Sunday, June 23, 2013

Spin the Globe - Nen Harn

Hello Freeps! 
Miri here to present to you our first official Spin the Globe story.  In this edition, Codella and I travel to Nen Harn in the Northeastern Bree-fields.
Our journey began in cozy Michel Delving, where Codella and I were at the stable-master getting the steeds ready for the trip to the Bree-lands.  Of course, no trip is complete without the initial argument or incidence of friendly jest. I’m pretty sure this time it started with me teasing her about her lack of height. She won this fight, however, when I was forced to ride a pony all the way from The Shire to Bree-Town. That’s what I get for hanging out with a hobbit, I suppose.

Haha, very funny Coda.

So you have to remember, Codella and I are both hunters, which means one thing in particular – we live for shortcuts.  So I would normally say here that we endured a long and exhausting journey from Michel Delving to Bree-Town but, as the efficient (read: lazy) hunters we are, of course we took the popular shortcut available at the Michel Delving stable-master called the “swift-travel”.  This “swift-travel” shortcut has saved us both some precious time traversing Middle Earth over the years.  We highly recommend it!
Anyway, we took the shortcut to Bree-Town and were welcomed by the site of the lovingly worn West Gate, its keeper Harry Goatleaf, and the comforting thought that Codella was now at the vertical disadvantage instead of myself. (Your turn, Coda…Ha Ha!)

West Gate, preparing to leave.

Once inside the West Gate, we handed over our Michel Delving ponies to the surly stable-master and had him fetch our personal steeds that we board when traveling along major routes. The stable-master, Bill Rosewood, implied that he was happy to see me (if you know what I mean); I implied back that I was past due for some target practice.  He scoffed at me and handed over the reins.  Of course the second that Codella caught wind that he was giving me trouble, I had to talk her down.  Seriously, why does her first reaction to harassment have to be aggression?  I prefer a more passive-aggressive approach myself.
So I handed Codella the reins to her pony and we got Marja (pronounced MAR-yuh, for those that care), my Steed of the Hunter, and Lilypad, Codella’s Simbelmynë Pony, ready for the trip to Nen Harn.
Before I go on with our epic journey, I suppose I should probably give you a little bit of background about our destination.

Nen Harn

Nen Harn (Nên + Sarn, “Lake of stones”), located in the Northeastern Bree-fields, just to the south of the Elvish settlement of Meluinen in the North Downs, is the second-largest lake in the current manifestation of Middle Earth, with Lake Evendim, for comparison, being about four times larger in size. On that note, Nen Harn is itself about four times larger than the next-biggest inland body of water, which is located somewhere in Eastern Malenhad of Angmar. The area contains five islands, with ruins of what is believed to be an ancient temple on the largest. Despite what one would assume as an ideal location for villages or other settlements, Nen Harn is abandoned currently for reasons unknown, with the exception of a small camp of hunters along the perimeter of the lake as well as, apparently, a squirrel that can communicate with chickens on one of the islands. (Yeah, your guess is as good as mine on that one.) Men populating Bree-Land during the Third Age are said to be a combination of descendants of the Edain and Dunlendings (descendants of Haladin, second house of the Edain).
So...back to the epic adventure at hand.  Coda and I, preparing Marja and Lilypad at West Gate. All saddled up, we made a stop at Lily Sandheaver’s place to stock up, and we’re ready to go. Last petty jabs out of the way, we headed out of West Gate to the Greenway Crossing where we planned to take the North-South road towards our destination. At this point, it will become clear to you just how awesome Codella and I are. Literally within three strides out of the gate, an apparently panic-stricken chicken runs past us into Bree-Town.
This is the point where we both simultaneously and instantaneously decided upon an additional type of blog-post to add to our arsenal.  It will be entitled: “Oh, look…a chicken!”
So with no discussion needed, we turned our steeds around and followed the chicken. Oh well, I suppose Nen Harn can wait….I mean, there’s a chicken running through Bree!

Oh, look...a chicken!

For the next part of our epic adventure, so as not to bore you off your seats, I will give you the “Freep’s Digest” version of what transpired.
So we followed this chicken out of Bree-Town’s South Gate and on into Chetwood South.  From there, we proceeded to travel through the Midgewater Marshes, Chetwood North, Combe, Bree-Town again, Hengstacer’s Farm, and on through the Northern Bree-Fields. We decided it would be best to leave our steeds in Hengstacer’s care at this point, since we had no idea what to expect next. By now, two thoughts were going through my mind: 1. This chicken is nuts and obviously has a death wish (or is a member of some adrenaline-junkie cult for animals). 2. Why is he travelling around all of Bree visiting random animals?  Unfortunately, we could not communicate with the nut-job chicken so we may never know.

The hunters in action!

