A Long-extended Party presents The Spear of Mithlond, a short story featuring a new hero in The Glittering Caves, the upcoming community-created Adventure Pack in the Oaths of the Rohirrim cycle. Written by Truck, ALeP Lore and Storytelling Assistant.
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Standing guard outside the door of a meeting hall in the Grey Havens, Gaeronel could catch bits of conversation coming from inside of the chamber. She couldn’t hear enough to get a firm grasp of what exactly was being discussed, but because she knew that many of those inside were from the far-off land of Gondor, she had little care to find out. She was captain of the Mithlond guard. She had enough to take care of as it was, without bothering herself with the troubles of Men.
She shifted her grip on her spear and shield. She never did care for Men much, but these Gondorians Lord Círdan had been having dealings with these past weeks had given her a distinct sense of dread; of foreboding. Her instincts told her that nothing good was to come from them. Already, they had sailed from the Havens on an expedition some weeks ago, and had borrowed some ships from the Elven fleet. Upon their return, the ships showed clear signs of sea-battles.
Gaeronel once again found herself wondering what had transpired at sea. As captain of the guard, it was her task not only to protect the Havens and those Elves in them, but also to look after the ships, and to make sure they were in good shape before they set sail. When a ship was damaged, she would have to dispatch elves to repair it. The damage sustained by the ships borrowed by the Gondorians wasn’t great enough to put them out of sailing shape, but it was enough to be a concern. There were punctures from ballista bolts, some burn damage around the bolt-holes, and on one of the ships, some slight ramming damage.
Gaeronel wondered what enemies had attacked the Gondorians on their voyage. There had never been reports of pirates in the Belegaer. Gaeronel thought that she would have to ask the Gondorian’s leader, Calphon, about what had happened when he left the meeting chamber. She had never had the chance.
Her wandering thoughts snapped back to the present when she heard a commotion in the watchtowers, and shouts coming from the meeting hall. The bells were ringing and she heard the call of, “Corsairs! Corsairs are upon us!” coming from the watchtowers. A small company of heroes burst through the door and ran to the harbor. Gaeronel entered the meeting chamber to see Círdan looking out of the window upon the fierce battle already raging in the docks. As Gaeronel approached him, he turned to look upon her.
“Gaeronel,” he said, “you are needed below! The Corsairs of Umbar are upon us.”
“You surely need protection, my lord,” said Gaeronel.
Círdan waved his hand. “I am of little importance,” he said, “and I am safe enough in this tower. You are needed on the docks.”
Gaeronel knew there was no point in arguing with the venerable Elf, so with a nod of her head she exited the chamber and hastened toward the harbor.
The waterfront was in an uproar of battle. Everywhere there was the clashing of swords, the screams of the injured, and smoke — that of burning ships.
Gaeronel saw an elf about twenty yards away from her, struggling to parry the vicious strokes of a corsair with his sword. His shield arm hung limp at his side, clearly broken. Gaeronel sprinted to his side and plunged her spear into the back of the corsair, killing him. The elf dropped to the ground, exhausted. He nodded to Gaeronel in thanks, and Gaeronel returned the gesture.
“You there!” she called to an elf rushing into the battle, “Get him to safety, he is injured!” He nodded and obeyed. Gaeronel dislodged her spear from the corsair’s corpse and ran to find another opponent.
Her next targets were two corsairs attacking a pair of sword-elves. The corsairs were obviously less skilled than the sword-elves, but the brute force of the corsairs was enough to keep them occupied. Gaeronel disabled one while still running toward them with a fling of her spear. It pierced his upper leg and he fell, clutching the wound. The sword-elves then easily finished off the other corsair. As the duo of sword-elves turned to find new foes, Gaeronel stopped them. “It seems we have enough forces to hold them off on the ground. It is the ships that are in peril!” The sword-elves agreed, and left for the ships. Gaeronel turned to the corsair and tugged her spear from his leg. He cried out again. Heedless, Gaeronel followed the sword-elves towards the docks.
They arrived at where the Nárelenya, a great elven cruiser, was docked. Anchored next to the Nárelenya was a corsair ship, and some of its crew were boarding the Nárelenya from a long plank. Gaeronel and the sword-elves charged up the Nárelenya’s gangplank which—much to Gaeronel’s surprise—was still intact, and onto the cruiser. There were three corsairs on deck, beginning to set alight the sails and deck of the Nárelenya. They saw the boarding elves and drew their cutlasses, prepared to fight.
The two sword-elves immediately made themselves busy with two of the corsairs, and Gaeronel took the third. The corsair opened with a sweeping stroke that Gaeronel easily blocked with her shield. Before Gaeronel could thrust her spear, the corsair swung again, this time aiming for Gaeronel’s head. Gaeronel leapt aside to dodge the blow, and thrust her spear, which buried itself into the corsair’s chest. Wide eyed, the corsair thudded to the deck, lifeless.
Gaeronel dislodged her spear for a third time. The Sword-Elves had finished off their opponents, but one of them had sustained a stroke to the leg. He was now unable to put any weight on it. Gaeronel inspected the wound, and then said to the unharmed elf, “Get him to the shore and find someone to treat his wounds. I will put out these fires.” The unharmed elf obeyed, and Gaeronel quickly put out the small fires that the corsairs had lit.
After the fires were dealt with, Gaeronel returned to the docks and headed for another ship. She boarded a Gondorian vessel and put out a few fires that had sprung up from where flaming arrows had pierced the deck. As she prepared to leave the ship, a corsair skiff sailed close beside the boat Gaeronel was aboard.
Most of the corsairs on board the skiff began to leave, hurrying to the battle on the shore. Several remained on board, four of which leapt the small gap between the two boats, and landed on board the Gondorian ship, lit torches in their hands.
In all of the smoke, they hadn’t seen Gaeronel. They landed on the deck about ten feet from her, and she quickly ended one’s life with a spear thrust. The other three, upon hearing their comrade’s cry of anguish, saw Gaeronel, and the one closest to her was met with a shield smashed into his face. He toppled to the deck, unconscious. The other two had dropped their torches and drawn their cutlasses. One of them advanced on Gaeronel, the other close behind. The first swung his sword in a large overhead arc, and Gaeronel deflected it with her shield. A thrust of her spear ended the corsair.
As Gaeronel was thrusting her spear, the last corsair’s blade flashed forward, stabbing Gaeronel’s spear arm. Gaeronel cried out in pain, and the corsair swung again. This stroke Gaeronel deflected with her shield, and as the corsair brought his blade above his head for an overhead strike, Gaeronel dislodged her spear. The corsair swung again, and Gaeronel threw her shield up with lightning quick speed.
The corsair’s blade shattered. The force of Gaeronel’s deflection sent the corsair staggering back a few paces, and Gaeronel took advantage of that with a spear thrust to the corsair’s stomach, fatally wounding him.
Gaeronel turned to the corsair skiff, expecting the corsairs to have seen the fight and come to their crewmen’s aid. But they had their backs turned to Gaeronel’s ship; they were watching the battle. Gaeronel picked up the corsair’s torches, and lobbed them to the skiff. That would cause them some trouble if they didn’t tend to it soon, she thought. She left the Gondorian vessel, seeking another ship to save.