Rangers of the North

S02E21-22 - Into the Maw

Wherein our heroes finally reaches their destination - and their fates

Feredir and Jack leave the less stealthy majority of the party behind, to infiltrate the Wyrm’s abode in secrecy. They have scarcely been away for an hour when the dragon descends on their friends. It confronts them, and Salabon decides to take an active stance, trying to sweet-talk the beast. Unfortunately his tongue is not quite so silver, and the dragon becomes enraged, seemingly swallowing Salabon, and flying off to its lofty lair.

Having seen the Wyrm from afar, Feredir and Jack come rushing back, to be told the sad tale. With grim determination, Feredir now has further cause to slay the dread Wyrm. He soldiers purposefully onwards, with Beoraborn at his side, and the rest follow.

Halfway up the mountain, they are accosted again, and this time the dragon flies off with Eadyth.

Eadyth and Salabon are being kept in chains in the dragon’s lair. Remarkably little treasure abounds. They attempt to find ways to escape, but to no avail.

The rest of the party continue on a laborious trek towards the mountain. When they finally get there, they find the gate locked by a riddle. Many hours do they spend before Feredir finally realizes the obvious answer, and the gates open.

They trek through the darkness for many long hours, before Feredir sees something glinting in the darkness. It is the sword he has come to reclaim – Aeglin.

With this in hand, the fight is as good as won, thinks he, and they continue.

They emerge from the catacombs just as Eadyth has entranced the dragon with a Rohirrim dance, and wait for the right moment for their attack.

Just as the dance reaches its climax, Eadyth notices her companions, and hesitates just a fraction of a second, enough for the dragon to break free of the spell. As it rears its massive head to bellow, Jack comes hurtling through the air onto the dragon’s back…

and kills it with one blow.

Jack the Dragon Slayer is hailed as the greatest of heroes, enjoying all forms of hospitality and praise, lauded and worshipped wherever he goes. Soon, hubris has overcome him, and he understands that he has succumbed to the Flaming Eye, ever at his shoulder.

Jack wakes, realizing that he did not kill the giant beast, it was but a portent of things to come – his fate should he succumb to the temptations of fame and power…

…and is violently knocked against a column by the dragon’s thrashing tail.

Colargon trumpets, and the Companions regroup, taking cover.

Suddenly, the drake rolls his enormous eyes and flares his nostrils. “I smell… I smell Man of the West!” His massive head sweeps the room. “Where are you, Man of Westernesse, show yourself!”

The Huntsman steps from the shadows to stand directly afore the beast. “I am here, dragon. I am Barhador son of Tauron, called Feredir, the Huntsman, by the Free Folk of Eriador.”

The dragon rolls his eyes again, nostrils flaring, head sweeping. “Where?! Where is he?! I can smell you, little man, I can hear you. What hides you from mine eyes? What sorcery is this?”

Feredir’s eyes grow large, and he stares down at the green and white, almost pulsating armour gifted to him by Beoraborn. He understands. It makes him unseen to the dragon. “I am the ghost of Elendil, the spirit of the Dúnedain, come to visit upon you the wrath of the kings of old!” Colargon bares his teeth and hisses, still oblivious to Feredir’s position.

At the same time, Eadyth charges the dragon with a fierce cry, slashing out with her formidable Mithril-wrought spear. The dragon bellows, and its huge head sweeps right over Feredir towards the Rohirrim woman. Beoraborn wastes no time, and charges out of the shadows with his dragon-slaying spear, roaring Beijibar oaths and thrusting at the great wyrm. Colargon cries out in anger, and rises to his hind feet, flapping his great wings. A terrible gust of air hits hard, sending Salabon sprawling and the others scrambling for footing, but Feredir stands firm. He is about to charge the dragon, when he feels a strange sensation, and hears the drake uttering an incantation. The room plunges into absolute darkness! “Now the scales are balanced, little manling,” chuckles the dragon. Eadyth and Beoraborn strike out blindly, but Feredir remains standing, closing his eyes and concentrating. Still with closed eyes, he strikes out, and strikes true. Colargon bellows in pain as the enchanted spear ensorcelled to slay dragons, cuts through its thick, scaly skin and into its flesh. Panic strikes the drake, and he tries to lash out, but is stunned, recoiling from the thrust and trying to turn away. Pain! He can feel Eadyth and Beoraborn’s weapons as well, and tries to back away.
Meanwhile, Salabon speaks his own little enchantment, tapping into the forbidden knowledge in his possession, and soon he can see through the darkness. “These scales can verily be balanced even more,” he murmurs, and starts striking flint over his oilskin. The cloth at its base catches, and he hurls it at the dragon, striking its breast perfectly. The oil fails to catch fire, but for the very spot where the skin hit. The Companions now have a target!

But the Huntsman has grown weary of this dance; he is no master spear-wielder, so he cuts the drake one more time with the hungry spear, and throws it aside, drawing Aeglin. As the blue light burns brightly through the blackness, he cries out, “From Gondolin I come, feel my vengeance!” and buries the blade in the dragon’s thigh, almost extinguishing the light. Colargon screams in pain and fear, emotions wholly unknown to him, and warps away, dragging at the chains still holding Eadyth and Salabon and driving both off their feet. Eadyth thrusts her spear through a chain loop and deep into the stone, the Mithril blade finding easy purchase. Now Jack has returned to the fray, and darts in, delivering a formidable blow with the flat of his hand to the exact spot lit from flame on the dragon’s breast. Confusion and panic grips the mighty Colargon. What are these small creatures, and why are they not cowering before him? He makes one single bound, and glides several hundred feet away with the Companions scrambling to keep up. The magical darkness vanishes, and all can see that the dragon is making for the vast terrace and the open sky. Jack, Feredir and Beoraborn strike out after it. Jack is there first, trying to strike the dragon’s tail, but it proves too wily, and he only strikes stone. Then, here is Feredir and Beoraborn, just as the dragon leaps from the terrace – - and is forthwith arrested by the length of chain, before being slammed violently against the mountainside a hundred feet from the terrace, all tangle of chain, wings and limbs.

Jack has one of the spears in his hands and is about to leap after it and sacrifice himself, but Eadyth is there to stop him, pulling the spear from his grip. She moves to take his place.

“No,” warns Feredir. “I have brought you all here, the task to finish this is mine.” He moves to the ledge to climb the chain, when a loud, metallic ping is heard, and the chain, all several hundred feet of it, comes thrashing down the length of the hall, smashing anything in its path. It is all the Companions can do to hurl themselves out of its riotous way. Colargon drops into darkness…

*

“Is he dead?” ventures Salabon. “Did the fall break him?”
“It is impossible to tell!” cries Eadyth. “It is simply too dark to see below!”

The Companions stare into the darkness of night-cloaked Angmar, where the Wyrm Colargon has escaped, wounded and raging, unleashed on the world.

Stoic Feredir is silent for a while, before his lips pass a single sentence:

“What have we done?”

[CREDITS]

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