Along came a spider… and a warg!

I set off on Dagoras’ tasks the next morning.  Thankfully, the rain from the day before continued to fall, and it would help mask the sound of my tramping through underbrush and throw predators off my scent.  The wisdom of nature abounds, and I believe it aids those who serve it and others with noble purpose.

I was able to skulk about in the Snares, slaying spiders one by one, until the enormous Queen came into view! I quickly hid behind a tree, hoping that I could take her by surprise. Thankfully, I got in a well-placed strike before the battle began and she fell!

Next, I went off in search of nearby packs of wargs which were preying on game that the rangers needed for themselves.  I happened to spot a lone doe grazing on a hillside in the rain.  The beauty of the moment was spoiled when I caught sight of a grinning snout and yellow eyes peering over the hill behind her before disappearing from view!

“No, you don’t!” I said to myself, as I skirted the hill and crept up behind the warg, just as it was ready to pounce. The doe fled, of course, but I was able to finish off the warg quickly enough to catch a glimpse of her bounding toward the cover of a rocky hillside. My heart soared to see her run free!

Finally, I was able to recover some Meadowsweet for the rangers.  As I made sure to leave enough behind, so that the plants would grow once again, I gazed up into the rain.  I was so thankful that the earth would be nourished again and give us another bountiful harvest.  Life-cycles, you see?  We are all connected, everything and everyone.

With Light,
Kaleigh

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A place of hope…

At last, I have come to Esteldin, the hidden gathering place for the rangers who have given so much hope and aid to the Free Peoples.  Their ways are mysterious, as they must be, to keep themselves hidden from the forces of shadow, and they are not well understood by most  folk.  I certainly did not know what to make of them at first!

However, I have always believed that the honorable ones among us have a way of surfacing when and where they are most needed. We sorely need such heroes in this dark time, and I am thankful for the opportunities they have given me to learn from them and aid them in their endeavors.

I met with the ranger, Dagoras, while he kept watch over some good folk who sparred together, hoping to gain wisdom for future battles that will be far less forgiving.  I was to search the area nearby for foul creatures and gather herbs to be used later for the wounded.  As we watched the sparring while the rain fell, I hoped for the strength to be able to help wash away the more mundane troubles of these men, so that they might bring their greater skills to bear toward more pressing concerns.

With Light,
Kaleigh

They will not lose what I have lost!

A farm!

I was so happy to see a well-kept farm here after what Amarion had told me! I could not help but jump atop the fence and run all the way along it, as I did when I was little. I then hurried over to the farmhouse and met Gatson and Gilmar, who explained that they were just barely scraping by.

They told me that orcs came within sight of their farm quite often and wished for me to fly to the rangers to seek their aid.  They had shared provisions with them many times in the past and considered them good friends.

Sadly, I explained the situation at Amon Raith but offered to help them in any way that I could.  They were pleased with this and offered me their pipe.  Although I love the smell of smoked pipeweed, I can never bring myself to do it, as it makes me wheeze and cough so.  I could see that this offering meant something to them, however.  In order to not offend, I tried it, with expected results.

They told me that their farmhand, Alwin Walker, was down the hill protecting their herd of cows.  I offered to help keep watch and met him down near the fields.  It is fortunate that we were there as, not long afterward, the orcs came in force!  Together, we were able to drive them back with nary a scratch on the dear animals.

Afterward, the farmers graciously offered to share their supper with me. I told them of my youth and how wonderful it was to be around men of the earth again. I told them how they reminded me of my father and began to cry. So many memories had come back to me in my short time there, and I could not help myself. Had I only been stronger then…

Even with Esteldin so close, they offered to let me stay there with them until morning, and I gladly accepted, pushing away greater concerns for the night to embrace the sweet memories of my childhood. Tomorrow, I renew the fight for our future, but tonight I remember the past, which comforts me and renews my spirit.

With Light,
Kaleigh

Less is more… sometimes, I hope? Right?

As I made my way to Kingsfell, I came upon a lovely stream and was awed by the rustic beauty of the North Downs.  I was reminded of the garish displays back at the orc camp and their contrast with the simple, natural allure of the countryside.  Sometimes, less is more, you know?

I have always been a sort of plain-jane myself, not that I have much choice!  I see so many in Bree-town and other places with such lavish clothes and jewelry.  They all look so lovely!  I sometimes wonder what such finery would do for me, but I am afraid my lack of grace and manner would not allow me to pull such a thing off.  I do carry my needle and thread with me and try to learn stitching from all the kind folk who are willing to teach me a thing or two.  I would love to make myself something more appealing but, for now, I am fortunate just to be able to hold together the little I have with my craft!

With Light,
Kaleigh

Orcs and their funny totems

Amarion asked me to do some scouting east of Amon Raith for an orc camp he suspected was nearby.  I found it well enough and welcomed them to the neighborhood!  I find orcish decor quite tasteless, don’t you?  At least this totem served a function, if not a fashion, by helping me to put this wretched creature out of his misery.

