The Æcyr Gréne Campaign 

Campaign Logs

Session Three - Bandit Attack

On the 3rd of Hreðmonað, two days after the festival of Nerðe, Wuscfrea calls Cedric into his study, and explained that he is to travel south to the town of Tewksbury. Once in the town, he is to wait in the Inn called the Stag’s Head under the name of Sigmund Freasc until he is contacted by a man that will identify himself as Berðun Freasc. This gentleman will have a small package that Cedric is to accept in exchange for a scroll that his father handed him. Berðun will be in Tewksbury some time between the 10th and the 15th of Hreðmonað.

Cedric accepts the scroll and heads out into the courtyard of the manor where Æðelred is relaxing. Calling over to Æðelred to provision two mounts for a short journey, he heads back into the manor to take his leave of his mother. Within the hour, Cedric and Æðelred leave the manor and ride south.

Although the weather was reasonably good when they were setting out, by evenming a heavy storm was bearing down on them. The winds had already risen enough to spook the horses, and Æðelred’s weather sense was telling him that thunder wouldn’t be far behind. He suggested to Cedric that they could take shelter in an old cave that the local foresters had provisioned for this sort. As they headed off the path towards the cave, Cedric thought he spotted some campfires to the south, but didn’t realy give it much thought.

As they approached the cave, they saw that there was a figure apparently trying to light a campfire at the cave mouth. Cedric indicated to Æðelred that he should ready a weapon and cover him while he approached the stranger. He then moved out into the open and suspecting the stranger was a clansman, hailed the stranger in the local Dynndh dialect. The clansman looked up, but reassured by the greeting, welcomed Cedric and Æðelred to his camp. After discussing the closing storm, and exchanging pleasentries, Cedric told Æðelred to light the fire (which he did - once he had tethered and watered the horses and stowed the saddles and packs). Meanwhile, the clansman, who introduced himself as Cardhu Mac Callan, explained that he had been travelling north from the Duchy of Fyrgeneðel, where he had been serving as a Mercenary for one of the Barons. However he had become homesick and had decided to travel north. He went on to say that as he had travelled north, he had observed a band of mercenaries travelling north on the main road from Tewksbury. he had recognised the leader of these mercenaries as being a rather vicious and unpleasent individual, and had decided that it might be better not to get to close. He had been tryikng to bypass them when the storm had started to close in, but fortunately he had spotted this cave. He had been surpirsed to see the provisions in the cave, but then realised that it was probably a forester’s stash.

Unhappy with the though of unknown mercenaries being within a day’s ride of his fathers manor, Cedric considered riding down immediately to investigate, but Æðelred suggested that there was very little he could do now and suggeted that they should just make camp for the night and investigate the mercenaries in the morning. The night passed reasonably uneventfully, although the storm tore through the woods, and about half a mile away they saw a lightning strike destroy a tree. All the noise, and the presence of the unknown mercenaries meant that the three slept only fitfully, and all rose early the following morning. After cooking a meal of pottage for the three of them, Æðelred assisted Cardhu in striking camp. After discussing the presence of the Mercenaries again with Cardhu, Cedric asked him to accompany them down towards the road, and the three headed downhill to observe the mercenaries.

As the got close, they could see the mercenaries breaking camp. They were obviously not highly disciplined, and the purported leader appeared to be quite liberal in the insults he hurled around. As they watched, Cedric could make out some fifteen individuals in the camp - four of whom appeared to be reasonably well trained, while the others appeared more rag-tag. The four leaders did seem to be moving around trying to organise the guys into some sort of order, barracking them for their poor attitudes, and telling them that their destination was not far off - and that they were being well paid for the operation. Concerned for the possible direction these rag-tag mercenaries were heading, Cedric made the decision that they should probably return to the manor and inform his father of these wandering mercenaries, as his father’s manor was the first destination they would reach if they continued on the road.

