Strider had told me that “the Forsaken Inn was a day’s journey east of Bree”. I think he must have had a fast horse! Still, I reached the Inn without trouble.
The Forsaken Inn is located in Annunlos, the southwestern region of the Lone-lands. It can be found east of the Midgewater Marshes, north of Minas Eriol, and south of the Weather Hills. It is likely to be the last outpost of civilized life that I will encounter for some time to come. The Inn itself is in disrepair, with a variety of cobbled-together wall fragments and a severely neglected roof – however, any roofed structure (even one with only half of its roof still intact), is a welcome sight in these lawless lands.
But I wonder why it is called Forsaken – the place was heaving with people! As well as many adventurers, I counted no less than 32 staff, merchants and various other ne’er-do-wells. And it seemed that they all wanted to hand me tasks.
I immediately made myself known to the Patron as I had decided to rent a room as it seemed this would be my base for quite some time. Anlaf the Forlorn bid me welcome and said “A visitor! Welcome, friend, to the Forsaken Inn! Pay no mind to the name; not all who pass here never return. Only ones that stray too far off the road and find themselves in the clutches of them goblins.
‘Bloody-handed creatures deserving of a good beating, those goblins! You’re an able-bodied sort. Why don’t you go show those brutes they’re not wanted here? The lands around the inn are just crawling with them.
‘People scare easily, you see. With the goblins creeping all about the ruins and so close to the Inn, I’m destined to use the wood falling from the roof to bar the doors unless someone gives me a hand. You’ll find goblins on the fields of Annunlos, and a goodly number of them have established a foothold in the old ruins of Minas Eriol, to the southeast.”
Well, fine, but all I wanted was a room, a beer or two and some pies. It seemed I was expected to work for my keep.
I also spoke with the cook, Old Mugwort, and a serving girl, Lieva Dourlily. Of course they had tasks too!
While talking to the residents I learned something of the Eglain, a name new to me. They are an estranged people of the Lone-lands, and tend to shun outsiders. They have little contact with Men or Elves and make their livelihood by trading the rare relics that they find exposed in the ruins strewn throughout the Lone-lands.
They live primarily in Ost Guruth, but also have members at the edge of the Red Swamp and far into Harloeg. It also seems that they shelter the Wizard known as Radagast the Brown and guard him fiercely. Only those who have earned favour with the Eglain people are allowed to know of the Wizard, let alone meet with him. So it seems as if I must earn their favour if I am to complete the task Gandalf laid upon me. Tomorrow, I get to work.