((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - A Bounder Report - Skirmish Practicing Part 2
Bounder Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
It is my honour to continue my report on a recent skirmish practice we had which, I think, proves us fit to challenge Sambrog in his lair.
Recall, there were six of us working without squires in a skirmish practice set up for twelve people with squires. We suffered a defeat on the first counter-attack and were forced to #retreat. Then we got ourselves properly organized and our minds set on our taks and moved on, clearing the town as we went.
There is far too much happening to mention in any report. Moreover, I feel bad in not reporting other things that are going on - such as continuing patrols into Naerost and Mina's Eriol that I hear about - and even some Eclairians working out of Trestlebridge to the north recently. This report should serve only to give you a taste of our efforts in what I think is our most important mission at the moment - the defeat of Sambrog.
Even here, there is much that could be said about a maneuver we practiced on the skirmish that summons a ghost from the distant past - some sort of oath breaker as I understand it seeking redemption. Not all spirits are malevolent, as I learned aiding the ghosts in the Barrows. It was odd at best to be visited by such a creature. We scarcely had time to recognize him 'fore he was off to his final rest.
I am aware of how odd it is to write of such things - but oddness is mundane beyond the Bounds.
Clearing the villainy out of Tuckborough was not without mishaps. One enemy counter-attack caught me trying to inspire the others before the battle as I often try to do. That must have attracted the enemy's attention since the next I knew I was being swarmed upon by goblins. Wilbus, I think, tried to draw them off me to too much success. He was taken down by a blow quickly enough. Meanwhile, the goblins kept forcing me back until I was nearly inside one of their goblin bonfires and had nowhere to go. It was all I could do to hide behind my shield and shout for help.
However, Heklaer took to the job of keeping up morale and encouraging the others without which I am certain we would have suffered a second defeat. At the same time, Nip proved his worth in bringing down the attackers. It seemed his daggers were everywhere as one goblin after another fell before him.
After the battle, Helkaer tended to poor Wilbus and made him fit to continue the battle and I offered him my thanks for stepping up to the task of seeing to morale so efficiently.
After a few more battles, Wilbus, it seems, thought we had all gone to the Thane's courtyard and went rushing in to join us. What he saw was a hoard of villainy. And they saw him. They stood and stared at each other for a moment - I am sure each as shocked as the other as to what they saw - before people started to move. They charged Wilbus and brought him down quick enough. Then they came at us.
Willameena took a blow that drove her to the ground and, without her guidance her pet bear abandoned us.
Things looked grim.
But Nip and Andrig made a determined stand against the hoard with Heklaer right behind them. I moved from the fight to a pile of crates where I could see the battle and shout my encouragements. We were helped by a fellowship maneuver - an opportunity I am certain Nip provided - that boosted our courage #in the fight just as our will was waning. After what seemed an endless struggle, we found ourselves standing in a field what the Watcher referees declared to be fallen enemies.
After seeing to Wilbus and Willameena, we formed ourselves up again and entered the courtyard. After removing a few more guards, we were left with the leader of the brigands himself - a creature name of Filzof - and his personal guards to deal with.
Here, I figured that the battle would be beyond our abilities and I called for the squires. However, when I made the suggestion, Wilbus asked if we could try it without the aid of squires and Nip backed up the request. Indeed, Nip said the soldiers would be a hindrance since they complicate things.
Well, this was just practice, after all - a time for us to learn. I'd never agree to refuse help in a real battle. But, we were here to learn how to work together to defeat Sambrog where we would have no squires, so I agreed. We dismissed our squires and hoisted the flag indicating that we were ready for the final battle.
Filzof first sent his personal guard against us, but we swept them aside without much effort. This left just Filzof himself to contend with, until he started to summon lieutenants out of the Great Smial to his side. Soon, the battlefield was getting crowded with powerful villains.
I came to the view that we needed to defeat Filzof to silence him and prevent him from summoning more of his lieutenants to the battle. When I looked for him, I found him standing with his back to me battling Nip. Rushing forward, I swung my sword, which did nothing but bounce off of his armour of toughened hide. Then I drove my sword into him point first and put all my weight behind it. With this, the Watcher referees flagged me as the one who defeated Filzof!
'Course, I would never have had the courage to do so without knowing that this was some Bree watcher dressed up to play Filzof.
Still, with him defeated, it was a simple matter to defeat the lieutenants in detail and to claim the battlefield as ours.
I could scarce believe that we had done this - six of us, without squires. With that victory, I declare that we are fit enough to challenge Sambrog in his lair - with whatever lieutenants and minions he may put in our way. I'll be heading out to the campsite before the Great Barrow as soon as I drop this in the post. Out there, I may not be able to send reports on a regular basis. However, when I can, I will send you a report on our progress.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow
Hedgerow throws another bag onto the back of his pony, Scribe. The pony struggles under the weight. These are his provisions - food and medicines - for the battle ahead. A camp has been set up before the Great Barrow to tend to them who will be entering the lair to do battle. Hedgerow determines himself to reach the camp by dark. Others know to find him there. He fears that Sambrog can never be utterly defeated, but he can be driven deeper and deeper into his lair and weakened. That will be their purpose in the weeks ahead.
Last, Hedgerow stuffs a bundle of bound pages into a side bag and pushes it in deep. The pages are blank, for the moment. However, gold letters have been set into the leather cover. THE GREAT BARROW WAR is about to be written.
((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - A Letter Home - Scouting the Great Barrow
Sambrog might not be as fearsome as I had feared.
I have just returned from a scouting expedition with Nip the Borrower and Roy - a dwarf who draws power from stone.
I had stepped into the Great Barrow first by myself to where I encountered a lone wight on patrol. Wanting to test myself against it, I tossed a javelin at it and got its attention. I could sense this creature had power - it was not going down easy. I kept my shield up and focused on my defense while I looked for an opening.
I carry a hatchet these days - one I found in a treasure box sometime back. It is very finely made with a keen blade where the steel seems to have a bluish tint to it - and it has good weight behind it. I chopped into the wight's knee and, as it fell, I delivered the final blow, chopping off its head.
Next, I encountered a guard room where three wights stood patiently waiting for intruders. I looked them over carefully. None seemed as powerful as the patrol wight I had just battled, but there were three of them. I returned to the camp just outside the door and sent out a summons for aid.
Roy and Nip answered.
Nip and I are spending a fair amount of time in each other's company - and we've even gone on missions to improve our ways of working together.
I have travelled with Roy since my first days away from home.
Well, that guardroom full of wights had no chance against us.
For some of these weights, an arm or two has fallen off, and they come at us separately. That's what happened in this case. When we attacked these weights, their arms - laying separately on the ground, started dragging themselves towards us by their fingernails. It took them a while to reach us, though. By then, we had nearly dealt with the main body and could spare some of our attention.
Nip kept the odds in our favor by using what he called a "riddle". It is not an actual riddle. It is more of an illusion that befuddles a villain and will paralyze their thinking as they try to figure out what is happening. That left us with only two wights to battle at the start. That was easy enough - each half as powerful as the lone wight I had battled earlier.
We cleared the guardroom and moved deeper into Sambrog's lair.
Sambrog proved clever. At one point, he had buried a half dozen of these disconnected arms in the crypt floor - which is lose dirt for the most part. As Nip scouted ahead, they crawled their way out of the ground and attacked. But they are slow and in easy reach of a hobbit axe or dagger.
Elsewhere as we scouted, we found some wights standing guard at a trio of old crypts. As we watched, two other wights - more powerful and better equipped - walked through. If we had rushed in and attacked right off, we would have found the odds stacked quickly against us. As it was, we noted the situation before we had fallen into the trap. We made a plan to draw the lesser wights to us rather than charge ahead into the path of the patrols.
The plan worked. We fought the wights in three separate battles rather than all at once and, in the end, the passage was clear.
All went well, until we came to a room that looked like an ant hill of wights - with a queen wight standing at the center. I thought that this was the end of our patrol and it was time to leave. Nip, however, was keen to continue.
He stepped forward a bit, and came to be noticed by one of the worker wights. We drew it away from the colony and killed it apparently without the others noticing.
Wights are not particularly bright. I doubt that they have any intelligence at all - just standing or walking where they were told and attacking any substantive living thing that comes near.
Following Nip's example, I stepped down and waited to catch a worker wight away from the others, then tossed a javelin at it. Again,we drew it away from the colony and killed it.
We continued to draw the worker wights away in ones and twos until all that remained was the queen wight in the center of the room. There was naught else we could do. I added a spike to my shield that had been prepared in a way that I had been told was effective against wights. Normally I would not trust such claims, but they were mailed to me through the authority of Successor Shirriff Daffodilia of Addernotch Station, and I trusted to her judgment.
Oh, speaking of Daffodilia, she came to Bree for a visit the day before I left. It was great to spend a day visiting with somebody from the Shire. I gave her an escort about town. It was a good thing, too. In a rougher part of town she was assaulted by brigands. I don't think they expected her to be travelling with an armed bodyguard nearby. I dropped one brigand to the ground and the other ran off. With my knee on the chest of the fallen brigand, I put my axe at her throat and told her, "Do not mess with the Shirefolk" - and let her go.
Anyways, here we were facing the queen wight. We prepared ourselves. Roy gave us some encouraging words - he seems to have a way with words - and we lined up to attack this master wight.
Well, we sprang at him with total surprise, knocking him to the ground. He was up again in a moment and summoning a pair of guards right out of the ground - buried and hidden from our efforts to clear the room. My first thought was to even up the odds and that I could take the guard wights down fastest, so I turned my attention to them. Once they were defeated, I turned back to the queen wight, while Nip moved around behind it.
Well, it still had tricks up its sleeve. It summoned two huge worms from the ground - crawlers which, if stretched out, would probably be the length of three hobbits and bigger around. There were also smaller worms - worms that would launch themselves at you and burst open, filling the room with a fog that burned the skin and eyes and nose and mouth like boiling tea.
At this point, the master wight had been battered and bruised and I figured the best way to even the odds was to destroy it first. It took but a few more blows.
Then I had a decision that I hated to face. I turned. Of the two big worms that were summoned, one was on one side of the room attacking Nip - having him cornered as he fought frantically for his life. Truth be told, it seemed he wouldn't last much longer. On the other side of the room, Roy was being pressed - and he was not well suited for battle. It is difficult to think such things of a dwarf, but this dwarf is more scholarly and less inclined towards battle than one would expect of a dwarf.
I went to help Roy. I did this with the idea that if Roy was relieved of his burdens, he could draw some power from his stones to give to Nip. Indeed, that is what happened. If you look carefully, you can sometimes see a wave of power travel from Roy to those he helps. As I took on the worm, I could see the power flow to Nip.
The worm was well armored, and I had a hard time getting my axe through its carapace. I chopped and chipped and hacked and, finally, opened up a crack that I could widen. I used my hatchet as a wedge and drove it in further with my shield until I broke the worm in half.
Seeing the worm dead, I turned and, just as I did, I saw Nip give the finishing blow to his foe.
And all was quiet.
It took a bit for the green fog to lift. I brought some medicines that I put on me where it had burned my skin. It helped quite a bit.
But here it was - the three of us - Nip, Roy and myself - in victory over the wight queen and its summonings.
It was a joyous moment.
We did a bit more patrolling after that, scouting out the tunnels and passageways, then decided it was time to return to camp.
I was, in a sense, pleased that the three of us did so well. It makes me think that we will have victory over Sambrog in the end. However, there is a lot more exploring to do, and Sambrog probably has a lot of powerful minions and traps he set up between us and himself.
The Great Barrow War - as some like to call it - has only just begun. Though, now, I have more hope to our victory than I had before.
((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - A Letter Home - Kissing the Warg
Did Little Delving get a fierce storm?
The weather is such here that everybody is forced to stay inside for the day. Fortunately, I'm back in Bree at the hunter's lodge. I would hate to think of what things are like at the camp before The Great Barrow. But I'm safe and warm and dry, though feeling a bit penned up as I wait for the storm to pass.
I had such a battle in the Great Barrow yesterday that I just needed to come back to town to recover.
There were three of us who went into the Barrow to do battle. There was me and Brabbo and Helkaer. Of the three, I was the only one fully suited for battle. Brabbo and Helkaer are wizards, in a sense. Not real wizards, of course. But they've managed to harness powers other than the sword and the shield. Haklear able to move the spirit through music and sound. Helklaer can manipulate the way of things through the spoken and written word - with writings known as "runes".
