Burzum’s Scavengers – John Marshall’s Warg Rider Battle Company
From atop a ruined watchtower in the Trollshaws, the rangers could see that fire had engulfed the hills of the Ettenmores. The fire’s Sooty pillars rose to such heights that they towered over the rising mountains to the east. Corunir, the smallest, but brightest of the bunch was the first to spot the fiery spectacle and was quick to warn the others. Crackingly and quaveringly he said “Fire to the North! The Goblins are raiding!” He said this both frightenedly and excitedly because he had yet to see battle and was eager to prove his mettle. Tarandir, the leader of this small band in all ways but name, replied to Corunir’s exclamation tersely, “then we must go North”. A grunt of approval sounded forth from under the staircase as Brognir stood up with a pint of mead in one hand and a pipe in the other. A fit of laughter came forth from his bear like chest as he made his way toward the edge of the tower. “Ahhh, at last we have something to do other than watch over this ruin! My spear aches for something other than boar.”Without saying anything more, the three of them gathered their possessions and marched toward the billowing clouds of smoke.
As the day lengthened the pillars of smoke became closer and closer until at around midday they came across a woman and 3 children running and screaming frantically. The children were crying, and the woman was hysterical. Tarandir attempted to calm them down, but they could not be soothed. The woman was saying “flee, flee, flee!” over and over again, whilst the children continued to ask where their father was. Finally Corunir calmed the children down and asked them where their papa was. Suddenly as if in response to Corunir’s question a horn rang out across the foothills from further down the road. The trio sprung into action making way toward the long shrill call to battle.
As they got closer and closer the interval between the blasts got shorter and shorter. As they followed the road they gave up all sense of subtly, for whomever was calling was desperate. When they crossed a short bend in the road and jumped over a fallen tree, the source of the deafening call was revealed. Four men lie dead upon the ground with 3 the survivors having been surrounded by a dozen goblins. As they rounded the corner and jumped over the tree, the rangers sprung into action without pausing for a moment. To Coronir’s own surprise he didn’t think stop to think. He, along with his companions ran toward the encircled men and let off a shot. The target fell dead just as Brognir and Tarandir engaged the surprised goblins. The melee was swift and deadly as the rangers attacked from the outside while the men fought to meet them. It was over within a minute.
The beleagured men were exhausted, but thankful for the rangers assistance, although they did not rest. The Eldest of the three men immediately asked about the women and children that had passed by and was relieved that they were safe. After the status of the women and childen had been established he relaxed and introduced himself as Adenhad, the father and husband of the fleeing women and children. The other two were brothers from further afield in the Ettenmoors who went by the names Erik and Eadwin. After the formalities had been dispensed with, the group of six went after the women and children. Tarandir and the other rangers were determined to see them to one of the many hidden refuges that held supplies. With the horn having sounded so closely by, the rangers were certainly not the only ones to have heard it. The road to refuge might still be frought with peril.
Unrest lies to the North, aid being requested from all corners of Middle-Earth by the Dunedain who protect it. Gondor, in its current kingless state, falls under the charge of the Steward, Elgamoth. An elderly man at this time, being 114, he has given some of his duties as Steward to his heir, Beren (who would take the role of Steward 3 years later). Beren has in this time taken charge of certain foreign affairs, and in this case he must make the decision of what aid can be sent north. Arnor not being the proud sister-kingdom it once was, is Gondor still obligated to help the fallen realm? They were able to send help in the past, but at great cost. But now is a time of relative Peace in Gondor. Perhaps now is a time to honor the once-great northern kingdom?
An untold number of Orcs and Goblins and wicked men have gathered in the North for unknown purposes. The Dunedain are clearly in need of aid. But at what cost to Gondor?
There are defenses in the land of Gondor that should be addressed. There is little concern of Mordor in these times, to be sure, but who can say what could change? And the Haradrim to the south have come to ally themselves with the descendants of the men of Castamir the Usurper, the Corsairs of Umbar. What danger could rise up in the South. It has been over 200 years since the Balchoth came to fight on the fields of Celebrant. Surely these cousins of the Men of Rhun have recovered from their wounds and could be ready to strike any moment..
No.. Gondor cannot strike out in night to help a non existent kingdom… it is too risky. Yet… can they not send some assistance?
It is while thinking these thoughts that we have a younger noble of strong Numenorean family comes to the mind of Beren: Ondoher. He is a plucky man, leader of a small company of men that has recently proven to be a useful to the white city. He would gladly take the task of reaching out to the Northern cousins, the Dunedain.
Though still young, Ondoher already shows promise as a leader among the ranks of the army of Gondor. Though he has a head for leadership, he is also a keen and fierce foe in melee combat as well. His swordsmanship was taught him by the Knights of the White tower, the Weapons Masters of Minas Tirith. These skills will surely come to his aid in the battles to come.
