Friday, 4 January 2013

"To Britain's Shores" - Chapter 5 - "To success..."

It didn't feel right on the trip across the Humbre, not having Leofric in the stern, roaring with laughter and cursing the Britons with a brimming horn of mead. I think we all sensed it, and felt the wrongness of having a relative stranger, Beornwulf, sat there. Give him his due, he figured it out for himself pretty quick, and tapped Ecgwine on the shoulder, sat on the bench in front of him. "Swap."

Ecgwine glanced round. "Me?"

"You." It wasn't Beornwulf but Theobald. "How many does this trip make now, lad?"

He frowned. "Six, I think."

Theobald snorted. "Get your scrawny arse up in the stern where you belong, then."

I glanced across at Aelfric, who caught my eye and grinned. 

"Remember," Aelfric ordered, as we headed for the little village under the eaves of a long low hill, "We're not here for vengeance. Not yet."

He'd made that point enough times in the last couple of months that I'm pretty sure we'd all got the message. Much as I think each and every one of us wanted, very badly, to take down that Tribune of theirs, send him to his Christ-God, I think we'd all come to appreciate that we'd get that chance in good time. For now, we needed to strike fast, hard, and humiliate them.

For once, Odin be praised, it all went how it was supposed to. We were in the village almost before they'd raised the alarm, and our warbands set to ransacking buildings. Ecgwine and the lads took up a spot on the hill, and sure enough - there were the big Tribune and a band of Britons. I looked across at Aelfric as we ran to the last of the small knot of buildings. "What now?"

He grinned, wolflike. "We keep looking. Ecgwine knows what to do. So does Beornwulf...."

"I swear," Ecgwine has a horn of mead in his hand, "They didn't know which way to turn." He takes a swig, wipes his mouth and grins. "So he's chased off the hearthguard... and Beornwulf backs up to join with us in the village. The big Tribune turns his men back to head for the other end of the village, where the rest of you are... so we pop out from round the church again behind him." 

Lavinia's curled up at her man's feet. Her little group of archers - make no bones about it, after the last couple of months they're most definitely hers now - lost one today, a lad by the name of Eadulf, a messy kill from one of theirs. She still has his blood on her shirt from trying to save him. Right now, though, she's watching Ecgwine, something akin to pride in dark eyes, as young Sithric pipes up, "You missed the best bit."

"How so?" asks Ecgwine.

Sithric grins, enjoying being the centre of attention for once for the right reason, rather than some youthful transgression. "You showed up behind him. So the Tribune turned round again - we could just see him between their ranks from where we were,. And then Aelf... the Lord here yells out for us to get going, and he turns back to that, then back again...  Honest truth, he must have spun round three times on the spot, slammed his sword back in his sheath, and he looked fit to boil over!"

Aelfric grins that wolfish grin of his. "Good. Let's see if we can't make him look a bigger fool next time." He raises his own drinking horn. "To success!!"

As the gathering gets rowdier, I lean across to him. "Planning on sharing out some of the treasure?"

He considers it, longer than I expect him to. "No. Not this time. One more raid. I want to be sure there's enough left in case we have to tithe to Wulfhere again this coming winter."




5 comments:

  1. Nice report. I have really enjoyed following your campaign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. We've really enjoyed playing in it.:)

      Delete
  2. Oh?! Some new things happening. Lavinia is so quick to move her love from Leofric to Ecgwine? Do I sense some settlement going to happen as Aelfric is saving his plunder?

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    Replies
    1. Heck, no.. She's always been Ecgwine's. See the post entitled "Interlude (Godric)" ;)

      The interesting question is.... Who is she? *evil grin*

      As far as money goes, Aelfric needs to scatter wealth among his men for them to acclaim him Warlord...

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    2. Ah! I misread earlier posts. Can't wait to see what comes of this!

      Delete

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