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Old 06-20-2006, 02:50 AM   #1
piosenniel
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Leaf The Fellowship of the Fourth Age (Part 1): A New Beginning Discussion Thread

Child of the 7th Age and Durelin invite you to play in their game:


The Fellowship of the Fourth Age: A New Beginning


Historical Background -- Mordor

The destruction of the One Ring and the subsequent coronation of Elessar ushered in an era of relative peace for the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Yet, as Tolkien reiterated many times in his Letters, any victory against evil that happened in Arda before the end of time could only be fleeting and partial because of Man's "quick satiety with good".

While Gondor, Rohan, the Shire, and other lands lying towards the West enjoyed an immediate interlude of justice and prosperity, the same could not be said for Mordor. These lands had been under Sauron's governance for thousands of years, and the resulting devastation, from both a human and ecological perspective, would have been considerable. Tolkien did not leave us a detailed account of what happened in Mordor during this period, but the reader does have an inkling how bad conditions were by the difficulties that Sam and Frodo faced in their journey to Mount Doom.

Mordor faced enormous problems at the end of the War of the Ring: massive slave plantations bordering the Sea of Núrnen, marauding Orcs that could no longer be restrained by Sauron's hand, a shortage of food and water because of problems with pollution and a general breakdown in order, and the curtain of soot and ash that descended after the eruption of Mount Doom. None of these problems magically disappeared with the crowning of Aragorn. Most likely, with the vacuum created by Sauron's departure, rival gangs of Orcs and Men would have fiercely contended for power and land, much like feudal lords in the early middle ages. All of this posed a potential threat to Gondor that Aragorn could not ignore.

~*~

Historical Background -- Nature and Origin of Orcs

Few topics in Middle-earth (or for that matter on the Barrowdowns) have engendered as much controversy as the nature and origin of Orcs. For one of the most recent discussions on this topic, see this thread on Orcs from just a few weeks ago. If we are going to do a story involving Orcs, we probably need to agree on a few main points.

Tolkien's early writings state that Orcs were originally Elves who had been corrupted and defiled by Morgoth in his fortress at Angband. Some later writings reject this idea and instead state that Orcs were descendents of Men who had been corrupted. It's possible to find other places in Tolkien's writings that suggest some Orcs were akin to robots without souls and were literally created out of nothing by Sauron, that the earliest Orcs were descendents of earth and stone, or that some Maia took the form of Orcs.

For the purposes of this story, we will assume that the first Orcs were Elves corrupted by Morgoth but that later Men were also corrupted and turned into Orcs. It seems likely that both Morgoth and Sauron would have taken any edge they could get. We will also assume that Orcs of Mannish descent were definitely mortal, but that the original Elvish Orcs (of which presumably only a few remain) were bound to Arda until the world ends in the same manner as Elves. Elvish Orcs could have been killed in battle and would then have gone to Mandos. Their eventual fate is unknown.

A second controversy centers on how Orcs breed. Are there female Orcs? This story assumes that female Orcs exist. We would guess that, under Sauron and Saruman, female Orcs were confined to breeding colonies. Now, however, with the demise of the former, female Orcs are free to live in the same communities with male Orcs. However, it is likely that the family, as Man or Elf would definite it, simply does not exist among Orcs, at least at the beginning of this story.

A final problem centers on the nature of Orcs. Are Orcs irredeemably bad? Even Tolkien indicated he was unsure about this. This is one of the questions this story raises. No one can say what the answer is for sure, but it would be nice to think that this possibility exists.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:51 AM   #2
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Basic Storyline:

Despite Elessar's edict abolishing slavery after the War of the Ring, many plantation overseers in Mordor refused to comply with the law and set themselves up as independent lords. Word has recently come to the King that slaves on the very largest plantation in Nurn have revolted. While the larger attack has been quelled, a number of slave families managed to escape the plantation and join a small band of ex-slaves already hiding out in the southern mountains. Together, these families plan to leave Nurn and establish a new village in the southern reaches of the Plateau of Gorgoroth, an area with less warfare and feuding, but one that is virtual wilderness.

The message arriving at Minas Tirith requests that the Free Peoples of Middle-earth send representatives who can assist the slaves in making this wilderness journey and establishing a new village. Good fighters are needed to take charge of the march and organize the group to ward off dangers on the trail as well as those with other skills that they are lacking: a healer to care for the sick and wounded, a stonemason, a smith adept in the art of metalcraft, and a farmer to teach them how to grow crops and care for animals. Faced with this urgent request, the King decides to send out a small fellowship representative of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth who will help the slaves of Nurn achieve the new beginning they desire.

There is, however, one unexpected complication. The Easterling strongman in charge of the plantation has not only managed to provoke his own slaves into revolting, but has launched repeated and deadly attacks on a large encampment of Orcs, whom he views as a threat to his power. While the conflict between the landholders and the Orcs is common knowledge, one important detail has escaped the attention of the former slaves and was thus not mentioned to Aragorn. Though most of the Orcs gladly prepare for a massive counterstrike against the Easterling landowners, a small group has quietly rebelled and decided to leave Nurn to establish a new encampment of their own. In the course of this migration, the Orc families initially find themselves following along the same trail as the slaves until the two groups are actually thown together and face a series of crucial decisions for which neither they nor the men have any precedent.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:52 AM   #3
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The purpose of the story is to: have the the Mannish and Orcish refugees, along with the representative from the west, journey to a wilderness region where they will attempt to found two new communities.

