If I remember aright, at the end of my last letter I had helped Brogur and his band of dwarves gain entrance to Moria, upon which I was called back to Angmar and Forochel in the north.
First I was summoned by my friends in the Valar Guild to the Rift of Narz Gashou in Angmar, and a darker place you're not likely to find even in that unwholesome land. There we battled an ancient, evil thing by the name of Thaurlach. The elves among our company said the thing was a "balrog," a term that means nothing to me, but it was huge and terrible, whatever it was. We did manage to slay it, but it wasn't easy. I came away with a very nice piece of armor as a gift from the rangers there in recognition.
From there the Valar Guild returned to Rivendell, which is always a welcome stop, but we were only passing through on our way Helegrod in the Misty Mountains, where we had unfinished business.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you -- that is indeed the dragon Thorog, slain again after having been reborn as a wight. You see me here counting his teeth, although I got lost somewhere in the third row and gave up on it. Once we had retrieved the axe Mirdinant, several of us lopped off the wyrm's head and carried it back to the Valar Guild's kinship house at Thorin's Halls to place on display as a trophy.
While we were in the Misty Mountains anyway, I decided to make another foray into Goblin Town, as I had unfinished business down there as well. On the way I had a strangely serene and touching encounter with this fellow. My elf friend Galadhalion told me about him, but I always suspected him of telling me tales. Turns out I wronged him!
While down in Goblin-Town, I spotted this. It reminds me a bit of that peculiar creature I chased around the Trollshaws, although he certainly didn't have any shiny, goblin-killing ring.
Once our business in the Misty Mountains was done, our fellowship of Valar Guild members took on yet another mission: to travel into Carn Dum and finally slay Mordirith, False-King, the Steward of Angmar. In many ways, this battle was harder than our fight with either Thorog or the balrog, if only because we had such a personal stake in it. We carried the day, as you can see from our victory-posing here at his very throne, but alas such things are only temporary. His dark spirit fled to Mordor, and I have no doubt he'll be back.
That done, we split apart, each of us going on our separate ways with mutual expressions of goodwill and the hopes we'd see each other again soon. How little did we know! I was frankly astounded to receive a note from the mysterious Sara Oakheart, requesting that I come to see her at the fortress of Barad Gularan. What a frail old hobbit like her could be doing in such a place, I could not fathom, but it made me most uneasy.
And with good reason!
Ah! The Eye! Ia ftagn!
*ahem* Sorry. Lost my head there for a moment.
As you may well imagine, this series of events shook me. Never, even in the presence of Nazgul, wights, even the mighty balrog, had I been so rooted to the spot in terror and confusion. So I followed this "Amarthiel" back to Evendim, where I pledged my help to the wardens of Annunimas in their fight against the forces of Angmar and Amarthiel. Over time I learned her story, and the ever-intertwined story of Laerdan. It is too long and complex a tale to relate here, but should I ever have the chance to sit with you by a warm hearth, I'll try to tell you then.
Laerdan is a noble elf, but troubled. I accompanied him at a council of great lords of the eldar -- Elrond, Glorfindel -- and hey, what's Gandalf doing there? Didn't he leave with Mr. Frodo to go south on some great mission? After the meeting, Laerdan fled Rivendell to seek the halves of a sundered magic ring, "Narchuil" -- and Lord Elrond bade me go to find them first.
My search led me to Evendim, to Bree, to Angmar, to Forochel ... would you believe this haunt is Lord Aragorn's distant ancestor? You can almost see a resemblance around the eyes -- when you can see the eyes. Unfortunately, once both halves were recovered -- well, I don't want to go into that. Suffice to say that Lord Elrond and I found ourselves betrayed, and now the fight becomes even harder.
Upon discovery of that betrayal, I was sorely pressed by weariness and despair. Lord Elrond sent me home to Michel Delving, to my house that I hadn't seen for so long, to rest and recover my strength. And it is from here I write you now. I wish I could tarry longer, but already there is a note for me in the post, from Brogur in Moria. I fear that my poor pony Paladin is not going to have much rest, as something tells me I am being called back to Eregion. I shall write again when I can.
Your friend in The Shire,
Honourary Shirriff Maedhroc Thornhollow