The Silver Spears (Forgotten Realms)

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The Silver Spears (Forgotten Realms)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-05-24 07:36am

Rothcar jolted awake to the sound of the loud barking of the family dogs. He blinked for a few moments in the darkness and then pushed off the covers and rolled out of bed as fire shot through his body. The dogs would only bark if the house was threatened and unless whatever had spooked them had run off, his home could be under attack right now.

The light was poor, but his room was small and he knew it. He pulled his tunic over his head and hastily donned his breeches. There was no time. Outside, Wheezer went silent while Snowpaws had gone from barking to growling. He swung open his door to the main hall and grabbed his boots.

The Stonehand family farm was two stories with the outer walls built from stone. The floors, interior walls, and roof were wood, along with the support beams. The hearth was at the opposite end from the door, along with the bedrooms of the children. The rear half of farmhouse had a second story, which mostly consisted of his parents bedroom and a storage room. Finishing off the second story was a project for next winter, perpetually put off by more urgent developments. For now it was a balcony overlooking the front half of the house.

It was dark in the main hall. The fire provided dim light, which was just enough for dark adapted eyes to make their way around. Speedy, a big tabby, was yowling from the top of table as Rothcar put on his boots. A slender blonde girl came out of the bedroom opposite, only wearing knee length red tunic. "Anka, get back," he hissed at his thirteen year old sister. He reached back into his room and drew out his shield and spear.

The shield was circular, of linden wood covered in cow hide with a metal boss in the center protecting the hand grip. The spear was eight feet of solid ash with another foot and a half of steel. Snowpaws was silent now. "Get bent big brother," Anka said as she strung her bow.

The door groaned under a heavy blow. It was solid oak, as was the bar. A bear would have trouble breaking through it. Rothcar advanced on the door. Another heavy blow struck the door. Cracks spread through the holding bar. Two more blows thudded into the door. "Mighty Tempus, please," Rothcar prayed. "Please lend me courage. Please." Another blow and the door shuddered on its hinges.

The next one broke the bar. The blow after that blasted the door open. Dim light entered from the outside. Pale skinned figures wearing dark hides were clutching a log turned into a ram. Rothcar could only see four of them, but got the impression that there were more of them. He lunged forward and stabbed.

Rothcar got a better look at them as he attacked. They were orcs, not men. They were almost as tall as Rothcar, with broad shoulders and long, muscular arms. Their skin was pale, grey-white, and their hair was black and bristly. Red eyes glared out over a prognathous jaw armed with fearsome tusks. The stunk of stale sweat, shit, and rotting meat. He had never seen one before in the flesh.

The spear punched through the hides that the orc was using as armour, just under the collar bone and deep into his flesh. The orc fell back as Rothcar pulled his spear free. The orc next to the wounded one drew knives nearly as long as swords. Rothcar struck again, but the orc parried, forcing the spear to the side and forced his way forward, through the doorway and out to the side.

An arrow took the orc in the gut. The orc grunted and staggered, which allowed Rothcar to stab him in the thigh. Steel sliced through fat and muscle to grate against bone. Rothcar jerked the spear to the side to free it, cutting open the wound and widening it. The orc fell by the door, blood pooling beneath where it sat. A big orc with a scimitar and shield was coming through the doorway. Unlike the other two, this one wore a sleeveless scale coat.

An arrow from above struck the orc in the forehead. The arrowhead punched through out the back of the orc's skull. He fell in the doorway. Rothcar didn't need to look to know that his mother had fired from upstairs. Anka shot through the door into the orcs outside. "On your left," said Thorgen.

His elder brother took his side. Thorgen was three years older, just as tall, and fifteen pounds heavier. He had, annoyingly, a full beard. Short, but full. He was as blonde as the rest of family and as strong as their father and almost as quick as Rothcar.

"Why aren't they coming?" Rothcar asked.

"Because they're down three warriors and no wants to be the next to get through a half blocked doorway," said Thorgen. Unseen hands dragged the two orcs by the doorway away.

"You and your big mouth," said Rothcar.

"Move away from the doorway," bellowed a voice from behind.

