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Old 06-27-2004, 11:08 AM   #41
Durelin
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Eye Calenvása

Calenvása smiled slightly at Thorvel's frustration. The elf seemed truly perturbed, and that was to be understood after a whole night remaining as still and as quiet as possible, with no outcome. Calenvása quickly glanced around him. No one seemed ready to speak. Targil in particular looked sour, of course, and his eyes fell upon the Captain often enough for anyone to see just what he was sour about. But Targil had always saved his bitterness for Calenvása. Never had it been such a constant battle between the two elves' wills, though. Calenvása thought he could blame it on the stressfulness of the situation, but could he blame it on anything or anyone but Targil? Or perhaps it was his own fault. He knew that so many of the faults Targil found were legitimate.

Thorvel waited quietly for someone else to speak, as did Targil. Calenvása felt the silence growing heavy upon him, and he knew that soon he had to speak. He had information that might help them, he thought, but he just could not put it together. There were pieces of something that could make a whole, he knew. But he also knew that there were some pieces that he held in his mind, and others that he did not. He waited, letting the silence go, hoping it would not grow out of control. Someone had to have one of the missing pieces. Calenvása now waited for someone to speak up. The silence did not grow out of hand. Lómarandil could be relied upon, as always.

"Indeed, Thorvel. They're mobilising, drilling their troops. But from what I've seen tempers are running frayed. With some luck they'll kill enough of themselves not to present much challenge."

Calenvása sighed, wondering how long it would take the young elf to realize that there was more to this army than a squabbling bunch of thick-skulled orcs and Men, slaves to Sauron. These numbers were greater than the elves had faced since the Last Alliance, or so Calenvása thought, to the best of his knowledge. But then, his knowledge had never extended very far into the wars of his people, or any people. And their brethren in Lorien were not at all prepared to face an army of any size.

Targil and Thorvel were obviously feeling the same vexation as their Captain. Targil’s mouth was twisted sourly in annoyance. All was quiet again, though the bitterness could be felt in the air. Lómarandil looked almost as sour as Targil, while Thorvel kept his features smooth, but fidgeted a bit too restlessly. Again, Calenvása waited for someone to speak. Unfortunately, so did everyone else.

The silence started to grow into a wild thing that lashed out at Calenvása's mind. Every moment of it made his body try to wince. He used all the will he had to remain still, and staying right where he was. He wanted to run away and escape it all, but Calenvása knew he couldn't. He was the Captain, and he felt the silence the most of anyone present for a reason.

"We have not much time, as you all know," he glanced at Targil for a moment, who smiled cynically. “I make this brief, as it seems there is little that must be said. As said before, there is more to this attack than a large frontal assault, as effective as that might be. Near where I was perched in a tree, a small troop gathered, consisting of both orcs and easterlings and southrons, seemingly all of some kind of high rank. I heard nothing of their words, but it was clear that they were far more organized than the army, and separate from it.”

Calenvása paused, seeing that this information was so general, lacking any details and bringing only more for their minds to ponder with worry. The Captain dug through his mind, trying to find something to add to his observations. He wished with little hope for a conclusion to this, as well. Then Thorvel spoke up, and Calenvása felt the burden be lifted from upon him.

“Then we head back the other way and stay as far as we can from them…” he said softly. “I knew that that orc sounded too close to where I lay in hiding. Now I think he must have been a part of your special troop, Captain. From this I believe we can assume that they will be remaining separate from the army. Unless ‘them’ refers to us…then we have more to worry about.”

Thorvel frowned in thought and in a certain disappointment at finding his information just as vague as Calenvása’s, and adding to the worries of the scouts. Calenvása lead Thorvel a little ways away from Targil and Lómarandil, and spoke to him quietly. “We will elaborate upon these thoughts later, friend. Would you mind my company in our chase?” Thorvel returned Calenvása’s smile, and nodded. Calenvása had been watching Lómarandil and Targil both, and he had seen the restlessness of the two, and the frustration. Calenvása knew they must have a reason for this anger, but he doubted that it was a rational one.

The Captain returned to the group, and it was immediately clear to the two younger elves that the ‘communication’ had ended. Lómarandil now chose to physically join the group, moving closer to Calenvása. Now he listened carefully, now that his blood was boiling in anticipation. The young elf awaited a word, and Calenvása was reluctant to give it to him. He felt that they were leaving something behind, forgetting something of great importance. He had felt since the beginning of this mission that they were rushing things, but time had always been a key issue. Time was important to Calenvása, and as he practically felt the sun rising in the sky to shine upon him from a different angle. He sighed heavily, and spoke softly, almost as if he wished the others would not hear it. “We must move quickly...” he paused, then lightened his voice, using his sense of humor to alleviate his thoughts. “But that is what we are best at, is it not, my pack of wolves?”

Targil grinned and let out a howl like a wolf. Calenvása opened his mouth to berate him, as he knew that any orc or Man ear could have heard that noise, but both he and Lómarandil were already disappearing into the forest. The Captain sighed once more. He looked at Thorvel, who still stood by him, waiting. The elf smiled slightly, and Calenvása found amusement in the situation as well. “That was truly a very natural sounding wolf call.”

The two elves made their way into the forest, following Targil and Lómarandil, with a few chuckles, growing silent as they drew near the army’s camp location. They found it clear of anything living, but covered with countless signs that a great number of dirty creatures had resided there. Calenvása studied it with disgust, as he and Thorvel came upon the other two. “We will not be scattered, each taking our own route. All of our skills will be needed.” Targil waited only for Calenvása to finish speaking, then made his way into the clearing that was the orc camp. Lómarandil followed, and they soon found the direction the army had taken. They took off in that direction, and Thorvel and the Captain could do nothing else but follow, running. They kept their two comrades in sight as Calenvása already began to feel the excitement and the anxiety of the race that they now ran in, with the finish line across a wide plain in Lorien.
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Old 06-27-2004, 02:21 PM   #42
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An army travels on its stomach . . .

- and rumour and gossip pervade the ranks like gas after cabbage soup . . .

Gromwakh looked out over the small platoon of wagons that bore the food to fuel the invasion. At least, he thought it was an invasion, from what he’d gleaned in conversation with the Orcs sent back to fetch supplies. They were a never-ending source of information – overlooked grunts and cooks, barely worth noticing by the captains and such; too stupid to understand anything other than sharp barked commands, or so they appeared to the ones they served. And true they often misheard or misunderstood what was said, but with a little poking and prodding of memory and a small bribe, much could be put together.

At any rate, it appeared the Elves didn’t know what was to happen, weren’t waiting for the Dark One’s army. ‘It’ll be a surprise!’ snorted a one-armed Orc from near the front. ‘There’ll be plenty of Elves to kill and trees to burn to the ground.’ He nodded firmly, punctuating his comments with a belch. ‘Cap’n says we’re to have whatever prizes we can find.’

‘You should live so long,’ thought Gromwakh to himself, ‘the only prize you’re likely to get is one of them sharp, shiny blades in your gut.’

He’d helped the Orc fill his sack with supplies and sent him on his way, when one of his own band motioned him over to the side of the track. ‘Old Kreblug here says he’s picked up some tasty information . . . be willing to trade it for two salted fish and a small jug of Deadman’s-jack. Grom’s brows raised as his jaundiced gaze swept over the wretched specimen who stood opposite him. Deadman’s-jack was a particularly foul drink brewed from the leavings of leftover vegetable peelings . . . Orcs would drink it, but only after exhausting their supply of Orc-draught. Grom could see the trembling of Kreblug’s hands and how he smacked his thick lips. The fellow was desperate for something to take the edge off . . .

‘Two fish, and a cup of jack,’ he said to Kreblug. Kreblug wavered, looking as if he might say ‘no’. But Grom sweetened the deal. ‘’And one cup every day that you bring me back news.’ He motioned for his fellow Orc to pour a cup for Kreblug.

‘Now tell us what you heard . . .’ he urged the desperate Orc, holding the cup just beyond his reach.
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Old 06-27-2004, 07:15 PM   #43
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Thorvel was running strongly beside Calenvása, their two companions up ahead. Running felt good, after the long night in a cramped position. His earlier frustration had faded as the thrill of the chase set in, if his irritation at Lómarandil had not. Arrogant young elf, he thought. Thorvel wasn't sure where he had been a scout previously, but in that time he had certainly not learned much about Orcs. They might kill a few of their own - he had already seen examples of such - but killing off the entire army? Thorvel didn't think so. The Enemy had a purpose for them, unclear though it was, and as long as that held true the Orcs would be held to his will. He shook his head of the gloomy thoughts. There had been far too many of those lately.

"Their trail certainly isn't hard to follow," said Thorvel, chuckling wryly. The grass under their feet was trampled, and any living thing in the Orcs' way had been hacked down. He was grinning, not that there was much to grin at but he needed to vent his humor somehow. Calenvása gave him a queer look but smiled back. Thorvel was enjoying Calenvása's companionship more and more as he got to know him better. His face returned to its usual expressionless gaze, but his eyes gleamed with pleasure. He remembered the Captain's words to him earlier: “We will elaborate upon these thoughts later, friend. Would you mind my company in our chase?” He had called him friend. It meant a great deal to Thorvel that his captain felt this way about him. Thorvel had not known many people he could call friends in his many years, but Calenvása was slowly but surely edging his way up onto Thorvel's short list of friends.

Thorvel turned his mind back to the Orcs. He was still puzzled. All the information that they had was vague at best. A smaller more organized section of the army. Orcs trying to stay away from "them". Southrons and Orcs. What could it all mean? Calenvása had said they would speak more of it later, and Thorvel hoped that together they might be able to come up with something more than he alone was coming up with, which was little more than nothing.

"What do you intend to do if we catch up with the Orcs?" Thorvel asked, cocking his head towards the Captain. "It is a good deal harder to run swiftly and quietly under cover of trees."

Last edited by Firefoot; 06-28-2004 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 06-29-2004, 03:14 PM   #44
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Kreblug shivered as he looked at the proffered cup. ‘Just a taste,’ he whispered hoarsely. ‘Just something to wet my whistle. Easier to talk, if you catch my drift.’

Gromwakh poured just a tot into a small cup handed him by Snikdul and watched as the his benighted fellow Orc chased away his demon for the moment. Kreblug smacked his lips together when it was gone; looking deep into the cup in case he had missed a drop. He looked up hopefully at Gromwakh, only to see his eyes narrow and his head shake a definitive ‘no’.

‘Right, then,’ Kreblug began. ‘It were late last night, nearing sun up I think, when me and a couple of friends were off on some private business of our own.’

Snikdul wiped his dripping nose on the back of his arm and gave a small cough. ‘Drinking your “private business”, more likely,’ he thought to himself. Looking up he thought he saw the same assessment flicker in Gromwakh’s eyes. Gromwakh, in fact, had decided that perhaps the ‘information’ the Orc had might be from drunken imaginings. He urged Kreblug to go on.

‘It’s when we saw ‘im. Well not so much as saw him as smelled him. That stinking stench they have. Near enough to set our guts to roiling.’ Kreblug snorted as if the foul stench had hit him once again.

‘Probably got a whiff of himself,’ muttered Snikdul, moving to stand near Gromwakh. Grom kicked him in the ankle and cast what passed as a smile toward Kreblug. ‘Go on . . . we’re all pins and needles here,’ he said to the informant. ‘What was it that smelled so bad?’ Kreblug wavered, about to ask for one more little taste, but the look on Gromwakh’s face decided his course.

‘A stinking Elf it was! Sniffer, it was, who caught the scent - smelled him sure in one of the trees near us. Try as we might we couldn’t see him; couldn’t hear him either . . . the sneaking blighters!’

‘I know that Sniffer fellow,’ commented Snikdul. ‘Got nostrils the size of some of the caverns beneath Mount Gundabad, he does. Very reliable at sniffing things out.’

‘Anyway,’ continued Kreblug, ‘we moved away from that place and conducted our little business away from spying eyes. Went back in the morning, on our way back to camp, for a little look-see, so to speak, but he was gone by then.’ Gromwakh nodded thoughtfully and passed the cup of Deadman’s-jack to the eager waiting fingers of Kreblug. ‘Have you told your Captain about this?’ he asked.

‘Told my Captain!’ spluttered the Orc between convulsive swallows of the potent liquid. ‘Are you daft? We’d have to explain what we were doing away from camp, now wouldn’t we?’

Gromwakh sent Kreblug off and gathered his fellows about him. ‘Well, isn’t this a fine mess we’re in. Old One-Eye to the front of us, and him marching us to certain death. Elves spying in trees . . .’ He looked consideringly behind the slowly advancing wagons as the last of them pulled past him. ‘And what’s behind us I wonder?’

‘Can’t see anything, Grom,’ one of the band offered helpfully. Gromwakh led them back to the wagons, joining the forward march with a few jostlings and cursings thrown their way. ‘There’ll be no striking a bargain for our benefit with the ones in charge here. We’re so much fodder for their little war.’ He chewed thoughtfully on his lip for a moment.

‘Wonder if we could strike some bargain with the Elves,’ he muttered to himself.

Last edited by Arry; 07-01-2004 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:35 PM   #45
Durelin
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Eye

"What do you intend to do if we catch up with the Orcs? It is a good deal harder to run swiftly and quietly under cover of trees."

Calenvása's troubled thoughts were disrupted by Thorvel's words, and he felt eternally grateful. The Captain sighed in relief, as the clouds dissipated in his head. Thorvel opened his mouth once more, but Calenvása silenced him with a gesture He knew that his companion had started to apologize, for nothing. He remained silent for a moment longer, listening to the air around him. The complete and utter quiet that settled on the land kept him alert, and he thought his ears could even hear the miniscule sound of elfin feet passing through the tall growths of the forest. The trees around them were quickly receding, but that certainly did not mean the air should not be full of birds. And other creatures should be heard around the elves, who were welcome in the forests of the world. It was clear that the world had been silenced by the passing of heavy feet that made the earth creak beneath them.

"I do not intend to catch up to them. We will follow them, particularly with our eyes, as their destination is our own. We do little good to Lorien if we can tell them nothing of the attack other than what we know now."

Thorvel smiled slightly. "And what do we know now?"

"That the attack will come."

Calenvása laughed quietly with his companion, but his mind soon came to the realization that he was avoiding so many topics. He was simply afraid of including Targil or Lómarandil in any of his words, as his thoughts that had surrounded them worried him the most. But he knew there was one thing that had to be said, now. And more needed to be said later.

"I have neglected to see so many things..." he said quietly, and seemed to trail off into more thoughts. Thorvel remained patient, kindly silent. "We have much to discuss when we stop to rest tonight."

"We stop?"

"I'm afraid we must, if not to sleep. I can only hope that the army will make a detour for a good ale along the way."

Thorvel grinned, but spoke with seriousness, "They must rest along the way if they plan to put up a fight at the end."

Calenvása nodded reluctantly at this, knowing it to be true, but doubting it all the same. He decided then that this was later enough for more to be discussed. There was another question he had been avoiding, and he believed Thorvel had been, as well. The Captain knew that his comrade had not forgotten the words whispered in his ear. It was of great importance that their two minds be put together, in the quiet of their world without a senseless rush forcing them into action. "I believe it is a good time to elaborate upon one of the problems at hand. Soon we will lack the time, I fear."

Last edited by Durelin; 06-29-2004 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 07-01-2004, 06:04 PM   #46
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“Time,” said Thorvel. “Yet another thing that we will probably lack.” He sighed, and lapsed into silence for a moment, thinking.

“I believe you are speaking of the Orcs’ plan,” said Thorvel, glancing inquiringly at Calenvása, who nodded. “Two separate forces of Orcs,” said Thorvel, thinking out loud. “Why? What do they need two forces for? And the separate one has orcs of high rank... perhaps they mean to launch a two-fold attack. And those other orcs want to stay away from ‘them’. The special forces? Or maybe the main force? If there are two forces,” he said, sighing. “I cannot make any sense out of it.” Thorvel was glad that he was able to speak to Calenvása alone on this topic, without Lómarandil’s arrogant comments and Targil’s disagreeing ones. It helped that he was now able to think on it.

Calenvása was nodding slowly. “Perhaps it does make some sense, though very little. Orcs do not fight for a cause, so perhaps they would want to stay away from the generals who would have them in the middle of the battle, where they would like as not get killed. Orcs like to kill, but not be killed.” Thorvel was beginning to understand, and chipped in as Calenvása momentarily trailed off.

“So, that would make it sound like they would stay away from their generals. It makes sense, and staying away from the Elves doesn’t make much sense anyhow, as we have remained well-hidden and why would they want to stay away from those who are attacking? Perhaps those Orcs I heard were rebels - not unlikely with Orcs.” Thorvel felt that this issue was pretty well settled: they had a solution that made sense, and that would be enough for now.

“But back to their plans,” said Thorvel. “If they have two forces, what could they be used for?” He realized how calmly he was talking of the Orcs, and that revelation was enough to cause the old hatred to flare up in him. The painful memories that they had caused him were buried deep, covered many times over by his determination to keep them there, but the vengeance was there. It had kept him going for a long time. The cold gleam returned to his eyes, but he spoke calmly.

“Clearly this army has a purpose that they mean to fulfill. This other force must have some role, and I would count on that role being a key part to their plan.” Sudden inspiration struck him. “What if they mean to trap the Lorien Elves between the two forces? Surely there must be some kind of trap.”
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Old 07-02-2004, 10:02 AM   #47
Durelin
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The Eye Calenvása

Calenvása’s mind worked speedily, attempting to process all the words that his ears were hearing. Thorvel spoke with an air of absent-mindedness, voicing every one of his thoughts without organizing, for fear that he would lose them in the proceedings. This was exactly what Calenvása had wished for him to do, as thoughts were misplaced or retained that could be important if all were not uttered. Between two minds in the quiet of the world, a tumultuous quiet as it might be, these thoughts would all be taken into proper consideration. And Calenvása’s mind was trying to do the same. He had gotten a word in, letting forth a suggestion that had to be heard, if not sound likely. For now, it seemed, their two minds thought alike. Which was natural considering their similarities. But Thorvel’s differences brought to the Captain’s mind a freshening view of the same circumstances. They thoughts along the same lines but saw things in their own minds’ eyes, and so were able to look at the situation from different angles, much as they had been viewing the enemy from different places and through each elf’s eyes.

“A trap? Very much a typical component to the Enemy’s plans,” Calenvása said, letting his own thoughts run free, and so already finding his sense of humor becoming a part of expressing these sober thoughts. “But to trap between…and between the two forces, you say? I would not call that a force, but a party, perhaps a troop. Just enough to fill an inn, and one of the town tavern kind. Elite though they may be, I doubt that the orcs and Southrons would be enough to pinch those of Lorien in between they and the main force…” He trailed off for a moment, pausing shortly when finding himself lacking of a conclusion to this suggestion. He kept his mouth working, knowing that words were soon to come from it, and, as he had hoped, Thorvel saw this and remained silent, for now.

“The ‘special force’, you called them?” Calenvása glanced at Thorvel, with a grin, taking his eyes away from the sun, which he had stared at as he pondered. The elf smiled back, and nodded. “Interesting…it sounds misplaced, but I can think of no better term. For ‘special’ they just might be.”

Thorvel nodded anxiously at this, his eyes shining as they had back in the clearing, frustrated and angered, as well as excited. The vexation of a mission, of any obstacle the scouts had to overcome, brought with it its own kind of excitement, if not a jovial one. He spoke quickly, the irritation clear in his voice to the point that he practically breathed the words with hot breaths of anger. “Special, yes, but how? How are they of a special importance?”

