The events at Cameth Brin has left Rhudaur very shaken. The Hill King was abruptly replaced by a Black Numenorian that claims he is next in line, not only for this country but for the throne of the other two as well. Many suspect that he was placed in his position due to his best talent – the ability to suck up to the Witch King and not die.
The court of Rhudaur stepped forward towards Arthedain with an offer. They would like to re-establish the court in their own country,at the very edge, by Rivendell. They want to work on gaining an alliance with Elrond on their own, to the point where they will not need the aid of the Arthedain army, especially at a time when the Witch King is busy with the hillmen to the north of the country. A few ranger groups have been invited to help the Court in their efforts, in which Alfirin’s group is one of them.
The group is outfitted with better crafted weapons. Alfirin, in secret, also receives a package from Rivendell. After taking weeks of slowly opening the package, writing and thinking about it, she fully unwraps it and discovers that it is a wood elf bow imbued with luck. The package also contains a note from the wood elf that had made it, that asks her to not share the secret that it only works sometimes.
They are then assigned to a caravan that is making it’s way to the fortress called Tirthon. The caravan is carrying a thousand pounds of wheat, along with other supplies, to sustain the fortress over the winter months. The caravan needed the extra protection due to it being “Trolls’ Season”, where young trolls are out in greater force. Overall, the trip spans five days – two days at different fortresses, one day completely out in the open, and one day at an allied Duneling village before they finally reach the fortress proper.
Dhagar, the son of the caravan leader, meets the group at the local inn, the Yellow Dawn. He tells the group about the road they are traveling and has absolute confidence that it will work out well. As he continues to drink, he brings the group to the caravan to show them around. On his way out, he almost falls over but his assistant “Old Pad” helps him up. Dhagar then introduces the group to Nasan, who is his father’s book-keeper and was going to inherit the business until Dhagar finally made up with his father.
They were also introduced to Penta, who was drinking back at the inn, and greeted the gang with a huge belch before sitting back down. Penta is quite tall for a Norseman, even more so compared to his Duneling cohorts. He points as Addrok and asks if he is a “Dumbedain”, then says that he, Penta, can’t be ordered around. Despite the insult Addrok says that he looks forward to fighting side by side. Alfirin asks if he has any experience with the Troll Days, and Penta says that’s why they have the Dunelings with them because they have knowledge of the area and can assist with that part of it.
Nasan talked to Addrymir separately, telling him that he believes this may be his last trip. He pulls out a ring and says that he needs to deliver this ring to a man named Marendyl in Tirthon. Since Nasan believes that things may go wrong and he may not survive, he gives Addrymir the ring to deliver it to the man – he believes Addrymir with his skills may be most likely to survive and carry out the favor on his behalf.
Penta suggests a drinking contest as an act of bonding, and Addrok and Einar sign up. The three of them, along with the two Dunelings, take their turns drinking and each of them fall one by one until Addrok is left standing. Since he was still conscious, Addrok was able to take a drinking cure from Niana rather easily before bed and was able to feel no repercussions the next morning, unlike Einar who was finally able to force it down after vomiting several times.
Niana had a dream that she bumped up next to someone while wandering in a forest. He asks who she is, and was surprised when she was being honest. He introduced himself as Edrakani, and he says that he values honesty, then wishes her well and says that they will meet again before departing.
Addrymir pulls Edra aside to see if he may know anything about the ring – he doesn’t believe that Nasan is being honest about the ring and its background. Edra can see that it’s a rather valuable ring that may have belonged to the original house of Rhuadar, and that it may have a bit of magic in it.
The first two days of travel went by rather peacefully as they made their way through both fortresses.
During the second night, Niana encounters the same presence again in her dreams, where he tells her that she is called the Forest Walker. He has heard that she kills orcs, and that makes him happy – where he goes, he kills orcs too. He asks where she is going, and hopes that someday the two of them will meet. May she always walk in peace.
