1. The Reafen and the Tree

[Ho-kay, let's finish this round.]

The reward for Wodin's quick thinking is a hail of spears from the uninjured raiders. Annis and Rhys dive prone on the sandhill as the others feel the heavy impact of bony spearheads on shields.*

Owen and his remaining men throw themselves at the berserkers, attempting to drive them back from the embankment. A savage cry goes up as Owen's mace-and-chain crushes the exposed jawbone of a berserker caught halfway between man and wolf, and spears punch their way through soaking fur to the yielding, waxy flesh beneath.**

Thunder rolls above the battlefield as the church bell tolls again and again. The pouring rain washes the blood of fallen men into the sea.

  • [size=85]Dice 3 and 4 +6 attack total = 9 and 10 vs. Die 3 +10 defence total +3 trained unit bonus = 16[/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 9 +11 attack total +5 exertion bonus +3 confidence point = 28 vs Die zero + 15 defence total -2 berserk penalty = 13. Damage is 8 +15 attack bonus -5 soak = 18: incapacitating wounds to four berserkers.[/size]

Having pushed aside the berserkers, Owen and his men try to retain the initiative by pushing down to where the ice meets sand. Their brief advance, however, is met by a party of furiously charging raiders - a dead chieftain and his household guard, to judge by the quality of their jewellery and furs. The chieftain himself stands eight feet tall, carries an icy sword in his hand and has a rusted steel blade protruding from his breastbone. By his side run a guard carrying a raven banner (flapping soddenly in the wind) and a shorter man, clad all in black and bearing no obvious wounds but for an eyelid stitched closed across an empty socket.

The drowned warriors meet Owen's advance head-on, bashing spears aside with shields and rushing close to the suddenly-vulnerable scotsmen. Owen himself is lifted off his feet by an upward blow from a tall, jewel-clad raider with a rusty spear head sticking out of his throat. The combat is over in seconds - the scotsmen hacked to pieces by axes and swords that seem to cut flesh before even touching it.* Two raiders rip open Owen's hauberk with their bare hands and, carrying his dazed form, bear him towards the chieftain. Free for a moment from any interference, the raiders swarm up the embankment, their song never ceasing or altering in its cadence.

Across the river, Morphiste smashes the spear, and the arm, of the largest raider facing her as the dead men stab and hack at her shifting image.**

Behind her, the blood-splattered boys spread out, some heading towards the cluster of houses by the ford while others cast embers from the smokehouse floor up into the thatched roof, trying to set it ablaze from the inside.

As the spears continue to rain down around them***, Wodin and the grogs fall back from the now-indefensible shore.

Padraig: Quick - get to the church!
Wodin: Yes! Wait - no! See that barn? Head there first. We'll see if Padget managed to make himself useful after all his complaining.

  • [size=85]Die 18 +13 attack total +24 trained group bonus = 55 vs. Die 3 +10 defence total +15 trained group bonus = 28. Damage is 18 +27 attack advantage = 45. Soak scores seem somewhat... redundant in the face of that.[/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 6 +13 attack total = 19 vs. Die zero +12 defence total = 12. Damage is 10 +9 attack advantage -6 soak = 13 (heavy wound). [/size]
    *** [size=85]Dice 3 and 8 +6 attack total = 9 and 14 vs. Die 2 +13 defence total +3 Trained Group bonus = 18[/size]

As Alerock's men make a rapid retreat from the beach, they hear Owen begin to scream. Evidently the dead Norsemen have decided not to kill him immediately. His screams are joined by a dreadful cracking sound, audible even over the storm, but Owen's fate becomes a secondary concern as a party of raiders sets off in hot pursuit. Behind them, the remaining dead men are spreading out, ransacking peasant houses in twos and threes.

Vance and Sean, fighting their way through the stinging rain, spy Annaeus making his limping way towards the mound within the Olladh Stiom Paidh. As they watch, a raider comes charging out of the rain, his icy sword raised high for a devastating overhead cut. In response, the enormous magus strikes the muddy soil with the foot of his crutch.

Annaeus: Back!

The raider is flung violently backwards, colliding with one of the stones ringing the base of the mound with the flat, heavy noise of sodden meat.* After a quick pause to get his shoulder comfortable on his crutch again, Annaeus plods forward once more.

Across the river, Morpiste tears a chunk of flesh from the chest of the raider before her** as the dead man and his followers fruitlessly attack her rapidly shifting image.*** The putrid, waxy muscle sticks to the fur on her paw despite the rain, and she knows it may be some time before she can bring herself to smell that hand. At the edge of her hearing,**** the thatched roof of the smokehouse begins to sizzle as rain hits the smouldering reeds.

Sean tugs at Vance's sleeve.

Sean: Come on! It'll be easier to protect you if you two wizards are in the same place!

  • [size=85]Die 9 +8 for Rebuke of the Aesir, (doubled for striking a solid object) -6 Soak = 19 (incapacitating wound). [/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 2 +13 attack total = 15 vs. Die 4 +12 defence total -5 wound penalty = 11. Damage is 10 +4 attack bonus -6 Soak = 8 (medium wound). [/size]
    *** [size=85]Die 8 +11 attack total -5 wound penalty = 14 vs. Die 9 +9 defence total +9 Wizard's Sidestep bonus = 27. [/size]
    **** [size=85]Die 7 +3 Awareness (in bear form) = 10.[/size]

Vance : Let's go then. Show me the way.