“It is almost as it I have heard those words before…” Calenvása said, rather dryly, but grinning all the same. He looked at his comrade once more, and the blazing eyes that met his did not abash his smile. Quickly those eyes began to cool after one last great flaring and a shake of the head they were set into. The Captain’s grin grew, and soon Thorvel lowered his eyes, a smile appearing on his own face. “You bring us back to the beginning, Calenvása continued, “when you should allow the pieces to work their way to a whole.”

~

Targil, Night

Targil ran at a quick pace, finding himself wishing that Lómarandil would fall behind. But it was getting late in the day, falling into night, and the elf had easily kept the intense pace. He almost quickened his pace, but the young elf chose this moment to speak. “Should we not wait for our Captain?”

Targil sighed heavily, but Lómarandil did not catch the annoyance in his voice as he spoke. “Yes, Lómarandil.” It dripped with mock cheerfulness, and his eyes flashed with anger. He glanced at the young elf, but Lómarandil looked him straight in the eyes without a flinch. The boy had himself on his mind much too often, and nothing could change that. Nothing changed what he was, and in his mind, he was foremost of all. What Targil would not accept was that this made the young elf that he so despised so much like him.

It was impossible that Lómarandil did not see the anger in his companion’s eyes, and yet he smiled slightly as he began to speak. No apology came from him, as he of course saw nothing that required one. Targil’s hand that swung at his side as he walked was balled up into a tight fist, gripping hard to keep a hold on to his anger.

The young elf pointed ahead into the distance, where trees had become scarce. Targil followed Lómarandil’s gesture to see clearly ahead of them several bright dots in the growing darkness. “Should we not wait for our Captain?” the elf asked again as he brought his arm down. This time, Targil reluctantly saw past the young one’s arrogance and recklessness, and nodded.

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Old 07-02-2004, 10:08 AM   #48
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The Eye

The late evening was drawing near and the army, both Orcs and men, were soon feeling great need of sleep, food and not to mention some nice fresh water. The last couple of hours the army had increased its speed and many felt that this was definitely the time to find a decent place to pull up camp for the night. It was also true; the sun had passed its origin home long ago, and the sun had yet again, as every other night, been replaced with the bright moon. Herding pulled his hair back, as he felt the cold breeze slightly striking his face.

As they came across an area where there were fewer trees than there had been on their whole journey Herding decided that this would be a good place to out up a camp for the night. The green grass on the field was just beneath a hill. Along the hill a small river was flowing, and cool water seemed excellent right now. "We’ll camp here! Now!" Herding cried, to everyone's great relief. The other Captains had been thinking the very same, because many soldiers had already left their position in the army, heading down to the blossoming field. Orc were soon running down in the green grass which was soon stamped down by their heavy feet. Herding sighed a little and ordered that some of the soldiers would follow him to set up a tent.

While some soldiers were walking along the river to fetch some fresh, cold water, others were pulling up tents for the night. Orcs were talking with loud voices, and making other noises that Herding, among others, weren’t' too pleased about. Herding had always disliked Orcs, because of their nasty habits, although some were actually decent fighters. At least they weren't afraid to die in a battle, something other soldier could be at times. Huge bonfires could bee seen in the left corner of the field, where the Orcs had settled. It almost seemed like they were having a feast. On the northern side of the field, the Easterlings and Haradrims had settled. They were much calmer, although grumpy and seemingly tired the whole lot of them. Some had also started to make themselves a nice meal, with the fresh water, something they all seemed pleased about. Herding himself hadn't offered a hand in the organizing of the new camp, he didn't bother, but then again he knew that some of the other soldiers would have pulled up his tents and belongings within short time. This time was no exception of course.

Herding seated on a rock, looking at his map. Finally his sword and bow weren't a big burden to him anymore, as he had put them aside. He felt rather exhausted after a long day’s walk with weapons and armour. Soon a soldier approached him; he brought with him some of the fresh water from the running river. "Sir, the water you asked for," he said while bowing his head. Herding took it. The small bottle was lifted to his mouth as the cold water ran down his throat. What an exquisite taste, he thought. Never had he appreciated a bottle of water more than now, in this very moment. He breathed heavily as he pulled the bottle away from his mouth. Thereafter he pulled up his sleeves, which were already getting dirty, and washed his hands. Herding then looked up at the soldier, and told him that he was thankful for the water that he just brought him and that he was allowed to go. The soldier bowed his head again, slightly, and walked away.

Herding then noticed that an Orc only a few paces ahead of two men, were walking towards him. The Orc was quite thin; although Herding spotted that he was quite muscular. By looking at him, examining his face the best possible way from such a distance, Herding noticed that this Orc only had one eye! His, so to seem, red eye was horrifying, although Herding didn't know for sure if it really was red or if he even only had one of them, he was after all too far away for any accurate details. Also by looking at the Orc’s armour, that had spikes on it, he was certain that this was some Captain who was walking, soon about to approach him. The two men looked like Haradrims, but Herding wasn't sure. But as they got closer, Herding saw indeed that two of them were indeed of his kind. One of them was probably a bit younger than the other; Herding could see that for sure. He would think that there would at least be sevem years between them. Age, however, didn't matter; it was their errand that mattered and that brought great curiosity to his mind. One of them had a scar across his cheek. Herding figured it had to be a nasty one-to one fight that had caused such a scar. He was also quite tall, with tanned skin, and rather dark hair. Then again, dark hair was typical for Haradrims.

The other man was walking next to him, constantly turning around to look backwards. Why he did that, Herding couldn’t tell. Herding didn't have time to analyze the second man any more than that, because the Orc had now approached him. Herding got to his feel, still holding his knife, while looking at him. His eyes hadn't let him down this time, because this Orc that was now standing in front of him, had one eye only. Herding had to struggle with himself to keep himself from staring, although he found it quite difficult. At least this showed, after Herding's opinion, that the Orc in front of him was a good warrior. There was nothing bad about that, was there now?

"You'd better put that knife down..." The Orc said a bit annoyed by being greeted like this. Herding couldn't do anything but take it down as he asked what errand the Orc had here. "I'm Thrákmazh, Orc Captain," he said, as he sat down on one of the stones. Herding seated as well feeling a little embarrassed for not being prepared for such a visit. "Herding - Southron Captain," Herding replied sternly. The two of them said naught until the tow men approached them which happened to be only moments after. "An Orc Captain, named Thrákmazh, just arrived. “And now you two," Herding said, with the slightest sound of annoyance in his voice, "Although I do not know your errand yet," he continued.

"Koran Cenrbyt is my name," the tall, with the scar said and seated. The other man seated as well, right next to Koran. Oh, so that is Koran Cenrbyt, Herding though while looking at him. His eyes looked quite unpleasant in the moon ligth. "This is Ehan Fazian, one of my soldiers," he continued looking at the Orc. "You’re the Captain Koran Cenrbyt," The Orc said bluntly while looking back at him. "Indeed I am," he said and smiled. "You know who I am," he said, sounding a bit pleased, but not arrogant. "And yet, Orc, you have not told me yours..." he said, while his face expression faded. "You're right; I have not told you my name. I'm Thrákmazh," he said as he narrowed his eyes.

"I've heard your names. Maybe one more time than necessary," Herding said, while his temper was raising. He didn't want to feel uncomfortable or overlooked while sitting by his very own tent. "But still, none of you have told me your errand...or errands?" Herding said, now seeming quite calm. He was quite curious why they were all brought here. "Well, isn't it obvious?" Thrákmazh said looking at him suspiciously. In that moment, Herding felt rather stupid. Before another thought would run through his mind, Koran interrupted. "I and my soldiers, among them is Ehan, will spilt up from the main army – meaning the armies you’ll be leading you. Remember?" he said and looked at Ehan. Of course Herding remembered, and so he told them.

"I thought our plan was quite clear," Herding said awkwardly and pulled his map forwards so that the all of them could see it clearly. He looked at Koran, then on the map: "The army that splits up from the main army, lead by myself and this Orc here," Herding said, then paused, looking at the Orc if he had disliked not calling him by his name or Captain. However, the Orc Captain didn't seem to notice it, so Herding continued now pointing at the map, following their route with his finger; "The army that splits up, lead by you, Koran, will break off from the main force at the fording of the Anduin," he said and paused again. Koran nodded, confirming what Herding just had said was correct. Thrákmazh nodded too, examining Herding's map. "And what exactly is your plan Koran?" Thrákmazh said with despise, something Herding thought was a reasonable question.

"We will walk straight to Caras Galadon," Koran said while he took the map from Herding and pointed at it. "Here," he said and looked at Ehan. He had remained quiet for quite a while as if he had no tongue, now however he told them that they would only consist of a fair, and not too many, amount of men.

Herding remained quiet for a moment, while thinking. He looked at Koran. He is to young to lead such an army, he thought. How despicable, he continued, while curling his lips. And the young man…boy next to him. Far too young. He didn't like the sight of him. No, not even the slightest. How would they ever manage to fulfil their mission with no experience, he thought, although he knew nothing of Koran's history, nor earlier battles. How could one expect an old head on such young shoulders? Well, you couldn't. He concluded.

"You better do this right, Koran. You better fulfil your mission," Herding then burst out, full of anger. Koran gazed, and looked at him sternly. "I certainly will do just that," he said beneath clenched teeth. "Do you question my judgment and my capability of leading a small force?" He asked Herding, angrily. Ehan looked surprised over how their conversation all of a sudden had turned into a conversation with such hostility atmosphere, with harsh and unreasonable comments. Herding remained quiet for a moment, but Thrákmazh left no space for such silence; "How can you guarantee us victory?" he asked him, while is red eyes blazed. "I will have victory and you shall both see it!" Koran said, now getting to his feet, while his eyes flickered. "You are a fool, Koran," Herding said. "And far too young," he added. He too, got to his feet. "You shall see Koran that you or your army will not succeed...You will face defeat, that is what you will do," he said and grasped his knife again. He held it behind his back, so that the others wouldn't notice. "Herding, sir, keep your words and treats within your own mind, for I will not hear them," he said harshly, as he seized Ehan's arm and turned away. "Young fool," he Orc said behind his back and laughed.

The tow Haradrims walked away from the tent with stern steps. Herding could hear them talking, but not their exact words. Herding didn't say one more word, just took a hold of his map and went inside his tent and closed it. Night had befallen them, and so had jealousy.

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Old 07-02-2004, 02:35 PM   #49
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Silmaril Koran and Coromswyth

Coromswyth

"But what have I said that deserves such a look as this, lady? Do you account the Woodmen among your friends and take offence that I should weigh them so slightly?"

Ambarturion's tone was light now, rather than attacking as it may have been whilst asking the same question earlier, and his laugh made it seem more jocular. These things made Coromswyth consider her answer more carefully than she may otherwise have done, and she hesitated, regarding Ambarturion contemplatively for a long moment. Then she smiled, looking away and shaking her head. "Ambarturion, with such conversation, I do not doubt talking to the Woodmen will be interesting. I don't think you have once spoken to you and not been intrigued by your opinions."

"I don't think that I have once spoken to you and recieved a straight reply to a question," he replied.

Sharp as knives! Coromswyth grinned, unlady-like as it may have been, and held up a finger. "Ah! But that was not a straight question. I merely replied with a roundabout answer to a roundabout question."

For a split second, Coromswyth thought Ambarturion might have replied angrily, but thankfully he took the other option, smiling back at her but saying nothing, his characteristic silence coming back once more. Taking a long deep sigh, he dropped his head so it hung on his chest, then tilted it back to look up at the stars. From where the pair were seated on the ridge of the hollow, about half a metre apart in one of the uniform gaps in the trees, they could see the clear, fine night well, every winking bright star and fine diamond cushioned in dark velvet, perfectly defined. The starlight gleamed on raven black hair and noble faces as the elves sat it silence, watching the stars, each allowing themselves a few moments of peace, without worry or the world. Then Coromswyth drew in a deep breath and rose, smoothing her skirts softly as she shook her hair back, a hand automatically coming up to brush the stray strands from her face. "What time shall we leave tomorrow, Ambarturion?"

The simple question was a token gesture: Coromswyth left it entirely up to Ambarturion, without opinion of her own - allowing him to judge. He turned his head to look up at her then rose also, stepping towards her. "I shall wake you - we shall leave a few hours after daybreak, for it has been a long night."

"Wake me?" A smile played over Coromswyth's lips. "Nay, Ambarturion, I shall watch - you must be tired."

Ambarturion's face changed, shocked. "Nay, Lady, I will watch for the rest of the night - my pupils have enough trouble and one is wounded, and you may have trouble tomorrow without your horse-"

She waved this aside, shaking her head. "Ambarturion, I insist," she replied softly. "Really, you have had as hard a night as I - harder even. I admire you for it. But please - I am not a weak and liable to snap as you may think. I will watch."

He hesitated for a moment, unsure, then offered a halfway point: she would watch first, then he. "And then Megilaes," he added. "He must learn also."

Coromswyth smiled and rolled her eyes. "If you say so, teacher," she replied mockingly, smiling at him. Turning, she settled back down on the ground, next to where she had lain her sword. "Goodnight, Ambarturion."

"And you, Lady Coromswyth," came the formal reply.

~*~

Koran

Several miles from where she elves rested the night afterwards, a fiery scene had unfolded inside Herding's tent. Glaring venemously at the Southron captain, Koran contemplated saying more, then chose to remain silence, clenching his teeth together fiercely before he turned away from the other Southron captain. Touching Ehan on the arm and turning on his heel without bowing as may have been expected, walked out of the tent with stiff, dangerous, inhaling sharply as the cool night air hit him. He didn't move for a moment, a tall, lithe figure against the moonlight, looking out from the eaves of the trees under which Herding's tent had been constructed, calming himself as he breathed in the cool air slowly.

"You are a fool, Koran! You will face defeat, that is what you will do!" The other Southron Captain's words came back cruelly to Koran. He clenched his jaw, looking down at the ground and a bitter smile came onto his face. A fool? The orc knew Koran's name - and so, probably, did Herding. Not that he would ever sink to admitting it - men like that were happier when aware only of themselves. What need had the mighty Herding for knowledge of a mere youth's battles? He shook his head angrily.

"Are you alright, Captain Cenbryt?" Ehan's voice was surprisingly soft. Koran had seen the boy's surprise at the hostility that had arisen in the tent so quickly - indeed, Koran himself was a little mystified as to why things had got so out of hand so quickly. But he knew how it had started. He is the model of Ferach and Cortim...

He turned sharply to look at Ehan and saw the boy move back very slightly. His face softened and he took another deep breath, letting his young brown eyes, full of experience that Herding would never even guess at, before he looked again at Ehan, sliding his eyes sidewards at him. "Captain Herding's way of thinking is..." he hesitated, trying to formulate the right words, before giving up. "Frankly, the man reminds me all too strongly of a pair of the most despicable human beings I have ever come into contact with."

Ehan gave a short laugh. "Sounds a little dire, Koran. Can I ask who?"

Koran glanced across at the younger man and gave him and ironic smile, his white teeth and dark eyes glittering in the clear light of the stars and the moon. "Why, family of course. Didn't you guess?"

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Old 07-02-2004, 06:59 PM   #50
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"Why, family of course. Didn't you guess?" Koran muttered with a tight jaw and clenched fists. Ehan looked to the older man, trying not to show his surprise but knowing that the shock would surely be written upon his face. Ehan wanted to doubt Koran’s words and erase the man’s contempt for his family, but his captain seemed utterly serious, so Ehan dared not laugh or contradict his leader.

“How could two of your own kin remind you of Captain…” Ehan paused, saying the title regrettably in front of Koran. “…Captain Herding’s words and way of viewing our mission?” Ehan did not understand how any family could contain hate or malice towards each other. The younger Southron waited in an uncharacteristically patient manner, taking a seat on a nearby boulder that protruded from the earth and glowed dark-grey in the evening glow of moon and stars.

“Doubt fills his mind…doubt in my abilities as a leader. Herding wants me to fail, and he will let me take my steps and go off on my merry way just so he can see me trip over my own feet.” Koran paused, kicking at the ground and bringing dust floating upwards to his boots. He let his hands and shoulders relax. “Herding wants me to fail…” the captain trailed off, and Ehan listened carefully to his next words. Ehan wondered if he would reveal such precious information about his family. “There are others close to me that would like to see me take a fall as well. They are close enough to make it happen, too. Why, if I could…”

Koran balled both hands into tight fists.

“Anger is a bad counselor, good Captain,” Ehan murmured gently, not wanting to upset Koran more by causing him to think he was being tutored by his own soldier. “After all, a leader must lead by example, and he does so whether he planned to or not. The best way to deal with doubt, I’ve learned, is to…well…treat it as an enemy in battle!” Ehan flashed a boyish grin. “You must kill it! Bring it to its knees and make it beg for mercy! Then slice its throat…”

Ehan saw Koran roll his eyes and smile, scoffing at the younger man’s silly correlation. The captain released his clenched fists, and Ehan relaxed and he felt the immediate tension roll off his companion. The ferocity was gone, but the anger remained in a simmering flame.

"Besides," Ehan continued. "There always has to be a hero, and Herding is not the hero type. And enemies of the hero always end up dying." Ehan contemplated his own words as they spilled off his tongue and out of his mouth.
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Old 07-03-2004, 10:20 PM   #51
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He woke them all when the sun first broke the line of the horizon, flooding the Vale with her golden glow. Coromswyth was annoyed that he had apparently changed his mind from the night before – earlier this morning really – when he had said that they would leave later in the day. Ambarturion could see her annoyance but as she did not say anything, he did not explain: throughout his watch a shadow of dread had fallen upon him. This time, though, it came not from the west and the gates of Moria, but from the East. And unlike the foreboding he had felt at the coming of the goblins, this was a terror of a more ancient and indefinable sort. There was death in the air that morning. Death and the blackness of a nameless terror. The others noticed it soon enough, and the lady’s annoyance was replaced by understanding. She stood upright from where she had been tending Caranbaith’s bandage and gazed into the east, following Ambarturion’s eyes. “What is it?” she asked quietly, but the Master merely shook his head and turned aside.

All that day they pressed themselves as hard as they could, walking now due east to make the shortest road to the shelter of Mirkwood. At first, Caranbaith’s insistence that he be allowed to walk was too sternly delivered to be ignored, and as the Sun rose in the sky he strode along at the end of their brief column, pale and drawn but even vigilant. By noon, however, it was clear that the strain of his wound was too great and he stumbled into the grass. Megilaes was at his side in a heartbeat and Ambarturion was only a thought slower. They lowered him to the ground and Coromswyth gave him some more of the miruvor and changed his dressing. The bleeding had stopped and there was no sign that the wound had taken infection, but its colour remained deep and raw. Coromswyth looked at Ambarturion and did not need to speak her thoughts aloud. Both knew that Caranbaith lay now between life and death, and that his only surety of life lay in taking the southern way back to Lorien. As though reading what was in their minds, the young Elf looked into his master’s eyes. “Do not turn aside from your duty, lord,” he said. “I am merely fatigued. If you will grant me the respite of an hour’s rest I will be able to go on.”

