But the people in them come and go, and since this year was the fifth and final year of Akallabutts the Roleplaying Game, our part has now ended at last, and we have now fallen out of the tale. So, with luck, this account of our journeyings should be shorter than the previous years... (she says, hope triumphing over experience again. Though, it better had be because it's taken me ages to write it on this laptop because the screen keeps turning itself off. Possibly this is a Hint. If so, I'm not taking it.
All the photos below are clickable to expand, but I'm putting them in small because there are a shedload of them. )
So! we descended the mountain in triumph after our dramatic defeat of Fankil, Demon of the North Wind, who we did not sight again, (unlike Fankil the Small Grey Scaredycat, who did actually manage to surface briefly a few times during the week, but mostly hid under our bed. )
We returned to the Land of Engirdor, which had been founded by Sirithglor of our party during a previous adventure. Here is Sirithglor: as you can see she is very blonde, and very magical. Galadriel sent her into the distant East, looking for a land that Galadriel might be able to rule as a queen. But things didn't quite work out the way they had originally been planned, and long story short, Sirithglor (king_pellinor) now has a large, thriving and highly multicultural Land of Engirdor to rule, and Galadriel... doesn't.
I should probably re-introduce the rest of the party from last year at this point, since this will be an opportunity to show that my character portraits have definitely improved since last year.
Here is Angruin, my Feanorian Smith of Eregion, in characteristic face-palming mode. Angruin has experienced Character Development during this campaign, and has moved from getting furiously angry a lot, to working better with others, and mostly being resigned to disaster.
This is Thorofin (chainmailmaiden), a very pretty young Noldor Elf of enormous dexterity and considerably lethal tendencies. His hair has turned white this year, after last year's climactic and traumatic battle with Fankil. I'm not sure that Thorofin's character development reached very deeply beyond his hair, but he has at least learned that the party is liable to get eaten by wolves if he decides to leave them unsupervised.
Here is Hidek, (pwibethran) a Man of Urd who is a skinchanger. He fought Fankil in bear-form, and so his bear-fur turned white. He has ALSO experienced Character Development, in that he has learned to control his bear-form, and has come to the realisation that although he is devoted to the Land of Urd, Urd will never accept a skin-changer King. He moved to Engirdor, where he has a very impressive house with spikes on. That's the Banner of Urd, featuring an Urdbull, on the ground next to him.
And this is Thrandin, (ladyofastolat) our Diplomatic Dwarf from Moria. During this campaign, he has become a mountaineer, won the friendship and respect of the Stiffbeard Dwarves, and been given the task of finding the Petty-Dwarves and re-uniting Dwarfkind by Aule himself. Aule gave him a sword to help him with this task, which Thrandin took home to show to his king, who promptly decided it was too important to carry about the place, and put it in a glass case. Thrandin has also done some Character Development in the area of '... should my king really have done that???'
And finally Finculin, (Bacchus) another Smith of Eregion, but a younger one than Angruin, filled with youthful enthusiasm, who hd been Celebrimbor's close friend... and also... Annatar's. *gasp* We had found Finculin in a cave, cheerfully still working on making Rings for Annatar, apparently unaware that Annatar was Sauron and had made a Nightmare Celebrimbanner out of his lord and friend. This caused Angruin to experience a lot of Character Development, and to drag Finculin all the way back to Rivendell, where Elrond and Angruin worked hard on convincing Finculin that he too should experience Character Development and shun Sauron and all his ways. We mostly convinced him, but he still has a somewhat terrifyingly naive faith in the value of Progress.
So! There we were in Engirdor, just catching up with all our various friends and minions who had also gathered there. One of them was :
Ecthelion, (king_pellinor) Knight of the Moon who had adventured with us in the past. He was a servant of Irimon, the lord of Ciriatanore, a Numenorean colony of the far South. He brought the news that Irimon, who had previously fallen in love with an Elf-maid and (despite Angruin's dubious mutterings) married her, had vanished! He had gone on a honeymoon with his Elf Princess to a lonely island and had vanished. Ecthelion was keen to set out to find Irimon at once, and he had brought a magnificent Ship from the Numenorean navy along with its crew to help in this task.
Here is Ecthelion:
We were just considering what to do about the news about the Missing Prince, when... Tien-Du, the Queen of Cranes arrived, and started, as is her wont, flinging out News and Clues in all directions. I won't write them all down, but there were A Lot, and it was soon clear that we would need more than six characters to deal with them all.
It was soon agreed that while Angruin, Sirithglor, Thrandin, Thorofin and Finculin would go off to investigate some of the Crane Clues,
Ecthelion and Hidek would go to Urd, in the company of various members of the ship's company, including...
Tosca, a Blacklock Dwarf mercenary, (me) whose great passions were drinking and avoiding combat. He had a very blingy beard.
and Morlaine Half-elven (ladyofastolat) - a cheery and optimistic young musician, whose Avari Elf mother had had a fling with an enormously strong mortal gentleman, whose name of dreadful rumour was the Lord of Rust.
Along with Ching-Po (Bacchus), ostensibly a 'translator'. But whoever had hired her had not checked her references, for she knew very few languages. She was, however, very good at moving silently and sneaking into places, because her real role in the company was as an envoy of the Lord of Rats, who was a captain of Thieves that we had met on a previous excursion to the mighty kingdom of Chey. Here she is:
So! We got to Urd, only to find that the king of Urd, who had only recently been crowned during an earlier part of the adventure, had been cruelly slain in an orc-raid.
