The Lost Chronicles of Radagast the Brown
It is not for vanity that I pen these words. Neither is it for glory or any other sort of personal gain. Rather, it is to assuage my own conscience. Perhaps, then, it may be vanity of a sort. But I cannot stop writing now. For in writing, I find that it is a cathartic experience that already serves to assuage my guilty mind.
I believe it was distinctly felt, though unspoken, by many in the White Council, most notably Saruman the White and its members from among the numbers of the Eldar, that I had somehow been derelict in my duties. I write these memoirs in an attempt to exonerate myself, if only in my own eyes, for I cannot begin to guess as I write, if any eyes apart from my own shall ever see it.
My memories of the Valar and of the Undying Lands are no more real than a dream now. Only Yavanna, the Vala whom I was sworn to serve, can be pictured with any clarity in my gaunt and weary mind. After over two millenia, I am made keenly aware of the limitations of my body, heightened by the passage of time. For each bit of lore I digested, I forgot something of even greater importance. But one thing I have never forgotten, that bit of knowledge most sacred to me : my task is to foster the healing and growth of Middle-Earth after the expulsion of Sauron.
Gandalf's task, to aid the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth against Sauron, has already met with success, and I imagine he is already back home in Valinor, as I write this. But my tale is not yet told, my responsibilities to the Valar are not finished. How long I must remain in Middle-Earth, I cannot say. It may be that I may never return home; that this is my new home. The elves are gradually beginning to forsake Middle-Earth; the dwarves have little incentive to leave their homes. Although I shudder to consider this dread prospect, it may very well be that I am now Middle-Earth's last line of defense, should Men fail.
But I know this. Morgoth's taint is not purged from Middle-Earth, nor will it ever be, until Arda is laid bare. Sauron was but a childling of the Enemy; a loyal pet. But while Sauron selfishly hoarded his evil power for himself with the One Ring, Morgoth shared his darkness with the world. Just as Sauron weakened and diminished himself for the sake of his Ring of Power, so too did Morgoth spend his strength for the sake of making the Shadow a permanent and inexorable part of Middle-Earth. Though the first Dark Lord's body has been expelled, his spirit blankets Middle-Earth, manifesting itself as orcs, dragons, balrogs, trolls, great spiders, the tainted Men of the East and South, and the terrible shadowy powers they call upon for aid.
So for now, all I can say for sure that I should do is to aid in the restoration of Mirkwood with the help of the loyal elves who remain here with me, and to aid the Ents in the replenishment of Fangorn, which should go quicker with my help. And, of course, I will watch and wait for signs of the return of the true Dark Lord, not Sauron, but the one whose name even elves dare not whisper if they can avoid it. But there will be time for me to worry about the future later. For now, I shall regale you with tales of my past.
My life as a Man, to the best of my recollection, began sometime around 1000 in the year of the Third Age, over two millenia ago. Originally there were to be only four Wizards : Olórin, Curumo, Alatar, and Pallando; or in the Westron dialect, Gandalf, Saruman, Morinehtar and Rómestámo. But Yavanna persuaded a reluctant Curumo to have Aiwendil, myself, accompany him across the Sea to Middle-Earth. Perhaps this is why Saruman considered me more as a burden of negligible value than as an ally and peer.
For many centuries, we devoured the lore of Middle-Earth in any form which it could be found. Books, scrolls, places of power, and other objects of power. It did not matter. With our Maiar powers sealed away by our bodies of Men, we were forbidden from using our full powers, and instead had to use the only tools at our disposal, those of wisdom and knowledge. Gandalf became learned in the Secret Fire, studying words of light and flame. I devoted myself to the lore of beasts, birds and plants, cultivating secrets that Saruman would reap to suit his own end. Saruman, the so-called Man of Skill, studied the power of speech itself, of the mind and spirit, a dangerous subject indeed. Moreover, he studied the Rings of Power and broke the most sacred commandment we were given by the Valar - to never use the tools of the Enemy to oppose it. Of course, none of us knew then that Saruman was studying the forbidden art of sorcery by way of direct communion with the Dark Lord. How could we have known?
I do not know what the Blue Wizards studied, because Saruman, back when he was truly White, bade them venture East, to try and turn the minds of the Men in the East away from Sauron's poison. I worried for them then, and I worry for them now, as it is surely a dark omen that neither myself, nor Gandalf, nor Saruman has ever heard from them since their departure. If they yet live, I fear that the temptation to succumb to sorcery must have been great, so close to Barad-dûr. I pray that this is not the case, for I do not know if I have the mettle to face my former allies on the field of battle, as Gandalf had done with Saruman.