It was Coromswyth who gainsaid him. “Nay, Caranbaith. You cannot make the trek to Mirkwood as you are, not unaided. You are strong and young and possess a great heart, but I think you will need to rely on our help the rest of the way.” Ambarturion looked at her with a grave respect, for he noted that she did not talk of returning to the Golden Wood, even though their journey would put his pupil’s life at risk – she knew her duty as well as he and his students’ knew theirs…

For the rest of that day Caranbaith was aided by his brother and Coromswyth in turn, and their progress across the plains was hampered as a result. Ambarturion became more and more restless as the hours passed and the feeling of the land’s terror grew about them. Somewhere in the Vale there were enemies of the Elves, and a great number of them. He laid himself out upon the earth and listened but could hear no rumour of their passing, but he could feel the outrage of the earth at its defilement by the forces of darkness. “Are they near?” asked Coromswyth.

Ambarturion shook his head. “No. They are not yet, I think, on this side of the River, but they are coming nearer. I had thought that our northerly route would lead us away from the forces of Dol Guldur, but it would seem that they are coming to us.”

“Perhaps we could go around them, to the north or south?”

“The only fording of the River that we can now attempt without your horse lies before us. To turn South will lead us only further into the lands of our enemies, and away from our goal. To the North there is no way across Anduin the Great for many leagues and that will leave us many miles from the Woodmen we seek.” He looked at the lady. “Our only hope lies in speed. If we can reach the ford and cross the River before our enemies achieve the western bank we can, perhaps, slip by them.” His words hung about them like a black bird of ill omen, our only hope lies in speed. Neither of them looked to where Megilaes aided his brother.

As the second night of their journey came they made camp in a small forested area not too many miles from the River, but still not as near the waters as Ambarturion had hoped. He had pushed them hard all day, but to ask any more of his wounded student would have been to risk his death. Megilaes lay his brother upon the ground where Caranbaith fell into a swoon almost immediately. Coromswyth did what she could for him but it was clear that until they could give him the rest he needed, his condition would only worsen. When she had finished tending the youth, Coromswyth joined Ambarturion where he kept watch. “He is brave,” she said. “You must be very proud of him.”

“I am,” he replied simply. And then, much to his surprise, he added, “He reminds me of myself when I was his age. So dauntless and foolish. Ready to do what he feels he must in defence of his land.” He felt the questioning eyes of the lady upon him. He moved to return her gaze. “You see, lady, I am not wholly consumed with thoughts of war and battle – at least not yet. I have been a warrior for many centuries now, but still I can feel for those who have not been hardened by the tempering fires of endless battle.”

Coromswyth was shocked. “I am sorry indeed if I made you think that I found you heartless, Ambarturion. It is just that…you are so dire and stern, that I fear you might…” She trailed off into silence.

“You fear I might do what, lady?” he asked, somewhat stiffly.

“I am sorry, Ambarturion. You must forgive me. It is just that you remind me of someone I loved – someone who was stern and mighty and did his full duty, and who fell into the shadow of doom doing that duty. You, I fear, have begun to fall into that shadow even though you still live.” Ambarturion made to reply, but she held up her hand. “I am sorry, I have spoken too much this night. Please, I would sleep now.” And without waiting for a reply she moved away from the master and went to tend to Caranbaith.
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Old 07-04-2004, 05:41 PM   #52
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Urkrásh continued watch over the column, becoming more and more disorderly as early evening passed into late evening. They would stop soon, to eat and rest. But Urkrásh was not certain when that would be and looked to the men to find the right time. The moon could be seen peeping out from the tops of trees every so often, and stars were starting to appear in the sky. Tiredness and the desire for sleep was soon taking over the army and Urkrásh. At last he spotted a section of men starting to pull away from the rest to camp. The trees had become less thick and a small river was nearby.

Urkrásh called out for everyone to stop and camp here, although many had already left the line and headed down to an empty spot on the grass in the left corner of the field. He followed where he saw the majority of his column go, wondering when his master would be back. Nothing bad had happened so far, but he wasn’t sure if it would stay that way until Thrákmazh returned. He told a few uruks to start up some fires, and they grunted at him before doing so, something they wouldn’t do if Thrákmazh were telling them. They seemed to have a lack of respect for Urkrásh, which he wasn’t entirely surprised at. He began to walk through the lot of them, going to find a spot to sit down to watch over them until his master returned.
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Old 07-05-2004, 09:28 AM   #53
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“Allow the pieces to work their way to a whole,” repeated Thorvel softly. What pieces? he thought wryly. “If only we had more information.” Thorvel felt like he was trying to jam an over-size key into a lock: the key wouldn’t fit, and neither did the information that they did have. He found his former train of thought with some difficulty, and tracing back over it could find no gaps. He decided to try a different approach - one that might yield some new results.

“So what might they hope to accomplish by using a separate troop?” he said. “If it is as small as you say, they will probably not be involved in the main fighting. They are skilled and high-ranking warriors, yet without size of a small force they would be quickly overwhelmed by an army of Elves. They must have a separate purpose from the rest of the army. Something they either do not need large numbers to accomplish or something that would not work with large numbers because they would be noticed and stopped before they could accomplish their task.”

Thorvel realized that Targil and Lómarandil had stopped running, and were seemingly waiting for them. Light was failing rapidly, and Thorvel supposed that they would stop to rest for the night as the Orc army was hopefully doing also. As they caught up, Lómarandil spoke. “I could not help but listening to last part of your conversation. You say something about a small force. What good would that do, for any small force of Orcs would be quickly killed off by Elves. Orcs just aren’t that good at fighting, nor are they smart enough to come up with such a plan.” Thorvel sighed. The young Elf may have heard what he said, but he had clearly not understood. Thorvel did not understand how the young Elf could have become a scout and yet know so little of Orcs. Targil looked as annoyed at Lómarandil as Thorvel felt. This time, Thorvel didn't give Calenvása time to smooth over Lómarandil's remarks, not even bothering to think that his comments might drive the wedge in their division even deeper.

"Listen, Lómarandil," he said heatedly. "I know what you think of Orcs, and it isn't a good opinion to have. They aren't all mindless killing machines; they have plans and at least some organization even as Elves do. Your arrogance isn't doing anything for our plans, and unless you have something to say to help us out, just don't say anything at all!" Lómarandil was scowling at him, but thankfully did not say anything. There was some approval in Targil's look. Thorvel did not look at Calenvása, because he really did not want to know what his Captain thought. He was pretty sure it would not be approval. Then, he didn't know what to say or do. He didn't think that they would be staying there in the trail of the Orcs, so he turned and took a step towards the forest. He looked over his shoulder and said, "Are you going to stand there all night? Come on."

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Old 07-06-2004, 04:48 AM   #54
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Lomarandil scowled darkly at Thorvel as he shouted at him. When he finished Lomarandil shook his head and turned away. Starting to walk towards a tree, he reached it and started to climb, quickly reaching the top. Gengerly he walkled along a long branch to the end and straightened up. From this elevated position he could see the source of the lights more clearly, he saw the orcs swarming around in different directions. Anger welled up in him, his hands tightened around the hilts of his daggers, into closed balls. He looked down at Thorvel and Targil, and even Calenvasa. "They do not have to hate me," he whispered to himself, looking at the swarming orcs he smiled dryly and added to himself, "there will come a time soon, in the next few days, when they will call for my help...and shall I answer?" Lomarandil pushed such thoughts from his head, of course he would answer, he couldn't leave his friends to die..."But are they friends?" he mused. Surely he wouldn't miss Thorvel, but at the thought of Calenvasa dying he nodded. At least he had tried to hide his distaste for him.

"Lomarandil! Get down here now!" he heard Calenvasa shout and nodding downwards he made his way back to the trunk. Leaping off the branch he clasped the trunk with his hans and slid right the way down it, letting go a few metres above the ground in order to twist his body round in an elaborate somersault to land facing the group. Thorvel spat and turned away, Calenvasa looked exasperated, and Targil just shook his head. Lomarandil raised an eyebrow at Thorvel's back, but dropped it quickly again when he turned around. "Lomarandil, would you PLEASE stop showing off! I wouldn't be surprised if half the forest heard the noise of that little escapade! You're going to get us all killed!" Lomarandil's face tryed to contort enough to shout a reply back, but he held it straight with a visible armount of effort. Hopefully I'll get YOU killed, Thorvel," he thought bitterly...
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Old 07-07-2004, 02:06 PM   #55
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The Eye Calenvása

Calenvása watched Thorvel with a surprise, an angry shock that he tried to contain. He could not understand this outburst, which made Thorvel sound as childish as Lómarandil and as arrogant as Targil. He felt hurt and saddened by this practical betrayal, and even more so by the growing coldness in the air. He felt as if the hatred was whipping his body like a cold, hard wind, and it shocked him into fear. “Thorvel,” he said softly. Thorvel turned his wild eyes from the young Lómarandil to his Captain, looking flustered, his face a mix of emotions. At least he seemed confused, unsure of what he did, and Calenvása thought he understood. But he frowned at his comrade.

“I believe that orcs can hear both your voices. As you have just said, we should not underestimate their brains, or their ears.”

Calenvása was only slightly surprised when Thorvel practically sneered back. No one found the Captain’s humor appropriate at such times, but he had decided long ago that those under his command would have to endure it. Calenvása’s eyes then moved to Lómarandil, passing over Targil’s clearly derogatory face. The young elf smiled nastily at Thorvel, who avoided looking at him, with an arrogance that threatened to overcome even that of Targil.

“Forgive me, Lómarandil, for my harsh words, but you know that that was a foolish move. Both you and Thorvel have done many foolish actions in the past few moments, and said many a foolish. And this time, your words spoke much louder than any of your actions.” He sighed, and was glad that no one spoke during his short pause. But there was nothing to say. He had made that very clear. “I see now that too much has been allowed to be said.”

“Too much?” Targil asked with all his usually pride, an eyebrow raised. “ We have barely begun to understand each other, Captain. Too little has been said, for that.” The title used lacked any of its usual respect when it came from Targil’s mouth.

“It is clear that we will not listen enough to understand each other, Targil.” He changed the direction of his words from Targil to all three of his companions. “And you will start by understanding me.” He paused for emphasis, and found himself wondering at how much bitterness he had put in his voice. The pause grew to be too long as he choked on his words, finding it hard to pick up where he left off. For where he left off he had never meant to get to.

“What Thorvel suggested will now be fully taken into account. There are plans to every attack the Enemy makes, as well as overwhelmingly large forces to slaughter. What we must never do is ignore what could be. It is only reasonable to think that a small, separate force would not be used simply for more slaughter. And to say that our brethren could easily destroy such a force is to selfishly underestimate our enemy, and to overestimate ourselves. I believe this reminds us to mind our feet. They must remain on solid earth, the earth that we wish to protect.”

Calenvása smiled slightly, hiding the deepening sorrow and worry that plagued his mind and heart, as well as trying to lighten the air. It was heavy with chilling hostility. “And as to standing here all night, Thorvel, that is precisely what we are going to do. It seems that Lómarandil and Targil picked a perfect spot for a rest.”

~

Targil

Targil had been assigned the first watch, while the others were allowed to let their minds wander in waking dreams or dark, temporarily lifeless dreams. Glancing behind him at the others, he saw no movement, and so decided to make his own move. He began making his way toward the army camp, far to the right of where any of the lights shown in the night. Calenvása and Thorvel could ponder all they wished, talk all they wished. Targil would listen no more; he was going to discover answers for himself.

He knew Calenvása had taken the second watch, and he was glad of this. Let the Captain find himself angry enough to actually take command once more. Targil had watched the earlier proceedings with much enjoyment, finding it nice to see Calenvása finally speak to them with authority, even to Thorvel. That was another thing he had enjoyed, Thorvel losing his own temper, and so parting from his usual ways of being all but a pet owned by the Captain.

Dropping to a crouch, he allowed his eyes to pick at random glow in the shadowy night before him, and moved toward it until he could clearly see the shapes of the orc creatures sitting around their crude fire. The roughness of their voices rang harshly in his ears, and the cruelty of their nature resonated in those gruff sounds that resembled words. He listened to them until the darkness deepened enough even for these creatures to find some kind of rest.

As a soft glow began to come from far away, a glint of gold from the snapped Targil out of the reverie he had fallen into. “Up, worms,” came the voice, clearly a man’s, since it’s gruffness lacked the animal-like snarl or growl of an orc’s. “Urkrásh, you may go to your master. Our work is done.”

“Thank you, Captain.” There was some scurrying in the dark, and one of the original orcs was gone. To the three remaining creatures, the man that Targil had easily identified as a Southron, the Captain, said, “We march, and we leave behind the stragglers, this time.”

Though this sounded a very light and rather lifeless threat, and one all too common to be taken seriously, the restlessness of the orcs was clear. They knew this ‘Captain’ was serious to no end. They all proceeded to rise with an extraordinary amount of livelihood for ones who had just risen from slumber. Then one dared to speak to the man, his voice quivering slightly. “Cap’n…” he began softly, and the Southron turned around, stopping in the middle of his departure from their presence. “Will we be reachin’ the river today?”

“If you ever stop your blathering and start moving, yes.”

“An’ what happens then?”

“Nothing happens to you, but others will be going in just a little different direction.”

“We’re splittin’ the forces?”

“No, we are taking advantage of these elves being of small number. Now shut your creaking jaws and get moving!”

As the anger in the Captain’s voice became so that it could not be ignored, the orcs were soon moving away from their put out fire, finding a motivation to move quickly. Targil smiled slightly. He was glad that the Southron Captain had found it necessary to show the orc that he knew the plans, fortifying the fact that he was clearly above them. Feeling satisfied, and yet angered that he would have to acknowledge what Thorvel and Calenvása had been suggesting, he waited for his enemies to clear the area before he moved. He then started back to where his companions rested.

Targil had barely reached a safe distance from the army camp before he found Calenvása seemingly waiting for him, sitting comfortably on the ground. He rose as Targil approached, a small smile on his face. “I missed my watch.”

“Thank you…” he said, the words coming more smoothly than he thought they would, as he practically choked at the thought of thanking the elf. “I found what I was looking for.”

“Good. The others must be roused, and then we move, immediately.”

Targil forced himself to smile back at Calenvása, as Targil’s found a respect for the Captain somewhere in his mind, if not in his heart.
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Old 07-07-2004, 06:12 PM   #56
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Thorvel spaced himself off from the other Elves; within sight but just far enough away not to be part of a group. Targil had the first watch, and Thorvel tried to relax and rest, though his mind was too full of swirling thoughts for any such thing to happen. He had no idea where the angry outburst at Lómarandil had come from. He much preferred to keep his emotions in check, and was usually rather good at doing so. He supposed it was from not knowing the Orcs’ plans. He liked to understand things, and it bothered him when it did not. He did not even dislike Lómarandil nearly as much as he seemed to show. He did not regret his words to the younger Elf, only the way he had said them. He supposed it might have even been worth it, if Lómarandil gave his words any value at all. It might have been worth it, if not for the look Calenvása had given him. It had cut him deep, for that look had been full of disappointment, and even betrayal if Thorvel had read the look correctly. It made Thorvel feel ashamed, to have let his Captain down. He trusted Calenvása, and Thorvel had rarely let himself trust another before. Memories of past Captains nearly overwhelmed his mind: him stalking off because he disagreed with an order, him completely disregarding an order because he didn’t trust the Captain to make a correct decision, him having heated arguments with the Captain, and more. They all came out to about the same end: he was switched into a different troop until that Captain could no longer stand him. Thorvel could feel some of his independence and stubbornness creeping in. His loyalty to Calenvása was not gone; it was just buried beneath the surface.

His thoughts and emotions continued like relentless waves crashing themselves on a rocky shore until he became dimly aware of Targil and Calenvása speaking. He did not make out any of the words, and they soon split, Targil moving towards him.

“Come,” said Targil. “We are leaving.” Thorvel silently got to his feet, and the two Elves joined Calenvása and Lómarandil. Thorvel kept his distance from the others, mentally if not physically, and waited to hear if Calenvása had any additional orders before they moved out.
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Old 07-08-2004, 06:48 AM   #57
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Eye

The light was soon about to come, and for that Herding was thankful. He had been awake most of the night, even though he felt tired. He had only been dozing off now and then, when his thoughts didn't carry him away.

Herding opened the tent cloth slightly. It was quiet outside, expect from some orc mischief down in the corner of the field. The Haradrims and the Easterlings seemed to be asleep though. He turned his eyes to the path that Koran and his follower had taken up to his very own tent, just a few hours earlier. That was probably why this night had been less pleasant for Hedring, compared to other nights; this conversation that had turned into a ghastly fight. He couldn't believe what they had been arguing about, when it all seemed so clear; Koran was not the man to lead the small force, as simple as that. But what was he to do? He couldn't do anything about it, could he?

He felt helpless now, and angry. This feeling was quite unknown to Herding, whereas he didn't feel helpless nor weak very often. The feeling that was so often called "anger", he knew too well. Although Herding was quite sure that frustration and anger could sometimes be compared. He even felt that it could be the same ting, although he knew they were different things. He wasn’t making any sense now. It had obviously been too many hours without sleep for Herding and the man looked like he'd been out for days without sleep, food nor anything to drink. His face was pale and thin, while his dark sweaty hair was covered parts of it. His eyes were empty and inanimate. Herding thought about this, and struggled with himself. Frustration causes anger, he said to himself. That was what he was; he was frustrated. Yet, when he knew he could do nothing about his painful frustration it had developed to anger. Oh how angry he was.

Thinking about how thirsty he was, he seized the bottle he had gotten from his soldier earlier that day. It was empty. Herding threw it in the ground with great anger and the bottle reached great speed- not too surprisingly. The bottled flew through the air and Herding could hear it hit the ground once again.

Then finally, the captain dozed off again, even though the sun had just appeared on the horizon.
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Old 07-08-2004, 08:43 AM   #58
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The day's light was yet fully to come. In the pale hours before dawn, beneath the dense cover of trees and scrubby bushes, Gromwakh and his mates had been entertaining themselves by the dim light of a shuttered lantern. One Uruk knife, a wickedly sharp twisty thing, borrowed from an unwatched pack, was up as ante against two fine wire garrotes with carved bone handles emancipated from the cellars of Dol Guldur. Snikdul had the dice in hand and was just on the verge of throwing them against the flat face of a nearby rock when the snap of a dried twig was heard. The light was quickly doused and bodies scrambled for cover away from the gaming area.

‘Psst! Grom! It’s me!’ came the loud whisper. ‘Show yourself!’

‘Globûrz! You fool!’ hissed Gromwakh coming out from under the mouldering pile of leaves he’d dived under. ‘You were supposed to whistle like a nighthawk to let us know you were coming.’ ‘I forgot!’ shrugged the lumbering Orc stepping into a shadowy pool of filtered moonlight. ‘And anyways . . . I tried to tell you when you set me to guard that I can’t whistle.’ One by one the others crawled from their bolt holes and shuffled near to hear what report Globûrz was making.

‘It was old Kreblug that brought the news,’ he said, leaning on his club, as his companions ringed him. ‘Cost us two cups, but I got it out of him. The front of the army is up and starting to move. Some of the night scouts have come back with something about a small group of Elves nearing the western bank of the Big River at the shallow fording point. Elves out of the yellow leaved wood. Looking to cross over to the trees this side. Fierce fighters I heard, too. Rumour has it they met a whole army of Orcs from out of Moria and dispatched them. Big, tall nasty Elf-man . . . one of them old ones . . . with a blade that bites deep . . . waded through the lot like fire through so much hay. Captains want them taken-like, by us, not killed, to see what they're up to.

