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  1. #1

    The March of Durin’s Folk – A Crickhollow RP Kinship Event

    It is said that in the Elder Days of the First Age after the ruin of Beleriand and the fall of Fingolfin, the eldest son of Finwë and the High King of the Noldor in Beleriand, Maedhros, a prince of the Noldor, the eldest of the Sons of Fëanor and head of the House of Fëanor, beheld a sight within his heart. For he perceived that Morgoth, though not yet defeated and still strong beyond measure, was not unassailable. Yet he also he saw great peril in that Morgoth would utterly destroy them all, one by one, should the Free Peoples could not untie once more.
    And so Maedhros set to forge anew the bonds of alliance and began to counsel for the Union of Maedhros to unite the Elves, Dwarves and Men against the Enemy once more. Yet, the Oath of Fëanor did much to falter this path. Orodreth, the son of Angrod and nephew of Finrod Felagund, would not march forth at the word of any son of Fëanor, because of the evil deeds of Celegorm and Curufin. Even the Elves of Nargothrond refused such an alliance, trusting more to defend their hidden stronghold by secrecy and stealth.

    But to this alliance came the help of the Naugrim, the Dwarves, both in armed force and in great smithing and crafting, for the forges of Nogrod and Belegost in the lofty peaks o Ered Luin were busy in those fell days. Too came the Men of Bór and Ulfang who were marshaled and trained for war and summoned yet more of their kinfolk from out of the east.

    And even Fingon, eldest son of Fingolfin and older brother to Turgon, took council in Himring and in Hithlum, and also prepared for war. In the forests of Brethil, Halmir, lord of the mannish People of Haleth, gathered his men. But Halmir passed ere the war came, and his son, Haldir, took the reins of preparation. So too did the House of Hador, the third House of the Edain, prepared for war.

    But Maedhros set about his task ere his plans were fully wrought, for though the Orcs had been driven out of all the northward regions of Beleriand and even Dorthonion was freed for a time, Morgoth was soon warned of his plans.

    Maedhros, having gathered all the strength that could be of Elves and Men and Dwarves, resolved to assault Angband and counseled to marsh henceforth with banners displayed in open force over Anfauglith , the charred deserts of north of Beleriand. Thus Maedhros did hope to draw froth the armies of Morgoth even as the forces of Fingon issued froth from the passes of Hithlum so that the two forces would all upon the might of the Enemy like hammer and anvil.

    So, on the appointed day, on the morning of Midsummer, the trumpets of the Eldar greeting the rising of the sun. In the east there were raised the standard of the sons of Fëanor, and in the west the standard of Fingon, High King of the Noldor. Fingon looked out from the walls of Eithel Sirion, where his host was arrayed in the valleys and the woods upon the east of Ered Wethrin, well hid from the eyes of the Enemy. For there all the Noldor of Hithlum were assembled, together with Elves of the Falas and Gwindor's company from Nargothrond, and he had great strength of Men: upon the right were the host of Dor-lómin and all the valour of Húrin and Huor his brother, and to them had come Haldir of Brethil with many men of the woods.

    It was then now that a cry went up, passing up the wind from the south, and Elves and Men lifted up their voices in wonder and joy. Unsummoned and unlooked for came Turgon with an army of ten thousand strong. When Fingon heard from afar the great trumpet of his brother, he shouted aloud:

    'Utúlie'n aurë! Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatári, utúlie'n aurë! The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!'

    And so on the fourth day of the war, in the Plain of Anfauglith, there began Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Unnumbered Tears, named so for no song or tale can contain all its grief. Here Morgoth unleashed his main force held in waiting from Thangorodrim. The host of Fingon was driven back and Haldir, lord of the Haladin, was slain and with him fell much of the men of Brethil.

    Yet the might of Morgoth did not end there for on the fifth day, as night fell, Orcs surrounded the hosts of Hithlum. There they fought until at last morning dawned and the horns of Turgon sounded as the main host of Gondolin marched from the Pass of Sirion. The guard of the King broke upon the ranks of the Orcs and Turgon hewed his way to the side of his brother. Hope was renewed in their hearts even as the forces of Maedhros were heard coming up from the east and the banners of the sons of Fëanor assailed the enemy in the rear.

    It has been said that the Eldar would have won the day, for the Orcs wavered and their onslaught stayed and some had already turned to flight. But it was then that Morgoth loosed his last strength and Angband was emptied. There came wolves and wolfriders, and on came Balrogs and dragons and Glaurung, father of the dragons. So great was the terror of the Great Worm that the Free Peoples withered and fled before him even as Glaurung came between the hosts of Maedhros and Fingon and swept them apart.

    But it was not this onslaught that brought victory to Morgoth but treachery, for it was in this hour the plots of Ulfang was revealed. The Sons of Ulfang turned upon their friends and allies and drove into the rear of the sons of Fëanor. Yet even this fell deed did not come at a price for Maglor slew Uldor, the leader in treason, and the sons of Bór slew Ulfast and Ulwarth ere they themselves were slain.

    New strength of evil Men came up that Uldor had summoned and kept hidden in the eastern hills, and the host of Maedhros was assailed now on three sides, and it broke, and was scattered, and fled this way and that.

    Amidst this stood the Dwarves of Belegost, the last of all to remain firm. Glaurung and his brood would surely have withered the last of the Noldor but the Dwarves drew a tight circle about the great Worm even as he fell upon them. Not even his mighty scaled proved defense against the blows of their axes. When Glaurung turned and struck down Azaghâl, Lord of Belegost, and crawled over him, with his last stroke Azaghâl drove a knife into his belly, and so wounded him that he fled the field, and the beasts of Angband in dismay followed after him.

    Then the Dwarves raised up the body of Azaghâl and bore it away; and with slow steps they walked behind singing a dirge in deep voices, as it were a funeral pomp in their country, and gave no heed more to their foes; and none dared to stay them.

    There was more to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, but there the deeds of the Dwarves came to an end. With great sorrow they returned to Ered Luin and thus ended their war with Morgoth. Yet, the Dwarves of Ered Luin did not escape Morgoth's Evil. Some succumbed to malice and greed. Of these, the worst hailed from Nogrod, Dwarven warriors and smiths who spawned much of the everlasting ire between the Sindar and the Naugrim.

    Because of their absolute mastery of steel, stone, and gem-craft, the smiths of Nogrod produced occasional works for the Elven Lords. The necklace Nauglamir was the greatest such creation, and was held by a succession of Noldor Elf-kings. During the late First Age, however, it passed to King Thingol of the Sindar.

    Thingol possessed one of the three almighty Silmarils — one that had been recovered from Morgoth—and he wanted the Jewel set in the necklace. Thus, he commissioned some of Nogrod's craftsmen, hoping they could amend their own grand design, for in those days, some of these smiths worked and resided in separate quarters within Thingol's mansion at Menegroth. Coveting the high Jewel, the Dwarves murdered Thingol and stole the prize. They were pursued, and all but two were killed. The avenging Sindar reclaimed the Silmaril and bore it back to Menegroth.

    Those Dwarves that escaped went home to Nogrod and told their kinsmen that their companions had been put to death at Thingol's orders. Without knowledge of the truth and against the cautioning pleas of the Dwarves of Belegost, the host of Nogrod armed themselves and marched on Menegroth. They sacked the Elven hold and captured the Silmaril.

    Nogrod's Dwarves quickly turned homeward, but word of their deeds passed more swiftly, and an army of Elves, Men, and Ents fell upon them at the ford called Sarn Athrad. The Dwarven axes were no match for their pursuers' wrathful vengeance, and the Naugrim were slaughtered. In the end, the Lord of Nogrod lay dead and the cursed Silmaril was cast into the River Ascar, An uneasy peace prevailed but, from this time on, the Dwarves and the Sindar have always been at odds.

    Years later, Morgoth was overthrown by the Host of the Valar and northwestern Middle-earth was wrecked. Disaster befell its peoples as the cataclysmic Great Battle claimed much of the land. Most of Beleriand sank into the sea; quakes and fire destroyed Nogrod and Belegost. The surviving Dwarves fled westward into Eriador and began to wander until they at last joined Durin’s Folk in Khazad-dûm.

    Yet Ered Luin did not remain empty of Dwarves for following the Battle of Azanulbizar in the Third Age, When Moria was abandoned and Durin’s Folk were destroyed or fled far away, Thráin II made a decision:

    “So it was that after Azanulbizar the Dwarves dispersed again. But first with great labour they stripped all their dead, so that Orcs should not come and win there a store of weapons and mail. It is said that every Dwarf that went from that battlefield was bowed under a heavy burden. Then they built many pyres and burned all the bodies of their kin. There was a great felling of trees in the valley, which remained bare ever after, and the reek of the burning was seen in Lórien.

    When the dreadful fires were in ashes the allies went away to their own countries, and Dáin Ironfoot led his father's people back to the Iron Hills. Then standing by the great stake, Thráin said to Thorin Oakenshield: 'Some would think this head dearly bought! At least we have given our kingdom for it. Will you come with me back to the anvil? Or will you beg your bread at proud doors?'

    'To the anvil,' answered Thorin. 'The hammer will at least keep the arms strong, until they can wield sharper tools again.'

    So Thráin and Thorin with what remained of their following (among whom were Balin and Glóin) returned to Dunland, and soon afterwards they removed and wandered in Eriador, until at last they made a home in exile in the east of the Ered Luin beyond the Lune. Of iron were most of the things that they forged in those days, but they prospered after a fashion, and their numbers slowly increased. But, as Thrór had said, the Ring needed gold to breed gold, and of that or any other precious metal they had little or none.”
    --- The Return of the Kings Appendices

    Long did the Dwarves delve there in exile, having routed the dreaded and treacherous Dourhands from the mountains. And yet the Dourhands were not wholly destroyed and maintained a stronghold upon the port of Kheledûl and several small encampments among the Blue Mountains and elsewhere.

    In Sarnúr, in the Vale of Thráin, the Dourhands mustered their greatest force and with their Goblin and Orc allies, resolved to begin a final assault upon the Dwarves of Thorin’s Hall and the Elves of Duillond. But more concerning was the discovery that deep under Sarnúr lies Brúllug, a descendant of Glaurung, the Great Worm, slayer of King Azaghâl…

    This kinship event is designed with two parts: an RP side which begins immediately and a quest campaign which is scheduled to begin October 29th, 2012.

    The RP portion of the event involves the kinship, Durin’s Folk as we seek to gather as many dwarves to muster our strength for the war at hand. This will play out from October 22nd to October 28th - during this time, we shall seek to add to our kinship ranks more of our brethren from those players who possess existing Dwarven character or those who wish to create a new one.

    The quest campaign will be divided into four “chapters”. Durin’s Folk has been formed into several military companies, each under the leadership of a kinship Seneschal (kinship officer) who will take the title of General. The roster of each company has been designed to keep all members of each company roughly the same level. At the beginning of the quest campaign there will be four companies in all, with additional ones added if need be later.

    As the event progresses, we as a kinship will certainly look for the aid of other Free Peoples who desire to join us – however, non-kinship members will be restricted to specific quest campaigns.

    Event 1 – The Mustering
    This chapter represents the RP portion of the campaign as Durin’s Folk calls to our kinsmen to muster to begin preparation for the task at hand. During this time, we will seek to increase our kinship roster with other dwarves that currently do not belong to another kinship.

    Lord Nuri will also set out to seek council with other kinships and with non-dwarvish players who would seek to lend aid to our endeavor.

    This chapter will begin October 22nd to November 4th.

    Event 2 – The Rise of the Dwarves

    ‘Even as the dwarves of Ered Luin conclude their long weeks of preparation, words reaches the ears of Lord Nuri at Thori’s Hall:

    The Dourhands have forged an alliance with the Blue Crag goblins and have laid siege to Gondamon for nearly two weeks. The final assault will be launched soon. At once Nuri draws together his forces and marches straight for Gondamon, hoping against hope that it is not too late…”

    This event will be a kinship event only and cannot include non-kinsmen during the battle. Durin’s Folk will march from Thorin’s Hall to Gondamon to participate in a 12-member skirmish of The Siege of Gondamon.

    The rules for this chapter are quite simple. On Monday, November 5th, the kinship will gather at Gondamon in Ered Luin to successfully complete the skirmish. If the skirmish is won, then Gondamon is retaken from the foul goblins and Dourhands, and the campaign can continue onto Event 3 – First Moves. Kinsmen who fall in battle during the skirmish are considered wounded and cannot continue during the skirmish for that attempt.

    However, should we falter in battle (and the skirmish is lost), then Gondamon remains besieged. We must then schedule another date to attempt to retake the fortress.

    Event 3 – First Moves
    Once Gondamon is successfully, but before Durin’s Folk can prepare to move against the hordes of the Enemy, proper bases must be established and relations with others of the Free Peoples must be sought. In addition, weapons and supplies must be gathered for the coming war. To accomplish this task, the kinship must seek out ore and supplies that may craft Ancient Dwarf-make damage as well as other weapons and armour for the battles ahead.

    These events must be completed before moving onto Event 4 – To War!

    Falathlorn, Ered Luin: A base camp must be established in Falathlorn in Ered Luin for two reasons – first, to begin watch of the goblins of Rath Teraig and the Dourhands of Kheledûl. Second, to establish good relations with the Elves of Falathlorn.

    This chapter will involve General Rulf and his company and will begin as soon as the battle for Gondamon is complete. The camp may be established anywhere in Falathlorn, within either Rath Teraig or Kheledûl.

    The chapter is completed if the company can survive an entire night cycle at the base camp. Kinsmen who fall in battle during the night are considered wounded and cannot continue at the camp for that attempt. This event will begin at the Evening night cycle and end at the start of the Dawn day cycle.

    If all kinsmen of the company fall during the night, the camp has failed to be held and another attempt may be made the following day.

    Players not belonging to the kinship, Durin’s Folk may participate in this event. We ask that only those players no higher than 15th level join in this portion of the event. Those players who are interested should contact with Lord Nuri or General Rulf for details.

    Supplies and Armaments: Generals Basalt, Hergof, Steinnrand and Rurir and their companies must seek out and mine any ore that may craft armaments and especially weapons that cause Ancient Dwarf-make damage. This event will begin when the battle for Gondamon is complete. The gathering of the ore may take place in any region.

    Each kinsman of the companies must collect 10 chunks of ore specific to the crafting needs mentioned above. The ore must be mined by kinsmen of Durin’s Folk (ie. not purchased or ore that they previously had before the start of this chapter).

    Players not belonging to the kinship, Durin’s Folk, may participate in this event. Any level of players is welcome to assist in this event. Those players who are interested should contact with Lord Nuri or General Basalt, Hergof, Steinnrand or Rurir for details.

    Event 4 – To War
    Once Durin’s Folk has mustered its kinsmen in full and the initial scouting has been accomplished, the first step shall be taken at the outbreak of war. Durin’s Folk must now ensure to crush the goblins at Orodost to pave the way for an advance into Sarnúr.

