Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fighting for Hearth and Home

When word came from the Watchers that the host of Iron Men in the pass had taken the North East road, the Elder of Smawlton was quick to send word to Duke Bedwyr and to set the Villagers to barricading the village streets.

From behind their barricades the village folk watched the long enemy column crawl across the plain with a screen of horsemen scouting ahead. From the woods they could see a shower of arrows rain on the enemy's scouts who replied from horseback with their crossbows. Moments later there was a sudden clamour of screeching and howling as a group of Watchers  rushed from the woods only to be cut down by the horsemen and scattered. A brave folk but rash when their blood was up. Their attack was not in vain though, the Midlish column halted and began to deploy for battle. They had barely started forward again when thundering hooves announced the advance guard of the Duke's men rushing to meet the foe.

The Earl of Oxford urged his men forward, wanting to settle the local force before the inevitable arrival of the Duke. The veteran mercenaries in the wood were doing their job though and company after company of archers were sent back to face them while the light horse were ordered forward to screen the knights from the arrows of the Federate light horse. Eventually the deployment was complete and the Earl signalled for a general advance but it had barely started when trumpets and loud cheers announced the arrival of Duke Bedwyr.

As the Federation lancers rode on and deployed, a young warrior, glittering in gold from his old fashioned winged helmet to his stirrups, rode forward from the ranks.
It was the young chieftain, Prince Wyngnuht, 8th of his name, a descendent of one of the most gallant and least fortunate of the generals of old Valdur and said to be the spitting image of his ancestor and to have inherited his courage and luck. He raised his battleaxe, bellowed a challenge to the Earl, and spurred his horse forward followed by the whole of the Federation lancers.


Alas, the ordered ranks of the heavily armoured Midlish knights were not to be shattered by such wild charges and fully half of the lancers were scattered, leaving the bloodied body of the young Prince on the ground.

Muttering quiet curses to himself, the old Duke ordered his men and set them to foiling the enemy's plans.  He sent the Herdsmen to circle the village and harass the enemy rear while the rest of Lancers and Light Horse kept the enemy cavalry busy.

The Losses of the Federation cavalry continued to mount as charge followed charge interspersed with exchanges of arrows but the enemy cavalry made little progress. It appeared that the Earl preferred to keep his cavalry intact and leave the village to his infantry rather than risking the loss of yet more cavalry so early in his raid.

Those infantry were making little headway though. A prolonged struggle at the barricades was bloody for both sides but the packed ranks of spearmen were not best suited for attacking over such broken ground under a shower of spears, throwing axes, rocks and whatever else came to hand.

To the south, the mercenary Goblins had finally dispersed  the last of the Midlish rearguard and had advanced from the woods, adding their arrows to those of the Herdsmen who galloped past the enemy's flanks to trade shots with the Midlish bowmen. 

Both armies were near exhaustion as the sun sank towards the horizon and the town was not yet taken. The Earl knew that more Federate forces would be marching through the night to meet them and even if his army captured the town as dark fell, he had lost too many men and too much time for the raid to go farther. It was time to pull back into the pass and either entrench and call up reinforcements, or head for home.   

As the Midlish pulled back, the villagers spread out, bringing succour to the wounded. To the Duke's great relief, the rash young Prince, who had been his guest when word of the raid had come, was only wounded. He would live to ride again, hopefully at the head of his own people.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Retribution

It has been a year since the Battle under the Tower (click)  but the villages North of the Great Pass still keep a wary eye out for the enemy.

Then one day in late January................


To Arms! The Enemy is at hand!


Monday, January 27, 2020

The Watchers in the Pass

The Free Folks that form the Northern Federation are not the only inhabitants North of the Mountains. Among the forests and craggy cliffs and caverns of the Mountains them selves dwell various non-human races which the humans are prone to call Goblins regardless of what they call themselves.

Prince August Goblins and Wargs, fresh from the mould. I'm pretty sure I can get some sharper castings with a bit of work but I was in the mood to add a few fantasy figures.

The mercenary companies that garrison many of the border posts and go on raids are raised from the larger races that dwell in the Eastern Mountains. However, there is a smaller race of hunters and trappers that lives in and near the Great Pass and it is these who have an agreement with the Federation to watch the pass and send word of threats in exchange for the right to levy tolls on those who use the pass. In time of war they have been known to send parties including their fierce Wolfdogs to scout for and fight alongside Federation troops and to bring home what plunder they may get.