After the disasterous events at Green Thistle Steading the band fled into the woods, pursued (although not hotly pursued) by half a dozen auxillia (essentially the same cutlure as the characters, but having grown up under Imperial rule) and a dozen of the feared hoplite heavy infantry.
Good use of the ground forced a gap between the heavily armoured hoplites and the auxillia. That gap allowed the band to turn like a wounded badger and lay a quick ambush. The auxillia put up a good fight, but were overwhelmed by the band's heavy reliance on magics. Shattered and stunned by the storm-priest's wind spells, the auxillia put up a brave defense.
Still, by the time the hoplites followed the snowy trail to the scene of the ambush the band was gone. Knowing their limitations (few scouts, poor wood-craft, slow movement, poor perception with helmets on) the hoplites ceased pursuit.
The band returned to the Troll Cave to rest and recuperate. Oli tried to conceal tracks, but the weather stayed clear and cold, and the tracks of five men are hard to hide in crystalline ice and snow.
The band prepared to sneak through Imperial lines and wreak havoc. However Ragnar, scouting in raven form, detected a lone dusky-skinned man with a strange cat skin cloak sneaking around the region of the Troll cave.
Twice the band tred to ambush or trap this Pelorian ranger, however his ranger magics made him devilishly hard to find or track.
Ragnars Rune (spell, essentially) of Invisibility made the difference. The Pelorian escaped the first "Invisible Encirclement" due to bad planning by the band and some lucky rolls by himself. He slipped through their trap without detecting them, but knowing that something was up.
Ragnar expended a large amount of power to renew the Invibility, and he Thorvald and Oli tried again.
This time Oli's sharp senses located the Pelorian. After the inital javelin cast, which the Pelorian avoided with fate points, the three began a steady barrage of wind blasts, lightning blasts, and javelins which had the Pelorian reeling, stunned, and unable to generate either an offense or even escape.
For some reason the band allowed Halgrimm, the strange mostly mad "god-speaker" (of a dark forest god of earth and blood) to fetch the comatose Pelorian and sacrifice him on the troll altar within the cave. There are some player-personality versus character personality issues here, but it was a scene that Halgrimm/Rob and I had discussed in generalities, figuring it would be a good "let's all tackle Halgrimm, he of the ram's head helmet and dead-bird cloak, and the ancient thigh-bone club" scene. Instead the characters just sort of stood and watched, two of them choosing to leave the small cavern instead of objecting.
At the end, I think they (the players) thought that I (the GM) should have intervened.
Eventually the band made it's way to Whitehall, an ancient elven town built on an island linked by a long stone causeway, now occupied by High King Hakon and his thanes. This was a "wonder of the world" and we spent a good bit of time allowing players to describe with awe and wonder things that any "Man of Gondor" would find rather frumpy and provincial.
The court of the High King took place in a vast temple, like the the summit of the Athenian Acropolis. The Bastard Arthas was glad they had returned safely.
Carrying news that the Imperial Armies were a lot closer than anyone expected, and marching in winter, the bands arrival caused a flurry of activity.
To end off the session the King of the Varmand Clan (the characters' clan) lay near death and the Bastard Arthas was recalled to Storm-Hill, although he pledged his War Band to remain and fight with the High King.
Next week: An unsavory mission and the mother of all battles.