The Hunting of Gollum

Gandalf, Henleg, Aragorn, Galharth, and Thorhur encounter the creature Gollum.
Sort Date: no date set
Location: Vales of Anduin
Game Date: Unknown
IC Time: Nighttime
Weather: Foggy
Description: Standing along the edge of the camp with his face fully turned upwards towards the decending moon, Galharth seems almost lost in thought. Clearly from his lack of attention, he is no Guard, and yet he carries a weapon and is clothed in armor. While this is strange, strange is often associated with the Craftsmaster.
In the fog, a small animal chirps, drawing the Tailor's attention to the mists. "In this place, the most delightful sounds seem almost haunting in the darkness." Galharth says softly, speaking to no one in particular, but likely heard by some.

"That they do, such is the beauty of your home and the power of your Lady." The grey wizard says as he steps quietly up next to Galharth. "I only hope that we can catch sight of that which we seek again." Gandalf strokes his long grey beard with one gnarled and wrinkled hand as he gazes at the sights around him.

From some distance northeast of the group comes a splash and a shriek. On a cold night such as this, whatever has encountered the river will surely be in trouble if it is not a fish! The thrashing and splashing continues for a few seconds.

The sounds from the river startle even the alert Knight. He turns to those near him. "he is near," he whispers.

"What is it about this creature that draws you to it?" Galharth asks as he turns towards Mithrandir. "While I was not among those who saw this thing, I heard tell that you would not see it killed. If....." What more the Craftsmaster says is lost in a sudden whirl of action as a sword is brandished well before the fabric of his robes settle back into place. At Thorhur's words, the crafter seems to relax slightly. "Forgive me, many sounds of late unsettle me." In the moonlight, a slight look of embarrassment flickers across his face.
Looking from the Knight to the ancient one, the Tailor asks, "What would you have us do, Mithrandir? Should we chase him or coax him in some direction where he might be catchable?"

"Curse it, precious!" comes the unmistakable cry, shouted in grimy and retching voice, from up the riverbank. Curse the snow and ice! It burns us with cold!"

Gandalf listens intently to the sounds in the distance and hears the unmistakable cry of the creature that he pursues. "I wish it captured if possible, and harmed as little as can be helped. I only suspect at this point what he may be, or what role he has to play in future events. I will say no more until I know more."

The corner of the Tailor's mouth rises in a half smile, and he nods. "Long has our Lord and Lady spoken in riddles that only the wisest might see. Certainly you are counted in their circle, so we are sure to do as you bid without hesitation." Turning to Thorhur, he tilts his head. "Care to circle around him, Knight so that we might come to him at the waters edge and flush him south to where the others might capture him?"

The splashing sounds in the distance have abated, but a shrill and beastly wailing continues interspersed with occasional grunted phrases." "Stupid rivers!" "Stupid snow!" "We hates it!"

Thorhur shivers at the distant sounds, but listens intently to the talk of the others. When he is called upon, he nods. "That idea seems well enough, Galharth." Beneath his hood, his face is shadowed with doubt as he looks again towards the river.

Sweeping his longsword towards the river, the Tailor takes off at a run. "Sounds as if he's left the water," Galharth calls out in a whisper to the Knight. "Hurry!" With that the Craftsmaster runs with sword in hand into the shadows towards the river. "I think I see something!" he calls out in a loud whisper. Is that something or nothing?

Gandalf moves out silently toward the distant sounds. He is surprisingly light and agile on his feet for an old man. He still hold his staff in one hand but he leaves Glamdring in its sheath at his waist.

Near the riverbank, dripping in water, is a beast unlike any other. His small build is like that of a starved child, but deformed by oversized hands and feet and the head of a monster. Slimy skin, jagged teeth, and large eyes are reminiscent of a dangerous reptile, and the beast's expression certainly shows malice. A small fish wriggles in his mouth, body rent by the creature's teeth.
Upon sighting his pursuers, the wretch gulps the fish awkwardly without bothering to chew it more and gasps. "They won't leave us alone!" He looks left and right for cover or a chance to escape.

Whatever the Tailor had seen, clearly sends him off in a direction away from the camp, pursuing whatever shadow caught his eye. His whispers fall silent and no further sounds are heard in the direction in which he'd run. Certainly, he'll wander back to camp in a short while.

Thorhur runs after him, longbow held in front of him. The arrow is already fitted. His movements are smooth and quiet. He can make out the river in front of him, and then the creature is before him. For a moment, he can only stare at the pitiful beast, then he raises the longbow and shoots an arrow off to the left of Gollum, shouting like a maniac as he does so, hoping to lure the beast towards their trap.

