Part 121 – Midnight Incursion
“When is the next group arriving, Pentsgel?” a man in a crimson halbark and fur cap asked another who was at the entrance of the tall rift of the Ram Duath. He sported a long beard that stretched down to the mid of his chest and held in his hand a pike which looked to be more than six feet in length. Above the two men stood the two great statues, marking the entrance to the realm of Angmar. A hot air came through the pass that gusted every now and then. The stench from the air was a foul smell of sulfur.
“Scouts report that they should be here within the hour,” Pentsgel said. He was dressed also in a crimson outfit but looked to be much lower in rank. His crimson outfit was covered on the chest and shoulders by leather as were his leggings. “Their travel has been slowed by some spiders.”
“I care not what has slowed their progress,” the chief barked at Pentsgel. “Check the outlying areas again,” he commanded. “The moon is hidden behind the clouds this night, which does not bode well for us.” He looked at the surrounding area of the camp. “I feel not so safe with this dark blanket about us.”
“Yes, lord,” the Pentsgel said. He picked up his own pike and walked off into the darkness of the wilderness of Eastern Nan Amlug. He looked around at the trees that surrounded the small tents that occupied the entrance to Nan Amlug. He was glad to be away from the pass that led into Angmar. It was much too dark and the smell of it was terrible. He smelled the scent of pine and for a moment, almost forgot the foul smell of the pass.
He soon came around a tree and saw a fellow of his. A bow and arrow he had in hand as he slid the arrow into the bow and pulled it back. Pentsgel could see he was looking at something in the distance. Before his fellow Hillman could pull on the arrow he was struck down by another arrow as it pierced his neck. He fell with a thud on the ground as Pentsgel tried to ready his own pike but was soon struck down by another arrow. The arrow ran through his chest and he slowly fell to his knees. He tried to breath as he saw a small group of Rangers appear out of the foliage of the surrounding fields. One of them, a man in red, placed his hand over Pentsgel’s mouth and lowered him down to the ground.
“I am sorry, my friend,” the Ranger said as he pushed a small blade through his head. He tried to end the life of Pentsgel as quickly and as painless as possible, but he knew it was not a peaceful death.
“How far to the pass from here?” Eotheron asked Ferrif as Ferrif closed the eyes of the fallen Hillman.
“Not far,” Ferrif said. “Just beyond the trees here you will see the entrance to the pass. It is not without danger, though. The Hillmen are numerous there. It would take quite a bit of stealth to reach it. If even one of the hillmen see us, our cover will be blown and this mission would be ended very fast.”
Sergee came from behind, “Then we make sure we’re not found out,” he said. He drew his sword and snuck over to the next tree. Two more rangers followed suit.
Eotheron then snuck past Sergee and the two rangers up to a small bush as two more rangers followed him. They inched their way as close as they could toward the pass; each group passing each other. With Eotheron, Sergee and Ferrif were seven other rangers. Two for each leader and one extra for Eotheron. Each one had their own mission. Eotheron and his rangers had two bombs each. They were to place them on the left side of the canyon while Sergee and his men had the same amount and were to place their bombs on the right side of the canyon. Ferrif and his men were the back up. They were accompanying them to assure there was no opposition on their way to the pass.
So, the three groups continued past each other, slowly making their way to the pass. Always within the shadow of the trees and behind the foliage. But alas, they were out of cover and before them was the small encampment of Hillmen. Tents had been erected along the borders of the road that led out of the pass and down toward the southern boarders of the valley. Only a single tree was left before Hillman camp.
“What are we to do now?” Eotheron asked. “I see the pass and it is terribly dense with hillmen. I had assumed that the night would lessen the guards at the vale of the Ram Duath.”
“As did I,” Farrif said. “I could only guess they must be anticipating an attack.”
“Which is smart,” Sergee said. “That is precisely what is happening.”
“Then what do we do now?” Eotheron asked.
The group had no idea what to do. They were anticipating less resistance and had not expected such a strong force. They looked at the force that was gathered at the pass and then at each other. They continued to hold out at the edge of the camp as they figured out what to do.