Anyway, to get back to the action, we were running through the Northern Bree-Fields, killing everything in this chicken’s path. There was absolutely no civilization in sight, except for an orc camp, so where was the chicken taking us, really? For that matter...why were we still following it? We made it past the orc camp and continued to travel to the northeast letting our arrows fly the entire way.
As we continued, for what seemed like forever, Codella and I were sharing the fervent hope that this particular piece of poultry wasn’t of the “free range” variety, which is said to be even crazier. But just as we were considering leaving the chicken to its fate, we realized that we hadn’t really been paying too much attention to where we were. This realization quickly turned into one of those “Are you kidding me?” moments as we followed the chicken’s lead by jumping into a lake and swimming towards one of the islands at its center.

Why are we doing this again?

“Uh...Miri...” Codella said.
“Where do you think we are right now?” she asked.
I replied, “Soaking wet in a lake and for some reason swimming after a random bird, with which neither of us can communicate. I’m pretty sure where we are is irrelevant.”
“We’re in Nen Harn, genius,” she said...which would’ve been accompanied with a “/smackhead” if both of her arms weren’t still preoccupied with swimming to our destination.
I looked around as I swam, and my only response was, “Are you kidding me?”
Codella just laughed, amazed at how her cartographile friend didn’t realize before she did that we ended up precisely where we originally intended to go, despite a few very random detours.

Where'd it go??

We finally made it to a very small island and jumped onto the shore, quickly taking down anything in sight and looking for our charge. However, after killing every dangerous beast on the island, we still couldn’t find the chicken. The only animal left on the island was a squirrel, looking surprisingly content for being stranded on a miniscule island with no trees and little shelter from all of the massive snapping turtles we had just dispatched.
Nonplussed, Codella asked, “Where’d it go?”
“Not sure,” I replied. “I hope one of the turtles didn’t get it before we reached the shore.”
I jumped into the water again and began to swim to the closest island in case the chicken had moved on without us. I did have my doubts though, as it had been very patient through most of the trip, holding back while we took out everything in its path before continuing.
When I reached the next island, I looked around but still no sight of our fowl friend. Codella caught up with me shortly thereafter and got my attention.
“Hey Miri, guess what!” she shouted excitedly.
“A bird just dropped this note off to me on the other island,” she explained as she opened the note to read it aloud.
    “Dearest Hunters,
Please accept my deepest gratitude for your aid along my journey.  I am a wizard’s apprentice and was cursed during a duel with rogue wizards, which resulted in the death of my mentor.  I had been a chicken for months before I was able to discretely gain access to the texts I needed to find a remedy for my state.  Receiving a piece of a spell from several magical creatures was the only way I could find to restore myself.  This was why I had to travel to every corner of the Bree-Lands.  I’m afraid if it weren’t for your intervention, I may not have been successful in my quest.  I am unfortunately in no position currently to offer an appropriate compensation for your assistance, but I assure you that when I am able to repay you for your kindness, I will find you.  May peace always find you in your travels.
- E. “
“Are you kidding me?” I asked in disbelief, realizing that was the second time I’d used that exact expression during this journey.
“Yes. Actually, I just made all of that up on the spot and just happened to have some parchment and a bird on hand to make it look legit,” Codella said as she rolled her eyes at me.
“Shut up, Coda,” I snapped.
“Whatever, Miri,” she replied. A well-thought out response, that.

Scouting the islands.

The rest of our epic adventure was spent scouting all of the central islands of Nen Harn and enjoying the temple ruins. We believe that the temple must have originally been built for a  chicken-worshipping cult due to the mysterious chicken nest we found within the ruins.

Chicken cult?

It was perfectly intact, but no chickens were to be found anywhere nearby. The nest glowed slightly with an eerie light and gave us goosebumps when we stood too close. Perhaps this was where the wizard’s chicken curse originated and why his journey ultimately led him here. I suppose we may never know for sure.

Fine dining and entertainment.

As dusk neared, we decided to make camp and do a little recreational fishing before settling down for the night. After we decided we’d had enough fishing for the evening, I built a fire and Codella made some snapper soup from the turtle meat we’d acquired earlier. After enjoying her delicious supper, Codella treated me to one of the new songs our mutual cohort Eddenwulf had written for the harp.


Of course, we had to make time for one last D.R.A.G.O.N. before bed, but settled down to sleep after we finally stopped laughing. (Codella would like it known that Miri was the one doing all the laughing while she brooded in the ruins.)

Nen Harn sunrise.

After waking up and having a quick breakfast, we made sure to enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the lake before beginning our journey home. Codella and I travelled west and slightly south until we reached Hengstacers’ farm to pick up our steeds and continued down the North-South road until we reached Bree. We went straight to the West Gate stable to board our steeds, but this time Bill Rosewood did not pretend he was happy to see me....or Codella for that matter.

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