I had been in the Barrow before with two others - when I scouted it with Nip and Roy. We found that three people alone could deal with much of Sambrog's defenses - until we came to a pair of fiends we decided would be best left alone.
This time, we were expecting we would see some reinforcements before we pushed our way too deeply.
I was proved wrong on that measure.
We passed through any number of crypts and such. Most were empty, as the person entombed there was up and walking around again due to Sambrog's corruptions.
But not all of them had been corrupted yet. We saw the remains of many of the folk of this region, long dead.
I'm at a loss of what to do with them who are still resting peacefully. We could destroy them while they sleep, before Sambrog can fill them with corrupted spirits. I think that is what I would want to have done if my bones were discovered under such circumstances. Or we can let them sleep, knowing that Sambrog will send them against us in battle at some point.
Hedgerow, I hear, set the torch to many that he passed by when he entered the Barrow, but I couldn't bring myself to do so. Neither could Brabbo or Helkaer.
As you know, Brabbo is a Shireling. I don't fully recall if we talk much about his past. I might even be wrong about his being a Shireling. But he is sturdy and stable - seems quite able to take what we encounter in due stride.
We had all been into the Barrows before, so there was naught much as could alarm us.
According to Helkaer, the part of the Barrow we travelled through was dedicated to more common folk - merchants and captains rather than kings.
Helkaer, an elf and, as such, more knowing in such things, was more curious as to the history of the place - stopping to examine the crypts and furnishings. It was he who noted the wind chimes of skulls hanging from the ceiling. That was considered odd until I recognized that there is a wind through any tunnel with at least two openings to the world. If you were to open one opening, then the chimes would warn all of the other opening to the outside being opened.
Any other doors must have been closed, however. We noticed no wind as we entered.
We came upon another of them wight colonies on our patrol - the one with the master and a number of wights milling about. The master used some fell wizardry on us. We near to had it defeated when it summoned some great crawlers. One of them swung it's body and knocked Brabbo up the stairs.Then, I fell - dizzy and confused and worried that the foe would take this opportunity to deliver my death.
When my senses returned, the master stood unharmed in the room as if there had been no battle.
Well, we set up again. Again, it summoned the great crawlers that tossed us about. I was sent once up the stairs but grapped onto a railing and fell back down onto the ground. Whatever wizardry was brought against us the first time did not happen a second. We had our victory.
Further into the crypt, we found three huge skulls decorating a crossroads. Helkaer told us were troll skulls. That made me suddenly fearful of encountering three headless troll wights. I will have nightmares tonight on the thought, I fear. Fortunately, we did not encounter such a creature. At least not yet.
Still later, we came upon the bones of what could have been either a hobbit or man-child that had been entombed. We had seen no other signs of hobbit, and I do not recall if any were living here at the time. The thought suddenly came to me of having to battle child wights. The sadness of the thought nearly overtook me.
Every once in a while we would stop, go back a ways, and call out to see iffen there were others patrolling who were coming to look for us. Each time, we found we were still alone - the three of us.
We near to retreated when we encountered a pair of villains what seemed more powerful than any before. It was a pair like that which Nip and Roy and I came across a few days earlier on a patrol and decided not to challenge. Sambrog has a number of these teams set up about his tomb, or so it seems. But Brabbo had fought a pair when he adventured with Andrig and Willameena. Though they also had Wilbus with them and, I hear, some Captain whom I had not met. One of their number was Hedgerow, so they actually had only five of any quality. Yet, they won the battle with ease, or so I was told.
Brabbo and Helkaer said that they were willing to accept the challenge.
As for me . . . the Bounders at Addernotch Station have a saying. "It's time to kiss the warg." Iffen you go to Addernotch Station, there's a stuffed warg sitting just inside the door and a Bounder will kiss the warg when they enter the station. It's a tradition that speaks to a story they tell of a Bounder recruit named Rumache who faced down and defeated a warg that heading to Overhill. Kissing the warg had to do with the fact that the warg got so close to Rumache that they were near to kissing. Anyways, it refers to the need a Bounder has to face their fears, stand their ground, and do what needs doing for the Shire.
This was my day to kiss the warg.
We made an agreement that if the battle went against us we would retreat and gather at the entrance. Then we prepared ourselves and stepped forward to confront the villains.
They came at us one at a time, to our fortune. But the one who came at us first opened up two great holes to an underground chamber from which sprang countless wights. While I battled the master, the henchwights swarmed Brabbo and Helkaer. It seems this was Brabbo's intention, who called the wights to him - foolish hobbit. This left Heklaer free to summon his powers. And those powers were needed.
I was afraid the two would be overwhelmed.
To help as best I could, I retreated to where I was standing near enough to one of the holes so I could attract some of the swarm to myself as it came out. I caught the attention of a few. But, as I glanced over to the stairs where Brabbo and Helkaer fought side by side, I wondered that they could stand long against such a wall of enemy as faced them.
Brabbo proved himself able to inflict great wounds on the spirit of the wights with a few hasty notes and the sound of his voice. They were caused to just lose heart and to give up the fight, casting aside the bodies into which their spirits had been trapped and fading into the ground.
As we fought, my foe - the first of the two wight masters - grew tired. I needed to end the battle, for it was the force of his will what kept the henchwights coming.
Suddenly, I saw an opening. I struck forward and set up what we call a "fellowship maneuver" - a timed and coordinated set of actions that are hard to counter and which either provides us with an advantage or delivers great harm to the enemy. #In all of our battles before this we had been practicing a maneuver known as "Wrath of the Righteous." If performed perfectly, it delivers great wounds on the enemy while filling us with the will and courage to continue the fight.
With Brabbo and Helkaer under such pressure from so many enemies, it was doubtful they could contribute to the maneuver. But they managed it. The first of the two lieutenants fell to the blows and the holes through which it summoned the wights closed up. I felt our courage and will soar as the second master entered the fight.
The maneuver decided the battle. From this point on, I only needed to hold the attention of the second master while Brabbo and Helkaer cleared the room of the wenchwights that remained. Then the three of us went against the master. The body collapsed, and the malevolent spirit that guided it seeped into the ground.
As we stood victorious in our battle, I thought that this is exactly why Bounders talk of kissing the warg. It's a story of the courage to do something beyond what one thinks a hobbit can do - because hobbits can do great things iffen they try.
But it was an exhausting battle. Thus was my decision to return to Bree for some proper rest.
And then the storm came, and I am stuck here at the hunter's lodge until it ends. And it will end. Storms always do, eventually - though they often leave the world changed in some significant ways. And when it ends, you'll get this letter, telling you that all is well.
A nice thing about being a part do a kinship that has been around and active for six years is that it has a history and a culture. Club Eclair members can belong to any kinship, and bring the history and culture of that kinship with their character.
Hi Club Eclair,
I'd like to join in and have a couple of questions:
1. I'm new to LOTRO and MMO. Is it possible to join in with my very basic knowledge of RP? I've seen people do it and was intrigued. I'm keen to learn :)
2. I think my English is ok but being a non native speaker I still have to improve on my vocabulary and grammar. I enjoyed reading about your past adventures, it was so well written and interesting but certainly I can't write like that yet. Will this be an issue?
Everybody has to start somewhere . . . and Eclairians are a friendly group of people to learn from. There's no real skill involved in roleplaying . . . just say and do what a person (with the personality you created) in that situation would likely say and do. Other than that it is matters of basic courtesy and respect. No stomping on hobbits' toes and such.
Originally Posted by Linwien
One option in roleplaying is that you can build certain real traits into your character. If you don't know much about the world, then your character grew up in an isolated community and never learned much about the world. If you are uncertain and hesitant as to what to do, then create a character that is a bit shy. If you like to stomp on hobbits' toes . . . don't. Some things are just rude.
Your English seems okay. But, it's not an issue. If you are worried, then create a character that is "not from among these parts" and is learning the language. Anything you're worried about you can make a part of your character.
Originally Posted by Linwien
As it turns out, near to half of the Eclairians are from Europe. (England, Germany, Italy, Neatherlands).
And, of course, we can always use the help. The more Eclairians we have the easier it is to muster a squad to do things when there are things to be done.
((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,
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - A Bounder Report - More Battles in the Barrows
Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
My notes are ruined, sir! Ruined!
We were camped outside the Great Barrow when a storm came upon us. It was near as fierce as the storm a year or two ago what kept everybody trapped indoors for days. But I wasn't indoors. All I had for shelter was a crowded tent.
Do you know what happens when three fragile elf lasses get caught in torrential rain and Barrow mud? It is not pretty.
And poor Scribe, who had to stay outside. A tent is no place for a pony.
I hadn't noted the rivulet flowing down the tent wall and into my bag until it was too late! My nets are ruined! I am struggling to write down as much as I remember while I still remember it.
It is in that light that I take the honour to report our progress against the villain Sambrog.
His army, if anything, is getting stronger. Roy, Helkaer, Brabbo, Alphred, and . . . Gad, what's his name? A hobbit what recently found us again after visiting the Shire on family matters . . . Podie, that's him. They just returned from a visit to the Barrows where they reported finding fiercer foes than we are accustomed to. They said that those villains were "two notches" above them villains we had been fighting.
I had gone with Willameena, Andrig, and Wilbus on an earlier patrol. We are working our way deeper into the Barrows with each assault. There have been a few injuries, but none have been lost yet.
Wilbus and Willameena take good care of me. There was a battle we had in a pool of fetid water where we were visited by wave upon wave of foes. I had perched myself on a rock where I could keep my feet dry. There was this skeletal beast came charging at me and was near to cleaving me when Willameena summoned her powers of nature and it seemed to fall asleep on its feet - like Bounders do at inspections from time to time.
It was greatly distracting having this villain looking over my shoulder as I tried to summon forth the courage in each of my companions - afraid that I might bump it and it would wake. When the other villains had been dealt with, Wilbus woke the menace with a pair of arrows and it charged off in his direction, and I was safe.
Not all of our adventures have been in the Barrows. Wilbus, Willameena, and Alphred returned to the Forsaken Inn to investigate a haunting. I went hunting wargs near a ruins called Ost Guruth with Andrig and we retrieved a special medallion from the Dour Dwarfs what occupy some ruins atop a nearby hill. We even reached the town/camp - the furthest from the Shire I had ever been.
But we returned to Bree and out battles against Sambrog.
We haven't found the wight king yet, but we think we have an idea where to look. There's a locked door with #what looks like heavy traffic in and out. Among them who appear to be powerful lieutenants of Sambrog we have found keys. The lock seems to take two keys held far apart - too far for even a man to turn both of them - but which must be turned at the same time. We've found a few sets of matching keys - various lieutenants carry one or the other, and none carry both. We'll be trying them on the door in the near future - though we've got some plans to continue our patrols of the outer regions 'fore we breech Sambrog's lair itself.
And that won't be the end of it. Some Eclairians have ventured north to see to protecting the town of Trestlebridge. There are orc incursions coming down from Angmar. They've taken over the former King's town of Fornost and are camped just across the bridge from Trestlebridge itself - a short distance from the Shire. Eclairians patrolling those regions report a camp in a region named Nan Wathren with some of the fiercest orcs yet fought.
Since the Eglain have stone walled us respecting finding Radagast and defeating Ivar - and no amount of persuasion seems effective against them - our efforts to the east come to an end. As our war against Sambrog moves on, Eclairians are turning their attention northward. The Dwarf Skogrim was ordered north to organize an army. It seems like a good idea that those plans be disrupted.
That is where we are at to date. We continue our battles just outside the Bounds to keep the Shire safe.
I hope all is well there.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow
Willameena is setting up some regular play for what would be Friday evenings European time - early Friday afternoon East Coast time. If you have an interest, look her up or send her a post.
((Strider and the end of Amdir))
let me continue with my story. I finally met the ranger Strider in one of the back rooms of the Prancing Pony in Bree. He was a tall man, a bit contained, but with a distinct aura of honesty and nobility about him which made me trust him instantly and completely. He was concerned about Skorgrim, saying that dwarves are honorable by nature and not corrupted so easily. Ha! I felt a bit proud. Also he said he “sees the hand of the Captain of the Nine” in all of these affairs.
Now I don’t know who that Captain is and what other affairs he meant, but that same night he was planning to assault an encampment brigands set up in some ruins not too far away. He was looking for one of his men, Amdir, who was recently abducted by some black riders and he thought Skorgrim could be there too. So when he asked me to join, I did not hesitate to accompany him.
