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Old 05-21-2015, 03:43 PM   #1
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Shield Hard Winters RPG

Short general introduction to the Scarburg Mead Hall

Scarburg Mead Hall had had a stormy beginning. By king Eomer’s word, Eodwine was made Eorl of Middle Emnet to bring it under king’s peace. This was done because it was known in Edoras that some of the stronger and wealthier local landholders in Middle Emnet sought more to add to their own wealth than to rule well, show loyalty to the king, or work for the common good.

Finding only smoking ruins at Scarburg Hall, the folk who joined Eodwine began the hard task of rebuilding the old Hall and establishing the new Eorldom. Sadly, Eorl Eodwine took ill before he had time to see either task finished, and was deemed beyond healing.

Believing his loyal servant to be dying, king Eomer chose as new eorl for Scarburg, Athanar, a renowned hero of the War, battle tested chieftain, a man strong enough of fiber to make firm the King's rule. Although given to quick wrath, he was reliable, trustworthy, stern, and strong.

Eorl Athanar’s efforts at bringing the Mead Hall under his rule were doomed to failure from the very beginning, for the folk of Scarburg were loyal to Eodwine's memory and light-handed rule, and chafed under the more stern authority of Athanar. They had no wish to be ruled by the new eorl. Amid much mayhem, with great resolve Eorl Athanar did finish the mead hall, and by a set of bold moves brought the local landholders under the king’s rule – at least for the time being.

Then, unforeseen by all, like one risen from the dead, Eodwine came back.

Jumping to the present Mead Hall

Year 16 of the Fourth Age saw the finishing of the Mead Hall. Not all wounds were healed inside the Mead Hall but with Saeryn giving birth to twins even those ills seemed to be set aside by most people for the time being. The two eorls seemed to get along well enough and seemed content with a sharing of responsibilities. Eodwine still healing, and a father of the newborns, Athanar oversaw the daily life of the Mead Hall – but was hearing the counsel of Eodwine. Thus, most of those loyal to Eodwine came to trust Athanar a little more.

The summer was far busier than anyone could have expected. With king Elessar’s trip to lake Evendim, all the lands under his rule received many visitors journeying where they had never dared to go before. The Scarburgers built a two-story shed for visitors who were happy with a more modest bedding.

The local landholders, eager to line their pockets, set aside their dislike of the new masters in Scarburg.

As the spring of year 17 of the Fourth Age carried with it troublesome news. There were more raids of Easterling tribesmen and groups of orcs from Wold, East Emnet and North Marches.

King Eomer called a muster of eorlingas from the northern and north-eastern parts of the Mark. He called upon Athanar to be chieftains over all of the eorlingas from the Middle Emnet. He took with him most of his men and some of eorl Eodwine’s as well. Athanar's sons, Wulfric and Wilheard, were mustered alongside most of the local landholders and their sons.

Having not fully recovered from his illness, Eorl Eodwine was charged with sole rule of the Mead Hall once again – with only a handful of eorlings left to defend it.

A not so small group of easterling fugitives from the wars in the east, stumbled upon the Mead Hall. By lucky chance, Cnebba and his friends were puttering about amid the outskirts of the Scar, and spied the undisciplined rabble before they knew they had been seen, and well before the easterlings realized what kind of easy booty lay before them.

Cnebba brought the news to the Eorl, who mustered the few eorlings in his charge. They took their places in defense, and by means of a sudden rain of arrows upon the enemy, made it seem as if there were more of them than there were.

However, the easterlings' sudden losses did not lessen their desperate greed to take this prize and what loot it might have to offer. They laid siege. A sense of dread set in among the folk of Scarburg, for they were badly outnumbered.

Rowenna came to Eodwine and asked leave to gather any boys, girls, and women who were willing to be given quick and basic training in banditry, and do what damage they could. Eodwine thought the request odd, but given their dire straits, saw no reason to say her nay.

Between night raids, baiting, and other means, Rowenna and her makeshift gang of bandits picked off one, two, or three easterlings at a time. It was a mere few days before the easterlings were demoralized, according to the reports from Rowenna's well placed spies, and in the face of an eorling sally at dawn, the easterlings broke camp and fled, or sued for mercy.

