My mother warned me about days like this. Well, no she didn’t, mostly she warned me about not touching the fresh baked pies, or getting a dirty face or wiping my nose with my sleeve. But if she had known that I would be standing at the foot of an enormous hill and had to get through dozens of Orcs to reach the top and then to give the head Orc a serious telling-off, she would definitely have warned me. And she would have warned me about Candaith who I think is seriously mad.
The Ranger Candaith enlisted my aid to remove the threat of Orcs from the Weather Hills. Candaith believes that the presence of Orcs from the South upon Weathertop is a precursor to an invasion of Eriador.
“We must make haste, Seolferwulf. We have the leaders of these Uruk-hai cornered like rats upon the slopes of Weathertop. If we can defeat them, we may yet break the will of this war-band and drive them whimpering to their masters in the South. Be prepared for anything.”
Whimpering! I can do whimpering. What’s that you say, Candaith? It’s the Orcs that should be whimpering, not me. Oh well, if you say so.
OK, we make a start up the hill. Thankfully, the smell of the Orcs gives advance warning of their presence. At each twist and turn of the path, I creep forward until I can assess the enemy. Usually they are in groups of two or three; so, stun one of them and the party then kills the remainder of the group. Then back to the stunned Orc. Easy.
Up we go, clearing the Orcs from the path until we come to a fork. Candaith tells us
“The path diverges ahead. I shall follow the trail to the right, you follow the path to the left. If all goes well, we will meet again upon the peak of Weathertop. Wait until I have passed from sight before you proceed. Remember, we must defeat the leaders of this war band if we are to discourage them. Use the torches you find on the unlit pyres along the path. They may draw the attention of nearby Orcs.”
What! How will walking along holding up a bright torch help here? I’m all for darkness and a bit of sneaking.
Candaith says, “We will meet at the crest of Weathertop. If you come across Bûb-hosh or Muz, defeat them.”
Ah, I have a suspicion that these two will be found on the left path rather than the right path that Candaith is taking.
As I proceeded upwards, I came upon a much heavier concentration of Orcs. There was one group ahead with an archer. I could see two more further up to the left with another archer. On the right there is a group of four. Patience was needed here to pick off one or two at a time without drawing the attention of the others.
Alas, I have no patience and our group promptly found ourselves under attack from nine Orcs! A mad melee ensued and I just struck out at anything in reach hoping that I didn’t injure my allies too much, or they me. I certainly took a few good whacks but an axe and short spear is a fearsome combination at close quarters – limbs were lopped and flesh pierced until all was quiet at last. Let’s see, 2 arms, 2 legs, head, I seemed to still have the full complement! But the group badly needed to camp for a while now and treat any injuries before we ventured on. I hate this bit, putting liniment and the like on my wounds always stings! Ouch.
Cold game pie, hard cheese, bread and ale – ah, that was a feast. Back to work now.
On we went until we came across Bub-hosh. To be honest, he was little trouble until he decided to flee crying “Fly, fly from here! We are defeated!” We followed him through a gate and finished him off. On we went, fighting wargs and goblins now. Soon after, we found Muz with his pet, Throk-goth, a giant warg. He was attended by many more normal sized wargs. Tough fight and I very nearly succumbed here, but we were now thoroughly warmed up and had learned to fight as a unit and thankfully the others saved me. And so, we reached the top where we found an injured Candaith.
“You have done well, Seolferwulf, better than I, it appears. Uruk-hai and Orcs nearly bested me and my wounds run deep. But you must not concern yourself with me now. Beyond that gate is the Uruk who leads this force. Pass through the gate and defeat him. We cannot allow these Orcs to have a hold in the north. I will open the gate and hold the rear guard.”
Rear guard! No rear guard needed, we killed all the rest. Still, you rest up there Candaith, direct operations sort of thing.
While Candaith busied himself opening the gate, we could hear talking within. It seems the leader is called Rigul.
“Pick up the pace, you sluggards!”
“What’s the hurry, Rigul? The hill’s ours….”
“That’s the half of it, toad! We’ll not keep Sharkû waiting! Get down the hill and bring up the logs. We’ve a pyre to build.”
“Get them logs up with what? You talk too big, Rigûl.”
“Use your head. you worthless slug! Get Olog-snaga down there and put him to work!”
Olog-snaga? What’s an Olog-snaga? Oh, no time to wonder, the gate is open and in we go.
Chop chop, stabity stab, no problem here. Then Rigul shouted “Feel the might of the Uruk-hai! I’ll not be beaten by you! I’ve a little surprise! Now you die!”
Ah, this would be Olog-snaga then. A bloody (sorry Mother) great troll! Time to step back a little I think and let the guardian take the strain. No sense in over-exertion at this point. On the other hand, I am extremely small and he surely can’t spot me sneaking around the back of him. Now, guardian, just hold his attention a little longer. There, a quick slash of the axe and he is hamstrung. Over he goes, now to finish him.
Back to Candaith – “My wounds are grievous, but I shall recover. Come, we shall return to my camp. You did very well, friends.”
And we picked up some fine loot too!
Back at camp, Candaith told me “I managed to track Radagast south and there met friends, the Eglain, who make some ruins here in the Lone-lands their home. They are a solitary and quiet people, having shunned societal obligations for a simple life eked out here. The few that do venture towards the more civilized areas of the world are still different than most you will ever meet.
‘Because of this nature, they are truly wary of anyone who wishes to traffic with them or their allies, and it seems that Radagast has enlisted their aid, not only now, but at some time in the distant past. I fear that you will need to earn the right to speak with Radagast.
‘I have done what part I can. My horse will take you south and east to The Forsaken Inn. There, you should seek an audience with Gadaric Munce. He will know your name. Be safe, Seolferwulf.”