In our group were a few other rangers and a young woman warrior from Bree, Methed. Upon arriving at the camp Strider and other rangers took off “looking for another way in”, leaving me and Methed and the ranger Torthann to fend for ourselves. When we cautiously approached an archway that led into the ruins, three brigands stormed out, obviously terrified, shouting “the dwarf has gone mad!” That made the lice in my beard curl up as I was certain now that Skorgrim was near. Before I could explain them that we came to help, they attacked us.
We pressed on, fighting our way through the ruins until we came to a larger square with a platform. And indeed, there was Skorgrim, gripping one of the Blackwolds by the neck, torturing him, questioning him on, hm… did I really hear my name or was it just a trick of my imagination? When he saw us, he let go of the dying man, muttered a few words, disappeared and a wight popped out of the ground. Or was the dead Blackwold turned? It happened all so fast… but it was clear that Skorgrim’s powers had remarkably grown since I last saw him, he possessed great strength and could command the dead… no wonder the brigands were so scared of him.
After we turned the undead body into a dead body again (I want to spare you the details here), Torthann opened a gate and we followed a flight of stairs upwards. Another square was hidden at the back of the ruins, and on a big stone coffin lay a man in a red robe, surrounded by five figures in black robes, only darkness where you would normally expect a face. What were these? It seemed they were performing some kind of ritual and they were not pleased at our interruption. I heard a shrill, hissing voice, spewing that we were too late and “Amdir is now a servant of the Great Eye”.
A massive dread suddenly fell over me and my companions. Father, this was like nothing I had ever experienced before. What powerful sorcery was this? I had to cower, my whole body was trembling with fear and I was utterly unable to move. The three of were like sitting cave-claws, waiting for the final blow… Then I heard shouting, like from far away. Strider and the other rangers were coming from the back! The black figures left and with them the fright that was on us. And just in time, as the Red Robe rose, swinging a blade at us. “I am Cargûl! I serve the Great Eye!" it cried, but it was easy to kill though. Maybe he was still weakened from the ritual and did not yet have his full powers, or there was still a bit of the old Amdir left in him…
For I heard he once was a good and noble man and the rangers lost one of their friends that night. It was a bitter victory, the only consolation that Amdir should now find peace. We left those dreadful ruins and went back to Bree, all depressed. Strider though had another task for me but that I will tell in my next letter.
Erikin, your proud son
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - A Bounder Report - Sanbrog Defeated!
Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
I am writing to report my our progress against the villainy that is threatening the Shire.
While the Great Barrow War continues with a major series of battles defeating even Sambrog himself, we are also seeing increased patrols in the region of Trestlebridge north of Bree, and helping the refugees of #Amon Raith. This is the direction that the villain dwarf Skorgrim went to raise an army.
On a patrol I took with Brabbo, we stopped for a while atop a hill and looked north towards the ruins of Fornost. What was once thick forest is now filled with the bleached skeletal remains of long- dead trees. There is a cloud of corruptions moving south. One can fight orcs and even spirits - as the oath breakers have taken to patrolling the corrupt lands. But how does one fight corruption itself?
Anyways, this happened long after a major assault into the Great Barrow.
Seven of us mustered at the camp. Now, we had a rule that none should go after Sambrog himself until they had completed two patrols through the Barrow and become familiar with it. And there was the Rangers rule that there should be no more than six on a patrol or people stumble all over each other.
The decision was made to split into two groups. Four of us would enter first and create a diversion in one of the side passages - me, Roy, Bricker, and Podie. After we had started in, Wilbus, Willameena, and Brabbo would enter and seek out Sambrog himself. Wilameena added to their number by bringing along her bear who we call Arty.
I'll report that it worked. Sambrog was defeated. As I feared, he was not destroyed. Wilbus himself reported that Sambrog was just weakened. But it was a defeat, with the Eclairians victorious in his lair and walking off with his treasures.
With these victories, me, Bricker, Roy, Podie, and Brabbo made yet a third patrol into the Great Barrow to attack any wights what remained that we could reach.
We are learning to work quite well together. We came across a cold wight in a room flanked by four death dogs and two elite guards. I have learned to shut off the mind of a wight for a little while with a song, which I did. Podie stepped forward and drew off the dogs. We were able to dispatch them before the cold wight and his guards entered the fight. This kept the odds in our favor throughout.
These cold wights got to Podie earlier. After battling one, he ended the battle chilled to the bone. As luck would have it, Roy is a cook and came with materials for building up a fire - using wood found in the Barrows itself. We got him warmed again, but there seemed no chance of the chill leaving on its own, at least not any time soon.
That's not to say all was perfect. On our first patrol - Pode, Bricker, Roy and I - came across one of them pairs of Wight lieutenants what drove us out of their region of the Barrows. But we picked ourselves up, formed a plan, and went back to battle them again. This time, we won. It was their job to retreat, pick themselves up, and try again.
The sense that the enemies are getting tougher continues. We're battling wights that are two and three notches above the skills of those we first encountered. The battles are harder, yet we continue to win - though not without the occasional setbacks. There are stories that Wilbus and Brabbo chased Sambrog deeper into his lair and defeated him a second time - just the two of them.
As I write, another group is setting out for yet another patrol into the Great Barrow. Veteran adventurers Helkaer, Brabbo, and Andrig are setting out to lead three hobbits on their first patrol into the Great Barrow - Speargrass, Cindersoot (who has travelled with us before, but not since Weathertop), and Gerkin.
We are most grateful for the added help.
A few more victories against Sambrog and we will judge him weak enough that we can move on. But Skogrim, Ivar, Sharkey, the villain of Angmar - they all remain.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow
It is invaluable reading the chat logs in a role-play adventure. I fins a lot of things happening that I missed - many things I wish I had noticed at the time.
With Sambrog now squarely in our sights, it is time to start thinking about the next increase in levels. At the same time, Amio, Erikin, and others are still catching up. There are also quests into Nan Wathren and against the Oathbreaker captain in the North Downs to do.
We are using the scalability feature to regulate difficulty - increasing levels if we get more people. A full squad gets set at 23rd level, and we may try 24. This keeps the adventures challenging and fun.
When the time comes, the level cap will go up to 23 (but not yet) for just a few weeks to finish Nan Wathren and the Fields of Fornost. Then, I am hoping for a special event where we gather at Amon Raith and head east, looking for the secret hidden Ranger camp. After the walk, the level cap goes up to 25 and the game area becomes Othrikar, Kingsfell, and all lands west of Esteldin. When those lands are exhausted, we get word to return to the Lone Lands to meet with Radagast and find Ivar. That will be followed by a move to Evendim, then Esteldin again for all lands east.
Anybody with a character - level 22 to 26 - interested in this type of adventure - it may be time to dust them off. We'll be catching up in the next few months.
((Club Eclair)) A Tentative Roadmap
This is a proposal. Nothing is carved in stone. Feedback is encouraged. Too fast? Too slow? You want more time? You want to get moving?
(Note: The Great Barrow instances are scalable so we can actually continue the Great Barrow war while we move along to other regions.)
Over the next few weeks, we will continue the Great Barrow War and patrol about Trestlebridge and the Fields of Fornost.
Oct 28 - Increase level cap to 23 - Finish up the fellowship quests in Nan Wathren and the Fields of Fornost.
Nov 16 - The quest to find the top secret Ranger camp of Esteldin. We will start at Amon Raith and march east until we find this rumored hidden camp.
Nov 18 - With the release of Helms' Deep, increase level cap to 25 and adventure in the lands west of Esteldin (Othrikar and Kingsfell). During these quests, we will be learning our new skills and rebuilding our characters using the new skills tree. For my part, I am thinking of using the fact that my characters have entered a new region with new trainers implies being taught a new style of fighting – so I can fit the world changes into the story.
After a while, we will get summoned to the Forsaken Inn where we will be told where to find Radagast - then quest around Ost Guruth while helping Radagast battle and defeat Ivar - the first time.
Sometime after the first of the year: Increase the level cap to 26 and go to Oatbarton to check on the grain supplies and help at North Cotton Farms. Then, increase the level cap every 2 or 3 weeks while traveling north through Dwaling (Level 27), The Colossus (Level 28), Tinnudir (Level 29), and Ost Forod (Level 30).
While still at 30, with the lands in the east and south of Evendim tamed, travel back to Esteldin for the quests to the east of the secret hidden Ranger camp, including Dol Dinen. We may stop at the free people’s camp in the ruins of Fornost and patrol the ruins themselves. We may also enter the Fornost instances. However, there is no need to finish the instances just yet. There are some outside quests we will want to pick up before entering the final instance (warg collar, general’s armor). Some of those quests require that we be Level 37.
Increase the level cap to 32. Finish up Book III and pick up the quest to deliver a message to Rivendell. On the way, stop at Ost Guruth for the Garth Agarwen instances; defeating the Red Maid and finally eliminating Ivar once and for all. When finished there, continue east to Rivendell.
I would like to make the walk from Ost Guruth to Rivendell an event. For many, this will be our first visit to this legendary city.
Once at Rivendell, we can spend some time relaxing and doing available quests in the Trollshaws. When we are ready, we can pick up the "Blade that was Broken" quest chain. That chain will send us almost immediately back to Evendim.
We will enter Evendim at 32nd level and continue the quest chain while also working on Evendim landscape quests. After a while, Increase the level cap to 35. At this level, we can finish every quest in Evendim except the three Annuminus instances - including the Sword that was Broken quest chain. Then, we will return to Rivendell to see to the reforging of the sword. Celebrations abound.
After the reforging, we can pick up and complete Book IV as well as complete other quests in the Trollshaws.
When finished with Book IV, raise the level cap to 40 and start Book V and enter the western Misty Mountains region. At 39th level we will get the legendary deeds/books. After Book V, we return to the Trollshaws and start Book VI.
Book VI will take us to Angmar. This trip to Angmar may be a good time to finish up the Fornost instances. (Or that can be done after finishing Book VI - or both.)
Raising the level cap to 41 in Angmar will allow us to complete Book VI and finish up all of the quests in west Angmar.
After completing Book VI, raise the level cap to 45 and enter east Angmar while working on Book VII.
As I see it, we have reason to stay at Level 45 for a considerable amount of time. We will pick up our Level 45 class quests and collect the items needed for those objectives. Those who are interested can arrange an expedition to Moria to pick up their legendary items. This will create a problem with story continuity, since the Fellowship of the Ring is still in Rivendell. However, a player could take the legendary item quests and pick up a legendary item while making up an entirely different story about how they found that item, leaving Moria entirely out of the story for the time being.
I suspect Club Eclair will come to have some of the best Level 45 legendary items ever imagined. While I suspect that the practice of leveling and disassembling other items cannot start until level 50, skirmish marks can be used to build up these items at least to their maximum of 40th level, with a respectable set of relics.
Following the Epic Story will take us to a number of regions yet to be explored - to Annuminus (where we can complete the Annuminus instances), Forochel for all of the Forochel quests, the eastern Misty Mountains including Goblin Town, and the like. I will need to check, but I think all of these options are open to 45th level characters. While we will be below-level for much of it, we can expect to have quality equipment and high virtues - and a lot of practice working together as a team. At level 45, one can also do most of the quests in Eregion.
Eventually, we will want to raise the level cap to 50 so that we can go through the special instances at that level - The Rift and Helegrod. I hope that a number of people who find these adventures interesting will take advantage of Club Eclair - allowing us to form large enough groups to go through these instances on-level – as well as to complete Book XV of Volume 1. At level 50, we will also be able to enter Moria. Level 50 can get one through The Great Delving, The Deep Descent, and the Chamber of the Crossroads. The next region, the Water Works, requires us to be 51st level.
But that's a ways off. Who knows what Moria will look like by then.
((Eastern Bree; Weathertop and Weatherstock))
I hope everyone is well back at Thorin’s Hall and you receive my letters. And I hope you like to hear that I am still fine “out in the wild world”.
After we came back to Bree, Strider asked me to investigate a cave that once was the Blackwolds’ hideout. I was accompanied by Methed again and Constable Underhill, a hobbit and sort of a bounder in Bree-land I think. The cave was empty save for some bugs but in the back we encountered Skorgrim once more, talking to a Blackwold leader. He wanted him to swear fealty to him again, but when the Blackwold refused, he brutally slashed him in front of our eyes. And then he disappeared yet another time! The dying Blackwold explained that his gang were promised great riches by a man that came from Angmar but all they got was trouble... After their defeat at Archet and the demise of Amdir they didn’t want to have anything to do with that maniac dwarf anymore but apparently the dwarf wasn’t amused about that… The floor there was littered with dead bodies, grim evidence for Skorgrim’s murderous rage… We were searching him, but although we did not find any other exit, we could not find Skorgrim either. Very mysterious indeed. He was either invisible, found a very good place to hide or can walk through walls. But it sure seems like wherever I go Skorgrim is already there, as if our fates are intertwined. A most frightening thought.
