Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #37- Kednvald Bridge

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The urog king, Valden the Ruthless, marched his massive army north on Kednvald Road, intent on destroying the human outpost at Skara and claiming the northern peninsula for the Vangen Orc Kingdom. Kvig Melgarson and his retinue harried the western flank of the orc army to keep the orcs from the Gautrian lands west of Skarken River, but had too few forces to inflict serious damage. Kvig, Wynston and Bleddyn decided they had to cut the flow of relief forces and supplies from Kednvald to effectively stop Valden. The surest way to accomplish that was to destroy Kednvald Bridge.

Kvig took his companions, and a small group of Ulfhednar who were fleet of foot, and raced south. They traveled with little rest and no extra gear, save for one barrel of cinder sand. Their journey was briefly slowed in the swamp of Ondskap Mere (which the Great Northern Orcs called Sharog Mokal) where Wynston succumbed to the putrid air. There were several volunteers to carry her, and she was mobile by the time they reached Kednvald Bridge.

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The weather was foul and damp, and they encountered no orc patrols until the scouts at the bridge. Wynston and Bleddyn silently eliminated them, and spied through the gloom across the river. On the other side of the ravine was a column of League of Nil-ith Horn orcs. They were held from crossing by the Vangen urog in command of the bridge.

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Kvig took advantage of the disorder to strike the orc camp on his side. Wynston climbed along the cliff face and under the bridge, a cask of cinder sand tied to her back.

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The men fought fiercely against the better armored orcs, desperate to buy Wynston time to set the bridge alight. The weather kept the fire down, and Kvig’s forces took casualties.

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The wooden planks caught at last, but the flames did not keep back the more psychotic warriors.

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The cinder sand was burning steadily now. Unfortunately, the fire gave off good light for the orc captain to spot Wynston. Unable to avoid his reach and escape the burning bridge underneath, Wynston vaulted to meet him.

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A misstep by the orc captain and a timely lunge by Wynston sent the orc plunging into the waters.  The bridge was in full flame as Wynston sprinted across to rejoin Kvig, Bleddyn and the Ulfhednar.  As the bridge fell into the chasm, the humans broke combat with the orcs and ran for the swamp road. The embattled orcs let the humans retreat into the night.

Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #44- Winter Wolves

Wynston freed Jarl Kvig and Bleddyn from the dungeons of the keep at Timlin Town. Kvig’s brother Hegg ordered his troops into the night after them. Wynston had fast horses tethered in the village behind the keep. When the trio approached, riders came near.

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Bleddyn readied the horses while Kvig stepped out of hiding and confronted the cavalry. Honor-bound to capture Kvig, the riders asked Kvig to yield.  Kvig was unwilling to attack the men, but refused to return. The riders were equally unwilling to join Kvig’s cause and one charged him. Kvig dashed into cover of the trees. Wynston was willing, and waiting, and grappled the rider from his saddle.

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At that, the cavalry blew their horn and Wynston, Bleddyn and Kvig mounted up. They spurred their horses through the huts and past the cavalry but couldn’t outdistance them. More Kildarian cavalry joined the chase. Capture seemed imminent when a wolf’s howl was heard. Bleddyn’s ulfhednar screamed over a hill and engaged the cavalry.

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They knocked a few riders from their horses, while the other riders broke and raced for reinforcments. Kvig ordered the injured cavalry tended to and left tied up.

The ulfhednar escorted Kvig, Bleddyn and Wynston to a place of relative safety in the hills. There Halvdan, their leader, told Kvig of a haunted ruins where the trio could winter. They had less fear of ghosts than of Hegg, so decided to wait there for the spring season.

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They made a habitable dwelling in a vacant foundation near the stones. Boredom eventually drove them to explore the ruins one clear morning. They picked their way through the dank interior. Kvig stopped short in terror as a troll sprung from the darkness.

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Then Kvig screamed in terror and ran away.

A second troll attacked and ran, Bleddyn right behind it. Wynston dashed across the room, uncertain at first whether to flee or follow Bleddyn. The first troll slithered through the ruins and Wynston went after it.

