A summary of the story so far.
Another usual day, though fraught with a little more tension than usual thanks to the rumors of a nearby rampaging orc army. Then things start to go downhill quickly.
A man from a nearby farmstead comes stumbling/running into town. He gathers a small crowd, and it becomes immediately obvious to all present he was in a serious fight and lost. He was barely keeping his lifeblood from pouring out a terrible wound in his neck. He manages to choke out a gurgled scream of “ORCS!” before collapsing.
The elven refugees in the town, Hedidu, immediately go to the wall. They smell the attack before they see it. That many orcs can’t and don’t need to bother hiding. Nearly a hundred orcs break into a run as they gain visual on our town. The alarm is sounded, gate dropped and panic spreads.
Fëanáro tells his son, Elessar, to pack only the necessities and head to our forest village as fast as possible. Reflexive obedience expedites this process which happens with the usual alacrity, grace, and speed associated with elves.
Hurton, a local human with a wide variety of useful skills finds himself in an unpleasant situation. Attempting to escape on his family’s horse, he witnesses his mother kidnapped by a worg rider that manages to run in through a break in the wall. The worg eats his horse and the rider brains him, but he manages to crawl out the other side of his house in time to get picked up by the retreating guard.
Valtryn, our village’s… source of interesting conversations, manages to stumble around and eventually get picked up by a retreating group and finds himself ahead of Elessar and Hurton heading out of the village.
The wall adjacent to our retreat caves in and three orcs come through. One attacks Valtryn and he screams out something and the other two fall asleep for some reason. A nearby warrior picks up the remaining orc, saving Valtryn’s life. We continue out of the village and make the field that will lead to the forest. Fëanáro has sent riders ahead to warn the elven encampment of the events and expect our arrival, but that will take time.
Meanwhile, a worg rider falls in behind us. Fëanáro and another warrior guard our flank and manage kill the worg and finish the rider. We finally make the safety of the forest and our elven allies. They send out a couple platoons and manage to rescue some villagers from the orc slavers, but much damage is done.
The refugees amass at the elven encampment, and the orcs pass and life goes on for another year.
A year later. Elessar is in constant care of his new foal. Valtryn wanders Kortirion with Hurton and they all three hunt and work to support the group as they can. Hurton becomes a good leatherworker and makes himself some armor, I make him a shortbow for our hunting trips. Valtryn is allowed to watch and be silent, if possible.
One of our Elf Lords, Elros, has gone missing for too long. The community is worried about him and periodically sends out search parties. The three of us are given an opportunity to go out on our own for a bit of a learning experience.
Hurton turns out to be rather good at tracking, and we manage to find some sign of the elf lords passing near a river and small patch of trees. While tracking along the river, we spot an odd body shaped lump in the river. After some digging, we note distinct elf features, and Elessar recognizes it as an elf from Elros’ party.
This is when we also note that it’s still “alive”. Which means the body is terrifyingly deformed and an odd lump of plant-like flower stuff is growing out of his head. And that it tries to attack Hurton. Hurton manages to cut it’s hand off and kill it, but not before attracting the attention of several other re-animated corpses that manage to shuffle into our personal space while we were focused on the one in the mud. Hurton notes a nearby tree may prove a good place to hide and starts to head there, when he also notices the branches are too inviting. Hurton gets a little too close and gets banged up by the tree which turns out to be rather hostile for a plant. Elessar manages to cut him loose from the tree and drag him a safe distance away after Valtryn spits fire from his fingers and kills three of the plant zombies and catches the tree on fire. The remaining zombie attacks Valtryn, and Elessar tries to shoot it off him. His first shot was a little off and nearly killed Valtryn instead, but it was knocked down by a flailing branch from the burning tree. His next shot was more successful, but a bit too late. Something had happened to Valtryn, he was walking towards the tree with a beatific smile on his face. Elessar went and attempted to start cutting him away from the tree, but it turned out to be too little, too late.
Valtryn was lost, his formerly bright, happy eyes just a dull, green glow. His lively step now was a sad, clumsy shamble. Unable to kill him, Elessar gathered up Hurton’s unconscious body and started back to the village. Then he noticed Elros himself, shambling toward him, a flower growing out of his chest. The rest of the way back to the village, Elessar made sure to keep them close enough they would keep after him, but still a safe distance.
Finally in view of Kortirion, Elessar wondered if the adults could help.