‘Us?’ squeaked Snikdul, the alarm on his face mirroring that of his comrades. Visions of some mighty Elf-lord of Old, twenty feet high and growing by the moment in his estimation; with a sword forged from lightning; coming toward them with mighty strides - all this had set him quivering with trepidation.

‘Not ‘us’ us by ourselves,’ Globûrz went on. ‘But all the orcs save the Supply masters and their few helpers are to have the opportunity, as one of the Captains said, to share in the glory of the capture of the Elves for the greater glory of the Master’s plans.’

‘Glory, my great hairy backside!’ growled Gromwakh. ‘They’ll throw us at the nasty creatures first, let them tire themselves out by cutting through our worthless hides, then they’ll take what ever glory there is for themselves. I say we just hang back here and wait for their glorious return.’

‘No can do, Grom. They’re counting heads. And any who aren’t accounted for won’t have their heads to worry about when they get back. Those Uruks are just black-hearted enough to hunt us down for sport if they get wind of it.’

Silence enveloped the little group, accompanied by a certain level of despair, as they hurried back to their little camp near the supply wagons to retrieve their weapons and what meager armour they possessed. Snikdul adjusted his battered helmet on his head and fastened his curved blade to his belt. With his right hand he picked up the long, thick iron rod he favoured. ‘Slash ‘em and bash ‘em!’ he said half-heartedly as he gathered together with his fellows.

‘But from the fringes only,’ came the grim instruction from Gromwakh as he shook his hardwood cudgel toward the direction of the column front. ‘Just keep near me, tight as a tick every one. I’ll figure something out to get us through this.’

I hope . . . he muttered quietly to himself as the little group took off running to join in the required glory of the battle . . .
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Old 07-08-2004, 11:40 AM   #59
Amanaduial the archer
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Koran

Koran woke in the sitting position he had been in all night, back against a tree where he had dozed off into his thoughts. The side of his neck ached from where it had been taught overnight as his head drooped to one side and as he stood, he winced, his hand coming to his neck. Rubbing it gingerly, he rolled his head from side to side and stifled a yawn, stretching his head and shoulders as he looked out across the expanse where the army were waking.

Realising he had been stupidly careless to simply doze off when his position with Herding was so unfavourable, his hand flew to his belt quickly...and he was relieved to find his dagger still there. He ran his fingers gently across the smooth, fine stone set as the pommel, his fingers still hypersensitive to the touch from the night's sleep, and smiled gently to himself. The weapon was probably the only thing Koran truly valued now - value was dangerous, he had found, tying people to possessions as worshippers to false idols: he had seen so many times both friend and foe falling needlessly as they sought to retain and defend their possessions. What thanks would a chair ever give you? Would you stake your life upon a stick of furniture? Weapons....they were different. And the dagger was special to Koran - in a place where he had little else, it was some security: in a swift, undercover fight, a dagger was so much more effective than a large blade.

With that dark thought in mind, he turned to look for Ehan...and found himself staring into a rather less favourable countenance. His face must have shown some disgust at the orc's appearance behind him, only a foot or so from him, but if the creature saw it, it made no comment except to sneer nastily - or maybe that was simple it's usual expression.

"Captain Herding wants t' see you. Now." The orc was not ceremonious and did not waste words before it turned away, but there was a certain smug satisfaction in it's voice that Koran did not like. He contented himself with glaring after it's retreating, leather-and-fur bound body, then cast another look across the bustling camp, orcs and easterlings scurrying around like bees over their hive.

"Time to bid the illustrious captain good morning..." he muttered dryly. Turning away, he started towards Herding's tent, running a hand through his dark, curly hair then across his stubbled chin. It wasn't like Herding would care - only one thing about Koran's appearance mattered currently: the dagger in his belt. If Herding was as alike to Ferach and Cortim as Koran suspected, he would stop at nothing. Steeling himself, he entered Herding's tent warily, his dark eyes flicking around to check for any hidden assassin before he settled on Herding.

Who was asleep.

Koran's lip curled upwards distastefully as he regarded the sleeping Southron captain for a few moments. From one hand, a bottle hung loosely. The very model of a fine Southron captain, Koran thought wryly. Hesitating, he coughed loudly and pointedly into the back of his hand, watching Herding. The sound had the desired effect: alert to any loud sharp noise even when sleeping, the older captain's eyes snapped open and he jerked upwards, the bottle slipping from his fingers and smashing on the floor. Herding jerked again at the loud noise and glared at the bottle's shattered remains, then turned to Koran. He alternated glaring at glass and Koran for a few seconds, then seemed to settle on the latter. Koran met his cold gaze with an equally icy one.

"Good morning, captain," Koran said in a falsely bright voice.

"Are you trying to kill me with shock?" came the snapped reply. No, that's your job, remember? Koran was tempted to reply. Instead he said nothing. Herding glared at him balefully, then rose, walking to the table at one side of the tent and tearing off a hunk of bread, taking a bite, apparently ignoring the young captain's prescence.

"You wished to see me, Captain," Koran prompted impassively, his voice neutral. Herding grunted taking another bite, swallowing, then finally turning around at his leisure and pointing an accusatory finger at Koran.

"Elves have been sighted not far from here, Cenbryt - heading for the forest, I should guess. You will intercept them."

"On my own, Captain?" Koran's voice was still utterly neutral, only a trace of humour entering it. Herding glared at him sharply but found nothing on the boy's face and grunted, unsatisfied, before pouring himself a glass of dark, thick liquid.

"Orcs. Take a few," he replied carelessly, not looking up at the captain.

'Take a few'? Koran was disgusted at the captain's carelessness, even more so as he knew the reason for it - once more, Herding wanted him to fail. He would place Koran deliberately in the way of danger, giving him too few warriors and only a few treacherous orcs, hoping to harm or even kill him, wishing to stand over his body and gloat...

"A few? How many elves are there?" Koran replied, his teeth almost gritted as he forced himself to remain neutral.

"One or two, I suspect."

You know exactly how many there are, don't you?! Koran resisted the temptation to voice his thoughts, grinding his teeth together and mentally placing the number of elves at five to ten from Herding's response. "And may I take some of my own men?"

"The southrons?" Herdin's piggy eyes flitted up to Koran, sending him a piteous look over the top of his wine glass. "Well, if you feel you need them," he replied patronisingly.

Koran sent him a barely veiled glare of disgust, then bowed stiffly and turned on his heel. As the flap of the tent fell behind him, he suddenly realised his fists had been clenched: so tightly, in fact, that his stubby nails had actually bitten into his palms, drawing a few thin lines of blood near the surface, a neat row of four curves on each palm. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Opening them abruptly, the Southron became a different man: business was everything. Striding towards the camp and through it, he snapped orders to his men and to a few of the orcs.

"Get yourself ready: I want forty to fifty orcs ready to come with me and take the elves. Catham, get fifteen of my Southrons and of the Falhik tribe together. Ehan, get my sword. We're going to see the elves..."
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Old 07-08-2004, 03:52 PM   #60
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Eye

Herding smirked. Hopefully he had managed to trick Koran in a way that he’d not be fully prepared for a battle that might come - sooner than the poor lad would ever had dreamed of. What a nice thought that was. Herding had indeed, refrained from telling the whole truth to Koran. He had beheld information that could be of great importance. Now he was in the lead, Herding thought. Hopefully, there would be a battle where elven blood was spilt, and of course not to mention some real Haradrim blood too. One couldn’t imagine how satisfied Herding was with himself by now. He couldn’t wait to see Koran coming back – defeated. Or even better: badly hurt. Death was no option yet. But a few dangers and injuries on the road was a tempting and most pleasant thought.

By now, the sun had reached it far skies, and it was about time Herding got up and dressed properly with armour and everything. He stumbled to his feet, as he had been sitting for quite some time studying his map until Koran had burst in. He found his weapons on the ground. What a chaos; bows and arrows among daggers and knives which should originally be placed in his belt. He fetched his sword, felt the blade towards his strong hands. What a powerful sword it was. He could see rotten brown blood in the curves of the decoration which was slightly disgusting. Herding liked it that way though.

Pulling his second pair of boots forwards he sat down again and lifted them up. They looked old and worn out, and indeed they were. He wouldn’t want to trade them though, because they were simply the best one could get. He had always appreciated such boots during battles. It had never failed him. Without thinking more about it, he pulled them on. Then he rushed out of his tent to see Orcs and Southrons already set to go. Surprisingly enough, Herding figured, Koran had managed to do something. Maybe he wasn’t that useless after all? Time would show, although Herding doubted that Koran was good for anything. Using him for his own intensions wasn’t such a bad idea though.

“Aren’t you ready yet?” Herding asked Koran with great amusement even though he just had told himself that it looked like Koran had everything under control. He could tell that Koran was already stressed.

“Yes, sir. Orcs are here…some Haradrims,” he replied weakly looking at Herding. Herding could tell by the way that Koran looked at him that Koran indeed, disliked him. Maybe even as much as Herding disliked Koran. Wasn’t it ironic? “You did not tell me the whole truth, did you Captain?” Koran then said sternly. “Oh, clever boy”, Herding thought with a great smirk. Of course he hadn’t told him the whole truth. However he didn’t reply to this until Koran once again faced Herding with the very same question. “Liar? Is that what you claim me to be? A poor condemned liar ?!” Herding then said harshly. His face expression was very much changed from the earlier when he had a huge evil grin surrounding his face. Herding was good at these things; twisting things around, and Koran probably knew that too. Koran said naught, although his face expression change too all of sudden as he was surprised by Herding’s reaction. On the inside however, Herding laughed at the man standing in front of him.

“You are indeed more impudent and daring than I though you were,“ Herding than continued. It looked as if Koran was getting angry and very much annoyed as he knew that Herding was playing evilly with his mind. “We’ll continue this little chat later maybe,” Herding said, while the thought of an injured Koran appeared in his head. He grinned evilly. “Now, get that force ready or you will regret it,” Herding then said finally, beneath his clenched teeth. Indeed, he had been doing this so often that his jaw was feeling somewhat numb.

“I can’t wait,” Koran said, while spitting on the ground. Herding could hardly resist the laughter, evil as it was, to burst out. He felt satisfied as he’d won a great battle. Yet again he’d managed to play with the poor man’s mind, with great success as well, he concluded. He heard Koran raising his voice towards the amry; “Let’s move!”

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Old 07-08-2004, 03:57 PM   #61
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"Get yourself ready: I want forty to fifty orcs ready to come with me and take the elves. Catham, get fifteen of my Southrons and of the Falhik tribe together. Ehan, get my sword. We're going to see the elves..."

Ehan grinned at the words. We're going to see the elves. We're going to see the elves! Oh, he had waited so long to hear the words. Running from his seat the young man darted about to find his Captain's sword. Where is it? Where is it? Ehan could hear the other Southrons preparing. When he finally found Koran's blade, Ehan could not resist twirling it and stabbing it into thin air, as if he were fighting some invisible opponent. The way the young man moved and the look of glee upon his face caused others in camp to stare a him, but Ehan hardly noticed the strange glances.

When he had found Koran again, the older Southron seemed preoccupied in making sure the numbers he had ordered were present. Ehan waited patiently, his eyes darting to and fro as he waited for Koran's attention. When he finally recieved the desired attention Ehan gave Koran his sword, hilt first. Koran nodded his thanks and turned away, continuing his count of orcs and Southron men.

"If it is not too bold, Captain," Ehan started, eyeing the small group Koran had ordered to assemble. "I must say that I think we should have gotten more of our own kind to go with us. I do not trust the creatures."

Ehan's words were lost in the clatter of armor and the grunting of soldiers as Koran made an order and the group suddenly began to leave the camp.
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Old 07-08-2004, 04:01 PM   #62
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Thrakmazh's Pace

Ahead they trudged, relatively slow at best. Many were lagging behind, at the wispy tail of the unshapely column that dragged itself across gently sloping land. Some slumped, kneeling in the dirt to pant, as if the journey was some more strenuous activity. Yes, they had started only as the morning’s light pierced nightly clouds and the shroud of pale, dappled blackness that peered at all sleeping beings like glittering eyes through the twisted branches of tall trees, had not yet begun to recoil from the heavens, but they had slept deeply, or should have. Many yanked they’re wretched, deformed legs over easy terrain, possibly trying to falsify some acting injury so that they might be excused. Of course, their captain would rather slit their gasping, rasping throats than let them sit and plant their barbaric muzzles in the earth to intake puddles of water that had materialized there. That captain trudged, with a little more vigor than the rest, at the head and front of the mellifluous serpent which wormed its way towards the sight were its miniscule prey awaited it, unknowing and unready. How grand a day it might be, if the serpent struck with enthusiasm and power, but, alas, most of the serpent’s scales had withered wearily.

“They don’t want to go, ye know.” Urkrásh said, piping in quietly. He would’ve been reluctant, under most conditions, to say anything to his master without being spoken to first, but today, Thrákmazh the Mighty seemed subdued somewhat, his single eye darkened, vague and filled with swampy murk, as if it had been tainted by some rank substance overnight. His brow sagged, his arms, usually pulled up at his side as if ready to strike the next thing that cocked an impudent eyebrow at him, were hanging limp, weak and lacking resolution, swinging from side to irresolute side. One hand, though, bore a great, sharp object in it, his gilded scimitar, clutched diligently in the grip of gnarled, rooted digits. His lingering eye, slithering to and fro in its ragged socket, turned to peer at Urkrásh.

“Because they’re all fools,” he snapped darkly, tightening his grip around the surprisingly cold, smooth feel of his weapon’s, “herded beasts who don’t want anything. That’s why they don’t want to go.” Urkrásh, ever faithful, though oft encouraged not to be thus to such a vile and malicious orcish fiend (even considered so by those who followed him) nodded his head without the slightest thought or hesitation. “Yes, Thrákmazh.” He murmured; a glum, bare expression on his face. He continued nodding after the gesture was made, shaking his head rather dumbly up and down and trying to keep up with Thrákmazh, who was persistent in his quicker speed. The orc captain was scowling brutally, his mind continually running over his frustration at his own men’s apparent lack of purpose, as he’d orated in a fiery rant to Urkrásh less than a sunrise ago. Now, as usual, he was more than ready to make another example.

“But, they’re a-goin’ now and half of the rats’ll be dead under Elven blades before the night has come.” He bellowed, a noise which surprised Urkrásh so much that he skidded to a halt. Thrákmazh’s volume shot up, raising an unwholesome octave, and his dank tone resounded through the ranks so much that tremulous shudders could be heard as an aftershock. The other orcs rushed around the two as Thrákmazh halted, turning angrily on his hopeful lieutenant. “Ye know what they think? They think they’ll be doin’ all the fighting! Indeed, and they’re wrong. I swear I’ll gut ‘em where they stand if any run, those bloody cowards!” The words of the last statement were viciously roared into Urkrásh’s face, who staggered involuntarily, and another unanimous shudder overran the ranks of orcs.

“They want motivation, sir…” squeaked Urkrash daintily, “you can give them that.”

“Motivation, ye say?” Thrákmazh snapped, half incredulous, turning his shoulder to Urkrásh, “An orc doesn’t need motivation. An orc needs a sense of what he ought to do, for there is only one thing an orc ought to do, and once an orc grasps that he won’t need to question anything as long as he lives. Being a thrall of the Great Eye is a miserable thing, Urkrásh, but if you make somethin’ of it, see somethin’ in it, all will be clear. There’s only one thing you can do, and that’s serve with all the loyalty, with all the zeal, with all the strength in yer bones and the steel in yer sword. You’ll never be free of yer service, and there’s no consolation in anything else, so ye might as well show who you serve that you’re better at serving than everyone else, and ye can get all the pleasure out of it too.” Urkrásh, looking into the solitary, lonely eye of his master, saw an all-too familiar, faint glow of sickly yellow, yearning to be released from its cage under a wrinkly lid. “The master tells me to kill, I kill, and I’ve learned to like it. If those orcs knew what fun they’re was to be had…”

As his master’s voice withered, faded, and eventually died down into a raspy breathing, Urkrásh raised a finger of suggestion. “They’re scared, Thrákmazh, and tired.” Thrákmazh turned to him, glaring fierily at first, his gaze and face sharpened like the rusty dagger that hung in his armored belt, but suddenly settled, and he cackled with furious, bombastic madness in his voice. “TIRED?” he roared, questioning the sky, rather than his servant. “SCARED? And the Great Eye will give ‘em a break to rest they’re poor little feet?” Again, he looked down, his head swiveling to scan the mounds of orc-flesh moving as waves on the sea would around them. His eye narrowed, shriveling and shrinking into a single gem, twinkling evilly where it sat, and he began to walk forward, towards the front. “I’ll give ‘em a rest.”

Suddenly, he shot forward, plowing through the ranks, his blade up at his side and his clawed feet leaving deep imprints in the ground that looks as if they wished to simmer and suddenly burst into flame, to show the path he’d taken, In mere moments, he’d cleared most orcs, looking past them to the men who walked weakly in another clump not far off. He cackled again, slashing the air before him and turned towards his orcish brethren, his voice swelling to a magnificent roar which boomed like orcish thunder. “PICK UP THE PACE! ANY MAGGOT WHO CAN’T MATCH MY SPEED’LL BE A MEAL FOR MY SWORD!”

And they listened…amazingly well.

“We’ll have those elves begging for mercy, lads!” He cried, again his tone overwhelming the ranks, “We’ll have ‘em groveling on the ground, and those men will still be leagues behind.” For the first time, there was a very bleak murmur of reluctant approval. “The glory of this is going to us and us alone!” Again, another murmur came, and soon enough, more murmurs, many uncomfortable, most impartial, or so it seemed. Thrákmazh didn’t care, not in the slightest, for he was caught up in his purpose, the one he spoke of. He was going to taste elf blood this day, and his men would with him, else they’d be slain with the foul elves and laid in gore alongside them. He ran, and continued, not pacing himself, letting the rest lag behind, the sounds of their panting, sharp intakes of breath beating in his ears and shaping themselves into war drums, signaling his coming victory, a majestic and wonderful herald of blood to be spilt.

“They can’t…match your pace…sir.” muttered Urkrash in between his own pants, trying feebly to keep the speed himself, “…You know that…Not all of ‘em.” He looked back, his head bobbing as he ran, to the smaller group of men who’d assembled for the mission, who were now trailing far behind. They were looking to the orcs, dismissing their new speed as a burst of dark adrenaline, he supposed, but again, this was a fact that didn’t matter to Thrákmazh, who still ran…and ran…and then, very suddenly and unreadily, stopped.

Since the company of orcs was trying to ‘match’ Thrákmazh’s pace, they halted very abruptly when he did, many stumbling awkwardly, tripping over each other and sliding head first into the dirt. They pushed up again, taking the opportunity to collapse, muttering constantly. A new din of angry conversation filled the air, but Thrákmazh’s sword-hand flew up menacingly, and they all stopped. They watched, with a strange, animalistic anticipation on their face, as Thrákmazh’s hooked nose sniffed the air several times in slow, cautious succession. As a new, unsettling silence settled, Thrákmazh turned to the troops he commanded, his next tone as shrill and small as a whisper. “There’s something in the air.” He faintly said, more words which traveled as a rippling wave would across the bustling mass of now silent orcs, “…Smells like…elf-flesh…” he turned away from them all, “They’re close.”

Again, a fire seethed in his eye, and his rusty blade was up.

