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Old 01-04-2008, 11:06 PM   #1
littlemanpoet
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Shield Scarburg Meadhall

July 8, Year 15 of the Fourth Age - (see Time Line for play up to this opening post HERE)

(2 weeks later)

It had been a difficult two weeks, and Eodwine was weary. He rode at the front of the procession of his House, made up of an assortment of horses and wagons laden with the possessions of many. Trips would have to be made back to Edoras to reload the wagons with yet more items, for much was deemed unnecessary for the immediate needs of them all. The trusty Thornden rode at the back of the procession where he could keep an eye out for any signs of trouble from this unknown region, as well as an eye on any signs of trouble amongst the travelers; such as Javan.

The boy had not taken his punishment well. Eodwine had finally decided to bring him before the court, even had Thornden stand by his side and the entire House arrayed before them so that the he would get a sense of the seriousness of his misdeed. Eodwine had laid out the charges, giving them the sound of the full weight of the law.

"You have cost this House nearly a hundred Thengels of gold coin in wood, nail, thatch and rope, as well as seven days' labor of five grown men; so runs the estimate of my master carpenter, Stigend. Javan son of Thaldon, you are guilty of the crime of burning down my stables. You shall be under watch of those of my House whom I shall appoint, until such time as I deem that you no longer are a danger to my House. Further, beyond the normal chores of a lad of your age, you shall work each day in my House until you have paid seven days for each day spent in labor by each man rebuilding my stables."

The boy's jaw had dropped and his eyes had widened in astonishment. Then his face had turned sullen and he had mumbled something, which Eodwine had read on his lips: "That's not fair."

"Boy, I could have you flogged instead."

Javan's head snapped up and fear came into his eyes. "Yes, sir," he mumbled. But even then the lad could not hold himself in check. "Why don't you just send me home?"

Eodwine had smirked. "You need punishment, not escape and further spoiling."

The boy had scowled then, and had dragged himself around, under the watchful eyes of different members of the House betimes, doing what he was told, but as reluctantly as one could.

Eodwine looked back at the boy now; he was staring off into the distance looking miserable. Eodwine shook his head. It would be a long, long tutelage.

They rounded the final curve and came at last to the edge of Scarburg, formerly known as the land of Sorn. There was a line of tall trees the trunks of which grew tall, unkempt bushes, blocking the view of the holding itself. So it was not until Eodwine came to the gate, which was leaning off its hinges between two tall oaks, that he saw the buildings and lands within.

"Oh no." Eodwine reined in Flíthaf.

Garstan rode behind. "What is the matter, lord?"

"It's a wreck," Eodwine replied hollowly. Garstan came up beside him and saw for himself. The main house and all the outbuildings had been put to the torch. Their walls leaned in blackened sooty shambles, the roofs collapsed in. The grass all around the ruined buildings had been burned away.

"Who has done this evil deed?" Garstan cried.

"Who can tell? Maybe our neighbors. I doubt we'll ever know for certain."

Harreld drew up beside them. "At least we have canvas with us for tents."

Next came Stigend. He blew a winded sigh. "There is much to be done, no?"

Eodwine hung his head and laughed weakly.

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Old 03-27-2008, 06:23 PM   #2
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Erbrand moved across the rolling plains at great speed. The excitement had been building during the last few days away from Arlburg, and finally he was less then a league away from Scarburg. He was not usually this excited over these things, but the days away from his hometown had made his heart anxious to see the roofs of a town. For the first time in in two years he had known true happiness, nothing weighed him down as his horse carried him over mounds and open plains.

The thunder of the horses hooves blotted out the rattle of his possessions, slung across the horses back. He had crossed the river Snowbourne this morning and rode easy ever since, but his horse had proven restless and some of it rubbed off on him. His axe was slung on his back with a leather strap, and it gave him the feeling of a hunter just about to bear down on his prey. He clenched both of the reigns in his hands for a while before he slowly brought the horse to a stop. Just ahead of him was a great camp. Erbrand spurred his horse on, but at a much reduced pace. He dismounted his steed and led it up to the outskirt of the makeshift camp.

Erbrand cupped one hand to his mouth, "Hello in the camp!" he cried, not quite sure what do to. He looked uneasily as some of the faces peared towards him, he wondered if he had done the right thing shouting out instead of just waiting for someone to come.

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Old 03-30-2008, 08:32 PM   #3
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Javan went down beside Eodwine towards the others with mixed feelings. He really did want to do was the eorl asked, but he felt terribly embarrassed about going down and speaking to everyone. However, he did not hang back as Eodwine walked straight to the opening of the baker.

Javan stopped when Eodwine did and cast a nervous glance around. Everyone was there. Dinner had been finished long ago. Ginna and Kara were in the makeshift kitchen, apparently cleaning up after the meal. His eyes lingered silently on them a moment, envying they’re relative solitude, away from everyone else.

“Friends,” lord Eodwine said, raising his voice slightly to catch everyone’s attention. “I have something I would like to say.”

The talking ceased and all eyes turned to them. Javan swallowed slowly. An impulse told him to look down, but instead he lifted his head slightly and looked up at lord Eodwine.

But before Eodwine could say anything further, a thumping of hooves on the dry ground outside turned all of their heads and attentions away. Javan turned all the way about as a man’s voice cried out from the darkness.

“Hello, in the camp!” There was a slight pause from within the tent, and then Eodwine went out.

‘Oh, bother,’ Javan said to himself, and then changed his mind. This would at least delay the ordeal of having to stand in front of everyone and say something. Not that he did not wish to swear his promise to lord Eodwine, but he thought he would feel awkward before everyone that he knew so well.

‘But he told you,’ Javan thought, as voices around him began to murmur and speculate about the newcomer outside. ‘You need to stop worrying about what others think, and you must begin thinking about other people instead of yourself.’

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Old 03-31-2008, 05:37 PM   #4
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There was a tall man on horseback, dressed as a peasant; which was odd, for peasants did not generally ride horses; that was the way of the Eorlingas, the knights of the King. So either this man had stolen his mount, or had made something of himself. Or, perhaps, he chose to dress poorer than he was. Eodwine doubted that he had stolen his mount; horse and rider seemed too used to each other.

"Hail, friend! I am Eodwine, Eorl of Middle Emnet, lord of Scarburg Meadhall, humble as it now seems no doubt. How are you called?"
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:17 PM   #5
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"Hail lord Eodwine," Erbrand said in response, holding up his hand in friendship.
"My name is Erbrand," he said walking closer. "A herald came to my city of Arlburg and told us about your plight. I have come to offer my help in rebuilding your hall in Scarburg.

"I have a strong back and I'm not afraid to work and when the Meadhall is complete I will make you such products that I can make. I can craft leather well and am renowned for it in my home town of Arlburg." Erbrand now stopped his speech and paused for a minute.

"I am sorry sir for my rambling," he said. "I know this must sound strange to you, and I will understand if you turn me down, seeing how little you know of me. I will be happy to come in the morning, or at a more fitting time to talk about such matter, if you wish."
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:01 AM   #6
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"Nay," said Eodwine, "I would not ask you to sleep under the sky another night when we have at least tents here. I can tell by your speech that you are an Eorling, and if you are a leather worker, and strong, we have need of you. Welcome!"

Eodwine offered his hand to Erbrand in welcome. The man had a strong hand, as he expected. All the better.

"Come, there is much going on at the moment, and one more witness to a vow would not be amiss. It will give you a sense of how we do things here. And," he turned and smiled to Erbrand, "we have vittles to spare, for supper was put on the board not long ago."

Eodwine introduced Erbrand to the folk of his house, had Léof take care of his mount, and showed him to a table where food and ale was brought to him. Then he returned to Javan, and bent down to get close to his ear.

"Are you ready still, Javan?"
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:26 PM   #7
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Javan stood waiting for Eodwine, standing to one side to be out of the way and not in the center of everyone’s attention. He watched discreetly as Eodwine greeted and welcomed the new comer and invited him in. As soon as food had been seen to, Eodwine came back to Javan.

“Are you ready still, Javan?” Eodwine asked quietly in his ear.

Javan answered quickly, without giving himself to think about it and feel nervous again. “Yes, sir.” He didn’t tell Eodwine, but he wanted to get it done with as quickly as possible.

Once more, Eodwine asked for everyone’s attention and prepared to begin.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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Evening
Supper had been finished and many hands made light work of dirty plates and ale cups, which pleased Frodides as much as it frustrated her to have so many folk underfoot.

With the passing of the sun, most folk were tired enough to ready themselves for a night of well earned rest. But Eodwine and Falco went for a stroll around the rim of Scarburg. The crescent moon shown clear in the night sky, giving off dim light, creating faint shadows here and there.

"This is where I stopped and listened to you and Thornden going on about the tree," said Falco.

"Never heard you."

"Of course not," Falco replied matter of factly.

