Reunited

In the last session, our hapless heroes had become separated and their stories had taken different paths. Recovering in the Dwarven enclave of Caras Celairnen, the dwarves had begun to search for possible news of the return of Limolas to civilisation, more in hope than any real sense of success. As a result, they did not tax their own resources too heavily, instead relying on using the elf’s cash reserves to pay some street urchins to pass on news of any sightings.  Then, feeling that duty had been done, they set about resting and planning on how to return to the Edanaar, the golden frog, to complete the task.

633cc7e45250ccdb5a1aabbeea991001-middle-earth-josephMeanwhile, sometime later, Limolas returning to the town shorn of is belongings and trousers – is detained by the city guard. Attempts to engage the city militia in contacting his friends fail miserably, and the elf is forced to sit and wait in a cell. Finally, he is taken to a court in front of the Arquan of the Karras and a chance to plead his case. However, his dishevelled appearance and lack of means do not help his poorly constructed arguments of being an adventurer down on his luck with companions in town. Perhaps it is not a good idea to mention your friends are dwarves when you are an elf.  After deliberation, the elders of the city decide that Limolas is a potential risk to the safety of the city and decide – in the interest of security –  to bad the elf from the city.  So it is that down-on-his-luck elf finds himself contemplating the long walk along the two-mile causeway towards the next chance of shelter and food.

At that same moment, the dwarves receive word of an elf who matches their description has just been thrown out from the town. With maximum dwarven haste, the pair make their way down to the causeway gate and a short dash across the causeway soon reunites them with their lost companion. After briefly swapping tales, the party hatch a plan to house Limolas for long enough for them to complete the quest.

alabasterReasoning that it is only a matter of time before the banishment will be forgotten, Limolas settles into the shore camp occupied by many of the river’s itinerant travellers who stop-over at the Karras.  When Limolas is sufficiently recovered, the party travel into the fens again and with only minor incidents return to the bower of the Golden Frog.  Upon the presentation of the gifts to the idol, a golden mist swirls around and miraculously Edanaar stand before the adventurers.

Within a matter of days, Edanaar and been reunited with his long-lost love. The party rewarded both in coin and some minor items settle into the town to finally reflect on their adventure and again on how being reunited allowed the lost lovers to be united again.

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Sundered!

In the previous session, we left the party divided and in fear deep within the wood surrounding the Labyrinth of Thorns. Limolas, alone in the woods woke to a new day and a sense of self-imposed calm. However, although he knew north from south and east from west, he had no clue as to his location in the woods. Reasoning that the dwarves were to the North he carefully made his way through the woods.

515012-515012_origMeanwhile, back at camp the dwarves, now more concerned about the failure of their companion began to make plans to leave in the assumption that the elf was lost. Waiting part of the morning, and with no sign of Limolas, the pair began to make their way towards the west and the side of the woods they had entered.  Arriving at the edge of the swamp the waited another hour or so before deciding to try and find their way back through the swamp. Suddenly, the two stout heroes were assailed by giant, slimy tentacles. From the swamp a watcher in the water attempt to snatch at Pick, who was carrying the basket containing the stones and rose. Valiantly, the dwarves beat back the assaulting arms and regained the wood away from the dangers of the swamp.  For a while, the tentacles searched for the basket and the dwarves decided that seeking another way from the wood would be sensible. Thus they set off to search the edge of the woods for a new path and they reasoned, they may come across the elf, should he have made his way to edge of the woods.

tumblr_static_esypkkltsvwcswcss0so0cgk4Indeed, this is exactly what Limolas had done, having reached the Northern edge of the woods he surveyed the steep, imposing slopes of the Twilight hills decided to follow the woods to the Western end and the location of the causeway. From there he reasoned he would be able to trace the path back to the camp near the Labyrinth.  After a long trek involving an incident with a fireward and a loss of trousers, the half-dressed elf finally arrived back at the site of the camp, which of course by now was deserted. Not wishing to remain in the wood Limolas made his way back to the edge of the woods by the causeway path for the night.

During this time, Pick and Dagaard had walked around the edge of the wood, and discovered a fellow adventurer in distress. Dealve, had been part of a party seeking the golden frog, but his companions had perished in the accursed swamp and seeking safety Dealve had managed to gain some dry land, but now was without food. Not entirely trusting the adventurer, the dwarves, of course, did not disclose their discoveries but did offer to work together to escape from the swamp. With night drawing, the band of lost adventurers settled in for a watchful and uncomfortable night.

