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The First Foray into Moria

Much time had passed since the infamous Battle of Ost Guruth. The peoples of Middle Earth all now had news of the disaster that had occurred there and the brave warriors and people of the Lonelands and their stand against the darkness that had by now touched every part of the lands. No place was safe, and the ring bearers had left Rivendell on their perilous journey.

The Forsaken Lonelanders as they were now known all over Middle Earth had grown from the few who had fought at Ost Guruth to a large organized force that spread out across the land to carry out the proclamation that Kuzo had made to the survivors of Ost Guruth.

"No one came to our aid but these giants we once feared. No one came to our side in our most desperate time of need. Noone supported us with weapons or armor. We have been forsaken! Well, we will not see that happen to anyone else! We will stand by all those in need, and we will help anyone who asks for our help. We will do so with pride and with honor! The Forsaken Lonelanders will stand together and fight for the freedom of all free peoples! We are The Forsaken Lonelanders!"

Kuzo had selected some of his best officers and formed a small group to travel quickly and clandestinely. Kuzglindan a Runekepper of great knowledge was to lead a small troop of the Lonelanders to Lothlorien on a mission to the Golden Wood.

The sun rose over the Holly forest of Eregion and the small group of Lonerlanders broke camp not too far from the West Gate of Khazad-dûm. Eoyon had ridden out of camp early and had not yet returned. Kuzglindan had sent her to survey the route forward and towards their goal of Moria know to men as Dwarrowdelf. It was possible that the Ring Bearers had come this way.

The group had met with Elrond in Rivendell and had left that sublime valley of waterfalls behind but in a very somber and silent mood. The Lonelanders had lost the trail of the fellowship in the deep snows of the Misty Mountains and had not been able to pick it up again. They had decided to take a short cut to Lothlorien through the Dwarfish kingdom of the Longbeard clan, recently reopened by the endeavors of the descendants of Durin the first. In Lothlorien, Kuzglindan had other business because he had received a message from the White Lady of the Golden Wood to come with all haste.

The three peaks that glistened in the morning sun inspired a sense of awe of nature that was not to be surpassed by too many other vistas in Middle Earth. The highest peak called Kheled-zâram soared skyward into the heavens, and it was under this arm of the earth that aspired to reach into the heavens, that Durin the first had entered into the depts of Khazad-dûm through caves in the mountainside. Under his reign and that of his descendants, this modest beginning was to become one of the great kingdoms of the Dwarves.

Eoyon was riding hard and the group noted that her horse was covered in mud, slime, and sweat as she dismounted. The look on her face told a tale of something awful ahead. Gilithirros held the spooked mount's head and soothed it with a soft deep voice, as the horse settled down under his touch and words whispered into its ear.

"There are the remains of a once-great lake ahead, but it is now a muddy mire of slime and home to something I have never seen! What horrors have these dwarves unleashed onto the earth? What beasts of darkness have they uncovered in their search for riches? We can not cross this pond, we must go around it. I fought the beast! If it is one or many, I do not know, but it had tentacles aplenty, and it nearly dragged me and my horse to our deaths! I slashed off one arm and it seemed to grow another! I think it undefeatable! "
The Lonelanders warily skirted the lake at a snail's pace, all armor had been removed and secured in packs. They moved as silently as thieves in the night. They had left their mounts at Echad Dúnann is an elven ruin near the Gates of Moria.

'Welcome to Moria, Lonelanders! You have traveled far to join us at a momentous time! I am the master of the expedition group here at Durin's Threshold. Other expedition groups have already moved further on into the depths of Khazad-dûm, hoping to find Balin's expedition of some years ago and learn of their fate.
'My fellow dwarves are having a difficult time settling in, for a number of reasons. If you could assist them, I would be most grateful. There has been a great upheaval in the Grand Stairs, and it is there your most needed!'
Thormóth had a worried look about him as he welcomed them and this worried Gdwizard, for he was sensitive to such things.

Supplied with Dwarven Redhorn Mountain Goats, and a guide the group traveled quickly through the maze of passages and great halls! The spectacular 21th hall caused the Lonelanders amazement and awe, they had little time to spare but for in a short conversation with Kettil, Son of Athils, the need to get to the Grand Stairs was pressed! Geirr had challenged the Lonelanders, 'Are you up for a small challenge? South-east of this hall lies the Grand Stair, once a fair crossroads of the dwarves, and now nothing but a reeking Orc-pit. Ever do we strive to remove the Orc presence from that place so that it may be reclaimed in our favor once again.
'Adventurers such as yourselves would look forward to a little dare such as the one I am about to propose: travel to the Grand Stair and slay many enemies there. The more Orcs you defeat, the better it will be for all the good folk of Moria and beyond.'

The Red Horn Lodes was dangerous and the group fought some small skirmishes with the Orcs who patroled this part of Khazad-dûm, until they were finally at the entrance to the Grand Stairs!