“We can cause a distraction,” Eotheorn finally said. “We can send a group to the other end of the camp and draw out their forces. With luck, the force at the edge of the pass will go to the attack and we can then plant the explosives on the walls.”
“It looks like we have not a choice,” Sergee said. “Who will distract them, then?”
After a long while, “I will,” was said by Ferrif. “You both have the explosives. That is what you have come here to do.”
“Are you sure?” Sergee asked. “That is a mission you may not come back from.”
“I expected that from the very start,” Farrif said. “I hate to say that I am content with that. We all have our missions and mine is far less important than yours. Go and stop this orc incursion.”
“Then take one of my rangers,” Sergee said.
“And one of mine,” Eotheron said.
“Having them will give you a greater fighting chance,” Sergee said.
“Thank you,” said Farrif is he grabbed an arm of Sergee’s and pulled him in closer to embrace him. “Farewell, Sergee.”
“Farewell Farrif,” Sergee said.
Ferrif stood but stayed close down to the ground. “Come,” he said to his rangers. “We must finish this before the light of day. If that comes before we’re done, we’ll be exposed.” With that, he and four other rangers headed off into the dark of night.
Sergee and Eotheron along with their three rangers stayed there and stared at the small garrison of hillmen that occupied the entrance to the pass into Angmar. “What faith have you that this will work?” Eotheron asked.
“All faith,” Sergee said. “We need our plan to succeed. Tis an unexpected turn of events that this force is such a large one. But I believe that we will succeed this day.”
“I hope you are right,” Eotheron said.
They then waited there for a while. Rain began to pour in on the camp as they continued to wait. The pounding of the raindrops on the ground was stifled by the loud sounds of the raindrops hitting the nearby tent. Loud pounds hit the nearby tent and just for a moment, Eotheron wanted to use that loud sound as a distraction and run in to kill as many Hillmen as possible to finish his job. He also knew that would jeopardize their mission and he had to wait there along with Sergee. It was painful to just wait, but he had no choice in the matter.
“How long should we wait for the signal?” Eotheron asked.
“A few more minutes I am hoping,” Sergee said.
“What then? What happens if it does not come? What happens if Ferrif and his men are caught?” Eotheron had to ask.
“I don’t know,” Sergee admitted. “We’ll need to figure another plan. We cannot let this night go to waste.”
A few more minutes they waited but nothing happened. Daylight began to come in the east as they looked on and waited for any distraction to come. But for a long time none did. The five that were waiting there became impatient.
“Something happened,” Eotheron said. “Something is wrong. We cannot stand by and wait. Something has happened to Ferrif and his men.” One of Eotheron’s men stood up and looked at the pass which was still occupied by the large number of men.
“What are you doing?” Eotheron insisted. “Get down.”
“I cannot wait any longer,” the ranger said. “Like you said, we must confront them now.”
“Wait!” Sergee tried as he stood up and tried to go after Eotheorn’s man when a huge explosion rocked the eastern side of the encampment.
Pieces of shrapnel flew from the east side and plunged down onto the tents and the statues nearby. Eotheron ran to his man as one of the pieces of shrapnel flew over to him and knocked Eotheorn down to the ground.
“Eotheron!” Sergee tried to yell but whisper at the same time.
Half of the men at the pass then scrambled toward the source of the explosion while the other half noticed the small number of men at their boarder. They ran toward the small squad of rangers as Sergee saw them and ran toward the hillmen spilling toward Eotheron. He sliced through the first few as the rangers behind him let fly their arrows into the other hillmen that were just behind the one Sergee engaged in fighting.
Eotheron slowly stood up as he was in a daze. He looked around to regain his baring’s as he saw Sergee engaged with the hillmen. The clangs of the weapons echoed in his head as the blur of what was happening almost confused him. He looked down at the ground and saw his companion ranger impaled by a piece of shrapnel that flew from the explosion. The sound of a whistling arrow flew past him from the hillmen as he jumped toward a nearby tree. Another arrow flew into the tree as he looked toward the one firing the arrows. Another second went by as a Hillman ran around the tree. Eotheron quickly drew his swords and plunged it into the Hillman’s stomach. Another came from around the tree but was shot by one of the arrows let loose from the rangers.