This means we will know the story is over when: two new communities are established in the southern Plateau of Gorgoroth, or the refugees decide they have no choice but to wage war on each other, despite the attempts of the other Free Peoples to mediate their differences.

Starting Location: a large slave plantation in Nurn

Likely destination: the wilderness region of the Plateau of Gorgoroth

Here is a map of the area:
Attached Images
File Type: gif mordor2.gif (98.9 KB, 502 views)

Last edited by piosenniel; 06-20-2006 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:53 AM   #4
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Timeframes:

This game takes place in the Fourth Age at around year 19

The storyline itself or plot covers 50 days. (20 days for the journey and 30 days to begin planting, building shelters, dealing with water retention, etc.)

NOTE:

The journey from the southern mountain range up to the southeastern corner of the Sea of Núrnen and then on across the Lithlad, or Ash Plain, and onto the Plateau of Gorgoroth is 200 miles. Since many would have been on foot, the group could only travel about 16 miles per day (8 hours at 2 m.p.h.). Throwing in several days for getting started plus extra days for the numerous problems encountered along the way, the journey would have taken about 20 days. The other 30 days will be trying to set up the new communities.

~*~

This game requires a time commitment of 12 weeks from us, the game owners, and from the major players.

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 06-26-2006 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:55 AM   #5
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WRITER/CHARACTER LIST


Major Characters


A. Group Sent Out by Aragorn
  • Child of the 7th Age
    • Lindir, b.1258 Age of Trees, Noldor Elf (metal crafter, scout)
    • Radagast (Aiwendil), istar (teacher)
  • Durelin – Vrór Redfist, 91 y/o Dwarf (stone mason)
  • piosenniel – Rog, 42 y/o male from the East & Harad
  • Tevildo – Dorran, 39 y/o Rohan (soldier)
  • Folwren – Athwen, 39, y/o, Rohan, Dorran’s wife (healer)
  • Hilde Bracegirdle – Carl Cotton, 50 y/o, Hobbit/Bywater (farmer)

B. Inhabitants of Mordor

ORCS - MAJOR CHARACTERS

Orcs – MINOR CHARACTERS
~*~

SLAVE ESCAPEES - MAJOR CHARACTERS
  • Nogrod - Hadith (aka Apples), 18 y/o, slave escapee (male)
  • Firefoot - Johari, 31 y/o, slave escapee (female)
  • Novnarwen – Aedhild, 42-52 y/o slave escapee (female)

Slave Escapees – MINOR CHARACTERS
  • Undómë – Brenna, slave escapee, 51 y/o (female)w/carry-alongs Gwenith, 11y/o & Nia, 16 y/o
  • Tevildo – Azhar, slave escapee, 12 y/o (female)
  • Folwren - Kwell Dunfire, 13 y/o slave escapee, (male)
  • Orofaniel - Liviol, almost 20 y/o slave escapee (male)
~*~

EX-SLAVES - MAJOR CHARACTERS
  • Durelin – Khamir, 37 y/o ex-slave (male)
  • Orofaniel - Reagonn, in 20’s, ex-slave (male)
  • Brinniel – Shae, 25 y/o, ex-slave (female)
  • Nogrod - Beloan, 35 y/o ex-slave (male)

Ex-Slaves – MINOR CHARACTERS
~*~

Mordor inhabitant - ??
  • Thinlómien (MINOR CHARACTER ONLY) - ??? - SHORT BIO ONLY NEEDED

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Old 06-20-2006, 02:59 AM   #6
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Child of the 7th Age's character - Noldorin Elf originally of Lindon and now of Rivendell


NAME: Lindir

AGE: Born 1258, Age of Trees.

RACE: Noldorin Elf

GENDER: Male

WEAPON: Lindir bears a well crafted blade with a cunning design of flowers and leaves engraved in silver and surrounded by an inlay of fine jewels. It is a weapon that he himself designed and forged with his own hands under the direction of his father, who was also a talented craftsman. He has had little use for this weapon since the end of the Second Age. By preference, he now uses a hunting knife and a long bow of simple, practical design in making his way from Rivendell to Minas Tirith, Edoras, or the court of Faramir in Ithilien, where he is frequently sent on various missions.

APPEARANCE: He has the face of an artist rather than a warrior, with grey eyes that hold a great depth of sorrow. His features are fine, and he is unusually short for one of the Noldor, standing just under six feet tall. His hair is black and straight, held back from his face in a single braided plait and secured with a simple leather band. His clothes are so plain and lack any elegance that some mistake him from a distance for a Man of common birth. Only an ornate silver brooch of unsurpassed workmanship that graces his shirt hints at his family and artistic heritage. This jewel at his throat is evidently a gift that Lindir holds dear, yet he does not say who gave it to him.

