Stories:
The Minas Elen Chronicles
 
 
By: Arjan Wardekker
Genre: Fantasy, Roleplaying
Wordcount: 10583

This is the story of Gildor of Elenor, High Elven king of Minas Elen.


Chapter 1:
THE HISTORY OF MINAS ELEN

Minas Elen is a small Elven kingdom in the Ered Elen, a large area with high, snow-covered mountains. The kingdom itself lies in a hidden valley, connected to the rest of the world only by a small pass, known as the Trollbattle Pass. The city of Minas Elen is hidden in the woods of the valley.
The nearest dwelling of mankind is the tower of a wizard named Meldanor, although it is uncertain if this wise man really is a human. Certain is that he has been living their for many years, much longer than the normal lifespan of the mortals and no man or elf can tell you his age. From this wizard's tower it is a few days travel to a small village, named Greenoak, which is the nearest real settlement of mankind. From that place it is a few days travel to the city of Dunékàr at the river Nydowyn.

Minas Elen was founded in ancient days by a High Elven king named Minastar who's nation, the nation of Elenor, was seeking refuge after the Morquendi, the Dark Elves, had destroyed his homeland at the end of the Dark Years. Minastar was born after the war with the Morquendi in times of great need. The nation was seeking a new and safe place to live, but they found nothing but trouble. At Minastar's birth an old Seer, named Orodin, predicted that this child was the one to lead the Elves to a new and safe home. He was to build a strong and high tower, a tower that would reach for the stars, here and this tower would be a simbol to the Elves. Therefore he was named Minastar, meaning "Tower-Maker". When he and his nation reached the Trollbattle Pass, they encountered a large number of trolls living there. After a long and hard battle the trolls were defeaten and Minastar named the pass the Trollbattle Pass. The day of the battle has become a special day to the Minas Elen Elves. A day to celebrate our freedom and to remember the Elves who died in that battle. Minastar moved into the valley, in which few had ever ventured, made it his new homestead and build the city and tower of Minas Elen, meaning "Tower of the Stars" as the seer had predicted, to be a strong fortress which, in times of war, could stand against the forces of the Morquendi. Fortunately, these Dark-Elves never showed up.
In Minas Elen our kindred has dwelled for many years. There were many troubles during those times: attacks of a dragon named Urulókë and a constant war with the Trolls living in the mountains. Only few mortal men have been seen near the valley.

The Minas Elen Elves live mostly of what the forest, the mountains and the small streams in the area have to offer. Because of that we have become highly skilled hunters and rangers and are master-archers. We also have great blacksmiths who provide us with the finest swords, spears, axes and arrowheads that Arda has ever seen. These Elves are well taught in both a normal smith's work and magic. They make the Macil Aranion, the magical swords which are used as a seal for the Kings of Minas Elen. Every King of Minas Elen recieves a sword, especially created for him, at his crowning. The Kings can identify themselves through holding the sword: when these swords are held by their rightfull owner, the blade will glow. This is because a part of the King's soul is incorporated in the sword. How this is done remains the best kept secret of the Elven smiths. When the King's willpower is great enough he will even be able to make the sword give a great flash, blinding all foes who look at it.

When a King leaves Minas Elen for the Undying Lands or dies, his eldest child will be the new King or Queen. I, Gildor of Elenor, was born as the son of King Arantar and queen Vanimeldë. King Arantar, a brave and noble man, was slain by the dragon Urulókë, while protecting his nation from this creature. I was crowned to be the youngest King of Minas Elen, being a youngster only 170 years of age. I received my sword, named Elenion Ancalima, which is one of the two remaining Macil Aranion. I married an Elven Lady named Ardamírë and three years later she bore me a son who we named Tarannon. Unfortunately my wife died while giving birth to Tarannon.
There were more troubles to come. At the age of 243 I went on a visit to another Elven kingdom, far away from my homeland. I cannot recall what was the reason of this visit, but I know there was some important event involved. When I returned to my beloved valley, I suddenly found myself surrounded by a huge army of evil beings. While this creatures launced their attack, screaming the name "Morion", my escorting Elven warriors and I defended ourselves bravely, slaying over a thousand them. When more and more creatures appeared out of nowhere, I saw many of my escorts die and at the end of the battle only I and two other Elves were still standing on a pile of corpses. Still there were more foes arriving at the battlegrounds and finally we were also slain.

Chapter 2:
THE AWAKENING

Suddenly I awoke. This weren't the Undying Lands! Were was I? It had been to alive to be a dream, but I did die. I tried to move my head so I could see were I was, but every movement I made caused a lot of pain. After a few minutes, although they felt like hours, I was able to turn my head. I saw an old man sitting on a chair near the bed I was laying on. He smiled and suddenly I recognized him. It was Meldanor, the wizard. What was he doing here? I tried to speak, but it hurt too much. Meldanor smiled again and said: "Don't try to speak. You must rest first. I will go now and bring my guests the good news." After I had slept a while I awoke again. Meldanor was standing near my bed and said that I should get myself ready to receive some guests.

After doing so, the door opened again and Meldanor and a group of strange people came into the room. Meldanor introduced me to them. I asked Meldanor: "Who is that beautiful lady? I can see she is of Elven blood." Meldanor told me that she was Boadicea, a Half-Elf. According to Meldanor she was the one that had saved me.
Meldanor said that I and my escort were slain by the servants of Morion, an evil wizard who had occupied my kingdom while I was visiting that other Elven kindom. My entire nation had been turned into statues of salt and Morion had taken my throne. He discovered that I was not present and he waited until I returned. He ordered his troops to prepare an ambush on the Trollbattle Pass and return with my head. On my arrival the troops of Morion slaughtered us and, fortunately for me, took the head of one of my escorts, instead of my head, back to Morion. After a few days Boadicea found my body and the bodies of my Elven warriors. My body was the only one that was still recognizable as a body at all. So she gathered the pieces of me and returned with them to her teacher, Meldanor. Meldanor wouldn't tell me anymore except that he had sent Boadicea on a quest to get a herb he needed to raise me from the dead and that she returned with not only the herb, but also these people.

