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  1. #1

    Club Eclair III: Off to See the Wizard

    Where we are at:

    Weekend of May 14 and 16

    Prerequisites: We are on Volume III, Book 1, Chapter 5.

    Activities: We will muster at the secret hidden Ranger camp to try to convince Halbarad to go to Rivendell. First, however, we are going to have to find him. He seems to be missing. After we are done, we will likely include an raid on Dol Dinen ("Attack at Dawn" skirmish).

    NOTE: After this session, before May 28/30, folks should travel to Tinnudir to talk to Calenglad ((Volume III, Book 1, Chapter 6)). This is a solo instance that folks should complete between sessions - since it is nothing we can do together.


    Where we are going:

    May 28 and 30: Our muster will be at Suri-Kyla in Forochel.

    Prerequisites: Folks should complete Chapter 6 on their own between sessions and be on Chapter 7. Also, folks should pick up the "One who Lingers" quest from Aragorn in the Guest House at Rivendell.

    Chapter 7 is another solo instance that folks should do on their own. While we are here, we will go through the "One who Lingers" quest chain. We will go through this as a "story" sitting about the campfire talking with Lothrandir, since these events seem to have taken place before Aragorn left Rivendell.

    And then . . .

    June 4 and 6: We will muster at Aughaire in Angmar to pick up the Ranger Corunir, who will then ask us to rescue Golodir from great danger. This involves the last of the skirmishes, a new skirmish called Rescue in Nûrz Ghâshu.

    June 11 and 13: We will muster at Rivendell. There is a small set of landscape quests out of Bree, but rather than make a long detour, I think we will handle them as a "story" told of the encounter while we sit about the Fire Hall in Rivendell. Our quests in Rivendell involve getting the Rangers ready to head south. Mostly, this involves talking to several people in Rivendell and making sure that they are all ready.

    June 18 and 20: We muster at Gwingris for the first leg of the journey south.

    June 25 and 27: We muster at Echad Eregion to advance the epic story.

    July 2 and 4: We muster at Mirobal. This is the meeting before the main adventure begins. I am thinking that this will be a rest and catchup session, with a visit to the Library and School of Tham Mirdain. For anybody who skipped the boring part of gathering up Rangers, this is where that ends.

    July 9 and 11: We enter Enedwaith and begin exploring and scouting a new region.




    x

    You are invited on an adventure - a story - that will take a fellowship from Rivendell to Isengaard over a course of several sessions.

    The adventure begins in Rivendell, 9:00 AM Saturday April 23, or 8:30 PM Monday April 25. (There's two groups; they will travel the same course.)

    We have been asked to gather up the Rangers in Eriador and send them south to Aragorn, who has called for them.

    To participate, one will need a character that is no higher than 62nd (63rd) Level. We will use an XP Disabler to keep our levels below that of the landscape where possible to make for more interesting adventures.

    The intent is to roleplay our way through the Epic Quest line through Book 5, gathering the Rangers and accompanying them southward through Eregion, Enedwaith, Dunland, and the Gap of Rohan, ending by confronting Saruman at Isengard. Each group will meet weekly for about 2 hours or until we reach a good place to stop. We will not only go through the epic story, but we will also partake in whatever other adventures and stories we happen upon along the trip.

    (NOTE: Club Eclair has already done this for Volume I and Volume II. We are just finishing Volume II.)

    There are two hard-and-fast rules to follow:

    • Rule 1: Respect the level cap. There is an absolute prohibition on adventuring above the level cap - with one exception. Every once in a while, somebody makes a mistake and gains a level one did not seek to gain, just by forgetting to equip the Stone of the Tortoise (XP disabler). If that happens, the player is not expelled. The player is asked to forego any advantages from the new level until the cap officially goes up. We will raise the level cap when the adventure calls for it.

    • Rule 2: This is a walk-and-talk roleplay adventure. Adventures take place in-character (at least in terms of 'say' and 'emote'), though out-of-character conversations take place on group channels. We roleplay through 'say' and 'emotes'.

    NOTE: Our standard form of communication is a user channel that you can access using '/joinchannel club-eclair'. Note the hyphen. The hyphen is very important. We are not a kinship - our members belong to a number of different kinships.

    The two groups (Saturday at 9:00 AM and Monday at 8:30 PM) travel in parallel, and characters can freely join either group each week to help to accommodate schedules. There will also be a makeup session on Sundays at 10:00 AM.
    Last edited by Tiempko; May 20 2022 at 07:59 PM.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume III. We are currently at Level 62 roleplaying our way through Book I as we round up Rangers for the long march to the south (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 27 at Rivendell, preparing to head to Evendim (Trebble).

  2. #2
    I have been thinking about a schedule for transitioning to Volume III.

