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  1. #231
    Achernar noticed that Erna didn't seem to like that he was from Laketown so he played it off as if he also didn't like Laketown - complaining about his father and mother trying to get him married off and the pompousness and Nemir laughed along, thinking of her own mother and what awaited her back home. Since Erna gave her name, Nemir gave hers "Nemir, of Mirkwood and the Elvenking's halls." Nemir explained that they were looking for her and when Erna asked why, she talked about the events of Galford, narrating it like a story from her journal, describing the creature that they encountered as Erna poured tea for her and listened, paying very close attention to what she was saying.

    Beli saw that part of why Nemir's tale worked was that she responded well to Nemir recounting how they hung in and battled and sung his battle song "Three trolls are too many" and introduced himself in the awkward silence that followed. Beldan handed her his spare axe and told her she could probably make good use of it, and she accepted it. Beli showed her his axe too, trying to impress her. She seemed to not mind their company and said "So, you've come for information. Ask me a question." She began to scatter bits of meat around and Leaf Sole noticed something about it that made his body language seem like something's wrong about it. She said "You tell me interesting news that one of the drakes is far from its nesting place. So they came here to find more wyrms to go back to their mistress." Erna asked what they would do and when Nemir said prevent it from happening if they can and protect the lands that may be in danger, Erna snapped spitefully "Well let them take care of themselves!". Nemir's body language went rigid and she said "Well Galford is a prime example of what happens when people like me don't help. We have to help." and muttered in elvish "You're exactly like my king" Erna asked what they wanted from her. "We need to know where to go to stop this. Winter is coming and this'll happen again." Nemir said.

    "A repeat of last winter would devastate the northern towns" Beldan said. Erna said she would aid them in the morning. "Spend the night and my answer comes with the dawn." She walked off and Beli said she was worse than Kol and perhaps they should introduce them. Nemir commented they'd kill each other within the first five minutes. Nemir rubbed her temples and muttered in Elvish, then nudged Leaf Sole and asked him about his tenseness earlier. He told them that the bits of meat didn't look like animal and they should be on guard.

    Beli did a circuit of the bluff perimeter, which turned up a half dozen nesting sites for the vultures, with feeding sits at each. Among the feathers, droppings, and filth were bones of animals--and bones that don't belong to animals. Only one goblin skull, a leg bone that was too straight and tall to be a goblin's, and it looked like multiple corpses had gone to the birds.

    There was an air of worry and mistrust as they talked about it, theorising that perhaps bandits attacked her and they were already dead. Beldan said "One can hope". Leaf Sole noticed the goblin skull was fresh. Nemir stayed awake for all of that night, having rested during the afternoon. She kept an uneasy close and careful watch and everyone else had a fitful night of sleep. The morning came and Erna arrived at first light. She stared at Beli and Leaf Sole. As they had breakfast, she told them of landmarks to the north that they should go in pursuit of the goblins or wyrms. Erna said she would go with them on the journey.

    The mention of Orelon came up as they ate dinner as a passing remark and Nemir revealed revealed that Orelon had been with her because she had been in trouble at home, that the trouble with the Viglundings had impacted her family at home and she had been doing her best to repair that. Orelon had been the compromise at the time for her to continue adventuring. She talked about how the nobles of Mirkwood don't tend to travel for adventure often and she was an outlier. Beli made a comment on the King of Mirkwood only caring about his own people and kingdom and Nemir answered it with a noncommittal, neutral sound.

  2. #232
    They travelled with Erna north-east, looking for wyrms that might pose a problem later on. A dust storm grew ever closer to them and they were in a large, open area – no cover. Nemir spotted a boulder and they ran towards it but Beldan and Nemir were slower. Beldan had tied himself to the pony. Beli picked Nemir up to try to get them both to the rock but neither of them made it. The dust storm hit before the three of them made it to the boulder and though Leaf Sole, Achernar and Astrid were the only ones who made it, and the storm hit with force, making everything seem like a more extraneous task. Beli took out the elf lantern, chanting the elvish needed to light it. Nemir smiled to herself as she listened to it, and it brought a little bit of comfort to her panic from the storm. Even so far away from home, she had a little bit of it with her. She always did. A bright light shone out from the lantern like a beacon. For a moment, Beli and Nemir could've sworn they saw three or four masked figures behind them but they shrank back. The companions could dimly see the light so they yelled to help guide them. Beldan tried guide himself and the pony towards the rock but some figures emerged from the mist and dust. They drew blades and attacked. Goblins. At the edge of Nemir's hearing, she could hear gutteral sounds and Beldan's shout of "Khazad!"