I thanked Boadicea many times and she suddenly kneeled before me and kissed my hand. You can imagine how surprized I was. She blushed and stood up again. The other people in the room began to introduce themselves. There was a Gnome who bowed for me and said that he was Ignadus, a Gnome druid from the Borial Forest, who was on a quest to return an object named Jingjissu. This object's current owner was Morion, the same wizard who had taken my kingdom. A silent human who didn't look very trustworthy nodded and told me that he was Andrea Leon, the son of a man named Fructise. Hearing that name I looked him straight in the eyes. I knew that name, but I couldn't recall who he was. I suddenly realized that much of my memory was gone. Andrea Leon asked me if I knew his father and I answered that I somehow knew the name, but couldn't recall anything else. The fifth person in the room was a human who looked very strong. He told me that he was Newdon, a man who was both a warrior, a physician and a smith. "What a remarkable combination," I said. Newdon just smiled. There also was a dog moving about the room of which Ignadus told me it was his dog and that its name was Fokkie.

Meldanor told me that if I was ever to free my people I should best pay a wizard named Bron a visit. He said that Bron lived on a remote mountain top in the Ered Elen. I was to travel with Boadicea and the other people and Meldanor was to stay in his tower. My own equipment had been destroyed in the battle and even my sword, Elenion Ancalima was gone so a only a short sword and a bow with some arrows which had probably once belonged to one of Morion's servants were to be my weapons.
Meldanor also gave me a backpack with some basic goods for travellers and a small crystal globe. "What is that globe for?" I asked. "When the time is right, you will know." was his answer. When we finally set of and I thanked Meldanor for his help and said that the Elves would reward him for his work as soon as I had defeaten Morion. "The highest good is the happiness of the Elves," Meldanor replied. He gave us some food-supplies and a map and we left.

At first we could travel on a small track over tree-covered hills. In the distance we could see the peaks of the Ered Elen. Accourding to our map Bron lived in an area in which even I had never ventured. I wondered how he could live in such a remote part of the world. How could he provide himself with food in those conditions? Nothing would grow on the rocky soil and in the cold at those altitudes. He probably accuired his food through magic, but then how was it possible that I had never heard of him?
Fortunately I was able to put these thoughts behind me as Boadicea started to tell the story of how she had met her odd companions.

"It was quite shocking when I found you. I had never seen a battlefield before and seeing all of those bodies gave me the creeps," she said, "when I finally had gathered the gutts to take a closer look I saw you laying there and I realized that Meldanor could probably still save you." "Meldanor said he could do so indeed, but he needed me to get Eekhoorntjeskruid, some kind of herb I could find at the market in Dunékàr. I went to a lot of perils to get there, but it was certainly worth the trouble," she continued smiling.
Boadicea told me that she had suddenly heard some noise in the bushes near the road. "I looked what was out there and I found Ignadus. I was surprized to see a Gnome of course, since those types are hardly ever seen out of the Borial Forest. We decided that we could best travel together, because wandering through the woods all by yourself is quite dangerous. Anyway I had someone to talk to now." "Was it because of that object he mentionned that he was in the area?" I asked. "Yes, the other Gnomes had sent him on a quest to get Jingjissu. That thing had apparently been used to kick some Gnome a... ehm... to hurt the Gnomes. Morion has that object now, so we have the same goals I guess."
"He was a good help anyway when we met a huge bear! He casted a fireball on the thing and when it started to run in our direction he entangled it. If it hadn't been for him, I would have been that bear's dinner that day!"

Boadicea continued: "It was in Greenoak that I met Newdon. I was getting a drink in the inn and he sat at the only table where there was a chair left. We talked to him a little, but when he insulted me I slapped him in the face. When I hit him he did a backward salto. I couldn't believe my eyes!" "Whe had some trouble there with the bartender by the way: I got a free drink but I tried to walk out of there with the glass. The guy didn't like that I guess.... so I just through the glass on the floor. After doing that I had to run for my life."
"We agreed to let Newdon travel with us, because he was quite a remarkable person. After all: what warrior also makes a living as smith and physician?" We both grinned. "When we returned to Meldanor we didn't considder it healthy to go through that village again, eventhough we had met Andrea Leon at that time."
"Where did you find a type like that? What does he do for a living anyway?" I asked. "Whe met him in the docks in Dunékàr. He knew where to get the Eekhoorntjeskruid, so we let him travel with us. I don't know what he does for a living, but I would be surprized if it is legal. I think he's got blood on his hands anyway."

"The road back was much easier. We got back to you and Meldanor quite soon and fortunately he was able to raise you from the dead again," she said. "It is getting a little dark already and I'm tired." We decided to put up camp and wait till the next morning.

The following day we got up early and travelled further along the track. We made less speed now, because the slopes were getting steeper and steeper. Boadicea and I had led the group for a couple of hours, talking about the events of the past few weeks. At noon we were suddenly confronted with three nasty looking types with their weapons drawn. I tried to start a reasonable conversation with these men, like "Hello, how are you?", but apparently this wasn't quite appreciated. Two of these men started to swing swords at my head and the other made use of his bow. We realized that these types were after our money, that is for as far as we had any....
At that time I discovered the use of the Gnome we had brought. Ignadus entageled one of them, so we could quickly get rid of the second. Unfortunately the archer ran as he saw what happened. His arrows would have been handy, because I hardly had any. Newdon ran after him, but all he could get were a few hits with the bow. After having killed the two swordsman, we plundered the bodies and travelled on.

