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Finally we arrive on the eaves of Fangorn Forest. Yes! When I first took a look at the Voice of Isengard Deluxe expansion I told you how...
Mugash was free and running. The sickness lingered in his body, but he savored its malevolent presence. Because of it, his tormentors had thought him near death and loosened his bonds. The fools had even fed him. Mugash’s arms and legs stung. His joints were swollen and throbbing where the ropes had tied him to the poles. His limbs had been useless the first few miles of his escape, and he’d crawled like a worm down the mountainside, pushing himself forward with shoulders and hips. The great Orc had laughed at the pain. His way, the way of the Uruk, was not one of stealth and silence, but last night on the mountainside, stealth and silence had been his closest friends. He flexed his hands. Through the pain he felt strength returning. He had outwitted the hated bright-eyed humans, and now he was free. But the humans, the bùbosh skai, were hunting him. He could hear their pursuing feet in the pass above him. He spat, tasting the stale rag that had been jammed in his mouth for days. When revenge came, he would feed hot coals to his former captors. As Mugash thought of his imprisonment, a blood rage almost took him, but he resisted the urge to turn and fight. He knew the skill of these particular skalug, and fighting them now would be foolish. Mugash was no fool. He’d become chieftain of the southern tribes through more than strength and violence. Vengeance would wait. He’d fight another night. How Mugash wished it was night! The sun had risen, and its vile sharpness was like a blade in his eyes. Even so, the great Orc forged on. He’d always prided himself on his resistance to the white eye. Though it hurt him, unlike most of his tribesmen––he endured its viscous glare,. Even so, the bright path was hard to see and the pain was another tax on his punished body. He’d thought of escaping back along the mountain path, but the ice would have slowed him further. Instead, he hobbled east, down the mountainside and eastward, into the damned rising white eye. Into the lower lands. Into the trees. As the forest shadows shielded him from the sun, he grunted with relief. The southern forest, with its dense canopy of ancient trees, made for an almost-subterranean world, twilit in greens, browns, and blacks. He would have preferred a dark tunnel or cave, but this was not a bad place. The great Uruk took a ragged breath and renewed energy came to him. He soon disappeared into the shadows of the primordial forest. It would be impossible for the bùbosh skalug to find him there. Mugash soon learned he was wrong. This forest was, after all, a bad place. Not far behind, the heroes followed in close pursuit. They’d caught the monster once, and were determined to do it again. Yet even the strongest determination could not stop them from hesitating when they realized that Mugash had ventured into the old forest of Fangorn, a place with a dark and dangerous reputation. As they entered Fangorn, the air hummed with a subtle song of branch and leaf, and the tune was unkind. They’d come to a place forgotten by the world and abandoned by time. One that wished to remain so. The trees and stone watched, as they always had. A humid wind whispered in the branches, and old memories stirred in bark and root. Sleeping things woke from sour dreams. Things that hated disturbance. Hated the smell of change and steel and fire that clung to the intruders.
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