“C’MON YOU WORMS! MOVE!”
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Old 07-08-2004, 04:04 PM   #63
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The Sun brought no comfort to Ambarturion, for the dark thoughts of the night cast their shadow of concern about his heart still, and Caranbaith’s condition was no better. Coromswyth tried to comfort both master and student by pointing out that it was no worse – indeed, a remarkable think after the young Elf’s exertions of the day before. Megilaes was drawn and pale with concern and his eyes kept going back to his brother. Ambarturion had to snap at him several times to ensure that the watch was kept while he and Coromswyth readied themselves to leave. As on the day before, Caranbaith insisted that he was strong enough to walk, but Ambarturion would have none of it. “You said the same yesterday,” he barked, “and by noon you were unable to keep your feet. Today you shall be seek the help of your brother and the lady, for we must be over the River before the Sun is no more than a third of the way through her journey.” He hoped that none of them knew how difficult this would be. . .they were still too far from the safety of the far shore. For the first time he thought of turning South and returning to Lorien, but the knowledge that they were being hunted was too great. There were enemies approaching, and they would soon cross the River and seek to prevent their flight to the Green Wood. Should they try that route, they would find themselves encircled and in the open before nightfall. Their only hope was to make for the cover of Mirkwood with all the speed that they could.

“Come,” he said, helping Caranbaith to his feet. “We must hurry.” He looked at Coromswyth and felt the gentle pressure of her mind upon his own. He acknowledged his fears to her, but did not elaborate upon them – it was enough to know that they were in danger; she need not be burdened with the hopelessness of their situation.

They moved through the grass of the Vale as quickly as they could, with Ambarturion and Megilaes keeping to the front and scanning the horizon to the south-east. As they went they could both feel the presence of evil pressing in upon them from that direction, like the feel of a fire upon their foreheads when their eyes were closed. Ambarturion was tempted to seek shelter from the despair in his memories of Doriath. When his student had taken the watch last night he had sought that same refuge, walking through the protected realm that had lain within Melian’s Girdle, and hearing again the song of Luthien before her betrayal with Beren. Even as he walked in the light of the day once more, feeling the growing terror of the land all about them, his feet were once more drawn to follow the paths of his youth, and he could feel upon his cheek the light touch of leaves that never fell, and the scent of flowers now long vanished beneath the waves filled his nostrils.

It was Megilaes’s sudden cry that awoke him to the grey horrors of the present. His student had stopped dead in his tracks and was staring away to the south-east. Ambarturion followed his gaze and saw afar off, upon the very edge of the horizon, a black smudge upon the land. As he gazed at the stain, it resolved into the shapes of two or three score orcs and Men, racing across the Vale and directly toward them. How the servants of the Enemy had found them he did not know, but he did not have the time to ponder this. They had forded the River and were upon the western bank. Had Caranbaith been in good health, there might have remained yet the possibility of escape, for as tireless as orcs and evil Men might be, the Elves of Lorien were yet fleeter of foot. But Caranbaith was in no condition to run, and Megilaes would never leave his brother to the torments of the beasts that now approached. Nor would Ambarturion.

He turned to Coromswyth. “My lady,” he began. “My students and I will not flee before the enemy, but there is no need for you to die at their hands. It would be best if Lorien knew of this incursion. If you leave us immediately and run but a little west of south you may reach the Golden Wood ahead of the orcs. If we are lucky, they might even dispatch some of their number to pursue you, and we three might be enough to defeat those who remain, and you can escape your pursuers in Lorien.” He knew that his plan was almost entirely hopeless. But even more hopeless was the idea that Coromswyth would abandon her companions, particularly Caranbaith.

Marvellously, the lady smiled when she spoke. “No, Ambarturion,” she said. “I will not flee. There is little hope that I could escape the enemy, and that would only deprive you of another sword when they come upon you. Let us seek a defensible place to prepare for the attack.”

Ambarturion was surprised and greatly impressed by this response, but he was careful to control his reaction, saying only, “I see, my lady, that you come of warrior blood yourself. Come! If I remember these lands aright, there is a small hill not a mile from here. It is neither so high nor so well protected as the hill we held against the goblins of Moria, but it is steep and the land about it is clear. We can at least use the advantage of height to fell some of our attackers with our bows before they are upon us.” Coromswyth nodded, and Ambarturion called for his students to follow. They ran almost due north until the saw the hill before them. It was indeed not very high, but it rose steeply beneath their feet. While it presented no challenge to the Elves, the orcs would be hard pressed to scale its sides at full speed. When they reached the summit they turned about and looked out across the Vale of Anduin toward the black stain of their enemies. They were shocked by how much closer the orcs and evil Men had come in so short a time.

They readied their bows in silence, for there was nothing to say. All they could do was wait.

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Old 07-09-2004, 02:37 AM   #64
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Gromwakh took advantage of the sudden stop to have a little look-see at the terrain. Flat for the most part and out in the open, no trees for the Elves to sneak under and disappear. Some small, rolling hillocks, and there to the northwest a taller hill. Grom shaded his eyes with his great hairy hand and peered at the steep-sided mound, or so it looked from this distance. Gauging from his memories of the foothills about the northern Misty Mountains he knew this was deceptive. It would be a hard climb at the all out pace One-Eye had been setting for them - he could already imagine the Orcs with their armour clanking, weapons grasped firmly in hand, having a hard time gaining a foothold. Worse yet, the approach to the hill was wide open, save for what appeared to be a tall area of undercut that seemed to wrap round the lower east to north edge of the hill's base. The Elves, for the most part, would have a clear view of the army’s approach.

‘I don’t see that big shiny blade we heard the one big Elf has,’ whispered Snikdul, his eyes following the direction of Gromwakh’s gaze. No blade held high by the awesome Elvish warrior glinted in the morning’s sun; no lightning issued its sizzling warning as it shot from the nearly mythic fighter. ‘Bad news, though,’ said another of their fellows, thrusting out his great ruddy lips toward the hill. ‘Looks like they have bows.’

Gromwakh spit outward watching the gobbet of spit arc a bit then fall quickly toward the dirt. ‘No wind, either down here and there either, he said, noting the loose hems of the Elven tunics did not billow out like pennants in a breeze, but lay flat on against their bodies.

‘Who brought the shields, like I told you?’ asked Grom, motioning the group to gather round him. Five of them unslung the thick, wooden planked barrel tops they’d got from the salted pork barrels and four had the very large iron lids from the big cooking pots. ‘Good going, boys! The rest of us that don’t have a shield will stick close to a pair of you. Snik’ll keep his eyes on the sky as we get near the hill; let us know when the arrows start flying.

The little group followed Gromwakh’s lead, positioning themselves about three quarters of the way back in the ranks of Orcs and Uruks. Snikdul scratched his cheek and squinted back toward the hilltop as they wormed their way a little further back in the ranks. He blinked his eyes a few times, then pulled on Grom’s sleeve. ‘Are there really only four of them up there? Or do they have some hidden away from us, all sneaky-like?’

‘I’m hoping that four is it,’ Gromwakh snorted in a gruff voice. ‘And it’s that Uruk lot should be sneaking about . . . to the other side of the hill while the main part of us draw their attention.’

His eyes fixed on the rusty blade raised high near the front of the company, he heard the voice of his less than beloved leader rallying the troops . . .

“C’MON YOU WORMS! MOVE!”

The foot of the hill loomed nearer as they thumped along . . . giving way at long last when they had reached it to the inevitable, and sometimes daunting, angle of repose that would bring them to the hilltop’s prize.
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:06 AM   #65
Durelin
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The Eye Calenvása

The Mirkwood scouts immediately took a strategic position to observe the army as it prepared itself to march. Watching the servants of Sauron leave their camp was unsettling. For the elves it was sickening, and easily roused their race’s characteristic rage of immortals. The orcs and Men alike scarred the Earth with their defiling wastes that were left along the way to wherever their Master sent them. The worst of what they left were the bodies of rocs, slaughtered by their own kind or their ‘allies’. Those were left to decay under the sun and moon with unnatural slowness and foulness. Not even the carrion fowl of the skies, dark creatures all their own, would touch a dead orc carcass, even a freshly dying one. Still, they taunted those on the ground, as they did the dying, and even the dead. It never mattered to a carrion bird, as they knew that any that they welcomed would hear them even after their eyes failed to see. And so their laughter filled the air, and they perched restlessly in scattered trees, or poked around on the ground, carefully avoiding the kicks and swats aimed at them. Others circled in the air above, seemingly wrapped up in the energy of the moment, the bustle below of foul creatures, performing a ritual long since reserved for a dawn such as this.

The chaos that the elves observed among the camp made it almost impossible for them to distinguish a separate group gathering to make their own march. But a Man’s shout was heard clearly, full of anger that he did not wish to suppress, instructing a group to march while the rest of the army milled around, awaiting enough organization to arise among them so that they could move, as well. The independent troop separated itself from the rest, consisting of both orcs and Men. They seemed to move with a strange earnest, looking forward to their destination. And wherever their march would end, Calenvása knew that his scouts must follow. He turned to look at Thorvel, who crouched nearby him, letting his eyes pass between watching the army and watching his Captain, obviously awaiting the order to follow. It was the correct action, Calenvása knew. This was what had worried them since their journey had begun. Was this the attack plan beginning to unfold? It certainly was strange that the majority of the army seemed to be remaining where they were.

The Captain raised his hand to gain everyone’s attention, as the elves were slightly spread out and their focus was on their enemies. They moved closer to Calenvása so that he could whisper his orders. “We follow this special force to their special end.” Thorvel smiled slightly, as he always had, enjoying his Captain’s sense of humor. But he quickly removed the grin, remembering that he was angry with Calenvása. And he knew that the elf had reason to be angry, if not exactly at him. These were frustrating days, and they would only grow worse. Targil seemed to realize this, as well, and he only nodded grimly before leaping to his feet and being the first to begin the real chase. There was something about this situation, something in the air that cried out a need for haste.

Calenvása rose quickly to follow Targil, as did Thorvel. But Lómarandil rose slowly, strangely not bothering to be in the company of Targil, and seemingly unaffected by the feeling of need. He was the only scout that had not come to recognize the importance of what Thorvel had heard that first sleepless night. Calenvása stopped and looked at the young elf, and did not have to tell Thorvel or Targil to keep moving. He remained calm and quiet, yet cold, when he spoke. “Lómarandil, you have been slow to follow orders for some time now. If there is a reason for this, I wish to hear it. And even if there is not, I wish for your company.”

“And my company I will give, if my Captain wishes it.”

Calenvása had thought his voice had been so very cold, but he had been greatly mistaken. Those words stung, and left him numb. And so they would run in a silence in which urgency screamed.

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Old 07-09-2004, 11:40 AM   #66
Fordim Hedgethistle
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“Hold until they are upon us,” Ambarturion cautioned his students. “We used many arrows in our battle with the goblins, and must take care not to squander what we yet possess.”

“They have shields,” Coromswyth said quietly. “And they know how to use them. The Men in particular seem to know how to protect themselves.”

“Yes,” Ambarturion agreed. “All the more reason to wait until we have clear targets to shoot at.”

The orcs stormed the hill first, with the main body of the beasts making a full frontal assault. It was as Ambarturion had known it would be: the expendable orcs would come at them first, to reduce their stock of arrows and tire them with combat, while the more powerful Uruks and Men would attempt to approach them from the cover of the hollow upon their flank. It was an obvious strategy but an effective one – it is what he would have done in their position. There was little time to speak, and not much to be said, but Ambarturion sought to give his students what aid he could before the battle was joined. “Do not throw away your lives in fury or despair,” he told them. “Remember that you are warriors of the Golden Wood and the equal in might to at least a dozen orcs. Remember as well all that I have taught you. Fight with patience and in an even temper. Think of where your blows will do the most harm to your enemies and aid to yourselves. Watch for each other.” He did not remove his eyes from the approaching enemy as he spoke but he could feel their sober response to these words. He wondered what Coromswyth was thinking, but dared not distract his attention from the trial ahead.

The orcs rushed up the hill, their cries becoming roars of blood-hatred as they neared the Elves at its top. When they were twenty paces distant, Ambarturion give the order to loose, and at his word the four leading orcs fell. As quick as thought they restrung their bows, and four more fell, but the mass had come much closer. A third volley killed three, for Caranbaith’s arrow had missed its mark, but it was enough – the orcs, tired by their run and in terror of their losses, faltered. Ambarturion dropped his bow to the ground and drew out his sword. “Laurelindórenan!” he cried, and his voice rang across the land like the silver trumpets of Fingon. “Auta i lome!” And like a bolt of white light from the starlit sky of Elvendom his sword flashed in the sun as he ran at the orcs. They stopped their advance entirely, in dismay of his fury, and some looked as though they might flee, but their Captain, a great hairy brute with but one eye, drove them forward to meet the headlong rush of the Elves.

The red mist descended before Ambarturion’s gaze, and he forgot his own counsel as he met the beasts upon the hillside. His sword rose and fell and two orcs were immediately slain, their black blood staining the offended grass. He rushed forward, slaying orc after orc as he ran, caring nothing for his safety and paying no heed to the cries of his students and of Coromswyth behind him. The fey temper that had come upon him in the battle with the goblins descended once more, and he roared with inchoate rate and hatred and he swept the head off an orc, and the legs from beneath yet another. The orcs came upon him in a mass, but he beat them back, yearning only to reach their Captain and destroy him.

Ambarturion had no hope that he would prevail. Already his charge had been stalled, and the orcs were pressing in about him ever more closely. Driven beyond the terror of his blade by their hatred of his race they threw themselves at him recklessly. His run had carried him far beyond the aid of his companions and he was soon encircled by enemies. Still he fought on, and still he killed the orcs, but all the time that he did so, he knew that the more powerful Uruks and Men would be upon them soon, and then all hope would surely be lost. At last he struck down the last two orcs that stood between him and the one-eyed captain. He rushed at the orc with his blade singing about his head and dripping black gore, but his attack was met and rebuffed, again he spun and drove at the monster, batting aside his ragged blade and slashing at his neck. The orc, however, was cunning and quick and stepped aside from the attack. Now, however, he was off balance and easy prey to Ambarturion, but it was too late, for the enemy had pressed in about him in a tight wall and he was soon separated from the captain by an impenetrable wall of steel and leather.
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Old 07-09-2004, 02:10 PM   #67
Amanaduial the archer
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Silmaril

Koran watched as the orcs battled in first, going as if they were attacking the very gates of Gondor themselves, and rolled his eyes. "Look closely at the orcs," he murmured to Ehan beside him, leaning towards him slightly "and you can see that many of their moves are merely showy. How half hearted can one group be..."

The younger man looked afresh at the orcs as he turned away from his captain, and indeed he suddenly noticed why the captain had been watching so cynically. He glanced back at the other Southron, but Koran's gaze had now shifted. He raised a hand to the men around him, fixing his eyes on the battle, and most specifically on the lethal, raven haired immortal in the centre of the fray. But as he watched, he saw the gleam of light against metal from elsewhere. Glancing sharply across, he saw a fourth elf, tucked behind a tree at the very peak of the hill so he could not be seen much by the orcs and Men. The elf's sharp eyes had not yet picked out that Koran had noticed it yet though - they were too busy sighting along another arrow. As Koran watched, he saw the elf loose the arrow fluidly, the weapon becoming a part of it's body - a split second later, an orc fell in the fray, near the very centre where the raven haired elf fought, an arrow piercing a chink in the armour around it's thick neck.

Koran couldn't help but be impressed - a hidden archer, able to pick off the enemy from a distance, knocking them down close to their allies where a death would not be noted as being odd. Clever. But what's more, the archer really was a marvellous shot - Koran knew few who would have been confident that they would be able to get that shot dead on straight away from such a distance, and dead on it would have to be: if the elf archer slipped by even a few centimetres, the angle would become amplified over the distance, and her companion would lie dead. Without pausing, the elf strung another arrow and took her impeccable aim - within two seconds, another orc was snuffed out.

The Southron captain allowed himself a faint smile. I had almost forgotten what it was like to fight outside my own world, he thought dryly. Sharply, he brought his arm down, raising his sword and giving a yell. The fifteen Haradrim warriors behind him gave a chilling cry and thundered up towards the battle ground. Koran nodded to Ehan and pushed him ahead. "Lead them, Ehan - I am taking...an alternate route."

Not pausing to watch the boy's stunned reaction, Koran backed further down the hill until he was at the very bottom, then sprinted around some, measuring the distance in his mind so that he would be approximately behind the elf archer. Slowing, he slipped away his sword, the leather padding the inside of his sheath ensuring that the sound of metal would not be heard, and touched his dagger lightly. Then, with utmost stealth, he began to creep up the hill, his soft soles and practise stalking allowing him to be as quiet as humanly possible. Surely not even elf ears will pick up the sound over the noise of battle. Or maybe...who knows with the immortals. Koran allowed himself a shiver: the elves were an unknown quantity, an enemy he had not yet battled.

A challenge.

Smiling, Koran snuck up behind his unsuspecting quarry, keeping low to the ground. As he came to the peak of the hill, where a few trees were clustered together, he flattened himself behind one and eyed the elf archer...and was shocked to realise it was, without a doubt, a female. He blinked in surprise, a few precious seconds causing him to hesitate at the strangeness. Of course, Haradrim women fought, almost as many of the men, when the duties of being wifes and childbearers did not prohibit them too much. But the elves...somehow, from what Koran had heard, gleaned from old warriors and Inn-talk, the female elves were...different. Fragile, precious beings, crafted delicately by impossible beings who the elves believed watched them - gods...

He shook himself from his reverie as he slipped his fine dagger from his belt, settling it naturally in the palm of his right hand. Walking forward silently behind the elf, he raised his arm out to one side.

~*~*~

Coromswyth took aim down the arrow shaft again, mentally making a note of the number - nine orcs down, her aim perfect. If she pulled it off, this would be the tenth. Silently pleased with herself, Coromswyth did not berate herself for any delight she took in the killing: it was a necessity, a duty. And her father had always declared that duty should be well carried out, care taken, even pleasure - that was what would achieve the best result. He had meant it for battle originally, telling her and her brother of this as one of the many lessons he ingrained into their minds throughout their childhoods, but he had applied it to all areas of his life - his duty to the Lord and Lady as a servant and warrior, his duty to his children as a father, his duty to his wife as a good and loving husband.

But his glee was too much.

Coromswyth sighed, shaking her head with a twinge of bitterness and sadness. Her father, it was said, had gone down fighting, gone down laughing in the face of the enemy as he defended his son and Celeborn. Too much joy too late.

She shook herself and focused down the arrow again, ready to shoot for 'number ten'. She focused on his: Ambarturion was actually aiming for this one this time, but waves of orcs were getting in the way now. It was an exceptionally ugly beast, but from the wild gesticulating and bellowing it was doing, Coromswyth guessed it might have been the leader, or a leader. Ambarturion was so like her father....she would take this orc out for him. Laughing he was not, but die he would not either. As she focused, one eye slightly closed as her fingers rested against her cheekbone, an inch from her eye, she suddenly got a chill feeling of being watched. Simultaneously, she registered to lithe, dark warriors who suddenly joined the battle, but led by a very young man, who seemed almost unsure. Haradrim. The two realisations took less than a second to register with the elf:

The orcs are there, and their leading fights with them. Men also now fight...so where is their leader?

As she watched, the young, unsure Haradrim warrior glanced up, behind her, his eyes darting past her to...

"Don't move."

The steady, quiet voice from directly behind her made Coromswyth freeze, her nerves pulled on sharply like a puppetmaster on a rebellious puppet. She didn't turn and her mind suddenly started working overtime, her eyes staring straight ahead.

"Drop your bow."

