29th Afterlithe, 2947 (summer)
After defeating the sludge-corpses, the companions search the bodies and the pile of debris and find a few coins and semi-precious stones, as well as some more interesting items. Dafydd finds a heart-shaped ruby in a thorny-vine cage, on a fine silver necklace of twisting vines, crafted in the First Age by the Elves of Beleriand (worth 80 treasure.); while Popo comes away with a ruby brooch cut to resemble a raven, by a smith of Westernesse, for a King of the North, once of the Faithful who called himself the Raven King and ruled over settlements in the North of Mirkwood, before he met his death at the claws of the Werewolf of Mirkwood (also worth 80 treasure). Alberic pulls out a pair of elven boots, which he cleans up. These turn out to be a pair of wondrous artefacts: a sturdy pair of Elf Boots that come from the Halls of The Thousand Caves, these boots give the wearer good purchase over even the most difficult terrain, and ease the feet of the burdens of long journeys (Blessing of Travel); while Wilibald manages to pull a shield from the sludge, with runes carved along the obsidian-edged rim. On the shield is a carving of a hammer striking an anvil, on which a sword is being forged, traced in silver and gold. It weighs practically nothing and fits the Hobbit’s arm perfectly, but carrying it feels like a burden on his soul, and he feels a deep sorrow from the shield. Still, it is a beautiful shield, reinforced, Dwarf-made. He discards his small buckler in favour of the new shield. Gilthannas finds nothing exciting, and settles for the coins and semi-precious stones.
They swim back to the shore, using ropes as before, and once everyone has dried off and recovered their gear and ponies (and had a spot of lunch), they begin their next mission: to deliver the message from the Elders of the Woodmen to Ceawin the Generous, chieftain of the settlements in the East Bight.
They turn South, into the Narrows of the Forest, where the trees are less crowded and old trails are found, but there is a sense of foreboding about the land. Alberic finds his new boots to be a blessing while travelling, easing the weariness of the journey; furthermore, they seem to guide him to clearer paths, and at one point they come across an old Elven flet that they manage to climb up to and spend a restful night in the trees. Their journey through the Narrows is without incident, despite the feeling that they may be ambushed at any time. They reach the edge of the forest several days later, and spot the smoke of farmsteads and a hamlet ahead. Sheathing their weapons and approaching shortly after dawn, they make their way to the largest of the dwellings they can see.
9th Wedmath, 2947 (summer)
Gathered by the largest dwelling, a well-constructed large Hall, are a dozen men and women being directed by a blond-haired Man who is telling them they will leave shortly, as soon as the arms and provisions are handed out. The crowd part as the Company approaches, and Dafydd introduces them, asking to speak to Ceawin as they have a message from Woodland Hall. The blond-haired man is Ceawin, and he tells them that he is in the middle of a crisis at the moment, but after they offer to help out, he listens to them as he prepares his men.
A herdsman, a boy actually, called Hordin, has disappeared into the Corpse Woods chasing his sheep after they were spooked; his brother raised the alarm as soon as he did not return, so Ceawin and his men are heading out to find him. The companions offer their help, telling Ceawin of their skills and prowess, and he agrees, gladly accepting. He also passes on his reply to their message, that he will indeed be there at the Moot next midsummer’s day, to talk to the Elders about uniting their Halls; but first things first, they must find the missing boy.
They waste no more time and head off at a forced march and a jog, hurrying across the open land to the woods in the South, reaching them shortly as the sun begins to set below the forest. There they spread out, Ceawin guiding the Company as they begin to search, lighting torches to keep the darkness at bay. Alberic and Dafydd discover tracks leading to a barrow, with an ancient and twisted yew tree atop it, webs around in the surrounding trees, sheep snared. In the trees they can hear the scuttling of spiders.
The other searchers find their way to the same place, following sheep tracks, and as they see the footprints of the boy leading up to the tree on the barrow, spiders are spotted emerging from the trees; giant Attercops moving in to attack.
“Go, find the boy and bring him back safely,” cries Ceawin. “We’ll hold the spiders off”.
The Company head up the mound, and disappear into the narrow passage that leads beneath the tree to the interior. There lies the boy, out cold on a table of stone, the roots of the tree surrounding him like a cage and reaching out as if to grab and embrace him. The rest of the chamber looks empty.
Alberic takes out his long-hafted axe and swings at the roots, but only digs deeply into a thick one; before he can do more than pull the axe free, something pulls itself out of the dirt and leaves and roots: a Man-shape, formed of dead leaves, roots and dirt, strangling claws reaching out, a Wood-Wight. Only Popo isn’t caught unawares, but can do nothing as the creature moves in to attack.
Wilibald finds himself in its way, and continues to harry it as they other converge and start to hack and stab, arrows piercing its bark and grime; Popo tunnels his way under the root-cage, and manages to lift the boy from the table, dragging him out of the cage as the others manage to beat the wight back to the wall, and finish it off with a final arrow in the head from the Elf.
They hurry out, Dafydd slinging Hordin over his shoulder. Outside, a dozen spiders are attacking and the Company wade straight into the battle, cutting half-a-dozen spiders down by themselves; a gap opens large enough and long enough for everyone to retreat, which they do, safely and without injury.
After they retreat to a safe distance, the Men of the Easy Bight and the Company make camp, and settle down for the night.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 2 for Alberic, Dafydd and Wilibald; 1 for Popo and Gilthannas.