Getting ever further into the mountains, we realized that our current clothing was far from sufficient to bear the cold heights of the Ered Elen. After a quick discussion we made camp and Ignadus and I started hunting. After a while I heard Ignadus shouting. I walked in the direction of the noise and found Ignadus who had just entangled a deer. Realizing that this animal's skin would prove usefull when converted to a coat. After my arrow had pierced the poor animal's head we cut it loose and I, being a very strong Elf, carried it back to the campsite.
While Boadicea tried to make some clothes out of the deer's skin, Ignadus and I went for another hunt. I discovered a huge deer and fired an arrow at it. After my arrow had hit the beast, it started running towards me and I swiftly responded with... ehm... a tactical retreat and after Ignadus had entangled it I shot again and killed it. Thus we hunted for several days until we had made enough warm clothing for us all.

The road got heavier and heavier. After climbing yet another steep mountain side, we reached a large glacier. Knowing we had to get to the other side and that the only way to reach that goal was through crossing the glacier, we started the dangerous trip. Slowly moving across the large field of ice I felt very uneasy. I knew that something bad was going to happen and only minutes later Boadicea vanished in front of my eyes. Before me was a large gap in the ice and looking in it, all I saw was darkness.
We shouted her name and thank goodness she answered. We lowered a rope and tried to pull her up. The first time failed and she fell down again. The second time failed to, with the only difference that most of us fell down the hole to. Ignadus and his dog were the only ones to remain on the glacier. We had a look around and found ourselves in a small sort of cave under the glacier. We also noticed a corridor and descided to see were it led. Walking a few yards into it we found the icy walls covered with stones and realized this was hand-made. Suddenly we heard a loud sound like "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!" and a loud bang behind us. I ran back and saw Ignadus on the floor. Fortunately he stood up again and called for his dog which jumped down to. I asked Ignadus wy he had jumped down, but he only angrily murmered something about a strong wind blowing above......

We ventured further into the corridor we had found and we reached a large room. Knowing this a hand-made place could only mean trouble, we drew our weapons and moved around silently and very cautious. The only things in the room were some rotten remains of what once were tables, a few heaps of stones against the walls and a large door. After opening the door I couldn't believe my eyes. There were six armed skeletons wandering at the other side! How could dead people still move? I wasn't granted much time to think this over as these skeletons came running towards us immediately. These creatures apparently didn't like Elves: I had moved back into the room and all six of them ran after me. This did gave Boadicea and Ignadus a chance to trow fireballs at the things and after a quick fight we had slain them all. The question of why those skeletons were there at all remained. Maybe we could have found out in the corridor. At the end of the corridor was another door. As soon as we openend it Boadicea casted a fireball in the room behind the door. All we could see was a burning chest.... the answer might have been there.

We examined every corner of the room, but found nothing. There was no way back and the creator of this place, who ever he or she was, must have had some kind of entrance. We decided to have a closer look at the first room. After long hours of labour we discovered that behind one of the piles of stones against the wall there was a small corridor. Having no other option but to go that way, we walked down the corridor. It was not long before we noticed a strange smell. The smell grew horrible and with an uneasy feeling we strode on.
Suddenly we heard Fokkie give a crie of pain. I turned around and I saw a huge ugly creature which I recognized as a Yeti. It attacked the poor dog once more and it was reduced to nothing but a bloody mess. Ignadus stood in horror and in a gust of rage he attacked the Yeti. Fearing for his life we helped him and killed the creature. Of the corps, which was chopped to pieces and full of my arrows, we took the skull and skin. Maybe we could sell the stuff in a town. After covering Fokkie under a pile of stones and condoling Ignadus on the loss, we moved on and reached the entrance of the cave.

We reached a small and lovely valley. According to our map we had to cross this valley and climb the mountain on the other side. The wizard Bron should live on the summit of that mountain. So we descended among the trees. I felt happy being in a valley which was quite like my homelands. Thinking of how the clear streams ran across the slopes of the Minas Elen valley and about them doing likewise in this place, I realized that I was really longing for home. As the memories of my fellow elves ran through my mind, I was confronted with a scene that wasn't quite like home.
There was a lot of noise and some trees were falling down. After that it was silent for a moment and the noise and falling trees were there again. We decided to take a closer look at wat was happening. Just when some trees had crashed right in front of us again, we saw a huge creature approaching. Newdon and Andrea Leon starded a fierce discussion about what it was, as Andrea Leon was convinced it was a duck and Newdon simply didn't believe that. In the mean while Ignadus and Boadicea decided to attack it, even before I told them what the creature was. I, being much older and wiser that mortals, recognized the thing as being a stone-golem. It was useless and extremely dangerous to attack such a creature, but when the stone-golem began throwing trees at Boadicea, I didn't have a choise. My arrows were the only things which managed to get a few scratches on the creature. In the heat of the battle Boadicea was hit by one of the trees. She was smashed of a steep slope and after I had warned the others that they should get away from the golem as quickly as possible, I jumped after her to save her.

