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  1. #176
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 136 ((The City of the Elves))

    Dear diary,

    After we went up the hills a few more times, and patrolled the outer parts again, we finally made for Caras Galadhon, the fabled city of the Elves.

    We packed our horses while it was still dark, and when we were done, Hedge studied his maps and said if we stick to the road we should not have any troubles. And then he commanded: "ECLAIRIANS, MARCH!" Ha, as if he was a captain! But I must say, he has turned into quite a leader. It was a pretty long march and we arrived in the wee hours. In the bluish light of early dawn, we could make out a wide, dry moat, and behind it, a steep rockwall topped by a large, impenetrable hedge. And beyond the hedge stood the tallest trees you'd ever see, with white bark, so wide that ten dwarves would not be able to embrace one. And in these trees we saw the houses of the elves, a dim blue light shining from within through richly ornamented windows. It was quite the sight!



    We arrived at a bridge crossing the moat, and across that met an elven warrior, all clad in black, wearing a mask and a hood, guarding the gate. Hedge showed him some paperwork that I have no idea what it was about, probably some letter of recommendation from Haldir. And Galdhron told him we were here on official duty, to report our progress to Lord Celeborn. The guard smiled as if he knew and said since we have earned the trust of the elves we were allowed to enter.

    There were paths and walkways, and statues and some smaller pavillons on the ground, and a beautiful fountain with a big swan figure. But what makes this city special is that everything else is built high up in the trees - their houses, shops, vaults, even their forges. Some trees you can climb by means of a ladder, others by running up a flat staircase winding in circles around the trees' boles. And some of the platforms in the trees were connected by wooden walkways, allowing you to cross from one tree to another high above the ground.



    A lot of ropes hang from the trees or are spanned from one platform to another below, fashioned with thousands of small orbs which glow with a soft light at night, bathing the city of the elves in a warm, blue light. We were told to check in at one of he trees, Talan Galadhrim, and after we had climbed to the top of it, gazed around in awe and wonder. It was all most impressive, and beautiful I must say. Not as beautiful as Khazad-dûm, but impressive nonetheless. To each his own I guess! It felt serene and lofty and ... a bit creepy maybe. As if the dangers of the real world outside do not exist. We settled in here for a quiet few days, marvelling with open mouths at the sheer beauty of the place.



    There was not that much to do, other than carrying around some crates to help the elves with their preparations to cross the river into Mirkwood and bring the war to the orcs or whatever other creatures may lurk there, in the shadows, ready to attack the Golden Wood. So the more we help them, the sooner they'll get going, and the sooner we can attempt to rescue Bori. But it apparently takes a lot of time, the elves are either very slow (or lazy), or extremely meticulous. I cannot say which. So there was enough time in between the crate-carrying to wander around and help them with some smaller things here and there.

    I brought water to thirsty elves and lembas to their guards, and even flowers hither and thither. Yes, flowers, to make them happy. And Lembas is their "bread", which is more like a cookie. I took a small bite, but was not too fond about it. Besides, I don't think the elves would be very happy if I'd eat too much of their precious lembas. Then there was this elven girl who had written a letter to a guy, I think a love letter, when a sudden gust of wind blew some of the pages away. I wonder why she didn't look for them herself if she was so concerned that someone might find and read them, and if they really contained delicate, private matters. At least that was what she claimed. Well, I fetched some of the pages for her, not sure if I got all of them. It was tempting to read them to be honest... Did I? No! Of course not! Nobody should read other people's love letters, or diaries, right?

    I also met Aragorn and Pippin. The hobbit was sleeping in one of the tents. Oddly enough his eyes were open. Only saw him that one time, never got to speak with him. A shrew had snatched his pouch of pipe-weed. That is unheard of! I went on a wild shrew hunt and finally found the pouch on a rock in a small pond where the shrew had used the pipe-weed to build a nest. Didn't want to destroy the nest, but retrieved the pouch at least and whatever pipe-weed was left in it. Hope he doesn't notice that some of the weed is missing, and if he does, well... we have bigger problems to solve.

    Aragorn was very quiet, didn't say much. Seems he was deeply lost in thought and didn't want to be disturbed. I was told that he has a girlfriend, who actually happens to be Elrond's daughter and the granddaughter of the Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. Maybe she is more than a girlfriend, I think they promised themselves to each other or something. Arwen is her name. I think I saw her in Rivendell once. Wasn't she present when the broken sword was reforged? But this relationship is a bit odd... She is supposedly pretty old, like more than 2,000 years, and he is... what, 50? Also, Elrond, her father, doesn't seem to approve of their romance. It is said she would lose her elven immortality if she marries him or something like that and Elrond would only allow that if Aragorn becomes king of Gondor and Arnor. As far as I understood he is the rightful heir, but... well, good luck with that. An elf told me how they met and fell in love and how they wandered around the Golden Wood back in the days. He may think about those better days and all the hardships ahead. So it is pretty understandable that he is a bit remote.

    So, since no one but me reads this diary, I will also admit that one day I sneaked out of Caras Galadhon to sing to the trees. I didn't want anybody to see me doing this. It is also not that I believe it would do anything for the trees, at least I didn't notice anything. Maybe I shouldn't have picked my rather sad song about our endeavors in Moria... Anyways, I at least wanted to give it a try. You know, something like respecting and absorbing yourself in the culture of the people you visit. Heck, I've been carrying pies and satchels of mail for the hobbits in the Shire, so why not sing to trees for the elves? I did feel rather silly though, but that is fine. As long as nobody saw me doing it.

    I also briefly spoke to the Lord and the Lady, mind you. They live at the top of the tallest mallorn tree in all of Lorien, a path winding up covered with a light blue carpet. They welcomed us and wished us a pleasent stay. Not more. The view from the top was breathtaking, but also quite dizzying.

    The news that the wizard (who the elves here for some reason call "Mithrandir" and not Gandalf) had fallen into the shadows in Moria has also reached Caras Galadhon, and a great sorrow has descended upon the Golden Wood. I met many elves mourning his loss, singing their laments. One of them had dreamt that he will return, borne by a great eagle. Odd. Well, I saw the lady sending out an eagle to look for him, so maybe he will after all. We never found his body, only his hat. The elf said he will climb all the talans very day to look out for him.

    We also learned a bit about the history of the place. Before Lord Celeborn, an elf named Amroth ruled Lothlorien, but one day he sailed out to sea, never to return to his beloved Nimrodel. A sad tale... Many things here seem sad and the place full of sorrow, despite its beauty. Not only the passing of Amroth, but also the passing of the wizard and the passing of Faengris, the beloved husband of a beautiful elven maiden named Nurelleth. He was recently slain by a company of orcs. I felt deep sympathy for her.



    The Golden Wood was also under heavy attack by the orcs from Moria in the west. Well, heavy might not be really accurate, I don't think at least that there is any danger that the orcs would ever win. But still, their constant attacks are pretty annoying and keep the elves busy, even though there may not be any greater concern.

    The elves sent us out on several occasions to help with the defense. There are three passes in the hills of Fanuidhol, a western, northern and eastern pass. All of these were guarded by a group of capable elven warriors, shooting down the orcs as they please. Our main task was to carry banners up the hill, plant them in various orc-camps and destroy their idols, hoping this would discourage and demotivate the orcs. Sometimes we found a leader or a particularly large troll up in the hills and also got rid of them when the opportunity arose. Sometimes a horn would sound and we had to run back to the elves, helping them to defend the pass that was under attack. As said, we've been up that hill several times before already, and have always been quite successful, but there seems to be no end to the orcs. And they are rather stubborn and will try again and again, but as said, they pose no real danger, rather a nuisance.

    They also sent us a bit south to their harbor and their vineyards to help them prepare for a feast. I didn't know what to think of that. It actually miffed me and I let my friends know. How can they celebrate? Aren't they supposed to prepare for war? How can they have a feast and fill their bellies with nice things while Bori is held captive in the sorcerer's dungeons, probably being tortured and starved? We saw them there near the vineyard at night, stupid elves, dancing and getting all drunk on their fancy wine. I'LL HAVE A FEAST ONLY AFTER WE GET BORI BACK!



    Sitting by the river, we discussed what to do. We cannot force the Elves to speed up. Their preparations will take time, we don't know how much longer. Could be years if they rather have their stupid parties and others moving around their crates. So instead of wasting more time with them here, we decided to go back to Moria, so see how the Iron Garrison is doing. Those are decent, hard-working folk. Hedge said we have to make sure Moria is safe and not overrun while we are gone. Talachon agreed: "Our thoughts should be on the evils still in the mines, in the deep places. We left a few of them."

    That is true. There is the rock-thing in the machine in the water-works, there is this abomination in the dark and of course there is the tentacle monster from the lake outside the Hollin Gate. All still there. We also haven't figured out where exactly the fungus came from or how to stop its spread. So it was decided to head back to Khazad-dûm, see what we can accomplish there and wait for word from the Elves when they are ready. We are done here.
    Last edited by Craiden; Oct 26 2020 at 02:30 PM.

  2. #177

    ((Club Eclair)) The Defeat of the Lost One

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

    Sir!

    Here I sit at a campsite in the deepest, darkest corner of Moria . . . a fetid place called the Foundations of Stone . . . with a huge putrid lake in the middle and disease and filth all around. I am here all alone at the moment, though the others are going to meet me here soon. Well, not ALL alone. I am here with a woman name of Breguthryth and a dwarf named Ingthor. They are here to watch over the gates to Dark Delvings to make sure the villains we trapped in there do not escape into the world. It don't seem likely. We brought back some glowy stones from the last time we were there for the dwarfs to fix up. The creatures inside avoid glowy stones so, as long as the exit to the cave is well lit, the creatures should stay inside.

    We have cleaned up the other places we intended to visit. Back at the 16th Hall, we even completed the Dwarf challenge to defeat the creature what was bringing all of its bug friends out to the surface. Previously, when we battled this Lost One, we were only able to dispel it for a short while on account of we were not able to crush it at its full power. It draws a power of some sort form a dozen little bugletts that wander around with it. Iffen we crush the bugletts first, the creature grows weaker but cannot be fully forced out of our realm, as it were. Iffen we defeat it when it is at full power, the dwarfs said, we can push it out of our realm and close the door.

    Well, we did it. I had my fears and doubts, but we did it. I was there, of course. As was Jaytull, Roy, and Burnheart. Twostep was with us . . . I think I mentioned before that she found us recently and she has been travelling with us a bit. She had her own test to perform in the 16th Hall for her training. I was not with her on that adventure but I heard that she and her companions had quite a handful with a troll or two. Anyways, Thorcundo was here to hold the creature's attention.

    The trick we needed to pull off was to defeat the Lost One without defeating any of its bugletts, as I said. And so we prepared ourselfs and made sure we would do nothing where we might harm the buglet friends.

    Well, I found out right away that minstrel is, perhaps, the buglets most favorite meal. It were right at the start of the fight that I saw a whole stampede of bugletts heading right toward me. There were, like, near to 144 bug eyes looking in my direction. I was supposed to be tending to the battlers as I usually do but, when I saw them creatures charging at me, I could think of naught else to do but turn and run.

    The filth that we might loosely call water was up over my knees. Have you ever tried to run through a deep pond or the such? It is very slow going! I was pushing my way through the water as fast as I can. I did have enough wits about me that I tried to draw the bugletts away from the fight so they would not come to no harm. But there I was . . . pushing myself forward . . . splashing water before me . . . with this wild stampede of bugletts right behind me each time I looked over my shoulder.

    And then stepped on a slippery slime-covered rock and my foot went one direction and I went another and SPLASH! . . . I was face down in the water and even before I could try to get up I felt all of them buggy little feet climbing up onto my back and holding me down and I couldn't breathe and the very thought of tasting that fowl water near to made me gag but I was still being held down.

    Then it was that Roy picked me up out of the water and shook off the bugletts and gave me a dwarf toss half way across the pond. Many of the bugs came right for me but I had the time to fit myself the best I could and then turn off running again what with the bogs chasing me one more time. But now they weren't just chasing me. A third of them were going after Roy and another third after Jaytull.

    Well, with fewer bugletts they weren't near as frightening and I would stand my ground for a moment before heading off again. Remember, I could allow no harm to come to them so it is not as if I could bop them one - I had to leave them be.

