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  1. #151

    ((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - Helping at the Great Barrow


    Yes, I know, I said it was a good idea for the girls to learn to defend themselves. I don’t think it’s a good idea for either of them to follow me out here beyond the Bounds. I meant it just for their care in case trouble comes to the Shire, not for them to go chasing trouble themselves. They need to stay home where its safe – and use their training as a last resort. Chasing adventure beyond the Bounds is a very poor idea.

    I don’t want to see them out here with me. It’s just not a fit place for them, and I don’t want to have to worry about them.

    We've are doing well enough out here. In fact, Bounder Chief Meadowlarke sent out a new Bounder recruit name of Mishala this last week, just to get her experienced in battling villainy. I was in Ost Guruth at the time, but Hedgerow mustered a squad to take her into the Great Barrow where she could see some of the creatures the enemy has brought out, and learn how to stand up to them.

    From what I hear, the first two patrols went well and Sambrog’s minions were defeated where they were encountered and driven further into the Barrow. But, starting with the third patrol, they ran into difficulties. Their troubles started in earnest with a pair of Sambrog’s lieutenants that we Eclairians have been calling “The Twins”. I mentioned that, as we drive them deeper that they get more powerful. Well, these twins were able to stand up to repeated assaults - finally convincing the Eclairians battling them to leave them and retreat from the Barrows for a spell.

    It was a squad made up of Heminhaw, Adaninim, Hedgerow, Andrig, and Helkaer confronted the twins on this patrol. Mishala was not there on account of already having made two patrols and was resting a bit. I had not met either Heminhaw or Adaninim at this point so I cannot truly attest to their skills. Helkaer, of course, is an elf with great skill summoning powers from stones and runes. Andrig is a competent fighter. Hedgerow . . . well . . . I think he is more suited as a clerk than as a Bounder.

    Anyways, it was the first time as I recall where Eclairians left the enemy in the control of the battlefield.

    Of course, with its victory, Sambrog’s army figured it was time to consider marching back to the surface. Fortunately, this weakened them a bit. When, the next day, a force made up of Andrig, Helkaer, Heminhaw, and Hedgerow encountered them again, the villains still effectively stood their ground.

    While these three days of battles were going on, I had returned to Bree. I had grown low on provisions in Ost Guruth and had to return to Bree to get additional foods, medicines, and other supplies. I was spending the night in hobbit-sized beds in the Prancing Pony when Hedgerow himself nudged me awake. He told me of their defeats and inability to dislodge the twins and asked if I would contribute to the battle.

    Hedgerow was distraught at the loss. I think he was blaming himself – which, truth be told, is perhaps not unreasonable. He was talking of returning to the Shire – and I did not try to persuade him against it. I did, however, travel to the Great Barrow to take his place in another assault.

    By the time I had gotten there, Adaninim had also arrived. This is where I had met her – and Heminhaw - for the first time.

    There were five of us in the muster now and, this time, we were finally able to force the twins from their stronghold. It was a long and costly fight, but we won in the end. Later, we went after Sambrog himself and made him think twice about trying to approach the free folk living on the surface. It was in this patrol that I met Mishala for the first time. She has been trained in the spear like me, and seems like a most competent Bounder. To honour Chief Meadowlarke's request to see to her training, she was given the lead through the expedition. I stayed back to defend Helkaer - to make sure no villain distracted him from pulling his powers from the rocks and runes.

    I am afraid Helkaer and I got into a bit of a tiff over Hedgerow. I mentioned the fact that he was a better clerk than adventurer, and Helkaer, for some odd reason, came to his defense. Where is there the fault in naming the fact that some Shire-folk are not fit for adventure? I saw none, but Helkaer did.

    Well, we agreed to put the subject aside during the patrol. It was this, as much as training Mishala, that brought me to take the task of being Helkaer's defender. It turned out to be a busy task. More than once, villains broke through the front lines made up of Adaninim , Mishala, and Andrig and came back to Helkaer and Heminhaw – and I was there to intercept them. We did not talk about the incident after . . . and I hope he saw that I took no offense.

    After defeating Sambrog and driving him even deeper underground, Mishala said she was ready for more battling and Andrig said he scarcely felt challenged. As a result, we settled on pursuing Sambrog to the next levels underground so as to prevent him from retreating unhindered to rebuild his strength.

    What a difference a level makes!

    At this new depth, we encountered his soldiers who set up an ambush in his defense. We were ready for it though, since Sambrog had used these tactics in the past. Still, we were forced to retreat. We gave second thought to our decision to pursue Sambrog and resolved instead simply to keep him down at that level, and to return if there is evidence he is again moving closer to the surface. So long as he stays at his current depth, he is too strong for us. Perhaps as we gain more experience, we will battle him again. For now, there is a stalemate.

    Tomorrow, I will return to Ost Guruth, reprovisioned. With Hedgerow returning to the Shire, I think Radagast and the others will have need of me.

    I will write to you as I can.

    In the meantime, keep the girls safe.

    Love, Alphred Troute

    Club Éclair is increasing its level cap to 25 on Monday, November 18th. At this level, we intend to finish up our adventures around Ost Guruth, do some practicing at the skirmish training battle set up on Weathertop, return to finish some chores about Trestlebridge and the Fields of Fornost, then look for this secret hidden rebel ranger camp of Esteldin.

    If you think you would like this type of adventure, as always, it would be a pleasure to have you join us. You can reach us in-game through the user channel club-éclair (/joinchannel club-éclair).

  2. #152
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry V ((The Haunted Burrow, tracking Radagast and the Forsaken Inn))

    So off to the East it was, the Lone-lands. Went through Bree, where I found a nice painting artist and got a postcard for mother.

    But before heading out there I received an invitation to get back to the Shire briefly, as some of my hobbit friends there had discovered a wooden door under Mr. Bilbo’s old home. Now, Mr. Bilbo is a very famous hobbit and went on a big adventure to the Lonely Mountain with many dwarfs a long time ago, amongst them Dwalin, Thorin and Balin (who later went to reclaim Khazad-dûm and is missing since). Hidden behind the door was supposed to be great treasure, things he brought back from his adventure. Ooh, it was so much fun in there! And with people from all the lands running around trying to find riches. Bilbo had put a great effort into setting up this supposedly scary and spooky place, with fake spiders and bats, candles, jacks-in-kegs, paintings with moving eyes, cobwebs or jugs full of bugs. It was not so scary but rather confusing to find your way around and several people, myself included, got lost. The worst thing was a warm puddle I put my hand in in search of a monocle one of the hobbits outside had lost and asked me to retrieve. It was also not that a lot of treasure was to be found after all (or I didn’t see any at least) but I was handed many hobbit tokens as a thank-you for helping the lost and frightened hobbits. Those I can then exchange for a nice looking horse in the Shire, if I have enough. When it was decided to close the “Haunted Burrow”, as it came to be known, I am sure the hobbits in the Shire were not too unhappy, especially those that had dressed up as ghosts or skeletons to frighten people and got a real spanking for their pranking.

    Ah, speaking about horses. The inn-keeper, Mr. Butterbur, told me finally that Strider had left with a “Mr. Underhill” and some company. That could be Frodo Baggins and the other hobbits he was waiting for! And that another traveler, a Wizard, had come and wanted to talk to anyone who was looking for Strider. I went to see him and it was a Wizard alright, name is Gandalf. I heard his name before, some hobbits in the Shire had talked about him and that he can make the best fireworks. He looked the part of a Wizard too, with his grey robes, a pointed hat and a long white beard. In his presence I felt my spirits rise. But when even a Wizard is involved and wants to talk with me, this whole thing I had gotten into is surely a lot bigger than I could have ever imagined. I told him about the Witch-King, Skorgrim and Ivar and all I had learned, but he had his own tasks, “… upon which the fate of Middle-earth depends”… Yeah, right. And he placed the burden upon me to hinder the Witch-King’s plans! Argh, I should have never left home! What can I do about it! The only good thing about it is the friends I made and that they are attempting the same. Nevertheless, I do not think we will have any chance or idea how to do that, all we can do is go forward step by little step.

    Gandalf said another Wizard, Radagast, had encountered something foul in the Lone-lands east of Bree, which might be related to this Ivar business. He does not know where Radagast is, but perhaps the rangers do and I should talk to one of them, Saeradan. He didn’t know either, but sent me to another ranger, Candaith, at the foot of Weathertop. As far as he knows that is where Radagast was heading, as he too saw and wanted to investigate the lightning that happened at that peak a few days ago. He offered his horse to take me there. I was reluctant at first, but then took the offer and it was the first time I ever rode one. I was sitting on the beast like wet rubble, holding on to its mane and trying hard not to fall off. Good thing was that was all I had to worry about as the horse seemed to have ridden that trail quite often and knew its way by heart.

    It was a long ride and my dwarfsie hurt pretty badly when we finally arrived at Candaith’s camp. The Lone-lands are a barren and desolate place. There is hardly a tree or bush and yellow, burnt grass grows in the hollows and on the small hills. Straight through it runs the great east-west road and strewn on both sides of the road are many ruins of the old human kingdom of Arnor. I also saw a lot of black birds here again, probably more of the enemies’ spies.

    Candaith didn’t know either where Radagast was, he wasn’t even aware that he had come to the Lone-lands. There were a few things I could help him with though, mainly concerning orcs that had set up camp in the Weather Hills. After those were dealt with he sent me to the Forsaken Inn to talk to the Eglain, a kind of reclusive, suspicious and shy human tribe. They eke out a living by collecting pottery shards and souvenirs that they find in those old ruins and then sell to travelers or people in Bree. They might know where Radagast is, but before I found out more, I got word from my friends who had gone ahead to Ost Guruth and located Radagast there. He had established himself in one of the towers in this old, ruined fortress which now serves as the main hideout of the Eglain.

    The last night before leaving for Ost Guruth I had the chance to investigate those strange noises I had heard earlier in the Forsaken Inn. The Inn-Keeper, Anlaf, said we should wait until midnight and Brabbo (who also happened to be there that night) and I got pretty drunk waiting. I think I was dancing and hopping around like Tom Bombadil for a time… With midnight approaching, another Shireling joined us in our investigation. Or, I am not really sure if he was from the Shire, he was small and wore no shoes, but he had red skin, a feather in his hair, a bow and was called Sitting Bull.

    As we went down, we found a hidden door at the bookshelf, where the wailing noises where to be heard again. Behind that we came into a huge, cavernous underground complex. A confused and slightly weird human, Umin, joined us there, staring at the first of many riddle-doors we had to open by reading the inscription and then saying the right word. That place was full of nasty traps, some skeletons that were attacking us, spewing forth from bone piles. We also found pages of a diary and learned from them that a band of outlaws had discovered this cave and made it their base. On one of their raids they took a necklace and the leader (and writer of the diary) appears to have gone mad over it, killing his people, building the traps and in the end died of lunacy or hunger. When we found his grave, Umin went up and was buried under a rockfall. We continued and went deeper underground (the traps becoming ever more dangerous), until we came to what appeared a dead-end. There was a lever there and when I over-hastly pulled it, a trapdoor opened, we fell into an underground river, were swept over a waterfall and landed in a huge cave, where a ship was moored. Woohoo!

    We stepped on bord, all excited about the outlaws’ potential big treasure, when a door leading below deck opened and Umin came out. Must have survived the rockfall… And he had found that necklace. He said in fact that it was stolen from one of his ancestors by the bandits. The bad thing was it turned him into a madman too. He attacked us, as if he was afraid that we would take it from him, and that necklace gave him some great powers. He looked like a big red giant and was protected from most of our blows! When we finally beat him, he came back to his senses, but a ghost came out of the necklace, opened up the ships cargo which consisted of lots of sarcophagi, bone piles and even more skeletons fell out, chasing us around, the ghost flew back and forth between bow and stern, setting off spike traps everywhere … it was a total chaos.

    When I woke up the next morning in the Inn, I wondered if it all was just a dream, caused by too much drinking the night before. But I still had the journal pages on me… I think we defeated the ghost in the end, and Umin remained on the ship, needing some rest. Don’t remember what happened to the necklace though, but with the ghost in it destroyed, it hopefully lost it’s evil power.

    Well, off to Ost Guruth it was then. It was a beautiful hike actually and I started to enjoy the raw harshness of the land, although it was a bit hot and I got very thirsty. It felt like the end of the world here. I found my friends had already settled in in a large dormitory or sickbay kind of room with bunk beds, which reminded me of family trips we had into the Blue Mountains when I was a kid. I am a bit nervous though as I never slept in a room with women.
    Last edited by Craiden; Nov 27 2013 at 06:46 AM.

  3. #153

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Battling Sambrog and Hunting for Ivar

    Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Bounders of the Shire
    Chief - Addernotch Station


    It is my honor to report on our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    I write this as another terrible storm blows through that has everybody locked up indoors. Word has reached us from the Mayor's office that they are postponing the new Rules and Procedures until some time after the storm passes, and the new trainers are being delayed as well. Fortunately, I am in the Prancing Pony this time. The last time a big storm hit I was at the Barrows camp. Remember? The tent leaked and ruined all my notes on the Great Barrow War. I still weep as I think about it. My great story was lost.

    I can happily report that Mischala and Heminhaw - them two new Bounders you sent out for training - are progressing well. Both have gone through several missions into the Great Barrow and learned just what sort of foes we are dealing with. They even fought Sambrog himself and drove him even further into his underground lair. Them and this woman who seems to be taking up our cause whose name is Adaninim - iffen I have the spelling right, which is doubtful.

