Middle Earth: Sunset of the Fourth Age

Moving On

a new arrival, a valuable captive, and a crisis at the front

The male Blue Wizard is dead. His body turned to water and drained into the ground, leaving behind his clothing and other gear. StrongWülf has his (quite nonmagical) hat, and wears it as a prized trophy. His possessions included a few magic items: a pouch with two pairs of bridge stones, a large powerstone (3-8), and three other flat stones that look like they came out of the ocean.

None of his supporting mages escaped, either; only a handful of archers did. They have scattered into the nearby woods.

StrongWülf is excited to wear the hat, so that he can make others fear him as the slayer of a Blue Wizard. Bo ridicules the hat, and StrongWülf throws a punch that Bo doesn’t quite move fast enough to avoid. Bo responds in kind, but harder. This puts an end to the ridicule and the preening, but no lasting lessons are learned. Undoubtedly StrongWülf’s future will hold more beatings reminders…

Nwalme needs quite a bit of healing, so the group heads to the camp, which is closer than the castle. Our heroes arrive without further incident. There, in the healers’ tent, they obtained healing potions. Disgusting ones. Noxious though they are, they’re enough to get Nwalme to where he can fully heal himself.

Talking with Arādan , we learn that approximately two hours ago – about when we killed the wizard – there was a noticeable restoration of their free thoughts, as if a sort of fog had lifted. Nwalme told them that the Blue Wizard had been casting mind magic on them, which they accept with some surprise and concern, and a renewed desire to move on from the war. They remain skeptical about being able to cross the Anduin, however.

Bo pushes to investigate the magic items to see what what we can use. Nwalme considers using Analyze Magic but it may take too much time. He instead uses Ancient History, hoping to get us something useful in short order.

Nwalme looks at 1000 years of history of the skipping stones. There’s nothing special about them until about a century ago, when they were extracted from the sea. In a decade or four the elves began working on enchanting them. It seems they have some effect that’s activated by rubbing.

While Nwalme is examining the magic stones, Guthwyn, Araphor and StrongWülf do their best to rally the renegade elves to put an end to the nearby Huregoth threat. They note that the Huregoths are nearly out of mages (thanks to our efforts) and that their leaders killed the head of Arādan’s clan. They aren’t willing to attack, but instead offer a cadre of twelve scouts, led by Arādan, to accompany the party and parley.

Nwalme switches to the Analyze Magic spell, as we have some time before we’re able to muster. It’s got a communication spell on it, plus another spell not yet identified. He hasn’t time for more analysis, however, as the parley retinue is ready to depart.

As we approach the woods, Arādan has his scouts spread a bit wide, wary of yet another ambush. We arrive at the camp unmolested, but are stopped short before the commanders’ tent. They insist on speaking only to Arādan, as this group of Empress Guards has been known to be one of their greatest foils. Arādan enters the tent with a pair of scouts, leaving the rest of us to cool our heels closer to the camp’s edge.

As we wait, Bo notes to Nwalme that the Huregoths don’t look as similar to each other – or to Eorcanstan – as they did before.

Nwalme decides to take a chance with one of the flat magical stones, and rubs it while concentrating on its listening spell. He begins hearing things with a slight echo. With some testing with other party members, it becomes clear that what he’s hearing is centered around the Blue Wizard’s staff, which he carries. Looking closely at the stone, it seems to have a brown line on it, which could be interpreted as a symbolic staff. An inspection of the other two stones reveals similar tiny brown symbols, one resembling a sword, and the third what might be a ring.

Nwalme listens to the sword stone, and can hear what the Huregoths’ leader is saying to Arādan inside the tent. He’s not interested in surrendering to us; his father won’t let them go West. They have an ambush planned, but have opted against it under the flag of parley. His brother points out that only a small number of them – about four dozen – remain.

Nwalme then listens to the ring stone. He hears a very old, angry elf talking about a river being down, how their forces outnumber the other forces, and the millions of orcs they have. He is clearly frustrated and making a case for immediate attack.

Alarmed, Nwalme reaches out telepathically to the Empress to let her know what we just learned.

Arādan emerges from the tent, shaking his head, and we depart. As we travel, he explains that the Huregoths aren’t willing to join us. He suspects that may have a last-ditch plan to try, which is why they’re not even bothering to ambush us. StrongWülf advocates a preemptive strike, but the rest of the party decides upon a watchful containment until the Greenwood elves turn up. They are expected at any moment.

When the party returns to the four clans’ camp, they find that that moment has arrived. The Greenwood elves have sent a regiment of 700 soldiers, including 200 heavy cavalry. They are led by a young elvish woman: Laswan, daughter of Legolas.

We greet Laswan, and brief her on the situation at hand. Arādan recommends returning to the Huregoths’ camp in overwhelming force, and gets no argument from anyone. Laswan sets up a perimeter around the camp with a hundred or so foot soldiers and scouts, and leaves some lieutenants with the leaders of the clans. The rest of her force she leads to the enemy camp, the cavalry standing guard at the forest’s edge while she and the others march up to introduce themselves to the Huregoths.

They surround the place. Laswan marches right into the commander’s tent to negotiate their surrender. Nwalme uses the sword stone to listen in on the formal back and forth. He hears their leader state in no uncertain terms that they will never surrender – and then a choking noise, a gasp bubbling up from his throat. His brother’s voice then offers the camp’s unconditional surrender. Laswan and her guard escort him from the tent as he orders the Huregoths to lay down their weapons, which they do without question. Then she signals her elves to round everyone up, and we return with our prisoners to the four clans’ camp for some interrogation.

Our chief prisoner turns out to be the last of the Supreme Huregoths’ three sons. (The third had died at Nwalme’s hand some time ago, his head exploding.)

He reveals the nature of his clan’s racial magic. It is a glamour that the Huregoths use to place doppelgangers of key players into various situations, to infiltrate, spy, subvert, or otherwise sabotage. The downside of the glamour, however, is that it affects every member of their clan at the same time. (Sauron’s Shadow mentally interjects to Nwalme that he thought this was an amusing touch.)

The Huregoth prince also describes their intial plan: take the castles, disrupt the river, maybe capture the Empress. But the opening of Rohan they’d relied upon from their Eorcanstan clone failed to occur, so their lightning blitz into the heart of the United Kingdoms was stalled. They hadn’t been able to throw the Rohanians into disarray or break up the empire. He and his clan are convinced they could never go to the West without taking over the empire; they can’t imagine any of them would be allowed to pass through.

The interrogation complete, it becomes time for the party to part ways from the four clans and the Huregoth prisoners. Laswan and her forces will escort them across the Anduin, and send back a few to bear witness to the rest of their people. Laswan suggests that we take the Huregoth prince with us as we head back to the primary theater of battle and the Empress. The party agrees, both groups set to move on in opposing directions.

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