Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beyond the Mirror of Fire

Among my many ideas for adventures in Middle-earth are scenarios set in the far South, in the Harad, which can include the areas of Umbar, Near Harad, Far Harad, Greater Harad, and Dark Harad. Source material for large swathes of this place are sketchy, but among the various MERP modules there is enough to detail the entire area from Bozisha-Dar to the west, to the great port city of Tul Harar to the east; and from the entire length of the northern flanks of the Yellow Mountains, to the border of the so-called Mirror of Fire. It is an arid region of vast plateaus, scattered woodlands, wide rivers, and ancient, worn cities and strongholds. (The ruined city of Charnesra is of particular interest.) I have also read somewhat of the Dwarves of the area, who include among their number not a few of Durin's Folk; of the quest by Bavor's people for the legendary Southern Hammer; and of the riches to be found in the abandoned dwarf-mines of Ghabaras, now of course infested by you-know-what's.

The challenge for me is mainly learning the geography. I pretty much know the area north and west of Mordor like the back of my hand, but the far South is a jungle (pardon the expression) of new names to me. But I think it would be great for low-level adventures for Roon Dorozhand, as well as the knaves Blod Tarkha'an and Reav Bodrahan, if we could ever manage to get together for adventures; even those who prefer characters of a more dwarvish nature could easily take part.

The long-mulled-over "Quest for the Eye of Bombasharna" adventure, which begins in the Harad, is still taking shape in my brain...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter in the Naith

Three weeks into 2009, and the year is looking good.

Obama was inaugurated 44th President yesterday. I worked, and have not bothered to go back and watch video of it. It is enough that the idiot W. is out, and someone of more than average intelligence holds the Oval Office. So long as he does not screw things up, I will be somewhat content.

I have already set out two blackberry bushes (Ouachita variety), and two of the purple-leaved Loropetalum hedge which will finish out the long-neglected (not by me) flower bed on our house's north side. Waiting for me to plant still are three new cypresses and a turkey fig, my first attempt at growing a fig tree. Should be interesting.

Took my second of three Praxis II tests a couple of weeks ago, the Social Studies one, which will add to my successful Biology test of November; I will take the last test, the English one, in March. I am getting together information for what my best friend Richard calls "boot camp," an intenisve three-week teacher education course held in June at Pearl River Community College. How I will work that along with my regular job will be a challenge, but I am rather clever, after all... At any rate, I should be set to begin looking for a job as a high school teacher come July. I am so ready.

Meanwhile, the trees sleep, and I continue to plot and scheme, and gaze from time to time at the Glacier webcams.

One day...

Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"