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  1. #76
    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.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume II - we will be spending 2019 working our way through the Moria Instances (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria

  2. #77

    ((Club Eclair)) The End of Training


    I am about to leave the 21st Hall for the Grand Stairs.

    We have been putting in a whole great deal of training as of late. This 21st is a huge place. We set up . . . using our imaginations as well as some materials the orcs have laying about . . . a lair that looked much like the Great Barrow. We have no familiarity with these Grand Stairs, but many of us do remember the battling that we did in the Great Barrow. The dwarfs here looked over our handiwork and promised to model our adventures to be as difficult as we can expect in the deep darks of Moria.

    We have given ourselves reason for a big boost in confidence. Even though there was few of us, we were able to survive the dangers that the dwarf trainers set up for us, meaning that we can full expect to be able to win the battles in the Grand Stairs, even if we divide our numbers into two partial squads. I went on one training mission with Roy, Wandrin, Galdhron, and Thorfaniel. As is usual, I was put in front for dealing with the foes toe to toe, as I am agile and difficult to hit and the others can use their wizardry on the villains while I keep those villains distracted. There were certainly some long drawn-out battles, but we kept our feet throughout.

    Roy also went out on some training exercises with Medloth, Thorcundo, and Hedgerow. With the smaller number, this was even more of a test . . . particularly with Hedgerow along, as he should have stayed in the Shire where I am certain he was an excellent clerk. But they were able to keep to their feet as well. And they were able to practice their fellowship maneuvers. These are complex maneuvers what, if a group can pull off the maneuver successfully, the folks can get a significant advantage over the enemy. I had heard that the three of them were successful more often than not.

    I think we are truly ready to confront the villains waiting for us in the Grand Stairs.

    This complex of stairs, from what the dwarfs tell us, is quite large with stairs leading off in all different directions, up and down and sidewise, heading off to the distant parts of the Moria complexes. We will likely split ourselves into smaller groups so as not to get in each other's way . . . a huge army is more of a bother than a help in tight spaces when trying to advance along narrow passageways. That is why it is good to have learned that we can likely take on the orcs with only four folks . . . it gives us a lot more options for splitting up into several patrols.

    Our first missions will just be patrols so that we can become familiar with the place and an understanding of the villainy we will find there. We'll push in slowly, clearing out the orcs and such as we encounter them, hopefully avoiding any particularly bothersome counter attack. But we will be cautious enough to leave ourselves a safe line of retreat in case we encounter any serious resistance.

    After we become familiar with the terrain and the way the orcs function, we may come up with some more difficult plan what can do the most damage before we move on. The dwarfs have informed us that they have no intention of moving into the Grand Stairs. They simply want the orcs there weakened so that they can not be a threat as the dwarfs work to reclaim the areas that are already settled.

    Really, there is not much more news to report than that. The next time you hear from me will be after I have made my first patrol of the Grand Stairs. Then, I may just have something interesting to tell you about.

    Until then,

    Alphred Troute

    Several of us spent the weekend going through the Great Barrow scalable instances set at level 60 - to match the level of the Moria instances we are about to enter. I think we are going to do fine, even with groups of four Level 55 folks. If, for example, 8 people show up, then two groups of 4 should be quite doable.

    For new folks, our first visits to an instance are something of a "dungeon crawl". We go slowly so as to learn how to deal with the villain inside. Also, recall that this is roleplaying. This means we tend to shun exploits and such that cannot be expressed in IC terms. For example, one tactic to use on the Grand Stairs for the challenge involves sending a character ahead on a suicide run. We will not be doing that. We will push our way through and meet whatever challenges we confront along the way.

    After a couple of weeks visiting in quest mode, we will try the challenge. Indeed, given our completionist nature, we will not leave the Grand Stairs until we have gotten everybody through the challenge at least once. When we are done, we will pack up our stuff and wander over to the Flaming Deeps for the Forges of Khazad-Dum. There, we will do the same thing . . . enter for the sake of exploring and mapping for a couple of weeks to get people familiar with the villains and how they defend themselves. Once people are familiar with the place we will organize for the Challenge. Then Fil Gashan.

    Then we will wander west into the Water Works. We will go on some turtle hunts (aka the Filikul raid). Filikul drops first-age items as well as coins that folks can use to purchase first-age items. We will hunt enough turtles to get people what they want.