They moved on, not talking. Falco puffed his pipe while Eodwine was left with his own thoughts. For now he was not interested in thinking much, but looking about and seeing how things looked at night compared to day. They came to the scar.

"It was just after I turned the corner here that I saw those boot prints."

"I would take a look but we've no light. But tomorrow."

They walked farther, leaving the lower land, almost swampy, rising to sand and rock; poor soil for farming.

"Eodwine," Falco broached between puffs, "as you know, I've threatened to go back to the Shire before." He puffed some more on his long stemmed pipe.

"Yes?"

"It's time I was going is all."

Eodwine nodded. He had been sensing a pensiveness in the hobbit, who was more given to idle chatter. It seemed a done thing.

"You will be missed."

"Aye, an' I'll miss the lot of you Big Folk. Almost as much as you'll miss me." Falco grinned.

Eodwine laughed. "No doubt."

"Well, I just wanted you to know. I think I'll turn in now."

"As you will," Eodwine said. "I will walk a bit farther before I find sleep this night."

He stopped to watch the hobbit stroll away, past the ruins, and around to their makeshift camp.

The ruins. Bones. A woman and child. Before he was aware of it, Eodwine's feet began to take him there.

He was quiet as he walked in the midst of the rack and ruin. Though the others had turned in, there was still much sound of talk and bed-setting noises coming from the camp; they did not hear.

He found them, two skulls shining dully in the moonlight, . He knelt down by them and thought of another time and place when he had also knelt, finding three skulls. What man had need of seeing the naked skulls of his own wife and children? The passing years did not stanch such pain. Tears came to his eyes and his belly ached with it. Who were these two, he wondered? Who had done this ill deed to them? Had they even known they were here? What had these two been doing here?

A footstep. He looked up suddenly. The woman's ghost! No, it was Rowenna. Eodwine rose to his feet.

"What are you doing here?" His voice was hoarse.

"I - I saw you, lord and -" She said nothing for a moment. "I thought to see if anything was amiss. I am sorry, I should not have disturbed you." She turned suddenly to leave.

"You need not go."

She turned and faced him again, her hands folded at her waist, fidgeting. "You came to see the corpses?"

"Aye."

"May I see?" Her voice quavered.

"Surely you do not wish to-"

"It is like my father's house after the brigands destroyed it."

Eodwine's breath caught. This young woman had lived through the same tragedy as had he. He lifted a hand to her.

"Yes. Come."

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:06 AM   #9
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The work of cleaning up after supper had been finished faster than Ginna and the other women normally managed back in the kitchen of the Mead Hall. Perhaps it was the unfamiliarity of their surroundings that spurned them on, not wanting to spend more time than necessary in the relative inconvenience of their makeshift kitchen. Or perhaps they were all eager for the rest they deserved after a busy day. Whatever the reason was, Ginna was simply glad that she had more time to herself.

Kara was preparing for bed when she noticed Ginna was still up, seemingly in no mood to sleep. She understood, Ginna guessed, that I'm still thinking about what we talked about a while ago. And she smiled inwardly at the concern Kara conveyed through her eyes.

"Do you want to take a walk outside? I'll come with you," Kara offered.

Ginna shook her head. "You're tired. And I won't be long." She quietly crept out of their temporary lodging, careful not to wake those who were already asleep.

Most of the household had turned in for the night. The first few stars had started to appear in the clear dark sky, and a light breeze blew. Ginna wrapped her arms about herself. She walked slowly, silently, taking no stock of her surroundings, preoccupied with her thoughts. Kara had meant well, but contrary to what they both thought, that Ginna needed to talk, it seemed to only aggravate her guilt and shame. Now that she had confessed her wrongs out loud, she realised even more how selfishly she had acted. And Harreld did not deserve any of that. She should have been honest to him, and to herself, from the start.

She had not talked to him for a couple of weeks now, and she missed him terribly. He wondered if he would ever speak to her again - didn't Kara say a conversation would help? She could swallow her shame if only it meant she and Harreld could go back to how they used to be, as friends. It would neither be easy nor instant, she knew, but it was a journey worth taking.

And suddenly she could not suppress a laugh. Ginna, Ginna, you're turning soft. Before she was given to Eodwine's keeping she would not even think back on hurting a man when she got all she wanted from him. Why the sudden change? Did her father actually succeed in his aim for sending her away? Her father, it was all her father's fault. If he had not been so distant, if he had not kept pushing her away when she needed him . . .

All this time Ginna had let her tears flow freely, but at the thought of her father her very eyes seemed to dry up. She looked angrily at her surroundings, as though each rock bore his proud face. Then her anger turned to uncertainty. And then to fear. That was one downside of growing up an only child, sheltered and protected - she could never be allowed to wander alone. She had absolutely no idea where she was, and how she was to go back.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:36 AM   #10
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Dan carried on walking. It had been two weeks now, since he had slept in a proper bed. He had no mount to speed up his journey, as Drúadain (or Drughu, as they called themselves) were not riders. For one thing, they were completely the wrong shape to ride anything but ponies, which more often than not could not bear their surprisingly large weight.

He had been walking through the wide open plains and navigating through marshland for many days now, and it had unsettled him at first. It was not that Drughu were agorophobic (in the way of open spaces) by nature, but that he was not used to a place with so little trees. He missed the dense forests, full of life, bursting with colours and sounds. The early sea breeze rustling through the tops of the trees and bringing that salty smell to the sharp noses of the Drughu. Now there were the rolling hills in one direction, and festering marshland in the other. But he had grown used to this monotonous grass, and the rare simbelmynë, a stark white speck of light in the green background.

He remembered what his old uncle had told him as he had prepared to leave, "Find Eodwine. He has only become an Eorl recently, and wil be glad of what assistance we can grant him." He looked forward to meeting this Eodwine, and had heard of his kindness, so he was not worried at all when he crossed over the border into the Middle Emnet. He had reached the Mead Hall, when he was told that Eodwine and his group of followers had moved to Scarburg. And now he was there, and the plains before him were lit by a crescent moon, giving them a pallid glow. And now he looked through the few trees he had passed to behold Sacrburg in its full glory... and stopped. Instead of the cheerful abode, lit in the night for the weary traveller, he saw that the whole hall had been burned to the ground. It looked like the work of Dunlendings to him. That evil race of Men that had fallen into the submission of Saruman. He was distraught. Where was Eodwine now? Had he perished in the burning? But as he looked closer he saw a baker built nearbly. He breathed a sigh of relief.

He walked towards it happily, but just out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flash of white amidst the trees. His curiosity got the better of him. He ran towards it, and he saw a girl, crying. He went closer and realised that it was actually a young blonde-haired woman, and she looked like she had just finished crying. He came up to her to comfort her, or at least find out why she was so far away from anyone else.

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Old 04-11-2008, 12:28 PM   #11
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The festivity’s eventually died down and Erbrand was led away to his tent. However before he lay down to sleep he went to check on his horse, Traveler. After he bade Traveler to rest, he picked up his possessions, two large saddle bags, from a man called Léof.

Erbrand took them back to his tent and withdrew his sleeping roll. He leaned against the pole of his tent and looked up at the sky, it was filled with stars and they shone bright. Today had seemed like a dream to him, lord Eodwine was a strong man and Erbrand had not expected him to be so accepting of a mere stranger. He smiled as he remembered the smile of the lord’s face.

The noise of crickets and frogs were loud in his ears and he gazed at the marsh behind him. Not exactly ideal, but still, he reckoned he could get quite a few stoat pelts from there. His stared again at the stars above him and then his eyes shifted to the wide open plain ahead of him; presently his thoughts traveled back to his home of Aldburg.

Aldburg was a large city in south Rohan, near the roots of the Whit Mountains; there Erbrand dwelt with his mother and father all of his life. However, it never felt like home, not since his beloved friend died on the outskirts of the Firien Woods. Being in the service of lord Eodwine was the best chance that he would have to build a home for himself.

He sighed heavily at his own thoughts and the lights dimmed in his eyes as his expression mellowed. He yawned wide, lay down on his mat, and soon was deep in sleep.

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Old 04-12-2008, 09:22 PM   #12
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In the ruins

Rowenna picked her way through the rubble and reached out a hand to Eodwine's extended one. Just as she grabbed his hand she stumbled and landed against him. She was softer than he expected, and lighter. The smell of her hair got in his nostrils, and he did not mind it.

"I am sorry," she said a little breathlessly, righted herself, and let go of his hand. "Where?"

"Over there." He pointed.

She crouched down and extended a tentative hand to the woman's skull; but drew her hand back before she touched it. She balled her hands into fists and held them fast against her chest, staring at the skulls. Eodwine noted that she shed no tears for all the intensity of her expression.

"What happened that day," Eodwine asked, "the day the brigands came?"