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It dropped into a deeper chamber in the floor. Wynston followed. She looked briefly around the shadows of the chamber which could hide any number of trolls, and had Bleddyn throw her a rope and lift her out. They went to find Kvig and return to their warm home hurt and empty-handed.

Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #43- Fit For a King

After Kvig Melgarson announced himself King to the bonders of Timlin, the current king Magnus declared Kvig an outlaw. Kvig’s brother Hegg, the jarl of Timlin, had his heavy cavalry bring Kvig to the keep in that town. Bleddyn and Wynston tried to infiltrate the keep, but Bleddyn was detected and himself captured. Wynston slipped out of the keep and into Timlin Town.

SGK_43_0017Wynston went to Kvig’s loyal priest and soldiers in their encampment and told them of the predicament their Jarl and Champion were in. They dispatched a runner to Bleddyn’s inn to warn his men. Alone, she returned to the keep to win free Kvig and Bleddyn.

SGK_43_0027Wynston climbed the tower and found two soldiers atop the dungeon entrance. Relying on her speed and strength, she bull-rushed the closest guard and knocked him off the wall. He fell with a thud by the barred window of the cell Kvig and Bleddyn were in.

SGK_43_0029Eyes wide, the second soldier backed away as Wynston threw open the hatch. Kvig and Bleddyn emerged and more guards responded to the fighting.

SGK_43_0035Wynston took to the catwalk and fixed a rope down. The keep was in a clamor at the escape.

SGK_43_0037The three heroes climbed down and sprinted toward the camp. Hegg’s knights came close behind to threaten Kvig’s troops. It would be a bloody battle to win free with Kvig’s retinue. There was no choice but for Kvig, Bleddyn, and Wynston to take to the night and sneak away.

Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #42- King of the Bonders

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After the bonders had their voices heard in declaration for Kvig as king, many a man boasted of Kvig’s glorious battle deeds. Eventually, Kvig retired to the large tent with Halvdan, Roth, and a few of the other important bondi when word was brought of betrayal: a small group of the bonders from King Magnus’ clan were looking to make away in the night to warn the King of Kvig’s “treason”.

Wynston and Bleddyn quickly arrived behind the tent of the treacherous bonders to find several packing their belongings. Halvdan and Kvig approached from the front and accused Steinvar of Aremark. He spoke for the bonders from the King’s clan and admitted their plans, but no wrongdoing. He argued they were within their rights to leave out of duty to the true king. While he confronted Kvig, two of his men tried to slip out of the tent and into the stormy night. One evaded Wynston but Bleddyn captured, interrogated and slew the other.

With 10 traitorous bonders in his custody, Kvig and the bonders from Kvig’s fief of Strek returned to that village.

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There was, as always, a warm welcome for Kvig from the adoring peasants of Strek. His wife-in-Strek was especially happy for him to see his young daughter.

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As the village feasted, orc deserters from the Untak division of Valden’s army (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #40) sprung an attack.

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Kvig and his companions handily defended Strek from the unorganized orcs, and continued the celebrations.

The bonders were eager to fight for Kvig, but next year, after the planting. Kvig seemed content to winter with them, however Wynston argued they needed to garner support now, while their victory at Skarken River was on everyone’s minds.

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Wynston knew the jarls north over the lake would likely not give their loyalties to Kvig, but Kvig could still gain political prestige and military advantage if he had the support of Timlin’s many Kildarian knights who had fought under his banner at Skarken River. Wynston went to speak with the powerful Kildarian barons of Timlin, reminding them how Kvig kept the orcs out of their lands, and convincing the barons to come to Kvig in his hall at Strek.

First came Baron Vulmar, lord of Rathus and Herstal, leader of 50 Kildarian knights, he was bought with silver and the promise of the Barony of Timlin when the war was won.

The next baron Kvig courted was Austerchild Conley.

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Austerchild felt Kvig’s choice of Vulmar for Baron of Timlin was foolish, but he would support Kvig if Kvig would marry Austerchild’s sister, Etterna.

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Kvig declinced the proposition, but countered that he would find Etterna a Kildarian husband of proper station, say Vulmar, the future Baron of Timlin? Austerchild agreed and threw in with Kvig.

