Reclaiming the Wilderland

Introductions
Autumn, Third Age of Men 2946

Esgaroth, the town on Long-lake, is a likely place for travelers and adventurers to meet. It’s been five years since Smaug the dragon fell on old Lake-town and the battle of five armies took place at the foot of Erebor. Lake-town has been rebuilt and is reestablishing itself as a center of commerce in the Wilderland.

Koibar, a Dwarven Treasure Hunter, having just caught a freshwater flounder near old Lake-town was interrupted by a young boy running through the rushes screaming and crying. Nîth, an Elf of King Thranduil’s Halls, and Redd, a wandering Woodsman, overheard the commotion and followed to investigate. “Help! My fathers’ guards they’re going to kill him! Help!!!” , cried the boy before running back down the overgrown path.

Elorian, an Elvish Scholar of Mirkwood(?) reading high up in a tree, saw Koibar and the boy run past him and followed but kept his distance.

When the adventurers arrived at the scene they found three thugs surrounding an elderly man. The old man was swinging a branch wildly in an attempt to defend himself. The thugs noticed Koibar, Nîth, and Redd show up and the leader among them shouted, “Get back! We’re only trying to take what is due us. You only have to turn your back for a minute and it’ll all be over. We’ll give you a share!”.

Redd was able to scare them off with some fancy spear-work. The old man, Baldor, is a merchant of Lake-town and had intended to have these thugs escort him through Mirkwood forest to the Woodland Hall. He invited the party to take their place and their reward for the help. His son Belgo, a lad of 10, is accompanying him on his journey.

Baldor led the group down a well beaten forest path along the river where they met with his green-cloaked Elvish friends who would take them to the Elvenking’s Halls.

From the Halls of the Elvenking, the party made their way into Mirkwood Forest where they were beset by spiders, werewolf tracks and the like.

They came upon a clearing late in their journey, one of King Thranduil’s open air feasting halls, and decided to camp there for the night. Baldor awoke thirsty during Redd‘s watch and drank from a stream that curled around the edge of the clearing. He instantly lost five years of his memories and believed he was back in Lake-Town where Smaug’s flame was consuming his home. The party attempted to calm him but he bolted for the forest and found his way into an Attercop nest!

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The Attercop Nest
Deep within Mirkwood Forest, Autumn, Third Age of Men 2946

The ruined tower where Baldor was being held captive (likely to be eaten shortly thereafter) rose thirty feet into the sky and was coupled with a crumbling wall of the same height. Spider webs covered the wall and tower. The web formed a bridge between the keep and wall. A circular stairway on the exterior of the tower circled to the top.

Baldor thumped against the wall, completely wrapped in webs.

Elorian scaled a tree across from the tower while Nîth climbed the ruined keep wall. Koibar and Redd took the stairs and found that the keep was home to many Attercops. A long battle ensued in which Redd was paralyzed (he wet himself) but in the end the spiders were destroyed and Baldor was saved.

Nîth returned the clearing to get young Belgo who had stayed behind with the ponies. Baldor came to his senses but was too troubled to comfort his son.

Several weapons in okay condition were recovered from the keep along with an amulet.

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The Hermit's Tree
Deep within Mirkwood Forest, Autumn, Third Age of Men 2946

As the party returned to the ancient Elvish path, Redd noticed the tracks of several men leading away towards the direction they were heading. Elorian and Nîth scouted ahead and saw three men carrying a rather large sack (in which something was kicking jostling about). They immediately recognized the men as the three thugs who had assaulted Baldor in Laketown.

Elorian gave away his and Nîth‘s position and opened fire on the thugs. The rest of the party heard the scuffle and moved forward to help take them down. They’d obviously been following the group and reasoning with them was deemed counterintuitive. The criminals were dealt with swiftly and a Hobbit burst out of the sack they had been carrying.

The Hobbit turned out to be Leneth who had been captured by the Lakemen.

Shortly thereafter, thunder and lightning began to crash overhead — rain beginning to flow copiously along the forest floor. Further travel would have been impossible so the party started searching for a dry place within sight of the path to wait out the storm. Searching did not go well and the party was driven a ways from the path where they discovered an unusual sight: a huge dead tree with a plume of woodsmoke rising from the top.

Leneth found a tunnel at the base of the tree that wound between its roots into the tree’s interior. There was no one to be found inside but a cooking fire had been left unattended. Searching around inside, Redd noticed that the walls were covered in woodcarvings depicting monsters of all sorts. Whoever inhabits this tree is tormented by their dreams.

The party smelled the Hermit before they saw him as he smelled quite foul. A rail-thin man clambered up the tunnel covered in filthy rags and shrieked as he leveled his spear at the group, “WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU HERE?”

The party was able to calm the Hermit and he told them what he remembered of his story; he had been imprisoned in Dol Goldur and one day found that his jailers had abandoned him. He’s been living in Mirkwood ever since and does not remember much, let alone his name. The Hermit gifted Redd an axe head covered with elaborate etchings. The axe is Wolfbiter, a famous Woodmen axe that had once belonged to a Chieftan’s son.

The Hermit fell asleep not long after and the party settled down for the night. Redd carved something nice for the Hermit to comfort him in this place of nightmares. During the night the Hermit began transforming into a wolf and the party fled his tree in haste.

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The Thing in the Well
Deep within Mirkwood Forest, Autumn, Third Age of Men 2946

Our adventurers are almost out of Mirkwood but are still under the cover of the trees. They’re very tired since their sleep had been interrupted by a transforming Werewolf and they had to put some distance between them and the Hermit’s tree. The storm had passed and the sun had returned which made for a warm morning in the shadow of Mirkwood Forest.

The temperature began to rise unnaturally as the party continued down the path. A sense of sleepiness was creeping out of the ground and up their legs. Flies buzzed around their ears and nearby trickling rills sounded like a half-whispered lullaby. Elorian, Leneth, and Koibar felt so downhearted and worn out that the group decided to temporarily make camp.

As they slept, they dreamt that their wildest desires were very close by and they were overcome with a need to find them. Elorian woke first and he darted into the woods in search of great secrets that had been buried near the path undiscovered since the beginning of time. The rest of the party watched as he very willingly jumped into a pit.

These woods were once inhabited by men (Redd’s ancestors) and the trees still remember the bite of the axe. The trees had made a deal with something foul to keep men out of their wood.

Upon rushing to the pit which Elorian had jumped into, the party saw in horror that he was being suffocated by root-like tentacles. A long battle took place and the party suffered many wounds. Leneth, Koibar and Belgo also attempted to jump into the well but Nîth and Redd were able to stop them.

A few short days later, the party emerged into the Vale of the Anduin where they traveled south with Baldor to the Woodland Hall.

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Fellowship Phase
Autumn, Third Age of Men 2946

TBD.

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