235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

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235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#1  Postby mark » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:57 pm

Time: Early Morning, 235-867 [ ~14hrs of daylight]
Weather: Warm (cool night), Partly Cloudy
Wind: Calm

Thanks to Averil, the Menn af Vágrvík had been unable to speak directly to any of the Kristr Seiðmenn at the steinn hoff, and shortly afterwards had been asked to leave the area by some of Ubbi’s Danes who were guarding the puppet king and the administrative district of the old city in Jórvík. Those Danes had courteously provided good directions to catch up with the Ragnarssons and their Mikill Herr, and while it was unclear if they would receive an audience during the campaign season, the year was running out and so the idea of raiding for Hross in order to speed up the process, especially without horses, seemed unappealing.

After discussing their options at some length, the men decided to risk the journey southwards into enemy lands so that they could at least find out for themselves more about the location and disposition of the Mikill Herr first hand. After that they could make a new plan if they so wished, whether that be raiding for Hross or sailing to Ald Seaxe reporting to Biskup Lubbicko with the expectation of receiving a generous gratuity. If they were to return to the Biskup, they would need fresh news, Lubbicko was hardly likely to reward them if they bring the current news of Norþhymbraland to him the following spring! However, sailing to Ald Seaxe and back so late in the year would be a considerable test of their sailing ability, not to mention their favour with Rán and Tor. Of course, there were many other possibilities besides these two options, but first they had to head south and see what's what.

The crew rolled two barrels of reasonable trail rations and a keg of cheap mead to the market and with the help of Sulki as translator, Biarni searched for a buyer. He eventually sold everything for a prices which he at first felt was a 'great deal', but later he considered that he could have done a lot better. Still, they had no use for cargo if they were travelling, so it was as well to be rid of it rather than risking it being stolen.

After the market the Menn af Vágrvík rented a hovel near the docks for four weeks at 10d per week, it was little more than an unfurnished, thatched shed with straw on the hard-packed dirt floor. It would do for storing their belongings, Gunnar's thick leather gambeson, the last remaining barrel of provisions and the handcart. Secuirty seemed a bit of an issue, there was no lock on the door and it seemed entirely possible that anybody could poke their nose inside while the men were away. Undoubtedly, belongings left here would be safer than being left in the ship which they were intending to beach.

The Harbour Master leased the Menn af Vágrvík a strip of land for four weeks at 15d per week, onto which they could pull the Sævar-Hestr. Fortunately, there was a convenient slipway and the Harbour Master permitted the use of several ropes, blocks & tackles as well as the muscle of some local men to aid getting the Sævar-Hestr safely out of the river, de-masted and upside down on logs for the coming winter. Had they not had this help it is likely the Sævar-Hestr would have been just too big for them to move alone.

Ermine Street.jpg


The following morning after a night in their small, rented hovel, the men had their usual tasteless breakfast of trail rations and then Sulki gave each man eight more rations from the remaining barrel of rations for the journey ahead. There were just three rations left in the last barrel of rations now, not much to come back to, if indeed they all made it back alive. Most of the men save for Sulki, Gunnar and Bjǫrn were all burdened with all this extra food, so the progress southwards was going to be slow.

Walking through the Merchant District on the west bank of the river in the younger part of Jórvík, the Menn af Vágrvík exited the city through the south-west gate. The impressive road was unlike anything they’d seen before, it was a wide, flat and even cobbled street that went on as far as they could see. This must surely be the road the locals called Hearma Stret, and it was built to last like the city walls and the hoff. It had fallen into considerable disrepair, but for the most part it was better than any of the roads in Danmǫrk.