I paid a visit to Archet, a small town north-east of Bree, that had been attacked by the Blackwolds a couple of days earlier. I learned it was here that Amdir was stabbed by the evil blade of one of those Black Riders and thus was turned into that red-robed thing. The attack was repelled though and amongst some burned down houses the people of Archet started to rebuild. I helped them a little bit when I met a fellow dwarf (who was very knowledgeable about spiders), who asked me to clear out the basement of a nearby farm where a spider queen and a lot of her hatchlings nested.
After the thwarted attempt to capture Archet, the Blackwolds had retreated to the Chetwood forest further to the east and there was a bit of cleaning up to do. I retrieved some stolen goods from them and spotted a vicious looking wolf prowling among the trees. I did not get too close to it as I thought it might give the Blackwolds some headache. That, and I was afraid that it would prove too strong for me. I left the Blackwolds mostly alone, they were obviously well beaten, just meager pawns in a game where they didn’t know the rules and had suffered enough. That they stood up to the dwarf in the end didn’t make them likeable but there might be some hope for them after all.
I ventured a bit further south into a swampy area, overrun by spiders and goblins, when I saw a strange lightning on a distant hilltop. Now this was odd as there were no clouds in the sky and, the ever curious dwarf that I am, I decided to investigate. On my way there I found a rather run-down inn, where half the roof had caved in. The people there were quite suspicious, but for some coin the let me stay in a room in the basement. Didn’t get much sleep as there were strange noises to be heard. Some kind of hissing, or wailing, a voice, almost like a baby crying sometimes. It seemed as if it came right from behind one of the bookshelves. I stared at that bookshelf for the longest time and when I finally fell asleep I had bad dreams of Black Riders and undead dwarves with glowing red eyes.
There were many black birds all around the Forsaken Inn. And at the foot of that hill, Weathertop, I found a campfire, another of those ranger guys and a small group of adventurers. One of them was Hedgerow, the hobbit I wrote you about earlier and whom I had met before in the Barrow-downs. They were preparing to climb that hill, but heard orcs had come and took it. I couldn’t go with them, as they wanted to only go with a smaller group of six to not attract too much attention and the ranger, Candaith, told me I was not yet strong enough to fight by their side. So I waited for their return by the fire with a man named Milwin, a knowledgeable Lore Master I think and we had a nice conversation. I learned that at the top of Weathertop are some ruins of an old tower that was destroyed by the Witch-King many centuries ago.
After what seemed like an eternity the group came back, they were spent and exhausted. They narrated it was a hard battle, they encountered not only many orc barricades, but also talking wargs and, at the very top where they engaged the orc leader, one of his lieutenants opened a big carriage and out stormed a HUGE troll, swinging a club as big as a hobbit, if not bigger! They did not find the reason for the lightning I had seen, but said that it was dark and raining when they made their attempt for the top while down by the camp where we waited it was a clear and sunny day. Very odd weather… Maybe that’s why it is called Weathertop after all and that might be the reason for the lightning.
When I arrived back at the Forsaken Inn I was surprised to stumble across a large gathering of people. They had travelled here from all over Middle Earth, dressed up in beautiful outfits, all chatting and enjoying themselves. They had come for a festival, held once a year – Weatherstock! I sure was glad that my friends had driven off the orcs from Weathertop just in time, as all that had convened at the Inn walked in a grand procession to the top of that hill and once there, the most wonderful party I ever attended started. The best bands from all the lands had assembled and played their songs to the delight of all. There were hobbit bands, elf bands… and all tunes and songs were played marvelously. Fine ale was served by hobbits walking around in bright yellow robes with black top hats, firecrackers exploded and there was dancing and frolicking everywhere. Father, I wish you and mom could have seen it, it would have really blown you away! And so well organized, there must have been a lot of work put into it, so I wish I could have thanked everyone personally who was involved behind the scenes.
I also bought myself a lute later in Bree, and decided to practice my music skills a bit. I know it will never come up to much, as you know how much I lack in artistic talent, but it’s a nice pastime in the evenings nevertheless. So yes, I went back to Bree and relayed to Strider that the Blackwolds’ threat was ended. It did not end my endeavours though as Skorgrim was still at large, but I need to sleep now, it is getting late.
((Club Eclair)) XP Disabler on sale
The XP Disabler . . . that which allows Club Éclair members to stay all at the same level so as we can help each other on group content while all being at the same level . . . is currently on sale in the LOTRO store, or so it seems.
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Fighting Sambrog and Turning North
Bounder Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
It is my honour to report on the progress we are making against the villainy what threatens the Shire.
We are still engaged in the Great Barrow War against Sambrog. However, with our efforts, we are weakening him more and more and driving him deeper into the ground.
We defeated him again today. Helkaer, Andrig, Briker, and I mustered at the Great Barrow camp and went in to do battle against him and his minions.
Gad, I can't get Helkaer's name spelled right to save me! I keep writing Heklaer. I hope he takes no offense by my oversight. It is, indeed, rude not to remember a person's proper name. I curse my inability to keep the letters straight in my head or in my notes. I owe him a humble apology.
Be that as it may . . . Helkaer is an elf what summons power from stones and runes. Andrig is a dwarf and a champion fighter what has accompanied me on many missions. And Bricker has only recently started to travel with us. He's a hobbit what learned to stand toe to toe with what enemies we find.
At the same time, Brabbo, Willameena the animal friend, and Erikin formed a second group what went into the Thadur region to fight one of Sambrog's more powerful lieutenants.
It was good to see the dwarf Erikin with us at last. He's been struggling to train so as he would consider himself of quality to help us on our missions. He's reached that goal but recently. I can't say how his mission went - since he was with Willameena and Brabbo, only to say that the three all came out alive and reported success on their mission.
Indeed, both of our groups were successful.
I truly wish that we could find a way to destroy these villains utterly, but nobody has told us how, yet. The best we can do is to defeat them bodily . . . the spirit always escapes and finds a new corpse among the tombs to take as its own, and we must fight it again.
However, I am assured that the enemy is made weaker by our efforts. At the very least, as we fight them within their lair, they must focus their attentions on us and leave the lands above at peace for a while.
But our attention shifts ever stronger to the north - to Trestlebridge and Amon Raith.
There's a camp named of Nan Wathren east of Trestlebridge with some of the fiercest orcs that I have ever heard mention of.
One of them, called a Defiler, makes poisons and ways of spreading diseases and illness among men and hobbit alike. His dark wizardry was able to put to sleep one of the man guards of the town, enabling their attack to succeed and burn down many of the buildings.
And they have this menace known as Black Powder. We do not know what it is. However, we were told of an archer who fired a flaming arrow at a group of orcs she saw in the night - to direct others where to shoot. Her arrow hit a box they were carrying. The ball of fire and light lit up the whole prairie. It is feared that if but one box makes it onto the Trestlebridge and the orcs are able to set fire to it, that the bridge itself will be utterly destroyed.
That would make it of less use to the orcs attacking Bree-land and the Shire, but it would also trap many good folk in the lands to the north.
We're aiming to muster patrols into Nan Wathren at the earliest opportunity to deal with this defiler orc and to destroy the black powder before it can be used on the bridge. Destroying the black powder will be easy enough, iffen we can find it. All it will take is a lick of flame and the orcs will need to deal with the aftermath.
But these are fierce orcs - orcs that only a fool among us would consider fighting alone.
I remind you, if reminding is necessary, that the pale dwarf Skogrim went north. No doubt, these orcs are under his command, either directly or indirectly.
That's it for my report for now. I will report more as I hear more.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - A Bounder Report - Battling the Defiler
Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
It is my honour to report of our continuing progress against the villains of threat to the Shire.
Our activities this week have focused on battling Sambrog in the Great Barrow, as well as patrolling the North Downs and seeing to the defense of the free folk in and around Trestlebridge.
On the latter note, Brabbo and I had a most adventuresome patrol.
We were told of some orcs in a place called Nan Wathren what had boxes of a type of powder which, when set alight, produced a most powerful explosion. It could destroy the bridge at Trestlebridge if the orcs got enough onto it. Which might not be a bad thing – as it would keep the orcs from moving south. But there are also a lot of free folk north of Trestlebridge that would be stranded.
There was also this orcan . . . well . . . wizard, of a sorts . . . what used its knowledge of pestilence and ichors and poisons to make brews that are most foul. They made a liquid whose vapors were such as to put a grown man to sleep, and shattered one near one of the guards to gain access to the town. I have no doubt that they also made this black powder. Any foul potions or powders that the orcs have likely come from these folk.
Well, Brabbo and I were about Trestlebridge, and there was but two of us. We had some talk about whether two such as us would be able to fight the orcs. Truth be told, I had already scouted into Nan Wathren and found the Defiler, well guarded by an Orcan lieutenant who appeared most competent at battling, and judged it to be beyond me.
Well, I remembered the Bounders’ lesson about kissing the warg and decided this was a poor time to be walking away from what needed doing in defense of the Shire, so Brabbo and I set off. We trimmed the patrols and such what were near the Defiler’s camp, then launched our attack on the occupants of the island.
We began by battling the Defiler’s lieutenant guard. Brabbo did the battling, while I concerned myself with our morale and seeing to it that Brabbo could stay in the fight, summoning the powers of sound and song to bring down this most powerful Orc. But the battle kept dragging on and on.
Some Goblin patrols stumbled upon our battle and joined in, throwing the combat in favor of the orcs until we could dispatch them and even up the odds again.
I then became aware that the Defiler had the power to bring up his Orcan Lieutenant’s moral as I was doing for Brabbo. And so I shouted the instruction to focus attacks on the Defiler instead. After we had done so, I gave the Lieutenant orc a frightful shout that sent it fleeing for a bit – a trick I was taught by my voice trainer. There’s simply certain sounds that tend to promote fear in some beings and I had practiced delivering one of them sounds. And it worked!
The two of us then focused in bringing down the Orcan defiler. Though it was still a long and stubborn fight, during which the Lieutenant shook off his fear and returned, we managed to bring him down. Without the Defiler to manage his morale, we were able to tire the Orcan lieutenant until he fell victim to Brabbo’s assaults as well.
This was just a part of the battle. We went from here to press deep into the Orcan territory, hunting for the boxes of this black powder. We spent much of our time scurrying behind tents and walls like a couple of mice, until we found our cheese.
At one point, Brabbo and I neared the end of a bridge across a chasm when an Orc patrol started down the trail ahead of us. Brabbo and I huddled near a beam. As the orc walked past, we scurried around the beam, keeping it between us and the orc. Though the orc was naught but six feet away from us, it didn’t see us, and we continued on our patrol.
The last set of powders we destroyed was being guarded by two powerful orcs, a half-breed man-orc, and a goblin. Our previous battles told us that this was too much for us to take on. Skillfully, we drew the goblin back behind a tent where we dispatched it. Then, dressing myself in the Goblin’s uniform, I stepped back out from the tent. Casually, so as to not attract attention, I approached the fire and picked up a lighted stick . . . and then carried it over to the boxes of powder. As the powder burned and roared, Brabbo and I ran off.
There is so very much more to tell. More patrols went into the Great Barrow. Sambrog was confronted once again and defeated – and we continue to clear Sambrog’s soldiers and lieutenants out of the underground maze. Meanwhile, patrols are continuing around a refugee camp north of Trestlebridge called Amon Raith. There was a fierce battle fought by some against an Oathbreaker captain.
But, already, this report gets too long. I will have more to say later.
Until then, I remain your faithful Bounder recruit
((Buckland and the Old Forest))
I will start a diary. I will chronicle my adventures here rather than writing to father about them. Father would not believe them anyways. I mean, I probably would not believe them myself if I were him. Defeating a big Goblin army in Rath Teraig fighting side by side with elves, an evil dwarf that was raised from the dead, the Black Riders… all that sounds too much like something made up by an overly imaginative kid. Ha, I can even picture him when he reads them, sitting by the fire, stroking his beard and shaking his head. He probably thinks I am still in Thorin’s Hall, hiding at a friend’s place, too lazy to go to work. So, I also highly doubt he will ever reply. Maybe I will send him some painted postcards from time to time.
