10th Forelithe, 2951 (Summer)
The Company, with Ekbar guiding them, embark on the long journey to the Mountains of Mirkwood, along the river, through the marshes, then West into the forest and the slopes of the mountains.
The journey is nearly two weeks long, uneventful, even pleasant at times, and they reach the site of the ruined fort on a cloudy, late and humid afternoon, and creep up a path through the rocky slopes until the crumbling fort comes into view. They hunker down for the rest of the day, watching for movement: they spot Goblin Archers on the walls, see Orcs changing shift, and suss out a way to get to the ruin by climbing down to lower slopes and sneaking across.
As night falls, they move off, scrambling down as quietly as they can, using a rope and their experience to move unseen and unheard. They sneak across to a thick canopy of honeysuckle then send Dafydd Ap Alfred up to spy. He clambers up, quiet as an owl on the hunt, and he sees half-a-dozen Orcs in the courtyard, half-heartedly keeping watch, bickering and moaning about guarding some ‘Elven trinket’. He lowers a rope to the rest, and everyone except Gilthannas climb up, taking shelter behind the fallen walls.
They ambush the enemy, taking them completely by surprise. The three Goblins on the walls fall dead before they even realise it by well-aimed arrows from Gilthannas, Ekbar, and Alberic. Dafydd sends a deadly arrow into the heart of an Orc hanging out by the well, and then the rest charge in!
Grimgar impales an Orc, then sweeps another off its feet and skewers that one too; Dafydd takes out another, impaling it on his spear as he moves to guard the doorway to a tower; Alberic and Storr charge up, guarding a set of stairs leading below; Storr shoots an Orc as he reaches the stairs. One of the remaining Orcs whacks Grimgar, who retaliates by impaling the foul creature. And a double-whammy from Alberic and Gilthannas take out the last Orc.
Gilthannas hears movement from the stairs, and as soon as an Orc’s head appears, he shoots it between the eyes. Its corpse tumbles back down the steps. An Orc calls out, from the tower above, in rough Common, demanding that they surrender. The Company moves out of sight, guarding the door and stairs, and do not reply.
An hour passes, then another. An Orc attempts to find out what’s going on, but as it ascends the stairs, it falls back down as Gilthannas shoots that Orc between the eyes too. Several more hours pass, deeper into the night.
The Company decide to take the battle to whoever is in the tower. Leaving Grimgar, Ekbar and Gilthannas outside on guard, the others move into the tower, past the lower floor and a locked trapdoor, up to the second floor, where Orcs Guards ambush them: Dafydd is jabbed by a spear and battle is joined.
Outside, an Orc jumps out of the tower window, stumbling as it lands, then sprints towards the stairs down: he gets about halfway before Gilthannas shoots him down.
In the tower, Dafydd is joined by Storr and Alberic, just as two more Orcs join the Guards: a wary, smaller Orc, and a powerful looking Chieftain wielding a staff. Alberic engages him, while Storr helps Dafydd out: spears, swords, axes and staff jab and slash, thrust and parry. The Orcs dodge, block; the companions parry and duck; Alberic shouts for help, and Grimgar and Gilthannas rush in to help.
The Orc Guard falls to the mighty spear of Grimgar; the smaller Orc is battered back and drops his weapon, falling to his knees and surrendering. The chief carries on fighting, wearied quickly, but not before he pummels Alberic into unconsciousness. Then the chief falls to one of Gilthannas’ arrows, and drops dead.
In the aftermath, after tying up the surrendering Orc, they search the tower and find little. The captive Orc tells them it will help, if they promise to let it go free. They sort of agree, and the Orc (Zagluk) helps them disarm the traps of a chest in the cellar; where plenty of loot is found, as well as a lesser Ring of Power (or some prototype) is claimed by Gilthannas.
They lock the Orc inside, and proceed to the stairs. Alberic, once he is awake and ready, pretends to be Zagluk and manages to convince four Orcs to come up: these are quickly felled by the companions waiting at the top. Then they head down, find some barracks, a mostly looted treasure room, and two Orcs guarding the entrance to a cave: these Orcs too fall easily to the Company.
The cave turns out to be an ice cave, and it is cold and dark and totally unnerves the companions. After much caution and worry, they enter and find a sword encased in ice: then an Elven spirit appears, but thanks to some quick talking and the presence of Gilthannas, the spirit gifts them the sword and asks them to use it wisely. It fades away, lifting the cold from the cave.
After hacking and freeing the sword, Gilthannas takes the ancient Elven blade, and the Company return to the tower to rest and sleep. In the morning they head back down the mountain, letting the Orc go as they reach a safe spot. He flees into the forest, and the Company head back to Dale without any trouble.
Back at the town, they split the treasure, bid farewell to Ekbar, and decide to head off to see the Elves and maybe learn more about the sword; then return to collect the Helm of Peace at the end of summer.
On the 6th Afterlithe, they leave the town and head West.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 3 each.