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.