The One Ring: The Nameless Fellowship

Legend of Mor'du: Part 1
Session 51

mountainsofmirkwood.jpg Accompanying Gloin to the Lonely Mountain, the Company are left outside for close to an hour whilst the Dwarf nips inside to speak to the King. When he returns it is with good news: in exchange for the location of the bronze globe that they found, they are permitted access to the Chamber of Mazarbul Under Erebor, where Munin the Keeper of Records will help them with their quest. They agree, and tell Gloin that Storr will be able to guide them to the ruins.

Inside the chamber they spend most of the day searching the records, until Gilthannas comes across a book of curses. In its pages are reference to Mor’du and a cursed amulet that is the source of its power and immortality. They record it on parchment and after bidding farewell to the Dwarves, they head out and spend the night in Dale. The next day they meet up with Grimgar and tell him everything they have learned.

The Curse of Mor’du

The manuscript was a book of curses, and as an example of turning one’s rage against themselves, the legend of Mor’du is given was told. It tells how an amulet is used to grant the wearer the strength of ten men, but if used in rage and for nothing just or noble, each use changes the user until they become a great bear, full of rage, their own identity driven out. Immortality is granted, at the cost of eternal suffering. To break the curse is to also remove the power, and is a simple matter of shattering the amulet. If this is done to Mor’du, then its immortality is removed; however, the curse has lain long upon it, and its strength does not ebb immediately; it takes a week to lose its great strength, reducing it to merely a dangerous black bear.

Going on a Bear Hunt

Grimgar is delighted and, over the course of an evening drinking, somehow manages to convince the others to join him in his hunt for the Black Beast; he knows where it has made its lair, and is convinced he can end the threat it poses once and for all.

They spend the next day gathering supplies and preparing for their journey, down to the Mountains of Mirkwood, where the beast’s lair lies. They purchase some strong nets, rations for the journey, and plenty of arrows.

It is at this point that Wilibald Took bids them farewell, hopefully only temporarily, as he heads off to the Easterly Inn to meet up with Popo Took and see to their growing business.

The three remaining companions, Alberic, Dafydd Ap Alfred and the Elf Gilthannas take off with Grimgar, the Beorning acting as guide.

They spend a week travelling back through the Long Marshes, then enter the dark depths of Mirkwood, as the first days of summer warm their backs, leaving the sunlight behind. For half-a-dozen days they hike through the thick forest and along the foothills of the Mountains of Mirkwood, until Grimgar draws them to a halt. He tells them that they are close, little more than a mile away. He leads them cautiously to the clearing where the beast lairs, the sky peeking through the canopy and revealing a star-lit night. They see a low hill, standing stones, and the entrance to some ancient barrow. They retreat and make camp at a safe distance, and as they settle down for the evening, plans are made…

End of Session

Current date: 17th Forelithe, 2949

XP Awarded: 2 each.

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Secrets of the Long Marshes: Part 4
Session 50

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While Gilthannas stays with Alberic, keeping him warm and doing his best to stop the Woodman’s blood from flowing from his wounds, the others head out in search of treasure and anything that might be of help tending to Alberic.

Storr loots the nest of the Marsh-Dwellers, finding a few coins and small trinkets of value. Dafydd and Wilibald fetch the locked chest from the room that was sealed. The Hobbit manages to pick the lock, and inside are more coins and gemstones. Wilibald pockets a lovely looking brilliant cut ruby that sits inside a fine mesh-cage of mithril, ready to be fastened to a necklace or chain. There is nothing else of value or use that they can find.

Leaving Storr to look after Alberic, the other companions head back down to the cave via the entry hall. While passing through the broken pillars, Gilthannas takes a look at the shattered-face statue that stands in an alcove shrouded in thick shadows. The air around it is cold, and a chill runs through him as he looks at the statue of a richly attired man, his face broken. A chill settles over the Elf, and he backs away, unsettled by the shadows that cling to the alcove.

Down to the cave they go, where the Orcs were slain and the bronze globe stood. They are surprised to find the bodies are missing, and Gilthannas spots a trail of blood swirling through the rising water: the trail leads up the rock ledge opposite, and the glimpse of an Orc hand can be seen peeking over the edge. Along the other ledge, a pool of still, black water stands. The cave feels chilled, and a sense of unease fills the chamber.

