The Red Pass
The following story can be experienced the starting the quest "Book 2, Chapter 7: Radagast the Brown" at the Forsaken Inn in the Lone-lands.
Strider and the hobbits arrived at the Last Bridge on the border of the Trollshaws. They had made great haste through the Lone-lands as Frodo's pain worsened. They had passed the great ruins of Ost Guruth but had little time to marvel at the structure now bereft of much of it's beauty. The hobbits had waited for Strider as he scouted the bridge for enemies. Upon his return, he produced a single pale-green jewel. ‘I found it in the mud in the middle of the Bridge,’ he said. ‘It is a beryl, an elf-stone. Whether it was set there, or let fall by chance, I cannot say; but it brings hope to me. I will take it as a sign that we may pass the Bridge; but beyond that I dare not keep to the Road, without some clearer token.’
The heroes had arrived at Ost Guruth. The ruins of a once great Arnorian city gave a glimpse to what once had been a beautiful city of Men. The heroes were greeted by Frederic, the Eglain Elder, as they entered the city. Frederic was eternally grateful for the aid the heroes had provided to his people in reclaiming their lands. However, Orcs and Goblins were only the beginning of their problems...
Hana, a young Eglain, had recently visited Haragmar, the swamps to the north-east, and had reclaimed an ancient relic lying out upon one of the ruins. However, there was something different in the swamp that day, something stirred and frightened the girl.
Hana told the heroes of the relic she had found and the distressing dreams she had since. Hana had begun to hear the swamp sing to her during the night of blood and death. Hana revealed to the heroes of her encounter with a river-maiden on the day she found the relic. She was draped in vines and tattered robes and smiled beautifully before she cringed and shook the water apart and drove them from the swamp.
After hearing Hana's tale, the heroes ascended the central tower where Radagast the Brown awaited. The heroes told the wizard of all they had experienced since they had first arrived at Bree-town. Unfortunately, Radagast had not seen Gandalf or Strider in some time and his attention had been entirely focused on the evil the Eglain had encountered.
Radagast, mainly concerned with the well-being of the plant and animal worlds, sent the heroes to Haragmar to investigate the corruption that had befallen the creatures within it. The water in Haragmar had a blood-red hue and the animals looked sickly and feral. More concerning, however, were the undead that wandered the swamp.
Radagast confirmed the taint that spread across the bog was due to the Wights that now inhabited it. Gaunt-lords from Angmar were likely responsible but the White Council had long since driven the necromancers from Middle-earth. Their return was a dire signal of the enemies growing influence.
The heroes made for Nan Dhelu, a ruin across Haragmar, where they encountered gaunt-lords summoning armies of undead. The heroes brought an end to the necromancers to stem the evil they were amassing. The gaunt-lords each held a sigil which Radagast confirmed was of Ivar the Blood-hand. The wizard pondered why Ivar had traveled so far from Angmar and what drew him to the swamp. To answer this question, the heroes made for Alric the Stone-speaker, within Harleog to the south, who knew the history of the Lone-lands better than any of the Eglain.
Alric believed the knowledge they sought was held by the dead. A shade haunted the ruins of Ost Haer where Aric resided who could shed light to what was occurring in Haragmar. The shade spoke of his history and of the evils he had committed. In ages past, he and his men ignored the evils that began to infiltrate the land they had sworn to protect. He spoke of the Red-maid, who now served Angmar, and of Iarwen Ben-adar’s curse that doomed his people to wander forever.
The Red-maid had been a lady of the river. The blood that was spilled over years of war had turned her rivers red and corrupted her very being. Ivar likely sought to harness her power for his own. With Ivar's plot laid bare, the heroes return to Ost Guruth where they learned of two young Eglain who had made for the Red Swamp to bring down the power behind the threat facing their people.
Radagast and the heroes made for the Red-pass, which led to Agamaur, the Red Swamp. The wild had turned against them as even the trees sought to hinder their passage. They encountered a shade who told of his master’s turn to evil. Believing the shades could be useful in their fight, the heroes sought the shade's master to free the shade’s from their duty.
With Neven dead, the shades turned to fulfill their ancient oath. With renewed vigor, they stormed the gates of Garth Agarwen. There, Radagast and the heroes found Elsa and Eriac with their company, who had taken refuge atop a set of ruins.
Elsa told of the force Ivar commanded. Wights, the Woods, even the Water itself rose against them. The shades and the Eglain continue to hold the wights at bay while Radagast and the heroes confronted Ivar the Blood-hand at the gates of Garth Agarwen.
Radagast stood against Ivar. Before the wizard could smite the necromancer, Ivar retreated into Garth Agarwen. With Ivar weakened, Radagast and the Eglain retreated to the ruins of Barad Dhorn, where they prepared for their siege of Garth Agarwen to defeat Ivar the Blood-hand and to cleanse the Red-maid.
Radagast left the fight against Ivar to the heroes and Eglain. He was needed elsewhere and had lingered too long in the Lone-lands.The heroes prepared for their greatest battle yet...
Further Reading: Garth Agarwen