"What?" Thorgen asked. Then an arrow whipped by his head. "Gods blood!" he swore as he broke left while Rothcar broke right. Another arrow struck Rothcar's shield while a third clattered off the wall. One nicked Thorgen in the thigh while Anka and their mother fired into the darkness.

"Ketl, Byorni, flip the table and push it up! Keep low!" their father ordered. He was just behind Rothcar. "Ease back son," he said as he stepped forward. Othgar had used the time to dawn his hauberk and helmet as well as belt on his sword.

"What now father?" he asked.

"Depends on how many of them. Don't like the look of the ram though. Means they've been planning for this."

"Dogs da!" said Anka. "I can hear dogs!"

"Good," said Othgar. "That's the neighbors then. That means they'll get help, but that won't be for a while."

"They're going to fire the house," said Thorgen. "Aren't they?"

"Maybe," said Othgar. "But only the roof is wood and it rained yesterday night. Won't burn easy and they get no captives if we burn so they'll probably try to force it again. Like beasts, they're brave enough when they think they have the upper hand."

Ketl and Byorni pushed the table up to them. "Up to the door boys, and then get back." The boys pushed it up so it blocked the bottom two-thirds of the doorway and then scampered to the side. "Get heavy things and pile them up behind the table."

The sound of axes on wood came from the sides. "They're destroying the shutters," said Othgar. "They're going to rush us from all sides at the same time. I'll hold the door. Rothcar, hold the right. Thorgen the left. Don't let them take any of your sisters alive."
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Re: The Silver Spears (Forgotten Realms)

Post by Avrjoe » 2019-05-30 01:40am

An interesting start, what part of the Realms is this set in and where in the timeline?
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Re: The Silver Spears (Forgotten Realms)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-05-30 02:16am

Avrjoe wrote:
2019-05-30 01:40am
An interesting start, what part of the Realms is this set in and where in the timeline?
The Sword Coast (high nerdery: the pseudo Norse names are Illuskan) and a while back from the current timeline.
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Re: The Silver Spears (Forgotten Realms)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-06-01 05:48am

As his sons rushed to check the windows Othgar looked down at the wounded orc that was clutching his side and sitting in a pool of his own blood. Their eyes met. Then Othgar's spear punched through the orc's face and withdrew. "Ljota!"

"Yes!" she yelled back. She had opened the shutter on her bedroom window to look out into the darkness. A javelin bounced off the window sill and back into the night. Clouds blocked out the moon and many of the stars, but there was enough light to see the orcs by. There were nearly a dozen on this side of the house. She loosed a shaft and drew back.

"I'm busy shooting orcs!" she shouted back. "What do you want, husband?!"

Othgar grinned. "Keep it up. I married well!"

Rothcar entered his room to see an orc pulling himself through the window. The fit was tight and the orc was at a diagonal angle, trying to push himself through with his hands. Rothcar stabbed. The orc tried to knock aside the spear, but was too slow. It was a poor thrust, sliding off the hides armouring the orc's shoulder.

The orc grabbed for the spear shaft. Rothcar pulled it back, cutting the orc's hand. He thrust again, catching the orc in the shoulder at the bast of the neck. Blood poured from the wound. The orc choked on the blood bubbling up from his throat, gargling curses at his killer. Rothcar left it there, dying, blocking the window.

As Rothcar went to the next room, Ketl and Byorni pulled the orc bodies behind the table. Othgar peeked out into the dark and then ducked down as an arrow came back, striking the top of the table. He shouted back in Orcish. "You shoot like you smell, shit eaters!"

"I got one," said Rothcar as he came back into the main room. "The windows are too narrow for their liking."

"Get your gambeson and helmet on," said Othgar. "Ketl, Byorni, watch the windows. They might try and sneak a runt in."

"Yes, da," the boys chorused.

"Anka, get upstairs and support your mother. Remember they see well in the dark so don't linger in front of any openings."

Rothcar put his helmet on and put down his spear and shield to don his gambeson. He quickly tied the laces. "Why aren't they coming?"

"Not eager to die," his father replied. "Windows are too narrow, the door is blocked, and we've killed them. It isn't going the way they wanted. They were supposed to kill the men and take the women and children as slaves. Didn't work. They can hear the neighbors' dogs. They know they're running out of time and their leader doesn't want to leave empty handed."