Deciding that there is no chance they could ever move the globe, the companions agree to leave it be and get out of the ruins. They craft a makeshift stretcher for Alberic and carefully hoist him up into the cold, misty night. They find a sheltered dell to make camp, fetch the two Orc-horses from where they are grazing nearby (Gilthannas uses his Elvenness to force them to obey) and make Alberic as comfortable as possible. They rest for the night.

11th Thrimidge, 2949

Alberic survives the night! His fever breaks thanks to the tender care of Gilthannas, and using the last of the Mirkwood Cordial that Radagast gave them the Woodman regains consciousness. Although wounded and weary, he is strong enough to mount one of the horses and travel. They slowly make their way through the marshes, avoiding potentially dangerous paths, and after more than a week hiking through the marshes and along the river, they safely return to Lake-town and find a place to stay.

Fellowship Phase

The Company bids farewell to Storr, and spend over a week recuperating. During that time they shop at the Market-pool, go hunting for herbs, and Alberic recovers from his wounds. Then, one night, they are all sitting at a table enjoying a round of ale, when a large Beorning approached them, enquiring if they are the warriors who faced Mor’du and lived to tell the tale. He tells them his name is Grimgar, who has been hunting the great bear for several years and has discovered that the beast is cursed. He believes the secret to breaking that curse, and therefore making Mor’du vulnerable and no longer immortal, lies in the ancient records of the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain. He wants their help getting that information.

The Company agrees, so long as there is no violence or subterfuge involved. They agree to ask their Dwarf friends and get him the information he needs. The next day they head off to visit Gloin and convince him to write a letter to introduce them to the Keeper of Records. He even agrees to go with them, to help get them inside without any trouble.

They pack their gear and head off to the mountain, to visit the Keeper of Records, and perhaps arrange a meeting with the King as well.

End of Session

XP Awarded: 1 each.

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Secrets of the Long Marshes: Part 3
Session 49

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The companions charge into the chamber, bringing battle to the three large Orcs that stand before the bronze globe that dominates the room. Maurdor, the lead Orc, slayer of Dafydd Ap Alfred’s father, an Orc of great size with a thickened hide and splendid armour (for an Orc) stands firm as Dafydd charges in, spear leading. The others are close behind, Alberic and Wilibald Took harrying the two elite Orcs, while Storr joins Dafydd, and Gilthannas keeps to the rear, loosing arrows at their foes.

The fight is long and hard, largely because Maurdor is so large and his hide so thick, that their blows slide off his skin and ping off his armour; while the two elite Orcs are worn down and dealt with swiftly, but before one of them falls, he delivers a mortal wound to Alberic, felling him. The other is taken out as Dafydd switches targets and spears the Orc; the feller of Alberic is taken down as Dafydd penetrates its armour and sends it to its death. The larger Orc eventually falls to a final arrow by Gilthannas, and the battle is won.

With Alberic down, the companions retreat from the cave and take the Woodman to the ruined hall, setting his body down on the stone table. They gather some wood from outside, light a fire, then settle down to decide what to do now.

End of Session

XP Awarded: 2 each.

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Secrets of the Long Marshes: Part 2
Session 48

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10th Thrimidge, 2949 SR

The stream running along the gully spills over the edge of the pit, the water cascading down the slope and splashing onto stone below. A pair of dark-skinned, red-eyed draft horses stand close, eyeing the Company as they stop at a safe distance. The early morning light filters through the rising mist, and aside from the sound of water falling, birds twittering away unseen, and the soft snorts of the horses, all is quiet.

Wilibald stealthily approaches the pit, where a spear has been plunged into the ground, a frayed rope hanging down. The horses snort a little as he approaches, but otherwise ignore the Hobbit. He peers down, seeing a 30’ shaft ending in stairs descending into darkness. He can’t see or hear anything, but the prints of Orcs are easily seen in the mud, and scuff marks on the mossy sides of the shaft tell of climbers heading down.