    Then we will wander further west into the Vile Maw to battle the Watcher. This instance requires a careful dance. There is a significant challenge in getting folks to perform all of the right steps at the right time to gain a victory. It may involve several defeats, and we just may well decide to leave the Watcher alone for a bit and come back at Level 60.

    Then we will return to the 21st Hall. We will take up the Epic Story where we left off as well as the quests for Nud-Melek, and begin working our way out of Moria into into Lothlorien.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume II - we will be spending 2019 working our way through the Moria Instances (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria

  3. #78

    ((Club Eclairs II)) Sweeping the Stairs

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


    We have entered the Grand Stairs to battle the orcs there.

    These orcs are definitely fiercerer then those what have been forced up into the higher places in Moria that the dwarfs of reclaiming. Them orcs that have been forced out are weak and offer little in the way of threat and danger. The orcs in the Grand Stairs and, one may guess, the other places in the Deep Darks of Moria are much, much stronger.

    We are entering into a place with five armies. There is an army of trolls, an army of fire orcs like what we met in the Flaming Deeps, an army of warg riders, an army of White Hand orcs, and an army of Moria orcs. The White Hand orcs and warg riders came from outside – from an army being built by a villainous wizard. The Fire and Moria orcs and the Trolls are natives of the deep dark of Moria.

    Now, these orcs do not get along very well. Indeed, we saw some battling between the Moria orcs and the White Hand orcs while we were patrolling the Grand Stairs. It don’t bother us that they are busy battling each other.

    Each of them has a lieutenant of sorts what is leading them that we have been trying to reach. However, they have been escaping our grasp. In four separate patrols we have made of separate parts of the Grand Stairs, we have heard stories of Nardur and The Devoted both just ahead of us, but we have been unable to find and defeat them. Thus, they continue to form and organize their armies, even as we clear the stairs of smaller squads and lesser leaders.

    I am afraid that what it is going to take for us is to find out where they are at and rush them so as to reach at least one of them before they have a chance to escape. I do so hate rushing. There’s a tendency to rush into something what turns out to be a lot worse than what it is one was expecting to rush into. And then one ends up getting eaten. I resolved myself not to get eaten iffen I can help it.

    However, in this case, I am seeing no other way so as to find and destroy Nardur and The Devoted. We will have to rush in and get to them – through all of the villainy that they might put up between us and them. A good thing about our patrols so far, though, is that I am getting good maps of the stairs. I think I have a route plotted for us. When we go on our next patrol, I want to scout out this route and make sure that everybody knows it so that, when we make the grand charge, everybody knows where to go.

    So far, we have had four patrols of the Grand Stairs. I have been on two of them. The first patrol was the easiest as we had the largest crew. Sagla, Roy, Phad, Galdhron, Thorfaniel and me all went into battle. Phad just came to us from a long time away. I am thinking that he has been a long time away from the fight. Galdhron spoke with him and is helping him get back into fighting trim. Galdhron is good friends with the bearfolk Medloth, and so she knows something about how Bearfolk do battle. It seems as there was an issue respecting armours that Phad needed to catch up on.

    Medloth herself came with us on the second, third, and . . . eventually . . . fourth patrol. The second patrol was just me, Roy, Medloth, and Thorfaniel. The four of us did not actually have much trouble standing up to the orcs. Oh, it was heavy fighting and there were some near things, but we ended up all of our battles on our feet and the orcs did not.

    The same can’t be said for Killiell, Alphred, Wandrin, and Bohalin. That group did well enough . . . until . . . from the stories I hear tell . . . Alphred were foolish enough to get himself swamped by two squads of orcs at once. They drove the group into a full retreat – all of the way back to the entrance of the cave where they had to start over. This weren’t their last retreat either. Eventually, they called in reinforcements. Medloth and . . . some elf minstrel what travels with us with a really long elvish name I can’t full remember right off . . . rushed off to aid them in their final battle.

    All things totaled, though, we are winning our battles. We have a few more patrols ahead of us and then we will try to charge in and get to Nardur before he can escape again. That is our goal.

    That’s all I have to report this week. The next time I write to you, I hope to tell you that Nardur has been defeated and we are making our plans to move on to the next battlegrounds. I hear it will be some deep forges the orcs have taken over off in the Flaming Deeps.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow

    Hedgerow thinks he has a plan to reach Nardur and get him slayed. It involves rushing in and rushing to Nardur’s Station before he has a chance to escape again.