    This chapter will begin when Event 3 – First Moves is completed. The chapter will be played in order of the events detailed below.

    The Assault Upon Orodost: The first move of the war will be to crush the goblins of Orodost that leads to Sarnúr. After that, the first attacks into Sarnúr proper may begin. General Rulf will lead his company on an attack into Orodost. Specifically, the company must attack Orodost and slay the signature goblin leaders, Parzot and Vokvras as well as holding the ancient fortress for the span of four day or night cycles. Kinsmen who fall in battle during the attack are considered wounded and cannot continue at the battle for that attempt.

    The event is completed if the company can survive the four day or night cycles and slay the two goblin leaders during that time. If all kinsmen of the company fall during the attempt, the attack has failed and another attempt may be made the following day.

    Reclaiming Sarnúr: Once Orodost is secured, the Dwarves will descend into the ancient halls of Sarnúr and begin the terrible task of battling their way to the very depths. This task will require the following tasks in order:

    1. Capture the Entrance to Sarnúr Great Hall: Lord Nuri, along with General Rurir and his company will strike into the Great Hall at the Vale Entrance and attempt to secure the first chamber just to the right of the entrance.

    The event is completed if the company can survive four day or night cycles there at the entrance. Kinsmen who fall in battle during the battle are considered wounded and cannot continue at the battle for that attempt.
    If all kinsmen of the company fall during the attempt, the attack has failed and another attempt may be made the following day.

    2. To Sarnúr Keep: Once the entrance to the halls is secured, Generals Basalt and Hergof will lead their companies together to seek passage from the Vale Entrance to Sarnúr Keep. Once there, they will seek out the Dourhand leader, Glúmir and slay him.

    Kinsmen who fall in battle during the event are considered wounded and cannot continue at the battle for that attempt. The event is completed if Glúmir is found and slain. If all kinsmen of the companies fall during the attempt, the attack has failed and another attempt may be made the following day.

    3. Into the Depths: When Glúmir is slain, the final steps can be attempted to reach the Sarnúr Caverns far below the Great Hall. Generals Steinnrand and Hergof will lead their companies together to seek passage from the Vale Entrance to the Troll Cave that leads to the caverns below.

    The event is completed if the companies can survive four day or night cycles there. Kinsmen who fall in battle during the attempt are considered wounded and cannot continue at the battle for that attempt. If all kinsmen of the company fall during the attempt, the attack has failed and another attempt may be made the following day.

    4. The Enemy at Last: Should passage to the Caverns be established the last part of the campaign may begin: to hunt down and defeat the great drake, Brúllug.

    The final battle will begin just at the entrance to the Caverns. Lord Nuri will lead the entire kinship into the cavern in search of the foul drake.

    This final event is completed should Brúllug be slain. Kinsmen who fall in battle during the attempt are considered wounded and cannot continue at the battle for that attempt. If all kinsmen fall during the attempt, the attack has failed and another attempt may be made the following day.
    Last edited by Brucha; Oct 19 2012 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
    This is a never-before-seen-event!!!

    Thank you Brucha, or should I say Lor Nuri for coming up with such a fantastic idea and putting so much work and time into this.
    I can't wait for this to be well underway and lead a little army into the depths of Sarnur!
    Beware Dourhands for the Longbeards of Durin' Folk and their allies march towards you armed to the teeth!

    Baruk-Khazad! Khazad ai-menu!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by KratosX View Post
    This is a never-before-seen-event!!!

    Thank you Brucha, or should I say Lor Nuri for coming up with such a fantastic idea and putting so much work and time into this.
    I can't wait for this to be well underway and lead a little army into the depths of Sarnur!
    Beware Dourhands for the Longbeards of Durin' Folk and their allies march towards you armed to the teeth!

    Baruk-Khazad! Khazad ai-menu!
    Thank you KratosX! I may have overlooked the effect of the new expansion of RoR on the server when I decided to announce the event. It seems that many players (even the kin of Durin's Folk) are exploring the new region, which is of course very understandable. However, that makes kicking off the event rather difficult.

    Therefore, I may have to delay the event for another week - the new plan is to continue with the opening RP event (Event 1 – The Mustering) but extend it through to November 4th. This would mean moving the start date for Event 2 – The Rise of the Dwarves to November 5th.

    I should know more by this coming Friday, but for now I will keep this new change as tentative. By Friday at the latest I will certainly post a full update of whether or not the dates for need to be changed.


  4. #4
    As I mentioned in the above post, I decided upon a tentative change of date for the event. That has been finalized.

    Event 1 - The Mustering has begun and will run until November 4th. This is purely an RP portion of the event.

    Event 2 – The Rise of the Dwarves has been moved to begin on November 5th, which kicks off the combat portion of the event in full, starting with a kin-wide battle using the skrimish, The Siege of Gondamon.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Seems like an amazing and well planned out event. Please announce it on /GLFF if you can do it, even if it is OOC. I'm on GMT time so i cant compromise to the event, but will witness it if i'm online.
    Razor // Lusitanius // Crickhollow ~ Portuguese Kinship //

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Galahadur View Post
    Seems like an amazing and well planned out event. Please announce it on /GLFF if you can do it, even if it is OOC. I'm on GMT time so i cant compromise to the event, but will witness it if i'm online.
    Thank you ever so much Galahadur for the kind words and encouragement! Certainly feel free to tell all role players on our server about the event, and perhaps you may also find the time to join us!

  7. #7

    Event 1 – The Mustering Write-up

    It was perhaps late morning as a somber company of dwarves made their way through the wilds of Haudh Lin in the Blue Mountains. Nearly a dozen of their number there was, and there was little laughter or song or sound as they marched on.

    The journey had been long from the lofty heights of Thorin’s Hall far to the west. The company had set out even as the night passed silently by and there had been no moon to guide them. But this did not displease the dwarves who enjoyed the dark and the quiet. As the lands fell away from the dwarven halls, the company made their way along the Great East Road until they had at last came to Haudh Lin. There the dwarves turned aside the road and struck a pathless direction to the north for some time.

    The light of the clear and cold day was glowing all about the forest as the company made their way north. The dwarves spoke not a word as they trudged on, and little could be heard save for the sound of their heavy boots over the snow-strewn ground. Their faces were grim and silent as if awaiting a solemn task ahead.

    Cloaks and hoods each wore, for the air was cold and snow was all about. Yet under the cloaks the dwarves wore openly shirts and hauberks of mail, as if they were marching to war. Beneath their hoods were worn iron-shod caps and on their wide belt were hung axes and hammers and swords.

    The dwarves soon struck along a much faded path paved with broken white stones that led further on though the trees. A short distance beyond there could now be glimpsed a round structure of white stone, crumbling and left to ruin amidst a ring of ash trees. Much to the dwarves’ surprise, from the ruins came a chorus of voices, like mingled song and laughter, and clear voices rose into the snowy air.

    The dwarves climbed the short steps leading into the ruins in a solemn process. There stood a small party of Elves, their hair and brows gleaming like living stars. Very tall they were, each grave and beautiful but silent as they watched the dwarves march in. Nearer the center of the ring of the Elves stood a tall Elf, her face more fair and noble than the rest, dark-haired and grey-eyed. Her bright eyes sparkled as she watched the dwarves muster inside the crumbling hall.

    As the dwarves gathered on the far side of the hall together, the tall Elf stepped forward and spoke in a clear shimmering voice. ‘Which of you is Núri?’ she said aloud and glanced at each dwarf in turn.

    A trumpeter stood forth and blew a blast as one of the dwarves stepped forward, richly dressed befitting one of importance. His beard was grey and very long, and fell down his chest and wide belt. The dwarf held his hands in sign of peace then hailed the Elves in a loud voice. ‘Hail and well met. I am Núri, son of Brodli,’ he said as he bowed low before the party to Elves. ‘And these are some of my kinsmen from our halls in the west,’ he added, turning his gaze towards his companions.

    The other dwarves filed behind Núri. One of them, an equally-dressed dwarf, stood beside him, a scowl drawn upon his face and he crossed his arms over his chest and beard. Another, a youthful dwarf with a short brown beard, eyed the party of Elves with some suspicion but said nothing. A third gazed at the Elves slowly, looking thoughtfully at each in turn.

    For their part, the Elves stood mute and silent, and only one spoke for some time. ‘I remember this pace when it was young,’ said the Elf softly as he gazed about the ruined hall. He then turned his keen gaze down upon the company of dwarves, looking at each to study their faces. Another Elf beside the first glanced about, seemingly ill at ease. The tall Elf maiden’s eyes twinkled as she bowed low before Núri but said nothing.

    ‘Are you the one I sought this meeting with?’ said Núri aloud after an uncomfortable silence.

    The lf maiden smiled and bowed slightly, her fair hair glimmering in the dim light of the hall. ‘I am Lossenelenwen. Here is Istoril of the Golden Wood, and Barabin, Eonan, Ithildir,’ she answered in a clear ringing voice. The others bowed before the dwarf as Lossenelenwen’s eyes passed over the company of dwarves slowly then returned to Núri. The dwarf bowed in return very low.

    The scowling dwarf beside Núri grumbled softly, glaring at the Elves but did not speak. He did not bow in kind to the Elves and his scowl turned to a deep stern gaze, as if watching the Elves carefully. ‘They have fine bows,’ said one of the dwarves, who himself bore a bow across his back.

    The first dwarf turned to glare at the second. ‘Why don’t you start singing to tree’s and picking flowers…be quiet beardling!’ he said harshly. The other dwarf returned the scowl but fell silent.

    Núri turned his head with a stern look of his own at his companions, then back to the Elves. At length he spoke again. ‘I have come here your council, Lossenelenwen, for my heart has grown troubled of late. Would you hear of what I must speak of?’

    The Elf gazed down at Núri for some time before speaking. ‘I will hear what you have to say,’ she said slowly and with careful words. ‘Words only can I promise, and any deals will be made in the light of day-if they are necessary. But we have come, and should you speak well our time is not spent in vain.'

    Núri nodded grimly but fairly at this, for these were fair words and true, if proudly and grimly spoken. Yet his companion beside him grumbled ever more so at this, very much disliking the words of the Elf. The Elf, Istoril, gazed down at the dwarf and chuckled softly, a slight smile growing upon his fair face.

    ‘Many a tale has plagued my waking each day for some time,’ answered Núri solemnly in return. ‘Stories have come to me of evil things stirring in the land. The Dark Tower has been rebuilt, or so some say, and its power is spreading. Orcs are once more multiplying and there are unsettling hints of some nameless and terrible terror abroad.'

    The dwarf paused as if to allow the listeners to ponder his words before continuing. 'Of these portents no doubt you are aware, yet I fear that this is only the beginning of such news.'

    ‘This we have heard, and seen, and even felt at the end of knife and bow,’ said Lossenelenwen softly.

    Núri nodded slightly, and then continued in a deep low voice. ‘Long have my people dwelled here in exile, scattering the foul Dourhands that had held sway over Ered Luin since the fall of Belegost and Nogrod. Yet they were not wholly destroyed and even now they maintain a stronghold in Kheledûl to the east.'

    A dwarf just behind Núri, Hergof was his name, nodded at his words as a look of disgust spread across his worn and bearded face. The others remained silent.

    'Goblins too have come here in great numbers,’ added Núri quietly as if the mere words were painful to utter. ‘They have overrun Rath Teriag and have taken it for their own. But in Sarnúr, the enemy has mustered their greatest strength. With the aid of their foul goblin allies, they seek to drive all from these lands, dwarf and Elf alike.'

    Núri paused once more to gaze slowly at each of the Elves. ‘Dourhands?’ said Lossenelenwen softly, her eyes turned down as if in thought. ‘The word is rough upon your lips and I do not know its meaning. Am I right in calling it a civil war amongst your own? The goblins I had known of, but not that they had allies.'

    ‘Civil war?’ answered Núri with a scowl. ‘Nay, Durhands are not of my folk but an enemy of your people and mine.’ The dwarf beside him, Steinnrand, murmured under his breath. ‘Traitorous wretches!’

    Ithildir strode forward and spoke. ‘Hiril, if I may? Like the Elves, Dwarves have different... Houses for lack of a better word. Yet I did not know of strife between these factions.'

    'I have heard of these Douhands, but only in merchants' tales,’ replied Istoril. ‘Told in Mithlond, where I spent my youth.'

    Lossenelenwen glanced at both to Istoril and Ithildir. ‘I see,’ said Lossenelenwen gravely. ‘Are you all here of the same House then?’ she said turning back to Núri.

    Núri looked long at the Elf before he spoke. ‘Your companion is correct, though few of my people wish to speak of it,’ he said grimly. ‘They are sundered from us; nevertheless, they remain a dangerous enemy to us all.’

    Steinnrand looked at Núri, his voice harsh and low. ‘They are not of our making…they can hardly call themselves Dwarves.’

    ‘All of us are Longbeards, Elf,’ said another dwarf stepping forward. ‘Sons of Durin.’

    ‘Indeed Master Lossenelenwen,’ added Núri as he gazed over to Rurir who just spoke. ‘We are Durin’s Folk, though our halls of old were lost and our people scattered.’

    The Elf gazed long and silent at Núri then nodded. ‘Very well. As you were saying.’

    But Istoril spoke anew. ‘If tales tell true, they are a band of shorn-beards, more akin to goblins in their dealings with outsiders.'

    Núri turned his gaze at Istoril, a fire in his eyes. ‘You speak truth,’ he said slowly. ‘They are little more than goblins now. But they are more dangerous than any goblin and wish harm which one cannot turn aside rashly or quickly.’

    ‘I hope they fight like goblins and not Dwarves,’ added Ithildir. ‘Even Elven-folk have heard of doughty warriors among your people.’ Lossenelenwen smiled at the words of her companion but keep her gaze unmoved upon Núri.

    ‘They fight like the little rats that they are!’ blurted out Hergof matter-of-factly in a loud voice. Steinnrand turned round with a start. ‘Hush beardling!’ he hissed. ‘Let Núri speak his story…so that these…Elves might understand!’ Hergof nodded with a smile and fell silent.

    Núri called for silence among his kinsmen then turned back to Lossenelenwen. ‘To match these enemies will require more than my kinsmen can muster. May I relate a story to you?’

    'Tell your tale,’ answered Lossenelenwen carefully. ‘But do so while we still have day, if it be a dark one as I suspect.'

    Núri nodded then cleared his throat. ‘Far below Silvetine in Eregion stands the Doors of Durin,’ he said slowly as he gazed out from the hall as if to view something very far away and remote. ‘It was built there in the days before the dominion of Sauron when the friendship of our two peoples still endured. It was Celebrimbor and Narvi that set those doors as a symbol of that friendship and we knew peace for a time. Yet those bonds were long ago sundered and are no more.'

