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Old 05-18-2004, 12:10 PM   #121
Amanaduial the archer
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Silmaril Callath

Callath lay on his left side, his arms and legs sprawled although he lay as though asleep. The sun beat down unheeded on the side of the face and limbs of a body that seemed far older by the scars ad bruises now on it; the scar running slanted over one eyebrow, covered by a few wet strands of hair, the wide, dark bruise high on one cheek, fingers and arms marked with petty cuts and, of course, the bloody wreck made of the back of his right hand... And yet, the boy looked more young and peaceful as he lay on the shore, as if asleep, than he had done in many weeks.

Feeling something brush his face, sharp, pricklings points with a drag of a sharp edge, Callath awoke suddenly with a loud gasp, grabbing in one hand whatever first came to it as he scrambled back. A second later though, he winced and, with another gasp now of pain, he fell back onto his hands as searing pain shot through his right. Clutching it with the other hand, he looked around wild-eyed for whatever had touched him...and saw his attacker, there on the sand before him, looking at him as if he was quite mad.

A crab. Little pincer-like feet and one broken leg dragging, the serated edge sharp...

Closing his eyes, Callath groaned and, despite his situation, he grinned a little. But his hand meant his respite did not last long and, as another stab of pain shot through it as he moved the fingers, he winced a little and examined it gingerly. The seawater had cleaned it a little, but...

Things suddenly flooded back to Callath:

The panic-stricken cries and yells as the boat veered again and a sickening crunch sounded from beneath, a prolonged, downed-out dragging noise - the ship's bottom hitting and sliding along the shallow bottom. Callath stood unsteadily, stumbling over to the door of the hold. He had been beaten for his troubles earlier, the same pirate coming back to jeer and challenge him to a fight while he couldn't fight back. Around him now, the Gondorians were up to their knees in water already as it flooded in through cracks in the walls, cracks that were now turning to gashes through which water was pouring in.

Callath was knocked to the floor as another sudden movement sent several men stumbling into him and he floundered, panic-stricken, for a few seconds...when he got up, the bolt had been broken, he didn't know how, and he darted out of it as quickly as possible. Looking back, shaking his head and blinking against the sharp, stinging salt-water in his eyes, he looked for Devon...Calnan...Telson...Luc (who he hadn't seen since mid-battle)...Sedal....

Another sailor shoved him out of the way as he stood blocking the door, all of them now desperate to get out of the sinking ship. Hopelessly, Callath was pushed with them, lingering for as long as possible before he too had to follow.

Reaching the deck...a reverberating, stinging blow across the side of the head...falling, half-sideways, half-backwards, through the air...something wrapped around his feet, pulling him down...


Touching the side of his head gingerly, Callath did indeed find the place where what must have been a falling sail or piece of mast had struck him, knocking him overboard. And as for what had wrapped around his ankle: one of the rat-lines maybe, if the mast had fallen? All he had remembered at the time had been the sheer panic...

"Don't move," a cold voice commanded. "Gondorian or corsair?"

Callath looked up sharply, ignoring the command, his vivid green eyes taking in a man a few years older than himself, his trousers cut off at the knees and seaweed still adorning one shoulder. However, one detail was rather more vital: he was holding a sword. Callath suddenly felt angry: they were on a beach, the gods only knew where, not a ship - this man could not command him now! Common sense didn't seem to feature much in this logic but Callath struggled back up to a sitting position, pushing the wet, straggled strands of darkened blonde hair from his eyes.

"Do I look like a bloody corsair to you, mate?" he replied tersely.

The man seemed to visibly relax and held out his right hand to pull Callath up. The stable boy eyed it for a second then smiled wryly, holding his limp right hand stiffly in explanation as he got to his feet himself. "Best not, thanks..."

Glancing around, Callath saw several other figures on the beach: there were about a dozen as far as he could see, but the beach curved quite sharply and there could be more. Several were obviously Gondorian, but...the stable boy stiffened and he reached once more for his absent sword. "Corsairs!" he hissed at the other. The man nodded grimly. "Mainly dead, but aye, they were stranded with the rest of us."

Callath looked back once again to his new companion, squinting against the sun, then bent a little to remove with some difficulty one boot to pour out the water and worrying amount of debris that had become caught in it. "Are Devon and Cal-" he stopped. He didn't think he really recognise this man, why would he know the names of his friends? "Sorry, can I ask your name?"
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Old 05-19-2004, 07:32 AM   #122
Himaran
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Graring watched the small group of Gondorians huddle around their fire. A cool wind had begun to blow over the beach, and the corsair's wet frame was soon chilled to the bone. He had to get out of their sight, and light his own fire. Or find another group of his own forces, hopefully.

The corsair's wish was soon fulfilled. After sneaking away from his adversaries, Graring headed down the beach in a jog. Within a half-hour, he spotted light up ahead. A second campfire! Moving in slowly, and hugging the treeline for cover, he could make out several of the figures warming themselves by the open flames. Corsairs - at last! "Harhar! So ye made it at last!"

Graring strod up to the campfire. The corsairs, at first alarmed, lowered their weapons and allowed him to approach without question. "You from the Diy, one asked. Alarmed that someone from his old ship had survived, Graring nodded.

"I wus at first. But I got picked up by another vessel. They sunk three of ours before we got them. But they've landed down the coast! Not an hour's walk. An' we can hit em before they hit us, capture em. I know how to sneak up on em! Then Doran 'ol come an' pick em up!"

