The One Ring: The Darkening of Mirkwood

#14 - To The Gates of Shadow

TA 2950

The fellowship returns from their great battle near the ruins of Fornost to Rivendell for a year-end fellowship phase. We open Rivendell as a sanctuary and perform several undertakings. We hear news of a worsening conflict between the men of Dale and the elves of Mirkwood over the sacred grove of silver beeches, and continue to hear tales of the Bloody Ghost terrorizing the freeholders in Woodmen lands.

While in Rivendell, Elrond tells us of a messenger from Radagast the Brown asking us to meet him at the docks of Woodmen Town on midsummer’s day. After some debate, we decide to journey there first, then deal with the Bloody Ghost and have Brand and Denethor act as negotiators and emissaries if need be in the Silver Beeches conflict afterwards.

The journey is hard and wearing. Due to the odd mix of strengths and weaknesses we have in skills, Denethor served as the guide, with Brand as the Scout and Findegil as the Look-Out. No one was particularly good at their job, and we gained a lot of fatigue crossing the Misty Mountains and making our way down to Woodmen Town.

True to his word, Radagast met us at the docks, coming downstream in a strange boat. He said he needed to personally visit Dol Guldur to look for evidence of the return of The Necromancer there, and needed our assistance. Never being ones to turn down the chance to leap headfirst into a giant stinking pit of Shadow, we agreed. We went down to the south shore of the Black Tarn and then began to march south to Tyrant’s Hill. We stayed a few days with Mogdred and his men to recover Fatigue, then continued trekking through the stinking bogs to Dol Guldur.

Fenbridge Castle guards the causeway across the moat to Dol Guldur itself, and we knew that Fenbridge Castle was crawling with orcs. Our initial plan was for Brand to start a large fire somewhere north of Fenbridge to distract the orcs while we sneak around from the southwest onto the causeway. But the wood was too wet to light and we had to abandon plan A.

Plan B was to ambush an orc patrol and disguise ourselves as orcs with their gear. This worked better. We tracked one down, killing six orcs and stealing their raiment. Findegil posed the naked orcs to appear as though they were slain in mid-orgy. Then we snuck around to the causeway and walked across the causeway into Dol Guldur.

Radagast spent some time examining the Gates of Shadow, pleased that they remained open – a sign that The Necromancer had not returned. We then went into the keep itself. Radagast asked us to look for evidence in the High Keep, but to avoid The Stairs of Woe, The Undercroft, and The Tower of Spells where he was going alone.

In the High Keep, we found a slain orc and later a slain human. The evidence seemed to indicate that they fatally wounded each other in a fight. We found a lot of written volumes and a few pages of text that the human infiltrator had stuffed down a grating. And we all gained loads of Shadow points inside this awful place.

Radagast let us know that it is time to go and we leave, back across the causeway. Findegil, who managed to gain 10 Shadow points in 1 session, had a bout of madness coming in sight of Fenbridge Castle again, and flung off the foul orcish armor and clothing on the causeway.

We will resume next time with our daring escape from Dol Guldur.



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