    Nemir and Beli made their way through the sandstorm towards the sounds of combat from behind them, knowing it was probably Beldan. At one point, an axe was thrown at them from beyond the dust, knocking the lantern out of Beli’s hand and damaging it. The lantern went out. Nemir picked it up and managed to get it lit again but it was clear the lantern would need repairs to work as well as it did before. With Beli's navigation skills and Nemir's keen ears as she walked behind him with her hands on Beli's shoulders to keep them from being separated, they reached Beldan, arriving to see a goblin standing over him and that Beldan was badly pummelled. Nemir and Beli stood between him and the goblin protectively. The lantern's light scared it away. They heard sounds of battle to the north as well.

    Achernar and Leaf Sole began to venture out, getting a little worried about their companions with a rope tied to each other to not be separated. They called out and a spear was thrown at them from the dust, missing Leaf Sole, and they saw the orc who attacked him. Nemir, Beli, and Beldan went north and ran into Erna, who led them back west. Leaf Sole ran in the direction of the rope tied to him and Achernar, away from the orc, and Achernar began to pull it, thinking it could be cut because it suddenly went slack, not taut. Leaf Sole and Achernar fought the orcs together. They all found each other and hunkered down to rest and wait out the storm. Tension was running high and Leaf Sole accused Erna of leading them into this mess. Nemir stepped between them and said this wasn’t the time for an argument, and that they were never going to be able to traverse this land without a fight anyway. Bitterness lay between Leaf Sole and Erna still but Nemir’s diplomacy calmed Erna a little. As the storm broke, Erna began to walk again. Nemir got up and gestured, saying “away we go”.

  3. #233
    Nice account! Difficult going in The Waste. The

  4. #234
    On the journey, along the way, Erna, who had softened to Nemir the most told her, "A Dragon must wake from its slumber from time to time to feast, and by watching for that moment, a brave warrior can sneak in and lay a trap."

    The companions came across an area with a number of different ruined, crumbling buildings and as they looked closer, Leaf Sole realised that it had been a concealed ruin and the dust storm had revealed part of it. There was a windmill, a collection of ruined buildings – some with fire-blackened foundations – and an old goblin campsite with a fire circle that was long cold, and a half-covered manor house.

    Nemir wandered around the cluster of foundations but her mind was elsewhere. Beli followed her and found the remains of a smithy, noticing that there's no treasure to be found - it had been picked clean. He did realise, however, that it was possible that it was dragon fire was what scorched the buildings long ago. Beldan took the time to find a quiet corner and rest while everyone else searched. Leaf Sole went to take a look at the manor house while Achernar and Astrid went to search the windmill and saw that the edges of the burlap sacks inside had been gnawed through. Achernar managed to find a bronze coin with the head of a king on - almost like a coin from Laketown. He showed the coin to Beldan, who recognised the head on the coin from his childhood and was able to tell Achernar who the king on the coin was. Leaf Sole found a hearth against the back wall of the manor house. Above the mantle, Leaf Sole found some carvings showing a scene - a procession of men and women, with agricultural tools and a two-wheeled cart. Around the edges of the scene, there were words carved alongside in letters Leaf Sole had never seen. Not elvish, not dwarvish, not a man-script seen before. It was completely new.

    Beli pointed out the buildings had been scorched by dragon fire to Nemir and Nemir nodded along as she looked where Beli was pointing and took notes in her journal while he explained how he could tell. "See there . . . and there. That takes an intense heat, no doubts. It's been well documented that this area was harassed by dragon-kin.." Nemir sat and draw the scene ahead of her. In the corner, she added a little doodle of a dragon breathing fire. Beli and Achernar began to search for a safe place to camp and ended up at the manor house, where Beli saw how the roof had seemingly been ripped into - more evidence of a dragon attack. He recognised that the carving was made of some kind of semi-precious stone perhaps from the far south that he'd never seen before. Erna brought Achernar and Astrid over to a herb garden she found and they got seeds Achernar thought he could plant back at home. She talked a bit about her husband and old stories and Achernar, though not very well, also told stories of Laketown.