    Note that the first part of the epic story takes places in regions where we have already travelled - well below our level, and not much opportunity for adventure. We do not enter new territory until we reach Volume III, Book 2, Chapter 9.

    Anyways, looking at the epic quest line, I am recommending the following for discussion.



    VOLUME III: BOOK 1

    April 23 & 25: At this time, those participating in Book 1 of Volume III should has done the prologue quest. This is a solo instance. Those interested will muster at Rivendell and begin the mission to find and gather the Rangers. Head to Thangulhad and try to find Radanir.

    April 30 and May 2: Muster at the Forsaken Inn, then go and find Candaith at Weathertop and find out what he needs so that he can join the expedition.

    May 7 & 9: Muster at the Prancing Pony then go see what Saeradan wants from us.

    May 14 & 16: Muster at the Plough and Stars Inn and see what Halros is going to do.

    May 21 & 23: Muster at Esteldin to get Halbarad.
    Last edited by Tiempko; Apr 19 2022 at 10:33 AM.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume III. We are currently at Level 62 roleplaying our way through Book I as we round up Rangers for the long march to the south (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 27 at Rivendell, preparing to head to Evendim (Trebble).

  3. #3
    With Vol 3 set to begin, here is an updated link to the Donut Shop: The official Discord server for Clubs Eclair and Bearclaw.

    https://discord.gg/Et9D9NyC

  4. #4
    The ride from Ost Forod was uneventful. Bandits in the area were becoming scarce. Perhaps the Wardens had turned the tide. Perhaps the city would be fully recovered. Belthran allowed himself a small smile as he brushed Eriech, the fine horse he had borrowed for his journey north. As he brushed the dirt from Eriech’s back, Belthran’s thoughts wandered back to the frozen lands. Angmar was attempting to establish a foothold in the region. The Ranger Lothrandir was at the main camp of the Lossoth and maintained a watch on the North. It was his warning that had caused Belthran to make the long trek. Calenglad needed to know the extent of the threat and if there were chance enemy reinforcements would soon be marching south. The Lossoth had thus far resisted the Angmar forces and stalled their advance in a small valley to the East. They were not yet a threat to the Rangers in the South.



    The sun was just rising when Belthran finished cleaning the horse and storing the tack. He grabbed a small bite to eat then turned to stare at the Great City. Once again, he smiled slightly as he imagined the streets clear of enemies. The city’s banners would blow in the breeze coming off the lake. Boats would be out fishing, while feats were held in the great halls again.

    “Daydreaming again, I see.”, a voice said from behind.

    Before he had even turned, Belthran recognized the speaker as his good friend Calatherdir.

    “I would think you’d spend less time in contemplation and more time enjoying life, short as it is.”, he continued wryly.

    Calatherdir, just as his friend Belthran, was not one of the Dunedain. They had both been adopted by the rangers many years ago, when they were very young. Belthran didn’t know how he came to be orphaned. All that had been told was he had been found many miles south of Bree. He was brought to the Ranger camp at Tinnudir and raised among the Rangers. Calatherdir had a similar story, but was found in the town of Bree. Together they learned to hunt and forage. They learned to read and write. Mostly, though, they learned to fight. Evendim was not safe place for those that couldn’t defend themselves. After many years, the friends became Wardens of Annuminas. They were charged with freeing the sunken city from the grasp of Angmar. Calenglad, the chief of the Rangers, treated them as though they were of the same bloodline.

    The friends settled onto the grass near the edge of the lake, and admired the beauty of the old city in the morning light.

    ‘We have made great strides retaking the city,” Belthran said as he looked across the water. “One day we may retake it all.”

    “Possibly. We seemed very near victory when that band of wandering warriors came through.” Calatherdir replied. ‘What did they call themselves? Eclanders?”

    “Eclairs.” Belthran chuckled. “Club Éclair.”

    “Ahh yes. That was their name.” Calatherdir sighed slowly as he remembered those battles. “We nearly had the city.”

    Indeed, they had. The assistance from that wandering band had given the Wardens a much-needed boost. Halls long held were finally cleared. The trolls and evil men of Angmar had been pushed beyond the walls. Victory seemed a sure thing at that point. It was a few months later, after Club Éclair had departed, that reinforcements had slipped in the from the East, past the watchful eyes of Esteldin. Angmar regained much of the city and there had been fighting in the streets ever since. That route has been secured but Angmar is still looking for ways past the Rangers, hence Beltran’s trip to Forochel.



    The two friends continued to watch as the warm pink rays of morning illuminated the white stone of Annuminas.

    “I almost forgot,” Calatherdir said, glancing to his left at Belthran, “Calenglad is calling a council. He wants to hear your report of the North before he makes any decisions.”

    “Decisions? About what I wonder”, Belthran said, speaking his thoughts aloud.

