Middle Earth: Sunset of the Fourth Age

Blues No More

...another one bites the dust

We return to the thick of battle, our heroes having just charged through an ambush on the road south of the castle.

Bo is in mid-transformation, his body morphing into that of a large bear. A large, angry bear. In so doing, he falls from his horse to the ground. The horse takes off in a panic, wild with fear at the sudden appearance of such a dangerous predator.

Strongwülf, having just barely jumped the stream that the Blue Wizard had created across the road, clumsily dismounts as well, taking a moment to re-orient himself.

Araphor, Guthwyn, and Sansa all turn their mounts around to re-engage the mages and wizard on the road. Araphor slowly approaches the wizard, beginning a spell. Sansa and Guthwyn charge the mages that flank the maia, scoring solid hits, Sansa felling one. They all manage to avoid being shocked by Bo’s sudden transmogrification, as well.

The wizard waves his arm, and the ground around him turns to quicksand, forcing Strongwülf to move for more solid footing. He recovers quickly, however, and readies his axe with alacrity, but the maia dodges his swing.

Bo is pummeled by ice bolts and arrows as he finishes his metamorphosis, and he roars loudly with rage.

Suddenly Nwalme, who had been lying unconscious on the road, awakens and teleports to his feet.

Guthwyn jumps down from her saddle, drawing her broadsword and sending Arod to gather the horses and attack the archers. She swings at a nearby mage, her aim uncannily true, but the blow is weak.

Sansa mirrors Arod’s move, charging for the archers on the unattached flank. The bodyguard and horses sow death and discord among the lightly-armored elves, forcing them to scatter as they deal with both them and the angry ursine.

The maia’s blue eyes go wide in shock as Nwalme rises up to threaten him. He attempts some sort of magic in his defense, but in his haste it fizzles completely. Nwalme grabs him by the throat and Death Touches him, all while shrugging off an ice bolt from one of the mages.

The bear (Bo) is hammered still more by ice bolts and arrows, keeping his feet by sheer will. Still keeping his wits, he focuses his ire on the biggest threat – the wizard. Swiping at the maia with a massive claw, he only manages to score a glancing blow as the wizard somehow partially dodges.

While the Blue Wizard is distracted by the bear, Strongwülf takes aim from behind him, and with a mighty swing nearly takes off the maia’s leg.

Guthwyn presses her attack, going for the vitals on the mage that she’s been attacking.

Nwalme realizes that the maia is much colder than he was before, and that his crippled leg isn’t quite as limp as it should be, suggesting some accelerating healing. He uses Death Touch again, to really make the wizard miserable.

Three mages remain standing. One hurls an ice bolt at the bear, which shatters harmlessly on its thick fur. Another tries to animate the grass to entangle Guthwyn, but she manages to avoid it. The third mage, however, opts for discretion and runs off.

The archers are in disarray, attacking the horses or trying to disengage. Arod continues to lead his cavalry to attack, as well as avoid arrow fire. Sansa gets a free shot as the archers disengage, she uses it well.

Finally, Araphor activates his ring of haste, closing the distance to the wizard just as his Dehydrate spell goes off. It doesn’t appear to cause much damage, however. His spell spent, Araphor quickly draws his sword, viciously stabbing twice at the maia’s vitals from the back of his horse.

Bo throws himself at the maia, putting all of strength into his claw, but fails to connect. StrongWülf is similarly ineffective, his axe missing the maia in the chaos.

Guthwyn finally fells the mage she’s been fighting with a skillful stab to the vitals, and looks to turn her attentions elsewhere, while Nwalme yet again Death Touches the wizard.

A massive ice bolt slams into the bear, from the one remaining mage, behind him. Araphor charges past the melee with the wizard and rides after that mage just as Bo goes berserk. The bear rises up and roars in pain and fury, and also turns toward the mage. Araphor stays ahead of him and circles around, and the bear turns the elf into a fine red paste.

StrongWülf and Guthwyn continue to swing their blades against the Blue Wizard. Strongwülf again misses completely, but Guthwyn manages to land a solid blow. Nwalme again Death Touches the Istari, his grip tight, and the maia’s eyes turn from brilliant blue to an orange-grey color.

Sansa and the horses continue taking down archers, and Araphor comes around to join them, riding down the line, his blade flashing.

The elven mage no longer a threat, the raging bear turns his attention to the archers as well – or perhaps is following Araphor, it isn’t clear.

StrongWülf takes a mighty swing at the wizard and connects again, this time nearly lopping off the poor maia’s other leg. The Istari crumples to the ground, Nwalme falling with him, his grip still tight around the wizard’s neck. Guthwyn continues to stab at the defenseless wizard, and Nwalme Death Touches him again. He’s not quite dead, but Nwalme can tell that he’s fading.

The raging bear kills the last of the elven archers, and turns toward the central melee. Seeing the wizard is down, he manages to snap out of his fugue, his focus and control returning. He collapses quickly, as his rage was all that was keeping him upright.

As the Blue Wizard dies finally at Nwalme’s hand, the land goes eerily quiet for a moment… a silence broken as Sansa chases down and tramples the fleeing elven mage.

The enemies routed or slain, the party rests for a moment, tending to their wounds. Nwalme heals most, or at least keeps Bo from dying from his extensive injuries, but he fails to heal himself. As they patch up, Nwalme explains that Sauron’s Shadow had whispered to him when he was unconscious, waking him up. Furthermore, Sauron had taken control of the Blue Wizard once the maia had been severely weakened, and had pleaded with Nwalme to let the Istari live under his control. Nwalme wisely refused, of course.

Our heroes regroup and ponder that bit of the dark one’s machinations while they figure out whether to press on to the camp of the four clans or return to the castle. There are still a number of Huregoths about, after all…

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