hill in pursuit of the wild orcs and shaman.
The shielded orcs lined up against the human cavalry on one flank, and the heavy infantry on the other.
The War-God held fast in the center against King Kvig, Wynston, and Bleddyn.
The Gautrians’ left flank was pushed hard by the armored orcs.
But it was not enough to threaten the integrity of Kvig’s line.
The unarmored orcs fell to the ulfhednar on the human’s right flank.
The wild orcs all routed, or were slain. The last kill was up to Wynston, Kvig and Bleddyn.
Soon, all that remained of the War-God were two severed heads waiting to be tied to Kvig’s saddle.
“They will return from their side of the mountains, King Kvig,” said Karlsefni. “You cut through their War-God in this battle, but the Varaks will send more fighters. On the other side of Hellgate pass lies their fortress of Langar. They have many of my people enslaved in that compound. Lead us there King Kvig, Orc-Slayer, and we will destroy their stronghold and keep the Varak orcs from returning to Gautria!”
Kvig thought for the briefest of moments before turning to his champion Bleddyn and minister Wynston. “There is only one way to push the orcs out of our lands. We must take the fight to them! To Langar!”
What will King Kvig find through Hellgate Pass? Will the Varak orcs fall before the advancing North Gautrian army? The adventures continue…
Eskander Toshe returned to Rostok Hold with victories from his first mission under Boyar Thonkrik’s command. He and his urog ally Vaak Akarya opened the Mines of Rostok (LNHC #3). Eskander then slew the Upplander hero Valgar Ottarson during Valgar’s failed ambush upon Eskander’s troops on the Silver Road (LNHC #4).
Boyar Thonkrik was pleased, and a bit surprised, at Eskander’s successes.
“Well done!” Thonkrik congratulated Eskander. “You’re the one I need to take our considerations to Hertog Torkag at his fortress of Dalthu. We’ve got two towers on the road to Kisevald that need to be rebuilt and manned against Bothvar Helgeson and his miserable Upplanders. I need you to convince Torkag to send three units for our final push to rid our side of the river of these savages.
“I’ll have a wagon loaded with gifts of great expense: silver, weapons, wine! Let him know his urog Vaak can run the silver mines for us. Just bring back fighting bodies.
I can only trust a man of your background with this, Eskander. So, no other officers can go, instead take that orc Gazzi you like so much. His valgrafs and Vaak’s orcs will see you through to Dalthu.
And Eskander- leave your horse here.”
The next morning, crates, casks and goods were piled on the wagon for the northern journey to Dalthu. Eskander saw jugs of Grunevaldian wine among the offerings. Boyar Thonkrik was lavishing gifts on this Hertog Torkag.
As promised for Vaak Akarya’s service in slaying the renegade urog at Rostok Mines, a two-handed steel sword was waiting in the armory for her. Eskander gave her the sword, and the news that she would be the urog to hold the silver mines.
Gazzi and his valdgrafs took postition about the yak-drawn cart and the party left. The weather was bad and the roads were worse. The scouts could find no easy way through the swampy trail.
Shapes moved in the trees.
Savage orc screeches were heard from the high rocks.
A giant urog dropped from the cliffs into the road in front of them.
The wild urog smashed Vaak to the ground with his massive hammer. As she fell, Gazzi’s valdgrafs stepped into the battle and surrounded the urog. After trading many blows with him, the valdgrafs at last overcame the giant.
With the death of their leader, the remaining savage orcs scattered into the woods. The caravan regrouped and continued the march to Dalthu.
Eskander Toshe secured another victory for the League of Nil-ith Horn and reclaimed control over the Mines of Rostok. His urog ally Vaak Akarya insisted she and her orcs accompany them back to Rostok Hold to protect against the humans from the Upplands who frequently attacked the caravans and troops on the Silver Road.
Eskander agreed and they marched together for Rostok Hold. Very shortly, the scouts brought Eskander word of significant enemies ahead. The Upplanders awaited their army.
