After my soujourn with Keli, it was time to get back to work. I journeyed to Esteldin to report to Halbarad who I knew had tasks for me. He told me that he was gathering the peoples of the North Downs for a council and he asked me to be his messenger.
“We will need the might of the Dwarves of Othrikar if we are to face the threat of Angmar. Yet, they are still hard-pressed by the Dourhands, and only recently has one of Durin’s Folk from Erebor, Dori, come to aid them. It will not be easy to convince them to lend their strength to the Council, but you must try.
Travel to Othrikar and speak with Dori. If you cannot find Dori for some reason, speak to a dwarf named Hannar. It is he who leads the Longbeards of Othrikar.”
I found Hannar who had bad news for me – “You seek Dori? Alas, Dori has been captured by the Dourhands! An envoy of the traitors just left and said that if we did not turn over the mines to them, Dori would be killed.
If those Men, those Rangers, wish to have the help of the Dwarves of Othrikar, then Dori must be freed! You, if you are the Rangers’ envoy, must do this if you desire our presence at this council.”
This sounded familiar, it always seemed to be me that had to do the work while Hannar and his folk sat on their fat, dwarvish backsides seemingly leaving Dori to his fate. Hmmm.
Well, off I went to find the ruins. Luckily they were not far off but they were infested with Dourhands and their crow allies so there was some hot work to be done before I found Dori.
“Well, it’s about time! Those Dourhands took the hoard of gems I brought, we’ve got to get them back. Othrikar is depending on them. Come on now, before the Dourhands get suspicious.”
More hot work! Maybe Dori was tetchy from being cooped up so long but he seemed determined to attack anything he sould see, I was hard pressed to keep up with him. Eventually, we worked our way clear of the ruins and returned to Othrikar.
Hannar was, of course, grateful – after all he hadn’t exactly worked up a sweat while he waited for me and Dori! He said “You have done a great thing for the Dwarves of Othrikar this day! Dori told us of your valiant rescue. We are at your service.”
Back to Halbarad who now turned his attention to the Elves.
“To the south of Esteldín, there stands a small refuge of the Elves. Many long years have the Elves dwelt there; however, in recent days, most of the Elves left the glade. What is worse, I have heard that those few that remained were slain by Stone-trolls from the North.
It is an irony that Gildor Inglorion, an Elf-lord of Rivendell, was coming to give word of the Enemy’s movements, but arrived too late to save those who remained.
He should be called to the Council, but I fear that he will be too consumed by the desire to protect both the glade and his people from their rage. It will be your task to go to Lin Giliath and convince Gildor to come to the Council.”
Gildor gave a story that was becoming over-familiar.
“Greetings. This Council of Esteldín, I wish that I could simply commit to such an endeavour, but it is not so simple. Many of my people are nearly overcome with grief and anger at what happened here. And the threats against Lin Giliath are not yet dealt with. Our scouts tell me that the Orcs in Nan Wathren are planning to move against us soon.
The scouts say that these Orcs are being led by a great Uruk of Angmar named Drukordh, who camps in the deepest parts of Nan Wathren. Perhaps if this Uruk were slain, Lin Giliath would be protected enough for me to come to your Council. It is a heavy burden, but I would task you with this, if you remain of stout heart.”
Well, you know I found it a relatively simple task to find this Orc and challenge him. And he wasn’t so tough either. So why could not the Elves have done the same? Panty-waists, the lot of ‘em!
Gildor told me “Ah! You have done it. We heard the wails of the Orcs from here. You have seen to the safety of Lin Giliath, Seolferwulf, and for this you have my thanks.”
Halbarad’s final concern was for the folk of Trestlebridge.
“Of all those that have suffered in the North Downs, it is perhaps the people of Trestlebridge who have suffered the most. They have stood firm against all Orc attacks, but their own numbers are dwindling. In fact, the mayor of the town, Lovelle Boskins, was recently slain, and his daughter, Nellie, now leads the people there.
“I would ask you to go to Trestlebridge and speak with Nellie. We will need her leadership at the Council.”
Nellie Boskins was certainly feisty:
“A Council of Esteldín? Have you taken leave of your senses, hobbit? Are you unaware of the dangers facing this town? The constant attacks we must endure?
These Men in the east, if they truly cared about the threats facing Trestlebridge, they would help us here with these Orcs. We would not have had to suffer as we have! I…we lost all those dear to us!
‘No, I shall not come to this Council, nor anything else. And I shall not be convinced otherwise! Now, if you have no other business, leave me to see to defence of this town!”
Ah, this is a girl I could like, no nonsense!
I returned to Halbarad, who had further news – “It does not surprise me that Nellie refused the call to the Council, but that does not matter now. Word has arrived here that a large contingent of Orcs is moving on Trestlebridge. The people there are strong folk, but I fear they are no match for these Orcs and the chieftain who leads them.
In the past, the Orcs that have attacked have been of the Tarkrîp tribe. The bloodlust of that tribe usually causes them to throw themselves heedlessly into the battle, without forethought.
The Orcs that now move on Trestlebridge appear to be of the more powerful Ongbúrz tribe. These warriors are stronger and more skilled. The townsfolk will not be able to stop them. I would send a party of my men to aid them, but all my kin are dealing with matters in the east.
You and I may reach them in time, however. You have done much already, but I would ask for your help in this battle.”
We arrived just in time. Trestlebridge was already in flames and a large party of Orcs were streaming across the bridge. To battle!
We fought and fought, Nellie was a mighty champion and Halbarad was deadly with his bow. Finally, the Ongbúrz Battle-lord appeared screaming “Smash ’em! Kill ’em! Destroy these maggots!”
Yeah, yeah, all talk and no trousers as Keli used to say. Chop, chop, stabbity stab and that was that, Trestlebridge was saved.
Nellie said “I must apologize to you, for I fear my behaviour towards you was nearly unforgiveable. I see now that the constant Orc attacks were nothing compared to what Angmar could bring to bear on this small town.
You and the Ranger Halbarad have risked your lives to save my people. I am in your debt.”
Back in Esteldin, Halbarad told me “While I await the arrival of those coming to the Council, I must ask one final task of you. My chieftain, Aragorn, must be told of what has transpired here.
I also would seek his counsel, as the position I find myself in is an unusual one. Aragorn has always been the one to lead, to organize, and inspire. If only the matter he was seeing to was not of much greater importance, then he would be here!
That cannot be helped though. By now, Aragorn should have arrived at the refuge of Rivendell in the Trollshaws. It is a hard ride that awaits you, but word must be taken to Aragorn of these matters. Look for him in one of the guest rooms along the road that winds up the southern slope of the Vale of Imladris.”