The first of my great adventures, in the year 1416 T.A., took me to the Old Forest, where I followed the scant gossip of beasts, birds and trees to its source; they reported to me that some trees in the Old Forest were in fact Huorns - Ents touched by madness and given over to feral behaviours. I confirmed the suspicions of my beast companions - there were indeed Huorns inhabiting the Old Forest. Chief among these was one Old Man Willow, who was fond of lulling both Man and Beast to sleep with his song, and smothering them in his trunk.
Fortunately, I later found that the Old Forest was already under the protection of a Tom Bombadil, a mysterious figure about whom something seemed strangely familiar to me, yet I could not guess who or what he was; suffice to say he was more than a mere minstrel. This I know : his songs could pacify the raging Huorn more quickly and effortlessly than any power I possess. Because he yet lives as I write these tales, I would say it is not possible that he be Man, and his appearance suggests he is neither Elf. If I was forced to hazard a guess, I would suspect that he is a Maia from before Middle-Earth; probably another of Yavanna, because he shares the same love for the birds, the beasts and the trees that I myself possess. Yes, that must be why he seems so strangely familiar and known to me.
Although nothing of noteworthy excitement would happen to me until 2063 T.A., in the centuries between my previous adventure and this one, I would many times assist Galadriel from my residence in Rhosgobel at the western border of Mirkwood, in repelling attacks by giant spiders, wargs, and occasionally even orcs. My assistance was mostly a token gesture of goodwill, as Lady Galadriel was more than capable of defending the forest with her elven Ring of Power. In the year 2063 T.A., however, Gandalf came to me in Rhosgobel for rest and refreshment during one of his many travels.
It was at this time that Gandalf told me of his suspicions that the mysterious presence in Dol Guldur, a topic which had come up at many prior meetings of the White Council, may in fact be the withered shell of Sauron. I agreed to lend my meager assistance to Gandalf, by asking the crebain to watch for any developments in Dol Guldur until Gandalf could arrive. By the time Gandalf arrived at the fell stronghold, its master was nowhere to be seen, although my crow allies would inform Gandalf that the master of the stronghold had fled East, although regrettably they could not confirm his identity.
I again met Gandalf in 2850 T.A., at the convening of the White Council. He told us that he had found the dying Thráin II, King of Durin's folk and the last Ringbearer of the Dwarves, in the dungeons of Dol Guldur. He confirmed at last that the keep's master, the so-called "Necromancer", was indeed Sauron returned! Saruman scoffed, insisting "Where is your proof that this Necromancer is Sauron? You would waste the White Council's resources, hunting every twisted Man or Orc who takes up residence in Mirkwood?!" Gandalf went on to suggest, "perhaps the Dark Lord has taken up residence in Mirkwood because he suspects the One is close by." This enraged Saruman, who loudly proclaimed, "The One fell into the River Anduin with the death of Isildur, and by Anduin's current was swept into the Sea where it shall never be found!"
Saruman, as the White Council's leader, ultimately overruled Gandalf's motion to invade Dol Guldur, and this met with looks of displeasure from Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond. I myself had worried a bit at the ferocity of Saruman's denial of Sauron and the One Ring being anywhere near Mirkwood, but I thought nothing of it at the time. I could never have imagined our leader would betray us, as anything he said always seemed to echo truth. Finally, in 2941 T.A., Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel insisted that they would press an attack on Dol Guldur with or without Saruman's help. I myself lacked the courage of such bold conviction, so I waited for Saruman's reaction. At last, he consented and agreed to spearhead the attack on the dark citadel in southern Mirkwood. As I learned later from Gandalf, this, combined with his adventures in Erebor, were part of a clever plan to ensure that Sauron and Smaug could not form an alliance.
The assault on Dol Guldur was brief, but intense. We had chosen to attack at night, at Saruman's suggestion, for the element of surprise. This would prove to be a mistake. We set up base at my abode in Rhosgobel, planning our attack on the not-too-distant lair of Sauron. Numbered among us were Saruman, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, Cirdan, and myself. At my own advice, the Council agreed to accept the assistance of my good friend Beorn, as well as Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles, a friend to both Gandalf and me. Beorn knew the forests of Mirkwood as well as anyone, and he had an interest in keeping it free of Shadow. When we arrived at Dol Guldur, we found that we had company. A company of nine, to be precise - nine black Riders staring coldly at us with eyes both fiery and cold, from beneath cowled hoods. It was then that we knew that Sauron had no intentions of giving himself up peaceably, and I began to grow fearful as the creatures of Shadow keened a banshee wail that broke the disturbing silence with a sound even more unwelcome.