Expedition to the Haunted Vale
The Vale of Brethil
Copyright ©2000 Phillip Gladney
Edited for The Guild Companion by Joe Mandala, October 2000
Mitheithel This swift-flowing river, known as the Hoarwell in Westron, comprises the western
border of the ancient holdings of the Melosse family. It has a diameter of about one hundred
feet and crests white in many places. It is altogether incapable of being crossed between the
Iant Methed and Fennas Drunin, where it widens and deepens. During the spring months the waters
are especially violent as ice from the mountains of Angmar melts and flows south. Jagged rocks
sticking up through the rivers surface make any travel by boat suicidal.
Vale of Brethil What was once the most fertile and cultivated region of the En Egladil
is now barren and empty, the residents having fled as the Witch-king's army approached over two
hundred years ago. Rumors of ghosts and the still-vivid memories of what transpired in the old
castle on the hill are enough to keep any resettlement from occurring so far. Decaying farmsteads
and overgrown fields now dot the landscape and wild animals run free. The sound of wolf cries
can often be heard if anyone dares to spend a night in this haunted vale.
Minas Brethil The most prominent feature in the whole valley stands on the highest hill and looks down over the landscape. The old castle of the Melosse family, Minas Brethil, is now a ruin, but the remains still show how grand and beautiful it once was. Broken walls, ivy and stands of wild bushes now hide much of the old stonework, and to all but the most perceptive the aged castle looks uninhabited and deserted.
Cave The Hillmen who accompanied the Angmarean expedition are based out of a small cave situated close to a rotting farmstead. There is also a small lake nearby which provides water to the superstitious rangers.
Camp A group of Hillmen use this primitive camp as a refuge when not out hunting or on patrol. It has limited defenses and cannot hold off any serious attack. It remains hidden on top of an adjoining hill to the one upon which Minas Brethil sits.
Camp This is another of the Hillmen camps. It operates similarly to the camp at #5, but is located on the northern end of the very same hill that Minas Brethil is on.
Secret exit Hidden in a rock wall behind a large amount of thorny bushes (grown by the Melosse family hundreds of years ago) is the secret exit of Minas Brethil. A Sheer Folly maneuver (-50) to find from the outside, this passage takes one down to the cellars of the old fortress. No one has traveled through this door since anyone (except an Elf or an old Dwarf) can remember.
Orcish entrance Close to the Hoarwell River sits a meager cave. This was once used as a temporary refuge for fishermen who got caught in the rain. Little did they know that the small crack in the back of the cave widened and led down into a limestone cavern complex. The orcs of the expedition explored the complex and found the crack and the daylight beyond. They widened the slit and turned it into their main entrance. Now two orcs guard the cave at all times.