    To be honest, I was not there for their battle against Sambrog, and am quite embarrassed to report my own failures against the villainy we have been battling. For a time, I was thinking myself not fit for battle and was near to making my mind up to return to the Shire where mayhaps the Mayor would give me my job back and I could return to being a simple clerk.

    These doubts came as a result of finding a couple of Sambrog's lieutenants deep in the Barrow and attempting to dislodge them from the stronghold they had built for themselves. I was in the company of Heminhaw, Andrig, Helkaer, and Adaninim.

    The five of us tried several times to dislodge this pair from their lair. Each time, they would summon help to the battle - and they would swarm me as if they were particularly large wasps and I had personally tossed a stone at their nest. I am simply not good at battling. I'd flee the battle - and then the swarm would attack the rest - going from one to another until all of them had fled as well. We regrouped three times and tried again - maybe four - but the twins were too strongly set in their lair. We retreated fully, leaving the Barrow - for the first time, failing in the mission we had set out to do.

    On another patrol, we encountered the twins again. Again, we charged in with the hopes of disloding them, and again we failed on several attempts. At the end of this, I decided that we needed somebody who didn't have to flee iffen he got surrounded by a hoard of angry wights. I went to Bree and found Alphred sleeping sounding at the Prancing Pony. Waking him, I told him of the need. But I did not go with him. I stayed in Bree - looking back on my failures at being of any use to my friends and resolving to return home 'fore any of them got slain on account of my shortcomings.

    Still, I did not want to leave my friends to wonder as to my absence, and felt a need to travel to Ost Guruth and tell them personally. There, I met Willameena - who was just getting over a long and powerful illness, no down taken from the fetid lands around Ost Guruth or caught from Sambrog's lair. The dwarf warriors Oddli and Erikin were there, as was Nip. I told them that I would leave them.

    Andric traveled to Ost Guruth as well and reported that they had won their battle without me. I was ready to return to the Shire, but they rather insisted that I join them in patrolling some nearby ruins for signs of the identity of the gaunt lord that had moved into the area. I told Radagast what we already knew - that it was Ivar the Bloodhand, who had come to summon a powerful evil what would cover the land in darkness. Yet, he seemed to have a need to determine this for himself and sent us off after proof. The Wights nearby, or so he said, would have proof of the identity of the creature that commanded them.

    The came upon ruins plum full of villainy where, in the back corners, there were these stove pipes what filled the air with a soot that seemed to draw all light into them, making the air as dark as night though we knew it was full day. As we pushed our way deeper into the ruins, we found ourselves in the midst of a swarm of these Wights. Starting battle against them, it would seem we had won when another wave would appear - seeming to appear from nothing, and in great numbers - to continue the battle. Fearing that one of these waves would break us, we organized a fighting withdraw and left the ruins to the wight.

    It took little for me to imagine such a nest of villainy at them ruins near Budgeford or occupying Needlehole.

    In our battles, we managed to find the proofs we were looking for. When we presented them to Radagast, he announced that the foe we faced was none other than Ivar the Bloodhand, as if he himself had solved this mystery.

    Now, he has left us to wait while he decides what is to be done. I decided to do my resting in Bree - which is how I ended up at the Pony before this storm broke upon us. When the storm breaks, I will set out upon the town. I am guessing I must wait a couple of days more for the new trainers to get here. In the mean time, Bree is not a bad place to spend a couple of days. The beds are soft with clean sheets, the food is pleantiful, and music fills the air in all corners.

    I am not returning to the Shire just yet. I am going to be looking for this trainer to show up and see if he or she can teach me how to better fend for myself. I have also heard of a merchant at the skirmish trainings camp selling what he has been calling Great Barrows Armour. Mayhaps I can make myself less vulnerable against the forces of the enemies that have decided to taken up cause against us.

    I will write again as I learn more - perhaps in a couple of days. Meanwhile, I await word from Radagast that he is ready to move against Ivar. That will be my task. It is a villain that must be removed from the list of threats to the Shire.

    In the mean time, I remain your humble servant in service to the Shire.

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow

    Club Eclair's level cap went up to 25 on Monday, November 18. It was our hope to meet up with the new trainers and learn the new "Trait" system as we gained these levels. However . . . circumstances conspired against that plan. Still, there will be but a slight delay until Helm's Deep is ready and we can retrain for our new adventures.

    The next adventures will begin by returning to Ost Guruth, where we will finish the quests in the area, battle the trolls, and finally help Radagast against Ivar the Bloodhand. Then, we will travel to Esteldin in the North Downs - stopping by to complete some missions along the way that need doing. The North Downs still contains some of the flavor of the original LOTRO, with regions built for group play - quite dangerous for our under-leveled Eclairians.

    As always, if you (1) have or are willing to create a character that respects the level cap, (2) are tired of out-leveling content, (3) want company that is very near to your level as you adventure through Middle Earth, and (4) like role-play adventure as opposed to shoot-loot-and-scoot - then you are encouraged to join us. You can reach us on the private user channel "/joinchannel club-eclair".

  4. #154

    ((Club Eclair)) - Alphred Troute - New Trainings


    I am back in Bree. But don't write me here. I will be back on the road to Ost Guruth before you get this.

    I would have never thought that I would do so much traveling. When I left home, I thought Michel Delving would be my home. Now, I find myself on the road more days than I find staying put.

    In my last letter I said I was going to Ost Guruth. Now, I send you a letter saying that I am going back to Ost Guruth again!

    Well, I can tell you what happened. We returned to Ost Guruth only to discover that we needed to prove to Radagast that the gaunt lord Ivar the Bloodhand was responsible for corrupting the lands. Some of us went out and found the evidence he needed - the sigils worn by certain of the walking dead in ruins east of here. So, now he knows. Now he has to figure out what to do. That may take a while, I fear. Wizards seem not to be concerned too much about time. And if it is odd to read about your son writing as if he were associating with wizards, in the back of my own thoughts I hear the same expressions of disbelief. But here I am.

    After delivering the proof to Radagast, we were beset upon by the fiercest of storms. Fortunately, I had taken a cot in their sick room which, though much of the place is in ruins, has a sturdy roof and sturdy walls. I helped give aid to those in need. From them I learned of new trainers heading to Bree. I sense a battle against Ivar around the corner, and I fear his power. That's when I decided it would be best to return to Bree and see to finding these trainers.

    When I met up with the warden trainer, he asked me to show him what I knew. It wasn't but a minute into my exercises that he announced that I was doing everything wrong. He said I had gone backwards from being a simple fisherhobbit on account of the fact that a simple fisherhobbit would not have bad habits he would need to break. I coaxed him into training me anyways and came to regret it soon enough. He had me strip down to my bare back and would strike me across the shoulders with a willow switch each time he saw me revert to an old habit. That night, I slept on my stomach on the covers rather than under them to keep from bloodying the linen.

    I can't say for certain, but I don't think he was entirely fair in his use of that switch and used it a few times more for his own enjoyment than my education. But I did end up knowing more gambits than I could have imagined, and other skills as well. I need practice with them, and even went to the skirmish camp with Heminhaw to fit in a few lessons. We took our trainings from the Bree watchers at what they call Tier III - leaving our assistants behind. Though they were a challenge, we took our victories.

    To be honest, the Watchers who run the camps twice ruled me killed. Both times, though, the enemy were weakened to the point that Heminhaw dispatched the few that remained. I charged these marks against me to the facts of my trying to learn these new styles. I will be better with practice and will not be bested in the future in these practice skirmishes. At least, not against this level of difficulty.

    Heminhaw had some new skills as well. I saw him throwing traps one-handed before the enemies as quick as you can cast a pole. That helped. I need to learn how to take advantage of his skills so that we can work together.

    I will get some practice about Ost Guruth. Once I get there, I intend to resume my patrols while waiting for Radagast.

    I'll be leaving in the morning and must get some rest. My back seems to hurt all the more tonight. It'll be a sore trip walking to Ost Guruth on the morrow - but I intend to put that Bounder pony you sent me to use carrying my supplies so I don't have to. Thank you for that.

    I will write again from Ost Guruth once I get there.

    Alphred Troute

  5. #155
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry VI ((The ruins of the Lone-lands, the Red Swamp and closing in on Ivar))

    We were greeted and welcomed by Frideric the Elder, the leader of the Eglain. There were some things they needed help with, so we (or sometimes I alone) infiltrated some of the surrounding ruins, which were overrun by either goblins, half-orcs or spiders, retrieving stolen goods, old relics and heirlooms or just exacting plain revenge for the terrible things they did to these people. One woman in the Forsaken Inn was making a scarecrow, which should frighten the goblins away. Nice idea I thought, so I also put together a scary costume, which I might try the next time I encounter goblins. Maybe the will run away, arms raised in the air, instead of attacking me.

    In one place, Iorvinas, we found two dwarfs who had “left an expedition to the east” to investigate what is happening here. Turns out Dourhand Dwarfs here were collaborating and trading with orcs, but we put an end to that by eliminating the leaders of the two groups. But we never found out what exactly they were searching here. It looked a bit like one of our steam-baths in Thorin’s Hall down there, with little streams and small waterfalls.

    After one of our patrols, Hedgerow considered leaving us and going back to the Shire. Well, I somehow understand him, he is small and kind of weak and only wearing a light robe for protection in battle. He also only has a small shield and a dagger and his music instrument. And almost everytime we get into a fight, it seems many monsters are going straight after him, making him shout “HAAAALP” all the time. We do our best to protect him and I am sure he knows and appreciates it, but he might feel a bit incompetent or unfit for a battle and to be a burden for the rest us of. We all told him that is not the case at all and I really like having him around. In fact, I would give my life for him, and I think many in our group would do the same for me or any other of our group. When the going gets tough he makes us laugh sometimes and his songs lift our fighting spirits and morale.

    So, yes, I would hate to see him go, but I wouldn’t feel like he abandoned us, it is his choice and if he feels everything out here is too much for him and he desires to go home, I will not gripe over it. I may also consider going home to Thorin’s Hall after we have either defeated Ivar and Skorgrim or perished in the attempt. I am wondering where Aragorn went, or Gandalf, and if we will ever see them again. Gandalf after all gave us the task to foil the plans of the Witch-King and, although it sounds impossible to do at the moment, I will do everything I can to live up to this task and not give up and go home before.

    Then there is the matter with this girl Hana. She told a scary story that she and her sister went down to the Red Swamp nearby and found a small statue which they removed from a ruin. A “Statue of the Lady” she said, and she and her sister had seen that Lady. A maiden draped in vines and her eyes full of hatred, and that she could move the water. “She means me harm” she said and ever since she has bad dreams about war and blood spilt in that swamp. And that the creatures in the swamp are calling out to her at night, wanting to bring her to the Lady. Ah, well, maybe just a silly tale from a girl that has been too lonely here in the Lonely-lands for too long, but it nevertheless sent shivers down my spine. And the fact remains that her sister went back out into the swamp to tell the lady to stop tormenting her and that she has not yet returned.

    We also spoke with Radagast, who we found in his study in the tower, with a table and shelves full of books. I had seen his horse tied up outside earlier, but then was a bit disappointed that he didn’t sport a nice pointy hat like you would expect a wizard to do. But Brabbo and Hedgerow more than made up for it as they were wearing some nice pointy hats now. Radagast said something is fouling the lands here, in the Red Swamp just outside Ost Guruth, and wanted us to collect moss, so he can somehow “read” it an determine the cause of the corruption. Well, that swamp was down in a big bowl, and aptly named as the soil and water was all a dark red color. We wondered if it was some dye from the plants or if a lot of blood from a past battle had seeped into the ground. Must have been a lot of blood then. Or had Ivar already started to live up to Sambrog's word that he was to turn the sky to blood? I mean, maybe he started by draining the ground in blood…

    The moss didn’t tell him much, but there were some ruins at the eastern side of the swamp called Nan Dhelu. Radagast was concerned about the sheer number of wights and other undead creatures there. It could only mean that a Gaunt-lord was present, a mighty necromancer who has the power to raise the dead. Hedge told him that it must be Ivar, but it seems Radagast wanted to have proof. He sent us into that ruin to collect sigils, that the undead must be carrying of their lord. We mustered a full squad to go into those ruins, Hedge was there, and Brabbo, Willameena, Oddli and Andrig and Nipn Tuck, who could turn almost invisible in battle and then make a surprise attack from the back. Inside Nan Dhelu it became very dark, as if night had suddenly fallen where the sun was shining before. The sky turned a greenish black from several smoke pipes, in which we found strangely glowing stones with a white hand and which produced a dark cloud of soot. Strange sorcery at work here… A lot of undead were patrolling around, even one (or more) Masters, skeletons and bones littered the floor and there was some kind of altar, but Ivar was not to be seen. It was frightening, we defeated one of them Walking Dead and it seemed two more popped up.

    We got our sigils and then fought our way back out. I believe this can only be stopped if Ivar is defeated or at least chased away. We showed Radagast the sigils and he confirmed and now believed our assumption that it was indeed Ivar the Blood-hand who was behind this corruption. He was asking himself why such a powerful creature as a Gaunt-lord would come here, so far away from Angmar. What drew him here? Anyway, looks like we are finally closing in on Ivar!
    Last edited by Craiden; Nov 27 2013 at 07:43 AM.

  6. #156
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    ((Postcard to mom))

    Scribbled on backside:

    Dear Mother,
    I am in the Lone-lands now. Not a very nice place. It is a barren and bleak region with hardly a tree or bush and sunburnt, yellow grass. Strewn with many ruins from an old human kingdom. There are orcs here, and big spiders and wolves. In a forest next to a swamp we have even seen live trolls! But don’t you worry too much, I enjoy these adventures and challenges and to see so much country. I also feel I am getting stronger and more self-confident out here. Most of my new-found friends are here with me and we watch for and assist each other. Almost like family! Well they don’t make the same cave-claw legs that you could, but the hobbits that are with us are really good cooks too. So yes, I have even gained a bit of weight.

