Suffice it to say that upon passing through Combe and arriving back in Bree, the company was given a hero’s welcome. Ham and Cora Butterbur welcomed them back to the Prancing Pony and provided food, drink and lodging on the house.
Over supper, Alaglîr, Bowen, Duinhir and The Widow discussed traveling to Fornost Erain to seek out the Ranger Talandil. Duinhir believed that he could provide information about the Orcs of Mount Gram and, more specifically, about a battle on the North Downs that had occurred earlier in the year. The company agreed to set out in the morning.
Menilhir provided the company with provisions for the trip to Deadman’s Dike, as he called Fornost Erain. “I’d join ye I would,” he said, “but what with Combe coming under attack and all, my place is here. You’re welcome in Bree anytime and, should ye choose to return to pass the winter, I’m certain we can find room and board for ye all.”
The companions fell into their traveling roles easily with Duinhir serving as the guide and Alaglîr the scout. The widow demonstrated her skill as a huntress, and Bowen was ever vigilant as the company’s lookout.
The first couple days of the trip were easy going. On the third day, the terrain became rougher as the fertile grasslands of Bree-land gave way to stony heath. The wind hissed and moaned through heather and dell making a ghostly sound. The Greenway became increasing more difficult to make out.
On the sixth day, the terrain became severe as the companions entered the North Downs. They spent the day climbing and descending hill after hill – each one looming larger as they progressed. The company reached the top of the largest hill they had yet to climb just as the sun set in the west. At the crest of the next rise, they could see the ruins of Fornost Erain standing out in stark relief against the twilit sky like so many cracked, jagged teeth grown green with age and decay.