21st Halimath, 2948 (Autumn)
As the dawn pierces the eaves, causing the swirling mists to glow with ethereal light, the Company breaks camp and heads towards the ruins that they can just about see rising out of the mist a few hundred yards away, peeking out of the surrounding trees. The ruin is crumbling walls and an arched doorway, an ancient watchtower that may once have been used by the Northmen. Not it lies in ruins, little more than the walls remaining. However, inside the vine-choked and overgrown interior, partially obscured by debris, a doorway opens onto a spiralling stairway that descends below the ground: faint sounds can be heard coming from the stairwell, and the flickering light of torches makes the shadows dance.
Gilthannas, with his heightened hearing, hears snippets of voices, arguing, urgent and then a chilling voice that tells them all to be quiet and hurry: a voice that he recognises from the dream in which they lost Irimë. They send Wilibald down to spy: he comes back quickly, telling of half-a-dozen Forest Goblins, a large Orc and a pair of wargs. A Man sits by a stone door, chiselling away at the seal around its frame, while a shrunken Elven head with glowing eyes urges him to hurry. He stayed there a moment too long, as one of the wolves started sniffing and let loose a deep-throated growl as it sniffed out the Hobbit. He came back quick.
That warg comes out of the doorway not long after, but by then the companions are in place: but all it takes is a swift and true-aimed arrow, and the wolf falls dead, Gilthannas’ arrow between its eyes. They drag its body away, make a noise to try and draw others out, but then the eyes of the dead wolf glow and the voice of the spirit tells them it sees them, that they are too late, and that they will all soon die.
Driven by a sense of urgency, and because nothing is coming out, they take the fight downstairs: Dafydd leads the way, Alberic following close behind; then the two Hobbits, followed by the Elf bringing up the rear, his bow ready to let loose death. The Goblins are ready for them, and hurl spears, which just bounce off mail, stone, or miss completely. Gilthannas aims over their heads and takes out the chiselling Man before he can lift his head to see what’s going on. The Orc in charge, a larger one that the Goblins, orders them to “kill them all!” and charges into the fray.
The battle is swift and deadly: Goblins falls quickly to sword thrusts, axe cleaves and piercing arrows and spears. Alberic takes an unlucky hit, a jagged knife thrusting deep into his side. He retaliates by lopping off the Goblin’s head, but the wound has been dealt. The glowing eyed head is crushed under Gilthannas’ heel, and as they cut down the enemy, a lone Goblin, last survivor, throws down its knife and surrenders. He is bound, briefly interrogated (but reveals nothing of any use) and is then gagged and shoved into the corner, with the Took brothers guarding him.
The other three approach the stone door, and decide to see what’s on the other side. Gilthannas finishes breaking the seal and the door falls open: a vaulted chamber, rows of pillars creating an avenue that leads to an old throne atop a dais. On the throne, a skeletal figure dressed in ancient mail, a winged helm on its head, a great-sword across its lap. Behind it, in an alcove, an old chest. With the Hobbits guarding the Goblin and keeping an eye on what’s going on, and Dafydd standing in the doorway, Alberic and Gilthannas enter the room. They haven’t gone very far when a voice, coming from the figure on the throne, but echoing in their minds in their own language, speaks: “Welcome strangers, to my Great Hall. Forgive me if I do not rise. Who are you are, and why do you disturb my slumber?”
They give a brief answer, which does not seem to satisfy the skeletal figure. In fact, the conversation deteriorates quickly and the figure stands, and begins to walk towards them. As it does it tells them that it intends to rule again, and that it will subjugate the Woodmen and makes them his followers. The Company are having none of it, and despite the fear the creature generates, all but the Hobbits grit their teeth, raise their weapons, and attack!
The creature, The Last Chieftain as it calls itself, batters at the three companions as Dafydd leaps in to help: they are forced back, wearied by the constant blows; Alberic is disarmed, but the Barding and the Elf distract it long enough for the Woodman to retrieve his axe. Despite the strength and stamina of the wight, the companions are relentless, and it is soon nothing more than dust, rust and rags. Its spirit screams in rage as it is forced from its body, and a silence settles over the tomb.
End of Session
*XP Awarded: * 2 each.