21st Winterfith to 30th Solmath, 2947
End of Year Fellowship Phase
Alberic spends a few weeks travelling with traders to Dale, where he has Wolfbiter reforged. He takes a slow trek back, in the company of some Dwarven craftsmen looking for work, and spends a good few nights singing and drinking away the Shadows that still haunt him. He arrives back at Rhosgobel before Winter sets in, joining the others enjoying the company of fellow Woodmen on the long, cold nights.
Dafydd spends some time sending gifts and messages back home to Dale, establishing himself as a Person of Interest, the gold going to help orphans from Orc attacks. Storr, an old friend of his father’s, sends back a message saying thank you. Dafydd also spends some time time with the Woodmen, exchanging tales and songs, and dispelling some of the lingering darkness of the past few months.
Gilthannas shares Elven songs with the Woodmen of Woodland Hall, lifting some of the sadness affecting his mood, and so impresses them that they ask him to join them in their hunting. He agrees and finds himself not as skilled at hunting as he would like to believe; still, the experience was a rewarding one, and he decides to stay on at the town for the rest of Winter, learning from the Woodmen. During his next hunt he fells a a Fat Forest Boar, and everyone feasts well that night.
The two Hobbits spend the first weeks ensuring that their fledging Pipeweed Business is still going, and find that they have broken even so far. Wilibald Took spends a few nights at the Easterly Inn, lifting the Shadows from his heart, and after he returns to Rhosgobel, he asks Radagast about his shield, learning from the Wizard that it is cursed with the Taint of the Shadow, and that so long as he carries it it will weigh heavily on his soul. Someone else may know how to lift it; Radagast also reveals that it is scored with Runes of Protection, and despite the curse upon it, the shield will be very useful to a small Hobbit.
Popo Took decides to enjoy the company (namely the food and drink, and the fireside tales) that the Woodmen of Woodland Hall offer, and stays there while the his brother heads back to Rhosgobel.
The weeks and months go by, and as the Winter days draw to an end, travellers bring gossip from further afield, and the companions hear some of the news from the rest of Wilderland:
- A party of Dwarves from Erebor were attacked by a fierce Wolf when they ventured off the Elf-Path. Some say that the Werewolf of Mirkwood has returned, others think it was some trick of the Elves for wandering off the path.
- Orcs have been sighted in the forest near the settlements, with them occasionally raiding farmsteads or small villagers.
- Warriors from Tyrants Hill have been harassing travellers from the East Bight the Black Tarn, depending tribute to their Lord; so far violent conflict has been avoided.
- There was a scuffle at the Easterly Inn, between a pair of Beornings and several Viglunders; the Bear-Men won, and sent the others running.