Well, I love father, but he is a stubborn old dwarf. Still treating me like a 60 year old, and adamantly expecting me to follow in his footsteps and continue the Stone Sculptor shop he took over from his father, and his father from his father… But, although I feel for him, this is not what I envision for my life… This is my life! I want to get out and experience something new! Not the same old boring routine, sitting underground, hewing at stones day in, day out. Besides, I totally lack the artistic skills. When father was commissioned to make a bust of Dwalin, my attempt looked more like a tree stump with a potato nose. Yes, we had another discussion about my future and father wouldn’t hear any of it, and I just left the house a bit desperate. Well, maybe with all the traveling and adventuring I will grow weary and start longing for a more relaxed life, maybe even the boring routine of hewing stone will not sound so bad. Who knows, I might even return one day, the future at least is not carved in stone.
Besides, I have learned something that should better be kept secret. The enemy has eyes and ears everywhere and if they get a hold of one of my letters I am afraid the folks back home might get into trouble. Strider told me those black-robed figures we had seen were Nazgûl, former mighty rulers of men, who were corrupted and somehow faded into the shadowy realm between life and death. They have incredible powers and been roaming Middle Earth since centuries, conquered and enslaved countless kingdoms for their master. I know this is a foe way beyond my capabilities, and I think they can never be killed. Strider said that while I investigated the Blackwolds’ cave, a couple of those Nazgûl attacked the Prancing Pony, searching for some Hobbits from the Shire that he, Strider, was awaiting.
Fortunately they did so to no avail, but Strider also related there are nine Black Riders, while we had encountered only five. He wondered where the others were, and the “fate of Middle Earth” may depend on finding them… He sent me back to the border of the Shire, where one of his men was watching the great east-west road, to learn if he had any news of the others. That ranger, Lenglinn, had indeed seen those four riders, galloping eastwards towards Bree. He got badly injured when he tried to stop them and they just ran him over. Again, there were lots of these black birds about, according to Lenglinn they are spies of the enemy, his “eyes”. He sent me over into the Hobbit village of Buckland, where a horn was sounded earlier, some kind of distress signal.
I was to find out if the Riders got to know anything and should look for a cottage there, Crickhollow, where a Frodo Baggins lived. He wasn’t there anymore, but I talked with another hobbit, Fredegar Bolger. He said the Nazgûl had come, searching, even broke the door, which was still hanging in its hinges. Fredegar had been terribly frightened, but managed to slip out the back and didn’t tell the Riders that Frodo was in possession of some kind of special ring and he and some others had left into the Old Forest. I don’t think it was his intention to tell me (it rather just burst out of him) and while doing that, a flock of those black birds swept down on us! We were able to destroy some of them, but some more flew off into the Old Forest.
So I went into the Old Forest myself, searching for those birds and perhaps Frodo Baggins and his company. That forest is huge, bordering Buckland in the west and the Barrow-downs in the east. And it was very spooky. The light faded away under the canopy to a dim blue-green color, is was full of wolves, bats, bears and roots that seemed to grab at my ankles. I got totally lost in there. Sometimes I ended up in dead-ends, and when retracing my steps it didn’t look like it looked when I walked there before… I came to a glade when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head, there was nothing to be seen however. I cautiously proceeded, heard a rustling sound and when I swirled around, a tree was walking towards me! It had virtually lifted itself from the ground and was strutting around on its roots! That was it for me then, I took to my heels and ran for my life.
Fortunately the tree wasn’t really fast, so I got away, but when I finally stopped and recovered my breath I had no idea where I was. Somehow I made it back out, to this very moment where I write it down I still don’t know how, but after what seemed like an eternity of back and forth, the wall of trees suddenly thinned and I could see the sky again. I found out I had exited not far from the great road and went back to Lenglinn. He scolded me for going into that forest all alone, and seemed to know something about the ring that the enemy was searching but would say no more. He was worried that the birds that got away will pass on that the ring is no longer in the Shire and sent me back to Aragorn. He may know how to find and stop those birds.
((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - Ambushed
Note: As the Great Barrow war goes on, we have been increasing the instance level to add more and more challenge to our adventures. In this case, with six Level 20 characters, we set the instance level to 25.
I have just returned from our biggest battle yet against Sambrog - the villain whose corruptions are seeping into the Old Forest and threatening the Bounds. I am bruised and sore, but Sambrog has been driven deeper into his lair and further from good folk living at the surface.
Sambrog seems to be getting stronger as he gets driven further underground. We may reach a point where we can no longer pursue him. But he'll be far under ground by then and we will be safer for it.
On our side, we battled him with an alliance of dwarfs and halflings. Podie and Brabbo were the other Halflings. Dwarfs were represented by Roy, Erikin, and Oddli. Oddli took the lead in this patrol.
We saw the differences between halflings and dwarfs in our group. Podie and I were trained in spear and shield, while Erikin and Oddli shunned the shield and charged with a weapon in each hand. Our armours were lighter and maneuverable - theirs was heavy and thick. While Brabbo summoned the power of song to lift our spirits and keep us strong, Roy drew power from the rocks themselves.
We took our time, as always - moving cautiously in the hopes of avoiding an ambush or rushing into too much trouble for us to handle. Our adventure took us to the same room where Eclairians once saw the Blacktobe from Angmar meet with Skogrim the Pale Dwarf and Ivar.
Roy noticed something we had not noticed before. There was a carving of a dwarf on the wall. We had noticed the carving of the dragon in other passages through the room, but we had not noticed that this carving sat in the "mouth" of a Dwarf's head - with steel helmet - carved into the stone wall. I wonder if Dwarfs served in the kingdom that once stood here.
The direct passage to Sambrog's lair was blocked, so we started looking about the room for another route to Sambrog. We ventured into dark corners and up distant stairs.
As such, we were widely scattered when the trap sprang upon us.
I was still near the dwarf carving on the left side of the room when I heard the sound of falling stone and sand. An arrow struck me in the chest, but failed to penetrate my armour. I was caught in the confusion of a successful ambush when I spun full around looking for an assailant that reason would have told me was right in front of me.
By the time my sense returned Erikin was already upon he skeletal wight that had stepped out of the wall, with Roy attacking as well and Brabbo offering aid. The wight seemed well engaged, so I looked around. Podie stood alone at the far side of the room facing into a dark corner, readying for battle.
I charged across to his side of the room. As I did, here came Oddli. He had been on the stairs ahead when the trap was spring. We passed each other at the center of the room, heading in opposite directions.
Far off to my right where Podie had been looking a wight stepped out of the shadows. I tossed my javalin at it as an invitation to come fight. But it accepted Podie's invitation instead. I joined Podie to do battle against it.
When I did, another skeletal wight came up at me from behind. I could not tell you where it had come from. It was just there.
I moved around so that Podie and I faced each other as we battled the two wights. Meanwhile, off to my left, the dwarfs had their own battle going. We were well and truly engaged.
Soon, I saw Roy step up behind my wight and begin to feed us the power he was drawing from the stones. As I did, I also heard behind me even more skeletal wights entering the fight. But they headed off to the far end of the room.
I found out where they went just a moment later. Brabbo ran across my field of view with two wights in pursuit. He ran right up to where Podie was fighting and stopped. The wights were upon him.
Brabbo came shockingly near to taking a blade. As Roy is able to draw power from stone, Brabbo can fill the air with notes that generated a magical field of sorts from which we draw strength. However, he could scarcely play with wights swinging swords at him. And he had neither the armor nor the skill for fighting toe to toe.
We quite nearly lost him. It is shocking to recall how near a thing it was. When I saw him, I abandoned the wight I had been fighting and went to try to take the two wights off of him. I stunned one right away, giving Brabbo a bit of a rest. We tried a fellowship maneuver on him, but never got coordinated.
I was catching the attention of the two skeletal wights, but they kept turning back to Brabbo.
Roy, stepping up to my left, also worked frantically to save Brabbo. I saw him use the power he drew from the stone to try to stun the wight attacking Brabbo, but the wight shrugged off the magic. Roy then stepped back and fed the strength of the stone to Brabbo to keep him from failing.
After a fierce struggle, I finally had the attention of both wights.
Immediately, Brabbo went running off, for he had another near crisis to handle. Oddli and Erikin were behind me in some battle I could not see, but Oddli was #drawing on his last, desperate reserves. Just as those reserves drained away, Brabbo gave him the strength of song.
I shudder to think that if the wights had felled Brabbo earlier, Oddli would have gone next, ad the odds turned decidedly against us.
But the fates were kind.
I had three wights on me at this time. Podie stood behind the one to my furthest right, but he had been infected by a fetid poison that overcame him - though just for a moment.
Do not worry, father. This is what I train for and practice for these days. I kept my shield between them and me and delivered blows as opportunity provided. While the effort would have normally drained me of my strength quickly, the efforts of Roy sustained me. We all have a role to play.
One of my three wights ran off. I didn't know it at the time, but he was back to chasing after Brabbo. But Roy saw it. He went running off to help Brabbo, leaving me with two wights and Podie still sick upon the ground.
I fought the two that remained for a bit before noticing Brabbo's new problems. I went to his side, dragging the two wights that remained against me along. Podie forced himself through the effects of his sickness and followed behind. Far off, Oddli and Erikin were finishing off their own battles and coming to the rescue.
We - Podie, Erikin, Oddli and I - corralled the three wights that remained between us. Brabbo and Roy stood back feeding us the power they drew from their music and from the stone itself.
When Oddli brought down one of the wights, another broke out and attacked Roy - prob'ly as a last despirate attempt to take one of us down. All four of us were on him in an instant, and Erikin got a leg under him and tripped him up. We then turned our attentions to the wight remaining, who did not last long.
Then all was silent.
There is a very odd silence when a battle ends. Battles are extremely noisy. And then, they are over. The body remains tense, alert. It does not really believe that the danger has passed. We listen as we look about. It is a deep silence.
Then, when the fact of victory sinks in and one can admit the danger has passed, the cheering begins.
Gad, I see I have wasted a lot of paper telling you about just one battle. And this was not even the battle against Sambrog.
Sorry about that.
I'll send this off and let you know that I am safe. I will tell you more after a bit of rest.
I hope you and the girls are well. With this most recent defeat against Sambrog, driving him even deeper underground, I think I can sleep knowing you and the Shire are safer now than you were when I got up this morning.
I can't say enough that we also have Brabbo, Podie, Eriken, Roy, and Oddli to thank for this as well.
((Tom Bombadil and Othrongroth))
Diary Entry II
Aragorn, who I had known as Strider when I first met him, said he knows someone who may help to find the black birds, a guy named Tom Bombadil, living at the edge of the Old Forest. I wasn’t really looking forward to go back there, but found a simpler way crossing the Barrow-downs and then along a broader trail, where I also met a couple of scattered archaeologists and scientists from Bree. They went to explore the barrows and its historical treasures and got themselves into more trouble than they could handle. I saw to it as best I could to help them get on their way back.
Now, this Tom Bombadil is a rather particular fella I must say. He has a house wedged between that spooky forest and the equally spooky Barrow-downs and nevertheless has such a carefree and jolly personality, always dancing and hopping around in his blue jacket and yellow boots. It seemed as if nothing really concerned him, he was merrily singing “Merry dol! Ring a dong dillo!” and talking about his girlfriend (or wife) Goldberry all the time. In fact he wanted me to go and pick some flowers for her while he was searching for the birds. So I had to go back into the Old Forest, but fortunately those lilies he wanted were not very far in. I however got maybe a bit too close to the biggest tree I had yet seen in there, and felt suddenly very tired. It was as if it magically drained all energy from me. I had to struggle to get away from it before really falling fast asleep.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bombadil figured out that the black birds had flown off to the Barrow-downs. With his help I was able to track them down and destroy them, but there was also another “bird-watcher”, a woman in a black robe (not one of those Nazgûl thank heavens) saying that she knows now that Frodo has the ring and travels east. She attacked me and in defending myself I also made sure she couldn’t spread this around, but before she faded away, she said that the “Master of the Nine” will come and learn of this and there is nothing I could do about it. Hmm, the “Master of the Nine”… Could this be the leader of the Nazgûl, the Witch-King himself? And what was he up to? Tom Bombadil suggested to go into Othrongroth, the biggest of the graves in the Barrows, probably a royal tomb.
I asked two of the adventurers I had met earlier, Hedgerow and Willameena, for their help as I was not really looking forward to face the Witch-King alone. We were accompanied to the entrance of the Great Barrow by Tom Bombadil, but when we got there, he was oh so merrily hopping and dancing away. Dworf, he started to really annoy me… But maybe it was for the better, as things could get really nasty inside and we had no use for some silly old jumping jack, babbling around and probably getting us into even more trouble.
