The situation looks bleak. On all side there are Orcs and Goblins, the largest Orc standing over the slumped body of the Dwarf, the others all crowding around the companions; they in turn stand back-to-back, defending as best they can against overwhelming odds, Popo Took unconscious at their feet, his brother cut-off from the others, facing off against a pair of Orcs and their chief.
The Orcs surge forward, the smaller Goblins darting in with their stone spears; one falls as Gilthannas intercepts those attacking Dafydd Ap Alfred, cutting a Goblin down as it tries to jab the Barding with its spear. But one gets past, its spear digging into Dafydd’s ribs, nearly shredding his mail coat; in return the Goblin receives a whack to the head as Dafydd swings his spear, catching the foul creature a glancing blow that sends it staggering back a few steps. The act, however, pushes Dafydd too far, and his breathing grows laboured as he wearily tries to parry the blows of his relentless enemies.
Alberic, still going strong, pushes back agains the Orcs, swinging the mighty Wolfbiter two-handed, taking out two Goblins at once, their heads rolling across the ground. Another Goblin jabs its spear at Dafydd, the stone head glinting in the weak light, but the Elf dives in front, taking the blow, bruising ribs but preventing any further harm to the weakening Barding. Wilibald Took ducks a sword, his cap deflecting what otherwise might have been a mortal blow. The Hobbit rallies, slashing across the Goblin’s chest, drawing blood and causing the Goblin to rear back in surprise.
Alberic draws on his inner reserves, hoping to live to fight another day, and despite being weary he swings his axe low, cutting the legs out from under an Orc, who crashes dead to the floor. Dafydd, weary, wounded and barely standing, thrusts his spear with all his remaining strength, and a Goblin screeches in pain and then falls, dead. Another Goblin leaps over its fallen comrades, its spear stabbing with horrible strength against Gilthannas; the Elf is knocked back, winded and stunned.
Alberic and Dafydd, back-to-back and propping each other up, swings and stab, taking out another two of the foul creatures, and ahead of them, Wilibald jabs at the Orc chief, catching it by surprise as his King’s Blade digs into the Orc’s fleshy leg.
And suddenly, the companions are no longer quite so outnumbered, and the odds turn in their favour. Blocking the path to the Elf, the others grit their teeth and hack and slash; one Goblin falls, then another, and the chief staggers as an arrow strikes home; Gilthannas stands at the back, the way clear, his Woodland Bow in his hands, and another arrow already to fly.
Alberic takes a glancing blow to his helm, and retaliates with a weakened blow that sends the Goblin staggering backwards; then that Goblin simply turns and runs, disappearing into the forest. The chief Orc takes another arrow to his chest, and seeing the other Goblin flee, decides to follow the creature’s example and shoves the unconscious Dwarf at the Hobbit, then dashes into the trees and is quickly gone.
The last Goblins swiftly fall to the axe and spear, leaving the cramped clearing clear. Somewhere nearby there is a loud roar, as of some great beast, followed by a scream that is swiftly cut-off.
Alberic quickly bends over the unconscious Hobbit, singing an ancient song of healing to awaken Popo. Wilibald wakes up the Dwarf, who thankfully comes round and is uninjured. He and Gilthannas haul him to his feet, and as Alberic helps the wounded Dafydd, they hastily leave the area, travelling as far as they can before they settle down for an uneasy sleep, guards rotated throughout the night.
Nothing attacks or disturbs them in the night, and as the dawn breaks and the darkness of Mirkwood lightens a little, Alberic staunches Dafydd’s wound with a mixture of song and herbs, and with his wound treated, they hurry off through the forest. As they make their way through the dense forest, the Dwarf- Bofri- explains what happened: they were looking at the Old Forest Road, on their way to the Woodmen’s Moot, when they were attacked by a great black bear, which the companions believed to be Mor’du; then the beast ran into some Orcs, who fled, drawing the bear off, leaving him behind. The Orcs captured him, and used his as bait when they realised they were being followed by the Company. He is extremely thankful to have been rescued, and asks if they would be willing to escort himself and Regin to the Moot. They agree, and the next few days are spent travelling back to The Old Ford.
During the last stretch of their journey, Popo, on look-out duty, spies the glint of gold caught in a thin beam of sunlight that has crept through the foliage. The gold spills out of a leather bag, its strap still hanging from a low branch. He draws closer, but upon seeing a couple of bloodied teeth amongst the coins, decides to leave it well alone as a feeling of unease creeps over him.
They leave the forest and their spirits lift as they follow the old path towards the ford. Gilthannas, out hunting, comes across a ruined farmstead that shows signs of Orcs having attacked it. There are no signs of life, and the scene, whilst disturbing, is nothing compared to what the Elf has seen in his long life. He carries on, catching some wild pheasants for the evening meal.
Eventually, on the eve of the 11th Forelithe, they arrive back at The Old Ford and the Dwarves are reunited. In the morning they bid farewell to Gelvira Pot-stirrer and the Beornings who guard the ford, and spend several days walking at a pleasantly slow pace to Woodland Hall, where they spend over a week tending to their wounds, joining in songs and drinking, reflecting on the last few weeks, and discussing the future.
When they are all rested, the two Dwarves join the Company as they head off towards Rhosgobel, for the mid-year Summer Moot, where they are all expected.
End of Session & Fellowship Phase
XP Awarded: 2 each.