    Leaf Sole showed what he'd found when he got back. It reminded Nemir of Dorwinian lettering - Nemir had seen it from the writings of the Dorwinian man in Thranduil's hall - but it wasn't the same. She remembered people came up from the far south and traded at the river junction to the south east. Achernar called it Riverstead as she talked about it and helped to fill in a few details. Beli noted to Nemir that the other building was the last stand for the defenders of this place. There was evidence of the dragon ripping into and through the roof. Lots of arrow heads and a few arrow shafts were lying around. Markings on the wall tallied the numbers the defenders had dropped, but for naught. Nemir drew Leaf Sole's rubbing into her own notebook and added the notes that she remembered.

    Over the night, Beli told her what he'd seen and figured out in more detail and Nemir listened intently. He also worked on the lamp to try to repair it a little bit but he became increasingly certain that a portion of it would require elven abilities to fully repair.

    In the morning, Nemir headed over to the carving to see it herself and take rubbings. She noticed a broken loom also in the ruin, some familliar weaver's tools and spools and frames which would allow for intricate patterns being woven. A small side-table had been toppled over in a corner, with an unusual stringed instrument (like a lyre mixed with a lute), what was perhaps a bow to play it with and parchments nearby. The parchments all had musical notations and words on them in that same unrecognisable script. Nemir delicately picked all of them up, placed the parchments in her notebook and everything in her bag. She could take it to a scholar or study it herself and perhaps a skilled craftsman could recreate the instrument.

    Eventually though, the companions travelled onward again. Buzzards attacked them and Nemir and Erna shot one each when a few began to swoop down. Soon after, the companions spotted cover to the east that could give them an advantage. Leaf Sole, Beli, and Beldan took care of the rest that had swooped down as Achernar, Nemir, and Erna ran for cover, and Nemir shouted back "Over here! We'll cover you!" The buzzards circling ahead followed them but couldn't attack because of Achernar and Nemir's covering fire. As Nemir looked further into the alcove, she saw a stirring of gravel and a large monsterous creature staring face to face with her.

    Nemir shot two arrows at it, both going wide, then brought out her sword as she called out that they had company in here. Her arms were aching. This didn’t bode well, Nemir gripped her sword tightly, hopefully she was better with melee fighting now, after all of the practice that she'd put in with Cevendir. Her first swing missed and she stumbled into the wall. Outside, the rest fought off the buzzards as Erna helped Nemir fight off the creature inside. Nemir dodged its attack and cleaved into one of its fins. A bubble of pride rose in her as she connected with it – all of that training hadn’t gone for nothing. The creature hit Erna with its stinger, who was on the floor, unable to move with her muscles spasming. The battle went on and after the buzzards outside died, the rest of the companions rushed in to help kill the monster. It struck fear into many of their hearts but they fought through it. Nemir cut off several of its stingers while Leaf Sole broke its armour. Achernar shot it right in the mouth and killed it. They spent the night there, holed up safely in the area and listening closely to the sounds from outside. Erna had no idea what that creature was and had lost her iron-clad composure a little bit. Some vulnerability started to show.

  5. #235
    For two more days, they travelled onwards. They began to enter the foothills of the mountains and the land began to look rocky and steeper. They searched the land and found a promising area with a shallow cave and deeper burrow towards the back. They came across the armour of a fallen warrior but searching the cave, they didn’t see any signs of large animals living there. The next day, they found a wyrm lair and Erna excitedly said it must be. Nemir volunteered to go in, saying she was good at being unnoticed but shook her head when Beli volunteered to go, saying “The goal of this is to be quiet – besides I’ll need you to pull me out if trouble arises.” Leaf Sole also went with her, and they tied rope around their waists.

    It was dark and dank inside the cave, with a strong stench. Nemir and Leaf Sole were forced to stoop in some areas. The firebrand Erna had given to them for some light picked up flecks of gold against the far muddy wall. Outside the cave, Erna saw something, her face went pale, and behind them was a large, wingless dragon-like beast. It spat acid their way, hitting Beldan with its full force and poisoning him. Beli and Astrid managed to dodge while Achernar sent an arrow flying back to the drake, only getting scathed a little by the breath. Hearing the roar and a yell of pain from inside, Leaf Sole and Nemir met each other's eyes with the sudden recognition that their companions were in danger, and sprinted to the cave entrance. The companions outside each dealt strong blows in retalliation, with Beldan's being the strongest blow out of all of them and managing to tire it significantly and making it howl in pain, but the wyrm was ready again with its acid breath again. Achernar managed to dodge it completely this time, along with Astrid, but Beldan was hit once again and fell, lifeless, to the ground. Soon after, Leaf Sole and Nemir made it to the entrance and saw the wyrm attacking their friends.