She let out a shuddering sigh. "They waited until dusk when the chores were almost done and none of our neighbors were near to see. They came in the dark and quickly found my father and me. He they killed in cold blood but me they took. I think I was their goal, for we were not rich, having little silver or gold. Once they had me safely away they burned our homestead around the corpse of my father. Then they made me their plaything. I learned that it was their way, and I was one in a long line of young women, except for one thing. They had all died quickly. I guess I do not have it in me to wilt and die. I did what I had to, to survive."

Eodwine watched her and pitied her. The whole time she had not looked at him, staring still at the skulls; but her words had been painfully clear.

"How was it for you?"

Eodwine sat on a bit of stone and let out a deep sigh himself. She faced him now, the sickle moon lighting her face, wide eyed and open, and very serious.

"I had been in the War fighting for my lord and captain off in Gondor. When we had the vcitory, I celebrated with the other soldiers. It was weeks before I returned home. I was eager, more eager the closer I came to our farm. But when I came home, I found that home had left me. It was a burning heap, and my wife and son and daughter were reduced to bones in the fire that had blazed. I had lost everything, I had not the heart to stay and work that land. After burying their bones, I left and have never returned."

"You loved her."

"Yes I did. Very much."

"You never remarried, in fifteen years."

"That is so."

"Why not?"

"For fourteen years I preferred her memory to the company of some other woman. But when I was created Eorl of this small realm, everything changed. I need an heir to rule after me. 'Tis the way of things among our folk, as you know." She nodded. "So I need a wife."

"What do you -" Rowenna hesitated with her next question. She had been bent over, looking at the skulls, and had straightened only a little when she had faced him. Now she drew herself up and regarded him with more vigor. "My lord, what do you seek in a wife?"

"Why?" he smiled. "Would you play matchmaker?"

Her eyes widened in surprise. Then she shook her head. "No, lord! I would not ever do such a thing! 'Tis not in me!" She looked away at the skulls and up at him again. "I have been watching you, lord, since I came among your folk. You are unlike any man I have known, except maybe my father-"

Eodwine chuckled. "You are saying I'm the only man you've known, old enough to be your father?"

"No! No! You make light of me." She frowned. "I should not have said so much. I should leave."

She got up suddenly to go. Eodwine did not want her to leave.

"No, stay. I am sorry. Please say what you wish, I will not make light of it."

She stared at him. "Do you mean it?"

"Of course."

The intensity in her face heightened. "You are a better man, lord, than any other I have known. I would not settle for a mate who was any less than you."

Eodwine suddenly understood; or thought he did. But she was so young! He could be her father. He coughed self-consciously.

"You honor me greatly, Rowenna. Thank you. I - I hope you find such a one."

She stared at him as if stung. Then she turned away suddenly.

"I must go. Good night."

She left quickly. Eodwine watched her go back to the women's tent. He thought her very pretty, and perhaps desirable. But her way had been so direct, so clumsy. It was as if she did not know herself well. Her emotions had seemed at odds with her words at times. Most interesting. Most interesting indeed. With much shaping, he considered, perhaps she could make a good wife.

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Old 04-14-2008, 07:46 PM   #13
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From the corner of her eye Ginna noticed a man approaching. She could see that he was short, much shorter than she was, but of strong build. At that distance she could not properly see his face, much less discern if he brought help or harm.

Her first immediate thought recalled memories of Ritun and Lefun. Frightening they seemed at first, but they proved to be kind and gentle. But a mere couple of weeks ago, had she not almost been killed in the hands of strangers? Such an experience was not only difficult, nay, impossible to forget, but it also taught one to be more careful.

Ginna was torn. She wanted to trust the stranger, but could she trust enough to put her life at risk, especially in these unfamiliar lands?

The strange man was coming closer. Ginna felt her whole body tense. She took a deep breath. And then as casually as she could manage, she ran off, unknowingly taking herself farther from the others.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:40 AM   #14
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The tracker

The young woman ran. Dan was surprised. He wondered why she hadn't even waited to introduce herself.
"Wait!" he called, "Don't go!"
But it was too late, she was gone. But Dan was curious. IT seemed to him that she had suffered a bad experience, which made her far more cautious than a normal person would be.

But she seemed a bit lost and bewildered, and Dan, owing to his race's extremely good sense of direction, he knew that he could help her. After a quick moment of indecisiveness, he ran after her. Now, contrary to their looks, the Drughu were excellent sprinters. They might not be as good as the dwarves, but they were similarly built, and had the same strengths. But whereas the dwarves were heavy and slightly cumbersome, the Drúedain were far more agile. And anyway, even the least fit Drûg could run for hours on end. They were tireless. He used his extremely good sense of smell to find out which direction she had gone in, and then ran parallel in the silent way of his race. He overtook her and then waited just beyond a clearing, which she ran straight into. He appeared out of nowhere, right in front of her, and said to the panting woman, "Hello. I am Daghan-turi-Dan of the Drúedain of Drúwaith Iaur, and I have come to help the people of Eodwine's house. Why do you run from me as if I was a savage Dunlending? And why are you so far away from anyone else in this inhospitable country?"

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Old 04-15-2008, 02:44 PM   #15
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Rowenna

"I hope you find such a one."

The words rang over and over in her head.

"I hope you find such a one."

She lay on her mat, her eyes wide open and stinging. No tears came. They never did. Her breathing was quick and sleep was far from her.

"I hope you find such a one."

She had as much as told him that she wished to be his wife! She winced. You little fool! she said to herself now. For once you thought that it would be good to be completely open and say all your heart; and what does he do with it? "I'm not the one for you. I hope you find such a one." Oh the bitterness of it!"

She decided that it would be the last time she was ever open like that, ever again. Never again!

He had rejected her! That was what it was. The humiliation! Her face burned and she gritted her teeth. Never again!

This was worse than being used by some careless boor of a brigand!

At first she felt ashamed of her latest thought, feeling that it was not so; but she could not bring herself to admit it to herself, and without knowing quite how, came to the defense of her own thought. It was worse because he should be better! He should have understood her more, cared for her more! Bolstered with that thought, her shame turned to wrath. She would show him. She would win him. She would study the ways of these other women and learn how to be womanly and winsome in their Eorlingish cultured way, and she would use her wiles to win him. And once she had one him, then she would rule him. Yes. That would be the way to have vengeance. She would learn to be nice and happy and bright of smile and eye.

She thought about the other women, and their ways. Sleep remained far from her as she thought and planned and rehearsed what she would do, what she would say, how she would act. It would start with the dawn. She would show him.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:23 PM   #16
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A lone horse and its rider entered the camp. Erbrand stood up and watched as the figure dismounted, it was a girl. She was slim and weather beaten and looked more tired than her horse that had borne her over the plains; by the look of her she had traveled far. Some of the ladies at the kitchen stopped their work and stared at the girl in astonishment, and he saw that she was no stranger to them. Erbrand did not go up to the girl to greet her like he had done with Dan, for he was nervous with strangers and would only talk to them if it was unavoidable.

He left the camp and headed towards the marshes to be alone and wait for breakfast, which would probably be delayed in being ready. The marsh was long, wide, and had many trees scattered across it in clumps. He sat down on the grass and surveyed the long landscape before him. He rubbed his fingers between his hands at the thought of the lady he had just seen, she was beautiful and had an heir of nobility about her. Certainly not like any other girls that he had known, it was strange how much he thought of her from just a glance.

A flock of birds suddenly took flight from the marsh; Erbrand watched them fly away. He was just about to leave when something caught his eye. Right from the place where the birds took flight a young man appeared, stooping as he walked forward. Erbrand watched the man with interest as he began to come closer, the man was tall and garbed like any other farmer in Rohan, but Erbrand could not see his face he was still too far for that. The man had not seen him yet, and tried hard not to be noticed. A terrible thought hit Erbrand: what if this was the man who destroyed the hall? Erbrand glanced back at the burned hall and then back at the young man, who was still trying to get closer.

For better or for worse Erbrand made up his mind to bring the man out of there. He leapt forward into the marsh, trying to find a solid path to run on, but within a few steps he stumbled and lost his footing. A splash was heard when he fell in the water. The figure had heard it and darted away before Erbrand could regain his footing.

“Hey you, stop!” Erbrand shouted, knowing full well that it was futile.

He made his way out of the muddy water and ran back to the camp. His boots sloshed as he ran back and his eyes burned with anger and embarrassment. A man dressed in armor saw him coming and watched him, looking half amused. Erbrand ran up to him and without saying hello began to speak.

“I’ve seen him,” Erbrand began, “Down in the marshes a young man was creeping up to the camp trying hard not to be seen. He fled when I tried to catch him.” Erbrand pointed towards the marshes, and he could just make a figure out at the other end running away fast.

“There!” Erbrand said clutching the guard’s shoulder, “Do you see him?”

