This chronicle is here set down by Cufaroth son of Cubarad known as " Hunter " to those not of his kindred.
This day in Spring, fourteen thousand 2 score and 5 years since the beginning of the Third Age (TA 1445), five companions were found by a panicked boy looking for aide. He begged and pleaded that we help his father who was under threat for his life.
Following the boy, we found an older man accosted by 3 armed brigands who claimed the old one owed them a unbelievable sum of gold. Through the guile of the young Wilderman known as “Dog” and the Dwarven gold of Khorum son of Vidur we convinced them to depart.
We learned the old man’s name as Baldor. His son Belgo and he had hired the men we had run off to escort them Westward through Mirkwood but had betrayed them before they even set off from the shores of the River Running where they were to meet some Woodelves who would take them to Amon Thranduil.
We agreed to take the place of the hired brigands much to Dog’s delight. We spent the night beside the River Running awaiting the raft to take us up the river the next morning. Setting a watch, our Dwarven scholar, Bifur son of Vidur, etched a rune that would wake him at need should danger present itself.
The first watch passed peacefully until Dog’s hound, Bill, pricked up his ears and induced his master to rouse the reluctant second watch, being the hobbit, Falco. A fruitless search in the dark followed while Falco set about cooking the remains of dinner for himself.
There was danger in the dark of which the hobbit was unaware. Falco’s first clue was when Bifur sprung awake and shook his brother, Khorum, from his slumber. The hobbit awoke me and we found ourselves presented with the 3 brigands approaching us in the night, looking for more dwarven gold, no doubt.
Ambushed, we prepared ourselves as best we could against foes we well outnumbered. Their leader and best swordsman struck Bifur first, wounding him and knocking him back. Then they tried for his brother, the Slayer, but could not pierce his well honed defenses. Falco’s tiny frame could not be found by his foeman’s short sword.
Our turn came and the first to fall was to Khorum’s mattock which broke the brigand’s jaw. The second fell to my bow as my arrow flew true and took the life from him it found. Only the leader left alive and knowing he would find no mercy in these men he thought an easy prey, he lashed out at the wounded Dwarf, striking him once more and knocking the feckless Bifur back. At last, he fell to Dog’s well timed bowshot.
I spent the remainder of the watch disposing of the bodies and preparing to break camp. Soon the Elves emerged from the morning mist upon the river, polling their boat to the shore. They seemed pleased to see Baldor, but their mood soured when they spied our Dwarves. The wrongs between those two folk are long remembered and unforgiven since the Battle of the Five Armies where they nearly came to blows but for the timely intervention of Bilbo Baggins of the Shire and Mithrandir the famed Wizard. They suffered to bear us on their raft and the Dwarves suffered to be born upon it, and they brought us up the river to the cavernous carved grottoes of Amon Thranduil.
The Men found welcome through speaking openly in admiration of Thranduil’s halls. I through my Lore and Dog through his clever Riddle. The Hobbit introduced his pipeweed to the Elves but the Dwarves disdained the Elves and they in equal measure were disdained and left to themselves. Meanwhile, the Humans and the Hobbit were brought to a separate chamber and there entertained by Thranduil’s world-wearied Arborist and told about the Sentinel Oak which long had stood in Mirkwood and should be sought by those looking to enrich their MIrkwood-Lore. Others, younger Elves, shared their love of music with the young Dog and the Hobbit. One among them sang so richly, sweetly, and so purely that he attracted the ears of half the halls and among them Lord Thranduil himself, who gifted the singer with a jeweled broach from his own person. His name, we guessed, was Gollind (Sindarin cognate for Elvis).
Later we were given word that Thranduil gave us leave to make his halls a sanctuary for he guessed we had inspired Gollind the singer to greatness.
After a few days, Baldor returned from his treating with the Elves seeming in a happy mood. We continued on our journey to the West by being led through underground paths to the westernmost borders for Thranduil’s realm and were bid farewell with this warning, “Do not leave the Elf Path.” We agreed and made our plan to take the Elf Path as far West as the Forest Gate and then follow the Great River Anduin southward to Baldor’s destination.
We found the wood before us to be fitting of the name Mirkwood. No light passed through the canopy and the air was choked with the stench of rotting humus. Our first obstacle was a stream cutting across the Path which I guessed might be the same stream told about in Bilbo’s tale which caused the Dwarves of Thorin’s Company to fall asleep and become captives of the woodelves after. My suspicions were confirmed when Falco drank some and fell drowsy. We roused him through application of the Lambas bread and his own inner strength.
We _travel_ed by this dimlit path until we found ourselves within a clearing on the Elf Path with bowers carved into the tussocks and a firepit long abandoned. Conducting a thorough Search of the clearing, Khorum, Falco, and I, discovered a cleverly concealed trapdoor. Concealed within was a store of provisions. We set camp in the clearing for the night.
The watches passed uneventfully save for Baldor rising in the night to join Falco in his midnight meal. My watch was quiet until suddenly Baldor awoke and shouted in alarm to find me there “in his home”. The old man scrambled to his feet and began to run for the tree line. Without knowing the cause of his madness, I lept to my feet and chased him down, tackling him before he reach the trees. Belgo, seeing this, grabbed his father’s walking stick and began trying to free his father, but to no avail.
From the old man’s ravings we learned he lost 5 years of his memories, telling us he knew nothing of his trip through Mirkwood, that his son was only 5 years old and at home with his mother (who we all knew to have died during the attack of Smaug upon Laketown). This reduced his young son to tears.
None of us had the Insight needed to glean what had happened to this man. Despite his protestations, I feared he escape while our eyes were elsewhere, so we bound him and left his bindings in charge of the redoubtable Khorum.