Aethelweard's Earlier Exploits!

I'm delighted to be finally able to share an incident from the earlier days of our determined and stalwart Theign. Aethelweard may well be best known for the fateful saga which bears his name (and can be discovered in its entirety here), but it appears his Doom had been sealed by fate from a much earlier time... Honestly, sometimes you just can't change your fate, no matter how hard you try.  I blame the dice...

We played scenario 10.1.13 which had been the reason I had to build a stone bridge in the first place. You can read all about how that one got started here.  This, of course, means that you need a river running through your terrain. I have that, but only on one of my boards.  Furthermore, this river is designed to cross two adjoining sides of the board, rendering it wholly unsuitable for our purposes.  Not to worry though, I have a drop on river section from Kallistra which I flocked years ago.  This would be used to solve the problem.  Which it kinda managed.  My boards are each two feet square.  It wasn't until I tried to place the hex-based river sections on the boards that I discovered I didn't have enough sections to do the job as I wanted.  As a result, I had to place the river on one of the boards, and get the bridge to fit as close to the centre as I could.  

We set up the church and some buildings to represent the monks' quarters in the diagonally opposite table quarter.  Animal pens were placed, and a low wall was added to delineate the sanctified grounds of the monastery we had created.  We added monks who would have no role in the game, other than to be conducting some outside worship for Aethelweard and his men.  

I was allowed one hero to stand guard on the bridge.  he couldn't have the Leadership ability, but being a Hero was a good thing.  So too, according to the rules, was possession of the Berserker trait.  The closest I had to both was Ordwulf, my warrior priest.  The rest of the force had laid down their arms and were busy praying.  from the second turn on they could make an unmodified Fate Roll to be properly prepared for battle.  They could move off before then but would be unarmed.  Considering both Aethelward's fate and my ability with the dice, this was not going to be an option for me.  The fell Draugr who opposed me had to set up at least 6" from the bridge.   Victory for the Draugr would be signalled by getting one of their numbers into the Church.  Aethelweard and his men would have to prevent this at all costs to assure them of victory.  

Rolling for Initiative didn't make much difference in the first turn.  All I could do was move Ordwulf, who needed to guard the bridge.  The rest of the men were trying to get ready for combat while the monks continued to pray.  This meant I was stuck in my deployment positions while the Draugr surged forwards.  Ooh, look!  I thought.  They have a Jotun!  And he's leading the charge onto the bridge!

The Draugr were splitting their force,  four of them trying to cross the river by swimming.  Two got stuck in the current.  We used two of the nearby geese as markers to remind us they were struggling. 

Then we realised that the Draugr had left a man behind.  We put him on the river, rolled the dice, and found he'd been pulled away by the current and drowned.  This ended his brief cameo...
While all this was going on, two monks were caught up in a conversation about weeding their crops, utterly oblivious to what was going on around them. 
Aethelweard and his men were readying themselves for action after passing their Fate Rolls.  All except the fyrd spearman in the red hat (he who would later rescue the sacred banner in the Saga) who was clearly struggling with his belt buckles. The hens were watching with dismay...

Meanwhile, things were looking bleak for Ordwulf.  He began praying, calling for the Face of God miracle.  he was successful.  Anyone wishing to charge him would have to make a successful Fate Roll first.  Including the Jotun...
...wh succeeded and charged!
Blows were struck on both parties, but all Fate Rolls were passed and the combat continued.  The shieldmaiden and her lackeys were unable to join in the fray, thanks to the Jotun's immense size.  That might have been a tactical bonus for Ordwulf, but it didn't feel like it facing such a terrifying lumping great giant!

As the Anglo-Saxons surged forwards, they soon found themselves having to defend the entrances to the Church. 

And while the archer did his best to hold back the enemy (which was about as useful as a chocolate fireguard as per usual!) Aethelward began to do badly.  He was knocked to the ground.
Meanwhile, on the bridge, the combat between the Jotun and Ordwulf continued.  Blows were rained down.  All of them hit. None of them caused any damage whatsoever.  Ordwulf was doing way better than I had hoped.  especially since there was now no one able to come to his aid.  the Draugr were getting perilously close to the church.  Thankfully Eadwulf and a Fyrd Spearman had managed to put up a stalwart defence of the south door. 
But the solitary red-capped Fyrd Spearman on the north door was about to be tested.  Thankfully my archer had killed his opponent in combat, and Aethelweard had been able to get up and rejoin the fray. 
Meanwhile, those two monks had moved on to discuss the animals in the nearby pens. 
At least the other three were praying for our brave Saxons...

The archer went down, and so too did Aethelward's opponent!
But while the monks prayed with their backs to the enemy, the animals watched on in fear as the Draugr warrior felled the solitary fyrd spearman on the north door of the church.

Go ahead and lament to the Lord about it, monk. It's all about to go bad...
And back on the bridge?  Yup, you guessed it!  Stalemate. 
We held our breath and waited for the Initiative roll at the start of the next turn.  It went to the Draugr.  There was nothing the Saxons could do.  They were too far away to stop the Draugr entering the church.  The Draugr had won the day.
As always, it was a delight to get in another game of the excellent Blood Eagle, and it was great to be able to explore some of the earlier activities of Aethelweard and his men.  As usual, things didn't go so well for him, but personally, that's half of the charm of playing him. 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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