As Guthwyn leaned in to slice the throat of the female maia the sounds of the insects and birds of the plains fell silent. This was one of those moments that seemed to cause nature itself to pause. Guthwyn cut the throat of the maia and as her last breath fled from her, a bluish glowing mist rose up from the body and into the air. The silence stretched; the heroes stared. The mist flowed back toward the west, as though the maia’s spirit was reaching out to home and peace, but a breeze kicked up and the mist spread out, dissipating. A few seconds later, a cricket called, and then the symphony of nature resumed.
The consensus was that the dark elves were too dangerous. The party slit throats, except for a single prisoner under the watchful and wary eye of Bo, who delivered a punishing headblow each and every time the prisoner stirred and seemed like he might rise.
Nwalme-Anna and Araphor were too injured and too weary from their magical works to ride immediately, so the party was forced to put them in the cart with the prisoner and Bo on watch. Araphor was able to do first aid on Nwalme as they traveled.
Unsure which way to go, we made for the river, but the cart caused our heroes to have a nagging fear that they would be seen, they would be caught, and they didn’t need to imagine what their enemies would do to them.
After the first aid, Nwalme woke up and a few minutes rest was enough to get Araphor and Nwalme invigorated enough to ride on horseback under their own power. The party was able to ditch the cart and run off twelve exceedingly dim horses.
They made for a defensible location that Strongwülf knew about. There Nwalme was able to interrogate the prisoner. Nwalme’s well-known skill as the Grand Inquisitor was amply demonstrated – he was able to crack the prisoner’s resolve and a wealth of information flowed:
The prisoner was the equivalent of a colonel in the enemy forces, which meant that he had 1000 elves under his charge. (A half regiment.) His knowledge of the leadership was going to prove very useful for us. Unlike other dark elves we questioned, this prisoner was a true believer. There would be no reasoning with him and his knowledge was fought for.
At the sight of the ritual, we had been too late to stop the elves commander from going through the portal with 2,500 battle-hardened elvish troops. They were sent to the other side of the river near the castle where the Empress is currently going.
The other maia is alive and unhurt. He’s heading to a boat to cross the water and meet up with the other troops at the mouth of the river.
Speaking of the other troops: they have over 20,000 elvish troops (10 regiments, for those doing the math at home) and about a half a million orcish troops. The bulk of the orcs are still on this side of the river, bearing down on the water and the empress’s forces.
But while that is awful, that’s nothing compared to the leadership: 400 years ago their Supreme Leader went from being one of their greatest mages to someone indescribably powerful and much more ruthless and cruel. They don’t know what changed him, but they do know that their leader may be strong enough for them to conquer the West and take their rightful lands back from those that have stolen their birthright. The supreme leader has a trusted lieutenant: one of the greatest magic users that the elves have ever had. (And a magic user that specializes in spells that convince others and allow him to learn things that he would have no way of knowing.) The two leaders of the armies are always seen masked and they are always wearing grey/green robes.
Nwalme wracked his brain trying to think of anything that might have happened four hundred years ago that might have factored in or even caused the supreme leader to change, but there had been no sign of it in the west.
The enemies’ plan (at least as known by an underling like the prisoner) are to make their way west and reclaim their rightful inheritance, that had been denied them. They’ll cut off supplies, attack the Empress’ leadership, and coordinate with another attack battalion. Once the forces of the west have been defeated, they’ll give the mountains to the orcs — they so rightly deserve these for what they’ve endured — and then the dark elves will continue on to Valinor and their birthright.
Nwalme was able to cast telepathy upon the prisoner after he had been broken and ‘saw’ the elf’s memories: the supreme leader’s aura was off; it just wasn’t quite elvish. We’re thinking that this might be Sauron. The army leaders are definitely Nazghul.
At this point, Nwalme puts the prisoner to sleep and shared this information with the rest of the party. Once he’s rested from the spells he cast during the interrogation, he tries to reach out to the Empress, even though it is not the pre-arranged time. He fails, but feels a presence watching and paying attention to his attempts to communicate with the empress.
The party rode for the river, expecting hell to rain down upon them. They got to the river, they met up with the hobbits we left there. They shared that something must have happened at the mouth of the river, because there haven’t been any patrols since we left.
We know that elven forces are being sent from the Southern Greenwood as well as the Iron Mountains, but we’re not sure if the Empress was able to muster enough troops to be able to counter the dark elf forces in such a short time — the last three days.