Having returned to the Anduin Vales after wintering at Lake Town the Companions of the Lake were heading from Woodland Hall south to see Elric’s patron, the wise Wizard Radagast. Taking a well-trodden woodman tale they were suddenly confronted by a figure who stumbled out of the undergrowth, plainly sick and close to death.
Elric recognised him as a Woodman of Rhosgobel, Beran, one of Radagast’s warders. He had plainly been poisoned by the terrible spiders of Mirkwood as was close on death, he stumbled towards the Companions and pressed a tattered piece of paper into their hands. Before they could look at it six armed and armoured figures emerged from the Undergrowth, accompanied by savage Wolfhounds. Led by a tough woman named Dagmar, who claimed to be one of the Woodmen, they told the Companions that Beran had violated the territory of the ‘Lord of the Hill’ and they wanted him handed over. The Companions refused and eventually Dagmar agreed to escort them to Rhosgobel to get the council of wise Radagast.
There was much suspicions of these strange men among the Companions, heightened when Beran, who appeared to be recovering under the ministrations of Elric, died suddenly in his sleep. The Companions offered to return his body to Rhosgobel and the servants of the Lord of Tyrant’s Hill said they would accompany them.
The next night they were discovered by sharp-eyed Agladir searching the belongings of the Companions and then by watchful Ulthred trying to sneak up on him with no good purpose in mind. Discovered Dagmar dropped her pretense and told the adventurers to hand over what Beran had given them, that which had been stolen from her Lord. Before there could be any negotiation the Barding yelled a warning and leaped at Dagmar and a savage combat ensued. They sought Beran’s map …