The Menn af Vágrvík adopted a slow pace, perhaps just half as fast as they might normally walk, and by late afternoon when they had walked as far as they felt comfortable for that day, they saw a village by a river. This was probably the place they had been told was called Táda. It was little more than a couple of large steadings, a few outlying buildings and a large stone obelisk with a small cross at the top that was probably the cross of the Neglð Guð. Some of the building had been burnt down, suggesting the village had suffered raids in recent months. What few people there were, mostly women and children and a few older folk, all rushed inside at the first sight of the approaching Menn af Vágrvík . They were obviously very cautious or scared, although this was supposedly still part of Norþhymbraland and at peace with the Danir. Yet it seemed unlikely they would receive any hospitality on this day. Had the weather been worse it may have been nice to have stayed inside a hall for the night, but since that was not a possibility and the weather was fair the men opted to sleep under the stars on the edge of the village near the river.

The next morning the men ate breakfast and drank from the clean water of the village well, without seeking permission, although nobody seemed to object. They then crossed the river and continued south west along the still impressive cobbled road. Towards the middle of the afternoon of the next day, the cobbled road started to fall apart, but a good trail continued where the ancient road seemed to vanish. By late afternoon when they had walked about as far as they could for the day they saw just ahead a ford on another river, and on the other side were the burnt out remains of some dwellings. This must be the border between the two kingdoms as described to them. When they crossed the river they would presumably be in Miercna rīce, enemy territory.

The men chose to camp on the Norþhymbraland side of the river that night, and in the morning after breakfast and drinking clean water from where the river ran a little faster upstream, they crossed the ford into new lands. There had been some sort of village here, but the place had been totally sacked and burned, no people or livestock remained. There were the signs that people had died here, scraps of blood stained clothing and a few bones with signs they’d been gnawed on by wild dogs. It was a sobering sight, maybe the people who lived here were the enemy, but they were probably just simple farmers for the most part and even if they had a few fighting age men they had no chance against the thousands of raiders that followed Ívar.

Hrolleifr had the best eyes in the group, he knew how to follow a trail and keep watch, but today he missed something, as did everybody else save for Biarni and Sulki. About a bow shot away two horsemen sat quiet well-hidden by trees at the edge of a small copse. They appeared to be watching the village and the ford, and of course now they'd be watching the Menn af Vágrvík too. From the glint of their iron helmets, it was obvious these were fighting men, most probably scouts. The real question was who were they scouting for...


Hearma Stret = Ermine Street
Táda = Tadcaster
Kristr Seiðmaðr = Christ Wizards
Miercna rīce = Mercia
Neglð Guð = Nailed God
Ald Seaxe = (Old) Saxony [ie: Germany]
Mikill Herr= Great (Danish) Army
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#2  Postby NMorgan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:49 pm

Sulki grimaces slightly at the sight of the slaughter and ruined town and, for the first time since heading west, found himself glad that his sister had been left back in Denmark. After glancing about, he stiffens slightly, eyes narrowing.

”Well. That certainly didn’t take long.” Sulki says, speaking to Dolfr, though loud enough that all in the group could hear. ”Two armored horsemen in that copse of trees over there. Probably keeping watch over the ford, and now us I suspect. I wonder how near their friends are.”
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#3  Postby mark » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:12 pm

Finni finds the two horsemen in his gaze, "Well spotted, Sulki. We are at a disadvantage, we don't know who they are, but they know we come from the north. So that means they know if we are their enemy or not. My bet is they're Mercians, they're in a good place for local scouts, keeping an eye on the main Danir supply route. If they are then they'll likely have a bitter taste in their mouth left by the burning of this village."

Finni continues, "No way for us to engage them on foot, unless they choose to allow it. I expect they'd ride off the moment we step towards them, but if they have friends and decide to attack then I'm sure it'll be at a time of their choosing, and they will surely attack from all sides to limit the benefit of our shield wall."

After a moment Finni adds, "I don't like this at all."
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#4  Postby Bjorn Are Stolen » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:01 pm

"Only one thing to do if you as me, if the danger is as dire as you portrays it, Finni.