PERSONALITY/STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES:

Lindir is a quiet elf who, in the past, was driven by his love to create beautiful things: weapons, jeweled necklaces, and rings. Over the years, he has become increasing closed mouth and secretive. Lindir's fierce desire to craft objects of beauty was both his great strength and his weakness. Because of his singleminded devotion, he chose not to take a bride. After his return from Eregion (see below), however, he laid aside his skills as an Elven-smith and learned a totally different trade: that of a scout who wandered alone beside the seacoast and into the mountains, hiring out his services to other Elves and Men. He now uses these same skills in the employ of Celeborn, the master of Rivendell since the War of the Ring.

HISTORY:

Lindir’s father was an Elven-smith of Fëanor’s house: Lindir followed in his footsteps. As such, he inevitably became involved in the wars of the First Age, seeing his blades employed in fierce and bloody battles in Beleriand, as well as in the Kinslaying. After the drowning of Beleriand, Lindir had turned from the crafting of weapons to the making of rings and jewels, thinking that it might be preferable to forge objects of beauty rather than destruction. He was perhaps moved by some impulse to make amends for the sorry events of the First Age.

In the Second Age, a time when many of his earlier companions had left the seacoast to journey eastward, Lindir remained in Lindon and joined the remaining Noldor Elves who were ruled by Gil-galad Ereinion. Lindir had been among those smiths who, led by Celebrimbor, grandson of Fëanor, moved across the Blue Mountains in 750 and founded the city of Eregion under the walls of Moria. These Elves had sought to make amends for earlier evils by helping to forge Rings of Power intended to heal the ills of Middle-earth. At some point, before the fall of Eregion, Lindir had fled back to the coast of Lindon. He generally keeps the events of this period in his life to himself, discussing it with very few. However, it was at this point that he decided not to continue his work as a smith and chose to work as a scout.

More recently, in the year 3021 T.A., Lindir journeyed with his former companions to Himling in order to explore the ruins of Himring, He thought that his time on Middle-earth was drawing to a close and that he should sail back afterwards to the Grey Havens to embark into the West. At the conclusion of his visit to Himling, however, his plans abruptly changed. Maintaining that he had "wasted" too many years, Lindir left the shores of Lindon to serve Celeborn and Elrond's two sons at Rivendell, frequently acting as an emissary to the court at Gondor and Rohan and also to Ithilien. At the start of this story, he is staying in Minas Tirith on personal business to search out information in the archives pertaining to the history of the Elves in Beleriand.


------------------------------------------------------------------------


Child of the 7th Age's character – Aiwendil(Radagast), istar


NAME: Aiwendil/Radagast the Brown

AGE: Unknown

RACE: Istar

GENDER: Male

WEAPONS:

Like his brethren, Aiwendil carries a wooden staff to serve as a tool for channeling power. This staff is crafted of gnarled wood and has many strange and wondrous carvings. In reality, he rarely employs it for any purpose other than helping him manage difficult terrain. On rare occasions he has used the staff to administer someone a hard crack on the head. However, his most powerful “weapon” is his ability to change shapes. Whether or not that skill will figure in this game, I cannot say.

APPEARANCE:

During his stay in Middle-earth, Aiwendil took on the form of an elderly Man, tall and slender but entirely unassuming. The Istar has ice blue eyes and a mop of gray hair streaked with earthen brown that tends to fly off in all directions. In inclement weather, he pulls up his hood for protection but otherwise prefers not to wear a hat. A great bird of prey, generally a hawk or horned owl, can be found perched on his shoulder or wrist, or even atop his head. Sometimes he is followed by flocks of small birds.


PERSONALITY/STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES:

From the beginning, Aliwendil was acutely aware that his powers and intellect did not match up to those of his amazing Istari brethren. Moreover, he lacked Saruman's honeyed words or the natural warmth and grace that Gandalf used to reach out and make friends. By nature shy and earnest, the Istar was not surprised when the inhabitants of Arda overlooked his presence or smiled wryly and scoffed at his seemingly simple nature.

Aiwendil is not good with practical matters. He often gives the appearance of being distracted and confused. For many years, he preferred to turn inward, lost within his own musings. Rivetting his great round eyes on some fascinating animal or tiny plant, the Istar would pour over the mysteries of the natural world, yet be totally oblivious to any Man or Elf who might wander within his presence seeking assistance. His general custom was to wander alone in the woods, far from the troubling concerns of others.

In the past year, for reasons that will be discussed below, the needs and trials of the inhabitants of Arda have become painfully clear to him. He now acknowledges that he was sent here for a reason and that he has an obligation to figure out what that reason is. Aiwendil has always been devoutly loyal to those few he admits to his heart. While his warmth and good intentions are never in question, his spirit is easily buffeted by the toughness of the world. The Istar is determined to do better in his respnsibilities to others, but the path will not be clear or easy.

HISTORY:

STRICTLY CANON: From the earliest days, Aiwendil served in the household of Yavanna helping to safeguard the kelvar and olvar of Arda and, later, caring for the living things in the Gardens of Valinor. Although he did not possess the highest degree of wisdom or knowledge, Yavanna regarded him with affection both for the tenderness of his heart and the steadfastness of his stewardship. Aiwendil was diligent in his duties and found joy in caring for all manner of living things, especially the birds with whom he claimed special kinship.

