Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne, Part 6

Today I visited every corner of the market square trying to get an idea of the types of supplies I might need for my journey to the Blue Mountains. I picked up some traveling rations, some light tools, and several other necessities, so I am off to a good start. The problem I keep running into is money: no one who joins the Watch does so in order to get rich, I can tell you, so I am not sure if I will be able to fund my little trip. I don't have much skill as a hunter, either, so food is going to be a key consideration.

I also popped into the Three Farrow Crafting Hall and spoke with the Master of Apprentices to get his opinion on what one might need on such a journey. He was overly curious about my leaving, but that is Bree-folk for you. He did give me some ideas, but he kept trying to convince me to learn some craft or other. "All the great adventurers know at least one craft," he kept saying. "How else do you think they know how to make their own clothes to fend off the cold? Or craft a bow from a yew branch to catch game? Or properly cook that game in the midst of the Wild? Mercy me! Children, these days!" I finally agreed to let him teach me about forestry. This was a ruse, of course: I was bred in Combe, which has the finest lumber yard in all of the northern world, so he didn't end up teaching me much, but it did silence him and allow me to get on about my work.

I think I am getting close to the start of my own adventure.

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne, Part 5

After writing down everything from yesterday evening, I spent some time considering my future. The question before me seems to be: should I remain here and support my home of more than twenty years or should I try and learn more about my past? As much as I love father and the Bree-land, I cannot ignore this strange fate. I am compelled to learn more, but where to begin?

The morning dawned crisp and clear and the cool air rang with one of my favorite sounds: the clatter of hoofs and waggon-wheels on the cobblestone streets as they splash through puddles after a good rain. Home never felt like such a desirable place, and yet I had finally made up my mind to begin a journey -- a search for knowledge and truth. This journal has suddenly taken on a very different meaning and purpose: I will use it to record my adventures and document whatever I can learn about my past and my family's history.

I won't go into everything father and I said to each other at our parting -- it was not easy for either of us. But, I assured him, I won't stay away forever. In fact, he knows about my first destination quite well, even if he's never been there himself. Since I now hold the strange medallion, and since the writing on it is in a Dwarven mode, and since the Bree-land scholars were of no real use (a fact which proves true far more often than not, if you ask me), I decided I should seek out someone who might know a thing or two about Dwarven runes: the Dwarves. Specifically, the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains, who are known to travel through Bree on their trade routes. The largest settlement we know of is at Thorin's Halls in the Blue Mountains, which the Elves once called Ered Luin. I understand it is a great colony with an immense volume of trade. Surely some Dwarf there should be able to tell me more about my medallion, if anyone could.

The journey will not be a short one, however: Thorin's Halls are located in the far northwestern region of the Blue Mountains and there are any number of leagues I must cross before I ever reach that land, including the land of the hobbits, which they call the "Shire." We have hobbits here in Bree, of course, but they are mostly sensible folk who mind their own business. The local Staddle-folk (mostly hobbits) rarely have anything flattering to say about Shire-hobbits, although I'm not sure how they form their opinions since none of the Bree-hobbits I'm familiar with have been known to travel so far from home.

In any case, I at least now have a place to begin. There remains a great deal to do before I set out, however. For one thing, I will need to resign my post with the Watch and do my part to arrange for a replacement, which might not be easily accomplished. I also do not have a ready supply of provisions, tools, or other items I might need on the Road or in the Wild. I will also need weapons, since I must return mine to the Watch at the Bree-town Jail. This might not be an altogether bad turn of events, however. I would never say this openly within ten miles of Bree-town, but the Watch's weapons and armor are not necessarily of the highest quality. I think this is one of those things everyone on the Watch knows well, but they will never admit it since the stuff is all crafted right here in our little land. If I am to be an adventurer, though, I will need equipment of far higher quality. I have no idea how to solve that problem, but I will think on it over the coming days.

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne, Part 4

I confess I do not know how to write down the many things that happened to me this day. Right now I am seated by my own bedside with a single candle glowing softly. The weather cleared, but the wind turned southeast and blows terribly chill. The streets of Bree are deserted this night: it is as if all the world knows of my sorrow.