Knowing that the Mead Hall could not feed and house so many captives, Eodwine charged them to leave the Middle Emnet, going he cared not where, and that any found within a day's walk on the morrow, would be killed on the spot. Whether Eodwine meant his threat or not, became a matter of debate among the folk of the Mead Hall, for he would not say.

The following day, search parties were sent out, and only one easterling was found within a day's march; this one was found sitting cross-legged, not two stone's throws from the Mead Hall beyond the Scar. His weapons were laid down and he rose, his hands held above his head. In broken Westernesse he said that the unmercy of the mead hall, whether death or imprisonment, was better than any other fate that awaited him elsewhere. Eodwine took pity on him against the heated objections of Rowenna. This one proved his worth over the following months and years. His name was Jian.

The riders of the Riddermark drove the scattered enemies away from the eastern parts of the Mark, but before they could return more serious news was brought to Edoras. King Elessar had come back from the north and was mustering an army to ride north-east, to Rhûn, to defeat the source of the raiders that festered the eastern borderlands of Gondor, of which the raiders to the Mark were only a small part.

Lord Athanar and his eorlings were mustered with the larger call to arms and rode beside king Eomer to the east led by the high king Elessar his Gondorian army late in year 17.

In year 18 of the Fourth Age the spring came late and the northern parts of the Mark missed the first sowing. Most of the men were waging a war in the east under the banners of king Elessar of Gondor. It was clear there wouldn’t be a good harvest this year. Many thought these were ill omens.

The eorlingas came back from the war in the east in early autumn. Their return brought hope, and there was a night of singing and dancing to celebrate the victory. The dead, including Athanar's oldest son, Wulfric, who was cut down in the closing battle, were honored and buried with song.

Eorl Athanar was awarded for his bravery and leadership in the war in the East with a chieftainship on the frontier of the Rhun, answerable directly to the Prince of Ithilien - a prestigious post indeed. Thus was ended the unhappy double leadership in Scarburg since seeing that Eorl Eodwine was whole enough to claim back his seat in Scarburg.

But the worst was to come. The men came back just in time to help with the second harvest, but just after two days winter came. It was October.

Biting cold settled in upon the Mark for many days. The ground froze. The crops died in the fields. Athanar deemed it wise to take leave, with his folk, so there would be fewer mouths to feed in Scarburg. He took with him a large party back to Edoras, vowing to ask king Eomer for any goods that could be spared. He left a few eorlings behind to help Eodwine, for their number at the Mead Hall had become thin indeed.

Then came snow. Athanar and his folk escaped the first blizzard in thenick of time. Wind swept fields, forest, and roads were covered. When sunlight finally glared over the vast white, the drifts were man-high. The Mead Hall was cut off from the rest of the Mark, even the nearest landholders..

The snowbanks hardened and were very hard to dig through. New snowstorms added more layers of snow. Walking on the face of the desert of snow was treacherous, for one never knew where one might fall through and land a few feet below. The folk dug narrow, high walled paths to their store of chopped wood, the meat shed, and the smithy. They were soon low on firewood.

In year 19 of the Fourth Age the winter took even firmer grip of the Mead Hall.

In February they tore down the sheds they had built just two years ago for firewood. They sent a few eorlings to find help during sunny cold days in March. The men made makeshift shoes of cross-cut wood, tied to their boots, so they could walk on the top of the man-and-a-half high snow. The men never returned.

In late March, the Mead Hall began to feel the pangs of starvation: the old and infirm were dying, first one then another a few days later, then another a day more .... until a pall hung over the Mead Hall, and it seemed that death and despair might win the day as well as the night. In April they tore apart the upper story of the guest wing, and used it for firewood, and ate bark from trees boiled in snow.

In May, spring came suddenly. Days and days of balmy sunshine warmed the air and melted the snow quickly.

Five days after the sudden warming of the weather the people of the Mead Hall heard a remarkable sound from far away: something very noisy was coming through the snow and the rising flood waters.

Carts trundling down the muddy road, filled with food, were spotted first by the children, who ran back to the hall screaming in joy. They were saved!

In the lead wagon was Athanar’s son Wilheard.

~*~ writen by littlemanpoet

Last edited by piosenniel; 06-13-2015 at 10:52 AM.
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