Upon reaching the ruins of Fornost Erain at dusk, the company decided to make camp on the outskirts of the city. The night passed uneventfully until, just after the moon set, both Bowen and The Widow woke screaming from their sleep. It took Alaglîr and Duinhir some time to calm them. Bowen, in fact, required a rasher of bacon before much sense could be made from him.
Apparently, both he and The Widow had had the same dream. Men and women of Arthedain and Hobbit archers from The Shire and Bree defended Fornost Erain from Orcs, wild wolves and evil men. Eventually, the city was overran. The slaughter was horrifying to behold. Not a single defender was left alive.
They were both able to fall back into a fitful sleep while Alaglîr and Duinhir scouted around the camp to ensure there was no actual threat. However, when they woke again just after dawn, neither felt as if they had slept at all.
Eager to leave the evil dreams of the night before behind, the company struck camp quickly and entered the ruins. A wind seemed to hiss and moan through the cracked stone and rough brush. The air, though, was still to the point of stifling. It made everyone uneasy.
The Ranger Talandil, whom the company had traveled to Fornost Erain to seek, was nowhere to be found. So, around midday, Alaglîr paused to ask a large stone of his passing. Closing his eyes, he saw Talandil pass in the night, moving south in the direction of the company’s camp. When Alaglîr related this to his companions, Bowen was flabbergasted. He had already missed a couple of meals and was in no mood for Elvish magic.
After debating what to do next, the company decided to continue crossing the ruins. After a couple of hours, Alaglîr paused again – this time to speak to an ancient oak at the crest of a bare hill. Bowen was incredulous. He exclaimed something to the effect of, “First stones, now tress. What’s next – the sky?”
The elf paid him no mind and again closed his eyes. This time, he saw Talandil rise from the base of the ancient oak after daybreak and head east. Alaglîr continued his pursuit, quickening the pace as he went.
After a short while, they came upon another ancient oak tree, this one smaller but no less majestic than the last. Alaglîr climbed quickly to the top, hoping to survey the remaining ruins and possibly spot Talandil. As he looked out over what was once the market, he heard a voice from below ask, “Why have ye come to Fornost Erain? Surely, the ghosts that yet dwell here deserve to do so in peace. Tell me kinsman, for I know you not, what business have ye here?” Upon reaching the ground, Alaglîr realized that they had found Talandil or, more accurately, he them.
Duinhir, frustrated by wasting the better part of a day searching the ruins for Talandil, threw courtesy and custom to the wind and, instead of answering the elder Ranger’s question, demanded that he tell the party all he knew about marauding Orcs and Wargs. Talandil seemed to take offense and repeated his original question. This time not without a hint of menace in his voice.
Eventually, a combination of Bowen’s Buckland manners, Alaglîr’s stern countenance and The Widow’s grim retelling of the slaying of the raiding party that attacked Combe convinced Talandil that the company was well intentioned. He told the company of a battle that occurred three weeks ago northeast of Fornost and agreed to lead them there the next day.
Upon arriving at the site of the battle, it was immediately obvious that fell creatures had passed that way recently. The Widow used her skill as a huntress to determine that a half dozen Orcs and two or three Wargs came down from the northeast before turning due south after passing through the battlefield.
On hearing this, Talandil implored the company to continue traveling with him. “I fear that Orcs from Mount Gram have infested the ancient fort at Amon Tira, hill of the watch,” he said, “If this is the case, I will require your blades and bows to help drive out the vile creatures.” With Duinhir’s aid, he was able to get the rest of the company to agree.