I suppose the best thing for me to do is simply recount everything here, just as it happened. Late last night, despite the driving rain and howling winds, Leecher Cartwell of Combe visited me at my room in the Comb and Wattle. He had brought me a poultice to help close the wound on my leg. I thanked him heartily, and he left me to my sleep.

I slept much longer than I had intended, not waking until well past noon, but I felt quite myself again. My leg remained stiff and is still sore to the touch, nonetheless I immediately prepared to leave. I purchased a fine breakfast (or lunch, rather) from the innkeeper (the hard cider at the Comb and Wattle is an exceptionally fine brew!) and started for home. It is not a long trek by any measure, but I found it difficult anyway. Finally, I reached the Boar Fountain and saw my home just beyond.

Father greeted me as he always does, and soon we were deep in talk over meat and ale at the table. I will spare you the trivial things of which we spoke -- the latest edicts from Mayor Tenderlarch, the banishment of criminals -- they are all so very insignificant compared with what happened when I told father of my last moments with Jagger Jack.

"And then the villain said to me, 'You will never win this war, Gondorian!' What a fool, that cannot tell a Bree-lander from... father?"

Father's face had suddenly fallen ash-white and his hands fell to his sides.

"Are you not well? What in Middle-earth is wrong?" I asked him.

"How could he know? What else did he say to you? Anything else?" I had never seen him so visibly upset about anything.

"No, nothing. He perished a moment later," I answered. He was silent for a long while.

"It was nothing but the ravings of a lunatic and a fool, you should pay it no heed," I said.

"Yes. Yes, you are right, of course."

"Father," I hesitated. "What does this mean? Is there something you are not telling me?"

He opened his mouth as if to say something, then closed it again. He looked at me and, for the first time in my life, I saw tears welling in his eyes.

"I wish to the heavens you had not asked me that question, boy. I have taught you never to lie, and I will not be proven a man of no honor, to fail in following my own teachings."

Slowly, he raised himself from his chair, turned his back to me, and walked to the nearby cupboard. From far back in its darkest corner, he brought forth a small strongbox wrought of steel and blackened iron. He placed this on the table between us, then reached for his belt. He always carried all of the important keys to the town on his belt, but from among the mass on its large, heavy ring he drew a small key of artisanal design. The lock of the strongbox clacked loudly when he turned it, as if it had never been opened before. Then, father reached in, holding something I could not see in the palm of his hand. He looked at me slowly, his voice cracked with pain.

"You... are not my son," he said at last. I was speechless. He held out his hand. On it, there lay a small golden coin, or perhaps it was a medallion. It was engraved using Dwarven Cirth with the single word: WYNE.

"I wanted to tell you for many years, but it never seemed the right time. Now, I think, fate has conspired to force this moment on me at last." He sighed heavily, and sank back into his chair. "I can only hope you are not angry with me."

I did not answer at once, but it was not for uncertainty: I was merely overwhelmed at what had just been revealed to me. "No, father, and so I will always call you, for you have been my father whether by blood or by chance," I said. He smiled, but did not look directly at me yet. "Still, I would know what you know of me and ... my past."

Father breathed deeply, then told me this tale.

"First of all, you should know that I've always loved you, Piers. Always. You know I've always told you your mother died in childbirth, and that was true. But poor Lucy did not die in your birth -- it was your sister's, who passed from illness before her first winter had gone. And so I was left alone for the most miserable two years of my life.

"But, twenty-one years ago I was still a younger man and, even as you have always known me, I was a regular member of the Watch. One night, not much unlike this one, what with the wind and the rain blowing so, I was on assignment watching the Great East Road south of town. I fancied I heard a commotion out ahead of me, though it was hard to be sure in the gale. I rode forward some ways, for what seemed like hours, always fearing to stumble upon some brigand raiding party and find myself at their mercy, but I met no one.

"Suddenly, I saw a tumbled mass of carts and waggons, just off the Road. It was very dark, but I'd say it was roughly a furlong east of the Yellow Tree, somewhere south of the marshes. Anyway, there was nothing in sight save the remains of what must have been a sizable caravan heading westward, most likely toward Bree itself.

