((Bree and the Caravan to Trestlebridge))
Bree is a wondrous town. A large human settlement at the crossroads between the great east-west road, leading from the Shire all the way to the Misty Mountains, and a road that goes north to the old city of Fornost. There are big, wooden houses and lots of shops and market vendors selling everything from dog soap to fancy hats. There is a bank, a post-office, a barber, an auction hall and a city hall and a big inn with a theater stage in front where musicians play. And stables, lots of stables. And many horses. I am scared of horses, they are so big and I don’t think I would ever get the hang of hanging on to one. If I have enough money I MIGHT buy a small pony, because getting around is much faster as walking everywhere, so these animals you can ride on are pretty handy actually. There was also a crafting hall and other places where you could forge. But those human smiths… second-class products at best, their weapons and armor was nowhere near our dwarf standards. And I have not seen a single stone sculptor, although there appear to be some places round Bree where you could quarry nice stone.
The place is buzzing with all kinds of people, a constant coming and going. Humans, hobbits, even the odd elf… and quite a few dwarves. Standing next to a big boar fountain in the main plaza, I overheard some dwarves talking about an expedition that had left for Khazad-dûm. Khazad-dûm! Father! The greatest dwarf city ever built! All I know from the tales and rumors back home is that it fell a long time ago and then an expedition led by Balin from the Lonely Mountains set out many years ago to reclaim it. Since we never heard a word from him I fear he and his company met some dark fate. But oh, the wonders of Khazad-dûm! Glittering caves full of mithril! The long-lost great halls, rays of light shining down from windows in ceilings hundreds of feet high, dusty and deserted … or are they maybe not so deserted after all? I think when I am finished with this Skorgrim business here, I will try to find out if and how I could join this expedition, even though the Misty Mountains are far away. This would be the greatest adventure of my life and something I would, I have to, do… more than, well you know.
In front of the Prancing Pony I met another courageous and diligent hobbit, Alphred Troute. He got word of a town up north, Trestlebridge, at the frontier to the North Downs, which had suffered an orc attack. So he was putting together a relieve trek and several porters had assembled, carrying baskets and backpacks full of medicines, apples, eggs, biscuits, pies and hobbit breakfasts. There were even two chicken (to provide eggs I hoped), one sadly was shot by an orc arrow later when it strayed too far from our group. They were looking for some guards, I volunteered and was ordered to watch the back of our caravan.
We set out at dawn, crossing the northern Bree-fields where I learned several farms were having trouble with brigands. Alphred seemed to know some of the farmers and asked how they had been doing lately. We went through a dangerous wolf den and then came to an orc camp, fortified by a wooden stockade. During the attack on Trestlebridge some orcs apparently broke through and set up outposts in the Bree-land. Now, I had never seen an orc before and they were not of the likeable kind, heavily built and brutish, sleeping in tents made of animal hides, there were open fires everywhere and odd totem poles with horrific faces on them. I merely watched from the back as our very competent guards fended off the attacking orcs and we safely made it through. One however was hit by a poisoned orc arrow and collapsed, so we built a stretcher which was pulled by the tame bear of one of our companions.
I was then asked to scout ahead. There was an empty road leading upwards and when I went over the ridge I spotted a city wall and the rooftops of a bigger settlement. We had reached Trestlebridge! The town had seen some heavy fighting, many houses were burned down and ash flakes from still smoldering fires filled the air. We delivered our supplies to the local authorities and healer, who also tended to the wounded guard. Since it was already very late we spent the rest of the night in the company of the grateful townsfolk and returned to Bree the next day.
I still have not told you about the ranger Strider and what he had to say, but I surely will in my next letter.
Yours respectfully, and convey my best wishes to mother,
Last edited by Craiden; Sep 23 2013 at 10:23 AM.