He started to run, and when they were near the magus, Vance tried to have an idea of the situation: where are the ennemies? is the village in danger? is the vis source in danger? What is the most urgent upcoming dangerous group of people?

Hearing Vance coming, Annaeus pauses for long enough for the elementalist and his bodyguard to catch up.

Annaeus: Good to see you two. Beach?
Sean: Lost - Owen and his men are dead. Wodin and the rest are running for the church, if they have the good sense God gave crotch lice.
Annaeus: Right, then. I go to Circle of Justice. Can probably get good view there. Raiders looting around here, but not many. More behind us. Not organised, from what I've seen - may be able to pick them off in ones and twos. Heard a bear roaring, so Morphiste fighting over the river. Church bell quiet, but no screams, so all probably still safe inside. Hairy tree okay last I saw - can probably see it from Circle, even through rain. Coming?

Across the river, the raiders continue to ineffectually harry Morphiste* as she shatters the jaw of one of them - looking not much older than Wodin - whose throat has already been cut from ear to ear.** Beside her, her previous opponent still struggles vainly to lift his spear. From around her, she hears the high-pitched voices of the dead boys, some rushing off to attack the houses further inland, others heading towards the river and still more approaching her to join the fight.

The brooding shape of the Hairy Tree looms through the rain as Wodin and the grogs reach the barn. The door is unbarred - Padget has evidently been true to his word, though there is no sign of him to be found now.

Wodin: Inside!
Garvey: Right you are!
Annis: You don't have to tell us twice!

Inside, the barn is packed with heavy-set, long-haired Galwegian cattle, who jostle each other in confusion as the six unfamiliar humans move in and heave the door closed. Their confusion grows into an annoyed shuffling and mooing as the sound of alien song blends into the hack-hacking of axes on wet wood. Clearly, the pursuing raiders weren't far behind...

  • [size=85]Die 9 +7 attack total = 16 vs. Die 6 +9 defence total +9Wizard's Sidestep bonus = 24[/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 9 +10 attack total = 19 vs. Die 9 +7 defence total = 16. Damage is 10 +3 attack bonus -6 soak = 7 (medium wound).[/size]

Vance followed the magus. He ask him if he could summon something useful for the magus to control and manipulate, made from either auram or aquam.

Annaeus thinks for a moment before replying.

Annaeus: Strong wind. Blow down a house or two, then take this (he takes the Wand of Spears from under his cloak and hands it to Vance) point it at biggest piece of wood you could lift and flick it like shinty stick at any raider you see. Shout too - good and loud, now. Should make them think twice about getting closer.

As soon as he's finished speaking, he twists his crutch in the mud and, with a rumbling that Vance feels all the way to his shoulders, teleports to the top of the mound.

As the smokehouse roof begins to sprout flames faster than the storm can douse it, Morphiste feels the cut-throat raider's ribs snap under a powerful swing of her paw* as the swords and axes of her assailants fail to find her true location.** Taking a moment to reevaluate, she can see that two of the boy-warriors have moved to surround her, and are hacking at her phantasmal image with hoary axes as big as their fully-expanded chests.

On the other side of the village, Wodin speaks to the grogs, raising his voice above the din of the storm, the mooing of the cattle and the chopping of the barn doors.

Wodin: Do any of you know how to make a herd stampede?

Padraig grins an evil grin.***

Padraig: Old cattle raiders like us? We most certainly do!
Gylmyne: Give us a minute or so and we'll have them ready to storm the gates of Acre!

  • [size=85]Die 3 +10 attack total = 13 vs. Die zero +7 defence total -3 wound penalty = 4. Damage is 10 +9 attack advantage -6 soak = 13 (heavy wound).[/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 5 +7 attack total -3 wound penalty = 9 vs. Die 8 +9 defence total, +9 Wizard's Sidestep bonus = 26[/size]
    *** [size=85]None of the grogs have the Animal Handling skill, but it's the sort of thing you might get lucky with, so I've let fortune decide:Die 20 +3 Luck bonus = 23. That sounds pretty lucky to me![/size]

Vance, following his superior' - the magus Annaeus in this occasion - orders, start to invoke an ancient incantation of summon of the elementalist air. He knows that it's an hard work, and he puts in it all his energy*. After some times, he really start to summon a true storm. Having put all his energy in the making of forceful winds and not only a basic thunderstorm, the winds are now really blowing in the countryside.

Seeing the monstruous wind he has invoked, Vance is now ready to control them in order that they strike the houses and blocks the ennemies warrior from coming in the village.**

When the houses are destroyed, he targets one of the massive girder, and as with a shinty stick, send it to the enemies.*** he does it as long as he sees girders to send! When he is doing this, Vance is awfull: he screams loud : (gaellic) [size=150]DIE VERMIN! DIE! You shall encounter your fate of death on this island, and now! DIEEEEE!!![/size]****

[size=85]* Summoning total: 20 (summon) +4 (air) +3 (stamina) +aura (i really can't remember it ^^) + die 14 = 41, which means storm size

** Controlling total: 20 (control) +4 (air) +3 (presence) + aura ... + die 6 = 33 which is enough for a level 15 auram spell in wind. Normally it would allow the control of a storm sized / strength winds. Normally the spell could be level 5 (control very severe winds), +3 sight (but elementalist is always voice and can affect winds: your call to decide if the range is needed in the maths; i'd say no : only the target would have to be taken in account, as this is the real strength of elementalists).