    Then of the sudden they quit chasing and burrowed their way into the lake and it turned out the Lost One had been defeated. Thorcundo and Twostep and the others had done what they needed to do. And the Lost One was driven from our realm.

    Well, next we went to Skumfil so that I could finish my final exam. I went in with Sagla and Roy and Bohunc . . . just the four of us. My job was to retrieve some music from an alter that was built inside back before it became a bug infested pile of orc corpses. See, Skumfil is where the orcs throw all of their corpses, and it is filled with vile creatures that do naught but turn them into manure and rot.

    I wouldn't have known it by looking at it but apparently a nest of cave bears considered it some type of special place as, the instant I started opening drawers and searching for the musics I was told would still be inside about 3 dozen of the creatures burrowed up out of the ground and walls and attacked us. They did not reach us all at the same time, so much was the blessing we had as it were, and allowed us to carve through a half-dozen or so before the next ones reached us, and the ones after that, and after that, and after that, and after that, and, indeed, the matron came last. When it was done we had, as I said, three dozen of the cave bear corpses laying about. But I had my sheet musics in my hand and I was ready to report to the Shadowed Refuge that my job here was done.

    It was good to have Sagla with us as she can handle mass swarms of vermin or villainy. This time it was villainy. Though with just four of us it were a busy day.

    That is where I was staying until the time came for me to come here to the Dark Delvings where we will be having the next meeting.

    Now, the trails here are not so dangerous - we have thoroughly patrolled these passages a while back and driven the worst of the villainy underground. Still, I did get spotted by one of the most hugest trolls I have seen wandering about Moria. We've encountered trolls before and, though you might find this hard to believe coming from a Shire hobbit, a regular old Moria troll doesn't concern me too much. But this creature was meaner than near to anything I had battled out in the Moria landscape. Gad, he was tossing me about and the weight of its club were like being hit with a tree full force. That took some work, but I did defeat it and make it here to the camp. Which you should already have figured out on account of me writing you this report.

    The others will be here in a few days. And then we will go in to try to defeat the creature that we could not defeat earlier.

    I will let you know how we do.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow



    I cannot be about on Mondays anymore on account of class. I can be about on Thursdays. I am not certain yet that Thursday is the best substitute, but I am willing to enjoy alternatives.

    Note that there is also Sunday at 10:00 which we have been using to make up for things that are missed. Some folks may still need to visit Skumfil for the deeds. We also have folks working on siege trainings for their promotion points. Both Alphred and Hedgerow are trying to get their Moria skirmish training deeds finished. So there are things to do on Sunday.

    Since we never finished the Dark Delvings, it may take a couple of weeks here to finish the deeds and quests.

    Then, we will leave here, travel near to the opposite corner of Moria to the Hall of Mirrors - the campsite out in the icey snow of the mountaintop where the batfolks guard the mirrors. We have both deeds and quests to finish there.

    When done at the Hall of Mirrors we travel into the Waterworks for the Hall of Wheels. We never finished this instance and never attempted the challenge. There's actually two challenges - an "either or" - so this may take a couple of extra trips as well.

    Then we will head to the Crossroads of Ash for the Hall of Crafting. We have never been in here before, so this will be totally new.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  3. #178

    ((Club Eclair)) The Darkest of Delvings

    Father:

    We are facing one of our greatest challenges ever. The beast in the darkest of Dark Delvings is proving to be a true brute.

    I have just returned from another failed attempt to defeat him. There were eight of us all totaled, so we split up and approached the villain in two groups. I went with Jaytull, Medloth, and Fraori. Shortly after we started, Bohunc caught up with us. Beltran went with Roy, Thorfaniel, and Burnheart.

    We both fought our way into the darkness without difficulty. We had a near catastrophe against the first of the major villains. I ordered a charge without checking if everybody was ready. See, there's this evil wind that effects people and it is best to start the charge after the evil wind blows through giving us the most time to battle before the next evil wind. I charged, and Medloth and Fraori charged with me. Jaytull did not make it through the door. Once I saw that Jaytull had not noticed the charge, I went back to try to summon him. I was standing on the ramp when it retracted, dumping me into the moat below.

    So, Medloth and Fraori were alone with the creature, while I struggled to climb out of the moat and join them. I actually made it - they held up until I got there. Then it was just three of us against the beast. There are glowing rocks that will weaken the enemy, but I could not activate the rock without the beast whacking me and interrupting my efforts, so the three of us fought the creature in the dark. And yet we did keep our wits and stay in the battle. Eventually, I got a light lit, which helped us a lot. Slowly, we wore them down. At one point, when I was trying to make one of these glow rocks glow, the creature pummeled Medloth to the ground. That left Fraori and I. Fraori hid behind a glowly rock while I battled the beast alone one-on-one. Every once in a while, I noticed that he was moving to destroy the light rock. I did not want that to happen so I moved to interrupt him. Twice, I accomplished this. With the light on, we were able to wear him down. And we actually won - in spite of the poor start.

    The next creature was a bit more difficult. We entered the next chamber and the beast within rose up and quickly forced our hasty retreat. But, we brushed ourselves off and tried again. In the battle, I adopted the tactic of continually interrupting the leader - even without waiting to make sure there was anything to interrupt. I just opted to keep him so busy he could not summon his special powers. I think it worked. When we sent Jaytull and Bohunc to help the other group, I told them to pass my tactics on to Belthran, and they reported the same success. And this villain was swept away.

    Then we came upon the final creature and there we met our match. We made five attempts against it, and failed every time. But we had two attempts that were more effective than others and that shows some promise in helping in the fight.

    The tactic involves somebody drawing the creature off into a corner with his back against the wall. Everybody else lines up far behind the beast. I am of the opinion that here, too, it would be of use to continually interrupt the leader. Using these tactics, we were able to last for several minutes and had some hope we could finish the battle. The biggest problem is that, eventually, he throws folks off of the platform and, once gone, those folks cannot come back to the fight. With numbers missing, the odds of winning diminish.

    Now, the fight is over and I am sitting here at this dwarf camp far from anything like civilization repairing my tattered armours. The dwarfs who run the camp say that they will send this to you. Iffen you do not hear from me in a while, it is probably because I am far from any place where it is easy to get a letter out. I am fine, though, and we will continue our efforts in this dark place.

    Love,
    Alphred Troute
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  4. #179

    ((Club Eclair)) Cleaning Up Well

    Father:

    Gad, I am so sorry that I have not written. I have set down several times and placed pen to paper, but I have always seemed to be getting called away.

    I mentioned in my previous letters that we were busy battling the most menacing creatures left in Moria so that we can head to Dol Guldur to rescue the dwarf Bori. One set of those creatures is still proving a menace. These are the World Eaters . . . that is what I think the elfs call them . . . that live in the Dark Delvings.

    We slayed one. It was such a surprise. We had dozens of battles against them but, in this case, we won. I think we tired him out. We made several attempts to slay it but, each time, it drove us back. We had given up and said that we would give the creature just one more last try. And so we did. That time, we near to finished it off. We could see it weakening and we felt that we had some so close that we gave it one more one last try. By luck or skill we slayed it. It was the only one we slayed. We had other groups go in to try to slay others, but we were never able to repeat what he had accomplished against this one. But one of them is dead.

    I do not recall which squad it was that scored the victory. I think Roy was with me. It was the group that Fraori often travels with, and Thalachon likely was there. Roy was there. Twice, during the battle, I got thrown into the holes near where the creature lives. Each time, Roy pulled me out again and I was able to charge into the battle. Thalachon, as I recall, handled the beast until I could return to my position. Bohunc was likely there to shoot at the creature.

    Well, we gave up trying to defeat the other World Eaters in those caverns. We then went out into the cold at the top of the mountains to try to clean up and align the mirrors that provide light to the heart of Moria. We had entered these caves before and battled the bat ladies, but we did not inflict such a defeat that may convince them to retreat. To do that, we needed to slay the bat lady queen without harming her henchbats. That way, they would report the victory and that may frighten the rest away. The dwarfs only allow us into these caverns in groups of three, so we split ourselves up and each headed out to find a different queen.

    So far, we have found and defeated five of the queens. I have defeated two of them. In one case, I was with Roy and Bohunc. In another case, it was me and Roy again, this time with Twostep. Sagla and Roy and Jaytull cleared one out, as did Hedgerow and Erikin and Thalachon. Well, there's a couple more left in the caves but I will not be involved in that fighting. I am on my way to the Water Wheels - which has the next creatures we intend to defeat.

    Here, too, the dwarfs will allow only three people at a time to enter. We ventured into this area before as well. However, this was held by rock creatures of some type that proved impossible to kill. Hopefully, with our added training, things will go better. I will let you know.

    That should catch you up on what we are doing in Moria. We have these rock creatures to slay, some type of creature that lives in the Hall of Crafting, a few more world eaters in the Dark Delving, then there is some large menace that lives in Dar Narbugud and the Watcher. We still have some work to do before Moria is safe enough for our trip into Mirkwood.

    I promise not to delay my writings by so much next time. I know it makes you worry when you do not hear from me. I am most sorry.

    Love,
    Alphred Troute
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  5. #180
    (( Jaytull, Roy and Medloth defeated the South challenge in the Hall of Wheels last Thursday, iffen you can update the scoreboard on Page 1 ))

  6. #181
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 137 ((Stuck in Moria))

    Dear diary,

    We are still stuck in Moria, waiting for word from the Elves that they have finished their preparations to cross the river and march into Mirkwood. It feels like we've spent an entire age here, and all the while Bori is imprisoned and tortured. But you cannot force the Elves, right? Everthing has to be neatly set up...

    We try to make the best of the situation and help the Iron Garrison as best we can. Seems they are not making a lot of progress though. Yes, they still hold the Twenty-first Hall, the Dolven-view and several other small camps scattered thoughout Khazad-dûm. But that's about it, most places are in the hands of the orcs.

    We went back to the Grand-stairs, still lots of orcs and goblins, and even trolls, in there. Not sure whether the Iron Garrison even tried to claim this important crossroads for themselves, or simply gave up due to there being simply too many foes. The Forges of Khazad-dûm, the enemy moved back in, resuming to forge weapons. Fil Ghashan, the barracks, full of orc-soldiers and conscripts again. The Sixteenth Hall, same thing. Poisoned orcs everywhere. Well, I can understand that the Iron Garrison doesn't want anything to do with that. Same for Skumfil. With all the rotten corpses and the stench of them, nobody can blame the dwarves to not go in there at all. We killed more vermin, but I have no doubt that they will be back in no time. Just not worth it.

    In many of these places we even found some particular enemies, the likes of which we have not seen before. Various drillmasters, training the few warriors of the Moria Expedition, commended us for our deeds and skill, which felt really good. Yes, we're getting strong now... We, that is our group which has grown over all this time to a sizeable band of brothers. Sagla and Thorcundo and Boermmy, Hroik and Burnheart, Galdhron and Thorfaniel, Hedgerow, Wandrin and Jaytull, Bohunc, Twostep, Talachon and probably some others I forgot to mention.

    We did meet our match though in that dark and obscure place deep down in the Foundations of Stone. The place where the dwarves had set up these luminous runestones to keep away the strangest of creatures, those that live far below any place the dwarves had ever delved into. Those with no head, or a mouth where their chest should be. We went there on two occasions and had to leave without success. There is one creature in there that turns off all light and then all we can do is hurry back outside.

    We went back to the Mirror-halls. Not a single dwarf was sent there to make sure that the mirrors stay aligned and illuminate the caverns below. Instead, it was overrun again by bat-ladies. We turned the mirros back to their correct positions, but I don't know how long they will stay that way. And we went back to into the Water-wheels, this great machine with the pistons at the bottom. There we finally succeeded to get rid of that rock monster which had made it's home there. It took several attempts and was quite an effort though, but victory felt even sweeter then.

    When we finally defeated the Caerog:


    We also learned that the orcs have taken the Halls of Crafting, where they make armor and weapons for their assault on the Elves. A messenger told us that ever since that other group (the one with Gimli) had passed though Moria and escaped to the Golden Wood, the orcs have stepped up their attacks on Lothlorien. And they use these Halls to assist them in their war. We can't let that happen, so we went in to investigate. The entrance lies near the Forges of Khazad-dûm, where the steel is made. In the Halls of Crafting, the steel is then made into armor and weapons.

