With a shout for help, the Orc races down the tunnel, staggering in his drunkenness. Dafydd and Alberic chase after him, Gilthannas close behind. They come into a cave lit by fire-light, to find a crude kitchen set up: fire-pit, goods from the caravan, and Dindy himself chopping potatoes and looking rather surprised to find the companions chasing after an Orc. The Orc is tackled to the ground by the Barding, who bashes the Orc’s head into the stone floor, knocking the foul creature unconscious.
Another tunnel leads off, and from there Orc voices call out. “Tell them you dropped a pan,” Alberic tells Dindy, and the companions drag the Orc away, leaving the Hobbit to lie to the Orcs that come up the tunnel and query the noise they heard; they fall for the Hobbit’s lie, and head back. The companions return, after trussing and gagging their captured Orc, leaving Wilibald to guard him (as the Took brother is close to exhaustion and still wounded).
Dindy, it turns out, is busy preparing a feast for the Orc chief and his gang, on pain of death. He fully suspects that he’ll be the pudding, Hobbit-Pie or something equally gruesome. Worse, Dindy is chained to the wall with a chain with an intricate lock that proves beyond the companions skills. “I’m sorry to say, but the chief has the key around his neck,” the captive Hobbit tells them. “And I must get on, as this feast won’t cook itself.” No sooner as he spoken, when a loud Orc voice, in broken common, shouts out for him to hurry up, as they’re starving!
It is quickly decided that what they need to do is somehow drug the Orcs, putting them to sleep maybe. With his knowledge of herbs, Alberic suggests a few ingredients that might help, and with Wilibald’s cooking skill, they help Dindy prepare several courses laden with soporific herbs (valerian root, hops, and passion flowers for garnish) ; heavy meals, accompanied by strong ale and even stronger wines. As the companions wait out of sight, Dindy puts up with Goblins that have dressed in his fine clothes (bursting waistcoats, too small cloaks, socks worn as gloves) that come in to take away the courses. After a couple of hours, it goes quiet and loud snores echo along the tunnels.
The companions edge out, and Alberic and Dafydd disguise themselves as Orcs as best they can, and the Barding peeps around the corner and spots the two Orc guards at a junction, bottles of wine and chicken legs in hand. They tell Dindy to draw them in, while they hide amongst the crates and barrels, ready to ambush the enemy. Dindy calls out for help moving a barrel of beer, and the unsuspecting Orcs come in: the ambush is ruined when Alberic knocks over a jar of pickles, but in the opening volley, Gilthannas takes one out with a flurry of arrows, leaving the other for Alberic and Dafydd to take down.
Next, they explore the tunnels, Popo taking lead, and soon find empty Goblin dens, and tunnels that all lead to a large cavern, where the Goblin’s Feasting Hall stands: inside, around and slumped on large trestle tables, are two dozen Goblins and Orcs, with the chief sat in a stone throne at the end, wearing a crumpled top hat crammed on to his head. All of them are snoring loudly, food smeared across faces, bellies full. Another pair of Orc guards, still standing but dozing and leaning against the wall, are by the end of the table where the chief sits; and around the chief’s neck, a key on a chain.
They dress Popo up as Dindy and use him to distract the dozing Orcs away; they are lead into a successful ambush, and are quickly dispatched. Then, with everyone else placed in tunnels for a quick exit, Gilthannas creeps into the hall, quiet as a Hobbit, up to the chief and gingerly lifts the key off the chain, pocketing it as he quietly retreats, all without waking anyone up. They all head back to where Dindy is chained, free him, gather what goods they can salvage and carry, and then use the rest to block the passage. They set it alight, leave the captive Orc behind, and hurry off into the tunnels, hoping to get away before anyone can follow them.
A few hours later, tired and burdened, they exit the tunnels and make their way back to the Ringfort, where the caravan guards have managed to gather the lost ponies and put the goods back together as best as they can. They waste no time (it being early evening) in packing their beds and heading off down the pass, putting as much distance between themselves and the Goblin tunnels as possible before they settle down for the night.
Their journey back to the inn is thankfully uneventful, and the summer days long and pleasant. After ten days of fairly easy travel, they return to the Easterly Inn, much to the delight and joy of Dody and Agatha, who are overjoyed to find Dindy alive and well.
The Company spend a week with the Hobbits, resting up, recovering from their wounds and ordeal, and enjoying the daily feasts and hospitality of the Brandybucks. On the morning of a bright summer’s day, they bid farewell to their friends and head South, towards Rhosgobel, in search of new adventures.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 2 each.