The party began this adventure at around 4am with Rhosgobel on the horizon on the 29th of March TA 2955, they had travelled 8 days since the morning of the orc attack and those 8 days had been long and tiresome. With little to eat the party were all in a foul mood and all had short tempers. (Bad arrival roll resulting in number 3: Arrival in Poor Spirits giving disadvantage on all ability checks pertaining to social interaction until they pass one.)
As they could see the break in the trees from a distance and a small amount of smoke rising from the clearing it was clear that it was a settlement and as they started to approach Olaf stopped the group and suggested that after they had been turned away in Lothlórien that they should come up with a believable reason why they were on the road together and suggested they could be cartographers or even walking stick salesmen since they had the hobbit walking sticks, Nain was soon fed up of this and decided he was going to go and just bang his axe on the gate.
As soon as the rest of the party noticed that Nain was marching off towards to gate of the settlement Duilin chased after him and tackled him to the ground to stop him. The rest of the party ran over and after a short discussion just decided they would go and speak to the people of the settlement and plead their case for shelter, especially given that Ted Took was not able to walk and had been carried by Belegorn for the last 8 days.
From the outside the structure looked like a wooden fortress with high log walls and a large wooden gate, Nain had been marching towards the door almost running and Olaf had to run to beat him to the door not even noticing that Duilin had tripped and fell whiles trying to run to the gate. Olaf banged four times on the door with his clenched fist and waited a few moments…… nothing…… So Olaf banged again on the door and this time said “Excuse me, can you help us please.” There were some footsteps on the other side of the gate and a hatch at eye height was pulled open and through the gap in dim fire light Olaf could see a very thick faced and hairy face looking at him “what do you want?” it asked and Olaf tried to explain how desperate they were for help only to be told to come back in the morning and as he was about to slam to hatch Nain offered him 6 gold to let us in.
The gate swung open and the large man said “come on then quickly, I could lose my job for this, you will need to speak with the Chief tomorrow but for tonight you can sleep on the floor in the gatehouse but given that you all seem to be heavily armed you will need to surrender those weapons.” All but Nain handed over their weapons in a heart beat as they were too tired to complain and after a short time Nain handed over his too and they were led into the gatehouse to spend the night. Within minutes they were all led out on the floor and sound asleep with a roof over their heads for the first time in 84 days.
The morning came and each of the party woke to find the sharp head of an axe just inches away from their heads. They party were questioned by the guards and after they explained they had paid the doorman to let them in last night and were unarmed and not a threat they were told they would be taken to the Chief to decide their fate.
In daylight it was clear to see that what looked like a small fortress from the outside was clearly a small town on the inside with lots of women and children going around doing the daily routine, some did stare as the group were walked through but most paid little or no attention to them as they were marched a large set of stairs leading up to what they assumed must be the Chiefs quarters. Outside of the wooden structure were a set of huge Ash Pillars totems with the shape of Badgers, Hawks and Bears carved into them.
Olaf and his companions were marched up the steps and into the large room, the floor was covered with bear and badger skins and in the middle of the room a huge chair carved from wood and sat in the chair with wild red hair and a shagged red beard was the largest man Olaf had ever seen, next to the man was a large War Axe that was probably a Ted Took and a half in Length and looked far more dangerous than the wood chopping axes that was wielded by the guards.
The tower of a man stood up approached the group and began to question them about who they were and what they were doing here. Olaf explained they were here out of desperation and would not have come otherwise, he went on to tell the story about the orcs that had attacked them 8 days ago and the river troll the day before that and gave as much information as he could remember though the chief didn’t seem to believe him until Duilin stepped in and was able to convince him.
One by one with the exception of Edrahil the party were questioned with Belegorn being last and trying to be as intimidating as he could that only made the large man laugh. He seemed happy with our story and introduced himself as Grumfold the Chief of the village and after a little more conversation and Duilin offering our services to the town in return for being able to stay for a small time a deal was agreed.
The deal was that most nights the town was attacked from the east by giant spiders and that there was a nest near by and so if we can destroy the nest then we can stay as long as we require. Duilin agreed this and so we began preparations as we had been on the road for a long time Grumfold suggested we should take a couple of days to regain our strength before we undertook the quest and the party agreed and so spent the next few days resting about the town and regaining full strength.
For the first time since the party set out they were able to have a fellowship phase and so were able to complete some undertakings:
Olaf was in a rush to find out more about the local areas and what he could find to help and so he decided to Research Lore and his 3 questions were:
What herbs grow close by?
What wild animals live in the area?
Are there any dangerous plants in the area?
In his rush he was not paying as much attention as he should have been (very bad roll even with advantage) and found out that the most common herb to the area is Thyme, the animals are spiders, badgers, bears, hawks, deer and a strangely large amount of butterfly’s and that there was a plant that grew in the area called Mirkwood weeping cap and that it was very dangerous, though he had no idea what it looked like.
Edrahil decided that he wanted to help the people with his song and so he sang relaxing songs of calmer times to the town folk and this in turn helped him to feel more relaxed with the good he was doing for the people and was able to lower his shadow corruption
Duilin spent his time training the watchmen to improve their archery skills and seeing the hope on the faces of the men he was training brought hope to him and he was able to lower his shadow corruption.
Belegorn also spent time training the guards and militia the way of the sword and shield. he had what he felt was a life changing moment. In standing up for himself in the meeting with Grumfold it made him realise it’s sometimes good to be bold. So he gained a new trait and is now Bold and determined.
Nain was able to find the blacksmiths and invested some of his own gold into improving the equipment, he helped forge tools and other items that would benefit the locals and make their smiths much more effective and this in turn reduced Nain’s shadow corruption.
Ted Took took the time to get fully rested, he was in a bad way when we arrived at the sanctuary and not even able to walk (Level 5 exhaustion) so all of his time was spent in recovery and was able to fully recover.
The party ready then ready themselves to clear the spiders nest.
Below is a copy of the journal kept by Olaf to record his journey.
Part 8 can be found here.