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This story is set in S.R. 1430, so the "battle of Mirkwood" mentioned is not the one that took place during the War of the Ring about a decade earlier. It is conceivable that any surviving orcs that were driven out of Mirkwood by Thranduil fled back into the mountains, where they lived on slim pickings for some time, licking their wounds. Meanwhile, after the war, Rangers came back to the North and resumed their patrols. The orcs could have come out of the mountains again, angry and desperate, to be repelled from Mirkwood a second time, some years later, and some Rangers might have been involved in the fight, you never know... This group of half a hundred orcs are intended to be the survivors of that debacle. Scorning the mountains, they have headed westward, looking for easier pickings...
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