When the three of us walked to the path leading up to the entrance, we suddenly saw a Black-robe and yes, there was Skorgrim too! They went inside and we had to get past a couple of Dourhand guards to follow them. We found more patrolling guards inside, also a leader who claimed to be invincible, but then ended up under a collapsing wall. A bit further on we came uopn the Black-robe and Skorgrim again, walking down a dimly lit corridor, saying “Ivar” was waiting for them. We followed them secretly, went deeper and deeper underground and fighting our way through many Undead, until we finally got to the head of some stairs.
Below, in a big chamber and in front of a large doorway, we saw the black-robed figure again, who was none other than the infamous “Captain of the Nine”, the Witch-King of Angmar himself! And he was not alone, with him were Skorgrim and this Ivar. This was the same ghoulish shaman that had raised Skorgrim from the Dead back in Ered Luin! We were very quiet as we listened in on their conversation. “Once your tasks are complete, Mordirith awaits you in the North. My champion has not yet finished her task.” We also learned that Ivar was sent on an errand to the East, while Skorgrim and his dwarves should focus their efforts in the North.
I suggested we had heard enough and should leave at once, but then they noticed us and this irresistible dread fell on us again. They left through that doorway, leaving us to die at the hands of their undead minions, who filled the room. But with the big guys gone the dread also lifted. We were able to move again and defend us. Down another hallway we came to what looked like an old royal burial chamber with a throne inside. On that throne a wight-lord was sitting, wearing an old crown, who introduced himself as Sambrog and granted us an audience.
“My master seeks a great power for the Dark Lord. The pale dwarf will go to the North and gather a great army. The gaunt one will awaken a great power in the East, which will turn the sky to blood and all shall despair”. Then he attacked! I hacked and slashed at him, while the Hobbit Hedgerow was lifting our spirit playing the lute. Now Willameena, I don’t know what exactly she did, but it seems she weakened him so that he was slower and his blows were not that powerful. Sometimes I heard one of his bones crack and saw some of my strikes rip right through the armor he was wearing, but every time he was suffering he lifted himself up again, saying “You cannot kill me”.
I assume because he is dead already… The battle wore on and I began to despair. We started to struggle and he looked to really be invincible and get stronger, while our energy faded. In the end he would wear us down… But then, lo and behold! A wall of the chamber broke asunder, a ray of light was flowing in and down the steps came Tom Bombadil, hopping and dancing! “Dead men should not be waking – vanish!” And there was a flash of light and Sambrog was gone! Woo-hoo, by my mother’s beard! What hidden and magical powers does this old man have? Or, is he a man? I need to really reconsider of what I thought of him earlier. Really… I mean it would be great if he could accompany us on our quest to stop all this evil. He would make a swell addition to our group, if all his singing and dancing wouldn’t bother one too much. But he wouldn’t have it, he said he has to collect flowers and would not leave his home and his beloved Goldberry… Ok, would have been too nice, but well, each to his own.
He sent us back to Aragorn in Bree and we said goodbye. My friends and I debated what we had seen and learned. So Skorgrim is going north, Ivar to the East, the Witch-King… we don’t know. And who is this Mordirith he was talking about? What to do first or next? What will be the most evil evil, how can we stop it and how can we be at several places at the same time? Maybe Aragorn knows.
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Bounder Report - Patrolling Nan Wathren
Chief - Bounders of the Shire
It is my honour to send you this report of our successes against the villainy that threatens the Shire.
I want to warn you of a class of orc that should bring terror to those seeing to the safety of the Shire, if we cannot contain them.
Our efforts have shifted north to Nan Wathren, the hills east of Trestlebridge, which is itself north of Bree and near to surrounded by orcs. There, the orcs are working on concoctions that themselves should cause worry. There are orcs called "defilers" that are proved masters of concocting brews of poison and that spread maladies. And they make a powder that, when touched by flame, make an explosion what can rip apart a whole building.
We have made several raids into Nan Wathren to hunt down these defilers and the powders they make. I went on one raid with Pintail, Trefoil, and Roy. Another raid went a couple of days earlier with Speargrass, Andrig, Helkaer, Willameena, Brabbo, and Bricker.
Willameena's group went further into the Orc camp than any who went before, and it is they who discovered the horror of which I wrote. They came upon orcs of such strength and power that they proved a match even against the six of them.
I heard that Speargrass was most shaken by the encounter, and fell into a deep despair at the thought of those orcs making their way to the Shire. Helkaer the Elf put great effort in helping Speargrass confront the darkness that near to overtook him. By the time they got to Trestlebridge, he had given the hobbit a new resolve.
The foe were of such skill that the group made the decision to turn around and not go any deeper. They did dispatch three, maybe four of the beasts, so they can be beaten. There is hope to be found in that. Though the greatest hope for the Shire is to make sure they stay on the north side of Trestlebridge.
We also saw the greatest of siege weaponries being built in the hills. There is no guessing how the orcs intend to move these monstrous constructions. They are as large as Town Hole from their wheels to their top. Their purpose is to be put up against a wall, where orcs run into the bottom, up the stairs, and out the top onto the wall.
I can think of no walled town nearby except for Bree itself! That must be their intent!
Any stories you hear of giant wagons what are used for hauling carrots and other produce must be disregarded.
Bricker had gone through before, so he served as their guide. Indeed, they met Bricker on the march in to battle the orcs, and he left them before they returned. It was almost as if Nan Wathren were his home. In fact, it was he who directed them into the back regions against the monster orcs. At east, that is what I think I heard.
Our own patrol went well enough, 'cept for one battle we got into that near to had us being served up at an Orc buffet. Trefoil was at the front. She distracted an Orc standing watch at a bridge we were trying tiger off of. Passing the Orc, she moved on with Roy near behind her. Pintail went third, with me last.
Well, the Orc did not say befuddled. When he gained his senses, he saw Pintsil and me just as we were ducking behind a tent. Here come his arrows, more like spears to you and me, right at Pintail. "Thunk!" they went into the wall right near the hobbit. "Thunk!" "Thunk!"
I ducked behind a totem where I could not be seen.
Roy turned around about then to come to our aid. When he did, he came to be noticed by two more orcs.
Pintail is as fine a shot as any hobbit I have seen, with the near exception of Wilbus. He turned his shooting from the Orc thunking arrows into the wall behind him, and at the pair now confronting Roy, while Roy tried to summon power from his rocks. Well, with three orcs on Pintail was too much for him and he took a blow that smashed him flat against the wood wall and he crumpled to the ground.
As luck would have it, the bow-orcs turned their attention to me as they saw Pintail no more a threat. I was dodging them spear arrows that were coming at me from right and left and was in full panic when I just curled up into the smallest ball I could make of myself and fell behind an Orc tent.
Peeking out just a bit, I saw Pintail shaking off the blow that had brought him down. He picked up his bow and some arrows what scattered on the ground and was right back in the fight.
Trefoil had returned to us by then. She has some power where she can befuddle an Orc senseless, which evened the odds a little. Seeing no more attention on me, I cautiously picked myself up, put my wits about me once more, and began giving what aid I could to the battle.
Well, once we were organized again we managed getting a victory over the Orcs. It was a near thing, though. A near thing indeed.
Well, with repeated raids we have kept the orcs in check. Pintail and I made another assault, staying out of the deeper parts of Nan Wathren to weaken their numbers further. We think we have weakened these orcs enough to keep them north of Trestlebridge, but there is no telling the fate of Bree or the Shire if we were not here.
I will close this report here. I has grown too long.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow
October 28th: Club Eclair's level cap goes up to 23. November 16th: The Quest to Find the Secret Hidden Ranger Camp of Esteldin. On November 18th, the level cap goes up to 25 for adventuring in the lands west of Esteldin (Othrikar, Kingsfell, Meluinen). If you have a character that's been collecting dust and would like to take part in this style of roleplay adventure, we would be pleased to have you join us.
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - The Oath Breaker Captain
Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
It is my honour to report on our progress against the villainy that is threatening the Shire.
Unfortunately, it seems talk I must add a name to that list.
A few of us went to talk to this Oathbreaker captain that's been haunting some ruins in the fields of Fornost.
There's a story about these Oathbreakers. I am not certain I have all the details right, but it seems as long ago there was an army of men-folk what agreed to help some King or other in an important battle. When the day of the battle came, these Oathbreakers decided to change their mind. As a punishment, they haunt the land, waiting for the time when they can fulfill their oath.
That's what we went to do - to tell this ghostly captain that the time has come for him to fulfill his oath and to help us against the villainy that's been corrupting the lands and threatening the Shire. The ancient capital of Fornost is nearby, and it is overrun orcs - and a most powerful breed of orc at that. They had warg pets more fierce than any I have seen. None matched the size and strength of these monsters.
Pintail fired a shot that brought two of them to us!
These were a part of the Fornost orcs that I was talking about. Though we bested them, they tell of the help which an Oathbreaker captain would have had against such a threat.
I've talked to ghosts before, and found a couple of them sociable in a way. There's one that haunts the back alleys of Bree, and another wandering in the Barrow Downs. I did some favors for they were brothers who had lost each other. And I freed a few more from a villain named the Bone Man.
Still, it was odd being here while Anisata stepped forward and reminded the ghost of its broken promise.
Well, here's where I discovered a new villain. The ghost said he had a new oath to a new master - a villainous master name of Amarthiel. Then he summoned his squad against us!
It is fortunate that we had a sizable squad of our own. In addition to Pintail and Anisata, we had Helkaer, Brabbo, and Andrig with us. When the ghosts sprang their trap, we had them outnumbered. More important, we had grown practiced fighting alongside each other such that, when the battling started, we were not tossed into confusion but fell into patters of working together. We bested the spirit soldiers.
However, since they have yet to fulfill their oath, they are still trapped in this world.
As I said, the distressing conclusion I have to this tale is the adding of another name to the list of villains. In addition to Skogrim the pale dwarf, Sharkey who commands the brigands and orcs in Bree and the Lone Lands, Ivar Bloodhand who has gone east to raise a new power, and the Blackrobes who seem to command all of these, we must add Amarthiel - of whom we know near to nothing but that she commands some Oathbreakers.
I am sorry to deliver such news. Be comforted by the fact that we are on duty patrolling the areas around Fornost and keeping the orcs beaten back to where they do not threaten the Shire. We have tamed these lands a bit and will continue to do so. I will keep you informed of our progress.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow
On October 28, Club Éclair will be increasing its level cap to 23. This will open up a few fellowship quests around Trestlebridge to complete over the next couple of weeks – as well as continuing to battle Sambrog in the Great Barrow, engage in Skirmish practices, and listen to stories of battles in and around Erebor. Adventurers may also make a trip to Ost Guruth in the eastern Lone Lands to give some help.
On November 16 at 9:00 AM (and other times for different characters) - Eclairians will gather at Amon Raith in the North Downs to take part in missions to find the hidden Ranger camp of Esteldin.
On November 18, with the release of Helm’s Deep, Club Éclair will be increasing its level cap to 25. Esteldin will be the new center of operations, while we engage in adventures around Othrikar, Kingsell, and Meluinen. There are a fair number of fellowship quests to do in this area. At this time, Eclairians will also be able to migrate over to Ost Guruth in the Lone Lands, where they will find Radagast and defeat Ivar to finish up Book 2. There will also be a new skirmish – Stand at Amon Sul.
((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - Returning to the Lonely Lands
When next you write, it may be best for you to direct your letter to a place called Ost Guruth.
We are on the move again, back to the Lonely Lands. With our recent raids into Nan Wathren, patrols through the fields before Fornost, and our visits to the Oathbreaker Captain and his company of malcontent spirits, we are thinking that our “northern flank” is secure for the moment, allowing us to shift attention eastward again.
On that matter, I want to tell you of a story of one of my adventures.
See, in the fields before the ruins of the ancient city of Fornost there is a hill with a tower atop called Falconer's Tower.
Patrols that passed the tower at night found it surrounded by spirits, while in daylight none were to be found.
Well, it was my guess that if any were near the tower at sunset, they would see a gaggle of ghosts all appear of a sudden. Less wary travelers may suffer a misfortunate fate at the hands of the ghosts. Fortunately, I was standing ready as the sun set. The moment the last of the sun's life-giving rays vanished behind the horizon, there was a gust of wind. Only, it had a sound like a ghastly breath and was warm and full of stench.
As I shielded my eyes from the dust, there appeared around me seven ghosts. Nearest me, a ghostly form floating a good two feet above the ground came at me with a ghostly sword - a sword that could cut as well as Dwarven steel. I was forced into battle against all seven, but managed to convince them to return to the spirit world from which they came.