Gazzi and his elite valdgrafs climbed along the ridge while the League of Nil-ith Horn infantry marched into the pass. Eskander and his officer Selibek held their horses to the rear.
The berserks jumped down to slay the smerdi.
King Kvig won a sound victory over King Magnus as Kvig defended Mosveld against Magnus’ treacherous attacks. Two of Magnus’ units abandoned him during the battle and declared loyalty to King Kvig. Kvig demanded oaths from the men and their leaders: Kvig’s cousin the mighty soldier Bolverk Skallason, and Baron Vulmar Voclain, the Kildarian knight, pledged themselves and their elite units to King Kvig. King Kvig also showed mercy to Bjorn and his berserk warriors when he allowed Bleddyn to heal and release Bjorn from the city.
Kvig gathered his forces the next day and set on a march to chase Magnus from North Gautria. King Kvig pursued Magnus to the river dividing North from South.
There the two kings were met by the third most powerful man in Gautria, Kvig’s uncle Skalla Grimson. Jarl Grimson had crossed the river from his home of Jarlin with troops to rival either of the kings’ forces.
Tense negotiations ensued.
Skalla wanted the warring kings to understand their fight would cripple Gautria and leave her open to orc invasion. At last, Kvig and Magnus made peace and agreed to each keep to his own side of the river. Kvig went North, while Skalla Grimson escorted Magnus south.
Kvig and his army returned to his capital city of Mosveld. The tall, handsome Thrand Vesterson was waiting for Kvig in the Queen’s keep there.
“My father is in desperate need against the orcs,” Thrand said to Kvig. “The foul creatures have inhabited the old stone fortress of Dakagog and from that place of strength they threaten Sigivald and all your lands west over Lake Tagova. Sail with me, King Kvig, Orc-Slayer, and I will land your boats at Dakagog and join your men in the slaughter of those wretched orcs!”
“Agreed, young Thrand,” replied Kvig heartily. “We will take you from here and do what your father can not!”
King Kvig assembled a small force made up of his own veteran shield bearers, a unit of unarmored but highly mobile picked men commanded by Wynston, and a unit of ulfhednar loyal to Bleddyn. Kvig also chose the newly-sworn unit of elite Kildarian knights to accompany them.
Thrand Vesterson confidently steered the boats across Lake Tagova, and brought them without event to the shores of the orc fortress of Dakagog.
Thrand put in at the landing. Kvig led the charge up the hill, with Thrand and Baron Vulmar at his side.
Bleddyn and Wynston brought their men scrambling up the rocks on the flank.
The wild orcs put up a vicious defense. Wynston’s picked men were whittled down as they tried to climb the hill. Bleddyn and his ulfhednar slowly pushed the orcs back.
The orcs held strong at the top of the stone staircase against Kvig’s well-armored forces. The narrow steps left no room for Kvig to bring his numbers to bear.
Kvig and his heroes hewed down orc after orc, slowly opening the space to gain a foothold on the crest of the hill.
Bleddyn’s unit broke the orcs on the flank and manuevered behind the orcs pinning Kvig and the heavy infantry on the hillltop.
Halvdan the hero smashed throught the line to attack one of the two urogs threatening Kvig. Wynston left her dwindling unit and ran across the cliffs to join the melee. She picked out the other urog attacking Kvig and hacked into its back. The three heroes quickly finished the two urogs.
Bleddyn and the ulfhednar engaged the remaining orcs.
Outnumbered, the orcs were soon slaughtered by the human invaders.
King Kvig called to the orcs that had barricaded themselves in the fortress to offer terms, but there was only silence from the stones. The humans set to opening the gates with force. Even unopposed, it was several hours before the humans cracked the fortress and Kvig stood inside the empty hall of Dakagog.
King Kvig had removed a good-size orc force from his western lands, but Thrand Vesterson said many large groups of wild orcs still populated these hills. Can Kvig and his forces reclaim the lands from the orcs? And how would Kvig deal with his vassal, Vester Vaster, and his inability to defend the King’s holdings?