Dawn broke softly in the mist-enshrouded woods, grey, damp mist surrounded the sundered companions. Limolas deciding that his companions have begun to journey back through the swamp uses his tracking skills to begin searching for safe paths back to the golden frog, Edanaar. The dwarves, meanwhile, continue to skirt the woods searching for an obvious path without the risk of meeting a watcher.

uk11-341_glastonbury_tor_from_ham_wall_at_dawn_somerset123The dwarves with Dealve eventually arrive at the escarpments that mark the start of the Twilight hills. Deciding that searching for a path is fruitless, Pick and Dagaard decide to follow the edge of the escarpment towards the river Lhun.  With little incident, but dwindling supplies, they manage to make their way to the dwarf road leading to Caras Celairnen. Finally, arriving at the town starving, the dwarves seek sanctuary in the Dwarven Halls where they are nursed back to health. Fully recovered, the pair use some of Limolas’ coin to pay street urchins to provide news should the elf return. They do this more in hope rather than any real belief that he should be alive.

Limolas, however, is not so fortunate and through a series of mishaps spends longer in the swamp than even the initial journey out took. Thankfully, although lost, he is able to survive on a basic diet of swamp edibles. A considerable time after the dwarves had arrived back at the Karras, Limolas stumbles towards the causeway gate, half-naked, unkempt and starving. Despite pleading for aid, the gate guards decide that Limolas is a suspicious character and detain the elf. Limolas’ protestations and request that someone searches for news of his companions fall on deaf ears.

 

 

I can’t see the wood for the trees!

In the previous session, the party had finally discovered the location of the labyrinth of thorns and recovered amber stones. Now faced with the potential of a long slog back through the swamp with diminishing rations; the adventurers decided to camp in the dark, misty wood to allow Limolas to forage for food.

After a fruitless day of searching for food, Limolas decides that a night hunt would be more productive. The Dwarves knowing that their sneaking through woods was not something that would help gain supplies let Limolas forage alone.  Confidently, the elf ranger slipped into the dark woods.

Alone, but unconcerned by the mist-enshrouded wood, Limolas foraged for ways to supporting the party’s diminishing rations but found little wildlife and precious little in the way of edible plants. The night wore, and unusually for the wood-wise elf, branches began to snag at his clothes. Soon a branch had a grasp of his arm, and it was only good fortune that he was able to escape. Soon the pressure of being alone in a misty wood where living trees were attempting to take his life was too much. The elf broke and ran. In blind panic he ran; he stumbled; he created cover under a pile of leaves and slept.

Meanwhile, the dwarves waited the night watches out. They too discovered that they were not alone in the woods. Dagaard becomes suspicious of an ancient and decaying tree. Convinced that it has moved location he awakens Pick and the pair waited on alert. After a few anxious hours, the peril of the living tree becomes a reality and the heroes hammer away at the rogue tree.  Under the pressure of the dwarves mighty warhammers, the tree is soon broken. Fearing for their companion alone in the woods, a sleepless watch is maintained by the pair of warriors for the remains of the night.

Into the Woods

In the previous episode, the brave heroes had fought the Zombie King and survived the devious traps protecting the Iron Rose held beneath a rotten tree. Now Pick, Limolas and Dagaard set out to try and discover the location of the final item required to release Edananar from his frog form. Progress was again slow, but the party took heart when they could see the rising Hills of Evendim; this giving the small hope that the depths of the swamp would soon be left behind. 

Soon the band of adventurers found themselves warily entering a forest of dead trees.  Mists floated in from the swamp obscuring the view further, but untroubled the heroes pushed deeper into the woods and soon came upon a thicket of thorns. It was clear from their previous information that this should be the labyrinth of thorns spoken of as the resting place for the amber stones. A quick survey of the perimeter revealed three entrances and the wanderers soon realised that a strategy to defeat the labyrinth was in order.

e4c4aa06e6061b411f1d084653053476Sadly, after many hours of debate, the best plan they could come up with was to pick the nearest entrance and take the left turn until no more turns could be made and then return to the last turning. Pick, by far the most intelligent of the band, being only slightly below average intelligence, suggested leaving a marker at each turn, and so with bundles of sticks the band set off to explore.