    We first came to a library of sorts, many orcs browsing through the books or carrying them away, probably looking for any tips on crafting and forging. Behind that lay large storage rooms, with crates and barrels and bags piled almost up to the ceiling. Orcs and goblins scuttled about, picking up crates and supplies and carrying them back and forth. Most of them were ignoring us, or were too busy to notice us, others did however and we got involved in several smaller skirmishes.

    They were pretty busy crafting, there were a lot of dummies wearing hauberks and boots and leggings made from finely mashed iron. In another large crafting hall they made swords, axes and bows, and shields and tools of all sorts. The orcs were clearly mass-producing for a large army here. We picked up as many suits of armors and weapons from the weapon racks as we could carry and brought them outside, handing them over to the Iron Garrison.



    But the crafting halls didn't end here. Following several long corridors lined with nice dwarven statues, we got to a big cave. Parts of the ceiling had collapsed and massive boulders lay scattered across the floor. At the bottom of the cave was a lava lake and wooden scaffolds were built around and above it. What was going on here? We climbed up, meeting little to no resistance, and eventually got to a very large room with six giant bellows, three on the western wall and three on the eastern. We never really figured out where the air flows, I assume it is funneled through some pipes into the great furnace at the bottom of the Forges of Khazad-dûm nearby.



    On the other side of the room was a locked door. It didn't take us too long to figure out that we had to pull some levers and set the bellows in motion to open the door. The bellows started to heave and contract, but that attracted the attention of several squads of orcs who came storming in each time we pulled a lever. We however easily put them in place. Behind the door, one single, big orc stood, probably the leader who oversees the orcs' operations here. Well, he didn't stand for much longer. He could barely mutter "The elves will fall!", before he fell himself.

    The Halls of Crafting were one of the easiest places we've cleaned out, mainly occupied by ... crafters. And a few guards, but nothing to to talk about, probably recruits. I guess they never expected anyone to enter them except themselves.

    The halls themselves are pretty nice however, lots and lots of supplies and crafting stations and tools. I would hope the Iron Garrison would make use of it and send in some smiths and metal-workers themselves. Alas, they probably won't as they now operate Nâr-khelab, the Heart of Fire. But the least they could do is send some guards to prevent the orcs from occupying the halls again.

    I think there is not much else to do for us here. I can't wait for the Elves to finally send the message that they are ready to attack the Mirkwood. It is getting dull and I don't know what else we could possibly do. We could go into that shadow place again. Oh, and there is this monster from the pool outside. If I remember correctly, the dwarves had determined where its lair is, where it is hiding. We may take a look to see if there anything that we can do about it. When we found Broin, it seems we could hurt it, as it withdrew rather quickly.

    But our first and foremost priority should be to find and, if possible at all, rescue Bori.

    Last edited by Craiden; Nov 12 2020 at 07:43 AM.

  7. #182
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 138 ((The Gurvand defeated))

    Dear diary!



    Look at that! We made it, but what a struggle it was.

    We went back into the shadows. I was quite nervous as we passed the last lit runestones that the dwarves and elves had set up to prevent the evil below the world to rise to the surface. A gust of wind blew through the tunnels and we heard strange noises and cries. This was definitely the weirdest and most dangerous place we've ever set foot in. Stick with the rest, never wander off, do not get lost in the dark by any means!

    There, we confronted that troll-thing again, or whatever it is. The elves call it the "Gurvand" by the way, no idea what that is supposed to mean. He still stood in exactly the same place we had last seen him, swinging his spiked club. As we readied ourselves for battle, I asked myself why. Why do we risk to perish here? He had not moved, the runestones were repaired and seem to work alright, keeping him and his minions here, in the dark where they should be. But alas, it was decided that we could maybe teach him a lesson, to let him, and all the others here, know that we will fight back, that we will not tolerate them to come into our world.

    Again, as the last time, we lit a nearby runestone, but he turned it off immediately, and we could tell how enraged he was. Engulfed in total darkness, I heard the shuffle of feet and wildly, blindly, swung my trusted axes. I heard a squeak, hoping that I had not accidentally hit Hedge. Then something hit me very hard. I was flung into the air, and back. And then I fell... and fell... deep, and ever deeper... Next thing I knew was that I was standing again, with the others, right at the entrance of the thing's lair. It was as if nothing had happened, as if the first encounter never took place. Weird. But I knew it did.

    The others said they heard me holler as I fell and disengaged. They wanted to look for me, but there I was, right at the spot where we had readied ourselves for the fight just moments before. I have no idea how I got there, my memory wiped away. And maybe that is a good thing.

    Without thinking too much about it, we took him on again. This time I heard a loud metallic clang and Thorcundo roaring. His roar faded, as if he too was dropping into a bottomless abyss. And I saw a great shadow jumping after him into the deep. We knew we could not hope to win this fight with one dwarf down and retreated, running back across the bridge. And lo and behold, there stood Thorcundo! The two-headed troll never followed us across the bridge, just stood there, swinging his club in smug mockery.

    The next attempt it was Boermmy's and Sagla's turn to get flung over the edge. When we found them, Sagla said she has a faint memory of climbing up a dark passage, glibbery strings grabbing at her from above, all the while being watched by unseen eyes in the walls.

    We were about to give up, going back into the light. But we said ok, one last try, keep our backs to the wall or any of the dark runestones you can find. Spread out a bit but not too far. I heard Thor challenging him, beating his shield with his axe. The Gurvand went over and I started to swing my axes. I heard Hedge's voice, shrill and trembling with fear, but he did his best to spur us on, motivating us and giving us hope, even though he might not have had hope himself. I heard the deep growl of the bear Galdhron had brought with him in the distance, engaged in battle with some of the Gurvand's unseen minions. I saw a runestone Hroik or Burnheart had placed on the ground, emitting flashes of lightning. And in a flash, I caught a glimpse of Sagla raising her great, two-handed sword above her head.

    And then... silence. Heavy breathing. But no more sounds of battle. Someone went over to the runestone and touched it. And in the light, we saw the dead body of the Gurvand, his eyes open, a tongue sticking grotesquely out of one his two mouths. We had won this time, and it was an epic feeling. Burnheart said it was perhaps the most intense fighting he's ever seen: "It was a knife's edge until the very end". I agree, we haven't faced an enemy this strong since the Balrog in Angmar, which we only could defeat with the help of a high elf. So this victory, where we fought hard and refused to give up, and did everything on our own, might feel even sweeter.



    But we, and the elves and the dwarves, know that no one can defeat these nameless things for good, not even the wizard. They have always been here, and they always will. But as long as they shun the light and fear the world's resistance to them, they will be confined the the deepest and darkest places. I certainly hope so, for if they ever come forth all will be lost.

    Someone (I am not mentioning who) took the Gurvand's tongue and a gland. The tongue still wriggled and moved. A knowledgeable elf studied it and determined that even this creature was affected by the fungus. She said the Gurvand was not the architect of the disease: "It is the work of another, and we still do not know its identity. Its malevolence knows no bounds. There must be something beyond the Dark Delvings. Not all secrets are learned yet."

    After this victory, we learned that the Lord Celeborn wishes to speak with us again, he may have some news. We are sending Galdhron again to speak with him. In the meantime, I went back to the Twenty-first Hall, waiting for him to return and see if there is anything else we can help the Iron Garrison with.

  8. #183

    ((Club Eclair)) Into the Light

    Father:

    I am so sorry for my long silence.

    We went into the deepest dark of Moria to deal with one of the deadliest villains we have ever encountered. In fact, this is going to be the first villain in our long history of adventures that seems beyond our abilities. It would take a wizard to defeat these creatures, and we are fresh out of wizards - particularly owing to what happened to Gandalf.

    We were, sincerely, as far away from anything what resembled civilization as it was possible to be. We were at the darkest end of the darkest cave in the bottomest part of Moria, a place they called the Foundations of Stone.

    There were two sets of villains down here for us to deal with. One was a creature that the dwarfs named Gurvand what seemed something that emerged out of the shadows and darkness itself. It were near to like there was a hole to a vast void and this club-bearing brute crawled out of it. We had been here before to battle it, but each time it forced us back. We had gone to Lothlorien for added trainings, as you recall, and returned in much better condition to do battle against it. And, this time, we did win. We drove it back into the darkness from which it came, so this part was a victory.

    Wandrin, one of the dwarfs travelling with us, happened to miss that adventure and is anxious to hear a telling of it.

    But, even deeper than the Dark Delving is an even deeper cavern. This one has bands of orcs and two trolls guarding the enterance. We have tried a number of times, but we simply have not been able to make it past the trolls. We would charge in but, convinced we were accomplishing little but tiring ourselves, we would end up retreating before the trolls could end us. Again and again we tried.

    We had so wanted to defeat these creatures and leave the dwarfs safe in their new home - exept for the tens of thousands of orcs living in regions we never even reached - as we went and rescued Bori. With some luck, these beasts will remain in their dark corners. However, this is too much to hope. Eventually, they will attract great evil to themselves, and that evil will move out among the dwarfs. There is just naught what we can do. We don't have the numbers needed to defeat them.

    We can, however, rescue Bori.

    As I mentioned, we are moving back to the 21st Hall - the center of the dwarfen activities in Moria - to see if there are things outside of the Vile Maw and Dar Narbugud that they need us to attend to before we go. Iffen they are satisfied that they can hold out without us until Bori is rescued, we will head to Lothlorien. They are near to being ready to invade Mirkwood and have invited us along.

    I promise I shall not be silent for so long again. I cannot think of anything ahead of us that will have me locked so far from anything what seems civilized. We are joining a company of elfs in this assault and they will certainly be able to transport the mail.

    Do not worry, father. I am well. The battling was hard and we could not score a victory, but we are well trained and are full well studied in the art of leaving so as to battle again later.

    I hope everything is fine in the Shire.

    Love,

    Alphred Troute.



    I think the decision is to give up on the Dar Narbugud instance.

    The adventures in Mirkwood will end with a trip back to Moria. Perhaps we will take on these creatures when we return - hopefully with somewhat better equipment and skills (though there will be no more level increases).

    Week of December 5: We will give Dar Narbugud another try and perhaps study strategies for battling The Watcher.

    Week of December 12: We will be at the 21st Hall finishing up dwarf chores for them who need them finished up.

    At this point, we have something to discuss. The holiday season is coming up and I am curious as to whether we want to start a whole new adventure while folks are holidaying. We may want to stick around the 21st Hall until the holidays are over and to start the Mirkwood adventure at the start of the year. Or, we could head out right away. Let me know.

    On another note: The Thursday group is going to have to move back to Monday. My new class schedule has me having classes on Thursday this time - but Mondays will be free. We will be making the move back to Mondays on December 14.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  9. #184

    ((Club Eclair)) Preparing for Mirkwood

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

    Sir!

    I regret to report that we have failed to clear the villainy from Moria. As it turns out, they are just too big and fierce and we could not gather the numbers needed to defeat them. However, they are so far content to stay in their dark corners of Moria and it is our hope that they will remain in those corners while we are involved in rescuing Bori from Dol Guldur.

    That is our next mission. We have received word that the elfs will be invading Mirkwood shortly. The battles will give us an opportunity to deliver Mazog the orc leader to Dol Guldur and exchange with Bori. I am not keen on the idea of returning Mazog, but I am not keen on the idea of leaving Bori to his fate among the orcs either. Fortunately, it was not my call to make. We were given the decision that the dwarfs of Moria will deliver Mazog and attempt to barter an exchange.

    We are not even going with them – at least not officially. Erikin is, but Erikin is not even discussing with us the route that they will be taken. He has been sworn to secrecy. Still, he has asked us to stay nearby in case help will be needed. I asked him how we know where nearby is if we do not know where they are going, but he assured me that he would give us directions as we go. In the meantime, we will be working for the elfs helping them to deal with the villains and vermin that infest Mirkwood.

    The elfs are making the first crossing themselves. They have said that the do not want us along getting underfoot and causing mischief. They will take a day getting their initial camps set up, and we will cross over the course of the next two or three days and help them to secure their landing sight. Then, it will be our job to move into the forest and to see how close we can get to Dol Guldur castle.

    The elfs know that their cause is doomed. They do not have the numbers. Their hope is that they can hit Dol Guldur hard enough to knock them off balance, at least for a bit. They are trying to buy time. Buy time for what – I dare not say, but they do hope that the battle can be won elsewhere and hope only to slow Dol Guldur’s forces long enough to reach the day of eventual trumph.

