Report to Lord Dolthafaer, from Gwingris

This is written on two sheets of neatly folded parchment, sealed with a drop of brown wax imprinted with the head of an arrow on it. The handwriting is neat and precise, not in the slightest ornamental, though in some places it loses its crisp shape as if the writer's hand was fatigued. On the outside of the parchment is written the name of Lord Dolthafaer, to whom it is addressed.

To Lord Dolthafaer of the Order of the Arrow, Bar-en-Vanimar

As pathfinder for this expedition to the Drownholt, I have appended a report of the journey. The party of healers was led by Eleanias, accompanied by Norliriel, Eliriael, and Elvealin. They intended to search for healing herbs found in the swamp of Mirkwood called the Drownholt. Myself and Caethel of the Order of the Arrow served as scouts, and Fingolrin of the Order of the Hammer as a guard. After speaking with Lord Anglachelm,  Lord Tindir and Lord Ambassador Parnard, and receiving their approval for our journey, we departed Imladris.

Eregion to Lothlórien

Our passage south past Echad Candelleth was on horseback and unhindered by foes. We left the horses behind in Eregion, in the care of the stable masters there. In Gwingris, we were met by Manadhlaer, who was distressed and wished for Norliriel not to proceed further on her journey, fearing she would come to harm in Mirkwood. In the end, the lady’s fears were assuaged and she departed for Imladris. We continued south to the Redhorn Pass, where I charged Fingolrin with guarding the healers at the foot of the mountain. Caethel and I scouted the path ahead, and eliminated several patrolling half-orcs. We concealed the bodies, returned to the others, and proceeded up the mountain.

Making camp halfway up the slope, we met with an Elf of the name Celeblhair, evidently a wandering hunter in Eregion. She told us the Pass had not yet been blocked entirely, and I invited her to share our fire for the evening, deeming her not to be hostile. I did not state our errand to her. We left on the morrow and reached the Pass, with Fingolrin holding the rear guard, the healers ahead, then myself and Caethel at the fore. The passage of the mountains was taxing on all our spirits, yet all endured the hardship with not a complaint.

On coming down to the Dimrill Dale, we abode for a night with some Dwaves encamped south of the Mirrormere. The passage down the valley was slow, for there were orc camps beside the path. Caethel and I took down a few who wandered too close to the party. I was ever grateful to Fingolrin for watching the rear with his stout shield and ready blade. If any foes thought to assault us, they would be met with a wall of steel. We were received by Orophin and Rúmil, brothers of Haldir the Marchwarden. They granted us leave to spend the night in a talan northwest of Caras Galadhon, and to enter the city to gather provisions.

In the Greenwood

The following day, we departed by boat for Echad Sirion, and arriving there, arranged matters for the journey into the Drownholt. The healers passed the day tending to the wounds of the numerous soldiers, and I spoke with the commander there of the situation in the Greenwood, and our path to the Drownholt. Caethel left to spend the day with some of her former patrol, and I bade her gather any information she could about the area, and especially of the Drownholt.

In the following days, I deferred to Caethel in all matters of path-finding, for the lands there were her home, and I knew them little. She led us safely through wood and glen to the Drownholt, and on our first day there we found one mushroom which the healers prized, though it was not the more potent Anvelain of legend. We made camp at Estolad Mernael, a place fortified by the Malledhrim. I left on the morn of the next day to scout the road nearby for foes, having heard a report of spiders in the area from some guards at the camp. I left the party in Fingolrin and Caethel’s care, thinking to be back swiftly by the end of the day.

There was indeed a den of spiders which the scouts there had not found, and I took down one which ventured too close. Making a careful note of the position, I was prepared to return when ambushed by two more. I was not wounded, but had been delayed in my return, and the paths were unfamiliar and dark to me. I returned to Estolad Mernael a day later than I had intended, only to find the party had already departed. Soldiers there said they had been moving west, through the Drownholt, towards Echad Sirion.

I spent the next seven days following their trail, which was exceedingly difficult due to both the misleading air of the forest, and the skill with which Caethel concealed their trail. We met each other on the road a day’s journey east of Echad Sirion. All were unharmed. Caethel told me she had led our company through secret paths, known to her from her Silvan comrades. When we stopped in Echad Sirion, I asked of their progress. During the seven days I sought them,  the healers had searched the swamp daily, guided by Caethel and defended by Fingolrin. They found naught of the Anvelain mushroom, which weighed upon Eleanias most of all.

Elvealin, Norliriel, and Eliriael left to bathe in the river, and I left Fingolrin to guard the supplies and put the camp to rights. As Echad Sirion is a  fortified location, I believed the healers would be safe. Caethel and I left to scout northeast of the camp, hearing the sound of wargs howling in the distance. We eliminated around five warg scouts and four goblin-scouts, all coming from an orc encampment north of Echad Sirion, before returning.