Cedric immediately set out , working his way down to the road some distance ahead of the mercenaries, and then galloping up the road towards his father’s demesne. Cardhu chose to follow with Æðelred, and the two made reasonable time, although Æðelred’s mount managed to stumble on the raod, throwing him from his seat and knocking the wind from him. Cedric arrived well ahead of the other two, having nearly killed his mount by ridiung so hard, and reached his father’s lands some five hours after first observing the mercenaries. He immediately sought out his father, and described the mercenaries to his father. Similarly concerned, his father immediately dispatched several runners to bring the villagers in close to the manor. However, although the manor itself was in a reasonable state of repair, the village had no appreciable defences - all it had was a weak pallisade designed simply to keep the cattle from wandering into the village.

About two hours later, Æðelred and Cardu arrive, their horses winded and exhausted, but in better condition than Cedric’s (even now). They report that the mercenaries are indeed following along behind, but that as they are mainly on foot, they will probably be up to a day behind. Overseen by Wuscfrea, Cedirc and the others make provisional plans to defend the village if necessary, and bring one of the hay-wains up to beside the village gate, ready to be wheeled out behind it to hopefully strengthen it. They also continue to get the villagers in close to the village. Lookouts are posted, and Cedric heads up to the bluff overlooking the Manor to where he can observe the entrance to the valley. Very little happens that evening, But in the early morning, figures are spotted moving around one of the outlying farms near the valley mouth. Even as Cedric runs back down to the manor to let the others know of this threat, a column of smoke start to rise from that area, as the buildings are burnt by the raiders.

A quick discussion between Cedric and Cardhu reveals that the leader of these mercenaries tends to be quite hot-headed, so as the village militia are kitted out with leather armour, bows and spears, Cardhu and Æðelred drag the other haywain over to near the gates of the manor, and make it look like it is mired in the mud from the earlier storm. The remaining villagers busy themselves trying to herd the cattle and chattels into the defences of the manor. Eadwyn and Hereric are left in charge of six members of the village militia and tasked to defend the manor itself - two other members of the militia are to pretend to drag the haywain through the open manor gates, but on the approach of the brigands thay are quickly run into the manor and the gates be slammed behind them. the remaining members of the militia (twelve in all), accompanied by Wuscfrea, Cedric, Æðelred and Cardhu, are to take up positions within the village, and hopefully meet the attackers on favourable terms.

The village has only a few minutes to get in position before Æðelred spots a rider appear at the edge of the woods on the south side of the glen. The rider appears to observe them for a moment before moving back into the shadow. The farmers struggling to get the haywain into the manor were clearly visable, as was the open manr gate, and this seems to have the desired effect. Moments later, four riders burst from the trees, heading straight for the gates of the manor. The two farmers immediately sprint for the gates, but they are not yet barred by the time the riders are within range. Each is armed with a bow, and they loose their arrows at the targets they can see (on farmer at the gate, and one militiaman on the wall of the manor. Only one of the arrows bites home, but it strike the archer on the wall through the chest, and he is seen to fall backwards into the manor. However, As this is occurring, the four of the militiamen in the manor, along with Eadwyn, move out of their concealed postions and return fire. Most of the shots go wide, but Eadwyn’s shot is true, and he hits one of the riders cleanly through the neck. The rider topples from his horse, initially clutching at the arrow protruding from his throat, but then subsiding into the mud, his body’s twitching ceasing as three more arrows bite into him over the next couple of seconds.

Realising that they won’t enter the manor like this, the riders wheel their horses and move back towards the woods, from which the other mercenaries had charged whe the riders had. At this point, they wer just entering bow-range of the militiamen in the village. However, Wuscfrea had told them to hold their fire until he ghave a signal. Looking at the charging brigands, five were carrying firebrands in one hand, and what looked like large bastard-swords or two-handed swords in the other, while the other six were carrying a mixture of boradswords and spears with shields. Passing the command down the line to target the men carrying firebrands (to avoid having the village burnt), Wuscfrea raised his fist to indicate to the militia to prepare to shoot. As the marauders came close enough for the archers to reliably hit them, Wuscfrea signalled the archers to fire. First off the mark was his son Cedric, whose bolt flew true to its mark to one of the bandits carrying a firebrand. The bolt burried itself deep in the bandit‘s right arm, stunning him, causing him to stumble and drop the firebrand. In the hail of arrows that followed (15 in all) many of the bolts missed their targets, but each of the firebrand-carrying brigands was hit at least once, and incredibly, each one was hit at least once in the arm with which they were carrying the firebrand. The Brigand‘s charge wavered, but the shield-carrying brigands carried on. As they reached the gate, and began foring their way past, the defenders had one more chance for a volley, and in this hail of arrows two of the attackers fell with severe wounds. As the defenders dropped their bows and braced thmeselves for hand-to-hand combat, the three mounted attackers entered the village behind their compatriots, but finding the footing uneven and inconducive to mounted combat, they dismounted.

