A few loose ends
Daeron, Durin and Berwin all returned from the mountain retreat, arriving back in Marbelain just ahead of the setting Sun. They met with Jarl to report the goblin tunnels near to Mount Hook and of the potential spy that had been in Marbelain. They also handed to him the ring that they believed belonged to the Cerulean guard, but to whom he informed them was actually part of the Heraldry to the House of Fram. He did take it though and promised to put it on display within the Guard House for any to come see.
Finally returning to Lady Rena they spent a peaceful night, resting from their long journey. Durin wandered over to the Golden Lion to see what was going off in town, but only met a cold reception as the tavern was taken up by out of town merchants discussing business. To put it bluntly, it may as well have been a tavern full of Striders.
They met then the next morning with Thorondir to split the wealth they had found and decided upon the next course of action. Of pressing concern was the ill feeling that had settled over the Northern woods. Having seen from the Jagged path another clearing, they decided to investigate that. But wanted a full days of light to do it.
For the rest of the day the group slit. Berwin went back to the smithy to do some work, as did Durin to his stone masons. Meanwhile, Daeron returned to the library and did what research he could. He found that the woods hadn’t always been there, at one point the land has been totally cleared away to make room for the marble industry. However it had always been an area of ill repute and gradually the township shrunk back, making way for the wood that grew on out. Thorandir however went to see Burchest, wanting to make plans to stay at their farm as the nearest place to camp for the Woods. He welcomed their visit and asked only for a little notice before they did it.
Not wanting to be hasty in matters they decided to have one more day in town with the plan to go stay with Burchest the next day. However… things don’t always go to plan.
To the sound of Belethorn shriek in the middle of the night, Durwin and Thorondir rose from their beds.
As Thorondir had got trapped in town with the closing of the gate, and so subsequently stayed at Lady Dalla’s brothel, he staggered out into the street unsure what was happening, along with many other townsfolk who heard the cry.
Meanwhile Durin called for Shadow and asked the Raven to fly up and see what had happened. When it returned Shadow informed Durin that Belethorn was by the fountain in front of the council chamber. As the three got changed into their arms and armour, the bell tower at the council chamber started to sound the alarm.
The four met by the council building, finding a few member of the Cerulean guard out, along with members of the voluntary militia that had started thanks to Berwins donation. Belethorn was alive though clearly downed with arrows sticking out of him.
A hurried conversation revealed that Orc like creatures were attacking the farms and that the Guard had already gone out to fight them. The Doctor checked with Daeron that the arrows weren’t Orcish black arrows. Relieved that they were not they each wished each other well and the party made for the gate to the town.
Meeting with Jarl who was giving out battle orders, he dispatched the group to the North. Orcs hadn’t been seen there yet, but they couldn’t risk a pincer attack from the North while the guard skirmished with the orcs that were coming from the Southern ruins.
As they left they saw Jarl getting infuriated by a small group that had come out lightly armed and armoured. Clearly telling them to turn back, they just walked past him to the Guard Captains fury.
The group went up to the Northern farms. On the way they stumbled across most of the families who had came on out to the bridge with their attack dogs and seemed to be holding ground. They revealed that they had seen Orcs and had tried to get message back to Jarl that an attack was coming. Adamant they wanted to stay, it was Thorondir who used his regal authority to command them back to the gate.
Having been tipped off by the group to the location of Erik who was still trying to rally farmers and get them out of their home, they headed further North. Eventually they spied the movement of orcs, and could see the burning remains of Burchests home. More to their concern was the light at Eriks farm and the moving shape of Orcs towards it.
Berwin charged ahead on her stead, leaping the stone wall and getting to the aid of Erik who stepped out of his home to be assailed by three Orcs. Armed he held his own, cutting one of them, while his huge wolfhound Jasper jumped another. Berin arrived and with a swing of her sword beheaded one of them.
However as the other two arrived, the fighting had attracted more orcs and he soon turned into a full melee. However by the end the orcs lay dead, while Erik and the group had only suffered minor injuries. Erik was the worst of them all and so was put on the back of Berwin horse and sent back to the gate, Jasper following along.
Hoping they could still save their favourite friendly rancher, they hurried over to his abode. They checked the barn, releasing several distressed and slightly singed animals. It was luckily spotted that he had a cellar under his house and having found the hatch they opened it up. Daeron and Thorondir descended on in and searched the smoke ridden cellar for Burchest or his family.
The man himself was found by Daeron and his keen elven eyes. Dragging him out they cleared his lungs of smoke and helped him recover. A little out of it he was at least able to inform them his family had already got out and it was only him that had got trapped in the cellar. Angered at the loss of his farm though, he took up a shovel and stormed off with the party trailing behind. There was no deterring him.
Where darkness dwells
To end the nights tragedy, things took a much darker twist.
Berwin found herself taking Burchest back, while the other investigated a sudden strange noise from a barn. Thorondir stumbled on in and came face to face with the Morgh. Two cow bodies lay on the floor, dishevelled and without their heads. The last one had also had it’s head torn off while the Morgh held the body and it’s ungodly tongue suckled on the blood that came out.
A call to charge by Thorondir and the three stormed in to fight the abomination. As the fight came on, small demi-Morghs clawed their way out of the cow carcasses and tried to sink their small bony claws into the combatants.
The fight waned on and the creature was badly hurt, two of it’s children lay scattered over the floor. Sadly it was then that allies came, more of the undead orcs burst on in. The Morgh took it’s change and grabbed it’s last remaining spawn. Daeron bravely tried to take the shot to finish the creature, but the shadow intervened to save the abomination.
Durin was knocked unconscious, Thorondir was near mortally wounded and so it fell to Daeron to save the day. But shadow crept into his heart and he felt ill will at the failing of those around him. In anger he slew the last of the shambling orcs and then he claimed his prize.
Berwin found them as Daeron carried Thorondir out, and between them all four got back to the gate in one piece. However Daeron, who now had the Sword Kings Jewel wrapped around his scabbard, took leave of them all and went to Berwins forge. There he stoked the fire, and with ancient Elven smiting techniques, set the Jewel into the hilt of his own sword, forever claiming it.