Retreat to Súthburg
Valarday 2 Hithui(Foggy) – (First Winter) T.A. 2758
After the people of Rohan were defeated at the fords and Helm was narrowly saved, the cart and three war horses continue making their way South. Cúthalion works to try and hide the party tracks which becomes an easier task as they move Southeast away from the fords and out of the soft mud. After traveling for nearly an hour, the King calls for a stop on a hill overlooking the destruction they just left in the North. The Isen can easily be marked through the mist and now clearing fog by the thick stands of trees that wind through the grassy plains to the West. To the North and the East many scattered Rohirrim move away from the fords and along the road towards the fortress in the South. Helm decides that he will go with Hama with their war horses and rally as many of the remaining soldiers as possible before heading to the fortress. The cart however would not be able to travel as quickly as the two war horses of Rohan. Helm tells the party that they are welcome to travel to the fortress as well but they would not be able to travel as quickly. Dagorhir responds that they will head that way and should arrive in a few days. Helm and Hama then turn to the East and ride towards the road to raise the alarm and begin preparations for a siege.
The others then decide which route to take to the fortress. Travelling South to the White mountains would help keep the group hidden from the Dunlending main force but travelling over the wild hills would slow the cart down significantly. After deliberation the group decide to follow Helm and meet up with the road before turning Southeast.
The group made a quick journey to the road and continued briskly Southeast. Aramis remained huddled in a wool blanket with chills for the majority of the ride but eventually starts to recover as the drizzle moves out leaving a crisp clear day. While they see some riders, passing by them, it seems that the pursuit behind them has slowed for the time being. The group continue down the road as evening falls and travel into the early night.
Finally they stop and make a camp just off the road. They start a fire and eat a quick meal of trail rations before assigning watches and calling it a night. Aramis and Cúthalion both have watches that pass uneventfully.
Early in Dagorhir’s watch however, he hears a scuffling noise about 50 yards down the road. He peers into the darkness but does not see anything and draws his sword. Meanwhile, a Dunlending scout sneaks up
from the other side of the campfire unknown to Dagorhir. The scout behind Dahorhir tries a strong downward strike but misses and embeds his axe in the soft ground. Dagorhir turns and hits the scout while he is pulling his axe out of the ground. Dagorhir swings again before the scout can regain his wits. He also shouts to awake the others who slowly come to while two more scouts emerge from the darkness. The first scout lands a blow with his axe and Dagorhir returns one of his own. Cúthalion is the first to rise out of his meditation and draws his longsword. Aramis soon follows and when he rises he is struck by the scout who charged up the road towards the fight.
Dagorhir lands a solid blow and nearly drops his target. In doing so, he calls over his mount
Gwaefaen who responds but does not join the fight. Cúthalion swings and misses and son after the noise of the battle spooks Dave and the mule but Dagorhir acts quickly to calm them with some soothing words and gestures before jumping onto the bare back of his mount. Aramis stabs one of the scouts with a very deft strike. Cúthalion sees that his foe is winded from the battle and he strikes once before quickly adding a second return swing to drop his target. While the others continue to swing and parry and shadows dance around the fire, Dagorhir wheels his mount around and charges at one of the scouts and hits before continuing to ride by. As Cúthalion swings at the scout, Dagorhir swings around in order to charge back through the enemy again and drops him with a swing of his longsword. Cúthalion closes on the last enemy and misses but dodges the scout’s return as well. Aramis works his way around the back of scout and works to flank him and hits him in the back. Dagorhir closes on his mount and hits with his longsword. Aramis takes the opportunity to call to the scout in Dunael and get him to yield. He does and the two have a conversation in Dunael while Cúthalion starts to heal those who were injured and Dagorhir tends to the mounts.
After a brief conversation with Aramis, the scout says:
It is in your best interest to not to stay here. The world of the straw-heads will soon come crashing down.
There are 30,000 Gondorians coming this way. I am setting you free to run to your master and tell him.
Aramis responds. The scout looks doubtful of his claim but does not dispute it. As they release the scout without his weapons he turns and says once more:
Flee while you still can and keep yourselves out of this.
The scout then runs up the road to the North and leaves the travelers behind. Cúthalion then continues to heal and care for the others while they return to sleep.
Seaday 3 Hithui(Foggy) – (First Winter) T.A. 2758
The following morning the group rises and packs up the remainder of camp before continuing along the road towards the fortress. Throughout the day columns of smoke are seen climbing into the sky to the North and West. While they travel down the road they pass by some groups of people fleeing to the safety of the Deeping wall. As the night falls the party again camps beside the road and take watches throughout the night.