    I hope you enjoy the painting I did on the other side. It shows me watching a warg stalking a deer. Remember when we went on outings into the Blue Mountains to look for bears and lynxes? It’s a bit like it, no? To the left you can see Weathertop, an old fortress at the top of a big hill, which is but a ruin in these days, but the view from there across the lands was really beautiful.

    Love, Erikin
    Greetings to father, how is our Sculptor Shop going?
    Last edited by Craiden; Dec 01 2013 at 08:43 AM.

  7. #157

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Prelude to the Battle of the Red Pass

    Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief: Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my honour to report on our recent progress against the vaillainy that threatens the Shire.

    It appears that we are finally setting ourself up to confront Ivar the Bloodhand in what historians in the future will likely look back and call The Battle of the Red Pass.

    See, there's this gap in the rocks north of Ost Guruth - these ruins we've been calling home for far too long - that leads to a valley known as Agamaur, where there was once a fort now called Garth Agarwen.

    Well, it seems that Ivar the Bloodhand has made his lair in that valley. Some of these Eglains moved recently to confront Ivar and reclaim the valley and eliminate the threat to this region.

    Now, it turns out that we're a little late - and I am not beyond blaming Radagast and his delays for our current predicament. Radagast sent us to talk to Aric, a fellow who is called a Stone Speaker in that he looks at ancient rocks and reads the stories that they tell. Well, he spoke of a terrible battle waged here and says that the land is still wounded and bloody - and of a faerie of sorts who took care of it, much like Goldleaf in the Old Forest I would reckon, who became angry at the destruction of her lands and has turned malevolent and evil.

    Well, this Red Maid as she is called is the reason Ivar the Bloodhand came here. She's the evil power that Ivar is supposed to summon so as they can turn these whole lands into darkness. And because of Radagasts delays he has gone and done it. The Red Maid has been released.

    Together, they have raised a wight army - them that have infested the ruins of Nan Dhelu east of here across the swamp, and Nindor, which is well to the south near where the stone speaker is making his investigations.

    Well, we've been battling them who are holding Nan Dhelu and Nindor, as I mentioned. At the very least, we have kept them from conquering the whole of these lands. But something must be done to get to the rood of this particular weed - a root solidly anchored in Agamaur.

    This is what is leading up to what I have suggestion will be known of the Battle of the Red Pass. The objective is to force our way through this pass and to set up a camp where Radagast and the people here can get at the root that I have been talking about.

    If we're successful, we would be leaving these lands shortly. We met a small camp of tall skinny trolls. They're good folk, for the most part. But they've been driven from their homes to the north. North is where Skogrim went - the pale dwarf - the other villain working with the Blackrobes. I am thinking somebody should head north to see what kind of troubles are stirring in that direction.

    Forcing the pass will involve several battles, I am afraid. We're working on mustering at least a couple of squads. In the end, I expect near a half dozen battles to establish a foothold on the other side. Then we will head north to see iffen that area is under threat.

    I'll write as I know more.

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow

    We're planning the first two groups to go through Book II, Chapter 15, the Red Pass. This will open up a last few set of quests in the area. Then, with our level cap still at 25, we will leave Ost Guruth and head up to Esteldin. There's some new quests along the way - in Bree, Trestlebridge, and the Fields of Fornost - that we'll catch up on as we travel. Then, we will be in Esteldin for a few weeks of adventure.

    I am thinking that we will raise the level cap to 26 while in Esteldin, return to Agamaur to finish up a few more quests, then head to Oatbarton and Northcotton Farms.

    There is quite a bit left for us to do at Level 25/26 for any who might want to catch up to join us. The way to do so is we use a channel we call club-éclair (/joinchannel club-éclair). When we are ready for the next advance, we will rise to 30th and then 32nd level, where I expect we will spend a considerable amount of time.

  8. #158

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - The Red Pass

    Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Chief Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my honor to report on progress we have made against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    The Battle for the Red Pass has begun. Behind Radagast's lead, we have made several forays into the Pass and established a foothold for the Eglain in the corrupted lands beyond. Oh, a "foray" is an initial expedition into a new area. It's a word I learned from the Eglain. I am learning quite a bit in my time out of the Shire.

    Anyways, I wasn't in the first foray that went into the pass. I know that Alphred went - I think Nip and Aearthor. I can't recall who else was with them. I really must learn to take better notes. Anyways, they confronted Ivar, but he escaped.
    A couple of days later we and he was wanting to try again to confront Ivar. This group had me, Andrig, Willameena, Erikin, and Brabbo

    This Radagast is an odd sort. Along the way, he would talk to the animals, and they would follow him through the blood-red swamp. But not everything in the swamp was cute and kind. The very forest itself rose up to stop us. Plants came up out of the ground - like the trees of the Old Forest. They showed their determination in defending the lands of the master that corrupted them. As we went further, the dead themselves rose up against us - just as with the Great Barrow.

    Ivar, please recall, was the one who woke Sambrog, We had learned in our adventures he also woke an ancient water spirit now known as the Red Maid for all of the blood about - though we have not seen her.

    Not all of the wilds were under the influence of the darkness, though. Somewhere, Willameena had increased her hold over nature. She caused a part of the swamp to rise up out of the ground and serve as her ally - our ally. The poor creature took a considerable beating. But after each battle - with Willameena's encouragement - it would rise again and continue with us. I saw a lot in common between her and Radagast, and wondered iffen she might be a wizard in training. Can new wizards come to be?

    Nor were all of the spirits of the dead allied with Ivar. There were the two to the south that we had met - in the same ruins with Erec the Stone Speaker. Here, we battled our way to an ancient fort held by spirits - who did not attack us. We asked for their aid, but they reported being bound to their master who, in turn, was in service to Ivar.

    Well, we went to try to convince this chief to have his troops join us, but the spirit chief would have none of it. He commanded his own body guard of the dead to end us. There was a most fierce battle fought, but in the end we were left standing and the spirit of the commander was driven off.

    I feared at the start that this would cause the other spirits to turn against us. I know that if somebody were to kill Thane Paladin Took, that the rest of the Shire would not take kindly to it or to the people who did the deed. I stayed back a ways while the others returned to the fort. But it seems that, with the villainous commander out of the way, the spirits felt free to take their place with us.

    They joined us in an assault on another of Ivar's strongholds.

    There, we found where some Eglain had fought themselves onto a platform, where they had gotten themselves surrounded. Fortunately, they had the high ground and were able to set up a strong defense. We cut our way through the surrounding forces and broke the siege that the corrupted spirits had put upon them.

    Then, it was time to confront Ivar directly, or so Radagast said. To bring him into the fore, Radagast planned on decimating Ivar's troops to the degree that Ivar himself will feel compelled to step forward and set things right. Indeed, it worked. After defeating a number of red spirit guards, Ivar himself came to us to do battle. But Radagast used his wizardry and, instead, drove Ivar back deeper into the swamp. He fled - over and across a wall and through a gate that locked behind him, prohibiting our pursuit. This left the Eglain with a secure stronghold on this the dark side of the Red Pass and control over the pass itself.

    It was a victory of sorts, though Ivar still exists and is still a threat to the Shire. The Eglain have established a stronghold in the swamp of Agamaur - an old fort where they have put guards at the gates and archers on the walls and stand ready in its defense.
    From there, we will be sending patrols out into the swamp itself to try to weaken the hold that Ivar's corruptions have on the lands.

    I will write of our progress. However, with the lands around Ost Guruth seemingly secured from the corruptions of Ivar the Bloodhand, and with the villain himself driven back to the ancient fortress of Garth Agarwen where the Eglain effectively have it under siege, it may be time for us to consider leaving these lands and seeking out the evil pale dwarf Skogrim - who was to go north and raise an army.

    I also don't recall mentioning in my previous report . . . the people here are accustomed to getting supplies of oats from Oatbarton. However, those supplies have not come as of late. I am wondering if you would inquire about the shipments and see that they are made? It would help these people greatly.

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow

  9. #159

    ((Club Eclair)) Hesgerow Shrewburrow - Patrolling Aganaur

    Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my honour to report of our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    We are still here about Ost Guruth, making sure that the place is relatively secure - as secure as we can make it with Ivar the Bloodhand and his Red Maid trapped in the ruins of a nearby castle - before we head off to block Skogrim and his plans somewhere up north.

    Towards that end, we have been making patrols around these lands.

    I have taken part in a few patrols recently.

    With Brabbo, I went off into the swamp of Agamaur to, among other things, collect some mushrooms that Radagast wanted off of some tree stumps. I think he has a particular affinity for mushrooms, which I wholly understand, though these seem rotted from the corruptions.

    In addition, we were to look for corrupted plants and such and pluck them - much like weeding a garden. However, the weeds here are tree-size and most assuredly demanding that they not be plucked.
    This was one of the most haunting missions I have gone on.

    Shortly after entering the swamp, we saw a mysterious orange glow in the distance. It flickered like a fire, but it was very far away - a speck in the darkness. Brabbo, who is certainly one of the most bravest hobbits I have ever met, said that we should head that way. Our duties were, of course, to scout out the swamp.

    On the way, we became distracted a few times as we found and battled some of the corruptions in the forest swamp. After one of these distractions, we turned our attention back to the light, and it was gone. Dawn had come - this was likely part of the reason.

    Continuing on, we found the source of the light - a brazier that was still warm to the touch, but with no fire and no light. We saw no sign of who it was who might have come to put it out.

    This made us all the more worried as to what might be in the swamp, but we went on to take care of our duties. Or, at least it worried me. Nothing seems to frighten brave Brabbo. And let me be clear, Brabbo is nor like them dwarfs bristling weapons and layered in thick armour. He is no better equipped for battle than I am. It is by the force of his will rather than steel that he battles the corruptions.

    A part of the duty involved a corrupted master oak name of Grimbark - a deep reservoir of corruptions that was spreading its poison through the forest swamp. Driving away his corrupted spirit would be like turning off a faucet, through which corruptions flowed to everything nearby.

    Brabbo summoned his courage and challenged the corrupted old oak tree to battle and was able to drive the spirited corruptions out of it. The tree itself settled down in the ground and stayed there, like a tired old tree, swaying in the wind but giving no other movements.

    Then, it was time to go back to the stronghold and report.

    Only . . . on the way back . . . near where the light had been . . . there was a body. It had not been there before, but it was there now.

    Was it somebody who had followed us? Somebody who was spying on us? More importantly, what killed it?

    Being so near to where the light was, I refused to go near. But Brabbo ran up onto the ledge where the body was and took a look. He reported that the man was, indeed, dead. Then he came back.

    We were debating what we might do with the body. It was man-sized, and too big for two hobbits to carry. And we feared if we buried him in the corrupted swamp he would just unbury himself. That thought sent me to quivering.

    While we were debating the whys and wherefores, some of the corrupted forest came upon us and attacked. Brabbo summoned songs of purity and light. The corruptions struggled against it and tried to attack it at the source. Brabbo, however, did not waver until the corruptions fled and this part of the forest - for a while, at least - settled down to its peaceful former self.

    Immediately as the struggle ended, I noticed that the body we had been discussing was gone. Gone completely, as if it had never been there.

    We decided then and there that it was time to leave that area.

    We patrolled and scouted elsewheres. We even skirted the fortress that Ivar and the Red Maid had been forced to take refuge, battling the pickets they had set out to warn of assault. We left them wondering where those pickets might have gone, and returned ourselves to the new Eglain stronghold to report.

    Surprisingly, the Eglain - or, more precisely, the spirit aligned with them - gave us a request to attack the fortress itself. The task seems foolhearty. Even if we try, it will not be with less than a full muster. Even then, I question our chances. It is something for us to discuss. The merit to it is that it will weaken the enemy further and leave the area more secure. The folly, of course, is that this seems a particularly well defended stronghold for the few of us.

    I will report what we decide when I can.

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow

  10. #160
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry VII ((A forest full of trolls, history lessons and Ivar at the gates of Garth Agarwen))

    We got two new missions. First Radagast sent us to the south, across another swamp, to talk to the “Stone-speaker”, an Eglain scholar who studies these ruins, to find out if he knows more. And Frideric wanted us to investigate some odd large creatures that had set up a small camp just south of the great east-west road. We brought them hides and meat as a peace offering and a show of good-will, which they gladly accepted. They looked a bit scary at first, like large skinny trolls on a diet. Some of them were wearing big horns on their shoulders, maybe a status symbol or only worn by the males. But it turns out they were peaceful herders, tending to a small stable of deer and crafting leather goods. They call themselves Jorthkyn and Kekkonen (their leader) told us that they fled here from the north, where the darkness was spreading. So, this was in fact a small refugee camp and the Jorthkyn are simply trying to survive in a new land.

    Kekkonen said that it was trolls that stirred and took their old home. Seems some of them had pursued them all the way to the Lone-lands and were now roaming in a forest next to the swamp, led by a particularly large and strong troll named Galrip. Hedgerow and I took it upon us to help the Jorthkyn by driving the trolls away and defeating their leader. As we entered the forest, the sun was setting and we saw a rainbow, hopefully a good omen. Since the forest bordered the swamp there was a lot of shallow water and when we saw our first troll it looked really massive and powerful. Even wore some armor. But it was just one and we mustered our courage and attacked. It was not an easy battle and took a while, but we defeated it in the end. As we walked deeper into the forest, there were more and more trolls however, patrolling or sitting around campfires scattered among the trees.

