The Black Scorpion strikes

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The Black Scorpion strikes

Postby Smeagol » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:02 am

Kushir eyed the dark woods that lay in his path. His tribe had travelled long and fought many foes before reaching this unaturally dark wood. He had heard stories from prisoners and villagers as he approached. It was unwholesome and the lair of dark things that haunted the dark spaces. no light, no food and no water awaited all who entered that accursed wood. Elves were said to infest that woods as well, but Kushir had little experience with elves and of the old stories he doubted any of those folk would dwell in a realm that had all the markings of Sauron. Tai Shan, the Easterling, had disappeared into those woods seeking a dwarven treasure, but he had not returned from its depths. having lead his people too deep into dwarven lands and with a sizable force of Easterlings on his trail his option were not limited. Enter to woods and cross to the relative safety at the roots of the mountains. From there they could turn south and look to entering Rohan from the north and from there strike with surprise on the rich lands of the golden horse lords. His men were badly in need of fresh horses, battle worn and aging many of his horses were now of little use in battle.

Julladain approached his chieftain from behind his jangling rings announcing his presence, "The men await your orders my chief."

Kushir waved him forward and his bodyguard made a space for Julladain to advance closer, "What do you think of our options?"

Julladain had long since learned that Kushir had already made up his mind on what course he wanted to take, but Kushir was wise enough to take council from his war leaders to get all options and opinions. Julladain looked at the treeline ahead of them and spoke slowly in order to more carefully choose his words, "I do not like the way ahead. That wood has an evil reputation and the men will not like being feeling closed in. In many ways that woods will feel like a tomb to men accustomed to the open sky and the feel of the wind and sun upon their face."

Kushir nodded so Julladain continued, "Our warriors are valiant and strong in battle, but they are mortal and we are not great in numbers. While the foes that pursue us grow in size with each mile they approach and we have no friends to our north to seek allies. The dwarves see no difference between men of Harad or the men of Rhun."

Again Kushir nodded solemnly without comment, "We have laid in water and food for a journey of many days and the men have faced worst deprivations in our own lands."

Kushir turned to his youngest war leader and looked him at him directly, "And what of the men?". Kushir's direct gaze always made Julladain uncomfortable as if he were reading his thoughts and looking into his soul for a sign of weakness or disloyalty.

"They will follow The Black Scorpion where ever he will lead." Julladain said bluntly.

"Have the men prepare to move. We will cross the Mirkwood before moving south towards Rohan."

The eyes had been marking their journey for a couple of days or nights. Time had no meaning in this dark wood. Slaves had been lost in the woods to predators in the dark early in their journey, but that had abated as the prisoners now huddled closer to the protective Haradrim they now served rather than a certain death in the woods. Clearing the woods had improved morale, but food and water were still scarce and the road to the south had many other dangers. Wargs had picked up their trail upon their leaving the dark woods, dark shapes with brigt eyes still marked them from the cover of the woods as well. His scouts has captured an orc from an orc scouting party and learned that an orc captain from the fortress of Dol Guldor lay in his path and had the intention of taking Kushir's head as a battle trophy for his masters. The Lords of Umbar had long arms if that was true, but perhaps Tai Shan or his dark masters were a more likely source of this order. Regardless his men would have to overcome this foe in order to pass below the shadow of Dol Guldor to make their way to plains of Rohan.

The orcs had advanced from the woods and blocked the road ahead. Kushir took position near a ruin to survey the field and assess his position. The terrain favoured the orcs and his scouts had confirmed both wargs and several bloated spiders were amongst the forces the orc, Nargil, had at his command. An attack across the open field with the woods on his right and the hills on the left would be suicide as the spiders and wargs would descend upon his flanks and rear as he attacked the orcs. no, it would be the orcs that would have to defeat him. he had the lucury of time now that they had found palatable water and the food was not so rancid that his men were starving.

Kushir formed his bodyguard of archers in the center behind a rancid pool of water. julladain took his warriors to the right and plugged the gap on the right flank, while Emighr took the other third and held the ruins on the left. The orc had obviously assessed his chances in the open ground and choose to move his orcs through the hills on Kushir's left while the wargs and spiders exploited the cover of the trees on Kushir's right.

Arrows were unleashed in a high arc twoards the orcs. The orcs raided shields and the arrows caused no harm. Strangely the orcs didn't return fire. It appeared that they had very few archers in their ranks which would explain this. Another unanswered volley had the same result. Some dark magic was protecting the orcs from the arrows of the Haradrim. Movement on the right reminded Kushir of the spiders moving to engage his right flank. With a gesture he unleashed the last of his volleys against the spiders on the right and the largest of the spiders was riddled with arrows. It was obviously wounded, but it still moved forward. A black cloud of bats hovered near the bloated beast, though some of their numbers had fallen from the sky as they shielded the beast from the arrows.

The spiders moved too close for volleying and the terrain shielded them from direct fire. Julladain had moved his warriors forward to defend the far end of the grove of trees, but with the rapid advance of the spiders who were essentully unharmed he had started to fall back to enable him to deepen his lines. The huge spider queen slammed into Julladain's line of warriors accompanied by smaller pony sized group of spiders. A half dozen Haradrim fell to the assault, the lethal venom doing its work all too efficiently. on the left the orcs were now maneuvering near the ruin using it as cover from Kushir's archers.

