Adventures in Middle Earth

Phantoms in the Northern Marches, Pt 1

A group of scouts meat at Weathertop in mid-March of 1642. The commander of this newly trained team congratulates them for graduating Ranger class. He then introduces the group to an elf woman, named Alfirin, who has a spectacular reputation among the Dunedain and has been assisting them for over 800 years. The commander tells the group that they would do best to listen to her, as she has been through a lot and has great wisdom to pass. Alfirin, after all, will be the one taking the group on their first real mission.

Speaking of mission, he says, he also mentions that there will be two more people joining them on their journey. With a slight bit of pain in his voice, he calls them out to introduce themselves. An older gentleman steps out to meet the group, along with a hobbit valet. The servant, Placro, introduces his master as Edranel, an influential baron who believes that he has a lot to contribute to the rangers. Placro then begins to speak to each person individually, learning of their particular tastes so that he can begin making preparations for the journey ahead.

The commander then begins to brief the group on their mission – one that he believes is challenging, but probably not deadly. After all, if anyone wanted to be a dead hero, they were welcome to join the military – the Rangers want live scouts. The group is charged to go to a small town called Rhaglaw, one that is technically in Rhudaur, but voted a long time ago to be part of Arthedain and has been paying their dues to the country since. They had never asked for assistance until now, where they believe they are having issues with ghosts – though the Rangers believe that it’s not actually the case, and that there must be something else going on. Due to some research on Edranel’s part, it was discovered that Rhaglaw was once the site of a trading empire during the Second Age, though it eventually dissipated.

The trip to Rhaglaw took about a week long and was mostly quiet, apart from the howling of wolves on their way. Once they arrived, they noticed a strange thing about the town – there were no fully completed walls, only some that were started but never finished. One of the scouts, Addrimyr, was able to tell that the walls, due to the style, were first started over 1000 years ago but had never been completed since then and wondered if it was because they felt that there was no need to.

Some of the village guards came out with spears in hand and demanded to know who these travelers are. Once they saw Alfirin, they lowered their guard a little – very few people in the village had ever seen an elf in the flesh, which surprised them. After learning that the group were the rangers that the thain had called for, they took the group to meet with him.

The thain, dressed in white furs, introduces himself as Lavoric, and then tells the guard to summon the local priest Whitburt to the inn, so that they can discuss the haunting problem. Once they all arrive at the inn, they meet with a local ranger named Alford, who had been a part of the town since fall, and then sits himself down with the rest of them without even being asked. Lavoric’s son, Lehg, also sits down with them as well, to everyone’s annoyance. He tries to take his place to Alfirin’s side, cozing up to her, with his dad on the other side of her. Alfirin sharply tells Lheg that she needs her “advisor” next to her. Lheg stubbornly refuses to move and had to basically be evicted by Adrokk and Einar to give Edranel a seat.

After the matter is settled, Lavoric starts telling the group of some of the weird events that had happened in their small town – in the fall, they began to have issues with their sheep disappearing into the woods. Hunters have been found dead with no marks on them, and in positions that suggest that they had been running away from something. Other folks had been going missing – the most recent being two shepherds that went to go looking for their missing flock a month ago and had never returned. As for those in town, they had noticed things moving without anybody touching them, and lights have been spotted floating around the hills with no bodies attached. Strange graffiti has appeared on several buildings, written at night while people were sleeping.

The locals strongly believe that their ancestors protect them, especially the “sleeping king”, and had believed that this is the reason why they never really dealt with trouble for a long time – until now. Whitburt the priest finally arrives and introduces himself as a priest of Gerst, one of the heroes that fought evil for the town and protects them even to this day. The priest also tells the group that there was one more event that very few people had heard of – a rotting, skinned sheep’s head was left on his doorstep as of this morning. Since the group had gotten in very late, they agree to go in the morning to look it over.

The group begin to chat with the ranger Alfrond, who had settled in the area in the fall, and does enjoy his time there. As Alfrond talks about his background, he mentions all the different languages that he knows. Edranel then decides to lean over and whispers “fear” in black speech, which elicits a reaction from Alfrind and Alfrond. Edranel gets a slap in the a face, one on each cheek from the both of them, for using such foul language, the rest of the group left a bit confused.

