9th Hithui, 2945
We’ve been resting, recovering and drying out. I’ve been keeping an eye on the hole that opened up in the ground and noticed the water level has dropped to only puddles. I decided it was time to go take a closer look at that plate, so I went down into the pit, fashioned a rope around it and hoisted it up with the help of the others. I cleaned it off as best as I could and could tell that it was definitely made of silver. There were no visible markings – perhaps moonscript? Sure enough, when we looked later that evening when the moon parted from the clouds I recited the following song to the company.
Beyond sunken lands, beyond broken peaks
Across broad seas, across grinding ice
The bells of Valimar ring still in our hearts
Oaths uttered in Galathilion’s shade still hang in the air
O Star-kindler, O Ever-white
Many are the years since we heard your song
Yet, never have you forsaken us
Ever have you kept us strong!
This song of course was a dedication to Varda.
10th Hithui, 2945
We resumed our march to Hollin ridge and the gates of Moria. That night I heard a snuffling in the dark. Nothing came of it except in the morning we noticed paw prints in the mud near cap. The prints look to be from wolves – not a good sign.
14th Hithui, 2945
We arrived at the patrol camp. The gates of Moria lay two leagues to our East. Beyond the gates rise two mighty mountains. We split into two teams to patrol the area. Alphros and Orchalthand will stay in camp.
15th Hithui, 2945
Faradir finds orc tracks that are no longer than a week old which appear to be coming from the gates of Moria. This was a fairly large company of orcs. Echadamath sees plumes of smoke to the West. We will continue our scouting tomorrow.
17th Hithui, 2945
It’s been an exhausting day. It started early in the morning when I heard movement around the dell from the East. I woke the company and by then the sounds seemed to be coming from the East and the West. We’re told in a foul tongue to surrender. Alphros shouted for us to fight our way through to the West. We slew the entire group of a dozen orcs, but our patrol camp was compromised and we had to move out. We collected a coin of Khazad-dum off one of the bodies a souvenir from Moria. We set out Westward towards smoke trails. Mid-day we halted when our scout spotted mounted figures riding towards the river. We split up the group and explored, again with Alphros and Orchalthand staying behind in a saddle hidden amongst the trees. The patrol came across a large group of 150 to 200 men tending a herd of cattle. After spending the day scouting we returned to saddle and are unable to locate Alphros or Echadamath. While searching for them we hear voices approaching so we hid. About half a dozen men come up the hill towards us. They noticed me, so I had to run off as does Faradir. Echadamath and Haedirn stay behind. Eventually, we link back up and agree that Alphros and Orchalthand must have been captured. We left some signs for them and set off for the high ground to survey the camp.
18th Hithui, 2945
As we are nearing the top of the nearby lookout peak we heard a light snore. We send Haedirn to investigate and without much trouble he captures their lookout allowing the rest of the group to approach and take the two sleeping scouts captive. As it turns out they are all drunk. We got what we could out of them. Apparently this is a Dunlanding slaver camp and our companions are among the slaves. Sure enough upon closer investigation from this vantage point we could make out what appears to be a large group of slaves in a pen near the river. The worst part is the slaves are to be traded to the orcs of Moria any day. The sneakiest member of our patrol Haedirn volunteers to go down and take a closer look.