    “I don’t know, but there have messengers from the South. Enemies are moving through the lands. Perhaps he is worried we will be surrounded.”

    “Perhaps. I’ll go speak with him.” With that Belthran got up and went to find Calenglad.




    Belthran adventured with Club Eclair when they battled in Evendim. This short story will tell of how he crosses paths with them again for the new Volume of adventures.

    More to follow.

  5. #5

    ((Club Eclair)) Invitations

    Hedgerow wiped the biscuit crumbs off of the paper and frowned as the ink smeared across the page. Sighing in exasperation, he looked from the paper to the side of his hand, also smeared with ink. Licking at his hand, he tried to clean the ink off. Then he crumpled up the paper and threw it in the direction of the huge fireplace. It landed a considerable distance short, but travelled further than any of the other balls of paper that littered the floor between him and the fireplace.

    After taking a moment to think, he took a mouthful of biscuit and started chewing, wiped all of the crumbs off of the table in front of him and onto the floor, took another piece of paper and centered it on the cleaned tabletop, and began writing:

    Dear Aearthor: I don’t know if you remember me, but we travelled together on adventures where we slayed the Steward for the Witch King of Angmar in Carn Dum.

    This, he thought, had little chance of success. It had been so long since he had seen Aearthor that he was probably off on some new adventure already and without him. However, there was little to be lost from trying. He had heard from some he had come across in his travels that the shipwrecked soldier from Gondor was still in the area of Rivendell somewhere and hoped that the elfs could find him. Others he knew from those long-past adventures . . . Brabbo, Wilbus, Cindersoot, Tubli, Wollar . . . had vanished. If he had even the slightest idea on where to send the invitations, he would have sent each one to them as well. There were others. Zubrette, Fredebras, Onyon, Z.Z. Kestril. He had met many fine folks in his journeys. All of which would have been great company into the unknown lands to the south.

    He made sure not to include anything in the letters that would upset Elrond, writing only about an important mission he had been assigned to deliver an important package – and asking if his friends might want to help in protecting the delivery. He did not mention that the package to be delivered was a set of Rangers collected from all corners of Eriador. And something else – something the elf lass Erwin said she would give him for delivery before he left with the Rangers.

    The Rangers would be company enough, one would think. But Hedgerow worried that the Rangers would have their own concerns. He had worked with Rangers before. In fact, he discovered that he knew every Ranger on Elrond’s list of Rangers to be collected and shipped south. However, they seemed to have their own agendas, and were not very forthcoming with help – expecting whoever they sent off to deal with whatever problems were encountered on their own and with their own resources. Hedgerow resolved to bring his own help, then. Folks he could rely on.

    Finishing the letter, he folded and sealed it and added it to the pile of near to a score of letters to be sent out. Some were clearly hopeless, such as the letter to Erikin. Erikin had decided to stay in Moria and join the Iron Guard. But the dwarf deserved an invitation - deserved an opportunity to make up his own mind. Others were hopeful, such as Liatri, who had done such an excellent job watching over him in the past. When others had wandered off – having forgotten about the short hobbit lagging behind – Hedgerow would look up and find Liatri watching him patiently, ready to aid with her bow if he should find himself in trouble.

    At the very least, he would have Thorcundo and Roy. He found them in Rivendell when he arrived, and they discussed making the adventure together. Roy had some other business to attend to - visiting dwarfs in the Misty Mountains, but promised to catch up with Hedgerow somewhere on the road to Bree.

    With the last letter done, Hedgerow pulled another piece of paper off of the stack and, this time, opened a book sitting on the table. He had a page marked with a strip of cloth that he removed and set aside. The page, near the start of the book, contained a map marked "Dunland and the Gap of Rohan". He placed his paper on top of the map and pressed it down flat. Then, dipping his pen into the inkwell, he very carefully began to trace the map.

    People would be counting on him not to get them lost. He resolved that he would not let them down.
    Last edited by Tiempko; Apr 20 2022 at 12:46 PM.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume III. We are currently at Level 62 roleplaying our way through Book I as we round up Rangers for the long march to the south (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 27 at Rivendell, preparing to head to Evendim (Trebble).

  6. #6
    The captains gathered around the fire shortly after sunrise. Calenglad received reports from them all. Advances were being made in the southern part of the city. Enemies had been spotted in the hills east of Ost Forod. Even a messenger from further south reporting the troubles facing the Hobbits in Oatbarton. When it was his turn, Belthran reported what he had found in the North. Calenglad stood quietly while the information was presented. Following the final report, the road to Esteldin was clear and quiet, their chief thanked the scouts for their bravery then presented his own report.



