The Company huddle amongst the boulders at the foot of the path that zig-zags up to the watchtower. It is less than an hour until dawn, a glimmer of day break on the horizon. They have spent the night planning and decided on a frontal approach, intending on drawing out the enemy and give the great dragon Raenar the distraction it wants.
They sneak up to half-way, ducking below some boulders. They call out, pretend there are more of them than there are, but nothing rears its head or comes out. Storr thinks he can hear the sound of the dragon slithering and climbing, which prompts the companions to proceed to the entrance: there double-doors stand ajar and all is dark inside. They cautiously enter the entry hall, spotting a large block of stone suspended from the ceiling, and darkness inside. Gilthannas can see something large moving in the shadows, and can hear movement, clink of armour and swords.
Then suddenly a huge figure charges forward, grabbing something from the chamber ahead and a stone throne hurtles through the air, shattering amongst the party: Gilthannas leaps back, avoiding the debris, but the others are not so lucky and are pelted by stones.
A huge cave-troll follows it, roaring as it charges the momentarily stunned companions. The Elf gets in a couple of arrows before it reaches them. They stab at it with spears, slash with swords and axes, send arrows into its thick hide. From above, Goblin Archers scramble into view, shooting arrows at the fighters. Dafydd Ap Alfred drops his spear and shield and takes out his bow, backing off from the fight with the troll. He shoots a Goblin off the ceiling, as does Gilthannas. Storr and Alberic keep the troll engaged, blocking the passage: behind the troll several Orcs clash their swords against their shields, bellowing curses and obscenities, as they eagerly await the chance to attack.
The troll, despite its size and ferocity, finds it impossible to land a blow. It is quickly wearied, cut, bled, and a final arrow from Dafydd’s Great Bow fells the beast. The Orcs climb over the corpse and dive into the battle: Storr and Alberic keep them busy, as Dafydd and Gilthannas drop the remaining Goblins with their bows and arrows.
Storr staggers back as an Orc kicks him viciously. Another slashes Alberic’s arm, drawing blood. He bashes his attacker with his shield, knocking him off balance and allowing Gilthannas to place an arrow in his chest; the Orc falls dead. Dafydd picks up his shield and spear and wades into the fight, but he is struck by the flat of an Orc’s blade, knocking him senseless. Another Orc follows this with a mighty strike from the hilt of its sword, and the Barding falls down, unconscious.
His companions rally to him: another Orc dies, then another, in rapid succession, and the last Orc falls to an arrow from the Elf’s Woodland Bow.
In the aftermath Alberic staunches Dafydd’s cuts with a rousing song, bringing him back to consciousness. Gilthannas bandages Alberic’s arm, treating his wound. The Elf and Storr take a few minutes to catch their breath.
Overhead, they hear the dragon arrive: claws tearing at stone, a thunderous voice, and another voice in reply, one that sounds familiar. Then the dragon’s voice falters and weakens. The four companions spot a stairwell and hurry up to find a chamber with corridors opening up onto the large windows they saw outside. In the centre of the chamber is a huge bonfire, and a caged holding the corpse of none other than Galia; a corpse possessed by the Gibbet King! Across from him/her is Raenar, head bow and shaking as it trying to remove a bad thought. The Gibbet King is uttering arcane words, bending the dragon to its will.
Nine Black Orcs from Mordor stand guard, two holding a vast and heavy chain. They are moving towards the dragon.
Everyone takes up their bows and send a flurry of arrows into the Gibbet King: their arrows dig deep, disrupting his chanting. The dragon roars with gratitude and moves to attack his would-be jailor. The Uruks turn their attention to the companions, all but the ones carrying the chain. They charge, and are stopped by Storr and Alberic, blocking the tunnel to allow Dafydd and Gilthannas to continue shooting. They smash the corpse, allowing the dragon to breath its poisonous fumes on the exiting spirit. The Orcs crash into Storr and Alberic. Storr is knocked back, and then down, but before they can turn their attention to the others, the dragon breathes on the spirit once more…
…and destroys the Gibbet King!
The spirit screams and practically explodes: the Orcs are shocked, and flee, leaving the companions all alone with the dragon.
It thanks them, and claims the watchtower and whatever gold is here as his own. It then tells the companions to leave, while it is feeling gracious. But, it warns them, do not return here, for it will spell your doom.
Hurriedly, carrying Storr between them, they exit the watchtower and make their way to a sheltered crevice to address their injuries.
End of Session
XP Awarded: 3 each.