Paths There and Home – The Letters of Rowlie Rushlight / Chapter 3

These are the letters of Rowlie Rushlight throughout his adventures in Middle Earth, penned by GrimJack21502.

Watch Journey into Middle Earth every Monday at 4pm Eastern on Twitch.

Gerald,

You have often humored an old man by casting me in an infallible light, but as I have reminded you, I am far from perfect, my boy. In fact, I often wonder if the head on my shoulders is full of anything beyond poultice recipes and terrible ideas.

A bit of history to explain an old man’s folly.

When I travelled with my family, and before them my company, it was common place to fill the time with jokes and horseplay. My own son, Connor, used to trick me into thinking I had walked through Red Ivy. I would be naked in the river, scrubbing with charcoal soap before he would finally burst into laughter.

Seems so strange now. Back then I had a family and no knowledge of the natural world. Well enough of that.

I mention it only as a learning experience for you, my boy; for it is more often in our failures that true knowledge is obtained, and it would appear I grow more knowledgeable by the fortnight.

You see, for whatever reason, perhaps habit but quite possibly because I feel a stronger attachment to my companions, I decided to slip back into my old ways and tease Mirel a bit. She was given a token by our barge captain, Toradan, and before I could think to stop myself, I had the lass convinced he’d just proposed to her (rest yourself boy, she’s no more betrothed than you or I). While I stand by the benign intention of the jest, I take responsibility in not anticipating certain ‘cultural differences’ that muddied the translation.

You see, my boy, far, far from infallible. The rest of the trip proved more successful than my joke.

After our resident dwarf, Bartleby, devised a very crafty plan to dispatch a band of orcs, we were granted permission to enter the city of Beorn. The stories we have heard about the Furred Men that run on all fours? I believe them all to be true…save the one about the eating of babies. In fact they appear to be very attuned to the animals they resemble and abhor their slaughter. Where the Elves were pristine in their dress and carriage, the Beornings are earthy and Spartan. It is rare to see two cultures so outwardly different yet so similar in their relationships with nature…a curiosity indeed.

Finally, I must task you again, my boy.

I pray this letter reaches you, as it appears that many ravens sent have met their ends before completing their flights. Beorn has given this to one of his scouts where it should make its way overland to you. Once received, you must get word to King Bard about the ravens and also inform him that emissaries from a being named Nugragh, who himself goes by the title Dark Emissary, sought to manipulate Beorn and his folk into joining their unholy cause. I am sad to report that several of the younger Beornings have already fallen prey to the silvered tongues of these charlatans.

Warn King Bard to beware of any such emissaries sent to Dale. We have proof they are in league with the Shadow and seek only to undermine the balance of the cultures they infect. However, and listen very closely to me, my boy, if these emissaries have already descended upon Dale, you must not risk revealing yourself to these vipers. I will send word of alternate plans when they are conceived.

Perhaps the Dwarven ambassadors might be the safest path to King Bard? If they are anything like Bartleby Stonefoot, they will be tough as suncracked leather and smart enough to see these emissaries for what they truly are. They remain an option if times grow desperate.

I shall return as soon as I can, my boy. Mind the shop and keep your ear to the ground. Wars always begin with whispers in the dark.

With a proud heart,

Rowlie

P.S. Go to my trunk and recover a dyed drawstring pouch labeled ‘Lorelai’. Inside you will find several small river stones. Keep them safe and when we return, place one under Mirel’s pillow. Yes, my boy, I am certainly not infallible.

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