    ‘I know of this tale,’ murmured Lossenelenwen quietly. The other dwarves bowed their head sorrowfully as they listened to Núri’s words and none dared to speak. Núri looked long at the Elf in silence for a time.

    ‘I fear that should we stand separate, this coming darkness will engulf us all,’ he said haltingly. ‘Thus I have come here seeking to renew the friendship long past and to join our strengths together as in the days of our forefathers of old.’

    ‘Your forefathers, perhaps…’ said ithildir quietly, gazing at the dwarf. Núri returned the Elf’s gaze but said nothing. Hergof nodded at his words and looked back and forth at the Elves.

    ‘Fair words, but fair words do not a full make, dwarf,’ answered Lossenelenwen, her eyes gleaming in the snow-flung sunlight.

    Núri did not answer. He turned to withdraw something from his pack, lovingly wrapped in folds of soft leathers. He slowly drew back the wrappings to hold aloft a glittering belt of shimmering jewels and gold.

    ‘This was forged in the great halls of my forefathers many ages ago,’ he said sternly and stiff but with unbridled pride. ‘In Moria I found it though its true name is not known to me. In my halls in Ered Luin, I reforged this belt and offer to you as a token of renewed friendship. Nauglin I have so named it in the tongue of your people…the Song of the Dwarves.’

    At once the other dwarves murmured aloud and it echoed through the ruined hall. Hergof watched in muted silence the unveiling of the magnificent belt in awe and it seemed to shine even in the shadows of the unlit hall. Rulf raised a shaggy eyebrow with great surprise.

    But it was Steinnrand who spoke next, his voice gathering loud in disbelief and anger. ‘Have you gone mad?’ he said shaking head furiously. ‘Such a treasure belongs to dwarves alone, Núri…not in the hands of the tree folk!’

    It was Barabin’s turn to scowl back. I am not tree-folk,’ he muttered softly and his eyes flashed bright as he gazed at Steinnrand.

    ‘I did not hear kindness for the Elves when my king was held captive in Mirkwood!’ replied Steinnrand angrily.
    Hergof turned a swift scowl towards him. ‘Keep your mouth shut, Steinnrand, you are not helping!’

    ‘And you be quiet!’ answered Steinnrand harshly. ‘You have not seen the halls of Moria. That belongs to us. It is not to give to Elves!’

    ‘No master Steinnrand,’ said Núri softly and with some pain. ‘This is more than that, more than an heirloom of our halls of old. This is a renewal of something that was long ago lost.’

    The Elf Calithileth gazed at the dwarves in silence. Lossenelenwen smiled but her eyes were wide as she gazed upon the belt. ‘Nauglin,’ she said finally. ‘A curious name for such.’

    ‘How so?’ asked Núri in return.

    ‘You offer this as a gift, and such a kingly gift would be churlish to refuse,’ answered the Elf. ‘And yet I know that all things have a price.’

    ‘A price? Nay, only to gain once more that which our two people held long ago.’

    Lossenelenwen move as if to speak but fell silent. Istoril strode forward beside her and now spoke aloud. ‘Even now, my lord Celeborn moves to strengthen ties with the dwarf contingent that seeks to reclaim Moria. Such a gift would not go unnoticed.'

    Ithildir too spoke out. ‘The Lord of Lothlórien is not here, thus his deeds should not be held to all Elves, if you think he has wronged you in some way.'

    At once, Steinnrand broke from the other dwarves, his legs planted firmly on the stone. ‘And you think he has not Elf?’ he burst forth in anger. ‘Holding my king hostage and assaulting Erebor under the guise of righteousness!’

    The Elves murmured and gazed darkly upon the dwarf in a strange uncomfortable silence. ‘I think he may see it differently, dwarf,’ said Ithildir softly, his eyes blazing bright. ‘Though that should not be matter for this meeting.’

    Rurir now strode to stand beside Steinnrand. ‘King Daín holds the King of the Greenwood no ill will,’ he answered sharply. ‘Who are you to hold yourself higher than him?’

    ‘Silence!’ cried Núri in a deep voice that rung through the hall. ‘Many a wrong has been done between Elf and dwarf. Some are true, others less so. We cannot be held for what others have done, only what we do now.’

    Steinnrand turned from the Elves to Núri. ‘But you are not of Erebor,’ he said, his voice thick with wrath and anger. ‘You feel the pain second hand.’

    ‘As do all those whose kinsmen have been wronged, Master Steinnrand,’ answered Núri softly. ‘But enough of this!’ He turned to gaze up at Lossenelenwen. ‘It is a gift and nothing more. Would you have it?’

    The Elf returned Núri’s gaze and held it for a long moment. ‘Such a reforging takes many ties,’ she said slowly. ‘I cannot speak to my people and we have brought up grievances between our folk already. You spoke of Dwarves and Goblins…this is why you have come?’

    Núri turned his gaze away and his hand drew up to his long beard. ‘We stare into the darkness that approaches all the Free Peoples of Middle Earth. No one will stand long if unaided. The Enemy will not wait for the end of petty squabbling or for us to decide our fate but will make that choice for us. As I said, the troubles and pains run deep and clear even today and far is the road we must travel to return from whence we came.’

    Before the Elf could respond, there came an angry dispute between Steinnrand and Rurir when the second one barked out in Khuzdul. Much to the watching amazement of the Elves, Steinnrand whirled to bring his heavy hand across Rurir’s face. ‘You dare speak that in front of these Elves!’ he shouted in rising anger. ‘Have you no shame, beardling?’

    The party of Elves murmured to one another as Lossenelenwen looked on with some distaste. She looked at Steinnrand for some time and did not speak. Finally she turned back to Núri.

    ‘I have no gifts in exchange,’ she said quietly with a low bow. ‘But as I have some understanding of how great a thing you do now, I will accept this and one of my people – myself or an ambassador to your folk in the future perhaps – shall wear this and know what they wear.’

    ‘I wish for no gift,’ answered Núri, his voice full of pride. ‘Only the renewal for that which I seek.’

    Lossenelenwen smiled at the dwarf then spoke in a clear ringing voice. ‘I swear an oath then to you, and my kinsmen and Arda shall witness. I will not buy gold with blood. Friendships are well, but I shall choose wisely when call for aid is made."

    Just then there came a scrape across the stone floor of the hall, mingled with the heavy breaths of a dwarf. Hergof now strode forward, hefting a large chest behind him. He released the chest with a loud bang and turned to scowl at Steinnrand and then looked up at the Elves.

    The dwarf bowed very low then spoke in a loud voice. 'I have brought something as well to show my token of appreciation for simply holding this meeting with us in hopes of an alliance that both of our races will greatly benefit of! These grudges from the past must cease!'

    With a gloved hand he flung the heavy lid of the chest open. It was brimming with gold and silver and stones of many sizes and colours. There came soft murmuring from the part of Elves as they looked down with astonishment to peer into the laden chest.

    Lossenelenwen stepped forward upon light feet and knelt before Hergof. Her soft hand fell onto the chest and she looked deeply into the dwarf’s eyes.

    ‘Did you act alone in this,’ she said solemnly. ‘Or do you add to Lord Núri’s choice?’

    Hergof looked up and met her eyes. ‘It has taken me long to gather such riches,’ he said proudly. ‘And I am very fond of them, but for this I must swallow my greed and do what is best for our people. For the mountains of Ered Luin, I would gladly give all my gold!’

    ‘Long you say?’ asked the Elf with a soft laugh.

    But Hergof’s reply was cut as there came a shout behind him. It was Steinnrand, who now shouted out in gathering anger. ‘I am done here!’ he said as he turned to march from the hall. ‘Núri, if you wish to speak to me, I will be in our halls.’

    The other dwarves watched in silence as Steinnrand left. Núri too watched the dwarf depart as he let out a long soft sigh. Hergof grumbled once more and then turned back to the Elves.

    ‘Lord Núri and I share the same desire,’ he said gravely. ‘Of uniting our people once again, so yes I add this gift to that of Núri’s, though it may not be so grand.’

    ‘A honourable gift, master dwarf,’ said Istoril. ‘For well do I know what it takes to part a dwarf from his gold.’

    ‘An insult under the guise of a compliment,’ grumbled one of the younger dwarves, that being Thramrur.

    ‘Not an insult, dwarf,’ answered Istoril. ‘Rather an acknowledgement of the gravity of the gesture.’

    Núri placed one hand on Hergof’s shoulder and smiled then turned to Lossenelenwen. ‘So what says you, Lossenelenwen?’ he said aloud. ‘Reforge the alliances of old as when King Durin, the fifth of that name, marched to war with your Lord, Gil-galad in the Last Alliance?’

    ‘You have shown your honour in doing such a thing, I will not shame you,’ she said with a smile at Hergof. She bent to reach into the chest and lifted from it six stones. ‘Yet I have seen the gold-sickness in your people and in mine, and I will not allow it to shine in my eyes and blind me. In your hands this will become great things.’

    The Elf gently closed the lid of the chest then turned to stand with her companions once more. Lossenelenwen fell silent for a time then gazed back at Núri. ‘That friendship may foster, I will allow it,’ she said gravely. ‘Yet friendships cannot be forced, however, so I promise it not. Thousands of years are not undone with a single gesture, and all her have misgivings, small or large.’

    Hergof looked at the closed chest and shook his head. ‘I cannot take this gift back, as I said it is a token of my appreciation to your people. Taking it back would mean taking back all that was said here today.’

    ‘Alliances require trust,’ answered the Elf softly. ‘And while I have spoken with you and hear no lies in your voice, trust is not easy to come by in dark days. I cannot freely give it.’

    ‘True words, Lossenelenwen,’ said Núri aloud. ‘But one must start upon a long journey if one wishes to reach its conclusion.’

    The Elf fell silent once more, and held each dwarf with her eyes in turn. At length she returned to gaze down at Núri. ‘I do swear to you one thing. Should I ever look to you and your people in the beginnings of war, I will not shame these gifts.’ She then lifted the glittering belt. ‘Should our ways prove impossible, this will return to your hands, even if it comes with distaste.’

    Istoril stepped forward to whisper in Lossenelenwen’s ears the turned to Núri. ‘All sentiments aside, I do believe this meeting was intended for the prupose of renewing trust alone. Yet you spoke of aid, Núri, that which you would have from us.’ The others Elves nodded in agreement to this.

    ‘Indeed,’ added Ithildir. ‘Let us hear what you have of us.’ A hushed silence fell over the hall.

    Núri gazed at the stone at his feet then lifted his head, a smouldering fire was in his eyes. ‘Aid?’ he said softly. ‘Indeed. That is what I seek here today. Word has reached me from my scouts. They have told me that the Dourhands are ready to begin their assault upon our lands and soon the first blow will surely fall. They seek to march upon Gondamon and it is vital that we stop them. I am mustering my kinsmen even now to march in defense of the halls there and request aid from you and your brethren in the coming battle. Separate, we stand little chance against the enemy, but perhaps together we can turn the tide.’

    The Elves murmured softly at these words. ‘The Hills of Stone would offer these Dourhands a strategic advantage, should they look towards elven-lands further on,’ said Ithildir gravely.

    ‘Indeed, Ithildir,’ answered Núri grimly. ‘That is my gravest fear. But it will be only one of many such assaults to come should Gondamon fall. Gather what of your people as can be spared and then we can march together and turn away the assault.’
    Last edited by Brucha; Nov 07 2012 at 11:56 AM.

  8. #8
    Good! After some delays, we managed to finished Event 1 - The Mustering! We also was able to meet with the kinship, Daro a Maetho for a meeting in Ered Luin - there was some tension (RP of course!) over the long-standing fued between elf and dwarf but an alliance was forged from it. The Elves will be joining Durin's Folk for the defense of Gondamon in the coming battle.

    As with my Total Immersion stories, the write-up is verbatim of what was said during the RP meeting. Thank heavens for being able to save chat logs....

  9. #9

    Event 2 – First Moves: Kheledûl – Part One

    It was evening in Haudh Lin and the grey light of the day had long since waned and passed. The lower lands of Ered Luin were veiled in a deepening darkness and the wind was brisk and chilled. Cold stars twinkled from above in the moonless sky.

    A dwarf stood down from Thrasi’s Lodge overlooking the Great East Road that wound a long path from Thorin’s Hall to Duillond to the east and south. The dwarf let out a soft sigh as he glanced up at the falling snows, and drew his robes tighter about him. A second dwarf stood beside the first, a short brown beard falling down over his leather jerkin. He stomped the snow from his heavy leather boots, then turned to the older dwarf and spoke in a low voice.

    ‘How are you, Greybeard?’

    The first dwarf did not speak at first, but lowered his head to listen to the bitter breeze as it blew and swirled round the trees and sighed among the many rocks. Then he spoke in a whisper. ‘I won’t ever see my home again…’ said the dwarf, his face pale and grim.

    The second dwarf gazed at the first and tugged his beard. ‘Erebor, Khazgrim? The Lonely Mountain?’ he said with reverence deep in his voice.

    ‘Aye, Rulf,’ answered Khazgrim quietly after a pause. ‘I will never gaze upon its frosty peaks again, nor smell the fires in the forges or look upon the tomb of Thorin.’

    ‘It has been many years since I have seen home,’ said Rulf softly. ‘That lone peak beckons me home as well.’
    Khazgrim kicked at a rock near his feet and watched it roll down the hillside. ‘We will never make it home again…’ he said mournfully.

    ‘Do not lose hope,’ said Rulf as he placed his gloved hand upon the other’s shoulder. ‘It takes more than a few goblins to keep dwarves from their halls for long.’

    ‘Hope is lost,’ answered Khazgrim gravely, shaking his head slowly. ‘Our halls echo only in silence now.’

    Rulf smiled but his voice broke as he spoke. Maybe you are only feeling your years, Greybeard,’ he said. ‘Hope is not lost while there are those still stout among our kinfolk.’

    Khazgrim gazed out towards the darkened sky. ‘Hope is for the young and foolish, beardling.’

    ‘I am your dwarf then,’ grinned Rulf wide. ‘Or so says my father for being foolish! But if you believe so, why are you here?’

    At that Khazgrim looked up, his deep worn face full of sorrow. ‘I came here only by the asking of my brother. I could not refuse him. Yet I hold that this war we march for cannot be won.’

    ‘Ah, master Steinnrand,’ said Rulf with a soft chuckle. ‘He is a stubborn old goat, but he will never give up hope. And so shall we keep fighting too, Khazgrim.’

    The two companions fell silent as the sounds of heavy footfalls approached from the road below. A dwarf clad in blue bearing a long axe across his back soon came into view. He strode a few paces further then paused to bow low before the companions.

    ‘There are still goblins about on the far side of the road,’ said the dwarf as he pointed to the north. ‘And there are more of our kindred coming up even as I speak.’