    Beli shouted at the wyrm "You killed my friend, now your head will rest on my mantle!", which made the wyrm cower a little before him. Killed? That word felt strange to Nemir's ears. That wasn't right. Surely, that wasn't right. Who was killed? Beldan was on the ground but he was tough, he would make it through - and they'd patch him up once this creature was dealt with. Emboldened by Beli's war cry, Leaf Sole charged in with his axe and sliced the wyrm's neck, dealing it the final blow. Everyone but Erna went immediately to Beldan. His armour was still smoking from the acid but Nemir checked him over anyway. She wasn't the best healer, she couldn't really tell how she could help, but Achernar, Astrid and Leaf Sole were here so he'd be alright. She looked to them and they all had the same look in their eyes. Sorrow, despair. Why weren't they doing anything? Did he just need time to recover? Her mind refused the obvious answer as she tried to take this all in. A cold, numb feeling spread over Nemir's body as Beli took Beldan and held him close to his chest. Were those tears coming from Beli's eyes? This couldn't be right, none of this could be right. Beli's shoulders shook as he wept and Leaf Sole sang a lamenting song. Nemir wanted to reach over a hand to comfort Beli but her limbs were frozen. Was this... it? Beldan had been alive and the same as he'd ever been before she and Leaf Sole had headed into the cave, if a little tired from all of the encounters they'd had, but now... She couldn't say it. Her mouth was open to ask the question that she already knew the answer to but nothing was coming out. Nemir looked down at the ground, not wanting to look at Beldan's body any longer. "He's... not going to wake up, is he?" she murmured, with a tone of finality that hurt her heart. No answer followed but even that was enough. The answer was plain as day anyway.

    The mournful silence was broken by a victory chortle from Erna “Haha, we did it!” and she began to do something to the corpse of the wyrm. Nemir was only half-aware of it. Achernar asked what she was doing and she told him she was claiming the tongue as a trophy, since she had led them to the beast. Leaf Sole claimed its heart but that began a bitter argument between him and Erna.

    Sometime during it, Beli shouted at Erna "This was the point, wasn't it? To lead us here and have this exact thing happen?"

    "To kill a wyrm, yes!" Erna replied, still with a joyful and enthusiastic tone. Nemir closed her eyes and tried to block Erna's voice out. Could this not wait? Could she not see they had lost someone? Beli gave an angered yell and swung his mattock at Erna. Erna stepped back and although Achernar stepped between them to try to diffuse the situation a little, Leaf Sole carried on with harsh words and threats that intimidated her into fleeing but not before she spat insults at them, particularly towards Beli. Hearing the ones aimed at Beli, Nemir glared at Erna and stared her down as she fled. Leaf Sole began his work on the wyrm, cutting it open to get its heart, taking the claws, scales, and fangs from it, and cutting off its head, thinking it could be a good grave marker for Beldan. After all, he had done a lot to help slay the thing. Beli and Achernar both searched around, collecting stones for the cairn. Nemir stood up and looked around in silence, at a loss for what to do. She had to do something - everyone else was helping - but she didn't know the first thing about dwarven burials. And she had no seeds to plant around his grave either - would he even want them? That was an elven tradition, not dwarven. The closest thing she could do would be to pick some and bring them over but... Nemir glanced doubtfully at the rocky landscape and sighed. The least she could do was try, she supposed.

    In the end though, the search was fruitless and Nemir returned empty-handed but realised she had a flowered clasp on her cloak. It had been a gift from her sister Itholdiel before Nemir had set out into the wastes, which Nemir now touched tentatively. As they built the cairn and buried Beldan, the companions took turns to rest, and afterwards, Beli slipped into the cave with Achernar following him. Nemir took a fang from the wyrm as a token to bring back and after a little bit, went back into the cave with Leaf Sole to find Achernar and Beli, who had found the wyrm's hoard. They shared out the treasure and began to pack it up when Nemir heard something outside. She swiftly got out her bow and went to investigate with Leaf Sole and Beli following her.

  6. #236
    Outside was a small wyrm eating the corpse of the other one. It didn’t notice them because they’d been quiet enough and Leaf Sole thought that it would come after them if it did see them. He whispered “Back in the cave.” and they slunk back in. They talked about what they should do and laid a trap inside the cave, waiting in case it came in looking for gold. Leaf Sole created a snare and Beli set up rocks to fall when it fell into the trap. The wyrm approached on alert, catching their scent from inside the cave but it didn’t see their traps and fell into them. Achernar and Nemir instantly loosed arrows and Leaf Sole and Beli threw daggers. Nemir’s arrow hit it in its weak spot and wounded it so that the thing shrieked and wriggled, then fell still. It was dead. After a moment, Nemir gave a quiet, detached laugh of disbelief for how quickly they’d taken it down. That was one small victory at least.

