Where have all the children gone?

Ulmo’s Beard limps on through the Southern seas, charting a course by the stars and relying on Ulmo’s grace and favour to find a secure port. Some days later, a small atoll is spotted, the start of a chain of low lying islands. Captain Reiss orders the crew to set a course to follow this bread crumb trail of islands in the hope of finding a safe port to effect repairs.

The atolls slip past until the look out spots a small fishing village on an island in the latest atoll and Ulmo’s Beard’s journey is halted as the Captain send the First Mate, Azruzagar, and a shore party to inquire about the local area. Azruzagar orders the First Watch, which includes Fulton and Aerandir, to man the skiff ashore. He invites Denig and Dagaard to join the party reasoning that their sense of danger is more finely tuned than that of the sailors and it never hurts to have a dwarf with a big sword.

On the island itself they find that misfortune and calamity have struck the poor fishing village. They have been brutally attacked and their children have been taken by disfigured pirates out of myth and legend. Black Reivers who would feast on the flesh of the islanders and took the children to sacrifice to their dark god. Denig, looking at the disfigured limbs and faces of the victims, takes pity and heals those he can help. The heroes discover during this time that an Imam at a Mosque in a nearby port, Khalij Aldhahab, may know more as he is known for caring for lost and orphaned children. Information gathered, and poor fisherfolk aided the Ulmo’s Beard set sail for Khalij Aldhahab, a port a days sailing to the north and where legend says the Black Reivers once occupied.

By the grace of Manwe, the ship slips through the azure waters arriving at Khalij Aldhahab as the sun begins to set. The atoll island is occupied mostly by a walled town with a coral breakwater forming a harbour that will provide some shelter from the ocean swell. Around the walls a shanty town of stalls and refreshment establishments swell the number of those who live on the island. The sounds of a call to prayer ring out across the water as Ulmo’s Beard rests at anchor and the crew prepare to rest before starting repairs in the morning. However, the call to prayer also appears to signal a call to activity and the sounds of the shanty market continues well into the dark hours.

The next day, work crews are assigned. Fulton and Aerandir are to go with the First mate to purchase rope and chandlery to repair rigging and replenish ropes lost in the storm. Denig and Dagaard decide to go ashore to talk to the local Imam. Vanwa asks Aerandir if he will take her to buy some clothes more fitting than one of his spare shirts. Aerandir gets permission to do so providing the ships supplies are collected. Likewise, Denig and Dagaard realising that they will need either Fulton or Aerandir to act as translators decide to lend a hand to get the job done quicker.

On the shore, the party is immediately surround by a crowd of hawkers and pedlars. A coin merchant offers them decent rates of exchange, showing his wares and immediately apologising for giving them a coin not of the realm. Looking at it Aerandir is struck that some of the motifs on the coin faces are similar to something he has seen recently but he is unable to recall exactly what. The journey through the market allows him to pick up something more fitting for Vanwa and she asks him also about the coin they had just seen. She thinks it would make a nice piece of jewellery. In response, and perhaps misunderstanding, Aerandir purchases a few coins for her.

Vanwa returns to the ship with Azruzagar to change and because going to a place of worship and talking to a priest is not of any real interest to her. The rest of the party having asked a few locals make their way to the mosque of Eimlaq Latif.

The mosque has seen better days. Money for its upkeep has clearly not been available. Within the clean and empty confines the party meet a giant of a man, Eimlaq, whose open smile soon has the adventurers sat down and enjoying a simple meal with some orphans who Eimlaq cares for. The imam shares his worries. He cares for the lost and orphan children within the town but some have gone missing and he fears to let the rest of his charges roam far from his gaze.

The Old Mosque

Eimlaq has not been idle in trying to find his missing charges but has met a dead end in his enquiries. Perhaps it is that his face is well known in the port. He has been attacked once with a poison dart which suggest that there are forces at work in the area who do not welcome his questions. The brave heroes volunteer to be his eyes and ears as he outlines the extent of his investigations. They are provided with three lines of inquiry to follow, shadowy cloaked figures sighted around the port; Hasa the stone merchant; Tajir Tawabul the spice merchant and Hulq the barber. The latter is a well known storyteller with many a tale of the days before the unifications of the Juzur Almuhit.

Following Eimlaq’s advice the group first go for a hair cut. They argue over who should sit in the chair. Dagaard will not let the dwarfish barber near his beard. Denig is more concerned with revealing his stone-skinned nature. Aerandir pointedly remarks that his long dark locks are not for cutting and so it is Fulton who hops into the chair for a trim and a shave. They all listen to the tale of Dhuki and the pirates; a tale that echoes some of the reports from the Island of Lost Children.

Having heard the tale there are discussions about which line of inquiry to follow next. They decide on the spice merchant and seek out his stall only to find it abandoned. Enquiring around they end up chatting with a Sijada a carpet seller who tells them that Tajir is a terrible merchant and is currently drowning is sorrows in a a sorry excuse for a hana (tavern) called Alsamak Al’akhdar.

The hana sits on stilts towards the less developed part of the shanty town outside the walls of the port. The heroes clamber up a ladder into a bar where the only light is provided by gaps in the haphazard planking. A one-eyed barman glares at the foreigners who have tumbled into his bar. The only customer is a small, thin man, a head crowned with a few strands of greasy black hair, slumped on a table and a cup of spirits in his hands. The interlopers appease the owner by buying large quantities of the local spirit, rough as it is and set about trying to get information from the inebriated Tajir.

It turns out that Tajir has kidnapped a child but only in extreme need and the act haunts him; hence the drinking. The time is getting late and the party decide to sober Tajir up with kindness taking him to the Alsuwf Aldhahabiu which has previously been recommended by Eimlaq. Denig and Dagaard stay with the spice merchant and Aerandir and Fulton return to the Ulmo’s Beard for the night. It is only in the morning that Denig and Dagaard realise the mistake of not keeping one of the translators with them but manage to hold out with gesture and coin until the two sailors return.

A more coherent Tajir provides little more detail than already gathered and so the party plan to return to Sijada to question him. However, they are unsure of the best approach reasoning that asking directly will be unlikely to elicit a confession. They briefly consider offering their services as a ship for hire but Fulton points out that Sijada is not the sort of merchant who would contract such services. The idea of posing as child traffickers sits uncomfortably with most of the party and so they opt to follow him at the end of the day.

While they wait for the day to end the investigators decide to question Hasa the stone merchant, who according to Eimlaq, took delivery of a large quantity of black tiles but never sold them. Hasa is rather evasive and tells the adventurers that he sold them to some woman. Pressed he tells them he does not know where she lives but gives them a description of her and that he may have seen her in the Alqurad al’azraq, a hana near the Sahat Al’asad.

