Quest:In Their Absence, Chapter 1

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In Their Absence, Chapter 1
Level 65
Type Small Fellowship
Starts with Stained Envelope
Starts at Mailbox
Ends with Bounder Boffin
Ends at Northcotton Farm
End Region Evendim
Map Ref [22.9S, 68.0W]
Quest Group In Their Absence
Quest Text

Bestowal dialogue

'Henric,

Strange things are afoot these days in and around Oatbarton. First there was that mysterious relic that appeared in Bungo Grubb's pipe-weed fields; killed the crop dead, it did, and left everyone else worried for their own!

But now things are even worse. Hobbits have been disappearing left and right. And these aren't Tooks I'm talking about, neither! No, these are good, honest Bolgers and Boffins, as solid and dependable gentlehobbits as you could hope to meet! Not a flaw among them, save being over-fond of their food and drink, and that's not a flaw at all in my estimation.

I don't know for sure what could have caused this recent spate of disappearances, though I have my guesses. I have not seen as many of the grim-faced Rangers lurking about in recent days; is it the same in Bree? In any event, if you know of a stalwart adventurer, be sure to send him or her to me at once. I am worried for my friends here in Oatbarton! We're within the bounds of the Shire, of course, but the rest of Evendim is a dangerous place, just to our north, and even Oatbarton has been frightful of late.

Wishing you the best, your devoted cousin,

Fenric'

Background

Shadows are lengthening throughout Eriador now that many of the Rangers have left for the south-lands, and trouble is brewing in their presence.

Objective 1

Fenric Banks is in Oatbarton, the hobbit-town in the southern reaches of Evendim. It is one of the most northern villages of the Shire.

Barliman Butterbur has asked you to investigate the worries of the hobbit Fenric Banks, in Oatbarton.

Barliman Butterbur: 'The letter Henric Banks showed me from his cousin Fenric is worrying, <name>, wouldn't you say? It seems to me that troubles are increasing everywhere these days, and even the cheery common room of the Pony is not safe from these worries!
'I haven't seen hide nor hair from those Rangers recently, and if you'd asked me a couple of weeks ago, I'd have been delighted! But now I'm not so sure. In their absence, the shadows seem to be lengthening and the troubles increasing! It's bad for business!
'You should travel to Oatbarton and see about helping Fenric Banks. The village is in the southern reaches of Evendim, but is within the bounds of the Shire. it is one of the most northerly of the hobbit-villages.'
Fenric Banks: 'Ah, hello there, <name>, it is a pleasure to meet you. I wish we met under happier circumstances, because things have not been going well here in Oatbarton, as you must know if you saw my letter to cousin Henric!
'The Bounders have been kept busy in recent weeks, but now things are happening within the Bounds: strange relics appearing in pipe-weed fields overnight, crops dying out suddenly; it's the worst I've ever seen it!
'But now hobbits are disappearing: first that thing appeared in Bungo Grubb's field, and not long after, Isenbard Bolger's up and gone. Then Crystal Bolger vanished, and afterwards Andy Boffin and Gladiola Farmer. A couple of Bounder went off to Northcotton Farm, west of here and up the hill, where Gladiola Farmer was last seen. You should gather a couple of friends and go investigate. I'm worried!'

Objective 2

The Northcotton Farm is located west of Oatbarton's town center and up the steep hill.

Fenric Banks has told you of the hobbit disappearances and wants you to gather a couple of friends and investigate the Northcotton Farm, where one of the hobbits was last seen.

Fenric Banks: 'A couple of Bounders went off to Northcotton farm, west of here and up the hill, to look for the missing hobbits. You should gather a couple of friends and go investigate. I'm worried!'
Bounder Boffin: 'What brings you to Northcotton Farm, <name>? Something's not quite right here, and I'm glad to have your help! This is the last place Gladiola Farmer was seen before her disappearance. We'll get to the bottom of it!'