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Old 05-02-2008, 09:02 AM   #17
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Eodwine

While Stigend and Eodwine discussed the needs for the new Hall, Garstan came up and said, "Lord, we have another guest. Or mayhap I should say a friend returning to us."

"Oh? Who? Garreth Smith?"

"Nay, lord, 'tis the Lady Saeryn."

Before Eodwine could muster any kind of reaction, a man at arms brought Erbrand to Eodwine. The newcomer looked a mess. And he seemed excited.

"What is the matter, Erbrand?"

"I saw a stranger out in the swamp! Could he be the one who burned down the ruin?"

"Stigend, you and Matrim go get Thornden and have him rally the guard!" Eodwine turned back to Erbrand. "Show me where!"

"Aye, lord! This way!"

So it was that Erbrand and Eodwine were beyond the edge of Scarburg proper when Saeryn arrived.

"He was here, lord!"

There were muddy tracks in the swamp, but little to be seen of anyone. They followed the tracks a little way until they were lost in a pond. They searched the muddy perimeter of the water, which was difficult because it was often difficult to determine where water began and land ended. Both of them were muddied almost to their knees before they finally called it off.

"He's escaped for now," Eodwine said. "My thanks for using your good eyes this morn, Erbrand."

Thornden and the others arrived but did not seem too keen on getting as wet and dirty as Erbrand and Eodwine.

"What news, lord?"

"There is someone out here, but we lost his trail in the mire."

"We should post guards," Thornden said.

"Do so, at your discretion. Erbrand and I need a good washing. After which we shall have time to gather our wits and figure out what we will do today. Not to mention learn what brings the Lady Saeryn to us."

Eodwine and Erbrand left Thornden to his work, and headed back to the tents.

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Old 05-03-2008, 09:08 PM   #18
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Saeryn

Saeryn allowed her horse to stop when they came to the bottom of the incline. His head was craned about towards the other horses and when she drew rein, he whinnied again. Searyn felt a slight flush slowly rise in her face. People were looking towards her now. Already, curiosity was already shoving its way at her. She pressed her lips hard together and tried to tell herself she didn’t care.

She swung down out of the saddle, trying to look dignified, but when her feet touched the ground, her knees collapsed beneath her halfway. She winced and grabbed hold of the stirrup and used it to help her stand straight. When she looked up, she saw Léof standing at her horse’s head, already holding the reins.

“Léof,” she said, a smile flickering briefly over her face. “Give him some water, please.”

With her horse looked after, Saeryn had no obligation or reason to keep her from going in and meeting all of them. She turned again to face the camp when all of the sudden, she felt a rush and a weight thrown at her legs, and little arms encircled her waist.

“You’re back, you’re back!” cried Lèođern. “Did you go and visit Lady Linduial?”

Saeryn smiled a real, genuine smile and took Lèođern’s hands. She shook her head. “No, I did not see Linduial, although I would have liked to.”

“Oh,” Lèođern’s face fell slightly, but she immediately brightened again. “We’ve had so many adventures while you were away!” The little girl launched immediately into a detailed account of all that had passed, beginning with the very morning of Saeryn’s departure, telling about Rilef, the twins, and what had happened concerning them.

Saeryn listened and nodded at intervals to show that she was listening, but her eyes lifted every now and then to look over Lèođern’s head towards the camp. She noticed anyone insight that she knew, taking stock of their actions and their glances, wondering who first she would talk to, or who would talk to her.

But, to her surprise, it was someone with whom she was not acquainted that first approached her.

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Old 05-04-2008, 02:27 PM   #19
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Eodwine

Eodwine took his time walking back to the tents. Saeryn was back. Why? Had she been with the queen in Edoras, or elsewhere? If she had been with the queen, why had she not sent notice of any kind in two months, unless she had wanted to have nothing more to do with them? But here she was. Did she return for him? He was not sure what to think, and was not in the least certain whether he dared or cared to hope. The irony was not lost on him that just this morning he had as good as told Rowenna that he would consider her for a wife if she became more of what he wanted in one. And now here was Saeryn, to whom he had virtually proposed; and she had refused. He liked to tell himself that it had been a matter of timing, that she might change her mind some day, but he had never been sure he could believe it.

"Lord?"

"Hm? What?"

It was Erbrand. "I said, had anyone seen the prowler before this day?"

"Oh! I am sorry. I was lost in thought. Falco, the hobbit, saw tracks yesterday, but that was the first sign of prowlers. Please excuse me, Erbrand, it seems there is a newcomer to greet."

"Aye, lord."

Eodwine picked up his pace and Erbrand fell behind, but continued to follow him, even as the distance between them grew. The man was probably curious about the maiden with the noble bearing. It was understandable. Who would not be?

There was Rowenna, having stopped in her kitchen duties; she was walking toward Saeryn as well. Eodwine wondered what that might mean, if anything.

Rowenna

Rowenna was still full of smiles and the flush of hope from Eodwine's word to her when she heard of the newcomer. None had spoken to her about this maiden before now, but many of the others seemed to know her. 'Saeryn of the Folde,' they called her. Rowenna had asked Kara quickly about her and had been told that she was of noble birth and had fled from her brother who sought to tame her, and had become hostess of Eodwine's house for a time until she had left, for reasons Kara did not say.

Well, Rowenna decided that she could stand to learn a thing or two from someone of noble birth if she was going to become the wife of an eorl some day, and it would not hurt to make a new friend. She wanted to make a good impression on this Saeryn before anyone else could say anything to dim Saeryn's view of her. She was especially interested in this Saeryn, as someone who refused to be tamed; that gave them something in common, it seemed to her, something on which to build a friendship. A stray thought leapt into her mind that this young woman might be a rival for the eorl's affections, but she banished the thought from her mind in her newfound hope for a friend.

Léof had handed her horse off to another, and was coming toward her. Rowenna passed him by without a word. She could see that the little girl Léoðern had already greeted her and was talking at a gallop while she paid the girl attention but glanced over her head as if looking for someone. Rowenna walked up to them as gaily as she knew how.

"Hello, Saeryn of the Folde, I am Rowenna. Welcome!"

In the moment of silence before Saeryn answered, Rowenna noticed that she was very pretty, and the mizbite of a thought came buzzing back into her head that here was a rival; Rowenna ignored it and gave Saeryn her best smile.

Eodwine

Eodwine saw that Rowenna had hurried out from the baker and walked right by Léof, and had stopped in front of Saeryn. He frowned. What was this? What was the girl up to? He slowed his pace. Léof came near.

"What news, Léof?"

"Saeryn has returned. She asked for water. I am getting it."

Eodwine nodded. Normally that would be something Rowenna would have seen to right away, but she had not waited to be asked. Strange. What was she up to? Would it be best to interrupt their greeting, or to wait until it was done? Right there and then Eodwine decided that he preferred to greet Saeryn with a crowd of others around. So he stopped and waited about fifteen paces from them, and Erbrand stopped by him. Others were coming and halted also, creating a half circle into which it was obvious that Saeryn would be welcomed. Eodwine folded his arms and waited, keeping a smile on his face.

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Old 05-05-2008, 10:02 AM   #20
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Oeric stepped nimbly from tussock to tussock. His childhood years spent on the borders of this marsh had imprinted upon his mind the qualities of land and water which allowed the trained eye to step on semi-solid ground, as opposed to sinking knee or thigh deep in water, or worse, muddy silt. To the unwary or ignorant, these bogs could even spell death, if one should happen to tread unwittingly onto the treacherous, shifting and sucking mix of water and soil beneath. He breathed heavily though, more from nervousness than from haste. The land about lay in fairly flat, rolling plain, making it difficult to come very close to the budding camp without detection. That one of their members should be up and out in the marsh this early in the day was not really a surprise. Oeric assumed they would be sending out scouts, hunters, workers to gather whatever natural materials the marsh could provide for their building and cooking needs. But he had been foolish to have taken a path which exposed him more than was necessary.

He had thought originally to circle around to the far border where clumps of scrubby willow provided good cover for an approach. But the emptiness in his stomach had prompted him to choose a path which would take him past the berry patches. It was still early in the summer for many of the fruit to have ripened, but there might be one or two lingonberry bushes which he might have stripped of their bounty. He was no hunter and these last weeks had left their mark in the pinched lines of his face and the looseness of his clothes. What few bits of food he had managed to scavenge from the ruins of Sorn’s hall had long since been consumed. Even in his grief, Oeric’s body had persistently insisted upon being maintained, and so, he had chosen the path which had led him almost right into the arms of one of the newcomers. If the man hadn’t fallen and alerted Oeric to his presence, any choice of how and when Oeric made contact with the new lord’s people would certainly have been taken from him.