    The new arrival had only spoken his news when there came another party of dwarves marching up from the Great East Road. Each was clad and armed as if for battle and were led by a venerable dwarf whose raiment was befitting a dwarf of great rank or importance.

    ‘Master Basalt, welcome!’ cried Rulf aloud as the company approached in haste.

    ‘Hail and well met, kinsmen!’ answered Basalt with a low bow. The others in his company followed swiftly with bows and calls of greetings of their own.

    ‘We will have a great day dedicated to the Longbeards!’ shouted Volkgrim who had just returned from scouting north of the road. The dwarves strode to meet one another with open arms, yet Khazgrim did not join them. The aged dwarf sat slowly down in the snow even as Rulf stretched a hand to help him to his feet once more.

    ‘Leave me to my grief,’ said Khazgrim quietly with a wave of his hand. ‘We shall fall and we will not be remembered as we perish with but a whimper. Yet, when you are ready to depart, Rulf, I will follow.’

    ‘What is this nonsense?’ said Basalt with a frown as he strode forward from the other dwarves. ‘Do we lament for Thorin ’afore his death,’ he announced sternly, gazing down at Khazgrim. ‘I see good strong kinsfolk here today, and no reason for sorrow!’

    ‘Well spoken Master Basalt,’ added another dwarf, Fjoldr was his name, from the newly arrived party. ‘Sadness does little but dull our wits, when instead they need to be sharp.’

    Khazgrim turned up to gaze at the gathered dwarves then spoke softly. ‘There will be none to lament for us I fear…the halls in which Durin dwelt in are gone, lost to the orcs and goblins. Only silence rings there now.’

    ‘Yet Erebor remains,’ countered Basalt sternly. ‘And many of our kin now dwells there. There will always be halls for the Longbeards, as there always has been.’

    Khazgrim fell silent and did not speak for some time. Basalt looked down on his kinsman, a strange light in his deep eyes, and then glanced at Rulf.

    ‘Let us speak no more of this!’ said Rulf with a deep voice. ‘It is time to march upon the enemy at last. We will spy on their strongholds at once before destroying them.’ The dwarf gazed up at the night sky as he continued. ‘Yet I prefer to move at night, if it is possible.’

    ‘A wiser choice,’ answered Fjoldr with a grin. ‘Let the shadows aid us against the ilk of our enemies.’ At once, the dwarf turned his head to one side as if to listen, and then spoke in a low voice. ‘Master Hergof has arrived, General.’

    Rulf turned to watch another dwarf stride up from the road below and clasped Fjoldr upon the shoulder. ‘Good!’ he said smiling. ‘We will be leaving shortly then, make sure all are ready.’

    The newest arrival bowed low before the gathering of dwarves and hailed all in a deep voice. ‘What is the plan, General Rulf?’ he asked as he bowed once more. The other dwarves fell silent and turned to Rulf.

    Rulf gazed at his companions then began to speak. ‘Fjoldr, we are the only ones familiar with the wild woods. I will need you to aid some of our more cumbersome brothers this night.’

    ‘Understood,’ replied Fjoldr with a bow. ‘Quite a few heavy-shod boots about.’

    ‘Do you know well the lands of the Elves south of here?’

    Fjoldr nodded. ‘Indeed, I have scouted them from time to time.’

    ‘Good, answered Rulf grimly. ‘With you will go Hergof and Basalt to scout the goblins in Rath Teraig. I will take our cheerful friend here and the others eastwards to the Dourhands. When we are done, we will meet up once more.’

    Rulf turned to his party and spoke swiftly as he shifted the heavy back upon his shoulders. ‘Are we ready then?’

    Khazgrim climbed silently to his feet and began striding down the slope as the other fell in behind him.

    ‘Good luck kinsmen!’ said Rulf as he began to follow the others towards the road.

    ‘And luck to as well,’ called out Basalt grimly. ‘May Durin guard your way brothers,’ added Hergof with a wave of his hand.

    Rulf and his company made their way down from the hill and across the Great East Road. He walked in front with Volkgrim, followed shortly by Tolfi and with Khazgrim marching solemnly in the rear. Little did the dwarves speak as they plodded along through the trees in the darkness. The company began to pick a slow path at once, making first north then east, slanting away from the road that soon fell from view behind them.

    After a time, Rulf raised a single hand. He knelt carefully to the ground as if looking for something in the earth. ‘There are tracks here,’ he said quietly as his keen eyes gazed back and forth. ‘The footprints of Dourhands.’ The dwarf tilted his head to one side and pulled back his hood as if to listen. ‘He may not be far.’

    Swiftly Rulf stood and carefully crept forward, his eyes turned to the ground at the prints in the earth. After only a few steps he froze and clung to the hoary boughs of a tall tree and then held up his hand. Rulf peered round the tree into the darkness ahead then hissed.

    The others turned to gaze forward and soon a furtive shape could be seen moving among the trees ahead. The figure was not man-high and was clad in a worn leather hauberk; in its hands it bore a long-hafted hammer.

    ‘Dourhand,’ muttered Rulf with disgust. ‘Take him out, Volkgrim,’ he added with a whisper.

    Volkgrim nodded silently and slid the long axe from his back. With a careful step, the dwarf moved forward, stepping to and from the long shadows of the trees. He paused at the feet of a tall fir tree, and glanced back at his companions. Then, he sprang forward with a cry, hefting his axe high with both gloved hands.

    The dourhand spun round in surprise as the dwarf fell upon him. Volkgrim hewed forward with a swift stroke and there was a loud clang as the two weapons met. Volkgrim stepped back a step, amazement filling his eyes as the dourhand gripped his hammer in both hands and spat at the ground. Then the dwarf grinned and leapt at the dourhand, coming at the enemy at once.

    The dourhand hissed as he turned the dwarf’s stroke aside with the haft of his hammer and fell back. With a swift kick, the dourhand sent dirt towards the dwarf, but Volkgrim only lowered his head and came on. The dourhand let out a stiff breath as the dwarf drove his shoulder into the enemy’s chest. Volkgrim let out a cry and swung his axe twice in succession. There came a stifled cry as the dourhand fell with cloven head.

    The others rushed forward to stand beside Volkgrim. ‘Good job,’ said Rulf quietly as he clapped Volkgrim upon the back. ‘He will not be returning to tell his tale.’ Khazgrim gazed down upon the silent form of the dourhand then looked at his companions.

    ‘There may be more,’ warned Rulf grimly as he matched Khazgrim’s silent gaze. ‘Let us keep our guard up.’

    The company went on and soon the land became bleak and treeless; there was neither little grass nor brush before them. All were silent but for Khazgrim who sang quietly in a low voice as they marched forward.

    ‘The pines were roaring on the height, the winds were moaning in the night, the fire was red, it flaming spread…’

    The dwarves soon came to a halt; they now stood on the brink of a tall cliff; off in the east a sullen glow on the horizon gave warning of a distant dawn. They gazed out over the side of the cliff and saw before them lay a wide vale, dark and silent far below. On the far side of the vale could be glimpsed grey walls and towers of ancient stone. Beyond the walls could be seen tiny gleams of firelight flickering in the darkness.

    ‘Look,’ said Rulf as he pointed down onto the vale below. ‘Those rats infest ancient Kheledûl.’

    ‘We are going there?’ asked Tolfi with a frown.

    Rulf did not answer straight away, but remained silent, his dark eyes gazing out over the forbidding walls below. ‘Yes,’ he said finally. ‘But not by the road that leads down from here. The Dourhands will surely be patrolling it.’

    Khazgrim began to grumble at Rulf’s words and shook his head. ‘Let me go down first…,’ he began to mutter.

    ‘Nay, you are staying here with me, Greybeard,’ he answered shaking his head in return.

    The other dwarf shook with growing anger. ‘Why must I stay with you,’ he said sharply. ‘Do you think me incapable?’

    As the two dwarves fell into quiet argument, Volkgrim edged closer to the ledge to look out over the vale. He startled a step back as a stone broke from the edge and fell into the darkness below. For a moment, he glanced back at his companions, who seemed not to notice. He shrugged and stepped closer. At once the crumbling ledge began to give way; with held breath, the dwarf teetered upon the edge before plunging over the side with a long cry.

    The others turned to the sounds and leapt towards the edge. ‘Volkgrim!’ cried Rulf as he fell back from the edge even as more rocks fell away.

    ‘What is he doing?’ asked Tolfi with much alarm. The dwarf risked a swift glance over the edge then stepped back swiftly. ‘We must go down there!’

    Rulf looked about hastily. ‘Indeed, we must get to him now. We must risk the road to do so, so stay alert!’

    Hefting their axes the dwarves went swiftly down the narrow road that wound down the cliffside to the bottom of the vale. There they found their companion upon the ground, grasping at one leg, a grimace of pain spreading across his face.

    Khazgrim leaned down to inspect the wounds on the dwarf’s leg. ‘More than we thought,’ he said grimly before glancing up at his companions. ‘Yes, it is shattered I think.’

    ‘Are you hurt?’ asked Tolfi with concern.

    Volkgrim bent his axe to the ground and, holding the haft tightly with both hands, stood up on one shaky limb. ‘I am fine,’ he answered meekly. ‘For now…’

    ‘Are you sure, Volkgrim?’ said Rulf.

    ‘I am sure General Rulf,’ answered the dwarf gravely. ‘But I may not be able to fight so well.’

    Tolfi threw up his arms as he spat out, ‘Whatever do we do now?’

    ‘We will sneak closer to the gates there,’ said Rulf as he shouldered the hobbling dwarf with one arm. ‘And watch until the sun rise. Then we will retreat with what little we are able to gather.’

    ‘I am sure they could have heard and seen us by now,’ answered Tolfi as he threw a glance towards the distant walls.

    Rulf shook his head. ‘Nay I think not,’ he answered, following Tolfi’s gaze.

    Khazgrim suddenly drew his heavy pack from his shoulders and set it down upon the rocks at his feet. He then withdrew a small iron-wrought shield and hammer from inside. ‘They know we are here, beardling,’ he said quietly as he slid the hammer into his belt and grasped the shield tightly with the other hand. ‘They are traitors, not fools.’

    ‘I see no signs of them,’ answered Rulf turning his gaze along the road swiftly. ‘We took out their scout…’

    Khazgrim gazed into Rulf’s eyes for a long moment before speaking. ‘It is a dwarven port; it was made to be defended, not to launch an attack from.’

    ‘We have to do something!’ hissed Tolfi still keeping his gaze fixed on the darkened walls.

    ‘We will not be attacking tonight, only gathering their numbers,’ spat Rulf. ‘We need to know their strengths.’

    ‘They are already weak,’ replied Tolfi with a growl. Volkgrim looked at the others and nodded in agreement.
    ‘Hush beardling,’ said Khazgrim grimly.

    Rulf tugged at his beard then gazed at Tolfi. ‘Yes, but they are strong here.’ He turn turned to look at Khazgrim, his eyes dark and thoughtful.

    The dwarf returned Rulf’s steady gaze. ‘Are you thinking what I am thinking?’ he asked softly. ‘Do you think they would believe such a ruse?’

    ‘You are rather dour right now!’ answered Rulf with a grin. ‘What better way to have eyes inside?’

    ‘I agree,’ grumbled Khazgrim softly.

    ‘Are you alright to do this?’ asked Rulf, placing a hand upon the dwarf’s shoulder. ‘It is dangerous.’

    ‘I am…’ answered Khazgrim slowly. The dwarf tugged the finely braids of his beard until they hung disheveled down his chest. He then lifted dirt and mud from his boots and rubbed it upon his face and armour. Finally place placed a iron-shod helm upon his head, and smeared that too with dirt. ‘I will be fine…’ he said softly.

    ‘You look terrible, you will fit right in,’ said Rulf with a smile but his speak swiftly turned grim. ‘Go then and good luck. We will be watching.’

    Khazgrim nodded slightly and turned to stride down the road towards the gate beyond. ‘I will return at dawn,’ he said as he disappeared into the gloom.

    The dwarves watched as their companion faded into the gloom and then Rulf turned to them and spoke swiftly. ‘Tolfi, you and I will skirt nearer the gates to keep an eye out for Master Khazgrim’s return. Volkgrim, remain here and watch our backs!’

    Volkgrim nodded as he began to wrap splints to his wounded leg from nearby tree branches. ‘I will warn you of any threats from behind,’ he said with a grin.

    ‘Remember the whistle…like a thrush,’ warned Rulf with a whisper.

    At once the two dwarves trotted forward into the darkness, leaving the third in silence. ‘I don’t know if he is mad or brave,’ said Rulf as they went along.

    ‘I think he is both,’ smiled Tolfi quietly.

    ‘I think you are right,’ smiled Rulf in return and then he scowled. ‘I wish we could get closer.’

    Leaving the wounded Volkgrim behind, the two dwarves now crept forward carefully until they came to a tall and weather-worn stone obelisk. Rulf crouched low and peered furtively round the stone.

    The ancient wall ran the breath of high cliffs upon either side of the vale that rose towering into the darkness. Upon the walls stood many towers, each strong and tall and set with dark window-holes that stared out over the vale to the west. From that direction came the road to the rampart of stone and passed into a wide gate set into the walls. Even from the distance, there could be seen in the dim light the movement of guards before the gate.

    Rulf watched in growing fear as Khazgrim marched slowly but steadily towards the gate. The dourhands swiftly drew their blades and axes as the dwarf came into view and held his hand high. ‘Greetings brothers,’ he called out dour and low. ‘Does coin fare you well?’

    The dourhands glanced at one another and then one spoke in a low voice, lowering his long spear to the ground. Khazgrim nodded slightly and laughed aloud. ‘I come bringing the goblins’ favour of gold and riches…plundered from the keeps of the Longbeards!’

    The guards seemed to relax and motioned for the dwarf to pass. Khazgrim bow his head as he passed within, calling out with a fierce voice as he did so. ‘All might to Skorgrim!’

  10. #10
    And so our little rp event marches on - with the bugs afflicting the Siege of Gondamon skirmish, we have placed Event 2 on hold with tenative hopes of running it later. For now, we have opted to continue on to the next phase of the event, that being the scouting of the dourhand and goblin camps within Ered Luin. The write-ups for this will be described over three parts, the above being the first of the three.


  11. #11
    That was a lot of fun and I think the skirm is back up now so we don't have to delay

  12. #12

    Event 2 – First Moves: Rath Teraig – Part Two

    Fjoldr adjusted the long spear across his back for the third time and peered ahead through the vale. The sun had long set hours before and now shadows deepened all about. Further to the west, the vale marched to a sudden end at a line of lofty peaks and ridges which ran receding endless into the darkness. The dwarf glanced up into the sky which was very pale and twinkled with late evening stars.

