|Friends of the Nine
The Crafter's Croft
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Elkhelm's Court RP
Elkhelm's Court is an area of land around 10 leagues to the south and east of Bree. The "Court" now refers to the main township there, which is surrounded to the north and west by crofts, and hills of the South Downs to the south and east. The township itself sits within the hills, with a single gate for an entrance. It is ruled by Feorsyer Elkhelm, in name, and his council of advisers. The Court holds a small military force beyond guards, and in this way it resembles a micro-city-state more than a township. The population consists mainly of ex-Rohirrim, but locals of the Bree-lands and Cardolan occupy some of the crofts and houses.
A history of the kinship thus far:
Elkhelm's Court began as an alliance between individuals who encountered a Black Numenorean threat. Feorsyer took up leadership, as he had already been combating the threat, and he established a few houses in Falathlorn as a base of operations.
This is a chat log from 10/23/2012.
Arno pauses between mouthfuls of soup. ''Feorsyer, I do hope you know how grateful we both are that you'd care to tell us of your past, the story of the Elkhelm in particular.''
Grigory nods his head in agreement with Arno.
You say, 'Oh, right, that. This makes much more sense now.'
Grigory says, 'Oh...I may have forgotten to mention that part.'
Arno finishes his soup, scraping every last morsel from the bowl, and then walks over to lean lightly against the mantle.
Forsyer takes a deep breath, looking down to gather his thoughts for a few moments. "Have either of you heard of the Long Winter?"
Arno says, 'Indeed.'
Arno begins to smoke with Forsyer.
Grigory ponders a moment, "Umm, I'm sure, but I've not been keeping up, a brief recap should suffice."
Grigory hops up really quickly, "Hold a moment.
Grigory rushes over to his bookshelf.
Grigory thumbs through a few items finding the one he wants, "Ah! here it is! The History of Helm Hammerhand." holds out 'The History of Helm Hammerhand by Grigory Proudleaf.' "I knew I knew that name from somewhere!"
Grigory says, 'You can, go on then.'
Grigory sits with Housing Container.
Forsyer nods. "It was in his time that the Long Winter fell across many lands, and the Dunlendings invaded the Mark."
Grigory nods, writing notes he's already taken, never enough notes...Right?
You say, 'Wulf fancied himself a Brenin or a King, whatever it was he wanted to take his names from.'
You say, 'My grandfather used to tell me this story. Feorthain was the name of a hunter, of a village in the Westfold near Dunland. Or maybe he held some different name, and my father's father liked to change history to make his name sound better. Anyways.'
Grigory smiles, as his hands flit across the parchment the flowing text adding up as he went, two pages down, a third halfway through.
You say, 'There was a forest that stood between Dunland and the Mark at that time, and in desperation for food, Feorthain led a party of farmers and what men he could gather into the wood, to see if any game survived.'
You say, 'They ventured far into the woods, the snow falling heavy about them, covering any tracks that game might have laid bare. Yet, on a hill bald of trees, an Elk stood looking out across the land proudly. Or maybe he was just taking a shit, who knows what really happened. The former sounds better.'
Grigory lets out a snort.
Arno chuckles softly.
You say, 'Our band of hunters nocked, aimed, and then hid behind the trees quickly as a shaft soared past the elk, from the other side of the hill.'
You say, 'The elk noticed as well, but fled down the hill just past the hidden hunters, followed by an equally ragged band of Dunlendings.'
You say, 'Needless to say, it was an easy victory, disarming the Dunlendings as they ran past, setting a few to watch over them. And then hunting the elk, whose tracks were fresh but fading fast.'
Grigory nods his hands still moving, his ears intent on listening.
Arno watches and listens closely, clearly fascinated.
You say, 'A leg was given do them in mock payment for their weapons, yet the mercy of avoiding starvation had softened the hearts of the men of the Mark. They let the Dunlendings go free that day. And they had food just enough to last them through the winter.'
Arno says, 'So they brought down the elk?'
Grigory pauses a moment looking up.
You say, 'Aye, I dunno how, but I have a feeling Vala or Maia aided them that day.'
Grigory says, 'A whole elk?'
You say, 'An elk in winter, panicking. May be that the arrow actually hit him the first time, and he left a trail of blood. Who knows how these things truly happen? What survives is what sounds best.'
Grigory smiles and nods, his hands going back to writing.
You say, 'After the Long Winter began to fade, Feorthain went to a smithy, and asked that a helm be made in the fashion of an Elk, to remember it's providence. And, to learn from it.'
Grigory says, 'That is a wonderful story.'
Arno says, 'So that Feorthain...how distant an ancestor is he?'
Forsyer squints. "That's nigh on fifty and two hundred years past...I'd say maybe six, seven generations before me."
Grigory looks at Feorsyer, "How did you learn the history, your father I assume?"
Arno says, 'And the helm became the family name over the generations? Or did that happen all at once?'
You say, 'Well, the story isn't exactly over. My grandfather told me first, my father never seemed to hold much value in it at the time.'
Arno says, 'Ah, I'm sorry. Please, go on.'
Grigory nods, "not over? Indeed, please continue."
Grigory sits down.
You say, 'Not a problem. Near the end of the Long Winter, the Rohirrim mustered their strength against the enemies who occupied their homes. Feorthain thought to use what he learned from the elk in the battles to come- the value of a distraction.'
You say, 'A few men, mostly armed with bow or throwing-spear, charging in line at the enemy's flank or rear. All under his command, all risking their lives stupidly. Charge, make contact, break away. Get their attention.'
You say, 'The main hosts of the Dunlendings were hungry, and undisciplined. They took the bait, and luckily the Eoreds who had mustered against them took the hint- charge when their backs are turned.'
Arno nods. ''Very sound.''