Emighr blockaded the approaches out of the ruin and so far had been unchallenged. Kushir considered the option of supporting Julladain's defense, but it occurred to him that if he cut off the head of his opponent's army it would disintigrate. He had faith in his young second in command as he's proven himself in many engagements. He ordered his archers to reinforce the left flank. It was his intent to isolate and then destroy Narzgil's command. Orcs are disorganized and his death should disintigrate his force. Julladain saw the center moving away from his position and returned Kushir's salute.

"You shall not find me unworthy of your faith my chief!", Julladain pointed his spear at the giant spider queen and yelled out "Charge the demons! Destroy them!". His force obeyed him to the man. The bloated Spider Queen found herself on the receiving end of a wall of spears while julladain's men spread out to engage the spiders and as many of the wargs as they could. The Queen was undaunted by the bravery of the haradrim and struck two of them dead, but her spider kin were not so well off. Most had survived and killed one or more of their attackers a couple had been speared and now spasmed spraying their blackish ichor on the grass and trees.

Julladain found himself staring down the humongous, bloated spider and steeled hiimself for the worst. Again he cajoled his men to charge the unwholesome demons of the Mirkwood. The Gods smiled upon him as his men spurned on by desperation and loyalty to their war leader charged once more. The Spider Queen found herself facing a wall of spears once again, while julladain lent his skill at arms against a smaller spider that had so far felled every warrior to face it.

On the left Emighr pulled his line back from the ruin in order to draw the orcs into a killing field. With Kushir's archers on his right any orcs that came after his men would be cut down by archery before a devestating counter charge destroyed the remnants. Kushir pushed the remainder of his archers past Emighr's lines and formed anotehr of his own to contain any flanking attack by Narzgil. The orcs did not fall for the trap and pulled back to their side of the ruin. They looked as if they would throw their entire weight against Kushir in an attemot to overwhelm his position before help could arrive. On the right the bloated queen and her children were speared and only one wounded spider remained of the original nest.

[At this point my opponent looked at me and said that he had no idea how to defeat my force. From my side of the field I could still see ways that he might still defeat me, but i decided to go to his side of the table to get his visual perspective and i had to agree with him. There was a small chance for victory if he could bring his orcs around to hit Kushir before I could reinforce his position and bring strength of numbers to my advantage. At the moement I was assessing his position he had a local numerical superioty and two heroes to utilize against Kushir's line of ten spear armed archers.]

End game:
Disaster struck the orcs. As if the magical charm that had shielded the orcs from the Haradrim arrows had just expired, arrow fire dropped a bat swarm in one volley, the last of the giant spiders fell to a black fletched missile unleashed by Kushir (His fourth arrow expended and his third kill of the day) and orcs in Nargil's line fell.

Emighr moved half of his line into the ruins to engage the orcs while his second half moved behind to act as a reserve. Kushir's men formed on his position and worked to form an attack line to sweep into Nargil's bodyguard. A victorious julladain took the momentary respite in the fighint caused by the suddeen disengagement of the wargs to fall back onto Kushir's position. He was a long way from joining up, but he still provided a much needed wall of spears between the ferociuos warg chieftain and his prey.

Nargil's orcs struck at Emighr's attcking line while Nargil himself organized an attack against Kushir's line. The wild Warg Chieftain continued to track Kushir once more. Again disaster struck the orcs. Emighr's men cut down a third of the orcs they faced and drove their line back.

Emighr yelled for his men to follw hi and lead tha charge into Nargil's second in command while his men piled into the remnants of the orc's line. Nargil threw warriors into Kushir's left flank and took the time to pull his reserves into making a defensive line to prevent Kushir from exploiting holes in his line. Kushir countered by counter charging and then starting the swing of his line to engage Nargil's line. Julladain finally joined up with Kushir and placed a defensive rear guard into place.

Emighr called a heroic combat and cut down his trapped orc and swept into the orc captain. A short time later Nargil's second in command was cut down and more than half of the orcs went down with him. Nargil's line was beaten back and he too lost many orcs. His position was now dire with both his flanks crumbling, his force broken and his warg allies unable to reach their prey.

[My opponent conceded defeat and we ended the game]

Nargil turned and fled the field of battle. His dark masters would still have to find him to punish him, but Kushir was close enough to kill him now. The remaining orcs fled in terror and the wargs broke off and returned to the wilds. Kushir wondered briefly if the wargs had slated their bloodlust on Nargil's fleeing orcs later that day. For him it was enough to address the wounded and burn the dead before continuing quickly on his way.

Major Victory for The Black Scorpion.

The Haradrim had lost 18 warriors and none of the heroes had been wounded. I had used a total of three Might points.

The orcs had lost a Spider Queen, four Giant Spiders a bunch of orcs and one orc captain.
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Postby BrentS » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:47 am

Another good read. I'm glad to see Kushir's prowess growing. He'll make a good general in Young Suladân's Serpent Horde :wink:

What scenario were you playing? I'm guessing Meeting Engagement but perhaps it could have been storm the camp.
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Postby Smeagol » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:10 am

Growing? Kushir used to be a humble chieftain, his skills in battle have grown.

We played To Kill a King, which plays very much like a Meeting Engagement.
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