Defeating The Horsemen

As the riders charged into melee, Ludo discarded his bow and drew his dagger. As one of the riders came within reach, Ludo with a running leap vaulted onto the back of a horseman, grabbed the rider around the waist and dragged him off the horse to ground. As the horseman fell he lost his axe in the dirt. Pulling a dagger of his own he charged Ludo.

In the dust of the melee, surrounded by the throng of horsemen they fought; each looking for an advantage over their opponent. Ludo ducked as his attacker swung widely, the sunlight glinting off the blade and then counter attacked by wrestling his opponent, grabbing his attackers arm. Feeling his strength falter as they struggled together, he desperately and viciously head butted his opponent across the bridge of the nose, with a sickening crunch he felt his opponents nose break. Taking this opportunity Ludo thrust his dagger into the gut of the horseman and watched him collapse to the ground.

Feldard turned to the next opponent. The horse rider this time, had learned from his companions mistake and urged his horse forward to trample the dwarf, but Feldard wasn’t just going to stand still for that. With a grunt, the dwarf swung his axe… not for the man.. but for the horses front legs. It was a shame to have to harm the beast to get to the man, but Feldard did what had to be done.

The horse’s shrill scream rent the battle din as the dwarfs’ battle axe cleaved its front legs. It reared onto it’s hind, flailing it’s bloody stumps in the air before crashing down onto its knees.

Feldard moved in and struck for the rider next, killing him.

Two horse-held men bypassed the mad dwarven charge and rounded on Maruc and Hasan, hurtling in from the pair’s left. Maruc grinned as the swords whistled their greeting from 20 feet. The mounted swordsman charged together, on the elf and cleric’s left and right. The sword to the left swung and landed on the cleric’s shoulder, but the morningstar hit harder. The rider held on to his mount, barely, slumping listlessly to the coal nag’s right. On the right, Hasan’s arrow gashed through the swordsman’s leather jerkin. But the man’s swing was true, and Hasan lost his feet as the ensuing uppercut caught him full in the chest. Hasan staggered to his feet as the horses wheeled.

Stephan used his bow as long as he could. His last arrow was shot at nearly point-blank range as one of the mounted assailants bore down on him. The arrow sung through the cool air and found its mark in the upper left chest of the rider striking him dead.

Another rider joined the attack and Stephan had to roll to his right, discarding the bow, to avoid being trampled. The rider had to turn his mount to afford attack with his sword arm giving Stephan time to ready his own blade and new shield.

The shield seemed light and veritably flew into position to block the attack.

Clack! The sound of the man’s sword on his shield was sharp and decisive. Stephan’s counter strike cut deeply into the man’s calf as well as into the horse’s flank. Both horse and man reeled in pain, the horse rearing violently. Unable to maintain the saddle, the man was cast to the moist ground. Stephan lost no time in again striking, he delivered a death blow to the man’s chest.

Amid the clattering and confusion of the battle, Miklos found himself cut off from his companions. Looking left, he saw two horsemen between himself and Maruc and Hasan. Looking right, just one, already dismounted, between himself and Stephen. The mage released his web spell on the man and saw him quickly ensnared.

WIth their dwindling numbers, the men, clad in leather armor and armed with short swords, were outmatched. In spite of this, their morale never seemed to wane and they ferociously fought to the last.

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17 Comments

Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

17 responses to “Defeating The Horsemen

  1. 12:42pm, Tserdain, the 20th of Thaumont, 1001AC
    Light scattered showers, cool and windy

    Maruc: 10xp+10xp
    Miklos: 10xp
    Feldard: 10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+10xp
    Stephan: 10xp+5xp+10xp
    Ludo: 10xp+10xp

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 21,755/24000
    Miklos: 21,810/40000
    Feldard: 21,980/34000
    Hasan: 21,085/32000
    Stephan: 20,915/32000
    Ludo: 20,440/40,000

  2. When searching the horsemen, you will find the mark of the Iron Ring, a brand on the left forearm in the form of two manacles linked by a chain. The leather clad men also bear scars around their wrists and ankles. None of the underlings have any money. The leader a coin purse the contents of which add up to around 50 crona.