    I have already arrived at the elf city of Caras Galadhon. As soon as I had permission to leave Moria I had my stuff all boxed up and told the dwarfs to ship it to Lothlorien and headed off myself to the First Hall and the surface. As luck would have it, I arrived just before dawn. So, as I made my way through the forest I could enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest greeting a whole new day. I stopped only as needed for a bite to eat and a little rest, but pushed through at the best possible speed, and here I am. I just missed sunshine and leafy things and squirrels. I fear, though, what we will find in Mirkwood. From the tallest elf trees we can see off to the east and the forest there looks sickly and dark – much as the worst parts of the Old Forest. It is as sickly and diseased as the darkest parts of Moria.

    But that is for the future. In the meantime, I have my boots off and I am laying in the sun listening to the wind murmuring to the elfs and the elfs singing back to the trees. They sing to the trees, you know. They even taught me some of their songs in case I come upon a sapling that is in need of some cheering up.

    That is what I have to report for now. I hope everything is well in the Shire.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow


    WARNING: Folks will need to be Level 60 and be on quest “Volume II, Book IX, Foreword: The Dark Shore” to travel with Éclair for the first few weeks of January.

    We have given up on the two Moria raids and hope to take them up again when we return from Dol Guldur. So, we are starting the Mirkwood adventure. We will be mustering at the elf picnic grounds on January 2 to take the boats across the river and help the elfs establish a foothold in Mirkwood.

    In the meantime, we are using the holiday season to help those who have things they want to catch up on. We have gone to the Sixteenth Hall, Hall of Crafting, Hall of Mirrors, Hall of Wheels, and some skirmishes to help folks finish up deeds that had not been done yet.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  10. #185

    ((Club Eclair)) The Second Crossing

    Father:

    I will be leaving the elf lands of Lothlorien shortly, to cross a river named Anduin to do battle with orcs on the other side. That battle has been going on now for a few days and I hear that progress has been made. We will provide fresh troops to drive the orcs even further away from the landing sites and help to secure the camp.

    I call the Anduin a river, as do the elfs, because there is a gentile current what flows to the south. Yet, you could walk from our home to Waymeet and still not cross so much territory as would be needed to reach the far banks of this river. Some of our numbers have already made the crossing but two days ago. Some have returned to this side, as it is a much nicer place to stay and rest when not at war - though others remain on the far side of the river. They have spoken of assaulting orc forts near the landings and finding elfs who have been stranded during the battles and in need of rescuing.

    I have also seen boats come to the docks here on the Lothlorien side of the river carrying the wounded and the bodies of those elfs who have fallen in the battle. That is a disturbing site to see. An elf who sacrifices in battle gives up far more than any hobbit, as the elf had an indefinite future ahead, and what was cut short. And they could easily have gone west and left these lands, leaving us to fend for ourselfs. Can one not think of a grander sacrifice than to give up all of eternity to save others such as us, who are on this world for but a short time, from the fates that the orcs would deliver to us? I am most grateful for the elfs and I will do what I can to help them.

    Though our overall plan is to reach Dol Guldur castle and rescue Bori from the villainy that commands these orcs. We are not being told what arrangements are being made. We are only being told to fight our way to the gates of Dol Guldur and the dwarfs will be advancing their own plans as we do so. And elfs. They are working together. We may be given some instructions as we go, but, for the most part, we are to clear the way betwixt here and Dol Guldur.

    Well, I wanted to get this off to you before I crossed the river. You will be hearing from me again shortly.

    Love,

    Alphred Troute


    Reminder: The Monday group is back to adventuring on Mondays at 8:30 PM. We could move this earlier if you would like - as I no longer need to get home from work before entering the session.

    It looks like we will be spending two weeks in this instance. Then we will advance the story and move on to the main part of Book IX. But you must remain in the Forward to Book IX to travel with us.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  11. #186

    ((Club Eclair)) Beachhead

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

    Sir!

    I am writing this as we are preparing another patrol around the shore of the river where the elfs are attacking Mirkwood. We have been through the area a few times, attacking three orc forts and driving the orcs from the area. There are still orcs about, but they are on the other side of a river to the south and a gated wall to the east. The elfs now have a base from which they can move inland.

    But the orcs are preparing to fight back. There's a deep canyon to the south and, on our earlier patrols, we found that the bridges had been destroyed so that the elfs need not worry about orcs attacking from the south. But elf scouts have just reported that the orcs have fixed the bridges. No doubt, they intend to come storming over the bridges to attack us and serve us in a stew. So, the elfs are asking us to strike first. We will soon be heading south and, hopefully, striking the orc camps before they get a chance to strike our camps.

    We are fortunate that the orcs are a bit dim. They should have had their armies mustered and ready to storm across the instant the bridges were finished. It is our good fortune that, first, they build the bridges, and only then did they start to do the work to assemble an army. This gives us the chance to use the bridges in our own attack before they get a chance to attack us.

    Even as I write, the area about the elf camp is changing. In our first patrols, the lands were filled with stealthy goblins, warg riders, and other orcs. Now, as I look out across the countryside, I see birds and pigs and just a few goblin scouts from time to time.

    We had some big battles to take these lands. We attacked and ransacked two Orcan forts. The elfs were attacking the gate and having troubles. But, with us to reinforce them, we were able to get through the gates and into the camps beyond. Then, while we were let loose inside, we were able to enter the camps and slay the orcs and destroy anything we found that looked like it would be valuable to the orc. There is really no telling what might be valuable to an orc.

    As I mentioned, we also made certain the bridges across the river were destroyed so more orcs could not come across and that the gate at the east wall was jammed shut. That protected the camp while we cleaned out the orcs.

    It was really a big battle. I have not seen so many folks battle in one place before. Every few minutes a dozen or so elfs would show up at the camp. The leader of the elfs would give them an inspiring speech and send them off into the woods.

    Many returned, wounded, and the elfs set up a make-shift healer's station to tend to them. I helped, a bit. Truth be told, I was all sorts of squeemish about all of the blood and groaning and such, but I fetched bandages and such. I do hope my contributions did some good.

    There was one particularly strong fort atop a tall hill just to the east of where we landed. It dominated the whole area. The elfs made a plan to assault the tower. Now, for some reason - which makes little to no sense to me - they sought to attack the place themselfs. They allowed us to send only one person along to help, so we selected Erikin. Erikin has a particular interest with getting us to Dol Guldur and rescuing Bori. He has talked about little else since the capture, lamenting the time we spent helping the dwarfs secure themselfs against the threats of Moria even while he admitted that it was worth doing. His determination would likely make him most devoted to the success of the assault. I was asleep when he returned, and have yet to have had an opportunity to talk to him. But, from the mood around the camp, I can conclude that they were successful.

    Sorry, Chief. Sagla is blowing her horn calling us to the muster. I will get this right into the post and be off.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow



    We have finished the initial Mirkwood instance and we are now in Mirkwood proper. Anybody who has not done so should finish the final (solo) instance for the Mirkwood introduction and also do Chapter 1 of Book IX, so that they can be on Chapter 2. We will pick up the quests about the elf camp which will take us south to where the bridges across the river have been rebuilt. We will work on patrolling about the landing site until the quests point us to some other location. I am not certain how long we will be here, but it shan't be long, I think.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  12. #187
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 139 ((The Invasion of Mirkwood))

    Dear diary,

    it has begun. We got word that the elves have finally completed their preparations and are ready to cross the river and invade the Mirkwood on the other side. I was hanging out in the Twenty-first Hall when I got the message and hurried back to Lothlorien immediately.

    On my way I met Svanr again in the First Hall and had a brief chat with him. You know, I had this strange feeling when near the bridge of Khazad-dûm and he prompetd me to take another look. And I did just that and had the most strange vision unfold before my eyes... The wizard, Gandalf, stood on the still-intact bridge facing a large, winged creature, all black, and flames flickering about it. He lifted his staff and there was a flash of light.. and then the vision was gone. I believe it was a sort of flashback or whatever. Perhaps the wizard had faced the Balrog, Durin's Bane, right here on the bridge, the bridge broke asunder and they both plummeted into the dephts of Moria. We had found a piece of the broken bridge deep down in the Foundations of Stone and the wizard's hat nearby, but not his body. Maybe he perished when the bridge crashed down upon him and is buried beneath all the rubble? But we did find the dead body of Durin's Bane outside in the snow, near the top of Zirakzigil... A very odd mystery.



    Anyways, I reached Haldir quickly and without any incidents. The road down Azanulbizar seems pretty tame now, we and the Elves had cleared it of all orcs pretty thoroughly. Haldir confirmed the message that the "Golden Host" is about to start their attack on the forces of Dol Guldur. The said the mission is two-fold, to bring the battle to the enemy in order to prevent an attack on the Golden Wood and to exchange Mazog for the dwarves that were taken by the sorcerer who resides at Dol Guldur. The main army of the elves will serve as some kind of distraction for that mission aswell.

    So I rushed down towards the docks and got there way ahead of my friends. Finally things are moving forward. I went down to the river and looked across, wondering if Bori was still alive. If he is, he won't be well though...



    Then my friends arrived. The elves waited until just after midnight and then we hopped on one of the first boats to row across the river. We were warned that the landing may become tumultous and it sure was rough. Arrows rained down upon us from the trees, but we safely made it to the far shore, where the vanguard of the elves had already established a small beachhead. The had set up a small camp, erected some tents and brought crates full of supplies ashore.

    We saw squad after squad of 8-10 elves, all slender and agile and dressed in black, jump off the boats and run up the bank to their commander, an elf named Fuirgam, who swore them in: "Move forward, swiftly and without doubt. The Lady's blessings are with you. Part the ocean of darkness that lies before you! Crash down upon the Enemy and strike the fear of vengeance into their hearts!" And then they briefly knelt down and ran off, disappearing into the dark shadows of the forest, hunting for orcs.



    And there were many to hunt. The whole area around the landing was teeming with orcs. I have rarely, if ever, seen so many in one place. You could hardly walk a few steps without seeing one. The forest itself is totally different from the Golden Wood. It looks sick. The trees are thin and have shed their leaves, which lie brown and rotting on the ground. No birds are singing and except for a few hapless deer wandering around, no wildlife other than a proliferation of wargs. And even after sunrise the next day, it was dark and gloomy.

    We helped the elves establishing their foothold as best we could, bringing crates full of supplies ashore and unpacking them, and bringing bandages and other medical aids to their healers, who were already busy tending to the wounded elves that had returned. Some of them were so badly injured that they will probably not the see the light of the next day. It was gruesome and bloody and when I was asked to stop the flow of blood from a deep stomach wound, I tried my best, but it was hopeless. I fell into dispair, not being able to help at all.



    We went on several patrols ourselves and found that the orcs had dismantled two bridges leading further south, hoping to delay the elves' advance. We also found three orc strongholds nearby, where, in two of them, the elves were already trying to breach the gates. We helped them with that and then, once inside, destroyed the orcs' provisions, burned down their tents and killed their commanders. The surviving orcs fled in confusion into the forest.



    Near another fort to the east, we jammed a gate to prevent the orcs from sending reinforcements and destroyed all the catapults and ballistae they had assembled there. It was quite a fire and the elves were pleased to see the glow of it from afar. We also helped several elves that found themselves outnumbered and surrounded by 3,4,5 orcs and they were quite grateful when they ran off, either to continue the fight or back to the camp to get their wounds taken care of.

    And then I suddenly found myself in the midst of an elf-squad led by Fuirgam himself, storming the main fortress of the orcs which overlooks the entire landing area. It was a tough battle, as they had two trolls among them, and their commander, a large Uruk, proved to be quite a handful. I wish my friends would have been there, it would have made things a lot easier. I don't really know why they weren't and how we got separated, but this whole night had been very chaotic and tumultous, just as we had been warned. They were probably engaged in a battle somewhere else. But the elves fought valiantly enough and in the end we were victorious and took the fortress.

    With it fallen, the elves' landing is secured. As the new day broke, I found my friends again at the landing campsite. The elves had already begun to move further into the woods. Fuirgam detailed that he plans to set up a new base in Ermyn Lur or whatever the name is, some ancient ruins in the middle of the forest half-way to Dol Guldur, and hopes to see us there soon. But before we leave here, there may still be some remaining duties. Plus, we definitely are in need of some rest.
    Last edited by Craiden; Jan 23 2021 at 12:21 PM.