The next day, Niana finds some warg tracks as she is scouting along the path, though nothing happened as they made camp for the night. As the sun starts to go down, heavy wet snow starts to pile onto the camp. Niana, on watch, notices that the weather has a strange feeling to it and announces that it may not be natural. Not long after, they see furry shapes moving towards them from a distance.
A pack of wolves charge at the camp, splitting off to attack different sections of it. The team was able to fend them off rather easily – even Addrok was laughing as he was tackled to the ground, wrestling with them. The only one who had difficulties was Edra, who was inside of his tent when the wolves jumped on top and trampled both him and poor Placro.
Once he was free from the wolves, Edra goes to file a complaint against Panta, since he said he was going to protect him. Panta apologies, saying that he was busy killing four of them, and due to the snowstorm he couldn’t really see. Edra tells them that this magic is is caused by their enemies, possibly the Witch King in the north. Alfirin was able to see some runes in the air to confirm that the snowstorm exists due to magical means.
The next morning, there were 10 inches of snowfall on the ground, though as they slowly moved forward, the snow starts to vanish and the whole caravan became more mobile. Even with the slow start, they were able to make it to the village by nightfall. Niana and Alfirin – the scouts that were ahead of the caravan – made it to the village first to hail the town, and found it unusual that there seemed to be little activity. There were no people on the walls defending the village, and very little smoke coming from the communal buildings.
Then they see hundreds of crows fly off into the sky, and Alfirin becomes worried. Niana also sees an archer wearing clothes and armor that she has never seen before, and the two of them take off to talk to the caravan. Niana describes the man, which Edra believes to be an Easterling.
The group goes to the stables by the village and find a bunch of dead Dunelings with their horses. Addrymir was able to determine that the arrows belong to both the Easterlings and the Dunelings, and they must have been in some sort of fight. The chieftain of the village was found without his arms in front of his quarters. The Dunelings that were traveling with them pale, saying that it means that there is no quarter.
The group take a look inside the longhouse. As Edra looks under the table, a sword comes out at him and barely misses. Edra greets him, and the young man says that he will defeat them all. As Edra and Alfirin talk to him, the young man calms down, apologizes and rests on the ground. They were able to see that he has an infection from a wound, and Niana goes to work patching him up quick. Along with Edra’s surprising knowledge, the two of them were able to cure the young man.
The young man, Bega, was able to tell the story of what happened – a group from the East came to their village and were greeted warmly, saying that they are trying to go through the mountain before winter. It didn’t take long before they turned though and attacked the village, leaving him the only survivor. Panta gives the young man a drink, and says that he always has a place in their caravan.
Bega also mentions that the Easterlings came from the castle up ahead. Niana sends a falcon ahead to Tirthon to see if the castle is unharmed. It didn’t take long for the falcon to come back, saying that it’s fine. Niana later hears a voice in her head, complaining that they had taken the fun out of it. They wonder what the group would have done without knowledge, then they say “off to the next phase”!
After some deliberation, the group charge on ahead to the castle through the night. The chilling wind was howling at them as they move towards the dawn. Addrok’s feet suffer so badly from the frostbite that he falls over, with Addrymir suffering as well. Niana forces the both of them on the wagon and tends to their feet to slow the frostbite.
Outside of the castle wall, the group stumbles onto an inn without a sign. They knock on the door and the man slides a hole open, checking it out. He was surprised that they are almost a day early, and they let him know what happened to the village. The man allows them into the inn, and they start to tend to Addrok’s injured feet more seriously. With concentration, Edra and Niana were able to save everything.
Alfirin goes to the fortress in the middle of the castle, announcing to the guard outside that the supplies are delivered. She also lets them know about the village west of there, which takes the guards back by surprise. A lieutenant comes down to meet her, introduces himself as Oswin. He tells her that the Easterlings never came through here, which contradicts Bega’s story. Oswin says that it’s troubling that there’s Easterlings in the area, and wonders if they may have to light the tower. Alfirin says they shouldn’t go that far, but the captain at least should know.
The captain says that nothing should be done at the moment except sending scouts out to survey the area. As they discuss their options, they look down at the surrounding land below and were able to see the trouble brewing at the inn….