Returning to Trestlebridge, which I reached by morning, I warned the town captain of the danger so he could spread the news among the other patrols.
But with patrols such as this, I think our work near Trestlebridge is near to done and we can afford to return to the Lone Lands.
In my earlier letters, you may recall that I mentioned that our goal was to find the wizard Radagast and help defeat the villain Ivar. In one of our visits to the Great Barrow, we overheard a blackrobe talking to Skogrim the pale dwarf and a new villain named of Ivar about its plans. Ivar was to travel east and raise up a new and terrible power against us.
But neither the ranger Candaith nor the native Eglain would help us find the Wizard. I could not help but think that Radagast wished not to be found. All the while Ivar was allowed to pursue his work unhindered. I fought to convince myself that I was not one to question the wisdom of a wizard on these matters. What does a fisherhobbit from Little Delving know of these things?
Instead of meddling in the affairs of wizards, we returned to Bree where Sambrog had regained and surpassed his former strength, and where orcs were threatening to move down from the north. We have tamed Sambrog and driven him deep underground, raided the orcs of Nan Wathren, and patrolled the Fields of Fornost to where I am now confident that these foes have been subdued, at least for the time being.
It is time to return to the Lonely Lands to see if there is any use for us there as of yet.
I am not certain that the Eglain are ready to talk with us or if Radagast is ready to be found. But I have heard stories of an alliance between a tribe of orcs and some short-beard dwarfs. As I recall, the orcs in the area are enthralled to Sharkey, while the short-beard dwarfs are the minions of Skogrim the pale dwarf. It would be frightful to think of these groups being allied. We already know that Ivar is allied with Skogrim – so this would put the power of all three villains together in this one location.
I have told you not to worry, and that holds true as much now as ever before. Daisy Appledore hinted at more things she could teach me and hinted that she will be back at her post on Monday. My intent is to visit with her to learn what can be taught. She has a right pretty name, as you can tell, but she's a lass of Bree and no hobbit. Like most Bree folk, she sees me as a child and unfit for adventure. But when I convince her that I intend to seek battle, she agrees that it is better for me to be over skilled than not skilled enough.
That being said, I have heard tell of another style of fighting that I might learn. There’s a training hall up by the Boar fountain in Bree – near the Prancing Pony where I stay sometimes. There, a hobbit can also learn to use a spear and shield. I’ve shied away from it on rumors that the teachers can be rough. But there’ll be nothing compared to losing a battle with an orc or warg – so maybe it is worth a visit. I will give it some thought.
Either way, I am learning more how to fend for myself, and I have good friends willing to care for me as well.
am in the midst of changing my mind.
It was my original intent to go to Esteldin at Level 25. However, as that time draws near, it does not seem to be a rational option.
When the level cap goes to 23, there are a great many things to do around Ost Guruth in the Lone Lands. This includes continuing on with Book 2.
When the level cap goes to 25, it now makes more sense to stay at Ost Guruth, finish Book II (defeating Ivar), and finishing all quests and deeds other than those in Garth Agarwen (which we will come back for later). Effectively, we would finish this region with the exception of an isolated corner. This seems like a more natural breaking point – a more natural progression to the story.
It is worth noting that Level 25 also opens up the “Stand at Amon Sul” skirmish – another reason to stay in the Lone Lands for a bit and finish things off. Remember, skirmishes are “trainings” – so the Rangers set up a training at the top of Amon Sul and we can travel up there for practice and for group activities in a region that is substantially a solo-only region.
Then, when we are done (or as we finish), we can move on to Esteldin.
((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - Arriving at Ost Guruth
I want to thank you for the new pony. It was a marvelous gift.
This tells me that you've been to Michel Delving. I hope this was just a visit. It's good to be out to learn something of the world - and I am certain that the girls are better knowing something of the neighborhood. However, please don't take my earlier warnings lightly. Little Delving is safer.
But I am grateful for the pony. I thought to name her Sausage or Biscuit - because I intend to use her to carry provisions and - well, you know - biscuits and sausage gravey is my favorite breakfast. But my friends suggested it might be a poor name if we should get captured by orcs. It might give them ideas.
So I thought the name Poison or Rancid might serve. But that seemed unkind.
I named the pony that I bought at Hengstacer's Farm "Rainbow" . . . Rainbow Troute. So, maybe I'll name this pony "Brook". That's it. It's settled. Brook Troute. That's her name.
Gad, that's two ponies I own. I never thought I would be a two-pony hobbit.
I am not so keen on the idea of changing the Founder's Statue. It is a part of history. Hedgerow is in an outrage - but he grew up in Michel Delving working in town hole. He's not fond of change. He has fears of returning to a Shire he does not recognize and wants everything to stay the same until he gets back. I keep suggesting that he go back - this is not the place for somebody of his delicate sensibilities. But he insists on helping.
I am in Ost Guruth now - like I said I would be.
Ost Guruth is in the Eastern Lonely Lands, past the Forsaken Inn. I've visited before when we were helping out at the Forsaken Inn battling at Weathertop and Minas Eriol, but this time I am moving in with the intent to stay for a while.
I've claimed a corner of what is one of the few places has a roof. It's mostly used as a sick room. There's another place with a roof, but that seems busy with crafting and storage and such - far too many people to get much sleep. Then there's the tower in the back corner. I went up to the door and found it locked. Then I was shooed away by a lady cooking at a nearby fire. I've not seen anybody enter or leave.
Ost Guruth, so you know, is an old ruined castle. It's not a town. Most people live in tents pitched in the former courtyard - and set up shops for barter. You may remember from when I wrote earlier that the Eglain make most of their money collecting old trinkets from the ruins and selling them at Bree in exchange for whatever Bree is willing to sell - food and manufactured items mostly. Most of what the Eglain have is what they make for themselves.
They're not a trusting people.
On that account, my trip here was filled with frustrations. I stopped by the Forsaken Inn to see if they were willing to talk with me about where Radagast is, but they said I am not ready. Seriously, I have fought Sambrog in the Great Barrow and raided the orc camps of Nan Wathren - and they say I am not worthy of helping Radagast against Ivar Bloodhand.
I then went to the Eglain camp near Minas Eriol. They have been keeping the goblins contained and had no more tasks for me. Instead, they sent me to Ost Guruth to see what good I could do here. I was on my way here anyways, so here I am.
Other should be arriving shortly. At least, I am hoping to meet people here - and to do so before we actually confront Ivar the Bloodhand.
In the mean time, I've spoken to a few people here about spiders that infest Amon Ros to the west.
I am going to admit that I did not understand this menace to the Shire right when I first encountered it - though I should have. At the start, I thought most of an invading army what comes in and conquers the people and enslaves them. Yet, more and more I am seeing the threat as a pestulance - a plague. Poison, disease, and a darkening of the heart that turns decent folk against each other - that's the threat we face.
Think of the hobbits of Buckland becoming vicious enemies of those of the Shire, or Tuckborough walling itself up to defend itself from attackers from Hobbiton who believe that they've been wronged. The darkness can come without an enemy soldier even setting foot in our land. It comes from a darkness that lays claim to the heart so that a person thinks it is by his own choice that his neighbor because his enemy.
Truth be told, this is what I sensed in those first days gathering wood east of Michel Delving. The shews were vicious - as if infected with meanness. The same was true of the wolfs at Dora's chicken farm. I should not have been surprised if the chickens themselves were to become vicious and attack their own eggs.
One of the signs of this corruption has been monstrous spiders. Natural spiders provide a service - ridding a field of insects that will destroy the harvest, but huge spiders rid the lands of all matter of useful creatures - coneys, deer - even people. There's a woman and child that's been killed. I can start to imagine their fate, and have to shake my head to remove the thought before it gets fixed.
As frightening as it is, I'll be heading out to drive back this menace after I get settled.
And there's the matter of a dwarf colony at a dwarf mount just southwest of here that I will need to return to.
There's a lot to do. Hopefully, when I am done, the Eglain will consider me worthy enough to meet with Radagast and battle the source of these corruptions.
In the mean time, I take your news that the greatest concern in the Shire is over the building of a statue in Michel Delving as a good sign. That's really what I want more than anything. If I am helping to keep corruptions from crossing the Bounds, I can think of nothing better to be doing.
It's time for some sleep. I'll begin my chores for the Eglain at the dawn. They do have a post here, by the way. I hope to hear from you.
If you have a character, level 23 or below, and would like to join us in our roleplay-adventures, we're adventuring out of Ost Guruth for a while. We'd be happy to meet you there. We tend to adventure Saturday AM at 9:00, Monday PM at 8:30, and Thursday PM at 10:00 - but there could be Eclairians on at any time. We have a strong European component. You can talk with us using the user channel "/joinchannel club-éclair"
Erikin, Diary Entry III ((Sambrog, training and going north))
My friends told me Tom Bombadil had not ultimately terminated Sambrog. Maybe he could really not be killed or old Tom didn’t want to. But apparently they learned that he was still around, spreading his corruptions, only from deeper inside the Great Barrow.
So we put together several groups to enter the enormous grave again and see if we were up for the task. One time I went with Wilbus and Willameena. Wilbus is one of the small hobbits, an archer. He is very skilled with the bow. I had also got some basic bow training, but while I fumble around putting the next arrow to the string, he already fires off three shots. He wore a funny hat with a cake on top, maybe his third breakfast.
I know these burial mounds and the tunnels inside were created by the men of Cardolan many years back, but it was as if Sambrog had turned them into a big maze to defy us, it was quite confusing to find your way around. What made things worse was that the place was full of walking undead corpses, some had lost their heads or arms, which were also crawling around. The arms I mean. And between all that it seemed Sambrog ordered several particularly powerful combatants to protect him.
One of them was standing in the middle of a room where a set of stairs led down. He was surrounded by walking patrols, which we defeated first. When we started to attack him, a couple of giant worms burst from the ground. They were pretty tough and spewed a green venomous cloud, which made us all sick.
Then there was a pair of armor-clad skeletons with some kind of wings attached at their backs and nice looking helmets. Powerful, undead warriors, maybe once noble knights before becoming corrupted and raised from the dead, as we had earlier seen several corpses at rest which looked like former royalty. When Alphred and Oddli started the fight, a lot of walking dead and crawling arms suddenly popped from the ground going after Hroik, who had jumped onto a stone coffin to motivate us with his rune stones. They had targeted him, perceiving him to be maybe the biggest threat to their victory.
Seeing this, I rushed in to aid him, swinging my axes, and they turned their attention to me. I was surrounded by at least 5 of them and then an odd thing happened. I was… defeated… I lost my will to continue the battle and dropped to my knees. Demoralized, the world turned black and from the corner of my eyes I could see the same happening to our runemaster. Alphred and Oddli however were not so easily subdued and they valiantly continued to fight the ancient warriors. The odds were totally against them, but with some great manoeuvers, full of desperation and with their last bit of strength they prevailed. Woo-hoo, what an achievement! That gave me new courage and lifted me back up, but I was badly shaken and it took a while before my spirits were back to normal. Inside a chest we found a part of a broken key.
The last one was locked away in a hidden place, amongst others protected by glowing balls of light. Now, those lights were a bit tricky, they disappeared after a while and we heard some laugher echo through the hall and a voice saying we were not fast enough. We finally figured out that we had to extinguish a lot of those moving lights within a short time, before two stones slid apart and opened the way to another small chamber. It looked like a bathroom or steam-bath, with ankle-high, greenish glowing water covering the floor. The ghoul in there was another difficult fight and he guarded another chest, in which we found the second part of the broken key.
We merged the two pieces of the key, which allowed us to open a previously locked door. This new section we entered with another, full group of six, three hobbits and three dwarfs. There were Alphred and Podie, hiding behind big shields. Oddli and me swinging our axes, and Brabbo and Hroik doing their tricks with music and stones. Finally, we were getting closer to Sambrog.