I'll let to you to decide if it's enough to control the (very severe?) winds of the storm Vance just summoned to point them in front of the ennemies.
If it's not (that means you think i need to "pay" the magnitudes for range), i just try again to attain a level 20 spell (i must roll 13): same die, so let's try again. Being now at -1 fatigue (and having not the 10 necessary minutes to rest), Vance tries one more time before using the wand:
die 3 -1 fatigue, which would not be enough if level 20 needed.

*** finesse is 2 +1 perception + die.
i'll roll 10 stress dies, letting you take in account as much rolls as i have girders to send.
die 3 = 6 , (i'll just mark the final number here, except for the second die, which rolled a 1 i must double : ) die 1, then i reroll: die = 21, 10, 6, 10, 9, 10, 7, 12, 12[/size]

**** leadership + presence + die 1 and die 7 = 19.

Vance's magic summons a great and terrible wind, but the power of the Dominon* prevents him from mustering enough force to channel it effectively. Instead, the wind roils and gusts, blowing this way and that. Vance sees Jared the crow go tumbling head over wing out towards the sea before his attention is diverted by the crashing of peasant houses collapsing under the airy onslaught.

From one of the newly-demolished ruins, two fur-clad berserkers emerge badly wounded and howling with rage. They charge towards the Circle of Justice, forms shifting and creeping between madman and beast - now they come on two legs, now bounding ahead on four. Annaeus shouts a few words and sends a long splinter whistling through the air towards one of them** but the impromptu spear slips through the berserker's flesh like its body was a still pond - it doesn't even slow its advance.

At the barn, the grogs set to work on the cattle.

Gylmyne: So, nephew, how do we go about this?
Garvey: What?
Gylmyne: You've stampeded cattle before. We crusaders shun such tactics.
Garvey: You're not serious...
Gylmyne: I am!
Garvey: You HAVE stampeded cattle before!
Gylmyne: I forgot how when all my sins were absolved.
Garvey: Look, just get towards the back and piss them off!
Gylmyne: How?
Garvey: Pretend they're me!

Their bickering is interrupted by the sound of shattering wood as a salt-encrusted axe-head breaks through the door. Garvey turns to Wodin, his face white.

Garvey: Can you hold them off? We need more time!
Wodin: God's arse-hair! Alright - just warn me when they're ready to go.

He turns to the rapidly-widening hole in the door, takes a deep breath, and swings his axe at the first raider to show his face. Rather than bury steel in bone, though, he only succeeds in sending a large splinter through a pale, waxy cheek.***

Morphiste maneuvers her ursine bulk around a clumsy overhead swing of a raider's huge axe**** and slams the back of his head hard enough to knock the dead man into the mud with an audible crack of bone.***** As he rises, jaw askew and yet still continuing to sing, she comes to the realisation that never, to her knowledge, has an unwounded raider stepped in to relieve the pressure on a wounded man - almost as if they see each fight as fundamentally between two individuals...

Vance seems to have more luck with the wand than Annaeus did with his spell - as he shouts, he sees the grass around his feet stand straight up and glint menacingly for a second, before a timber that was once a roof girder flies in a graceful curve and pins a berserker to the ground through its knee.****** The man-beast lets out a keening wail as Sean steps in front of its companion, ready to sacrifice himself to keep his charge alive.

  • [size=85]Divine aura of 2 = -6 penalty to all magic.[/size]
    ** [size=85]Piercing Shaft of Wood - Die 7 +6 Muto +9 Herbam +2 Stamina +1 Spell Mastery +1 loud voice -6 Dominion penalty = 20 vs. Spell level 10 = 10 Penetration. [/size]
    *** [size=85]Die 2 +13 attack total = 15 vs Die 3 +12 defence total -3 wound penalty = 12. Damage is 8 +3 attack bonus -6 soak = 5 (light wound). [/size]
    **** [size=85]Die 8 +8 attack total = 16 vs Die 9 +9 defence total +9 Wizard's Sidestep bonus = 27[/size]
    ***** [size=85]6 +10 attack total = 16 vs 4 +4 defence total = 8. Damage is 10 +8 attack advantage -6 soak = 12 (heavy wound)[/size]
    ****** [size=85] The wand uses Piercing Shaft of Wood, so there's no need for a Finesse roll, and it has a built-in Penetration of 20. Using your stress die roll for damage produces 10 (large timber) +Die 3 -7 soak = 6 (medium wound).[/size]

Vance's make another try with the wand.* He would not admit it, but he was starting to fear those unknown warriors. And this dominion aura was restraining his talents, which isn't something he likes!

Sean**, seeing that the wizard's companion is in danger, wait for the norseman with the axe to approac, then he tries to hit him with his axe when the fight start. With his experience, he knowns he has to distract his opponent and not to make the battle last. So, he starts with undangerous blows, but when his opponent starts to think he is weak and lower his guard, rendering himself open to counterattack, Sean makes a hard blow, exerting himself right in the enemy's face.***

Some times before.