    “As many of you have probably guessed from what we have heard today, we still have many battles ahead. The Hobbits face troubles of their own and we are too few to assist. The strength of the enemy in our city is still strong. We may kill fifty for every one of our losses, but that is still too high a price.”, Calenglad paused a moment to look at each of his captains. Some eyes were downturned. Others just stared at the fire. Theirs was not a look of defeat, or fear, but of resolve. They might not win this fight, but they would die trying.

    He continued, “Yet, not all news is bad.”

    Belthran looked from the fire to Calenglad and saw his gaze being returned.

    “The enemy is not threatening from the frozen wastes. The Lossoth will hold that land. I have also received word from Gath Forthnir in Angmar.”

    At that announcement all eyes were raised once again. Gath Forthnir, the hidden camp at the edge of Carn Dum, deep in enemy territory had not been heard from in some time. All had thought that camp lost. If word from those Rangers had made it this far, then maybe something had changed.

    “Angmar has been dealt a grievous blow. Golodir has sent word that the Eclairians entered Carn Dum and defeated the Witch Kings captain.”

    The Wardens gathered around the fire exchanged surprised glances. The captain of Carn Dum defeated, thought Belthran. Was that even possible? He focused again on what was being said.

    “They even made forays into that darkened crag called the Rift. Rumors are that they slew a Balrog hidden deep below the surface.” With that statement the glances turned to murmurs. Calenglad spoke louder and the whispering stopped. “This defeat surely has slowed the ability of Angmar to reach beyond its own borders. This may be our chance, at last, to push the enemy from our city.”

    A change had come over the gathered Wardens. They now stood proud and tall. Some gripped the shafts of spears. Others absently raised their shields from the ground. Belthran could feel the excitement creeping into his legs and moving into his arms. It was like standing near to a lightning strike.

    “We must ready for battle.” Calenglad declared. “Alert the smithies. Swords, spears, and shields must be prepared. Uiriel, ensure your healers have gathered herbs and prepared bandages. Brogdagnir, let our brothers at the Eavespires know of the reports. We may need to move into the city from their position.”

    Orders were handed out to each of the assembled captains. Belthran stood to the side, not a captain but still expecting to receive some guidance. Perhaps we would join in the main attack, or be part of a flanking force. He looked up the length of his spear, ending at the three-edge point. Its sharpened point glinting in the early sunlight. As Belthran imagined the using that long spear to slay his enemies, he became aware of the silence around him. Looking around, he realized he was standing alone with Calenglad.

    “That is a good spear.” Calenglad stated, admiring the weapon. “Made in the style of my ancestors.”

    The Chief shifted his stance a little and a grim look emerged on his face. Belthran steeled himself, unsure of what was to follow.

    “You will not be joining in the fight.” declared Calenglad.

    Belthran felt as though he would faint. Was his chief not confident in his abilities? Had he done something to lose standing? Was it because he was not of the Dúnedain? Before his mind could darken further, Calenglad continued.

    “Instead, I need your scouting skills again.” He finished his previous statement. “I fear with Angmar defeated; the evil remaining may seek to find an escape to the East. I doubt they would try to move through the Ettenmoors and near Rivendell. The Misty Mountains, however, could hold the hidden paths they desire.

    Calenglad held Belthran’s gaze as issued his command, “I need you to travel East to Rivendell. Speak with the Elves about what we have learned. Perhaps they will know more about the enemy’s designs. We Rangers do not maintain a presence in the Mistys, but the Elves keep a watch. Their knowledge may be of help to you on your quest.”

    He continued, “From Rivendell, head north into the mountains. I expect you will encounter goblins, as they have long inhabited that region. Look for Angmar though. We must know if they are fleeing.”

    Belthran nodded. Still partly in shock with the idea of missing the coming battle, but excited to be trusted with such an important quest.

    “The mountains are dangerous, and far from allies.” Calenglad said reaching down to pick up his shield, “You may need this.”

    A club strike from a troll could not have rocked Belthran harder than the sight of Calenglad offering him his shield.

    “You are a Warden of Annúminas. A ranger, in all but bloodline. It has been an honor to watch you grown into the warrior standing before me. I’m not sure what you will encounter on your quest, or what you may find when you return. Just know, this is your home and we are your family.



    After a few goodbyes and hearty hugs from his fellow Wardens, Belthran mounted Eriech for the long ride. The horse would carry him to Rivendell but no further. The trek into the mountains would be on foot and the Elves would see to the horse’s return. Belthran, not knowing where he would exit the mountains, would have to find another way home.




    More to follow

  7. #7
    It was shortly after sunset when Belthran rode into Bree. Just shy of two days on the road and both he and his horse could use some rest. Belthran had chanced a visit to Saeradan’s cabin to the north of the town, but the fellow ranger was not there. A cold campfire and no recent footprints told the story of no recent visitors to the cabin. Bree-land was a large region, with its own share of trouble makers, so Saeradan could be anywhere. No sense waiting around, so Belthran continued south hoping to find a bed at the Prancing Pony.