Behind that door we opened were the stairs and the doorway where we had seen the Witch-King, Sambrog and Ivar before. The doorway had collapsed and heavy stones blocked the way. We were still searching the room for another way, when Oddli walked up the stairs and all of a sudden an undead squad was upon us. We had gone into a trap and since we were so spread out, it was a very tight battle, almost costing Brabbo his life. The enemies became tougher and harder the deeper underground we went… but after some more exploration we finally reached another big chamber, and yes, there he was, Sambrog. He had not noticed us yet and we discussed tactics. I was not convinced, as I was doubting that Old Tom would show up and save our beards again, if the master wight indeed proved to be invincible. But who am I to argue… Besides, we came all the way down here to face and expel him and then we cannot possibly turn back just before the task is completed, can we? And if all fails, we could just try to run…
My heart was pounding as we approached him, but I also had confidence in my comrades. “Welcome! You have come far to end such a meaningless existence”. Dworf, he has quite a way to intimidate you. Or was he talking about himself? We attacked, and slowly, ever so slowly he started to wane. Then two ghost appeared near the walls of the chamber, sending green beams at him. Were they vitalizing him, were they the source of his powers? Alphred and I ran over to one and destroyed it, while two more of our group dispatched the other one. Sambrog let out a shriek, a purple haze dropping at his feet. This stung pretty badly, so I ran out of it and shot arrows at him, until the cloud dissipated. And then, he fell. All was quiet, except our heavy breathing. We all cheered, as this must have been the end of the evilness in the Great Barrow and thus the Barrow-downs! Although, with these undead thingies you never know. But, I like to think it was… And that he is really gone.
I went back to Bree, but when I got to Aragorn’s door, it was locked. He was gone, I could not find him sitting in the Prancing Pony’s bar either… Hmm, what should we do without his wise guidance?
While waiting for his return, I thought that I needed more training, especially after that incident in the Great Barrow which could have gotten us all killed. So I went to see a trainer for one-on-one battles at the Bree jail and he sent me to a fellow dwarf at the Combe Gate, a true and renowned champion. To show my worth he first wanted me to eliminate some gang leaders threatening Bree, a goblin, a half-orc and a human. When I was done he showed me a lot of new tricks for close combat. How to position my feet and move my body to evade and parry attacks, how to counterattack and feint an attack, or how to make a wide sweep with two weapons to hit several targets at once when surrounded. As said, I had learned to use a bow, but I am far from being good at it, and he was not showing me anything new there. Also, he didn’t show me how to use a shield, something I would definitely like to have with me if our foes become stronger, as with my two axes I sometimes feel a bit vulnerable. Maybe at a later time, when I have proven myself even more. I was given a fine axe earlier however from Willameena, of the best dwarven quality with a sharp blade and excellent balance. And out of the blue, a hobbit came along and gave me a present, a sturdy heavy jacket to hold off many blows to the body.
Aragorn still wasn’t back and I had a feeling he had left Bree for good and would not show up here again so soon. My friends and I decided to go north, to see if we can find out the whereabouts of Skorgrim.
((Postcard to mom))
Scribbled on backside:
I hope you have seen the letters I sent to father. In case you were worried about me (because I had not written for a while) let me assure you that I am fine. I am still in Bree where I found an artist, who can create great paintings and I hope you like this card that she made. It shows a small town in the Shire, the place I wrote about in one of my letters. She has never been there herself, but I described it to her and she made this nice little image, while I had to stand with my back to her. I hope you enjoy it. I may leave Bree soon. I have found some new friends, amongst them some other dwarfs, quite a few small hobbits, even an elf and a human woman. I like their company and we have many fine adventures and smokes around the fire, and we see a lot of the world. We plan to go further east soon. I don’t know if there will be a post office, but as soon as I find one you will hear from me again.
P.S. Convey my best regards to father.
Erikin, Diary Entry IV ((Patrol into Nan Wathren))
Trestlebridge was still besieged by orcs. In fact, when I got to the north side of the span I witnessed an orc attack which was easily repelled though by the guards. But those orcs had some tricks up their sleeves as I soon learned. They apparently found a way to contaminate the water with some potion or poison which could cause the guards to fall asleep. Captain Trotter of the guards thought there might be a defiler, a fabled orc-master of poison, behind this. And they had crates in their possession, filled with a mysterious black powder, much like what you find inside those firecrackers when you unravel them. Only more of that powder and stronger, and the guards feared that it could be used to destroy the bridge. Now, I don’t know why the orcs would do that, as the bridge is the only way into Bree-land and it would prevent them going south, but better to destroy those crates nonetheless.
My friends and I formed a group to go on a patrol into Nan Wathren, a canyon north-east of the Trestlespan, where the orcs were believed to be hiding. And we soon discovered there were orcs, and not just a few, but many of them. It was a huge army that had amassed there! We found the defiler on a small island in a deep gully and killed him and his guards. As we went further into Nan Wathren, searching for the black powder, the orcs became stronger and more dangerous. We crossed several rope bridges, there were smaller orc camps, tents, fires and totem poles everywhere. We wondered what purpose those poles served, were they used to shackle and torture their victims? But the gruesome yet elaborate design suggests they were erected to give them some kind of special powers, or at least spur them on. That brought up the question whether orcs are religious… Do orcs believe in a god?
We came upon an array of siege towers that the orcs had built. Large wooden structures on big wheels, with room for at least 30 orcs and planks inside to get to the top. They could be rolled up next to city wall and a ramp lowered at the top, over which the orcs could then storm the cities defenses. We even found a place where more of these siege towers were constructed. The only walled city that came to our mind was Bree of course. Could this be the army that Skorgrim was sent to gather in the North? Was he around somewhere in one of the leader’s camps in the back maybe?
Venturing deeper, we found and destroyed several of the crates with the black powder, all guarded by groups of orcs. I don’t know how deep into the canyon we went in the end, but after a long time there was a palisade with an opening, where a very big and powerful orc was patrolling. He spotted us and we got into the toughest battle yet. The six of us could hardly bring it down*. We three dwarfs (Oddli, Andrig and me) had him surrounded and were swinging our axes at him, while Willameena used her staff, Heklaer, the elf, his stones and Hedgerow his music. And still, the battle wore on and it seemed nothing could scratch this beast. When we finally beat him, we were glad that none other had joined the fight, as this could have spelled doom for us. And yes, as we peeked through that opening, we saw more of these monsters prowling around. No use going any further… Those were way too much for us and we decided to get out and back to Trestlebridge.
Speargrass, one of the hobbits whom I met for the first time, despaired. “We are doomed! The Shire will be overrun, and my relatives eaten! Ooh, the Shire… it was good while it lasted…” I tried to comfort him with reasoning, that we should get back and report our findings and see what others have to say about it. And that we at least made a little progress, getting rid of their defiler and setting several of those crates aflame. There were many orcs, yes, but not all were as powerful as the one we had struggled so hard with and we don’t know how many of those big beasts are back there.
In doing so, I pondered what we had seen and learned on this patrol. One thing is for sure, this army was big and if it decides to move forward, all Bree-land and the Shire will indeed be in trouble. BUT, there is the bridge they have to cross. The layout of the land may provide some hope. As it’s a siege army, the natural goal would be Bree. But how would these orcs get to Bree? The only way is across the well-defended bottleneck of the Trestlespan and those siege towers are no good capturing a bridge. Also, the location where we found all those siege weapons was odd too. To me they seemed stuck, there is no way getting them towers across the narrow rope bridges or up the canyon slopes. Hah, those stupid orcs, built towers in a place where they could not get them out! Got stuck with their army and wagons in an inaccessible canyon! In the end of the day, it made me chuckle a bit even, maybe a chuckle of relief or despair or both, after having this dangerous outing. Unless there is another way at the eastern side of Nan Wathren… But as far as I know there is a great lake and they would have to build boats to get themselves and the weapons across.
Another thing is that this army was too big for Skorgrim to have mustered in such a short time. Also, Trestlebridge lay under siege since many weeks and there was no sign of any dwarfs. So, I have my doubts that this was Skorgim’s army after all. He could still be somewhere around in the back, but if he is, he is too well guarded and we would not be able to end his threat here and now. But if this is not Skorgrim’s army, who sent it, who commands it and what is their intention?
We could not get any further here and find Skorgrim as of now. Some of us went up north to the Fields of Fornost, but returned soon. I believe for the moment Bree is not endangered, as long as Trestlebridge holds out. The men and women there guarding the bridge look competent enough and as if they can hold out for a while longer. It was decided that we should turn our attention to the East, to see if we can find Ivar, this undead shaman-ghoul, and learn more about his plans to raise “a great power, which will turn the sky to blood”. Hmm, sounds exciting but could turn out to be dangerous. Very dangerous.
*It was a level 35 Vicious Tarkrip, while we were Lvl 20
((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Patrolling Ost Guruth
Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed
As soon as I got your leader I was packed up and heading back to Bree. I will be more than happy to help muster a squad for the Bounder recruit you are sending. I agree that for a hobbit needing experience at fighting the villains what threaten the Shire, a patrol into the Great Barrow with some experienced Bounders would be a great benefit. I've asked Pintail and Brabbo to join us - and Andrig, but I fear he will not be able to make it.
Besides, it will give me a chance to return to the Hunter’s Lodge . . . sleep in a soft bed with linen sheets . . . eat dinner cooked in a proper oven and served at a proper table . . . wander through the streets listening to the musicians. Of course, I will have to go back to the Barrows again . . . sickly . . . sticky . . . no fit place for a hobbit. But I’ll do it, sir. I’ll meet her at the Great Barrow camp and help her as I can.
I’ve heard that Sambrog has grown even stronger when last we confronted him. But at least his strength is tied to his distance below ground. We will drive him yet further, I promise.
Oh! I should mention that we met Radagast.
Well, that belongs in my regular report, which I begin by mentioning my honour to be able to report on our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire.
As a part of that progress, we met Radagast. Ot, at least, I did. I returned from a patrol I took with Andrig, Oddli, Willameena, Brabbo, and Erikin and learned that Radagast had been there all along in a back tower.
He’s said nothing about Ivar the Bloodhand so far. Instead, he is talking about sending us off to a swamp east of town and look for signs of corruptions. There is a strange sort of creature here – of a type I have not seen before. It looks like a tulip bulb on stilts . . . though it’s the size of a horse – but taller and not as long. Some of my friends are good at sketchings. I will see to asking them to draw one.
Radagast does not want us to bring harm to them. Instead, he wants us to get these samples from their nests that will help him determine something about the corruptions of this swamp.
I only have to look at it to tell you it is suffering from corruptions. It looks like a lake of blood . . . not quite so thick, but staining everything.
Wizards! None have ever said they were sensible creatures.
Meanwhile, you should know that, in the time I have been here, we have been taming the area and making it safe for the Eglain. In spite of their peculiarities – they are not at all neighborly, I should say – they would make better neighbors than orcs or goblins or those dead things that walk around as if they’re still alive, but don't expect friendly chats over the back yard fence.
We had three good quality dwarfs with us on our last patrol – Erekin, Andrig, and Oddli. They kept me quite safe. But there’s other dwarfs what have allied themselves with orcs. They have! They are near to living together in the same camp. Here in the Lonely Lands we found one fort which the orcs have taken over, and another fort which the dwarfs have taken over – and a tunnel between them where they meet and talk and trade and act in all manner as neighbors.
Well, we put an end to their meetings.
Here, I have to say that Andrig is getting worse. When we went into this underground cavern and saw all those dwarfs, Andrig just went berserk. He charged in with not a thought to his own safety, OR MINE! The next we knew is he was surrounded by near a dozen of them Dourhands screaming and swinging wildly. It was a near thing as Erikin and Oddli charged in to rescue him.
Well, Andrig is a competent fighter. The next day he asked my help in battling an orc encampment in the fortress ruins of Ost Cyrn. At least, I think that is the name. He was not as reckless as he was in Iorvines - where the dourdwarfs and orcs met - on account of there only being the two of us. He did have some sense. But when he had a mind of ridding some region of the orcs he still charge in with a roar ready for battle.
I'll write to you later to say how Mishala did on her adventure. In the mean time, I trust others will be staying around here to help Radagast and, eventually, prepare to do battle against Ivor 'fore he can summon this most vile force threatening the lands with darkness.
Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow.
On November 18, with the release of Helm's Deep, the Club Éclair level cap will go up to 25 to complete Book 2 and the rest of the Lone Lands. Then we will be migrating north to Esteldin. If you have a character - up to Level 25 - wanting to join the club, you can talk to us by accessing the user channel club-éclair ("/joinchannel club-éclair"). There's no limit to the number of people who can fit in the club - and, the more people there are, the better the chance of finding a companion when you want one.
Club-Éclair is a role-playing adventure club. Our adventures are walk-and-talk adventures with room given for in-character banter, for taking a good look around, and for figuring out strategies and tactics. We keep people at the same level by using the XP Disabler. We're in no rush to go through the levels. Rather, we raise the level cap, explore the regions that can be explored at that level, and - when most of us are ready to move on - raise the cap a little more.