Keythleen was in Alerock, in the main courtyard. She was talking mentally with Jared about the situation. He said suddenly that some fighters were unaffected by Vance's magic. When she heard that, she made some wards on herself, because there was no way she would go there unprepared.****

A huge wind has been called by Vance, and Jared was fearing.
So he made what he has been discussing over with his mistress: he went directly to the Tree which was the main utility of this defending action : the vis source. He landed on the ground. And say to his maga: I'm in the place you wanted. You can come. Near him was Annaeus Aurelian from Verditius house.

After getting an eye on her "Alerock arcane connection cut in half rock" and after checking it was in her arcane connection pocket, Keythleen teleported herself.*****

Salve Annaeus. Jared told me about this situation. I'll try to help.
Watching the village, she saw the main danger for Vance and his shield grog. So she tried something : if the warrior is at her loudest voice range, she casts the Call to slumber spell; if it's not, she first opens and intangible tunnel then cast a call to slumber.******

If it work, she take some times to trace a great cercle around Annaeus and the tree, cast an anti demon ward (which she hopes will last a long time, to protect the vis source in the near future and not only now, then maintain it.*******

Sean was still in a battle situation (or in front of a sleeping warrior he can hit with a hard blow, knowing that magi make sometimes their enemies sleep but never for long, or not long enough), and Vance was going to make another blow with his wand against another norseman warrior. From his good point of view, Keythleen is ready to open an intangible tunnel and try to teleport back any of the man's of Alerock if shee sees them in a bad situation.

If nothing dangerous happens, Keythleen will try to determine the might of their enemies.**** ****

[size=75]* If you don't use last dies, a new one: 8
** i first searched his sheet on the wiki ^^
*** he gives initiative to the enemy to make a more useful counterattack: defense total is base 13 + die 7 = 20 and attack total is 15 + 9 (exertion with specialty on) + die 3= 27 (damage is 6).

**** Rolls for the ward: demoniac (formulaic), magical, feeric. First i thought about divine, but it's not a good idea in fact :slight_smile:.
So only those three; rolls are 6, 8 and 0 <= is it 1 botche die ?( with cautious sorcerer and the golden cord, that would mean -6 dies, but at least 1) so: unbotched.
Sponteanous Wards are with concentration and personal parameters. Level 11 (base 6 + conc) against might 21 [size=50](because normally ward are at +3 magnitudes and i only use +1 magnitude)[/size].
Casting are : 26,5, 22,5 (+aura/2) [note: i kept ,5 for aura/2 purpose, but it's rounded up). It means penetration are for the magical ward 21,5 and for the feeric ward 17,5 (+aura/2).

The demonic ward against infernal might 45 or less with (31+magical aura of Alerock penetration).

Each ward is maintened (the second die (a 0) is unbotched).

***** I assume such place is a magical aura, so no aura problem. With a roll of 3, i have a 35 (+ aura of Alerock) against 40 casting, which means spell is ok with, maybe a level of fatigue.

****** Casting 41+ die 2 against level 10 spell. It seems there could be a magical aura at the Gildan tree source vis and a dominion aura. So it would means penetration is 38 + magical aura - 6, so minimum is 32.
for the intangible tunnel, if needed: casting 64 +4 -6 + magical aura against 50, +6 penetration = 18 + magical aura for penetration purpose.

******* I made 2 concentration rolls if needed to draw the circle: one rolled a 0; which is unbotched
then casting the anti demon spells: casting is 64+ die 8 -6+ magical aura vs 35; penetration is 37+ magical aura for an anti demon 40 circle ward.
Maintening after that with a spell.
**** **** InVim spell, using base 3 (any might above 30) with vision parameter. I don't think that must penetrate (the improved sense is mine and i look at enemies warrior) and concentration duration. That is a level 20 spell. Casting is 23+ aura/2. That would work.
It's aligned on magic first.[/size]

As good as his tactical thinking is, Sean doesn't get time to play it out. The berserker, his mouth growing monstrously wide to give voice to a rage that no mere man could hold, launches himself at the steadfast grog, both going down in a tangle of limbs and reeking fur. There is barely a second of terrifying combat as the beast-man rakes at Sean's unarmoured body while the Scotsman bashes at its head with the pommel of his axe.* In the end, only Sean rolls away - his body covered in unnaturally deep slashes. The berserker lies mad and dazed, gnawing at his own claws, until Sean finishes him off with a blow to his head that drains the grog's last remaining reserve of energy.

From the top of the mound, Annaeus calls to Vance.

Annaeus: More coming, and the banner! Run while you can!

There is a brief rumbling sound as he twists his crutch in the mud, disappearing from the Circle of Justice only to reappear under the Hairy Tree. Moments later, Keythleen appears and greets him.

Annaeus: Salve yourself! Glad you showed up at long last!

As Keythleen briefly confers with her familiar, Annaeus spots a pair of large raiders heading for the tree.

Annaeus God strike me! Do we not get a moment's peace?

Through a brief break in the rain, Morphiste sees Annaeus teleport away as she tears a raider's arm from his body.** Momentarily distracted, she slips in a patch of greasy, decomposing corpse-flesh and goes sprawling, the splash of blood and rain being large enough for a raider to find her body with his axe.*** Beneath the shocking suddenness of the pain, the maga feels magic slipping off her Parma. The young raider, still bearing the arrow-shafts that slew him, looks momentarily confused at his failure to kill, but the remaining raiders close in, eager to finish the job.