A plan is formed. Dafydd and Alberic both try to shoo the horses away, but it takes a lit torch to actually get them moving. They herd them further into the marshes, out of sight of the pit. Then they spend a couple of hours digging away at the slope, diverting the stream so that it starts to flow down into the pit instead. Then the Company and Storr back off to wait, making camp on the bank of the gully, guards keeping watch. Nothing happens after an hour, so Alberic ties a lit torch to the rope, and dangles it down: that gets a reaction, and an arrow speeds out of the dark, striking the torch and sending it crashing into the side, doused immediately by the waterfall. As the Company continue to wait, hoping to draw the Orcs out, Gilthannas looks around for more tracks or other ways in: he finds no other entrance, but does find the tracks of Marsh-dwellers, that they fought a couple of years back, the first time they ventured into these marshes.

The hours pass by and the day wears on. Late in the afternoon the toll of a bell echoes from the pit: the sound reverberates in the minds of the companions and they have to shake off the impulse to stride to the pit, heading to the bell. In fact, Wilibald, Storr and Gilthannas all find themselves suddenly pulling off their blankets and begin heading to the shaft. Alberic moves in front of the Elf and with a hearty slaps brings him to his senses; Dafydd does the same with the Hobbit, but Storr gets past them; but a las-second dive by Dafydd tackles the guide to the floor, and a slight struggle later, Storr finds himself free of the impulse.

And from below, they can all hear the sound of fighting: Orc voices, hissing voices, the clash of iron against stone and wet slaps of flesh being cleaved. It is over quickly, and in the silence Alberic drops another torch down. They heard Orcs cursing and the shuffle of feet as they retreat from the pit. Voices call out, then it goes silent again. Wanting to waste no more time, with evening coming on, the companions make a move: they secure two more ropes to trees, then rappel down the pit: Dafydd and Alberic go first, followed by Storr and Gilthannas, the Hobbit last. Storr and Wilibald light torches, and they start down the steps.

The stairs end at a vaulted chamber, the floor damp and a pool of water forming; water gushes down more steps to their left, tunnels lead off on either side, and at the far end an alcove holds a broken statue. Columns line the room, some fallen and lying broken on their side. The shadows dance in their torchlight. Some of the shadows move, and Orcs are revealed as the light falls on them: before the Orcs can react, the companions are already moving.

Gilthannas brings up his bow and lets fly a couple of arrows in quick succession, taking out an Orc archer that pops up from behind a fallen column. Alberic charges into a pair of Orcs, his axe landing a heavy blow, and his own mail coat taking the brunt of a spear that hurls his way. The others move past, engaging Orcs coming out of the tunnels: Storr runs one through with his sword, the others swiftly fall to axe and spear and sword, arrows flying from the Elf’s bow taking out another. The last Orc falls to Wilibald’s King’s Blade. Dafydd quietly explores the nearest tunnel, finding dead Orcs and Marsh-dwellers, a nest where the marsh monsters laired, and an old hall with a dented bell hanging from the fireplace. Further tunnels leading off are blocked by ancient cave-ins.

Slowly they explore the ruins, finding empty rooms, collapsed tunnels, a crypt and a locked door that opens into a room with a chest that holds coins and gems. There is also a flight of stairs leading further down, water flowing over the steps. From down there is a flicker of torchlight, and the sound of things moving. Gilthannas hears the sound of grunting, of exertion, faint curses in the Black Tongue of Orcs. He stealthily descends, but Dafydd follows, splashing loudly; the sound of swords being drawn is clearly heard, and with a shout for the others to follow, the Barding and the Elf charge down the stairs…

End of Session

XP Awarded: 1 each.

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Secrets of the Long Marshes: Part 1
Session 47: Part 2

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3rd Thrimidge, 2949 (Spring)

The Company arrive safely at Lake-Town and go to visit Gloin, but the Dwarf is away, attending the King of the Lonely Mountain. They retire to an inn, and encounter an old family friend of Dafydd’s, a former soldier called Storr.

Storr, whilst scouting out the Long Marshes for some clients, spotted a warband of Orcs lead by the Great Orc (Maurgor) who slew Dafydd’s father during the Battle of the Five Armies. He agrees to take them to where he last saw them, and help Dafydd track down the Orc, to deliver justice for his late father.