Eliriael met us at the edge of camp, in distress having noted the absence of Eleanias. She had gone off alone to seek the flower Elenduin, and Eliriael and Caethel knew where the flower might be found. Caethel desired to go immediately and seek Eleanias, and Eliriael did as well. I offered myself or Fingolrin as a second escort, but Caethel took the responsibility of this mission on herself. Eliriael would not be dissuaded from leaving, and the others were at camp. I decided that Caethel was capable of finding her way swiftest of all through the woods, and that it was imperative not to waste any more time. Caethel told me to wait for her two hours, and that if she did not return, to convey the rest of the company over the river by boat. She and Eliriael left, and I returned to camp, where Elvealin, Norliriel, and Fingolrin were.

Caethel and I had decided not to alert the others of Eleanias’ absence, or the mission to find her, for two reasons. Firstly, the speed of their errand would be compromised if anyone from camp decided to join her. Secondly, it would cause unnecessary unrest among all who remained behind. When nearly two hours had passed, I feared that ill had come to Caethel. Despite what I said, I could not leave Caethel behind, and the others grew restless. When pressed, I revealed to Norliriel that Eleanias had gone to seek Elenduin, and Caethel and Eliriael were seeking her. She was distressed that  I had not told her sooner, but Fingolrin and I dissuaded her from leaving.

I left to seek Caethel, and swiftly came upon her, Eleanias, and Eliriael. Caethel had a wound in the leg, but was still standing. She had dared a fortified orc-camp to rescue Eleanias, and had even recovered some of the Elenduin flowers. Eliriael was unharmed, and tending Eleanias. With some difficulty Eliriael and I bore Eleanias between us back to the camp. When we returned, Norliriel and Elvealin tended to Eleanias while Fingolrin and I bound the wound on Caethel’s leg. We departed that day, as soon as the injured were fit to travel for the Golden Wood.

Lothlórien to Eregion

The folk of Caras Galadhon graciously gave us leave to occupy a pavilion in the city while Eleanias was convalescing. She remained in a deep and troubled slumber for two days. Norliriel remained by her side the entire time, and Elvealin was most helpful in gathering provisions and food from the city for us. Eliriael tended graciously to Eleanias’ hurts as well. Among the company of healers, I marvelled that such gentle ladies should nonetheless endure such hardship unflinchingly.

On the second day, Eleanias awoke and immediately called for Caethel, as if to reassure herself of the other’s safety. I spoke gently with Eleanias, for I was glad that she had awoken. It was not my place to censure her for leaving, since it was my oversight that had resulted in her being lost. After discussing with Fingolrin and Caethel, we agreed to travel west over the Hithaeglir as soon as Eleanias was fit to travel, for the press of winter would not leave the passes open much longer. Norliriel pronounced Eleanias fit to travel, and I secured a sure-footed steed of  the Galadhrim for Eleanias, as well as abundant blankets and furs to ease her passage over the mountains.

Norliriel and Elvealin had an audience with the Lady of the Golden Wood that day, and returned with news that the Lady had allowed them to give her some of the Elenduin flowers to plant in her garden. The Lady had graciously also given a flask of water from her own fountain, said to have potent healing properties. An eagle arrived with letters from Imladris, one from Manadhlaer to Norliriel, and another from Lilleduil to Fingolrin. All were greatly heartened by this, and we set out later that day from Caras Galadhon, Norliriel and Elvealin dividing the task of leading Eleanias’ horse between them.

In our passage west through the Dimrill Dale, we were spotted by a force of no more than ten orcs. Fingolrin covered our retreat while I secured the safety of Eleanias and her mount. I reached the dwarf camp with Eleanias, Eliriael, and Elvealin. Norliriel was armed, and I could only hope that she and Fingolrin were not separated. They rejoined us, Norliriel alive but having sustained some minor injuries. Fingolrin only bore scratches thanks to his armour and shield. In addition to the ten we met on the road, he and Norliriel had taken down five more orcs before reaching us. He revealed that he had trained Norliriel himself in the sword, and that she fought valiantly. Eliriael and Elvealin tended to Norliriel and Eleanias respectively, and I saw to Fingolrin. When all wounds were tended, we departed west for the mountains. I intended to spend the night camping somewhere halfway up the path, then set begin the crossing the next day.

Our passage west across the Hithaeglir was slower, but without incident. We reached Gwingris on foot and found our horses stabled there, as we had left them. We were met by Lilleduil, who bore greetings from Imladris. I write this report from Gwingris, and intend to be in Imladris shortly. All have returned safely, though not all unscathed, from this mission, and while the healers did not find all they hoped, we do have samples of a healing mushroom and flowers of Elenduin.

I assume all responsibility for my actions recorded here, and submit myself to your approval.

Tancamir Cúrandir, of the Order of the Arrow, Bar-en-Vanimar