Still in Halderton, trying to understand what caused the rumors of a resistance, Deirik and Ygvard learn of a young woman named Tianna who may have some of the information they seek. They make their way out to Tianna's family farmstead and end up dealing with Tianna's overly protective mother who all but forces them to leave her land. However, Tianna is intrigued and meets the two at a fence further out in their fields. She, being 18 years old, is impetuous and has like-minded friends, so she explains that when the orcs were hurting her mother some weeks ago, Tianna decided enough was enough. Knowing that she couldn't attack just the one orc, she gathered a large group of the young adults of Halderton and ambushed all the orcs in town.
Deirik and Ygvard realize that this is no resistance, only kids who thought they were doing the right thing and have only made matters worse. This explains the aggressive anti-rebellion attitude of Seamus, the town elder; he doesn't want the kids of the town to pay the price. However, the Men of Mjarn have their orders, they must defeat Voldash's forces and embarrass him whether the town wants them to or not.
Within a couple more days, Eirik, Boldulf, and the hobgoblin army arrive just outside Halderton. Deirik and Ygvard go out to meet them and inform them of what they've found. After some discussion, they all decide their best chance to achieve their mission and survive is to use the hobgoblins, Lord Krogan's hobgoblins, against the orcish force that Lord Voldash is gathering.
In the meantime, to prevent the town elders from sending word to Voldash that there is an army here to greet them, the Men of Mjarn determine they must put Halderton under marshall law and bring the hobgoblin troops into town to enforce it.
The "rebel leader", Tianna, asks what she and her friends can do to help since they started this mess. So the men devise a plan to use the Dorns, under Tianna's leadership, to build a freestanding palisade on the path to Halderton from the South and have them stationed behind it. The hobgoblins, being the better ranged fighters than orcs, would then perform a pincer ambush from both sides of the path.
The Men of Mjarn once again decide to split up. Eirik and Deirik look around Halderton and the areas just south looking for the best place to stage this attack. Boldulf and Ygvard head even further south to scout out Voldash and his orcish force. Eirik and Deirik find the perfect spot for their ambush on a large path through a nearby small forest and begin their preparations.
Boldful and Ygvard take several days to find Voldash, but eventually do and count his orcish force at approximately 150 strong, accompanied by 3 oruks, and Voldash himself with his astirax. They learn that Voldash is traveling by night, since orcs are naturally nocturnal and very sensitive to daylight, and are moving relatively slowly. Boldulf and Ygvard then race back to Deirik and Eirik to relay what they've learned.
Armed with this information, the Men of Mjarn discuss a change in strategy. They use their extensive knowledge of survival tactics to determine that the orcish force will likely camp just south of the edge of this small forest the men are currently in before they continue on to Halderton. With the hobgoblins being weaker in both body and muscle than the orcs, choosing the time and place of the battle is key, so awaiting the orcs arrival at the palisade adds risk they can't afford. So they set up a new ambush point at the southern edge of the forest, digging ditches, setting up an abatis, and scouting the maximum range of the hobgoblin bows to use them to best effect. If they attack during the day, when the orcs are at their weakest, this just might work.
With their trap set, the Men of Mjarn and their hobgoblin army await their prey...
Player Commentary: those freaking, lame ass "rebels!" I swear, those kids drove us crazy. I was all keyed up to "Seven Samurai" the situation, and to have the whole thing be a bunch of a self-righteous teenagers! Ugh!
The martial law element was a pretty big argument around the party. My character, Eirik, was in nominal leadership of them, and knew his position was tentative, at best. Most of the party wanted to keep the hobgoblins as far from the town as possible, but I felt that was nonsense. These were trained warriors who had already spent way to much time living off the land--they needed warm food and a roof over their head. And if they were going to fight and die for this podunk town, then this town was going to supply them.
Yes, the actual conflict was between the Legates, but Halderton was going to be crushed without the hobgoblins.
The other players were freaked out--"what would we do if a hobgoblin killed someone?!?" and the like. Honestly, at this point, I felt the die was cast. Once we knew we couldn't Seven Samurai this, and we needed to go with an open fight, we needed the hobgoblins, and we needed to treat them right. And thus did Eirik begin his own, slow, corruption...
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