The journal of a wandering Horse-lord. Second entry.



Once again I find myself quill in hand. Since last I wrote I've found a peaceful area in Bree-land to call home away from home, though that is a story in itself. More than likely no other shall gaze upon these pages, but still I wish to pen my recollections. For myself and later years. Perhaps for some offspring of mine to read, should I yet be blessed with some.

Now where did I leave the first entry? Ah yes. We had left behind the pass that led to Isengard and were following the western slopes of the Misty Mountains northward. Our ride so far had been uneventful and had not come upon any danger or people of unsavory type. We didn't shy away from the path that led towards Gravenwood though we knew we were not on very welcoming ground. Yet we went not as a Rider and his steed, but more as common travellers so while an air of uneasiness was ever present as to what lay before us, I did place my hope in a road without hardship and especially the sound of steel clashing against steel. From the crude map I had drawn based on the ones I'd seen and studied before, I knew we had to pass either through or very near Galtrev on our way towards far-away Eriador but I was not in the mind to worry about it at this early stage of our trek.

This particular night we had found a sheltered nook near the side of the mountain, shadowed by a copse of trees and bushes and it is there we set up camp. Up until that moment I had not dared to light a fire for fear of drawing attention from anyone or anything, but now both me and Sigefaest yearned for the simple pleasure of a crackling fire under the night sky. And me... I had an urge to dine upon something else than dry meat and stale bread.

I had enjoyed a simple soup of meat and vegetables with a drink of ale I had brought with me in a smaller skin and had dozed off listening to the sound of wind in the leaves above and of the fire slowly dying. I know not how long I slumbered afore being roused by Sigefaest neighing fiercely and shouts of men, or something I had as yet not fully discerned, dazed as I was. Yet it soon dawned on me that these were no men but Orcs come to scout the dim light cast by the fire that had now died but had not long ago been visible to whatever wretched dwelling these filthy mongrels had been hiding in with their keen eyes.

Nary a moment had passed and I had already ran the short distance from where the commotion could be heard and I came upon the sight of Sigefaest trampling the head of one of the beasts between a hoof and the soft grass. Gathering my surroundings I could not see but two more of them gnashing and shrieking in their vile tongue, their evil eyes frantically darting from my great steed to myself and my brandished blade. Mine was still the disadvantage as my sight was hindered and could only see by the moon's faint glow upon the forest floor but the Orcs were accustomed to this gloom, foul creatures of the dark as they were, and I knew I had to act in desperation while they hesitated and were dismayed by stumbling upon a clearly more experienced foe as they had at first surmised.

So, with a shout of wrath I fell upon my wicked adversaries and ran one of them through by its lower abdomen. But now the other had been shaken off the momentary confusion and smote me with an ugly blade, yet it stopped with a thud, and in a passing thought I was glad I had not yet removed the padded leather shirt what I wore ere I fell asleep. I knew the next strike would not come so poorly aimed and I was hurried in my attempt to dislodge my weapon from the grasp of the now dead Orc in front of me but to my horror the shriek of the yet living scout of fell intent was again upon me and made to stab and slash yet again. But at that moment the Orc was laid low and trampled to the ground by fair Sigefaest who had turned away from the fight only to race with speed to my aid once more. Then all was silent except for my own heartbeat and Sigefaest's excited snorting and pawing and I grew more sure that no more of the things were lurking near.

Slowly I let down my guard and only then did I come to a halting question. Why were these Orcs here in Dunland and are there more? Are the wild men in trouble and is it for that reason I haven't yet encountered any on my way so far?

Ah but the sun has set and my eyes feel heavy. I thank the stars that on this night I will be sleeping with a roof over my head and not like that night below the sky by the Gravenwood.