    Me and Hedge at the edge of the Harloeg forest

    Then we were joined by another hobbit from the Shire, Minno, wearing a big shield on his back and bravely riding into the troll-infested woods on his small pony. Together we were on par facing the trolls and made our way up a path where we found and took on Galrip, the troll leader. But on our way out there was another Galrip, me thinks maybe it’s not a name but a title and perhaps another troll, the strongest of the remaining ones, had already assumed the leadership. So, in the end we had failed Kekkonen’s request, to “scatter the herd” (as Hedge put it) and make them go away. It looks as if they are here to stay. But Kekkonen was grateful for our attempt nonetheless and asked us to go back to the Eglain and tell them they can come to them and the Jorthkyn will be their friends.

    Later, I learned a lot at the Stone-speaker’s place, not so much from him, but there was a ghost floating around there, Emelin. A long time ago, the great kingdom of Arnor broke into three pieces. One of them, Rhudaur, was overrun by hillmen in the service of Angmar and when that happened the King and his men from Arthedain (another part that rose from the breakup of Arnor), refused to help them. They abandoned the people of Rhudaur, lots of innocent people got slain and brutally murdered, the lands drenched in blood. Blood that also poured into the springs of a river-maiden, apparently the “Lady” Hana had seen. Now, I don’t know what a river-maiden is, but from some tales I had heard, they might be fairies of some sort, look like beautiful women, live next to rivers and are guardians of nature. And they are very old and extremely powerful. This one in the swamp became all twisted and insane over all the blood and evil, and she rose and destroyed everything. Blimey, she touched and killed every living thing, man, animal, tree! And then she went to sleep. And now bloody Ivar has come to waken her, who is now known as the Red Maid, to enslave her and to make use of her powers. So this is what drew him here and I must say it is extremely alarming.

    Emelin also told me that someone named Iarwain Ben-adar cursed him and many other soldiers of Arthedain for not coming to Rhudaur’s aid and therefore also being responsible in part for what happened to the river lady. Since then they wander the land as half-dead spirits, trapped between life and death. Iarwain ben-adar… I think Aragorn told me that was what the elves call Tom Bombadil… hm hm, and I thought he was only dancing around and pickin flowers. So he must have left the Old Forest once. Well, all that happened a long time ago, maybe he decided to stay in the Old Forest after he had seen all these things and raised his hand against the people. Emelin also disclosed that the ghosts are seeking redemption, to make good on their great failure in the past.

    When we returned to Radagast, he told us that two Eglain youths had moved into Agamaur, an area to the north and through a mountain gap called the Red Pass, where another big and old fortress lies, Garth Agarwen. It is believed that Ivar and the River-lady are there and Radagast was worried that the Eglain would face certain death if they were to encounter any of them. There was no time to waste and Hedge, Brabbo, Willameena, Andrig and I pressed on to find and rescue them. Willameena had befriended a new pet, a bog-stalker whom she named Manfred. He was friendly and sported a funny haircut, and growing a lot of moss and plants on his back. However, Ivar and the Red Maid sounded awfully mighty and although my companions and I had grown in strength quite considerably, I doubted that we would come out healthy from this encounter if we were going to fight them. But, Radagast was with us. I do not know what powers he has, but having a real wizard with us was surely encouraging and a great benefit.

    When we entered the Red Pass, it was strange to see that Radagast took his time talking to the few animals that were left there, a fox, a frog, a rabbit and a squirrel, which were then all following him along. What he learned from them or if he was just being kind, remains his secret, but we had to fight some enraged trees and several Undeadies. Radagast showed his might during these battles a couple of times, shouting “Lin bellas galla!” to whatever purpose. Finally we came to another ruin, where we found some more, and totally unexpected, help. Another Arthedain ghost who was seeking redemption, Dannasen, and his “men” (if you could call them that) joined our cause after we had removed their commander Neven and opened their eyes to the evil things going on now and in the past.

    They swarmed out like bees and started taking on the wight guards serving Ivar. I had a hard time catching up with them, so fast they were! With their help, we breached their defenses and found the remainder of the Eglain expedition, holding out on a platform. Elsa, one of the youths, was rightly scolded by Radagast for their folly. She knew too well now… and told us they had encountered Ivar and were beaten by him and his henchundead, only a few of them surviving. The dead bodies in the red waters were gruesome evidence of her story. She feared a great evil would spill forth from Garth Agarwen and Radagast is our only hope to stop it.

    We went down the stairs and battled more wights, when suddenly Ivar appeared on the scene. Oh-oh! Him and Radagast exchanged a few words, as we could only watch. Ivar threatening that “the river-maiden is lost to you, fool” and “The secret of the abyss is mine to command”, whereas Radagast replied that he “trusts in the secret fire” and “Nature is my ally”. Then, it looked as if Radagast cast some spell after which Ivar turned tail and fled like a coward through a gate back into Garth Agarwen. But not after he let out a final threat, that the river-maiden will have us all. We tried to follow him right there and on the spot, as it seemed he was shaken up a bit, but the gate was securely locked and we didn’t know how to open it. Perhaps we need to find a key?

    So we went back to the ruin, which the Eglain had fortified in the meantime and which served as their new base here. Radagast remained here too, in a tower, and says he will help the Eglain in their fight against Ivar. We had a small victory, but are far from done here. No-one knows what kind of destruction this Red-maid is capable of and when she really comes forth, all might be lost.
    Last edited by Craiden; Mar 16 2014 at 11:09 AM.

  11. #161
    A slayer deed does not have to be a monotonous grind. As Club Éclair was finishing up around Ost Guruth, many of us had a troll-slaying deed undone. So we made up Our own adventure.

    Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my honor to report to you on our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    The Eglain stronghold in Agamaur holds on, just a short walk from the Garth Agarwen, where Ivar and the Red Maid are holed up. We are thinking the Eglain can stand on their own now and we should be able to leave and look after concerns elsewhere.

    This is not to say that all is peaceful and secure. Just recently, there were these Eglain carrying supplied to the Stone Speaker, Erek. There was a terrible storm and, under the cover of dark clouds, a monstrous troll came upon them. Two brave Eglain fought off the villain while the others fled to safety. Looking back, those who fled watched as the tool stomped one into the ground and hurled the other into a cliff. He then picked up both bodies and carried them back into the troll forest.

    Well, we were asked to find and recover the bodies before they got eaten, if it was not already too late.

    Andrig, Aearthor, Brabbo, and I made the trip. Both Brabbo and I brought ponies for the bodies, meaning that during any battles with the trolls, neither of us could be of any help as we kept the reins of our ponies to keep them from fleeing.

    I have obtained the favor of the Eglain, who had sold me one of their fine ponies. That's three ponies I own now. One I got at Hengstacer's Farm, one I rescued from the trolls last week - who is still so thin you can see her bones - and now this one. I am wondering if I might have my own pony farm when I get back to the Shire, with ponies collected from all of the regions I have visited. I think that the Hunters' Lodge in Bree has a pony it sells to favorite customers. That would make four.

    Anyways, truth be told, when we left we didn't even have assurances we could find two bodies. But we promised to make the effort.

    Finding even the first body was a chore. Naturally, the trolls were not inclined to let us just walk through their lands - a dwarf, a man, two hobbits, and two ponies. We had to fight our way through. And as I already mentioned, Brabbo and I were too busy seeing to our ponies to be of any help. Andrig and Aearthor needed to fend off the trolls that came for us, and they did masterfully.

    We were well within the troll camp when I rode my pony to the top of a stone outcropping when I discovered the first body. A distant troll had him laid out on the ground. We fought our way to it, then loaded the remains of the poor man on my own Eglain pony. He was badly broken, but he was whole.

    Then we needed to find the other.

    We were not so lucky to discover it laying nearby. It had been taken away. We worked our way deeper not the troll lands to find it. As we did, the trolls got thicker and thicker.

    At one point, we were passing by the south side of a pond deep in the territory of the trolls. Ahead of us, a pair of trolls blocked our way. Andrig, as is his want, charged in after them, with Aearthor close behind. I maneuvered my pony to the top of a small rise where I could look around, only to discover a troll on patrol coming right for me. I warned Brabbo, and we backed down the slope together, fortunately unseen. Trolls must have very poor eyesight.

    Their eyesight was not so poor that they did not see Andrig and Aearthor in battle with two of their kin. A third troll charged in to join their bottle.

    Then, a troll in the swamp we had been skirting became interested in the noise. When it got close enough to see that there was trouble afoot, it started picking up large stones and throwing them at our two escort.

    We were beginning to fear that Andrig and Aearthor might loose heart and fall back in retreat, leaving Brabbo and me stranded. One troll fell, and Aearthor gave out a rallying cry. That gave him and Andrig enough spirit to continue the fight until a second troll fell. And with that, the battle was well enough in their favor that they were able to defeat the remaining trolls without much difficulty.

    We did find the second Eglain body. We moved up a slope, where we were in sight of the Troll king, where we found the body laying in a cave of sorts beside the corpse of an odd wolf-like creature. It was my guess that he was given to the Troll king as an offering, or a tax. These trolls might have a custom whereby half of what they capture is given to their chief - the other half they are allowed to keep for themselves.

    We loaded up this body on Brabbo's pony, then we made our way out of the realm of the trolls.

    We returned to Ost Guruth victorious in our mission. But any gratitude was overwhelmed with the grief of mourning over their two fallen comrades. There are not many Eglain here, and these two will certainly be sorely missed.

    Anyway, our duties here are nearly done. Another patrol or two, and we will be on our way back to Bree. I have heard discussion of returning to the Shire to find out why the oatmeals have not yet been delivered. I have not heard from you on the subject, and can only guess you are too busy with other concerns.

    Do not be surprised to see me on your doorstep in a week or two.

    Bounder Recruit, Hedgerow Shrewburrow

    For the record, Hedgerow completed his Troll Slayer deed on this mission.

  12. #162

    ((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - "I am coming home"


    I am coming home.

    It will be a few days still. I need to go to Oatbarton to look into some oatmeal problems. It seems the people of the Lone Lands have not been getting the shipments they expected.

    While I’m there, I will come home.

    Of course, as you taught me, chores before pleasure. I have my route all planned out. I’ll leave Bree for Buckland. From there, I will go to Stock, and find myself once again on Shire soil. From Stock, I will travel west to Budgeford. Then, I will travel north, past Scary, and over to Brockenborings. From there, it will be a walk north to Oatbarton.

    I have many memories of that road now. Budgeford, where I once fought a vicious warg. Scary, with its spider infestation and finding the glass skull. Then Brockenborings and up through the Greenfields, where we worked with the Ranger Halros to rescue the Bounder Primstone when he got it into his head to attack the goblin chief.

    I am hoping things are good in Oatbarton.

    However long my stay there takes me, I will see to what chores are assigned – then be right back again down the road.

    I know that there are festivities going on. If my timing is good, I could stop by the Party Tree. But I will not tarry long. I’ll be to Hobbiton and then Michel Delving before you know it.

    I’ll be so good to see you and the girls again.

    I picture in my mind the window to my room, and that cold night in which I crawled out with naught but my fishing spear and a small bag of biscuits. I remember my vision then was to go to Michel Delving, find myself regular work, and then make home for myself.

    Then I met Mister Sweetweed – whom I now know as Bounder Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed. He hired me to fetch some materials from the White Downs for use in his business – lumber and ores where I can find them. He sent me to see Rob Hemming in town to teach me how to use my spear in my own defense.

    I have to suspect that Mister Sweetweed sent me into the forest knowing full well what would come of it. He knew that I would sense the darkness and the corruptions, coming through the very soil, giving the shrews and the wolfs an unnatural viciousness that was a threat to the Shire. He knew that I’d be inclined to take steps against it – to protect not only the Shire but my own family. He knew that he would see volunteering to help Shire-folk against the evils that seemed to be coming – Dora Brownlock and her chickens, and the trollnappers at Needlehole selling trolls captured from the Roshok Bog up to Skogrim.

    And the next thing you knew, I was full on a course I had not the slightest intention of setting on before.

    What did you tell me Mad Bilbo Baggins used to say? ““It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

    I would not have guessed that I would be swept into battling goblins in the Greenfields, and battling the spiders at Scary. I would not have imagined patrolling the Old Forest. Nor would I have guessed at leaving the Shire behind and visiting Bree. Oddly, I don’t have a clear memory of seeing the city for the first time. It has become blurred by my many visits since then, as it served as a home that I have been working out of ever since.

    I did not see myself a soldier in a war against an evil wight living in the deepest parts of the Great Barrow with minions that would have put the fright to the hobbit I was when I left home. If any had predicted that I would stand on Weathertop, surrounded by people whose names I did not even know before I left home, battling a monstrous troll and Orc chieftains twice my size and several times’ my weight.

    That I would meet Radagast the Brown and work with him in person against the foul creature Ivar Bloodhand – and send him retreating back into his castle at Garth Agarwen.

    Not only would I not have guessed the things that I would be doing, I would not have guessed the people I would have met. Cindersoot, Nip, Andrig, Roy, Heklaer, Willameena, Oddli, Erikin, Heminhaw, Pintail, Liatri, Conshohocken, Aearthor – and more than I could have guessed.

    It has been a long an eventful road – quite different from what I expected that dark night.

    It is not over yet. Trust that I will be leaving soon.

    I may well stay long enough to attend the anniversary of the Bounders of the Shire at Addernotch Station. It’s a couple of weeks away. Maybe we can go to the festival – you and me and the girls. I am anxious to see this new statue they build at Michel Delving. I must say, I am happy to see Peony being honoured as well as Marco and Blanco. It wasn’t fair giving credit only to the lads – particularly with her being pregnant at the start of the journey and going along anyways.

