Dark Tidings


After a long summer in the bossom of the Beornings, the company brought back a fragment of a long-sought heirloom to the chieftan of Woodland Hall. On the hunt for Azgrask the Great Orc, they followed a stale trail back to the Great River, only to find a funeral boat carrying none other than Merovech the Mighty, dead. Thus begins our tale of Kin-strife and Dark Tidings.

May 20th, 2946 — The Old Ford

Arriving at the Old Ford from Amon Thyryr in May 20th, 2946, on the invitation of Merovech the Mighty, their guide through the Beorning territories, the company befriended the Beornings occupying the lands around the ford and took up with them for the summer, staying at the farmstead of Merovech's extended family, Gelvira Pot-stirer and her kin at the Hall of the Crossing.

Over the course of the following two months, Agmund, Grimbald, and Haggol the dwarf of the Lonely Mountain helped the Beornings mend their fences, herd their sheep and guard the ford, and in so doing earned the trust of an otherwise often untrusting folk. Here, Merovech declared, them to be welcome when they might seek a resting place henceforth.

As a modest gesture of appreciation for their help in the Mirkwood journey, Balin granted the companions each treasure from his own pocket and to Haggol the services of a raven of the Lonely Mountain by the name of Rok, a trusty comrade for the dark times to come.

Yet even here in the lush Middle Vales of the Anduin, Agmund found it still hard to shake the weariness of Mirkwood and seemed as weighed by the lingering shadow as ever.

July 16th - 23rd, 2946 — Woodland Hall

Now the company set out towards Woodland Hall, where they met with Bregdan, youngest son of Baldred, chieftan of Woodland Hall. Grimbald greeted the master of Woodland Hall suitably and presented him with Wolfbiter, the fragmented heirloom, wrapped in a small piece of fur. The shattered axe carried in years past by Bregdan's older brother, Bargrim.

Confounded, Bregdan invited the company in to hear their story. Perhaps it was now the absence of Balin, or maybe it was from having told the story once too many, but the companions were soon embellishing and extrapolating upon their heroics at Amon Naugrim, and outlasted Bregdan's ears with their tall tales. Weary of their boasting, and now not quite certain what to think of the story of his long-lost brother who had suffered so at the hands of the Necromancer in the dungeons of Dol Guldur, Bregdan offered the companions shelter for the night, but begged them move on in the morning. This much to their dismay, as they had some hopes of drumming up support for their Orc-hunting cause, even if Bregdan himself seemed less interested in wasting his men on foolish errands of vengenace and trails two months cold.

"Rumors of dark things in the night are commonplace here in the thick of the forest, as you may imagine. Yet in the spring, I reckon just after your run-in with the orcs at Amon Naugrim, it indeed seemed as if something passed through the lands, killing livestock for food, although it made some effort to remain unseen. Whether it be your Orc or not I cannot say, yet west it travelled, without incident of human life, and good riddance to it. Enough have we suffered under the eaves of this forest, yet our township stands yet but for the valour of the men of the wood. Mistake not my asking for your leave as ungratefulness. The return of Wolfbiter, broken though it may be, will be an occasion long remembered, and I grant to you treasure of silver as a token of gratitude. Yet we are a cautious folk, and though I feel there is good in your hearts, something dark lingers with you; and I fear your lust for vengenace will lead to ill fates and dark times, and I will have us take no part in it. But rest now, and know that you are safe here for the night."

July 22nd - 30th, 2946 — The Shores of the Anduin River

Frustrated and annoyed at the lacking hospitality of Bregdan in the face of the company's sacrifice of Wolfbiter, the company left early the next morning, heading back out into the Vales, spending the next several days searching for signs of the passing Orc war-band. Long was the search, although not altogether fruitless, as the remains of long-dead sheep and cattle, and rumors from passed homesteads led the company back towards the Old Ford.

Haggol's raven Rok returned with news, "Something on the river, something you must see!"

Hurrying, but cautious, the companions drew nearer to the river, as a low, slowly repeating thumping sound could be heard over the cawing of circling crows. And there on the near shore of the Great River lay a boat aground, with two bodies pierced by orc-arrows in them, one's arm hanging into the river, thumping against the side of the boat. One was Odo, a Beorning warrior, and the other, Merovech the Mighty, friend and protector of the companions. A quick search of the boat revealed pieces of a crudely cut rope and that Merovech's sword missing. Grimbald took from the chests of the two Beornings their emblems of Beorn.

Rok scouted now the far shore and reported two dead orcs.

Lusting for orc blood and undoubtedly weary from their journey, the company emptied the bodies onto the shore and left them there for the carrion crows, with no regards for a proper burial, although Haggol sent Rok south to The Old Ford to tell of the death of their kins-men and trusted arbiters of justice.

Agmund remained strangely silent throughout, possibly because he thought it odd to so disregard the honour of dead warriors, and of a friend no less, who in a culture wary of outsiders had been more than gracious to the companions?

On the far shore, they found the two dead orcs, both pierced by Merovech's spear; a mighty throw indeed. Tired of being spear-less after a battle's opening volley, Grimbald drew the spear from the dead orcs and washed it in the river, carrying it with him as they searched for more Orc-tracks.

Few however were to be found, as the night drew to a close, and they set up camp in the open, hoping to draw in the elusive orcs that had cost them dearly so often. And while they did, they dreamt of the Marsh-gold in the dark caverns of the creatures of the Long Marshes.