Thursday, 23 February 2017

Fifty Word Fiction: Patrolling from the Keep on the Borderland.

The Keep on the Borderlands regularly sends out patrols through the Gift and into The Dead Lands. A typical patrol is comprised of seven members; a patrol officer, his sergeant, a tracker and 4 troopers.

This week’s Fifty Word Fiction describes the members of one of these patrols; the Black Hawks.

The Black Hawk Colours

Patrol Officer: Biarn Thordis
Biarn Thordis has been a serving Lieutenant at the Keep for almost ten years, and has been a patrol officer for five. In Trooper Cant he is the patrol’s “Captain”, and he runs his squad on a tight leash; they are well drilled and organised. Biarn recognizes that skill at arms is only fifty percent of the requirement for a patrol trooper and insists that all those under his command are equally proficient outdoorsmen.

Standing at a fraction under six feet tall, medium build with sandy brown hair and beard, when on patrol Biarn typically wears chain mail with a soft leather jerkin over the top to muffle the sound of his armour, and he carries long sword and dirk.
Among the personal possessions he carries with him is a piece of rare redwood which he has carved into a likeness of a dolphin and he plans to give to his daughter as a gift when he returns. The workmanship is more than fair, and the piece is worth a more than a few gold coins.

Sergeant: Gorsad Raghild
Gorsad Raghild is the Patrol’s Sergeant or in Trooper Cant, the unit’s “Bannerman” since he has the honour of carrying the Patrol’s colours on parade and at other official functions. Thordis’s sigil is a Black Hawk on a red field and so Gorsad is nicknamed.

Nearly six feet in height and of stout build Gorsad keeps a neatly trimmed beard but is completely bald. He wears leathers with chain sleeves and coif and carries his favoured weapons of bow and battle axe.

Black Hawk is straight forward in his manner and brooks little nonsense when the patrol are on duty, however he is happy to socialise with them when on their rest days.

He carries the units banner “top” when on patrol; this is a stylized silver bird of prey wrapped in soft leather scrip.

Tracker: Aresh Suresight
Aresh Suresight; half elf woodsman, master tracker and member of Thordis’ patrol, fulfills the role of the scout for the team. He often ranges ahead ensuring the path beyond the team is clear.

Famed as much as he is for his ability to follow the merest trail through the outdoors he is held in almost as high a regard for his ability to forage and trap game with his snares. The almost magic like skill to supplement the standard trooper fare is much loved.

His favoured weapon is his repeating crossbow which he supplements with two short blades should close combat be required. Dressed entirely in leathers of forest shades he disdains heavy armour as he prefers to not to be seen and avoiding melee if at all possible.

His human parentage is the stronger of his bloodlines; the only noticeable elven features are the slight point to his ears and the vivid piercing green of his eyes.

Patrol Mascot: Ivar
Part of Aresh Suresight’s skill as a tracker is owed in part to his hound Ivar. Ivar is a brown and white Pointer, trained for both tracking and retrieving. Ivar is tireless, faithful and unremittingly cheerful; regardless of conditions the hound is always raring to move ever onward.
Ivar is well loved by the patrol and has been adopted by the unit as their unofficial mascot. They have pooled some of their wages to buy a stout polished leather collar with silver buckle, engraved with the patrol’s Falcon motif, which Ivar proudly wears when on parade.

Good boy!
Patrol Trooper: Halstein Kelda
Halstein Kelda is a young man in his late teenage years with blond hair and a pock marked face; the lasting signs of a childhood illness. He is short for his age, but has a lean, wiry frame with more strength than his size would suggest.

Halstein has served in the Keep Guards for two years and is approaching his first anniversary as a Patrol Trooper under Thordis’ command.  His is proficient with sword, spear and bow and has learnt much in the way of wood craft whilst out on patrol. Halstein’s father is a herbalist and as a child he picked up a good basis of plant lore; this skill has proven to be of great value to the patrol.

Halstein is good natured and seems to have picked up something of his father’s caring bedside manner; his colleagues all have a measure of genuine affection for the lad.

He wears the chain shirt and leathers common to all patrol troopers. Of note among his possessions is a wooden flute which Halstein will sometimes play to entertain his friends. What started has a simple instrument has been carved by Biarn into something much more decorative. The flute’s mouthpiece is shaped to resemble a Satyr’s face whilst leafed vines run down the length of the instrument.

Patrol Trooper: Lars Elrich
Lars Elrich has been a Patrol Trooper for nearly five years. An expatriate from the Shield Lands to the Keep on the Borderlands he has worked his way through servant, then guard before joining the patrol.

Approximately 6” in height and slightly overweight (he has an unfortunate habit of eating fatty bacon rind snacks!) with black hair just starting to thin and grey, Lars is an unassuming man who dresses in the chain mail and leathers typical of a patrol man.

He has a quiet disposition and tends to keep himself to himself; a necessary safeguard as he fled the Shield Lands accused of crimes. Technically guilty he stole goods to sell and then used the money to feed beggars and the poor during times of bad harvest. Lars left his home to avoid bringing any punishment on those he chose to help.

His quiet support is noted by his colleagues. He is a fair swordsman and tracker, but his loyalty is valued much more highly by the patrol.

Patrol Trooper: Huxley Ardale
Huxley Ardale (or Hux to his friends and comrades) has been a Patrol Trooper for over 10 years. Solid, dependable and good at his job he is unlikely to ever advance further; he has little aptitude for, or desire, to take a leadership role. He enjoys the open air life when in the field and simple pleasures of good fare and women when back at the Keep and off duty.

Standing a good few inches over six feet tall and with the stature of a solid barn door Hux is a brawler; whilst capable with bow and sword he prefers to fight with either a vicious spiked axe or a round headed mace in one hand and a buckler in the other.

Although he bears a few scars on his face he has a rugged good look which women folk seem to favour; he keeps a “lady friend” in both the Keep and the village of Hommlett. Among his possessions is a silver locket containing a lock of hair from one of his lovers; he keeps this well-hidden to avoid complications when visiting his other “friend”.

Patrol Trooper: Beran Grimgar
Beran Grimgar is in his early twenties and has been a patrol trooper for four years. The son of a farmer he is comfortable in the outdoors; he is an excellent horseman and knowledgeable in field craft.

Beran’s lineage became muddied somewhere in previous generations and he has a dilute amount of elemental bloodline mixed in with his human ancestry. This manifests in his shock of red hair and his ability to conjure small flames when he concentrates. This is really just a parlour trick but useful when lighting cook fires in the rain.

Beran prefers to fight with his long spear; either from the saddle of his horse like a lance or two handed on foot.

Beran is 5’ 8” tall and of slim build. He dresses in a chain shirt with a leather helm and leggings and a woolen vest over his armour. He has a good singing voice and among his belongings is a small illustrated song book with the lyrics to many favourite local folk songs.

Beran likes to play games of chance and is always quick to offer a game of dice when off duty. This has led him into financial troubles on more than one occasion...

Feeling lucky?

The next Fifty Word Fiction article will feature a mirror to the Black Hawks; a description of one of the groups of marauding creatures which haunt the Dead Lands.

No comments:

Post a Comment