The thorns of the maze pushed in on the adventurers as they explored through the mist. In the mistaken belief that they were efficiently exploring, the party pushed on into the Labyrinth. The tension grew as every wrong turn meant retracing steps and finding the marker sticks, which were becoming less with each wrong turn.

Warily, the party pushed on. Soon Limolas’ sharp ears heard a clacking sound and so the party were aware of the approach of a pair of skeletons.  Unfortunately, the close-packed thorns left no room for manoeuvre and so Pick was forced to deal with both at the junction. Limolas let fly volleys of arrows, but alas they had little effect when his aim was true. So alone and beset on two sides, the brave dwarf swung is mighty warhammer in defence of his comrades. So it is perhaps fortunate that this was the time for our heroes to discover that weapons that break bone, are more effective against the skeletal form of undead.

skeleton_warriors_by_aaronbradburyThe guardians of the Labyrinth dispatched, the explorers pushed on in their haphazard way seeking the centre of the maze. The going was slow and there were many encounters with more skeletons. The dauntless dwarves covering both the van and rear guard dispatched these with ease,  and despite evidence to the contrary Limolas continued to use piercing weapons to provide support.

A cold damp night later, the explorers gained the centre of the maze. In front of them stood a twelve foot high dark green dodecahedral tower, and atop gleamed the prized amber stones. Now the heroes could grab the loot and depart this depressing maze. However, between them and the stones stood a band of skeletal warriors. Faced with odds of three to one, Limolas thought to thin the numbers using his skill as a bowman. His efforts continued to have the same effect as before and the skeletal figures advanced with purposeful menace. The dwarves, taking a more pragmatic view advanced with warhammers swinging and soon the sound of breaking bone filled the centre of the maze. Limolas, finally abandoning his bow, joined the fray swinging his longsword to and fro. Within a few minutes, the floor was littered with a carpet of shattered bones and the heroes could turn their attention to the high pedestal on which the amber stones sat.

A combination of a lack of height and acrobatic skill made it clear very early on that recovering the stones would need a solution that did not involve a tower of two dwarves and an elf. However, by standing on both the dwarves shoulders and using his spear Limolas was eventually able to push the amber stones off the pedestal, where they were soon rolled into the magical bag ready for transport back to the golden frog form of Edananar, All that remained was to find their way back to him through the miles of damp, dreary, dangerous, swamp.

A Frog he would a wooing go.

At the end of the last session the party were alone deep in the swamp north of Caras Celairnen. Cold, damp and guide-less, they have been forced to rely on Limolas’ tracking skills to navigate the dangerous causeways that criss cross the dangerous marshes.

Another day of grey, green dreariness and swamp wild-life lead the party, after a few mis-steps, to a small floating island. On the island was a small bower, within which sat a small golden frog. Limolas and Pick are first to step tentatively on to the island. Sensing no traps they move closer to the bower. Whereupon, the frog speaks to them and beseeches their aid in reuniting him with his lost love. The frog tells the party that his was once a mortal man who fell in love with a Silvan elf in the years of twilight as the sun first rose. He tells of how an elf perverted by Morgoth cast the spell on him as he returned bearing wedding gifts for his love, and how until they are returned he cannot resume his mortal form.

The party debate the risk and rewards. In the first instance, they decide that this is not what they are being paid for and that taking the idol to the Alabaster lady is the best option. That is until they discover that the frog cannot be moved. It seems they need a magical basket which is currently in the possession of some water maia.

The party set off back into the swamp in the direction indicated by the golden frog. After some minor swamp encounters they soon arrive at a hedge of swamp bushes behind which they hear the light laughter of female voices. Peeking through the bushes they spy the beautiful form of the water nixies grouped around a large pool. In the middle of the pool floats a small coracle filled with treasure.

Retreating away from the pool the party debate the best approach to securing the basket. Aware of the elemental power of the Maia, Limolas suggests that direct force should be a last resort measure. As a result, the party decide to try charm and the hope that a love story will melt the hearts of the Nixie. Much to the party’s surprise this approach works wonderfully, although it costs them in a few magical items and coins to secure the boat, which when touched by mortal hands becomes a small basket.

Encouraged by the turn of events the party return to the island of the golden frog.

