There and Back Again, Again: Being a transcription of the travel journal of Doderic Puddifoot, traveler, trader, scholarly hobbit of letters, and wine enthusiast.
2946 – Spring
Lake Town! At long last! I have arrived at the famed Lake Town—just as Bilbo described! Oh what a tiresome journey!
I have found a fine tavern – The Golden Grape – that carries a fine selection of elvish wines! There are few hobbits here—but the place is teeming with dwarves.
As I drink some fine 1296, a strange fellow arrives—with soot on his face—and offers to supply me with barrels!
—A Raven has interruped my negotiations!
—This dwarf has stomped off to the so-called “embassy”!
- Borin hears a Raven out.
- We hire Erlan & Erling!
- I need to transport my wine to the shire and—what’s this?
- This strange dwarf that rudely interrupted me has offered to transport my cargo.
Some dwarves have gone missing! Borin and Gror wish to find them! We set sail immediately!
It is a good day for sailing. As the sun sets, we find a village of the lake men, and we… (here the text becomes difficult to decipher)
Sigrun is in an odd mood.
I sing a song:
The chicken roasts
The turkey’s cookin’
The lake ladies
Sure are good lookin’!
They are not impressed.
We ask after… (here the text becomes difficult to decipher)
I sing another song!
The only thing a hobbit likes
More than food and drink
Is to sleep in a quiet
Bed… er… away from stink.
Nerulf shares in Sigrun’s cooking and mumbles: “south in the marshes take heed of gallows weed.”
- The 2nd day passes uneventfully. It is becoming marshy.
- Gror spots signs of a campfire!
- Sigrun spears some frogs & fish
- 6 kegs of wine, 1 open — (here the text grows illegible)
- Erland & Erling (here the text grows even more illegible)
- We enter Mirkwood
- The oppressiveness of mirkwood is impressive—we feel as if a shadow has fallen over… (here the writing is lost in darkness)
- We think we hear movement in the forest!!!
- We get hung up on roots
- Gror finds footsprints on the riverbank
- We hear commotion in the woods
- I sing a song:
Take Back the Night
As we sleep in the Wood of Mirk,
We fear being attacked by jerks.
But fear not, for if they come,
We will have pain and give them some!
- Will-o-wisps and swamp gas abound!
I spot a green-hooded figure in the woods.
- Gror finds some limbs and branches cut for firewood. Someone has been making a fire!
- We land and the dwarves find a path…
- They found a bivouac place with the remains of a campfire.
Inside a a hollow stump they find a jewelry box – ivory carved with eagles! It contains a rolled parchment and a golden necklace with a large jewel.
- Gror becomes obsessed with the necklace gem!
- The parchment is an invitation to the eagles.
- Gror, Borin, and Sigrun are surrounded by elves!
- Borin spills beans to elves – and they agree to take us to the edge of the forest
- I am forced to give up a keg of wine in order to get our boat to the other side
- we settle in for the night at the abandoned camp
- we follow secret paths through the wood, led by Galion, the Elvenking’s former cup-bearer.
Dwarven campsite – hastily scattered fire and the boat looks like it was broken by orcs/trolls!!!!
- This site is a ruins of an old town of men.
- We hide what remains of my wine in the ruins for now! Oh bother!
- We find some bones – they have been eaten!!!
- Corpse candles of the dead light the night. It’s all very unsettling.
- Thank goodness it left without finding us! I don’t know how I will ever fall asleep again, though—EVER, much less tonight!
- At least the moon is bright. That’s some comfort. And the night noises are normal enough, even if they are swampish noises. If I try hard enough I can pretend I’m back in the Shire, summering with my cousins down in Frogmorton. Nothing so unwholesome about that!
- Apparently no one is sleeping. Not now! We hear the sound of “mewling” and the party is stricken by fear…