So it is that as the sun sets and the shadows deepen in the alleyways the adventurers arrive at the Alqurad al’azraq. Inside are a number of patrons including the woman described by Hasa. What luck they think! Not so Denig who prays for wisdom over the alignment of not only the woman but also the other patrons and discovers that the room is full of those with evil in their heart. The party make a rapid exit into the alley outside the hana.

Exiting the alley, Denig is hit by a dart delivered by a silent weapon. Quickly, he spots the would be assassin and sets off in pursuit down an alley opposite. However, the rear is attacked by the patrons inside and Dagaard is forced to defend the retreat of Aerandir and Fulton. Now the party is split. Fulton and Aerandir find themselves ambushed as they exit onto the street. Dagaard is forced to hold the door fending off two attackers and a priestess whose curses call down stunning bolts of divine power on the dwarf. Fortunately, the dwarf’s pragmatic outlook shrugs off most of this religious mumbo jumbo.

Market Ambush by Darren Tan

In the street, Fulton soon falls to an attacker and Aerandir’s whip proves to be an ineffective weapon. Meanwhile, down the dark alley Denig is ambushed by two foes and only through divine intervention of a wall of wood at his back is he able he buy time to dispatch the opponent in front. The battle does not go well. Doughty Dagaard still holds the door alone his back unprotected. Aerandir is forced to retreat tumbling away from two opponents and leaving Fulton’s body unprotected. Denig extricating himself from his opponent manages to join Aerandir in the street and again is granted a wall of wood to hold the attackers at bay while he heals Aerandir and himself.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Does it?

After another night spent on the ledge, Denig, Dagaard and Fulton set out for the ship dragging Roc chick on an improvised sledge lashed together by Aerandir, who remains on the ledge with Vanwa. On the way through the valley the party come across Chad who had been abandoned in the chase up the mountain to rescue Fulton. He was hungry and chilled from being alone for two days in ruins but fed on spare cooked Roc he was soon well enough to return to the ship.

The return of the foraging party, even with food, is not greeted in the best manner. Captain Reiss, reprimands Fulton as a senior crew member for his lackadaisical approach to communication and ship discipline. The loss of one of the “guests” of the ship and the absence of one of the crew; along with the two day absence, are not something that the Captain takes well. However, Fulton’s charm works wonders and with a promise of some treasure to contribute to the ship’s running costs, the food and water from Shadim and the news that they have also rescued an elven princess the Captain becomes more amenable.

It is agreed that Dagaard and Denig will return to the ledge to escort the princess back to safety and Fulton will lead a party to Shadim’s cave to arrange the delivery of water and grain.

Shadim is most pleased to here of the dispatching of the Roc and has noticed the lack of the giant bird in the sky over his flocks over the last two days. Willingly, he agrees to supply Ulmo’s Beard with water, grain and a little goat’s milk to supplement their provisions and the Captain and Fulton return with the giant and supplies only to discover that the other party has not returned. The Captain is furious with the failure to follow instructions and that Aerandir as crew should not be following his orders. Consequently, he dispatches Fulton, who argues for travelling in the morning, to ensure that all are back on the ship before midday on the next day.

Fulton, ears ringing with the Captain’s orders, makes his way back to ledge. Meanwhile, Denig, Dagaard, Aerandir along with Vanwa at his side, re-enter the underground complex with the plan to investigate the stairs up. However, before they do so, the party look again in the library paying careful attention to the book cases. As a result, they are rewarded with entry into a secret room with three chests, a box on a pedestal, another pedestal with a golden ring surmounted with a fire gem and a staff.

Denig cautiously investigates the room for traps and once assured that it is safe picks up the staff. Examining it he determines that it grants the user increased prowess in battle and will magical summon an animal once per day. Having always wanted a staff the shaman healer claims it. He then turns his attention to one of the chest which he discovers is locked. Thwarted, he asks if either Dagaard or Aerandir can unpick locks. Fortunately, Dagaard has some skill with locks, thanks to his trade as a jewel smith and familiarity with fine tools. Unfortunately, Dagaard tires of trying to work out the lock after 10 mins declaring that Fulton would be better at this sort of thing.

The chests abandoned, Denig along with Dagaard turns their attention to the pedestal on which sits a purple cushion holding a gold ring with a Fire red jewel while Aerandir keeps watch with Vanwa outside. With all due caution and attention to traps, Denig picks up the ring from it’s resting place. Lightning arcs out and strikes the stoneman. His skin bubbles alarmingly and he drops the ring as he staggers back. Hurriedly, Dagaard makes an exit and refuses to re-enter on the grounds that lightning and chainmail are not a good combination. Aerandir at the door looks at his missing finger in with regret. After a few moments healing, Denig tries again using an arrow with similar results. He decides that if lightning strikes twice he needs another approach but in the meantime the wooden box on the plinth might be more interesting.

After careful examination, Denig is convinced that moving the box on the plinth will open up a hidden door on the far side of the room. However, his eagerness to open the doorway is tempered by his previous experiences and he chooses to push the box using his newly acquired staff. A crackle of magical energy causes his forearm to break and drops the staff in agony. It is while he is healing that Dagaard remarks that they may have found a good way of clearing the room of traps with the apparently indestructible stoneman. Aerandir suggests moving the box by hitting it with an arrow shot from his bow, a feat he achieves with ease. The box falls to the floor and breaks open to reveal three rune paper parchments. A recovered Denig swoops in and scoops up the prize. He attempts to decipher the first but in doing so triggers the spell, thankfully with no ill effects.

The shaman decides to leave the remain two for later. He then suggest that they leave the room and the chests for when Fulton returns and they explore the stairs. Following the stairs up the party find themselves in the ruins of the Valley of Diamonds. “Oh look a short cut,” remarks Aerandir. “Bloody slow one,” retorts Dagaard.

As the explorers take a rest in the sunshine, Fulton has started to descend back underground. Only being a sailor he is not equipped for underground exploration and without Dagaard’s lantern, he is forced to improvise with a glowing log. Consequently, his passage down is long and slow and is lengthened even further by the need to explore every turning in the hope of locating his companions. So it is that as if ascends they descend from above to make another attempt on the chests. The first proves tricky even for Fulton, but with time it is opened; the other follow far more quickly. Two chests contain more coins than the adventurers could ever carry. Unfortunately, these are all low denomination coins. However, the third chest provides a better haul with a few gold and silver coins stashed among the bronze. The treasure is shared out with a portion reserved for the Captain and, at Aerandir’s suggestion, some of the copper coins for the rest of the crew.

Satisfied with their haul, and forewarned by Cloch of the peril of attempting to take the ring, along with Aerandir’s cautionary tale of magic rings on fingers, the adventurers return to the ship. Vanwa is given the Captain’s quarters as a courtesy. Where upon the crewmen, take to their duties and with a wave to the shore-bound Shadim and Dagaard clinging to the mast down below, The Ulmo’s Beard sets sail once more.