We assembeled down the slope again and set off immediately. In order to avoid any other meetings with the stone-golem, we took the 'tourist route' towards the mountain we had to climb. After walking for several hours we reached it and started the last step of our journey to Bron. The only problem was that the slope we had to climbe was completely vertical. As I have lived in these mountains for all my life, I took the lead with Andrea Leon right behind me. That poor fellow clearly showed his lack of mountaineering experience as he completely forgot to secure his rope after every few feet. He repeatedly fell down quite a distance and that must have hurt. After I had completed the climb and after I managed to get Andrea Leon up to we realized that we had to pull the others up. They didn't stand a chance against the cliff, because they were far less agile than we were. It took a lot of time to get them up the cliff to and when we had succeeded in doing so, we put up camp on the ridge we were on now.
The next morning was a fine day. We had clear skies and the sun was shining into the world. The summit was only a few hundred metres above us. It took us several hours to reach it and we looked around for Bron's house. We were surprized to find only rocks and nothing that could possibly be a house. Even after many hours of searching we could find nothing.
Maybe the cristal globe which Meldanor had given to me was the answer. I took it out of my backpack and started to wander about the summit. When walking in a certain area, the globe started glowing. That was the second big surprize that day. We walked in all directions and finally found a direction in which the globe would glow even fiercer. We reached a big flat stone which seemed to be the point were the globe glowed fiercest. Closely examining that stone, Boadicea simply reached right through it with her hand. Part of it seemed to be nothing but an illusion. Before I knew what was happening, Boadicea jumped down the hole in the stone and we heard her crash down. I looked down to see if she was hurt and after finding her allright, I told her she had better taken the stairs. She looked at me and saw a stairway leading back up. We went donw to and reached a small room inside the mountain.

Chapter 3:
THE GOBLIN TEMPLE

In the room we found an old man. "Are you the wizard Bron?" I said. "Yes," the old man replied. "I know what you are here for, but there isn't enough time for me to help you. Morion has used Jingjissu against me to," Bron said. "If you should ever fight Morion and his servants, make sure you are armed with weapons of magic. Put the crystal globe on the stone on the table and find those magical weapons!"
Horrified we were, as we saw Bron turn into a statue of salt. So he shared the fate of my people. After a brief discussion we decided that there was nothing left to do, but to follow Bron's advise and I put my crystal globe on the stone. There was a bright flash and I lost track of everything around me.

When I woke up I saw only leaves above me. I was laying in a forest. My companions were not far off and as I quickly got to my feet and readied my bow, they came running towards me. "What has happened?!" was Ignadus' first remark. Of course no one knew. We cautiously walked on through the forest until the evening and put up camp. The following morning we walked on and after a few hours we heard some noise. Hidden in small bushes we slowly moved closer until we could see a tree fall down. Still remembering our previous encounter with falling trees, we feared for another stone-golem. Nevertheless we continued and we heard a sudden shout: "Timber!" Another tree fell down.
Now that we knew there was no stone-golem and that these trees were falling because people were chopping them down, we walked towards the fallen tree. There were a lot of men working on the tree as we got there and we also saw a few armed guards. Those guards were probably there for a reason. We asked one of the men who their leader was and he brought us to one of the larger guys. The leader told us that there was a city nearby and that this city was named Cerm. That was quite a shock to us. The city of Cerm lies about 300 miles from the place were Bron lived, eventhough we knew the travel to the place where we woke up had taken no time at all. The leader of the men we found also told us why the guards were here. There seemed to be some war going on in this area between local orc and goblin tribes. After he gave us the direction of Cerm, we thanked the man kindly for his help and took our leave. In the mean while Boadicea was trying to beat the guards in a poker game, but this attempt didn't took us to much time, as she lost practically all of her money in a matter of seconds. That was the first good laugh we had in the past few weeks. She took leave of the grinning guards and we went to Cerm.

Standing at the gate of Cerm, we were confronted with some gatekeepers in a bad mood. We managed to get them to let us in, but that wasn't easy. They said we were a really strange band of people and that these were dangerous times, with the war and all. Maybe they even thought that Ignadus was a goblin spie. He sure has the right size to be a goblin and there aren't that many gnomes in this area. When Ignadus insulted the guards, they got really angry and kicked him away. But anyway we got in and entered the nearest inn.

The following morning we went shopping. We needed to sell the weapons and equipment we got from the enemies who we had met on our way. Those profits were a welcome thing. Because I had more money now, I was able to buy a nicely decorated extra large quiver which was worthy of being carried by an Elf like me. Of course this thing still was a very simple thing compared to the quivers we Elves make, but I was the best I could get in the lands of the mortal men.

Hungry for information of were the magical weapons were, we visited several taverns. According to the locals, the best chance of finding anything at all would be the nearby Goblin temple. Nobody seemed to really know where that temple was. Walking into an inn I found a paladin sitting lonely at a table. I bought him a beer and he started talking. He introduced himself as Gambar. I realized that he might be a usefull asset to my compagnie. Andrea Leon and Newdon joined our coversation and we managed to convince him to join us. We exchanged quite a lot of drinks so I don't really remember why he wanted to join so quickly.
It wasn't long before Ingadus and Boadicea walked into the inn and I introduced them to the paladin. I didn't introduce Ignadus with his real name, but I gave him a nickname in my own language and translated this for Gambar and the others. We all laughed and clearly Igandus did not like this. He started murmuring something and suddenly a fireball flashed towards us. There was panic all over the place. We, some of the guests and the bartender drew their weapons and attacked Ignadus. The poor gnome was quickly overwhelmed by the people. The bartender smashed into him with a big sword and my friends and several others did the same. My bow was ready to shoot an arrow, but I saw that Ignadus was heavily wounded and that he begged for mercy. That prevented me from shooting that arrow, wich would probably have killed him.
Ignadus was forced to apologize for his actions and he had to pay for all the damage he had done to the inn. Of course he had to pay a lot more than the actual damage done, because the incident would be a bad for the bartender's income. Guests prefere inns were they won't get shot. After Ignadus' wallet had been emptied we dragged him out of the inn and went back to the inn where we had slept the night before.