"Naturally, I began to search among the wreckage for any indication of what fate had befallen the travelers. What I found was you, underneath an overturned horsecart."

"There was nothing to show where I had come from or why I was left behind?" I asked.

"No. Nothing. Nothing save that gold piece there in front of you, which I found trod into the mud nearby."

"But the brigand I slew in the Chetwood -- he called me a Gondorian. Was there some clue in the lost caravan to show it was from Gondor?" I asked. "And how would the brigand know such information in the first place?"

"As to how this Jack knew anything about you, I have no idea. Nor had I ever heard of him before you told me how you defeated him. The thought would seem incredible that some nameless highway robber would be tracking an orphaned foreigner in the Bree-land for twenty years. But then you also mentioned those dark-skinned Men that were with him. Who knows what land they came from or what lord they serve?

"Certainly I noticed the waggons and carts in the caravan were far more opulent than anything you would see in this part of the world, so I quickly decided they must have been from a larger kingdom. Dale was the first place to come to my mind, although Gondor is certainly a possibility. It is a terribly long ways off and the paths between the stone-land and Bree-land have not been safe for many long years. Nor have I ever heard of such a large emissary to have passed through Bree in my lifetime. I focused instead on that medallion there. I figured it was my best chance of learning what had happened to those folk."

"Of course I took it straight to the Scholar's Stair Archives to ask them what it might mean, but they could tell me nothing. Well, except that the writing used the Dwarf-runes that were common among that folk, but we get enough Dwarves trafficking through Bree to know their writings well enough, even if we can't always read them aright."

"Well, whatever I am or am not, I am certainly no Dwarf!" In spite of the gravity of the situation, I could not help but find myself grimly amused by all of this intrigue. Father chuckled softly.

"No, but I really have no idea what you are, although your friend in the Chetwood seemed to know something we do not, that much is clear. In any case, since there was nothing else for it, I took you in and raised you myself. I felt you were brought into my life at just the right time and I always tried to bring you up as my own son. I somehow knew this day might come. And, while it may seem to have come too quickly, perhaps that is not so." He looked at me.

"You are a strong man, Piers. Much stronger than I ever was, even when I was your age. As I look at you now, with the eyes of a fellow man and not as a father, I can see you could be a great soldier. But I am no Elf, with orbs of crystal to see the future as the old tales tell it -- I am just an old Watchman."

We were silent for a while.

"I ... expect you'll be wanting to learn more about yourself. Your heritage. Whether your... real family ... might still be found?" He asked, sounding as though he both knew the answer and wished to not hear it.

"I'm not sure," I said, but a great desire to travel the world had often gnawed at me, and now it flamed up with a furious intensity. Even as I spoke the words, I knew that father had already guessed my heart.

"Perhaps you should sleep on it," was what he said aloud. "No doubt things will seem very different in the morning."

"Yes, father," I said reflexively, and stood to head to my room.

"You know," he said, stopping me, "you don't have to call me that if you don't feel it is right. There is no denying I'm not really your father, and I have withheld the truth from you all these years."

I shook my head. "No. I call you that because that is what you are to me. Even if I was really the son of the lord of Gondor, no man could never wish for a kinder, wiser, or more honorable father than you."

"Reckon that's taking it a bit far," he said, clearly touched but trying not to show it, "Still, it's not right, is it? I don't even know you true name."

"My name," I said, "is Piersyn Wyne."

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne, Part 3

I have been delayed again: the people of Combe very nearly begged for me to help them in the face of the rising threat of the Blackwolds and I could not walk away from them, since I was brought up as a boy here.

I succeeded in defeating the Blackwolds' leader, but I must admit I am rather shaken by the experience. I thought they were nothing more than a rag-tag bunch of ruffians. And maybe they were, but if so then they have aligned themselves with something far more powerful. I encountered some of the Blackwolds' new allies in the depths of their headquarters in the North Chetwood, and what I saw and felt there I cannot really explain. Perhaps there is something to the ravings of those Rangers after all.

