Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

It is the year 2946 of the Third Age, and the lands east of the Misty Mountains are astir. From the cloud-shrouded peaks above the High Pass to the spider-infested gloom of the forest of Mirkwood, paths long-deserted are trodden once again. Busy merchants carry their wares to new markets, messengers bring tidings from foreign realms, and kings send forth armed men to extend their influence and the rule of law. Some say that a new age of freedom has begun, a time for adventure and great deeds to reclaim glories lost in long centuries of oppression and decline.

But adventures are not really things that people go out and look for. They are dangerous and rarely end well. While it is true that a handful of valiant individuals set out to make their mark on the world, for others it seems that adventure chooses them, as though it is the path they are fated to tread. They are restless warriors, curious scholars and wanderers, always eager to seek what was lost or explore what was forgotten. Ordinary people call them adventurers, and when they return successful, they call them heroes. But if they fail, no one will even remember their names...

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Vardaen » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:18 pm

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At that point there was a deep ford ... and beyond that a track led to the skirts of the wood and to the entrance of the old forest road.

But Beorn had warned them that that way was now often used by the goblins, while the forest-road itself, he had heard, was overgrown and disused at the eastern end and led to impassable marshes where the paths had long been lost.

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings
April 21st, 2949, The Third Age, Spring

You have parted way with Pipkin & Beleran, and Rathar has gone off into the wood to scout the way. That leaves you standing before the opening to the Old Forest Road, the Dwarf Road of old. Bofri stands with a great smile, with him is Brok Ironfist and Nalir, dwarven kin of his. Finn and Varuthil stand listening as Borir boasts of the quality of his kin.

Varuthil has her ear turned to the rustling of the leaves listening to the forest as it sings.

About ten minutes later Rathar returns.
During the trip Bofri tells you more Lore about the road. Men-i-Naugrim, the Dwarf Road.

It was probably laid out before or during the First Age to connect the dwarves of the Far East with their kin in the Misty Mountains, and from then on to those in the Blue Mountains. When they eventually met the elves, they made alliance with them and trade pacts were forged and the road was no doubt used to facilitate trade between them.

It is possible that during the late Second Age it was used to carry the armies of the Last Alliance, which may add to the evidence that it once had a bridge running across it that eventually rotted away, thus crossers had to rely on a boat to reach the other side of the road.

After Sauron's occupation of Dol Guldur, the forest of Mirkwood became more and more dark and dangerous, so most chose not to travel upon it for fear of being attacked. Most that did travel on it lost sight of it and usually never found their way back onto it again, thus never finding their way out of the forest according to Gandalf and Beorn.
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Welcome to Act 2. We pick up right where we left off. This will help us track things. Away we go.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Muskrat » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:19 pm

Varuthil steps away from the trees, shaking her head. "I'm afraid the trees here told me nothing--though I may have learned something even from that nothing. The forest is less talkative than in King Thranduil's realm, as if it is weary or frightened. We should be watchful--but I suppose we already knew that." She is silent a moment, looking around. "Perhaps if your people succeed in building their road again," she says to Borir and Bofri, "the forest will speak more openly again." She then shrugs, as if trying to get that hopeful thought off her shoulders.

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Shurijo » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:31 am

Where are we on the map? Is it possible to draw a dashed, light colored line or something where the old Dwarvern road is at? Or am I just not seeing/reading the map correctly? Thanks
Borir shrugs his shoulders and then nods his head in agreement with Varuthil's comments about the trees talking once the road is open.

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:31 am

Finn has little expectations for the quality or safety of the road. He did not agree to this endeavor because he thought the prospect an easy one. If the road really was a good opportunity, the Dwarves would have restored it a long time ago.

"If we merely make it halfway, with no spiders or orcs dogging our trail, I will consider our quest a success," he says as they cross the gate, and the sky is suddenly covered by green-black canopy.

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by shipwreck » Mon May 01, 2017 10:43 am

A form appears on the edge of sight, a disturbance barely lighter than the darkness of the canopy over the road. It is Rathar. He returns looking frustrated, stops in front of the party and puts his hands on his hips.

'The way is quiet. If there is anything out there, it's for keener eyes than mine to find. Just the road...and trees...and more road and trees. We will do better with more eyes.'

With that he sighs and takes his place in the marching order.

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Vardaen » Mon May 01, 2017 5:04 pm

Sorry. I'll put a little flag on the next map. Its the Old Road east of the Old Ford, you are just east of the 'S in Gelvira's.
Into the forest you go. The sunlight fades behind you has the dark green canopy overhead engulfs the road. Like a tunnel through the trees you step lively into Mirkwood. The way forward is surprisingly easy for the first few miles. The way is overgrown some, untended, but not wild, not yet. There are signs of the road still laid out before you, but the stones that once paved it are mostly gone. Many of them were quarried by the Woodmen and Beornings long ago for use in their dwellings decades ago.

Spirits are high for the first day and you make good time. Finn sings a song along the way, and Bofri and Nalir tell a few dwarf tales. There seems little danger here so close to the western entrance to the Old Road. Night arrives quickly however, the light fades over the Misty Mountains and the shadows darken in Mirkwood faster than out in the Anduin Vale. You set your camp, with a small fire, right in the middle of the moss covered road. You miss Pipkin now, but Borrir and Brok do a good enough job of cooking dinner for the company.

Night deepens and your first day on the Old Road comes to a close rather successfully.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Shurijo » Tue May 02, 2017 12:23 am

Once food has been served, Borir talks over the watch schedule with the others. The dwarf suggests that with a party of this size and being in the Mirkwood, having two on watch would be the best strategy.

"One of th'tall folk and one of Durin's Folk." He suggests, having one dwarf stand on each watch alongside a human and elf.

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Tue May 02, 2017 3:31 pm

"If only every day was like this," chuckles Finn. Tom has finished his chores around the camp and is whittling a stick, sitting near the fire.

"I'll be glad to take second watch," adds Finn. He intended to eat, relax, and perhaps not even sleep until his watch was done. It was always harder to awake from a good sleep and try to remain alert, then to simply stay awake until one's watch duty was over.
Since you narrated Finn singing, can you roll for singing Lay of the Northmen? Might as well see if we can get Inspired at the start of this journey. If anyone else wants to join Finn, he'd certainly be glad for the additional voices.

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Muskrat » Tue May 02, 2017 5:04 pm

Varuthil nods at Borir's suggestion. "That sounds like a wise course of action."

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Book 6: Act 2 - Men-I-Naurgrim

Post by Vardaen » Fri May 05, 2017 2:21 pm

Watches are set, one Khazad, and one other on watch at a time. You are only a day into the forest, and the night, while dark and full of sounds, isn't troubling -- yet. You have your camp fire and it draws the eyes of a family of racoons and a few other nocturnal animals that dare to live on the eves of Mirkwood. No other troubles find you and the morning arrives without encounter. Bofri wakes with a smile, "Ah this is going to be easier than I expected! On wards!" You break your fast and head another day along the road.

By mid-afternoon on April 22nd you can see a serious degradation of the road. The trees have pushed in more, brambles and weeds grow up among the flagstones, and in general the vegetation has pushed in and reclaimed more of the road. Fewer of the stones are missing, those that stole them to the west haven't ventured this far east in this task it would seem. The road is still visible, so you can follow it.

All the while Bofri is giving Nalir notes to take down, "...and we'll need axes, lots of them, to push the trees back, and to clear the weeds. Masonry to fill the cracks in the road, its going to be a great undertaking."

You press on throughout the day.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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