  13. #188

    ((Club Eclair)) Securing the Landing

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


    Sir!

    These orcs have dominated Mirkwood for quite some time, and it shows. They are solidly planted here and it is turning out to be a chore digging them out - root and all.

    I will give you an example. There's an orc fort north of here. One of our chores was to defeat the orcs in that fort to secure the landing site. This, we did, easily enough. Then . . . while Erikin was gone helping the elfs storm the tower east of here . . . a new group of orcs moved into that camp. And these were much fiercer than we were accustomed to. We went back to scout out the new arrivals and, from a fairly great distance beyond which orcs generally do not notice much at all, they saw and charged Bohimli and he were in a fight for his life. They had knocked him aside and into a tree where he crumpled to the ground before we could arrive to save him. He's fine . . . some tending to for his bruises and such, but he was on his feet.

    Anyways, even these fiercer orcs . . . and they had a small squad of armoured trolls with them as well - were no match for us. Being well practiced in battling orcs, we were able to walk and and deal with the threat - including their trolls. Sagla and Thorcundo carved her way through the orcs and trolls quite handily . . . as did Bohimli when he is not being surprised by a whole squad of the biggest and ugliest orcs in the village.

    Then there is the menace to the south.

    Did I mention that the bridged to the south have been fixed? While they have, and the orcs are sending spies across from time to time. We're being sent to help a camp of elfs near the second bridge and I will bet my second slice of pie that they are going to ask us to cross the bridge and deal with the orcs beyond. We could - and I would say that we should - just destroy the bridges and make sure they say destryed, and I would say as much to the elfs, but, for some reason, they want the bridges intact.

    In our adventures, I should mention, we gain a few and we lose a few. I have it on good authority that Medloth, the bearfolk we have travelling with us, is off in the woods but she is avoiding the elfs. There's some history between them I do not fully understand and I have resolved myself not to pry. I am not one of them nosy hobbits. Meanwhile, Twostep, the Breefolk what is hiding from them who have put prices on her head, has returned to us after a long absence, and is travelling with us again. I think she's hiding from some sort of pursuer and is taking advantage of our company for her security. Thought that is neither here nor there. She's welcomed back and is a help against the orcs.

    I must be honest, Chief, I am quite tired. I went out for a walk to visit with the elfs to see what they have a need for, and I have just gotten back. Soon, the Eclairians will be coming to the muster and we will be starting our patrols. I would like to have a good night's sleep before they arrive, so I think I will be cutting this report off a bit short. I will write again once I have more news. It is my sincere hope that the elfs will soon feel comfortable with the thought that the landing sites are secure and they can spare us to do other chores.

    Until later,

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  14. #189

    ((Club Eclair)) Moving Inland

    Father:

    My letters to you may become a little more delayed as we are about to move inland into the interior of Mirkwood. We are leaving the landing site behind. This means that my letters to you will have to travel through some dangerous lands to reach you. Though I trust that the post will still get through, the elfs who deliver it may be delayed in making sure that the post can travel safely.



    I do have this last opportunity to get a letter out to you before we go. In fact, I have returned to the elf city to make sure all of my gear is in good order and that I have the provisions that I need to carry me for a few weeks in Mirkwood. I am not inclined to eat any of the things we find there. There are mushrooms about, but even though they have not yet been picked they look like they have already gone bad, and are covered with a slime that makes them most unappetizing.

    We've not heard anything of the dwarfs who are seeking to deliver Mazog to Dol Guldur in order to offer a trade. Though that is to be expected. The way has scarce been made safe. If they were to cross and set up camp here at Mirk Eves, it would only draw the most ferocious of attacks down onto the elfs, and that is not something any of us want. By my guess, Mazog is still kept in a safe corner of Moria until our expedition comes to the very gates of Dol Guldur, at which time they will start their journey.

    The elfs have really worked us hard securing the area of the forest around their landings. Though I do sense we are making progress. When we arrived, there were six orc camps in the area of the landing. A particularly solid camp was to the north. To the east, guarding a gate into the interior of Mirkwood was another. Near that there was a fort atop a steep hill. There was another orc camp built on another hill to the south on this side of a river, and a pair of bridges that gave access to two more across the river. One of them was a camp where they kept wargs and another, further to the south, seemed to be where they kept the bulk of their supplies.

    In our time here, we raided all of them. The one to the south is now a pile of rubble - fit only for pigs. And the elfs themselves have moved into the hilltop fort to the east where they have a commanding view not only of the road but the lands far to the east. We still upon the platform while we were there and looked east, hoping to get a view of Dol Guldur castle and our destination. However, all we got was the certain fact that we have far to go, for Dol Guldur was nowhere to be seen. Though the lands here are mirky - as if in a permanent fog - which kept us from seeing too far into the distance.

    We could see well enough to note a large bog ahead of us. No doubt we will be wading through that along our way.

    Recalling the stories you told me about the travels of Mad Bilbo Baggins, I am expecting to find spiders ahead. I do not expect to find the elfs that Bilbo wrote about. Bilbo went through the forest far to the north of here, and it is far to the north that the elfs that imprisoned Thorin Oakenshield and his company live. But the spiders he battled came from here, I think. They may have come from Dol Guldur itself, for they certainly do serve the malevolence that lives there and is seeking to conquer these lands.

    I do have to get back to the landing in time to meet the others before we start our trip inland. Therefore, I will leave this letter off now.

    I don't think you need to worry overmuch about my well-being. In spite of the fact of being locked in a war with the villains of Dol Guldur, I have heard that the elfs and some of their companions found a building in what once was a town not far from here and they have made a pleasant inn out of it. Things cannot be too bad if there is an inn about, I should think. It is not just army camps and forts.

    I will write to you again once I reach this inn. In the mean time, stay well.

    Love,

    Alphred Troute.


    We are starting our march inland. This means that folks should be done with all of the quests in and about the landing site. We will be mustering at the Pony plateau and starting our march from there.

    I have to say, I do not have any recollection of what we will meet at this first site, so it will be difficult to plan ahead. But, then, that is the adventure.

    Regarding the epic story line - at least up to Chapter 4, this is something for each player to do on their own. The story is that Erikin is accompanying them. They want to keep their location a secret to avoid suffering a devastating attack in an attempt to free Mazog. so we do not know where they are. I am assuming, as I wrote in the letter, that they are staying in Moria until the way is clear. Erikin is the only one of us who knows differently.

    There are some missions with the epic story that we can do as a group on the landscape. We'll fit those in as we get to them.

    Note that the epic story involves 5 skirmishes. One of them is coming up fairly soon. If you have not tended to your skirmish soldiers recently, you may want to do that in the next couple of weeks so as to be ready for the skirmishes.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  15. #190

    ((Club Eclair)) Ghost Patrol

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


    Sir!

    I am going on a patrol tomorrow.

    Not to worry, we are scouting an area about an inn called the Haunted Inn. It's called that on account of the ghosts floating about. I can think of a time when such a sentence would have either made me laugh in disbelief or given me nightmares. Much has changed since those days in the Shire. I cannot even pretend to be overly frightened of them. We are on one side of a narrow canyon and the ghosts on the other - with a rickety bridge crossing the span. But the ghosts seem to be content to stay on their side of the canyon. Mayhaps, iffen they tried to cross the bridge they would fall through to the ranging mountain steam below. Or, mayhaps, they want to stay nearer their homes. It is hard to tell with ghosts.

    Anyway, I am curious to visit the ghost town across the river and discover what happened there. The buildings are burnt, so there was clearly some violence. But the folks here at the Haunted Inn - elves, mostly, involved in the attack on Dol Guldur, and some man-folk helping them, and even a dwarf or three. Anyway, the folks on this side think that there must be some story behind this calamity. Ghosts are made when people break some oath. A Ranger who is here states that it cannot be the oath to serve the king of Gondor as we are too far from that region and these folks were not bound by that oath. Besides, the village was destroyed much too recently. There must be some other story behind this tragedy.

    But I must put off my investigations until later. As mentioned, we are heading out on a patrol tomorrow. The elfs came to this town to use it as a supply area for their push further inland to Dol Guldur castle - which is still quite some distance from here. I stand on the rocks overlooking the water fall and yet I still cannot see a castle in the distance. Anyways, there's a need to patrol the areas around the camp. There may be things worse than ghosts about.

    Of particular importance are some elf ruins further up the mountain side to the north. Elf scouts went up to the ruins and did not return. These ruins are of an old elf settlement, though to my understanding all elfs are old elfs.

    That is what we have mostly be doing for these elfs as the battle pushes on, closer to the walls of Dol Guldur. The main battling is to the east of us and we are not a part of it. Instead, we are a day or so behind the main elf army, patrolling the lands behind their lines and securing the lands they passed from the threat of vermin and monsters.

    We found a huge spider pit yesterday - a depression in the ground much like Scary in the shire - and just as filled with spiders.

    When we first arrived at Mirkeve, that land was filled with orcs. The orcs have been dealt with, and now nature returns to these lands. But it is not a kindly nature. Wolfs and, as I said, spiders, and bats, and wargs, and spybirds, and large wolfs that are larger even than the wargs. They all roam these forests and are the menaces we will be dealing with as we can on our patrol in the morning.

    Well, I regret to report that I am sleepy, so I will post this letter. Dol Guldur is still a ways away so I have little to report just yet.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  16. #191
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 140 ((The Hidden Guard))

    Dear diary,

    I am in the group that is trying to bring the Orc-king Mazog to Dol Guldur. My friends are not. I don't know exactly why, but Broin apparently has chosen some other dwarves, the Greyhammer brothers, instead of them. And me. And the Elves have also sent five of their own, hand-picked by the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood themselves, but I'll get to that a bit later.

    See, after the landing area was cleared, the Elven army has moved further into the forest. We haven't seen many of them and other than a brief mention of some old ruins in the center, we have no idea where they are. We remained behind and went on a lot of seemingly minor missions to REALLY secure the landing area. We killed ravens and wargs and boars (their meat is not good for eating though, as we found out, poor animals are too corrupted), removed traps the orcs had laid out, gathered spent arrows, and plants that could be used as a medicine, and many other tasks that I forgot. I was not particulary happy, it felt like an unnecessary delay, and the others thought so as well.



    Ok, the bridges were repaired and we cleared out two orc-camps to the south at least. One was used to keep and feed wargs, the other probably a supply camp, but relatively big and well-guarded. In a coffer there we found orders for their commander by which it became clear that the orcs here are unaware that Mazog was even captured.



    Then I received a message that Broin wanted to see me. I told the others, but apparently they didn't get one and had decided to move further into the forest to see if they can catch up with the main host of the elves. I told them I was going back across the river, but that was not true. I hated to lie to them, but since they didn't get a message and Broin had made it clear that the place he wanted to meet should by all means remain a secret, I thought it would be best to keep them in the dark, at least until I knew more. I told them that I will catch up with them soon and watched them for a while when they headed out, to make sure none of them comes back, like maybe because one of them had forgotten their handkerchief.

    After that I went back and down to the riverbank and a few hundred feet south of the landing area. And there he was, Broin! And with him not only a shackled Mazog, but also a group of sturdy and proud dwarven warriors, the Greyhammer brothers. There were Stigur and Rósar, and Luth and Otri. I had seen Luth wandering about in the Elven camp. I had also spoken briefly with him, and he had told me that his great-grandfather had fought in the battle of Azanulbizar and got injured there. But he never said that he was one of the dwarves chosen by Broin to escort Mazog.

    I hadn't met any of them in Khazad-dûm, nor have I ever heard of them, but I trust Broin's judgement. I just wish... he had taken my friends instead, or at least the other dwarves among us, Hroik, Thorcundo, Bohunc or Burnheart. Anyways, it is as it is, and I am sure we'll get along just fine and that I will see my friends soon, at the gates of Dol Guldur!

    The Orc-king looked secured enough, but he is constantly swearing, insulting and threatening us. Says things like the orcs here will descend on us and slaughter us all in a blink of an eye. The Greyhammers won't have any of that and mock him. Other than that, they are pretty quiet, minding their own business and guarding the perimeters of our current position.