The Company take a boat through the Long Marshes, leaving it behind (hidden in reeds) when they reach the centre of the marshland. On foot they hike across the boggy land until they locate the tracks of the Orcs.

The Company track the Orcs through the marshes for several days (to the 10th Thrimidge): the Orcs are searching for something, slowly moving through the land, allowing the Company to quickly catch up to them. The tracks come to an end in a gully, where a pair of dark-skinned, red-eyed draft horses stand by a pit, a rope hanging down inside, signs of Orcs all about, but none in sight.

They cautiously approach as the evening draws in.

End of Session

XP Awarded: 2 each.

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The Questing Beasts
Session 47: Part 1

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3rd Aston, 2949 (Spring)

The Company have been invited to participate in a Royal Hunt for the rare White Harts of Mirkwood, due to the generosity and increased Standing of Gilthannas.

Popo takes his leave of the Company, remaining at the Easterly Inn to help manage the Hobbits growing trade in Pipeweed.

From the Elven King’s Halls they venture out with groups of Elves, notably an Elf-maiden called Ruithel, who has recently been promoted to lead the border patrols and wields the symbol of the office, The Bow of Sudden Fury.

The hunt takes several days, but the Company spot a White Hart and manage to take it down, with the combined shoots of Gilthannas, Alberic, and a final arrow from Dafydd. As they approach it, they come across a pit, wherein the Bow of Sudden Fury can be seen. As Gilthannas climbs down and retrieves it, a pair of Dwarves (Polin and Pomin) appear out of an old tree, through a cunningly hidden door. They are wary of the companions, and it seems that they’ve taken Ruithel prisoner, believing her to be responsible for shaving the beard off their chieftain, Frar of the Greydelve. They intend to ransom her when he returns, to secure aid for reclaiming their home in the Grey Mountains.

The companions manage to convince the Dwarves to let her go, in exchange for agreeing to meet their chieftain and lend their aid in raising support to reclaim the Greydelve.

They free Ruithel, and to appease her, Dafydd offers the esteem of taking down the White Hart to her, rather than himself (as he sent the fatal arrow into its heart). She warily agrees, and they return to the Halls for a celebration and great feast, leaving both the Dwarves and the Elf-maiden in debt to the Company.

The Company leave the Halls in good-spirits and travel to Lake-Town.

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End of Year Fellowship: 2948
Fellowship Phase

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The Company spend an End-of-Year Fellowship Phase at Rhosgobel:

Gilthannas gifts his gemstone to the Elven King, increasing his Standing, and himself and his companions are invited to a Royal Hunt this coming Spring; Dafydd gifts his cunning-make armour to the Woodmen, and learns all about his helmet and its qualities; Alberic confers with Radagast, learning more about exploring the Wilderland, and goes hunting with the Woodmen, gathering nuts and berries; the Hobbits spend most of their time eating, smoking, and sleeping. Popo journeys to the Easterly Inn as the snows thaw, settling down with his cousins to help build their blossoming pipeweed business. Wilibald continues with the Company, for now, wanting to learn about his shield before he returns to join his brother.

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A Darkness in the Marshes: Part 3
Session 46

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As the Company talk, they hear more horns sound in the mist-wreathed night. Orcs! Closing in on them, figures seen outlined in the mist by the weak moonlight. Lots of Orcs, heading their way.

Hauling Walar to his feet, they head off across the marshland, intent on returning to Mountain Hall as swiftly as possible. Pushing on through the night and day, barely resting, the Company force march their way back to the river. Several times the Orcs draw closer, as they pursue (some four dozen, the Company guess), but they keep ahead of them. Alberic, guiding them back to Mountain Hall, lets his wondrous boots do the walking, and they find a path through the marshes easily. At the river, they find a place to ford, and uses some of Radagast’s Mirkwood Cordial to boost their spirits. Its medicinal properties give strength to a flagging Walar, and they push on. Once across the river, Gilthannas opens the Storm Bag that they were given, and within minutes a storm appears overhead, the rain and wind and lightning aiding the Company in their escape: they leave the Orcs behind, and after a couple of days hard-hiking through the rolling foothills, they reach the safety of the settlement…

…or so it seems. As they approach, a line of bowmen meet them across the bridge, and they are ordered to come no further. Hartfast arrives, and accompanying him is none other than Magric the traitor. The Elder calls to them across the gorge:

“You are not welcome here. Magric has told us about how you tried to murder him in the marshes. You are outlaws and Orc- friends! If I see you again, I shall have you put to death. Leave now and never return!”

