After receiving the mission regarding the rescue of Argeleb’s daughter in their previous mission, the group sets off towards Rhaglaw yet again. The trip there was quite uneventful, and the town was surprised to see the adventurers again after being there so recently. Alfirin asked about Gandalf, who apparently were already there just a couple days ago and went ahead. The town was able to give more information regarding the lay of the land, and the best entry point across the river.
The group travels to that point and make a permanent camp before trying to cross by themselves, planning to keep the horses at the camp for safety. Niana can sense rain, which will cause the river to course faster, so the group decides to try and cross the river that night before it completely destroys the remaining ice from the winter. Alfirin uses levitation to cross over to the other side, then uses it to get the others over slowly.
Shortly after everyone crosses and set up a camp for the evening, it begins to rain heavily. Despite the rains, they were able to see a group of riders dressed in black cross by on the road on horses. Expecting trouble, they hid from sight, and then took a deer trail the next morning in order to stay hidden.
They reach the top of a hill, and can see a village and a fortification to the distance. While the village is populated as far as they can tell, the farms surrounding the area are wildly abandoned as far as they could tell. The group makes their way down to the farms to investigate further. Inside of the farmhouse, they discover several skeletons on the ground, possibly dead from the Plague that ravaged the land. Inside of the barn, it’s discovered that it was rat infested and unable to make a shelter out of it. Many of the other farms were the same, or completely abandoned.
Edra and Addrymir go into the village in order to scout it out while the rest of the group wait in the driest abandoned farmhouse. The village appears to be originally of Dunedain make, though a lot of the newer houses are made of sod, with a tall tower in the middle of the town. A guard comes out and challenges the two of them, asking what they want, since they don’t get many villagers. Edra tells them that they lost their village to the Angmar army and are passing by, needing shelter for the night due to the rain. The guard gives them a pass and lets them into the village, pointing them to the “Red Hooves Inn”, the only tavern in town.
Once they step into the inn, they are hit with a wave of humidity. The building is super crowded with several ill people and many animals. A man comes up to them and gives them a tasty stew and mead, then asks where their coin is. Edra hands them coin, and the bartender realizes that the coin is of Arthedain make. The inn became suddenly silent and the sounds of weapons start to rustle. Edra quickly says that the money was easy to take from Arthedain and the inn calmed down. The bartender allowed him to trade it for the local currency, which he happily accepts.
After some observation, they are able to make out that there are two major groups in the inn – the hillmen and the dundelings. Addymir sees a group of people hunkered down, whispering to each other and pointing at them. Addymir started to believe that these men believed Edra to be an easy target for pickpocketing, and his suspicions were confirmed later in the evening. As one of the men try to make a pass at Edra’s coin purse, Addymir successfully threatened him to the point where they received more respect from the tavern through the rest of the evening.
They find out from various conversations throughout the night that Cameth Brin is half empty right now and is occupied by hillmen. There is a representative of Angmar there, with orc bodyguards. The plague killed off the previous residents of the fortress, though shortly after the hillmen settled down, a lot of them caught the plague too. It managed to wipe out a lot of the farmers, though they were lucky enough to salvage enough food to barely survive the winter. Cameth Brin tends to be invitation only, where guards have to lead people through the castle due to the number of traps. They also overheard a tale of a back entrance into Cameth Brin, and while they suspect that it may be underneath the tower that is by town, it’s near impossible to confirm due to the ghosts, according to the locals.
Once they regroup, the team decide to split into two parties – Addymir and Alfirin decide that they will try to see if the back door is underneath the tower, while the rest go in through the front door as a diplomatic party.