Leaving my compagnions alone at the inn in the evening, I went out to search the town for someone who might know were the Goblin temple was to be found. As inns and tavers usually are the best place to look for information, I visited several of those locations. These mortals seem to be very fond of beer, as it was drunk in abundance. In many locations in the backstreets of Cerm there were small fights. At last I found a small tavern in which there were less fighting people. I walked in and tried to see anything through the dense smoke. There were a few men who looked like rangers sitting at a table. As these mortals were probably colleagues and they would probably know a lot about the surroundings of Cerm, I offered them a beer. We talked about our common profession and everyday life in and round Cerm. One of the men, a middle-aged man, named Bransar certainly was a ranger and quite an experienced one to. I offered him to be our guide to the Goblin temple and help us raid it. We agreed that he would help us for a reasonable amount of gold. We were to meet him at the City Hall at sunrise.

I slept well that night, knowing that we would finally make some progress in the battle for my kingdom, already forseen in the Seventh Prophecy of Orodin the Seer as the Battle of the Stars. I got up early, had a great meal and waited for the others to get their sleepy heads out of their rooms. When they had finally had breakfast and were ready to leave, we sped to the City Hall and found Bransar already waiting for us. We wasted no time and left the city right away.
Ignadus informed us that he would not yet be joining us to the temple. He was still grieving over the loss of his poor dog. To relieve the pain and hurt he felt, he told us that he would go and buy another dog. Fokkie had already proven to be a usefull comrad, courageously sacrificing his life to save the party from being killed by the Yeti, and surely a new dog would prove to be of great usefullness to. "Much luck be with thee, my friend. Hopefully thou wouldst retrun in our midst quickly", I said to him. We took our leave of him and journeyed north, while Ignadus left to the farms east of the city.

After about a day's walk we were confronted with a group of Goblins and a group of Orcs, who were trying to slay eachother. We hid ourselves in the bushes near the battlefield and watched the event. The poor Goblins didn't stand a chance against the much stronger and better equipped Orcs. After all Goblins were reduced to bloody heaps of flesh and bone, the Orcs left. We waited for several minutes and moved to the dead Goblins with great caution. A few bad quality swords and arrowheads were laying there and we took them with us. Maybe some weaponsmith in Cerm would give us a little gold for them. We gathered and talked about how to avoid unwelcome confrontations with Goblins and Orcs, as there were probably much more of them roaming around.
Just seconds later a band of Orcs came screaming out of the forest. Unwilling to fight these creatures, we tried to talk some sense into them. We hoped they would leave us alone, but the stars decided otherwise. Quickly slashing my sword into these creatures, and I managed to slay most of them. Unfortunately Newdon was less lucky, as he was hewn down by their evil swords. Gambar and I helped Newdon out by attacking the remaining Orcs. Finally the last Orc standing there alive.... well, more dead than alive, but he was still capable of using his sword..... ran away. If he would get away, he would certainly make our presance known to the Orcish Hordes, so I ran after him. My quick Elven feet had almost carried me to the evil being, when Bransar's arrow flashed over my head, killing the orc instantly. Bransar had a look at Newdon and told us that he had to be brought to a healer in Cerm as soon as possible. Gambar and Andrea Leon took up that task and left with him. I calmed down Boadicea, who had been running around and screaming of fear during the battle and we moved on.

Yet another day further on our quest, Bransar told us that we were nearing the location of the Goblin temple. Cautiously we moved to the edge of the forest. Before us wide fields of grass stretched out to the horizons at the west and at the east of us. To the north we saw a heavily fortified town, the high wooden walls heavily patrolled by small figures. A road, only a few yards away, crossed a creek which flowed from the fields into the forest. Behind the Goblin town, about half a mile away, we saw a huge cleft rise like a giant's big toe. It looked to be very high against the flatness of the fields, though it was only a pebble compared to great Mount Eversun, back home in the Ered Elen. The memory of the beautifullness of the mountains of my homeland, forced me to sing one of the sad songs, which make our Elven music so beautifull.

The Song of Eversun:

"When the sun rose over the rim of the mountains,
there you stood, gleaming red of newborn light.
For many years we've ran,
but the pain has ended now."

"O great Mount Eversun, towering high above the clouds,
above a valley of infinite beauty. A Valley of Stars.
To you I sing, o Everwhite,
this song of mourning."

"Many have perished in the Dark Years,
now laying far behind.
At your foot, I will build a fortress great.
Never shall the Dark of our race harm us again."

"From your summit the Cry of Elenor will be heard,
as a monument of eternity and the valor of the Elves.
Victory was granted us,
so celebrate we shall."

"This song will remember the greatness of Orodin,
for the Seer's prophecy's came true in all their beauty.
On great Mount Eversun, his Seat
will be forever watching over us."

Just in time, Bransar urged me to stop singing. A group of Goblin hunters came hopping around a corner of the road. We hid ourselves among the bushes and talked about what we should do. We decided to have a nice conversation with them, because they might be able to give us lost of usefull information about the town. As we walked out of the bushes to the Goblin party, they were very impressed by my appearance and panicked. The Goblins, all of them armed with short bows, randomly fired in our direction. I readied my bow and fired an arrow, slaying five of the seven Goblins in a single shot. My friends then attacked the two Goblins left, slaying one of them at great difficulty and knocking the other one unconscious. We tied the Goblin to a tree, some yards away from the road and waited for him to regain consciousness.
He did so after several hours and we started to question him. Bransar spoke a little Goblin, so he proved to be a very capable companion again. We didn't get much information out of him though. The poor guy was just too frightened. All he could tell us, was that there was a war going on with the Orcs and that there was a big temple in the town. We already knew that, of course.

