Monday, 3 March 2008

Barbigazl: Part Two

Episode Two: Death at the Tarn [by Peter A. Picture is of Findel!]

Having spent the night at the foot of the waterfall, the party begins the ascent up two hundred feet of sheer ice, led by Thaddeus, the party's only thief. At the top he spies a frozen tarn walled by steep snow packed cliffs, and beyond a mile of glacier; beyond further stands the mountain range, with Redbeak glowering in the morning sun. Far more skilled than any contrary die roll, Thaddeus secures the rope and the party makes their ascent. Mercilessly, even Panadyn’s pony survives the climb. At the top and at the edge of the tarn Hurin's small army decide how to pass the tarn. Eventually a plan is conceived whereby skilled heroes and more vulnerable members are roped together and parties of six tread the narrow ledge of ice aground the frozen tarn. Two groups make their way and are near halfway, when a rain of arrows is volleyed from the glacier, and Oban struck by several darts slips from the ledge and is only saved from the icy waters by the strength of his companions. Alas, compromised as they are, Obans saviours are less able to return fire, and further darts speed their way. Within moments Oban is dead from his wounds, and his companions, tethered to a dead weight can only shield themselves from further attack. Meanwhile the rest of the party scrabble to mount a defense. Hurin's retinue are quick to shield their lord, leaving the non-Dwarven heroes to devise a plan. The length of the tarn prevents returning fire, so those capable of flight (Alrick and Habenath) take wing to assess the field of battle, while Thaddeus uses his ring of invisibility to join the unstricken group and give them covering fire.

From above Alrick sees that their assailants are Hobgoblins using narrow pathways through the glacier ice to find their mark. Directing these who can fire at will the party’s counterattack begins, and second blood is drawn! The strike groups under covering fire reach the distant shore, and find the Hobgoblins trenches, offering bloody revenge, while Hurin's heroes join the fray. The black blood of Hobgoblins stains the shore. But Oban is dead beyond saving, and despite a bitter fight Habenath is convinced that not all of the fiends were slain. With Wargs and Hobgoblins to be found at the feet of the mountain, he is sure the two will be found together in time.

Oban’s belongings are gathered and his body prepared for burial (oddly by Panadyn and Argon, neither of whom claims relation to the deceased). Argon auctions off some of Oban’s magic items, end the wealthier Thaddeus is the largest recipient. The heroes stand in solace, with the only sound the buzzing of Balin's pet bee. Some time taken to mark the passing of a fallen comrade, the party continue their path through the glacier way, over mindful of wandering Hobgoblins. Eventually the higher snowfields are reached, but Hurin orders the remaining retinue, but to speed their ascent orders the lowlier Dwarves to remain, as surely Habenath's Elven ears hear the distant baying of Hobgoblins on Wargback. With the party divided, haste is the order of the day, and as Hurin's heroes make their ascent to Redbeak, his loyal troops grimly stand their ground.


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