The searchers that came hard on the heels of the lone man had found nothing but air and water and the call of birds. Oeric knew though that he would now have to be much more wary, and his ability to watch the strangers undetected would be seriously hindered. As much as he wished otherwise, he determined to fetch his few belongings from the ruined shed and make his way into the heart of the marsh. There he could be fairly sure he could live, at least for a short while, unmolested. How long was very dependent upon his food situation. But, he thought with a grim smile, with so many near, and wagons of supplies, that might not be such a problem after all.
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:34 AM   #21
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“Hello, Searyn of the Folde, I am Rowenna. Welcome!”

Saeryn looked at her as though she didn’t understand. Her weary mind was trying to ask how the stranger knew her name and where she came from. Finally, she shook it off and remembered herself. She returned Rowenna’s welcoming smile with as bright a one as she could muster up.

“Thank you, Rowenna, for your welcome.” She bent her head and her shoulders in a slight bow. She straightened with a troubled look on her face. “I – uh,” she felt herself sway, and the world seemed to turn before her eyes. She shook her head clear and tried to steel herself. Perhaps bowing was a bad idea. But inside she knew anything would be a bad idea. Her legs could barely support her weight and she was thirsty to the core.

How to get past Rowenna, to the friends waiting just a little ways away? How to do it without being obvious?

“I need to see Eodwine,” she blurted out abruptly. There went whatever tack she hoped to retain. And why had she used his name? She knew she had to see him, but she didn’t want to yet.

“He’s over here,” Rowenna replied.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:21 PM   #22
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Scyld

He was back, come full circle, to the place where he had thought he was never to return. Scyld, traitor to his master, semi-repentant traitor to the crown, homeless, friendless, and without clear purpose, had returned after several months’ wandering to the lands of Sorn.

Except they no longer belonged to Sorn. Sorn was dead, his property mysteriously destroyed by looters and by fire, and his lands gone to the new Eorl. The first two conditions, he rejoiced in. The third, he wished not to accept. Let this unhappy corner of the world remain so, squabbled over by nearby villagers, or simply left as a smoking ruin. The land should fall with the master. To make it a seat of power was hardly to be borne.

But the pull to this place was deeper still. The new Eorl and his household were the friends of which Linduial had spoken so fondly, and in some part of him he wanted to observe these people and discover who they were. He had made his way to Edoras, finally, where he had found the information he desired free for the hearing. Linduial had found her way safely back to Dol Amroth, and it was rumored that she was to become some sort of ambassador to Edoras. He had also learned much about the Eorl, though much of what he heard about the man’s character puzzled him, and had heard the alarming news of the pending move to Sorn’s lands – Scarburg, now they were calling it. A fitting name.

Not, of course, that he had been so foolish to dance into Edoras proclaiming his name and business. He did not fear his face would be recognized, but what of his name? Would Linduial have told that to anyone? He did not trust that she had kept silent on that point, since she seemed to think that he would gain pardon, nor did he trust that he would receive pardon if any discovered his true identity. So he had styled himself as a jack of all trades from the West Emnet seeking honest work closer to the heart of the country, calling himself Nydfara – fugitive, exile. He was both. A presumed fugitive from the law with none to whom he would entrust his own safety, and a self-proclaimed exile from the community surrounding Sorn’s holdings. He was neither loved nor trusted there, as one far too close to Sorn’s interests; people in that community had always kept their heads down and their business amongst themselves whenever possible, fearing Sorn’s retribution. The new Eorl, he thought, would not find them a very tractable group. Wary of authority, whether of Sorn’s meld specifically or the powers higher up who let him run free, they fended for themselves and protected their own. No, Scyld did not wish to return to these people who knew his name and connection to Sorn.

And yet, here he was, encamped in the same stony ridge where Sorn had died while Linduial and he had parted. He did not yet know his purpose, only that he felt a sense of unfinished business, and that with these people and in this place that he might find closure. Whatever that meant.
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:13 PM   #23
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Eodwine

Eodwine stood and called everyone to heed his announcements for the day. As they stayed their speech and looked his way, he took in the assemblage. Except for Modtryth, Rowenna, and Saeryn in the women's tent, all were there. They numbered six and twenty, not including Falco, who would be leaving them that day. Others had come and gone, such as the lad Trystan and the Gondorian sailor - Eodwine could not remember his name - who had apparently helped the condemned brigand escape, whose name started with 'G' - Eodwine couldn't remember his name either. And Nain the Dwarf had gone to see kin in the Glittering Caves of Aglarond. They were a big group nonetheless, and growing at a surprising rate, even since having arrived just the day before at Scarburg!

"Good morning to you all! We have much to do today now that you have all been helped to some fare to break your fast.

"First, we have had three new folk come to join us here at Scarburg. Many of you remember Saeryn of the Folde who has just returned this morning. I have put her in Modtryth's care for now, though Æðel is welcome to join her if more dire healing skills are needed.

"Erbrand also came to us yesterday. Rise and be welcomed!" Erbrand did so to cheers and general welcome.

"And last night, one of the Drúg-men, came to us in good will as an emissary from his folk, to help us settle here using the special skills of his folk. His name is Dan. Welcome!" Again there were cheers and words of welcome, and more staring eyes than there had been for Erbrand who was of course typical of the Eorlings.

Welcomes and introductions out of the way, Eodwine described the tasks for the day. First, Léof would need help constructing proper holding pens for the animals. Second, a hunting party would be formed to provide food for nigh unto thirty. Third, a group let by Stigend would be needed to go into the swamps to find good timber to bring for the new hall. Fourth, two tents would need to be set up for Garstan's and Stigend's families, as Eodwine had promised this to them the day before. Eodwine asked for volunteers to help out with each task. This took longer than he wished, as there was good natured haggling to be done in terms of who would be best suited to which tasks. It reminded Eodwine of his childhood days when boys and girls picked teams for games. Finally that was all decided and most folk seemed happy with their chosen or assigned tasks.

"Finally, my friends, I have one more bit of business. Falco Boffin, our very own Holbytlan, wishes to say a few words."

Falco stood and climbed onto the table nearest Eodwine, and bowed with a flourish.

"My dear friends, it has been an honor these many months to live among you." Falco paused. It seemed he expected a response of some kind. None coming, he frowned, cleared his throat, and continued. "Mind you, it has been somewhat of a trial at times, getting used to the ways of Big Folk who don't seem to understand the finer - - er - the ways of us hobbits. Be that as it may!" he rushed on, "I would like to tell you that I have liked half of you half as well as I ought to have, and have ribbed some of you twice as much as you deserved."

Difficult as this may have been, Eodwine smirked and there were titters and chuckles around the gathering. Falco beamed.

"So it is with some regret that I have made my decision to travel back to the Shire, starting this very morning. I will miss you, and I will bring memory of you with me back to my folk in the north. I will tell them that the folk of the Eorlings, big as they are, are in some way akin to us hobbits, and that is a very good thing. I wish you all well! Good bye!"

And with that he put his hand in his pocket, put on a ring, and did not disappear, but grinned and bowed one more time.

The assemblage broke up with many of the House of Scarburg making a point to wish Falco well on his journey. While they were busy with that, Eodwine sought out Dan of the Drugs.

"I have found you in all these folk! I have a favor to ask of you. Would you use your skills to search for the one who was seen by Erbrand yesterday? We found foot prints in the Scar area and I suppose the prints belong to the same one. What do you say?"
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:28 PM   #24
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While everyone else decided what job they would like to partake in, Javan stood to the side, wondering what he should do. He did not think that he was at liberty to choose what he wanted to do all day, but no one was telling him to do anything. As the talk went on for minutes, sorting into groups, he finally decided to approach Eodwine.

“My lord?” he said, catching Eodwine’s attention. “What shall I do?”

It did not take Eodwine very long to decide. “You can help those set up the tents.”

Javan nodded and withdrew again. He listened to Falco make his farewell speech, and then, when all the formalities were dealt with, he went in search Garstan, he being in charge of setting up the tents. As he wandered past Stigend and the men grouped around him to go hunting, his eyes lingered on them with longing. He would prefer to go with them, but wit ha sigh, he resigned himself to the job that Eodwine had directed him to take.

“I am going to help you, Mr. Garstan,” Javan said.

“Oh, very good. I would be glad to have your help.” Garstan smiled at him and Javan grinned back. “I think Garmund and Cnebba could help us as well, if they’re anywhere around...”

“I can find them,” Javan offered.

“Yes, that’d be good. I’ll meet you over there, where we’ll set up the tents.”

Javan nodded and set off to find the boys.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:57 PM   #25
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Harreld

Things were not going very well. Harreld had never had to deal with such a poor situation before. A temporary smithy! Bah. He and his brother Garreth had apprenticed to a very good smith of good standing and excellent tools in Edoras, and had little by little bought the operation from him as they grew into the trade and he advanced in years; so they had always had very good equipment, connections, and materials. Now he had a firepit made of stones, a heap of turf for the bellows, and a camp chair to sit on. At least he had his own good tools. But he was going to run out of materials quickly at this rate, for he had brought only what he could properly call his own with him when he had left Garreth in Edoras.

