Eight roads home

Corag and Co

Barbarians

Meeting with Corag and the People of the North

As you approach the Barbarian border the first thing you notice is the huge strip of cleared land that runs along the entire border into their land. This is not a natural feature. The land has been cleared and flattened and is void of vegetation. It looks like a huge scar in the earth. There is also a white line that clearly marks the far edge of the scar. It is made up of small white posts. There are boys running along this line white washing the posts which stick out of the ground about 2’. The posts are about 20’ apart. The only structures you see is the line of Towers that guard the entry to the north lands. There are no villages in sight no signs of people anywhere except for the towers and the boys white washing the post, running back and forth along the line. The towers stand 100’ tall not counting the four poles that suspend the canvas roof. There are people visible on top the tower and they apparently have noticed you. They begin a fire and blue black smoke billows out of the top of the canvas. They also begin flashing messages using mirrors. The other towers relay these messages along the border in each direction. They know you are here, the question is how will you be greeted. There doesn’t appear to be preparations being made to attack you. The watchers from the tower seem to be signaling you. They want you to land and talk with them. You see Corag waiting for you he is with several other barbarians, a woman, 3 children and 4 other men. Two of the men are dressed similar to Corag, and one is an elder. The last is about Corag’s age, but he is dressed differently and blonde with fairer skin, his eyes are dark green with gold stripes radiating out from the pupils. Corag gives venom a huge hug and begins introductions; Morgan is his wife, Cougar a boy of about 9, Agate a girl of about 7, and Corat a boy of about 5. The Elder is introduced as Seer White Star, the two men like Corag are Jogar, and Feenuk. The other man with the green eyes is named Logar. Logar is from the far North east where the fishermen live. Corag tells you there is a village nearby and you are welcome to come and eat with them and that he will call a council meeting so you can discuss with them what it is you have to say. They take you just a couple of miles and then stop. You can see a few bronze tubes sticking out of the ground some of them have light wisps of smoke coming from them. Corag pulls away a large canvas covered with stubble, bleow is a door leading to a large meeting hall underground. Corag explains that all buildings are built under ground. He leads you into the meeting hall and as you wait for the others Seer White Star explains some of the ways of the People of the North. The Barbarians: The people of the north as they call themselves have defended and protected their land for centuries. No-one has ever successfully invaded their territory. They have set up a kill zone along their border using catapult, balista, and other siege engines of their own design. Their border is marked by small white posts that are white washed by boys from 8 to 10years old, this is refered to as maintaining the line. When they are older, if they become warriors, they will man the line by standing over a post ready to fight for their homeland. The posts are about 20’ apart and run for miles along the border very few enemies have ever made it to the line let alone past it. The people of the north have huge supplies of food, from Mamoth herds, to seals and whales, as well as fish farms and vegetable gardens, not to mention natures bounty of berries and nuts. They all work together from the youngest to the oldest. The children go out in groups supervised by an elder and pick berries and nuts. They are told by the elders when to stop picking in an area so they don’t strip it out and casuse the animals to starve. They build their houses under ground digging out the dirt to use in their elevated gardens, and reinforcing the walls with wood and mammoth bones. they make bronze tubes to let out the excess heat and smoke from their fires and the earth keeps them cool in the summer and the snow actually helps keep them warm in the winter. They have massive Ice caves where they make ice for refrigeration purposes as well as for making Ice shot for their catapults. The ice is moved during the winter to the south and stored in deep Warehouses they have dug under ground below the permafrost. They use their own dung as well as that of their animals to produce nasty catapult shot, orcs hate being hit by flaming bags of poop. As well, they make fire bricks for signal fires and also fertilizer. They drain off the liquid and use it to make a low grade acid with which they cut lime stone. They take long stpis of wood covered in paraffin and make a thin channel and pour the acid on the limestone to cut it. It takes a long time to cut a huge block, but they are patient people and don’t need huge blocks of limestone everyday. They have huge watch towers along their border made of wood about 30’ up the sides of the towers are rigged with rope and pulleys to lower and lock into place with poles from underneath. these wings are 40’ long and allow 32 archers per side to form 2 double lines and fire from. The towers are 100’ Tall and have fire pits for sending signals and small catapults for defense, there is also a crude telescope monted on each tower to help watch the border and beyond and a signal Mirror. The children are refered to as toys, mostly for the mothers amusement and they are cute to look at. Once they are able to leave their homes, they are taken into groups and watch by the elders. They are given chores to do, like pickng berries or other easy tasks and as they grow the elders watch them and move them to tasks that suit their abilities. The fast are sent to the line when they are old enough, the smart ones are sent north to work with the alchemists and the shamans, the ones who,like to fight becomw warriors and those who have the knack become farmers. Nothing is wasted and there are lots of people. It is a huge abundant land and it is well managed. The population shows this. There are millions of people of the north and all but the youngest or the infirm do battle in times of war. They are not all on the front lines, but women who cannot fight sharpen weapons and cook for the soldiers, children who are too young to fight carry packages and messages and help to make bandages and poultices and any other task they can help with all the while learning the life of a p[eople in contrast, living in peace with the land and at war with all those who would come against them. They have seen what others have done to the world and they will not tolerate any intrusion into their land. They protect it like a mother protecting her young. When you approach the border all you see is the ribbon of clearing that makes up the kill zone and then the white line that runs for miles and miles along it marking the land of the people of the north. If you are