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Year 2950: Those who Tarry no Longer


Vladim

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thammegil_ranger.webp

On hearing that the Lady Irimé was upstairs at the inn - although they seemed to think of her as Rodwen for some reason - Thammegil enquired of the innkeeper precisely as to which room that was before starting up the stairs just as a new group of revellers entered the premises.  Noting their arrival, he continued on up to the next floor.  As far as he was concerned, determining the Lady's whereabouts and safety was still paramount.

Nevertheless, he checked that his sword was free in its scabbard and unclipped his belt knife.  If it came to violence, his sword wouldn't be much use in these confines.

On finding the correct room, he paused outside the door before knocking.  "Excuse me.  Lady ... err  ... Rodwen?  Are you there?  It is important I speak with you."  He asked quietly through the door.

 

 

 

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spacer.png"Of course, kind sir. Listen." said the bard to Arton as he readied his harp and found a place to sit, and was soon joined by his two companions, though neither of them seemed a musician. They were observers only, much like the company. The man cast a quick glance as Thammegil departed, but said nothing and soon begun playing his solemn tune.

The words of the song spoke of Fram, son of Frumgar, lord of the Éothéod, and they focused greatly on his struggle with Scatha the long-worm. It was a tale that Arton had heard before, but the music and the words helped jog his memory, and suddenly, before even the song was finished, it all fell into place. These folk were the descendants of that great king, and the ancestors to many folk of Northmen stock: the Beornings and the Woodmen in the present day, but also of the horse-peoples that dwelled in the South. Their great nation had once stretched along these Vales, and they ruled from Framsburg, their capital in the north. The name of their current king, Heáfod, which had been mentioned by the old innkeeper, placed them about five centuries prior to the present day, in the waking world, where they had last seen Irimë.

When at last the bard came to the part about the dwarves, he spoke with bitterness of their greed, and of the slaying of noble Fram. Even though the tale was old, there was still hatred between these folk and those of Durin.

spacer.pngMeanwhile, Thammegil made his way upstairs, and was quickly able to find this so-called Rodwen. She was indeed an elf-maiden, much like the innkeeper had claimed, but in fact she seemed nothing like Irimë; her looks and garb were far more rustic, identifying her as one of Thranduil's folk. As the ranger drew nearer, the elf seemed not to notice him, though Thammegil could be certain that this was simply untrue-elves had keen ears, after all. But she was focused towards something at the distance, which she observed from her window.

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thammegil_ranger.webp

Thammegil took one step into the room, but advanced no further.  It seemed that this Rodwen was not Irimé, but perhaps she knew of her - after all, he'd not seen many elven folk around in the short time the company had been here - wherever here was.

He coughed and spoke again, "Ahem.  Excuse my intrusion lady.  I and my companions are searching for a lady we have been escorting who has become separated from our company.  We are seeking to find her and was led to believe you may have been her, but this is obviously not the case.  Before I leave you to your solitude, I must beseech thee - have you seen, or heard of any of your kin either here in the town, or passing through?"

He went on to briefly describe Irimé as best he could in the hope that the Elf maiden before him could provide at least something to point them in the right direction.

At the same time, he was conscious that something outside had the maiden's attention, and he strained to see past her shoulder at what she was looking at through the window.

 

 

 

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spacer.pngThe elf-woman listened without interruption, and as Thammegil approached, his eye caught that which she must have been watching. Out of the window, there was clear view of an open field outside the protective palisade of the town, and there many townsfolk were gathered. They were watching some competition of riders performing great feats of horsemanship along a wide, straight path that seemed cleared for that particular purpose. Presently, they seemed to be shooting at targets from horseback with small bows, something the ranger had never witnessed in the waking world, in the Wilderland of present day.

It was that same competition that seemed to have captured the attention of this Rodwen before Thammegil's arrival.

"I am alone here, for I was sent as an emissary from the Woodland Realm, to visit the town market." she said in response, but she seemed surprised at the rather detail description of Irimé. "The one you speak of I do not know well, but her name is Irimë, and she is of the noble and famed House of Gil-Galad, though she does not reside amongst my folk. I have seen her only twice, and that was a long time ago. How is it that you were escorting her, and to what purpose?"

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thammegil_ranger.webp

Thammegil was transfixed by the display of horsemanship in the field below.  Such feats of skill, he thought, never have I seen the like. Astounding.

Dimly, he became aware of the Elf speaking to him, asking him about the why's and where's about Irimë and their escort duties.  Unsure of why, but something within him urged caution.