Rewards and Reputation

The party have gained a reputation with the crew for being daring adventurers but Captain Reiss considers Denig and Dagaard to be disruptive to the smooth working of his crew. They have earned the gratitude of Vanwa for releasing her. Aerandir has become a focus of her attention.

The Spectral Warrior’s Two handed sword
+10 OB Quarterstaff of Summoning animals
8 GP
An ancient coin minted thousands of years ago. The coin’s features are nearly worn smooth such is its age.
Silver dagger, bowl and tripod from the cursed altar.
A number of healing herbs.
A number of books including one book of open essence spells in Haradric.
Several Rune papers two of which have unknown spells and two of Lesser Umaiar and one of Control Umaiar.

Where it all falls down

Heaving decided that night fall is not the time to open mysterious sarcophagi, the party retire to the more comfortable surrounds of the bedroom below. Denig determines that the dried herb they found in the room is a restorative and the party spend time exploring the delights of smoking using a hookah.

Refreshed after a night’s rest, the heroes set about investigating the sarcophagi. The gold leaf decorated funerary boxes have faces that and figures that are more suggestive of elves than men. Denig prays for wisdom about the nature of what lies within and has the sense of evil from two and nothing from the third. In response, the party decide to open the third. The moment that the lid is begun to be pulled open Dagaard, who has been watching the remaining two tombs, warns of that two mummies have emerged.

Battle is quickly joined in the small confines of the tower dome. Fulton is hard-pressed by a mummy brandishing a falchion and Denig comes quickly to his aid wielding a glowing Holy broadsword. The dwarves take on the second mummy holding a flail. It is the dwarves and whose blows make the most difference, although it has to be said Dagaard does most of the damage. Soon the flail bearing mummy is a pile of bandages and bones.

The second set of combatants are not fairing so well. Fulton receives a thrust to his side from the mummy’s first strike and is forced to withdraw to the level below bleeding. Denig becoming the next target suffers broken ribs before the dwarves can come to his aid. Unfortunately, Pick is knockdown and Denig’s inept blow causes his sword to shatter in burst of eldritch energies. Only Dagaard is able to press the mummy and fortunately, his hammer blows are victorious again.

Holding his broken ribs, Denig follows Fulton’s blood trail down the stairs to find the sailor unconscious. Having healed the sailor, he sets about imploring the spirit of the rock to heal himself and his companions. Restored the final sarcophagus remains to be searched.

Cautiously, they draw back the lid and the tower room is flooded in a sea blue light. Within the casket is a heart-shaped stone that glows with the essence of the sea. It is bounded by crimson setting of some sort of crystal that pulse in a counter balance to the main heart of the stone. After checking for traps, Denig reaches in a removes the stone from the casket. The room begins to shake.

Stonework crashes. The room begins to sway. The heroes make for the stairs as the ceiling gives way. They race down the stairs. Falling masonry causes injuries. The pell mell flight is halted when they arrive at the floating floor. As the tower collapses around them, they debate how to bridge the gap to the floor below. There is no anchor point for the rope. There appears to be no escape without a perilous leap. Denig, as a stone man, volunteers to hold the rope while the others climb to safety. He feel’s his 400lb body won’t be held by the others.

Grateful for his sacrifice, his companions climb down to continue their escape. Without stopping to check if he follows they continue to race down stairs. Suddenly, a massive fall of masonry knock Fulton unconscious. The dwarves , drag the inert form of Fulton. More debris batters them. Pick’s arm is broken and Dagaard is badly bruised. In the hall of genies they notice that shapes holding up the columns are fading and becoming more of a fluid elemental form as the Maia are released from the enchantment that bound them. Finally, breathing heavily, they escape out of the door as the tower collapses downwards and sideways in a hail of stones, dust and sand.

As the dust begins to settle, a dark shadow falls on the heavily breathing dwarves lying in the sand. They look up to see Denig’s stone form floating down through the swirls of dust. Amazed, there is an exchange as to how this has come to be. It appears, that at the last moment, Denig had remembered a rune scroll from the Dwarven ruins that allowed him to fly.

Having spent some time being healed of wounds, the adventurers spend half an hour searching the ruins for any obvious items that could be salvaged, finding none they begin the journey back to the village.

At the village, there is a great celebration when the news of the death of the Ogre and the fall of the tower is relayed by Fulton. The heroes are rewarded with 4 doses of Lestagii foraged by the villagers in thanks.

The journey home is uneventful but for the dwarves first experience of oliphants. Having safely returned to Duslan the party spend the winter months in the port as Captain Reiss will not put out to sea with the winter winds against him.


Sun, Sea and Sangria?

The three healthy adventurers set out from the Captain’s Daughter to seek helping with healing Billwise the hobbit. Denig, keen on a more human healer, set out for the hospital of the Sisters of Nienna that Dagaard had described. Unfortunately, his stone skin and size made him over conspicuous in the bustling town and he soon retreated back to the inn rather than draw additional unwanted attention. Dagaard returns with a Dwarven healer of the Mirnethron (Jewel healer). The wise healer has had dealing with Dagaard who has created and shaped jewels for him. Despite his knowledge of healing dwarves the Mirnethron healer is unable to do more than suggest rest and a treatment of around 100 gold pieces to boost the rate at which this happens.

Meanwhile, Pick has gone to see the Alabaster Lady. Her advice is that the hobbit will need the amber crystal produced by the Fire Ants of Far Harad. She has none in Caras Celairnen but a message clipper is anchored in the river. She would loan them passage if they went south and secured some for her and Billwise. With the late autumn storms approaching rapidly the need to leave soon is empressed on Pick as a matter of urgency.

The Shaman and Dwarven warriors debate the course of action. Denig and Pick are concerned by the scraps of information they have discovered about the white crystals. Should they go and seek more information from some dwarven scholars in the Blue Mountains or Khazad-dum? What is the purpose of Mithparvandir in collecting the stones? Is there a dragon trapped in the crystals? The picture is not clear, but faced with a long journey into the North with winter approaching and going South to save their companion they opt for the latter.

They board the coastal clipper, Ulmo’s Beard and are soon befriended by a sailor. Fenton Baines a handsome and charming Eriadorian, motivates the crew and immediately welcomes the passengers on board. During the journey, the dwarves spend most of their time avoiding being anywhere near the sea. The journey passes without much incident beyond a storm that forces them to anchor off Suduri in the mouth of the Gwathlo; a pod of whales; a day becalmed; and a day of being shadowed by a Corsair ship off Umbar.