not an invading army you can come right up to the line and see no-one, but you are being watched from the towers and from the foxholes that line the border. You will see small mound wheren they have covered their siege weapons with canvass and straw and earth to protect them from the elements and hide them from the enemy. You will be met by several tribesmen if you put one foot over the line. They will come out of the ground and you will be asked to state your buisness and asked to leave if you value your life. If you are a friend or known to someone a message will be relayed to the tower and from their to the nearest village and on from their untill pretty much the whole country knows you have arrived. You will be allowed to stay with them until word is reached by the one you know and then you will be escorted to that person passed like a batton to different escorts along your journey. They use this system to move small goods and messages as well and is a surprizingly fast and effect system. The only buildings you will see are the huge towers that dot the land scape and run along the border. They keep all the land top side clear for easy movement and to protect their homes from the elements and to preserve the natural beauty of the land, besides if you are an invader and there are no visible cities, it is hard to tell wher eto send your armiy to attack. They have small homes where they sleep and large places to gather together and socialize. They work from the time they get up until it is time to sleep, and find things to do all year. During the time when they cannot hunt or plant, they manufacture goods, weave, make good use of otherwise dead time. The work hard and play hard too, wrestling, snowball fights, skiing, polar bear swims sliding on the ice they even have a game where they try to slide an ice ball into a cricle and the other team tries to shatter it with superior ice or knock it out of the circle. They have hot tubs and hold council meetings while relaxing, no time is wasted for time is not a renewable resource. The people are divided into tribes and this signifies what blood line they come from, it is important for the blood lines to mix and to keep tribal relationships healthy and cooperative. Each tribe is celebrated troughout the year and during this time gifts are exchanged. Just as much emphasis is given to the farmers and fishermen as is to the warriors and hunters. Everyone is celebrated and assured of their contribution to the nation. Elders are praised for their wisdom and the passing on of history, and form a living library. Women bring forth life from their bodies like the earth and every child is a giftr to the people. War, Honey, Bread, Fish, Flowers, and hardships are all enjoyed to their fullest. While working they will often tell each other tales of close calls and hard times or of their families blood line seeing who can remember the furthest generation from their own. They also take the time to travel both to know the land and their people as well as to learn what the world would teach them. They will sometimes exchange people from an eastern tribe with a western tribe to learn new stories and learn about areas they may not otherwise get to.They do not read or write, and the time spent by other cultures in schools is spent learning how to survive and live as one with the world. It is a hard life to be sure, but it is rich in culture and deeply saturated with beauty. The others start to arrive and the mood changes to one of seriousness and distress. Corag comes to you and tells you that your discussion with the council will have to wait. An army is approaching and they must all prepare for battle. You are invited to watch the defense of the North and to be introduced to the kill zone. At the edge of the kill zone men have lined up, one standing directly over each post as far as the eye can see. You are taken to the top of the tower and in the distance you see what appears to be the shadows of three birds moving slowly across the ground. Seer White Star tells Corag that this new threat is not like any other they have faced in the past. There is a force with them that will protect them from the kill zone. There are three, but the middle one is key. He carries a staff of power. The staff is powered by strong blood and ritual Magic, old magic that touches the darkness from before the making of the world. Corag and the others take what the Seer says as fact and ask what can be done. The Seer tells them that a small group must stop the staff wielder and break the center Staff it controls the other two. Corag calls for six warriors to gather and for the kill zone to be prepared for invasion. Six of his very best step forward and ask the Seer for his blessing. He takes six stones with markings on them and hands one to each of the six. They put the stones into pouches from their belts and then tie them around their necks. You watch from the tower using the seeing lens a crude telescope. The six warriors move quickly across the kill zone. There is a huge creature and two large creature marching as an honor guard to the staff wielder. The front creature, the huge one steps forward and Slashes into the warriors, It can’t be called a battle, it is a slaughter. The huge creature uses it’s massive claws to rip through the warriors is seconds. It picks up one of the dead and eats him whole. Then it falls back into formation as if nothing has happened. Corag is outraged at how easily his attack force was discarded. He calls for his personal guard and states that he himself will bring down the abomination. The Seer walks calmly to his side and whispers something in Corag’s ear. Corag rebukes him ”I cannot, this is our land and our fight” The Seer says, “Yes but one amongst them is your brother, and he can go in your place, I have seen it”. His tone is that of a Father to a Son, a father who is not used to his son’s open rebukes. Reluctantly Corag looks at you, “The Seer speaks only the truth. You are my brother and these are your friends will you go in my place and defend our home against this enemy”? You can see in his eyes that it has taken all of his humility and love for his land and people to ask you for your help. You realize that through this you could guarantee the co-operation of the people of the north in the battle against the dark army to the south. This is your best hope for victory for the realm. Well you’re all leveled up and ready for a fight, this looks like as good a one as you could find anywhere. What do you say, ... What you can see: (Draw diagram of approaching army) Give party info that is available to them about the creatures they see. Mission Objective: Take out the center staff wielder and destroy the staff. The kill zone should be able to stop them once you do your part. Secondary Mission: Kill the Huge creature and as many others as you can before the army reaches the halfway point in the kill zone, oh and try to stay alive.

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JohnL

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