Eoyon ran at Ilzkâl the Pummeler a commander of the Uruks and one of Igashs generals, who in front of the warriors had just slain one of his own minions! She planted her banner near the huge Orc, and screamed at him in a taunt that he could not ignore! The opening she created allowed the others to enter the fray! Kuzglindan dropped a fire rune next to the Commander of Dread, and Boddoburg unleashed a fury of low cuts to the legs of the beast destabilizing him, as Herdrina leaped high into the air and used her halberd to rip into the neck of the Orc! Gilithirros spun about and his blades cut deep into the armor and flesh of Ilzkâl. Gdwizard was chanting soft words into the air which suddenly unleashed a huge Bog Guardian increasing the number of the attackers and felled the foe who roared out in death, "Feed me your fearrrrrrrrrrr!!!"

The heroic group fought on and one after another the Captians of Igash fell! Nardûr died at the bottom of his stairs of command screaming in pain and for more room, Gothgaash called upon the flames of the Balrog to assist him, but to no effect, as the well-selected group countered and killed him in short order! Dorozg and the Beast were not so easily taken out, but finally, they were vanquished. Glothrok rode a huge warg and attacked the group relentlessly! He then called forth a large number of the fell beasts! Surrounded by wargs and with one member near death, it seemed the battle might be lost and this would be the end to this expedition! Kuzglindan released a cloud of flame that engulfed all the animals at once, as Herdrina healed and brought Gdwizard back from the brink of the abyss of death! Gdwizard called on a Lynx spirit which took revenge for the wounds the wargs had inflicted on its master! Blood, slime, and fur caused a stench none would soon forget. It hung in the air like liquid iron and slaughter scum.

Igash the fanatic, a minion of Mazog and leader of all the factions within the Grand Stairs was the last of the trial that the Lonelanders faced. Eoyon, as was usual and known for her bravely, ran in to challenge the leader of the orcs of the Grand Stairs! She recalled the words of Avar at the Orc Watch, "Igash indeed does draw strength from those within the Grand Stair, assuming their skills while they still live." Now all those Captains were dead and so the General of Mazog should be weakened! "What fools stand here before me?" cried Igash!

Gilithirros's deep-voiced scream contrasted heavily with that which he had used to calm the horse of Eoyan, and caused Igash to turn towards him! He moved his blades so swiftly that only his arms were visible as they severed the ear of Igash! "Your insurrection ends on my blades!" howled the Orc leader! "Today I may sleep sweetly in darkness, but I fight and die with my brothers and sisters in arms!!" Kuzglindan heard Gdwizard say under his breath as he struck Igash a heavy blow with his staff, and his Bog Guardian pressed the attack!

Kuzglindon ran to an overturned wagon, once filled with tribute, its contents now spilled onto the floor of the chamber. Kuzglindan looked high into the dark recesses of the cavern and drew down lightning onto Igash! "Suffer the wrath of darkness!", Igash howled like a trapped beast as he released some dark magic that engulfed the attacking Forsaken in fear and dread! Gdwizard fell once again and blood flooded from his ears, eyes, and nose.

Herdrina swung her halberd in a wide arc and it met its target cutting deep into the right arm of Igash! She pulled back with such force that a huge chunk of Orc flesh struck her in the face and for a few minutes she was blinded by its slime and blood! "The Fire swells for you, Herdrina!", screeched out Igash! "Keep out of the flames!", ordered Eoyon!, "move!!!"

Boddoburg appeared from nowhere and his body was like a torch!! He ran around the others screaming, "Help me!! I am afire, I am afire, by the thundering dying curses of hell, I am afire!!" Eoyon came to his rescue and quelled the flames and healed the hobbit in an instant of time, that appeared to all in motion slow and deliberate, but in reality, it happened in seconds!

"Looks like I found a break in your armor, Gilithirros!!, Igash loudly proclaimed! Gilithirros felt a searing pain run the length of his spine and he crumbled to the floor. Kuzglindan saw that the fight for Gilithirros was over, and he appeared as dead.

Wounded must horrendously, Igash continued the fight as if he were immune to all damage inflicted by the Hero's of Ost Guruth! "Let the Darkness crush you!", He howled like a man-warg!! Kuzglindan fell from the wagon, and lay dead upon the ground of battle!

Eoyon and Herdrina scanned each other and saw that this must end soon. or they would fall and fail! Each combatant was wounded one way or another and the floor glistened crimson with the blood of all! Herdrina shouted and Igash turned towards her, she backed away drawing him from her companion. Eoyon circled behind the weakened Orc, and both attacked as one! The head of Igash rolled across the floor and from his mouth an unearthly scream echoed in the hall and as quickly faded away. "That was a glorious battle..."

Through will and fate Eoyon, and Herdrina raised their fallen companions from death. In solemn reverence to all-natural things of earth and sky, they channeled their powers back into the bodies of their comrades, and slowly both awakened as from a nightmare.

Geirr apologetically offered to the Forsaken Lonelanders upon their return to the 21th Hall. 'I must be honest: I was not sure that you would be up for the challenge. But I am glad to have been wrong on this occasion! Forgive me for not thinking better of you, Lonelanders, for the rumors of your courage were more than true. You will never be Forsaken by us Longbeards! Call us in your hour of need, and we will march by your side!