Coromswyth didn't hesitate, and she complied calmly - but made sure it was her fingers that loosed first. The arrow shot true and straight, and although it missed her original target, it hit another rather scrawny looking specimen directly. Taking some chill, dry satisfaction from this, she lowered the bow steadily to the ground...then rolled to one side.

She heard the Southron give an angry cry as she moved, grabbing her unsheathed sword swiftly and swinging it around at his legs...or where his legs should have been. Surprised and disorientated, Coromswyth's miscalculated swing threw her balance and she tried to turn fast...but not fast enough. A cold, thin edge promised death if she moved as it suddenly rested against her throat. Crouching on the ground, sword held in mid air a few inches from the ground, Coromswyth could actually hear the man breathing behind her, and even thought she heard him smile as he stood slowly, bringing her with him, his hand reaching forward to loose her fingers deftly from her sword as he did so. She was surprised that it was his right had that did this - evidently he was left handed. This registered as a faint distant surprise - Coromswyth's brain seemed to refuse the overwhelming realisation that she had been captured.

"Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaara!"

The man's fierce yell almost made her jump and she felt ashamed that she had been so easy to shock. She felt him move closer to her as he stepped forward and stiffened as she felt the warmth of his body against her back. Closing her eyes, she murmured a prayer then opened them as she looked back down at the battleground on the slope, where her Southron captor's yell had caused the battle to cease. She immediately found Ambarturion's eyes, where he stood surrounded by orcs and Men, pressing in in a tight ring upon him.

I'm sorry...

"Bind their hands and arms, all of them. We move immediately back to the camp." The Southron's voice was harsh and commanding, but surprisingly young. Through the corner of her eye, Coromswyth glimpsed a curl of hair as the man turned his head towards her, then a young, unlined face. He is so young, even for a mortal... The idea registered with shock, but currently only added to Coromswyth's shame. She had been caught out by a man centuries younger than herself, young even to his people, a thin line of steel across her throat stopping her even from moving - caught, and Ambarturion with her. The other elf was not going down without a fight though. He gave an equally terrifying yell and with a weapon in each hand slew the monsters on either side of him immediately. The adversary recovered quickly though, stronger with the knowledge of their success: as the Southron fumbled in his belt quickly with one hand, the dagger blade remaining steadily across her throat, Coromswyth watched Ambarturion be beaten down to the ground, eventually looking away, biting her lip. Steeling herself as her captor was distracted, she suddenly and forcefully jabbed an elbow back at him, driving it directly into his rib cage. The man gasped and the dagger slipped, but not before it cut a thin, shallow cut down one side of the elf's neck. She paid it no heed though, breaking away and beginning to run...only to be brought to the ground as the man threw himself at her feet.

Coromswyth fell gracelessly, the man's arm's wrapped around her ankles, and he once more recovered unnervingly fast, moving forward quickly to her side and roughly grabbing her arms, binding them at the wrists and elbows. She fought and struggled, attempting to scratch or kick him, but the Southron didn't even seem to pay any attention - within a few seconds, she was helpless, bound helplessly. He pulled her gracelessly to her feet, taking her weight easily as he lifted her by her upper arms, then used another piece of rough, dark material, stained and ragged, to tie her mouth and gag her. The elf fought against him but he shook her viciously once, and she suddenly felt his full strength, his hands digging painfully into her arms, probably to cause bruises. She stopped and closed her eyes as he finished gagging her without a word, then motioned for her to move forward, pushing her brusquely and firmly but not unnecessarily hard, keeping a hand on the rope at her wrists as he moved to her side. She took a look at her captor and her light eyes burned with fierce rage against this unknown man, her thoughts irrational, sharp and fiery. I will remember your face, Southerner...
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Old 07-09-2004, 02:27 PM   #68
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The day would be a tiring one for most, and lethal for some, but for Thrakmazh the Mighty, it was a simple waltz, an endless and repetitive one, and still monotonous as it dragged on with no illusion of beat and tempo behind. He had done such things time and time again and was so used to this chaotic, anarchic conflict that its subtle and barbaric movements came to him as second nature. He was ready again for blood, the blood of elves, and had come within range of one foe, only to be locked from it by his own men. That elf had only been a distraction in the struggle for a moment, and was, no doubt, being taken down at this very moment. He’d taken many orcs down, fallen under his hand and weapon clasped within, but surely would succumb, or already had, to the uruks’ greater numbers. Now, Thrakmazh searched, darting across the shaded field of battle. He’d heard that the numbers of the enemy were few, but more than one or two. There were others, or another, somewhere. The orcs around him scurried, rodent-like, around, their heads dancing from side to side and gazes searching the plain for the remaining opponents. Thrakmazh’s eye, though, was the one that caught first sight of the final elf, or so he assumed.

Over many slain orcs, who lay like discarded rags, their lifeless, contorted hulks scattered beneath the sky, was an elf, panting and looking incensed, who staggered now across the field, dispatching orcs as best he could. As shrieking uruks flew carelessly towards him, he took them down with grace and speedy ease. A thin smile peeled over the orc captain’s mountainous features, illuminating his shadowy face, and he headed forward at a quicker pace, outracing the other orcs of his company and men, who’d now fallen back, ready to let him do this last aspect of their tiresome mission. Thrakmazh’s fingers tightly clutched the hilt of his blade for what seemed like the hundredth time that day, and his sweat-soaked hand went stiff and still, no longer quivering with anticipation. He stopped within a short distance of the elf, a guttural snarl billowing in the back of his throat and oozing out slowly. The elf, breathing hard but steadily, looked up at him.

“Ah, another.” Thrakmazh exclaimed, almost pleasantly, his voice dripping with a plain hatred masked by this jovial sound, “Perhaps you shall not fall as easily as your kin, hmm?”

The elf did not respond, nor did he move. He stood stock still; waiting and handling his finely crafted blade with precise care, letting it sit in his hand. Angered at the lone elf’s apparent lack of fear, standing intimidated by Thrakmazh’s might and combat prowess, the orc took a menacing step forward, but the elf still did not move. His eye narrowing yet again and coming into exact focus, he took another step, his scimitar raised above his head and back, ready to strike like a venomous serpent, its tip warily searching for a new home in the chest of this next opponent. They looked solemnly at each other, the orc’s expression one of anticipating, demonic glee, and the elf’s one of calmness and infuriating serenity (infuriating mostly to Thrakmazh, who could not remember a being living who had not flinched when he neared them). It was a game, as it always was to Thrakmazh, and he would win in every respect. Now, he stared down his opponent, but the elf did not blink, did not turn his eyes. He just met the one-eyed gaze.

Suddenly, as if they had timed the event with cautious care, both warriors, orc and elf, soared forward nimbly. Thrakmazh leapt through the air, crashing down with a rhythmic thump on the earth, and slashed with his blade, lashing out thrice at his foe who stepped back lithely. Growling under his wheezing breaths, the orc moved forward still, flinging his sword-arm about in an attempt to catch his hooked and jagged weapon upon the enemy. It was in vain, though, for the elf, who still seemed stilted in his swift, unhesitant movements for an unknown reason, still managed to evade and narrowly avoid each mighty stab and hack at him. At last, their blades clashed, striking with a thunderous chord. Then again, as Thrakmazh thrust forward sharply, the elf knocked his sword aside and slashed down, the weapon of the elf missed its initial target, but sliced right through Thrakmazh’s upper leg, slicing deep into his coal-black flesh and leaving a dank trail of foul orc blood behind. Thrakmazh flinched uncharacteristically, a jetting lance of flame shooting up the length of his body. Strangely, though, the blast of pain threw Thrakmazh onward, deeper into the fray.

He was now aware of the fact that he was merely playing out the fight for a new audience, a gathering of orcs and men who, for lack of something better to do, had began to encircle the arena of combat between the two mighty foes. Some whispered amongst themselves, many stared stupidly at the fray, cheering in some ways for their leader, and some for the elf. In all honesty, many of them would rather see Thrakmazh dead, but if he won he would at least have some renewed respect from them. They still fought, disregarding the crowd, jumping and swerving and crouching and diving, constantly maneuvering to gain an advantage. They were both weary soon, both pained by such activity, but fought on. Thrakmazh was the more agile combatant, and stronger, but the elf had grace on his side. He swung himself aside each time Thrakmazh lunged, but the orc captain swiftly became of aware of a weakness, an opening in the elf’s defenses. He was battling on one side, and not on the other, as if he could not expose that. Thrakmazh dashed around, removing himself from the thick of the fight, trying to catch a glimpse of the reason for this technique.

Suddenly, as time hovered aimlessly and noises were eerily silenced all around, it hit Thrakmazh. The elf was injured! His side was bandaged with great care, and he had fought with less than his full power, trying in some respect to keep the wounded area away from harm. Thrakmazh’s battling look, one of grimace and frown, split into a bombastic grin. He plowed forward again, but whipped around as the elf’s blade stabbed at the hazy air where the orc had been. He spun on his heel, swiveling about, and arched his sword through the air, excitedly yelping as the edge of the blade struck the now open side, which had been made vulnerable only for a second. The blade sunk in only briefly, and was pulled out before its job was done by the movement of the elf, but it was in part successful. The wound that had been tended there was opened, pouring forth blood barely retained onto the grass below. The elf stumbled as Thrakmazh pounced on the opportunity, driving his blade down at a diagonal through the elf’s shoulder. At this, the hapless, but courageous enemy of the orc captain wobbled and fell to his knees; his weapon falling from hand after the grip was loosened by weakness.

“Come now, elf,” Thrakmazh jeered as he backed away, trying not to look as if his own wound was causing him a steady stream of searing pain, “I’ve heard such great things of your kind. Can you do no better?”

Again no reply came. The elf knelt, his breath slowing, on the ground. Around him and the uruk who’s fought him, the orcs and men held silence with their own unanimous breaths baited. Whispers could be heard among them again as the looked upon predator and prey. The elves were to be captured, not slain. But Thrakmazh knew this elf might not survive captivity for long. Either way, he was doomed to death, and better that he day beneath an orcish sword now than to the tainting of his blood later. The silence of the elf enraged him beyond reason. Where were his insults, his curses, his Elvish taunts? Did he actually think himself noble? Every aspect of such a concept confused Thrakmazh. If he wanted to die in a fitting manner, he would still be fighting. The fool was going to sit there and let himself be killed.

“Have you given up so soon, little elf?” He hooted again, and solicited a conservative laugh from his ‘audience.’ To his further fury, the elf still said nothing. But, now he was muttering, whispering so softly that Thrakmazh could not detect his words. He was probably begging in his own foul tongue. Yes, that must be it. But Thrakmazh, confident as he was, didn’t know or care. The elf was simply tuning him out, ignoring him! It was simply more than the orc captain could bear. It was all he could do not to explode then and there with incendiary anger.

“Pitiful worm!” Thrakmazh roared harshly, the words surging out of his mouth and shooting in a torrential wave at the elf, who barely winced. The elf stopped his murmurs and looked up, a truly terrible fire reflected in his fair gaze. “There is only one such being here," he said grimly to the orc, "and that is you.”

Thrakmazh’s eyes lit up, lit up with an insane, murderous, unbridled hatred. The snarl gurgling in his twisted throat burst out into a barbaric roar that shook all who heard it, but the elf didn’t flinch. He knelt where he was, looking as if he was ready for something. Thrakmazh knew what he was waiting for, what he had steeled himself for, and, somehow, he didn’t want to give the elf the satisfaction of death, but his instincts drove him. The other elves were captured and he, Thrakmazh, One-Eye, Captain of Dol Guldur, needed to make an example of this resilient being, here and now. This one would fall, and he would fall now, and his men would see it, hear it, and live it as he did right now. The dank feeling, suddenly ablaze and incendiary, rose in his throat, and in his heart, and in his foul, merciless orcish soul. Lust for blood, for that taste again and that light that shone down upon him. His dark scowl broke again, and quickly, shaping into a disgusting grin, in which he bore his mouth of rotted knives and his eye’s fiery depth seared the air around it. He raised his blade coldly and slowly, drawing it up at the pace of a snail and staring with his one, glowering eye, which burned like a great pyre, into the tranquil, half-closed, ever ready and waiting eyes of the elf.

As, again, the time and noise around them both halted, Thrakmazh drove his sword forward.

A suspenseful second later, the elf fell with just as much grace as he had in life, and lay motionless on the ground. Thrakmazh, who’s chest was heaving uncontrollably, which surprised him almost as much as it did his troops, who began to close in around their captain and his fallen foe. Calming down, regaining his dark composure, Thrakmazh slid his crimsoned blade into its sheath and turned, grinning madly from ear to ear.

Many elves, countless ones, had been slain by him over the course of years, but this one was an accomplishment, though a sickening one. Yes, the elf had been injured, yes, he had been weakened, but this one gave Thrakmazh a dark, terrible satisfaction that he hadn't felt in years. Another elf was slain by his clawed, grimy hand, one in a hundred at least, but there was that subtle sensation, one of achievement. Thrakmazh did not know why the kill was so rewarding, but he did not question it. His master's work was his master's work, and it would be done...it wasn't his fault if a few elven lives were lost in the process, as they surely should be. A shrill, quiet cackle crossed Thrakmazh's lips as he began walking away from the body, which was now closely encircled by curious orcs and Southrons. For the first time in more than a year, Thrakmazh the Mighty felt really, truly happy.

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Old 07-09-2004, 02:49 PM   #69
Aylwen Dreamsong
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Ehan watched as the orcs fought, and he tripped over his own feet when Koran shoved him to the forefront of the Southrons. "Lead them, Ehan - I am taking...an alternate route." Ehan gaped at the statement, but led his people on anyway, following Koran’s orders. The fifteen Southrons darted into the fray, joining the orcs. Ehan could hardly stand the stench of the orcs as he searched for an enemy, shoving through the crowds of orcs. Part of him wished that he were fighting the orcs, for they were everywhere and smelled much worse than Ehan thought the immortals would.

Before the Southrons could even get through the melee of orcs, they all heard the great cry of Koran from the hill above. "Bind their hands and arms, all of them. We move immediately back to the camp." Ehan heard the harshness of his captain’s voice, and searched to see that the order was being carried out. Ehan could not see much, though, for many of the living soldiers had circled up to watch the orc captain battle with a wounded elf. The young Southron coughed, and watched for just a moment in the circlet of warriors around the elf and orc.

That is brave, Ehan thought sarcastically. Fighting an elf for glory when he has already been wounded. My sister would have a fit. Ehan scowled at the orc captain, pushing his way to the outer edge of the circle and screaming at all he passed by. “Follow orders! Tie the elves and back off! Back away! It is nothing!” Few listened, but Ehan saw to it that the remaining elves were taken care of, bound and broken. Ehan left Men in charge of watching the tied elves, for he trusted no orc to do the task. Orcs were too easily distracted, as Ehan saw with the orc captain and his watching followers.

As he left the groups of victorious Men and orcs, Ehan sighed and sheathed his sword. He continued up to where Koran had bound the archer elf. The immortal had a fierce look about her eyes, and Ehan’s own eyes widened at seeing that the elf was indeed female. Koran seemed pleased as he shoved the archer along towards the rest of his battalion.

“Did she cause much trouble, captain?” Ehan asked, his face bright as he laughed at the sight of his stout captain leading the slender elf.

Last edited by Aylwen Dreamsong; 07-09-2004 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Forgot my italics...oops...
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Old 07-09-2004, 02:59 PM   #70
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The Elven scouts moved out quickly, following after the special force of Orcs. Targil led, and Thorvel followed a few paces behind. Calenvása and Lómarandil followed more slowly, speaking softly. Thorvel wasn’t sure what he was feeling anymore. Calenvása seemed to have forgiven him, and Thorvel wasn’t even sure why he was still upset. But he was, and he didn’t even really know what he was upset about. He cleared his head and focused on following the Orcs. It would be better not to think at all.

They moved quickly, and the way was not far. They soon reached a hilly area, and the small force of Orcs and Men came in sight. That was not all, however. There was a small party of Elves - Lorien Elves, by the looks of them - who were under attack. The scouting troop kept themselves concealed, watching the skirmish. The Lorien Elves were hopelessly outnumbered, and it made Thorvel’s blood boil to watch them. They need help! Do something! his mind screamed at him. The worst part was that he could do nothing. His eyes flashed with unrestrained anger, hatred, and grief at watching the Elves being treated so mercilessly. One Elf was cruelly slain by a large brute of an Orc, and the rest, though fighting valiantly, were being slowly overwhelmed. At least one was already captured, bound hand and foot. He could watch no more.

Thorvel turned, ready to make his way over to the rest of the troop. As soon as there was nothing left to occupy his sight, thoughts shoved their way into his mind. He forgot about his anger towards his fellow scouts; all of his frustration and hatred was now channeled towards the Orcs, where it should have been all along. He remembered with renewed vengeance his purpose in being a scout: to kill the Orcs. The fact that he could not yet do so nagged at him. He felt utterly helpless. There had to be something that he could do. There had to be. He would not abandon the captured Elves, and he was pretty sure that his Captain, at least, would feel the same. He turned to face the battle again. Anything that they could figure out about the Orcs would be helpful, and he wasn’t going to pass up the chance to learn something new.

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Old 07-09-2004, 09:05 PM   #71
Alatariel Telemnar
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Urkrásh ran forward, out of breath, but followed just the same. He had fell behind, not being able to keep up with the pace, and found himself in the column, more nearer to the front. They charged forward, letting out cries as they climbed the hill. Urkrásh could not spot the archers in the trees, but he knew they were there. Every so often an orc nearby would drop to the ground, and as he passed, he saw arrows sticking out of a few of the limp corpses. Urkrásh got ready as a few elves approached the area where he was at. He had gotten used to using his left hand and now could wield a sword with decency.

An elf approached Urkrásh, who stuck his sword out in front of him and got ready to make a blow. The elf attempted to strike Urkrásh, but he blocked his blow and attempted to return it but failed. He was still a bit flimsy with his left hand. Urkrásh threw another blow, the elf dodged to the side. Time seemed to pass by slower, and despite multiple tries, Urkrásh never managed to get a blow. The hot sun beated down on the army, and Urkrásh could take it no longer. With one last snarl he thrust his sword into the elf, and watched with pleasure as he fell to the ground, gracefully, it seemed.

Urkrásh kicked the limp corpse, smirking to himself. He looked up and saw few elves left, most of their kind scattered across the field, along with several orcs. After a bit, he saw that all the elves had been killed or captured looked around for Thrákmazh.

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Old 07-09-2004, 09:52 PM   #72
Fordim Hedgethistle
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The red mist became a torrent of blood before his eyes as he watched Caranbaith fall, and Ambarturion threw off the orcs who held him. They had taken his sword, but seizing the nearest of the monsters he slew him with his bare hands. At least a dozen orcs rushed at him, seeking to hold his limbs, but in the greatness of his wrath he brushed them aside like insects. To some of the orcs, those who had lived many years and fought in many of their Dark Lord’s wars, he appeared then as a terrifyingly bright star that blazed with the hated light of the Mariner, from whose glow they would cower in distaste. Again they tried to seize him, but Ambarturion ripped the head from the first to lay hands upon him, and struck another upon the chest with such force that he shattered the beast’s frame.