During the early Third Age, when the Shadow fell over Greenwood, Manwe summoned the Valar to counsel to consider if anything could be done. At Manwe's urging, the Valar agreed to dispatch a number of emissaries chosen from among the Maiar, a group that came to be known as the Heren Istarion or Order of Wizards. Their mission was to cross the sundered seas to the North of Middle-earth and help awaken the Free Peoples to resist Sauron's domination.

After “Curunir” (Saruman) and “Olorin” (Gandalf) were named emissaries to Men and Elves , Yavanna begged Manwe to include Aiwendil so that the kelvar and olvar would be shielded from Sauron's evil ways. When Aiwendil heard these words, he felt that doom had settled upon his head. Long years had passed since he had last walked in Arda. Its ways and people were strange to him. He loved the peaceful setting of Yavanna's gardens where death never reared its head and desired to remain there. Only out of loyalty to the Queen of the Earth did he accede to her request to depart with the other Istari in the year 1000 of the Third Age.

Before the great ship sailed, Manwe touched the mind of each Istar and said what was expected of them and spoke the names by which each would be known. Each was allotted a different task. Garbed in a hooded robe of earthen brown, Aiwendil was given the name "Radagast" which some say refers to the ruddy color of the earth. No one knows the exact words of this conversation or whether Aiwendil still remembers the path that was marked out for him.

The Istaris' task was fraught with hardship. By assuming physical bodies, the Istari set aside their natural protection. For the first time, they felt pangs of hunger and thirst and could even be slain. Confusion, fears and cares pressed down upon their heads; these could dim the wisdom they had brought from the West. Tolkien describes this dimming of knowlege as a "descending curtain". If any Istar departed from his appointed mission, the thicker and darker the curtain became.

Few in Arda recognized the true nature of these messengers, since the wizards were counseled to conceal their identity. Neither were the Istari permitted to utilize their powers to control or dominate others, but were told to walk quietly and speak softly, sowing seeds of resistance within the hearts of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth.

SPECULATIONS BEYOND CANON:

After arriving at the Havens, Aiwendil lived in isolation in Mirkwood, preferring not to witness the carnage that afflicted so many in such difficult times. He occupied his days studying birds and beasts, dreaming of the time when he could return to the Gardens of Valinor and again find peace. Yet, strange to say, the more he dreamed, the more distant the shores of the West became, as if slipping away under some hazy shadow. It was only when he visited his one true friend, Beorn the Skin-changer, who lived nearby, that he actually heard the voice of Queen Yavanna and dreamed of the white shores and far green country.

Although Aiwendil never embraced evil, he forgot why he had been sent to Middle-earth. He still bore the great staff in his right hand, but it hung lifeless, a hollow shell of broken wood. Aiwendil’s's mastery of shifting shapes and hues had been held in high regard by the Ainur, yet now he found himself trapped within his body, unable to change to another form. He could still make out meaning within the voices of birds and animals, and sometimes, on a misty night, the winds blew out of the West to clear the clouds away. Glancing up, he would glimpse a great bird of fire shooting through the stars. Part of him would remember some distant secret that he suspected was important, but the image would quickly fade.

The Istar’s activities during the War of the Ring are not reported. When Gandalf requested assistance, he helped in whatever small ways he could. Saruman came to despise Aiwendil and boasted of using him to further his own aims. At the end of the troubles, Aiwendil met one last time with his old friend Gandalf at the home of Tom Bombadil. No one knows what was discussed that day, but when the ship left the Havens on 29 September, 3021, Aiwendil was not on it.

For eighteen years, Aiwendil continued to live in Mirkwood carrying on as he had before. As his work cleansing the forest drew to a close, he made two important changes. First, he took a servant into his employ called Rôg, a pleasant fellow about whom he knew very little. The two were to become close friends. Secondly, the Istar travelled to Harad, ostensibly to track down a rare bird species. While there, a great change occurred. Aiwendil became friends with a young woman named Ráma, who came to him for advice. For the first time, he used his wits and power to help someone in need: assisting a native tribe throw off the yoke of an oppressive chieftain. In so doing he regained at least some confidence in himself as well as his ability to shift shapes.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------


Child of the 7th Age's post – Lindir and Aiwendil


The old man sat huddled at his writing desk, spluttering and fuming under his breath as he fixed his attention on the paper in front of him. The message had been written on the finest parchment. At the top of the sheet he could see the seal of the King. In his intense concentration, Aiwendil had bent his upper body so close to the letter that his nose almost grazed the tabletop. The Istar had piercing blue eyes and a mop of dishevelled hair with grey locks falling forward into his face. An owl perched on his left shoulder and occasionally leaned over to nibble affectionately at his ear.

Rereading the message for the twenty-third time, Aiwendil sat upright, waggled his finger in the air, and glared across the room, trumpeting for the attention of his friend. He directed his words at an Elf who stood by the window gazing down on the buildings of Minas Tirith. The latter was called Lindir. He wore a travel stained cloak and plain brown breeches. Anyone observing this unassuming figure from a distance could easily have mistaken him for a Mannish farmer or even a tradesman. The only telltale hint of his origin was an intricate silver brooch clasped near his throat, a piece of amazing craftsmanship passed down from countless ages before.

