The cobbled streets were filled with both the bodies of dead villagers and the once resting dead that had shambled in to the town. Already towns people were carrying the bodies to the outskirts of town separating their fallen kin from the ancient rotten corpses, it was a grim task that no one relished. The afternoon sun was high in the sky, there was very little breeze to clear the stench of death from the town, it would soon be dark and there was still many more bodies to remove.
Halmir was searching for a particular Hobbit. During the previous night’s conflict Halmir had learnt much. The dead had come to the town in search of something that was taken from them, by someone in the town. Although the Bree-folk would not know it Halmir was quite familiar with them, having been charged on many occasion to keep its borders safe. If any Hobbit knew of stolen treasure he knew just who to ask. He also knew where to look for this particular Hobbit, in a darkened corner of the Prancing Pony and sure enough there he was, sitting around a table with his cronies. Halmir studied the group before walking over to them. They looked worse for wear as did most of the town’s folk. At least they did their part in defending the town.
They seemed to be in a panicked state, discussing plans on what best course of action they should take next. He heard one of the men saying they should take 'it' straight back now and be done with it. The others all seemed to be in agreement with this arrangement.
“Do I have the pleasure of addressing Otto Brandyleaf?” Halmir looked directly at Otto already knowing that he was. The Hobbit looked shocked to be addressed directly.
“I am afraid you don't, I do know of him but have not seen him for many a day”. Halmir smiled slightly at this poor lie.
“Come now Otto, lets dispense with the games. I know who you are, and I hazard a guess that these events have something to do with you. Let me see if I am correct. Something of great value was taken from the Barrow-downs recently. Something taken by you and your companions here. Now you are all planning on what's best to do now and have come to the conclusion that returning the stolen item back to its original burial place would be the best cause of action.”
Otto looked generally surprised at how much this person knew.
“But this task needs to be done correctly, there are certain incantations that will need to be performed to satisfy the spirits within the Barrow and put an end to this horror, do you know what words to speak?” Halmir's eyes closed slightly as he studied the reaction of Otto.
“I did not know we would have to do anything other than return the items.” The fear in Otto's voice was notable. “Do any of you know?” He asked his companions to which they all shock their heads and looked glum. “What are we going to do? Will this never end?”
“It is a good job for you and the poor people of this town that I do know the words. Give me the item, now.” The last part of Halmir's words were not to be mistaken, they were an order.
Otto reached down under the table to a sack and opened it up, from out he pulled a solid gold sceptre, its head of which contained an emerald the size of a man's fist. Recognition filled Hamlir's face.
“The Sceptre of Malbeth the Seer!” Halmir reached out and took the sceptre from Otto who relinquished it willingly. He had expected to feel some resistance. “You must journey with me so that you might show me where the barrow is that you desecrated so that I might return the sceptre and perform the ritual to put an end to all this.”
“He'll not go anywhere without me.” The Dwarf spoke, sounding protective and Halmir turned to look at him. He was armed with an axe that hung from his belt, whilst not the largest that Dwarves carry it was no mere wood axe.
“We leave immediately.” Halmir took a step back and gestured to the door.
Within half hour Otto, Fonli and the stranger had left the town of Bree by the western gate and there had been joined by three others dressed in the same garb as the stranger.
“Your Rangers aren't you?” Otto seemed generally pleased. “I have heard great things about you.”
Halmir smiled “Have you indeed? So you don't think the same as the rest of the town, that we are just wanderers of the wild, cracked in the head.”
“What do the towns folk know of the world at large, I have seen you, or your people I should say, out in the wilds, I saw some once that put an end of a great pack of Fell Wargs that were heading towards Archet. You are our protectors are you not?”
“We work in secret to keep the Great East Road as safe as it can be for the Bree-landers and travellers to the towns.” One of Halmir's companions spoke “I was amongst that group that put a stop to the Wargs out of Gundabad. We have also dealt with Orcs on many occasions.”
