Monday, September 23, 2013

048 - Knock knock, who is there?

The Lossoth warriors of Arthon

Nilppi of Arthon, Lossoth Warrior overjoyed to join
the demon slayers from the south
After talking with the Arthedain chieftain in Arthon, Thannolf headed to the Lossoth area of the village. He was received with suspicion by the lossoth leader. His attitude changed radically when Thannolf's identity as one of the demon slayer was clarified. 

To Thannolf's greatest surprise, the Lossoth of Arthon did not appear to be great fans of Mulkan and its antics. Thannolf was treated with a large meal and hours of interesting conversations. The Lossoth leader offered the service of one of his top warrior, a middle-aged man called Nilppi. Thannolf tried to learn more about the Numarii dwarves and their relationship to the Winter drake. Unfortunately, nothing new came out of this interview. Thannolf and Nilppi took leaves of the chief and returned south to Kalt to link with the rest of the company. 

Journey to the Gate of the Numariis

Thannolf and Nilppi arrived in Kalt by the end of the second day. They shared all new information with the others. They decided to set out to the west to reach the Blue Mountain as soon as possible. This way, they would bypass Arthon as they approached the gate of the Numariis. 

After purchasing odds and ends from the Northmen, the company set out in the morning of the third day. They climbed the slow incline all the way to the cliffs of the Blue Mountains. Woodland receded into rolling hills. Irina started to pick up the trails of games and voyagers. The density of orc trails kept on increasing steadily. They spent the night in the shadow of the mountain range. 

On the following two days, Irina and Nilppi lead the company north towards the homeland of the secretive Numarii dwarves. Irina estimated that orcs were commonly passing by, in groups of 5-10, probably on hunting excursions. 

On the fourth day, Finbert, Irina and Nilppi scouted ahead to locate the gate. They found and empty sites covered in recent orc tracks. The gate was a portal carved on the mountain side. Leading to the gate was an elevated pavement bounded by two rows of pillars supporting heavy beams (See pictures).  

The Gate of the Numarii is an ancient structure made of
an elevated pavement.
Irina and Finbert sneaked along the pavement to find the gate ajar. The smell of a small fire and the sounds of a few orcs beyond the gate could be heard. The company decided to ambush the orcs by drawing them outside. Finbert volunteered as a bait (for which he is experienced by now). Irina and Nimrodel positionned to have clean shots on the pursuing orcs. 

As planned, Finbert drew the orcs out. Both orcs got skewered by arrows and rushed back inside. The rest of the company jumped up on the pavement and began a pursuit. A few blows were exchanged, but soon the orcs were on the run. 

Beyond the gate, a flurry of arrows began to pepper the company from a number of murder-holes all around. Kasper, who had carefully remained behind, managed to use his magic to send the two orcs in complete panic. The orcs jumped off the pavement and fell into the shallow water on both sides. Arnadil and Irina, who acquired the ability to see the shadow world since the slaying of Shapithui, noticed the swarm of waiths terrorizing the orcs. Arnadil, convinced that Linluile was blowing a mighty wind at his back, charged to the shut gate while others followed. 

The arrows proved to be too much for all but the heaviest armored company members. Irina, Thannolf and Kasper labored to push embers from a cooking fire so as to set the gate ablaze. Unfortunately, the missiles fire was too intense: Arnadil called a retreat out of the trap. 

The battering ram

Arrows flying from all around, the company rammed into the gate.
Halin, Arnadil and Thannolf left the gate to fashion a battering ram while the other stood guard under the taunts and arrows of the orcs. They returned an hour later with a 200 lb bundle of trees roped into a ram. 

The door opposite the company was a heavy wooden door with steel braces. The company decided to assign the tall warriors to the rams and let Halin assault the door with Zander (his magic hammer). The elf and the hobbits would provide cover from behind. 

View from the gate's perspective. From left to right: Halin, Arnadil,
Nilppi and Kasper.
The charge was wild and noisy. The orcs took long enough to react to the surprise assault that the crew managed their first ram unscathed. As the arrow fire intensified, it took three slams before one of the door tore off its lower hinge. Halin went head first into the dark opening to find himself rushing into a surprised crowd of orcs. 

The orcs are pouring from all around. The company maintain a
good mutual support disposition.
The rest of the company followed and engaged a few waves of orcs. Halin and Arnadil practiced their Whirlwind attacks while Kasper skewered the orc leader with his longsword while Thannolf grappled him down. Nilppi used his hooked sword to flip an orc upside down until Finbert finished him off. The company worked well together in a tactically colorful GURPS battle. 

Many awesome moves later, there was nothing but orcs bits flung
over walls and floors. Time to move on.

Down to the heart of that mountain

The orcs now defeated, the company explored the area. It was part of a dwarven defensive position, but evidently taken over by a bunch of orcs. There was many cots in the guard room. A number of murderholes allowed to shoot into the open area where they struggled, and also shoot invaders on the pavement outside the fortress. 

They used the ram to break open the only door in this room. Of course, not before listening carefully for hints of trouble beyond that gate. Once the gate was torn down, the company descended a wide flight of stairs which must have ran for more than 100m downward.

The glimmer of a flickering light started to pierce the distance as the stairs came to an end. The company walked into a large hall where two oil fires were burning bright. Another gate, this time made of steel, was framed by large statues of drakes. Under their feet, there was a 3m drop into dark and foul-smelling water. This gate isn't going to give as easily as the last three. Arnadil instructed the company to look everywhere for anything that could provide a way to open the door. 

If these statues aren't shifty looking, nothing is.

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