In all the long years that he had fought and struggled, he had seen many of his friends killed by the Enemy. But never before had one of his students been cut down before his eyes. Never before had he been forced to watch, helpless in defence, as the cruel hands of monsters deprived so youthful an Elf of the millennia that had been his birthright. As he blazed in his wrath, his mind went back to the battles of his own youth. When he had been but a few years older than Caranbaith, he had wept scalding tears at Nirnaeth Anodad, and he did so again now, for in the present age there was no hope that vengeance would come from those who dwelt in the West. There was only the despair of knowing that he had failed in his charge, and that only revenge was left to him now. It was a bitter cup, but as it was the only cup available, he would drink from it, though it tasted of ashes.

He surged toward the one-eyed creature that had so cruelly and cowardly struck down the youth, but the evil Men of the south had joined the orcs. They were mortal men, weaker than the orcs and more prone to pain, but they were more cunning than the beasts, and more patient in restraining a prisoner. They threw ropes about him, and Ambarturion roared in fury as he tried to pull them from his limbs, but with every rope he snapped two more were cast about him and soon he was bound and caught like a fly in a spider's web. Throughout his humiliation One-Eye had watched from the outer fringes of the mob, an ugly smile catching at his lips and contorting his face. It was a look that Ambarturion had seen many times before: the cruel pleasure of an evil being who delighted in his own wickedness. But there was yet something about the orc that set him apart from the rest. He was no orc rabble from the Mountains, nor was he a maggot-spawn of Mordor, bred but recently as fodder for the battlefield. This orc was truly an urûk of the Dark Lord, bred in long centuries past and possessed of a demonic fury. Ambarturion had slain many such creatures and knew them for what they were: cunning, calculating and cruel. Untouchable by pity or remorse, driven only by their desire to serve their Master and to harm the Elves from whom they had been bred and so hated with their very being. Yes, Ambarturion had killed many such beasts, but all he wished for his life at this moment was to feel the lifeblood of one more flowing between his fingers.

The ropes that had been cast about him dragged him to the ground, and as he fell he heard the jeers and taunts of the Men and orcs about him. He did not care for their cries, for to him it was as the calls of rats and snakes. There came to him, however, a sound that cut him to his very soul. Megilaes was weeping. His agony ripped through Ambarturion’s mind like a ragged blade through fabric and for a moment he was almost overwhelmed by the depth of his student’s grief. The brothers had been born together and in the centuries since that day had never once been apart. “Ai! Ai!,” Megilaes wailed. “Caranbaith! My brother! Where have they taken you? Where have you gone? Why can I not follow you into the darkness? But for a short time will I wander in this world of waking shadows, only until I can avenge your death and destroy the creatures that have killed you!”

“No!” Ambarturion roared to his student. “Think not of vengeance Megilaes. It will taint your mind and your soul, for you are but young yet and unused to the dangers of such temptations. Leave the vengeance of your brother’s death to me. I swear that I shall drain the blood of all the Men and orcs who stand about us this day.”

One-Eye strode forward. Whether he understood the Silvan tongue or not Ambarturion did not know, although he found it unlikely, but he clearly understood the tenor and intent of their conversation. “Shut up!” the beast roared in the Common Tongue, at the same time kicking Ambarturion in the ribs so viciously that the Elf’s very bones creaked. “Shut up, or I’ll spit the she-Elf like I did that other one!” In his hands, the orc held Ambarturion’s sword, now dull and cold. While he was clearly glad to possess it as a prize, it galled the orc greatly to be holding the instrument of so many of his people’s destruction.

Ambarturion remained silent and met the single-orbed gaze of the orc. For a moment that seemed like an hour, the noise and movement of the mob seemed stilled and the two enemies regarded one another from within the purity of their hatred. In their eyes there was neither pity nor mercy: only the undiluted desire to destroy the other, mind and body. It was Ambarturion who spoke. “I will destroy you urûk. By the Lady of the Golden Woods, I will destroy you, and your name and face will be forgotten by all who live to see the days that follow.”

The orc sneered and taunted him, but he had been made uneasy by the manner of Ambarturion’s words, for they had not been made in threat.

It was a promise.

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Old 07-10-2004, 02:56 AM   #73
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‘He’s as crazed as a bat-bitten grey wolf!’

Snikdul, his breathing ragged from the strenuousness of the ascent and the tension of keeping out of harm’s way in the battle, stood with Gromwakh and the others of their group on the fringes of those who ringed the now dead and bloodied Elf man. His low voiced comments followed on the heels of the one-sided battle between the Uruk and his outmatched, wounded opponent. Thrakmazh had roared, howled, reveled in the killing of his foe. And for one brief moment Snikdul had wondered if he would lick the Elf’s blood from the blade as a final statement.

Most daunting to the Orcs was the ghastly grin, the horrid gash of razored teeth, that slashed across the Uruk’s lower face, and the malevolent light that shone out from his single eye as he spun slowly round, showing his bloodied blade to the troops. They ringed him dumbly like animals presented with something beyond their apprehension. Some sought his approval, leering themselves at his victory, taking his glorying glee and excitement for their own. Others looked on in envy, resenting that his had been the hand that brought the Elf down; that it should have been theirs that did the deed; knowing that somehow the Captain would always put himself forward, stealing the pleasure of renown and conquest for himself.

Anger, too, of different sorts seethed through the onlookers; against the Elves for their terrible, bright beauty that offended and shamed the twisted bodies and spirits of the Orcs. And another anger, laced with fear, for the Uruk Captain who would drive them like so many worthless and expendable pawns in his madness.

Gromwakh leaned on his cudgel, its end unbloodied by any foe in this battle. He took stock of his fellows, seeing that their little group had not been diminished by the hail of Elven arrows as they climbed the hill, nor by the shining blades with which the Elves smote the advancing enemy. They had kept well back, though took care not to be at the very end of the line. With raised voices, they joined in the battle cries and raised their weapons menacingly as if to strike at what foe they might meet. They were careful though, following Gromwakh’s lead, to avoid any such encounters.

Now the battle was done. The three Elves still living were rudely bound and taken roughly from the battlefield in the direction of the camp. The dead Elf was left to the elements and the gathering crows; none cared to assault the body that even in death was filled with a certain grace. And more expediently, the call had gone out from those in charge to head back to the main body of the army. There was no time to choose low delights.

The small group of Orcs fanned out at Gromwakh’s instruction and scoured the small battlefield as they made their way to the edge of the hill and began their descent. One of their band found a small flask and brought it to Grom for inspection. It was shiny metal, delicately engraved and the awful stink of some Elvish fluid still played about the stopper where it had been screwed onto the flask’s neck. Grom shook the container near his ear, hearing the quiet slosh of some drink yet within. Snikdul, scuffing about in the area where the female Elf had been defeated, came across a slender dagger, tromped into the loose dirt by the Southron's heavy scuffle to subdue her. And Globûrz had managed to appropriate the blade belonging to the dead Elf, securing it through his broad leather belt, and drawing his ragged cloak over it. They would have looked for more booty, but their foraging was cut short with the curt, barked order to ‘Move Out!’

Keeping close together they moved quickly down the slope of the hillside, joining the rest of the troops that had been sent to subdue the Elves. The pace was slower with the three bound Elves, and the small band of Orcs were able to squeeze forward to take a closer look at the captives.

‘He doesn’t look so very fierce, now, does he?’ said Snikdul, peering hard at the older male. He gasped as the Elf turned his head and looked fully at him. The Orc was glad then for the cords that bound the Elf and kept him at a secure distance.

No answer came from Gromwakh to his friend’s strangled query. His eyes were on the blade that One-Eye, in the near distance, carried so casually in his fist. The metal gleamed in places where the blood and muck did not cling so thickly, and there in the crosspiece winked a clear gem. The Orc’s fingers itched to have it. And even now his brain worked feverishly on a plan as to how he might obtain it . . .

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Old 07-10-2004, 07:17 AM   #74
Amanaduial the archer
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Silmaril

Coromswyth turned the where the one eyed orc seemed to be at a stand off with Ambarturion, furious that she had been used as blackmail. Ambarturion's words seethed with vicious, quiet fury, words in the Common Tongue that Coromswyth could not hear, but they caused the orc to turn away, and she noted that his sneer was less comfortable now. He came closer to her now, his ugly, malformed face pressing closer to hers, sniffing, his face twisting in disgust. Coromswyth's face was completely impassive, blank of any emotion - she would not give this one an inch. He backed off slightly, then gave an ugly, guttural laugh, staring at the elf with such satisfaction. Coromswyth noted on his blade blood - fresh, red blood, the blade was slick with it. She glanced around and saw only Megilaes and Ambarturion, and the former's face contorted with grief.

Caranbaith...

Drawing her head back slightly, she spat with such force into the orc's face that he reeled back slightly wiping fiercely at his one good eye where her missile had hit it's target full on.

"Spit me? Spit me like you did my companion? I am no wounded elf, weakened already and young in experience, creature of darkness - no vile orc shall spit me, nay - I spit on you!" Coromswyth began in the Common Tongue but in her grief an anger it came out as a mix of Elvish and the Common Tongue, a desperate scream as she writhed against the Southron who held her. Gathering himself, the orc gave a guttural roar and swung his arm at the elf, striking her across the face with the flat of the sword. She fell sideward to the floor, the force knocking her from the Southron's grip. The orc gave another mighty yell and launched himself at her where she lay, and she saw him draw back a metal-shod foot to kick her...

~*~*~

The Southron suddenly stood in front of her, his sword levelled at the orc. "Kill the elf and we will get no information from it. That goes for the other two," he said commandingly, his voice as level and dangerous as his sword. The orc sneered, coming closer to the Southron, so that Koran could smell his foul stench so strongly that he almost gagged.

"She does not have to be so very alive to withdraw information," Thrakmazh hissed. "I would be doing you a favour, boy."

"Harm them and you will answer to myself and the Herding."

"Two Men? I have just killed one of the race who have kept you enthralled for millenia, boy - I killed him and he barely put up a fight! What makes you think-" the orc raised his sword threateningly, the blood glinting in the sun.

"The Eye will not look kindly upon those who defy his captains."

Koran's quiet statement was followed by a moment of silence, and for a second Thrakmazh did not move, regarding the Man suspiciously through his one eye. After a moment, he sneered and spat on the ground in front of the female elf, turning away to his troops and yelling orders and abuse at them to get them moving.

Koran realised he was almost trembling with rage, rigid with anger, holding himself still so that none could accuse him of fear in the face of the orc. He glared after the disgusting creature's back for a few seconds, then turned back to the elf where she had scrambled to her feet, held now by the fast thinking Ehan who had caught her before she could run. One cheek was now smeared with blood where Thrakmazh had struck her with the flat of his blade - the blood of the other elf, the fair haired, injured one who the orc captain had killed - and an ugly bruise would soon rise there. She wordlessly regarded Koran with quiet hatred, her teeth gritted together, dishevelled and furious, but even looking at her like that, the young captain was struck by how beautiful she was - he didn't think he had ever seen a mortal woman so beautiful, at least not in such a way. She gave new meaning to beauty, and Koran suddenly felt that Ehan must have been wrong the night before when he had said that they could be no more beautiful than others: there could surely be no creature as quietly beautiful as the fine featured, grey eyed, eternal creature before him.

But in her eyes...Koran looked away, not wanting to hold them as he snapped orders to the other Southrons to get moving, taking with them the younger elf - the older warrior had been taken by the orcs, but Koran had retained this one, figuring that at least they could keep two alive for questioning. He started moving towards the other elf, trying not to think of the female's eyes, the ancient, almost pitying wisdom that swirled in the grey mist behind the hate and fury. The age of those eyes, and all that they knew, all the knowledge that shone there in the beauty...it scared Koran.

A few hissed words made him turn to look at her again, his dark eyes narrowed. She repeated whatever it was she had said, hissing the words in a strange, odd, flowing tongue but laced with hatred. He turned away without a word - he did not want to hear what this immortal had to say. Not now.
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Old 07-10-2004, 11:25 AM   #75
Durelin
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The Eye Targil

The elves became aware of the purpose of the troop they followed suddenly, and it brought to them a new pressure, and more decisions to be made. A small group of Lorien elves were obviously making their way to Mirkwood. Their reason was something to discover, and it worried Targil that this could be yet another part to the larger situation. Why would a small party of elves risk the venture to Mirkwood? Their risk might have seemed necessary, but no longer. The orcs easily came upon them and overcame them.

Targil barely acknowledged Calenvása as his Captain crouched beside him. The scene before his eyes would not allow them to tear away long enough to glance at the elf beside him. But he knew what he would see. A face full of grief and fear, the elf frantically searching his mind for reason and finding it out of reach. He knew that Calenvása was in anguish, for the elf was intelligent enough to know that nothing could be done. What Targil hoped was that his Captain realized that something could be done soon. Without looking at Calenvása, he placed a hand on the elf’s shoulder. The shoulder tensed up in his grip, and both elves tore their eyes away long enough to look into each others. Targil was shocked by the hatred that boiled in the eyes of the Captain. Those eyes did not shine with tears, nor did the face act as a window to a soul torn with grief. Lines of worry were barely seen, as the fury overcame all.

Targil spoke softly to Calenvása. “Save your rage. We will fight, but not today.”

“We wait? And they wait? Somehow I doubt they will keep their end of the bargain.”

“It is most likely that they will return to the camp with the prisoners, and the army will be moving soon, as well. If we make our move, it will be crushed. Our brethren are kept as prisoners, for now, but – ”

“My brothers…under the hand of those creatures of the Enemy…and we do nothing?”

“We must save all of Lorien, Calenvása! There is a greater need before us, that calls for all of our attention.”

Calenvása stared at Targil strangely, all of his rage gone for a fleeting moment, as the circumstances at hand was momentarily forgotten. The elf had never used his Captain’s name before, and he understood the shock in the elf’s eyes. It was not an angry shock, Targil knew, but he felt strange, himself. Calling his Captain by his name a personal thing…friendly. A friend trusted, but Calenvása was not worthy of his trust, and he never would be. Trust is earned. And he has done nothing to earn it. His mind came up with this reasoning to end any confusion, but it only spurred more thoughts, more uncertainty. Targil turned away from his Captain. He continued the conversation, hoping to keep Calenvása from making anything of Targil’s slip. “They will not want the prisoners in the way during the attack. Prisoners are taken back to the fortress, always…” he was rambling, and he knew it. Calenvása ignored him, knowing already all that the elf said.

“We will save all of Lorien, Targil. All of Lorien.”
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Old 07-10-2004, 12:47 PM   #76
Orofaniel
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Eye Herding

As the day grew on, Herding expected that Koran and his small force would return soon. He didn't expect any great loss, neither Orcs nor Southrons. However, one never knew when it came to elven warriors. Herding hoped that Koran would have been exposed for great danger, and hopefully gotten a few scratches or so – in other words: hoped that Koran would return just merely defeated. Herding smiled evilly as he scouted towards the hills. The green field that lay between was still filled with tents and soldiers, both Orcs and Men. The noise wasn't as loud as it had been earlier. He expected it was caused by the tension and the waiting; everyone waited for Koran and his force to return.

Suddenly an Orc soldier came running down one of the slopes. He cried as he held his hands up in the air. "Fool," Herding muttered and tried to hear what message the Orc brought with him. Yet it couldn't quite reach him. He could see that the Orc caused great joy and also confusion among the soldiers.

"Th....back...wi....elves....."

"What?" Herding asked himself. The cry from the Orc was still unclear, part of it because of the long distance and because of his unclear voice.

"They're back...with elves!!!"

Herding gazed as he hear this. Koran and the small force were coming back to the camp, they were just behind the hill there- and they had captivities; Elves. Herding scouted again; he could now see a couple of Southrons in the front, leading a small force with Orcs. The captivities were among the small army. One part of the Captain was delighted by the news, but another part of him was disappointed and even grumpy about it. He didn't want Koran to succeed, and now he had. He had indeed succeeded, as he had brought his enemies back as captivities. Herding let out a short sigh as he saw even clearer the small troop that had entered the field, to the Orc's joy. The troop entered the field feeling great victory, that wasn't hard to see. Some were holding their swords high above their heads, while others cried out for victory.

Herding then, followed by some of his soldiers, walked down to the field. He eyed Koran straight away. Koran was in the front together with that little boy he had brought to Herding's tent the other day. Herding frowned as he greeted them. ”Captain Cenbryt," Herding said and nodded. "Captain Herding," he answered politely.

After that, Herding moved along the small troop. Some bloodstains here and there, and a few scratches were the first thing Herding saw. None were much injured, and those who were had already left the troop position and headed for their tents. "Any great loss?" Herding asked after a moment, looking at Koran. "Uh, we didn't bother to count them," he said flatly. Herding smiled; what and attitude, he thought with great pleasure. Could he really start to like this young lad? However, Herding could see that a great deal of Orcs had been left behind, either to die -or they were already dead. Most probably the last option.

"Any great surprises?" Herding then asked, facing Koran once again. He hoped that the elves would have been fighting like heroes and that Koran would have admitted it. However, no such answer came; ”No, we did fine," he said and smiled weakly, looking at Ehan - for that was indeed the name of the soldier standing next to him.

"Good....goood," Herding said, without really meaning it, as he straightened hi back. "So, what did you bring with you?" Herding said as he looked in the direction where the captivities were held. "Elves. My small troop captured some elves. We thought maybe they'd come in handy, sir," Koran said, he also looking at the captivities. "Alright," Herding said, trying not to seem too delighted over the news. He didn't want Koran to get too pleased with himself. "Someone bring them to the free tent and tie 'em up- I see that some haven't tied them up properly," he continued, looking at Koran as if he was the one who didn't tie the captivities well enough.

Soon a handful of Orcs were dragging the elves towards the tent. "You," Herding said and pointed at one of the Southroons in the troop. "Take two men with you and follow the Orcs into the tent: I don't want the Orcs to put our captivities in such a bad shape that they're no good afterwards" Herding said sternly. He knew very well what hungry and stupid Orcs were capable of doing. The southrons didn't need to be told that twice as they were off immediately.

"Captain Cenbryt and Captain Thrakmazh," Herding then said looking at both of them. "I think we need to discuss what to do about those filthy elves, don’t you think?" He then continued, smiling evilly. "Aye," Thrakmazh said and followed herding and Koran up to Herding's tent.

As they approached the tent, Herding told the soldiers to shove up, as this was a conversation only for the Captains.

"Shouldn’t we just kill 'em off?" The orc asked immediately. Koran looked at him with great disgust. "Sir, we've got valuable elves at hand. Let’s use them. Lets get all the information we need out of them," he said and took a deep breath. "We’ll torture them for a while...." Herding then interrupted. This was no big surprise as everyone knew how much this Captain loves torturing his enemies. His huge evil grin that surrounded his face couldn't mean anything but just that.

The Orc nodded carefully. Koran however seemed a bit more insecure about this so called plan. "I doubt they'll ever give us any information - if they even have valuable information," Koran said after a while, looking at Herding. Herding met him with stern eyes. "And why do you say that? You've already had a small chat with them, haven’t you?" he said with a great deal of sarcasm. He didn't like Koran's tone. "Oh, no, sir," Koran started. "I would never do that," he said sharply.

Neither Koran nor Herding said anything for a while, as they both knew they'd just get annoyed by each other. So instead, they let the Orc speak; "Elves never reveal anything," he stated. "It's no point wasting time on them," he continued. Herding thought about this and it all seemed reasonable. However, what were they supposed to do with them then? He wondered. "We'll kill 'em," the Orc said, getting up from his seat. His clenched teeth showed that he was ready to see some eleven blood. "No, let’s not do anything to hurriedly," Herding said, pushing the Orc back into his seat. Thrakmazh was obviously disappointed by this. "Why not send them to Dol Guldur?" Herding suggested. Koran looked at him, but said naught. Thrakmazh was pondering on this for a moment, but he agreed. "Captain Cenbryt?" Herding asked. Koran looked up. Herding wasn’t sure if he was too willing to send the captivities that he had taken captive back to Dol Guldur, but since there were two against him he just had to agree.