With Fenton Baines acting as interpreter and with the dwarves kissing the blessed rock, the party set about trying to acquire some Lestagii as the locals name the mysterious amber. Unfortunately, there is none to be found in all of the markets of Dursuur. All the merchants explain that the supply has stopped because an Ogre has taken up residence in the Coral tower that sits in the middle of the region where the Fire Ants live. No one has been able to collect Lestagii for some time.

Bazaar – by Olga Ok on Art station

As night falls Fenton stops as a story teller in the market begins the tale of Namaan Al-Raman and the Coral Tower. As a story teller himself, Fenton is keen to learn a new tale. As the tale unfolds he retells it to the rest of the party as the darkness falls on the desert, the city walls and bazaar.

Beware of the Librarian: Jöruvalla Part 4

Following a brief repast by the bridge, the explorers descend the stairs to next level. The steps show less sign of wear compared with previous levels and lead into a series of corridors. Pick at the front of the line triggers a chute trap that dumps him at the bottom of a bit. Fortunately, he is only lightly injured and the rest are able to haul him out. This cautionary warning about speed of progress is taken. Fearing that this may be some trap infested labyrinth the party switch order. Reasoning that Billwise is more agile; the smallest and lightest of the party, he is placed at the front. Denig as the heaviest and also the healer is placed at the rear.

Following a rule of right first, the party push deeper into the maze encountering a number of traps some of which are only narrowly avoided. After a few hours, Billwise becomes aware of a giant spider in a lair. Denig and Billwise strike early with a volley of arrows and withdraw to a corridor section where the dwarves wait in ambush. The spider is quickly dispatched by a flurry of blows from the dwarves’ warhammers supported by the constant harry of Denig’s arrows. The spider’s lair is filled with the remains of adventurers who were less fortunate and a small rune inscribed tablet.

Further cautious exploration leads the party to a room with a number of randomly distributed dwarven number runes. Suspecting a trap and a sequence that they are unwilling to risk, the party backtrack to explore other avenues including returning to the room at a second door.

Finally, their searching is rewarded with a treasure room but the chests are behind a heavy dwarven steel portcullis. Unfortunately, there appears to be no mechanism to open the portcullis. Further along the corridor, the party discover another room. This has a slot of a similar size to the tablet discovered earlier. Billwise is dispatched to recover it. When inserted in the slot nothing happens. The party decide that pulling the levers may open the portcullis and after entering the room to attach rope to the large levers, try various combinations with no discernible effect. They decide the treasure is not going anywhere and move on, leaving the portcullis for later.

An hour of slow and careful exploring passes and the explorers arrive at a locked steel door. Billwise sets about the task with gusto and despite the difficulty of the lock rapidly has the door open. A small ante-room lies beyond and beyond the wooden door an entrance to an ancient library guarded by two impressive statues of Dwarven warriors.

Billwise cautiously enters the library only for the statues to grind into life and turn to repel the uninvited guests to the library. This leaves Billwise separated from the rest of the party and facing one of the stone statues alone. Denig implores Cloch for a barrier to protect his companion and a wall of wood fills the gap between one of the statues and Billwise, trapping the hobbit in the library but granting him immediate safety. The rest of the party fall back into the ante-room to tackle the statue nearest them.

The doughty Dwarves and Dunlending face the implacable foe. Blow after blow strikes the statue knocking stone chips from its surface. The second statue hammers at the wooden wall determined to remove the intruder from the library.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wooden wall, the Billwise looks for avenues of escape into the library. It is at this point a cold dread begins to seep into his soul. The light from his lantern withdraws until there is only a small circle surrounding him. Out of the darkness a hideous, robed, undead, dwarf moves towards him. Its cold dead eyes strike fear into the hobbit’s heart and broken, Billwise flees. Trapped in the library, with nowhere to flee to Billwise crawls into a corner and stares in horror as the undead librarian approaches. Its touch chills his bones and soon Billwise loses consciousness.

Unaware of the peril, the rest of the party continue to deconstruct the statues until defaced both lie in broken to rubble on the floor. They then set about the remains of the wooden wall to meet up with Billwise. They are met by the sight of the barely corporeal dwarven librarian leaning over the recumbent hobbit. The light from lanterns shrinks and they too feel the cold touch of fear on their hearts. They flee.

Stumbling into the dark labyrinth, barely avoiding untriggered traps only be virtue of the clear markers on the floor, Dwarves and Dunlending run on. It takes half a minute before Denig is able to master his fear but the dwarves run on, heedless of his rallying call. He stands alone in the dark gathering his wits and summoning the dark depths of Cloch’s blessing. He pulls a torch from his pack and lights it. He stands alone but resolved to return to aid the hobbit sets off in what he believes is the correct direction. His memory proves false and is forced to retrace his steps. Soon he catches up with the Dwarves who also have recovered the wits (Pick is the most shaken and appears only to be returning by Dagaard’s force of will) and are making their way back to aid Billwise.

At the library, Pick is unmanned again an unable to enter the room. Dagaard and Denig battle the Lich Librarian. Denig is badly injured and calls for aid to restore his health. Dagaard continues to strike at the foul undead creature. Blow after blow is met with howling assaults on the minds of both of the heroes. Dagaard shrugs off this mental and spiritual assault and finally the Lich Librarian falls inert to the ground. Light from the lanterns return and the adventurers breathe a sigh of relief.

Denig immediately sets to assessing the state of Billwise. The hobbit is an a terrible state, ashen grey with breath barely entering his body. Denig begins to seek the wisdom of Cloch, praying for the soul and body of his companion.

Mazzar baraju/Amzardûm Jöruvalla Part 3

The night passes with discussion of shares of treasure between Denig and Billwise; the Dwarves talk of what other wonders of Dwarven skill they will see. The relative safety of the door and the roomy confines of the office mean they are undisturbed and are refreshed as they make their way back down to the wide avenue found the day before.

The wide avenue has several side passages that appear to lead into larger spaces. Excited Pick walks down the avenue to its end and discovers a giant water wheel in a great hall. He marvels at the wonders he is seeing. Rather chaotically the rest of the party follow. Denig struggles to keep up with the haphazard wanderings and because he is the only one without a personal light source is frequently left at the edges of darkness.

At the waterwheel hall, they adventurers notice many different directions they could take. They decide to go back an explore the first of the three passages they walked past from the stairs. Lantern light reveals a huge hall dominated by a giant water powered machine occupying one wall. Furnaces squat like eyeless frogs on the opposite wall. Crucibles and other items of smelting lie abandoned around the hall. At the back of the hall Iron doors prevent access to small chutes that lead up. Billwise investigates these and discovers chambers behind with unclimbable passages up to steel doors in the level above. The party move onto the next passage back.