Cardhu and Wuscfrea led six militiamen in an initial charge from the left, while Æðelred led a charge of six other militiamen charging in from the right, attempting to pin down and defeat the brigands before they could spread out through the village. Cedric feverishly loads his bow as the twqo sets of combatnats close on each other. In the first flush of combat, one of the militiamen (Eadan) charges the leader of the brigands, but his attack is easily turned aside by his opponent, and the repost cleaves him in three, the brigand hardly breaking a sweat. The other combats are a bit more balanced, with noone else falling at this point. As the combat draws on, Cedric continues to snip into the melee, targeting the brigands that appear to be overpowering the village militia. However, one-on-one, the village militia are no match for the brigands, and dispite outnumbering them by almost two-to-one, the seem to be concentrated among the villagers. During the battle, it is the presence of Cardhu and Wuscfrea, and a couple of amazingly lucky shots by Cedric that enable the villagers to eventually turn the tide against the bandits. Also - the brigands that had taken injuries in the field chose to turn tail and flee the field of battle rather than face an organised enemy - an option that was soon unavailable to the other brigands. Of the ten brigands that entered the village, one was defeated by the leatherworker Cœnwalh, two were brought to bear by Æðelred - he defeated one in a partial ambush, but the second nearly defeated him - his right arm was shattered by a blow only partially deflected, causing him to drop is spear. however, has he fell back, Cedric noticed his plight, and managed to shoot this opponent, striking him through the right knee, causing him to drop to the ground where Æðelred subdued him. Wuscfrea defeated three of the brigands, including their purported leader, while Cedric, in addition to the incredible shot detailed above, also managed to injure several of the brigands sufficiently to enable them to be defeated in hand-to-hand combat.

At the end of the combat, four of the brigands lay dead, while two villagers - Eadan and Cælin (the miller’s son) also lay dead. The injuries among the villagers ranged from cuts and bruises (for the lucky), to broken arms, punctured lungs (Cœnwalh), concussion, facial injuries (Cardhu lost part of his left ear, and gained what will become an impressive scar), and a lot of lower-limb injuries (due to only limited leg armouring). The remaining brigands were either too injured or too demoralised to continue fighting, and surrendered. Eadwyn, seeing the remaining brigands flee, and the sounds of combat cease in the village, immediately ordered five of the militiamen to head over to the village to help secure any prisoners and help with the injured. The Lady of the House - Tortgyð had already organised many of the more experienced womenfolk, and as the injured villagers were moved into the manor, the womenfolk tended to their injuries, binding them as best they could, and trying to set the broken bones. Once she was sure that things were in order, she also approached the prisoners, and ensured that the most serious wounds were treated.

As all this was going on, Cedric followed the fleeing bandits into the forest, his skills in stalking and hunting allowing him to follow them and snip at them over a period of several hours. In this effort, he was eventually joined by Hereric and two of the village militia, and by sundown, they had managed to capture all five remaining brigands.

As the day wore on, the more able-bodied villagers assisted in starting a clean-up. The dead villagers were brought with care to the capel in the manor, while the dead bandits were stripped of their belongings and placed on a hastily constructed pyre. The damage in the village was less than might have been expected, but was still considerable. Around the gate of the village, the palisade had been completely broken down. Being made principally from wattle & daub, several of the buildings were damaged, with one being so badly damage it could not be repaired. All in all, the village was lucky to escape - the combination of wattling and thatching that was used throughout the village would have burnt beautifully.

Realising that the reconstuction could not per completed (or even properly started) that day, Wuscfrea decided to apportion mead and ale to all of the villages, and a serving of spirits to each of the militia. By sundown, the villagers were mostly enjoying this celebratory drink, even if they were strained by the losses incurred.

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