At Echad Saeradan the rangers reveal their immediate concerns in the hills to the northeast, but Eadirin's instinct is to press south into Dunland. ''... there is something, something dark that clouds my sight. We must be careful, for at the borders, the wildmen are not our only concern.'' Finnehas regards his friend solemnly. 'What else do you see, mellon? What weighs so on your mind? Do you think the Stoor moved so quickly south to Dunland?" Eadirin shakes his head. ''No, not the Stoor. It is something different. Some dark clouds that cause this. I cannot tell you what it is, and if we are lucky, we shall not discover it.''
The Dúnadan called Andreg warns them to follow the North-South Road without treading it openly — all paths are being watched by unsavoury eyes.
Once more, the elves descend into the valley towards the once-great road, but take care to remain hidden and leave no trail.
At the bridge they turn west and follow the river, its bank sloping steeply up into forested highland.
"We do not know if the Brenin has sent men to watch the bridge."
Finnehas pauses beneath the trees, pointing across the river valley to Lhanuch. "The rangers were right to warn us about the open road. The bridge is too close to that hilltop settlement of Edain for my liking."
Here in the uplands, there is indeed another crossing and the elves turn south again as the river retreats beneath ground, emerging sluggish and muddied to the west. But the very air of the place has changed, grown still and oppressive. Large red-leaved trees stand mournfully on the landscape, their trunks bent, bark gnarled. The elves feel eyes upon them, but no living soul is visible. Yet now and again, the rustle of dry leaves, the crack of a twig and elusive snatches of light hint at an unknown presence.
Not wanting to be stranded in such a forest when night falls, the elves move on steadfastly, not lingering at the mysterious stone circles that seem to have been created for primitive and arcane rituals.
At last, dusk closing in on them, they arrive at the edge of the forest. Here, the river runs clear and brisk again, the shroud lifted from the land.
As Eadirin and Finnehas stop to drink and refill their waterskins, they glimpse a settlement in the distance. Having been warned by the Dúnedain not to trust the sigils of the Enedwaith and Dunlendings, Finnehas makes certain that this village can give them refuge before he and Eadirin cautiously enter.
Lhan Tarren of the Stag Clan — guess what their totem and banner show?
If they survive the night, what will dawn bring?