We get of the road and into the woods, where it will be too much bother to track us. It's not as if we are in a hurry, so we might as well stay off the road, making it more of a job to encircle us. If we in addition travel in the evening and/or night, and rest during daytime, it will be equally harder to track us or ambush us during resting. It will be hard, but doable."
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#5  Postby Scipio » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:19 pm

Biarni casts an annoyed glance at Skuggi, snapping after a fluttering leaf and oblivious to the horsemen, before speaking.

"I agree with Erafar in this. It will be harder to track us, and horses are more slowed by the woods than we are. If they decide to attack it will be to our advantage if the going is worse for them. I am not so sure about travelling by night, though. It is unknown territory to us, and if we can't see the road to follow it from the woods we will easily be lost."
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#6  Postby Bjorn Are Stolen » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:42 am

***Realizing there are only small patches of wood dotted between open fields, Erafar gets very frustrated***

"Or perhaps we should simply turn back; there's nothing for an invaded part better than to wreak revenge on a small group of enemies, I'd like to not be part of any sadistic fantasies the poor villagers a while back might think up for us... " We could wait for the important people to return back north in a few months time, or we could take the sea-horse after all?"
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#7  Postby Jon Reinhardt » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:18 pm

Dolfer looks at Sulki and the others and says " No we press on, me move to the next defensible position and wait there in till its start to get dark. If nothing happens we can consider traveling a few hours before it get to dark to see."

Dolfer rolls perception (48)
Jon Reinhardt rolled 1d100 and got a total of 46:
46
to scan the area and lore strategy and tactic(53)
Jon Reinhardt rolled 1d100 and got a total of 44:
44
to find a a spot that is easy to defend.

Dolfer start to look towards the riders to see if there are more warriors there. After a while he starts walking fast again " Come friends i have found a place where it will cost them dearly to attack us, i dont think they will want to throw their life away"
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#8  Postby mark » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:04 pm

Eymundr mumbles softly at Erafar's suggestion, "I'm not for going back the way I came, it took us two slow days to walk here already and besides we have no idea how to sail to this place called Lincylene, or if it is even possible to sail there. What if we encounter a Mercian warship patrolling the coast? Sounds even more dangerous to me."

Eymundr adds, "The Ragnarssons will have no respect for us if they find out we turned back when we first saw a couple of unknown men on our journey. And anyway, at least if have a fight with horsemen, one way or another we won't have to walk any further..."

Hrolleifr and Lofi both chuckle at this and Finni nods and grins at Eymundr approvingly and says,"Well said, skáld."




Tjodolfr thinks strategically about the two horsemen for a moment, thinking carefully about their purpose and how he might best guide his crew-mates. After a moment he concludes that there are just two of them, and they are ten, or rather they were nine and a boy. So if the riders have friends nearby they will first have to fetch them and bring them into play, and they would need quite a lot of them to get numerical advantage enough to make an attack worth risking, but for what purpose? Scouts usually don't attack, they just scout. They are the eyes and ears of a war leader, not the tip of his spear, should they fall in a skirmish then the man they serve effectively becomes deaf and blind! Of course, Tjodolfr knew that these men might be angry at the burning of their village and be keen to attack a smaller group of warriors to seek some revenge, regardless of their orders...

Tjodolfr scans the horizon to the south for defensive positions, there are scattered clumps of woodland here and there, but nothing else that offered any tactical advantage over horsemen. It's only a short distance to the next nearest copse besides the one occupied by the scouts, but once in the woods Tjodolfr knew that men on foot would have the advantage over those on horse.
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#9  Postby NMorgan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:21 pm

Sulki grins at Eymundr and thumps him on the back. "Well said. Plus if they should be so foolish as to attack us, Finni gets yet another chance to get into Valhalla."

"You heard our war-leader, and he knows what he's doing. We'll follow your lead here Dolf." Sulki gives his oath-brother a nod then speaks quietly to him. "What are you thinking, hole up in one of those clumps of trees? Or keep moving, but keep one close at hand as much as possible?"
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#10  Postby Jon Reinhardt » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:45 pm

Wispiring back to Sulki " I want to head to the trees there and hold up for a while and see what will happen. I need a break anyhow so why not rest there for a bit and see what is happening. I dont think they want to attack us. But better to be safe. Lets take to load of Hrolleifr and Erfar. So Hrolleifr can have his bow ready and Erfar can scout case."

