As Humpadink ran up the stares he could have sworn that he heard distant, hoarse, laughing. It was there that he made the decision to never spend another night in the basement. Acting as calmly as possible, he waled to the innkeeper and paid him for the stay. He thought of mentioning something from the night before but as he looked at the innkeeper, the in keeper simply looked back and nodded only slightly, he knew about the basement.
After a quick breakfast humankind left the inn for good. He had a long day ahead of him, and he was already feeling the lack of sleep. He saddle up on his horse and left when the sun was rising. He passed over some low hills for some time. Everything in this land was brown. Not much grew here and there was little water to be seen at all. Hours passed and he had little to distract him from last night’s occurrence. e found himself constantly looking over his shoulder and he felt as if he was being watched, even though the ground fell away from the road and thee were no cliffs or anything to hide behind along the road for a few miles.
The uneasiness did pass after a few hours. and he noticed for the first time the sounds of the birds and small animals passing just off the road. It was becoming pleasant when he came upon the sight of Weathertop. He looked up at it’s greatness and tried to imagine what it looked like long ago. Before it became the ruin that it was now, like a jagged crown on top of a steep hill. The site was something indeed, but it was nearly midday and it was in his best interest to move on.
He continued on the road and passed a few ruins to the north and some to the south. The road leveled out after a bit of easy downhill riding. The plains stretched out far and wide but in the distance trees could be seen. he knew he was almost to the wilderness of the Trollshaws and was nearing an end to the ride.He looked behind him once more towards the grassy hill in the distance and the tiny shack of an inn that he spent the night in now barely visible in the distance. The sun was passed midday and there was still a ways to go so he pressed on.
He passed a settlement that was located in some old ruins to the north of the road. However Humpadink decided that he had had enough with these lands, their silent peril was more than he was interested in, and strangely he longed for the comfort of trees. The feeling of exposure pressured in after the following night and he was ready for something else to look at than low rolling hills and far expanses. He wanted something to hide behind. He urged his pony on a little faster, as the sun passed dinnertime.
As the evening waned the river and bridge came closer. He was looking forward to the travels in the forest even though it would be dark well before he would make it to Rivendell. This first dawned on him that this situation could be a problem. He crossed the bridge as he thought of what next to do. Just as he was about to stop he heard a voice behind him that nearly jolted him out of his saddle. However he realized that the voice was peaceful and gentle.
It was an elf maiden, waiting on the side of the bridge. He stated his business as he was unsure weather or not she was armed or what her business was. She nodded and smiled. He spoke about his concern of ever making it to Rivendell and that difficulty of the situation should it be dark while he rides through the forest. She told him to keep going down the road until he passes a white rock marking the camp of an elf sentry. Barachen was his name. He was skilled in the way of forestry and hunting and served as one of Lord Elrond’s best scouts.
After leaving the elves at The Last Bridge, Humpadink hurried off at a quick pace so as to try to find the camp before total darkness enveloped the forest entirely.
The forest was in it’s autumn shades and was stunningly beautiful and peaceful. The forest has a slight haze. It made Humpadink feel like he was walking through a dream at times. The air was clear and the wind blew softly past him from the south.
Deer were seen prancing away from the trail and sometimes staring at him from the brush safely away from the trail. Small animals climbed beneath the undergrowth and dashed across the trail.
This much life was a great and welcome change from the lone lands. The path flowed with the hills and began rising and falling with the land. After a few hours the sun began to set and the forest gained one last shot of sun before night took it. The golden sun lit the changing leaves with a fire-like light. And for a few minutes Humpadink looked around and was captivated by the colors that he saw.
He about ran his pony over the white stone marking the trail off to the elven camp. He gathered his pony and made to brake from the main trail.
The land sloped up in a small valley between two steep hills. At first there was no path to be found at all. The grass and brush made it hard to tell anything apart from the forest but after a while Humpadink smelled a campfire and in the waning light the light of a campfire above him on a cliff showed sighs of the camp.
Barachen was a fine elf, hospitable but still calculating. He greeted Humpadink but did not provide a nor a tent. All he had was a fire and to Humpadink’s surprise, a dwarf. A travelling salesmen or trader who had little to say to him. What Humpadink could gather was that he was separated from his party and could not find anyone else. He decided that it would be wise not to inquire further into this grumpy dwarf’s situation.
As he lay in his sack he watched the stars peer own through the forest canopy and heard the noises of the forest late into the night. The camp was small with only one fire. Set back from the road a was the camp was reclusive. It made Humpadink feel comfortable, he hadn’t felt this relaxed since he left Bree. Somehow being off the road brought peace to him, as if the dread from the night before was bound to the boarders of the road, and he was content to leave it there.
Peacefully he drifted off to sleep to the sound of crickets, owls and the wind softly blowing through the trees.