27th Thirmidge, 2498 (Spring’s End)
After leaving the H ouse of Beorn with the mummified head taken from Valter the Bloody, heading back to consult with Radagast, the Company spends the night at The Old Ford, guests of Gelvira Pot-stirrer in her Hall of Crossing; a frequently visited hall whenever they pass this way. They are hailed by the Beornings present, some of whom they fought with at the Battle of Stonyford, and ushered into the hall. There, they are presented to a wounded Dwarf, missing a leg and badly mauled.
Gelvira is tending him and the Dwarf wakes soon after they arrive. He was found bleeding along the Old Forest Road, where it cut through a pasture of one of the farmsteads. It looked like he had dragged his way along the road for hours, leaving a bloody trail behind him. The Beornings were about to send for Beorn, but as the companions are now Thanes of his, they are asked to find out what’s going on instead.
As the Dwarf comes round, he is questioned. His name is Regin, and he was journeying with several other Dwarves, the leader of which was Bofri, son of Bofur. They had stopped off to investigate the state of the Old Forest Road before carrying on to the Woodmen’s Moot at midsummer. They came across some Orc tracks and were debating whether to leave or go hunting Orcs, when a giant black bear– its hide bristling with broken weapons– burst from the trees and attacked them. Regin was knocked down, mauled, his leg cleaved from his body, and left for dead. He saw Bofri fall and before he lost conscious he saw the bear dragging him away. The other two Dwarves fell too, but he did not see their fate. He begs the companions to find out what has happened to his friends, and they agree to investigate; although none want to face the beast known as Mor’du again, if the giant bear is the same creature that attacked them nearly two years ago.
The next morning they pack their ponies and head off, hiking along the ancient road, into the thickets and crowded interior of Mirkwood. After spending most of the day searching, they come across the place where the bear attacked: two dismembered Dwarves lie scattered amongst the trees, thick with buzzing black flies. A clear trail of broken branches, churned earth, and bear-prints leads deeper into the forest, drag marks following in its wake. Worryingly, there are also more recent Orc footprints, seemingly following the bear. Maybe a dozen in all.
They spend an uneasy night camped in and up the trees, but nothing disturbs them in the night, except for a deep throated roar that fades away quickly. The silence that follows is soon filled with the creak of the trees and rustle of the foliage.
Another day of exploring and searching finds the Company moving deeper North into the forest, away from the overgrown road. They come across signs of a battle, with Orc blood sticky on the trees and ground, and the two sets of prints separating. The drag marks now follow with the Orcs, so the Company sets out after them, moving away from the direction the bear took. As the darkness of the forest deepens the keen-eyes of Gilthannas spots a body ahead, slumped against a tree at the edge of a small, cramped clearing. No sooner has he alerted the others, a yell rises from the darkness and with a roar and a clash of spears and swords, more than a dozen Orcs and Forest Goblins explode out of the trees; a larger Orc moves out to stand before the slumped figure, pulling its head back to reveal the bearded face of an unconscious Dwarf, battered but alive. The Orc ducks arrows sent sailing his way by Popo and Alberic, dodging the missiles with snake-like speed. The large Orc sends it spear hurling towards the Woodman, who is struck a glancing blow, but whose armour thankfully prevents the blade from cutting into his flesh.
The Orcs, surrounding the Company and outnumbering them three-to-one, clash in the middle of the clearing, the companions back-to-back as they fight for their lives. Wilibald, having ducked out of sight as the Orcs rushed in, pops up by the captive Dwarf, activating his Rune-scored shield as he whacks an Orc on the back of the legs as it rushes past him.
Dafydd, Alberic and Popo find themselves pressed close together as the Orcs jab away with spears and slash with their bent-swords; two strike Dafydd and Popo, winding blows that their armour turns away. The Barding retaliates with a well-placed jab, sending an Orc falling to the ground clutching its bleeding guts; Alberic nearly cuts another in half with Wolf-Biter, and Wilibald’s King’s Blade digs deep into the black heart of another.
Gilthannas finds himself defending with nothing more than a dagger, so it is no surprise when a Goblin’s spear gets past his parrying and sends the Elf staggering back with the horrible strength of the blow. Dafydd finds himself momentarily alone as the Elf staggers, and tries to block a heavy thrust of a spear: he fails, catching his foot on a raised root, and cries out in pain as the spear’s broad head cuts through his armour and scores red across his chest. Weary, Dafydd parries another blow, and looks for an opening.
And then Popo suddenly goes down as a pair of Goblins batter him senseless with the shafts if their spears. The Hobbit falls to the ground, losing consciousness as the Goblins swarm over him, heading straight for the Elf…
End of Session
XP Awarded: none yet, in midst of a fight for survival!