Mar 12 2009

Narnagol Defeated!

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Big thanks to my kin-mates who made a point of being available at the designated time, and to everyone who came along or offered to. I’m so glad to have this off my to-do list — Evendim is DONE until Book 11 for me now. :)

Great googily-moogily but that fight is insane, and the entire quest seems to have been written by somebody who hates the players. It’s most visible in the dialog of Blue Elf-Chick, who demands you “respect” her while she treats you like dirt, then berates you for waking Narnagol when the quest WON’T LET YOU GET THE STONE ANY OTHER WAY.

Gah. Annoying quest, that is. Being present at the forging of Anduril afterwards made up for it and was very cool, tho, so I won’t complain too much. And at least now I can say that I’ve done it … and look forward to helping out other folks who were just as stuck on it as me in the future. :)

-The Gneech

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Mar 07 2009

The Most Butt-Kickin’ Hobbit of Them All!

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In the middle of the Earth
in the land of the Shire
was born a scrappy little hobbit
who had a heart of fire
With a long pointy stick
and an aggro-grabbin’ yell
he gives The Boot to his enemies
and sends ‘em straight to hell, Oh!

Maedhroc Thornhollow!
Only three feet tall!
Maedhroc Thornhollow!
The most butt-kickin’ hobbit of them all!

Now hobbits are peace-lovin’
folk ya know
but sometimes there are monsters
and they’ve got to go
So Maedhroc hunkers down
and he chucks his spear
then he teaches all those goblins
’bout the Wages of Fear, Oh!

Maedhroc Thornhollow!
Only three feet tall!
Maedhroc Thornhollow!
The most butt-kickin’ hobbit of them all!

Well he battled with bandits!
He ambushed some trolls!
He riddled with Bilbo!
Some giants’ Lucky Stone he stole!
He chased down a Nazgul
beat up trees in Old Forest
Fought a giant turtle in a dead king’s tomb, Oh!

Maedhroc Thornhollow!
Only three feet tall!
Maedhroc Thornhollow!
The most butt-kickin’ hobbit of them all!

-The Gneech, with apologies to Leonard Nimoy

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Mar 05 2009

Into the Fire (So to Speak)

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My first ever raid and it was to support a group 12-manning the Rift balrog with a bunch of level 60s.

Not running the rift generally, mind you, but jumping straight to the balrog and going to town.

After I’ve spent the past five months playing my Warden almost exclusively, one of the Valar Guild leaders asked me to dust off my Champion and jump straight to the balrog.

Yikes. 0.o

FWIW, we won. :) Galadhalion now has the Rift set shoulders. :D

-The Gneech

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Mar 05 2009

Life of a Bounder, Part X

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And the most current one, posted just today. :)

“Hullo, free peoples! Maedhroc reporting in. I hope this letter finds you safe and well; for alas I have been up to my ankles in danger.

Maedhroc fording the Bruinen

I suppose I should begin in the Trollshaws. As you may recall, I was asked by Lord Elrond’s sons to help them find an unaccounted-for Black Rider who was swept down the Bruinen as they chased Mr. Frodo to Rivendell. Standing here at the Bruinen Ford at dawn, I can only imagine what the scene must have been like, with Frodo on Asfaloth’s back calling upon Elbereth to give him strength, while Lord Elrond and Glorfindel raced to the rescue. I am beginning to get the distinct impression that there’s much more to this world than I could have ever imagined when I was running mail in Michel Delving. Am I even the same hobbit any more?

Maedhroc, Legolas, wood troll, and Nazgul

The real danger when searching for a Nazgul is that you may just find him. I ended up joining a party of stalwart men and elves, led by Legolas Greenleaf, to confront the Black Rider as he twisted former ents into wood-trolls. It was quite heart-breaking to hew down these once-noble creatures, but they gave us little choice in the matter. The Black Rider fled, presumably to join his master in Mordor, but at least his power over the wood trolls was broken.

Maedhroc ascending the Misty Mountains

After reporting back to Lord Elrond, he asked me to deliver a message to a dwarf lord by the name of Gloin at a camp in the Misty Mountains. I believe he’s a relative of one of the dwarves I met in Rivendell, but I’m not sure which one. Dwarven genealogy is so byzantine that I find it confusing more than anything else. You may notice that I learned my lesson from the trip to Forochel and am now wearing a nice, warm pair of waterproof boots. I’ve already received grief from other hobbits, but I bet if they were tromping around mountaintops, they’d be doing the same!