The Elf had initially paid no attention to Aiwendil's obvious consternation. He was clearly used to his companion's whims. Now the Istar's voice rose sharp and insistent, "It says there is to be a Fellowship to rescue the soul of Mordor." Aiwendil fixed his eyes on Lindir and grimly shook his head, "Tell me. What have I got to do with Mordor? Does this assignment make sense? I know nothing about the slaves in Mordor. Plus, this is a mission for an army of young men, not for an old birdwatcher like myself."

Lindir's response was affectionate, almost as if he was humoring a child, "But you have just spent the past hour telling me how you found meaning in Harad and had decided to stay in Middle-earth to see if you could help. Frankly, I can think of no one in Arda who needs help more than these slaves of Mordor. The conditions there are appalling. They are in desperate need of someone to guide and protect them."

"Yes, that is the problem," the Istar countered. "There is this little matter about protection. Even in Harad I did not have to face a crowd of angry Orcs."

"It is dangerous. I cannot deny that. But if it makes you feel any better, I also received an invitation from the King, not an hour before, and I intend to say 'yes'."

"You too? What are we to have.... a First Age reunion? A pack of greybeards turned loose on the worst problems in the Reunited Kingdom? At least you look to be younger and in better shape than I am, though you lack the looks of Legalos."

At this point Lindir grinned broadly at his companion. But before the Elf could respond, Aiwendil had continued, "Couldn't the King have come up with some young blood? Or perhaps Aragorn has decided that we two are expendable." There was a wisp of a smile on the Istar's face.

"Aiwendil, I am ashamed of you! Look at this list. There is no lack of young healthy folk in our party. I expect that Aragorn felt a little seasoning was needed to keep these enthusiastic adventurers from running off a cliff. And surely the slaves we go to help could also benefit from a cool, sage head. I, for one, am looking forward to this. You are going, aren't you?"

"Yes, I am going," spluttered the old man, almost sounding offended. "How can there be a Fellowship without an Istar? And you didn't think I'd let you go off on your own with something as important as this?"

"But what about your manservant, that young fellow you speak so highly of? Is he also coming?"

"That is the interesting part," mused Aiwendil. "The last time I was at court, Rôg had the chance to speak with Elessar. The King talked with him some time and was so impressed that he has added his name to the list of adventurers quite apart from my own. I cannot say why for sure. Rôg has some unusual gifts. But I would suspect it is his knowledge of Harad and the East that impressed the King. The largest group of slaves in Mordor hail from those parts, and most men of Gondor know little of their ways. In any case, whatever Elessar's reason, it is a wise choice. Perhaps Rôg will come by before we leave and let us know his decision."

Lindir raised his eyebrows sharply. "And you were the one who said you knew nothing about the slaves of Mordor?"

"Perhaps I exaggerated a bit," the Istar responded drolly. "In any case, I will surely know more a month from now than I do today. We must leave in the morning. One other thing....it would be best if there was no mention of my background or homeland. For all practical purposes, I am an old Mannish teacher who will be teaching slaves their sums and their letters."

"But what if you have to show your hand one day?"

"I'll deal with that then." With that terse answer, Aiwendil went over to the shelf, pulled down a book of maps, and began tracing out the route with his finger.


------------------------------------------------------------------------


Child of the 7th Age’s post - Elessar


Elessar set down the letter on his desk, walked over to the window, and stared off into the distance. Here at the summit, he could look down and see the gleaming white towers and six lower tiers that characterized Minas Tirith, the chief city of Gondor. The streets were far more crowded than they had been a short while ago, since the city's population continued to grow. This was only one of the many accomplishments in the past ten years. The ancient lands of Gondor and Arnor had been reclaimed and reunited. The Hobbits of the Shire, the Elves of Greenwood, and the Ents of Isengard could be counted among the many Free Peoples of Middle-earth who enjoyed complete self government with freedom to maintain their local customs. Representatives from the king had even managed to reach a rough understanding with their long-time enemies, the Easterlings and Haradrim.

Despite the return of peace and prosperity, one troubling problem remained. Early in Elessar's reign, the king had declared that the lands of Nurn be gifted to the slaves of Mordor. This edict had proven difficult to enfOrce. In the region south of the Sea of Núrnen, most of the slaves had revolted and secured their freedom, setting up fortified villages where they could defend themselves against Orc attacks and till their fields in relative peace. In the region north of the Sea, the situation was different. With Sauron's restraining hand removed, local strongmen with armed retinues continued to repress the slaves and deny them freedom. Eager to extend their authority and gain more land, these tyrants engaged in constant warfare both among themselves and against the Orcs who roamed throughout the region. Gondor had sent soldiers to try and topple these petty rulers, and the troops had scored an easy victory. But the moment the armies were dispatched back home, another strongman emerged and reasserted control over the slaves.

Elessar had once hoped that the slaves could flee the plantations and find refuge in the fortified villages to the south. Given the chaos that dominated the area, it was very possible for slaves to slip off into the night and simply disappear. But the neighboring communities were too young and fragile, and lacked sufficient stores of food to offer a home to more than a handful of deserters. What was needed was a safe haven for the refugees to go, someplace where they could begin a new life. They could not remain in the area near the Sea of Núrnen or even on the Ash Plain to the north because of the presence of numerous gangs of Orcs. More than one group of escapees had managed to elude the dogs and posses of the slaveholders only to perish at the hands of Orcs. The slaves of Mordor were now a forgotten problem that no one had the knowledge or heart to resolve.