"Then it's settled," Herding said feeling good about himself. He wasn’t sure however if this really was the best plan, but they didn’t have any other. This just had to work.

Herding lifted his hand as a sign that the two other Captans were to follow him, and so they did. They left Herding's camp, still wearing their armour and weapons. They walked steadily down the slope down to the field. As they approached the then where the captivities where held they saw all the Orcs that had gathered around it.

"Move!" Thrakmazh yelled. The Orcs moved quickly when they saw that it was their Captain who yelled. Herding, Koran and Thrakmazh was now walking on a narrow path between to huge crowds of Orcs that led into the tent.

The smell of rotten, maybe blood, met the three Captains. Herding let out a small cough as he felt the horrible stank. Koran and Thrakmazh weren't too pleased about the smell either, or so it seemed. The Orcs were watching each captive, but since they were now well tied up, their job wasn't difficult. The Southrons slowly followed each and every Orc with their eyes.

"In what state..." Herding didn't get to finish his sentence before the southron interrupted;” They’re aright, I expect. The Orc haven't touched them, or at least done any big damage to them, sir," he said and nodded. "But from the battle? Well, I expect they have a few scratches and maybe some broken limbs...But I'm not sure," he continued. "You said we weren't supposed to touch them, so we didn't, sir.." he said after a moment when he noticed the way the Captain was looking at him. "Indeed I did. It seems you have done a good job," Herding said. The Southron's face was suddenly encouraged by Herding's words, and he smiled broadly. "Well, you may leave the tent now," Herding said and waved him off. The southron looked confused; ”But, Captain sir, aren't we going to...do anything with them?" he asked as he pointed at one of the elves, who were lay on the ground.

"We'll be sending them to Dol Guldur," Koran interrupted. "Thank you Captain Cenbryt," Herding said harshly; "Although, I'm most capable of explaining the situation to this Man here myself," he continued. Herding couldn't help feeling annoyed wherever Koran was around. And certainly didn't he like that Koran interrupted his conversation with the Southron, as it was after all his soldier.

Herding then went to look at the captivities, followed closely by Thrakmazh.

"You!" the elf that lay nearest cried and pointed at Thrakmazh. Herding couldn't see his face properly as the elf's face down towards the floor. Thrakmazh grunted and looked at the elf with great disgust. Herding couldn't help himself, so he let out a short laugh. The elf's face moved up from the ground. It seemed as Thrakmazh had met him before, probably on the battle field Herding figured. "Hold your mouth shut, or you will regret it you filthy elf," Thrakmazh growled as he kicked the elf in his back. A short exclamation was all they heard before the elf passed out; probably cause by his small injuries and of the exhaustion.

"Captain Thrakmazh, you don't want to be too hard on 'em," herding said teasingly while his smile covered most of his face. Herding didn’t mind, at all, that Thrakmazh treated the elves like this. Thrakmazh laughed, but Herding thought it sounded more like a growl. "Now, Thrakmazh, do you have any faithful Orcs that will lead these captivities to Dol Guldur?" Herding said, although he was of that opinion that there wasn't such a thing as "faithful" Orcs.

"Indeed," Thrakmazh started, although he didn't get the time to continue as Herding interrupted; "Well, find one. Quickly."

Koran, who had been walking alone in the tent, looking at the captivities, had now approached them. "An Orc? Is an Orc going to lead the captivities to Dol Guldur, captain Herding?" he asked, sounding more or less rather suspicious. "Indeed, so I thought," he snapped. "Or, Captain Cenbryt; do you not find this a good idea?" he asked him, while following Thrakmazh with his eyes, hoping to see some sort of reaction if Koran said no. Koran didn't dare look at the Orc Captain as he answered; "An Orc will do." Herding gloated. He could see that this had caused great anger with Koran, and Herding didn't wish for anything more than just that.

"I expect, Thrakmazh, that the Orc that will be leading them and the rest of the company- if that is what you wish to call it- is ready by dawn," Herding said, with the slight of arrogance. No more words were spoken as all the three Captains left the tent. Herding watched Koran walking back to his own, while Thrakmazh went back to the Orcs, hopefully trying to find that “faithful” Orc.

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Old 07-10-2004, 08:25 PM   #77
Kransha
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The Orc and the Southron

Of course, the task of choosing an orc to lead the escort force of the captives fell to Thrákmazh. He didn’t mind at this point, though, for he knew only one uruk suitable for the vile, monotonous job. The only orc besides Urkrásh who he trusted would be chosen, a boor called Gâshronk, one-eyed like himself, possibly from self-dismemberment in the past, Thrákmazh did not know. The wretch, like all too many others, aspired to be the spitting image of his captain, but in a way more obsessive than most. Thrákmazh knew that, if any orc would try truthfully to do his bidding, it would certainly be he. So, he quickly singled out the unimposing creature who was milling, along with all other orcs, about in the makeshift camp in which they now lived.

“Gâshronk!” he cried, and saw the orc’s face and one eye light up effervescently, which was a ghastly sight in itself. He growled silently and went on, letting the orcs move aside to let Gâshronk march confidently out to greet and obey his commander. “You are a brave orc, and a mighty one. You shall lead the prisoners, with orcs under your command, back to Dol Guldur. Ready your men, but leave the captives until the time of your departure.” The orc continued looking at him, with a slack-jawed grin upon his toothsome, scarred face, and nodded vigorously. “Yes, Captain Thrákmazh.”

Thrákmazh nodded as the orc obediently turned and began to, inevitably, take his assignment far too seriously. Thrákmazh quickly headed back, for he had an ulterior motive, and made his way towards the tent of Captain Herding. He passed orcs reveling, orcs gambling, orcs drinking, orcs fighting, and wicked men doing roughly the same, but ignored them just as they ignored him, letting the sky’s darkening cloak relax his sharpened nerves. Soon he had located the tent, where he’d been before, and brusquely shoved open the tent flap to see Herding pacing from end to end within. The captain looked at him only for a moment before continuing his pacing. Thrákmazh took two minute steps inside.

“Southron, the ‘faithful orc’ has been chosen.” Thrákmazh growled as he repeated Herding’s words sardonically. Herding only turned to glare at him with two good eyes to rival Thrákmazh’s one. The orc looked back, feigning pleasantry again with a bare, toothy smile set onto his face grotesquely. Herding grimaced and turned away, gesturing for the orc to leave swiftly, if not sooner. “Good, fine. Now, get out.”

Thrákmazh grinned in earnest at this, having anticipated the response. He knew men better then he’d thought he would, for they were predictable savages, the same mindless brutes that orcs so often were. But, in the Captain, he did see an uncomfortable portrait of himself removed from the more barbaric ways to which he was accustomed. It was odd, to Thrákmazh, to see this man, with his back to him, thinking in such a similar fashion. A disgusting fool and idolater like Gâshronk was different in so many ways from this mortal being, for orcs such as Gâshronk were no more than petty followers. Herding was, in his own dark way, a leader, as Thrákmazh had been for a century or more. Doubtless Thrákmazh knew the trade better, but he could still sense the withered connecting cord between him and his juxtaposed ally. It was stranger still that he saw no orc when looking on Herding, but a man more like a man than ever he had seen. Elves were his polar opposite, their radiance as dazzling as his putrid sourness was grim, their swift and delicate grace as boorish as he grandiose might. But, men where like both elves and orcs, for they bore light and darkness. This man, though, had more the latter by far, and it was apparent in nearly everything he did.

“Herding,” he began quietly, moving with surprising grace, like a hovering shadow, towards the Southron, “…The Eye does not need all the elves.” Herding turned his head only merely, his eyebrow raising in question, but he still looked with simple dimness at the orc, probably dismissing his words as a barbarian creature’s idiocies, “…my men have seen victory this day, but they have lost many…Their morale is still low…they need that morale renewed.” At this, Herding turned his head away again, heading incredulously towards another corner of his low-roofed tent and pacing. “Get to the point.” He snapped suddenly, knocking Thrákmazh’s readied wit off guard with a louder, more concise phrase.

The point was, as it always was, the prolonging of pain for enemies. Thrákmazh wanted something, something more than he had. He had beheld the eldest elf swear vengeance, a possibly empty threat, but elves did not make empty threats. This elf would die in Dol Guldur, but he had made a grave mistake crossing Thrákmazh the Mighty. He would suffer more loss still, and a loss more painful to him. The orc’s fingers itched to wrap around the hilt of his new blade, a blade that was bane to so many orcs, and now would be to so many elves. It was a wondrous feeling, to hold that, but hurt him all the same. His thumb glided down the smooth hilt as he considered his words again and spoke, more commanding now but just as silent. “The female elf; let my troops have her. We have no need of so many captives.” He finished with a curt syllable which was lost in a throaty cough, but Herding heard it all the same. The Southron rounded on Thrákmazh angrily, but not angry at the orc. His anger stemmed from another source, he was merely venting his excess range.

“You’ve slain one already,” he bellowed, “is that not enough?”

“Not for me,” Thrákmazh retorted quickly, “for my men.”

“For the sake of some personal vendetta, no doubt.” Herding grumbled, turning away again. Soon after, he waved a hand as a gesture of negativity and refusal. “No, the female goes with the rest to Dol Guldur. Cenbryt will agree, so don’t bother seeking his pompous counsel.” Again, Thrákmazh grinned strangely, and Herding did not turn to see the expression. He knew the link, the link that caused Herding such pain and elicited such eternal anger. It was the young man, the other captain, surely! Yes, Thrákmazh did not waste love on that being either, and now he supposed that Herding bore even less. This was the key to enlisting a second captain’s aid. Like a swift shadow, Thrákmazh again flitted towards the captain, appearing mysteriously beside him, and lowered his voice to a fowl whisper.

“The boy…Cenbryt, he is weak. You know this. You are strong, for a man. You know he is a fool.”

Herding did not whirl on him as he had before, but Thrákmazh saw his fists clench suddenly. But, even though he most likely wished to state his agreement, he was too belligerent. Again, his rage was vented rather than revealed. “I could say the same for you, orc.” He shot back, his own hand beginning to move unconsciously towards his blade. Thrákmazh seemed to laugh, or cackle, or chuckle perhaps, but it was as horrible a sound as ever the Southron had heard. Soon it died, replaced by some gleeful sound of conspiracy as Thrákmazh moved yet closer, nearing Herding and looking, with his one, limpid, glassy eye at the man, where he found what he desired. “In your eyes,” he said, “when you look at him, I see fire…You want him dead.”

“And if I do?”

“He’s weak, a weak captain, and he speaks against us.”

“You agreed with him!” Herding spun now, his sword now out and, its glinting point hovering dangerously near the prime vein that pulsed on Thrákmazh’s throat, “You spoke with him and took his side!” The orc just smiled; a look unnerving to each captain, Herding to look at, and Thrákmazh to sustain. Thrákmazh backed up, with some caution, just to avoid Herding’s misplaced energy. “Because he is half-right.” He answered, somewhat ruefully, “He is a clever fool, but a fool nonetheless, and a thorn in both our sides. He wants the elves spared, he does, because he sees their blinding light and is infected by it. He serves the Eye, yes, but he is not loyal, not at all… He will betray us, betray us and the Dark Lord in his weakness!”

Herding glowered again, but was now settling, His next question, asked in more a rhetorical fashion, was calmed and the piercing point of his words dulled by understanding. “You think I don’t know that?” Thrákmazh looked to him, as if he was trying to comfort the angered man, but both knew that there was no notion of friendship. Hatred ran rampant between them, but they shared, in some respects, a common hatred of Koran Cenbryt. Thrákmazh’s one eye settled into its own watery foundation at last as he spoke, in the most meager whisper yet. “He is but a man, a mortal man…We can send the captives to Dol Guldur, revel in our victory, and go on, but he will still be a man…a man that can be killed.” Neither spoke and a very unsettled silence remained for several moments before Thrákmazh backed up, heading towards the entrance, and exit, to the tent. “Consider my words…I have business with the elves to be attended.” At this, he hurriedly moved out of the tent, leaving Herding to ponder the most intellectual thing he’d ever heard an orc say.

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Old 07-10-2004, 11:55 PM   #78
Arry
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Had Gromwakh’s eyes not been so bulbous he might have rolled them skyward, and had he not the long ingrained lessons of the underling drubbed into him by countless of his ‘betters’, he might have sighed loudly and with derision. Instead, he chose to keep his opinions to himself and his eyes well cast down as the deep honking voice of their new leader laid out his commands. Snikdul, on the other hand, stood just behind his friend and kept a low, running commentary on the proceedings.

‘Full as a tick with himself, isn’t he?’ he whispered to Gromwakh. ‘Swaggering back and forth in front of us. Never mind he’s been brevetted . . . the ugly cock-a-whoop’s got no more rank than we do . . .’ Snikdul’s comments were cut off with a whoof of expulsed air as Gromwakh elbowed him sharply in the gut.

‘He doesn’t need to outrank us, you fool – he’s got a whip!’

Gâshronk paced before the twenty Orcs he’d chosen for his little expedition. In a loud voice that carried well beyond the troops standing in sullen rows quite near him he explained how he had been honored with the command for this important task. His one eye, Gromwakh noted, kept sliding over their heads, to the place where Thrákmazh stood, and his expression would change to one of barely concealed delight when the Uruk Captain glanced his way. They were to deliver the Elven captives to Dol Guldur along with their effects, keeping them unharmed . . . the effects or the captives? Grom wondered. Gâshronk looked just the sort to work over those who couldn’t get back at him.

As their Uruk leader passed by them. Growakh turned slightly to one of his companions with a brief order. ‘Find Kreblug and see what he’s got on this bloated bug of an Uruk. We’ll need to know how to best get round him should the situation call for it.’

With a grin and a brief nod, the Orc slunk off, heading first for their supply of liquid bribery before making his way to old Kreblug . . .

Last edited by Arry; 07-11-2004 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:50 AM   #79
Orofaniel
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White Tree

"He is but a man, a mortal man…"

"…a man that can be killed."


These words that had come from The Orc Captain Thrákmazh still lingered in Herding's thoughts. He didn't know whether he was surprised, angry or just..pleased that Thrákmazh too had been thinking about Koran - Koran's defeat. However, Herding couldn't help feeling mad at Thrákmazh because he felt that the Orc Captain had betrayed him. At the same time, Herding thought Thrákmazh was right when he said that Koran would betray both of them, and that it was just a matter of time before he did. He just knew it. It was better to finish Koran off before that time, Herding figured. Yes, indeed that would be the cleverest thing to do. But how could they go through with this? Herding knew it would be difficult since Koran was after all another Captain. What about the Eye?

What if the consequences would be horrifying and Thrákmazh would back off and let Herding take the whole bloody mess on his shoulders? No, he couldn't risk it, nor would he allow such a thing to happen. Never trust an Orc that seems to be on your side, because he will betray you. Herding had heard those words in his childhood. And though his experiences as a soldier and as a Captain, he knew that it was true. But Herding had to take some chances didn't he? He could either be betrayed by both his fellow Captains, or just Koran. Or maybe just the Orc? Herding couldn't collect his thoughts. They were roaming around in his head, making him feel slightly dizzy. He sat down, still pondering, trying to straighten his thoughts but he found it quite difficult as he continued arguing with himself.

Then there was that soldier that always followed Captain Koran wherever he went. He would certainly know that Thrákmazh and himself were up to something, wouldn't he? Oh yes, Herding knew it :The result would be everything else than they had expected; killing several people. But Herding only wanted to get rid of the one! He only wanted to get rid of Koran! That was what his heart and soul told him. Yet his mind, thought otherwise. Herding felt that some way Koran would prove himself useful at later events - and as much as Herding hated to admit it, Koran had already been quite useful; he had captured some neat elves that would be sent to Dol Guldur shortly.

Herding could use him, he was full aware of that. It was only if Thrákmazh would let Herding use Koran- that was the question. Herding figured that Koran wasn't too hard to trick, although he could be mistaken, but he surely doubted it. To kill Koran now was simply out of the question. Definitely.

How he wanted too though! His heart longed to see the Haradrim...No, he couldn’t stand watching Koran lead to another victory while, he, himself stood alone with all the losses. It wasn’t acceptable.

"Do not let your heart get in the way of true thinking," he told himself, trying to calm down. He felt as if he was torn apart, between two mighty forces and none of them would let him go. What could he do? What would Thrákmazh think? Thrákmazh would probably be annoyed by Herding's cowardice if Herding turned him own- which was after all likely.

Then Herding figured that he didn't really have to answer the Orc, did he? No.

If Thrákmazh didn't bring up the subject once again, Herding wouldn't do it either. Clever- as long as Thrákmazh kept his mouth shut.

Last edited by Orofaniel; 07-15-2004 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 07-11-2004, 05:45 AM   #80
Firefoot
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The special force of triumphant Orcs and Men had left, prisoners in tow. Thorvel went to join the other Elves. Targil and Calenvása seemed to have finished some kind of conversation, and there was an air of determination about the Captain. Lómarandil surveyed the other Elves coldly, for once saying nothing.

“We will rescue the captives,” said Calenvása. Thorvel was relieved that he would not have to argue this point, for he was like-minded. The Captain went on, “They will not likely keep the prisoners with them during the attack; rather they will send them back to Dol Guldur with a small guard. It is then that we will save the captives.” It seemed to Thorvel that Targil disagreed with this action, and yet he said nothing. That was strange to Thorvel, for Targil had never been one to keep his arguments himself. Lómarandil did speak up, however.

“So we will save three Elves, and leave the rest of Lorien to the army?” Thorvel had to give him some credit - it was a valid question, but one that he was pretty sure he knew the answer to.

“Seven Elves will move faster than an army of Orcs,” said Thorvel, not unkindly. “My guess is that we should still be able to reach Lorien before the Orcs, if the rescue goes quickly. And these Lorien elves will have been in close proximity of the Orcs: perhaps they have heard some things of the army’s plan that we have not.” Thorvel couldn’t tell if Lómarandil was satisfied or not with this answer. Thorvel looked to the Captain to make sure that he had not spoken wrongly of their plans. Calenvása was nodding. He said, “Yes, that is what we will do. For now, we will head back to the Orc camp and try to get some idea of their lay out and plans. When they begin to move the Elves, we will meet again to follow them.” The Elves got up and made their way back to the army, moving quickly and lightly. They spread out a bit to see what the Orcs were doing.

It did not take Thorvel long to spot the Lorien Elves, tied up as they were outside of a tent. They did not appear to be seriously injured, though one appeared to have passed out. Any Orc that happened to pass them sneered or glared, yet the two that were awake held their heads high, outwardly refusing to acknowledge their captors. Thorvel hoped they were listening closely, whatever their appearance; any information they could pick up would be helpful. Some of the Orcs and Men moved about the army with purpose. Those would be the Captains, undoubtedly making plans for their prisoners. Some of them moved in and out of the tent near which the Elves were stationed.

Thorvel waited for the Orcs to show signs of moving the Elves, expressionless and still as a stone. His gray eyes had not lost their inner fire. The arrows in his quiver were waiting to be used. It would not be long now. And so he waited.

Last edited by Firefoot; 07-11-2004 at 09:59 AM.
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