Gone fishing

In the last session, the party had escaped the perilous Oracle caves with barely a breath in their bodies. All the party were affected by hallucinations, but Pick was more affected than the rest of the party and spends several hours muttering about visions of a great Dwarven hall in which great lost Dwarven treasures could be found.

When the party are fully recovered they set forth, guided by their local guide, into the swamp. Initially, they are guided safely through the swamp and meet nothing but some local wildlife. However, after a day in the swamp they meet another of the treasure hunting teams and although the party tentatively try to open a parley, the other group attack. Narrowly, avoiding an opening salvo of crossbow bolts the two parties close. It is suddenly clear that the other party have a wizard as shock bolts fly, but they prove ineffectual. Again it is Dagaard who leads the melee, with Pick being redoubtable in defense and Limolas able to dart round and remove the threat from the wizard. The brief battle done, the party assess the situation to discover their guide has disappeared. Now they are alone in the swamp.

Thankfully, Limolas finally finds that he is an expert in something other than fashion and begins to navigate the tricky paths through the swamp. The party even have time to stop and do some fishing providing a fishy supper for the night. However, the lack of firewood demonstrate the importance of thinking ahead before planning to live off the land.

Night falls and although there is a close run encounter with a corpse candle, which almost lures Pick into the swamp, the party are able to continue their search in the morning. Navigating the paths proves tricky and once or twice back tracking is required. The swamp becomes more sinister as time passes and the party of encounter a giant versions of Leech and Catfish before they make camp for another night in the swamp.

 

 

An unexpected sighting

When we last left the dynamic duo they had, with the aid of Dagaard Dragonheart and Jeremiah, recovered the stolen goods and routed the bandits from an ancient watchtower. Now re-provisioned and prepared for a travel the party set out for the riverport of Elvenbyen on the river Lhun to gain passage to Cara Celairnen. It is here that Jeremiah intends to sell his now recovered weapons.

animalphotos15The journey to Elvenbyen is more eventful than the expected. A chance sighting of a herd of Astenhabli (an antelope) provides the traveling caravan with a fine feast thanks to Limolas’s foraging skills, but the party soon realise that they need to work on their cooking skills when a passing party of hunters notice the fire and join the party and demonstrate how food should be cooked.  The hunters have recently been overwintering in Elvenbyen and provide Pick with some useful information. However, the hunters are also very cautious about Limolas, and use many warding signs to which the self obsessed Limolas is unaware. The hunters leave early in the morning and it is as the party pack to leave that they discover a second visitor. A small swarm of Neekerbreekers (Locusts) have invaded the trail ration packs. Suddenly, the wonderful bounty of the land has reversed and with a small amount of food it looks like a hungry two days to the river.

Although the day’s traveling was easy and without incident, again small misfortune befell the party. During the middle watch Limolas’s sharp eyes and ears failed to notice a pack of dire wolves on the hunt. The party prevented from the expedient creation of firebrands to hold the pack off were sorely pressed to hold off the wolves, disturbed as they were from sleep. Indeed, Jeremiah slept throughout the short but brutal conflict. Only Dagaard had the presence of mind to grab a flaming brand from the fire, and it was his quick thinking that drove the pack off. Not however, without the loss of one of the carthorses. So it was that come the morning, having dispatched the wounded horse, the party redistributed the cargo over two carts and abandoned the third.

Now travel had become a chore, forced to travel at an even slower pace because of the load on the horses and to take more frequent stops the party camped again by the the Laughing Brook (now a river swollen with winter snow melt). The night was spent with growling bellies  and the hope that no more unfortunate events would befall them before reaching Elvenbyen on the morrow.

8kflytbArriving in the bustling Elvenbyen the party make lodging and although Limolas is aware that the locals  will not sit near the party, is still blissfully unaware of how distrusted he is in Northman circles. Listening to the talk in the inn, it is clear that there is an agitator stirring up discord between the Rivermen and Arthedain and Elves. Slu Rev (Sly fox) is talking of freedom from the ancient kingdoms. There is also talk of elves bewitching men in a nearby forest. The party appear to pay little attention to the rumours and instead settle down to decide on the next course of action. Soon an argument breaks out over who is paying the fees for travelling down river. Jeremiah pleads poverty – “I was the one who was robbed!”. Limolas the fashion victim bemoans that he has not bought a new set of clothes since Culwic where he purchased is splendidly fashionable pair of Glutani fur trousers. Jeremiah takes delight in pointing out that they are in fact goat, but Limolas refuses to accept that this is so. Meanwhile, Pick is carefully guarding the true value of his wealth and in an attempt at distraction offers up the 12 gold coins discovered in the tower. However, since these are stamped with Angmar imprints they are worthless unless melted down. Jeremiah insists that they must sell the furs if they do not have enough to cover at least a ferry fee.