For the first time, however, after reading the missive, Elessar felt a tiny glimmer of hope. The letter, for all its rough and ragged appearance, had been written by a slave leader who understood the problems of his people and had some notion how to solve them. Though the message had been penned by one who could barely read or write, its meaning was unmistakable. A group of fifty slaves had raised an armed rebellion, managing to escape and take refuge in caves along the southern mountain range. There, they had been greeted by fifteen other men, the beleaguered remnants of an earlier band of run-away slaves.

Both groups agreed they could not stay in their temporary shelter. The ex-slaves were insistent that the situation was too dangerous, since brutal Orc attacks had recently become a frequent occurrence. Yet where could the refugees go? It was one of the new escapees who came up with an audacious plan to head north to the Sea and then across the Ash Plain heading for the southern reaches of the Plateau of Gorgoroth and attempting to establish a village there. The petitioner had written this letter, humbly requesting that Gondor send representatives from the Free Peoples of Middle-earth to help protect them on the journey, individuals who could also teach them the skills needed to forge a new community.

Aragorn shook his head in amazement. It was at once a bold and utterly perilous suggestion. As far as the King knew, no party had made it across the Ash Plain in recent years. Roving bands of Orcs and other outlaws made the passage dangerous as well as unnamed shadows that had been unknowingly left behind when Sauron departed the earth. At the very least, the journey would be a challenge. Even if they made the crossing, there was no certainty of success at the end. The Plateau of Gorgoroth was uninhabited, a veritable wilderness. Farming would be difficult at best, since there were no substantial bodies of water nearby.

Still, if the feat could be done, if a new community could be established, the possibilities were enormous. Freed slaves from other plantations would finally have a place to go. Aragorn conjectured that, once the village was well established, it could even send couriers back to encourage other slaves to revolt, guiding them across the Ash Plain to the safe refuge that lay beyond. Half-way camps could even be established. One village could multiply and eventually become a whole network of thriving outposts. So much suffering could be avoided! The image was simply too appealing for Elessar to resist.

The King felt a strange yearning to join the group himself. What an exciting and worthwhile endeavor it would be. But that was no longer possible, since his own responsibilities as well as the presence of his beloved wife and children required him to stay in Minas Tirith. This adventure would have to go to others.

Aragorn quietly began humming the tune of an old ballad as he wrote out the orders for each individual whom he would ask to join the group. Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Hobbits--they must all be included. This might be the last time that all the Free Peoples were called together in a common goal of such great importance. The soul of Mordor was at stake. It would take a fellowship--the Fellowship of the Fourth Age--to rise to such a challenge and guarantee a new beginning for the people of Mordor.

_______________________

Child of the 7th Age's minor character

NAME: Makdush

AGE: 35

RACE: Uruk-hai

GENDER: Male

WEAPONS:

Makdush bears a short, broad sword and a bow of yew. His skill with the sword is better than his command of the bow. His shield is embossed with the white hand of Saruman as is his helm. He wears a vest of chain mail protecting his upper body.

APPEARANCE:

Makdush is typically Uruk in appearance with dark skin, muscular legs, and large hands. He stands about 5' 10", which is as tall as many men. As one of the privileged Uruk-hai, Makdush wears a tunic and cloak that are still in relatively good shape.

PERSONALITY/STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES:

Makdush is fierce and cunning in battle and more intelligent than the average orc. He is used to being in charge and can be extremely disdainful of any orc whom he suspects of weakness. Priding himself on being one of the "fighting Uruk-hai", Makdush generally looks down on other orcs. Like many Uruk-hai, he gives these lesser orcs the insulting name of "snaga" or slave when speaking of them. This display of arrogance can be both a weakness and a strength. Makdush has absolute confidence in his own abilities but, by thinking himself infalliable, he can also be blind to both the strengths and suspicions of those who are under his command.

HISTORY:

Makdush was one of the chief orc commanders under Lord Saruman at Isengaard . With the defeat of the orcs at the Battle of the Hornburg and the subsequent overthrow of Isengaard, he was forced to travel to Mordor, joining up with Sauron's forces. He was not the only one to shift allegiance in this way; a number of the Uruk-hai found their way to Mordor. Although Makdush is now in charge of a small unit, he strongly resents that he can no longer yield as much authority as he did while serving as a powerful commander under Saruman.

Makdush's decision to join the rebels was entirely motivated by his desire to become the leader of a larger band of orcs. While he is not happy that the rebel band contains so many females and low-class orcs, he believes that he will eventually be able to assert his own control over these weaklings. He is smart enough to be patient. Makdush knows he must first pretend to get along with the others, while secretly building a base of support among the few rebels who are Uruk-hai. With their backing and by recruiting orcs they meet on the trail, he will eventually take over the group and enlarge its numbers. If anyone tries to get in his way, he will not hesitate to slay them.

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Child of the 7th Age's post - Makdush

The sky was still dark when Makdush set out on the path to join the rebels. He had decided not to wait for the females or the other orcs, but to leave early and make his way to the meeting spot where the advance guard was supposed to be.