    I don’t know how Shire-folk came to be some home bodies, what with the Fallohide family to inspire us to seeing what we can find over the horizon, and what we can do when we get there.

    Anyways, this is enough chatter. As I said, I don’t know how long the business at Oatbarton will take me. Perhaps a couple of weeks. I have learned to expect unexpected dangers wherever I go.

    Until then, keep yourself and the girls safe.

    Alphred Troute

  13. #163
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry VIII ((First assault on Garth Agarwen, a council and the scattering of the group))

    There was some cleaning up to do. We collected bark for Radagast to analyse and cut down a big old tree, which sadly had been corrupted too in the far north-western corner of Agamaur, the area behind the Red Pass which was ripe with corruption everywhere. The most dangerous of our patrols led Hedgerow, Andrig, Aearthor, Adan and me into the Fort of Garth Agarwen itself. Aearthor is a captain from Gondor I believe, a tall man with black hair, whose ship got stranded at a shore in Eriador and he is now looking for a way back. Wherever he goes, he is followed by his servant Adan. Not much of a talker, but he is carrying a banner (perhaps to encourage us), a capable fighter himself and in general looking after his master’s well-being. Even cooks dinner I heard. But he has a mind of his own, sometimes he just walks off and goes back to our abode, like when we were deep in Garth Agarwen, where he quite niftyly found his way back through all the enemies to Ost Guruth.

    We found the gate Ivar had passed through open and wetn through into the outskirts of Garth Agarwen. There we had several tough fights with battle-hardened Hillmen, who were still hanging aroud there, now serving Ivar and worshipping the Red Maid. At the entrance to the Fort itself we happened upon another small Eglain Camp. They had nice things to sell, but I didn’t have the coins they wanted. I think they should have given them to us for free, after all we are here to help them.

    Beyond that camp was a small pond which held three mernin, dark-water spirits, that Hedge feared would prove too much for us. So we carefully sneaked around at the edge to avoid a battle with them. A bit further along we took on some more Hillmen, not only the novice kind we encountered at the outskirts, but here we also found Wardens, Leaders and Devout, who we observed teaching their disciples. Each battle was a challenge and we had to be careful to draw them to us and fight them one by one, which wasn’t always so easy as they sometimes were sticking together in patrols of three. In one of their camps we were spotted and swarmed by 3 or 4 of them, one archer shooting poisoned arrows at Hedge. I saw his moral dropping fast and thought he was about to dart off, so I shouted a really bad insult at the bowman to get his attention. It worked, he started shooting at me and just in time it was, as I think one more arrow and Hedge would have been dropping to his knees.

    We won that battle and retreated to a safe spot between two crumbling walls. Around which was a larger square wth several hillmen. We tried to drag them into the corner, one at a time, which proved a good strategy, until one ran up the stairs and brought some reinforcements with him. Suddently we were surrounded by many enemies, it appeared they were coming at us from all sides. Our whole group was defeated, but Hedge and Aearthor played dead for a little while and lifted us up again. After this nasty incident we decided we had enough for the day and went ever so cautiously back to the safety of the Eglain fortification and then Ost Guruth.

    There we sat around a campfire and debated how to proceed, a small council of sorts. The Eglain were starving as a food delivery from the Forsaken Inn was overdue. Some said we should investigate there. Others wished to go home to the Shire to visit their families, as the jule season was approaching. Or back to Bree, where they have feather beds. I was not convinced. I wouldn’t want to turn my back at the people here, I have learned the history lesson… People were abandoned a long time ago and murdered and I don’t want that to happen again. What if Ivar and the red river maid come forward while we are away? I don’t want to return to find Ost Guruth destroyed and all the people butchered. And who knows, we might even get cursed by Tom Bombadil too! Like turned into spirit ghosts for not helping… It just feels like unfinished business to leave this place while Ivar and the Red Maid are still around.

    But… there is Radagast. Hedge advised my to consult with him. The wizard said he will remain here and help the Eglain. He will watch Garth Agarwen and call us back if something stirs and he needs our aid. He also said he wants us to hone our skills a bit more before he would allow us to finally assault Garth Agarwen and go for Ivar and the Red Maid. And there are many cursed spirits seeking redemption, which will also safeguard the place and make sure that nothing horrible happens again.

    I don’t know. I still don’t feel good about it, but I am on my way to the Forsaken Inn ‘fore the sun rises. Our group of adventurers and friends has scattered and I hope to catch up with them soon.

    About Erikin:
    Since Erikin started he has been defeated three times: In one Great Barrow run, on a patrol into Nan Wathren and recently on another patrol into the outskirts of Garth Agarwen. Every time his spirit to fight on has been restored by a fellowship member. My initial thought for roleplaying was that if he has used his free revive and there is no minstrel, runekeeper, captain or loremaster to lift his morals on the spot where he knelt down, this would be the end for him and his adventures. No retreat to the circle of stones, the group is dead, the enemy has won. But, as I would hate to lose that character and think it would also not be fair to the effort and fun the Eclairians put into our “Band of Brothers”, I have finetuned my thoughts about permadeath a bit. Now, if Erikin stands up by himself after a battle or is revived on the spot, all is good. That may mean a long and dangerous trip back to his location for whoever is able to resurrect. IF he has to retreat, he fell unconcious and will need to rest and recover from his wounds and loss of moral. The activity he is currently engaged in has to continue without him, as he will need several days to do so. In special circumstances, like in a hard instance, I would not want to abandon the group. If he has to retreat there, his body armor (chest) was broken by a heavy blow and has to be taken off, permanently. The item cannot be repaired later and will be destroyed. If he has no spare item to put on, it means the rest of the instance will be run without body armor. Exceptions are skirmishes which are just training courses.

  14. #164
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Postcard to mom

    Scribbled on backside:

    Dear Mom,
    we could not finish what we set out to do in the Lonely Lands, so I will probably go back there again at a later time. As for now, I am back in Bree. And what a nice surprise it was when I got to the post office here! A letter and a Yule present from you! Thank you so much, I think the long johns will come in very handy because we are going up north soon and those nights outdoors can get pretty cold. Even if we have a fire burning most of the time. I spent a rather quiet Yule fest here and misseed you folks, but it was nice to be in a bigger town with all the amenities again. I visited a beautiful concert in the auction hall by “Die Meisterbarden von Bree”, I think they came from a far away country called Germeni or something like that. And I am thinking of getting a new haircut. Ah, did I tell you that I learned how to ride a horse? Well, rather a pony, him and me are getting along really well now. Havn’t come up with a name yet, maybe you have a good idea?

    Love you mom, hope dad is alright too.

    The painting on the other side shows a view of Bree. It’s nice, isn’t it? People here are mostly friendly also and I enjoy walking around and visiting the markets.

  15. #165
    Hedgerow Shrewburrow and Alphred Troute have been spending the last couple of weeks enjoying their return to the Shire.

    Alphred went back home to Little Delving and met with his father and two young sisters. He was a bit nervous as he approached the town. Walking down the path, he saw the gate to Little Delving - what was once the limit to what he had seen in the world. His mind raced through a history of fighting trolls at Needlehole, battling goblins in the Greenfields, wandering the Old Forest, exploring the Barrow Downs out of Bree, defeating the troll on Weathertop, and meeting up with Radagast to battle Ivar the Bloodhand in the swamps of Agamaur out of Ost Guruth. The young fishinghobbit that left Little Delving almost seemed like a stranger to him.

    His family was happy to see him. There was no traces of anger for having run away from home - just pleasure at seeing him back. Alphred could tell that his father looked at him differently. He was wearing his Bounder uniform. Well, not his uniform entirely. He recalled the day he was standing before the Bounder station near Town Hole in Michel Delving, and a hobbit name of Hoppa Joel handed him an out fit his own father Tobblin used to wear when on patrol. It was old and tattered, but well warn and warm - and it had served him well.

    Hedgerow Shrewburrow returned to Michel Delving. He noticed the new Founder's Statue in the middle of town, and was quite pleased to see Peony Fallohide - Marco's wife - being honored for her contribution to the founding. Why they had given all the credit only to the two brothers Marco and Blanco, he could not tell. It seemed wholly unfair. Neither of them were pregnant, as Peony was when she left the Shire. She contributed as much to making the Shire a new home as any of the lads. Now, the statue gave her the recognition she deserved.

    Every once in a while, the Mayor does something right.

    He spent his days soaking in the Shire . . . talking to people . . . walking through the town . . . remembering what it was he was fighting to defend. As he did, it made him nervous to think about the dangers that were growing.

    Anxious about the battles to come, he took a trip to Brockenborings and signed up at the skirmish training camp that was set up out there. He went on a few skirmish trainings to pass the time, to improve his battling skills.

    On Monday, January 13, Club Éclair will end its short vacation and head back into the field. They will be going to the North Downs, and helping the Rangers at Esteldin.

    If you want to join Club Éclair, you need a 25h level character who likes roleplaying while questing. Club Éclair uses the XP disabler to set a level cap which allows all of us to stay at a level where we can adventure together no matter how much we play.

    You can reach Club Éclair by typing: /joinchannel club-éclair.

    Club Éclair is not a kinship. Its members belong to a number of different kins. It is a club filled with people who want to play a character in the world, take their time and savor all that has been created. It is not for everybody. However, if you are one who would like this type of adventure, I invite you to bring a Level 25 character (or less) to the North Downs starting on January 13th and joining in the adventure. I hope to see you in-game.

    There are a lot of things that need to be done.

  16. #166

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - A Report on Events at Oatbarton

    Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief - Bounders of the Shire, Addernotch Station


    It is my honour to report on events at Northcotton Farm, which we think may require attention in the future.

    First, I want to tell you not to worry about the fact that I got sent here rather than earning my official Bounder button. I had hoped to pass the Addernotch Station Test of Bravery and get a button. I suppose it can wait. I did hear that the celebrations were of special magnificence.

    To remind you, we came to Oatbarton because the Eglain in the Lonely Lands mentioned not getting any shipments of oats that were due. When we arrived, we met with NAME, who told us that there were indeed problems in the area, though I never got a hint as to what they were. There was just a general feeling of uneasiness.

    That certainly was not hard to explain. Off in the middle of Bungo Grubb's pipeweed patch, a large stone appeared. Now, Mr. Grubb is blaming Adaric Burrows for bringing the stone into the field. There appears to be some rivalry between the two, as to which grows the best pipeweed. Mr. Burrows has the most to gain from the destruction of Mr. Grubb's crop.

    However, given the evils we have seen, we had other thoughts - most horrible thoughts.

    I think Willameena got it right when she compared the stone in the field to the chimneys we have seen in goblin camps and where wights dwell. It fills the region with corruption - which is why the crops die. If allowed to grow, it would fill the lands with corruptions. We tried everything we could think of to dislodge it. Just being near filled us with dread. We used elf magic to drive off the darkness. Nothing we dis had any effect.

    I report this to you in the hopes that you can think of something.

    We did arrange with a farmer for a delivery of oats to the Eglain. He seemed to have had a good harvest, in spite of the insects bussing around.

    We also saw no signs that the people at were allowing the troubles to stop their celebrations at Northcotton Farms. They were a bit behind on their chores, so we chipped in to help some. Erikin, Nip, Andrig, Willameena, and I scattered about town picking up tools, gathering scattered animals, and helping with the crops.

    Andrig was full of laughter and cheer as he ran about carrying chickens and herding sheep. He put a bit too much enthusiasm in dancing the jig as he stomped the grapes and scattered juice all about. Nipn drew attention to spending the afternoon walking about with purple feet. Erikin woke up late, as it turns out, and rushed about to try to complete as much work as the rest of us. I often saw Willameena on her horse, galloping to and fro. She had a helper with her - a fluffy bunny that hopped about wherever she went.

    I had one fright. When I went into the field to harvest some pipeweed, I was set upon by a flock of crows intent on my murder. I screamed for help as I feared being pecked to death. Willameena showed up as my strength failed me and drove off the villainous birds. Else, the celebrations would have gotten off to a most tragic start.

    While the rest of us worked, Brabbo spent the day at the fishing pond near the main house. He pulled out a healthy collection of perch, then went into town for some groceries and returned to fry them up for us. Just as the sun was setting, we put our tools away and gathered around at the main building. There, we ate Brabbo's fine cooking. He also brought us some ale and pipeweed. It was a most grand ending to a great day.

    I was truly back in the Shire again.

    Unfortunately, we have left some work undone beyond the Bounds.

    When we encountered the blackrobe in Othrongroth and listened in on his plans, he sent Ivar the Bloodhand east to raise the Red Maid. He has done this though, with the help of Radagast the Brown, he is besieged within Garth Agarwen for the moment.

    He sent the villainous dwarf Skogrim north to raise an army.

    We have done some work there before. It is certainly the case that some orcs and goblins have moved down from the north. In Nan Wathren, we found siege weapons. And the only town in the area we know of with walls is Bree itself. A most frightening prospect!

    So, we are heading north to see what we can learn about Skogrim and putting our effort into blocking him.

    I will be starting my walk to Trestlebridge on the dawn. Me and the others have agreements to meet at the mayor's office at Trestlebridge and decide what efforts to make once we get there. We have been asked to talk to a ranger in some secret hidden camp, which is where I suspect we will be going in the end.

    I will report to you what we find.

    Remember, the secret hidden Ranger camp is a secret. Don't tell anybody.

    Your humble servant.
    Bounder Recruit - on account of not getting my button - Hedgerow Shrewburrow

    Saturday, January 19, 9:00 AM eastern time, the members of Club Éclair are due to meet at Trestlebridge - thus starting our second year of adventure.

