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Old 09-12-2003, 07:36 PM   #45
Shade of Carn Dûm
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Kalrienmar
Posts: 402
Elora has just left Hobbiton.


As Vanwe had stood before Hanasian she had come to the realisation that she had been too late and had lost what little trust he may once have had of her, if any. The Ranger passed her a lock of hair, saying it was her mother's, and a grim expression had haunted his features. She took it, stunned, for it was the only thing of her mother's that she had ever beheld in her life. His words fell upon her still, and Vanwe struggled to attend them, gazing at the hair in her hands.

"Is it truly," Vanwe said in a wondrous voice as she felt the hair in her hand. There was no response. Vanwe looked up and discovered that Hanasian was already striding away. Things move fast... She had meant to give him her notes in hopes that they may be of more use to him then they had been to her. With a sigh, Vanwe glanced back down at the hair. It was so like her own in colour and texture and Vanwe had been different all of her lonely life. Her heart was drumming loudly within her as she stared at it. On a whim, she pressed it to her nose to see if it held her scent, but found that gone. Still, this had been part of her mother once and now she had it!

She could have danced for joy, but instead she spun about. Even though Hanasian was not there to hear it, Vawe spoke in a voice filled with gratitude and joy, "My thanks, Hanasian, for keeping this for me. You make my long road worthwhile now." Had he been there, Hanasian would have had to contend with an Elf who flung her arms around him.

"Hoy Vanwe!" Vanwe started from her reverie and looked up to see Devorin marching towards her. She wrapped her hand around the lock of delicate golden hair and tucked her hands behind her. It was a private thing that she did not yet wish to share.

"I've been looking for you all morning! Some scoundrel has let Déor out of his stall and the devil has bolted." The Stablemaster was bristling with anger.

"It wasn't me," Vanwe said quickly, eyes wide. She had never seen Devorin so ropable before and it was a shock to see him so now. He looked like the Men of her village, she thought. She had been careless to neglect to remember how fearsome Men can be when angry. Devorin waved her denial aside with rampaging impatience.

"I know it wasn't," he muttered direly, "I don't need a Ranger to tell me who steals horses. I need your help though," Devorin said. Vanwe scooted forwards, his hand propelling her from between her shoulderblades. As they left the inn, Vanwe hurriedly tucked the lock of hair into her pouch.

"Déor will either have stuck to the trail or taken cover in the woods," Devorin said. "I can take the trail, but I'll need your clever eyes in the woods." Vanwe paused... Watch your steps, Devorin glanced at her and saw the uncertainty in her face.

"Vanwe, I need your help. I don't trust anyone here. I don't know who set Déor loose and there's been more and more horses stolen as the days pass. Please. This is important... Déor is important." Vanwe looked into the Stablemaster's face, unsure of what to do. She'd never been asked or pleaded with to do her duty before. His concern was clearly marked in his voice and expression. Devorin, who had taken her in and given her a roof, food and safety was now asking her for her help.

Vanwe nodded her head. "Of course, Devorin, of course." He smiled gratefully and resumed his rapid stride towards the stables. There the Rangers stood examining the trail and speaking in low voices that stilled as she and Devorin neared. He paid them little mind, his concerns lying with a horse he had taken with him when he left Rohan in search of forgetfulness.

Vanwe glanced at the Rangers who in turn examined her and followed Devorin into the stables. Already the Stablemaster had saddled his horse. He checked the bit and girth straps one final time, a stream of words coming from his lips as he did so.

"I'll check the road to Bree as well as Great East Road. I need you to check the surrounding woods. Déor won't go far into Chetwood or the Marshes, so stay close in case he comes back. You'll need to be quick to catch him and he may very well try to give you the slip."

Vanwe nodded all the while. Devorin paused and smiled. "Canny creature... he loves carrots. There's a sack of them in the back of the stables."

Devorin led his mount out of the stalls and swung up into the saddle. From that height he looked down at Vanwe's upturned face.

"Thankyou Vanwe." She smiled up at him and then stood back. Devorin raced out of the stables and curved towards the road leading to Bree in a cloud of dust. Vanwe turned and located the sack of carrots, extracted a few and decided to take the back door out of the stables. Hanasian had said the others thought she was the horse thief and she didn't wish to disappoint Devorin by having her search for Déor delayed by their questions.

She shut the back door quietly and slipped into the woods on light feet. Eyes bent to the ground for sign of a horse, she soon found some clue further in the trees. Pulling an old orange carrot from her pouch, she found it had become tangled with her mother's hair. Vanwe paused, tieing the lock together with the length of braided leather she also kept and dropped it back into her pouch.

