Adventures in Middle Earth

Phantoms in the Northern Marches, Pt 2

Once the fires die down from the previous battle, Edra tries to apologize to Alfrond that he suspected him in the whole ordeal. Alfrond picked him up by his collar originally in anger, but Alfirin steps in and says that Rangers in their training are taught to be naturally suspicious. Edra adds that while he was initially suspicious, he asks for Alfrond’s help since they are clearly fighting against real evil. Alfrond then puts him down, kneels in front of him and offers his broadsword in fealty. The hunters are impressed except for Lheg, who snarls and says that he is better with his bow than that sword.

The group discusses what to do next and settled on setting the trap again during the day. Lheg volunteers all of his men, and promises that they are the best and would be able to find the wolves extremely easily. Due to the numbers, they believe that it’s possible to actually do both – hunt the wolves down and steer them into a set trap into the ravine. They finally decide that Edra and Einar are to go set the trap in the morning, and Addimyr, Adrokk, Niana and Alfirin keep watch outside until daytime, where they will go and track down the wolves. The evening was peaceful and the village crew were relieved to find the watch safe in the morning.

Whitburt comes out with a rusty shield and axe, saying that he wants to redeem Gerst’s name – he heard that some of the hunters blame Gerst for the previous night and Whitburt knows that he would never perform these acts. Edra and Einar decide that Whitburt would be better and safer off with them setting up the trap. As they made their way to the ravine, a huge pile of snow fell from the crevice on top of them. Edra was able to dodge it completely, Einar took a bit of damage, while the other two hunters took a lot more. Once they freed the hunters and tended to their injuries, the group started to build the trap.

As for the rest of the group, they go over to the edge of the forest and the hunting dogs start to freak out. Niana cast a spell on the dogs in order to soothe them, and while they were able to start going forward, the dogs still were a bit nervous as they continued into the forest. Once they got deeper into the forest, the hunters were able to tell by the tracks that there were nine of them, they were smart enough to stop the bleeding of that one wolf, and that they were zig zagging through the forest finding prey as normal through the night.

As the hunters are making their way through the forest, Addimyr sees something golden up ahead and freezes. The others were able to see him freeze, and as they focus their vision, they were able to see that the golden thing is part of a building. Lheg was able to recognize that building as Tadashala, a building created by the Numenorian sorceress that lived in the area during the second age. The building, he says, is the reason why they had been protected throughout the ages – the sleeping king lies underneath there, and the legends say that the sleeping king will rise when the village encounters danger. While the building is extremely beautiful and ornate, there was no way to get inside of the building – there were no handles on the large, ornate doors, and due to the height it is impossible to reach the hinges. The group took their notes to come back later, and continue marching on the hunt.

After a short amount of time, they are able to spot house up an extremely large tree. Addimyr was able to tell that while the house is not of elven make, he’s unsure of it beyond that. The villagers had never seen it before, and are a little concerned about it. Once they get closer, they can start to see that the house of rather rude construction, with both human tracks and wild cats in the perimeter. Alfirin called up a greeting in both Western and High Elf, though nobody answered. Since the house was out of the way and not really of their concern at the moment, they took note of it and continued on the trail.

Once they get even further into the woods, the dogs start to freak out. Niana accidentally steps on the foot of one as it flailed around, which caused the dog to yelp loudly. Suddenly a howl is let out from 100 yards away, and it met with replies of other howls. One of the hunters turn to the other, saying that it was the loudest wolf they have ever heard, while the other said that they don’t think that it was a wolf. Niana freezes in place and starts praying. Addrok notices her panic, picks her up in a fireman’s carry and starts moving. As they start running, they are able to see a wolf hurdling in their direction. The bowsmen start drawing arrows to fire when ready, while the hunters with the boar spears starts going to the front. Niana snaps out of it, and shimmied down, grabbing her slingshot to defend herself.

The group finds themselves surrounded by the wolves. While Niana was able to scare one wolf off with a spell, the rest of them were able to dodge and charge forward. The team gets into ferocious battle with the wolves, taking and dealing blows ferociously with them. They were able to whittle the group down slowly, Addrok gains favor with Tolkus as he fights, breaking the leg of one and snapping the neck of the other. The amount of carnage that happened caused the other wolves to become disinterested in the fight and stay away.

As they were fighting off the wolves, a wolf man starts walking towards the group and towards Addrok. Addrok misses his swing towards the wolf man, and the man in return grapples him to the ground and claws at him, causing damage. The group tries to attack him with everything they have, but anything that landed caused very little damage to the wolf man. Once Addrok fell unconscious after wrestling with him, the wolf man turns his attention to Addimyr and grapples him. Addrok fainting caused the other two hunters to run away out of fear, though Niana was able to heal him in short order to bring him back to consciousness. The fight went on for some time, and the wolf man was too strong – draining them of all health and they fell unconscious.

The wolf man tells them as they come back to consciousness that they are much stronger than the little girl that he has been working with. He tells them that he left them alive just so they can tell the town to run away as far as they can, for his enjoyment. As they get up and start hobbling back, he says to make absolute sure to tell the town to run, especially that fat priest.

As they get back to town, Edra and Einar greeted them with relief since they had not run into them all day, then listened to what happened in the forest. Edra knew about the wolf man, and was able to relay the tale – Warg is a creature like Bjorn, so he is a shape shifter, though rather evil and would be out of their league if they were to go against it. The townspeople, especially Whitburt, do not want to leave their homes and the lives that they known. Edra was able to convince the townspeople to stay calm completely, and was so successful that the Thain believe that they’re in the middle of a legend being made.