    Our current level cap is 25. We will be moving on towards Esteldin, finishing up a few loose ends as we go. Once in Esteldin, we will be performing the quests, deeds, and tasks we can perform. When we have exhausted the region at this level.

    You can talk to us in-game with the user channel club-éclair. And feel free to join us so long as your character is at or below the level cap.

  17. #167
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry IX ((Trouble and Peace in Oatbarton))

    I was sent to Oatbarton from the Forsaken Inn, as they said they did not get the oatmeal delivery from there. On my way I met Hedgerow and Andrig again in the Plough and Stars in Brockenboring in the Shire. I was a nice place and we spent the night there, having a good dinner and comfy bed. Cute hobbit lass was sitting all alone at a table, and was eyeing me from the moment I entered. Might just be that she never seen a dwarf. But I found her pretty, even though she had no beard. Might come back another day, hopefully she will still be there and I get a chance to talk to her.

    When day broke we walked north across the Greenfields, rescued a sheep that was stolen by goblins and then up an alleyway lined with tall trees until we reached Oatbarton. It is the northernmost town of the Shire and much bigger than I thought. Hedge asked around where we could find Nod Gardener, the hobbit who is supposedly overseeing the food delivery. Nod said they haven’t been able to send it, as they were facing some serious problems here. And we were soon to find out what that meant.

    Hedge looking for Nod Gardener

    We looked around town a bit and in one of the fields discovered a strange stone, about dwarf-size and some green slime oozing from it. Getting closer gave me a bad feeling and a couple of hobbits were standing around it and scratching their heads. Apparently it had just popped up here overnight and out of nowhere and they had no idea what it was, who placed it and for what purpose. But it has a bad influence on the area, that was obvious. The plants around it had withered, swarms of flies nearby looked very aggressive and there was a dead, half-eaten deer not far from it. Something was defintely not right.

    We debated what it is, I think it might be some kind of marker to tag a place where the enemy plans to attack next. Or it could be one of those smoke-pipes we had seen in the Lonely Lands in its infant state. Soon it will grow, billow out a black cloud that will block the sun and Oatbarton will be turned into a place full of undead hobbits. Mm, maybe its better if I keep these thoughts to myself, as they scared or angered the others. Anyway, we tried to remove it, but it was firmly rooted, a small explosive trap set up by Heminhaw could not destroy it and when I chipped at it all I got was a dent in my nice axe. The material was extremely hard and unknown to me and I have seen my share of stones and rocks but nothing like this before.

    Well, there was nothing we could do about it now, other than maybe ask a stonekeeper or lore master for any suggestions about what it is and how to get rid of it. And this was actually not what had delayed the food delivery to the Forsaken Inn. So we went up a hill to the Northcotton Farm to find out more. That farm is a big combine of sort, with different areas where various agricultural products are made, wool, cheese, milk, pipeweed etc. The owner or overseer, Mister Northcotton, said they were terribly behind for the fair that was going to be held soon and asked us to lend a helping hand. Hmm, don’t know what to think about it… They never delivered the oatmeal because their festival needs to be prepared while people in other places are starving? A bit selfish I thought, but then probably they are not aware about it.

    So we all set to work on the big farm. Took us a few days and in the evenings my hands were dirty and my back hurt. But it was fun, a nice, peaceful thing after all the fighting we had done recently. We herded sheep and carried chicken, helped making pies (yummi!) and pipeweed, brought in wheat, collected eggs, mashed grapes, sorted and dried pipeweed and pulled weeds. I had to giggle when I heard Hedge shouting “HAAAALP! The crows are eating me!” in a nearby field. Haha, he had been with us in Othrongroth, fighting wights and crawling arms, and in a troll-infested forest in the Lone Lands, and here he was, terrified by crows and shrews! In the evenings we had fires and music and Brabbo prepared fish that he caught in a small pond and that he had seasoned to perfection. Almost better than the cave-claw legs my mother makes, I must say. When we were done, the farmer’s fair was ready to go and hopefully Nod Gardener will see to it that the oatmeal is sent out to the Forsaken Inn immediately.

    I have seen a map of the area. Up north is a big city, a human royal capital I think, by name of Annuminas, lying on the shores of a great lake. I was thinking about riding up there, as I wanted to see it for myself. It looked so nice on the map and I was curious what it looks like for real. But Hedgerow, our brave leader, decided we should not further delay and go back looking for Skorgrim. Think he is right about that. We will start our search in Trestlebridge, which will give us the chance to see if the big orc army is still camped in that canyon there.
    Last edited by Craiden; Feb 24 2014 at 09:15 AM.

  18. #168

    I can't tell you how much I treasured seeing you and the girls again. After spending so much time away from home, to have supper with the family, to sleep in my old familiar bed, to fall asleep on the banks of a fishing stream with no fear of being carted away by goblins or spiders. It was precious.

    It was not easy to relax at first. I am dreadfully sorry for knocking Ms. Cornrows from the bridge. She did startle me so, coming at me from behind like that!

    And I hope I didn't wake anybody, getting up in the middle of the night as I did. I can't sleep through a whole night anymore. I get jittery.

    Don't worry about my missing the buttoning ceremony at Addernotch Station. A Bounder button is nothing compared to the honor of dining among such fine and admirable hobbits. I can't believe you got the whole town to come, all without me getting a hint until I started to leave for my buttoning at Addernotch.

    I wish I could have stayed, but we left some things undone. Some day the Shire will be safe again. Then, I will return.

    I mentioned how me and the other Eclairians were heading to the North Downs now on account of thinking that a dwarf wight name of Skogrim was raising an army to raid south - and possibly to turn west against the Shire.

    I made excellent time getting here. I guess, with all my marching about, I have learned to set a determined stride that eats up the miles and requires little rest. I actually got here two days ago.

    The Rangers certainly seemed please to get some help. While they worked on sorting their provisions and training, they sent me out on a couple of patrols.

    For the first patrol, I went into a spider den just south of the hidden camp. Spiders of this size are not beasts. They are more like orcs. Worse, in fact, as the spiders seem to have some cunning. But I have become familiar with the ways of spiders and had little trouble battling them. My only worry came when I found their queen - a monstrous beast three times my height. In spite of its size, I defeated it easily enough. I cleared out the lesser spiders as requested, but expect others to move in soon enough.

    The next day I took a longer patrol. I provisioned and left the hidden camp at dawn. There are orcas camped to the southwest, so I headed off in that direction and found some men living on a farm, right out where the orcs can find them.

    Now, it seems whenever a hobbit shows up, people get to thinking, "Now here is a lad that can deliver the post!" True to form, they had a message for me to deliver and told me where to find the man to deliver it to - a ranger watching over the wilds. The ranger sent me after flowers for medicines, which took me to a dwarf city named of Othrikar.

    An odd thing about dwarf cities is that you cannot judge their size by what you see on the surface. For every dwarf in daylight, there might be a thousand in the mines. These are proper dwarfs, who recently battled the dourdwarfs, which retreated into the nearby hills. This left them short of supplies such as food and warm clothes.

    I already had duties to attend to and couldn't stay, but I promised to send them what I could. Of course, one of the dwarfs saw me and said, "There's elfs living south of here near the lake. Be a good lad and carry this post to them. I need then to tell me what these documents say."

    I couldn't refuse even on principle. The post has to go through.

    There is only so much that a hobbit can do in a day though. As I left Othrikar, I looked at the sun sliding down to the west and decided the elfs would have to wait. On my way out, I killed and skinned a few cats and chased away a few dourdwarf scouts, but I wanted most to see that the men farmers got the ranger's message to seek safety.

    The men folk ignored me, of course. Instead, they asked me to go out and attack the orcs. I mentioned again that there was only so much a hobbit could do and said they would have to hold out the night. I would be back the next day to check in on them. Or they still had the option of seeking shelter. A decision to stay was on their own shoulders.

    I got back to the camp near dark and had myself a meal. There looks to be a storm brewing.

    The Rangers don't allow messages to go out of this place, not without reading them first and not even then. I will try to get this out. If you don't hear from me for a while, blame the rangers and try not to worry.

    Alphred Troute

    If you want to join Club Éclair, this will be a good time. The North Downs around Esteldin actually has group content.

    Perhaps you are an Esteldin ranger or refugee from the farms, a helpful dwarf out of Othrikar, or one of the elves that reached Miluenin.

    Our current level cap is 25, and we will be patrolling out of Esteldin until we exhaust the options for Level 25 characters in this region. There are some real dangers here for Level 25 characters.

    The way it works is for you to join the user channel Club-Éclair (/joinchannel Club-Éclair) and let it be known that you want to be on an adventure.

    We are not a kinship - members belong to different kins. Alphred and Hedgerow belong to the Bounders of the Shire. We are roleplayers with characters who role-play adventures, we like something of a challenge, and we like having others around at the same level to call upon when there is group content to be done. Our patrols are of the walk-and-talk variety.

    We have a regular group session Saturdays at 9:00 AM, but an adventure can be organized any time 2 or more Eclairians are available.

  19. #169

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - To Meluinen, North Downs

    To: Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my honor to report on our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    It was horrible! It was the most horrible adventure ever!

    Mad Andrig the Dwarf is determined to see me in my grave. He sees Orcs and is consumed by a madness, charging in, heedless of numbers, drawing us into a battle against great odds.

    These were no ordinary Orcs, either. These were the monsters of Nan Wathren, east of Trestlebridge. Horrible beasts of extraordinary skill and strength, for Orcs.

    There were seven of us. There was me and Andrig the Mad Dwarf. Aearthor the Gondorian and Edan, his assistant. Willameena and her pet swamp creature Manfred. And Brabbo the Calm. I have never seen a hobbit so calm, even with horrendous Orcs about.

    We decided to make our way to some elf ruins, and to get there by passing through the Orc stronghold of Nan Wathren. An elf at Amon Raith was asking us to visit the elf ruins, and the people of Trestlebridge were asking us to force our way through the pass, weakening the Orcs as we went. Recall, these are Orcs with siege weapons that can only be of use against the walls of Bree - which sits just beyond the Bounds of Shire. We aimed at finding and killing their leader, Lugbas.

    With Andrig the Mad Dwarf about, this was no mission of stealth and surprise. We forced our way through. At each Orc camp, Andrig charged in and called the Orcs into battle. Every Orc in or near the camp came to the Dwarf's summons.

    They came to their defeat, but these were serious battles.

    We fought our way to Lugbas himself.

    Andrig charged in. He cared not that two elite Orc warriors attended the leader. Nor did he care about the Orc archer tending a fire nearby. Nor did he even seem to notice the two goblins on patrol he needed to charge past to get to the leader.

    They all noticed him.

    Gad, that was a battle. The Orc archer I mentioned decided to play a round of "Slay the hobbit." I am no good at battling, I have admitted to that. The best I can hope to encourage them who can fight and to keep them from despair. For some reason, this Orc decided that I was a menace.

    I learned from my trainers to turn on my attackers with a frightful roar, and that it may startle my attackers. He told me of how even a grown person will stumble in retreat from a vicious badger a fraction its size for fear of the badger's menacing attack. I turned on the Orc with a scream and shout and, lo, he fled! At least for a while. And in the while it took him to recover his wits the others had gotten the upper hand in the battle - enough so that they could take on the archer.

    Well, Lugbas fell to our assault. Still, we had to get out of there and find the pass through to the elfs.

    Aearthor lead our way out. It was odd - his seeming to know the way. But I was so pleased to be getting out of there, that I was grateful for the guide.

    We went up an incline through a narrow pass, then over a rise . . .

    Once again, I found myself looking down on a strange land - a land that, as I was clerking for the Mayor, I never had a thought of seeing - and didn't want to.

    Right ahead of us, there were elf ruins. I had never seen elf buildings before, Everything else I saw was the ruins of the ancient kingdom centered on Annuminus - which later broke into three parts. That is, if I have my history right. Those were solid stone structures built above ground. But the elf ruins - even after all these years they looked clean and polished. A single inside chamber seems to have survived the years - and it was as far fancier and delicate than anything I had seen in . . . well . . . in forever. Not only counting ruins, but the lived-in buildings of Bree and The Shire.

    I was afraid to walk on the mirror-smooth floor for fear of marring it with my muddied feet - we had crosses a river shortly before getting here.

    An elf who had been tending these ruins came to grief at the hands of trolls what came from the nearby hills. Another company of elfs had come to the ruins just before us and discovered the tragedy. They are asking our help to provision the place and to set to tending it. These elf treat their ruins like a forest garden what with the care given to them.

    We resolved to help some - then it will be off to Esteldin, if we can find it.

    So here is where I will be - the elf ruins of Meluinen - for a short while at least. Living among elfs. Can you believe it? Hedgerow Shrewburrow being asked to be of help to elfs?

    Well, until my next report. I remain,

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow

  20. #170
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry X ((Western North Downs, Meluinen))

    Arrived one day late in Trestlebridge and heard my friends had already left through the Nan Wathren. Also heard about a new defiler who poisons the water and of an orc leader who is responsible for those explosive crates. I tried to follow them, but it proved to be impossible for one dwarf alone. The orcs were still camped there, but it didn’t look as if they made a lot of progress since the last time we were here. When I walked over one of those rope-bridges, I was assaulted by two very strong orcs and had to leg it. Was a wild escape, was running for my life in fact. Made it back safely however and the Trestlespan still seems well defended. A bit disappointed about my failure to catch up with my friends I did a few things here and there. There were some missing woodcutters for example that I found and I brought them a cartwheel, so they could repair the wagon that was broken when they were attacked by a band of orcs.

