Friday, May 2, 2008

Storytelling - Book 2, Chapter 3

I returned to the wizard a few days later. My bath-given cleanliness had since worn off with the stench of wargs and goblins. Radagast stood up from his study, and told me that far too many wights were abound in Haragmar to be just the play of evil spirits from Angmar. The necromantic gaunt-men were behind this. I had heard rumors of their sightings east of Ost Guruth, but from afar they seemed has hollow as the wights they created, easily mistaken. From an Istari, the presence of the gaunt-men coven was truth. Radagast needed their sigils so that we would know what vile sect of the necromancers we were up against.

Moondog, a hobbit minstrel, and Targimoth, an elven hunter, answered my call. The Council of the Secret Fire, I knew, was closely allied to the Istari, and the kinship was given many delicate tasks from the leaders of the Free Peoples. Maiden had no choice in the matter but to come along.

Our journey through the swamp of Haragmar towards the evil ruins of Nan Dhelu was swift. The denizens of the swamp, natural and unnatural, gave our fellowship wide berth. Any that crossed our path would be swiftly deal with.

Outside Nan Dhelu, I saw a gaunt-man watching our approach. It was likely a rare occurence that any adventurer came close to their wretched haven, but once I pointed the foul creature to my companions, Moondog and Targimoth's reactions were severe. The gaunt-man was felled before I could command Maiden to herald us forth, however, I heard the crawk of a nearby craben and knew the coven of gaunt-men would be expecting our venture.

We smashed into Nan Dhelu with brutal precision. Targimoth's arrows whistled through the hair around my and Maiden's head and hit their intended marks, always. Moondog called forth the power of light and hope, beams of which burned the fell creatures very soul. I later heard that the guards of Ost Guruth had seen the brilliant light from their posts, and it had given the Free Peoples such hope.

After our entrance, the cowardly gaunt-men began to hide. We slaughtered countless of their animated minions, but none could be seen out in the open. Moondog merely shrugged, for he knew their time was coming. I took a few minutes of respite, while Targimoth tracked for footprints of the gaunt-men to pursue some scholarly work. I cannot wait to share my findings with the other Scholars back in Bree, I hope my notes and artifacts further help our case against The Enemy.

At the topmost point of Nan Dhelu was a temple where the gaunt-men were hiding. With our approach, it seemed they had packed many of the valuables and holed up with a few chests where they hoped we would not find them. I am grateful for Moondog's songs of courage, for little if any dread filled my heart, and any doubt I had for our victory was quickly silenced with the screaming arrows of Targimoth. The gaunt-men came at us in wave with their wights. And they died. And they died.

The horn of the Council was heard over the miles at Ost Guruth. We had collected enough of the gaunt-men's sigils to help Radagast decipher their gaunt-lord, and Moondog said it was time we ventured further into the red swamp to push back the treacherous human tribes found in Garth Agarwen. I told my two companions that I would heed the call, and we traveled back to Ost Guruth.

They waited outside while I briefly met with Radagast. He immediately identified the sigils as being beholden to Iver the Bloodhand. The wizard, as always, had more questions, and I told him I would return to him further after our critical strike into Garth Agarwen.

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