One other thing I should probably record here: as I struck down Jagger Jack, the Blackwolds' wolf-master, he said to me, "You will never win this war, Gondorian." I laughed at him as he passed -- surely it was nothing but the ravings of a dying man.

A hard rain has begun falling. I returned to the Comb and Wattle to recover from my ordeal. Despite my training and the brigands' total lack of discipline, I was wounded in the leg by one of their filthy wolf half-breeds. The wound is not bad, but it will slow me down in returning to father with my reports from Archet and Combe, and I am already long away. But, with the weather turning foul and my leg in no condition to carry me back to town, I should rest a bit and not push myself too hard.

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne, Part 2

I'm happy to report the spiders have been driven off. I managed to track the spider-queen to the inside Perhaps even father will think kindly on my deeds here in Archet.

The spiders had been sighted in the cellar of a local farmer's home, which the disgusting creatures had completely overrun. I severely wounded Iornaith with a well-aimed javelin, and the rest of the fight was fairly simple. The people of Archet are quite happy with the way I've discharged my duties -- they've even begun calling me "Spider-Foe," which I think is ridiculous, though I don't doubt they mean well.

But I have loitered here long enough -- the townsfolk are safe and now need hammers and nails more than swords and spears. As soon as I am rested I will return to Bree and deliver my report.

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne, Part 1

I appealed to the local hunters for aid against the Blackwolds.
My name is Piersyn and I am the only son of the Second Watcher of Bree-town. Most everyone just calls me Piers. I am keeping this log in the hopes it may prove useful to the Watch after I complete my assignment here. There have been rumors coming out of Archet about some foreign man who has fallen badly ill, so I was dispatched to investigate and ensure he is up to no mischief. I arrived in Archet to find it turned nearly upside down. I won't go into the details -- Captain Brackenbrook's naivete, the treachery of Calder Cob, or the slaughter we faced at the hands of the Blackwolds. That tale has already been told and re-told throughout the whole length of the Bree-land, and my own part in it wildly exaggerated. My private thoughts on the matter I shall relay to father once I've compiled my official report to the Town Watch.

In the meantime, however, the people of Archet desperately require aid. I will remain here long enough to help them and, possibly, to request assistance be sent from Combe, as they have woodworkers there of some skill. But I cannot tarry overlong here: the curious matter of these brooding Rangers concerns me, and I will not be responsible for another of our villages coming under attack if this raid on Archet was somehow connected with them. Father does not trust the Rangers and neither do I.

There is a Dwarf here, Atli by name, who requested my help on behalf of Archet. It seems there is a serious infestation of spiders in the area and he believes that if we can eliminate their queen we should scatter the colony. I doubt I could be of greater use to the folk here than to succeed at this task myself, so I will attempt it. I must say all of this activity has done wonders for the strength of my arm, though I do find myself hungry more often than I used. Tomorrow I will root out this Iornaith, as Atli calls it, and see what can be done about her.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Trials of Piersyn Wyne

I have begun a new and rather ambitious project I shall call The Trials of Piersyn Wyne. This saga will chronicle the personal journey of the eponymous character, a brand new human Warden from Bree, throughout his journey in Middle-earth. My intent is to use him as a "meta toon" or "completionist" character, as opposed to a leveling character. I was always more focused in the past on reaching the level cap with my characters in order to participate in end-game material, so now I will endeavor to take it slowly and enjoy the trip.

Piersyn will, of course, experience all of the usual challenges we all faced when traveling in Middle-earth, but his tale will have several unforeseeable twists. You will see plenty of activities you will recognize from your own story, but there will be quite a bit that may surprise you. I hope you find it entertaining!

You can read The Trials of Piersyn Wyne by clicking on the appropriate button on the navigation menu. New entries will be added as the character advances through his ordeals. Enjoy!

Master of Toons

Fun With LOTRO Pics

"I told you guys it was a bad idea to open a nail salon in this ZIP code, but noooooooo..."