    We had waited for several hours, when well after midnight we heard a boat beach and an Elf swiftly ran towards us. He introduced himself as Raddir, a member of the so-called "Hidden Guard", a group of five Elves who are to join us and help bringing Mazog to Dol Guldur. Each one of them is a specialist in their trade, and they had been carefully chosen by the Lord and Lady of Lorien, just like Broin had chosen the Greyhammer brothers. And me. I later had the opportunity to speak a bit with these Elves and I must say they are more talkative than the Greyhammers.

    Raddir is a scout, a pathfinder. He says he had been to Dol Guldur before. He knows the ways of Mirkwood and has planned a route through the dark and sick forest that the enemy does not know and that will allow us to get to Dol Guldur unseen. He will lead the way and chose our path. When asked what brought him to Dol Guldur before, he wouldn't say.



    Then there are Sigileth, a female, and Cucheron, presumably skilled fighters who I hope will show their worth should it come to battle. The female is carrying two knives she crafted herself. Even gave names to them, ha! Ah, I named mine too, did I mention it? I had done some major work on my axes, added some runes and gems and sharpened it. I am happy with the result, it looks a lot better now than ever before! The name "Bloodthirster" may be childish, but I like it and couldn't think of anything better. Won't tell anyone though. She says she will carve a mark on the hilt of the knive for each orc it kills. Yeah, she's a wild one! Couldn't see any mark on the hilts yet however. And to be honest I hope we can bypass any orcs and avoid confrontation, but if needed, I hope she will prove herself worthy of being chosen. My friends sure have more marks on their hilts than she does. If they would mark them.

    Cucheron is a bowmaster and I'm sure will be a great asset on this mission. Aren't all Elves great archers? Well, Wilbus and Liatri are too of course, they can easily match them. He doesn't say much, is more the quiet type, but I like him. At least he doesn't complain about our whole mission, how wrong it is. I heard others say that Mazog should be killed and not offered his freedom and that the captured dwarves should just be written off as inevitable casualties of war. Anyways, he says he guarded the Golden Woods' borders in the north, near Fanuidhol, and I am sure his bow would have quite a few marks already. He also named his bow by the way.

    The other two members are a bit peculiar, as if they don't really belong. There is another female, Issuriel, who, with her fair skin, blond hair and splendid blue dress doesn't look as if she knows she is going to traverse a dangerous, dirty and potentially swampy forest.



    She looks as if she just left the party on the other side of the river. She freely admits though that she doesn't know anything about war and battle, so the Lord and Lady must have chosen her for another reason. She is more a historian, maybe she will write a chronicle about our mission and deeds later. Other than that, I don't think she will be of great value. I have met her before, on the flett in Cerin Amroth where Gimli and his elf-friend Logolas were. Oh, she actually came up with the suspicion that the sorcerer had left something behind in Khazad-dûm, something very dangerous. And then we found all these relics meant to draw forth evil creatures. So she was right about that and there might be more to her than I can think of right now. She says it's important that Elves and dwarves help each other, to strengthen the old bonds, so I give her that.

    The last one is Achardor. Don't like him too much. The Lord was even against him joining, but the Lady must have seen something in her mirror or something. His brother was slain by orcs just recently. I had in fact met his brother's widow, Nurelleth, in Caras Galadhon. I think I brought an arrow for her down to the riverbank where she and her husband liked to sit and chat and watch the sunset. She had asked me to place it there in remembrance and I did so to somehow try and ease her sorrow. And now her brother-in-law is with us and he is looking for vengeance. That Mazog dies is more important to him than rescuing Bori. He said he will keep a close eye on Mazog and if he gives him the slightest reason, he will kill the orc with his own hands. So yes, he could become problematic the deeper into the woods we move.

    So here we are, Broin and Mazog and five Elves and five dwarves. We are on our way.

    Last edited by Craiden; Feb 24 2021 at 07:41 PM.

  17. #192
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 141 ((Disaster in the Drownholt))

    Dear diary,

    We have not made it far into Mirkwood before disaster struck and we lost one member of the Hidden Guard.

    Raddir had chosen to go through a swampy stretch called the Drownholt, filled with dark puddles of stinky water and thorny bushes that are hard to get through.



    We had split up the group, for "secrecy reasons" as they had said, so that we could move more quietly and everyone went forward on their own. The Greyhammers were in front. I wasn't too convinced of this idea, there were no orcs to be seen at all, so from this perspective the route was well chosen.

    I remained behind with Mazog and, of all people, Issuriel. As we waited, we were attacked by a group of bog-lurkers, nothing too much to worry about, I could handle them easily. Then Issuriel asked me to check Mazog's shakles, which looked good, and then to bring him to Cucheron, who was waiting further ahead. I reluctantly did as told, even though I was worried to leave her behind all on her own. While Mazog and I ran forward, he deliberately went through the thickest brambles he could find, mocking me all the way. Also tried to get me into deeper water, or quicksand even.



    We made it safely to Cucheron though, who was still alive to Mazog's disappointment, then had to fend off several lizards and bugs. As expected, the bow-elf proved to be a capable fighter as his bow was singing.

    There was a tunnel ahead, which I scouted while Cucheron guarded the orc-king. The tunnel was empty, but I met Raddir in there. He said he had seen someone familiar in the tunnel, an old... friend? But it must have been a trick of the light he said, for his friend (he never said who this friend was) could not possibly be here. The whole thing was pretty odd though.



    I returned to Cucheron and then led Mazog through the tunnel without any problem. Raddir was gone and at the far end we came across Sigileth. Again, we had a brief scuffle with several creatures of the swamp and I was pleased to observe that she handled her knives with great skill.

    Then Mazog and I ran again. He seemed to have lost patience, complained that his legs were hurting and that our trip no longer "amuses him". But then his mood suddenly brightened, for we saw a dead body ahead, lying face down on the ground near a stagnant pool. Filthy orc! It was Raddir, and he was dead!



    Mazog was gleeful, his yellow eyes sparkling with delight, as I kneeled down to examine the body. Strangely enough, there was no sign of a fight, and I could see no injury. He was just lying there... Was it this "friend" he had seen in the cave? Someone using a disguise to get close to him and then murder him without him being suspicious? It was a sad sight, I liked this elf. And I hate this mystery. Can it be that our passage is known to someone who is now hunting us? We have to solve this mystery fast, for we don't know how great the peril is we are in.

    The Greyhammers were still nowhere to be seen, they must have been further ahead, probably to scout out and clear the way. Speaking of scouting... Raddir was our scout and the only one who knows this forest. He was the one who had planned our route and I don't think he ever told anyone where he intended to go next. How shall we get to Dol Guldur now, without him?

    All this went through my mind as I drove Mazog forward. I must have been distracted by these thoughts, so much so that I barely noticed how Mazog suddenly ran faster, trying to escape into the thick brush. I picked up speed and caught up with him and then brought him safely to Achardor, who was next in line.

    The elf was visibly shaken when I told him of Raddir's passing. Then the rest of the Hidden Guard showed up. Cucheron, Sigileth and Issuriel, who had to my great relief also made the passage, brought Raddir's body with them.

    It was decided that we abandon our current mission and seek shelter in a not too far village called Audaghaim, until we have recuperated from the loss and come up with a new plan. The main host of the Elves had planned to occupy this village and use it as sort of a safe haven in these dark woods.

    But when we got there, we found the village burned down to the ground, all houses black and charred. And there were ghosts floating on the other side of a gorge spanned by a wobbly bridge. With no other place to go, we sneaked into the basement of a long-abandoned inn, the only building remaining intact. At least we saw a few Elves guarding the place. We carefully placed Raddir's body on the bed. The elves of the Hidden Guard were cleary deeply distressed and grieving.



    Mazog was locked up in a makeshift prison cell, watched over by Achador, who again vowed to kill him the moment we have no further use for him. By Durin, I'd like to kill this orc myself.

    Broin is a much-needed voice of reason in all this madness, saying we should rest here for a while. We should try to somehow come to terms with the tragic and mysterious loss of Raddir and devise a new plan.
    Nobody knows which way Raddir wanted to take us and it is on us now to decide how we could best bring Mazog to the gates of Dol Guldur. Should we perhaps just join the Golden Host and go with them? I wish my friends were here now, they would know what to do for sure.

  18. #193

    ((Club Eclair)) The Costs of Dissent

    Father:

    Our adventures take us even deeper into Mirkwood. Soon, we will be marching to a place called the Drowned Wood. Do not be concerned about your posts, the elfs know where to find me and will forward your letters dutifully. Not as dutiful as the "Quick Post" mind you. It is more like, "When we get around to it and it is on the way post." But it gets done.

    The elfs see us as some sort of big lumbering beasts. They have commented more than once that nobody could possibly fail to notice our passing - what with all of the shouting and battling that goes on in our wake. They said we should we watchful, as the eyes of Dol Guldur are upon us and the attention we draw will be aiming to do us harm.

    This lumbering beast of Eclairians will be heading into the Drowned Wood shortly.

    Recently, we have been staying at a place called the Haunted Inn. This is a strange place - some powerful magic is at work here. Though this village likely burned to the ground 600 years ago, the ashes and ruins are as near fresh with even flames continuing to burn in some parts of it. The village is occupied by the spirits of them who lived here long ago.

    We have had an opportunity to speak with them. That is a strange tale on its own. Hedgerow, of course, was all eager to find out what happened for its own self, but the elfs and Rangers fed his curiosity since they wanted to know if some evil lurked here that needed their attention. So, Mr. Shrewburrow went about, papers in hand, through rain and darkness and mirk, to discover the secrets of this place.

    He had a flock of Eclairians what travelled with him to keep him safe. Some of the ghosts in the town did not take kindly to strangers and, outside of the town, there are spiders the size of a small pony and wolfs that are even larger lurking about to eat the unwary traveller.

    His investigations took him to the cemetary where he noticed four tombstones what were all marked for the same week, the occupants of the graves having died young. Then . . . this tells you how much our travels have changed us . . . then he went to the town to talk to the ghosts directly.

    Those who travelled with him were less inclined to conversation than him, and so battles with the ghosts ensued. Hedge struggled to get them to lower their weapoins so that he could speak with them. His companions were not the only ones anxious for a fight as the greater number of ghostly occupants attacked the visitors on sight. However, he was able to talk to a few.

    He was struck at how they described their village as perfect and peaceful. Though he pointed out to the charred remnants of their homes they seemed not to notice. So he came to ask the Eclairians to search the village itself for clues.

    Sagla thought to look, not in the town, but on the hillside where the town was built. There, with a commanding view of the town, she found a statue what was made to the Necromancer - the villain of Dol Guldur what turned Greenwood into Mirkwood. The corruption of the village seems to have been a part of his general corruption. Twostep, as would be fitting of a person of her talents, found the hidden cache of weapons. And it was hard not to notice the blood splattered before one of the houses in the town. In keeping with the oddity of this place, though the blood was 600 years old like the reast of the violence, it was as if still fresh.

    Burnheart discovered the greatest treasure, or so I have been told, as he discovered a spider living on the pile of ash and charred timber in one of the houses and, in the spider's nest, protected by silk, were a tightly bound book.

    They took the book to the house where the Rangers read its contents. There were missing pages, but what was not missing was the story of how the Necromancer promised properpity to the villagers iffen they would only pledge to him fealty, which most of the villagers did.

    The book of four who dissented and, with the four freshest tombstones in the cemetary all being marked for the same week, that sparked Hedgerow's interest to return to the cemetary. It was, perhaps, the fact that he carried the book with him that the most strangest thing happened. From an unmarked grave there arose a spirit. This spirit was the record keeper himself. Though frightened, Hedgerow asked the ghost what happened. He told of how each of the four dissenters were, in their own turn, slayed and buried. When they had discovered that the record keeper has noted the unjust executions of the others they slew and buried him as well along with the missing pages of his book.

    It was a sad story, indeed. It tells the importance of standing together against the injustice of a tyrant who would demand loyalty and obedience and pledged violence against any who would dissent.

    For the Rangers, the story said that there was no danger lurking on the mountainside they needed to content with - none what was responsible for the fate of the village, anyways. The Necromancer has gone and his lieutenant we know about in Dol Guldur what we intend to deal with in due time.

    I, for one, would be pleased to be gone from this place. I think the curse here still lingers . . . it still fosters dissent and anger. Perhaps if we were to leave this place, we can restore some bit of harmony in our ranks. I would tell you the details, father, but it is something I care not to discuss at the moment. I hope that it is a passing thing.

