To Eagles Eyrie and Journey's End

VI

And so it was that on May the 15th in the year of 2946, five years hence the Battle of Five Armies, Balin son of Fundin, hero of the Battle of Five Armies and envoy of King Dáin II Ironfoot and King Bard of Dale, heir of Girion, met with Gwaihir the Wind Lord, king of Eagles, inviting him to join in the Dragon Tide festivities in Dale in late November of that year, an invitation graciously accepted.

May 7th, 2946 — The Middle Vales

Emerging from the suffocating forest, the company emerged into the sunny Middle Vales of the Great River. Lush grassy, rolling hills as far as the eye could see, and on the horizon the jagged silhouette of the far Misty Mountains. Here the company rested their tired bodies for a while, before making their way along the remains of the Men-i-Naugrim down to scattered homesteads around The Old Ford.

May 9th, 2946 — The Old Ford

 Merovech the Mighty

Merovech the Mighty

Arriving at The Old Ford, once a mighty bridge built by the heirs of Numenor, and strengthed to carry the armies of Elendil as they marched upon Angmar

Meeting with Merovech the Mighty, a large, jolly fellow, the company was greated with some amazement when they laid out their tale of woe and strife through the dark of Mirkwood. Upon hearing about their noble quest, Merovech invited the group, now consisting of Agmund, Grimbald, Haggol, Balin, Anarië and Galion, to Beorn's House a day and a half's march north of the Ford.

May 11th, 2946 — Beorn's House

And so it was, having journied up along the Great River, in amongst huge bee hives and bears glancing lazily at the passing adventurers, that they company arrived at the House of Beorn, leader of the Beornings and Orc-terror. Many are the legends of this man, whom the stories tell turns to a bear and hunts foes trespassing on the land. Not a man to welcome strangers and adventurers, not to mention dwarves, easily, Merovech's introduction nevertheless paved the way for the company to join Beorn in his hall, where he served his famous honeycakes, made from the honey of the giant bees seen throughout his lands.

Not one to take kindly to boasting, Beorn nevertheless enjoyed the colorful tale of the Battle at Amon Naugrim, and bestowed his blessing on the quest for Amon Thyryr.

The next morning the company found that Galion Heradion and Anarië Gelarioth, their two elven companions had left Beorn's House during the night, seemingly without as much as a goodbye. The company asked no questions.

Now Merovech joined the company as their guide across the Middle Vales, west across The Carrock, the mighty bones of the Misty Mountains jutting out into the midst of the Anduin River, and Thingstead for the peoples of the Beorning lands. Upon the orders of Beorn himself, the company passed across the eastern Carrock Ford and were carried in boats onto the western side without paying the otherwise significant toll.

May 13th, 2946 — Travellers in the Night

Already in the Estern Middle Vales the land turned less fruitful and rockier as the Misty Mountains grew ever nearer. Nearing the forest of Doncirith, as it is named in the Elven tongue, the Dark Cleft Forest, the company spied a camp fire and approached with some caution. Soon the company and the eight men of the campfire lay their distrust aside, although a strange atmosphere permeated the rest of the night. They had travelled down fro the north, having traded with the Viglundings of the Upper Vales, and were now heading south the next morning.

Early the next morning both parties went their seperate ways, with the company traveling now north across the rolling foothills of the Misty Mountains, until finally...

May 15th, 2946 — The Eagles' Eyrie

Jutting out of the sharp, vertical pinnacles of the cold Misty Mountains, the adventurers now saw the shelf of Amon Thyryr from afar. There lay their final destination, for which they had fought and lost so much. Searching for a way up, it was Grimbald whose sense of the wild gained them a passage through a deep ravine.

 Amon Thyryr

Amon Thyryr

From the mountain shelf the expanse of Rhovanion spread out before them from across the The Rushdown River, Sirrion the great Anduin flowed down from the north, passing through the Vales into the far south, and across from it the Mighty Mirkwood, and off in the distance outlines of the Mirkwood Mountains themselves, the harbours of things most evil and dark, clad in the golden light of the setting sun. And above them, a mighty creature, a Giant Eagle soared in the last rays of the sun.

Short moments of despair as the group found themselves so close, yet so far, when suddenly a clear, beautiful voice rose in song from behind them. Anarië Galrioth had followed them and now sung a song from a distant past, when the world was fairer and its people's more trusting of one another. From when an elven king might come calling on the Eagles of old.

Now the great eagle turned its wings and dove gracefully onto the mountain shelf, landing in front of the party in all his mighty glory.

"Rare are the moments when the people's of the world dare stand at our doorstep. Rarer even is it to see men of the north and men of the woods, dwarves from under the mountain, and elf of the wood standing together. I see there is a man of the Vale amongst you, yet no arrows have been loosed upon me. This they do when we go hunting for sheep and calf in the shadows of the mountain. Men seem yet to not understand that no creature can own another. And why should a sheep care by whom it is eaten in the end?"

Yet fear not, for the Eagles bear your folk no real enmity, apart from this delusion, you appear to be an otherwise decent folk.

Turning to Anarië.

"Long has it been since my Lord and yours visited each other. And long since I heard that song of old. I trust the King of the Woodland Realm is enjoying his prerogatives?"

"Speak now, mortals and state your purpose, for the night draws near."

Balin, dumbfounded by the majesty of the great Eagle, worn out from his travails and the losses he endured crossing Mirkwood could say nothing. Now Agmund of Dale, son of Arnulf stepped forward and pleaded their case to the Eagle.

"I am Landroval, brother of Gwaihir, whom you seek; lord of the four winds, and whose mountain upon which you stand. I have heard your story and followed your journey from afar. Our fates lie on separate paths than yours, yet intermingled they are in ways that none can see, not even the wisest. Take hold of my talons, Balin, Son of Fundin, your request you may ask of Gwaihir yourself. Take hold, and do not let go!"

With that, Landroval lifted Balin into the air and bore him on the wind up to the Eyrie, built long ago by the Elves and Dwarves, high above Rhovanion.

An hour passed, when Landroval returned with Balin, lowering him gently to the ground.

"Good health to you Balin, and you all. Rest here and in safety and travel back to your lands when you see fit. I and my lord will see you again at Esgaroth, in the east, when the leaves of Mirkwood have turned golden brown and fallen from their boughs. Farewell!"

The great let himself be lifted by the winds, and soared into the evening sky.

The adventure, long and harsh as it had been, had come to an end, there on the edge of the Wild.