  3. Feldard

    (the one that was ensnared in the web.. is he still alive?)

  4. Ludo

    DM – Ludo will do what he can to round up the horses.

  5. Yep, the one in the webs is the only one left. Assuming he gets interrogated, he is one of the disturbed, brainwashed fanatical followers (“hounds” is what they are called as Stephan or Ludo would know) of the ring, and will not give up any info (of course! haha)

  6. Hasan

    “And so we return to where we started, back to the Iron Ring. I wonder if these men come from Xitaqa. More proof that man and beast are working together,” mulled Hasan. “The deep evil of slavery that these man have pursued deserves our vengenance, although their own scars maybe show manacles was part of their own past. But what kind of man turns on his fellows and joins his captors. Sickening,” the elf finished with unusual vehemence.

    On seeing that the remaining bandit would give them no further aid, the elf approached a last time. “Tie him to a hourse, Maruc, snared as he is.” The big man looked out from under the webbing in surprise. “Learn this face, slaver. And warn your fellows, if you find them, that Hasan Elyan, Prince of the Radlebb Wood, will break the Iron Ring.” He slapped the horse into a trot and saw the man bounce off toward the Dymrak and the river Kelvin.

  7. Stephan

    Stephan drew a sharp breath upon seeing the marking on the arms of the ruffians. He genuflected to Halav and said “These are slaves to the Cult of Leptar. It it known that the Ring and the cult work together.” In answer to Hasan, “They’re minds and spirits are corrupted by Leptar. This is why they join their own captors. And why the fought without concern about dying here in the mud today…”

    He shook off the creepy feelings and helped Ludo round up the horses.

    “We have enough mounts and but they’ve been rode hard. They will speed our journey but we should go easy on them for a day or two.” Stephan busied himself adjusting the tack and other gear. The bandits kept the straps too tight causing some painful rubbing on the horses’ flanks. He adjusted the straps to allow the wounds some air. “We’ll have to keep the flies off the wounds,” he said to no one in particular.

    Stephan watched the lone bandit diminish in the distance. “That will send a powerful message, Hasan! We shall break the Ring!”

  8. Stephan

    [as always….typos: “It is ” instead of “It it “. “Their” instead of “They’re”. ” but ” instead of ” and but “.

    And if there are not enough horses left, please adjust the post. ]

  9. Ludo

    Ludo retrived his bow and finished rounding up the horses. Whilst in generally poor connection he had seen worse and thought that in a few days they would improve.

    Seeing Hasan release a prisoner made him shake his head, after knowing what the Iron Ring did to their prisoners he felt that Hasan was being too kind. A cut throat was all the slaver deserved, nothing more and nothing less. Still what else did you expect from Royalty? Acts of cruelty on one hand, willing to have the masses starve and become homeless over petty disputes with neighbouring Kingdoms and then think that by throwing a party or by showing an random act of kindness that they were benevolent and worthy of their station and rank. Bah the hypocrisy made him sick.

    He called to Hasan as he adjusted a bridle, “I think you will regret your actions, he would not show you the same act of kindness”. The Iron Ring is blood thirsty and ruthless, you cross them at your peril. Now they know you, they will hunt you down. Far better to leave no witnesses and keep them guessing as to where we are and where we could be heading. Still it least we have some horses, far better for us to ride now that we are out of the forest we will cover more ground”.

    “Stephen you know these lands is there anywhere we can go and rest up, both Feldard and Hasan have taken quite a hammering from these slavers, I think we need a place to rest up for a day or two”. What about Highforge, we are passing quite close, surely Highforge would be a safe place for a while”?

  10. Stephan

    “Kelvin is closer, I believe, than Highforge. And we would not have to cross the river,” Stephan said as he retrieved his arrows.

    “But both lay in the wrong direction. We want to head northeastish, to Xitaqa. But of course that leads through the heart of the Moori. Folks say the undead move there. And the land is treacherous. We’ll have to move carefully.” Stephan scanned the horizon. “If we could find a Darine guide, that would help. They know ways through the bogs.”