Addymir and Alfrin leave first and made it up the cliff to the tower rather effortlessly. Once they scale the tower and find their way inside from a window high up, Alfirin finds a foundational plaque inside, with a sentence saying that the “Numenorians will rule this land forever”. They open a door in the tower, and Alfirin comes into an encounter with several ghosts, circling her and saying in Numenorian, “Leave us alone!”. She responds that she means them no harm, and the ghost says that the “White Council will meet”. More ghosts come out of the walls and ask why she’s here. She says that she is looking for secrets lost, specifically the entrance into Cameth Brin. They tell her that the entrance through this tower has been blocked off by the hillmen many moons ago. She tells them that the hillmen have taken over their lands, and they are very upset. They wish they could do something about it, but they are bound by a spell and are trapped in this world until the Witch King frees them. Telling the ghosts that they will think about it, the two adventurers were able to take their leave from the tower.
The second group walk to the entrance of Cameth Brin itself and tell the guards that they wish to meet with the King, on behalf of Arthedain. It didn’t take long for them to be summoned, and the group was blindfolded, led through the trap room, and brought down the stairs. King Bragga is there with his wife, wearing a turtle crown. He looks at Edra and said that he is surprised that they were able to come so quickly since he had only sent his letter a few days ago. Edra said that Arthedain had the foresight for this situation, then gives the king a large coin purse, saying it is a gift from Arthedain. As Edra is speaking, he sees that the ambassador of Angmar is there with his orc bodyguards, trying to intimidate them.
As a demonstration of strength, it is suggested that Arthedain and Angmar should have their bodyguards fight – first one to draw blood loses. Einar volunteers and does battle with one of the orcs, though has trouble with the spear that he was given and ends up losing. The orc calls him a weak human and puts him to shame, and Bragga calls the demonstration rather boring overall.
Edra calls for best two out of three, in which the Angmar diplomat laughs at him and asks about his third. Addymir serendipiously shows up after their adventure this morning at the tower, and Edra immediately introduces him. The ambassador takes one look at his smaller build and laughs, saying that his orc can snap him in half. Edra said that he will surprise you, and that’s why he is going second. Once the two face off, Addymir immediately takes out his dagger and throws it at the orc’s leg, drawing blood and ending the fight right away.
The ambassador said that was cheating since it was supposed to be a melee battle. The king found it impressive due to quick wit, though says that the next fight will be melee only. Edra introduces Addrok, who calls out to Toklus as he draws his axe, and then was easily able to bury the weapon in the orcs’ chest.
King Bragga is very impressed, and said that Arthedain has regained their honor and standing. He says that in exchange for the princess, they want food for their land. Edra said that they will write a letter, and that they want to see the condition of the princess. The guards bring her out, and she is rather feisty, trying to fight her way out of their grasp. After being prompted, she looks at the group from Arthedain and says that she doesn’t recognize Edra or any of the others, until her eyes lay on Niana. She manages to break out right there and starts running towards her. The guards catch up and start to restrain her again, eventually pacifying her by giving her a good knock on the head.
Edra steps in and says that the deal is conditional on the health of the princess. Bragga said that they have tried but she is very aggressive. He does let Niana towards her since they seem to know each other, and the two of them talk in Dunedain. She asks Niana if this is a rescue attempt, which Niana nodded. The princess smiles slightly and says that she will not try to break out until they go through with it. She also gives Niana a ring to give to her father to let him know that she is okay. Upon closer examination, Niana notices that the ring has a snake eating its tail on it.
In order to keep their end of the bargain, Edra writes letters to all of the petty lords to see if they will contribute on the behalf of the king. Niana also sends a letter via bird to Alfirin to keep her updated on what’s going on. The group then comes up with the plan that they are going to honor the deal, though before the food comes they will find the underground passage to whisk her away and blame it on Angmar.
The next morning, Niana wakes up and finds a note crumpled at the floor saying that “The princess of Arthedain will die tonight unless you do something”. The whole group was summoned to review the letter, and Edra was surprised that it was written in Gondorian.
