Highlights: Fanrel travels through Norcrofts
March 14th - March 15th
Riders of Rohan is an expansion that many take for granted. Personally, I barely remember much of it myself. They take what they learned from Isengard and Great River and push the abilities of the game to a new limit. Even from the first few quests in the Wold, you can tell that they did a nice job with their new phasing techniques. It definitely compliments what was happening to Théoden people that really wasn't shown in the movies. I am constantly surprised by the new voicework, although most of that is usually seen in the epic wherever you may go. Norcrofts might not have the theatrics of the Wold but it certainly has its fair share of mysteries and adventures.
The victory over the forces in Floodwend had the men celebrating. One such man, Elfsige, boasted of challenging people to an archery contest using the new bow he found from a dead Orc. The problem? It was Corudan's bow! Perhaps he was afraid to challenge me to an archery contest since when I confronted him the man suddenly thought up a much more difficult wager for me. If we could beat him to a friendly race to Elthengels, we could have the bow back. With the support of my friends, I accepted. I got on my warsteed and took to the forest.
Once I arrived, the man was nowhere to be found. I was for sure he must have cheated me and fled until I saw Elfsige's horse arrive with no rider. I backtracked and found the man cornered by a pack of orcs. It might have looked like I was there to save the man's life. In truth, I only went back for the item that rightfully belonged to my companion that he still had in his possession. But I wasn't going to tell him that. After making quick work of the orcs, I carefully placed him on my steed and made my way back to town. He then gave me the bow and a bit of coin to buy a round of drinks at the tavern for the patrons there. While attempting my best to blend in with the locals, I joyfully shoved the door open and shouted, "Bartender! Free drinks all around!"
The last time I was this embarrassed was when I knocked over a tub of wine on one of the guests partaking in The Vineyards of Lórien. The crowd before me just looked at me in shock. I sincerely apologized and began to shut the door when I heard someone scream from outside. In that very moment, an orc pack decided to attack Elthengels! (Instance: Thane Mildrith). My companions arrived just in time. Horn and Nona were helping the villagers down below. I handed Corudan his bow at the same time I readied mine. There we stood our ground by, not the tavern, but the meadhall.
After the last orc falls the town seemed much more gracious to our arrival despite my sudden uproar in the meadhall. The woman at the end of the hallway introduces herself as Mildrith. She explains that she is the widow of the former Thane Pendrad of Ethengels. Reeve Athelward ordered his troops to defend Cliving instead of aiding Elthengels leading to her husband being killed by an unexpected band of Orc raiders. Pendulf, her son, challenged the Reeve in a sword duel that he ultimately lost. The wound that he was inflicted with became infected and he shortly died afterward. Mildrith's daughter Siflád was moved to Cliving for her own protection while she continued her duties in Ethengels. I asked the poor woman out of respect if there was anything our group could help her with in her time of mourning. In a sense, I was handed a list: retrieve any weapons lost by the siege, hire new recruits, see to it that the Herbalist has all he needs to attend to any wounds, and assist with a problem down by the stables.
That wasn't the only thing Mildrith wanted me to do. She also wanted me to accompany Runald and his family on the road to Edoras. I denied her request and explained that we had our own mission to follow. She again pleaded with us to help to them. With a quick conversation with my companions, we compromised on helping them as far as Cliving. Mildrith nodded and also asked us to check in with her daughter if Cliving truly was our destination. We agreed to that too but made her understand that we might not return. She only closed her hands together and looked away.
After making their final preparations, Runald and his family were ready to take off. All their supplies were being carried by a small waggon. (Instance: A Dangerous Road) It wasn't too long until I heard Runald shouting out that there was a troll on the road. I looked ahead and didn't see one. Then I went around the waggon and saw what had Runald in a fright. A giant troll came barreling down the hill. One arrow, then two. The troll still did not stop. I pulled out the frying pan that the hobbits loaned to me and smacked the troll's head as hard as I can. Success. The troll was knocked out but my frying pan was dented beyond repair. Runald was thankful for my heroics and told me that he would try and repay me somehow at the trading post up ahead.
Once we got to the Trader's Outpost, I could feel the tension in the air. The merchants feared the ever-growing presence of orcs. They also feared the fact that the sun was close to setting. Rumors spread of a fearsome orc-rider that watches the river to the south and a giant troll made of snow to the east. I overheard Runald argue with a merchant over the price of some of his wolf-pelts. After Runald's slip of the tongue about my abilities the man, whose attempt at flattery was too big for his ego, tried to strike a deal with me. He would offer his services at a discount and a pair of new axes for free if I would help defeat some of the threats around the camp. After making sure the guards heard of dear ol' Léodrim's agreement, I accepted.
On the Road
I plopped onto my horse and started to make way out of the camp when a guard jumped in front of me. If I didn't see the desperation in his eyes, I'd surely have a few choice words to give him right there and then. He overheard my conversation and asked me to look out for his missing friend Dagrum. The instant he saw I heard his concerns, the guard stepped out of the way. I did not know how far I could go in the dead of night without being spotted. I found the troll they spoke of wandering near the forest. I also found something that favored my attention.