Sighting the trail, Déor's hoof print clear on the springy soil still moist with dew, Vanwe proceeded on with the caution that had helped her slip through unnoticed in all sorts of dangerous predicaments. A hobbit would be impressed with her stealth. Head bent to her trail, Vanwe followed the weaving trail through the morning light and shadows.

Back in the kitchen, Cook was muttering dire imprecations upon Devorin's head and Vanwe's. "Look at these eggs! Spoiled for a runaway horse!"


Naiore started in surprise when she saw Hanasian depart from the inn and then return. His face was familiar, although she had never seen it in daylight. Another reunion, she thought. What was better was that Vanwe soon materialised in the company of the stablemaster. Her daughter was wearing new garb, paid for with coin she had earnt by betraying her mother to the Dunedain.

Still, the reckoning could begin now and not before time. Devorin raced past the Rangers on horse back and Vanwe slipped out the back door shortly thereafter. To Naiore's delight, her daughter walked straight into the forest, as yet umarked by the Rangers at the front of the stables.

She watched her wary daughter cast about, as though she were looking for something. Steadily, Naiore worked her way closer. Her daughter paused, hands busy in her pouch and head bent. A knowing smile curved Naiore's lips. This would be so simple. She had waited for good reason afterall.

Vanwe's fingers were busy lacing the pouch shut whilst still holding a carrot as Naiore moved closer still. Her daughter did not have the opportunity to see an arm encased in midnight leathers reach for her from the shadows. A cold hand wrapped around Vanwe's mouth before she could make a sound in the watching forest. Naiore pulled Vanwe back against her with certain force. Her voice whispered in Vanwe's ear in an almost hypnotic cadence, so like Vanwe's own and so very different.

“But a sound, Vanwe, and it will be your last. Understand?” Naiore waited until Vanwe nodded. Swiftly, Naiore searched her daughter for weaponry. Aside from the paltry belt knife at her hip, there was nothing. The worn leather of the belt snapped with the forceful search, Vanwe held in an iron grip and surprisingly passive. Then, with her mouth still muffled, Vanwe found herself dragged in another direction.

Woods crowded close around them and still Naiore moved. The Ravenor was all but flowing, strength and power rolling from her with every move as she negotiated the misty woods. It was some distance hence that they stopped. Naiore released Vanwe and her hands moved at her hip. Vanwe crouched low to the ground, staring up at the woman she had striven to find all her life, one way or the other. Her mother was hard to make out, black as she was from head to toe. Hanasian had been right. She was here. It was like looking into a mirror, and not.

“Mother,” Vanwe said uncertainly in the early morning hush. No sooner had she spoken did she find a dagger at her neck and Naiore bent over her. Grey eyes, intense, Vanwe noted absently, fear trembling through her.

“Value your life,” Naiore inquired with a pur. Vanwe nodded, large and wide sapphire eyes darting around the small clearing she found herself in. “Then never make me repeat myself again. I ordered you to be silent.” Swiftly, Naiore pulled away the brush and pulled Vanwe through the opening. Catsing her stunned daughter on the ground by the stolen gelding, Naiore soon had more satisfactory arrangements in place.

From her pack she withdrew bindings. Vanwe's feet Naiore left untied, but her hands she bound and added a gag to her mouth. Hauling her pack over one shoulder, Naiore wrestled Vanwe onto the gelding and mounted behind her. With a bootheel to Deor's flanks, they rode out of the small hidden place and continued on through the trees.

"You will learn to heed me, daughter, for I did not come all this way and wait through the lonely hours of the night for your rebellion to bring capture upon our heads."
They were Naiore's last words for some time, a cold and silent presence at Vanwe's back. Shock sat over Vanwe at the sudden and fearsome meeting with her mother. Dully, she watched the trees thicken still more as they gained Chetwood, pondering the few words.

A realisation dawned to her. Her mother had come for her, and waited for her. She feared the Rangers also! Unable to study her mother's face for any hint, Vanwe contemplated her bound hands and the reality of her mother's presence. Stubbonly she clung to the thought that her mother had come to fetch her at last, after all these years. She felt a little warmer the longer she thought on that.

Naiore's mind too was busy. She contemplated how much of a lead she had and how much ground they had to cover to circle around Archet and come to Bree from the western entrance. But that was not all. In front of her arose a sense of... affection? Vanwe had been complacent whilst shocked, but Naiore knew that would wear off. The emergence of this warmth surprised her, but also offered a great deal of possibility. The Ravenor wore a cold smile of triumph as she rode on.

[ September 13, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]

Last edited by piosenniel; 12-28-2006 at 10:37 PM.
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