Makdush's thoughts centered on the battle that was expected to take place in the next day or so. He regretted missing the chance to crack open a few heads and pick up some booty. Still, there was no use staying in camp. Makdush had to admit that no matter how many men he killed in battle, the higher-ups in Nurn were unlikely to reward him in the way he wanted. With Saruman, it had been different. He had ruled over a throng of orcs.

If only the Uruk-hai had been victorious at the Hornburg, things might have turned out differently. By leaving Nurn, he could at least stop being a water-boy for the current commander's favorites. Grimly reflecting on his situation, he muttered to himself, "It's better that I die on the trail than submit to such a disgraceful fate."

As Makdush strode along the path and came to one of those rare groves of scrub trees that grew in Nurn, he spied the advance guard standing in the distance. At first he thought it might be one of his Uruk-hai comrades, since the orc looked to be the same height as a man. But on closer inspection he saw that the guard was Ishkar, nothing more than a common orc.

Best be friendly and say nothing to insult him, at least for now. He can be prickly. He fancies himself as good as a Uruk. But how a common orc can grow this tall I'll never know.

Out loud, he merely barked, "Ishkur, it's me....Makdush. The others will be coming soon. Once they're here, we need to move out at once."

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 06-27-2006 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 06-24-2006, 02:12 AM   #7
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My post is now done.

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Old 06-24-2006, 05:26 PM   #8
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A question oh stalwart leaders. Do we know where and when the fellowships' members are to meet? It would greatly help Mr. Cotton, and Hilde for that matter, to know.
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Old 06-24-2006, 06:21 PM   #9
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Hilde,

This is a good question. We haven't discussed this recently, but this is what I recall.

First, we will do a time condense leap at the start of the game. One problem in many rpgs is that they take a long time for characters to get on the trail and for the different groups to meet up. We've had so many games get bogged down, and we wanted to avoid that, since the focus of this story should be on events in Mordor.

After our first posts are up but before the game officially opens, I will supply a time condense post getting the Fellowship all the way to the Sea of Núrnen. The fellowship will arrive after the two-month deadline that the slaves set. My guess is that Durelin will do a similar post for the slaves stating that they waited 2 months and, when no one came, they set out on their own.

This is what I envisioned for the second post---the point where we start active posting....

1. The Fellowship arrives at the empty caves and looks on in shock. They decide to go forward and attempt to find the slaves.

2. After waiting a full two months, the slaves have already set out to the north, downhearted to have received no help.

3. The Orcs gather at their separate meeting point and then decide to head north on a path that will eventually bring them into a collision course with the slaves/fellowship. Obviously they don't know this!

The fellowship and slaves should meet up quickly (real and game time) , since the fellowship has horses. My hope is that we will have the two groups (Orcs versus slaves/fellowship) come together in the first two weeks of the story. We can discuss that later.

So the short answer, Hilde, would be that you may not have to worry where the Fellowship meets! If you need information, just assume it is at the royal palace, and that Elessar supplies horses and all equipment beyond the personal things that you carry.

Pio, Durelin - was this also your understanding? If I've got it wrong, please advise so we can straighten things out. Does anyone see a problem?

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 06-24-2006 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:52 PM   #10
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I have another question.

When is the game actually going to be starting, do you know yet? I'm in no particular rush, understand, I just would like to know if I'll be absent during the beginning of the game, or if it will be at a time when I'm home or what.

Also, I'm leaving Monday morning and returning Friday afternoon. If I miss anything important, I'd appreciate if I were alerted so I'd know to go back and read everything. Otherwise, I'd just as soon be lazy and skip all that reading. I will, of course, read all the bios and first posts that are new, but all the discussion is what I'm talking about. There can be a lot of discussion in five days on a new RPG discussion thread. . .

Anyhow, it's time for me to go to bed. Goodnight, everyone.

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Old 06-24-2006, 11:55 PM   #11
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Piosenniel, Child, or whoever....

I've put up a draft of my post in my box. I may do some editing tomorrow so please don't move it till I give the word. Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:29 AM   #12
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Thumbs up

re: post 58 - Child

That looks good to me. And will get us right into the heart of the game.

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Last edited by piosenniel; 06-28-2006 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 06-25-2006, 11:11 AM   #13
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Durelin, Pio,

Sounds as if we're in basic agreement

Durelin, I am not wed to the idea of having the slaves leave first and the fellowship finding empty caves.. I can easily write it the other way if we think we want more time to focus on other plot twists . Let me know what you prefer......

I'll try to take a stab at that post today, although it will probably not be till later tonight. (If I don't hear from you I may do two drafts and see what we like....)
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Old 06-25-2006, 12:15 PM   #14
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After a little thought: the Fellowship finding an empty cave is the better way to go. A more *exciting* start is best to get things moving.
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Old 06-25-2006, 01:56 PM   #15
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My post is up.
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:32 PM   #16
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Does everyone except for the dwarf (it was the dwarf wasn't it?) have horses in the group?

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Old 07-07-2006, 11:31 AM   #17
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Most likely. They probably would have been well-outfitted on their departure. But Vrór is a rather traditional fellow.

I'd say go ahead and say that everyone has a horse (and Carl his pony), unless someone objects.
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:23 PM   #18
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Child / Pio

After Makdush has challenged Ishkur, here's Gwerr's post to be placed in the thread somewhere where it sits nicely (I will be back only on Sunday evening our local time +3GMT).

