Author Topic: The Siege of Lakehold  (Read 1448 times)


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The Siege of Lakehold
« on: March 29, 2014, 10:47:37 PM »

The northman who approached the gates appeared surprisingly unfit for battle.  A fat man with plain brown hair and a thin beard, dressed in simple, comfortable brown clothes and no armour, atop a horse that seemed to be fed even better than its master.  He raised an axe, nothing more than a simple iron hatchet.

"Greetings to you, Emperor of the South!  We northmen grow tired of taking your women and razing your fields.  We have spilled your blood and drank your wine and we find both lacking.  So take cheer, good Emperor!  We leave for home!"

The northman spread his arms wide, with a broad grin.  The grin faded into something a little more wolflike.

"But first, we're going to finish what we came here to do.  Scholars will write of this day, and they will tell you that Rathgar drove south with its hordes because some piddling petty pathetic House called the Dunkirks came pleading on their knees to the clanlords at Kaupang.  They will tell you that it was the taxes of the treacherous tyrant Grellar Leylan that brought war upon Westhold.  They will tell you that the storm of the north scoured your soil because some paltry beggars hoodwinked the high lords into doing their bidding.  They will be wrong.

"We are not here because we were begged.  We are not here to do the dirty deeds of the Dunkirks.  We are not even here for conquest, truly.  We are here because you would call yourself an Emperor, and that alone would give you lordship.  There is no king in Kaupang, nor among the many clans.  In the north, a man leads because he has proven himself, not because of whom he was born by.  We are here for your proving.

"You see, I am something of an oddity in the north; an adherent of the ways old and new.  I even bear a symbol of it - this axe!  It was lent me by my liege, who bore it in a duel against the god Bear, and it saved his life.  When the god sacrificed himself on his own altar, some of the blood stained the blade.  Perhaps it still bears a little of the strength.  There, you see, was a proving.  I understand there is a priestess in your castle, who has confirmed your heritage?  Perhaps you are born of the line of the Golden King, I do not doubt it, but that alone is not enough.  Many a son has failed to stand up to the father.  The name is not enough, the strength of the line must be proved.

"This is your proving, Emperor.  The north shall weigh you, and the gods will see if you are found wanting.  Prepare yourself, in four days we shall see how much your walls truly count for."


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Re: The Siege of Lakehold
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 11:20:20 PM »

The watchmen summoned Bann to the gatehouse when the northman approached. The Emperor stared at the approaching man. A fat man on a fatter horse, is this some kind of insult he wondered to himself. He addressed the man with all the pride he could muster after so many defeats.

Hail northman, we care not why you have come only that you are here. It is a great and terrible storm you have brought, consuming, killing, and destroying that which is in its path. Though, you will not see such success against my walls. They are a great craft in this land, the only of their kind. They are high and strong, and I have many archers. Aye, you may take them, but only a madman would call it a victory.

He drew the sword from his scabbard and held it high so the northman could see. A broadsword, ornately decorated with a jeweled pommel, heavy and more suited for use on horse than for swordsmanship.

Look on this sword, an heirloom of my house. It was given to me by my father, who received it from his own father. An aged blade. Has it cut the flesh of the gods? No, I make no such fanciful claims. Still, it has claimed many mortal lives and even some of the first. With it, and with many more held in my name, I will weather your proving. I will do so by every stone in this wall, and every southern Lord that has fallen in defense in the south.


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Re: The Siege of Lakehold
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 01:29:15 AM »

Kulainn d'Bastur, his arms slung easily about the trim waists of two Southron slave girls, listens to Malcolm Thegn's booming voice as it carries across the sun-richened farm fields spread out between Lakehold's sturdy stone gate and the gentle ridge on which his men have pitched their war camp. At his side, a line of thanes and trusted karls in gleaming war gear. Behind him, a colourful panoply of Southron-style campaign tents clustered atop the eminence, captured in a raid on an enemy baggage train, but now seeing to the comforts of the Northman invaders instead.

Suddenly Kulainn heaves his slave girls to the ground with a disgusted grunt, and backpedals away from them. His men rush to his aid, Leifr the Luckless asking him, "What ails, Chief?"

"These Southron women!" Kulainn roars in a furious outrage, and levels his finger at the two shocked slaves sprawled at his feet. His stony-faced displeasure glares down at the trembling girls. "Malcolm over there informs me that I have grown tired of them!" A pregnant pause.  The mask of outrage quivers and dissolves, a tearful fit of roaring mirth behind it. 

Shaking his head, he grabs the slave girls and pulls them back to their feet. "Hah! Me tire of Southron women? What they say about that fat book-reader is true, I guess!" His men laugh, their thoughts venturing lavisciously to the girls stowed away in their own war tents.

The slave girls, not understanding the guttural sing-song of the northern folk that prompted the sudden outburst and the peals of harsh laughter afterward, permit themselves to act upset and hostile to Kulainn's attempt to embrace them again. He cures their upset with a grin and a kiss each, and sends them off to fetch him some wine.


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Re: The Siege of Lakehold
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 01:33:24 PM »
Bann had watched for days as the lands outside the walls of Lakehold had become filled with the unwashed northmen. Some Lords of the Imperium had arrived before them, some had slipped through their line, but unfortunately more had been pressed into battle outside the walls. In his youth, he might have led the charge out to aid them, but in his age, he knew better. The losses would leave Lakehold open for the taking.
Today, the enemy had begun battle preparation. Four northern war leaders we moving toward the walls, with not 100 men between. The other northmen left them to their suicide march, offering no support. The southern archers killed or wounded nearly all those advancing after loosing the first volley. 
One of Lakehold’s guards approached the Emperor. “Your majesty, we found the northman that led the charge. He fell in the fighting, there was no way to save him. Still, as you requested, here is the axe he carried. Beg pardon, if that is all my Lord.”
Bann more closely examined the small hand axe. A plain, entirely unadorned iron hachet with what appeared to be a bloodstain in the blade. He placed it in one of the pouches on his saddle.
“Defenders of Lakehold,” Bann addressed the southerners “we have seen many of our countrymen fall outside these walls. All rushing to the defense of the Imperial capital to save it from loss in a certain attack. The gathered northmen, like a sea of steel and men stinking of stale wine. When the horns of battle finally sounded, only 4 among them had the nerve to face the walls. They had superior numbers three times over, but yet not the courage to do the battle for which they claimed to seek.
Here is the final report, two northerners dead, one wounded, and one captured. In addition to this, I now hold an axe, they claim, that drew the blood of their northern God. When I hold it, I feel not greater power in my veins. Still, I will keep it here as a reminder of what has happened in these dark days. We will look on it and know the danger we face at all times.
Reform is coming to the Imperium. I mean to take measures to see that we never face a situation such as this again. I have no doubt that it will be unpopular, but it will be done. It will be harsh, as it must be. The northmen will return, do not hold any doubt that they will not. Though, next time, we will be ready for them.”