    Fjoldr turned to watch his two companions trotting up behind him in silence. The night wind blew chill up the valley and already the dwarves had passed many scattered trees, tall with pale stems. Yet further towards the rise a great shadow loomed and the dwarf frowned at the endless rustle of leaves like poplars in the breeze.

    ‘Master Basalt and Hergof,’ the dwarf called out in a cautious whisper. ‘Follow closely and as quietly as your steel allows. Watch carefully my movements and follow them as closely as you can.’

    ‘Aye, lead on, master Fjoldr,’ answered Basalt, a proud-looking dwarf clad in a fine hauberk of iron and leather. A green hood sat atop his head and a grey beard fell down from his worn face. The other dwarf, Hergof, smiled broadly at his kinsmen, his iron and steel cuirass clinking and creaking with every footfall.

    ‘We will move south from here,’ whispered Fjoldr once more as the others drew nearer. ‘Be wary, there are ruins ahead that have long held goblins in the past.’

    The dwarves marched on in single file and did not speak for some time. The vale at once began to wind quickly down, running away to the south now, out before the arms and peaks of the mountains to their right. From the other side of the vale rose low and rugged cliffs to the top of sheer ridges.

    The dwarves went on for a mile or more when suddenly Fjoldr let forth a sharp whistle, held up one hand, and gazed back at the other two dwarves. He drew his eyes from his companions and looked further south in the darkened vale as he slid the long spear from his back.

    ‘Pause here,’ he said quietly. ‘I will check ahead and motion for you to follow.’

    Basalt nodded silently as Fjoldr crept forward very softly, grasping his spear tightly with both gloves hands. Hergof stood beside Basalt and took a deep breath. ‘Ah,’ he murmured quietly. ‘The elf-lands…rather peaceful.’ Indeed it was, for it seemed that the dwarves had left winter behind clinging to the hills of the Low Lands. Here the air was softer and warmer and faintly scented, as if spring was already stirring.

    Further ahead they could glimpse Fjoldr, bent low to the ground, searching in a wide circle. The dwarf then stood up and motioned for his companions to approach. ‘Nothing more than a few boar tracks,’ he whispered, pointing to the earth as the others strode to him. ‘Keep an eye out though,’ he added grimly.

    ‘What of goblins?’ asked Hergof ominously.

    ‘This land seems too unsullied to have goblins,’ answered Basalt as he looked about the quiet darkness.

    Fjoldr frowned. ‘I would doubt them this close of the elf-hold ahead, but they have grown bolder of late.’

    ‘It appears as battle hasn’t been seen here in many years,’ said Hergof.

    ‘Bah!’ snorted Basalt. ‘Let them come, they will grow deader!’

    Fjoldr fell silent gazing further south before speaking. ‘It seems calm enough. I think we should follow the vale further to the south.’

    For some time the dwarves went on in silence. Under the night, the trees stood tall over the marching dwarves, arching over their heads in spreading boughs. In the dim light of the stars their stems were grey, and their quivering leaves a hint of fallow white flowers could be seen.

    They passed under a copse of tall trees as a great shoulder of a mountain arm sprang into view ahead. To the west the deep gulf of a shadowed valley could be seen in the distance. The valley ran suddenly back far into the mountains and was illuminated by smoky flickering light.

    Basalt paused to peer further into the retreating valley. ‘Be that a totem in the distance?’ he hissed. ‘My eyes aren’t what they once were.’ The other dwarves turned and followed Basalt’s outstretched arm pointing towards the west.

    Two long arms of the mountains swung outwards eastwards and high cliffs lowers upon either side of a wide valley. Across the far end of the pass, from cliff to cliff, stood a rampart of wood. Piercing it was a single gate allowing passage to the far side of the mountains and flying from the palisade were wicked and vile-looking banners. Closer to the east end of the valley could be glimpsed maggot-tents and smoking campfires, and all about could be seen small dark shapes moving about in the darkness.

    Fjoldr drew back his hood and peered into the valley with keen eyes. ‘It appears you are correct,’ he said grimly, gazing at the rampart and tents.

    ‘Your words were true, master Fjoldr,’ whispered Hergof. ‘The goblins have grown bolder, to have built their walls so near the elf towns.’

    ‘I cannot believe the Elves have allowed such a desecration to stand,’ murmured Fjoldr as he shook his beard. ‘This is puzzling indeed. Remain here and stay alert. I am going to move closer into those pines below and see what my eyes behold. If you hear the call of a thrush, prepare your blades.’

    ‘Aye,’ answered Basalt as he slid his axe from his belt. ‘We will wait here.’

    With his spear held out, the dwarf took a hesitant step forward then ran doggedly from rock to rock to a nearby stand of pines nearer the valley entrance. The other dwarves stood silent in the darkness, not daring to take their gaze from the palisade below. It was not long when they spotted Fjoldr making haste back from the pines.

    ‘What news?’ said Basalt quietly as Fjoldr bent to one knee to catch his winded breath.

    ‘There is no doubt,’ answered the dwarf with a gasp. ‘I could see clearer the ramparts and at least four goblins guarding the gate with spears. Yet the rampart seems little more than a jumble of rubbish, though it does provide a defense of sorts.’

    ‘Only four?’ laughed Basalt derisively.

    To this Fjoldr frowned. ‘I believe it would be simple enough to move to the copse of trees below and still be hidden from sight. There we can keep watch upon the entrance.’

    With Fjoldr in the lead, the dwarves began to make their way down into the valley, keeping to the deep shadows of the mountain arms as best they could. Once under the trees, the dwarves crept carefully up and gazed out from the darkened trees.

    ‘Hmm,’ said Hergof with but a whisper. ‘I can see one near the gate and two others near their rampart of debris. But where is the fourth?’

    Fjoldr gazed out for a moment, and then shrugged. ‘He must be wandering further inside now.’

    ‘Are we to proceed any further?’ asked Basalt, as he turned the axe haft round in his gnarled hands. ‘I would wish to see just how many foes infest this valley.’

    ‘I believe we could scale down the valley,’ answered Fjoldr shaking his head. ‘But I doubt we will be able to climb back out without drawing attention.’

    ‘So what do we do?’ replied Hergof gruffly. ‘Run in brandishing our axes or keep to the shadows to avoid them?’
    Basalt too shook his head. ‘We know now of one guarded pass into yon valley. Perhaps we should press further south and seek more.’

    Hergof turned to gaze at his companions with impatience. ‘I cannot stand here looking at these putrid vermin walking about like this!’

    ‘Patience, good Hergof,’ said Basalt, chuckling. ‘With the assault Lord Núri has planned, nary a single foe will remain here.’

    ‘Indeed,’ agreed Fjoldr. ‘Let us move back from here and further south before Hergof bloodies his axe!’

    Quietly, the dwarves turned to move out of the valley and then scrambled along the base of the mountains further south. The path forward was slow and difficult, for tumbled ridges and stony hills blocked their straight path at every turn. The moon had long gone down and the last stars glittered in the sky above.

    As they went, dawn slowly crept in pale from the East. And yet, though chill was the dawn-wind, the light grew and flickered through the white flowers in the boughs of the rowan, and it seemed as sunshine of an early summer dawn.

    The vale ran like a stony trough between the mountains and the ridged hills, and then wound quickly down running away southeast. A short distance later, the dwarves came upon a deep well of dark water. A cliff frowned upon the south side and to the far side rose grey slopes, dim and shadowy in the pre-dawn glow.

    The dwarves made their way round the still waters and up the grass-swept slope. The right side of the slope continued to rise overhead to a stony cliff top that turned first east then south then west in a wide arc. Already, the eastward sky was turning pale; the late stars were fading fast as a grey light slowly grew.

    Basalt, who had gone out front of the others a bit, paused under the flowering boughs of a tall rowan and sighed. He wiped his damp brow with the hem of his cloak and gazed out. He squinted in the dim light, and then gasped as he raised one arm to point into the distance. ‘Elf-ruins…’ he said gravely. The other dwarves hastened forward to gaze out at a magnificent sight.

    Further up the slope they could glimpse a tall hill atop which stood a lofty hall, once a place of great beauty but now much decayed and broken into ruin. An ancient white-paved road sprang from the overgrowth of grass and wound up towards a silent gate. In the dim light it seemed as if the ruins were filled with a soft golden light; the crumbling roof was a pale green, and the walls gold and silver.

    ‘Oh my, what splendor!’ murmured Hergof open-mouthed. ‘Do you think there could be goblins in there?’ he added cautiously.

    Fjoldr gazed thoughtfully at the ruined hall. ‘I will pass up the vale and look for tracks,’ he said finally. ‘Give me a moment and then follow when I give the sound of a thrush.’

    Without awaiting his companions’ reply, Fjoldr crept forward quietly. The other dwarves stood silently straining their eyes up the slope, frowning with every rush of wind that alarmed them greatly as it stirred the boughs of the trees all around them.

    Several still minutes passed and nothing of Fjodr could be gleamed. Then the furtive sound of a soft flute-clear, ee-oh-lay, wafted down the slope towards them. The two dwarves glanced at one another then moved forward with great caution. They soon came upon Fjoldr standing silent beside the tall trunk of a rowan tree. As the others approached, the dwarf lifted a single finger to his lips and pointed further up towards the ruins.

    ‘What have you uncovered?’ asked Hergof eagerly as he followed the dwarf’s point of direction.

    ‘A scout,’ said Fjoldr softly.

    The dwarves fell at once silent with bated breath and did not move. A heart beat passed, then another and there suddenly came to their ears the queer sound of snuffling. Presently a lone goblin slunk into sight. It was a small breed, red-skinned clad in rough leather. Held in one arm was a round shield of wood and in the other a cruel-looking blade.

    Hergof’s gloved hand fell to the haft of his axe stuck into his belt; even before he could draw the axe, Basalt fitted an arrow to his bow. ‘A scout not for long!’ cursed Basalt as he raised the bow and took careful aim. There was a twang as the dwarf released the arrow. Straight it flew and the goblin gurgled as the arrow passed its throat and then slipped to the ground.

    ‘Well shot!’ said Fjoldr clasping Basalt’s wide shoulder. But his delight soon fell away as he pointed further along the slope ahead. ‘Beware, he is not alone!’

    ‘Next one takes a taste of my axe!’ said Hergof confidently as another goblin, even smaller than the first came into view. It too was clad in filthy leathers but bore a long thin-headed spear in one hand. Hefting his axe with both hands, Hergof sprang forward, lopping up the slope with long strides.

    Suddenly, the goblin froze and raised its wide nostrils to sniff the air. Its eyes squinted as the dwarf came into view and the goblin snarled and cursed as it drew back it spear. Too late however, for the dwarf had closed the short distance between them with quick steps. With a wide stroke, Hergof turned the spear aside then rose up over the goblin with a cry.

    ‘Khazâd ai-mênu!’ he cried with a hoarse shout. The dwarf-axe swept forward and the goblin fell headless to the grass.

    ‘A good blow, friend!’ cried Basalt as he sprang to his companion. But the joy from his voice died away as he turned towards the gate further along the white-paved road. ‘Two guards at the gate,’ he said grimly and pointed. ‘There is more filth here than I would have thought.’

    ‘Indeed, and we should take the guards silently,’ said Fjoldr softly as he took a stand beside his companions.
    ‘An arrow each?’ asked Basalt with a grin.

    ‘Aye,’ nodded Fjoldr. ‘I shall take the right.’

    ‘I will see to the other,’ answered Basalt.

    The dwarves took slow careful aim and at once let fly their arrows. There came straggled but stifled cries as the goblins slipped to the ground, an arrow in each throat. The dwarves turned to grin at one another, then fell silent to look towards the gate.

    ‘The ruins are not empty,’ whispered Basalt as he gazed through the silent gate. ‘I see movement within…’

    ‘As do I, my friend,’ murmured Fjoldr.

    ‘By Mahal!’ cursed Hergof. ‘There is a lot of vermin here indeed!’

    Fjoldr fell silent and thoughtful for a time, and then turned to his companions. ‘I shall make my way round the walls. I will take care of sentries and any that may seek to escape as you assault the interior through the gate.’

    ‘Good!’ hissed Hergof. ‘We will head straight and draw them to us, while you take care of those who flee to seek help.’

    Fjoldr nodded grimly. ‘Give me the count of three then go forward.’ Setting an arrow to his bow, Fjoldr crept round the slope in the shadows of the ruined walls and soon disappeared from view. The dwarves watched their friend then Hergof turned to Basalt. ‘Ready your axe, my friend,’ he said with a smile. ‘Goblin blood is about to be spilled!’

    The dwarves began to creep up the road towards the gate. Cautiously they reached it and paused, peering in with quiet breath. Within could be seen a gang of short, crook-legged goblins with long arms scattered around several smoking campfires.

    Without a word spoke, the dwarves gripped their axes tightly and then sprang through the gate to fall upon the goblins. Basalt was in the lead and leapt forward even as a yellow-fanged goblin rose to its feet, only to be cut down where it stood with a broad swipe of the dwarf’s axe.

    At once, the goblins cried out in dismay and fell back, hissing and cursing with hate and anger. Several short spears whined and whistled past the dwarves or sprang back from their mail or hauberk. With a rising cry, the goblins mustered their courage and came at them with bared fangs and hurried feet.

    The battle was short but brutal. The first goblin fell upon Hergof, who dove under a clumsy stab of a long spear thrust and then cleaved the goblin headless. With a turn, the dwarf struck swiftly as a second goblin cried out clutching at its ruined arm.

    Basalt stood beside his kinsman, hewing back and forth with his glimmering axe as the goblins came on. One then another fell before the aged dwarf’s axe as Basalt roared a deep cry. A third leapt over the fallen forms at the dwarf’s feet only to be cut down with Basalt’s axe swing.

    Suddenly the sounds fell away and all went silent but for the labored breaths of the dwarves. All about the feet of the dwarves lay nearly a dozen goblins. But the stillness was soon broken as they looked up to see a large swart and slant-eyed goblin, nearly dwarf-high, stride forward from further within the ruins.

    The goblin slavered and liked its foul lips and raised a short, broad-bladed spear it in hands. At once the dwarves glanced at one another. ‘A chieftain,’ muttered Hergof. ‘Together, my friend?’

    As one, the dwarves sprang forward, stooping low. Basalt came at the goblin chieftain first, and his axe rose over his head. But the goblin was clever and he swung the spear round to bear the dwarf back. Then Hergof came on, hewing at the goblin. With surprising speed, the goblin turned aside the dwarf’s axe and a claw-like hand latched onto his outstretched hand like iron and nails bit into him. Hergof cried out as its great head and hideous face drew to his and he could feel it foul breath upon his cheek.

    But then Basalt was there, and the goblin hissed, releasing Hergof from its vise-like grip. Hergof shuddered and drew back his axe and swept forward. The goblin gave a hideous shivering cry as the axe clove its helm. The goblin staggered back a step then fell still to the ground.

    ‘Well done!’ cried Basalt with a roar.