    On the next adventure, he will show folks the route that is planned. It involves (1) slaying the drawbridge guard, (2) charging down the stairs to the right past two wargs, two goblin stalkers, and two more wargs, (3) ignore the orcs on the left – they do not care about our business, (4) turn right down the stairs, (6) battle the wargs at the bottom of the stairs, (5) turn right and cross the bridge, (6) battle the warg pack on the far side of the bridge, then (7) climb the steps and battle Nardur. All within 10 minutes.

    So . . . always go right. Slay villains as fast as you can and move on.

    But . . . on our next patrols . . . we will walk the course so that everybody is familiar with it. Nardur will escape, but he will escape for the last time. After our rehearsal, we can wander about and slay the rest of the villainy - and prepare for a genuine assault on the next adventure.

    Folks who have not done so should pick up the quests. First, talk to Narfi at the Twenty-First Hall to pick up the initial quest. Take that quest to Orc Watch, turn it in, then talk to the other dwarfs about what needs to be done in the Grand Stairs.
    Last edited by Tiempko; Apr 03 2019 at 02:04 PM.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume II - we will be spending 2019 working our way through the Moria Instances (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria

  4. #79

    ((Club Eclair)) Practicing the Nardur Run


    It seems that we are about ready to make our attempt to find and slay the orc leader Nardur.

    Nardur is one of the main leaders of the orcs of the Grand Stairs but, so far, we have been unable to engage him in battle. When the word goes out that we are in the area, he usually packs up and leaves with his guards – and is gone from his station by the time we get there.

    But, we have a plan.

    We are going to rush in and get to his station in such speed as he will not be given time to escape.

    I have plotted a fast route to his station. Now, we simply await word from the dwarfs that he is at the station. Then, we will make our assault.

    I have been teaching the route to others so that we will be ready when the opportunity comes. A couple of days ago, I went to the Grand Stairs with Galdhron and Thorcundo and I showed them the way to get to Nardur’s Station. Then Bohunc, Roy, and Erikin joined us and they got to know the route. Yesterday, Roy and I took Medloth and Thorfaniel on the route. The four of us yesterday were simply learning the course we would have to travel and, truth be told, we nearly made it to Nardur’s station before he escaped. We were at the bottom of the stairs leading up to his station when we heard the noises of him gathering up his guards and leaving. I am certain that a squad of us can reach him and get him slayed.

    Though I am a bit worried about confronting Nardur and all of his guards. Just because we can reach him does not mean that we can defeat him with all of the help he has nearby.

    After defeating Nardur, then the dwarfs think we should pull off another trick. They think we should go to Igash – the overall leader of the orcs – and demonstrate the weakness of the orcs by engaging Igash in single combat. That is to say, defeat him without defeating any of his minions, so that they can spread word of our strength far and wide among the orcs in the deep dark of Moria.

    I suppose the dwarfs know the orcs in Moria better than a mere hobbit so, iffen they think that this will help, then we should give it a try. There’s a part of me that thinks that the dwarfs simply dream these things up so that they can prove their bravery and skill in combat to themselves and it has no effect on the orcs at all. Still, I am not fit to question their wisdom in such matters. So, as the dwarfs request, after slaying Nardur, we will go and confront Igash and prove that we can slay him without slaying any other.

    I will let you know how it goes.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow

    Things are progressing well at the Grand Stairs.

    On a Sunday patrol (some of us have been meeting Sundays at 10:00 am), four of us (Hedgerow, Roy, Thorfaniel, Medloth) went on a walk-through for the Nardur assault route. Even without trying we reached the bottom of the steps before Nardur made his escape. So, this should be doable.

    With this, and with the slayer deeds progressing, we should be ready to move on from the Grand Stairs in a couple of weeks.

    (Note: In spite of repeated visits, neither Alphred nor Hedgerow has yet found the Drums and Beasts letter. It is a random drop from a mob. Is anybody else having trouble with these?)

    Also, note, some folks are wanting to gather Wednesday at 7:30 PM for siege trainings (epic battles) to earn Promotion Points, new jewelry, and marks and medallions.
    Last edited by Tiempko; Apr 15 2019 at 11:16 AM.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume II - we will be spending 2019 working our way through the Moria Instances (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria

  5. #80

    I am here at the Grand Stairs in Moria.

    They truly are grand, though they show the dwarf’s disdain for anything what might be called railings to prevent folks from falling into the deepest darks of Moria. These mountains are much like an egg what has had all of the insides sucked out of them and then folks built a city inside of it. This whole mountain is hollow. Actually, three mountains, side by side, what with tunnels and such connecting the bottoms of them.

