As a King’s Man, I endeavor to follow my liege lord’s will in all things, no matter the danger or sacrifice. My blade, is ever King Bard’s. As a scholar and lore-master though, my mind often wanders beyond the River Running, dreaming of adventure as told by the charming hobbit Bilbo Baggins during his time in Dale. So when my lord requested I travel west to try to discover the fate of a missing caravan in the Anduin valley, I leapt at the opportunity.
‘Twas after I had lost the trail along the Anduin that I met my new fellows — Loreth, a woodsman of the Mirkwood, Elabrimborn, of the Woodland Realm, and Thorr Flamestrike, a mighty dwarven warrior of my people’s allies, the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain. They informed me in no uncertain terms of the fate of the caravan of which I had tracked many weeks — attacked by trolls.
I admit, I was daunted by such a report. Trolls! I never imagined my path would cross such monsters on my errand, much less that I would find myself boldly agreeing to accompany so recently met companions to see my countrymen’s final end. A strength of character, or a flaw? I suppose ’tis only my final end which will tell!
We trekked to the Ettendales, to bear witness to a war council of trolls, barely sneaking unnoticed past the dull brutes. While Loreth fared well in the secret movement through the camp, both Thorr and myself almost endangered our party with missteps. Perhaps King’s Men are meant to be soldiers only, not rangers.
A great host of trolls gathered at sundown to listen to the exultations of their leader Mormog, who shouted for war and whispered of attempts to herald the bringing of shadow to new lands, further north and west. I thought for a moment…that he uttered the name of the ancient Dark Lord himself…but I shall put that out of my mind for the moment.
As we stole from the breach in the hillside, a stony-hided ettin rose to block our path. We were caught! We unsheathed our blades and brought the beast low, quickly camouflaging the body to try to conceal our deed from his fellows in the cut below. ’Twas to no avail however, and scant moments later, we heard the cries of sentries who had heard the sounds of battle and uncovered the gruesome result of our flashing blades.
With no other options, we called out to Mormog to face us, and the proud fiend did just that. Under a hail of spears and arrows, he advanced pell mell, into a curtain of steel – well-wielded with deadly intent. His pride was his undoing, as his wild undisciplined attacks left his breast exposed to a fatal blow by Thorr’s axe, sundering him from neck to nape.
Thinking quickly, I beheaded the beast and hurled my prize into the valley towards Mormog’s shouting minions exclaiming, “This is the fate of Mormog, and that of all who follow him!” My ruse bought us the moments we needed to escape the forest and reach Rivendell safely, just ahead of our pursuers. An adventure I shall retell indeed!
Once we had taken refuge in the Last Homely House, we were invited to a great hunt in the woodland realm of King Thanduil. Another tale worthy of the telling seems to be in my future, ever forward!