January 26th, 3019 T.A.
‘The Grim, Homely House’
At the wish of Aragorn and the behest of Elrond, Halbarad summoned a great host of some-fifty Dúnedain to a council in Rivendell. Grand reunions thought to be impossible took place over the previous nights as kinsfolk trickled into the Hall of Fire from all corners of Eriador; between elders Calenglad and Golodir sharing tales of battle, or Atharann and Flynagin finding a mutual friend from their time in Bree-land and reuniting with Saeradan, as well as with more unsuspecting kinsfolk who had taken up residence in the Valley, Estenthel a Oldgrove.
It was a rare sight for Men to outnumber Elves in Imladris, but these were exceptional times. Rumors of ancient evils re-awakening in the East had even come to the Rangers from far reaches of North. They brought with them dire news from the enemies’ strongholds across what had once been Arnor.
No doubt, they had been already on-edge following the massacre at Sarn Ford that haunt the minds of many. Not only had Black Riders been spotted in the Shire, Bree, and also in the Fords of Bruinen, but there was also the concern that Angmar’s Witch-king of legend had returned to wreak havoc upon the Free Peoples.
Some claimed they spotted his Orc raiding parties near Esteldin, while others warned of flares of goblin activity in the Misty Mountains which had now brigaded the High Pass. Apparently, Ettenmoor trolls had even ascended alarmingly far to the North in Gundabad.
Of all these unusual tales, the strangest of them came from the South. The Dúnedain worries were soon focused on the rise of Isengard and Saruman’s betrayals. While he was once praised as a Warden against the terrors from the East, now his name was damned at every chance.
The mirth and magic of the Valley began to wear from its guests, and the times for peace and talk were soon nearing their end. Talk grew more frivolous and fear began to strike. The wine and spirits flowed spectacularly, but the conversations forged that final eve soon faded.
As the midnight sky emerged, The Last Homely House grew grimmer and quieter still as Men retreated to their beds. Had they each known the fate that lay before them, some might have celebrated with fewer worries and others might have decided to return West and remain as rangers. Nevertheless, on the eve of Elrond’s council, the Dúnedain enjoyed some rest and camaraderie that they would continue to cherish through the many hard months ahead.