Grigory nods at the tactic, "Well planned.
You say, 'My father's father could tell it much better, but suffice it to say, the Dunlendings broke like a frightened mare. And when the survivors found their way back home, they blamed their defeat on the one who made the most noise, stood out the most- the Elkhelm.'
Arno laughs at '' like a frightened mare''.
You say, 'Which, of course, only made his job easier. The more they focus on him, the easier the battles became. That is our place in battle. Draw their ire, fall by their swords, whatever it takes to guarantee the main host a charge into their rear. It's said that's how he came to have an heir as well, though, that's pure speculation.'
Grigory chuckles lightly.
Arno almost chokes on his smoke laughing at the last line.
Forsyer takes a deep breath, smiling lightly, and nods a few times. "So, that's the story, and where the oaths of the Elkhelm come from. That is who we are, or who we were."v Arno says, 'Were?'
Grigory looks up from his 55th page, "Were?"
Arno says, '[[[grig starts every page with one of those gigantic illuminated manuscript style letters]]]]'
Grigory says, '[[[Hell yeah he does.]]]'
You say, 'Before my...what was it...eighteenth winter, I think, my father's father was suspected of treason, and my father thought it best to remove ourselves from the Mark before they removed us. And we found a place in Bree, where I'd lived for a few years.'
Grigory starts writing again, starting the next page with the title, "The eighteenth winter of Treason."
Arno says, 'I don't think I knew you'd lived in Bree.'
You say, 'Most don't. It was about...hm, maybe two years ago before I truly set out.'
Arno says, 'Did you live in town, or in one of the settlements?'
Grigory says, 'So...That would make you, mid to late twentys?'
You say, 'My father found a place in town. Early twenties.'
Grigory slaps his head lightly, "Of course, I was always terrible with math."
Grigory says, 'Well.'
Arno says, 'You know better than I how much Rohan has...changed, of late. Do you mean to return?'
Grigory blows on the 75th page lightly letting the ink dry and stacking it on the rest. "I suppose that concludes that history text."
You say, 'Oh, I've passed through twice already, a year ago or so I made two trips. First for the Elkhelm that my father's father had taken with him when he fled into the East, and second to fetch him.'
Arno says, 'More pages, Grig, this sounds interesting.'
Arno says, 'Your grandfather took the helm, and you went to retrieve it?'
Grigory nods, pulling another page from the stack, marking the top right corner with the number 75
Grigory says, '76*'
You say, 'Aye. We hadn't seem him for a month before we heard tell of the possibility that he'd be banished. I forget why he'd even had it, at the time- to get it polished, or to ride somewhere in authority? I didn't care at the time.'
Arno says, 'What prompted you to go and find him?'
You say, 'I found the helm before I found him. That's what I was going for, in the first place- curiosity and confusion drove me to find him after I'd returned.'
Arno says, 'I imagine the tale of the recovery of the helm, and your grandfather, is a story in its own right.'
You say, 'Aye, a story for another time, to be sure.'
Arno says, 'One last question from me.'
You say, 'Aye?'
Grigory shakes his head, "I cannot wait to write it down, there shall be a Vollume two then. Leave the readers with a bit of a cliff hanger." Grigory snickers.
Arno says, 'Now that you have the helm, do you think you'll take up your family's ancestral role protecting Rohan?'
Grigory starts writing again finishing page 81.
You say, 'Protecting Rohan? I don't know. Not under this king, no. I will do as my oath commands, and go where I am needed. If that is the Mark, then I shall go to the Mark.'
Grigory says, 'Is there a problem with King Theoden? Last I heard he was leading Rohan in a new direction.'
You say, 'Last I heard I was put out of home and hearth for a rumour. I will not fight for king or lord.'
Grigory says, 'What about a friend?'
You say, 'I will fight for those who need fighting for. Most oft, they are on the edge of war, starving. And sometimes they are in the middle of peace, and they need a drink.'
Arno nods. ''Seems to me that's the legend of the Elkhelm, right there.''
Rider Ranks and Codes of Conduct:
Feorsyer has devised a code of ethics for the riders who follow him. It is an oath sworn to themselves, and not to the Elkhelm.
Laws of the Court:
Crimes with set consequences
Major crimes cause forfeiture of all property and expulsion;
Falsehoods presented in official records or inquiries may result in seizure of wealth, or imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime.
Conspiracy to commit any major crime or present falsehoods results in imprisonment and seizure of wealth (amount depending on the severity of the crime).
Treason is hereby defined as aiding the enemy. Peaceful communication with any armed force is reserved for Riders or Foals of the Court.
Assaulting a Rider or Foal results in imprisonment.
Disturbance of the peace results in short-term imprisonment.
Disobeying expulsion results in execution.
As decided by the Council, case-by-case (decisions may or may not include previously stated consequences):
Property or wealth seized by the Court is to be awarded to injured parties according to Council ruling. Surplus property and wealth may be auctioned by or kept for the Court's coffers.
Taxes and Rents
Elkhelm's Court is land belonging to the Elkhelm. Rent is due to him monthly by tenants, at an established rate for each section of land.
As has been agreed upon by the Council, taxes shall be taken biannually at a rate of ten per cent of each household's movable goods, and income. This rate was chosen after consulting the local merchants and crofters.
As has been agreed upon by the Council, a trade tax shall be imposed upon any goods passing through the Court gate, regardless of their destination. These goods require a payment of five per cent of their value, as assessed by a trade officer.
Immigrants to the Court are not subject to trade-taxes upon their initial immigration, provided they do not leave the Court for a fortnight upon signing the citizen registry.
Current List of Riders:
(Various "stolen" Rohirrim: NPCs, guards)
Bandoras Fortunefoot, the Stoor in Boots, Beloved of Women, Envied by Men
Click images to enlarge.