8th Winterfilith, 2948 (Autumn)
After crossing the river the Company hike across fields and plains, into the rolling foothills of the Misty Mountains. The journey is slow as they do their best to keep hidden, and the only potential trouble that they encounter are a pack of wild wolves that decide to leave a well-armed company alone, and a dangerous scree slope that they simply skirt around. Four days later they follow a mountain stream up to Mountain Hall, where they are hailed by the guards on the bridge and allowed to enter after they relinquish their weapons. They ask to be introduced to Hartfast, leader of the settlement, and are escorted deep into one of the mines, where they find the Elder listening at the wall of a large chamber. He looks up as they approach, and asks what they want.
Dafydd Ap Alfred and Alberic do most of the talking, telling him that Radagast sent them to learn about anything unusual happening West of the river. In exchange they share their news of the wider world with him, and he listens.
“Aye, there’s something afoot down south, in the Gladden Fields. There’s always trouble in those parts, around Dwimmerhorn. I pay it little heed – I’ve worries closer to home.”
They convince him to give his blessing to go and check out the Dwimmerhorn, and he even agrees to lend them a guide, Magric to take them their; in exchange, they are to share whatever news they have, so that his Men are forewarned of any danger.
He then gestures for them to listen at the wall: they hear a soft tap-tapping, which Gilthannas identifies as tools working away at stone.
“Goblins”, says Hartfast. “They dig in search of our mineshafts and tunnels. They want to find a secret way in to my hall. We’ve killed many on the surface, but they are more dangerous down here in the dark.”
He allows them to sleep in the Hall, and their weapons are returned to them. Fortunately, as it turns out, as in the night they are awoken by an alarm. Rushing out, they are in time to see guards calling out for help, and a trio of Goblins scaling the steep cliffs, hurrying out of the settlement. The companions fire a volley of arrows, but the Goblins are too far away to strike. Wilibald Took and Popo Took go to aid the guards, and spot a wounded man dangling from the edge of the cliff. He is rescued just in time, least he fell to his death in the icy river below. The companions earn the respect of the Mountain Men, and in the morning, when Magric joins them, they are well-provisioned and sent off with hearty thanks for Hartfast and the other elders.
Magric is a friendly, cheerful guide, who certainly knows his way around. The journey South with him to guide the way is fairly easy, even when they reach the river and have to find a ford to cross. They follow the Gladden River down to the marshes of the Gladden Fields, and begin searching for the Dwimmerhorn. It takes three more days, but they soon find an well-trodden path that leads through the mist to the rock that Men call the Dwimmerhorn.
As they gaze upon it, they hear the sound of many feet ahead: through the mist, there is movement. The Company slip off the path, hiding in the reeds and mist. A man stumbles out of the mist, manacled and looking half-dead. He trips and collapses just beyond where the companions hide, and then Orcs can be seen ahead.
Suddenly, Magric leaps up shouting “Ambush! Ambush!”, altering the Orcs to their presence! He rushes to the side of the Orcs, and points at the companions as they reveal themselves.
The Orcs rattle their weapons and move in to attack: their leader, a Black Uruk, , flanked by several wargs snarls in Orcish, and another Orc puts a horn to its thin lips and blows a deep, wailing alarm. The leader then falls dead to the muddy ground as Dafydd, Popo and Gilthannas send arrows into his chest and heart. Another Orc lobs a spear in retaliation, which strikes Popo, slightly winding him as his armour deflects the brunt of the blow.
Then battle is joined, and Magric takes the opportunity to flee before anyone can stop him. An Orc quickly falls to Popo’s blade, and a Wolf is shot out of the air as it leaps at the Elf. Another swings at Dafydd, but Wilibald pops up and blocks it with his Dwarven shield. Another Orc jabs Alberic hard, winding the Woodmen, and the other Wolf leaps at Gilthannas, but is batted aside, and instead turns to flee. It finds itself blocked by Wilibald, who jabs it in the chest; the Elf finishes it off with an arrow to the back of its head.
Dafydd runs an Orc through with his spear, and finds himself stuck as an Orc tries to impale him; but Wilibald once again slips in, parrying it with his shield, and giving Dafydd time to pull his spear free, and whack the Orc over the head, crushing its skull. Alberic chops down an Orc, and the last Orc turns and flees; the Woodman chases him, catching him up before the Orc has gone even a dozen paces; its head rolls along the path, and disappears with a soft plop into the marsh.
The companions gather by the manacled man, freeing him and quickly questioning him. His name, it turns out, is Walar and he has been a prisoner and slave of the Orcs for months, working for them atop the Dwimmerhorn. He knows little, just that they Orcs have fortified the old temple and buildings, had him and others rebuilding walls and working in the smithy, and that he only escaped after taking a chance when some Orcs were fighting. He slipped out, unseen, and down an old goat trail. An unfortunate encounter with an Orc patrol was almost his undoing, when the companions appeared. He also knows Magric, who was the one who brought him here only to betray him to the Orcs.
The Company look up at the dark mass of the Dwimmerhorn, and ponder their next move, wondering how soon the enemy will respond to the warhorn the Orc sounded?
End of Session
XP Awarded: 1 each.