1st Rethe, 2498
While wintering at Rhosgobel, Alberic, Dafydd Ap Alfred and Wilibald Took are invited to take part in a hunt to celebrate the end of winter.The best hunters of the settlement are boasting and bragging as they form hunting parties, while the rest of the townsfolk watch on and bless their hunting, with children playing and laughing as the dogs run around. The companions join a party of four, led by a boastful Woodman named Amalric, accompanied by his younger and eager to please brother, Evoric; with them are warrior called Heva, a woman as fierce and as strong as any man, and a laconic hunter called Thorismund, who is still grieving the loss of his wife the previous winter.
There is a healthy sense of competition between the parties as they head off into the woods, and Amalric is soon bragging about his and his brother’s hunting prowess, which irks Dafydd. They decide to split up and hunt stag and deer as they come across prints and spot their prey between the trees ahead. The companions are left alone to hunt as many deer as they can, and are soon giving chase to a small herd as they stumble through the woods. Dafydd fells a deer with his great bow, but the others fall behind and lose sight of the each other.
Suddenly, there is the sound of horns blowing nearby, cut off just as suddenly with the accompaniment of a cry of pain, a shout, and the clash of iron. Alberic and Dafydd race into a clearing to find five Orcs and three Goblin Archers engaged with the rest of their hunting party; Amalric stands over the unconscious body of his brother, while a wounded Thorismund is felled by an arrow as the heroes rush in, while Heva fends off three of the Orcs, but is struggling to keep them at bay.
The battle is joined, with goblin arrows flying into shields and thudding into trees; then one of the goblins shrieks as Wilibald suddenly appears behind it, stabbing it in the back. He then shoves past the creature and dives into the fight, scoring a lucky hit and taking out an Orc fighting Heva. Alberic rushes past, and up the slope to take out the wounded Goblin, while Dafydd shrugs off an arrow, then spears an Orc through the heart. Another Orc falls as Alberic charges back down the slope, Wolf-Biter glowing blue as it reacts to the Orcs; the Orc shows fear as the axe-head swoops down, but has little chance to react more as its head flies from its shoulders.
More arrows fly, and an Orc hacks away at Dafydd, pounding on his shield and armour, quickly wearing the Barding down; he kicks the Orc back, and that Orc turns and flees, but is taken down by one of the hunting hounds that is returning after hearing the call of the hunters horn.
Alberic races across the battlefield again, decapitating another Goblin, but grazed by an arrow for his trouble. Wilibald fends off an Orc, leaving it open for Dafydd to move in, and spear it. The final Orc falls down, dead; and the last Goblin, after exchanging blows with Alberic, finds itself caught by a wild swing of the Woodman’s axe, and falls to its death.
They help Heva and Amalric tend to the wounded, and after collecting a few tokens from the dead Orcs, they carry the wounded hunters back home. There they learn that there were other attacks, a coordinated effort to ambush the hunters; thankfully there were no deaths, just a few wounded men to deal with, and Radagast is found helping tend the injured.
The companions take their tokens to the Wizard and he takes a good, long look at them, and something he sees troubles him. He excuses himself, and returns a short time later, enough time for Dafydd to recover (with the help of one of the Wizard’s heavy brews). He hands them a scroll: “Take this message to the Elven King,” he says, " and see what help he offers. If Thranduil proves obstinate, remind him that the Beast is terrible, and that if its gaze was no longer focussed on the Woodmen, it would quickly turn North. If there is any indication that the Orcs are organised by some agency… matters are dangerous indeed. Go swiftly. There is no time to lose!”
End of Session
XP: 1 each for Alberic, Dafydd and Wilibald.