    The Grand Stairs we are patrolling is what connects the upper parts of one mountain – which is where the dwarfs have established their foothold – with the lower parts and the parts of the other mountains that sit nearby.

    Our first patrols were a bit rough and difficult, but we are thinking that the villainy is being forced to draw upon weaker reserves as we have defeated their initial soldiers and things are getting much easier. Just yesterday I went in with Thorcundo, Galdhron, and Roy for a patrol that went off without a difficulty. We have figured out how to defeat their captains – who command some type of shadow what greatly demoralizes us when he calls it down upon us. But we have ways of resisting this darkness what we are learning the importance of using.

    Many of their more powerful leaders seem quite cowardly and will run off iffen we can’t get to them fast enough. Sagla went out with Erikin, Thorcundo, Galdhron, Hedgerow, and Wandrin a couple of days ago on a plan to slay one of their lieutenants. They worked out a map and a course to follow with the hopes they could carve their way to through the soldiers and get to the Lieutenant before he could round up his soldiers and make good on his escape. They made it, and one of the lieutenants are slayed. This is an advantage, as orcs are so prone to battling among each other that without a leader over them to command respect they are not so much of a danger to anybody but themselves.

    The dwarf spies tell us of finding a couple more leaders and is sending out word to muster a couple of squads to go after them. I’m sitting here waiting to see who answers the mustering call. Iffen at least eight show up, we may be able to go after both lieutenants at once, slaying them before they get a chance to warn each other and make good their escapes.

    After that, there’ll just be a few patrols while we clean the villainy that remains out of the deepest and darkest corners. We are already being pestered to go to another battleground against the orcs in the deep dark of Moria – a place they call the Forges of Khazad Dum. Which is an odd name, truth be told, as there are forges everywhere here and, indeed, some – such as the forges in the Way of the Smiths – what are far more grander than anything else I expect to see here. But that is the name the dwarfs have given to this place.

    There’s a bunch of orcs discussing battle plans at the Flaming Deeps outposts – what has a name I cannot even pronounce, let alone spell – who has talked to a few of our Eclairians as they passed through the outpost. They were given all sorts of instructions about what was needed in these Forges, which seem to be full up with goblins, orcs, and trolls.

    But, as you always told me when I was a lad . . . don’t go leaving one job half-done to get another job half-begun. We’ll finish sweeping these stairs, then we will move on.

    Alphred Troute

    We will be spending the next couple of weeks finishing up the Grand Stairs.

    Monday, we will be going after Nardur. After that, I’ll be asking folks what they still need to get done . . . slayer deeds, slaying Nardur, slaying the Devoted, completing the challenge . . . and we’ll focus on whatever will help folks complete what they need to complete.

    Then we will pack things up and move to the Forges and do the same thing . . . battling the orcs there until folks are done. Then, move on to Fil Gashan.

    After Fil Gashan, we will return to the Epic Story line (Volume II, Book 3) and landscape questing (Nud-melek). It appears that both of these will get us out the eastern gate of Khazad Dum quite rapidly.

    Evidence suggests that Standing Stone has upped the difficulty for the Watcher and the Turtle so that level 60 groups on the legendary servers are having some difficulty with it. Not too much difficulty, but enough to suggest that it may be outside of our abilities at Level 55. We may give it a shot anyway. I am always up for a challenge, and I wouldn't mind harvesting enough coins to be able to pick up a First Age LI or two. Since a successful turtle hunt is a relatively quick battle, if we can have a successful turtle hunt we may simply close out our sessions by spending 10 minutes hunting a turtle, once we can do so.
    Last edited by Tiempko; Apr 15 2019 at 02:09 PM.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume II - we will be spending 2019 working our way through the Moria Instances (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria

  6. #81
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Erikin, Diary Entry 117 ((Zelem-melek and a friend killed))

    Dear diary,

    It's been a while, but we haven't been idle. We are still in Moria, in fact we are assaulting the more dangerous strongholds of the orcs within Khazad-dûm and have reclaimed the big crossroads of the Grand Stairs. But let me start where I left off.