Unfortunately for Kvig, his eldest brother Hegg, the current jarl of Timlin, was not consulted on whether he would give up Timlin once all of Gautria was united under King Kvig’s banner! In fact, Hegg thought it was folly to challenge King Magnus. Once Hegg’s spies told him of the meetings going on at Strek, he began to fear for himself. On Hegg’s orders, Reinhard rode on Strek with 30 knights and escorted Kvig back to Timlin.

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There Jarl Hegg berated Kvig for his ambitions and promised to deliver him up to King Magnus as a wedding present. Hegg demanded Kvig surrender his keen Thuringian warsword.

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After handing over his heirloom sword, Kvig was unceremoniously dumped in the dungeon. That night, Wynston and Bleddyn came on 3 fast horses to the keep at Timlin.

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Wynston infiltrated Hegg’s chambers undetected.

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However, Bleddyn was discovered in the courtyard. Bleddyn surrendered, unwilling to shed the blood of those men who had fought Valden’s orc forces with him.

Wynston slipped away into the dark, leaving her jarl Kvig and his champion Bleddyn together in the dungeons of Timlin’s keep.

Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #41- The Crows of Skarken

The dead from the Battle of Skarken River were not so many as at first feared. The greivously wounded were tended with hemus healing potions, and slowly recovered. Those on their feet set about to looting and burning the orc corpses. Under the direction of their commanders, the more disciplined troops gathered the goods together to be split according to custom. While Kvig Melgarson and the other jarls made plans to break the army for the winter, the bonders demanded their immediate release and payment equal to that of the thanes.

Jarl Kvig came to the commotion and found in favor of the bonders, delivering a full share to those lowly troops and angering some amongst the thanes. Kvig then lead his victorious forces across the river and back to Timlin Town for the feasting!

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There were many with favors to ask of the champion Bleddyn after the battle.

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One of those who came to Bleddyn’s inn was the giant bonder Halvdan, who told Bleddyn of the Bonders’ Thing. Halvdan sought Bleddyn’s word he would get Jarl Kvig to attend.

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The Thing was held at Alnar, the site of Kvig’s first victory over the orcs. Bonders from all clans were present, those from the lands of Timlin as well as those from across the lake. Kvig and his companions came disguised through the camp, and listened to Halvdan call for a king who would not run scared from the orcs, as King Magnus had intended for their armies to do. “The clans of Gautria need a king who will keep the orcs from invading the lands of men,” roared Halvdan. “A king who can lead us in triumphant battle against the orcs. We have such a man who should be our king. The man who defeated Valden the Ruthless at the Battle of Skarken River. The man who has fought to keep our homes safe: Kvig Melgarson!”

With the bonders in a frenzy, Kvig revealed himself. The chants of “King Kvig” began from the crowd, and Kvig felt the full might of the bonders surround him.
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Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #40- The Battle of Skarken River Conclusion

After the Gautrian champion Bleddyn Yorath defeated the urog Untak in single combat, our Jarl Kvig was quite enthused, and rallied his men.
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The orcs deployed to meet our forces along the hill. The stalwart League of Nil-ith Horn orc heavy infantry were lined to the left, and the tribal orcs and urogs in front of Valden to our right.
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The Kildarian Knights lead the charge and thunder towards the line.
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The Gautrian infantry follows close on the horses hooves.
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At the last moment, the cavalry shifts to the center, revealing the imposing spears and heavy armor of the Kildarian infantry.
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On our right flank, the light infantry hidden in the forest crashes into a unit of wild orcs.
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The cavalry refuses battle again and rushes behind the Nil-ith Horn Orc heroes, seeking a weakness in the League formation.
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The Kildarian Knights draw out a lesser unit, and close for the attack.
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Bleddyn’s light infantry’s numbers are reduced by bowfire from the high hill, but still they fight on against the wild orcs.
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Infantry and cavalry alike attack the orcs’ well-organized line.
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The bloodshed is heavy on both sides. And the heroes from the League of Nil-ith Horn begin to decimate the Gautrian infantry.
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Jarl Kvig leads his heroic companions through the melee in an attempt to bolster the failing left flank.
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The Gautrian infantry falls to the swords of the Nil-ith Horn orc heroes. A doomed unit of light infantry rush the orcs, and are slaughtered as well.
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Jarl Kvig orders his heroes to attack the huge orcs.
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From astride his warhorse, Jarl Kvig makes swift work of three of them.
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While our party finally wears down the Nil-ith Horn heroes, the League orc infantry start to falter, and with that, the less disciplined tribal orc units begin to rout.
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Valden the Ruthless, King of the Vangen orcs, and his greatest urog warriors are surrounded by the remains of the cavalry.
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The giant urogs take many knights down with them.
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The strength of the knights is too much for the urogs and King Valden is slain! The men are victorious!