This passage leads into a similar hall, however, they disturb a Giant Cave Worm which attacks aggressively. Denig mumbles prayers as the Dwarves close with the monster hauls itself towards them. Meanwhile, Billwise waits for an opportunity to skirt round to the rear. Hammer blows fall and a short sword darts in and out. “No!” cries Denig, “I can deal with this, trust me.” as he steps up to the great beast. It immediately attempts to eat the Dunlending Shaman, who barely escapes its grasp. Needing no encouragement the rest of the party rain down blows and the poor beast never really has a chance to defend itself before dying from the accumulated blows.

“Why must you go round killing everything you meet?” bewails Denig. The rest of the party look blankly at him. Didn’t the worm attempt to eat him? They move on to the last of the three missed passages and find a hall similar to the first two. Here two Giant Cave Salamanders are disturbed by the lantern lights and immediately rush to defend their territory. Denig implores the rest to not harm the albino monsters. Unconvinced, the dwarves form a defensive wall in front of the stone man. This time it seems Cloch the God of Rock hears is prayers and both beasts become passive and calm. Amazed, but unsure of their safety, the party leave the room and return to the wide avenue.

In the avenue, the party debate what should be their next course of action. Denig is most vocal of all the party. He dismisses the area as an industrial complex and not worth exploring. Instead, he wants to push on across the bridge that leads from the avenue across the chasm. His overriding concern is to find treasure and that means finding where the kings of the dwarves live and not the normal people. The Dwarves mumble about workshops but agree to crossing the bridge rather than exploring further beyond the great water wheel.

After travelling nearly three quarters of a mile in the inky blackness, the lanterns pick up the wall of the far side and an entrance. Unfortunately, the bridge has given way. A fifteen foot section has crumbled and although the remaining dwarven workmanship is sound, it looks like it will be too far for the shorter members of the party to leap in safety.

Seeking the wisdom of Cloch’s guidance Denig steps out onto the gentle breeze that flows down the chasm and through the gap in the bridge. He is granted the ability to walk on the wind and is able to carry the party and their equipment across the abyss. None of the party are particularly happy about the mode of travel and are extremely grateful to feel solid rock beneath their feet.

Beyond the entrance, a dark hall with benches for resting and chatting is discovered. Lantern light is reflected by the remains of what once were great crystal chandeliers, the remains of which lie scattered across the floor. Ignoring the stairs to the left, the explorers push on up the wide avenue ahead. Iron doors punctuate the rock face and Billwise sets about examining these. Pick pushes on and discovers a small plaza with a fountain shaped like a strange giant fish only the tail is facing sideways. Beyond and to both sides are further avenues with doors set in the wall. He returns when Billwise picks the lock of the first door.

Beyond the door the room contains a table upended over the fire place and a cabinet with a door beyond. Searching the room they find scratch marks that suggest the cabinet was regularly swung away from the wall but can find no secret door. The Dwarves find runes scratched on the bottom of the table as Denig continues to examine the walls. The runes say “beware of the soul eater” and the party puzzle over this for some time. Beyond the door they find a bedroom and a bathroom.

The party investigate the door on the other side of the avenue. Billwise cautiously checking the door before picking the lock with ease. A similar layout of rooms is discovered beyond and they move on. After the third dwelling it becomes clear that this is a village and Denig is keen to push on quickly. The party hurry their investigations, Billwise picks locks generally without checking and Pick or Dagaard check the rooms to confirm their purpose. It is during one such sweep that Pick discovers a cupboard. He notices some faint rune marks but ignores them. Opening the doors he triggers the wards and is assaulted by flame which destroys his shield and removes the hair from the left side of his face.

Despite, this timely reminder of the need for caution the party continue to explore at pace and while laughing at the saucy scenes in a bar/brothel are attacked by a Giant Spider that emerges from an open doorway that had not been investigated. Pick who is standing outside notices it and is able to retreat inside the bar. The Dwarves flank the doorway war hammers ready. Once again, Denig implores Cloch to calm the monster but the spider lunges aggressively and knocks the Dunlending backwards. The dwarves attack. Billwise dives beneath the beast and clambers out behind it. Denig joins battle hurriedly drawing his sword. Rapidly, the spider is dispatched; Billwise left standing having taken no other action but his heroic dive, is relieved he did not stop to attack from below.

Again, heedless of the danger, the party confirm the last metal doors guard dwellings and do find a communal bath, before retiring to the hall by the bridge to rest, eat and prepare to descend the stairs to the level below.

The Dark Tower

The feeble torch light picked out the burnished copper of the door as it swung inwards from the adventurer’s standing on the bridge. The stone man, bow ready, strained to see into the darkness that lay beyond. The dwarves standing in front of him were barely able to see much more despite their vision being better in the dim light. Around them the wind howls down the great chasm with anguish of abandoned ghosts.

Cautiously, the party move forward: Billwise, custodian of the torch, at their centre. The vast hall shows signs of heavy objects being moved. A tramway with abandoned carts. Platforms out into the the inky black darkness with chains rising and falling in to the depths.

Exploring further into the depths Pick and Billwise disturb and are beset by swarms of Cavern Wings. The fierce bats swarm and harry the two lead explorers. Pick is raked by razor sharp claws but Billwise, unarmoured and head unprotected, fairs worse losing an ear. Knowing the fearsome reputation of these creatures Pick retreats calling for the rest to do likewise. The injured Billwise follows his advice and the pair make a dash out onto the bridge. Denig seeing that his arrow would be wasted calls on his tribal spirit to impede the flight of the bats and is gifted with a wall of air across the doorway. Dagaard someway off but able to see in the sudden darkness created by the flight of the torchbearer guides the concentrating Denig out towards the bridge.

Denied their initial prey the Cavern Wings refocus on closer prey. They dive and swirl around the slow moving Dwarf and Dunlending but stone skin and armour deflect the razor sharp claws. Spotting a chance Dagaard swings at the swarm leader. His hammer sends the dominant male spinning into the floor with a splat. The pair are granted a brief respite as the cloud reorganises to recognise a leader.

It is clear that the bats find the wall of air difficult to pass through granting a moment to pause. Pick is all for escaping the cloud of albino hunters knowing the danger they pose. He points out that the wall will not hold as there are other exits. Denig is for picking them off in smaller numbers as they emerge from the door. The argument proves mute as the swarm descends with high pitched screams after flooding out of the other exits under a new dominant male. The party are raked by claws. Denig’s concentration is broken. Pick attempts to shelter the injured hobbit. Only Dagaard stands tall, picking out the leader again his mighty hammer swings and the lead bat sprays all over Denig stood beside Dagaard. The cloud disperses after the twin loss.

Unsure of whether the bats have returned to their roost or dispersed to other parts of the underground chasm, the party rest up in the relative safety of the half mile bridge. Denig attends to the injured hobbit; his request for healing on the ear granted by his clan god. He continues to seek favour for his own health and this too is granted. Rested and restored, the party return to the hall at the end of the bridge.