Maedhroc riding to Aughaire

I do have one rather surprising bit of news. That scruffy ranger “Strider” I keep running into everywhere? Apparently he’s Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and the person who would be king of Arnor, if Arnor still existed. He’s the last heir of the famous ‘Elindil’ that I keep finding all those statues of in Evendim, if you can believe it! I’m glad now that I was polite to him, for all his scruffiness. A king in exile is still a king, if you catch my drift. Anyway, he gave me a mission to respond to a distress call from some long-thought-lost Rangers in Angmar. (Angmar! Ack!) That took me far to the northeast, to a village on the very edge of the frontier. The enormous wall you see there? That’s the southern border of Angmar itself. What is the deal with that sky???

Maedhroc views Annunimas on a sunny day

After all that, it was almost a relief to return to Evendim — tomb-robbers, wargs, killer elk and all — where at least it was occasionally warm and sunny. Unfortunately, my association with Lord Aragorn made relaxing for a while not really an option.

Maedhroc learns why it's called 'Everswim'

To re-establish the kingdom of Arnor, Lord Aragorn needs to reforge some form of ceremonial sword; I’m not real clear on the details. But to do so, he needs a particular stone that rests in the “Tomb of Elindil” (which is kind of a misnomer, because apparently Elindil died far away from Annunimas and his body was never recovered). So guess who was sent to recover the stone? Your friendly hobbit postman, of course. But there’s a little problem — the Tomb of Elindil was flooded by the “Blue Lady of Evendim” some centuries ago, so to get into it and recover the stone, I’ve got to go find her. Which means yet another swim across the lake. I wish I could just buy myself a boat!

Maedhroc admires a sandcastle

Aww! Now that’s just cute. :)

Maedhroc at Rushingdale

Rushingdale, home of the Blue Lady. I have a bad feeling about this.

Maedhroc meets Gwindeth, the Blue Lady of Evendim

Yup, she’s blue all right! And more than a little rude, if I may say so, for all her demanding of respect. Perhaps people would be more courteous to you, Miss Uppity Water Spirit, if you didn’t sneer and snipe at guests in your own home. However, with a bit of groveling at her Oh-So-Spiritual feet, I managed to get her to raise the tomb so the stone could be recovered.

Maedhroc battles tomb-robbers in the Tomb of Elendil

Fortunately, the rangers didn’t send me in there all alone. Of course, as soon as word got out that the tomb had raised, every grave robber in Evendim came running with a whoop and a holler.

Maedhroc vs. kergrim in the Tomb of Elendil

What is THAT???

Queen of the Tomb Raiders

If the tomb raiders had a queen, this would be her. She was quite contemptuous of our claims to be working for the King of Arnor (which isn’t really surprising, I suppose), taking us for a rival gang of tomb-robbers I guess. A hard woman, but admirable in her own way. I regret to say that she forced us to defend ourselves, and was slain in the ensuing battle.

Maedhroc vs. Narnagol

We finally made our way to the stone Lord Aragorn needs … only to find it a bauble in the nest of … whatever that is. 0.o It looks roughly like a turtle the size of a house, and bites like one, too. We were not able to overcome it and were eventually forced to flee empty-handed. I suppose the good news is that the stone is well-defended from tomb robbers until we can make another attempt … the bad news is that it’s just as well defended against us.

That’s all for now, my friends, and enough too! The stone still lies there in the Tomb of Elindil and we must make another attempt; but until we can muster our strength and possibly find a new tactic, I shall perform what other missions I may. I hope to write again soon.

Your friend in the Shire,
Honourary Shirriff Maedhroc Thornhollow”

-The Gneech

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Mar 04 2009

Life of a Bounder, Part IX

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Last Thursday! Very close now.

January 26, 2009
“Hullo, everyone! Maedhroc here, taking a break from helping the Rangers in Annunimas to catch up on my correspondence. I should warn you now, this letter will follow a theme of the strange creatures of Middle-earth.

Maedhroc, wolf, and ... doe!!!

I was attacked by a wolf in Evendim — a common occurrence in that overrun land — when one of the peculiar elk of this region just wandered through the fight, apparently completely oblivious to our presence. This led me to two questions: first, what kind of insane elk wanders through fights? And second, what kind of insane wolf fights hobbits to the death when there’s a nice, juicy, and apparently clueless elk right there to eat?

Maedhroc in Forochel

One of my recent bounty-hunting trips out of Ost Forod took me so far to the north that I decided to take a detour and see some of the sights around the bay of Forochel. It was certainly beautiful, but I admit it: my toes were cold.

Maedhroc and the Northern Lights

I’d heard tales of the northern lights, but that doesn’t prepare you for the reality of it. I never thought I’d see anything as breathtaking as a rainbow in the Shire, but I may just have been wrong about that.

Maedhroc and an oliphaunt!