The next day, Gambar and Andrea Leon returned with Newdon. The priests in Cerm had healed him sufficiently to return to the glorious battlefields. They also returned another of my friends. Ignadus was walking right behind them, tied to a rope. An old dog was walking right beside him. Andrea Leon told us that they had found Ingadus near Cerm and lassoed him at the spot, because he'd probably not come with them if they hadn't done so. Ignadus seemed to have some differences with several members of my party.
They untied the unfortunate Gnome. Ignadus seemed unhappy with the way they treated him. I calmed him down and we talked about the dog that was walking with him. The dog carried the name Keffer. Ignadus had bought him from a farmer near Cerm, who had no use for the dog anymore, as it was quite old. Ignadus was nevertheless happy with this new companion. It took some of the emotional pressure, that was caused by Fokkie's death, away. We gathered round the campsite and celebrated the return of our friends.

Now, with the party complete again, we could finally try to get to the temple. Of course, a direct assault would be unwise, considering the huge amount of little, though heavilly armed, green fellows walking about the place. Someone did come up with a nice sceme. As Ignadus was about the same size as a Goblin, we would make him sneak into the town. The only problem was that Ignadus wasn't green. Bransar brought the solution to that. He knew quite a lot about the local herbs and he found us a certain plant that could be turned into a green, paint-like substance. Before he could object, Ignadus was as green as a Goblin. Bransar tought him several words in Goblin, that might keep him out of trouble. At least, that is what we thought.
We gave him a dead rabbit to complete his disguise as a Goblin hunter. Ignadus walked over the road to the town and after a brief dispute they let him in. It wasn't long before we saw him running back, screaming. His explanation was hard to understand, but for what I got from it, some Goblin started talking to him and he, unable to understand it, panicked. The poor little Gnome went back to the town for another attempt to look around the place. And again he came running back, because he heard a word he couldn't understand. Bransar told him what the words meant and Ignadus returned to the Goblin town. Several times thereafter, he ran back, leaving the Goblins confused behind him. Bransar thought him the words and Ignadus went back.

It took several tries for him to gather some usefull information. He told us that there were some large builings, where the city chiefs lived and he told us where the temple was. The priests also seemed to be in control of the town's water supply. We considered to somehow make sure they couldn't drink it anymore, but Ignadus told us that they could easily get water from the creek nearby. To just try anything at all, I sneaked out there, within bowshot of the town. Ignadus had told me that all of the houses were made of wood. So I dripped several arrows in an oil that would burn, I lighted the arrows and shot them over the walls. Overall confusion was the result. A large host of Goblins ran out of the gate to the place where I had been during my attack. Of course I had been as smart to let this place be far away from the gate and I was long gone when they got there.
The following day, smoke was over the town. It was clear that my attack was quite successfull. Ignadus went back into the town and reported back, saying that several houses had burned down.

It was a certain, unfortunate moment in time, when Ignadus was again among the Goblin tribes, when movement occured in the woods. From our hiding places, we could see a great host of Orcish warriors approach the Goblin town. Many a siege engine they carried with them. It was clear that they would besiege the town and that they were determined to carry it on until the last Goblin was slain. From our hiding place in the woods, we looked over the fields, watching the battle take place. For hours on end, we watched, being worried about Ignadus' ill fate.
Suddenly we heard a faint cry, coming from the woods at the west of our position. Cautiously we moved towards the direction of the cry, until we heard it again. It was a familiar voice. We shouted back, and answer came right away. We ran towards it and found a confused Igandus, wandering through the woods. "How did you get out here?", I asked. "I don't know..... One moment I was in the Goblin town, the other I was laying under a buncha trees.", was his reply.

He started telling what had happened with him, during his stay under Orcish siege. Apparently, Ignadus had been forced to fight with the Goblins against the Orcs. He tried to get out of the dangerous situation on the town walls several times, but he always got into troubles with the shamans, that were leading and guarding the ordinary troops. Being roasted by several lightning bolts and hit by some Orcish arrows, he had finally been able to hide himself. Ignadus tried to sneak to the temple to see if he could sneak into it and get the magical weapons. When he reached the temple, he saw a group of pupil-shamans, guarding the place, while the other shamans were gone. Unfortunately for him, they saw him to. Angrily their leader came to and summoned him to go back to the walls. Ignadus tried to run for it, followed by lightning bolts. He managed to run into an alley and the Goblins ran past it.
He decided to give it another try and he got to the temple. It wasn't long, though, before someone padded on his shoulder and looking over his shoulder he saw the pupil-shamans standing there. Another run was the logical consequence of this interresting discovery. Ignadus managed to run around a corner again, but there he encountered a not-so-pupil shaman. Ignadus told us that a bright flash of light hit him within a fraction of a second, causing him to loose consciousness. At the moment of his awakening, he found himself surrounded by the forest's trees, casting their shadows upon him. Frightened, he called, but no answer he found. Again, he called and this time he heard a reply. Suddenly, we appeared and happiness returned to his face.

We went back to our camp and started gathering food. Ignadus and myself went deer-hunting and Gambar went fishing in the creek. I returned with Ignadus and enough deer to feed us. On my return, I found much confusion in the camp. Gambar seemed to have caught a really weird fish. The creature, now trapped within a water-filled pot, was brightly colored. Boadicea informed Ignadus and me that the fish could even talk. I took a good look at it, and his eyes betrayed some form of intelligence.
It wasn't long before a vivid conversation had started. The fish appearantly didn't fancy being eaten by us. According to the strange creature, he was a magical fish and if someone would eat him, some terrible things would happen. We decided it would be best to wait until the following day and rest our hard-working minds for the night. We did so and the following morning we awoke with a clear mind, ready to face the task of making a descision on what to do with our fishy little friend. We gathered round the pot and looked. But our eyes didn't see the strange colorations of yesterday. Only the metallic shades of the pot were to be detected. Where did it go? The winds didn't provide us with the answer. It was a crate, falling out of the sky, that did provide us with it. We were still discussing the strange disappearing of the fish, when the crate suddenly appeared above our heads. It smashed right down on a tent, fortunately not hurting anybody.

