- "There were black squirrels in the wood. As Bilbo's sharp inquisitive eyes got used to seeing things he could catch glimpses of them whisking off the :path and scuttling behind tree-trunks."
- -(The Hobbit)
Black Squirrels could be neutral, evil, or good, while some Black squirrels were friendly beasts who were fond of Elves or Beornings, others had been captured by servants of the Necromancer and twisted into spies of Dol Guldur
Allies of the Wood-elves and Beornings
A friend and ally of the Wood-elves and Beornings, the black squirrel was often a source of uneasiness for visitors. New-comers assumed that the squirrels were evil on account of their color, an assumption which was patently false. Centuries ago the squirrels were like any other; however, as the forest darkened, their coats gradually grew darker. Mirkwood squirrels often acted as eyes and ears for the Wood-elves.
Allies of the Necromancer
When Sauron first made Mirkwood his home he recruited many creatures as his servants. Few were as sly and stealthy as the black squirrels. With dark magics such as to enslave Beasts, he twisted regular squirrels to do his bidding and act as his spies. Giving them the power to understand the speech of those on two-legs, he ensured that his spies would be able to gain valuable information about the Free Peoples. When the White Council drove Sauron, disguised as The Necromancer, from Dol Guldur in 2941 T.A. he lost his direct contact with the black squirrels. Years later, in his stead, his Nazgûl lieutenants took up command of the squirrels, using their dark speech alone to communicate with the squirrels and have them do the Ringwraiths' bidding.
With smooth black fur and dark, watchful eyes, the twisted Black Squirrels served as Sauron's small and secretive eyes and ears. Whenever they spied something of interest, they would quickly return to their master, whether it was the Necromancer himself, or an Overlord of Dol Guldur. Oftentimes, they were routinely summoned every few nights to report. Doing their master's bidding, the squirrels travailed the whole length of the forest, observing what travelers did and where they were going. The squirrels in particular were charged with spying on the movement of the Mirkwood Elves.
Black squirrels were a product of dark magics from long ago. These same magics helped darken the forest of Greenwood the Great, turning it into the shadowy haunt, which was later called Mirkwood. The squirrels that were created long ago had since bred and multiplied, populating the forest with spies that served Sauron and his minions. Not all black squirrels directly served Sauron, though it was known by the Wise that many black squirrels were indeed the eyes and ears of the enemy. Their normal habits included all those of a normal squirrel, but in addition they regularly scouted the forest for anything worth reporting to their masters. When not spying, they could be found eating roots and nuts, and dwelling in the trees performing natural functions.
The black squirrels mentioned here whom directly serve the Enemy did so not out of their own free will, but out of years of domination. Because of this, they were loyal servants who would do anything for their masters. They would communicate with one another in order to work in teams to spy upon travelers, or would act in solitude, keeping to the shadows to gather information. Whatever the case, their goal was only to spy, and report. They would avoid danger at all costs, and would not attack or harass adventurers unless cornered. An adventurer who would try to communicate with one through Beast Speech or normal coaxing would find them devious and secretive, and they would try to avoid such situations. If an enterprising group forced the creature to speak through magic or some other trick, the squirrel might reveal small information such as that he served a "greater master," and that his master's lair was in Dol Guldur, but beyond that the squirrel had little capacity for answering questions. It simply took in information, and passed it along to his masters, not aware of much more than this.
- Retrieved from [Realms of Arda]; original reference: [ICE MERP 2019], [ICE MERP 2016]