As the company retreat back through the tunnels, the Orcs ahead follow cautiously, offering them a chance to surrender, so long as they give up the Elves. They ignore the Orcs and head up a tunnel that they hadn’t been before, coming to the other stairs leading to the dungeons above. Up there they hear the sound of more Orcs and Men hacking away at the door they blocked.
An idea comes to them: they hurry up the stairs, then back down the stairs they originally went down, hoping to confuse the Orcs following them. Back in the warrens, Gilthannas and Haldir are sent scouting ahead, whilst the others wait. The sound of the door being smashed open follows as soon as the two Elves leave, and the rest of the company ready their bows.
Haldir and Gilthannas turn the corner, and run straight into a trio of Orcs: the brothers strike fast, killing one of the Orcs before they have a chance to react and calling out a warning to the others. The other Elves advance, Alberic and Dafydd bringing up the rear; and as the other Elves reach the crossroads, more Orcs rush them from the darkness. At the same time, the sound of reinforcements coming down the stairs can be heard.
The Elves engage the Orcs as Alberic and Dafydd fire into the melee, taking down an Orc. One of the Elves staggers back from a deep cut from an Orc’s sword, and Haldir takes a blow to the head, bloodying his brow. Another three Orcs fall to the swords of the Elves, and the three companions take out one each, thinning their foes… and just in time, as six more Orcs and six more Evil Men race down the stairs. The Elves fell the Orcs fighting them, and the five of them and Alberic and Dafydd move around the corner, out of sight of the bowmen; but a few arrows fly just before they disappear, and Dafydd is winded when one hits him in the chest, his leather corselet deflecting a piercing blow.
They meet up with Haldir and Gilthannas, retreating as more Orcs emerge from the tunnels, and despite a few more Orcs falling to the ground bloodied and dead, their numbers are far greater. Alberic stands back, defending his allies as they manage to retreat further down the tunnels, felling an Orc long enough to follow. But then they run into more Orcs and are forced to fight. Gilthannas sends arrows flying, as does his brother and an Elf, their deadly aim taking Orc after Orc out; Dafydd leaps forward, impaling another; Alberic joins them in time to see a Man leading some of the Orcs and bowmen, and with a quick shot, sends him staggering back, long enough for Dafydd to fire an arrow into his chest, felling him. Elves and Orcs clash, Orcs fall back; Alberic decapitates an Orc with a single strike; Dafydd exchanges arrows with a bowman, and is the victor.
There is a moment when no enemy are engaged, although more Orcs and Evil Men are close at hand. Taking advantage, the companions and their allies, some wounded, all weary, beat a hasty retreat, heading south through the warrens, down into darkened tunnels, past caves used as store rooms, towards the sound of running water. They are a matter of feet, of steps ahead of the Orcs and Men, moments from being caught.
They emerge into a cavern partially filled with water, a stream leading away into darkness, another narrow tunnel sloping up. Orcs are coming from there and from behind; so, with little choice other than stand and fight, they wade into the water and squeeze into the tunnel the stream is coming from. The last of them slips through just as the Orcs arrive and start to follow.
For the next mile or so, wading and occasionally swimming through the stream, they struggle up the stream, gaining ground on the Orcs following them, grunting and cursing as they do. Twice Alberic, leading the company, finds himself fighting off giant rats that are living in the tunnels; the last time, one manages to dig its teeth into his chest, winding him, then knocking him down into the tunnel, where he hits his head and slumps unconscious. Only Haldir’s quick reflexes catch him before he is submerged, and the Elf behind manages to reach forward and impale the rat before it does any more damage.
They carry Alberic the rest of the way, but manage to leave the Orcs behind. They slip out of the tunnel, into the forest, where it is still dark, and out into a pool of stinking water that snakes away into the depths of the forest. Wasting no time, they hurry off into the trees, putting as much distance between themselves and the tunnel as they can before they need to rest.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 2 each.
Elves freed: 5 Elves plus Haldir.