Master of Toons

Saturday, February 20, 2016

School, Library, and Warg Pens for Saturday Instance Night

Prabo (pictured DISTANT left, background) was busy eating a snack, so Besil (Padhric) and Svartharth (foreground) rush to meet and defeat the Enemy's forces in the School at Tham Mirdain.

It was another action-packed Random Instance Night with the Dawnbreakers! We swiftly conquered the School and Library at Tham Mirdain, then lay waste to the Warg Pens of Dol Guldur, all in record time. Fun was had by all. Except the Wargs. And the Orcs. And the goblins. Alright, basically no one had fun but the Dawnbreakers.

To learn more about the Dawnbreakers, visit

Master of Toons

Friday, February 19, 2016

Will the Dawnbreakers' Low-Level Group Return?

Padhric (right) as a lowly level 25-ish Burglar outside of Ost Guruth with the Dawnbreakers. Padhric began life as part of the Dawnbreakers' weekly low-level group, which may be starting up again soon.
The Dawnbreakers are not only recruiting, but also working to re-start our exciting and fulfilling low-level groups! We may start up one or more such groups, which typically run on Thursday and Sunday nights (depending on the number of participants) at 8 p.m. Central.

The low-level groups are special because they involve players either creating new characters or using a very low-level alt to play through the game from the beginning. We have a blast playing the game the way it was always meant to be played!

If you are interested in joining us for fun and camaraderie, be sure to apply for membership in the Dawnbreakers before the new groups begin their adventures. Learn more at

Master of Toons

Monday, February 15, 2016

Calling All Recruits!

Now that the server transfer is complete and my characters have begun to settle into their new home, I've started allowing some of them to participate in Pick Up Group (PUG) runs. These prove very useful for getting to know prospective recruits better than a random private message. In fact, I've recruited a pair of new folks in as many days: Stiletta and Celondus, by name.

The Dawnbreakers are actively recruiting! If you are on the Arkenstone server and are looking for a good kinship home, be sure to consider us. Visit for more information.

Master of Toons

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Tale of Heroism, Gallantry, and Radioactive Cheese

The Dawnbreakers ride (er... walk) again! Pictured from left to right: Angylya, Darynn (that's me in other guise), and Olliraldor (Dawnbreakers kinship leader Lesraldor on his young mini).

Lately I've been about as communicative as a deaf mute with a speech impediment who's had his tongue surgically removed and recently died. This has been largely because I have been much less active in-game than has been my wont. But, with the Dawnbreakers having completed the transfer to the Arkenstone server and with recruiting in full swing, things may be picking back up again.

The Dawnbreakers recount their adventures to the Bree-folk.
This evening, a few of us Dawnbreakers decided to re-kill a bunch of dead things on the off-chance that they might actually stay dead this time (spoiler: it didn't work). Our group consisted of one Warden and two Minstrels, so we tromped through Haudh Iarchith and the rest of the Barrow-downs like a whirlwind Simon & Garfunkel band on crack, except with much better hair and excessive hat plumage. By the time it was over, the three of us had rocketed forward at least three levels, we each flew through two levels of Bree-land reputation, and the zombie apocalypse had been averted. Again. We also managed to do a little something about the Barrow-downs' spider infestation since Angylya was foresighted enough to bring along a can of Raid. Of course, it was empty because Raid hadn't been invented yet, but it did make an excellent bludgeon after my sword was snapped in half by an especially grumpy Kergrim. He kept grunting something about us wantonly eradicating his species, but I couldn't hear him very well over the sound of my clubbing him to death with my empty can of Raid.

Anyway, when it was all said and done, I finally learned how to use shields (Lesson 1: face the opponent...) and collected some halfway decent jewellery. Oh, and of course I also found a delectable lump of cheese which I immediately scarfed down. I was surprised to learn this cheese caused my rapid and agonizing demise. Who knew? Where I'm from, 4,000-year-old cheese that's been stored in the same general vicinity as a bunch of putrid corpses that have been reanimated for the purpose of conquering the world was always a well-known delicacy. Bree-land is such an odd place.

Stay tuned for more adventures from the Dawnbreak -- hey look! Cheese!

Master of Toons