    The north gate to Bree was open with a single guard. Belthran dismounted and gave the guard a short nod. No further pleasantries were needed. In this town, privacy was fiercely guarded and the curious were seldom welcome. He continued down the path, turning slightly west towards the Inn. Ereich was left in the capable hands of the hobbit Nob and Belthran headed inside the Pony.



    Butterbur was in his usual spot behind the bar. The common room was neither empty nor crowded. A small group of local patrons were settled at a table near the fire. A pair of hobbits could be seen enjoying a meal and more than a few drinks nearer the stage. After securing a room for the night, Belthran found a comfortable spot, away from the others, to enjoy a small meal and a smoke. Shortly after he headed to his room, hoping for an early start the next morning. Calenglad would understand the need for a short rest, but extending his stay longer could not be justified. The Misty Mountains awaited, and the enemy needed to be found.

    The next morning was cool when Belthran rode out of the south gate. Nobody seemed to take more than a casual interest in his passing, which was good. Not that he was on such an important quest that it required total secrecy, but still, he did not want to draw attention. The sky was a bright blue, with a few puffy grey-white clouds floating lazily in the air. The road east was void of all traffic, which might have been strange if Belthran knew of the comings and going in this part of the world. In fact, he knew very little of the lands east of Bree. Calenglad told him of the usual camp sites of the few Rangers he may encounter on the way, but after missing Saeradan at his cabin, Belthran has less hope of encountering Candaith. His camp was to be found in the hills just north of Weathertop.

    The west slope of the old watchtower still showed some ruins of old. They now housed several craban high up, and gave shelter to a few wild pigs at their base. Belthran maintained a distance from the pigs so as not to rile their anger. His spear would be defense enough if attacked, but there was no sense in killing the boars if they were just defending their dens. He climbed a low rise under the shade of the few trees on this side of the great hill and caught sight of campfire smoke.

    “Perhaps Candaith is at home”, Belthran surmised out loud.

    Indeed, the Ranger was at his camp, and he was happy to see one of his brethren.

    “What are you doing this far east of Bree?” Candaith inquired as Belthran dismounted. “Don’t tell me Calenglad has claimed victory in Annúminas and now seeks to rebuild the watch tower.”

    Belthran smiled at the jest. “If only that were true. Angmar has been quiet and we seek answers that can only be found in the east.”

    “I had heard rumors from travelers on the road.” Candaith said nodding, “Other than the name Sharkey, the Breelanders haven’t mentioned any problems in recent days. What answers do you seek by riding east?”

    Belthran sat by the fire, stretching his legs straight out, “Calenglad wonders if Angmar may be fleeing through the Misty Mountains, or worse, that they are receiving help from further east of the mountains.”



    “I assume you are riding for Rivendell, but if you are not, I would counsel you to meet with the Elves before heading to in the mountains. They may have some information that would be of benefit to you”, Candaith offered.

    “You assume correct. Though I have never been to the hidden valley before. Calenglad’s directions were a little vague after crossing the last bridge.”

    “It has been some time since I made that trip, but you’ll find the path to the elves in the High Moor. Head east from the bridge until you reach the Ford of Bruinen.” Candaith drew and lit his pipe as he spoke, “Then climb the slope east. I suspect the guards of the valley will find you first, and should help you on your way. The Elves of Elrond have ever been our friends.”

    “Thank you for your help. I was thinking of taking rest here, but the days grow longer and I fear and delay could mean disaster to my brother wardens.” Still Belthran took a short break from his ride to water Ereich and eat a small meal with Candaith.

    Mounting his horse Belthran looked down and the Ranger, “I hope to see you on my return trip, though I’m not sure I will pass this way.”

    “If you find the northern route to rugged for your liking, this camp will be open to you.” Candaith replied smiling. “May the west wind ever blow in your travels.”

    With that farewell, Belthran rejoined the road just south of Weathertop. Riding east he past the old fortress of Ost Guruth and continued on to the Last Bridge. The multi-colored trees of the Trollshaws rose before him, contrasting greatly with the scrub grass and bushes of the land behind.



    more to follow

  8. #8
    The path through the words was not well worn, and a casual traveler may have lost his way. Belthran was not a casual traveler, nor a novice scout. He had little difficulty in finding his along the twisting and turning path. Soon the sound of rushing water filled the air. It started like the sound of a breeze disturbing piles of fallen leaves. As he rode on, the sound grew into low growl of a slumbering bear. As he rounded a corner on the worn trail, the sparkling water of the Bruinen came into view.