It’s an oliphaunt! A real, live oliphaunt! That alone made it worth the trip.

Maedhroc fishing in Forochel

Oh! I finally saved up enough gold to afford a faster pony than the rather sad (if pretty) creature I had before, but I had to go back to Bree to get it. I took a boat from Forochel down to Ered Luin rather than make the rather long overland trip back through Evendim, and stopped at a mountain stream to do some fishing. And yes, my toes were still cold.

Maedhroc riding Paladin in Evendim

Here’s my pony! I named him Paladin, after Thain Paladin Took of the Shire, old Pippin’s father. Splendid chap. And a splendid pony.

Maedhroc and dwarves in Giant Valley

Recently I met a party of dwarves, including two who were in the Valar Guild, who asked me to accompany them on a mission for Elrohir, son of Lord Elrond, to search for a Black Rider in the Trollshaws. This mission took us to meet Glorfindel, an elf lord of amazing age and power, and eventually we wound up looking for an Ent in a valley near Rivendell called “Giant Valley,” which was infested with all sorts of fell creatures, such as these trolls we are just about to attack.

Maedhroc vs. a drake

Here’s another of the fell creatures in Giant Valley, a horrible, winged, fire-breathing lizard! In my book that spells “dragon,” but my dwarven companions insisted that this was not a “true” dragon, but rather a “drake.” I don’t know what makes the difference, but it was certainly horrible whatever it was. I was very surprised when I knocked it senseless by giving it The Boot!

Maedhroc meets his first giant

So … I guess this is why it’s called “Giant Valley,” eh?

Maedhroc at a signal beacon

Eventually, it was time to return to Evendim, which I did via the North Downs. While tramping through the wilds, I came upon an old and all-but-forgotten beacon, probably dating all the way back to the glory days of Arnor, and decided to climb up it just for fun. Eat your heart out, Pippin Took!

That’s all for now. I hope to write again soon!

Your friend in the Shire,
Honorary Shirriff Maedhroc Thornhollow”

-The Gneech

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Mar 03 2009

Life of a Bounder, Part VIII

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Almost there! :D

February 20, 2009
“Hullo, everyone! Maedhroc here. It’s been a while since I last wrote, I know, but so much has happened to me that I haven’t been able to keep up with correspondence. (Ironic, considering I used to run mail for the Bounders, I know.) I finally got a little vacation and went home to Michel Delving to do some fishing and relax a bit.

Maedhroc in Harloeg

A misty morning in the Lone Lands; for a disgusting, wight-infested bog, Harloeg Swamp can actually be quite beautiful in its own way. Just wish they could do something about the trolls.

Maedhroc in Esteldin

Duty eventually called me away to the North Downs, to what is theoretically a secret Ranger enclave called Esteldin. I say ‘theoretically’ because it’s larger than an average Shire town and has the headquarters of the Tailor’s Guild among other things. You’d think the Tailor’s Guild would be someplace like, I don’t know, BREE? It’s a queer world.

How men can stand living in these big stone boxes instead of a nice, comfortable hole, I’ll never understand.

From there I ended up helping a Ranger who was being persecuted by a ghost in the ruined fields of Fornost, one of the abandoned former capitals of Arnor. Spooky place! I forgot to get any pictures there, but as I have been tasked with confronting the, er, “ghost chieftain” there, I’m sure I will be back.

Maedhroc looks across at Annunimas at night

My journeys took me to the other former capital of lost Arnor, Annunimas at Lake Evendim. Unfortunately, Annunimas has been overrun by wicked men of Angmar, forcing the Rangers to camp out in some ruins on the far side of the lake. (This picture was taken at their camp, looking out at Annunimas in the distance.) I have a bad feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of time at this city in the future.

Maedhroc meets Longbough the Ent

If I hadn’t already encountered the huorns in the Shire, I would have been completely shocked to meet a treeherd, or an Ent as prefers to be called. His name’s Longbough, and while he’s not a real talkative fellow, he is … uh … very tall. 0.o

Maedhroc at High King's Crossing

Speaking of very tall, this incredible monument near Annunimas is called “High King’s Crossing.” If I didn’t know better, I’d think dwarves had made this instead of men — this picture was taken from roughly a quarter of a mile away and he’s still huge! One of the Rangers told me that this is supposed to be the likeness of Elendil, one of the last kings of Arnor, who founded Annunimas. I don’t know that much about history myself, but the Rangers absolutely eat it up.

Speaking of eating it up, it’s past time for elevenses! Got to go for now, but I’ll write again when I can!

Your Friend in the Shire,

He did switch back from the hauberk and elven helmet; they just didn’t feel natural to him.

-The Gneech

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