7th Afterlithe – 25th Wedmath, 2951 (Summer)
After paying a visit to the Elves to learn the latest gossip, Gilthannas learns that his new sword is none other than Ringil, the legendary blade. Its power has waned over the centuries, and how it came to be trapped in ice is a mystery, but Ormal the Lampmaker is certain that it is the sword. Whilst there, Alberic asks about his cursed ring, and Ormal says he can try to reforge it, removing the curse. The ring is handed over, and the company head off to Dale to relax before they collect the Helm of Peace for Ceawin.
At the end of summer they collect the helm, wrap it up carefully, and begin the long journey back to the East Bight: they travel down the river, then cut East along the outskirts of the marshes, before heading down to the [[The Crossings of Celduin: Part 5 | The Crossings of Celduin: Part 5]], where they head to the forest, following its edge as an unseasonal cold wind blows from the North, bringing heavy and unexpected snow. Little over halfway through their journey, the land is white and the wind is cold.
Looking for a place to take shelter, the Company slip into the eaves of the forest. They set camp and take turns on guard. During Gilthannas’s shift, he hears and sees Men approaching stealthily through the woods: he alerts the others, and Alberic, Dafydd Ap Alfred and Storr duck out of sight, bows ready, leaving Grimgar pretending to sleep by the fire. A man calls out from the woods, demanding that they surrender the helm, he is interrupted by a flurry of arrows from the hidden archers, and falls dead to the ground.
Then a woman’s voice orders the Men to attack, and bandits charge into the camp. The woman, a bow in her hands and a raven perched on her shoulder, steps into view, then falls down as multiple arrows strike her. The bandits are forced back, one impaled on the end of Grimgar’s spear, another by Gilthannas’ sword, and more from arrows. The last grab the fallen woman and flee into the woods, into the snow-laden darkness.
After a brief discussion, the companions do now follow. They spend a watchful rest of the night, and in the morning, continue their journey without further incident, arriving safely at Sunstead. There they deliver the helm to Ceawin, who welcomes them into his hall, feeds them, and asks if they’ll accompany himself and his men on the eve of tomorrow, to offer the helm to their ancestors. They agree and sleep soundly in the hall.
10th Halimath, 2951 (Atutumn)
Dusk the following day, the Company escort Ceawin and his quartetof warriors into the woods, hiking through the thick snow under the laden trees and to the barrows a mere half-hour from the growing village.
They reach a barrow, whose entrance is a dark passage beneath the roots of ancient oak trees. Leaving his men with the companions, he takes the helm and enters by himself, torch lit, a rope tied round his waist ‘in case of trouble’. His voice is heard a short time later, offering the helm as a gift to appease the spirits.
Then a bone-chilling cold surrounds everyone, and terror accompanies a ghostly voice that speaks some ancient rhyme: the warriors of the East Bight flee in terror, but the companions are made of sterner stuff. Gilthannas draws his word, its blade glowing a pale blue, and heads straight in, while the others grab torches and ropes and prepare to follow, leaving Grimgar outside on guard.
Gilthannas follows the narrow passage to a chamber lit only by the flickering torchlight: a figure stands over another figure lying still on a stone bier, the helm coming down upon its head. Gilthannas calls out for it to stop, but when it doesn’t, he charges the figure, knocking the helm from its cold, skeletal fingers and finds himself facing a Wood-Wight!
As the Elf exchanges blows, Dafydd and Storr hurry down the tunnel, Alberic not far behind. Waves of fear roll up the passage, causing Gilthannas to pale as he struggles to battle the wight, but his strength and sword gives the others hope and they resist the fear.
Gilthannas is struck by the claws of the creature, blood flowing freely as he hacks back at the wight. He staggers back, tries to retreat, but the wight grabs him by the throat, squeezing the life out of him: he slumps, losing conscious and it hurled to the ground.
Dafydd pierces the creature’s skeletal frame, shattering ribs, and strikes again and again as it turns its attention to Storr, clawing at his face, quickly wearing him down. The situation seems momentarily dire, but then Dafydd sticks his blessed blade into the wight’s face: the creature vanishes in a flash, and moments later, the barrow collapses!
Fortunately, no one is dead, and the four warriors find their courage and return, helping dig everyone out. Ceawin is alive and well, and dreamt of being offered the kingship of the woods, before the companions leapt in and slew the wight. Gilthannas is out cold, and they carry him back to the village.
They spend two weeks resting, allowing everyone to fully recover. The snows thaw, leaving it colder than is usual, but no longer the sudden snow that came on so suddenly. Deciding that they needed to focus their energies somewhere, they plan a route back to Radagast, via a brief stop at The Black Tarn.
Halfway through the journey cold rain falls for several days, pouring from the canopy above, soaking the Company, making it impossible to light a fire, and leaving them all thoroughly miserable. It is a dismal night spent in the forest, halfway through the Narrows of the Forest, when they are ambushed!
Alberic is on guard, but fails to spot the approach of half-a-dozen armed warriors: these let fly with arrows, striking (and waking) both Grimgar and Gilthannas, and then the Men are charging into the camp, swords swinging.
The Companions scramble to their feet, grabbing weapons off the ground just in time to parry blows; Storr finds himself forced back as a warrior wearing the garb of the Servants of Tyrant’s Hill savagely attacks him. Another slashes at Grimgar, who lets out a roar worthy of any bear, and wildly attacks as blood flows down his face: he manages to force a couple back, but then takes a sword in the back and collapses, wounded, unconscious and bleeding.
Another piles into Gilthannas, taking him down with a heavy blow to the jaw, thankfully just with the hilt of his sword. Regardless, the Elf drops unconscious to the ground.
Storr, seeing his friends falling back, decides it is his time to shine and steps in front of Dafydd, telling everyone that he’ll protect them. He lashes out, taking out a Servant with a powerful swing and sends the man’s head rolling off into the forest.
Alberic, recovering from the sudden attack, grips his axe tightly and swings: another falls dead. Dafydd finds himself slipping in the mud, and a Servant takes advantage and jabs the Barding in the side, wounding him. Dafydd retaliates, impaling the warrior, and shoving him to the ground. A need to prove himself and a desire to best them all seizes hold of him, and he rallies his strength, bashing the sword of another aside, then snapping his neck with a fierce blow.
Storr is wounded, he strikes back, not wanting to be seen as weak, and slays his foe. The last one starts to retreat, then his head rolls as Alberic grips his axe in both hands and swings.
There is a moment of silence. Grimgar lies bleeding, Gilthannas is out cold, bot Dafydd and Storr hold their bleeding sides, Alberic is weary.
Then, with a strange light in their eyes, both Dayfdd and Storr stand over the prone Elf, staring at the legendary sword that is in their reach.
“That should be mine,” they both say at the same time. Their eyes meet, and they grip their weapons tighter…
End of Session
XP Awarded: 2 each.