An ancient Stiff-beard king, King Horn son of Thulin had come up with a way to bind Fankil for several Ages of the world using an ancient Dwarven Spell. How exactly it worked, we didn't know, but there were some details. If they were right, we were hopeful we might get it to work with a bit of tinkering.
So, we set off by boat to the Whale's Graveyard, where somehow or other we had worked out we needed to contact Uin, King of Whales, for information. Possibly Angruin was absent at this point, or possibly he was failing to pay attention because Tinglin Redcap was playing the flute or something.
Anyway, we got there, after a brief encounter with menacing Nabkrok tribesmen in boats, and Sirithglor summoned Uin, who came... up.
He was a whale of considerable size.
Uin told us that Alatar the Blue Wizard was waiting for us on the island of Coldstone, at the foot of the island mountain Nordwindertind, which was once the tower of Fankil on the margins of fallen Utumno. But that if we went via Dawn Rock, we might find something to our advantage there.
We can take a hint. We went to Dawn Rock, and arrived, fortuitously, at dawn.
This island colony of Stiff-beard Dwarves (who, unusually for Dwarves, prefer to live above ground) proved to have a major problem: it was being undermined by ice-orcs attacking the mine tunnels that riddled the volcanic rock from below. The ice-orc problem had become very serious, since they were armed with a new weapon, a mobile darkness that gave them shelter for their attacks, and could be penetrated only by the light of the rare Great Glow-worms that live far beneath the surface.
This seemed an intriguing problem. We went to investigate in the depths of Dawn Rock, where we found some Great Glow-worms. They were indeed Great, if not exactly Goodlooking, but they really did glow in the dark.
After a nasty underground battle, which we dubbed we wrested their enchanted-darkness producing tool away from them, and found it to be.... The Fang (chelicera) of Ungoliant herself!
Having liberated Dawn Rock (aren't we doing well?) we made enquiries among the Stiff-beards, and came across a second and rather more detailed version of the story of King Horn and Fankil, including some details about his Spell.
So we set off to Coldstone, armed with the Spell and the Chelicera, intent on dealing with Fankil. Unfortunately, we hadn't really managed to come up with a plan on *how* to deal with Fankil, who after all had very nearly beaten us all together last time we had encountered him. We met up with Alatar again and had a chat with him (he was vague and unhelpful as always, honestly, listening to envoys of the Valar is so often a waste of ear-time that you could use listening to Tinglin Redcap playing the flute, Angruin says.)
So once we'd done that, we sat down and had a Serious Think, and came up with a Plan. Obviously, the plan involved artificing things. Plans involving Angruin usually do.
So here we are practicing our Arts. Angruin and Finculin, as the Eregion Smiths took four spider-webs of gold that we had taken from Sauron's hoard, and revamped them with the aid of Thrandin's dwarven smithing ability to make a truly fabulous Demon-net. Sirithglor set an enchantment of sleep upon the net, to bind anything caught in it into deep sleep. She used the niphredil of Luthien for the job, so you can tell it was a thorough one. Finculin's hair has come out rather black in this picture for some reason, it should be dark red. He's the one on the right in the pointy hat. I'm the one with the hammer.
That done, we felt we now had a Plan, so we set off up the mountain. It was a difficult climb - I think in the end it took us about sixty days, because we were snow-bound in our tents for about two weeks by terrible snowy weather, and we might have all fallen off the mountain never to be seen again if it
had not been for the heroic mountaineers of the Mountain Club of Kibil-tarag, who kept us more or less in one piece.
At a couple of points, there were Incidents. For example, the time when there was a lot of ice that needed to be dislodged. Sirithglor was just about to melt it efficiently when Finculin stepped up and used earth magic to send the whole pile of snow down on the heads of some unfortunate ice trolls.
In this picture you can just see Sirithglor gesticulating impatiently at Finculin top right as the ice comes roaring down.
Perhaps this is the moment to show you the amazing Dice Tower. We all liked this a lot, and voted it a greatly superior way of rolling dice to the everyday approach of merely chucking them down on a table. It looks particularly good when rolling 6 transparent d20.
While climbing up the mountain, Tinglin Redcap found a recently abandoned camp, and led some of us to it. It turned out to be a camp belonging to some of the legendary Li Connagan Men - famously skilled mountaineers still remembered in the legends of the Bead People, though possibly vanished from the world. But this camp had clearly been recently used: the ashes of the fire were still faintly warm. There was no sign of the owners of the camp, but they had left behind a few things, suggesting they had not packed up and left. The most significant item was a Li Connagan Tellstone, marked with a series of pictograms.
We puzzled through these and worked out (!) that they told a story of the Li Connagan people, and in particular, the story of how the Li Connagan had taken the stone from the mountain above us, and unleashed the White Blight upon the world. We were sceptical about this.
We were just wondering again where the Stone's owner had got to, when a wild-eyed person came staggering out of the night. We tried to help him, but on examination, found that he had been dead for several days. As soon as we spotted this, he collapsed into nothing but a skin. Rushing out of our tents at the sound of a noise outside, we found a mysterious avalanche of skulls toppling towards us to stop almost at our feet. High on the Mountain-top, we could see a great Winged Shadow.
