I hope you are well, though I have no idea if you have already left the Valley, by now. If that is the case, I have asked Ada and Naneth to keep this until you send word back to Imladris of where you are, and if letters can reach you. Anyways, I will try to keep this short and to the point. We left Imladris two whole days ago, and stopped in Gwingris last night. The ruins - oh, I know we have come here earlier, with Ada and Nana, but it is not the same. Eregion is a very somber and mysterious land, full of mysteries and memories of the past Age.
I am travelling with a good lot of others from Imladris - well, you know Makanárë and Master Annúngil, and perhaps Lady Eliriael, who is a friend of theirs. There is also some scholar who carries a rabbit around in a basket (kind of strange, that anyone would take a rabbit across the mountains, don't you think?). But, her rabbit is adorable, all white and silver fur, long velvet ears and twitchy nose. Oh, I do so love rabbits, though … squirrels are cute as well, and so are foxes, and lynx even. I wonder if we shall see any of those elusive mountain cats as we approach the Hithaeglir - I think I might have spotted some tracks nearby in the woods, but none have shown themselves.
Returning to the topic of our travelling party, hír Vorongwë was there, and several other warriors. I saw one ellon bearing a magnificent steel shield embossed with silver and gold filigree, but did not go over and introduce myself. I think I shall, eventually. It is no good travelling with a group of such warriors if I do not manage to profit from getting to know the craftsmanship of their weapons. Makanárë has of course shown me her swords, though she has never yet allowed me to handle them, and I am quite familiar with their design. They are leagues above anything I would be able to craft now, but I will not rest until my skill in smithing is improved. Perhaps it would be easier just to walk up and ask the others, but - the matter of one's weapons is a delicate and often personal matter for many who bear them. I do not think that would stop one like you, Faerind, but … I am sure I will manage.
When we stopped at Gwingris last night, Master Annúngil and I went off to gather some firewood, while the others prepared camp. Guess what we found - there was a small vein of iron within a tumbled rock formation in the woods! I made sure to chip off a sample of the ore, for future examination. When we returned, the others quickly got a fire started and we had some stew and bread, courtesy of lady Eliriael. She is quite a marvellous cook, though it does taste different than home-cooked food. Also, we met an elleth named Celebhlair on the road from Imladris. She has long silver hair and carries a longbow - so, perhaps she is a travelling hunter? She told us that she was in the habit of setting fish-traps in the river nearby, and fetched us a few sleek trout for supper. Mmm, they were quite delicious. I would have offered to make her some fishing-hooks, or perhaps some springs for her traps, but there is unfortunately no forge nearby, and we are merely passing through.
Tomorrow we travel south and east, toward the Pass of Caradhras. I am glad I brought warm woolens and a hooded cloak! My steel-tipped quarterstaff might come in handy as well when we ascend the slopes of the pass. We are planning to leave our horses at another camp south of Gwingris, where they will be cared for by the stable-masters and sent back to the stables at Imladris. I wonder if there are any ore deposits up in the pass? I am sure there will be many interesting geological features to study - I have not been so close to the mountains, ever, and it is as good an opportunity as any. Though, I am sure all the snow might make it a bit difficult for proper surveying and examination. A part of me hopes that we will encounter some of the Stone-Folk on our journey, for I have always wondered at the Dwarven lore of smithing and mining. Perhaps some of them might be dwelling by the mountains? Though I doubt that they would be welcoming guests anytime soon - they are a secretive people, of course, when they want to be.
I sort of pity the courier who takes this letter back to Imladris - it is a bit bulky, as I have used more than two sheets of parchment. There is a letter enclosed for Nana and Ada of course, but I have sealed this one separately for you. I hope you are well, wherever you are, and that your travels with hír Dolthafaer are fruitful and eye-opening. Stay safe, faerind!
Your devoted sister,