The party decide that the hall was used for shipping goods and are confronted with the choice of following stairs up or down. They choose to go up first. At the top of the stairs they exit onto an open platform dominated by two cranes. Choosing not to test the operation of the cranes and the ability to send a dwarf or hobbit up and down in a bucket they descend to the level below the one with the bridge.

Exiting the bottom of the stairs, Pick spots a roost of Cavern Wings and beyond a door. Opting to use stealth to bypass an unfortunate encounter they make it into the room behind the door with only a moment of peril. A simple padlocked door is opened with seconds by Billwise and the fellowship gain lanterns, candles and oil that will allow them to continue to explore without relying on torches for light. Then it is the small matter of sneaking past the Cavern Wings to the stairs leading down to the next level.

Exiting from the stairwell, a moment of consternation. A stone dragon is spotted in the shadows. A lack of movement reveals its true nature as a statue. A corridor with three doors, one of which is locked. While Billwise sets to work on the lock the dwarves check the doors up the corridor. Pick opens a door onto an office and Dagaard one to a canteen occupied by a Giant Cave Salamander. Rapidly, he shuts the door and because Billwise as opened the door joins the others to investigate what is beyond. The storeroom is unremarkable but does contain a useful haul of chalk. Dagaard’s lack of foresight is then revealed for as Pick exits the room he is surprise by the Salamander that has crawled in through a nearby open window. Pick is initially unbalance by the attack and wisely gives ground to allow Dagaard, who was behind , to attack from the doorway. Hammers rain down blows and the the Giant Cave Salamander is rapidly dispatched.

Giant Cave Salamander or Giant Om (Well the normal sized version)

The final rooms on the level prove to be of more interest. A small office at the rear of the ante room contains a sturdy iron safe with a lock set the test the skills of Billwise. The rest of the party take the opportunity to rest whilst the hobbit concentrates on the task of picking the lock without releasing the trap he spots within the lock. Fail and the lock mechanism will probably be destroyed or Billwise himself. The best part of an hour passes but eventually the diminutive thief triumphs. The contents are examined by the party and distributed equally minus a small sum filched by the light fingered hobbit. Some silver coins, a set of five keys and box of rune marked tablets and cut away diagram of some mine workings provide a perplexing haul.

The level below is dominated by a huge hall punctuated by huge metal trap doors and abandoned ore carts. Bridges stretch out into the darkness like broken teeth leaving only a set of stairs down as the exit. The fellowship push on to discover a wide avenue like passageway on the level below. Feeling weary and with the dwarven sense of time indicating the day is nearly over; they retire back up two levels to the spacious administration room to make camp rest and eat.

The third crystal shard – Jöruvalla I

The warm breeze blows the salt tang of the sea up the river from the havens of Mithlond. Overhead gulls wheel with mournful cries in a cool, crisp, cyan sky. The companions return to Caras Celairnen and the Shore District where fewer questions are asked about unusual appearances. The journey had been uneventful but a tiring few weeks. Everyone, was looking forward to a rest and one of the party believed a reward for his efforts in Hollin.

The Captain’s daughter was as ever hospitable: Hrothgar’s mead loosens tongues. The adventurers relax and wait for the re-appearance of Mithparvandir. Within a few days the shabby scholar shuffles into the inn seeking the crystal he had sent the party to recover. Denig is reluctant on account of the lack of treasure recovered from Hollin. Mithparvandir counters with the offer of another potential site to hunt for treasure but he will not reveal its location without the second crystal. The party talk over the potential and the established members of the party overrule Denig the newcomer.

Mithparvandir reveals that the next crystal is located in the ruins of Jöruvalla, a Dwarven citadel lost in the reshaping of Arda at the end of the First Age. Everyone, in Caras knows the rumour that the rock was once a Dwarven trading outpost and all assume it is riddled with tunnels to secret treasures. Now, Mithparvandir has a crude map to a door that may just be the entrance to some of the halls that made up Jöruvalla. Naturally, the dwarves leap at the chance to explore ancient halls of their kindred. Through Mithparvandir, they discover that Hrothgar regularly allows adventurers to explore hidden underdeeps below the rock of Caras for a small fee. Mithparvandir explains he has arranged for the fee for the adventurers to be paid. All they need to pay for is the equipment. All treasure finds are theirs except for the crystal.

The adventurers stock up on goods for extended exploring underground from Hrothgar and descend from the cellar into the underdeeps. Darkness engulfs them but the Dwarves are at home underground, as is, for some reason, Denig. Perhaps it is his stone skin? Pick guides the party with his uncanny sense of direction in the tunnels and passages below. Chalk marks of past explorers are noted and their own directions are added. After two days travel they arrive at the doors that should lead into the Citadel.

With caution, the party examine the doors. Denig communes with the spirit of stone and feels confident in opening the door. It swings open easily but is blocked by rubble, forcing the party to worm through. Pick stands admiring the handiwork of the ancients before the party move on down the wide stairs. They notice signs that others have been on the stairs but are unable to determine when this may have been.

At the bottom of the stairs, the party enter a great hall. The darkness seems to stretch on beyond the feeble lights carried by the party. Vague shapes suggest a high vaulted ceiling above. Before you, ornately carved pillars stretch up to meet the darkness above and beyond them out of the darkness hollow booms echo from far away.

The torchlight of the explorers attracts unwanted visitors. A goblin scout is spotted and rushes to warn his tribe. Denig uttering oaths in goblin sets off in pursuit, closely followed by the rest of the party. Soon the party are beset by Orcs and goblins and a swift melee ensues.

Enraged, Denig calls out the remaining orcs in their own tongue. After tricking one into running into the hasty ambush, the rest retreat down the corridor out of sight from Denig’s bow. Denig screaming curses in orcish charges down the corridor. Pick follows with Dagaard in close support.

Meanwhile, unoccupied Billwise decides to go back and determine if the doorway discovered earlier would provide an escape. The door appears to be jammed and he is unable to open. Deciding to make the most of his time on his own, he continues to explore the hall, in a limited fashion, while the rest hunt down the remaining orcs. It is during his explorations that he is ambushed by a goblin scout. Afraid and alone in the dark, the brave young hobbit defends himself and to his surprise, he defeats his lightly armed opponent. Having defeated the remaining orcs, the rest of the party return to the main hall and following the torchlight arrive to find Billwise standing over his defeated foe.

The adventurers explore the nearby area. They enter a hall filled with large gears and mechanisms. The purpose of these is unclear to the dwarves of the party and lacking any obvious levers to pull they decide to leave these behemoths of engineering alone. Pressing on further into the darkness they pass two staircases until they reach a bridge stretching out into a pitch black dark cavern.