    ‘Little goblin vermin,’ answered Hergof with a smile though he placed a hand upon his forearm and grimaced in pain.

    It was then that Fjoldr appeared. He had come up from the far side of the ruins, creeping along in silence, felling those goblins that stood in his way. When he came upon his companions, amazement filled his eyes.

    ‘Any trouble?’ he asked gazing down at the multitude of unmoving goblins on the ground.

    ‘Master Fjoldr,’ said hergof proudly as he planted his axe at his feet. ‘We have slain all the goblins in the ruins and even slew their leader!’

    ‘Indeed!’ added Basalt with a broad smile. ‘We have lain low a filthy chieftain, surely a great victory for Durin’s Folk!’

    ‘Did any get away, Fjoldr?’ asked Hergof.

    Fjoldr shook his head. ‘Nay not a one. Yet, with the rising sun, we should return to meet with General Rulf swiftly.’

    ‘Aye master Fjoldr,’ said Hergof gruffly. ‘But what of the earlier goblin camp? Surely that one was much larger that this?’

    ‘I have scrawled notes of our scouting. I am sure Rulf will wish to see them.’

    ‘Very well,’ replied Hergof as he slid his axe over one shoulder. ‘We shall march back to the lodge.’

  13. #13

    Event 2 – First Moves: The Return – Part Three

    Tolfi and Rulf stood in the shadows of the tall spire, looking anxiously towards the gate for signs of Khazgrim’s awaited return. Little could they count the passing of the hour and they scarcely dared to move or speak, for the dourhand guards stood ceaseless at the approach to the gates not far off.

    After long moments that seemed forever, Rulf stamped his booted feet on the stones with impatience. ‘I hope I did the right thing,’ he muttered as he looked towards the gate. Tolfi rubbed his eyes and blinked as he stirred from restless dozing to gaze up with alarm at the sounds of his companion’s stomping.

    ‘Did he make in back yet?’ asked Tolfi as he pulled his cloak tighter about him.

    Rulf turned a worried glance towards his friend then up into the sky. ‘No, and dawn is near,’ he said softly. ‘I do hope he comes out soon.’ The coming dawn was bringing the hint of another cold grey day approaching as the dwarves stood there. The east wind was already streaming through the bare branches of the scattered trees in the vale, and seethed round the rocks and spires. The hurrying clouds were low and sunless though a dim light was growing far to the east.

    ‘He will make it out,’ answered Tolfi, stifling a yawn with his gloved hand. ‘If not, I say we storm the gates.’ Rulf frowned at that, but remained silent, keeping his eyes keen upon the gate entrance for any sign of their companion.

    There came suddenly a rustling in the brush behind the dwarves. Rulf spun round and placed a hand upon the haft of his axe stuck into his belt. The rustling grew and seemed at once closer. The dwarves glanced at one another as Tolfi took a hesitant step forward.

    The brush parted as Volkgrim hobbled out, using his long axe as a crutch. Rulf sighed and released the haft of his axe even as Tolfi chuckled softly at the sight of the injured dwarf.

    ‘We should give master Khazgrim until sunrise,’ said Volkgrim with amusement as he met his kinsmen, obviously overhearing the others’ exchange as he approached.

    ‘Aye,’ said Rulf with a grim nod. ‘He said he would return at dawn. We will not leave the old dwarf behind.’
    ‘I am getting impatient,’ growled Tolfi. ‘It is only a matter of time before another scout arrives. If we attract some attention, maybe that would help.’

    ‘No!’ answered Rulf sternly as he shook his beard.

    ‘There are only two at the gate,’ said Volkgrim as he glanced around the corner of the spire towards the guarded gate. ‘And dawn is upon us.’ The others looked up as the first rays of the sun rose into the sky overhead.

    ‘Stand fast, Volkgrim,’ uttered Rulf sharply. ‘I speak only out of worry.’

    ‘If the dourhands are patrolling the lands behind us and come into the valley at dawn,’ said Volkgrim with pleading eyes. ‘We will certainly be seen.’ But Rulf only further shook his head in answer.

    The dwarves fell silent, and Rulf stood motionless at the spire watching the gate with growing worry. Suddenly, the dwarf threw back his hood and gazed out at the gate. There a lone figure could be seen striding slowly into view. It was Khazgrim, who nodded his head at the dourhand guards as he marched out of the gate and along the road leading into the vale.

    The dwarves waited with anticipation, watching their companion make his way from the gate to the spire some distance off. Khazgrim whistled softly as he approached, and lifted the iron helm from his head.

    ‘I take my words back, by the way…’ he said with a grin as he began to rub the mud and dirt from his worn face. ‘The dourhands are both traitors and idiots.’

    ‘Good to see you in one piece!’ laughed Rulf as he clasped his friend’s shoulder with relief.

    ‘The port is heavily defended,’ answered Khazgrim grimly as he turned took back towards the gate. ‘And they are backed by goblins coming in from Sarnúr. I found a way in, unguarded and left alone. Yet I could not squeeze through it without suspicion, unless I wanted to loosen a couple of belt loops.’

    ‘It was a good try,’ said Rulf with a smile. ‘Thank you for taking the risk.’

    ‘Think nothing of it,’ murmured Khazgrim, as the old dwarf slid his helm and shield into his pack. ‘Not even the smallest dwarf could have fit through the hole.’

    Rulf grasped at his beard and fell silent, as if lost in thought. Finally he spoke. ‘Perhaps not a dwarf…’

    ‘Not elf or man,’ replied Khazgrim, as he gently braided his grey beard. ‘The hole is quite narrow.’

    ‘I would hesitate to say, but I think I know what can be done,’ said Rulf gravely. ‘I once sought the aid of a hobbit not long ago…’

    ‘The Shire-folk?’ answered Khazgrim with a raise of an eyebrow. ‘They mean no harm, of course, and are a kindly bunch, but hardly suited for this kind of work!’

    ‘Aye,’ said Rulf in agreement. ‘This one was not very willing at first, but he was able to aid us nonetheless. Master Hergof and Hemni accompanied us.’

    ‘You spoke to Bilbo Baggins?’ interrupted Volkgrim, who glanced first at Rulf then at Khazgrim with wide eyes.

    ‘Volkgrim,’ answered Khazgrim, rubbing his forehead as if from weariness. ‘You do understand there are more hobbits than Master Baggins.’

    ‘I understand, ‘said Volkgrim with a frown. ‘I do not know which hobbit you are referring to. I do not know many.’

    ‘I know the story of Mister Baggins well, Volkgrim,’ said Rulf with a slight smile. ‘But the hobbit I speak of was named Theodoras, a Took to be precise. Yet I have not seen him for many months. A burglar could be the key, if we could find one willing enough.’

    ‘I have heard nothing of this hobbit,’ uttered Khazgrim. ‘I have been around the Shire-folk for some time, and have even met one or two in Bree…’

    ‘Oh?’ asked Tolfi who had been listening to the exchange in silence. ‘What was his name?’

    ‘I did not ask,’ answered Khazgrim with a shrug. ‘Nor was he willing to give it, he was very unwilling to talk to me…called me an old goat and stormed off.’

    ‘You are an old goat…’ said Rulf with a smile. ‘But come let us make haste back to the lodge. I will speak with Lord Núri about this, and you can tell him what you found within, Khazgrim.’

    The narrow vale descended like a broad step away from the mountains towards the east then north. The Rowan leaves glistened in the growing sunlight, fair and untimely in the wintery morning as the dwarves marched on in silence with great haste. Already, the dark tops of the trees of the Low Lands could be seen and behind, the mountain peaks glimmered in the spreading light.

    Fjoldr was out front, marching with a steady, determined step, forcing his companions to struggle to keep in step with the younger dwarf. Basalt and Hergof followed behind, their heads turned down and their breath coming in great gasps.

    ‘You are swift on your feet,’ muttered Basalt with a winded breath as he ran. ‘There is no doubt of that!’

    ‘It has served me well in the past,’ answered Froldr, not taking his gaze from the path ahead. The dwarf lifted his head and smiled as the trees further to the north began to come more into view. ‘Ahead friends,’ he said with a glad voice. ‘We are almost there!’

    The dwarves scrambled down a rocky slope where the ground was harder and drier and the grass shorter. The Rowan trees were no more, replaced by a thick forest of hardy firs and pines of the Low Lands. As they went on, they could now see a thin spiral of dim smoke rising above the trees some distance to the north. The smoke caught the light of day and spread in glowing banks that drifted on the wind over the forest in a lazy haze.

    With swift steps, the dwarves ran on, through the wood of tall trees, each robed in withered leaves and gnarled pines. They had not gone far when Fjoldr halted suddenly and bent to gaze towards the ground. There he could glimpse faint tracks in the moist earth and beyond among the trees ahead.

    At once there came to the dwarf’s keen ears, whispered voices as shapes loomed in the trees ahead. There in the forest stood a party of dourhands, motionless and silent as if bending their ears to listen. They each held short hammers of iron openly in their hands. Fjoldr stiffened and turned to his companions with a lifted hand. But Basalt’s gaze fell upon the enemy and he let out a fierce cry.

    ‘Thinbeards!’ he roared as he swung his axe from his shoulder. The shaggy heads of the dourhands turned to the shout and, with a great cry, they surged forward to crash through the trees towards the dwarves.

    With swiftness that startled even his companions, Fjoldr threw the first down with a blinding stab of his long spear and cried aloud. ‘A trap!’

    A short iron hammer whistled through the air as another launched it wildly forward and it glanced off Basalt’s armoured shoulder. The old dwarf only grinned and sprang forward, his axe swinging round in a wide arc. There was a strangled cry as a dourhand fell headless to the ground.

    Fjoldr turned swiftly to another dourhand that leapt over the rocks and came at him. A broad-headed axe clanged against the dwarf’s spear haft as the dourhand spat and lifted the axe again. Fjoldr turned aside the next blow then passed the head of the spear through the dourhand’s throat.

    The last two dourhands sprang forward with a shout. The first fell crashing to the ground as Basalt loosed his bow. The other came on, only to find Hergof standing in its path. The dourhand licked its thin lips and at once lost heart then turned to flee. But Hergof leapt after it, hewing forwards with his axe to fell the dourhand with a single blow.

    As silence returned to the forest, Fjoldr crept over the fallen bodies of the dourhands. ‘Strange, so close to the lodge,’ he said grimly. ‘They were waiting for us to arrive.’

    ‘You think they followed Genereal Rulf and his company?’ asked Hergof looking out in the trees for signs of more of the enemy.

    ‘Indeed,’ answered Basalt warily. ‘How did they know of our movements?’

    Rulf and the others stood atop the low wooded hill at Thrasi’s Lodge where a small group of dwarves and Men were. The morning had passed and the wind shifted west even as light snow began to fall gently down from the clouded sky as noon approached.

    Khazgrim sat wearily on the ground, his head hidden by the deep cowls of his hood, and Volkgrim stood a ways down the slope along the road peering with watchful eyes out over the forest. Rulf and Tolfi were speaking in hushed tones beside Khazgrim.

    Suddenly, Volkgrim let out a whistle and raised one hand. ‘I hear the sounds of battle,’ he said warily and pointed off to the east into the trees. Rulf followed the dwarf’s view as he spoke. ‘Perhaps it is our kinsmen returning.’

    Soon a party of three dwarves was seen hurrying up from the trees towards the lodge. Rulf smiled and strode down the road to meet them, and with him went Volkgrim and Tolfi. Fjoldr saluted his kinsmen as he made his way up the slope, gesturing his weary companions to follow.

    ‘Ah, it is a pleasure to see all of you!’ said Hergof with a broad smile. Rulf smiled in return and moved to speak, but Fjoldr bowed low and spoke with rapid words.

    ‘General, not to interrupt. We just uncovered a Thinbeard ambush in the vale just below the lodge!’

    ‘Thos were the sounds I heard,’ replied Volkgrim with a knowing nod.

    ‘I wonder if they followed us here?’ said Rulf grimly.

    ‘Indeed,’ answered Basalt. ‘How did they know we were to muster here?’

    ‘There were five, none escaped,’ said Fjoldr with a smile. ‘yet they had no missives about them and scant weaponry either.’

    Rulf scratched his beard then spoke. ‘For our part, we scouted Kheledûl, infiltrated you might say, thanks to the bravery of master Khazgrim. We found some interesting and valuable information there. I cannot wait to inform Lord Núri. We will catch those old Dourhands napping!’

    ‘Ah ha!’ laughed Hergof with a clap of his hands. ‘That is good work, master Rulf!’

    ‘We found an entrance into the mountains,’ said Fjoldr grimly. ‘It was sparsely guarded and easily approachable in the shadow of the hemlocks.’

    ‘Good work, Fjoldr!’ answered Rulf. ‘I knew I could count on you and the others. I trust you have numbers and accounts of the Enemy strengths as well? Lord Núri will wish to know all of that.’

    ‘I do sir,’ said Fjoldr as he handed Rulf a rolled scrap of paper. ‘Yet further along we found the ruins of Dol Ringwest. And it is no longer abandoned.’

    ‘Aye,’ murmured Basalt. ‘It was crawling with goblins.’

    They were dealt with,’ said Fjoldr looking at his companions proudly. ‘And none escaped. Better still, Basalt and Hergof dispatched their leader as well!’

    ‘Well done then!’ exclaimed Rulf. ‘Less goblins the better.’

    Hergof turned to look at Khazgrim, who was just beginning from rousing from his slumber. ‘has your mood improved, my friend?’ he asked chuckling.

    ‘Not much,’ answered the old dwarf as he slowly climbed to his feet. ‘Though spending time around the merry folk might turn my mood.’

    Rulf tucked the parchment into his pack and then turned the company of dwarves. ‘We shall return to Thorin’s Hall to inform Lord Núri of our findings.’

    ‘I daresay he will be pleased with our report!’ said Basalt.

    Rulf smiled at that and bowed to Basalt. ‘We shall meet again at the halls. Try to get some rest, we have all be up the entire night.’

  14. #14
    Ah, finally our rp event is gathering momentum. The scouting portion has been completed and the Gondamon skirmish, which had been disabled, is finally up and running once more! That means we can continue on without delay! The next part of the event will naturally be the delayed Siege of Gondamon, fought alongside our Elven allies.

    I must thank my kinsmen for such wonderul rping during the event that allowed such write-ups to be completed. Without their spirited role playing, there would have been little to tell!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    I am new to lotro and looking to join an all dwarven kinship.

    I think this sounds great! I am new to lotro and was wondering how I apply to the kinship?

  16. #16

    The Siege of Gondamon - Part One

    A small host of Dwarves and Elves were assembled in the Hill of Stone, called Gondamon, and so aptly named was this fortress of stone. Long ago Gondamon was abandoned the fortress by the Elves when they fled from Edhelion following Skorgrím Dourhand's treacherous assault and it lay silent and dark for many years. Yet it was the dwarf-exiles of Erebor that settled here and rebuilt the walls under the leadership of Thráin and Thorin.