    The companions made a hasty escape from the cave and bade a final goodbye to Beldan. Nemir placed her flower clasp on top of the cairn. Beli took out the seashell from his encounter with the elf when they had still been doing their business in laketown and placed it under a rock on the cairn. Leaf Sole said a short poem of mourning. Then, it was clear that it was time to go.

  7. #237
    That should make everything up to date now ^-^
    It's been quite an eventful adventuring phase and I'm looking forward to writing some more scenes to happen over the fellowship phase when they return

  8. #238
    Fantastic write up. Thanks so much, Poppyseed. It’s a compelling tale.

    Circumstance required that Beldan’s lament was hurried and hushed, but his Companions sang it, and it was no less heartfelt.

    And now, the final resting place of a dwarf of Erebor is not in the halls of his fathers, but under the open sky amidst the perils he faced so his Companions might be safe.
    Last edited by Hector Trelane; May 17th, 2021 at 04:24.

  9. #239
    In their travels back home, they made camp and Leaf Sole picked a reed and whittled it, then played a sombre tune as they settled down for the night. Nemir stared into the fire and drifted into a waking sleep but hearing a noise, she looked up, she saw a figure in the shadows, carrying a pack in its mouth. She moved to fire a warning shot to see if it moved away but it looked her in the eye and revealed itself to be a wyrm. She fired two shots, moving her aim to strike it, and killed it. Leaf Sole saw it a moment later, and looked back at Nemir, wondering if she'd let him kill the other wyrm and beginning to doubt himself a little.

    Achernar found a hedgerow that had signs it once had herders from the gear lying around. Beli found the centre and traces of old ruins that were once made by men. A former ranch and tannery with signs that it fell into decline at around the same time as the dragon attack from the last ruins. There were traces of goblins camping long ago. There was a somewhat recent campfire though, along with half a dozen bedrolls. A bandit camp.

    They moved on swiftly, continuing their journey to put some distance between them and the bandit camp. Leaf Sole and Nemir caught a glimpse of wagons as well as a group of people walking. Leaf Sole saw that there were humans and animals. Gathering the others, Leaf Sole and Achernar went to scout them out to see if they were friendly. The caravan came into full view and the companions made an effort to show they weren't a threat as they approached together. Each of them introduced themselves, and the travellers appeared to be a caravan of traders from the south, heading south in the direction of Dale. As the leader - Domarr - agreed to let them travel together, he hugged Achernar, then Leaf Sole, then bowed to Nemir and she bowed back. He attempted to hug Beli but he refused the hug, and bowed instead. The man was confused and whispered to Achernar "You have a short, hairy, lady?" Achernar laughed and said "Don't mind her." The children were very curious about the companions, especially Nemir and Beli. Domarr mentioned they'd just been up trading with Zirakinbar, the dwarven watchtower to the north.

    Nemir spotted a man named Joar as they travelled with the caravan. He seemed to be on edge and hiding something so Nemir approached him and asked "Are you alright?" At first, he put on a brave face, but she reassured him and he then admitted that he lost somebody. With a knowing nod, Nemir replied, "That must be painful. My companions and I have lost someone ourselves so I know at least some of your pain" and told him about Beldan. When she mentioned a wyrm, he cried out and said "You too?" and she nodded, describing how they'd found the lair of a wingless wyrm and it had found them too. "I didn't even see him fall. I got out of the lair and he was already... He was already on the ground" Nemir's face fell. Joar told her about the wyrm that attacked them - that it swooped down and talked - told them to bring all of the gold in the area, and when they did, it ate his sons. Nemir tried to reassure him that if it came back while they were travelling together, she and her companions would protect them. He thanked her but told her she had not seen the one he had encountered and its danger.

    When he arrived back at Erebor, Beli sent a letter off to Beldan's family in the Blue Mountains with the last of the trading caravans heading west before the winter, informing them of his death.

  10. #240
    Nicely told, as always. Thanks Poppyseed.

    Running: GUMSHOE--Esoterrorists and The One Ring
    Want to play: Pendragon, City of Mist, Dresden Files RPG, Orpheus, Changeling, more PbtA, Bluebeards Bride, Fiasco & anything else by Bully Pulpit Games

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