But what was the use of all this when everyone was given tasks elsewhere and he had no one to pump the bellows? He might as well go help with the tents are the animals for all he could do on his own. Or he could look in the ruins and see what metals he could find in there.

"Ow!"

Who was that? He turned and saw Ginna. He tried to wipe the scowl off his face; he needn't have bothered, for she did not meet his eyes but walked up quickly and placed the box she carried at his feet.

"Frodides wants those repaired, and told me to wait until you're done."

That made sense. Frodides seemed to understand that he would need someone on the bellows while he worked. He opened up the box and took out the utensils. Frodides could have sent Kara instead of Ginna, he supposed. It probably meant nothing. Kara was a more experienced hand around the kitchen. He looked over the kitchen tools and studied what must be done with them, and what materials he had that could be used to fix them.

"Harreld, can I help you with anything?"

"What?" He looked up. "Oh! Yes! I am sorry. I will need you to pump the bellows. Kneel down behind the handles over there. Yes, that's right. But you need not pump yet. First I must light the fire and then you must pump until we have the right amount of heat so I can bend these knives and whatnot back into shape."

Harreld lit the fire with his flint and tinder and instructed Ginna how to pump the bellows. She learned quickly, but appeared not to be enjoying the labor much. Was it because she did not want to be near him? Or was it too lowly a job for her? Little matter. Clearly it would be best to simply finish the job as deftly and soon as possible to spare her the trouble. Harreld put his attention to the task at hand.
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Old 05-23-2008, 03:26 PM   #26
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What? Asking for an explanation for a fight? If he were Eodwine, perhaps then Javan could understand being asked what the fight was about. But a stranger? And to tell Garmund to hurry because he was hungry! Did this man believe that the boys carried around food with them and that they would provide breakfast to any random person?

Javan finally had enough wits gathered to stand up and speak. So he did. On his feet again, and with his hands once more in fists, he challenged the stranger’s order.

“Why? What’d we have to explain anything to you for? You’re the one who interrupted without being asked. We should ask for an excuse from you! And if you’re hungry, go find Kara or Frodides - we can’t give you anything to eat! Speak quickly, for we’re impatient.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:11 PM   #27
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The water coursed down her thirsty throat in one, long cool stream. She did not lower it from her mouth until it had been completely drained. Then she handed it back to Léof. She turned again to walk forward, leaning on Rowenna’s arm, but she did not need to. Eodwine had come near.

“I am here, Lady Saeryn. I greet you. What may I do for you?”

“My lord.” Saeryn tried to bow again. Only Rowenna kept her from falling. Saeryn struggled to look up at him. She wanted to reach out and touch him, to talk to him without these people acting as witnesses. Or at least find something to say other than what she really needed to say. But her mind did not allow her to think. She struggled with pain and weariness. “I seek your protection again, at least for a time.”
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:00 PM   #28
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Eodwine

Protection again. This meant her brother, most likely, had found her and sought - no - hunted her. A reasonable guess. Could the king and queen not give her safeguard from her brother? Or had she not been in Edoras? Had she gone back to the Folde, which would have been the height of folly? These questions and many more flitted through his mind in an instant.

Just then Modtryth jostled her way through the half circle. "Enough of you gawkers!" She cried. "Go find breakfast and leave the Lady Saeryn in peace!" Modtryth joined Rowenna, holding onto Saeryn's other arm. "Come, dear, we shall find you a place to sit."

"Thank you, Modtryth," Eodwine said. "I will clear the closest table. Bring her there."

Eodwine turned and walked quickly in the direction of the baker and found that the semi-circle of gawkers had grown. "You heard the goodwife! Go eat breakfast! I will give you what news is useful for all ears when I have learned it myself."

The crowd dispersed in the general direction of the baker. Eodwine strode to the makeshift kitchen fires and found Kara, Frodides, and Ginna busy in preparation for breakfast. He told them Saeryn had returned and needed food and drink, and to see to her needs first; then he found the table he wanted, sat down, and waited for the three women.

At last Saeryn was situated across from him, leaning on the table with both elbows. Modtryth sat beside her and Rowenna stood behind her apparently ready to be useful; that was good. Eodwine looked up at her and smiled by way of acknowledgement. She returned his smile quickly and looked down at Saeryn again.

After Saeryn had been given food and drink by Ginna, and had a chance to refresh herself, Eodwine broke the silence.

"Does your brother hunt you again?"
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:56 PM   #29
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When all had quieted and turned to Eodwine, he began.

"Friends, on this first of many days in Scarburg, Javan and I will swear oaths to each other, and you are witnesses." Without hesitation he turned to Javan and said, "Javan, do you swear by your own life that you will never give up trying to become a man of honor?"

"I swear," the boy replied, his face as serious as ever any there had seen it.

"In return, I Eodwine, Eorl of the Middle Emnet, swear by my life to treat you as if you are my son until you achieve manhood."

Then he turned to those who watched. "You have heard our oaths. All who will be wardens of our oaths, say 'aye'."

One thundrous 'Aye!' was spoken by the crowd. If any refrained from it, it did not matter. The House of Eodwine was united by this vow, drawn closer as a kindred, if not by blood, then by purpose, which oft is stronger in the end. Perhaps it did not seem such a grand purpose, raising the expectations of one boy from vagabond to man of honor, but it was a good purpose nonetheless, and would be a good foundation for other purposes yet unforeseen.

Eodwine smiled. "Then let the mead horn be passed around and let us celebrate this occasion!"

Rowenna was quickest to lay hands on the mead horn, and quickly filling it, offered it first to Eodwine, her eyes shining. She said no words, but the expression on her face was one Eodwine had not seen there before, as if she had for the first time decided to twine her fortunes with his own. He was glad of it, for she had seemed cold and forbidding to all until now. She was fair to look upon, he thought, as he watched her move away to Javan who of course deserved a small sip, and then to each of the others standing near.

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Old 04-02-2008, 08:37 AM   #30
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Erbrand shook the Eodwine's hand in friendship braking into a large smile, relieved at the friendship of such a mighty lord. Eodwine then led him into camp with some talk about a vow being taken by someone, but what he said about supper sounded more interesting to Erbrand. He had not eaten since breakfast.

Eodwine led him around to shake the hands of his household. Most of them were friendly and had smiles on their faces save for a nervous looking boy in the center of all the attention. He was shorter and much younger than Erbrand; he stood around four feet tall with scruffy brown looking hair, just what Erbrand had looked like when he was a boy.

Erbrand’s horse was then taken from him and food, along with drink, was brought to him at a table. After thanking the lady who had brought the food to him, in a quiet manner, he chewed slowly at the delicious meal, trying not to attract attention, but everyone’s gaze was soon focused on the small boy that he had just met. In a minute Eodwine and the young boy, whose name was Javen, swore oaths to each other. Erbrand smiled and clapped gladly when everyone cheered, glad to have arrived at a moment of such a joyous occasion.

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Old 04-03-2008, 06:57 AM   #31
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When the women of the house had served food to all, Modtryth managed to find her husband at last. If he had only been talking with Garstan, she would probably would have exploded right away, but seeing the ostler Léof and the smith Harreld in their company, she restrained herself. She greeted the other men politely, then turned to her husband.

"Stigend", she said firmly, "we will talk before nightfall. And this time I'll make sure we'll talk it through properly." Whether his answer would be a protest or an agreement, she did not want to know, but hurried away in the next instant. If he had answered the wrong way, she would not have managed to keep her usual calm.

She was furious with him. The man had obviously no sense at all. She had seen how high he had made Cnebba climb, and of course the boy had been eager to do it. Anything could have happened. And all this only because he has some unsolved issues with himself, she thought darkly, I will...

"Modtryth?" Kara asked. Modtryth had almost run into the young cook. She smiled. "Oh sorry, I was too deep in thought", she replied hastily. Kara returned the smile and did not ask anything. The two women made their way near the makeshift kitchen where the other women were having their meal. The children were also there, eating and chatting. Modtryth cast a long glance to her son, who only returned a half-annoyed smile.

"Modtryth! We were just talking about the leather-worker from Aldburg. What do you think of him?" Frodides asked in greeting.
"I have barely seen him yet. I did not notice anything special", she replied. Then she smiled. "Is there something odd about him that I should have noticed? Or were you merely gossiping?" she asked, looking at all the women assembled there.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:59 AM   #32
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Rowenna

This Saeryn took her time replying. Then Rowenna realized that she was unwell.

"I need to see Eodwine."

Rowenna took a step closer. "He is near. I will take you to him. Come, let me help you."

Rowenna stood beside her so that Saeryn could put her arm through the crook of Rowenna's elbow.

"Léoðern, dear, go fetch Módtryth, won't you? Bring her to here so she can help the Lady Saeryn."

