Sadly, Andrew who played the effusive Carl Huffingtoe, our Hobbit mascot, moved to another city. In game, he found a cobbler to apprentice with in Sunstead in the East Bight and was able to fulfill his lifelong ambition to learn to make shoes for the Half-folk.
The rest of the group decided to return to Rhosgobel through The Narrows of Mirkwood, rather than taking the long way around the southern end of the forest. We anticipated that it would be shorter though more dangerous, and we were right. However, Denethor wanted to see the Black Tarn, so we obliged his curiosity.
During our journey, we had another run-in with six Attercops (giant spiders). We managed to defeat them, but The Boarslayer was poisoned and drastically weakened. Denethor and Brand found a sheltered glade to drag him to for rest and recovery, but The Boarslayer suffered a long fever-dream. A dead couple from old times was pointing to a glint on a hill, then we were riding a funeral boat across a black river, then we saw a cave in the hill that turned into a giant gnashing mouth. Inside the mouth was a deformed creature full of rage and anguish. The dead couple appeared again, tattered and weeping tears of blood, and pointed again at the hill. There were many rolls during this bizarre dream sequence, and at the end, The Boarslayer sang the couple a song of rest and eternal repose to put their disturbed souls to sleep.
Upon waking from the dream, The Boarslayer recognizes the dale they are in as the same landscape from his dream, though hundreds of years later. He tells Denethor and Brand about the dream and is able to point the way toward the hill. They see glyphs on the trees nearby that Denethor interprets as marks meaning “vengeance”.
As we get closer to the cave, we see tracks that are similar to troll tracks, only somewhat smaller. Also, signs of predation. We use our rope to set up a hidden trip-line between two trees. Denethor climbs a tree and readies his bow. Brand and The Boarslayer sneak up to the cave, with The Boarslayer taking up an ambush position outside, and Brand sneaking in. The troll spots him and rushes out after him. It’s a furious brawl. The troll lands a solid bite on The Boarslayer and chases Brand toward the trip-wire. Everyone manages to land some blows, and Denethor, after several missed shots, scores the critical wounding hit on the troll-creature after it trips over the wire. We finish it off with a coup de grace.
The cave contains the gnawed remnants of many people, among the troll filth. The Boarslayer recognizes parts of the raiment of the couple from his dreams among the broken bodies. We dig a mass grave and lay the people to proper rest, and The Boarslayer sings the same song over the grave that he sang in his dream. Then we loot the cave. There is a substantial amount of treasure in the cave, and Denethor finds a wondrous item – a Dwarf-made ring that gives him a bonus to Insight checks.
After another rest and several more days of travel, we make it to the Black Tarn, which turns out to be a completely wholesome lake. We gig for eels and have a light supper, then go to the new Woodman stead on its eastern shore. We tell the leader there of the Folkmoot, set for next Mid-Summers day in Rhosgobel, and finally return to Rhosgobel for another Year-End fellowship phase.