Dark news from the land of long nights. One of my men has fallen in combat. Isenrid no longer light up our path nor does he find me safe passage or campsites hidden from brigands and orcs.
How it came to happen I cannot tell you since I do not know. He was scouting for traces of Whitehands in a remote place, by the elves named Evendim, and he never returned. We searched through the forests for him and his steed Hardmane for days and weeks but to no avail. He was my best, not to say my only, tracker and without him we can find little in the wilderness - not even the corpse of a fallen Eorlingas. We lit a bonfire nevertheless and sent his soul across the fields and hills. Hopefully he will find his way back to Westfold, to the Mark, to the restingplace of his ancestors.
Last time I reported to you I was heading to the realm of Rivendell. I have seen it now, Rivendell, home of the elf Lord Elrond. I named it Elrond's Deep, not because it is as magnificent a fortress as Helm's Deep, but the valley is similar and impossible to conquest by anyone including the forces of Darkness. There elves dwell in a strange happiness and delight. I honestly do not understand the folk of elves. Not one bit. They live in eternal light and dream and cannot fathom, if you ask me, the most simple idea.
Strider seem to be a good friend of Lord Elrond, not that I can really see why. So is father's friend Gandalf Greymane who sit in their uplit library reading, muttering or jesting around with some little folk who dwell with the elves as well. At first I didnt manage to get anything concrete out of Strider who seemed heavily burdened with some unspeakable task. Instead he had me promise to go to the land of Evendim, where I lost Isenrid, to help him find the answer of some ancient prophecy. Once I returned to Elrond's Deep Strider was nowhere to be found. Instead Lord Elrond decided I repay his generosity by talking to his sons about an evil Shadow hiding in the Trollshaws of Rhudaur surrounding his realm.
The Black Riders, save one, seem to have drowned in the river Bruinen. Believe it if you will, it comes from elven tounges. The survivor has somehow awakened the forest and the Sons of Elrond, both less elvish and more sturdy, have tried to track him down. I offered them my services naturally. Who better to track down a Rider of the shadow than men of the Mark! I hope you agree it was the only decent thing to do regardless of our actual task up here. So far we managed to drive, or shall I say follow, the Black one out of the Trollshaws and he seem to have taken refuge in the northern Misty Mountains. Somewhere among the dwarves of the mountains if I understood Lord Elrond correctly.
Neither Elrond nor the old Greymane seem interested in telling me where Strider might have taken off to. Only that there is a blade that need attention and that I need to be more patient. Awaiting his return - I cannot linger in Rivendell, it make me and the others far too uncomfortable - I have decided to finish the hunt on the Black Rider. In the hunt we made a new friend in another elf named Legolas who promised us to keep an eye out for Strider and traces of the White Hand alike, whilst we are off into the mountains.
If Strider will not turn up within short and we do not fall prey to the Black Rider should he turn and bite I feel the need to return home. Soon. Little there seem to be to find out about the White Hands up here in the Fallen kingdom. More there seem to be that is stirring north of here, north of Esteldin and beyond. I fear we are only wasting our time searching for signs that will not come clear, and pursuing tracks further than can be of any help to you. At worst, ending up in a war that is not ours to fight.
I will let you here from me again before I ride home. Until then I will honor You and your realm.
Your loyal blood