At the barn, the raider facing Wodin widens the hole in the door until it is wide enough to step through. The wood seems to splinter even before the axe touches it, and flies into the barn with much greater force than the dead man's blows warrant. Heedless of all this, Wodin takes aim and buries his axe in the raider's side,**** dropping him to the floor to twitch and cough up sea foam. The cows begin
to snort and roll their eyes, their mooing rising in pitch as the grogs apply their nefarious expertise.

Another warrior lurches out of the storm towards behind Vance.

Sean: Behind us!

Vance reacts in time to flick another large timber at it. The impact drops the raider's body to the wet earth and sends its head flying to parts unknown.*****

Sean: The church! No time... to get... anywhere else...

  • [size=85]Die 9 +18 attack total - 5 wound penalty = 22 vs 20 Defence. Damage is 14 +2 attack advantage -4 soak = 12 (heavy wound). Sean's counterattack total is 22 (counting his new wound penalty) vs. Die 8 +13 defence total -5 wound penalty = 16. Damage is 6 +6 attack advantage -7 soak = 5 (light wound). [/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 5 +10 attack total = 15 vs Die zero +4 defence total -5 wound penalty = -1. Damage is 10 +16 attack advantage -6 soak = 20 (incapacitating wound, like it matters)[/size]
    *** [size=85]Die 2 +9 attack total = 11 vs. Die zero and botch! for a defence total of 0. Damage is 8 +11 attack advantage -10 soak (in bear form) = 9 (medium wound). [/size]
    **** [size=85]Die 6 +13 attack total = 19 vs Die 4 +12 defence total -4 wound penalty = 12. Damage is 8 +7 attack advantage -6 soak = 9 (medium wound). [/size]
    ***** [size=85]I've used your earlier roll of 21 for the damage, because a) it's a shame to waste a roll like that, b) I didn't think you'd object and c) Die 21 +10 large timber -6 soak = 25. A nice, clean kill keeps things simple! [/size]

Keythleen seeing enemies coming their way to the Hairy Tree.
That's not good
She has no knowledge about the enemy's realm and that's quite a bad thing. Having seen the pair of warrior, she calculated they couldn't be here in the next 30 seconds, as running is not easy when carrying massive axes and armors, plus the ground is not easy with the winds. So she started to make the circle around the tree and themselves.* She has an hesitation about their enemies realm, but seeing them coming for the tree, plus the need of slaughtering that were their, she guessed if they aren't infernal one - from which she could draw a circle after this one but was improbable because they were in a dominion place without problem - , they must be faeries, because no magical humans would have been so mad against peaceful humans; all magi known that magical creatures monsters only are dangerous!**

Sean was fearing his death : this warrior had too much power to be real. That couldn't be true. He was now running for his life, trying to cover the wizard but also fearing the madness he left behind him.
And Vance was dashing also. When he saw the church, he turned back to see if Sean was coming. Doing this, he tries to find a cut tree shaft or anything that could be used by the wand he had. If there is nothing, he goes inside the church with Sean.

[size=85]* Spell: die 6 + 45 +2 (aura from the tree) = 53 /2 = 27; spell level is a ward against faerie might 19, level 14 at conc, circle. penetration is 19. If needed for the purpose of circle drawing : no concentration botche.

** no magical, infernal or faerie lore, so only guessing![/size]

The pair of large raiders close the distance between them and the two magi quickly, their song issuing in deep voices despite horrible wounds in their throats. Annaeus uses the power of his crutch to send one flying across the open ground* but his companion covers the last three paces at a dead run, brings his sword down at Keythleen's undefended head... and there comes the sound of cracking ice as the sword is bent momentarily into a spiral before snapping back, leaving Keythleen completely untouched. For a moment, the raider does nothing but stare at his sword in mute incomprehension, his song dying on his black, swollen lips.

At the barn, another warrior, guts spilling from his slit belly, steps through the hole in the door, swashing his sword against the edge of his shield as if to signal the start of a duel. He then wastes no time launching a brutal assault that sends Wodin staggering back into the herd, blows ringing on his shield.**

Morphiste staggers to her feet and flails her claws in an attempt to keep the raiders far enough away to change shape. As if sensing what she is planning, they charge her in a frantic rush, but do little more than get in each other's way as they attack the empty air where they suppose her to be.***

Wodin desperately tries to force his way back to the gate, answering blow for blow until he hears the cracking of damp wood and sees his axe buried in the bone of the raider's shield arm.**** This proves too much for the dead man on top of the damage inflicted by the rockfall at the beach - his milky eyes roll back in his head and he plunges to the ground. The cattle try to shy away from the body, but have little room to move. From the back of the barn comes the enthusiastic swearing of grogs in danger of being crushed under the weight of cow-flesh.

Rhys: Alright... this might be quicker than we thought!

As Keythleen finishes her makeshift circle around the base of the tree, Vance finds another target in the raiders now pursuing him and his erstwhile bodyguard towards the church. The timber, once part of a sturdy door-frame, flies straight and true, impaling a the dead warrior through the stomach and pinning to the earth of the churchyard.*****
There is no time to see whether the man stays pinned - the door to the church looms into view, stout, solid and resolutely shut...

