Secret bandit schemes in hand, I head back to town.
It's about three to five minutes, one-way, depending on how many times you get jumped. Which means (I'm explaining this for the benefit of the rangers in the audience) that the full round-trip is six to ten minutes. Hm. I wonder how many times I'll have to make that trip in this quest line?
Trips to Chetwood: 1
The letter I recovered mentions a local woman named Ellie Cutleaf. Apparently she has been working with the brigands. I show the letter to Underhill.
"Very nice!" he says. "Say, I've got a thought. Why don't you go see her and pretend to join up with the Blackwold?"
"Because," I say with as much politeness as I can muster, "That would be stupid."
"Nonsense! You look like a nasty sort. I mean, they're nasty. And you're nasty. I'm sure after one look at you they'll accept you as their own."
"I've killed dozens of them. I've probably killed more bandits than any other person in town."
"All that experience should make you a valuable candidate!"
"I'm their nemesis. I've actually earned a special title for killing so many."
In LOTRO, like in a lot of MMO games, you can earn titles for yourself. There are a lot of titles. Some are trivial to earn. (You get them when you roll up your character.) Others can be extremely time consuming. (Kill infinity minus one Orcs.) Others can be tricky. (Reach level 20 without dying.) The "Watcher of Roads" title is given for killing 30 brigands. I'm pretty sure you can hit 30 without even trying. You'll likely kill that many just trying to get through the woods trying to do the quests in this area.
"The Blackwold would never have me," I continue. "I'm famous for killing them!"
"So you're a famous killer?" Underhill says. "You're a natural!"
"They hate me!" I object.
He shrugs, "Well, I hate you, and I hired you anyway."
He makes a fair point. These humans have done far dumber things than hiring their worst enemy. It's probably better to just agree to his silly plan than to stand here all day arguing.