“I am grateful to you.” Otto seemed genially thankful. The Rangers spoke no more and Fonli spoke to Otto about various trivial things not seeming to talk of anything of importance, despite Otto's reassurances he did not yet trust these men. Soon the country side began to rise and fall with hills.
Narzug sat on top of his Warg, he had rallied the fleeing Orcs, some had to be punished for their cowardice so that others would realise that he was a greater fear and threat than the Rangers that they flee from. Still the numbers remaining where not quite to his satisfaction so he rounded up some of the weaker willed Goblins that lived near to his old camp in the ruins of Fornost. Pitiful creatures but they would serve their purpose. He had then tracked the Ranger he sought to the town of Bree and then waited deciding what to do next when one of his scouts reported that he, three other Rangers, a Dwarf and a Halfling had left the through the west gate. They at once rode ahead leaving one tracker to see what their movements would be. Now he knew that they would soon be here and revenge would be his.
Halmir stopped the group.
“What is it?” Asked one of his Rangers.
“I know not, but something does not feel right, there is a foulness on the air.” Halmir looked about the hills surrounding them but could see nothing amiss yet still he did not press forward. He turned to signal to the Rangers and immediately the each sprung up separate hills. Fonli was just about the call out and ask what was going on but Otto stopped him. He spoke in a hushed tone.
“Don't, Halmir obviously senses something is amiss, it would be best if we did not alert whoever or whatever has startled him to the fact they are on to them. Ready your axe.” Otto changed the grip on his walking stick so that it could be wielded like a weapon. He never carried a bladed weapon if he could help it and his walking stick acted as both its intended purpose and well as a staff. Over the years he had become quite deadly with it at need although had killed nothing greater than a wild wolf. Just as he thought of the wolf he heard it, the howling of a wolf just over the ridge of the hill in front of him, then it was answered but another to his left, then another to his right and finally one from behind. They were surrounded but wolves. More howls filled the air and the Rangers stopped at top of the hills they had climbed. Otto shouted pointlessly to Halmir “Wolves! Surrounded by Wolves.”
“These are not the call of ordinary wolves I fear, these are the howls of Fell Wargs of Gundabad. Ready your weapons, we will not get out of this without a fight.”
Fonli readied his axe and stood near Otto, they would not be dinner for Wargs this evening if he could help it. The Rangers turned this way and that at each howl that seemed to be louder than the last.
Narzug smiled in his own grim fashion at the fear and confusion that was being caused. It seemed he had caught the Rangers off guard. Already he was seeing the victory that this day would bring and how he would become the greatest chieftain his tribe had known, he had plans to raid neighbouring tribes usurping their chieftain and taking their numbers into his own. He put the horn to his lips and signalled the start of the attack.
Hamir and a group of eight Rangers have travelled to Fornost to repel a group of Orcs and Trolls that have gathered there and have been raiding near by settlements.GOODHalmir
3 Rangers of the NorthOtto BrandyleafFonli
4 Orc Hunters on Wargs
6 Moria Goblins
4' by 4' board with a hill in each corner and one in the centre. The rest of the board should be covered in rocky outcrops and smaller hills.
Halmir starts on top of the hill on the corner south eastern side of the board. The other rangers are placed at the top of the other hills at each table corner. Otto and Fonli start at the top of the hill in the centre of the board.
Each of the 4 Orc Hunters are placed in the centre of the north, south, west and east board edge. Narzug and the Goblins start on the northern edge.
Narzug is filled with hatred and wants to kill Halmir and the Rangers. If Halmir and two of the Rangers are killed the evil side win.
Halmir wants to protect Otto and Fonli. If Halmir, Otto and Fonli can escape off of the western board edge the good side win.
Any other result is a draw. Burning Hatred
. Narzug is filled with a burning hatred and wants revenge. As such he must move towards and if possible charge Halmir. He will charge any enemy that gets in his way. During the course of this game his fight and strength are raised by 1 point.