In the end Pick and Limolas entrust the negotiations to Jeremiah who departs to sell the hides and secure passage. However, Pick believes that Jeremiah is far from trustworthy, and says as much to Limolas, but neither decide to go with the manic halfling. Instead both head into the town so that Limolas can do a little clothes shopping. Limolas is very impressed with the service at Jørnsen’s outfitters. A pretty smile and some flattering words soon have him being asked to remove his cloak, and then rapidly being hustled to a less noticeable area of the shop. Upon discovering that a coat made from the hides of Glutani will cost more than a Warhorse, Limolas realises that he is not wearing Glutani skin trousers and that Jeremiah was indeed right. Beating a hasty retreat he returns to the waiting Pick. Pick has decided that he  wishes to return to the inn, but Limolas wants to buy some fishing hooks and so the pair split.

As he was about to enter the chandlers, Limolas spots a familiar figure, Culwine! His bald 06fa4850d3e2c3efcbe428a226e850c9head and bulky figure make him stand out in the crowd. Limolas decides to follow but in the confusion of the docks loses the one time caravan guard and associate of the Rogues of the Borderlands. Limolas returns to the chandlers and having found fishing hooks and a circular casting net realises that he has been robbed of his change purse. Limolas assures the shopkeeper he can pay, but the looks of suspicion suggest that the Riverman does not trust any elf. Limolas makes a rapid return to the Inn and another quick dash  pack so that he does indeed have his desired fishing gear.

Upon leaving the chandlers, he notices a gathering and has the chance to witness the Slu  Rev (Sly Fox) is holding court and stirring up trouble against Elves of all people. Becoming as inconspicuous as possible, Limolas hangs around a bit longer and notices that Slu Rev bears an uncanny resemblance to the the rogue who fell from the battlements and whose body was not recovered. He then spots Culwine who whispers to the Slu Rev and both disappear within the crowd. Although Limolas tries to find out where they have gone he is blocked and barred by the crowd dispersing.

762aaa8c26c1c4d1b3899cc8807e64cbBack at the Inn Limolas, tells Pick and Dagaard of his recent encounter. Dagaard is all for finding Culwine and this Slu Rev and forceful extracting from them the whereabouts of Grubby Durnan from them. Pick points out that currently, they don’t know where Culwine is and charging into town  won’t achieve anything.  Limolas is more outraged about the way Slu rev was talking about Elves, and it is at this point that the dwarves feel they need to point out that most of the population here distrust him and think they will be bewitched. Talk then turns to the rumour about bewitching elves in the woods. Dagaard suggests to Pick that he takes Limolas to investigate so as not to attract unwanted attention. Limolas agrees when Pick makes the suggestion and it is at this point that A smug hobbit returns with news of a sale and booked passage across the Lhun.

With a delay before departure Pick and Limolas decide to investigate the woods on the following day. Morning finds them at the edge of the wood, but nothing seems amiss. Limolas spots a thin trickle of smoke on the other side of the small forest. Without any other clues the pair set off through the woods to investigate. Traveling in the woods they are attacked by two Rivermen. Having successfully dispatched their attackers, the deadly duo decide to cut their losses and return back to the inn. Leaving the mystery for others to solve.

Upon their return, Pick decides to investigate Limolas’s claim to have seen the man from the tower and Culwine. He and Dagaard do a pub crawl around town, but apart from tasting many fine ales and meads, and a few not so fine ones, they do not see either of the men or anyone else associated with the tower near Erumar. Members of the party are left undecided on whether Limolas has genuinely seen the two men.

 

3431aba28ecd81b5ab832053f33c6420Finally, the party travel with two carts loaded with weapons across the river without incident. They travel down the causeway and notice a tower in the mists. Jeremiah thinks it is something to do with scholars/monks/seers of Arthedain but isn’t sure. As it has nothing to do with getting to Cara Celairnen they party push on. Apart from a midnight encounter with a Mewlip, who is out numbered and out flanked, the party arrive in Caras Celairnen with no further incident.