"So they're getting restless," said Thorgen.

"Which means they're going to leave," said Rothcar, "or a big rush."

Shouting came from outside, harsh, barking voices. Weapons clashed against weapons and thudded into shields. There was a cry of pain and rough, hooting laughter. "What's going on?" asked Thorgen.

"Leadership challenge," said Othgar.

"At least one fewer orc," said Rothcar.

"Tymora willing, more than just one," said Thorgen.

A horn blew in the distance. Another joined it. Outside there was hooting and jeering in the harsh, barking tongue of orcs. A voice shouted out orders and the orcs ran into the night.

"Don't go out yet," Othgar. "There may be ambushers with bows. Wait until the neighbors arrive."

-----

It was near dawn when a score of their neighbors arrived. The day was overcast and drizzling. They had dragged the orc corpses outside and piled them up for burning. Not much talking ensued, but grim looks exchanged by the older men and women said volumes. Othgar said almost nothing, but made a few gestures. The group broke up and he returned to his family.

"Thorgen, trim some wood for a new bar for the door."

"Yes da."

"Rothcar, dig a grave by the old tree for the dogs."

"Yes da. Da, what are we going to do?"

"There's going to be a shield meet in town. We're going to secure the house. Odds are they'll try another house if they come back, but we're not taking any chances."

The dogs' bodies lay on yard, struck down by orc arrows. They were gently lifted up and buried at the foot of an ancient and gnarled oak close to the house. The younger boys wept openly, the adults eyes were hard and wet.

"Chauntea," rumbled Othgar, "Earth Mother, hear this prayer. I don't have fancy words to say to you, but I have honest ones. They were good dogs. We beg you to treat them kindly in the next life or see them reborn into the house of good folk. Thank you and praise to your name."

They covered the bodies in earth and returned to the house. Othgar spoke. "There's going to be a meeting in the market square. We're all going. No one goes out alone, not until the orcs are dealt with. Wear your armour at all times, even to bed if you can sleep in it. Always have a weapon within reach."

"What's going to happen?" Rothcar asked.

"You'll stay ready and out of trouble," rumbled Othgar.

"The men will talk a lot," said Ljota. "When they get tired of jawing, we'll settle on how to fight them. We'll send to Luskan for help and track them back to their lair. Then it depends on how many of them there are and how hard it is to get at them. It's probably a small tribe that got bounced out of its territory by a bigger one. If its a bigger one moving into human lands, then it'll be bad. We'll need a lot of help. Might lose the land."

"That itsn't going to happen," said Othgar. "They tried to take this land from us before and we are still here. Twenty years ago they came in numbers. We won then and we'll win now. Just mind your elders and stand firm."

"I'm not standing back," said Rothcar.

"You won't son," said Othgar. "Just do as your told. You'll get enough opportunities to wet your spear. More than enough."
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Re: The Silver Spears (Forgotten Realms)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-06-05 05:40am

Rothcar bent down to pick up a smooth pebble, cocked his arm back, and threw it at a flat trajectory at the pond. Instead of skipping across the surface, it went straight in. "Beshaba's brats," he cursed.

"Painful cuz," said a familiar voice behind him. "Almost as painful as that peach fuzz you're trying to call a beard." He turned to see his cousin Kethra sitting on rock behind him. She was as silent as a ghost when she wasn't running her mouth, which meant that everyone could here her coming most of the time. She was on the tall side, muscular from a life of working outdoors, and pretty in the way that made male relatives over protective of their female relatives all the world over. She took a lot after he father, Rothcar's uncle.

She dressed like him too, wearing a forester's wool and leathers instead of dresses. The bow she carried was her own work, using the skills she learned from her father. "How are you doing?" he asked.

She tossed back her shoulder length dark brown hair. "Not bad, not bad. But I think that's my question to ask you cuz. I know no one got hurt bad adn the house is still standing, but how are you?"

He looked into her dark eyes. "Fine. Had the shakes after, for a bit, but I'm fine. You shouldn't be out alone."