    As the years lengthened a terrible darkness crept into the lands and rumours flourished of the rise of the Dark Tower once more that had long lain dormant in the land of Mordor. The Dwarves of Gondamon remained vigilant against the return of the Dourhands but they were never great in number.

    Indeed, even as the voices of the council meeting between Núri and his kinsmen and the Elves still echoed in the ruined elf halls of Haudh Lin the enemy was now stirring and on the move. Small bands of goblins and dourhands had already been turned back from the very feet of the walls of Gondamon to be harried and scattered by the defenders since the hosts’ arrival there. Yet there was little open battle and scouts brought words each day that the roads east and south were still clear.

    The dwarves set their attention at once to the defenses of the fortress and they labored hard in fortifying the gates as best they could. Tools were plenty among the miners and craftsmen of Gondamon and in this way the Dwarves narrowed the approach to each gate to the width of three persons abreast.

    The Elves stood watch looking out the walls in somber silence, quietly awaiting the battle that all were sure to come. The low lands lay dim beneath the lofty walls, fading away towards the darkened peaks of Rath Teraig. From there a great darkness seemed to flow that hid the rising sun each morning and a fell dread fell upon the Elves.

    The fifth morning dawned to but a dim sparkle of light and the air was heavy with dread and approaching doom. Wearily the Dwarves and Elves took up positions at the gates and walls, for most had slept fitfully and little. Then suddenly, there came the sounds of fierce cries in the gloom. In the darkness drums rolled and fires leapt up. From the lofty walls could be seen file upon file of goblins bearing many torches. Wild dourhands bearing banners followed closely behind, shouting with harsh tongues as they went. And they were not alone; scores of wargs prowled among the marching ranks and companies of hill-trolls roared all about like great beasts.

    As the wind blew, the defenders answered as trumpets sang and arrows filled the air. Upon the highest platform of the fortress was gathered the leaders of Dwarves and Elves. To one side stood Núri and his kinsmen. Their axes were tipped with fiery red as the first rays of the dim light stained the snow clouds above. On the other was gathered a smaller group of Elves; fair were their faces and their eyes and hair glimmered despite the darkness, yet all were gravely silent.

    Núri strode forward and lifted a mailed hand, then hailed the gathered host. For a long moment, he said not a word, but gazed at the throng with bright eyes. At last he spoke aloud.

    ‘Long has this dark day filled my thoughts,’ he began, looking from dwarf to elf slowly, a deep fire lit in his bright eyes. ‘And long have I deliberated ere I called for this war. Our folk cannot hope to press the enemy, only to find after death and ruin at our backs. So the battle begins here today! We all may well not be able to return to our halls and homes in safety after this day. So numerous is the enemy that have begun to gather. And news of our arrival here has spread among them. Even now a great host has begun its march here and carrion birds follow in their wake, so eager to share the spoils.’

    A single dwarf stepped forward and lifted his axe above his head. ‘They will not grow hungry,’ answered General Basalt grimly. ‘Though they will feast upon goblin flesh this night!’ There came a low murmuring from the other dwarves as they turned to nod at one another.

    The Elves stood mute and unmoving, most turning their gazes down in silence. Barabin only lifted his head to gaze deeply at Núri, his eyes filled with a smouldering light. Calithileth stood beside him, a darkness passing over her fair face as she listened to the words of the dwarf.

    ‘Here stands twenty of our folk, and our Elves allies,’ continued Núri, as he turned his gaze to the sky, which was black and sunless and full of dark. ‘Yet that is but a remnant of those that marched long ago with Gil-galad, the High King, in the Last Alliance. Our people have diminished and scattered. But though we are so few, we are Durin's Folk; the blood of Durin still runs true in our hearts, unbroken.’

    Tolfi nodded, his face brimming with pride as he listened, not taking his eyes from Núri. ‘For Durin!’ cried Basalt and a throaty cheer rose up from the other dwarves as one.

    The cheer fell away as Núri lifted his mailed hand and called for silence. He then spoke anew. ‘Yet we cannot hope to long defend Gondamon, for we have not the strength. The outer walls stretch from the north, round to the west and then to the south. And it is pierced by three gates. We shall not be able to stand at bay at all three at once. Thus, in this dark before the dawn, we shall join as one and turn from one assault to the next, and not thin our ranks. Here we stand, we must stand!’

    At once the throng of dwarves parted as a Mathi Stouthand, Lord of Gondamon, strode forward. All fell silent as Mathi planted his axe upon the stone at his feet and cried out in a deep voice. ‘Gondamon has been a free city so long as I have ever known. The Dourhand wish to take that from you. To take your homes, and slaughter your families! But I say not today. I say we stand. I say we fight!’

    A rousing cheer rose from the ranks of Durin’s Folk and the dwarves clashed axe and sword to shield with deafening cries. The Elves too raised their fair voices in song even as Mathi called out once more.

    ‘Now to the walls! We defend Gondamon to our last breath!’

    With a blare of trumpets, the throng sprang down as one from the platform. So began the Siege of Gondamon, a most terrible and hopeless battle. The hatred for the Dwarves and Elves had wrought a mighty alliance between dourhand and goblin and resolute was their purpose to win that day and scatter their enemy to the winds. To the western gate the defenders flew and took their places and it was not long before the first of the enemy surged up towards the gate with hurrying feet.

    It was the Elves, led by Istoril, that was the first to charge. Their spears and swords shone with a pale light and their voices rang on in resounding song as the Elves fell upon the ranks of dourhands that now swept through the narrow gateway. Elven archers sent showers of arrows thick into the air, each flickering as they fell upon the advancing enemy. The Elves bit deep into the ranks of the enemy, and none could withstand their might. At once the dourhands began to falter and the stone under the gate ran black with blood.

    But there came a clamour of hoarse cries from beyond the gate. The enemy parted and fell back as a fresh company of dourhands marched solemnly through the gate, and with them came fire and flame. The Elf, Barabin, cut down a dourhand before him then turned his gaze at the approaching enemy. At once he saw the new danger, for these were Dourhand flamewrights, dreadful workers of blazing confections.

    Gathering the Elven warriors to him, Barabin charged headlong into the company, his glittering sword rising and falling as he hewed at them. Through the flamewrights cleaved the Elves and Barabin was at the forefront. Flames arose among the dourhands and fell onto the Elves with stinging fire and yet the Eldar did not falter. Surrounded by the dourhands on all sides, Barabin laughed aloud even as the leader of the enemy strode forward to match the Elf.

    The dourhand chieftain leapt forward, striking out with flame and axe, yet the stroke sprang back from the Elf’s fine mesh of mail upon his breast. At once, the Elf seemed to grow in stature over the dourhand and his sword glinted with a radiance of its own. Barabin called out and threw down the flamewright leader. It was dread that now came over the enemy and the dourhands began to flounder and turn to flee through the gateway.

    Yet even as the dourhands gave ground and fell back to the gate, the Elves did not pursue them, for more of the enemy was fast coming up from further down the road. Barabin called for his Elves to his side and all fell silent as he gazed out to the new arrivals.

    The approach of a mass of goblins renewed the hearts of the dourhands and they now turned from flight and let forth harsh cries. They steeled their ranks for another charge as the goblins took positions in their midst. Wicked banners were unfurled above their heads as the enemy surged forward in a rolling mass.

    But there now rose from behind the Elves sounds. With deep cries, the Dwarves drove through the thinned ranks of the Elves to fall upon the enemy at the gates. At their lead was Rurir and the enemy was at once beset by Dwarves who cleaved all that did not give ground. With cries of ‘Moria! Moria!’ the Dwarves hewed all that stood their ground before the onslaught. Panic swept through the ranks of the enemy even as some were already flying back through the gate to escape the fierce Dwarven onslaught.

    And so the fighting waxed and waned back and forth and the din of arms rose high above the walls of Gondamon. The air was filled with the cries of Dwarves and the singing of Elves, the bellowing of the dourhands and the hoarse shouts of goblins. The battle swayed endlessly from one gate to another as first one then countless other assaults were brought to bear against the fortress.

    The defense of the western gate had halted the first swift stroke of the enemy and the assault utterly scattered and thrown back. Yet this was only the opening blow; the enemy fell back before the gates to rally nearer the base of the wall. There they rallied for the defenders dared not venture out to pursue them. And soon the battle turned more grim and fortune turned against the Dwarves and Elves; for new strength came now streaming to the field from the east and out of Rath Teriag.

    Though it was well past dawn the sky was utterly dark and, for a moment, the stillness of the heavy air forebode a terrible coming. The defenders at the gates leaned wearily upon their axe and spear gazing out over the low lands beneath the lofty walls. Suddenly a cry arose from the watchers atop the towers, for a there now came a new sight of fear and all hope seemed lost.

    The deep clouds were seared by a blinding flash and lightning smote the ground about the walls. For the briefest of moments, all could see the lands below the walls boiling and crawling with dark shapes. Brazen trumpet sounded as the host surged forward towards the southern gate once more. There the largest of the goblins and the wild dourhands had mustered. Lightning flashed in the air illuminating the ghastly symbols blazoned upon their shields as the host reached the summit of the road and drove towards the gate.

    A storm of arrows met the onrush; the enemy wavered and fell back then charged up the slope once more. As an oncoming tide the horde swept up towards the gate only to be thrown back; and yet each time they gained another step higher.

    Istoril and Barabin stood together in the shadows of the gate. Raising their voices in song, their sword and bow flashed with glittering light. Gathering their brethren to them, the two hurled themselves upon the dourhands before the gate; the attack was fierce and the dourhands turned to fight; but their ranks were broken and they were swept down from the gate.

    For a moment, the Elves halted at the gate, watching the enemy flee back down the slope as lightning flickered far above. ‘Catch your breath, mellyn,’ said Istoril to Barabin, his face pale and shaken. ‘The enemy will give no quarter.’

    This seemed true for already a great press of goblins and dourhands had begun to gather again at the foot of the walls. At once the assault on the gate was redoubled. Goblins and dourhands swarmed up the slope in even greater numbers. The Elves stood resolute at the gate against the onrush; many of the enemy was thrown down but endless more replaced them. Before the gate the dead and broken littered the ground and still the enemy came on.

    The Elves stood weary in a brief respite; their arrows were nearly spent, their swords and spears notched and armour riven. The enemy had fallen back to gather their strength; twice they charged up and twice they had been thrown back with great loss; yet this was only a drop in the vast sea of enemy strength and more were hurrying up to press the attack once more.

    On they came up to the gate and like a great storm the enemy broke upon the thinned ranks of the Elves; at Istoril’s side, Calithileth was thrown back and felled as a dourhand chieftain smote the elf down with cruel strokes of his axe. The Elves lost heart and slowly were pressed back through the gate.

    Then a clamour arose through the gate behind. It was Núri and his kinsmen who had gathered silently just within the gate. With fierce cries that echoed round the walls, the Dwarves drove through the Elves and into the oncoming ranks of dourhands and goblins. In one voice they cried ‘Durin! Durin!’ as they hewed down with their axes and hammers all who stood in their way.

    The battle before the gate was terrible to behold; the enemy was thrown back with great loss but rallied and came again. The Dwarves stood among the Elves as the rush fell upon the gate again; there Tolfi fell grievously wounded to the stabs of snickering goblins. For long moments, the battle swayed to and fro; yet the enemy was floundering and soon gave way before the Dwarves and Elves. All before the gate were slain or driven shrieking back down the slope.

    But the peace did not last, for the defenders turned their gaze further down from the gate where yet another great mass was forming. Lightning flashed in the skies as wicked banners were unfurled and trumpets blared. The throng did not come at once up the road, but parted as a lone figure came through the ranks with slow deliberate steps. A tall and evil shape it was, clad in livery of deepest blue. This was no goblin or dourhand, but the Emissary of War, a man of wicked Angmar and he was crueler than any Orc.

    With deafening cries the enemy surged towards the gate and the Dwarves and Elves formed up into a semi-circle of bristling axe and spear. The dourhands led the attack howling like wild beasts as they fell upon the defenders like crashing waves.

    To one side stood Núri and Basalt over the fallen form of their kinsman, Tolfi, defending him with shield and axe. The dourhands before them were scattered and Basalt cried out as he plunged into the ranks of the oncoming goblins that now passed through their fleeing allies. But he could pierce their ranks and the dwarf gave ground as the bodies of the enemy piled in heaps before him.

    At once, there came cries shouts from the enemy and they parted. Through the throng came a lone figure, the Emissary; he seemed to have grown in stature and a pale light gleamed from his hooded eyes. With his voice raised the Man of Angmar cried aloud in a dreadful shriek, speaking forgotten words of power; twice he cried out his hands outstretched to the darkened sky.

    Then he turned his cruel eyes towards the gate, a great menace of despair. Red fires shone from his hood and let forth a deadly laughter. The Emissary fell upon his enemy, and many were felled at once as dismay spread through the Dwarves and Elves and they fell back. Nothing could withstand him and their weapons seemed could not bite him; all seemed lost.

    Many of the Dwarves and Elves lay slain about the gate or had fallen back under the terrible visage of the Emissary. Yet a few still stood; there was Istoril and Barabin, their fair hair gleaming and waving in the dim light. And with them were Núri and Basalt and those of their kin who had not yet faltered. Basalt openly wept at his kinsmen who lay silent at his feet and he raised his axe high and cried out.

    Undaunted, the Emissary rose up, tall and threatening and fell upon them, his voice crying out like piercing daggers. Again and again the Dwarven and Elven axes and swords rose and fell as they forced a great ring round their terrible foe. Hemni struck out with an axe blow and cried aloud, clutching his chest, a white-hot fire seeping into his innards. Beside him a fair elf was felled by a wide sweep of the Emissary’s blade and spoke no more.

    To be continued…

  17. #17
    And so now has come the terrible battle at Gondamon, where Durin's Folk and their elven allies will stand before the might of the Dourhands. We set the skirmish at level 30 and Tier 3; this was done because despite that we had characters as high as level 80, we also had characters as low as level 25.

    I thought at first that the skirmish would be very easy. It was not; the normal mobs possessed increased Morale and damage-causing capabilities, as well as their sheer numbers were drastically increased for a 12-man skirmish. Worse still were the Lieutenants, who were quite powerful even against our highest level members. In fact, the Emissary of War was intially impervious to all our blows and strikes, and dealt out deadly damage as we swarmed round him trying to slay him.

    And though the battle was only half way through, we had suffered two fallen companions already. Should we survive? We will have to wait and see!