    There was a menace, here. The village was built on the side of a tall mountain, and the whole mountain is filled with villainous batfolk what have moved into the elven forts what were once built on the side of the wall. Or . . . were they built by menfolk? They weren't hobbits or dwarfs, I know that. We have been battling the batfolk and driving them further into the wilds so as the expedition to Dol Guldur will not face a threat from this flank.

    For now, I should go. As I mentioned, we are heading into the Drowned Wood to patrol for a couple of weeks. After which, I think we are returning to this inn. It is the nicest place to stay that we have yet discovered. I will write when I get back.

    Love,

    Alphred Troute.



    As mentioned, we are about to head into the Drowned Wood. There is a quest hub there and we will be staying at the camp while we patrol the swamps. Hopefully, the Drowned Wood will be relatively dry.

    On the way, we will be advancing Chapter 5 of the epic story line - OOCly unless Erikin decides to share some of the story with us.

    I believe that, when we are done in the Drowned wood, we will need to return to the Haunted Inn at which point the epic story will have us scout the route forward. We will do this as a series of patrols.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  19. #194
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 142 ((Of Lights and Ghosts))

    Dear diary,

    While the Elves were mourning and deciding what to do, I went upstairs and found the guestroom of the old Inn suprisingly full of people. There were several Elves, some clad in the black outfits of the Golden Host, and even a bard playing her lute near the fireplace in the back. There was also Otri, one of the Greyhammers. He was very quiet though, staring absent-mindedly into the flames.

    And my friends were here too! I did not tell them about the orc-king held prisoner in the basement and tried to ignore it as best I could when Burnheart casually mentioned the stench coming from below. Hedge said he had tried to see if there were proper beds downstairs, but was denied passage. They had made their way here persuing the Golden Host, which had moved even deeper into the forest by now. So yes, while the Hidden Guard took their time, I was very happy to join them again.

    They had been tasked with assaulting some old Elven ruins, where the Enemy holds several Elves they have captured. Their mission was to go in and rescue the prisoners. So we went uphill and found the ruins not only used as a prison, but also to be a nesting place for a large flock of merrevail.



    Ah, it was good to see my companions do battle again, how skilled they all are! It all went pretty well, until it didn't. We managed to rescue three elves and two humans wearing Ranger outfits, who later showed up at the Inn aswell, where they were quietly talking with the Elves about something. I think they joined the Golden Host for some reason.

    We made our way through these ruins quite easily at first, until we found a sorcerer torturing a captured elf in one of the courtyards. He was not pleased about our interruption and knew some nasty tricks, like summoning a swirling storm of fire that engulfed us. A bit surprised, we retreated hastily, then regrouped, changed our gear a bit, discussed the best tactics and then brought him down. But he was a handful, probably the most dangerous foe we have faced in Mirkwodd so far. If that is what we can expect in Dol Guldur, then we could be in for some trouble. The elf was as thankful as an Elf can be and ran off to the Inn. Mission accomplished.

    Then there was this issue with the burned village and the ghosts on the other side. A mystery that Hedge was most eager to solve. I think he had spoken to one of the Ranger guys. He led us down into the valley to the old graveyard where he hoped to find a clue to what had happened here.



    When we studied the gravestones, we learned that the villagers buried here had all perished within one week, between June 30 and July 4, 2461 TA, and were relatively young, between 19 and 41 years old. This was odd, even though it was written on the stones that they had died from a disease or fell down a cliff.

    Hedge then led us back and forth. We searched the rubble in the burned village and found a hidden stash of weapons, a large bloodstain and an idol, erected to honor the Dark Lord himself. We found coins with the image of the Dark Lord imprinted on them and a diary with missing pages. Strangely enough, Hedge even managed to speak with one of the ghosts, and, even oddlier, the ghost said the town was still whole and prosperous. As if he didn't see, or denied, reality.



    In the end it turned out that this was once a village of simple woodsmen, some 600 years ago. Then the Dark Lord made his home in Dol Guldur and promised the villagers great riches if they swore their allegiance to him. Most fell for it, but four brave souls resisted, refused to follow him, and for that they were brutally slain, murdered by their own people. And when they fell, they cursed the other villagers.

    When Galdhron confronted the talkative ghost with the truth, he still would not accept what happened and attacked us, more in desperation I believe. He disappeared when we fought back, only to materialize again a short time later. We cannot kill, nor release them from their curse. I had hoped that if they acknowledge their wrongdoing, they would be redeemed, their curse lifted, but alas, it was not to be. A sad tale.



    After we got back, Otri wanted to talk to me and now I know why he was so quiet. Two of his brothers had gone missing in the swamp. He blames the Elves and Broin's lack of experience for it. He asked me to go back to the Drownholt and look for Rósar and Stigur. And that's what I did then, all by myself. I had briefly considered to ask my friends to come along, or tell at least Hedge what I was up to, but the less they know about it the better I think. Not that I don't trust them, I do one hundred percent, but I don't dare to anger Broin, and he would not approve. He may even kick me out of his group!

    So I left for the swamp in the middle of the night, while everyone as sleeping. Probably quite foolish, as Sagla would have said, and I was pretty concerned, if not even terrified, when I got there. I believe the sun had risen, but it was still dark and gloomy. Flies were buzzing and large, black cats were hunting among the brakes. They were not my main concern however, for there were these lights everywhere, and everytime I got too close to one of them I started to feel drowsy. No, Erikin, this is no place to sleep! No, no, no! There might also be the killer around who assassinated Raddir! So I tried to avoid these lights and walk aound them as far as possible.



    I must have been wandering around for hours, when I finally spotted a dwarf among the bushes. But when I ran up to him, relieved that I had finally found one of the Greyhammers, he simply disappeared right before my eyes. Just vanished into thin air! I grew more and more desperate. Where by Durin were they? And was this what Raddir had experienced? The friend he saw before he died, who also disappeared?

    Frantically, I continued my search and just before I was about to give up, I saw another dwarf, standing near a puddle. I approached him carefully this time, and got a reaction. He blinked, as if waking from a sleep. It was Rósar, and he said he didn't know what happened. Then he ran off, saying he will return to the camp right away. I don't even know which camp he was talking about! And he didn't offer to help finding his brother either. Well, maybe he didn't know he was not the only one missing.

    In the end, I also found Stigur, after I have searched for who knows how long.



    He also didn't remember anything or how long he had been standing there. We both went back to the Inn in Audaghaim together. It was a scary adventure, and I am glad it's over, that everyone is safe and we haven't lost another member of the Hidden Guard.

    As we arrived there, my friends were not around anymore. They may have gone looking for me and I feel terrible about it. I hope they are alright, but I also know they will worry about me, especially Hedge. I am very sorry to do this to him.

  20. #195

    ((Club Eclair)) Entangled

    Daffodilia Wildfeet
    Chief, Bounders of the Shire - Addernotch Station


    Sir!

    I am here to report that we are moving a little closer to Dol Guldur. Which, by the way, we still have not seen. I think I have caught a glimpse of it when some lightning lit it up just right on a starry night, but I am uncertain. The forest here seems to be in a permanent fog. Not a dense fog. Not a fog of the type that sits low on The Water on a cold autumn morning when the pumpkins are ripening. It is a thin fog - just enough to blur things that are at some distance. And the stars. When I look up at night, the stars are fuzzy. They are not clear points as I am accustomed to, and the moon is behind a thin veil that does not completely hide its face, but makes it hard to recognize.

    Anyways, the elfs have set up a major camp in a place called Emyn Lum and that is where we are at. They have brought all sorts of supplies and, I was pleased to discover, they even brought my boxes.

    The surface is nothing to look at . . . charred walls that have partially collapsed. But whomever lived here before built a root cellar that makes even Bag End look quaint by comparison. It has a fishing stream running through it - it truly does. And on one side there is a library with at least 200 books. And it has an oven and a stove and light comes in through the rocks and shines as a tight beam down onto a small garden iffen you catch it at the right time. I have been here with Thorfaniel catchiing up on my reading while I do some fishing in the fishing stream.

    Oh, there's a hobbit here. Actually, I have seen three with the elfs here in Mirkwood, other than we Eclairians. Well, sadly, I have actually only seen two. The third, Hal Tiller, went into the spider lairs north of the ruins and has not been seen since. Well, he may have been seen. Parts of him. We found his backpack . . . and we saw some of the wolf dogs of the Scuttledells gnawing on some bones and . . . well . . . it is just too upsetting to write about. We spent a full day and part of a night hunting for him, hoping against hope that he was well, but the only signs we found were the bones that I mentioned.

    There were some elfs who were lucky we were out hunting Hal Tiller as they had been caught by giant spiders and wrapped up in a nice package and placed in the Spider pantry for a later meal. Spiders do this, you know. They poison their victims so the victims cannot move and then wrap them in a nice silken wrapping that it too tight to wiggle out of once the poison wears off. And they keep you there fresh and wriggling until they are ready to feast.

    Oh, why to I have these dread thoughts in my head! I shall never sleep tonight.

    Well, we found some elfs wiggling inside of their spider wrappings and freed them and sent them back to Emyn Lum. They might have been eaten iffen not for the fact that we were off trying to find Hal.

    Even if poor Hal has met an unfortunate end, we have other reasons to return to the Scuttledells after some sleep. A spider den always comes with a matron spider which is the source of all of the spiderlets. This one is particularly poisonous, or so we have been told, so we have been charged with finding the ingredients for a special antidote before we enter her lair and put an end to her menace. And there is an ancient dead yard with dead what forget they were deading. I have come to appreciate that this is the work of one that they call The Necromancer. I cannot recall iffen I have mentioned him in my previous letters.

    I do not know where I got this idea . . . something I overheard, perhaps . . . or something that I misheard. But it seems this necromancer is the only person who has magic that effects the dead. I do know that I have mentioned this - but I should mention it again on account of it is useful information to have stored away iffen you confront any of these dangers. Though we speak of the dead being brought back to life - that is not the truth of it. The truth of it is that there are these spirits - some blue, some red, some green, and some white. These spirits have no bodies of their own so they borrow bodies from others who aren't using them anymore. Sometimes you need to visit some violence upon the body to make it so that the spirit folk cannot use it. These spirit folk are seldom good. Sometimes, but usually not. So it's necessary to render the body unsuitable for use, I am afraid.

    When I perish, I want to be cremated. I don't want a malevolent spirit using my body. Remember that iffen I should perish. I am to be cremated.

    Well, I just wanted to write to let you know that I am well. I don't want you to think I have forgotten the Shire.

    And . . . well, concerning that Tiller lad. Well, you don't really need to mention anything to his parents until I find out more. I'll wrap the bones up and send them back iffen that is to their preference. In separate packages, of course. For delivery on different days. One wouldn't want ot see Mr. and Mrs. Tillers's son standing out on the front porch one morning knocking and seeking enterance for second breakfast.

    I am just writing to let you know that things are well.

    One nice thing about these spiders is that they give us something good to eat. Spiders are like land crabs and their meat is just a tastey iffen it is prepared right and dipped in melted butter.

    I will let you go about your work. I should be preparing for the next muster.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  21. #196

    ((Club Eclair)) North or East?

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



    Sir!

    I am writing to you with my maps and notes before me trying to figure out what we should be doing. By my notes, there is no further threat to the north. We have slayed the Queen Spider - a poisonous creature. The elfs had us go through the trouble of getting an antidote against its deadly poison. Yet, when we got to the queen spider, Sagla and Bohregard and the others were able to slay it so quickly that it never got a chance to sting any of us.

    Speaking of Bohregard, we are waiting on his return. We've been tracking a creature through the Scuttledells who has some important information - or so we are told - what we can't let the orcs find out about as it would be very bad if they did. This is a creature that we met before. I remember Erikin speaking about such a creature trying to snatch a fisher family's newborn child. He and some Ranger . . . or an Elf . . . I do not recall. Anyways, they baited it with fish but it ran away. And, as I recall the story, it got away just as some orcs showed up what were trying to find it there as well.

    Anyway, we are waiting for Bohregard's return on whether he and the elf what went with him had any luck catching the creature. They went up off to the north to the spiders' lair while we returned to the elf ruins where they have this large and well supplied camp.