During Aramis’ watch, he hears someone approaching and when he turns to look into the dark two Dunlending scouts rush him and try to tackle him before he can rouse the others. However, Aramis is able to yell and punch one of them in the face before they attempt again and the two of them are able to subdue Aramis. The others who were asleep or meditating rise to axes at their throats. The scouts throw the weapons and armor in the cart and bind everyone in ropes before throwing them on top.
With the cart loaded with prisoners, the scouts lead Dave, the mule and Gwaefaen Southwest towards a large number of the smoke columns. Shortly after leaving the previous camp site Aramis tries to use his escape artistry and rope skills to free himself but he cannot. Cúthalion frees one hand and Aramis whispers for him to reach beneath his cloak and draw Aramis’ hidden dagger. He tries to grab it but gets spotted and a guard hits him with the haft of his axe. They pull the prisoners off of the cart and retie the ropes. they do not find Aramis’ dagger however.
Almost immediately after loading the prisoners back onto the cart Aramis barely waits for the scouts to look away before trying to escape again. This time he succeeds in freeing a hand without being spotted and is able to grab his dagger. He then cuts himself loose and a scout notices him and jumps up on the cart to stop him. Cúthalion acts quickly and swipes the feet out from under the scout before trying to free himself. Aramis moves to free Dagorhir and one scout shouts in broken Westron
Stop. Now. Or we cut
Aramis replies in Dunael
Can you be more coherent, your Westron is terrible
To which the scout responds in Dunael
If you don’t stop moving we will cut off your manhood and leave it for the crebain
Aramis brandishes his dagger and responds
I rather like my manhood. Come and get it
With that, the scouts turn towards the cart and draw their weapons to deal with the upstart Aramis. Dagorhir continues trying to escape and manages to free one hand and with that hand tries to pull the blankets out from under him. Aramis takes advantage of the scout that was
tripped and slices at his neck causing the scout to clutch at his throat and writhe on the back of the cart. Cúthalion then frees a hand and works to untie his feet while the Dunlendings close on the back of the cart. One swings at Aramis and one swings at Cúthalion both hitting glancing blows. Dagorhir then tries to untie his feet but is unable to untangle the heavy ropes so Aramis turns to help by cutting him free and gets hit while doing so. Cúthalion grabs the axe from the scout at the foot of the cart. The surrounding Dunlendings continue to close on the back of the cart. Dagorhir grabs the dagger from the back of the cart and calls to his mount to break free but the man holding the reins controlled the horse and prevented her from breaking free. Aramis tries to pull up one of the the blankets and Aramis and Cúthalion jump so he is able to pull it out quickly. Aramis then throws the blanket at the men and traps one underneath. While Cúthalion strikes off the back of the cart, Aramis attacks one of the men who was escaping from underneath the blanket.
Aramis and Dagorhir reach under the remaining blankets and grab for weapons that are more suitable to their style than daggers. Soon, the man in the back of the cart rises and gets struck by Cúthalion and Dagorhir. Aramis jumps off the front of the cart and attacks the man holding the reins while Cúthalion attempts to stop some of the heavy bleeding from his sides.
Aramis attacks again and calls for Dave to move and the cart then starts rolling forward. Aramis jumps and rolls into the back of the cart as the pony picks up speed and passes by him. Aramis moves to the front and starts loading the crossbow. Cúthalion calls on the power of Eru and causes flames to leap from the back of the cart and swirl around the enemy. Dagorhir calls his mount again and this time manages to get her to escape her captor and come back to him. Cúthalion then causes the grass and dry sharp bushes grow and tighten around the enemy as the cart continues to pick up speed moving South. The rise of the undergrowth causes the enemy to fall to the ground but takes Gwaefaen by surprise as well. Aramis turns the crossbow and shoots one of the men while Cúthalion throws the axe before searching for his bow in the back of the cart. Aramis takes the reins and controls Dave while Cúthalion takes some parting shots and calls to his mule. Dagorhir moves to help free his mount but she is free before he can get there so he mounts up and returns to the carts side. When the enemy are left far behind, they can be seen to turn away and do not pursue the cart.
Starday 4 Hithui(Foggy) – (First Winter) T.A. 2758
The early morning sun can be seen just coming up over the horizon as the cart follows the road as it turns South towards the mountains and the fortress at their feet. After travelling for a good portion of the day, with the mid day sun hanging high in the sky, the high keep of the Hornburg can be see in the Deeping Coomb. Soon the cart rolls up the long stone causeway and passes through the gates of Súthburg.
Riders, Warriors, merchants, farmers and peasants can all be seen busily moving about the fortress as preparations for the coming storm are being made. Archers and watchmen stand guard on the high walls above the gates and look down on the hustle and bustle below. One of the gate guards directs Aramis towards another gate near the back of the Coomb behind the Deeping wall. Many tents and lean-tos dot the open space behind the wall as a swell of farmers flocked to the safety of the fortress wall.