The companions tell him what happened, and send Walar forward to vouch for them and to tell him about the treachery of Magric. The traitorous guide is shaken, and a glint of a dagger catches the eye of the Elf. They shout a warning to Hartfast as Magric pulls out his blade; the old warrior shows why he still rules, when he stops the traitor with a powerful right-hook that sends the man sprawling. Immediately, two of the bowmen grab him.

With a cold fury, Hartfast turns on his former guide, snarling:

“How many of my people have you led to slavery? How long have you plotted with my enemies? Damn you! If it is gold that you want, then gold you shall have! Take him to the deepest part of the gold mine and wall him up in a side tunnel. Let the traitor live in the same darkness as his Orc-friends!”

With the guide taken away, Hartfast offers the companions an apology and welcomes them to his hall. As Winter is now upon them, they are welcome to stay as long as they need, and if they have to return home, he’ll provision them for the journey. They accept his kind offer and are bedded down in a small house, where they stay for a couple of nights to recover from their forced march from the Gladden Fields.

On their second night, they are awoken by Gilthannas, who has heard guttural voices outside. He peers out and sees several Orcs, one a large Orc, stealthily approaching. The rest of the Company quickly and quietly don their armour and grab their weapons. They ready themselves by the doorway, then Wilibald Took pulls open the door to allow Alberic, Dafydd Ap Alfred and the Elf to let loose with their bows, arrows plowing into the armour and hide of the lead Orc. He and two of the Orcs move out of sight, but not quickly enough, as Gilthannas gets another hit in on the lead Orc. One of the smaller orcs, a Snaga Tracker, lets loose with his own bow; the arrow strikes painfully against the Elf, but his armour prevents it piercing his flesh. Dafydd and Alberic take aim, and their arrows fly true: the two smaller Orcs still visible fall, dead.

The large Orc and the two soldier Orcs smash their way into the house, through the wall and roof; but the companions simply rush outside, turning around and firing back into the house: another arrow grazes the large Orc, who now looks tired and frustrated; he bellows in rage and charges out, swinging his scimitar at Dafydd: the Barding stands his ground, grabbing his spear off the floor, and using the Orc’s own charge to impale the creature: it dies with a whimper. The others dive into the house, taking on the last two Orcs: Popo and Wilibald jointly take an Orc out, and Alberic deals with the last one as the Mountain Men guards arrive on the scene.

3rd Blotmath, 2948 (Winter)

The following morning, with the chilled North wind blowing hard, the Company bid farewell to Mountain Hall and head off back towards Rhosgobel. They first head to Stonyford, spreading the word about the Orcs in the marshes and the evil Spirit commanding them, then travel across the wide, frosty plaints to Woodland Hall, sharing news, then down to Woodmen Town, until finally they arrive at Rhosgobel, cold and wet from a downpour of sleet. They tell Radagast everything that happened, and then settle down for Winter to see out the end of the year.

End of Session

XP Awarded: 2 each

The Company spend an End-of-Year Fellowship Phase and see out the Winter.

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A Darkness in the Marshes: Part 2
Session 45

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8th Winterfilith, 2948 (Autumn)

After crossing the river the Company hike across fields and plains, into the rolling foothills of the Misty Mountains. The journey is slow as they do their best to keep hidden, and the only potential trouble that they encounter are a pack of wild wolves that decide to leave a well-armed company alone, and a dangerous scree slope that they simply skirt around. Four days later they follow a mountain stream up to Mountain Hall, where they are hailed by the guards on the bridge and allowed to enter after they relinquish their weapons. They ask to be introduced to Hartfast, leader of the settlement, and are escorted deep into one of the mines, where they find the Elder listening at the wall of a large chamber. He looks up as they approach, and asks what they want.

Dafydd Ap Alfred and Alberic do most of the talking, telling him that Radagast sent them to learn about anything unusual happening West of the river. In exchange they share their news of the wider world with him, and he listens.