  11. Feldard

    (um.. how was the slaver tied to the horse.. on it or behind it – being dragged?)

    With battle over, Feldard pulled stuck arrows from his armour and flesh, grimacing at the pain. He bound what wounds he could access without having to remove every last piece of armour.

    When Maruc approached to offer assistance, Feldard was too weary to complain and instead accepted the priests aid graciously, (well graciously for him). “Remind me to give half my portion of these treasures we find to the church.”

    Watching Hasan, and Stephen tie the slaver to the horse and let him go, Feldard nodded. Feldard cared little as to what happened to the slaver. If he did survive to return, Feldard would kill him at that time.

    Glancing about, Feldard noted the horse he’d injured laying on it’s side still in pain and unable to ever walk again. He retrieved his crossbow and put a bolt through the head of the downed horse. The dwarf could feel the breeders angry glare behind him. Feldard snorted. “Would you rather I had left it alive to suffer?”

    Without waiting for an answer Feldard, moved off a short distance ahead, loading his crossbow, to keep watch while the others discussed where they would go next.

    Feldard snorted again at the Ludo’s notion that he needed rest (true though it was), and Feldard was about to deny it when the question of Highforge’s safety came up, causing the dwarf to pause and frown. Highforge was where Hernane had been headed before returning home.

    “Safe or not, we should check out Highforge before continuing on to Xitaqa” Feldard stated. That would give him an opportunity to ensure Hernane was safe. Worry over her would be a distraction otherwise.

    He made his way over to the horse breeder with a bit of a scowl. “Help me mount up.” The idea of riding the huge beast was daunting but if it would save his already weary legs and speed their journey he would suffer the amused glances of the others at the sight of him on a horse.

    And sure enough, there was amusement aplenty at his ungainly clambering up onto the saddle even with assistance. Dwarves were not meant to ride horses – ponies perhaps but not horses. The stirrups were useless to the dwarf – his legs just couldn’t reach no matter how high Stephen adjusted them. Feldard, stubborn about not riding with another, would just have to keep him self balanced.

    “Lets’ get on with this,” grumbled the dwarf as he finally was settled. He nudged his mount into movement.

  12. Feldard

    (doh.. took me too long to post – Stephan replied in the mean time.)

    ((Looking at the map from the post titled Onward (May 11th), Highforge and Xitaqa are both on the other side of the river and Highforge would be the closest town, not Kelvin which is much further down river back towards the Radlebb Woods.))

  13. Stephan

    [Sorry. I was going off maps here: http://www.pandius.com/m_karamk.html. And I did not double check the whereabouts of Xitaqa. Please adjust my post as needed.]

    Stephan assisted the unpleasant dwarf only out of a sense of pragmatism.

    “This already tired mount will carry you a great distance still. Perhaps if she falters and becomes lame you’ll have the same common sense to put her out of her misery as you did the other. But perhaps you can carry out the deed without all the eagerness you showed before.”

  14. Ludo

    “Stephen, I understand your urgency to get to Xitaqa, however in our current condition I would think it prudent to rest for a few days in safety. What say you Maruc? I think Highforge would be the safest place, the reach of the Iron ring is long, but even they would hesitate to attack us in Highforge.

  15. Miklos

    “Friends, let us to Highforge,” chimed in Miklos. “To rest. To learn what we can of how long the Iron Ring has been seen near the moors. Surely our most noble elven friend’s promise demands that new wariness, but it will win us friends as well. But most of all, let us to Highforge to cross the river. Surely we will have more chance of finding a boat across from Highforge than in the moors.” Miklos swung into his horse, far more easily than the dwarf, and led the party east.

  16. Stephan

    [for the record, I posted a response about the mapping but it included a url and was apparently blocked. I looked at a map of Mystara on Pandius to get the relative locations. I should have looked back at the map from the post about Xitaqa. Please adjust my post as needed.

    I’m going to have to disappear for a bit…going to help with resource management at the big oil spill in the gulf… I’ll try to stay in touch.]

  17. dirk

    By the way, Godspeed and good luck down in the Gulf. Need your best.

    Thankfully, I’ve always found traveling for work left some time for internet surfing.

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