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Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #40- The Battle of Skarken River

Jarl Kvig Melgarson sends Bleddyn and Wynston to scout the Vangen orc camp.
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They find wild orc scout patrols in the woods nearby.

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As Valden’s war council stretches into the night, Bleddyn and Wynston return to Kvig and urge an attack at dawn. Kvig agrees and the humans prepare for battle. First light reveals the Gautrian army opposite the orc camp, a muddy field between them.

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Jarl Kvig takes the center of the field. Most of his personal retinue is a unit of heavy thanes that has followed him since he left Helvik over 6 years ago, and the rest a unit of faithful bonders from Timlin Town. Also in his command are a unit of the king’s heavy cavalry. Under the yellow-on-blue banner on Kvig’s left, Baron Vulmar (Jevenkah) leads his own heavy knights, along with one unit of heavy infantry and one unit of bonders belonging to the king.

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Fading into the forest on the right flank is Bleddyn. Bleddyn hides his Utvalgte men and a unit of light bonders called from outlying villages of the king. They remain in the safety of the woods until…

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…the orcs call to Jarl Kvig to send out a champion! Only the mighty Bleddyn Yorath has the fighting prowess to answer the urog that lurches across the battlefield.

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The forces of Gautria crowd behind Bleddyn, his hero and bannerman.

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If Bleddyn can slay this urog, perhaps that will inspire the troops.

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The armies on both sides form up as the champions meet each other.

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The orcs shout fiercely for their champion Untak.

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But it is the Gautrian cheers that echo on the field as Bleddyn lands the final blow, severing Untak’s head from his shoulders and routing Untak’s unit of orc warriors.

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Bleddyn stands victorious for the Gautrians in their first engagement. Will it be enough momentum to hearten the outnumbered humans?
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Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #40- Prologue

This is the climactic fight Kvig Melgarson has been looking- some say unwisely- to have out with Valden the Ruthless and his horde of Vangen orcs. Valden’s forces number almost a third again more than the Gautrians. However, the Gautrian army consists of a larger percentage of better armored troops.

Just days before ( in Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #39), the Gautrian army was on the verge of sailing away from these lands under the banner of their king, Magnus, until Magnus was badly injured in an assassination attempt by the orcs. Wynston slew 2 of the attackers to keep Magnus alive and was the only one to hear his last whispered words before he succumbed to unconsciouness. Wynston proclaimed to the gathered jarls that Magnus wished Kvig to be his Champion and lead the army against the orcs. She was met with suspicious glances from a few, but her word went unquestioned.

Valden’s army has encamped and is underway reconstructing a bridge to cross the Skarken River into the South Gautrian Lands of Timlin.  Kvig’s scouts bring him back preliminary reports from the orc camp.

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At the central fire pit, Valden and his Vangen urogs hold council with Ursio Erembald, the Nil-ith Horn high priest of the Temple of the One God.

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The Nil-ith Horn units of the army drill in their section of the camps.

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Their Priests of the One God use their battle-magics on the warriors.

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The Vangen orcs  ready for battle as well.

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The Vangen drummer has the honor of getting his clan worked up.

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And the war council continues as the men march ever closer.

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Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #39- Wynston’s Gambit

Entering our home, our players were greeted by the new gaming table top covered in new hills.

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Upon the just-finished surface sat the remnants of the swamp fort of Skara from the conclusion of Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #38 . The smoldering ruins were surrounded by the Vangen orc horde led by the mighty urog King, Valden the Ruthless. Our players’ characters watched the destruction on horseback from a nearby hilltop.