“Aye, there’s something afoot down south, in the Gladden Fields. There’s always trouble in those parts, around Dwimmerhorn. I pay it little heed – I’ve worries closer to home.”

They convince him to give his blessing to go and check out the Dwimmerhorn, and he even agrees to lend them a guide, Magric to take them their; in exchange, they are to share whatever news they have, so that his Men are forewarned of any danger.

He then gestures for them to listen at the wall: they hear a soft tap-tapping, which Gilthannas identifies as tools working away at stone.

“Goblins”, says Hartfast. “They dig in search of our mineshafts and tunnels. They want to find a secret way in to my hall. We’ve killed many on the surface, but they are more dangerous down here in the dark.”

He allows them to sleep in the Hall, and their weapons are returned to them. Fortunately, as it turns out, as in the night they are awoken by an alarm. Rushing out, they are in time to see guards calling out for help, and a trio of Goblins scaling the steep cliffs, hurrying out of the settlement. The companions fire a volley of arrows, but the Goblins are too far away to strike. Wilibald Took and Popo Took go to aid the guards, and spot a wounded man dangling from the edge of the cliff. He is rescued just in time, least he fell to his death in the icy river below. The companions earn the respect of the Mountain Men, and in the morning, when Magric joins them, they are well-provisioned and sent off with hearty thanks for Hartfast and the other elders.

Magric is a friendly, cheerful guide, who certainly knows his way around. The journey South with him to guide the way is fairly easy, even when they reach the river and have to find a ford to cross. They follow the Gladden River down to the marshes of the Gladden Fields, and begin searching for the Dwimmerhorn. It takes three more days, but they soon find an well-trodden path that leads through the mist to the rock that Men call the Dwimmerhorn.

As they gaze upon it, they hear the sound of many feet ahead: through the mist, there is movement. The Company slip off the path, hiding in the reeds and mist. A man stumbles out of the mist, manacled and looking half-dead. He trips and collapses just beyond where the companions hide, and then Orcs can be seen ahead.

Suddenly, Magric leaps up shouting “Ambush! Ambush!”, altering the Orcs to their presence! He rushes to the side of the Orcs, and points at the companions as they reveal themselves.

The Orcs rattle their weapons and move in to attack: their leader, a Black Uruk, , flanked by several wargs snarls in Orcish, and another Orc puts a horn to its thin lips and blows a deep, wailing alarm. The leader then falls dead to the muddy ground as Dafydd, Popo and Gilthannas send arrows into his chest and heart. Another Orc lobs a spear in retaliation, which strikes Popo, slightly winding him as his armour deflects the brunt of the blow.

Then battle is joined, and Magric takes the opportunity to flee before anyone can stop him. An Orc quickly falls to Popo’s blade, and a Wolf is shot out of the air as it leaps at the Elf. Another swings at Dafydd, but Wilibald pops up and blocks it with his Dwarven shield. Another Orc jabs Alberic hard, winding the Woodmen, and the other Wolf leaps at Gilthannas, but is batted aside, and instead turns to flee. It finds itself blocked by Wilibald, who jabs it in the chest; the Elf finishes it off with an arrow to the back of its head.

Dafydd runs an Orc through with his spear, and finds himself stuck as an Orc tries to impale him; but Wilibald once again slips in, parrying it with his shield, and giving Dafydd time to pull his spear free, and whack the Orc over the head, crushing its skull. Alberic chops down an Orc, and the last Orc turns and flees; the Woodman chases him, catching him up before the Orc has gone even a dozen paces; its head rolls along the path, and disappears with a soft plop into the marsh.

The companions gather by the manacled man, freeing him and quickly questioning him. His name, it turns out, is Walar and he has been a prisoner and slave of the Orcs for months, working for them atop the Dwimmerhorn. He knows little, just that they Orcs have fortified the old temple and buildings, had him and others rebuilding walls and working in the smithy, and that he only escaped after taking a chance when some Orcs were fighting. He slipped out, unseen, and down an old goat trail. An unfortunate encounter with an Orc patrol was almost his undoing, when the companions appeared. He also knows Magric, who was the one who brought him here only to betray him to the Orcs.

