One evening, while playing my lute outside the Prancing Pony, I met a friendly and most noble Dwarf named Luqi. We got talking about all manner of things after I had played my music and eventually he spoke about his wish to visit the Lonely Mountain. I agreed it would be a wonderful thing to do but would take many days planning and at least several sturdy people to accompany him.
It did indeed take many days researching and finding the right path to travel, but the company was not as sturdy as I first imagined it should be. Instead, it fell to myself and my dear student Master Ivro, a hobbit who has barely left Bree.
Luckily, I had enough wits about me and previous learnings from my Pa’s training to bring good supplies and know what might be needed later in the journey. Ivro however came along with his usual attire, not a cloak about him and some unusual food items stuffed into a large bag which rested awkwardly about his shoulders. He was however his usual cheerful self and very excited about our upcoming journey.
We met Luqi once we had our gear in order and began our journey. I knew it would take us a good few days, weeks, perhaps even a month to get to our final destination and envisioned we should make plenty of stops along the way to rest our steeds and refresh our rations.
As we rode along the road Master Luqi gave us a wonderful history lesson of many of the ruins we passed. He regaled us with tales of old Arnor, I didn’t tell him I already knew much of the stories as it was always good to hear them told again, and I think Master Ivro enjoyed them too.
Our first stop came sooner than expected and I think the stories helped the time pass quickly. We reached the Forsaken Inn just before nightfall and went inside for a warm meal and drink. Luckily the weather had been on our side, so we were dry and not so travel wearer as to not want to explore this curious tavern.
I wish now I had not erred on the side of caution as that place was certainly not what it seemed. It started with Master Luqi hearing a curious sound downstairs and us following him, we found ourselves wandering through a sliding bookcase and down a tunnel. I was quite unsure at that point if the ale I had been drinking was tainted with something as the sights we saw down there was similar to the nightly visions seen at the Barrow downs.
It all became very strange and we continued to try and find a way out only to discover a ship underground much like the ancient mariners might have sailed from Numenor, and a mad man talking about a necklace. Luckily beyond the ship was some steps leading back up to the tavern and we quickly made our way back up and then outside that frightful place.
I decided that night it would be best if we slept in the stable. The weather stayed good and it was quite comfortable. I can’t say I managed to sleep though and was quite tired for the following day of our journey.