    Belthran stopped for several moments on the western shore of the river. There were many shallows’ points at which to cross, but they also led to many paths climbing the eastern cliffs. As Ereich enjoyed a long drink of the cool mountain water, Belthran wished Candaith had been more specific with his guidance. Two of the climbing paths appeared to rejoin higher up so Belthran followed the left of those. It seemed to be no better a choice than the right, but he couldn’t spend all day trying to trace every path up the hill.

    Luck, it seemed, was on his side. The path Belthran chose did indeed go all the way to the top and on to the east. Although, the right path appeared to have been a shorter route. No sense in worrying about paths not taken, he continued along the trail. The grasses in this higher land showing the trail more visibly than the dirt of the forest floor, Belthran was able to sight his route at a greater distance. Eriech seemed to be energized by the easy riding in these new lands. Belthran, too, felt the weariness of the long ride leaving his limbs. He was just starting to consider the source of this new found energy when four elves, clad in green and brown, stepped from behind trees to his front left and right. Their bows were drawn and their eyes suspicious.

    “What are you doing in these lands, Man?” The left most elf inquired.

    “I am Belthran. Warden of Annúminas. I have been tasked with speaking to your Lord Elrond about matters in the north.”

    The speaking elf relaxed his bow. He looked to his three companions who then did the same. “Man of the west, your kind is known to us. The ranger Radanir calls these woods his home. If you are of his kin, then you are welcome.”

    “I thank you for your kind words,” Belthran answered while relaxing muscles he didn’t realized had tightened. “Could you show me the way to your hidden refuge of Rivendell? I should like to be on with my appointed task.”

    The elf laughed, “Why you have already found it. If we had not stopped you, you may have galloped right over the cliff.”

    With that, the elves parted and showed Belthran and small gap in the bushes ahead. “You will find the path down, just ahead.” That same speaking elf announced as Belthran and Ereich passed by.

    Belthran found their words to be true as he followed the small path through a gap in the bushes, and then between two rocky walls. There it was, Rivendell. He ridden halfway down the path to the hidden valley when at least he came into view of the Last Homely House. Stopping to gaze that refuge, Belthran once again felt energized, and yet totally at peace.



    ‘Well, Ereich, it appears we have reached the end of your journey…….and the beginning of mine. Let’s go see what the elves have to say.”

    At the bottom of the cliff path, Belthran came to a small bride crossing a roaring river. Not as wide as the river at the Ford, but this torrent no doubt fed into that boundary of elven lands. Across the bridge he turned his mount towards the great house he spied from higher up the path. Several elves were near the entrance, speaking quietly to each other. One stepped forward as Belthran dismounted.

    “Mae Govannen. Welcome to the house of Lord Elrond.”

    “Uh…Hello. My name is Belthran. I am here to speak Elrond.”

    “I see. Lord Elrond has many guests this day. Perhaps you would like to wait for him in the Hall of Fire. It is most comfortable there. I will take your horse to stables and ensure he provided good care.”

    Belthran saw no reason to distrust the elf so he said, “That will be fine. I will wait until your Lord is ready.”

    He had no trouble finding the Hall. There were a few elves scattered throughout the great room. Some were playing music, others drinking wine. Belthran found a quite spot near a pillar, halfway down the left side. Three fires were crackling at the far end, no doubt giving the Hall of Fire its name. Belthran drew his pipe from his pocket. He had just taken his first long draw of the pipe when the doors opened and a strange trio walked in. Two were elves, not that strange except their clothing did not look like the other Elves he had seen in the house. The third was a hobbit. Not just any hobbit either. He looked familiar.

    The hobbit caught sight of the ranger standing off to the side. “Belthran!” he exclaimed. “It’s me, Alphred.”

    Alphred. He was one of those Eclarians that had come to Evendim so long ago.

    “What are you doing here?” The excited hobbit continued.

    “I am on my way to the Misty Mountains. I stopped here first to speak with Elrond.” Belthran replied, still very surprised to the Hobbit Bounder. “What are you doing here?”

    “Well…ahh…we’ve kind of been given a quest of sorts from Elrond. I don’t think I should say anymore though. It’s a secret.”

    “You should probably ask him though, it kind of concerns you, or you people anyway.” He added quicky.

    That surprised Belthran even more. What business would an Elven lord have sending a hobbit to deal with the Wardens?

    “Maybe I should go and speak with him sooner than later.” Belthran said, putting his pipe away. “It is good to see again.”

    Belthran left the hall confused and intrigued. Something was going on. Maybe this had to do with his quest up north. Surely if it involved his people, Elrond would explain. A myriad of thoughts and presumptions bounced around in his mind as Belthran walked then found himself standing before the doors to Elrond’s library. With a nervous sigh, he knocked and entered.

