Ah, my friends, how good it is to talk with you again!
You may recall that a year ago I suffered grievous injuries in Annunimas. I was engaged in a fierce fight above the city when I stumbled and fell from the cliff. At least this allowed me to escape from my foes but I lay smashed at the foot of the cliff until I was found by the wardens of Evendim and eventually taken to Rivendell.
Here I have been cared for by Elrond and many other Elves skilled in the healing arts. It took six months for my injuries to heal and I have spent the last six months in intensive physical training to recover my strength. And the Elves have taught me some new fighting techniques too!
My Great Aunt Keli has been here with me for much of the time but I have also spent a great deal of time with that estimable hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. Eru, he does love his riddles and he has tormented me with them on many a day. But I do love the old fellow and listening to his tales has been a joy. Recently, he has been urging me to travel to the Misty Mountains, as he once did, and do some exploring. He referred me to his old friend Gloin as a starting point.
But first, I have to finish some tasks here.
Elladan told me that Barachen reported seeing one of the Onodrim somewhere in the wild and wants me to talk to him about it. He said “Barachen’s camp is in the South Trollshaws, west of here. Look for Rochwen along the road…she has been keeping watch for those journeying in these lands and can guide you to Barachen’s camp”
So off I set to find Rochwen, no difficult task. My, it was pleasant to be roaming the land again. Rivendell is wonderful but I longed to get away after a year there.
I eventually reached Barachen who told me “I have long believed that the Onodrim of legend have walked among the wooded areas of the Trollshaws, but I have never seen one for myself until now. As I climbed the High Moor towards the Imladris to bear messages from Rochwen and Alphlanc, a curious mood took hold of me. I strayed from my path, walking south down a great slope into the valley of giants. From a great distance I beheld one of the Onodrim standing like a mighty tree, its leaves turning red. As I watched, it turned slowly and moved behind a great boulder and was lost to my view. Seek him out Seolferwulf but be careful on your journey, for the giants of that valley are formidable. Speak with this Onod. He may know the location of the Nazgûl Elladan seeks”.
Barachen told me that The High Moor was far to the east, above the Bruinen, and that a path slopes southward into the valley of the giants.
As I entered the valley, I saw the Onod standing beside a tree with red leaves before it turned and vanished behind a large boulder. I caught up with him and The Onod stared at me with expressionless eyes. It’s bark-like skin coiled with corruption,, and it’s mouth opened and closed soundlessly. Suddenly, the deep wells of its eyes ripple with anger and he attacked.
I fought him and it was a tough fight. I was rusty and he was very strong but eventually I wore him down and he fled the field.
I returned to Elladan who expressed some surprise “The Onod attacked you? The tree-herders of old were peaceful and more wont to stand unnoticed among the tree than treat with strangers, with peace or violence. I do not know the meaning of these signs, Seolferwulf. Our problems may be more far-reaching than I had supposed”.
“You are fortunate. The creature which you faced could not have been a true Onod. You could not possibly have faced the might of one of the Old Ones nor would you have to, for the Onodrim are friendly to the Free Peoples on the rare occasion their paths meet. The great forests are less-travelled now than they were in days past, and few now ever see one of the great tree-herds.
A small company of Elves from Mirkwood has come to Imladris to consult with my father. Perhaps one of them will know what manner of creature you faced. Speak with my father to arrange an audience”.
And so I shall.
It’s good to be back! I wonder how all my old friends are, especially Twobeers and Nutkin. Well, there will soon be a grand winter festival and perhaps I shall run into them again there.