Saturday, May 9, 2015

K44 - The long and painful march of Battlegroup West

Life beyond the gate

Bain and Thordar were last pushed out of the East Gate Hall by a mob of mutinous dwarves from the Mithril Attack. Bain had been injured at the hip by a bolt, Thordar was still grievously wounded during the battle with the infernals and was still on the mend. Some 25 loyal dwarves, unarmored and pockmarked from the brawl made for a jolly company.

They descended to the 4th deep to find weapons and a place to rest. Down into Halin's cave, they found old tools and weapons. They rested and launched a number of exploratory scouting parties in all directions. They decided that the gold mines to the South bored the best chance to break into new territory. They explored south but discovered nothing by a fraying network of caves and mines, and no real evidence of a fresh gold vein.

Bain traveled in dream to the surface and found his son, Gror, whimpering in a jail cell. He figured out that Deema was probably dead by then as there were lots of dwarves set on getting rid of the witch. Bain snapped Gror back into the old grumpy and mean commander that he is and took his leave. Work in the real world had to be done.

There was some noises coming from up above into the Endless chasm. Hungry, tired and weary of the growing curse on them, Bain lead the dwarves back to the 1st deep to meet their fate.

Meanwhile in Hatchet Dwelling

After repelling the dwarves that came for the "witch", Khazek figured out that he had to find out that was going on at the Gate. He found Deema behind the door, a silver hatchet in hand, ready to smite the next living dwarf to invade the room.

Khazek approached the dwarves through the Endless Chasm. He found some Adarcer dwarves guarding the ruins of the bridge of Khazad-dum. They were discussing of a mutiny going on. Khazek slipped into the shadows overhead and set out to find out about the mutiny.

In the East Gate, he found two groups of brawling dwarves. One of the group was protecting Bain and Thordar while a group of armed ones was attempting to arrest the viceroy. Khazek intervened by showing himself and sowed terror to anyone watching. It disrupted the brawl such that it became possible for the viceroy and his supported to withdraw beyond a large gate. His attention was drawn to a group of going North to get to "the witch". Fearing for his bride, he left Bain and Thordar to their fate and flew ahead of the withc hunters.

They crossed the Endless Chasm using the miner's chains. Ironically, the very same kind of chains that had costed Khazek his life. Beyond the chasm, they found dwellings that had not been deflied by orcs over the years. Khazek was satisfied that Deema and their unborn child would be safe there. Then, they fell asleep with the sleep of careless child and didn't pulled out of slumber for what looked like days.

A mutiny suspended

Thordar was sent ahead of the dwarves to scout near the East Gate. Instead of an organized hunt for them, Thordar found a feverish scene bordering on panic. There were dwarves from the Ardacer, the unit on garrison duty, begging for guidance regarding what was going on into the Hall of Trees. Thordar was spotted, but nothing came out of this. Thordar figured out that there was worst on their mind than the misguided impulses of the mutinous dwarves.

Bain arrived with Thordar and descended to the Hall of Trees where the source of chaos seemed to emanate. There, he found Drolf ordering volleys of crossbow across the chasm. Gesdrek the Loremaster was there, carefully observing something in the depth of the Hall.

Bain approached Gesdrek and asked for a report. Gesdrek cued them to listen for the sound of war drums. The dwarves from Battlegroup West had made it all the way through and were fighting the ancestors at the far end of the Hall. A faint light from torches could be seen amidst the rows of pillars. All present understood that dwarves killing ancestors was a bad thing for it was slowly releasing fragments of the soul of the Balrog back to its body.

Going in

They resolved to cross the chasm and link with Battlegroup West to order them to stop. Messages using war drums remained unanswered. They piled combustible on a cart and wheeled it on the beams, across the chasm. A Lot (50 dwarves) was tasked to block while the Viceroy and his entourage would advance beside the burning cart.

The ancestors were frenetically engaged against Farin's dwarves and didn't interfere with the party until much later. The order was to strictly push back without "rekilling" the dead until the cart had reached the line of Battlegroup West. It became quite clear that by then, a lot of damage had been done on the precious ancestors. Thordar went ahead to locate the commander of the force while Bain busied himself to order a withdrawal.

The BG-West dwarves had been distorted into ragged shells by the curse and the continuous fighting since their entry in the city, some 3 weeks ago. They were barely controllable, but the Viceroy's legendary leadership prevailed. Thordar found the leader and "convinced" him to order a break from assault. Farin was apparently long-dead, only 300 or so of the 900 original dwarves were still standing.

As they pulled out of the Hall of Trees, Khazek roused from his sleep and ran into them as they marched back across the chasm. Gesdrek told them that he feared the most for the fate of the Balrog as much of his soul had been released back to it by now.

Time was getting short, assuming that he is right, for if the old King of Moria was to rise again, Khazad-dum would be lost for another 1000 years.

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