I am afraid that my time with Amarion will be far shorter than I had hoped, for I am off to Kingsfell and Esteldin. Take care!

With Light,
Kaleigh

A lone ray of light in the darkness…

I journeyed north from Trestlebridge until I came to spot torchlight bathing a ruin atop a hill to the northeast.  I veered that way, avoiding the foul-looking fields directly north, and came to a small encampment led by a man named Amarion, another of the folk known as rangers.  The burden of this haven, Amon Raith, was solely his to bear, and he had grave concerns for its safety and welfare.

It seemed evil forces had invaded the hills of Annundir to the east, driving out good folk who had come here seeking refuge.  Supplies were low, however, and they would soon be going hungry.  He would entrust the refugees’ safety to no one else but asked if I could hunt some game for them.

It brought tears to my eyes to see a man who cared so dearly for those under his purview, and his plea went straight to my heart.  I promised him no one would go hungry while I was around and, after a few days, the needs of these fine folk were met.  Amarion was very grateful, and we sat down by the fire, exchanging stories of our battles with the shadow.

I think I will stay around here until things are more settled…

With Light,
Kaleigh

Foes (and friends!) are all around us…

I still hold out hope that, as I travel the land far beyond areas I had even dreamed of in my youth, I will find a place that is untouched by war and strife. It shames me to admit this, but the constant struggle against seemingly endless and untiring foes weighs upon me. I am but a weakling and ask so much of others while giving so little. I look to men like Strider, Candaith, and Saerdan, whom I have never heard give voice to a single complaint, while I grumble to myself about being hungry, cold or tired.

I arrived at Trestlebridge in a foul mood which got even fouler as I heard a call to arms from across the bridge. A guards-woman was fighting off orcs that had dared to approach the bridge itself! I ran to her aid and, with a few others guards, we beat back what must have been a scouting party.

Afterward, as she thanked me for helping her, I noticed that she looked very tired. She must have been at her post for hours. There were dark circles under her eyes, and her clothes were grimy and threadbare. After a few seconds, her eyes caught mine. We both smiled, realizing that we were seeing ourselves in each other. We embraced, taking comfort in the fact that, while we both might have bent just a little, we had not broken. I threw my arm around her shoulders, and we let out a cheer for ourselves to celebrate our victory.

She said, “You know, when I am feeling low, I like to look around a bit, to remember what it is that I fight for so hard to save. Why not have a look around town, and later I would love to meet you in the tavern where we can celebrate our victory properly!”

I squeezed her hand and smiled, then began to wander around town and the hills nearby.  After a bit, I came to remember that, even as shadow comes creeping near, it helps to take in the beauty around us.  We take heart from that which we long to save, and that can inspire us to drive the shadow back.

Miss Aggy Digweed and I talked long into the night for, even more than sleep, we both knew we needed the shoulder of another like us. The rangers and other such heroes accomplish so many great things, and they inspire us all. They have a level of determination and resolve that I cannot fully comprehend. But, sometimes, to see one who was not destined for such great things still bear a great burden, and yet endure? That can inspire us all the more, and perhaps is something most of us can better appreciate.

Kaleigh

I am not the only mischief-maker around…

I arrived in Ost Guruth and ran across a dwarven blacksmith there named Refr Quicksilver.  He explained to me that a nearby clan of dwarves, known as the Dourhand, had betrayed his people.  Apparently, they had been consorting with skulking orcs as they searched a long-forgotten ruin for treasures of the ancient past.

He suggested that I could fell two birds with one stone. By driving away the Dourhand from potential riches, I could also recover their abandoned weapons, which would be used against them at a later date!  “Turn them on their own,” he explained, “and give them a taste of their own bitter medicine!”  It was a very cunning plan, and I readily agreed.

I was successful and brought the hard-won booty back to him. “Kaleigh, you bring tears to these old, dwarven eyes,” he said solemnly.  However, those crocodile tears were quickly replaced by a mischievous glint as he cried, “And now I am going to bring tears to yours!” He then thrust the beaten metal he had been working on into the cool water of a nearby bucket with his tongs, showering me with a hot, misty steam!

A dwarf with a sense of “humor”… How quaint!

But he will get his… count on it!

With Light,
Kaleigh

The ruin rises high, as does my spirit!

Candaith’s plan worked magnificently, as I knew it must.  With his accurate assessment, an attack can be planned that will make a dent in the orcish force.  May that dent be a grievous one!  Candaith will have to see to that, as I am off to Ost Guruth, far to the east of here.

I am proud of what I helped accomplish here, and my heart soars like the great ruined hill nearby. I just hope that it does not suffer the same fate. Take care!

With Light,
Kaleigh

A vision from on high

The deed done, I made my way back toward Candaith’s camp to await his return.  I decided to scale the large hill nearby to have a look around and make sure all was safe.

I came to the top of the ruin after a long climb. The first thing I noticed was a rock that stood out due to some strange carvings in it.

I peered into the darkness from each side of the ruin…

Thankfully, nothing approached save the red dawn…

…which I decided to watch before returning to camp.

With Light,
Kaleigh