"She isn't," said a voice from a copse of trees. Herolf the Ganger was so clearly Kethra's father that for a while there was a joke running around the village that he could have caught five men in bed with her mother and still be certain of his paternity. No one had said it where he could here it and none said it at all since she had been carried off by a sickness so bad a priest of Chauntea's magic couldn't save her.

"Uncle!" said Rathcor, with genuine happiness. Herolf kept to himself most of the time, but when he chose to socialize he could be good company. "I thought you would be at the meeting."

"The meeting," said Herolf as he raised a wineskin to his lips and drank. "The meeting hasn't started because the representatives from the other villages hasn't arrived yet. And when they do, they'll jaw around it for hours trying to avoid what is fucking obvious. Around nightfall they'll come around to what needs to be done. And none of them wants to hear from me and fewer would listen if I did say anything." He took another hit from the wineskin and then tossed it to Rathcor.

He caught the skin and took a drink for it. The wine the thick and strong. He handed it Kethra. "Thanks uncle."

"You're welcome. Some say you're not really a man until you stick an orc or stick it in a woman." Kethra rolled her eyes and took a drink. She passed the wineskin back to her father. "That's shit. I've known men who've wetted the spear and lain with a dozen women who are nothing but overgrown boys. That doesn't mean what you did doesn't matter. It's a big thing, killing a thinking creature. More when you're defending your family."

"Thanks," Rothcar replied. Herolf took another drink and then turned around. "Hi boys."

Anders and Bran waved as they walked towards them, coming from the direction of the village. Anders was big, tall as Herolf and broader, blonde as Rothcar, and a lot smarter than he looked. Bran was dark haired, short and slight. He was also fast. The two were almost brothers and as thick as thieves.

"Well well well," said Bran. "What do we have here? Looks like Stonehands are ready for war."

"That's what's coming boys," said Herolf. He took another swig of wine. "Your fathers should have told you as much."

"My da never talks about it," said Anders. "And no one knows who Bran's da is."

"Yeah yeah yeah," said Bran. "You're a funny man, Anders. You'll still be laughing when I knife you in the kidneys."

"Twenty years ago we took this land," said Herolf. "The orcs came down and burned some farms. Killed people. People I knew. People who were friends." He paused to take another drink.

"So we did what we're going to do now. Every grown man and woman, and more than a few boys and girls, took up their weapons. All the villages together. We sent to Luskan for aid and they sent a couple score men at arms and a handful of wizards from the Arcane Brotherhood. We fought them in the field and we then we hunted through the forests. The survivors ran to the Spine of the World or hunkered down in the old Keffen Mines.

"So we got some engineers from Mirabar and burned them out. They built some kind of bellows device like a dragon's throat. Bloody work, but not hard. We pushed them back, hard. Hard enough that we thought it would be safe to take this land. And so we did. New land, new farms, new villages. We made it ours. And for twenty years, we were right." He took another drink. "Now we aren't."

Rothcar looked up at the sky. It was still overcast, with rain drizzling down. "So we track them down then kill them?"

"Yes," said Herolf.

"With tracks that could lead into rough terrain, with it raining."

"Going to get harder, each hour."

"So better to do it now, instead of when they make up their minds and the track might get lost." He jerked his thumb back towards the village.

"You sure you want to do this?" Herolf asked.

"Yes uncle, I think I do."

"Some day," said Herolf, "we need to talk about this. Now I'll give you a man's courtesy and take you at your word. I'm coming with you."

"And you don't even half to ask about us," said Anders. "It's not like Bran has anything to live for."

"Funny guy," said Bran. "Of course I'm in."

"And so am I," said Kethra.

"Kethra," said Herolf sternly.

"What? I can't come? You're going to throw me out of the house if I do?"

"None of that foolishness. Forgive a father for worrying."

"I do, but how much did your father worry about you or Uncle Othgar going into battle?"

"Hells if I know. You've met your grandfather. He's mellowed. He was a meaner bastard back in those days. Scareder of him than orcs. I was right too. I killed orcs, couldn't get away with killing him."

"So it's settled," said Kethra. "Let's go out and find those fuckers so we can burn them out before they do us."
The Excellent Prismatic Spray. For when you absolutely, positively must kill a motherfucker. Accept no substitutions. Contact a magician of the later Aeons for details. Some conditions may apply.

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