  • [size=85]Die 8 +8 damage for Rebuke of the Aesir -6 soak = 10 (medium wound)[/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 5 +11 attack total -3 wound penalty = 13 vs Die 4 +13 defence total = 17[/size]
    *** [size=85]Dice zero, 4, 6, 7, 7 (no botch) +9, 6, 7, 6, 7 attack totals = 9, 10, 13, 13 and 14 vs Die 6 +9 defence total +9 Wizard's Sidestep bonus -3 wound penalty = 21[/size]
    **** [size=85]Die 3 +13 attack total +5 exertion bonus = 21 vs Die 5 +11 defence total -3 wound penalty = 13. Damage is 8 +8 attack advantage -6 soak = 10 (medium wound). [/size]
    ***** [size=85]Die 7 (using the next in Exar's queue) +10 Piercing Shaft of Wood -6 soak = 11 (heavy wound)[/size]

Vance and Sean arrive at the church... and the doors are closed.
Hell no!
Sean comes near the door: Hello, can you open the door? we are chased by some warriors...

In the same time, Vance is sure they wouldn't open the door, because those men must be really scared. He gently put his hand on Sean's shoulder: They won't open: those are scared people facing an unknown menace.
He examines the situation, trying to think quick: what those creatures could be? Faeries or magical beings?* After that, he thinks about Annaeus. The magus must have gone to the Hairy Tree to protect it. Meaning, with chance, the magi are there.

Sean, while speaking and asking again for the opening of the doors (which is not coming...), look at the laying down warrior.** As the warrior seems to be pinned down, he thinks fast and then say: Wizard Vance! I can kill that one, so he wouldn't be a problem for longer. Vance agreed and nod. I propose after you kill that one, we'll go to the hairy tree. I suppose the magi are there... and we should have a better view than from here

The two are now agreeing each other plan, and seems to have found a compromise. Vance is looking around them while Sean take the javelins he has in his gear. Then, the old man, with the despair energy, try to hit the enemy head while he isn't too much moving...***

Vance is looking at the result... because if the warrior is not taken down by that, they will have to flee quick... his powers are useless in such place!
But, he kept the wand ready to back up old Sean if needed...

During that time, Keythleen is revived: one of her ward has been effective. But she has no time to wonder which. Now that the circle is finished, she sets herself in, trying to spot Annaeus : is he okay? the Giant seems to be fine and to have some tricks to use against his enemies, so Keythleen, thinking her personal ward protect her, try to asleep the warrior facing her. And she is very attentive at the fact that the circle faeric ward is useful or useless against her enemy.****

She is more trying to see if those warriors have a mind than to actually asleep them. Because, during she's doing that, she's also envisaging what she could do - as she haven't achieved her new Muto Vim spell, she would use some spontaneous MutoVim to change her own Call to slumber. Her mind was calculating fastly, help by her prodigious knowledge in magic theory.
*If I use a non fatiguing spontaneous level 10 Muto Vim spell totally changing a spell, i'll need to have a touch magnitude, so the base level would be 5, and i could only transform a level 5 spell, thus i'd need to exert myself, which is not really a good thing since i'm already a little dazzed due to my spontaneous circle ward. And i can't spont a such easy level 5 because - due to the great lack in magic theory! - i can't transform the spontaneous magic, because spontaneous magic is taken from the magic that i have...
So if i take the problem from the other side, i'd need a level 20 mutovim spell, which i can't produce from thin air without exerting myself... Speak about lazyness, Keyth!
And if try to speak with Annaeus, a he is with verditius and b he seems pretty able to do some things by himself.

I could try to destroy the might from those creatures, but i would need to known their realm... Don't you want to hurt me with your petty little axe, you bastard (is she thinking while looking at the warrior and his ability - or not - to cross the faeric circle ward). And even if could do that, i would have to exert myself.
Wouldn't I? Let's check, I could spont' a level 5 spell without any fatigue... Oh yeah, i will try that then!*[/i]

Keythleen was before everything, a theorician. Always calculating, checking parameters, planning normal situations, envisaging other more uncommon... and forgetting, sometimes about things as basic: the warrior could have been sleeping while she was so much in her math's process... and she has the need to revive in her head what has happened when she has cast her Call to slumber spell: has it worked or not?

[size=85]* die 5 + 1 lore + 2 int = 8 in faerie and magic lore.

**If i have well understood: 1 warrior is laying down (or getting up) inside the village, following Vance and Sean; 2 are facing the magi near the Hairy Tree and 1 is against the grogs in the country with the cattle.

*** die 6 +9 (attack total) + 5 (exerting) -5 (heavy wound) = 15 for attack, damage is 5. I don't known enemy stats and wounds state, so i have to let you roll the defending roll, sorry.

**** Call to slumber is a formulaic: casting score is 41 + die 6 + aura 2 = 49 and penetration is 44.[/size]

There seems to be no shortage of raiders waiting to do battle in the barn. Another one steps through the gap in the door, holding an axe in a hand already shredded by old sword cuts. Wodin steps over the still-gasping body of his last opponent and takes a blow on his shield that would have killed a lesser fighter easily.*

As rainwater drips down through the shaggy boughs of the Hairy Tree, Annaeus shoots a quick look at Keythleen.

Annaeus: Well, whatever you've done it seems to be working. How long will it hold, then?

Receiving no immediate reply from her (as she plans spells in her head), he turns to the stymied raider.