Dolfer then goes over to Erfar and says " Give me your pack! I want you to run ahead and have a look at thous threes and bushes there to see if they are any good. come back as soon as able friend." Dolfer takes Erfars backpack and lay a friendly hand on his shoulder.
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#11  Postby Bjorn Are Stolen » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:12 pm

Relieved of his burden, Erafar starts a light jog ahead, while scanning the area around him. As he approaches, he darts right, and does a sweep from right to left along the promising terrain-feature, to check it out. If things looks promising, he will signal the others that the area is clear.
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#12  Postby mark » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:09 pm

Erafar finds the clump of trees to be clear, at least as far as he can see and hear, which isn't very far, but he feels content he isn't leading his crew-mates into an obvious ambush. So he signals the other Menn af Vágrvík and they make their way over to him and into the relative protection of the tree-line without being molested by angry Englar horsemen. Tjodolfer hands Erafar back his pack when he catches up with him and then they all fan out to search the woods, which seem to be clear of any activity, so they regroup near the centre of the woods at a place that looks like it may have been used as a camp site in weeks or months past.

While the trees provide reasonable cover from the horsemen and missiles, at some point over the next few days the Menn af Vágrvík will have to re-emerge from the small patch of woodland, if only to get water. Until then, they were safe to think up a new plan...
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#13  Postby Jon Reinhardt » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:40 pm

When the party enters the wood Dolfer wipes his sweet as he hands Erfar his pack. He then turn to the rest of the men. " I want us to rest here for a while and see what is going on. And where the horsemen moves. If we are attacked this is the best area to defend. I suggest that we rest now and walk in the evening and then a bit more if there is moon light. Yes i know there can be spirits around but. I think that would be safer at the moment." Dolfer then sits down and try to find something to eat. He points at Bjarni and Finni. " If you start with the firs watch the rest of us will try to rest and sharpen our weapons in case of trouble". Dolfer then goes over to Sukli saying " We can try doing walking in the night, and maybe we have lost them tomorrow. But to be honest 10 armed Danes is not something most people want to fight so i do think its safe enough."
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#14  Postby Scipio » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:36 am

"First watch it is. I'm thinking any spirits hereabouts are likely to be easier to appease than Mercian horsemen. Hopefully they'll accept the same tokens as the ones back home...?" Biarni casts a questioning glance at the rest of the crew, particularly Sulki and Gunnar who he expects to have the most knowledge of how these things might be. He then starts readying himself for a vigil, his pack against a tree.
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Re: 235-867, Steinn Vegr [IC]

Post Number:#15  Postby NMorgan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:39 am

Sulki looks up as Dolfer approaches and moves over on the fallen log he's sitting on to make room. He listens then nods in apparent agreement. "We don't look like we've much to take, so the hope of material reward isn't going to attract a fight, I shouldn't think. And if it's revenge they want, well, like you say, they'll want to have a good many more with them before risking a fight against our group. We'll head out tonight as you suggest. There are a few clouds out, but hopefully it'll be clear enough to see along the road. Honestly though, I figure our best safety is going to be speed and getting in close to the army's wake."

Feeling Biarni's glance Sulki thinks a moment, then answers. "I can't say as Elswyth ever really spoke of them, but I think they would be pleased by much the same. Maybe more so even? I'm not sure how much mind the followers of the nailed-God pay them, and this was until recently a Christian land."

Sulki gives the boy Bjǫrn a look, remembering that one night aboard ship and his intention to speak with him regarding it. Now seemed as good a time as any. Once conversation dies down, Sulki goes over to Bjǫrn and asks quietly, "You saw her too, did you not? Rán? Did she say anything to you?"
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