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Bleddyn, the champion and scout, spotted a group of urogs who looked threatening, just as a Kildarian horn blast sounded from inside what was left of the stockade fence. A small force of human cavalry were attempting to break through the orc army and out of the carnage that was Skara.

Kvig led his own cavalry charge to engage the urogs and give the Kildarians time to win free of the siege.

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As Kvig’s Gautrian cavalry pounded over a hill, they were surprised by a second group of orcs, ready for the cavalry charge. Kvig with his superior horsemanship smashed through the line and led a few riders along towards the escaping Kildarians. Other Gautrian riders were forced to stop and fight the orcs.

Bleddyn had his horse cut out from beneath him. Wynston dismounted in the churning confusion of bodies and blood and slipped behind the battling orcs to do her damage.

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Meanwhile, Kvig and his riders closed with the urogs to create a screening force for the Kildarians to ride past.

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Kvig himself slew 2 urogs while occupying that force, gaining the humans needed time to retreat.

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Bleddyn and Wynston were able to mount up double and the joined cavalry thundered away, leaving the smoking hulk of Skara behind them.

Intermission

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Kvig Melgarson led the troops north to King Magnus’ camp on the lakeside.

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20 boats waited in the water to ferry the King and his troops back to Gautria and out of these contested lands.

Kvig continuously argued to press Valden and his Vangen orc horde now, while the Gautrian forces are massed. King Magnus was more wary; he would prefer to take the troops home and defend Gautria from their strongholds. Wynston tried to convince the King of the merits of Kvig’s plan.

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Just then, the camp was attacked! A goblin exploded 5 of the King’s ships in the lake, while a Nil-ith Horn strike force tried to assassinate the King. Fortunately for King Magnus, Wynston hid in his tent and slew 2 assassins before the King was blooded. Jarl Storolf, the father of the King’s betrothed, was also there and fought fiercely against the other 3 orcs once Wynston fell. The King too was grievously wounded. Kvig and Bleddyn crashed into the tent to finish the orcs.

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The King was left half-senseless and fragile, even after being treated for his wounds. Kvig urged King Magnus to name a champion. In his injured state, the King whispered fiercely to Wynston, then fell unconscious.

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Wynston declared to the assembled Jarls that the King had named Kvig Champion and Marshall of the Gautrian forces. Further, the King was to be sent to recover at his stronghold. At next light, 2 boats and 50 men took King Magnus out onto Lake Sund towards safer lands.

Now Kvig has the Gautrian forces at his back, and hundreds of orcs waiting in the front. Where will the battle be joined?

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Find out next adventure!

Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #38- Skara Will Burn

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The contested swamp fort of Skara, currently held by Kildarian vassals of King Magnus, was under siege by the vicious urog King Valden the Ruthless. Young King Magnus was reluctant to take his lesser forces against such a mighty orc army. He sat on the shore of Lake Sund some miles to the north of Skara, with enough ships to ferry his loyal Gautrian warriors back home. Kvig Melgarson and his elder brother Hegg argued they should push their troops now and take the field against Valden. King Magnus refused, but allowed any of the knights who wished to ride with the Melgarsons into the destruction and doom at Skara.

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With Hegg’s loyal cavalry at the core, Kvig convinced his ally (and father of the King’s betrothed) Jarl Storolf to lend an equal number of knights to the cause.

Their heavy cavalry were too few to hope to turn Valden’s army and break the siege of Skara, but perhaps in the right place they could inflict crucial damage. By the time the riders arrived at the fort, the attack was underway.

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An enclave of Priests of the One God from the League of Nil-ith Horn set the gate ablaze. Kvig led his cavalry on a devastating charge through their ranks, trampling priests and orc warriors. The elite orc squad protecting the priests inflicted losses on the Gautrians in turn.

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Meanwhile, the Kildarians bravely tried to hold the gap against the closing Nil-ith Horn heavy infantry. 

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Kvig brought his cavalry around and crashed into the flanks of the Nil-ith Horn at the gate.

Kvig led one last attack at the priests, then the retreat was sounded and the cavalry stampeded out of range.