Child: If you think you would like to add something or remove something from this, help yourself. I tried not to use Makdush more than was necessary - and intentionally left the post in a place wherefrom you could continue by making the last comment and then go on describing the orcs getting to sleep as we talked.


PS. I have added two new names to our orc-gallery. They are Zuhut and Griwzan, both male orcs. I update my list of orc characters up there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT


Nogrod's Orc list - HERE

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nogrod's post - Gwerr


After Ishkur had called for the group to halt, Gwerr turned to Colagar, intending to haul him over the coals for his plan once more. But then they both saw Makdush rushing to Ishkur and challenging the call for rest. They didn’t hear the heated exchange of words exactly, but the main idea was clear. The Uruk accused Ishkur and the other orcs of being lazy and incompetent. “That did it!” Gwerr yelled and grasped Colagar by the arm. “C’mon! We have some things to settle with that bully of a toddler!”

With that he ran to the quarrelling pair, calling for Zuhut and Griwzan whom he passed to join them as he went.

“Have you lost your marbles, Makdush?” Gwerr shouted to the Uruk from a couple of yards away. Colagar, Zuhut and Griwzan were tailing him. The Uruk turned to gaze at the smallish but sturdy orc. They knew each other well enough to mutually dislike each other. Gwerr took instinctively a grip from the handle of his axe and continued.

“When we were fighting at Angband you were not even conceived of! What do you think you are, you lousy maggot of a mere wizard? This is our party and I don’t have the faintest what are you doing here. But if you are to stay with us with your ruffian friends, you just shut your newborn mouth that only coos and babbles nonsense.” Gwerr had gotten really angry, inflamed by his own words. The veins in his temple swelled when he tried to cool himself down.

“Take shelter everyone! We rest now!” He called loudly to the other orcs not involved in the quarrel. But all the females were already out of the sight, taking shelter wherever the sun couldn’t extend its rays.

“You see. We rest now. You sun-lovers may run as long as you wish to.” Gwerr added in a lower tone, looking at Makdush challengingly but being somewhat calmed down already. Still he held a firm grip of his axe, and Ishkur, Colagar, Zuhut and Griwzan had all taken a hold of their weapons too. The last two male orcs had also finally realised the situation and were walking firmly towards the center of the dispute.

Makdush glanced at his fellow Uruks and nodded lightly to them, and then took a few steps back.


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Old 07-07-2006, 07:40 PM   #19
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I have put a post up for Carl, rather a hurried one I'm afraid. If I need to make changes, please just holler at me via PM. I will be away this weekend, so any changes won't appear until Monday, at the earliest.

Have a good weekend everybody, and enjoy your stay in Mordor!
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:42 PM   #20
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:34 PM   #21
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Question

I've put up a SAVE and will try to get it filled tomorrow. Not sure how it will go. Mazhg is not the sort to fall on her knees and beg for anything - especially for the Orc males. And most likely if the two sisters reveal themselves they will be taken for boy-Orcs, as that is the style of dress and manner they've tried to adopt.

Ah well, we'll see what I can come up with.
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undómë View Post
I've put up a SAVE and will try to get it filled tomorrow. Not sure how it will go. Mazhg is not the sort to fall on her knees and beg for anything - especially for the Orc males. And most likely if the two sisters reveal themselves they will be taken for boy-Orcs, as that is the style of dress and manner they've tried to adopt.
Good to see you back Undómë!

All the female orcs are now said to have come forwards. If there were some hiding still the number of the ones pegging for mercy should be fewer... I can fix that if you wish to have your characters to stay behind. That's no big deal.

If you settle with Zagra and Mazhg being there so please tell me how they would have spoken - if they would have spoken in the first instance. I kind of thought about this as I wrote the post and wasn't comfortable with any of those female "speeches" being suited to your characters but I had no energy to think it further then. I'm ready to make any changes you see fit.

And anyhow. As both you and Foley are wishing to write something I think Child could delete her save and see whether your posts come first - unless it postpones the advancement of the story once more to some unknown future...

Maybe Child - and everyne around - should just post when they can, without saves, and we could work those posts in reasoned order then afterwards if there are discrepancies?

I mean with this level of activity in posting we should not discourage anyone to post a.s.a.p.

Let us write this again and deal with timelines later as posts can be readjusted.
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:22 PM   #23
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I think I'll ask you to reduce the # of begging women by 2, if you would. Thanks in advance for doing so.

Mazhg and Zagra will be watching from the safety of some nearby hiding/spying place. If Child has posted before me, then I'll accommodate what's in her post.

Pio has agreed to work with what my two do. Her character is rather sidelined at the moment, too, it seems.
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:29 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Undómë View Post
I think I'll ask you to reduce the # of begging women by 2, if you would. Thanks in advance for doing so.
That will be done. Just a minute...
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:30 PM   #25
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Thumbs up

Yeah, I'll have Rôg do something to bring these two forward, U. Can you just set it up for me?
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:41 PM   #26
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Changes made. The two sisters are outside the scene now.

It's kind of a good twist to the plot indeed that they're away as well as Rôg. Makes the future a bit more complicated... trust gained can be easily lost and that's a part of a gripping story.
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