However mighty he might be in battle , without his Company with him, he would be doomed. His two closest men are Turin and Turgon. These men of similar nobility or masters of sword and Bow , respectively, and have more or less grown up with Ondoher. They would follow him to whatever end, and trust his leadership with utter surety.
The other bowman of the company is Húrin. Named for the Elf-friend of the First age, Húrin has always aspired to the life of a Ranger. He is not accustomed to the armor of Minas Tirith, as he is of low birth and comes from a family or great hunters, who do Best quietly and and warily tramping the forests of Ithilien for prey to bring home. Time will tell if he will he deemed worthy to join the Ranks of the fierce Rangers of Ithilien.
Hirgon is a spearmen who usually the first to lead the counter charge should the lines break. His great courage may one day be his downfall, but until now, it has been the skill of a spearmen that has proved stronger than the fate of all mortal men.
Arveleg is the cut up of the crew. He is a master trickster and can be a crafty one when he has the mind to be. One day, he may become a leader and out of necessity, but until then, he will not be taken too seriously.
So we find this band of men ready to face what lies ahead in the Ruins of fallen Arnor.
Nathan Van Til
Haarith is a leader of a company if haradrim warriors that come of the regions on the outskirts of Abraham. The Golden King, one of the most wealthy rulers in the all of the wide region of Harad, is the lord over Haarith’s local chieftain, Aqil. Aqil has many of his own aspirations, aspirations which make him a strong candidate for promotion in the ranks of the Golden King’s retinue. It is for this reason that Aqil sends out trusted leaders among his local charge to find ways to increase the wealth of himself, and his Lord.
This brings us back to Haarith. Haarith has shown great promise in leadership and martial skill, which Aqil finds to be of great use. After a few small tests of his loyalty, which have included assassinations, establishing trade agreements, and the fighting off of those dogs of Gondor from local trade routes , Haarith has been given the opportunity he has sought for.
It appears that there is a great deal going on among the Orcs of the North. None but the highest of kings are privy to this information, and Haarith himself knows almost. Nothing himself, but Aqil has called on Haarith and his closest warriors to go off to the North to establish trade and loot as much as they can for the Sale of the Aqil and the Golden King.
So, Haarith gathers men of his clan together to travel afar, for loot, for renown, and to see the death of the Enemies of the Golden King’s Will.
His closest companions are Abaan and Bakr. They are masters of spear and will do all they can to Support their leader, Haarith… even if that means killing one another. Neither have any love for the other, but time will tell of this rivalry will be the downfall of the company, or just the downfall for each other. Who knows? Maybe they can fight together for the sake of Haarith
Then there is Maazin and Na’man. The pair are like brothers, and are usually fighting alongside the other on the battle field.
The next two are Unaar and Udyal. They are actual brothers, and fight alongside each other when they are not fighting one another, Always trying to prove who is the better, more cunning marksmen.
Finally, there is the spearman Yazan. Yazan is a bit of a veteran fighter. Being the oldest of the company, He has survived many raids from the Gondorians, as well as raids into Ithilien. In any case, his experience does not translate to wisdom so much as an understanding of melee combat that cannot be rivaled in the tribe of Aqil. Also, his experience has made him the most cruel of the company, having seen the atrocities the self righteous Descendants of Numenor perform upon his people. Any men of Gondor will not have seen a stronger resolve than that of Yazan when he spies them across the field.
There once was a hole, deep under the mountains of Mordor. This hole was like many holes found near the domain of the fell Necromancer, and quite unlike the comfortable hobbit holes of the shire. This hole was dank, dirty, and wet and had the foulest of smells from the fell corruption that was sired within.
Within this hole toiled a great many orcs. Most were small and broken backed, deemed not very useful by their larger and more powerful kin. The orcs that worked within the dank and dour holes of Mordor were the weak ones whose only use was to dig at the rock and fetch the black iron that would give blade and helmet and shield to the bigger warriors that would raid the dominion of elf and man and dwarf.
Among these wretches that never saw the light of day was one whose tale was a bit brighter than his unfortunate fellows. He had no name, like many that toiled the mines, and so only went by the name Snaga, which meant Slave in the dark tongue.
Snaga was a crafty fellow, and what he lacked for in stature and strength he made up for with a cunning mind and murderous intent. Snaga’s cunning often carried into his speech, and it was this that angered the larger orcs in the mines. It was often said that Snaga was too smart for his own good.
The overseer of the filthy mining hole where Snaga spent most of his life was Gobad. Gobad was an old brute, almost as tall as a man was, and bald with blue crusted scales covering his body. It was said that the scales were a foul elven disease that had befallen the orc during his time as a raider, but it seemed to have no ill effects other than to itch maddeningly and put Gobad into a fouler temper than normal, if you can believe that.