Edra goes to ask the captain of the guard, Valadan, who refuses to really tell much about himself. They notice his sword was Gondorian, and Addymir who was with him point out that he’s wearing the Gondorian equipment rather well, as if he was trained to wear it properly. Valadan has said that he took it from his dead father. They chat a bit about the secret entrances around the castle, though Valadan admits that he doesn’t know any more than Addymir. However, he does tell him about the passage from the Princess’ room down to the hot springs underneath the castle. After Addymir’s left, and as Edra was following, Valadan grabs his shoulder and whispers to Edra that they should beware the King’s wife.
To get on his good graces, Edra does tarot reading for Bragga and predicts that there some danger to him in his future. The king seemed rather guarded, and Edra tells the King that they need to meet again later that evening in order to continue reading his future, and also encouraged him to bring his wife as a way to distract her while the rest of the group works on rescuing the princess.
Niana goes out to meet with Alfirin to dig into the closed off tunnel underneath the tower as a possible passageway out of the castle. Ghosts comes to Niana and speak with her after bowing since the recongize the right that she was wearing, asking if they’re able to assist her in any way. She tells them that they need assistance with getting the princess out of Cameth Brin– once they dig the tunnel clear, and with permission, the ghosts would be able to wreak havoc over the agents of Angmar. The ghosts like this idea, and once they make an agreement, their binding starts to break which sends an instant message and location to the Witch King of Angmar. The power that was used prompts him to immediately move towards the citadel. Niana was able to sense this as well, and then starts to dig as much as she can using the power of the ring in her posession, along with assistance from Alfirin. It doesn’t take them long before they managed to make it into the Queen’s bedroom. They were surprised to stumble onto her, though she was deep asleep and did not startle when they stumbled into the room. They find it suspicious that she’s asleep at 11 am, and begin to worry if she is another entity entirely.
The two of them make their way out of the tower, and then notice that there is some slight steam coming out of some nearby rocks. Sensing that these may be linked to the fabled hot springs underneath the castle, they enter the nearby cave to investigate. As they are exploring the caves, which are short and they had to crouch, they eventually enter a room with tall ceilings. They see a craggy face in the wall and notice quickly that it is a troll that is resting. Niana casts Dull Hearing on him, which does snap him awake and he spots them, starting to charge. As Niana starts to take off, Alfirin takes the time to cast Grace on herself before running. The two manage to get out as the troll crawls on the ground looking for them.
Niana was able to recognize her way around and leads them into a huge room that is lit by water. The ceiling is rather high, and the room is rather warm. In the middle of the lake, there is an island with a huge snapping turtle in the middle, lounging around. The water, they noticed, has a magical component linked to it, which may be how the snapping turtle grew to such an enormous size. The two of them search for where the elevator is, and they eventually find a door. Niana works on getting the door open, and hears black speech as the door slowly opens. Alfirin is able to understand the speech and recognize it as Angmar’s people, who say that they only have another couple hours until they meet up with the “crazy bitch”.
The two of them then hear the turtle awakening, though they manage to hide themselves as the turtle moves to eat its dinner. The two of them take their chances by opening the door and moving inside into the dungeon. They find the dumbwaiter, and they pull it down to their level. They do not hear the orcs anymore and believe that they had already left, so they start climbing up the rope.
In the common room above, Einar, Addrymir and Addrok are waiting until the changing of the guard at 8 pm, which is when the room will be the least populated and gives them the greatest chance of rescuing the princess from her room. As the guard starts to gather and make their way through the castle, they notice that the diplomat from Angmar, his bodyguards and the queen are fully armed and heading towards the common room as well. The three men bolt directly into the common room and slam the door behind them. Addrok uses his body to keep it shut as Einar starts bringing a table from the middle of the room to assist. The two shieldmadiens that were guarding the room to the princess start heading over to the door, wanting it opened back up so that they can talk to the queen. Addymir convinces them that the orcs are after the princess, so that their duty is to protect the princess first.