"I and my companions met in the eaves of the forest to the East of the mountains," he said.  "We were there for another purpose entirely, to gather information and news of current tidings when we met the lady with her entourage.  They were pursued by a large contingent of Orcs, so we were tasked with escorting her Westwards.  More than that, I'm afraid I cannot divulge, because, in all honesty, I do not know much more myself.  However, since arriving here, the lady has become separated from us, and so it is important that we find her to ensure that she is not in any further danger."

 

 

 

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spacer.pngFor a moment, Rodwen kept her quiet, weighing the truthfulness of Thammegil's words and the quality of his character. But she seemed intrigued by such a tale, and nothing in the ranger's demeanor betrayed deception, and so it had to be true.

"Orcs in the eaves..." she said at length sternly, and continued: "...then perhaps there is truth in those rumors and grim tidings of late..."

The elfspacer.png continued to speak, but though she did, something strange happened at that moment. Her words begun to fade, and though Thammegil could see her lips move, the sound could not reach his ears; then his vision too begun to fail him, and the scene changed. For a while he was taken bag to the pass where he had taken Irimë, and saw the rest of his sleeping companions, and the elf-lady standing amongst them, struggling against something unseen, but cold and dreadful.

It only lasted for a moment though, and within the blink of an eye, Thammegil was returned to the inn, standing before Rodwen as if nothing had happened.

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  • 2 weeks later...

thammegil_ranger.webpShaking his head to clear it, Thammegil paused for a moment, unsure of what he'd just witnessed.  If he needed any further proof, here it was that this was not where the group had lain to rest earlier, and the momentary image of the lady Irimé set his pulse racing.  She seemed in obvious danger yet, there seemed to him that there was no obvious way to reach her and protect her.

Torn between running to tell his companions of what he'd just witnessed, and continuing the conversation with this Rodwen, he stood, poised on the brink of flight.

Taking a deep breath, he elected to stay a little while longer and recant the piece of the conversation he'd just missed.

"I'm sorry," he began, "could you please say that once more?  I ... I must have been momentarily distracted, and missed what you said just after truth of the rumours.  What rumours and grim tidings are these to which you refer?"

 

 

 

 

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spacer.pngRodwen could see that something strange had happened to the ranger; she looked on with puzzlement and fascination in equal measure, but did not speak of it or ask prying questions. Instead, she was courteous in this, and she patiently repeated her tale.

"Many travelers have brought word of a darkness in Mirkwood. The shadow never truly departed our forest, and I do not know if the present trouble is but a passing spell, or if some power has once again inhabited Dol Guldur. Woodmen say smoke and foulness is issuing from the Hill of Sorcery, but I have not seen it. The Alderman of this town went on a journey south to investigate the rumors and see for himself if there's any truth to the tales. But that was two months ago, and he has not returned yet."

 

OOC

As per Discord, we're down to the rangers and their players: @thesloth and @Suzuki Stumpy. I'll wait for a post from either of you before pushing the plot forward!

 

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Arton of Gram

Arton frowned when Thammegil did not return with Irime from the upper floor. He did not like being in a town that he was certain no longer existed. He walked up the stairs to check on his fellow Ranger.

"Thammegil, have you found the lady Irime?"

 

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thammegil_ranger.webp"No, this is the Lady Rodwen" he responded, indicating the lady in the room, "this, my Lady, is my companion and brother in arms, Arton" he added, addressing Rodwen.  The introductions complete, he turned to Arton, and added, "There is much of which we should speak, but in private," adding, "no disrespect meant, my lady, but some subjects are sensitive."

He continued to bring Arton up to speed on what Rodwen had told him about the rumours of darkness in Mirkwood and the missing Alderman of the village, but not yet mentioning his experience of seeing Irimé struggling in the moment he flicked out of what he was now convinced was some sort of sorcerous dream - that was the subject for later, when the company were alone.

 

 

 

 

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Arton of Gram

Arton listened with concern.

"I am Arton of Gram, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Are you of Thranduil's people?

Thammegil, I cannot believe we have arrived here by accident. this place echoes our own troubles too closely. Something has guided us. I do not believe that power has our best interests at heart.

Lady Rodwen, is there any means by which you might sense or otherwise help us locate our missing companion?"