    Continued a bit north to a camp (well a tent and a fire was more like it) where Mincham, a ranger, was watching over the Fields of Fornost. I didn’t go very deep into it, it was an evil and bleak place and got me a bit frightened all alone. Dead trees were everywhere, and a smoky haze and lots of burial mounds. Not unlike the Great Barrows, but the whole area seemed a lot bigger. As far as I know, here once stood the capital of Arthedain, a great human kingdom. And there was a big battle fought here, when Angmar attacked the kingdom and the city was sacked and laid waste by the forces of the Witch-King. Now it is just ruins, overgrown and crumbled for a thousand years by the forces of nature. Saw some ghosts floating around and wild beasts, not the bears one odd guy at Mincham’s camp was so afraid of.

    Mincham said the ghosts were warriors once, who deserted the city’s defenders during the battle and got cursed by the King Arvedui for this. To the north I could barely see the walls of Fornost, the old fortress which had fallen to the Witch-King. Found a girl near the camp, who was talking nonsense and singing a strange song about red flowers. When I approached her, she all of a sudden attacked me. I had to slap her a bit and then a ghost kind of left her and dashed off. She came to her senses and ran away in the direction of Trestlebridge. Hope she made it back safely, but that was weird.

    A bit further on there was another outlook, Amon Raith, with some refugees and a ranger taking care of them. He needed some meat, so I shot down a couple of boars for them. I also found another of those strange relic-stones (like the one in Oatbarton) at a small farm. The house had been burned down and this time a few humans had gathered around it. They too had no idea who placed it there and why, but one of them said he had found a very old, gem-encrusted helmet that made him feel uneasy and he had therefore sold it to a merchant over at Trestlebrigde. He was sure whoever burned down the house and placed the stone was looking for that helmet. Maybe I should go back to see this merchant to find out what could be behind these disturbing menhirs.

    Got word my group reached the other side of that canyon and I fortunately happened upon a well-used road, the Greenway, that bypassed Nan Wathren in the north. They had made it over the eastern pass to an elven homestead called Meluinen and that is where I caught up with them. They told of difficult battles they had and the half-orc in charge of the black powder was no more. Meluinen is a glade at the northern tip of a big lake that flows down into the Bree-land. The elves we met there had been on their way to a hidden ranger camp, Esteldin. There they were to tell the ranger-captain that the “Nine” (the black riders I assume) have crossed the river and “the enemy was on the move”. But when they arrived here in Meluinen they were waylaid and wanted us to deliver this message for them to Esteldin.

    The elf Lachenn (who had taken care of this glade) had been attacked and killed by Stone-trolls that have also vandalized this elven outpost and disturbed the natural order in the glade. Now they wanted to rebuild the place, and they were pressured between the orcs coming down from Nan Wathren and the trolls in Taur Gonwaith, a forest too close for comfort. We decided to help them a bit with different tasks and set out to do just that on a very wet and rainy day. The orcs had scattered barrels which held the elves’ provisions so we went up and hunted aurochs on a rolling grassy plain while the rain poured down on us. Hedge started a firecracker to let the elves know the deed was done. We were afraid that he only alarmed the orcs that had built a palisaded camp nearby. Camp was actually pretty deserted but there was another defiler there. Well, now he isn’t there anymore.

    We then went into the troll-forest. An upset elf had gone there rashly to exact revenge and didn’t come back, so we were looking for him. Didn’t know elves could be that emotional and irrational. He was still alive but captured and the trolls debated how to best cook him. We stepped in and then brought him out safely. Trolls were not much of a challenge, I had expected them to be tougher enemies. But we were five, Hedge, Brabbo, Andrig, Aearthor and me and we fought really well. During the elf’s escape eight trolls came rushing in on us, but they all fell to our axes (and lutes for that matter).

    Coming out of Taur Gonwaith as it stopped raining

    Still we were not done there. The elf had seen a troll-chieftain fumbling around with an ornament that had belonged to Lachenn and we went back to retrieve it when Willameena joined us. The troll-chief looked menacing with a crown of thornes and a huge club, but again dropped fast. Don’t know about these trolls, they are three times the size of a dwarf and must weigh more than two aurochs, but they are slow and vulnerable at the knees. Seriously, no match for us. On our way back we discovered a cave entrance and went inside. It turned out to be really huge, dark and full of trolls. Must be the place where they hide during the days.

    In one large cavern was a waterfall and behind that another passageway, which led to yet another big chamber, where we saw several hillmen walking around. We were not sure what they did there and why they were still alive. I mean, why didn’t the trolls eat them? As we had gotten quite lost in there by now, Hedge stepped forward and asked one of them for the way out, but he immediately attacked. So much for that… I am sure they were up to something evil. But it was getting late for supper, so we decided to leave and figure out what is going on here another day. We retraced our steps and found the exit, but as we left the cave we were ambushed by an army of angry, stomping trolls that didn’t seem happy that we had found and entered their hiding place. Again, we prevailed without too much anxiety. But on the way back a terrible mishap almost happened. Hedge tried to swim a short distance and almost drowned (he can’t swim), but Aearthor saved the day and rescued him.

    For the moment, we were done helping the elves here. It is now time to go and find that secret place called Esteldin and deliver the message to the rangers. Maybe they know something about Skorgrim too.
    Last edited by Craiden; Dec 01 2014 at 04:54 PM.

  21. #171

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Finding Esteldin

    To Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my pleasure to report on our success against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    We have reached Esteldin - the secret ranger camp in the middle of the North Downs. The Rangers here are surrounded by villainy on all sides. They fear that if the enemies get themselves organized, they will overrun the camp. Though, truth be told, the rangers' efforts to keep the camp secret and safe leaves much to be desired.

    We're actually up here on news that Skogrim - the dwarf that was buying up trolls captured in the Roshok Bog and stirred the goblins on the Greenfields to battle - was to raise an army in the north. Indeed, we saw an army in Nan Wathren, with siege weapons fit to breach the wall about Bree. But we haven't seen sign of Skogrim. I can't make sense of it. There is an army - or there are armies - but I have little information on who leads them overall. They came from Angmar, I know that.

    Still, there is villainy here what is too close to the Bounds for comfort. So, there's a need to make sure the Rangers here hold their ground. Towards that end, we have been conducting patrols out of the secret Ranger camp.

    We had a huge battle against the trolls near the elf ruins of Meluinen - at the north side of that great huge lake we visited a while back hunting turtles. Our battle was something of an accident, truth be told. The Chief of the Trolls had taken a trinket of great value to the elfs. Andrig, Erikin, Willameena and I went to do battle against them, as much as to weaken the trolls as to help the elfs. I would not consider the recovery of a trinket to be worth the battle but for the threat of a colony of trolls near the Shire.

    On our way back, we noticed some peculiar rock formations on a hill, crudely constructed to be certain, but constructed nonetheless. And guarded - a pair of trolls guarding the entranceway.

    Where there are guards, there is something worthy of guarding. Aearthor headed that way. Aearthor had come upon us late, catching up - following the signs of battle we had left among the trolls. When he saw the guarded and fortified troll hill, he went straight off.

    I grew concerned about continuing our battles against the trolls versus getting back to the comforts the elf had built for themselves. Hadn't we done enough harm to the trolls? But as Aearthor reached the guards, Erikin and Willameena returned to us and joined in.

    I had the misfortune of having Andrig the Mad Dwarf with us, who figured that no battle with a troll could be endured where battle could be had against a half dozen trolls. He charged in roaring and shouting, rousing the whole camp against us. I wonder if I should fear him more than Skogrim or Ivar the Bloodhand.

    Conquering the trolls, we found a cave entrance. And though we had been in battle most of the day, too many of us were curious as to what we would find in the cave. In spite of all we had endured, we entered the cave.

    What did we find?

    More trolls.

    Much more trolls. We found a vast underground village of trolls.

    We followed the meandering hallways to huge caverns. A waterfall made a massive undergrounds shallow lake with a floor of rock and sand.

    As we went forever onwards, Andrig speculated that the caverns might connect to the Ettenmoors themselves, and be the conduit that fed trolls into the North Downs.

    We found no end of the caverns, and no end of the trolls. We simply decided eventually on the need to turn back. But not before we found a peculiar oddity - men, of a civilization I had not seen before.

    Admittedly, our first hope was that they were a lost band of warriors much like ourselves needing help in finding a way out. But when we approached, they attacked us on sight. They were skilled battlers - but we had numbers on our side. We drove them off. That was the point at which we decided to find our own way back to the surface.

    Weary and anxious for home, we fell into our biggest battle of the expedition. Leaving the cave, we discovered that near to a dozen trolls had set an ambush for us.

    It was the only time we had worries the battle might turn against us. I tried to find a place clear of the others where I could see the rocks flying at me. The trolls would lob heavy boulders. Fortunately, the slow lob of a heavy rock gave me plenty of time to move aside. I was grateful that they never learned the option of picking smaller rocks and pitching them at speed.

    Well, we survived the battle. There were some bruising when it was all done, and Willameena's pet from the swamp took a blow that had it scampering for cover. But we were all whole when the last troll fell.

    We still needed to make our way back to the elfs.

    Ironically, though I survived the trolls, I near to came to my end in a river that flows through the region. The bank became steep, and I slipped and slid right into the water. I was screaming for help as my waterlogged robes started to pull me under. Then Aearthor was standing beside me. He didn't even need to swim. Standing on the river bottom, he pulled me out and got me to dry land.

    We reported our success to the elfs, who gave us a message to give to the Esteldin Rangers. They said that "The Nine" were about.

    I sure hope this is not another villain we need to worry about - our list of villains is long enough.

    Erikin made comments suggesting that he knew of these nine. I didn't ask for details, as I hope they well be of no bother for us.

    Since arriving at Esteldin, I have had a few patrols for the Rangers. Mad Andrig went out to attack a nest of spiders. The next day, he defend a nearby farm from Orc menaces. Both times, I traveled with him to offer what helps I could.

    Once, I traveled with Brabbo for a bit. Brabbo was taking a Ranger test of visiting a half dozen ruins and recording the engravings of the founding stone at each. I went with him as he sought two of the stones. In one case, the stone was in ruins that foul dwarfs made a home in - exactly the type of dwarfs that Skogrim may command. I never saw any sign of the pale dwarf, though, truth be told, I forgot to look.

    In looking for the other marker, we asked a ranger that Andrig and I had spoken to earlier if he could point us in the right direction. I will confess to some embarrassment when he turned us around and pointed to a small rise that Brabbo and I had scampered around moments before - and there it was right at the top.

    Brabbo went on, while I stayed with the Ranger for the night and returned to Esteldin. The roads are safe enough for me to travel alone, though I fear going off the paths any distance. Not without the company of somebody with a sword and thick armor.

    We will continue our hunt for Skogrim, and I will tell you of our progress.

    Bounder Recruit - still

    Hedgerow Shrewburrow

  22. #172

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - Erebor Stories

    Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    It is my honour to report of our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire.

    We are still here about Ost Guruth, making sure that the place is relatively secure - as secure as we can make it with Ivar the Bloodhand and his Red Maid trapped in the ruins of a nearby castle - before we head off to block Skogrim and his plans somewhere up north.

    Towards that end, we have been making patrols around these lands.

    I have taken part in a few patrols recently.

    With Brabbo, I went off into the swamp of Agamaur to, among other things, collect some mushrooms that Radagast wanted off of some tree stumps. I think he has a particular affinity for mushrooms, which I wholly understand, though these seem rotted from the corruptions.

    In addition, we were to look for corrupted plants and such and pluck them - much like weeding a garden. However, the weeds here are tree-size and most assuredly demanding that they not be plucked.

    This was one of the most haunting missions I have gone on.

    Shortly after entering the swamp, we saw a mysterious orange glow in the distance. It flickered like a fire, but it was very far away - a speck in the darkness. Brabbo, who is certainly one of the most bravest hobbits I have ever met, said that we should head that way. Our duties were, of course, to scout out the swamp.

    On the way, we became distracted a few times as we found and battled some of the corruptions in the forest swamp. After one of these distractions, we turned our attention back to the light, and it was gone. Dawn had come - this was likely part of the reason.

    Continuing on, we found the source of the light - a brazier that was still warm to the touch, but with no fire and no light. We saw no sign of who it was who might have come to put it out.

    This made us all the more worried as to what might be in the swamp, but we went on to take care of our duties. Or, at least it worried me. Nothing seems to frighten brave Brabbo. And let me be clear, Brabbo is nor like them dwarfs bristling weapons and layered in thick armour. He is no better equipped for battle than I am. It is by the force of his will rather than steel that he battles the corruptions.

    A part of the duty involved a corrupted master oak name of Grimbark - a deep reservoir of corruptions that was spreading its poison through the forest swamp. Driving away his corrupted spirit would be like turning off a faucet, through which corruptions flowed to everything nearby.

    Brabbo summoned his courage and challenged the corrupted old oak tree to battle and was able to drive the spirited corruptions out of it. The tree itself settled down in the ground and stayed there, like a tired old tree, swaying in the wind but giving no other movements.

    Then, it was time to go back to the stronghold and report.

    Only . . . on the way back . . . near where the light had been . . . there was a body. It had not been there before, but it was there now.

    Was it somebody who had followed us? Somebody who was spying on us? More importantly, what killed it?

    Being so near to where the light was, I refused to go near. But Brabbo ran up onto the ledge where the body was and took a look. He reported that the man was, indeed, dead. Then he came back.

    We were debating what we might do with the body. It was man-sized, and too big for two hobbits to carry. And we feared if we buried him in the corrupted swamp he would just unbury himself. That thought sent me to quivering.