We noticed Boadicea coming back from washing herself in the creek. She had a strange look in her eyes and her head was glowing red. Her behaviour showed us that she was clearly not at ease. Whe asked her what was wrong, and after a while, she confessed that she had eaten the fish and had also caused the crate to fall down. I, being utterly amazed, asked her if she was allright and what had happened to her. She was left no time to answer, though, as Gambar unsheated his sword and started running towards her, screaming furiously.

Upon seeing this, I fearlessly ran towards the paladin and smashed him to the ground. I, Gildor of Elenor, the noble hero, had saved the beautiful maiden from sudden death at the hands of this monster! When Gambar regained consciousness, we talked it over as men and he cooled down. Boadicea explained that the fish had appearantly given her some special skills, but she wouldn't reveal what these skills might be. Somehow, I felt them to be connected to our previous unexpected guest, the crate.
This feeling brought a clever idea into my head: whe should look into the contents of the crate. The object still laid silently on one of the tents, strangely still being intact. A large lock appeared to be on the outside of it. We tried to open it, and as the lock proofed to be very diffcult, brute force provided us with the answer. Excitedly we opened the crate and looking in it, we found a scroll. Upon unrolling the scroll, we saw a drawing that appeared to be a map of this area. A smile enlightened our faces as we discovered a large "X" on the map. The classical method of marking the location of a treasure...
We, being adventurers, felt a sudden urge running through our veins to go out for a night of treasure hunting. We could really use the funding anyway. Besides, the Goblins and the Orcs would probably be busy for quite a while and in the meantime we could do nothing at all. We packed up and headed for the place marked with the "X".

The location wasn't very far from our campsite. We reached the place in only a day's travel. Upon reaching the designated spot, we looked around, but all we could see, were trees, trees, and the ground beneath our feet... Clever thinking again was our help and as we started podding in the ground with our swords, we found a strange area, where the soil didn't react as expected. We digged our way down, until we reached a couple of wooden bars and a piece of rope attatched to it.
The rope was the easy way to lift the wooden bars. As a small gap stared at us from underneath the wooden bars, we got very curious. We removed the bars completely and stared into the gap, blinded by the darkness. Boadicea courageously threw herself into the opening and as he descovered a granit floor about 5 metres below him, he screamed of pain. The inquisitive lady had reached the bottem in the hard way. I followed her, climbing down the rope ladder that hung in the opening and reached Boadicea without a scratch. As the others followed us down, we walked into a small corridor, which was present at the bottem.

The corridor lead us to the north, slightly downward, in the direction of a small hilltop. The corridor was clearly manmade, as the floor was smooth. It wasn't long before we reached a sideway. Ignadus told us that he had a bad feeling about the sideway, so we decided to take it. It lead us to the west. After we had walked about a 100 yards, a huge rock appeared in the dim light of our torches. A dead end. Some extra torches were lit and we examined the rock closely. It was not a piece of the wall, and clearly hewn by skilled hands, so it might be possible for the corridor to continue, behind this thing. We tried about everything to get rid of it, but the rock remained in place. Ignadus even cast a fireball on it, but the only result was that the rock now had a large black spot on it.
We went back to the main corridor and continued following it. A little further down the way, we reached a turn to the west. Only a few yards away from that turn, we heard a loud click. Ignadus had hit something... it seemed to be a piece of rock, sticking out of the wall, so we paid no further attention to it and walked on. When we had reached a turn to the north, we heard a sort of rumbling sound. Like distant thunder. As we walked on, the sound grew louder and louder. We looked back, as that was the direction it seemed to come from, but we couldn't see a thing. Ignadus wanted to go back, to see what it was, but we didn't think that to be wise. Of course, he did it anyway, as Gnomes are curious in nature. He walked back and went around the corner of the last turn we had made. Half a second went by, and Ignadus returned. Screaming he ran from around the corner, telling us to flee for our lives. As he reached us, a large shadow was cast upon the walls and we ran.

We were amazed that a small Gnome, a creature with legs so small that we regularly made fun of it, could run that fast... We were truly amazed, even more when we saw the difference with the huge boulder that rolled right behind Ignadus in the corridor. As we managed to pick up our jaws, that had fallen to the floor out of amazement, we realized that the boulder wasn't only huge, especially in comparison to Ignadus' tiny legs, but that it was also rolling straight towards us.
As we ran further down the corridor, we discovered as narrow passage to the right. Expecting that the boulder would role straight on and wouldn't even fit into the passage, we ran across the corner, into the darkness beyond. "Quick! A narrow passage to our right!", screamed Ignadus behind us. Still doubting the Gnomes' reaction time, we waited for him. The rock passed by and we took the time to breathe again. Strange.... rock had a huge black marking on it, as if someone had cast a fireball on it... My thoughts were brought back to reality by a large bang that shocked the entire dungeon. Pieces of stone dropped on our heads and the wall started to show cracks. "It's gonna collaps!" someone shouted and with a large amount of noise, the corridor behind us met it's end. We ran further into the corridor, knowing there to be no escape in the other direction.