Annaeus: Right, then. Since we're not trying to kill each other at the moment, mind tellin' us where you've come from and just what you're after?

Rather than answer his question, the raider backs off a few paces, pulls a hatchet from his belt and throws it hard at the giant magus. Keythleen's spell suddenly seizes the hatchet in mid-air and spirals it quickly to the ground. The rich raider's howl of frustration merges with a crescendo in the song as the second warrior picks himself up and rejoins his companion.

Across the river, Morphiste manages to stay clear of the pack of young raiders for long enough to assume falcon shape again.** Flying with her side wound is incredibly painful, let alone trying to stay on course through the wind and driving rain. Reaching the safety of Alerock is out of the question. Searching through the weather for a safe haven, she spots the Hairy Tree beyond the church and heads in its direction.

The cry echoes around the barn:

Padraig: Get out of the way! THEY'RE MOVING!

Finally seeing a way to escape their tormentors, the shaggy herd lower their heads, flare their nostrils and burst forth in a wave of bellowing, eye-rolling, bovine panic. Wodin, locked in mortal combat with the axe-wielding corpse-warrior, backs away, stumbling, swinging and screaming, barely managing to dive to one side of the gate as the herd breaks through the unbarred gate like a wave crashing over a wall of loose sand.***

The raider, never pausing in his song, goes down under dozens of thundering hooves.**** As Wodin cowers by the gate, desperately trying to keep from following, he finds himself unable to forget the look of maniacal satisfaction on the dead man's face as he was pushed under.

Vance and Sean have time to wonder what the rumbling noise is as the old grog looses his javelin at the pinned raider. His torn muscles and loss of blood ruin his aim, and instead of punching through the man's rusty helmet, the weapon hits the raider in his sword arm, leaving him looking like a parody of the crucifixion.***** Turning their heels and fleeing as fast as they can manage, they pass a few panicked cattle, rushing through the village without any clear direction. The cause becomes clear when they stumble across the barn, its gate yawning open and several trampled raiders lying immobile in the mud.

Keythleen feels the familiar power of the spell flow through her, but the raider at which she directed it shows no signs of being affected. Instead, the big man turns and begins waving his arms over his head, obviously trying to attract the attention of someone or something.

Through the rain, Vance spies two things - Wodin gingerly picking himself up in the doorway, and the Raefen banner of the raiders chieftain moving steadily closer.

  • [size=85]Die 5 +13 attack total -3 wound penalty = 15 vs Die 2 +13 defence total [/size]
    ** [size=85]Die 4 +6 Shapeshifter +2 Stamina -3 wound penalty = 9[/size]
    *** [size=85]Die 2 +13 defence total +5 exertion bonus = 20 vs Die 8 +13 attack total -3 wound penalty = 18[/size]
    **** [size=85]I've arbitrarily assigned a damage value of +15, giving a damage of 15 + Die 8 -6 soak = 17 (incapacitating wound).[/size]
    ***** [size=85]Attack total of 15 vs Die 0 (hard to dodge when you're pinned to the ground with a giant splinter through your abdomen) +11 defence total -5 wound penalty = 6. Damage is 5 +9 attack advantage -6 soak = 8 (medium wound)[/size]

Emerging from her thoughts, said to Annaeus: They are not happy and they'll die ! while she immediatly starts to cast a Rego Mentem and a Muto Vim spells again him. Since the faerical ward was efficient, this resolved her main problem: knowing their might realm.

Faerie... diabolical beings!

She start to cast her spells... Her idea was to transform her call to slumber spell in a Perdo Vim spell.*

Vance is now running with Sean to the tree, because all has been bad as he expected : except him, all the others are totally useless in this battle. Well, perhaps the magus Annaeus is worth of half his own value. But that's all !

Sean tries to warn his fellows friends: "Go to the tree: the church is closed, they will follow us!

[size=85]* Call to slumber : penetration is : 47 , concentration roll is 14 and MuVim spell is level 20 (base 15, + touch) to allow the transformation of a spell which is (base (15) +1 magnitude /2) = 10 = call to slumber. The MuVi spell casting total is 32, which is okay. Fatigue level at -1 now.

The Muto Vim spell effect is, according the guideline 3 from MuVi :

  1. transform the technique and form from Rego Mentem to Perdo Vim (without requisite for Pe in the MuVi spell)
  2. gives 2 extra magnitude for a total change
  3. the target remains the raider.

Normally the spell becomes: Perdo Vim, faerie eternal oblivion, at voice, level 20; destroys 20 might points. Penetration is 47.

The dies are 9, 7 and 8 for those actions[/size]

Wodin nods wordlessly to Sean, not sure whether the warrior sees the movement through the storm, then gathers up his axe, shield and men.

Wodin: Right, you lot. Get to the tree, quick as you can. The wizards are there already, and you know they'd be heads on pikes without us!

Without comment, for once, the warriors of Alerock follow their leader out of the dubious safety of the barn towards whatever awaits beneath the Hairy Tree.

At the tree itself, Annaeus sees the grogs approaching, with Vance and Sean following behind. He creates an opening for them to approach the best way he can think of, sending the hatchet-thrower hurtling backwards before sliding through the mud and manure for several paces. The raider picks himself up, apparently not badly hurt by the spell,* but there is enough time for the running men to sprint through into the circle.

