12-14th Rethe (Spring) 2947
Dafydd is checking the campsite to ensure it is a good place to stop, when he notices the pool rippling. Just in time he shouts out a warning to the others, allowing Alberic and Gilthannas time to draw their weapons. The two Hobbits, however, are momentarily frozen in place as a huge creature bursts forth from the pool, shouting “Come ‘ere ya tasty morsels, I’m hungry!”
It is a Stone-Troll, twice as tall as the Men, nearly twice as wide, clutching an old tree trunk as a club. The Hobbits shake off their fear, and dart in with their King’s Blades flashing in the dying light; Wilibald slaps its leg, making it hop, and Popo stabs it in the gut, wounding it. Dafydd smashes the haft of his spear into its head, snapping it to the side, in place for Alberic to swing his long-hafted axe overarm, and down into the monster’s head, cleaving is skull in twain.
Gilthannas lowers his bow, and slide his unspent arrow back into its quiver.
The Company spends the night, keeping watch. In the morning they resume their journey, Alberic tracking the signs of passage that they hope indicates where the missing Dwarves went. Popo still reckons they are being followed, and is proven right as the second day in the marshes draws to its end, and a quartet of Elves steps out of the nearby trees as the boat punts across the narrow river.
Armed but not openly hostile, the lead elf introduces himself as Galion, who Gilthannas knows is the King’s former cupbearer, sentenced to dismal patrol duty in the marshes due to a misdeed five years ago. The Elf introduces the Company, but it is Dafydd who takes the lead in the conversation, sweet-talking the Elves and persuading them to give up information on the missing Dwarves: Galion is interested in why the Dwarves are passing this way, but is satisfied that the companions know nothing more than they went missing, and they are searching for them. Galion leads them to Balin’s camp, where the Elves were keeping an eye on them before they suddenly disappeared.
Before night falls, they search the camp and find the broken and submerged boat, tracks of booted Dwarf footprints and some webbed prints, and no sign that they slept here, only that they set up camp. Popo manages to find something more, which he hides from the Elves: in a rotten stump he finds an ornate jewellery box, decorated with eagles, hidden hastily and ensorcelled with Dwarven Runes of Secrecy. He pockets it, intending to return it to Balin once they find him, but not opening it himself. Too decent for that.
The Elves, persuaded and impressed by Dafydd’s speeches, spend the night with the Company sharing duties, and in the morning take their leave. Once they are out of sight and sound, the Company begin following the footprints, deeper into the marshes.
They travel for several hours, leaving the boat behind at the camp, hidden amongst the reeds. As they pass through a clump of dense foliage and crowding trees, Alberic, Gilthannas and Wilibald suddenly find themselves tangled in tendrils of vines, that tighten and hoist them up to the branches, strangling them! Too late they remember the warning of the Gallows-Weed. Thankfully, Alberic manages to pull a vine free and falls down, gasping but safe; Wilibald wriggles out of the tendrils, tired by the ordeal but also safe. The Elf finds the vine tightening around his throat as the others try in vain to free him. He relaxes, focuses on his surroundings, then takes advantage of a momentary loosening of the vines, and with a backflip and a twist, is suddenly free. They hurry on, keeping low to avoid the dangling vines, and swiftly pass through the dangerous trees.
Night is falling when they come across older, more substantial ruins, and a pool of stagnant water centre-most. The tracks they were following end at the pool. A marble arch stands over looking the water. Large crows sit in the surrounding trees, cawing loudly.
Wilibald and Popo stealth ahead, sneaking up to the edge of the pool. There is no sign of life other than the crows. Then they hear a sound, faint and dull, as if from far away and from beneath the ground: a bell, deep in sound. Entranced by the ringings, the two Hobbits start to wade into the pool…
…and when the others come after them, worried that the scouts had not yet returned, Alberic, Dafydd and Gilthannas see no sign of the two Hobbits. Footprints end at the pool. The pool looks deep, and a submerged tunnel can just be made out as the light begins to fail and the shadows lengthen.
Then they too hear the sound of a bell, but the deep tones have no effect other than to make them wary. Seeing no sign of the Hobbits, but concerned for their safety, the three remaining companions prepare to wade into the water…
End of Session
XP Awarded: 2 for Alberic, Dafydd and Pop, but only1 for Wilibald and Gilthannas.