He ran out from the other side of the tree and engaged another Hillman as his fellow rangers shot arrows at the others attempting to kill Eotheron as he engaged the others. He then ran to help Sergee as he was inundated with more men coming to aid their fellow hillmen. It was then that Eotheron saw one of the rangers who was aiding them fall to a pikeman as the other stabbed and killed the pikeman. They were only down to two assisting rangers in the rear.
“This is a failure,” Sergee said in the small break in fighting. “We must fall back!”
“We cannot!” Eotheron said. “We must fight our way to the pass!” He ran toward the road where the hillmen were coming from. He then place an explosive on the ground and clacked flint on the fuse. He then ran as the hillmen ran toward Eotheron. A few seconds later, an explosion from the small pot drew back the hillmen as other hillmen flew from the blast. He ran through another Hillman in the chest on his way to Sergee. “Come,” he said, “the path is clear.”
They both ran toward the pass and in the distance of the pass, they saw the sign of many orc bodies coming toward them. The filth of their armor and their sounds were terrible but could not dwell on the oncoming swarm of orcs. More hillmen came toward them as the last ranger tried to fell as many orcs as he could.
“Come!” Eotheron yelled. “We have to end it.” They placed three pots on one side and three on the other. They tied the fuses together and lit them with the flint from their pockets. They then ran back away from the hill as some of the orcs ran through the pass and into the Hillman camp. They then began to engage Eotheron and Sergee as more hillmen came toward them from the other way.
Eotheron and Sergee then stopped as they knew they were beaten. Too many hillmen and orcs had surrounded them. From Hillmen from the south and orcs from the north, they knew they were surely beaten. But from behind, an arrow pierced through one of the hillmen’s chest as the others turned. It was the other rangers of Farrif’s. Only two were left along with Ferrif, who was the one who shot the fatal arrow.
“Get them!” one of the hillmen yelled as the crack of the bomb blast suddenly ripped through the air toward the pass. The pass crumpled down as smoke and dust piled up on top of the orcs. Around the blast, it was difficult to see if the pass was blocked. The Hillman chief, enraged by the terrible turn of events yelled even louder, “Get them you fools!”
The rest of the hillmen split off into two groups as they engaged Ferrif’s men and Eotheron and Sergee. They battled the few remaining of the rangers as the Sergee’s last ranger tried to pick off the remaining hillmen. Eotheron ran toward the chief Hillman and engaged him. Tough the chief was as the chief sliced through Eotheron’s every swing. With each blow, Eotheron almost lost control of as it was difficult to old on to his swords.
The chief then butted Eotheron’s face with the end of his pike as Eotheron stumbled back. But Eotheron knew that with each swing, the Hillman chief was becoming more tired. In addition to that, he knew that he had the skill and soon Eotheron sliced through the Hillman chief’s every swing as he finally spun and gave the chief the final blow in his chest. He then sliced his head clean off as it stumbled and rolled on the ground. Seeing the terrible fate of the chief, some of the hillmen ran away but others then engaged the Eotheron. With the ending of the chief, their moral was low as Eotheron began slicing through them with the great skill he had learned from Rohan.
Sergee too finished off the hillmen, as many as he could as he saw up on the top of the hill more hillmen joining in on the battle. “We cannot win this battle.”
“I agree,” Eotheron said seeing as how many hillmen were running down the hill. They turned and ran but upon running, they saw the dead corpse of Ferrif as he laid there bleeding from a neck wound.
“Come!” Eotheron said, “We must escape.”
The two companions ran off into the dawn as the two remaining rangers accompanied them. The damage was done to the Hillman camp as they destroyed the pass that led from Angmar, through the Hillman camp and into the North Downs. The mission, at a terrible cost, was a success.