Alfirin manages to emerge from the dumbwaiter, which surprised the two shieldmadiens, and they start running to capture her. As Addymir tells the maidens that Alfirin is part of the group and shouldn’t be harmed, the door disintegrates, exposing the queen and her posse behind it. Without thinking, the shieldmaidens shout “Magic” and start jumping towards the orcs in battle. Luckily, Alfirin was able to grab the key to the princess’ room before they dove fully into the fray.
Alfirin then runs up to the door and unlocks it, dodging a blow from a frying pan as she swings it open. The princess suddenly finds herself embarrassed, and takes a look around the room to assess the situation. Addymir loudly whispers to her that her life is in danger and that she needs to escape via the dumbwaiter. Niana shouts for her and motions her to join. As the princess gets on the dumbwaiter, she tells Niana that she has the most interesting idea for escape, and they start to make their way down. Before turning to the rest of the group, Alfrin relocks the door, bends the key slightly and drops it on the ground.
Addrok and Einar use the table as a makeshift door to buy the rest more time to get the princess out, but it doesn’t last long before the table completely disintegrates and they are left face to face with the orcs. As the group readies their weapons, Addymir shouts into the sleeping quarters that there is an attack in the castle, which prompts several soldiers to quickly grab their weapons and rush towards the door.
Using Addrok as a shield, Einar and the soldiers are able to attack from behind and cause damage to the orcs in front of them. As Einar manages to fell one of them, the queen comes up from behind and launches a shot of lighting directly at his chest, and he falls to the ground. Addrok shouts at them that he’ll continue to hold them off, but everyone else should try to escape as fast as they can. Alfirin and Addymir are able to tell that the dumbwaiter is available and start making their way down themselves. Shortly after, Einar had enough strength to grab onto the rope and ride it down with them.
The queen then launches a huge fireball to knock Addrok and the guards back, killing several and wounding Addrok in the process, which he thanks Toklus for leaving him standing. The ambassador steps up afterwards, saying that he was looking forward to facing Addrok one on one in battle. Addrok doesn’t think anything of him, yet readies himself for battle anyway. With every attack and block, Addrok moves closer to the dumbwaiter and once he is close enough, he makes a run for it. The ambassador runs after him and tries to swing at him with his axe, but he was surprised to discover that Addrok tossed himself completely into the hole.
Exhausted, the queen makes her way over to the princess’ room and tries using the bent key to get the door open. The group could hear the nastiest shriek as she discovers that the key is completely broken. Einar had little time to process it before Addrok hits him in free fall. Alfrin notices what is going on and manages to grab Addymir, moving themselves out of the way as the dumbwaiter hits the ground. Einar lands in a heap, and Addrok lands on top of him, leaving the two large men gasping in pain.
Niana heals them just enough so that they can move and make their quick escape. Due to exploring the caves before, Niana and Alfirin were able to lead the others through with little event, past the turtle and the troll, out into the open. It takes the group awhile to get back to the river, which is now flooding and rushing with water, which forces them to go to the nearest settlement to cross. Addymir tells the guard of the events at the citadel, along with the upcoming visit from the Witch King, which causes the small settlement to pale. Some decide to rally, asking if the group is with or against them. Addrok pipes up that they need to protect their women due to them being of childbearing age. As some of the group side-eye him, the guards are convinced enough to let them through.
They make their way back to Weathertop without much incident. Many of the group were rather glad, since it meant that they were able to get rid of the princess, who happened to be quite negative in certain aspects. She rode up separately, saying that she merely escaped with the help of the people that were there.
The princess meets with Niana once more, telling her that she was jealous that Niana was able to join the rangers – only males in the immediate family have that option, and it’s something she would rather do than the more domestic duties that are expected of her. Niana returns the ring to her. The princess smiles, and says that she is invited to Fornost at any time, and she will make sure that Niana is given more significant pull in the family.
The rest of the group is surprised by Gandalf, Elrond and his two sons, who seem to have yet another mission for them in wait….