Light falls into darkness over the ornately carve sides of the stone bridge. Every 20’ a dwarven statue casts a stern stare at the explorers. In each shield fragments of a crystal glints in the torchlight reflecting the light in a fractured patchwork onto the bridge.The darkness is filled with a plethora a strange sounds, from the wind howling and whistling through the rocks; to the cry of bats and nameless things in the depths.

Following the bridge, the intrepid explorers eventually see the other side of the chasm. A looming tower carved from the very rock glitters dimly in the pale torch light. At the end of the bridge their way is barred by giant metal doors worked in iron and copper prevent access to the tower. They are decorated with the splendour of a volcano erupting. Copper and brass magma flows down the side of the steel mountain. What lies beyond such magnificent doors?

The Holly and the Ivy

Crystal Shard 2

Having saved the Polliwot hobbits and the local Eriadorians from the Orc raiding party the thrown together band of heroes feted and weighed down by as much victuals as can be spared consider where to travel next. Pick, Billwise and Dagaard, already feeling obligation to the memory of Limolas, wish to travel back to Caras Celairnen to deliver the recovered crystal to Mithparvandir. Ydal and Denig lacking horses and any definite destination join them.

Mysteriously, Mithparvandir is no longer at his lodgings in the Causeway district. Windows and doors boarded, it appears that the scholar has not been in his lodgings for many weeks. The party decide to find lodgings in an out of the way inn where Denig’s stone features will attract less attention. They end up at the Captain’s Daughter in the Shore District where Hrothgar is used to strange adventurers.

After a few days of welcome idleness, the party is visited by Mithparvandir who is looking travel weary and strained. It turns out that he has come for more than the crystal recovered from Elvellon manor. He has discovered the location of a second crystal in the long deserted lands of Hollin. However, he clearly fears other forces are searching and tells the party that they should have little contact so that the watchers will be unaware of the connection.

More concerned about her missing Mearas and its lack of return, Ydal sets off alone to search for her missing horse. The remaining adventurers, gather supplies for the road and set out along the East road for the bridge over the Hoarwell where they plan to head south into Hollin. The journey is relatively uneventful apart from a poor attempt at highway robbery that left the remaining miscreants running for the hills.

The party travel on into the haunted lands of Hollin, dogged by the sense that they are being watched. Each day there seems to be a crow somewhere in the sky on a nearby holly tree. Yet, aside from this, they travel to the site of the Villa of Casaredhel without incident.

Across Middle-Earth – Eregion by ralphdamiani

The ruins of the villa lie in a valley which helpfully supplies the party with a vantage point to survey the lie of the land. Deciding it is relatively safe, Billwise sets out to scout the ruins. He notes the passage of some large creature from a small out building where a natural cave leads underground and calls the rest of the party to investigate. They are unable to determine what type of creature but are unwilling to enter into its den to discover its nature. Instead, assuming it is nocturnal, they investigate the ruins and discover two potential entrances that lead to under the villa. The first is clearly a trap door built for easy access to whatever lies below and the second is a small gap in the hypocaust that would allow a very tight crawl without armour.

After Billwise has crawled some way through the latter and discovered that this route leads to the lair of the beast, the adventurers choose the trapdoor and the stairs down. They cautiously enter and explore a small work room complex which has been emptied many centuries ago. All that remains are a few forgotten scraps of parchment with Dwarvish runes and Tengwar script. The Dwarves easily decipher the runes which appear to be part of a text on a weapon forged to defeat the dragons of the first age that used the heart of a dragon. Should the weapon be discovered and broken then the dragon would be released. The Tengwar is just gibberish and they decide to wait and find a translator later.

In the main workroom there are three levers by an iron door. Fearing a trap but also thinking that they open the doors, Denig tries each lever in turn. No disaster befalls the adventurers and finally they push on opening the doors that lead to the forge room. It is here that they discover another crawl space that leads to the beast’s lair. Careful searching also reveals a secret room in which a casket sits on a pedestal. Denig uses a series of intuitions to determine the nature of the rooms traps and finding that removing the casket will result in the deaths of all the party advises that taking it and running is not an option. They party spend much time debating how to defeat the trap and after a very slow lock pick and an ingenious use of an axe to prevent the exit of a trap dart confirm the presence of the crystal in the casket. Again Denig intuits that removing the crystal would result in everyone’s deaths as the ceiling collapses in workroom. Much discussion revolves around replacing weights and and bracing until the party realise that there is a way out of the room without being crushed by rocks. Only it also involves the beast in the lair, which most suspect is a troll.

Billwise is dispatched through the narrow tunnel to confirm this. Unfortunately, he also disturbs the troll in its sleep and a failing arm crushes a hobbit toe. The hobbit yelps in pain awakening the troll and although Billwise escapes safely the troll is now aware of strangers. The troll, is also very keen for a bit of dwarf pie as pickings have got a bit lean in recent years. Not being keen on fighting the troll underground the adventurers agree to go outside and wait for the sun to set and the troll to emerge.

So as the valley is cast into shadow, our worthy heroes confront the enraged troll as it emerges from lair. Denig fires a flaming arrow which seems only to make the troll angrier and Billwise leaps from behind to attack from behind with little effect. Meanwhile, the dwarves close with the colossal foe and Pick leaping high slams his war hammer into the troll’s sternum driving bone splinters into its heart. The troll reels backwards almost crushing Billwise as it does so. Having anticipated a mighty battle the rest of the party look a little crest-fallen: although are also relieved.

After rooting through the troll lair and recovering a few items, the adventurers prepare to remove the crystal from the secret room. At the last minute Pick realises they had not thought through how the hobbit was going to climb up to crawl way entrance in the forge room. A hasty escape route built out of ramps from old bookcases and all is ready. Billwise retrieves the crystal without incident apart from the ceiling collapsing where expected.

The adventurers then spend the next day investigating the ruins and obelisk in the wood in case they have missed something but are unable to discover any other hidden passages. With nothing left to loot and feeling rather out of pocket on this quest they set off back towards the Last Bridge. They have travelled a few days onto the Ettenmoors, again with the crows shadowing their journey, when they are attacked by a band of Orcs. The Orcs attack with savagery clearly bent on recovering the crystal. Most of the party are asleep and slow to rouse putting them on the back foot. Both Dagaard and Pick are significantly wounded being hard pressed on all sides. Billwise attempts to draw off an Orc by running away, a tactic that proves ineffective, forcing Billwise to seek a rear advantage in close combat. The stone-skinned Denig battles with magical energies but only gains a small advantage before being forced back into a defensive stance. Soon though the Dwarven hammers are hitting their marks and orcs fall until none stand.