The girl ran off with her important task, ducking between the legs of the onlookers.

As the Rowenna and Saeryn walked toward the half circle, Saeryn stumbling along half awake, it seemed, Léof came with a cup of water.

"Here, drink." They stopped and Saeryn took the cup in her free hand and brought it to her mouth.

Eodwine

She was unwell. What was she doing on the open road, alone, if she was unwell? Either it was of great urgency or she was running from something again; maybe both. It seemed something was always the matter with her, in one way or another.

It occurred to Eodwine, as he waited for Saeryn to get her bearings, that he was being a little harsh in his musings, and he asked himself why. There was a chagrin about her showing up of a sudden this morning. Surprises had been happening for the last twenty four hours one after another, so it could not be that. So it had to do with Saeryn herself. Why, Eodwine? Because she refused me. Which makes it all the stranger that she turns up again. He tried to muster some sympathy, and stepped from the half circle and drew near.

"I am here, Lady Saeryn. I greet you. What may I do for you?"
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:40 PM   #33
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Dan had been walking around the camp for a while when he could see two boys following him. What were they up to?
"Hello. I'm Cnebba," said a small boy in an even smaller voice.
"He is son of Stigend, the carpenter", the older boy added in a serious tone of voice, "I am Garmund, son of Garstan the Stoneshaper. What is your name?"
He had just moved his mouth to answer, when he heard the first boy, Cnebba apparently, asked another question.
"And what are you?"

My name is Dan, but if you want to be formal then I am Daghan-turi-Dan, son of Mandan of the same, and I am a Drûg, or what yo"u people would call a Púkel-man. I have come from far away to help your Lord Eodwine"

He looked at the two boys' expressions of wonder, and curiosity that only a child can have.
He warmed to them. They reminded him of his own past, that young curious time, when everything was an aventure.
"Perhaps you would like to hear a tale?" he asked.

The two boys nodded their heads vigorously. Dan chuckled quietly to himself.
"Ok, where to begin. Well....." and Dan told the two boys about the exciting "adventures" had had so far in his life, and about the way of the Púkel-men, and how they lived, what they did and so on. And slowly their slight fear of him melted away, and he stoppedd being that odd person in the corner to be avoided, but a living breathing, proper person.

At one point who could see what he assumed was the boys' mother looking sternly at them, but he gave her a reassuring smile and carried on talking. Their mother looked like the worrying sort. But most people were afraid, or at least slightly suspicious of a Drûg, because that sort of ignorance usually leads to fear and prejudice.

------

It was about an hour later, probably more, and Dan had been in the baker for a while now. As he had gone in, people had given him strange looks, and shifted aside as he went past. He assumed that they had never seen a Drûg before. BUt then again, the Drûghu were a dying breed, so to speqak. In the old days, they had covered all the lands of Edain, and some had even gone to Númenor. Now, they were down to the last few families in the Old Land.

He had found himself a corner of the baker in which to sit. He sat there, in the absolutely still, silent, and completely observant yet unthinking way of his people.

He was still waiting for a formal welcome of himself by Eodwine, but that had not yet happened. The new man, (Erbrand, was it?) had suddenly run to Eodwine and in quick speech had told him something. He oculd not hear what it was above all he murmuring, but he could tell that it was bad, because Eodwine had gone off with him towards the marshes, and returned, soaking wet and muddy. He made a note to himself to talk to Erbrand later. He might be able to help.

Then, a newcomer had appeared out of nowhere, sick and tired on her horse. Many seemed to know her from somewhere, but he did not have time to ask. "Saeryn of the Folde" they called her. He wondered which "Folde" it was. As far as her clothes told, she was important, probably some form of nobility. He went out with everyone else to greet her. By Eodwine's reaction, he could tell that there had been some tension between them at some point, but he was trying to hide it. He'd have to talk to her sometime today.

But right now, he really needed that breakfast.

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Old 07-14-2008, 07:50 PM   #34
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August 9, Fourth Age Year 15, Early Morning

A cock crowed. Birds of many voices began to sing. Eodwine opened his eyes. He wiped the sleep-dew out of them with the edge of his sleeve. He used his tunic to wipe the sweat off his forehead and face. It was hot, for it had never cooled all night. But he had slept, for the exhaustion of hard work makes sleep come easily no matter the heat.

He sat up and looked about in his tent. The others had prevailed upon Eodwine that as lord of Scarburg he ought to have his own tent, and better than ground with root and rock beneath to sleep on. He had been hard to convince, but when the entire assemblage took up the same cry and would not let it go, he finally relented, glad of such friends.

He got to his feet and struggled into trousers and a fresh tunic with his back bent from the low roof of his tent, and bending over, walked out of the tent and onto the wet grass and sunshine. He stretched and looked around. There was Harreld's smithy, a proper one now, to the right of the ruin, or what was left of it. Just beyond the ruin was a very large pile of shaped stones, and to the left of that were, protected by canvas, the logs and cut wood, prepared by Stigend and his men. The meat curing shed still stood where the corpse had been found, but it was now cleaned and being used as it was meant to be, much thanks to Rowenna and Saeryn, between whom the beginnings of a friendship seemed to have formed. They tried to outdo each other in finding the hardest work to do, it seemed. When Rowenna wasn't looking (at least Eodwine thought she didn't notice), he marked that she was purposely mimicking Saeryn's ways, seeming to think that they were those of someone of noble birth.

But the hardest work of all had fallen to the strongest men. The result of their efforts was a deep well, back toward the Scar, amid the dryer ground. It had been a hard dig, but worth it, especially as they found good clean water that seemed to have no end at perhaps three fathoms down.

Today they would be celebrating the end of the first part of their endeavor. They had cleared away the ruin (which was now nought but bare earth except where the stairway led to the basement and the cage). They had moved many stones from the Scar which had undergone the careful surgery of Garstan's skill. On the morrow they would begin to build.
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:21 PM   #35
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Shortly after cockcrow

Náin son of Narin son of Nóri, had walked most of the night, the legendary resilience of the Dwarves not so much legendary as factual. He had rested for a couple hours just after midnight, but knowing how close he was to Scarburg, the Dwarf had not rested long. By waking early, he would be able to reach the new settlement in time to put in a full day's labour.

It would be good, Náin thought, to see some of his old friends from the Mead Hall. Though he had been pleased when King Éomer had seen fit to allow him to depart Edoras and join his kin in the Glittering Caves, he had missed the Eorlings that had befriended him during his stay at the Mead Hall, and was pleased that they could use his services again. With the departure of Eodwine from Edoras, the grander plans for the expansion of the Mead Hall had been terminated, and with it the need for Náin's services.

It had not been long, however, before Eodwine had sent word back to Edoras that he planned to rebuild Scarburg as his seat, and since the Eorl had grand plans for the inclusion of stonework in his new hall, the Dwarves of the Glittering Caves had been sent to. As one both proficient in stonework and specifically mandated by King Thorin to act as ambassador to the Eorlings, Náin had been delegated with the task.

As he walked across the grounds toward Eodwine's camp, Náin was keeping a sharp eye open for good locations to quarry. If the Eorl wanted to use much stone in the construction of his hall, a local source would be necessary, firstly because of the cost of hauling in stone from elsewhere and secondly because of the lack of good roads to haul it over. Other than the Gondorian-constructed great road that ran from Minas Anor past Edoras and through the Gap of Rohan on towards Bree and Fornost, there were few roads in the Riddermark suitable for the passage of heavily laden, stone bearing, carts.

Still, Náin was not concerned, for as close to the White Mountains as Scarburg was, there was plenty of stone available, and Náin had seen a few suitable sites for quarrying thus far, though he hoped he might find one even closer to the house itself; the less distance the stone had to be hauled, the easier it would be for all concerned.

As Náin came into the encampment of the Eorl, most of the Eorlings were just beginning to stir, and a familiar smell wafted on the air, bearing the scent of Frodides' early morning bread, already baking for consumption at breakfast. It was a pleasant smell indeed, for whatever other amenities the Dwarves had in the Glittering Caves, there were no cooks among them and Náin was indeed hungry after his long night's walk.

Deciding that Eodwine could wait, the Dwarf decided to follow his nose to wherever the encampment ate its meals.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:05 AM   #36
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Rowenna
"....are you leaving with my brother tomorrow?”

"I have not asked him yet if he is willing to take me with him, but that is my hope. I have been thinking that it would be good to return to the land and people I know. I have only been gone for a little more than two years. And yet-"

She sighed and looked away at the ground for a moment, to blink away sudden tears. Then she turned to Saeryn.

"And yet, Scarburg feels so like a place that could become home, were I to stay..." Her thought drifted to imagining what it could be like, being here for the rest of her life, here, accepted and having a place, a maiden to the end of her days. "But no, I must go back home, at least to give it trial. Maybe the Lady Degas is marrying will be willing to make of me a handmaiden while my father's land fetches me a reasonable dowry, kept safe by Degas' lordship. At least, that is what I hope for."
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #37
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This man, Stigend, as he called himself, was being quite attentive compared to the cook. There would have to be some other means to come by what he wished for, the old man decided.