Gobad hated Snaga, and would kick or punch or slap the smaller orc whenever he could, which was many times a day. He would line up the orcs he detested the most and send them on duties that were meant to kill them. That Snaga continued to live after being sent on dozens of murderous quests infuriated Gobad to his wits end (which for an orc was not very far truth be told).
“Snaga! You miserable worm!” Gobad would bellow through the tunnels. “Get your lazy carcass to the kennels and feed the beasts!” And so Snaga would take himself to the kennels where the wargs were kept and manage to feed them without becoming their dinner as well.
“Snaga! You wretched villain! Climb to the top of the fetid shaft and bring me back a nugget of the blackest iron!” And so Snaga would scurry up the steep mining shaft past the corpses of dozens of orcs that had fallen the treacherous climb and procured a choice nugget of the black iron for Gobad.
“Snaga! You blasted thief of joy, the Master’s shaman has lost his pit viper. Find it and return it to him, and if you get bitten don’t come back at all!” And so Snaga would creep about the dark tunnels and wet caverns until he found the pit viper and managed to corner it and trap it before returning it to the shamans.
Day after day of dangerous tasks, and Snaga thwarted the reaper’s toll every time by his quick wits. Gobad began to realize that if he wanted himself rid of the Snaga that he would have to take matters into his own hands.
“Snaga! You champion of filth, fetch the Master tonight’s stew and don’t be making him wait too long ‘ere else you’ll be feeling the back of me hand!” Gobad screamed down the tunnel. Snaga did as he was told, and went to the kitchens where he expected to find the night’s stew waiting for him to slop into a wooden bowl.
The kitchens were empty. The fires had died down and there was no stew waiting for Snaga that evening. A shadow crept over him from behind, and turning quickly Snaga saw Gobad standing in the doorway blocking out the light of the tunnels with his frame and holding a pitted hooked sword in his meaty hand.
“Don’t look so surprised feeble worm. You had to know your days on this world were soon to be over, and this time it will be me that punches your ticket.” Gobad said, lumbering toward the smaller orc.
The hooked sword arced overhead, but Snaga was possessed of a speed befitting his small stature, and the heavy iron implement smashed into the wooden table behind where the orc was standing. The blade was embedded, and Gobad struggled to free it. Snaga crept behind the larger orc and produced a small blade.
Gobad wrenched the blade free of the table with a growl and turned to face Snaga. The smaller orc threw the blade, and Gobad parried it with his bigger sword. The dagger scratched the flesh of his meaty hand, drawing a thin stream of blood. Gobad looked down at the hand and chuckled.
“You think you are a warrior now Snaga? You larder of garbage. You wouldn’t last five minutes out in the wild before the elves filled you full of arrows. I’m going to gut you with that little knife of yours, that’s what I’m going to do!” Gobad charged and drove his shoulder into Snaga, driving the orc back and over a cutlery table.
Gobad’s grin got wider as he stalked over to the fallen Snaga, kicking him with the toe of his iron boot. “Come warrior, show me that you are the one to march with the Master’s warriors and raid the men and the elves and the dwarves!” Gobad laughed as he lunged forward to drive the point of his wicked blade into Snaga’s chest.
Snaga kicked out and crunched the side of Gobad’s knee. The larger orc gave a yelp and crashed to the ground, while Snaga rolled away as fast as grease. Gobad used the sword to help him stand back to his feet, and coughed.
“You wretch! You canker on my arse! I’ll have your head on a pole I will!” Gobad screamed, coughing again. He lunged forward once more, but found that his strength was failing him. The blade fell harmlessly out of his hand and clattered to the cold stone ground, and the big orc fell to a knee in an attempt to catch his breath.
“Poor Gobad. Can’t catch his breath. Too old to fight he is.” Snaga smiled, broken teeth protruding out at all angles. He held up a dirty glass vial that held a clear liquid.
“Wots that?” Gobad said between wheezes as he struggled harder to catch a breath. His lungs were seizing and his vision became spotty.
“This? This is the venom that I got from the viper that the shaman lost in the tunnels that you made me find. I put it on that there little knife, the one I made from a chip of that iron you made me fetch from the top of the fetid shaft.” Gobad’s eyes were bulging now as his hands wrapped around his own throat. He collapsed onto the floor, breath not coming to him as he quivered in agony.
“You. Parasite. You. Murderous dog. You…” with a gasp the big old orc died. Snaga looked down at the body before picking up the wicked curved blade that Gobad had tried to run him through with. It took a few messy tries, but Snaga was able to cut the head from the body after the third or fourth whack. Reaching down, he picked up the head and held it up to his own.
“Gobad! You old wanker. Feed the rats!” Snaga threw the head over to the corner of the kitchen, where it landed with a sloppy wet thud. Examining the sword more carefully, Snaga decided it was time for him to be boss of the dingy dirty hole deep under the mountains of Mordor.
His Master would need to know that Gobad was no longer capable of his service.
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