    While we were debating the whys and wherefores, some of the corrupted forest came upon us and attacked. Brabbo summoned songs of purity and light. The corruptions struggled against it and tried to attack it at the source. Brabbo, however, did not waver until the corruptions fled and this part of the forest - for a while, at least - settled down to its peaceful former self.

    Immediately as the struggle ended, I noticed that the body we had been discussing was gone. Gone completely, as if it had never been there.

    We decided then and there that it was time to leave that area.

    We patrolled and scouted elsewheres. We even skirted the fortress that Ivar and the Red Maid had been forced to take refuge, battling the pickets they had set out to warn of assault. We left them wondering where those pickets might have gone, and returned ourselves to the new Eglain stronghold to report.

    Surprisingly, the Eglain - or, more precisely, the spirit aligned with them - gave us a request to attack the fortress itself. The task seems foolhearty. Even if we try, it will not be with less than a full muster. Even then, I question our chances. It is something for us to discuss. The merit to it is that it will weaken the enemy further and leave the area more secure. The folly, of course, is that this seems a particularly well defended stronghold for the few of us.

    I will report what we decide when I can.

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Shrewburrow

  23. #173

    ((Club Eclair)) Alphred Troute - Hunting and Fishing at Esteldin


    Things seem to be going well here at Esteldin.

    Me and the other Eclairians have been battling back the villainy that has been infesting the area. We have made several assaults against a colony of trolls. We have raided an orc camp and cut back their numbers significantly. And we are helping a dwarf settlement stand up to the threat of a group of Dourhand dwarfs.

    I have been making near-daily patrols into the plains about the Ranger camp, hunting spiders and wargs and, occasionally, battling a band of orcs. The Rangers here have me bring back signs of my successful hunts - broken spears, warg pelts, and bits off of the spiders that I hunt. The pieces I bring back, I think, are earning me a greater reputation among the Esteldin Rangers. I think they are surprised to see a hobbit become some an accomplished hunter.

    Things were quite enough a couple of days ago that I took a day off of patrolling and went fishing instead. In the time I spent at the lake, I brought in 11 troutes and 52 pounds of salmon. I brought them in to the Ranger camp to treat the rangers to something other than bear meat and turnips. There are plants about that can be used for spicing.

    I do remember when troutes and salmons could be found in the Shire - not too many years ago, until they all disappeared for some reason that I don't think anybody can explain. It might have been the first sign of corruptions touching the shire. These evils have been brewing for quite some time. Recall the stories of Mad Bilbo Baggins that you told me as a child. The corruptions were touching the land even while Bilbo was out and about with the dwarfs.

    And I am thinking that his madness might not have been so severe as that which some have charged him with. Though I have not seen a dragon.

    On the other matter, no, I haven't become a cook. I left the troutes and salmons with the Rangers to cook. And though the big folk do not fix things properly to a hobbit's standard - they have a strong preference for simple meats and taters and a few spices where convenient - it's worth eating.

    Unlike the dwarfs!

    There's a dwarf town near here, by the way. A sturdy looking place trying to find its footing after its people drove off some Dourhand dwarfs what were running the place. Their idea of cooking - put some meat on the fire long enough to warm it a bit. The only spice they know of is rock-salt; fitting enough, I would say. And ale. I guess few plants grow underground, and the dwarfs are not accustomed to anything other than meat red off of the bone, so far as I can tell.

    I'm not starving. I even get a taste of the Shire as Bounder Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed will often send packages to me - usually through Hedgerow. Hedgerow files regular reports with the Chief and, in return, the Chief sends him foods with instructions to share them about.

    Much of what the Chief sends can be eat cold - but is not at all lacking for taste. There's always bundles what can be dropped into hot water to make a nice soup. Even then . . . I think I am too impatient and pay too little attention to the details to make sure the food is cooked in just the right way. Still, it is filling and I am far from starving.

    As the lands around here get tamed and the Rangers here a bit more secure, there's a greater chance that I may be coming back to the Shire for a bit. When we left Oatbarton, we were confident that the hobbits were set back on track - but the Rangers here are concerned with the lack of news from the hobbit community. We may be looking for an opportunity to go back and see if there may be some tasks we have left undone.

    We have been fighting corruptions in land beyond the Bounds - in Bree-land, in the Lonely Lands, and in the North Downs. It would be upsetting to discover that some villainy has seeped into the Shire through another route - from the north through Evendim. It may be the case that we will need to visit the lands of Evendim and make sure the villains stay far enough away from those Bounds as well.

    Anyways, I look forward to a chance to see home again if, per chance, we do return to the Shire. And so soon since my last visit. Keep yourself and the girls safe and I hope to see you again soon.

    Bounder-Recruit Alphred Troute.

  24. #174
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry XI ((Esteldin, central North Downs, Othrikar))

    It was late the other night, we came back from the troll-caves early in the morning. When I woke up, it was raining again and my friends had already left. Aglardir said they didn’t want to wake me since I looked really exhausted and that they had left for Esteldin at noon. The elves gave me good directions, so I set out and found the hidden ranger refuge nestled in a hilly range in the central north-downs.

    I told Dagoras the message from the elves, that the Nine had been seen. He was concerned and said that that can only mean that the ring has been found. If the enemy has it, the world as we know it will be at an end. But he found a little consolation in the fact that if it were so, Aragorn, their chieftain, would have sent word. He was going to tell this bad news to his captain Halbarad. Hmm, everybody seems to know something about this ring, except me. Didn’t see any from my group there, guess they had set out to do some work for the rangers. I was assigned a tent in the central court, but didn’t get much sleep there as the rangers were making a lot of noise, training for battle or talking around the campfire.

    Them rangers were apparently preparing for a big battle that they feared is to come soon. A huge army of orcs came out from Angmar in the north and is assembling in Dol Dinen, a forested area behind and south of the hills. Heard it is even bigger than the one camped in Nan Wathren. The rangers were few and needed help. They had not heard anything about Skorgrim though, the undead dwarf that was sent north by the Witch-King, but this might be his army then… I met my friends at the skirmish camp outside of Esteldin the next day and together we left to do whatever we could for the rangers.

    There were wargs at the edges of Esteldin and we culled many of them for they might sniff out the whereabouts of the secret ranger place. Then there was a big spider nest a bit south where we found and destroyed the queen. On our way to an orc camp (a spearhead of their main forces in Dol Dinen with an orc chieftain) we found a farm which was beset with orcs. Didn’t know there were farms this far north. We could see groups of orcs setting fires to the haystacks, others hunkered over a slaughtered cow and still others watching the farmhouse from behind a low stone-wall. We chased them off, especially Willameena must have scared the snot out of them with her lightning. That was pretty impressive, seems like we have our very own wizard now in our ranks! Andrig however didn’t want to be too close to where she strikes with the “tin can” armour he wears, ha! The farmers had been warned by the rangers about the orc army and that the land cannot be defended, but they refused to leave their land. Well, if they want to stay, fine with me, but we might not be there if the orcs come back…

    While we collected herbs for a ranger apprentice named Orthonn we discovered an abandoned fortress where Dourhands had settled in. They attacked us on sight, it seemed as if they were hiding something in there. Hedge speculated it might even be Skorgim, but the whole place looked a bit small for his “big army”.

    We crossed over some large hills and came to Othrikar, a small outpost where friendly dwarfs were mining silver. They are actually from the Blue Mountains, and one of them I even knew, Hrathi! Was good to see him, I almost felt like home. He said they came here to prospect and kicked the Dourhands out, who had dwelled here like vandals before. Now it is a proper, tidy dwarfen town, the dwarfs already hard at work, forging and mining even in the early daybreak hours. But life for them is not easy, they are short on provisions, the mines close to depletion and the Dourhands have set up several camps nearby and are spying on them, probably waiting for a good moment to attack and retake their old home.

    A rainy day and the Wall of Angmar shrouded in clouds

    So I hunted bears and lynx for their meat and fluffy fur, shot down a lot of hawks (that the Dourhands had possibly tamed and that acted as spies for them now) and also encountered the odd Dourhand walking the hills and peeping around. Working for the rangers and dwarfs is nice and gives me a good feeling, but we are not progressing much with our actual assignment and Skorgrim might be far off now, plotting some evil plans and his army getting stronger. Hopefully we find some news of him soon.

    For now, I have pitched my tent in the back of Esteldin, which is just a short walk over the hills from Othrikar, close to a wall next to the crafting hall. Aah, it’s so nice and quiet there! I know Hedge and some others stay in the skirmish camp, but there are bears not really far away (sometimes they even come very close!) and those trainers and armor-smiths are also pretty noisy.
    Last edited by Craiden; Aug 19 2014 at 07:39 AM.

  25. #175

    ((Club Eclair)) Hedgerow Shrewburrow - I SAW A DRAGON!

    To: Meadowlarke Sweetweed
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station



    It is my honor to report on our progress against the villainy that threatens the Shire - and I saw a dragon!

    A bunch of us met up at the Esteldin skirmish training camp to take a day of rest and listen to one of them audience-participation Erebor stories - The Bells of Dale. While we were talking before the story, Erikin and Brabbo mentioned being on patrol north of Esteldin and seeing a real dragon walking on the field.

    I thought - would it not be great if I could return to the Shire telling everybody that I had seen a real dragon? I was thinking of being at the Bird and Baby and folk gathered around hearing me tell my tale - perhaps thinking me to be as mad as a Baggins. But what happened is I caught myself walking across the countryside with Andrig the Mad Dwarf, Aearthor, Willameena - and Erikin and Brabbo, of course – seeing if we could get a look at a dragon.

    That's when it came to me that I AM as mad as a Baggins. What foolishness to be looking for a creature what can sear the flesh right off your bones!

    I felt some relief when we got to the spot where Brabbo and Erikin had seen the dragon and there was no dragon. The gold deposits they had reported seeing were gone as well.

    "Well, bad luck for us," I said with a shrug as I turned to go back to Esteldin.

    I found myself alone. Everybody else was walking into the mountain pass, still hunting the dragon! The wilds were full of wargs and huge spiders and all sorts of beasts I did not want to meet alone . . . so I had no choice but to follow.

    That pass were filled with giant sallymanders at the first. I think the dragon keeps them as pets and guards. But I am afraid we slew a fair number.

    Willameena - she said that she had once rode through the pass on a horse. It must have been a very fast and very brave horse.

    Then we saw our first dragon. It came down the pass at us. I shouted at the others to hide and found refuge behind a big rock. Mad Andrig and the others stood their ground against the monster. When the battle broke out, it wasn't long until my companions were lost in a column of flame and smoke. I was wondering how I would get out of the mountains on my own with everybody else dead. From my hiding spot I shouted words of encouragement so long as I heard the sounds of my friends.

    But then the dragon toppled over. As the smoke cleared, I saw my friends, still standing, though singed.

    Truth be told, this was not a creature like in the stories Mad Baggins told. This dragon was not so big. And there were more of them. We found nearly a dozen in the mountain pass and slayed most of them. We got to calling them hobbit dragons or maybe dwarf dragons on account of their size - not real dragons

    But then Erikin told us to look up. Gad, flying overhead is was what must have been a real dragon. It was huge! Nearly blotting the sun!

    I had no interest in being eaten by a dragon so I argued for our prompt departure, I tell you. It took some persuading, but I got everybody herded out and back to civilization.

    Even with that excitement left behind, it seemed our work was not done yet. A few of us had heard that the dwarfs at Othrikar were wanting somebody to attack a dourdwarf stronghold and come out with the battle plans the dourdwarfs were forming. I thought Skogrim himself might be in that stronghold. We were told that he was to come north and form an army. And he is something like the king of the dourdwarfs. So he should have been there.

    Well, if Skogrim was there we could have expected a dangerous compliment of the best soldiers protecting him. But we did not find them. These were just regular dourdwarfs. Andrig and Erikin lead the charge against them. All the while, I walked about searching tents and wagons for signs of these battle plans.

    Yet, it was Erikin who found them. Leave it to dwarf to recognize dwarf writings. But we did not find Skogrim, or even evidence that these dourdwarfs served him. They seemed to be no more than a local band of brigands. This leaves us still to wonder where Skogrim ran off to.

    We bundled up our findings and we were promptly back at Othrikar reporting our success and leaving them with the battle plans. We were done with our chores for the day.

    Tomorrow, perhaps, will be our day of rest as we settle down to listen to a telling of The Bells of Dale.

    Meanwhile, some are talking about a return to Oatbarton. The Rangers here say we should have gotten word about the Oatbarton festival by now. We remember the horrid green stone of corruption and fear we had seen in the pipeweed field at Oatbarton, and fear that it might have summoned some sort of corruption. So we are talking about heading back and checking out the North Farthing for signs of villainy.

    I’ll be stopping by at Addernotch and at Michel Delving along the way, I am certain.

    In the mean time, I remain:

    Bounder Recruit Hedgerow Sweetweed

    Things I Like About Club Éclair:

    (1) I like having people around at my own level so that when I go to do group content I am not following in the shadow of a character with 20 more levels than me.

    (2) I like the companionship of playing a character with other characters who treat each other like occupants of Middle Earth.

    (3) I like being "in the world". I like being Hedgerow Shrewburrow - afraid to be too close to nasty beasts, and the hunting as the lone warden Alphred Trout. I enjoy writing Alphred's letters home and Hedgerow's Bounder reports.

    (4) I like getting "kinship" level reputation when I am still low enough in my levels that the equipment is still useful.

    (5) I like learning my skills - actually knowing what they are and getting a chance to use them before the next skill comes along.
    Last edited by Tiempko; Mar 02 2014 at 11:02 AM.


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