Saturday, March 9, 2013

018 - Close encounter of the troll kind

October 29th, FA 15

The daylight was drifting to blue, the snow did not relent. The company was standing where once there was a city gate. To the north, a road was leading into the barrack sector and the King's foundries. The path there laid, untouched by feet of any kind. Arnadil climbed atop of a low wall segment, in search for a shelter. Both horses and dogs were restless, Sir Galdor couldn't really contain the great danes' nervous energy. Luckily, Kasper managed to get the dogs to regroup, sit down and most importantly to shut up. Araliniel was tending to the horses, also nervous as if they could smell that death was prowling from the stony wastes. 

Arnadil opened the way in and spotted a nearby small stone house. Most of its walls were still standing up. He signaled all others to bring the horses within. They quickly setup a fireless, joyless camp. 

Finbert and Irina decided to explore to the north to see where the main road  north would lead. They found that the road itself was clear of debris and stones. To their right, the elevated foundation of the fortress could be seen. The foundation was in a better shape on its western wall, and some 7 meters tall. A tunnel was built in the wall, with a cobble stone slope upward. The hobbits peeked inside and found that it climbed to the King's ground. Finbert suggested to return to the camp.  Irina would have none of this, she slowly crept up the tunnel to peek on the other side. Finbert pointed out to Irina that it was strange that someone would be shoveling the snow out of the tunnel, that maybe this was a sign of danger. Irina stopped, turned around, and politely suggested that there was no snow in the tunnel because it was... the kind of tunnel with a ceiling.

The King's ground was waiting on the other side. Quiet, silent. Snow was falling, flake by flake. No movements could be spotted. Irina found a good approach and headed to the husk of an old stone building near the place where they thought that they saw movement earlier in the day. The building that they entered was a large hall, but it was hard to tell what was its purpose. The hobbits snuck along the front wall. To their left, the remnant of the King's tower, ahead. The building that they were convinced to be the library, and possibly the lair of a winter drake. Finbert suggested to back down, but then both hobbits heard low pitched voices. It sounded like an argument, or some rambunctious banter. 

Irina lead the way to recklessly close in to the western wall of what they thought that was the Royal library. The upper front and part of the back wall had collapsed. The opening on the wall was too high to look through, and climbing would be a noisy affair. However, they didn't need to climb. The chatter kept on going and it took no great efforts to narrow down the possibilities to trolls: deep booming voices, common tongue creole,  a vacant inane tone. Neither hobbit had met a troll before, but this fit to a fault the descriptions found in tales and songs [Lore check or History check]. It sounded like there was a number of them, 3 or more, and the voices of more than one child. Hobbits can be silent as well as they can be tasty. Hanging around a troll filled wreck an hour away from sunset was worrisome even for Irina. The hobbits withdrew to the tunnel and on to the camp. 

All horses, dogs and company members huddled within the four walls of the ruined building. Irina climbed to the top of the north wall and readied her bow. Daylight was now fading to purple, the distant shape of the fortress was fading to black. Arnadil also climbed to the top of the east wall. He told the company to find sleep and make the best of it. Halin joined him and both friends agreed to share the night's watch atop the wall. Arnadil never was much of a sleeper and did not mind taking on the watch. It is hard to imagine that anyone would be able to find peace tonight. The sun came down, all was frosted and still. Any sound seemed to travel for kilometers. 

It was about 2 hours after nightfall that Halin saw the silhouette of two lumbering giants cresting over the fortress' wall. Of all the company members, Halin was the best watchmen as his dwarven vision was essentially unimpaired by night time. All other company members had to rely on hearing to keep watch. Irina was dozing off, Arnadil in meditation. Sir Galdor was standing on guard by the door. Kasper and Araliniel were comforting the animals. Finbert... was sleeping with his belly full.

The two trolls seemed to be following the footsteps in the snow left by the hobbits. They walked to the barbacane. They discussed for a minute, gesticulating slowly. Should they head north, and back into the city, or follow the other set of footsteps going west away from their camp? They settled on the westerly set of prints, along the sourthern wall of the city. The trolls grazed the company by less than 40 yds., then walked away. A minute later, neither Halin could see them, nor anyone could hear anything.

The company weighed their options. The trolls are likely to come back at some point, and maybe follow the other set of prints which would lead them to the camp. Leaving on foot or on horses in the dead of the night was not a safe option. After a minute or two of deliberations, the company decided that the best options was to leverage on the fact that the trolls should come back, and spring an ambush on them. Of all company members, only Arnadil and Halin have ever known the trauma of a real battle. This ought to be an interesting night.



  1. "... the kind of tunnel with a ceiling."

    Lmao! Definitely true gamers!

    1. This quote has since entered the lore around the table.