The False Battle of Weathertop
With Black Númenóreans camping on Weathertop the fellowship must find a way to defeat them despite facing a powerful warrior and wretched weather.
After leaving Weathertop they continue East to draw out spies and again try the patience of Hildelid.
With Mirien in need of help Ithildir sets off South from Weathertop in search of Gandalf or athelas, whichever they find first. But as Ithildir leaves Boron walks up to the fire, like ships passing in the night. Boron had been traveling with Mirien and is happily surprised to see his companions.
Mirien suggests that the top priority is the spy who is hiding somewhere uphill. She’s had a vision that the messenger on the hill is not the spy, and that there is dangerous magic in the air.
Following Mirien’s guidance the fellowship and Náin slog up hill in the rain and mud. A flickering light in the tower at the top stops Boron in his tracks as even his dwarven eyes cannot see what the light might hold, but Náin continues carelessly forward until Tarandis hoots twice like an owl and draws him back.
Griff volunteers to sneak up to the light but gets lost and has to be rescued by Boron. Giving up on stealth Boron forges on ahead into the ruined tower and finds a lantern hanging beside a makeshift tent. The inhabitant of the tent emerges and introduces himself as Arcinyas, a scholar and healer in service of Saruman. He is here searching for spies and athelas, but all he has to offer is mini pies and the location of the camp of the Black Númenórean soldier in a tower down the hill. Arcinyas was brought here my Saruman who was likely the “apparition” the dwarves saw.
With a direction to pursue Boron guides the fellowship to the ruined tower the Black Númenórean and his thugs are camped in. Griff sneaks into their lair and listens long enough to learn that this is Arnuadun, the Black Númenórean who hired the Bree folk to do his bidding.
Reporting back on the impressive prowess and intimidating presence of Arnuadun, Griff suggests that the fellowship may be able to use the numbers of the dwarves to bluff a larger force. Mirien agrees, but asks Griff to enter the camp again and gather whatever information he can before trying to drive them off. With the help of Tarandis Griff is able to grab a scroll case and pouch from the camp before the “battle” begins.
With dwarves spread across the uphill slope with sheltered lanterns and pots and pans to bang the ambush is sprung and Arnuadun retreats with his cronies, but not before he spots Griff and notes the Hobbit as someone to remember.
Back at camp Griff looks through the letters he stole. They show that a merchant named Fleet in Lon Daer is working with the Black Númenóreans. Fleet’s caravans get protection, Arnuadun gets information, and Fleet advances his plots to rule Lon Daer. In the pouch he finds four rings, each very different.
Mirien, though, is in a bad way, so Boron and Griff go looking for Náin and Arcinyas who were looking for athelas. They find them mercifully quickly and are able to stabilize Mirien.
With Weathertop now safe the fellowship decides to continue Gandalf’s mission for the dwarves, journeying East the The Last Bridge to draw out spies.
Despite flooded streams and wargs in the night the fellowship makes it to The Last Bridge and finds Balder The Boatman there. He complains of robber tolls on the river, so the fellowship travels upriver with him to try to solve the problem.
Arriving at the toll spot Boron overhears the toll-takers whispering about being paid to find out about Imladris (Rivendell). Griff bamboozles their leader, Booker, into admitting they were paid to gather information. Griff pays them much better to go home and never speak of Imladris again.
With few places to take refuge the fellowship makes for Hildelid’s cabin. She grudgingly hosts them, despite how last time went. Hildelid takes an interest in their adventures and adds insight from her time fighting the shadow. The Black Númenóreans were likely seeking the relics of Angmar, but the only ones to come East of The Last Bridge are caravan guards. Griff tries to build on her interest to improve her opinion of the fellowship, but ends up coming across as a bumpkin.
Taking their leave the next morning the fellowship sets off for Bree. The journey runs long as Arundhel the pony throws a shoe, sinkholes block the path, and the Midgewater Marshes again devour Griff. As Bree comes close Boron notices that the fellowship is being followed and leads a final push for “safety” at The Forsaken Inn. Whomever was following doesn’t dare approach the inn and the fellowship makes it back to Bree and a hot bath.