    Got a little busy this week so wrote the last two entries tonight. I hate that I forgot to take screenshots of the meeting in the Hall of Fire. I was so excited by the roleplay that I had already switched characters by the time I thought of it. Anyway, Belthran is now back with Club Eclair, having been tasked with the same quest to gather the Rangers. My goal is to have him adventure with the Saturday group but if I miss the patrol, he will bump Thalachon for the Monday night group that week.

  9. #9
    With the late afternoon sun approaching the eastern horizon, Alphred pulled in his line at the stream before the Last Homely House. The plan was to leave Rivendell after dark, so that prying eyes would not see that they had gone. Elrond had given him a list of rangers to find and invite to Rivendell for a trip south. However, this trip was not to attract undue attention. He had spent the day fishing and relaxing in his civilian clothes - comfortable clothes for a civilized community. With darkness coming, it was time to switch into something more appropriate for travelling.

    He donned the Bounder outfit he got before he started off on this adventure. He was standing his post outside of Bounder Hole in Michel Delving when a hobbit - Hoppa Joel - came up and started a conversation. Hoppa was well known about Town Hole, and well liked. He had a reputation for collecting all of the different styles of clothes - from formal wear to casual - ever known. I mentioned the need for a uniform. He left and came back with an outfit he said that some relative of his grandfather, Tobblin, had worn as a Bounder long ago.

    What Alphred laid out in the dressing chamber were the remnants of that uniform. Galdhron had quipped that, with all the patchwork and mending, there might not be even a single thread of the cloak he had been given.

    "Is it even the same uniform?" he asked.

    He said something about the Uniform of Theseus . . . who was likely some elf who had some old uniform somewhere. Alphred smiled and pretended to understand.

    Once dressed, he went down to the Fire Hall. There, he found Thalachon staring at the statue of some elf. Thalachon was old . . . very old . . . though he had no memory of more recent times. He slept through them all. The elf was of somebody that Thalachon once new, long gone. Alphred forgot the name the instant Thalachon told it to him - elf names were easy to forget.

    Together, they started on their journey.

    Along the way, others joined up with the pair, slowly adding to their number without giving any hint that the group meant to travel together or even that they had some common goal. Liatri the bowhobbit, Kuronwen the rock wizard, and Jaytull the minstrel hobbit with a fondness for battle musics and cries each joined the march in their turn. Up the trail a ways, Thorfaniel the staff wizard came running up, just as Jaytull remembered something he needed to pack and went rushing back to Rivendell.

    In his last letter home, Alphred had told his father that he could arrive a few days after that last letter. That much continued to be true. Was was no longer true was the suggestion that he would stay in Little Delving after that - that his adventuring days were done. For about three days, he found this to be a welcome thought - lounging by a streambed fishing and relaxing without orcs or nameless - headless - creatures trying to rip off his limbs. Then he started thinking of adventure. The enemies they have been battling remain - a threat to good people in the lands of Gondor and Rohan. Yet, he was planning to live content on the bank of a stream fishing. He could not handle that.

    When Elrond had offered him the quest of gathering up the Rangers and accompanying them to Rohan, he did not give it a moment's thought. He did not even let Elrond finish talking before he accepted it. He simply asked where he could find these Rangers and made plans to leave as soon as possible.

    Another adventure.

    He noticed that the others were having trouble keeping up with his quick stride.
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume III. We are currently at Level 62 roleplaying our way through Book I as we round up Rangers for the long march to the south (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 27 at Rivendell, preparing to head to Evendim (Trebble).

  10. #10

    ((Club Eclair III)) Homecoming

    "Were those flowers beds there? And that flag?" Alphred asked himself. He had lived at Little Delving all his life - until running away. He remembered the archway across the road as bare stone and a wall. There had been changes since he had left. The Little Delving he grew up in was an out-of-the-way town at the end of a dead-end road. Almost nobody travelled that road except the post hobbits carrying letters into and out of the town. While he had been gone, the Mayor felt the need for a new road to Yondershire, and build it right along the edge of the Troute property and up into the mountains.

    Pausing at the archway, Alphred smiled to himself. His father's rule had been strict - no going beyond the gate. Of course, as a young hobbit, he would often disobey the rule, but his violations carried him only to the bend in the road where he could look off of the cliff to the Shire lands below. On a clear day, he could see Sandson's Farm. He imagined he could see The Hill and the tree that topped Bag End, though his father said that was absurd.

    This was home, but Alphred walked through the archway on the final leg to his journey with a sigh. His father certainly would not be expecting him at this hour. He had been walking all night, and would be knocking on the door just as the sun was rising. Living in the dark of Moria all this time - and Mirkwood was no better - had made him indifferent to the rising and the setting of the sun. They would still be expecting him to sleep at night and travel in daylight - probably arriving near supper. He smiled. This would be a surprise.

