Having slain the white stag, we carry it back to the halls of Thranduil and celebrate the successful conclusion of the hunt. After a few days and some good-byes, we set off on the quest given to us by Bilbo – to find evidence that a company of Hobbit archers participated in the Battle of Fornost.
We traveled with a large caravan across Mirkwood along the elf-path – easy traveling for once – and arrived at The Easterly Inn, which is a sanctuary for our group. We did some catching up with Dindy and Dody Brandybuck and gorged ourselves on pancakes, then began to travel south to the Old Ford.
After a few days of travel, we spot a flock of crows circling something in the distance. Going closer to investigate, we find a boat peppered with orcish arrows cast onto the banks of the Anduin. In it are two dead men, wearing bear-shaped brooches. There are cut ropes in the bottom of the boat, and one of the swords is missing. It seems they may have been transporting a prisoner when they were ambushed by orcs. We take the brooches and continue southward.
At the Old Ford, we show the brooches to the ford-keepers. They confirm that the owners of such brooches are wardens of Beorn. We decide to backtrack to Beorn’s house and break the bad news to him. The slain men were indeed his wardens, and their prisoner was Oderic, a criminal. Beorn asks us to find Oderic and bring him back to the Carrock for justice.
We track Oderic with limited success. The information trail leads us to his home settlement of Stonybrook (?). There, the story is that Oderic slew the husband of his step-sister. We spend some time investigating and interviewing the residents of the hamlet, but our rolls go strongly against us and we can make very little headway. However, the bits we do piece together suggest that there may have been a lot of mitigating circumstances to the tragedy. We also fail horribly at picking up Oderic’s trail again.
In the end, we have to slink back to Beorn’s House and tell him the evidence we found and admit failure. Oderic is still out there, heading westward.
We travel on across the High Pass and continue to Bree, resting a night at the Prancing Pony. We then ride north to the North Downs and find the ruins of Fornost, aided by the map given to us by Bilbo Baggins. A few days of searching turns up some evidence that Hobbits were, in fact, present at the battle. There are several short-bows, a banner, an another map indicating tunnels beneath the city.
We find our way into the tunnels and search around, managing to scare away (i.e. fail to kill) a goblin footpad that is following us. Eventually, we find a great hall with a marble throne. A strange mosaic on a flagstone nearby draws our attention. We pry it up and see a treasure horde! Brand, who is afflicted by the Dragon-sickness, does a Scrooge McDuck and dives into the treasure. Wulferd finds a great blue-green axe head.
The horde consists of a substantial amount of treasure – too much to carry out without aid. Have our horses, tethered in the city above, been slain by goblins? And how many will we have to face before we can make it back out of these tunnels?