Pick and Dagaard’s wounds are healed by Denig, and the untouched Billwise removes the orc bodies. The adventurers are a little concerned about the nature of the attack and puzzled at how the orcs knew they had a crystal and why they would want it. However, they are soon back at the Last Bridge Inn and such musing can be done at leisure and in safety.

Rewards and Reputation

Billwise gains a satchel of a long forgotten explorer containing a +10 OB dagger, +5 Pick Lock kit, a map of the villa somewhere and a leather pouch with 50TP. Denig receives Time’s Arrow (+20OB sends target back 10 secs in time) and a Rune of Restoration. Pick has gained the monicker of Troll Slayer amongst the party.

Down the Hobbit Hole pt 3

The party spend time planning when and how to ambush a few patrols in the hope of reducing the number of orcs in the war band, They set out to prepare to ambush a patrol using the sunken road. As Billwise has shown himself to be very fleet of foot and stealthy, the party decide to use him as an advanced scout. This proves to be fortunate as he is able to alert the party to a patrol before they encounter it. Hoping to use surprise, the adventurers improvise a hasty plan. The dwarves stand out in the open, to tempt the orcs into rushing them, whilst the others hide using the ample forest cover. This proves a disaster with the ambush discovered before the trap could be sprung. Fortunately, the dwarves mighty war-hammers inflict punishing damage and soon the small patrol of orcs is dispatched.

While the party hide the bodies, Billwise scouts towards the sunken road and discovers a lack of patrols. He reports this back to the others and Denig suggests that this is because it was a bright day and patrols might be less frequent. He goes on to suggest that they use the time to scout the camp with more detail as he thinks that the Orcs will be less alert at this time of day.

So it is that, with the rest of the party nearby, Billwise stealthily approaches the ruined manor. He finds no sentries and after a quick survey reports back to the others. Who, after a discussion, decide that Billwise should sneak in and kill any sleeping orcs that might be inside. To aid him Ydal casts a Prayer of Quiet on the young hobbit, allowing him to go about his deadly business without a sound being heard.

All goes well as Billwise slips into the darkened building, enveloped in silence he attempts to dispatch the first of the sleeping forms, but killing is a messy business and if you are a hobbit it becomes more difficult when the first blow is not a killing one. Although willing, it becomes clear that Billwise lacks the skill for a quick kill but with a brief struggle he dispatches his first foe aided by the blessing of silence. He swiftly moves on to the next sleeping orc and again struggles for a quick kill. This time the struggle allows the orc to escape outside the bubble of silence that surrounds Billwise. The cry alerts the other occupants of the ruined building and also his waiting companions.

Hearing the cry, everyone, except Denig, rushes into the building to assist Billwise. Ydal rushes to aid Billwise and Pick rushes to prevent an orc Shaman from entering from another room. Dagaard guards the door ready to assist Denig who keeps watch for guards from the main camp below. Suddenly, beside Billwise, the corpse of dead orc drags itself upright, clumsily gripping its scimitar, still congealing blood oozing from it wounds. Dagaard quickly rushes in to protect the vulnerable hobbit’s flank. A second shaman has joined the battle and his invocations look set to make a quick battle last longer than expected reanimating the dead. Fortunately, the undead orc and his more live companion are dispatched and the first shaman (an apprentice) at the door looks set to be pressed by weight of numbers.

Outside, Denig, seeing no immediate threat from sentries, prepares the ritual of golden slumber and makes his way into the ruins. In the ruins, the shaman invokes a spirit of calm over the party and they are unable to undertake any aggressive act. The two shaman make for the exit only to meet Denig coming the other way. Denig releases his prayer but the apprentice resists and slashes at Denig’s stone skin with his scimitar. Denig holds the door whilst his companions try to figure away to aid Denig. Meanwhile the shaman, continues to build invocations against Denig, despite Billwise’s attempt to use the area of silence around him to prevent the prayers. Denig resists each attempt to unleash Dark Forces on him and battles the apprentice. Ydal throws up a wall of silence around the room to prevent the camp from hearing the sounds of fighting and blesses Denig to aid him in his lone stand.

Ingeniously, Denig calls on his tribal gods for a bolt of lightning to strike his opponent, but all that is granted is a mild electric shock. The shaman continues to lash out at the stone man with dark energies. Alone and with no help Denig it looks like all is lost. However, thanks to the doorway and his stone skin he defeats both the apprentice and the Shaman.

During this time, unable to act aggressively the rest of the party take on different tasks. Dagaard and Billwise investigate a barred door way from which whimpering is coming. Pick investigates the room the Shaman and apprentice came from rooting around for treasure. In the barricaded room, Billwise and Dagaard discover that the source of whimpering is a small child, no doubt saved as a tasty morsel. Billwise, not much larger than the child, reassures the traumatised soul.

Meanwhile, Pick discovers some treasure including bags with runes of screaming. Which he sets off. Unfortunately, he is outside the quietened room and the noise is heard by the sentries in the camp below, a fact made apparent by the sudden sounds of disturbed orcs from the camp below. The party flee carrying the child, but not before a note written in Elvish with a distinct hand and ink is recovered from the shaman along with his staff. They struggle to move quickly through the woods but the sunlight appears to be on their side and there is no sign of pursuit although a hideous din is heard from the camp.

Back at the Periwott smial, the party assess their options. Fearing that their trail may be followed, Denig attempts to cover the trail and lay false route, while Billwise scouts for potential pursuit, of which he sees no sign.

Back at the smial, the child is reunited with her mother amidst many tears. The night passes without incident. In the morning, the party decide to investigate the effect of their recent raid and find lack of patrols. Curious, they return to camp with Billwise as scout and discover some dead orcs who were not killed by them. Most of the party are confused by this and fear some new opponent able to slaughter orcs at will. However, Denig tells party that it is because the war band were leaderless and turned of each other to decide leadership. He goes on to tell them that eventually a leader was decided and they have either left or gone on to do what ever it was they were here for. Denig thinks that this is the the former as the orcs are far from the usual places they would normally inhabit.

Neffin wood, now free of orcs, is home again to the Periwott hobbits, who offer sanctuary to the rescued prisoners. The rescued villagers work with the hobbits to gather food and a new community is founded. During this time our heroes rest and recover and discuss the next steps. Although the hobbits can supply a few simple supplies it is clear that the adventurers will need to re-provision with gear suitable for adventuring. Pick, Dagaard and Billwise are all keen to find Jeremiah who they left with the cart and the plundered loot from the ruins of Elvellon manor. They also invite Ydal and Denig to join them as they believe that they could be helpful in any other explorations that are given to them by Mithparvandir.

Rewards and Reputation

A staff x2 PP multiplier, a note with a distinct style of writing and ink.
The gratitude of the Periwotts and local villagers mean that should they need somewhere to stay the characters will always be welcome. Local tales will always be told of how the heroes took on a much larger force and vanquished them saving the woods.