Off the coasts of Forlindon are several islands, they are all that remains of the ancient lands of Beleriand.
Great cities of Men and Elves here sank 'neath the waves at the end of the War of Wrath.
And now only the highest mountains of that realm remain as islands.
Magical relics and treasures of a bygone age are there to be found, but no one has been foolish enough to disturb the creatures that dwell there... until now!
Looking around they see a hill to the west, ruins to the east and several woods scattered around.
There are no enemies to be seen, and the only sounds to be heard are the unsettling creaking of tree branches in the wind.
Gimli says if relics are to be found in this place then its the ruins or the crystal henge that are the most likely places.
Nindalf says to avoid the trees even the Weirwood.
There is something unnatural about these forests...
Gimli says to split up and check both places.
Frodo asks if its smart to split the party?
Of course, no one hears the halfing...
Frodo, Uther, and Foreman Brisket follow behind.
Nindalf, Maggie, and Kimril follow him.
But a palpable static energy crawls over their skins and frizzles their hair.
Kimril: I think maybe its the chemistry between us, Maggie!
Maggie: (rolls eyes) #MeToo
Uther: Not to worry, I am a Dwarf Lord of Legend, I can sense things even behind me, as if I had eyes on the back of my head. I was once trapped in a tunnel with 100 Skaven gutter runners when my torch blew out and...
Frodo: Wow, I must be tired, those trees look like they are moving...
Nindalf: Enemy spells are being cast! Someone or something is Tree-Singing!
They only see the woods and no enemies.
Remember, you can only see 2" into a wood.
Gimli: Everyone brace for impact! Prepare for combat!
Frodo: I think Im feeling something... it might be fear, but maybe its just indigestion...
Frodo: Nope. Its fear! (begins hyperventilating)
She also has a baby Purple Worm on her shoulder which counts as a Murder of Spites (extra poisonous attacks)
Legolas: Hail, tree spirits! I am an Elf of Mirkwood Forest and we wish you no harm!
Branchwych: (sees Gimli and his axe) AXE!!!!!
Gimli: Oh.... uh... no. no no no. Its not for what you think...
Branchwych: SLAY THEM ALL!
Which leaves Legolas and Uther to hold the line.
Since he is immune to Fear, he doesnt run, but most importantly he has no penalty To-Hit mods.
But the Branchwych casts her Regen spell which gives the Dryads another 4+ Save, making them some very resilient plants!
Nindalf: Gimli, I got it! My Steed of Shadows spell! I can use it on you and charge you out of combat and into a new one... versus the Branchwych!
As he finishes his spell, the free Dryad attacks the Dwarven wizard as revenge!
Branchwych: Worm! Om nom nom the stuntie!
Uther did slay one Dryad though.
Frodo and Brisket recover from fear and head back, but will they be able to help Legolas in time?
But in the distance, the battle is decided... Gimli has the best dice rolls in his life and fells (timber!) the Branchwych.
The heroes groan, this is one monster they will not be able to defeat especially with all their wounds and losses already...
as it turns out, the Shambling Mound is friendly!
And he heals the wounds of both sides as blinky magical stardust healing spores surround everyone.
Branchwych: Perhaps I was too hasty. I name thee, Plant-Friends. We are the guardians of the Highlands of Dorthonion, whats left of it. The body of the great Elven King Fingolfin lies here under these crystals.
Legolas: A legendary Elven King of Old! He wounded Morgoth in single combat before being slain!
Branchwych: Yes, and afterwards, the Great Eagle Thorondor took his body and carried him hither. We buried him with his sword Ringil a mighty weapon that glittered like ice, and his blue shield laced with magic crystals.
Gimli: Middle Earth is in great need again, O Lady of the Branches! We need those weapons to fight Morgoth who is returning! Though it does seem disrespectful to desecrate the grave of so great a warrior...
Branchwych: You are indeed good hearted heroes, I see that now... But fear not! We need not disturb the honored dead, for I know the secret of the crystals and can transfer the power of the weapons to you by distilling their essence into runes. Touch your weapons to the main crystal...
Gimli: Hmm... good thing I got some spare sockets on my weapon! (anyone remember Wow?)
So Gimli gets the power of Fingolfin's Sword socketed into his axe: a Master Rune of Smiting (instead of 1 normal wound per attack, bearer causes d6 wounds), a Rune of Fury (+1 Attack) and a Rune of Cleaving (+1 Str)
Legolas gets the power of Fingolfin's shield, so decides to touch his Elven Cloak to the crystal: and gets these powers on it - Railarian Mantle (4+ Ward Save), Amber Pendant (Enemies in melee with him will always strike last)
Maggie: (hugs the surprised Slayer) We should go for a drink at Bugmans Brewery sometime!
Kimril: Hmm.... are you sure you are ok? That Shambling Mound! He must have put some extra fairy dust in your Resurrect Spell or something...
Maggie: No, Im just happy to be alive!
Frodo: (to the Dryad) Must be lonely for you Dryads on this island, eh?
Dryad: We get alot of sun here and the soil is fertilized from the dead of countless battles of yore.
Frodo: Ok... (under his breath) still creepy even when friendly...
Well, there's the first away team, successful and alive.
So at least we know where Fingolfin is buried.
And Treebeard might want to know there are Dryads (are they Entwives?) still here on this forested island.
Actually, Treebeard did used to visit Dorthonion before Beleriand was deluged, so perhaps he knows who these Dryads are?
As I was perusing my copy of the Silmarilion, I re-discovered something I forgot, that the Valar Aule created the Dwarves before Elves and Men.
And when his wife, the Valar Yavanna found out, she then created the Ents to protect the forests from the axes of the Dwarves.
Next up is Sam Gamgee's team (King Alrik, White Dwarf, Kremlo the Slaan).
Lets see if they are just as lucky in their quest for magical goodies.
Next post: The Cursed Isle of Tol Morwen