I hope that this letter finds you well. By now you’ve heard tale of the adventuring band hired by the Dwarfs of the Lonely Mountain on a task to open up the old road through the Mirkwood. It should not surprise you to learn that your favorite uncle has immersed himself in yet another misadventure with those erstwhile heroes known as the Seven.
The rumors are true, of course. The old road means to be opened by the coin of the Dwarves and the blood and sweat of the men that would earn it. Undoubtedly my expertise as a guide through the Mirkwood and my knowledge of the wildlife therein are all the reason those long-bearded miners felt I would excel as the leader of this merry band – well, not leader by name of course, much too proud those dour dwarfs – Khorum takes the title of honorary leader, but you and I both know that none than one of our blood could ever know the ins and outs of this wood.
We’ve made the journey from West to East and West again through the wood, at first a simple scouting excursion, merely highlighting areas of interest along the path (because though it is known as the Old Road, I can tell you first-hand that I’ve seen bigger roads behind the outhouses of the Prancing Pony). Once we had scouted out the likely areas, it was a short rest before we plunged back into those miserable woods to see what they might yet hide.
You would not believe me to tell it, but it’s true that we – in our very first outting – trundled upon a lair of one of Shelob’s children. Oh yes. As fat and furious as they come. It’s girth was so large that it looked the full portion of a thatched roof of an old mill which it had made it’s home. We came at it with fire and sword – to match its fang and venom. Twas a near thing. The small hobbit I have spoken of before, Falco, he fell and I swear before the stars that I thought he was dead. Khorum, stout and brave, almost fell to the same fate, were it not for the selfless bravery of your uncle I doubt that any of us would have walked away, I flung myself bodily into the bite that was destined for the lifeblood of that true dwarf.
What happened afterwards remains a blur, sufficed to say that Khorum saw the beast off – chasing it back into the forests to lick its wounds and nursed our wounds while he kept a sleepless watch for two days.
Listen to me now, young Garth, true friends are made of such stuff. You lay your life on the line for them, and they’ll return the favor a thousand times over. Never be afraid to raise up your shield for a friend- I hear that you’re becoming quite a promising prospect among the people of the Lake – but trust when I tell you, the best accolades come from your friends.
We also made encounters in an abandoned Dwarvish fortress, eerily devoid of its former owners – save for the bodies of the fallen. Dark work, that. It seems something drove the dwarf-folk into fighting amongst themselves… and when I tell you of the treasures that were laying hidden deep in that foul place, you might soon see why someone would turn against their own. The dragon-sickness, I have heard it called. Stay mindful that the glittering gold of the world never overcomes your own good sense.
That said… your uncle did not come out of the adventure a pauper by any means. The elven sword, “Ripta-naste” (I have been told it’s from the Quenyan dialect which means something akin to “slicer of webs”) has come to rest in my hands. This is a weapon with a purpose, I feel it’s soothing song and it’s deep hatred of those dark spiders of the mirkwood. This weapon – should I ever pass on – belongs to our family.
I see that Bifur is motioning that it’s my turn for watch, I hope that you’re in high spirits and good health. If you’re looking for honest work, contact our man in Dale and mention me by name. There’s plenty to do helping this road along.
With love and light,