The people that faced the wolf remembered that he mentioned a woman that was working with them, and brought in the healer woman to see what information she had. She mentions a girl named Hanyae, that lived in the village a few years ago, her parents died of plague. She was obsessed with the sword of Gerst, and the more that she became curious about it, the less comfortable Whitburt became discussing it with her, due to her interest in using it for violence. She left the village a few years ago on her own whim, and nobody had heard from her since.

As Adrokk is meditating, a voice comes from the tomb of Gerst, with the voice saying that he disturbed his sleep. Adrokk asks if he knows of Warg. Gerst says no, and Adrokk tells the voice what had happened to him. Gerst asked Adrokk if he yielded in battle. When Adrokk says no, Gerst asked when Warg is to arrive. When Adrokk said when, Gerst tells him to lure Warg to the tomb. Adrokk believes that it is doable, and Gerst bids him farewell, with Adrokk snapping out of his trance with a start.

Adrokk tells the group what had happened to the astonishment of everyone, especially Whitburt who became really excited about the event, since nobody had spoken to Gerst in over 200 years. The priest grabs Adrokk’s hand and asks him if he will become the next priest of Gerst, and while Adrokk refuses, Lheg steps up and says that he’ll volunteer to be the next priest. Whitburt initially refuses, but with encouragement from Alfirin, she was able to convince Whitburt to allow it to the surprise of everyone, including Lheg.

Einar and Edra go to check out Tadashala. Edra was able to tell that the building was a hybrid Norseman and Numenorian build, and that there would be a secret tunnel built somewhere. After finding a cave where it would potentially be, they find that the tunnel is caved in and that the tunnel is impassable. The two of them then go ahead to the treehouse.

Edra decides to go first, and as he climbs up the ladder, a sharp sensation pierces his hand. Before he knew it, he became wobbly from the poison that was on the barb and started to fall. Einar was able to grab him on his way down but unfortunately could not keep a hold of him as the two of them fell several stories to the ground. While Edra suffered injuries to his chest, Einar found one of his feet completely broken. Unlike Einar, Edra’s injury didn’t stop him from climbing back up into the treehouse again. Once inside, he finds a journal which he immediately pockets, then spots some runes on a shoddily made table. Upon examination, he can see that they have a potent bomb spell on them. Edra quickly pockets them as well and then climbs back down to meet Einar. Once they are able to fix his foot enough to walk again, the two of them disperse the runes in random places around the forest where it would be hard to gather.

The group gathers back to Gerstberg in the evening to finalize preparations. Not long later, Warg arrives on top of the hill, and tells the people to run as far as they possibly can. As Warg taunts, the tomb busts open and a Wight in armor walks out, dragging the sword of Gerst behind him. Gerst looks at Adrokk and talks to him telepathically, asking Adrokk to bring Warg close to him. Adrokk thinks that he would definitely be able to do that, and after getting Haste casted on him, he starts charging up the hill super fast towards Warg. Gerst then turns to Alfirin and greets her as an ancient one before going into the trees.

Adrokk encounters Warg and then leads him on with childish insults until he was able to bring him closer to Gerst. With a swing, Gerst was able to fell Warg on the ground and began beating on him with the sword. Gerst was surprised to see that he was healing, though the sword was doing massive damage to him. After a few more hits, Warg asks to try and make a deal with him – he promised to leave the village alone forever if the damage stops. Gerst adds that he must also fight evil for a month, which Warg accepts.

Gerst comes back to the village to a cheering populace, and starts going back into his tomb. Before he goes in, he turns to the priest and said, “thank you for keeping the faith”, then has the door slid on him. Whitburt faints in pure joy.

Edra reads the journal. Hanyae wanted to blow up Gerst’s tomb, went into Rhuador and ran into Warg. She promised him the sword of Gerst in exchange for help in destroying the tomb, especially against the priest who kept knowledge from her. She learned the bombs spell from a shaman in the hills and had most of the supplies to do it before the group shows up. Hanyae knew they were trouble and wanted to get rid of them, though felt that it may wake up the wight. Unlike Warg, Hanyae began to have nightmares, and her last entry mentioned that she is escaping to the hills.

Edra had dream sequence in regards to Tadashala – he was able to see that the magical items that were supposed to be in the tomb were all gone, with a note that said “I, Timone, dared”. He looked up Timone in a book, found out that he is famous explorer who went insane, same with people that came into items that he had until it fell into the hands of the elves. Edra writes a letter to the elves warning them about the items and that the items should be returned to their rightful resting places.

When they arrive back in Weathertop, they are surprised to find that the Sons of Elrond are waiting there for them along with the Arthedain Army. King Argeleb II’s daughter had been taken and announced that the Rhuador nation must pay – planning to send the army to march on the capital. When Alfirin goes to hide from the sons of Elrond, she runs into Gandalf who asked how the recruits are doing. She says that they are well, and that Gandalf did hear that they did a great job. He comments that while the King is normally wise, his brashness is unfortunate in this situation. Gandalf said that he would help find the daughter, though he fibbed a little bit – she’s not actually in the capital. He believes that a small team of Rangers could move faster than the army and find the daughter before any real damage can be done. He is going with the Sons of Elrond to set up base in Rhaglaw.

Since Alfirin’s group had just been in the area, they would be good candidates for this mission. Gandalf requests this from an old friend, and would really appreciate it if they were willing to volunteer. He did request six extra horses, and they would be able to make haste if they wanted. Alfirin, after some persuasion, was able to bribe the Rangers in charge that they had not checked in yet, then went to regroup with the team in order to discuss what to do next.

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