9th Rethe, 2947 (Spring)
The Fellowship find themselves in the hall of Glóin, the famous Dwarf who was part of the Company that freed Erebor from the dragon and fought in the Battle of Five Armies. Today he is an envoy and diplomat for King Dain Ironfoot, and spends some of his time in Lake-town looking after affairs.
Word has reached the Company that the Dwarf is looking for help; two Dwarves have gone missing after they embarked on an important journey and Glóin is worried. When the Company meet him, the Dwarf seems uneasy and rushes through introductions. Dafydd acts as spokesperson for the Company, with all but Gilthannas further introducing themselves. Even with the presence of an Elf, Glóin is impressed and gladly accepts their help. He explains that Balin and Óin left the Lonely Mountain on an important errand for the King, but the ravens who were keeping an eye on them lost track of them somewhere in the Long Marshes, close to the Old Forest Road. The two Dwarves had planned on travelling down what remained of the road, to see how much work would be needed to restore it. Glóin suspects that they have not made it that far, and it is a few days now, and they have not been seen.
The Company accept the task and are promised a bag of 5 gold coins each upon their successful, and also receive a letter to procure a boat, as well as a letter of introduction that they can show to Balin when they find him, just to prove them are there as friends. Glóin is wary of the Elf, and warns that Balin may well have run foul of Elves, due to their dealings with them in the past.
Passing by the market to purchase a couple of stout ponies (to carry some of their gear), the Company heads off to the docks and are soon on a sturdy boat large enough to hold them all as well as their ponies (Dafydd and Wilibald have both bought ponies) and necessary feed. A day out, a pleasant journey across the lake, they reach the Stair of Girion, where younger Men of the Lake occupy huts at the top of a waterfall. There are paved, sloping stairs that the Men of the Lake can use to haul boats and their cargo down to the river below. The Company spend the night too, listening to Old Man Nerulf sing a little rhyme, that Wilibald recognises from stories he has heard:
“If you go south in the marshes, take heed: tread lightly and fear the Gallows-Weed”.
The next day they continue down the river, soon entering the edge of the forest where it overlooks the borders of the marshes. The journey through the marshes is slow and hard-going, tiring not only from dealing with obstacles such as thick roots that threaten to trap the boat, to biting insects and the general gloom of it all.
During the first day into the marshes, with Dafydd piloting the boat and navigating through the difficult terrain, Alberic scouts about looking for evidence of the two Dwarves. He spies a few broken branches that indicate someone went through recently, but no idea who. They do find evidence of a former camp, meagre and not much there, but on a patch of dry ground next to a stagnant reed-covered pool. All throughout that morning, Popo was also certain that someone was following them, but no one could spot anything amongst the trees.
The day drawing to a close, they stop by the old camp, and Wilibald starts searching about to make sure it is safe.
As he does so, the sun sets behind the forest, and as the darkness draws in, the surface of the reed-covered pool ripples…
End of Session
XP: 2 each.