So he lifted his empty hand, only it was no longer empty; rather, in it was held a carpenter's mallet, new and sharply made.

"Here is an example of my wares," the old man said. "Will you take this in return for the hospitality of your folk?"

The old man grinned and let a twinkle come into his eye as he watched Stigend the carpenter's jaw drop and a frown of confusion come to his eyes; for of course the carpenter had seen nothing in his hand a moment before, so how had a carpenter's mallet suddenly appeared there as if from thin air?

"And did you say your lord is now free to speak with me?"
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:40 PM   #38
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He did not like this unreasonable behavior from Erbrand in the slightest. Thornden looked sharply after Erbrand when he heard the threat. His disapproval was rising again. Thornden almost followed him, wishing to end the quarrel then and there, but he was fighting the next round with Eodwine.

He stooped and picked up his staff. Unconsciously, his hand gripped it tightly. He leaned against it before looking over his shoulder to see where Erbrand was going off to sulk.

Sulk? No, that was an unkind word and Thornden reproved himself for it. He spotted Erbrand now, climbing up the scar and heading towards camp. Thornden promised himself that he would try to reason with him later. It would do no good to prolong the disagreement and allow the anger to brew.

He moved his mind to the next match. They were to fight Lithor and Balvir. He had watched their match with keen interest and he knew that they would not be easily bested.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:49 PM   #39
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"I am sorry, Lithor, I didn't mean to hit you, but..." Dan started but the older soldier just smiled to him patting him to the shoulder in a friendly way. “Hah, no evil suffered mate… it was a good fight and I think that in the end I got just what I deserved.”

“Lithor! Where are you old weasel? We’ve fighting to do!” Balvir called him out loud over the crowd. Lithor chuckled and threw a grin at Dan: “You see, that’s how my best friends treat me…”

“I’m coming!” he yelled back and turned away from the druadan.

-----

Lord Eodwine and Thornden had stayed inside the flagged area. Wilcred had asked them if they would care for a pause to draw breath but they were ready to continue as soon as Balvir and Lithor could be produced to fight them.

“So, any ideas my lord?” Thornden asked Eodwine as they waited for their opponents.

“They are tough guys… I wouldn’t have hired them otherwise…” Eodwine shook his head but smiled as he did so. “So we just win them”.


“Balvir and Lithor reporting for duty!” Balvir called as they entered the flagged area.

“How if you’re just ordered to lose guys?” Garstan called from the crowd making people laugh.

“I should consider that Garstan!”, lord Eodwine answered. “But let’s have more fun with this. Now Balvir and Lithor what would you say if I ordered you to win this match?”

Balvir and Lithor exchanged looks not quite sure how to take the proposition or what to say. For their relief Wilcred came in ending their ordeal. “Allright people, the two best teams are left! Let the very best win! I give you lord Eodwine and Thornden against Balvir and Lithor!” And he blew the horn.

-----

"Will you take this in return for the hospitality of your folk?" the old man had said producing a mallet out from thin air. "And did you say your lord is now free to speak with me?" The old man was seemingly entertained by Stigend's bafflement.

Stigend looked back at the crowd and heard the noise.

"I'm afraid he's going to be busy for a short while still... And I'm in no position to take something as a reward for what this Hall may offer you but I'd sure like to have a look at that mallet." Stigend answered for something had drawn his attention to it. It didn't look like anything he had seen and he did know how mallets were made in Rohan. He sure knew it for a mallet but it was different, like there was no maker's markings or traces of all carving and handling anywhere.

"May I?"

The old man gave the mallet to Stigend and it was indeed a peculiar piece of work. Like it was real and was not. It was so smooth like no hand had ever touched it. You must be imagining things... too many hits on the head on a same day it must be...

"Where has this been made for the craftmanship is unknown to me?" Stigend studied the old man carefully. "I mean, I should know how mallets are made and what kind of general models there are... and how they look inspected from closer ... but this is, well different..."
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:40 PM   #40
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QS-fight, final

“I quess that was an order…” Balvir sighed turning to face their opponents. “Let’s charge then!”

The two soldiers seemed not be trying any preplanned manouvers this time but charged straight forwards. Lithor headed straight towards lord Eodwine swinging his staff from left to right. There was no clear rhythm in the way he swang the staff so it made it hard for lord Eodwine to anticipate the clash when it finally came. And it did indeed take him unawares as at the crucial moment Lithor kind of halted a movement he had begun and came on him head on. Eodwine lost the grip of his staff with the impact – and so did Lithor. The crowd went “Ooohhh!” with the sudden turn of events as lord Eodwine and the older soldier stumbled into each other their staves flying in the air.

But Thornden was immediately on the top of the situation. Making a fast leap sideways to avoid oncoming Balvir he yelled “Catch!” and ducked down to pick Eodwine’s staff coming down while simultaneously throwing his own to his lord.

Eodwine heard the call and reached towards it while still rolling in the ground – having Lithor rolling along with him. And he managed to catch the staff from mid air! “Uuuuhh!”, went the crowd. And then it went “Aaahh!” followed by spontaneous applauds as Eodwine had quite miraculously brought himself up while giving Lithor a further push with his staff. And as he went up he dealt another blow to the rolling soldier.

“First hit ag… no… second…, wait… yes, two hits against Lithor!” Wilcred yelled.

Meanwhile Thornden’s sudden move had confused Balvir enough so that he only realised Thornden had been able to pick lord Eodwine’s staff when a hard blow hit his kneecap and another to his side sent him flying towards the ground. Balvir managed to try and retaliate while he fell but Thornden evaded the sweep nicely. “First and second hit against Balvir as well!” Wilcred announced.

“Your men aren’t actually following your orders too closely today my lord!” Wilcred shouted winking his eye to the audience. There were some scattered laughs as only some people had initially hear lord Eodwine’s joke with ordering his men to win. Thornden turned to face Eodwine to make a comment on the issue when he heard the steady voice of Balvir from behind him.

“We’re not quite finished with this yet, if you may”. With that Balvir who had raised up to his knees quickly levered Lithor’s staff from the ground with his own and with one movement charged Thornden now with two staves. That sudden move forced Thornden to retreat. “First hit against Thornden!”, Wilcred cried as Thornden who had been defending from a blow to one side suffered a hit from the other side.

No one quite realised how Lithor had managed to join the fight. But suddenly he was there jumping from beside lord Eodwine and landing just behind Thornden. And the timing was perfect. Just as Thornden backed off the next two hasty steps from the raining blows against him Lithor rose on all fours behind him. And Thornden tumbled straight into his back rolling over him and hitting the ground. “Second hit against Thornden!” Wilcred announced as Balvir’s staff sped Thornden’s fall.

The crowd had seen some spectacular moves this day but now it was just gaping mouths open for the fight they were witnessing… only to discover it had halted. All the four stood in the center looking at each other and breathing heavily.

“Just obeying orders my lord…” Balvir panted leaning to his staff.

“What’s the call Wilcred?”, lord Eodwine asked aloud.

“Two hits against all, but you my lord have none yet.”

“You have to bring me one hit before we call this off!” lord Eodwine said and lowered his staff.

“Let me see you do it!” It was Thornden who had crept beside Eodwine and lowered his staff to lay on Eodwine’s. Glancing at Thornden Eodwine saw him nodding towards the two soldiers and slightly moving the tips of the staffs away from each other. Lord Eodwine smiled.

Balvir and Lithor came charging as told but now their opponents had some cunning in mind. Instead of both trying to defend themselves individually they suddenly rushed forwards side by side first keeping their staves closely together and then as they reached the soldiers suddenly making powerful thrusts outwards sending the oncoming hits away and doubling their speed went past the two – from between them!

But even if the two soldiers were surprised by the move in the first place it was a familiar one to them – and they knew what was to follow. So now it was only a question of speed. And some luck.

Lord Eodwine managed to turn a bit faster than Balvir who was on the same side as he, and Balvir had no chance: “Third hit against Balvir! Out!”

Thornden wasn’t so lucky. Lithor turned simultaneously and their staffs clashed. But Thornden wasn’t prepared for the counterhit and lost his concentration for a wink of an eye. And that was enough for the soldier. “Third hit against Thornden! Thornden’s out!”

Lord Eodwine and Lithor stood facing each other staves ready. Eodwine looked at Lithor and suddenly started to smile widely.

“What do you say if we call it a draw?”

Lithor nodded in relief. “A draw that is Wilcred.”, lord Eodwine secured the call to their master of ceremonies.

“It is a draw! And the house of Scarburg wins!” Wilcred yelled and all the crowd cheered from the bottom of their hearts.
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