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Old 02-27-2007, 08:02 AM   #351
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
 
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Aiwendil:

A small brown thrush, a bird rarely seen in Mordor, angled his way across the heavens, heading back towards the camp where his journey had begun. Aiwendil was so intent on rejoining his companions that he almost missed the handful of riders approaching from the west. They had been riding hard but were now stopped for a moment of rest. Curious about the men, the thrush flew in that direction and flitted down to perch on a nearby crag of tumbled boulders. The cliffs rose straight up from the plains and totally encircled the land, making a kind of small canyon where travelers could take shelter from the wind and weather. Aiwendil was close enough to hear the men and see what they were doing. He immediately recognized them as the last bedraggled remnant of the once proud band that had attacked their camp earlier that day. The istar let out a sigh. If these were the final men left alive, as they appeared to be, then his companions had prevailed, and the people were safe.

The riders were arguing among themselves; one stood up and drew out a dagger waving it menacingly in the otherís face. They had decided to go back and retrieve their belongings but there was more than that at stake. Aiwendil caught snatches of heated conversation about a chest stored in the captainís tent reputed to contain many gold and silver coins. Even in these outlying parts, gold had real value, and a stash of money would make a wonderful resource to help fund the settlement on the Plains of Gorgoroth.

Aiwendil considered what to do. He did not want these men to continue on and remove the chest before Lindir made it over with the scouts. Yet the istar was bone weary. He had risen at dawn and spent the past seven hours in the midst of battle and giving chase over the plain. Home in Valinor, Aiwendil could switch from thrush to lion and even to giant eagle in the merest flash of an eye. But here, inside the bounds of Middle-earth, things were not so easy. His incarnate shape, that of an older man, was subject to the same pains and weariness as any other mortal. In order to chase off the slavers, he would have to appear as a large and threatening animal, something he could not presently do. It was not a lack of will or knowledge. He simply did not have the energy required for such a task.

He tilted his head to one side and tried to think, but, whether it was the limitations of the small thrush brain or the simple weariness from which the istar suffered, no good ideas came to mind. He was almost ready to admit defeat when he felt the vibrations throb beneath the rocks. He listened and caught the same ominous noise that he had heard before when the great hunters had passed him by. This time, however, the sound was amplified a hundredfold, as if an army of a thousand men was on the move and heading in their direction.

From that point on everything happened very quickly. The small bird fluttered his wings and flew as high as he could go. A band of trolls was approaching the spot where the men were now deep in conversation. This was no small hunting party but an organized army that was racing forward in tight formation. Finally awake to their danger, the slavers scattered in panic and tried to scramble on their horses, but were not quick enough to escape the stone soldiers who rushed forward with pikes and axes. The slaughter took only a few moments and was far more devastating in its ferocity than anything Aiwendil had witnessed earlier in the grove.

As the last ounce of his strength receded, the small bird plummeted back to earth and landed in a soft heap of feathers. One moment there was a thrush, the next an old man rubbing his eyes, struggling to rise. Aiwendil was trapped inside his body. Too weary to take on any other form, he ran and hid beneath the overhang of the rock cliffs. The army of trolls ground to a halt while the leader barked out orders in the black tongue. Aiwendil peered warily from behind his enclosure. To his dismay and puzzlement, the group was setting up camp. He wondered why they did not travel at night as was customary for their kind. Then he remembered. These were no ordinary trolls but olog-hai, completely immune to the hot rays of the sun. Apparently, they had decided to sleep through the night and continue on the next morning. With a groan, the old man buried his head in his hands. He was trapped within the canyon with no way to get out until the brutes resumed their journey. He sank down defeated on the ground.

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Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 03-05-2007 at 03:06 PM.
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