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Old 07-24-2006, 10:50 AM   #114
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
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The fellowship rides north:

To his relief, Lindir found that he had very little to do the next morning. The entire camp rose early, each member rushing about and making preparations for the journey long before the sun had risen. The Elf had checked over all the horses and tackle to make sure everything was fit for the road. Others in the group had hastily packed away their belongings and eaten a few snatches of food before mounting up and pointing their animals' noses firmly towards the north.

Dorran rode at the front of the line, with Aiwendil on one side and Athwen on the other. Lindir brought up the very rear; just in front of him were Vrr and Rg, with Carl riding in the middle of the group. Occasionally, as their journey progressed, the istar would lean over and point out to Dorran some particular patch of shrubs or a tiny brook or bare hillock that showed they were still continuing in the right direction. The group made decent progress; for the most part the horses were able to maintain a steady canter except for a few stretches of rough ground, pockmarked with entry holes from a long abandoned rabbit warren or thick with prickley bramble bushes where they had to pick their way with great care. Most of the land was flat and barren, with little evidence of living creatures. There was no sign of the bat colony which had so caught Aiwendil and Rg's interest the previous night.

A grey dreariness hung over the party, a feeling of heaviness and shadow that was not dispelled even when the first rays of the sun shone weakly over the plain. Unlike the night before, there was little casual talk or camradarie; all eyes remained fixed on the trail, each rider intent on making progress as quickly as they could.

They had been going on like this for several hours when Lindir ordered everyone to halt and then rode forward to the front of the group. The land where they were now riding was still grey and heavy, but craggy hills and larger patches of vegetation at least provided some cover. Lindir stared to the north to what looked like an empty plain to the rest of the party. Then he glanced over at Aiwendil, "It's hard to see because of the hills, but around that bend, where the small stream is, I think I can can make out the outline of a good sized Mannish camp."

Aiwendil glanced back at Rg, raising one eyebrow and tilting his head. He was met with an affirming nod. Turning back towards Lindir, the old man spoke directly to the Elf, "Yes, that is it, I think. And this is the closest that we'll want to come in the light of day. These boulders and the surrounding brush will give us some cover, but we need a few brave folk to go down and get a closer look at their camp, and try to find out where they've taken the slaves."

"You're right, my friend. Any takers then? the rest of us will set up camp." Lindir stepped back and looked around the group.

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 07-25-2006 at 01:46 AM.
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