  18. #18

    The Siege of Gondamon - Part Two

    All about the west gate, the enemy raged and broke like oncoming waves onto the thinning ranks of the defenders. Many a dwarf or elf lay silent and unmoving on the stone at the very feet of their companions. In the fronts ranks of the enemy stood the Emissary of War, his dire voice raised in terrible song. His minions swarmed about the Elves and Dwarves that stood beneath the gate, sweeping up unceasingly, and their voices made even the boldest blench. Some there were so unmanned that they could neither turn to flee back through the gate or lift their blade or axe to each blow.

    Then Istoril gave a great shout; ‘Elbereth! Elf and Dwarf rally!’ and he spurred forward, rising up in the deep darkness before the gate. But few followed him; for the defenders quailed and grew sick in the shadow of the Emissary and many cast their weapons to the ground, not daring to approach.

    Through the press of Dourhands strode forward a darkly form; the Emissary let forth a chilling laugh and turned his cold gaze to the Elf. A blackness seemed to fall over the proud face of Istoril as the Emissary fell upon the Elf with a cry and flame. But Istoril did not falter; with a searing light, he raised his sword above his head and cried aloud. His eyes blazed a fierce light as the Emissary smote flames down upon him and hewed with his cruel axe with both hands.

    Tall and threatening seemed the Emissary as he smote the Elf with his cleaving axe, his voice crying out with dripping hatred. Istoril stumbled as his sword rang out to meet the evil axe, and he fell to one knee. With victorious laughter, the Emissary drew his axe back for a final stroke, his dark eyes glittering with unwholesome light.

    But there came another voice as Barabin flew at the enemy; The Emissary’s blow went wide and struck the stone. Barabin cried aloud as his spear point passed through the blue raiment of the enemy. The Emissary let out a shuddering cry as he slipped to the ground that faded over the battlefield with a shrill wailing.

    Barabin bent to lift Istoril slowly from where he fell, and then turned to gaze with surprise as the foes before the gate. With a clamour of dismay the hosts of Dourhands and goblins were turning and fleeing back from the gate, snarling and sniveling as they went. Wonderment overcame the Elves in joy and their voices were raised in song.

    From closer to the gate there came a great shout; at once there came Núri and Basalt, and some of their kinsmen. Basalt’s arm hung loose at his side and red stained his forehead; but his eyes were bright and fierce.

    ‘A breath only,’ said Núri wearily as he bowed before the Elves. ‘The enemy does not give up so willing!’

    Istoril gazed down at the solemn dwarf and smiled but said nothing. Núri turned to direct his kinsmen to begin clearing the gate of those fallen comrades; but of the enemy he simply scowled and said. ‘Bah, let the crows feast on their corpses!’

    There now came an uncomfortable lull in the fighting. Towards the center of the stone fortress Istoril and the other Elves had gathered; there he set Barabin in command of his stoutest kindred, stiffened with the Dwarven warriors. A smaller number of defenders were positioned at the gates, but their numbers were few and very well not near to the task that must certainly lay ahead.

    Dawn passed in the darkness that clung like a pestilence over the fortress. Istoril took a stand with Núri and Basalt at the top of the stairs overlooking the fortress below, and each gazed out over their weary kinsmen in the courtyard. There stood also Tolfi, his face ashen and missing was his helm. Terrible was his wounds suffered during the last assault; his axe was notched and his stout mail riven by many blows.

    Long minutes passed when there came suddenly the blare of horns and fierce cries to the west. From the darkness, the Dourhands came on more up to the gate with unexpected speed; this host was much smaller than the others earlier, but far more dangerous. In its van were many goblins and packs of roving wolves. Overhead flew great flocks of evil-looking birds, Crebain, that circled endlessly above.

    ‘We must hold here!’ cried Istoril aloud. ‘Let none pass!’ Yet even as the Elf watched, the enemy fell upon the defenders at the gate and slew or dispersed them; the remaining were utterly swept away and began to fall back in disarray towards the courtyard.

    As the enemy gained possession of the gate, there appeared a company of Dourhands, each ferocious, mail-clad, and armed with axes. They hastened through the shattered gate to assail the ranks of Elves and Dwarves from all sides. At the same time, great numbers of goblins swept through the gate to fall upon the defenders from the south.

    As Núri gazed down, a clamour of battle and the hideous goblin-cries arose the ranks of the enemy. He turned to Basalt and spoke quickly in the tongue of his kind. Basalt said nothing, nodding only. At once, Basalt, taking Tolfi and a few of his kinsmen that stood near him, rushed down the stairs. Straight at the ranks of Dourhands they flew and, so great was their onset, that the Dwarves clove through the enemy, until they reached Barabin at bay in the courtyard. As Basalt came to the Elf’s side, Barabin fell beneath the many blows of the hateful Dourhand axe-men. Basalt hewed in all directions, standing over the body of the Elf, thinking he was dead.

    But it was the turn of the Dourhands to be dismayed; they had watched as the Dwarves came on with a thunder of heavy boots. Few could stand their charge and many fell back towards the ruined gate pursued by a small number of Elves. Cries erupted from the ranks of the enemy as they tried desperately to stem the rout but the Dourhands were caught between the surviving defenders in the courtyard and the onslaught of Basalt. Many were slain and the others fled, leaving their goblin allies facing a now-reinforced rank of bristling spear-points and axes. They too quailed and began to flee from the courtyard.

    A cheer rose from the Elves and Dwarves as they watched the enemy stream back through the gate. But their voices soon faltered and fell away. Far above the fortress, the skies became immeasurably dark and overcast, more dark than even before. A fell wind was moving up from the South; the forerunner of a coming storm that was to burst onto Gondamon.

    With haste, Núri and Istoril cried out with commands and sent forward a small number of their kin to man the western gate; they themselves retreated to the stairs with the greater part of their forces and took positions.

    The attack was not long forthcoming and the first assault fell upon the west gate; this force was only a small part of those the enemy had on hand, but was no more deemed sufficient to dispose of the weakened defenses. But the Elves and Dwarves at the gate resisted stubbornly, though they were greatly outnumbered. At length, however, when the defenders were heavily engaged, a troop of Dourhands now appeared nearer the gate. Their charge overwhelmed the Elves and Dwarves who soon began to flee back from the gate confused and dismayed.

    The enemy did not pause there, but came on with greater speed through the shattered gate, and suddenly all the host burst into flames. Hundreds of torches were kindled from those borne by the leaders of the host and they swept up through the shattered gate like a river of fire with a great clamour of hate.

    The defenders could hold the courtyard in the face of such numbers and fell back to the stairs, forming a great shield wall at its base. On came the hordes and soon the Elves and Dwarveds were surrounded on all sides. The attackers cast torches among them, and some they sent high over the heads of the elves and dwarves, hoping to kindle fires in their ranks. But the shield wall held.

    At that moment there was a wild cry. Goblins were attacking now on either hand of the shield wall as dark shapes flowed from the broke western gate driving towards the stairs. Thus at last the enemy was brought within the courtyard wholly and all seemed lost. Endless numbers were thrown at the shield wall; wave upon wave came on only to be thrown back; but those thrown down were soon replaced by many more.

    At once the sun shone through the veil of clouds over head; for a moment, all turned to stare upwards, believing that they were dreaming or were dizzy with wounds and weariness. But the sun fast disappeared like the slamming of a great door.

    Then the defenders turned to gaze upon the enemy who now began to slowly melt back from the shield wall; not in rout but with steady purposeful steps. At first, the Elves and Dwarves cheered but this soon paled and fell away and dread washed over them. Horns were sounded from beyond the ranks of the enemy and they rang about the walls of the fortress.

    Through the press of the enemy ranks came a lone figure, clad in a corset of brazen plates and in its hands was clutched a wicked hammer of iron. It was a Dourhand, but no ordinary Dourhand he was. Ingithor Blackhand, the foulest of the most foul and the engineer to the siege itself. It was he that had gathered his kinsmen and the goblins together for this battle; he had mustered the ranks of wolves and birds to the host in great numbers. His forces had crushed all but the tiniest remnants of the defenders who now stood at the base of the stairs. And it was his forces that stood on the precipice of complete victory. One more throw and the defenders would be surely overwhelmed.

    But this was not what Ingithor wished; he wished for victory, to be sure, but his greatest desire was to stand over the body of Mathi Stouthand as he threw down his most hated foe with his own hands. And so he now called back his forces even as they were poised for certain victory and strode forward. He planted his long hammer to the stone at his feet and called out in a deep voice.

    ‘Mathi!’ he cried and lifted a hand towards the top of the stairs. ‘Today is the day you and Gondamon fall to the Dourhands! Gondamon will be mine!’

    There was murmuring among the ranks of the defenders as Mathi now strode through his kinsmen to stand beside Núri and Basalt. ‘The Dourhands will never rule Gondamon!’ he shouted in defiance, raising a mailed fist into the air.

    To this Ingithor laughed aloud, as did the hordes that stood behind him. The Dourhand lifted his head to gaze into the sky and cried out in a fell voice. ‘Drake! Come to me!’

    At once a spark of fire flickered among the deep clouds overhead; it swiftly grew in intensity and it began to descend growing ever brighter. Suddenly there came into view a great serpentine form held aloft by spread wings. Nethgarch was its name, a foul brood of dragon-kind. In the depths of the First Age, the great race of dragons was first bred by Morgoth in his dark realm of Angmar. Few survived the fall of Beleriand, and fewer still were as mighty as he.

    The great worm came on; hurtling from the sky with beat of swept wings, and the fire at his jaws licked the darkened skies. The defenders cried aloud in terror at the sight of the great worm and some lost their will and fell to the ground shaking with fear. Breathing a great spout of flame and fire, the dragon landed upon the stone at the top of the stairs with a roar.

    ‘By Durin’s Beard!’ cried Tolfi as he cast his gaze down to the stone in dread.

    ‘A drake!’ shouted Istoril ‘Stand fast!’

    The stone gleamed red as fire beneath the flames spouting from the worm’s massive jaws. Fire leapt from the dragon and scattered the dwarves facing it. And yet not all fled before the terrible worm. A small body of Dwarves stood fast; there stood Núri, and grim was his face. Beside him was Basalt and Tolfi. With a cry, the Dwarves threw themselves at the worm with abandon.

    The dragon roared and with a sweep of his tail, he sent Tolfi reeling back even as Núri and Basalt rushed him. Basalt came first, his great hammer raised high over his grey head. The hammer fell and hewed at the worm’s scales upon its back; yet it swiftly sprang back as if striking hard stone. The dragon reared its head and howled in pain, with a rush of breath, the dragon unleashed a storm of flame down upon the dwarf. For a moment, Basalt disappeared in a conflagration of fire.

    But as the flames swept into the air, there stood Basalt. Dark smoke rose from his blackened mail and singed beard, but a bright gleam was in his eyes. At once, Basalt struck again and the hammer tore through the worm’s wing; Nethgarch shrieked aloud in pain and rage, as fire belched from his jaws and he stamped his massive feet upon the stone.

    The worm’s red eyes flared and his white fangs gleamed and he turned his long neck and head to glower at the dwarf with deep hatred. With a roar, Nethgarch dove at him, his jaws agape, preparing to take the dwarf with a single bite.

    Basalt hefted his hammer tightly with both hands and drew back. But at the last moment there appeared Núri from one side. He swung his axe in a wide arc, forcing the great worm to rear its head back with a shuddering shriek. Its horrible scream rattled the dwarves’ ears and filled their heads with pain. Núri staggered dizzily back then lashed out once more.

    The dragon turned first to Núri then Basalt as the dwarves’ axe and hammer rose and fell. Núri’s ancient axe struck the dragon’s neck and it flowed with black blood. Desperately, the dragon snapped its massive jaws at the dwarf only to roar in fury and great pain as Basalt struck once then twice with his hammer.

    So fierce was the blows that the worm rose up, its wings beating the air and its shrieking split the stone beneath it. The worm’s eyes flared then began to grow dim. Then Nethgarch tottered and crashed to the stone with a spout of fire from its jaws in ruin.

    Elsewhere the battle has only begun, for even as the great worm descended upon the scattering Dwarves, Ingithor Blackhand strode up the steps to where Mathi Stouthand stood among the Elves. Hefting his great hammer with both hands, the Dourhand laughed in an evil voice.

    ‘You will die an unknown!’ he said with much hatred. ‘You have fought well, but in the end, the Dourhand will be triumphant! Today, Gondamon falls; tomorrow, Thorin's Hall will be ours!’

    The young Elves that stood with Istoril and Barabin clutched their spears and bows with shaken hands as the Dourhand broke onto them as a relentless tide of hatred and malice. Ingithor struck out with his hammer and an elf staggered back before the might of the enemy and fell clutching his heart and made no more sound. The other Elves swarmed round the Dourhand general and with nimble grace struck at him with sword and spear.

    But the blows seemed to do little to the Dourhand and his voice roared as he hewed over and over. Then, with a swirling beat of his hammer, he drove back the Elves and leapt at Mathi. Ingithor turned aside Mathi’s axe and struck out. The dwarf cried aloud and fell to the stone; his arm hung shattered and loose and the axe slipped from his feeble fingers.

    With a fell laughter, Ingithor raised his hammer high for the final stroke. But then there came a great shout from behind as Núri and Basalt threw themselves at the Dourhand. The Elves turned to see the arrival of the Dwarves and they broke out in song and fell back into the fray.

    It was now Ingithor who found himself surrounded by foes. He struck out over and over, but there were too many. Blow upon blow was struck and the Dourhand roared in pain and hatred. At once all fell silent; for a brief moment, the Elves and Dwarves stood motionless, their weapons raised for another blow. At their feet lay Ingithor and he spat out blood onto the stone then shuddered and lay his head down.

    There arose neither song nor word from the Elves or Dwarves; they gazed down upon the unmoving body of their foe in deep sorrow. Ingithor bore many wounds and his mail was rent and hammer notched. Then his eyes fluttered, a deep fire burning deep within but it swiftly began to fade.

    The Dourhand feebly raised his head and laughed, gazing straight at Mathi. ‘I spit my last breath at you, Mathi!’ He then fell at once quiet and said no more.

  19. #19
    And so The Siege of Gondamon has been broken and the plans of Ingithor Bkachand utterly thwarted! As I mentioned before, the setting of the level of the skirmish had brought me to believe that there would be little risk or threat during the battle. And yet, even set at 30th level, the mobs proved to be quite powerful. We faced more waves of mobs than I have Ever seen during a skirmish and the lieutenants were by no means weak and helpless. We faced off against the powerful Emissary of War who was immune for a good portion of the fight frowm any of our blows, but he was not alone. We faced off against a great number of lieutenants, including a terrible troll, a mostrous warg and even a dragon (other than Nethgarch).

    The final battle was not easy either - despite their lowered levels, Nethgarch and Ingithor proved worthy opponents and certainly made us work for the victory we gained!

    But now we must turn our gaze to the fortress of Sarnur and the final battle that lay ahead as Durin's Folk seeks to win the final victory there over the dreaded worm, Brúllug.




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