- Spring, Year 2945 of the Third Age (four years after the Battle of Five Armies)
Night watch, little activity. Sounds heard by Emynion are worrisome enough that I am sent back to the garrison to report to Captain Alphros. Captain Alphros is concerned enough to bring more of our men down to investigate and we cross the river to check the body of a man that has died. We attempted to identify a cause of death, as well as track the victim’s route. The victim was wearing the clothing common to Dunland. We return to the garrison, where we find Ivorben waiting with news of bandits, Orcs, and Trolls.
Captain Alphros designates Annûngûr as party leader for a tracking expedition to follow the bandits; I of course step forward to accompany him. Baradir and Emynion also volunteer. Aruvion, an accomplished scout, is also assigned to accompany us. Weather is on the cool side of comfort, with showers and clouds obscuring the light of the stars as we cross the river.
Day One, Pursuit-
We are unable to find any tracks to follow from here, so the company elects to travel southward in an attempt to make up ground on the enemy who we expect is at least a day ahead of us. We manage a couple hours, only covering a short distance before bedding down for the night.
Day Two, Pursuit-
We make a forced march the next day, in an attempt to close the distance. We make good time, and Aruvion is able to discern that we are on the trail of our quarry. We maintain the chase, gaining ground. we believe, and hope that we are close to catching the enemy.
Day Four, Pursuit-
We come across the burnt ruins of a small settlement on day three of the chase. It had been sacked and burnt to the ground, but Baradir and I investigated, hoping to find survivors. Alas, there were no survivors, and the scene was enough to turn the stomach. The villagers had been slaughtered, and the structures burned to the ground. The stories from other Rangers were not enough to prepare me for the reality of innocents slain in such a brutal manner. It did afford us the opportunity to replenish some of our stores, but I wish that we had never come to this place.
Day Five, Pursuit-
The trail is becoming clearer; I think we are closing on the enemy. Breaking through a stand of trees, we found another settlement, larger than the last, well-fortified. Two gates were lightly invested by what may have been the very bandits we were in pursuit of. Cultivated fields and their hedgerows to the north allowed our company to close with the possible hostiles undetected, just as the nearest group began to circle the village in our direction. We quickly formulate a plan, and Baradir broke cover as if he was a farmer returning to the village, and promptly turns and bolts back toward us when the bandit party notices. They take the bait, and pursue en masse. We sprung our trap as the bandits breached the hedgerow, slaying two, and wounding two. The remaining three fled to rejoin their comrades, but our brief attempt at pursuit results in one of the wounded bandits escaping custody. We did manage to secure the remaining injured man, and I stopped the bleeding despite my inclination to let him die for what he had done to those people at the last village.
Day Six, Pursuit-
Day Seven, Pursuit-
Weather has gotten much warmer and more oppressive. Rain in the evening, cleared just in time for it to get frigid overnight.
Day Eight, Pursuit-
Encountered bandit group doubling back on their trail, we managed to kill one enemy before breaking contact. Aruvion likewise managed to kill another with a bow shot from his position behind the enemy. The company is forced to withdraw, regrouping at nightfall.
Day Nine, Pursuit-
The swamp nights are full of noise. While uncomfortable, the night passed uneventfully. We move out to the southwest again in the morning, hoping to pick up the trail of our enemy once again. Aruvion identifies two voices, which turn out to be a pair of boys attempting to tend to their injured father. I manage to enlist the help of the boys in finding appropriate herbs and stabilize the man, despite their initial wariness. Once we tended the man, we set off again, following a trail through the marsh. Stopping for the evening, it appears clear that the trail we have been following was not that of our quarry.
Day Ten, Pursuit-
We managed to acquire two targets that we recognized from Tref Trallwng. Tracking them proved challenging, but we managed to do so, following them until they make camp. We manage to take them unawares, capturing them without a fight. Splitting them apart, I question a man of Rohan named Hrothgar, who seemed to understand that he was in a very bad situation and immediately cooperated. Hrothgar seemed disconcerted that I made the connection to the burnt homestead and other banditry, immediately offered his possessions as weregeld. He stated that he and his companion became fed up with the greater part of the bandit party and have left that life behind them. We manage to get good information regarding the main group’s size and demeanor, and the fact that they are based out of Tharbad. After claiming weregeld, Hrodhgar and his companion are released and the company travels onward toward Tharbad.
Day Eleven, Pursuit-
Traveling. A storm broke, but we managed to find shelter and suffered no hardship. We sighted a mounted patrol after the storm cleared, but we managed to find cover and they passed without noticing us.
Day Twelve, Pursuit-
We finally reach the town of Tharbad.
Associated with Shadow on the Hoarwell.