The orc-rider the men feared was taking a litte dip in the river. Surely he was not bathing. Orcs always smell so ripe. Then I saw it in his teeth. He and his pack were fishing for some tasty fish. And what's this, an orc caught off his warg? He should know better than to cross the streams. This couldn't be any more perfect. With one strong pull of my bow, I launched an arrow right through his head... and the fish too. His pack looked around in a fright. They rushed to the shoreline and lit their torches. I ran off to a nearby farm and hid behind a building. What I did not expect was to hear a man's voice come out from behind me!
The man was surprised to see me but knew better not to say another word until the pack were out of sight. He was in pain, physically wounded in his abdomen and emotionally for losing his wife and son. He asked me, no, begged me to search the houses for his family. By now you might have noticed that my response is nearly the same. It was up to me to find them. You would think a group of orcs would be loafing around the house. I found, if you would call them that, a rambunctious bunch of hyenas. I think I spotted a goblin jumping up and down on the bed like a small child! Another was toying with a sleeping orc by holding a fish over his head while he slept! The good news is I found the son hiding in among the food supplies. The bad news is the only thing I found of his wife was a shattered necklace.
A few hours later I returned to the camp and told them everything that happened during the night. I don't think they would have believed me if it wasn't for the safe return of Dagrum. I told them of my encounters with the enemy and robbing them of their weapons inside this beautiful cave. I told them of my time at the Springview Estate and the warbands that roamed the land. I did not, however, tell them of my time at Caddabrand's Camp. The nerve of that guy asking if I was worthy of hunting down some animals for him. Maybe I should have just dragged an orc's body and showed him how capable I could be. After some pressure from the guards, Léodrim held up his end of the bargain and gave me a pair of new axes. Runald seemed happy. We got our things together and made our way to Cliving.
It is no wonder that Cliving didn't have much of an orc problem. Their fortifications were much stronger than any Rohirrim place I've been to. Between their high elevation and impassable mountain range resting behind them, I felt plenty secure within the confines of their city. Athelward, Reeve of the Norcrofts, welcomed me to his halls. Mention of Mildrith of Ethengels had his mind adrift. He explained that he had an order from Edoras not to engage the orcs. He had a choice to protect his city or risk sending aid to his fellow Thane. One word of Pendulf had him gripping his sword that rested upon his lap. He had no intention on killing the boy or foresight of his wound becoming infected. Athelward's words are still focused on keeping his people safe and he feels uniting them together through the proposal of marrying Mildrith and baring a son is the only way of doing that.
The Reeve pauses for a moment as he taps the sword on his leg. He apologizes and admits his stricken mind is currently pondering over the mysterious poison that was found in the kitchen. "What can I do to help?" I ask him. He wants me to question Cetelgat, the cook, about the poison. I examined the small glass phial and asked if I could find an herbalist to identify the liquid. I was pointed to a renowned herbalist by the name of Malbéort. However upon entering his store, the place was dark with only a small shed of light peering through the crack of the window. I put one hand on my right axe as I crept across the floorboard. I turned the corner and went up the stairs. There my fears came to fruition. The person I seeked laid dead in his chair. I questioned the cook, the guard captain, and the neighbour but I still wasn't sure who did it.
If things weren't bad enough, there seemed to be another mystery on my hands. A woman by the name of Inhild approached me. She asked me to go see her love, Randgar, out by the borders of the Wold. When I went out there, I saw a stained cloak and bloodied spear. I had feared the worst. I returned and mentioned this to her in the presence of her father. After gaining permission to leave the grounds, Inhild went to search for him. But I was deceived. These two love doves used me so they could run away together. Though I shouldn't be too upset. I've seen my fair share of love stories (like the one between Andiriniel and Hadhelen in Lothlórien) and this perhaps is the first time I felt like they actually stood a chance to be together.
Time was short. I wanted to get back inside Cliving's walls before the sunset. Yet my eyes spotted a guard posting a tiny sign in the distance. When I approached the man, he stated that the Reeve deemed it necessary to warn people of orcs passing by in these lands. His words proved unpronounced as he continued to lightly tap the sign into the ground. Does he think a small sign would somehow keep the people safe of the impending waves of the enemy? Once the guard finished, he glanced at me one final time while waving me on to the north.
I followed the guard to the north. Across the way was a training camp. He told me there was a great warrior who could help that was preparing to the north. There I followed the road to a small house where a shield-maiden resided. Her name was Ides and daughter of Athelward. She shared her point-of-view of the current situation and expressed her conviction to see the land once again safe. Some orcs attacked. We killed them. We had a great time together!
Going back to the camp, I saw the Reeve still deep in thought with that sword in his hand. Now he was concerned about the lack of response to his call from Faldham. So I took up my arms and my steed and traveled my way south to the small town of Faldham. The night came swiftly and the men were busy boarding up their walls. The men refused to leave their home and prepared for war at all costs. I could not deter people with such determination. One man even stood on his roof with his bow and arrows at his ready! I entered the houses to make sure there wasn't anybody else who needed help. And then I saw it...
You know what? I'm not going to say anything. Let's just say I take back everything I might have said about hobbits raising too many chickens.
by Resolina on 2018-03-20 07:24:52
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