Thingolodh, (pwibethran)an ancient Elf of the Falas with a raven familiar, who had travelled from Lindon as Cirdan's representative had been staying in Urd. He assured us that he had done all that he could to heal the fallen king, but had been unsuccessful. He also told us that .... he had been held as a prisoner by Sauron himself! He had found his way to a lonely causeway far out in the Bay of Alcar, and exploring along it, had found his way to The Citadel of Tol Darag, where he had been imprisoned for some time before he finally managed to escape. Here he is.
So, it was time for the Wyat of Urd to appoint another new King, a process with which the players by now were pretty familiar with, having encountered kingmaking in Urd previously, although at least it all came as a novelty to Ching-po, Morlaine and Tosca, who were new to Urd and so had little previous experience with that rare and suspicious phenomenon, democracy. Or, limited noblemen-only democracy, anyway.
There were many candidates for King of Urd, including Hidek himself, but in the end after much politicking, singing, discussion of bears and Urd, etc, the king was Hidek's half-nephew Tidraig, and the behind the scenes kingmaker was definitely our old friend Hidek. Hidek opted to stay in Urd to help his nephew do kinging, so we recruited an extra member of the party to go hunt for the missing Prince Irimon:
A lovely young Iron-fist dwarf-maid, named Hor (pwibethran)
So! We sailed off in our Mighty Numenorean Ship.
We were on our way to hunt for Irimon and the River King's Daughter, starting where a deep-keeled wreck of a ship had been previously sighted. These are Variag lands, and the Variags are very tough and VERY scary, and also a bit cannibalistic, so we did not want to tangle with them. Wandered around a bit looking. Found the Urgath, a short, broad curly-haired people who were a bit useless. Then we saw a Suspicious Ship and set sail after it. This was something of a mistake due to:
2) Attack by an Impressive Turtlefish. This was deterred mostly by Thingolodh, who did a spell to make the water unpleasant.
3) Attack by A THING with Tentacles. Specifically, Arse Tentacles.
I'm not entirely sure why I drew this, since I already had a photo of the battle,but I did. However, since the picture in my drawing is of a section through the ship, you can see the dramatic moment when Ecthelion somehow managed to calm the panicking horses in the hold and also patch the hole in the bottom of the ship by flinging a saddle on it then sitting on the saddle. Also the heroic moment where Tosca decided that the tentacle monster was really real, and he should throw his bottle at it, and Morlaine's dramatic and more effective heroics with his bow, and the master at arms, who heroically chopped the top off one of the arse-tentacles.
And THEN, just as we were all heaving sighs of relief....
4) Attack by a Truly Humungous Seamonster!
We had no idea how to deal with this, and so we opted for freezing and staring at it, in the hope it might decide to go away.
It did not go away. A goodly number of people did not even get eaten, but just squished, including the Bosun, who was the Replacement Bosun, since we had just appointed him to replace the Bosun carried off by the Tentacles.
Fortunately, we had among us a Hero of Numenor, who knew exactly how to deal with this sort of thing (or die in the attempt) without even getting his white boots dirty. Here is (one of) Ecthelion's Finest Hours:
But we won! Or Ecthelion did, anyway, and the rest of us cheered enthusiastically, and Morlaine made up a Song about it. Earcaraxe, the Last of the Sea-Dragons, a remnant of one of Morgoth's unused projects from the War of Wrath, was no more.
After that, we landed on the Isle of Dogs, where we refitted all the things that Earcaraxe had broken and appointed yet another new Bosun, hoping that this one would be a bit more durable than the last two.
We set out once more to the place where we had seen the Suspicious Ship, and went on to the strangely sophisticated-seeming land of Bur-Esme. We approached with caution at first, and sent Ching-po to burgle a house. One of the main things that she found there was a huge pile of copies of the book Of Ilu, and Mol, and the Creation of the Earth in many different languages (mostly ones that Ching-Po could not read because she is a fake translator who is much better at burglary than translating). This tells a version of the Creation of the Earth from the Sauronic perspective. Tosca found it rather compelling, and would probably have fallen for it hook line and sinker, if it had not been clearly aimed at Men and not at Dwarves.
We were all so intrigued by the entire thing that we went ashore at Bur-Esme, and got chatting to the locals, who seemed terribly friendly and pleasant, and told us that they owed their advanced and comfortable way of life to a Great Mentor, who came to visit them from.... The Citadel of Tol Darag! And who had taught them all about Mol, and how he was really the good guy.
Clearly the Great Mentor was Sauron, and clearly he was up to something. But he had not been seen in Bur-esme for some time. Irimon and his bride Alanna, however had been seen. Irimon had come to visit them, had been intrigued by tales of the Great Mentor, and had gone away to Tol Darag to meet him. Later, he had sent for Alanna, and she had gone away on a ship. Neither had been seen since!
Dun! dun! duuuun!
Ecthelion, loyal to his prince right to the soles of his shiny white boots, reckoned that Irimon had seen through the Great Mentor and was plotting against him, had perhaps followed the example of Beren, Irimon's great hero, and tried to destroy the One Ring. He reckoned Irimon had failed, and now needed rescuing.
Tosca was a bit dubious about that (this campaign I always seem to be playing the cynic of the party!) but Irimon had a great reputation for heroic acts, and thinking he was more like Beren than was really feasible, so most of the rest of the party decided that Ecthelion's (desperately hopeful) interpretation was probably correct, and started talking about rescues too. But Thingolodh, who had after all been imprisoned in Tol Darag and didn't fancy going straight back there, said "One does not simply walk into The Citadel of Tol Darag. Or, if you do, you don't walk out again." So, we had to think again.
That will do for now. There is more! I knew this wouldn't be as short as I had hoped...