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Old 06-26-2006, 02:33 AM   #18
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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-o- The Fellowship Arrives in Mordor -o-

Child of the 7th Age

The sun beat down on the weary travellers as they cautiously guided their horses through the rocky foothills of the southern mountains. By all accounts, they were a strange assortment: one Hobbit, an Elf, and a middle-aged Dwarf, plus two younger men and a woman who was apparently a healer. Near the rear of the group rode a tall greybeard with a staff strapped to his saddle and a snowy owl perched firmly on his right shoulder.

They had been journeying over a month. Elessar had seen them off from Harlond, the harbor for Minas Tirith, and they had sailed down the Anduin to Pelargir where horses were provided for their eastward trek. The group had travelled along the Poros River and finally arrived at the tiny pass that crossed over the Ephel D˙ath. Getting through the mountain pass had taken longer than expected; they were now five days late in meeting up with the slaves.

Coming onto the flat plain of Nurn, they had headed south to the hills until they sighted a small mountain stream that had a surprisingly large group of trees growing on the bank. The ground was covered with vegetation, bramblewood patches and tangled thickets of shrubs that obscured their clear view of the land. From the description in Elessar's letter, this had to be the location of the caves, the place in the mountains where the slaves of Nurn had promised to meet them.

At the front of the column rode two scouts: Lindir the elf, and the young man Dorran who was a Rider of Rohan. Yet, despite their sharp eyes and ears, they could see no sign of the cave or hear any noises other than the normal babbling of the brook.

"This is it. I am sure....the place described in the letter. But where are they? And where is the entrance to the caves?" Dorran looked over at his companion.

"It has to be here," Lindir replied. "But most likely the slaves would choose a place well hidden from Orc eyes. I expect the caves are partly underground with their entrance concealed by thick shrubs or grass. The slaves may even be hiding inside, thinking that we are intruders. Still.....I wonder. They were supposed to post a sentry who would guide us in."

Dorran mumbled in frustration, "What we need is a dog to pick up their scent, or a small burrowing animal! We'll never find them this way, and night will come in a short time."

At that moment, there was a clip-clop of pony hooves as Carl Cotton rode up behind them and politely interrupted, "Excuse me, sirs. Maybe I can help. I do have experience with small holes in the ground." Carl dismounted and disappeared in the brush. Within five minutes he had returned, one of his sleeves hanging askew, torn by a thornbush, and a puzzled expression spreading over his face.

"I think I've found it. The cave is sunk into the ground just as you said...very cleverly hidden. Only.....something seems very wrong."

The hobbit turned and beckoned to the others to get off their horses and follow him into the thicket and over to the entrance of the cave.

Last edited by piosenniel; 06-30-2006 at 08:42 PM.
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