The arrow whistles through the air and finds purchase in a snowbank. At this, the beasts' eyes grow wide. To run from an archer is to offer a target...this must be known to the little monster, for after a moment's hesitation he opts to charge the archer instead.

ARB: Gollum has "passed" on his turn to attack.

Gandalf attempts to rush forward and intercept the creature as he charges Thorhur, but for this task the spry old man is not fast enough.

Thorhur, ready to shoot another arrow, quickly puts the longbow to his side. He looks as the creature comes towards him. He turns, starts to run, then is sent to the ground as the charge becomes a success.

You forego your chance to attack.

Icy water is scattered through the air as the soaked creature bears down on the archer, and a ghastly grin stretches across his face as he launches a diving attack. Flooring the archer, the clutches at his antagonist's throat. "Leave us alone, precious! Not hurting anyone!"

Though old Gandalf manages to make it to the flailing pair quicker then one would think he could. He reaches out with a wrinkled hand to take hold of Gollum's neck and lift the writhing vile creature from Thorhur's neck. "And we mean you no harm, if you will but be still and talk with us." Gandalf's voice is deep and gravely and his gaze is intense.

The creature releases his grip on the archer quickly, his bloodlust overcome by fear of the robed wizard. Shaking his head and swiping with his arms in an effort to keep himself free of the old man's grasp, he pushes himself back. "What does it want?" he spits.

Thorhur pants and catches his breath. His neck is bruised, but he is otherwise fine. Standing up, he takes a moment to collect himself, then turns to Mithrandir. Whispering, he asks in the elven tongue, "What do you wish to speak with it about? What if he becomes angry?"

The agile creature manages to wriggle free of Gandalf's grasp. He pauses a moment to regard the creature in one of its rare moments of stillness. After a long moment of consideration he says, "I have sought you for sometime, there are things I would know about. I would know from whence you come and brings you to this land."

Gandalf then says quietly in reply to Thorhur, " Just be ready. If he is angered try to let him flee. I suspect that given the opening he will run rather then fight."

Gollum stays crouched, but does not move to attack or flee just yet. "We wants it..." he gulps tearfully, shivering in the cold. "The thief, Bag..." he claps his mouth shut, stifling his words, and then continues in a more cruel tone. "We'll tells it NOTHING, precious!"

Thorhur stares with hard eyes. The words are barely audible, but what little he caught makes no sense to him. Folding his arms, he puts his longbow in the folds of his cloak. "There," he says softly, "I have removed my weapons. I will not hurt you." Hopefully, this will coak some answers.

"What is it that you want?" Gandalf's gaze intensifies, if that is possible, at the mention of thief and Bag. "Who is this thief that you speak of?" Gandalf glowers down at Gollum from underneath bushy eyebrows as he awaits an answer.

The beast shivers in the cold, wiping at a runny nose. Again, his demeanor changes. The little monster looks about ready to cry, nodding quietly. Then, with another rapid change of mood, he snarls again and spits at the ground. "We tells it nothing! Leave us alone, precious!"

Thorhur stares, his look is one of almost pity. He sighs and says to Gandalf, "Has he met you before? Is he always so stubborn?" His gaze never leaves Gollum as he speaks.

"I will not leave you alone until you tell me that which I need to know." Gandalf has stopped seeming quite so old and the feeling of power about him is palpable. He seems a bit taken aback by the mood swings and seeming changes in personality. He makes his tone more gentle, "Is it so hard a question to answer? What exactly is it that you have lost, this precious of yours? Perhaps we can help you find it."

This time, the little wretch's snarling visage does not soften. With an expression of annoyance not unlike that of a barman asked what drink is on offer one time too many, he scowls and spits a response louder than ever: "My....PRECIOUS!" Hoping that the conversation has lulled his pursuers into enough of a relaxed posture to allow an escape, he immediately casts up handfuls of snow and darts, looking to escape to the north.

"Let him flee for now Thorhur. I fear what would happen if we brought him farther into your lands. I will have him followed to make sure he doesn't make trouble though." Gandalf watches as the furtive creature darts away into the snowy woods. He shakes his head, which causes his white beard to float about him like a cloud.

Thorhur is taken by surprise, and listens closely to Mithrandir's words. He watches the north, then turns to Mithrandir. "Your counsel is wise, and I will heed it. Though I am left to wonder many things about him. He is such a wretched creature...I cannot help but feel pity for him."

The little beast beats a hasty retreat through the snow, not bothering to look back. Little does he know this is not the last time he will see that particular old man...
Players: Thorhur,Galharth,Henleg,Aragorn,Gandalf
Located in: Galadhrim | Arnorian