Campaign: Adventures in Middle-Earth
- Heva the Small, Woodman Slayer -- a harrowed woman haunted by visions of the growing Shadow
- Odo Hayfoot, Shire Hobbit Treasure Hunter -- a reluctant adventurer with a greed for gold
- Thuradiel, Mirkwood Elf Wanderer -- a world-weary traveler who tires of life in Middle-earth
- Nar Goldhorn, Dwarf Warden -- a seeker after a lost ancestral harp
- Lillian, Bree-lander Scholar -- a student of the healing arts who feels the pull of the road
Objectives: Seek Beruthiel in her dark fortress.
- The company is bolstered by the addition of two adventurers who have felt the cold hand of the Shadow upon the land and are moved to act against its reach. Nar Goldhorn, a Dwarf who wishes to locate his family's famed harp, and Lillian, an overfed scholar who dreams of adventure, join in fellowship with Odo, Thuradiel, and Heva.
- Travel northward results in no incidents of note. The fortress now occupied by the mysterious Beruthiel had long fallen into disrepair, but even so it seems cursed with a forlorn and moribund atmosphere beyond the rot and ruin brought by time and neglect.
- A lone watchtower lurks at the perimeter of the fortress's broken wall. Sensing that something watches them from the watchtower, a portion of the company decides to stay in view of the tower as a distraction while Thuradiel, Odo, and Lillian sneak inside.
- Inside the tower, Thuradiel, Odo, and Lillian surprise a small contingent of Orcs acting as sentries. Thuradiel and Odo engage the Orcs in combat while Lillian throws errant bits of broken masonry to distract the Goblins. Luckily, the Orcs were unable to light their warning beacon before being felled in the melee.
- Surprisingly, there are no sentries posted at the gate of the fortress. The gate is open, which feels like an uneasy welcome.
- Inside, the fortress teems with cats. They flow like a living carpet across the filthy flagstones of the keep. All the cats are black. As the company enters the fortress, the cats swarm them as a roiling mass of fur and fangs. The company manages to fight their way to the stairs; the feline tide recedes.
- The keep is explored. Several statues in the style of the craftsmanship of Gondor are discovered, but each statue has been defaced in some way.
- In a long and ancient hallway the company is rushed by a number of Orcs and their allied panthers. The fight is vicious, but sudden and short. Despite his small size, Odo delivers the finishing blow to the majority of the black panthers. Nar vows to write a bardic tale telling of the day a Hobbit stood as a champion against the great cats.
- After further exploration, the company finds themselves in the presence of Beruthiel, a woman enshrined in dark robes whose face is veiled by shadowy cloth. The floor swarms with mewling black cats, but a white cat sits upon her lap. She is enthroned, and flanked by slavering Goblins. Addressing the company, she congratulates them on their bravery for seeking Queen Beruthiel of the Ages Past--Beruthiel the Returned, Witch of the Black Numenoreans, she who is the Claw of the Shadow!
- The Orcs surge forth and are met with blade and arrow. Beruthiel rises from her dark throne and commands the shadows cast by the torchlight in the room to mercilessly slash at the company.
- Lillian attempts to put out the torches and thus rob Beruthiel of her shadows, but eventually realizes that this would leave the company in utter darkness against their foes. Heva is knocked to the ground by an Orc; despite her battle rage, she remains unconscious. The day, however, is carried. Thuradiel sends an arrow through the Witch Queen, who shatters into a thousand shards of potent darkness.
- And yet...the keep proves empty of the Orcish horde the company expected to find. Where is Beruthiel's warband? Is it already on the march somewhere in Middle-earth?