We have a bad feeling about this.
(You can see in the pic above that I was making notes and inkpaintings at the same time in a Big Leather Book. I've had this BLB for ages and never quite known what to do with it, since it didn't seem to like acrylics, but when I tried inkpainting, I found that this was clearly what this paper was born for. You can see the thong bindings and also my horrible hand-writing, which I do not expect anyone to be able to read. Frankly, I can barely read it myself.)
Somewhat baffled and alarmed, we resolved to move on, but we were now so high in the bitter cold and thin air of the mountain that we had to move very slowly and carefully. Most of us stayed at the camp, while the Dwarves, led by Altjoffer Tenpeaks, Yngvi (a dwarf of modest background who had been accepted into the otherwise gentlemanly Mountain Club of Kibil-Tarag because of his extraordinary Mountaineering ability) and some other Dwarves went on ahead to set up a new camp above.
Here they are!
While the Dwarves were doing their thing, the Elves - or Sirithglor, Angruin and Finculin, anyway, Thorofin was more interested in polishing his very shiny sword - sat in their tent and examined the Stone through their arts. We
Anyway, while all this was going on, things had gone a bit pearshaped for some of our Mountaineering Dwarves setting up camp above us. They had come adrift climbing on ice, and Nidi and Gror, heroic Dwarves who had fought nobly in the siege of Bosvik, had been badly hurt. Ynvi had been badly winded.
We set out on a rescue mission with ropes. It was all a bit worrying for a bit, since the Dwarves were much better on mountains than we were and they had already come adrift.
Tragically, Nidi died on the mountain before we could do anything for him, though thankfully, Nordri was able to reach him and hold him as he died.
There was little time for grieving: we had to get the other injured off the mountain. Nordri and I retrieved Gror in a practical and workmanlike manner.
Thorofin and Thrandin... well. Thorofin retrieved his fallen dwarf with considerable elan, as always, and Thrandin didn't actually get hurt when he tripped and rolled down the hill into camp...
At long last, we reached the mighty ice-clad peak, impossibly high above the surrounding seas. Here we all are, looking around.
Behind us, the remaining heroic Mountain Club members, who had refused to be left behind, all apart from Yngvi, who as the youngest and most able dwarf of the lot, had been left behind at the camp, after a touching scene in which Altjoffer Tenpeaks (now to be renamed Elevenpeaks) gave Yngvi the task of taking warning to the world if we should fail in our great endeavour.
There was some debate about how this got up here, since this entire mountain is supposed to be a remnant of Ancient Utumno which predates winged dragons by a long Age:
The Demon-binding spell we had was a Dwarf one, so we handed it to Elevenpeaks and Thrandin to do the honours. As the ritual was spoken and the Gong Bonged, winds rose all around us, whipping the frozen snow into the air, and a great pulsing tornado of white air appeared. IT WAS FANKIL!
We launched our carefully -artificed Magical net... and caught him! He took on a more corporeal form under its influence, though it did not entirely subdue him.
You can see us holding onto the net with long enchanted ropes... then when we were busy with that, out of the strange frozen lake, an ice-troll appeared! Sirithglor leapt into action and froze it in place, while I activated the spell in the web.
Fankil struck out and killed poor Gror, who had been rescued before only to die on the mountain-peak, and struck Bodin, one of the mountaineers holding a rope on the web with a terrible fear. Somehow, Bodin rallied and managed to hold on, and Hidek leaped to the attack in the form of a bear!
In a dramatic moment, Thrandin who had been holding the Ninth Ring we stole from Sauron, flung the ring to me!
Sadly I did not get a photo of it spinning dramatically across the room, so you will have to make do with this small blurry photo of it:
it's the big flashy one.
The smaller ring is playing Angruin's Lesser Ring of Fire.
In a giant flash of white and blue, Fankil's corporeal body was destroyed, along with the Ninth Ring! His spirit was caught in the net. Sirithglor sprang into action to reinforce the net with enchantment, and force Fankil into sleep.
Thorofin and Hidek are formidable fighters, tough as old boots, and both managed to avoid dying in the explosion, which was quite a feat. But both of them came out of it with hair that had turned as white as snow.
So, there we were with one of Morgoth's greatest servants vanquished and asleep in our net.
Finally, late as always, Alatar the Envoy of the Valar woke up and started trying to be helpful. He summoned the great Mando-Kundo, the prison-warder of the Valar and servant of Mandos to take Fankil to the Halls of Mandos to be imprisoned there.
Then, Mando-Kundo also summoned Alatar to Aman for judgement, for having turned aside from his mission. Angruin immediately felt warmer towards Alatar than he has done for the entire adventure so far, and began to shout at Mando-Kundo about Alatar actually having attempted to do something useful, unlike the rest of them, but Mando-Kundo was entirely unimpressed, and vanished with Alatar and Fankil without so much as bothering to shout back, which was very annoying of him.
So we buried Gror on the mountain-peak, and began the slow and laborious descent, during which I am pleased to say, nobody died.
And that was the end of the adventure for this year.