The One Ring: The Nameless Fellowship

Family: Part 3

Session 38

outlaws.jpg

30th Afterlithe, 2498

After a short rest through what remains of the night, the Company and their entourage of freed thralls head off on the journey back to Beorn’s House. Despite being slowed down by most of them being weary and close to exhaustion, along with several children and an old man, they decide to push on as fast and as far as they can, undertaking a forced march to reach safety as quickly as possible.

Over the course of the next couple of days they travel far, cutting across the hills and rugged grasslands, reaching the fields leading up to the Forest Gate; it is not long into that journey that they realise that they are being hunted: the baying of hounds, scouts spied at a distance, campfires at night, all indicate that they are being followed.

Alberic and Gilthannas do their best to cover their tracks, but that proves difficult, and despite their best efforts, the hunters continue to track them, slowly gaining ground. Once past the borders that mark Beorn’s land, Alberic finds that his boots are leaving no tracks, and that other tracks close to his are also fading away; Gilthannas covers the rest, and soon they seem to be putting more distance between their hunters, and a day or so later, there is no sign of their pursuers.

The Company does not let up on the pace, and continue hurrying along, resting infrequently and only for short periods; the travel begins to take its toil and their pace slows, and with almost everyone weary and footsore, they are but a day from Beorn’s House, when a hunting horn sounds, accompanied by the baying of hounds and a cry of “There they are!”

The hunters have found them!

Immediately, the Company send Beran and Roderic off with their families and other freed slaves, sending them off to Beorn’s House for safety and to send for help. The five companions then unsling their shields, ready their weapons and with their backs to a group of sturdy oaks, they stand their ground as a dozen men mount a hill, spot them, and begin to advance.

The two Hobbits disappear into the long grasses, vanishing from sight; archers on both sides send a flurry of arrows at one another; one of the hunters falls down, the others raise their shields; arrows nick Alberic, another bruises Gilthannas, and a third cuts a deep line across Dafydd’s arm.

The hunter’s leader, a large man wielding a great axe, charges towards them, so the three visible Companions concentrate their fire, sending more arrows towards him: the large man staggers, then falls, dead. Some of his warriors falter, and then flee as suddenly Popo pops up and shoots one. Four flee, but the rest charge into the midst of the Company, swords and axes swinging!

In seconds Dafydd finds himself battered and beaten, ducking one swing of a sword, only to catch the haft of an axe to the side of his head; the Barding falls down, unconscious!

Gilthannas is knocked back, winded by an axe blow that thankfully didn’t draw blood. The situation looking hopeless and the Company outnumbered, the Elf feels almost helpless as he parries another blow.

Willibald leaps out of the grass, catching a hunter by surprise, jabbing him in the foot with his King’s Blade. He finds himself fighting alongside with Alberic as the two hack and stab at the enemy; then the Woodman is beaten back, an axe blow sending him backwards, and an arrow slices across his arm. Blood splatters the ground. The pair retaliate, taking out a hunter each, while Popo wounds one too, and Gilthannas backs off, the numbers now more even, and starts firing arrows into the midst of their foes.

One of the hunter’s swings at the Elf as he moves, but Willibald dives in the way: but the dive is mistimed, and the axe bites deep, wounding the Hobbit as he crashes to the ground, struggling back to his feet in time to block an arrow with his shield as it speeds towards the wearied, miserable Elf.

Then Alberic falls. Blood leaks from under his helm, and Gilthannas tries to move to shield him from the hounds that are darting in and out, nipping at their heels. An arrow flies out of nowhere, an archer using the fallen comrades as a distraction: the Elf falls to his knees, then blacks out, falling in a slump to the bloodied ground. Wilibald leaps up, stabbing at the archer’s ankles, drawing the few foes that remain towards him.

The two Hobbits stand back-to-back, swords and shields flashing in the waning light. Wilibald is staggered as he is knocked back by a ringing blow from an axe; but he raises his shield as he falls to his knees, parrying another blow, taking a couple of arrows on his shield. He catches his breath and stands, taking a hunter in the knee, his brother smashing the hilt of his sword into the hunter’s head, sending the man crashing to the ground.

Two hunters remaining, they circle the Hobbits, cursing and shouting, demanding their surrender. Popo takes a blow, the force of it sending him to his knees and reopening his wound. He staggers to his feet, barely able to stand, distracting them as Wilibald tries to rouse the others…

…at first his voice falters, then– as Popo parries blow after blow, managing to hold his own despite the larger and more able fighters– the Hobbit suddenly finds his voice and begins to sing:

From the Anduin vales
Strongmen from the woods
Spirit of the nature
One part of their essence

Hate against the orcs
Running in their veins
The anger that grows
In the form of the bear

Living lives of their own
Caring not the outside world
Great secret they hide
Shape changers, the Beoning tribe

Hate against the orcs
Running in their veins
The anger that grows
In the form of the bear
Beware their claws
Sharp teeth and deadly jaws
You have no chance
To fight with the Beorning

Creatures of darkness
The poison of the earth
Remember your strength
The mark of the bear

The mark of the bear
Huge part of their soul
Cherish the life
Yavanna’s child

It works! Perhaps some ancient magic fills his words, or perhaps his companions simply want him to stop, Dafydd Alberic and Gilthannas find themselves waking to the sound of the Hobbit singing and the ring of steel against steel.

Aghast at the sudden rising of the companions, the two remaining hunters start to back away; but it is too late: Alberic finds the strength to lift his axe, and Wolfbiter comes down hard, sending a hunter to his knees; Popo finishes him out with a thrust of his sword. The other hunter backs away, reeling from a jab of Dafydd’s spear, his helm ringing as an arrow from Gilthannas ricochets off, and then Alberic swings his axe, and the last man falls to the floor.

Surrounded by a dozen bodies and a few barking dogs, the Company– almost dead on their feet, several of them bleeding– catch their breath before they limp off to the safety of Beron’s House, happy to be alive.

End of Session

XP Awarded: 2 each.

Comments

theskyfullofdust theskyfullofdust

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.