The group then decide to go their separate ways for the evening. Whitburt and Adrokk have a discussion about Gerst, who Adrokk found very impressive. Adronk then starts talking about Tolkus, the god that he worships, and Whitburt also gotten very into it. The two discussed over several pints of mead, with Whitburt telling more and more outrageous stories about Whitburt. Einar was coerced into helping the hobbit Placro intimidate his way into the kitchen to make Alfirin a vegetarian dinner. Niana got uncomfortable with the amount of people in the inn, so she ended up wandering into the local hall and poked around for awhile. Alfirin starts to play on the mandolin in front of the whole inn and blows Alfrond, who was also playing, out of the water.

Alfirin wakes up very early and notices something strung across the front door. When she lights a candle and looks closer, she realizes that it’s sheeps’ intestines. Once she gets over the initial shock, she notices graffiti in black speech that “this town in doomed” and noticed that the graffiti was written on other important buildings as well. The group starts to have suspicions about Alfrond, since he is the only one that they know who knows the black speech. The group then decide to split into two – one group goes to Gerstbroc to visit with the priest while the other group go hunting for the lost shepards.

Whitburt greets the group that is visiting them and then bring them to go look at the sword of Gerst, which is “frozen in a heart of a drake”. He takes them to an old, yet solid, building. The minute that they walk in, the building radiates cold. They see a massive two handed sword with all sorts of runes on it, stabbed in a rock of ice with a heart in the center of it. Addrimyr was able to tell that it was very impressive, forged in the second era, and could have actually been used to slay a dragon. Edranel tries to go and read the runes, though there is so much magic radiating from that area, where he is not sure where it is coming from – either the heart or the blade itself. Wanting badly to explore the tomb beneath where Gerst is buried, the group fights their urges and instead leaves the building.

The group then goes to talk to Odelar, who is the local healer. She says that she came here originally during the Great Plague since the area needed a healer. When asked about the strange happenings about town, and she thinks that the evil must be coming from the outside, since she is familiar with everybody in the area and would never suspect that anyone would do such a thing. She is concerned about the local hunting accidents that have been happening around town – people have been hitting traps that they have no knowledge setting, and believes that there is trouble in the woods. With that knowledge, the group departs to head back.

The hunting group went into the hills and find a couple of deer that have had their throats ripped out by a warg. Lheg doesn’t see the big deal, but Alfrond does, and tells him of the danger. They send Lheg back to the village to gather more people, with Niana following him. The rest of the group went further in, and heard the howls of wolves, which was weird in the middle of the afternoon. The group decided to fall back to a nearby farm until the rest of the group can catch up. Niana managed to catch up with the group that went to the priest and brought them back to the farm where everyone else was staying.

The group decided to use some bait to lure the wolves out in order to strategically attack them. They bought the pig from the farmer, slaughtered it, and as they are going to go out and execute their plan, the roof of the barn starts on fire. As one of the hunters try to escape, he catches an arrow to the side and calls out “ambush” before falling over. The group decide to release the animals and then intermingle with them as they leave the barn. Niana goes to run for the man who was shot by the arrow, and encountered a wolf, who jumped on top of her and gave her a slight wound. Another wolf shot at Adrokk, who blocked the attack with his shield and took a shot at it with his weapon. Addrimyr also dodged the wolf that lunged after him, but was not able to inflict any wounds on it.

As the group escape the barn, they see a large and imposing figure shooting flaming arrows from the bow, stunning several of the group. Several of the hunters shouted that it was Gerst and started to run away from the situation. The shadow man calls out for the wolves, and they run back towards him, going through him as they run back into the hills. Addrimyr was able to rally various hunters from running away, which breaks Adrokk from being stunned, though Alfrin and Einar still continue to be shocked about the situation. As Niana goes and healed the damaged, another arrow is shot towards Alfrin and Einar. Alfrond was able to block the arrow from the two of them and fell to the ground, injured.

As the group manages to try and contain the chaos, the shadow man goes back into the woods. When the fires died down, they found an arrow in the roof of the barn. Addrimyr was able to determine that it is man-made, modern, and probably local. The group believes that they may be dealing with a real wight, and that it may be getting help from a local man. Adrokk mentions that he did inflict the wound on one of the wolves, and it must be dripping blood on its way back to its home. They then begin to discuss their next steps on whether to strike when the iron is hot, and if it would be beneficial to follow the trail…

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