    I climbed to the top of this camp just now. I found a ramp what went up and around and left and right and up some more until I was so far up that I was looking down on nearly all of the forest trees and even with the rest. And there, off to the east, I thought I got my first glipse of Dol Guldur. Well, of course, I got the thought to try it right before first breakfast while it was still dark so I could not see naught but an outline of some towers far to the east. I sat up there and waited for the dawn to see iffen I could see more of the place in the daylight. There is a mirkiness here that prevents me from seeing too far and I fear the dawn will show it hidden behind a vail of fog still. When I returned in the daylight the elfs on guard duty up there said it weren't Dol Guldur but a place called the Grim Tower. It stands between us and our destination and is going to need to be scouted and cleared of villainy before we proceed further east. I mentioned to the elf that we could do the scouting once we finish one last trip into the Scuttledells and he seemed most eager to accept the offer.

    I'll suggest to Twostep that she scout the road for us so we can have an idea of what threats we might face. She's good at that.

    Anyways, as to my dilemma, I have this uneasy feeling that a danger still lurks in a Barrows that we found boundering the Scuttledells. We went in there, sealed the tombs, and slayed most of the deadfolk that had escaped and were walking around. Was that enough? It seems there is always an overseer - a great menace what is responsible for the villainy - like the spider queen. Or Samborg in the Great Barrows, or Bloodhand in Garth Agarwen, or some creature what is the core of of the menace that we should deal with before moving on. Yet, here, there has been no such creature. Or at least none that any has mentioned.

    When next we muster, I am thinking of suggesting to folks that we go up there and take one last look around. Just in case. But I fear what they may think of me iffen we get up there and discover that the last of the menace has, indeed, been dealt with when we sealed the tombs. They will glare at me and accuse me of wasting a day that we could have spent moving to Dol Guldur and getting Bori rescued.

    Speaking of Bori . . . Erikin remains missing and naught has seen hides nor hairs of him. He went back to see what the dwarfs intended to do with Mazog. For all we know, Mazog remains kept in Moria until the way to Dol Guldur has been cleared and they can bring the orcs through safely. Though I would not think some of the dwarfs - Brugar in particular - will be patient enough to wait. Dwarfs fray their patience when they are made to wait for the Elfs to get something done. And here I am, suggesting another delay as we investigate the Barrows rather than head east to Dol Guldur.

    There's also an orc camp to the south of us. What are we to do with them? Shall we not raid those camps and drive back the orcs so as to make sure that they will not attack us from the south while we face east?

    But I am going to suggest to the others that we return to the Barrows and I will tell them why. It is because I would dislike some great evil sending an army of deadfolk at us from the north as we face east as I am concerned with the orcs attacking us from the south as we face east. If I am to be wrong, what is the worst of the two wrongs? If I am wrong about the threat from the Barrows we waste a week. Iffen I say there is no threat and I am wrong a menace strikes us from the side and destroys our whole effort and countless elfs die. The lesser wrong is just to go to the Barrows and make sure. And that is what I am going to suggest to the others.

    Iffen you don't mind, it is now getting near dawn and I think iffen I climb to the top of that tower I might see Dol Guldur in the light of the day. At the very least, it would be nice to sit above the trees in the sunshine for a bit . . . until the others are up and ready for travel.

    I will write more as opportunity permits.

    Bounder Hedgerow Shrewburrow.



    We may be done with the Scuttledells, but we are going to spend another day there anyway to patrol, advance (finish off) the spider slayer deeds, and make sure everybody is caught up. We have no need to let some folks who had other duties struggle to catch up to us. As something to do, I am going to suggest revisiting the Barrows, just to discover whether something was left undone. Who knows, we might find an unfinished quest along the way.

    Since all of us - except Erikin - are doing the epic story line OOCly, there are reasons to advance the epic story up to Chapter 9 before our final trip. That chapter involves a trip to the Barrows - a trip that each of us can secretly fulfill OOCly while we are ICly investigating if there is some master menace left unchallenged in the bone yards.

    By the time we return from that mission, folks should have the spider slayer deed done. I do not think we are going to encounter any more spiders. But, there's enough spiders in the Scuttledells that this should not be a problem.

    Our next set of missions is to the Grim Tower to the east.
    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 are currently at Level 60 roleplaying our way through Mirkwood. (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 16 in Breeland. (Trebble)

  22. #197
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    256

    Erikin, Diary Entry 140 ((Finding a way))

    Dear diary,

    When we got back to the Inn, the Elves still had not agreed on which path to take. They all had a different opinion, and all had sort of convincing arguments. Achardor wanted to pass right through the middle, Emyn Lûm, to catch up with the main body of the Golden Host. "Get to Dol Guldur as fast as possible", he said, and in the relative saftey of a pretty sizeable army. Raddir chosing a secret route had cost him his life. Sigileth wanted to continue the southern route Raddir had chosen. Why would he go through the Drownholt if it wasn't on his mind to continue along the southern borders? We may encounter orcs, but if we keep an eye out, we may be able to sneak past them. Besides, we don't fear orcs, right? Issuriel however vowed to stick to the original plan of secrecy, to take the path least expected, and watched, by the Enemy and therefore was in favor of the Scuttledells, even though the place has a bad reputation and is supposedly full of spiders.

    Cucheron had not set his mind yet, only said that there doesn't seem to be a safe way at all. So he asked me to go ahead and scout each of the three options and assess their dangers. Maybe I can speak with some Elves I find along the way and see what they have to say. Broin was certainly not amused by this, yet another, delay. But then he sighed and accepted Cucheron's proposal, but not without complaining for the umpteenth time, that if you ask three Elves for the way, you get three different directions, ha!



    So I left the Inn by myself for Ost Galadh, a large ruin, not unlike Dannenglor, in the very center of the forest. Following a forest trail, it didn't take me too long to get there actually and I encountered nothing particularly dangerous. The ruin itself seems to be the main command center of the Elves right now. Fuirgam, the commander we had met at the landing, was there, standing around a table on which many maps were laid out with two of his aides.

    Apparently, the larger forces have already moved closer to Dol Guldur, led by a champion named Rodelleth. His two aides had some reservations about her, as she seemed to have a reputation of being hot-headed and prone to disregard orders. They were concerned that she may assault the tower of Dol Guldur directly, while the plan is to attack only the outer, and less protected barracks, where "a great many orcs are housed and supplied". The hope is to delay and weaken the imminent attack on the Golden Wood by destroying the barracks, supplies and siege weapons they assemble there. How they'd get them across the river is beyond me though. And after that goal is accomplished, to move back across the Anduin to Lothlorien, before another great army arrives at Dol Guldur from the East. They won't have neither the needed forces nor equipment to dismantle the tower itself.

    I also heard that two Nazgûl were spotted within the tower itself, and one of the Lord Celeborn's ambitions seems to be to draw their eyes towards the Golden Host, and away from something else of great importance. But what that could be, not even Fuirgam seems to know.



    As the sun was rising, I climbed a long wooden ramp to the very top of the ruins to get a better overview. And there in the East it was, looming on a tall cliff high above MIrkwood - Dol Guldur! A terrifying sight to behold, with walls as tall as mountains, and numerous towers, and giant birds or whatever it is circling above it. To get in there and rescue Bori seems nigh impossible. Not even the Elves would dare to attack it. But then I calmed down a bit. We are not here to attack it either, right? All we have to do is to get to the gate and exchange Mazog for Bori and the other captured dwarves.



    Around the ruins I found an odd set of footprints, small like a goblins', but with longer feet. Fuirgam found them most interesting. They may belong to a creature named Gollum, who the Lord Celeborn is most intent to capture, but so far it had always eluded his sentinels and managed to slip away. It had even been seen lurking around the edges of the Golden Wood.

    I also spoke to one of the Elves if this would be the right way for the Hidden Guard and he sent me out to take a look at the road ahead. Hiding behind some stones, I observed several well- organized orc patrols. Seems the road is watched very closely and with the orcs and all the black birds about, he said he would not recommed this way. I agree, taking it would likely give away that Mazog is our prisoner and lead to an all-out attack which we may lose.

    I then turned south towards Taur Morvith to investigate the orc presence there. I found an elf near a larger orc camp, or rather two smaller ones, with a road leading towards a bridge right through them. It appears the forest grew even darker here, there was hardly a thing to see. We had to defend ourselves from several orc assaults, after which this Elf deemed it would be ill-advised for the Hidden Guard to take the southern route to Dol Guldur.

    I was not so convinced and stuck around some more. Found a small Elven outpost and helped them to thoroughly raze these orc camps by burning their banners and planting our own, culling a lot of wargs, defeating scouts and messengers, even what looked like some higher ranked orcs and their commander. Also, the Elves say that the orcs here are cut off from the rest of their forces and their numbers are not that great. It is true however that we don't know what is south of the bridge and seeing it had been guarded so well, it must be something of importance, for why else would the orcs build two fortresses to defend it.

    Then I set my sights on the Scuttledells. Didn't like that place at all, and with all the winding ravines very easy to get lost in. Finally came across a lone female Elf, nicely dressed, sitting all by herself at a campfire. She didn't appear to be bothered in the slightest that there were lots of spiders about, and feral dogs, and a barrow with walking dead nearby. She also said she cannot recommend a traverse of the Scuttledells, unless... Well, the Enemy is clearly not watching the place and if the spiders' venom is not too poisonous, it may still be an option.

    So I went around a bit to collect samples for her, when I discovered the entrance of a cave filled with sticky nets and hundreds of spiders. I felt like they wouldn't pose too much of threat and we've been in worse spider nests before, so I went deeper inside. But this time I was alone!

    Came across a somewhat bigger spider, maybe some sort of matron, and easily dispatched of her. She was definitely not a queen, not what we had seen up in Angmar, or Helegrod even. So I started to wonder if there would be a large queen here aswell, but if there is I haven't seen it.

    I also watched the odd orc walking around. Good spider-food, ha! And then, when I looked down to another level of the nest, I saw three orcs stooped over a small, wriggling figure which looked like a goblin to me from a distance. Some bullying going on there probably. I made my way down and when they noticed me, the bigger orc commanded the others to kill me. They posed no threat however and I easily managed to keep their hands off me. The poor wretch even cheered me on: "Nice dwarfses helps us, my precious", in a high voice with noticeable lisp.



    After his two minions lay dead, the big orc limped over, and again I had no difficulty fighting him off, but in the brief tussle we've had, the pale and haggard creature managed to slip away. "We are free, my precious! Everyone wants to catch poor Gollum!", it squealed. I saw two pale eyes, large as saucers, look at me and then he was gone. I searched for it for a while, but then gave up. Didn't feel too good about it, as I think this was the very creature the Lord Celeborn had been looking for and him and the Lady would have been very impressed with brave Erikin entering a spider's nest and coming out with Gollum taken captive. Ha, I would have been such a hero!

    But alas, it wasn't to be, too bad. But there was nothing I could do about it. If Fuirgam was disappointed, he was clement enough not to show it when I spoke with him later. Instead he commended me for preventing this Gollum to fall into the hands of the Enemy. Ok, at least some kind of comfort.

    When I got out of the nest, I got totally lost and it took quite some time to find my way back to the lone Elf. She studied the samples and determined that the venom is not too bad, at least in smaller doses from a single spider. She now said that she would recommend the passage through the Scuttledells, as long as we avoid any encounter with a larger group of spiders. I don't know, I don't like this place at all. Easy to get lost in, so many spiders and who knows what other creatures lurk in the shadows.



    Then it was time to head back to Audaghaim and report my findings. The Elves I had met had advised against the central and the southern routes. But if it was my decision to make, I'd go with Sigileth's suggestion. It seems to be a reasonable compromise between Achardor's motion to completely abandon any secrecy, and Issuriel's stand to make a long detour north into unknown and potentially highly dangerous territory. We even razed an orc camp in the south, and they have no contact with Dol Guldur. The Scuttledells were advocated for solely based on the assumption that ONE spider's venom does not pose too much of a threat.

    I however truthfully recounted what I had learned and heard, but also mentioned my preference for the southern route. I think I had some good arguments, but me being dwarf they don't know too well and the other "advisors" all being Elves, Cucheron and Issuriel decided on the Scuttledells. "My heart tells me this is the right way", she said.

    Well, so be it. We are packing up and are about to leave the Inn soon.
    Last edited by Craiden; Apr 11 2021 at 07:19 AM.

 

 
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