We entered a small but beautifully decorated room, carvings in every granite wall. A lovely marble pillar stood in the middle of the room and a in the light of our torches brightly glittering object lay upon it's upper side. Who would put such a treasure in a place like this, I wondered. Fearing it to be a trap, I courageously eliminated the main threat. I grabbed the Gnome and prevented him to storm for the "glitterstone", as he would put it. Then, something none of us had expected happened. Boadicea ran towards the object, screaming with all the lady's grace that was left in her, she informed the world "It's mine!" and grabbed the stone.
To bad for her, the stone could only be pulled up about one foot, being connected to the pillar with a chain. A click that almost sounded familiar to us could be heard and sweat started pouring out of our skin in huge amounts. Hoping not to drown, we looked around us, only to discover that there were large spikes sticking out of every wall, all of a sudden. There was no escape. The room seemed quite small, smaller than it had been just a few seconds ago, and it seemed to get smaller with every heartbeat. A grinding noise behind the spikes informed us of the fact that it was no illusion, but that the walls were indeed driven towards eachother, intending to crush us in between.
We spend several minutes running around the place, smashing and touching the walls, looking for escape ways, smashing in on the spikes, screaming, blaming eachother and many things more, but nothing worked. What a cruel creature the person who constructed this place must have been. Waiting, endless waiting for a sudden death. Why not kill us right away, when your going to kill us anyway?

Lady Luck must have been smiling down on us, when we finally got the thought to look at the ceiling. There, there was our escape! A simple rope-ladder, just beyond our reach, hung from a small platform above. We only need to get to it, somehow.
I threw Boadicea over my shoulders and started climbing the spikes, in order to get to the level of the rope-ladder. Hindered by the enormous weight of... No, wait... let me start over again... Not even slightly hindered by the feather-light Boadicea, hanging over my strong shoulders, I jumped off the spikes, towards the rope-ladder that hung a few meters away from me. I managed to perform the jump gracefully and grabbed the ladder with one hand. I easily pulled myself up. The others had watched the scene in utter amazement and realizing that they could never perform such a feat, they sought for other means to get up. Andrea Leon managed to throw a grapling hook and get some hold on the ladder. He climbed up and after I had put Boadicea on the platform, together we pulled the others up. We were safe again. For now.

"Wasn't this platform supposed to be above ground?" said a faint voice inside my head. We had lost all sense of hight. It was sure that we were quite high now, but I couldn't see anything to act as a reference. The small corridor that led from the platform, was going down steeply, we presumed in northerly direction. A sharp turn to the left followed after several hundreds of meters and many more of those meters followed. The corridor was less steep now. This part of the journey had taken quite a lot of time, watching out for any more of those nasty surprises, often referred to as "traps", that were designed by a person with a sick sense of humor.

As we silently moved on, avoiding any touching the walls, we heard someone smashing against a door. It was our mine-buster, Ignadus, who had somehow managed to walk against a huge, closed, oakenwooden door in the wall. Ignadus tried to crush the door, aparently by smashing his head into it. I pulled the door open for him, so he wouldn't hurt himself more that would do the party good. We stared into a black corridor, hearing a faint murmer further away.

We moved in, feeling the adventurers' strange need to investigate strange events. As we drew nearer, the murmer grew louder, words could be heard, words in a strange language. We ended up in a small cavern, dimly lit by torches and candles. They spread an eerie light over a large statue, that took up most of the far side of the room. The dark mass, vaguely resembling something like a spider, with huge, empty, staring eyes. Shivers ran across my back, when I looked it in the eyes.
The murmer continued. It came frome another corner of the room. We took a closer look and discovered a small, human like fellow, sitting on his knees. It seemed as if he was praying. Ignadus, finally finding a person who was about the same size as he, happily ran towards him and spoke to him in such a fast way, that my ears hurt because of it. The fellow did not respond. He didn't even seem to notice our presence. As the boy didn't seemed to be bothered by our presence, we decided to give the cavern a closer inspection. It seemed to be some sort of shrine. A wooden table, with a red cloth over it, stood before the statue. From the corner of my eyes, I could see Ignadus' look move from the boy to the table. The look stopped over the sacrifices, especially over the silver pieces that lay on the table.
My "No!" was completely ignored as the foolish Gnome ran across the room, jumped on the table and grabbed away all of the sacrifices and the red cloth that lay over the table. Now, he did have accomplished one of his goals... he now did have the boy's attention. The fellow stood up and started to scream and run around. In the glow of the torches, we could see his hairy feet. A Halfling!

"But Halflings are friendly people... they won't hurt us," said Ignadus when we directed a flow of very unfriendly words to his head. "No, normally they would probably let us live, but you've just robbed one of their shrines. Now we'll see how unfriendly they can get," was Boadicea's reply.
The Halfling was gone, vanished through the door, escaping Andrea Leon's desperate attempts to kill it before it could warn his friends. An empty silence remained in the room, ignoring even the cries of our Gnome, being chased by Boadicea with a large piece of wood. "Quick, let's get out of here!" The words we had all been waiting for.
We ran, out of the door, in the cold darkness of the underground corridors. We knew that we couldn't go back now, the road behind had been cut off in the room with the spiked walls. So, ahead was the only option. The road ahead ended abruptly. A dead end, how could this be? Then the Halfling was still around here somewhere. We ran back to the shrine, only to witness a nasty surprize. About a hundred very angry Halflings, armed to the teeth, was screaming for our heads. We were trapped, but where did that army come from all of a sudden? "Probably some kind of hidden door," said Andrea Leon. We ran back to the dead end, hoping to find a way out. We carefully went by every inch of wall and floor, carefully but quickly. The glow on the walls and the shadows of of the Halfings could already be seen around a distant corner.

In a desperate attempt, I looked to the ceiling. And again, the ceiling proved to be our way out. A hatch was clearly visible. Why didn't we take a look above our heads a little sooner? We always seem to find the way out to be a quite easy one, but we have a really hard time finding it. We tried to open the hatch, which was easy, and a rope-ladder fell down. We threw Ignadus up, in the room above, and we waited for possible explosions. No explosion followed, so we climbed up, just in time. Arrows flew all around the place and some of us were hit. We cut off the rope-ladder and pulled it up. The Halflings could not reach us now... we were safe.

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