Lord of the Rings turns Three
“My Lord Elrond -
I write with urgent tidings of the company. Much has befallen them since the day that we saw them off on their travels from Rivendell. How tranquil and far off that day seems now, and how much has happened to them - and me. I realise now that you suspected that the journey of the company would not be easy which was why you asked me to follow in the footsteps of the Fellowship. To watch over them, assisting them if I was able. I have tried to carry out your request but the road has been long and fraught with danger.
From Rivendell I made my way to the ruins of the elven fortresses of Eregion. I was greatly disturbed to find that evil men and half orcs had made camps there, so close to our borders. But that was not the worst of it! It was a cruel twist of fate to see foul and twisted trees in that once beautiful pleasant land. The hand of Sauron has indeed stretched far to corrupt the very nature on our own doorstep.
I had hoped to wipe out this evil but it proved too strong for me to fight alone. As I went, I did what I could and rallied others to our cause, trusting that they could continue to protect the borders of Eregion. I fear that I may have tarried there too long however, as it took me a while to again pick up the trail of the company. They were travelling quickly, but in secret by this time. I hope, my lord, that you - as I did - will take comfort from the very fact that there were so few signs of the company. It led me to believe that Aragorn was still leading the company and helping them to avoid the detection by our enemies.
It was near Echad Dunnan that I found Bill, the pony that the hobbits had taken with them. The animal was well, but I knew that they would only have left it had they been forced to go through the mines of Moria - and so it was there with heavy heart that I turned next hoping to catch up with the company. I say with heavy heart because the very name of Moria is the stuff of nightmares - a half-remembered evil place that haunts the dreams of old and young alike.
I followed the trail of the company into the mines. Fortune was with me as I met up with a party of dwarves who were also re-entering that terrible place. Our paths diverged and we went our separate ways as my journey took me deep into the dank and relentless depths of Moria. The mines are oppressive and we lost many who had rallied to my call along the way. The oppression felt there within those dark confines being at times at least as bad as the foul and nameless terrors that dwell there.
The upper levels of the mines are overrun with orcs and goblins. I was close to giving up hope until I again met up with the party of dwarves who, intent on retaking the mines, had made their last stand in the 21st Hall. I took my rest there for a while whilst I recovered from my wounds and woes, and tried to work out where the company would have gone next.
Being troubled by many false starts from the 21st Hall, I lost much ground on the company’s position, although I finally picked up their trail again in the very bowels of the mines; a place that the Dwarves call the Foundations of Stone. My Lord it is with a heavy heart that I must report that in this Foundations of Stone I found some evidence that some ill-tidings may have befallen Gandalf. I hope that I am proved wrong for I do not know if the company could recover from such a devastating blow.
Oh the joy when I finally emerged from Moria into the light of Nanduhirion on the outskirts of Lothlorien. Surely I would find the company here? But no! even here, so close to Caras Galadhon, all was not well. Enemies were all around and my journey to Caras Galadhon was long. A journey made more difficult since the elves of the Golden Wood trust no-one whether friend or foe. However I finally reached Caras Galadhon where I finally met up once more with the company.
My darkest fears were confirmed - Gandalf was indeed lost in Moria. The company set out this morning to continue their journey, their route will take them south. I leave on the morrow heading into Mirkwood to assist the elves of Lorien with a diversionary strike towards the Necromancer’s Tower at Dol Goldur. I do not think there will be much rest or peace for me in that evil place. I hope to write soon with better tidings.
Yours in haste… Branswith of Rohan
But what is this? My Lord, I must add a brisk post script. I have this day received a summons from Pethelen asking me to meet with him in Rivendell. This summons sounds most urgent and I will travel with all speed to Rivendell of course. Once there I will present myself to you and await your further instructions regarding the Allies of the King.”