Rumors: As the orcs and goblins finish raiding and pillaging The Lea, Gyri archers and rangers fire down on them from the hills above. As the orcs and goblins give chase, the rangers have spiked growth and mundane traps prepared for them.
Down in the valley, the villagers have fled to Pregmere where they and the townsfolk pack into the massive castle originally created for the fire giants. As orcs and goblins push into the city, they are met by Rhychdir Rhos’ two light cavalry companies and more than fifty fire and hill giants prepared to defend “their” town from the rampaging hordes. Even those defenders, who slaughtered orcs and goblins by the hundreds, were not enough. Several thousand orcs and as many goblins flood through the pass and through the town, but the town and the castle are not their objective.
Those few orcs and goblins of the first wave who approached the castle were cut down by the two companies of archers deployed on its’ walls, but the hordes continue moving to the north and east through the pass, where the forces of Rhwng yr Coed have more surprises for them. The narrow pass is perfectly suited to more spiked growth, deadfall traps and archer fire from above, but the hordes keep pressing through. There is no time for caution as those in the back press those in the front forward, often dying in the spiked growth, but the hordes press on.
More than six thousand orcs and goblins die in the valley from The Lea through Pregmere to Rhwng yr Coed, driven forward on by those behind, but while the defenders of Rhwng yr Coed are occupied, goblin worg riders descend upon the humans and turn the tide of battle. Arglwythes Briallen had organized her forces into wolfpacks of ten (four rangers, two archers, two bards, a cleric and a sorcerer), but of the forty-some wolfpacks, only a few bloodied wolfpacks return from what becomes known as the “Battle of Orc Blood Pass”. On their heels are two thousand orcs and goblins followed by hundreds of giants (ogres, hill, stone, frost and fire) and behind them are more than a thousand hobgoblin heavy infantry.
Near the border, where the Oytwood nears the road, the approaching hordes fall under fire from the bows of the elves, but the fire giants have their own response of fire in return. Massive trebuchets launch hot rocks and barrels of oil to set the western Oytwood aflame, something that gives the elves something to do other than harass the armies marching into Rhwng yr Coed…
More Rumors from Hochoch: There is little surprise that many of the newly respawned foreigners from Gran March and Keoland broke faith and fled the country after pledging themselves to Llewellyn. As it was not a magical oath, they were free to flee from Gyruff without their honor. Any true Gyri (and, admittedly, even Knights of the Watch) could rather die than face the dishonor of being an oathbreaker, known as Anudoni in the Flan tongue.
To Traditional Flan/Gyri, a person’s worth is measured by their trustworthiness. Most formal agreements (in the old days) from business transaction to an alliance are sealed with each side just giving a verbal arvol (tr. Oath) to abide by the agreement. Those who broke their word without atoning or redeeming themselves with their Glyw (tr. Lord) suffered severe social stigma and shunned. Any chance of atonement/redemption was typically through a difficult and often lethal task to perform.
Thus it is that most of the True Gyri and honorable among those returned from the dead and pledged themselves to follow Emperor/Grand Druid Llewellyn will remain loyal as long as he lives. Many returned foreigners and Flan brought up in Arweth during the occupation are disillusioned and dishonest at best, chose the path of the Anudoni and escaped to Gran March or fled to the lands of Rhwng yr Coed to the west.
Proclamation: In response to the events of Wealsun 20 in Hochoch, Arglwyth Eridan Shadowblade of Dwyr and (former?) Regent of Gyruff makes a proclamation that spreads by animal messenger and heralds:
“Once more the debased Druid Llewelyn and his patsy Prince Rhys ap Rhys have shown their despicable natures. They have un-interred our honored dead in Hochoch and brought them back to life to press them into servitude in their foul cause. Those who would not yield and stayed true to their beliefs were slaughtered and devoured by the evil forces occupying Arweth.
We have little with which to fight such an overwhelming force but we must fight it just the same. Gather together in groups large and small. Hinder every move of their foul army wherever it goes and fight for the freedom of all Gyri as well as that of our allies. Wherever they go and whatever they do, find a way to pass on that knowledge to those that oppose them as you do. Rhys ap Rhys is no longer fit to be called a Brenin of Gyruff and Llewelyn is not fit to be called an Emperor of Pellam. To use their names in association with those great lands is to dishonor those lands and their history.
The giants once occupied all of Gyruff, destroyed its culture and its people but we fought back. We resisted the oppressors and in the end won the battle to reclaim our homeland.
The resistance is re-born today. The war is just beginning. We will not be the last of the Gyri.
Gyruff will rise again if we have the heart to see it through to the end.”
More Rumors from Hochoch: Those who remained in or near to Hochoch for more than a few days seemed to have suffered deformities and torments, according to eyewitnesses. Limbs or even whole bodies developed scales, slimy skin, spikes, claws, fur, horrible sores or other abnormal deformities. In some cases, body parts (ears, hair, fingers, etc.) would fall off. Some began other transformations, such as swelling body parts or developing a deep affinity for various elements or energy types (cold, fire, poison, etc.) including associated unnatural powers. Most, tortured from the pain of these deformities, were driven insane and wandered aimlessly, muttered/raved incoherently or acted even worse. Even the opening and closing of the Chest of Life and Death (though it was more than 1300 feet away), did not cure those afflicted.
The Brenin, apparently realizing the affect in Hochoch, has offered refuge in his Arweth palace, some three miles away, and encouraged those capable of fighting to head east, with his (newly repaired) armored chariot “Defiance” and the rest of the army into Gran March. They are expected to reach the siege of Leiliam’s Orchard within a day.
More Rumors from Leiliam’s Orchard: Every civilian and support staff that could be evacuated has been, though many were attacked by the demonspawn, especially flying vrock demons. The Knights of the Watch have put out a call for all their brethren of the Order and Gran March troops that can spared from wherever they are and whatever they are doing to come to Farvale. Leiliam’s Orchard will soon fall and the next rally point is the village of Orlane.
More Rumors from the Oytwood East of the Javan River: Hundreds more fiends of various types have emerged from the Oytwood and seem to be approaching Leiliam’s Orchard from the SOUTH! If they link up with the demon hordes from Hochoch, the survivors in Leiliam’s Orchard may be completely enveloped (by the time the “returned” arrive from Hochoch and long before any reinforcements from Gran March or the Knights of the Watch can arrive)…
Rumors from the Downlands: Many of the orcs and goblin raiders have routed and flee the proud and noble Keoish armies protecting the Downlands. The Keoish standards are now advancing westward to end this monstrous humanoid threat. Reports from the front indicate an elimination of all resistance by the end of the week.