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The Death Watch- Brother Hugh

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Randolph Carter

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In the realm of Ghur, there is a ruined castle called Yarbrough, often shrouded in fog and rain. Nothing lives there anymore save the creatures of fen and moor, finding shelter from the elements within the ancient stone. When the wind blows, though, it carries the sounds of ancient horns with it, and when the sun shines it illuminates an inscription hidden in the walls- HmIAFD- that is, Hugh Macintosh and the Black Watch.

Centuries ago, when the Age of Myth came crashing down, Tam Yarbrough was lord over Castle Yarbrough. His house had ruled the lands fairly and well for uncounted years, and he was rich and strong and well-loved. When news came of a marauding army of Orruks rampaging through the region, he wasted no time in rallying his retainers to war, marching proudly forth to the sound of drums and trumpets. A glittering host they were, a legion resplendent in the sun, going out to hold back the Greenskin storm just as their ancestors had held back the storms of Ghur.

But this is not their story, nor is it Tam's. At the place known as Loch Haverforth the proud Yarbrough host met their match in the Orruk Warboss known as Tarlen the Evermighty, and it's said that the flowers on the lakeshore still grow red in their memory.

Hugh MacIntosh was a strong, proud man, but no loyal soldier of Yarbrough was he. He was a bandit chief, having raided the rich and the poor of that land for many years and accomplished deeds of infamy before he found himself in Lord Tam's dungeons, awaiting the hangman's noose. When news came of Lord Tam's defeat, Castle Yarbrough was thrown into a panic. The Orruk host was marching inexorably towards them, and there was not enough strength to hold the walls against them. Tam's loyal retainers, the men he had left behind to defend the castle, lost heart and fled to meet their ends like fugitives or hunted animals. Hugh found himself a free man, released from his cell once again.

He could have fled, or avenged himself upon the castle and its inhabitants for his imprisonment. Instead, he looked out upon the column of refugees that would fall victim to the Orruks, and his heart was strangely moved to pity. Gathering his boon companions around him, he declared that the end of the world had come upon them, and it was time for all true sons of Ghur to make their stand. Give him his pipes and a blade, he promised, and he would buy time for the women and children to escape. Wicked and dishonorable men they might be, but even the black-hearted must take their watch when it was demanded of them. Seven of them barricaded themselves in the keep and made ready for their doom.

The Orruks were not long in coming, falling on the castle with a vengeance. Equal to their fury, though, were Hugh and his men, driving back the brutes with their two-handed swords every time they tried the tower. Still, it was not enough. One by one, Hugh's companions fell, until at the midnight hour only Hugh stood in the innermost keep, holding the last door. In the darkness, he played his pipes, their ghostly sounds echoing over the massed Orruk warhost and filling them with a primal dread. Had Boss Tarlen not been there, the horde might have abandoned their siege altogether. He bullied the Boyz into attacking, and as first light came they fell upon "da Lady from Hell" again.

Hugh was filled with heavenly rage, and could not be moved- still, he was only one man, and he tired. And then came Boss Tarlen, twice the height of a man, armored in the stolen finery of the Realms. Hugh gave a final cry and leaped forth- and there his story ends.

Only the Orruks remember his final stand, and what became of him. Still, it is telling that when Boss Tarlen was next seen, he boasted a scar from forehead to chin, and that he and his horde were forevermore afraid of the sound of pipes.

------

The storytellers call Hugh MacIntosh  the Black Watchman, Warden of the Storm, the Lady from Hell, the Herald of Cacophony, Orruk-bane, the Seventeenth.

Brother Hugh.jpg

Brother Hugh 2.jpg

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