To: Daffodilia Wildfeet
Chief, Bounders of the Shire, Addernotch Station.


I’m writing just to let you know that I am safe. We are having a relaxing time at the Twenty-First Hall here in Moria training up for our missions into the deepest darks of Moria.

I had a wonderful idea recently for figuring out how difficult things may be when we get into them deeper realms. Thorfaniel, Galdhron, Wandrin, and I were sitting about in front of the fire in the Chamber of Leadership eatery when it came to me. I was recalling our battles in the Great Barrow against Sambrog and his minions and I got to thinking . . . let’s set up a training session what looked like the Great Barrow battles and set them up to be about as difficult as we expected the Grand Stairs to be. We did have some information from the dwarfs what would allow us to make some reasonable assumptions. So, we did so.

Now, we figured that with two lore master elfs and two morale-boosting minstrels it wouldn’t be a full and fair test. So, I went and got Alphred out of his bed to be the lead battler and set myself up to watch as they went through the battles to get an expectation of what things might be against the Orcs.

There was some challenge to it, but I am thinking that four folks can get by on the Grand Stairs. There was some serious battling done . . . but the four of them were able to fight their way through without too much risk, and nobody got defeated in the battles. Though a bit of carelessness could cause things to turn poorly.

The next day, Alphred went out on another training session with Brodhi, Bohalin, Fraori, Medloth, and Granleif. The four of them battled through a training session built like the hall of drakes we found at Helegrod. And though that battle was thought to require 12 folks, there was only 6 of them on the training exercise. But they were able to get their way through.

It turned out that many of the folks weren’t too familiar with fellowship maneuvers, so it became a long training session about how a group of folks can coordinate their attacks in a way that made them stronger and their enemies weaker. It began with instructions on how such maneuvers worked, and then practice. It was a good day of training and practicing, from what I hear. I was going over my notes and books and preparing for our battles, so I only got to hear about their trainings.

Me, Sagla, Galdhron, Roy, Bohunc, Erikin, and Zubrette . . . and later Thorfaniel . . . went over stories of battles what were taking place in Eregion since we left. We had hoped to get some ideas of what the villains were up to and also give some consideration to possible attacks we can use. There was drake hunting, of course, though that is rather typical. But there was also a battle where some villains came upon a camp what the elfs were using as a type of hospital for collecting their injured. The place were undersiege and the challenge was to go and lift the siege. Fortunately, these were just training exercises, as things turned against us right quick. We couldn’t figure out where the ballistae were and, all the while, the villains were attacking the elfs and battling their way back to the wounded. Since it was just training, when things went poorly we were able to set up the training session and try again. Eventually, we got it and figured out how to attack the villains.

Then there was a training session what involved sneaking into an enemy camp and destroying it. We got into the camp easily enough but, so far, in our trainings, we haven’t figured out a tactic what would allow us to get the camp destroyed before the villains all get organized enough to stop us. Alphred, Thorfaniel, and Galdhron did their best and quite nearly got it one time, but there’s been no success yet so far as I have heard.

Meanwhile, Erikin and I went out and practiced defending a place from waves and attackers.

None of the new folk showed up at the training sessions this week, so I got worries they may have decided to try things on their own. We’ll see. We have one more week of trainings – then it is off to the Grand Stairs.

What I know of these Grand Stairs is that this is a place what connects the upper parts of Moria where we are with the deepest darks of Moria. It’s a whole conglomeration of stairs going up and down. Now, we call these the “deeps” of Moria . . . well, that’s what I call it, since I don’t speak dwarf . . . but it’s not actually any deeper in terms of going down. Though it is pretty far down. Some of these places are just off to the side. Moria, after all, is built under three whole mountains so there’s room for quite a bit of stuff.

Anyways, a little bit more practicing and we will be on our way. I’ll let you know what we find.

Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow

We have one more week of practicing and getting folks trained up and ready to go to the Grand Stairs. Most of us are trained up fully (to Level 55). There’s four or six more who still have a bit to go. It is looking like we will be in good shape by March 30.

As mentioned above, four of us set up The Maze instance for 4 people, level = 58, just to get an idea of what the Grand Stairs will be like (since it is also Level 58). It looks like 4 people can handle things.

Something to note, however, the Grand Stairs are Level 58 (or 56, depending on who you ask). The Forges are Level 59. The rest are Level 60 . . . so I am still curious about how we will do in an instance set to Level 60. We can do some more testing in the week ahead.

Oh, and some folks have expressed an interest in siege trainings (to get promotion points and class trait points). Iffen you have an interest, just let it be known.

On March 30 (Saturday group) and April 1 (Monday group), the mustering will be at the campsite just outside the entrance to the Grand Stairs. You should pick up the quests at Orc-Watch before the session - still 11 to 13 days away. Of course, iffen I know Hedgerow and Alphred, they’ll find some time to walk there – perhaps taking the route through Dolven View, into the Silvertine Lodes, and through the Way of the Smiths. Or down Zelem-Melek. Either way, they will get their talk to the dwarfs at Orc-Watch, and reach the campsite before the mustering.