Annaeus: Mind how you go wi' yon circle. Could be important, sommat like that...
Wodin: The village is lost, but we might be able to defend the church, if we could get to it.
Annaeus: Oh, aye, I expect so. Now hush, (he points at Keythleen) grown-ups are working.

All eyes are on Keythleen as she finishes her spell. When the end comes, it is almost anticlimactic - judging by the look on his ruined face, the raider has enough time to register what is happening before his body smears itself out in a spiral, like butter in a churn, and vanishes. In the end, all that remains of the dead man is a silver arm-ring, blackened with tarnish from years lying on the sea floor.

  • [size=85]Die 4 +8 for Rebuke of the Aesir -6 soak = 6 (light wound)[/size]

Keythleen is now a little tired but feels okay. She turns to the grogs and Annaeus. Sodalis, those creatures are faeries. For now, i'll try to give one of our soldiers - this one (showing Wodin) , the captain, maybe - a ward against them. If you are able to do the same, i'll advise you do too on some other. With the fatigue i feel, i won't be able to make a lot of spontaneous spell... At most, i can protect 2 of our warriors, but I would have to go to Alerock to take some rest. This area (showing the circle) seems protected. I'd say you can use this as headquarter if needed.

Then turning to Wodin: It seems those creatures are some kind of faeries. In consequence, i'll give you a good protection against them and they, normally, will not be able to hit you anymore. But that will not be easy, so please, don't move.
She then starts to make some kind of magical spell, Rego Vim warding...*, then another rego vim to maintain it
And another one to Padraig** which exhausts our little maga Keythleen.

-Ffff- (heavy breathing sound) Annaeus, I have done what i could, that means 4th magnitude wards against faeries, as the circle one here is 4th also. I'm pretty sure Wodin's ward is a heavy one, but Padraig is a little bit weak in comparison. -Fff- The -ff- penetration is almost 4th magnitude for the first -fff- and a little more than 3d for the second one. -ffff- Without energy, I will not be able to do much more... I'm not used to battle... I need to learn some spells I had intention to, before I can be -fff- useful in a situation like this. If you have some -fff- magic item I could use from the security of this ward, I can keep helping you, otherwise, i'll bring our wounded men to Alerock with me...

Keythleen is exhausted, and her wording is cut by that.

[size=85]* ward is conc and touch. aimed level is 15 (for a 20 ward). Casting score is 19 (rego) +23 (vim) +3 (sta) -1 (fatigue) +2 (aura) + die 1 then 5 = 56/2 = 28 ; penetration is: 28-15+6 = 19 for the 20 ward...
Successfully maintened at moon.

** casting total is now with a die 7 and -3 fatigue, 51, so penetration is 17 for a 20 ward. Successfully maintened[/size]

By the time Keythleen has finished her spells, a small party is clearly visible, approaching slowly under the reafen banner - two richly dressed warriors, one holding the banner pole in one hand and his own severed head in the other, the massive chieftain with the sword protruding from his breastbone and the black-robed, bearded man with one eye. Next to his dead retinue, the one-eyed man looks hale and hearty.

Annaeus motions for Wodin and Padraig to help Keythleen lower herself to the ground, then speaks quickly.

Annaeus: I don't know any warding spells, and I'm pretty sure you don't want me trying to make things up on the fly. If this lot want to kill us, take the wand I gave to Vance and do what you can with it. If not, we'll see what they want to do.

He turns to the two warriors.

Annaeus: Right, you two scurry off and keep the church safe. We don't know how many more of these bastards are out there, or what they're up to, but it looks like the ones that might be able to hurt you through Keythleen's wards are here, and we can keep them busy for a while.

The faeries watch as the two warded men hustle towards the church. Then, through the rain, you hear the faerie song abruptly cease. The dead men are standing still, fingering their weapons and watching the group under the tree intently. The one-eyed man lifts his voice and addresses the small company.

One-Eyed Man: Well, I wish we could have met under better circumstances, but I suppose this will have to do. I know who you are, and you know doubt have an inkling of who I am.

From the boughs above, there comes a rustling and a sudden shower of heavy droplets as Morphiste perches heavily on a branch and tries to somehow catch her breath without breathing heavily and exacerbating the pain in her side.

One-Eyed Man: And now, at last, we're all together. Isn't this... convivial?

Keythleen is a little tired but this isn't the time to collapse.
Seeing the two newcomers, she wonders why those are now willing to talk. Due to this fact, a subtle odor of strawberry come from her.

At the two faeries, she say: I don't have any idea of you who are, except you were hunting and trying to kill our men, so I define you as invaders. So would you please state your identity if you want us to consider yourself as named being and not only as faeries of the dark tales?

While speaking, she sit on a root of the Hairy Tree. She needs to rest, and if a little chat can gain her time, she won't be against it.

Old Sean, using this time of negociation, begin to check his own wounds* while Vance give discreetly the wand to Keythleen and look to the windstorm. If a fight occurs, using the aura of the Hairy Tree, he would use it to summon a powerful Air elemental... that could be a very good thing to releash... if only he has the time, that means, the magi are able to gain him time with their little petty powers...

[size=85]* Chirurgy: 0 in ability, 2 if dex or 0 if int, die 9 = 11 or 9 (Dex or Int)[/size]