    The fist thing that came into view was the waterfall that crashed down just beside his home. He had lived every day of his young life with the loud roar and the spray of that falls. It made a deep pool right beside the house - the fishing pond where his family caught the dace and catfish that his mother would cook up and sell to the townfolk or ship off to market in Michel Delving. His father took up the task of cooking when his mother passed away, and young Alphred took up the task of fishing. However, his father had also insisted that he spend a good part of his day with Postmaster Proudfoot learning to read and to write and to learn of things outside of Little Delving. He would learn about them, but he would not see them - he was to remain in Little Delving. His father even had a way to see to it that little Alphred would be too afraid to wander beyond the bounds of Little Delving. He told Alphred the tales of Mad Bilbo Baggins - of encounters with trolls and giant spiders and dragons and orcs - of wars and battles.

    Only, it did not work. Alphred could not wait to leave and see the world.

    He ran away at the first opportunity - running to Michel Delving, hoping to find work in the town starting a new life. Then, Meadowlarke Sweetweed enlisted him in the Bounders and put him in a group being organized to deal with a problem with wolfs east of town. One thing lead to another and, eventually, Alphred found himself in the Bree, then Rivendell; high in the rocky cold of the Misty Mountain and on the frigid windblown planes of Forochel. Then, when the call came to go to Moria and help the dwarfs reclaim their home, he could not help but recall Burglar Baggins helping his own dwarfs take back their homeland and headed off on a new adventure.

    That was oh, so, long ago.

    He knocked on the door. This was his home - he had walked through that doorway without knocking for a good twenty years of his life. Yet, now, it felt . . . wrong. He was a visitor.

    His father opened the door and smiled. Cleaning his hands on his cooking apron, he threw himself into a strong hug, then held Alphred out at arm's length to get a good look at him. "You look fit."

    "You have no idea how many stairs there are in Moria," Alphred answered with a smile. There was also the matter of hefting shield and spear against orcs and trolls, and far worse creatures in the deepest darks of Moria, but that was not the subject of friendly conversation.

    His father then looked questioning. "What's wrong."

    The question knocked Alphred off balance. He imagined telling his father that he had accepted a quest to round up some Rangers and accompanying them to Rohan. It was a task that was likely to take near to a full year and pull him away from home yet again. His visit would be short lived. He had just gotten home, and he did not want to mar the reunion with a fight.

    "Oh, I'm just tired," Alphred answered. "I was anxious to get home, so I didn't stop for rest. I walked through the night."

    With a scowl, Alphred's father looked past him onto the road. When Alphred lived here, this was an out-of-the-way town on a deadend road into the mountains. Since he was gone,

    His smile returning, Char stepped aside and let Alphred enter.

    Alphred's two young sisters stuck their heads out of the dining room, then came at him in a rush. His older sister, Hollie, near to knocked him down when she crashed into him and squeezed him so that he could hardly breathe. When she let him loose he checked for bruises and asked, "How goes your training?"

    "I'm going to be a Bounder, just like you," she said.

    "Not like Alphred," said their father. "There's no need for you to go trapsing off from one end Middle Earth to the other. There's plenty of Bounder work to do within the Bounds, what with goblins near to bubbling out of the mountains around the Greenfields and trolls in Bog. Mr. Sweetweed says that there is plenty that needs doing nearer to home."

    Alphred gave his father a sidways glance then said to Hollie in a voice he hoped his father could not hear, "Do as you please, but there are dangers beyond the Bounds." In a louder voice, he said, "There's some villainy best dealt with far beyond the Bounds. One wouldn't want to meet an orc army or a tribe of stone giants on the Bounds of the Shire. Best to keep them as far from the Shire as possible."

    "Sit," said his father. "Set him a place, Jasper . . . and, Hollie, fetch me some more eggs and bacon. I assume you haven't eaten yet, Alphred, and it wouldn't matter any if you had."

    Alphred stopped by the ice box on his way to the table and poured himself a glass of milk before sitting down.

    "You're home for good, now, Alphred. No more adventures." That was not a question.

    "For now," said Alphred, cringing.

    His father stopped his cooking and stared at Alphred. Alphred returned the look, refusing to avert his yes.

    "For now," said his father. "Well, you're here today. We have that going for us."
    Meadowlarke Sweetweed on Landroval. Also nephews and Bounders Ayrhawk, Wrennsong, and Little Meadowlark Sweetweed
    Club Eclair roleplaying group working our way through Volume III. We are currently at Level 62 roleplaying our way through Book I as we round up Rangers for the long march to the south (Alphred Troute, Hedgerow Shrewburrow). https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...-II-Into-Moria
    Club Eclair - The Bearclaws. A newer Club Eclair group that is currently at level 27 at Rivendell, preparing to head to Evendim (Trebble).

 

 

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