Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Long Darkness Indeed...

Well, where shall I begin? After clearing the rubble and knocked down trees and such, we were ready to commence opening this Hollin Gate and enter Moria. Some of the dwarven workers were resting and throwing rocks into the lake behind us and this gave me pause. Before long, something seemed to be slithering beneath the surface and I bade the dwarves to stop throwing the rocks. But it was too late, something had been stirred from it's ancient slumber and before we knew what to do several extremely large tentacles burst forth and took several dwarves into the lake, never to be seen again. We fought and fought but to no avail. In the end we had to retreat. Our weapons were of no use against this ancient demon. I was handed a weapon of old found by one of the foremen and was tasked with getting it identified in Rivendell. I learned that it had been forged in the early Third Age and had several hidden qualities and almost had a life of it's own. It was forged anew and after learning to wield this weapon, I was able to help the dwarves drive back what they had hence named the Watcher. After assuring the creature was not stalking us, we proceeded to open the gate and enter. A simple password, so simple it was genius. Speak Friend and Enter said the runes on the door. With that one word, the gate opened and we entered, my eyes adjusted and once we reached hall named Durin's Threshold I knew I had been mistaken, but when I delved deeper into Moria I was amazed at the workmanship of the Dwarves. Whole cities built beneath the Misty Mountains, awe-inspiring indeed.

But there were also Orcs and Goblins and other creatures to be dealt with, and hanging over everyone's darkest thoughts was the Terror that was awakened so long ago, Durin's Bane they called it. I knew it's nature though I had never come face-to-face with a Balrog of Morgoth. I must follow the road of the Nine if they indeed passed through here. I will rest now and continue exploring these caverns at a later time.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Turning Point

The lands of Eregion must have been aweinspiring before the Shadow destroyed everything in it's wake. I've met with several Elves at the new encampments dotting the landscape and have lent my aid. I've followed the tracks of Nine as best I could and cleared up a couple of hastily abandoned campsites and even battled with spies tracking them as well. I've also helped with several issues that have arisen, including what amounts to a worm nursery (I'm sure either the White Hand or Mordor are trying to grow these into dragons, curse them both). The Dunlandings are ever a problem with their jealousy of every sentient Race that crosses their paths. I've also waged battle against those who would despoil the lore and art of Eregion. Let's just say Eregion has not been a vacation, and it's definitely not a no-man's land anymore.

Back to my tracking of the expedition, I'm at a loss. I figured that making for the Gap of Rohan would be the logical route for them, but it is heavily watched by Crebain and Dunlanding forts keep watch over the road leading to the Gap. I back tracked and made my way to the Redhorn Pass, it is also heavily watched but there are side paths that if known, can get one stealthily past the fort the Halforcs have erected there. I'm sure Aragorn took the Company up these paths. Surely they scaled Caradhras and are making their way past the Misty Mountains as I write this, but no...I chanced upon a final campsite. Not far from there I also found the frozen remains of a Dwarf, though he did not match the description of the Dwarven component of the Company. Nevertheless, the path of Caradhras has been completely blocked by an avalanche and the mountain is extremely angry, I must make my way down before I join that poor Dwarf's fate.

I was hoping not to have to try this last route, for it has long been a place of unrelenting evil and terror. I had a premonition about entering a "long darkness", but it seems more and more clear that instead of passing over or around the Misty Mountains, some madness or extreme urgency caused the Nine to consider passing UNDER the Misty Mountains. Through the Mines of Moria, I shiver at the thought of them braving those dark caverns, however skilled the Dwarves of old may have been, I can't imagine anything more that shafts and soot-covered mines snaking here and there and, above all else, the Terror that resides within those mines which the dwarves, in their never-ending greed freed with their relentless search for wealth.

In any case, I chanced upon a company of Dwarves searching for the fabled Hollin Gate and helped them clear it once they had found it. I must now rest and prepare for tomorrow.
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