Thursday, October 8, 2009

Into Garth Agarwen

Authors notes: The first thing to keep in mind is that these will be written in-character. Seeing as I consider my LOTRO Ellote to be one and the same as my MERP Ellote, this will mean several things. For one, she will on occasion make references to prior adventures, companions, or to her dilemma with Elrond. Secondly, Ellote is a storyteller and bard out to enhance her own fame first and foremost. From one who has claimed descent from nearly every elven hero in the Silmarrilion, you can expect a bit of embellishment on her part in these tales, and always done to make Ellote look better.

My Lord Elrond,

I trust this missive finds you well. You requested of me, as you no doubt recall, that I provide a detailed account of my journeys in Middle Earth in these last days. I am no fool and am fully aware of your lack of faith in me. However, as other accounts will no doubt confirm, you will find nothing but truth in this letter.

Two days prior, with my companions from the Heren Lokeon, we stole into the ruins of Garth Agarwen. We of long memory remember that this place had another name once, and thus this was not the first time I had ventured within these walls. But this letter is not about past glories, but rather present events. So I will dwell no longer on such things.

My companions were named such. Anatariel, a captain of Gondor, Shyiel the bard, Relan the warrior, Calendriel, and the hobbit Nimwillyn. These last two bear particular interest to me, for I hold many fond memories of other companions long ago who bore these names. But I am straying into the distant past again.

But perhaps that is not so great a fault, for what once was does indeed have bearing on what is now, as you shall see. It was no accident that we came to this place, sent here by Radagast on an errand of some urgency. For Ivar, the Blood-lord, servant of the Witch-king had found a terrible power sleeping within these ruins, one once worshipped by cultists in Rhudaur long ago. He had found Naruhel, the Red Maid, and corrupted her to serve the Dark Lord.

So we ventured within to stop this abomination from being unleashed upon the free peoples. But we were dogged at every step. As I said many a year had passed since I last set foot here and my knowledge of this place escaped me. So many years had passed that I could no longer find my way. Shyiel, however, brought knowledge of this place from more recent days and unerringly guided us through the maze of ruins that this once great Mannish city had become.

The maze was not the only difficulty. This place was well guarded by Dunnish tribesmen, cultists and worshippers of the Red Maid. We fought through patrol after patrol, seeking Ivar and his charge.

But navigating the maze and overcoming its guardians was as yet not enough to steal into the ruins’ darker portions. A series of gates, with wood too strong to batter down and locks too complex for Nimwillyn to pick, denied us further progress. Their keys, therefore, must be found.

We divided rightly that these keys were held by Ivar’s lieutenants among the Hillmen. The first of these, one named Temair, proved little challenge. But Ivar’s strongest allies were not all among the living. We challenged and overcame two others, Edan and Eslyd, to gain entry to Ivar’s own lair.

But the Blood-lord was not alone. Mighty as he was, he strove against us with horrid undead. Twice we assailed his lair and twice we were driven back in retreat. Frustrated and wounded, we decided upon a new strategy.

Our third foray into Ivar’s lair began. Relan changed the Blood-lord while Anatariel focused on his allies. The rest of us, myself included, fought down two banner-bearing wights at the fringes of the lair. These minions made use of some foul magic that sapped our strength. Once defeated, Ivar and his minions no longer held so great an advantage. But he remained a mighty foe, nigh impervious to the strength of our arms. Yet in the end, we prevailed and struck him down.

But although loosed from her leash, the Red Maid was no less dangerous. Taking the keys to her chamber from Ivar’s stinking corpse, we ventured yet further into his accursed lair. Like Ivar, the Red Maid sent forth her bodyguards to thwart us. After besting hordes of undead, we came upon her accursed pool.

It became clear to us that the Witch-King’s evil ran deep within her. After boasting of our demise, she summoned forth demonic spirits from the very waters. Once we defeated these foul minions, she turned to her cultists. Although outnumbered, we drove these off as well. Frustrated by our apparent unwillingness to die by her slaves’ hands, she came forth herself at last.

Her power was mighty, using the very water of her lair against us. Her water magic could throw us about or pin us in place as she wished. Relan and Anatariel would charge in, naked steel in hand, only to be thrown back. Shyiel kept our spirits up with her songs of valour, but often could not move. But neither spell was of effect against Calendriel’s runes or my bow. As we battered down her defenses, I saw my opening and loosed. The shaft struck the Maid and cast her down into darkness at last.

Our quest successful, we returned to Radagast to claim the rewards of our success. Our next endeavors will take us north, to another fallen city. I will keep you abreast of our successes there in my next correspondence.

My name will be vindicated, Lord Elrond.

Your humble servant,


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