Wailing, screaming and whimpering echoed throughout the eastern foothills of the Misty Mountains. The captured goblin was not one to suffer silently, as he made his pain known to all that could hear him. The company feared that the cacophonous wailing would draw all of the enemies east of the Misty Mountains to them. They tried beating him, but he only yelled more. They tried ignoring him, but he only called them by name. In a final attempt at silencing Gitnick, Corunir gave him food and loosened his bonds. Surprising this worked, but Brognir was not happy that the wants of an evil creature had been appeased. Gitnick transformed from a whimpering pitiful creature, to a servile simpleton.
During this transformation, Gitnick repaid his captors for their mercy by giving them what they wanted. He began talking about a small unknown trail upon the edge of Mirkwood. He claimed that it would lead to the dark masters that were driving the orcs to the mountains.
It took them two weeks to travel from the Misty Mountains to Mirkwood, however they did not yet enter, for the trail was further south. As they made their way south along the forests edge, the trees began to grow closer and closer together. Then when it seemed as if each tree was choking the other, a small partition appeared. The darkness of the path made it stand out amongst the many trees. Each member of the company entered the dark path one by one as it was not large enough to allow them to walk abreast one another.
As they made their way through the trail a sense of dread crept up upon the company. It became darker and darker as they proceeded through. Gitnick, who had almost constantly made noise since his capture, was now quite. He began to say “It won’t be long until we meet the dark ones, they lie further down the path”. Brognir then took his spear to Gitnick’s throat , threatening him with death, and said “If you betray us, you betray your own life”. Gitnick replied “Me only showing nice rangers what they asked for, I no trick you. Me too dumb for that”. Brognir was however not convinced and made it his personal mission to make sure that the captive did nothing outside of his sight. That night they found a small clearing and made camp.
Many hours went by underneath the darkness of the trees, but none could really tell when the night ended and the day began. When each had their rest they began treading down the path once more. Before long the path became cluttered with thick webs that could barely be cut through. When the webs became so thick that they could scarcely make their way through, Gitnick started yelling hysterically. Brognir tried to silence him, but before he could do anything large dark skittering shapes could be seen amongst the trees. Arrows sung forth from the rangers as they huddled together in a defensive circle. Large spiders hungry for fresh meet had the company. The spiders skittering between the trees made them hard to hit, and their ghoulish appearance made the hearts of the ranger’s race in terror. They began shooting their sticky webs incapacitating some of the rangers, but each of them fought on stabbing and slashing at the dark shapes as they lunged into the melee. Whenever a spider fell, another took its place. They would have to escape if they were to get out alive. One by one some of the rangers fell to the sticky embrace of the webs. The situation was looking dim, but out of nowhere arrows came out of the darkness pierced the spiders.
Out of the darkness stepped a group of elves dressed in greens and browns. Each of them had a bow in their hands and a dagger at their side. As happy as the rangers were to see the elves, they did not appear so joyful. The elves looked upon them with disdain and clearly thought them fools for having needed rescuing. The elves said nothing, but pointed further down the path, seemingly knowing what the company sought.
The engagement with the spiders and the visitation of the elves was so quick and chaotic that No one individual could really know everything that was going on. After all was said and done Gitnick could not be found, and had presumably escaped. Brognir felt personally responsible as he took the task upon himself to do correctly. He cursed himself and the slippery goblin, but could not allow himself to be overcome with guilt. Despite his failing, he pressed on as the company made its way down the path once again.
So far the path had been dark due to the closeness of the trees, but now the trees themselves were different. They were gnarled, withered, and diseased specimens that somehow produced an even thicker layer of canopy. The degree of their sickliness became more pronounced as they made their way further and further into the darkness. When the trees became so sickly that none believed they still lived, a lone dark tower atop a bald hill could begin to be seen in the distance. Dark pillars of smoke, and moving throngs of small shapes could be seen emanating from the foreboding structure. The company stealthily made their way to the dark tower, creeping as quietly as possible. As they got closer, the shapes began to sharpen and turned into orcs, goblins and even swarthy looking men. Before the great host, was a group of nine darkly clad figures, all clad in the heaviest of armor. Where there should have been a face, there was nothing but a terrifying empty void that seemed to be sucking the light in from around it. They turned to the massed throngs and spoke in the blackest of tongues, and in response the masses rose up their blades and spilt their own blood for their new masters. In turn, each of the nine had a pouch that they gave to the leaders of the eclectic assembly. What the rangers could not understand in speech they could in action. These terrible figures were promising more than a simple pouch of gold, this was just a taste of what is to come. Quickly Tarandir had the company retreat and make their way back to the tower. The captain must know of the evil in Mirkwood.