    So, after the Water-works we went back to Brogur in the Twenty-first Hall and reported that we had discovered the lair where that malicious tentacle creature from the pool is now hiding. We were told to wait with our attempt to kill it a bit and stayed a couple of days in the big hall. Made friends with a dwarf named Reinn, a nice, reasonable elderly fellow with white hair and a white beard and I had hopes that he may join our group. I don't know what exactly his position in the Twenty-first Hall was, it seemed as if he was an assistant to a dwarf named Mögr, who himself was the foreman of the guards. But for an assistant he surely had his own thoughts about how the operation should be handled, always warning the easygoing Mögr to be more careful, that there are problems that shouldn't be ignored, like orc-arrows lying about nearby or large rocks falling down from the ceiling and leaving big craters on the ground.

    But Mögr wouldn't listen, saying he ruins his troops' morale and maybe he was also annoyed by Reinn's constant nagging. So he sent him out to go and explore the halls himself. We accompanied him and I even told him when we left that he wouldn't have anything to worry about, as he is with us. He greatly enjoyed seeing the wonderful Halls of Durin. Turned out we found a merchant named Domarr on his way to the Redhorn-lodes and he warned us about a larger orc camp nearby. Says the place was far from safe. He even showed us where the camp is and as we were hiding beneath some stairs below the camp, Reinn made off, saying he knew there were troubles and he will report back to Mögr.

    As the halls had been pretty safe except the odd weak goblin here and there, none of us thought much of it or stopped him, or went with him. Instead we mustered and cleaned out the orc camp and when we got back to the Twenty-first Hall, Reinn wasn't there. I started to worry and we put together a search party, and after some looking around we found him, lying in a hallway with his face down on the cold stone. It was a terrible sight which shook me right to my marrow. He was dead, murdered by an orc.

    We found his killer and slew him, but revenge didn't feel sweet at all. I was devasted and blamed myself for this happening. We, or some of us, should have kept him company or stopped him from running away all on his own. We told him he would be safe with us, and now he is dead. A fine dwarf he was. Mögr was really devastated and shaken too. His head and shoulders sagging, he blamed himself just as I did blame myself, for sending him away. He promised to never let his guard down again, but it was just a small consolation. When I told the others how I felt about the whole thing, Sagla was pretty cold about it, or logical as she always is, saying we cannot take care of everything and everyone and dwarves should know how to handle themselves.

    Well, there was nothing more to do about it and we were sent to assist the dwarves in Orc-watch, an outpost way down near the Redhorn Lodes. It was a rather long trip, down winding corridors and flights after flights of stairs, and along a wide underground tunnel, and when we finally got there, it felt as if we had reached the deepest parts of Moria. On the way we were on a war path, I had to think of Reinn all the time. We found many more orc camps. They seemed to be everywhere. We cleaned out all those we found pretty thoroughly, burning their tents, destroying barricades, provisions and totems.

    In one well-hidden camp, tucked away in some remote corner, we stumbled upon a large Uruk, an emissary from the White Hand, negotiating with the Moria orcs there to join him and his crew. We destroyed them all. We found a large supply camp complete with a kitchen, an open mess hall with crude dining tables, ovens, sleeping quarters with bunk beds and all. They held a couple of dwarves prisoner and it was rumored that they were going to eat them. We freed them and they were extremely relieved and thankful, dashing off immediately towards the Twenty-first Hall. I hope they got there safely. Still a bit further down was a forge, where they made weapons and armor and we made sure they cannot do that anymore.

    One of the camps was particularly worrisome. Several orc-defilers were brewing up some kind of poison. They even had a steaming, smelly pool filled with a viscious goo. And from the looks of it, they tested the poison on their own kind, for there were many dead orcs that had suffered a gruesome death. Most of them they had piled up and burned in a back room, maybe out of fear to get infected themselves. We also made sure to clean that place out thoroughly and destroyed all the defilers and their ovens. What an evil place that was, but it shouldn't be a threat to the expedition any longer. We were all happy when we were done, had left and could breathe fresh air again.

    Then we got lost in these unending halls and it felt like we had wandered about for hours. Hedge studied his maps and scratched his head. He didn't know either. But he was certain that the Orc-watch couldn't be far off, so we kept going. We followed another hallway to the east, got into another large room and found a set of traps. We determined they had been set up by dwarves and carefully made our way around them. And then we found the dwarves, in a well-fortified post with barricades made of iron and thick wooden spikes to defend against any assault. Looking down, we saw the dusty, yellowish haze of the vast cavern which is the Redhorn Lodes. We were clearly very deep down in Moria now.

    I will write about our adventures there next time.


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