The Company look up at the dark mass of the Dwimmerhorn, and ponder their next move, wondering how soon the enemy will respond to the warhorn the Orc sounded?

End of Session

XP Awarded: 1 each.

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A Darkness in the Marshes: Part 1
Session 44

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After binding their wounds and taking a chance to catch their breath, the Company loot the tomb: in the rusted iron chest behind the throne they find silver and gold, a few small gemstones, and also a delicate looking Green Crystal Elvish jewel shaped by the Dwarven jewellers of Erebor into the shape of an oak leaf (which Wilibald Took takes; and an ancient helm that bears carvings of mountains along the sides and front, peaks forming a ridge up the nose-guard and along the scalp, with trees descending to the rear. It fits surprisingly well, is sturdy and hard as only Dwarf-steel can be. Dafydd Ap Alfred takes it, and its fits snugly on his head.

They decide to spend the night in the cellar, but during the early hours of the dark, ghostly lights begin to manifest inside the tomb, and Alberic quickly wakes the others, including their goblin captive, and they all swiftly grab their gear and head outside. Having no desire to remain in the vicinity, they cut the Goblin loose and send him on his way (even giving him some food) and then head off through the night to the edge of the forest. The mist swirls around them as they pass through the rows of barrows, and Gilthannas and the two Hobbits become separated from the others. The Elf lights a torch and hears the shouts of his companions, and finds Dafydd and Alberic a short distance away. Wilibald finds them shortly aftwards, but it takes nearly an hour for Popo Took to find them, and the experience leaves him feeling miserable and anxious.

They trudge on through the night, then rest briefly at dawn before heading West to their home-away-from-home, Stonyford. Tired and in need of rest, they settle there for a couple of days, then set off to see Radagast to tell him everything they have learnt.

30th Halimath, 2948

As the days grow shorter and colder, the Company reaches Rhosgobel safely and make their way straight to the Brown Wizard. He’s expecting them, and have a supper already laid out for them. He tells them he has heard from Elrond, and the news is grave: Irimë did not make it. He goes on to say that he has a mission for them, and it is even more urgent than he thought after they tell him everything that has recently happened, from the Dream and the spirit, to those fought in the ruins a few days ago.

“News – well, rumour and wild stories – has reached me of late. There is talk of Orcs moving across Wilderland, of evil things stirring up, of disquiet and sorrow and all manner of unpleasant things. This news comes from all quarters, but mostly from the west.”

“I was so concerned that I sent word south to the head of my order, Saruman the White, who is wise beyond all others. He said that the best thing to do would be to act quickly and quietly, and with caution. My intent is to send you in search of the root of these stories. Your mission is to gather information and report back – learn all you can, but do not reveal your presence to the enemy!”

“I think the best place to start is Mountain Hall, the main settlement of the Woodsfolk west of the Great River. Hartfast is head of the council of Elders there – he is a good man, very sensible, and little happens in the vale of Anduin that does not escape his notice. Ask him for news.”

When they ask him what they should be looking for, he answers:

“As you may know, some years ago, the Necromancer was driven from Dol Guldur. He could be back – and if it is him, then you must be very careful indeed. He is a foe beyond any of you, and beyond me too for that matter.”

“More likely, though, the withdrawal of the Necromancer means that some evil thing, perhaps one of his servants, is trying to fill the void he left.

We forced the Necromancer to leave, but there are any number of Orcs, spirits and mean-spirited men in the lands around Dol Guldur who would obey a new overlord.”
“So, you are looking for… well, I don’t know. Something evil. With luck, it is just some bandit, with less luck, a new Great Goblin. If I knew what it was, I wouldn’t be sending you, would I?”

He lets them sleep in his cottage that night, and in the morning they head off, meeting up with another of the Wizard’s agents just outside. This is Bana, a guide who knows the land better than most. She is a cheerful, inquisitive woman, and guides them across the fields and plains to the river, where they find some boats cunningly hidden in the reeds and trees. They row up-stream, through the edge of the Gladden Fields, close to where they where just a few days ago (Stonyfrod, just a dozen or so miles North). There Bana bids them farewell, and the Company disembark and set off towards Mountain Hall.

End of Session

XP Awarded: 1 each.

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