 

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spacer.png"I am indeed." replied Rodwen, confirming for Arton that she hailed from the Woodland Realm; an emissary of Thranduil, just as she had told to Thammegil before his companion's arrival. She then continued, explaining that she was, to the best of her knowledge, the only elf in town, and that Irimë was an ancient elf of a great lineage, but that she did not dwell amongst Thranduil's folk, and that she barely knew her.

spacer.pngWhile she explained, a commotion begun to grow outside, visible from the window overlooking the field of competition. At first it did not seem like anything extraordinary; perhaps another planned event, or a great feat expertly demonstrated, causing lots of excitement. But soon enough, Haleth barged in with new and exciting tidings. 

"The Alderman has returned! At last he has come back! A joyous day! Come with me, and see the golden wagon, and the brave riders!"

It was too crowded in the main square, and so he urged them to the roof of the inn, from where they could get an excellent view of the Alderman and his retinue.

 

OOC

If you go to the roof, give me an Awareness check with your post.

 

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Arton of Gram

Arton peered out the window momentarily before taking the lad's advice to use the roof. A thought occurred to him as he followed the lad.

"Thammegil, do you remember any tales of a great leader known as the Alderman? Mormegil the black blade I can recall. And others. But this title eludes me."

 

Name
Awareness check from roof. Second check is Lore to check for this "Alderman"
[4] (4,4) = 12; [10] (6,1) = 17
tor(2,no);tor(2,no) [4,4,4]; [4,4,4,10,6,1]
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thammegil_ranger.webpAs he followed Arton and the boy towards the roof, Thammegil responded to the question levied at him, "No.  There's naught I can recall from any tales I'm familiar with.  I had just assumed that the Alderman was the title for the head man of this town, but now you mention it, it could also be an honorific of some sort."

He continued his climb up the stairs before emerging through the door to the roof, blinking in the sudden sunlight.

 

 

 

 

Name
Awareness Check
[6] (3,5) = 14
tor(2,no) 6,3,5
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Following Haleth, the two rangers walked swiftly towards the roof, using a flight of stairs not far from the guest room that Rodwen was renting. They were followed by the elf, who seemed as curious as them, and soon enough even Geb and old Aldor joined them. In the end, there were eight gathered on the roof: all of the company, as well as the other four from Haycombe.

The roof afforded them a panoramic view of the entire town, and they could easily see the great caravan slowly approach through the same road and gate they had entered the town. At the head of the long procession was the Alderman's splendid golden wagon, drawn by two pairs of fine white horses. Behind it followed a company of soldiers, and following those were more yet, clad in red armor. 

Slowly the procession drew closer, heading towards the market square, and affording Arton time to remember. It was true that the title of Alderman was strange in the towns and communities of Wilderland, and that was why he was so unfamiliar with it. But had it always been so? As he wracked his mind trying to recall his old lore, he thought that he had seen or heard the term before; perhaps in a book, or from an elf with hundreds of years' worth of memory. This title must have been common once; centuries ago. It must have fallen out of favor when the horse-folk migrated southwards, replaced by the now commoner, but roughly equivalent title of Thane.

While Arton thought of all of this, Thammegil watched the caravan. It was now very near the market square, and something about it stirred within him a growing sense of impending doom. The men in the red armor were strange; he had never seen any like them. Perhaps they too belonged in this strange time and place? But none of the locals seemed to recognize them either.

Regardless, the procession had now reached the middle of the market, where it stopped. Out of the wagon emerged a tall and richly clad man, armed and armoured. He stood and raised both hands high, and spoke with a mighty voice. "People of Haycombe! People of the North!" he announced to the cheering crowds. "Your true lord has returned at long last!"

And then, out of nowhere, without warning or explanation, the killing begun, and the masses were soon seized by terror and fell by the dozens.

 

OOC

Okay, so the adventure here (as written) does something I don't like: it gives the PCs two fights, first against the guards in the caravan (that turn out to have been made undead) and then the red-clad warriors (easterlings) but ultimately makes this fight unwinnable. Eventually, everyone is captured and taken to Dol Guldur, and this is essential to the advancement of the plot.

I am good to stick with this, but since the outcome is predetermined, I don't want to play out all the fights round-by-round and in detail. Instead, give me a rough outline of your strategy first (the adventure assumes that the most apparent option is to fortify the inn and try to defend it). Then, give me some kind of roll for the first wave-a weapon, or a skill like Battle or anything appropriate. If you fail, I can let you instead succeed at a cost (e.g. becoming Weary). We will handle the second wave later, in a similar way.

Good luck! And if you don't like this railroaded premise, I can consider some alternatives, but let me know (this particular adventure is firmly on rails so we'd have to change much, but maybe it's doable).

 

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