The corsairs were all wet, cold and tired, but the prospect of revenge --both for the slaughter on the Diy and the sinking of several other ships-- was greater than all. Roars of agreement surged through the small camp, and the corsairs (numbering nearly a dozen) began to gather their few weapons and prepare for a final battle.
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:55 PM   #123
Nuranar
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Sting

Calnan’s faded and torn blue shirt had dried in the afternoon sun – the weather of the southern latitudes routinely changed from hurricane to drought, it seemed – but now it provided no protection from the chilly land breeze. Flat on his stomach, bare hands and feet pushing him, he inched down the beach with a mere whisper of sound. He had lost his boots at sea.

Wreckage had strewn the beach where he’d washed up, but the first indication of other life had been a pinpoint of red light that appeared shortly after sunset. That meant a fire: at least one other survivor. Corsair or Gondorian? Until he knew, Calnan was taking no chances. He had moved silently along the edge of the trees for a while, then began to crawl. Whoever was at the fire would be able to see nothing anyway, with his eyes dazzled by the light. Still, Calnan wanted to offer no upright silhouette against the luminescence of the surf. He was more afraid of a sentry than whoever was at the fire, and there was no cover on the beach. No rocks, no dunes, nothing.

By now, carefully avoiding a direct look at the fire, he could discern Devon. Closer – there was Telson. Some of the others he recognized, some he didn’t, but none looked like corsairs. So they probably were not recaptured. And he had neither heard nor seen any hint of a sentry; foolish of his friends, but it had make his approach less dangerous. Calnan rose and hobbled forward, quietly as was his wont, but without taking any extra care to be quiet.

He was within thirty feet when a man, gazing vacantly into the darkness, saw him. “Hold there, you!” He rose and came forward. “Who are you?”

Calnan squinted uncertainly at him, then his eyes widened. “Is that you, Callath?” His friend’s features were haggard and pinched in the flickering light, his gestures slow and tired. It was a terrible caricature of the carefree stable-boy he knew, with his keen, merry expression and his spry, easy movements.

Callath’s face mirrored Calnan’s. “Calnan!” he gasped, then recovered. “Where’ve you been?” he demanded. “Lot of consideration for others you show!”

Calnan stepped into the firelight. “If you must know, Master Harres, I’ve been checking on how good a watch you keep. I can’t say much for it, seeing how close I came,” he teased, trying to hide his relief. Callath looked much the worse for wear and clearly wasn’t feeling too great, but he’d lost none of his spirit. Calnan looked around the circle, felt his heart glow as he recognized Devon, pale but firmly grasping a short blade. Telson stood next to him, tired but carrying himself more confidently than he had since they had left Umbar. Probably because he’s back on dry land! There was a boy – Rilgari, he now remembered – with one arm in a sling. The man next to Callath nodded to him and spoke.

“I am Rakein.” He grinned as Calnan narrowed his eyes trying to remember. “Carpenter’s mate.”

“Oh! Very good.” His glance continued around the fire, saw Sedal lying on the ground, a coat over him, eyes closed. Orda crouched by his side. “Is he hurt bad?” The boy nodded, fear in his eyes. Joy gone, Calnan felt sick. Sick with heartache. Sick with grief. He’d been trying to quell thought of those who weren’t there, just as he’d been quelling thought of those they’d already lost. How many weary days had it been? There was still no time. And if he opened the door even a crack, he’d be completely useless. He forced himself to face the problem.

“We need to find shelter, or make it. Has anyone seen any rocks or –” He broke off. First things first. “Wait, we still need sentries. If we’ve survived, so have corsairs.”

Callath interrupted. “Rakein and I saw some corsairs on the beach down there a ways,” he said, pointing in the opposite direction. “They’ll be coming for us.”

“Aye,” Rakein agreed. “They’ll be blaming us for the loss of their ship, no doubt. We need to be ready,” he said. There was an eager glint in his eye.

Calnan nodded. “All the more reason for a couple lookouts. Telson,” he looked across the fire, “please go down the tree line in that direction” – he gestured toward where the corsairs were – “about twenty yards and stay there. Stay quiet and don’t look at the fire – watch for movement, but more than that listen. These are corsairs, not woodmen.” The Gondorian rose wearily, but nodded and smiled as he turned away. “Rilgari, would you please do the same, but go back the way I came?” The boy was startled but automatically saluted before slipping into the darkness.

“I saw some big rocks in there a little way before the sun set,” Devon said, pointing into the jungle. “Maybe we can make a defensive position there?”

“Anything would be better than this,” Calnan said. “This fire can be seen for miles down the beach, and who knows how far out to sea.” He was vaguely surprised at Devon asking approval of an idea before carrying it out, but he had no time to waste on reflection. “Please show me where. You come too, Rakein. We might need a carpenter. Callath, please stay here; don’t feed the fire more than you have to to keep it alive.”

~ * ~ * ~

When the sun rose the next morning, they were established on the side of a low ridge of rocks, pointing out toward the sea. A little stream of fresh water ran down it from the highlands. The ridge itself was broken enough to afford a little cover for their sentries, especially for the one overlooking the other side of the ridge, but not enough to allow their enemies to approach unseen. Hidden under a minuscule overhang, Sedal was sheltered as much as possible from both scorching sun and chill night wind. The surgeon had a couple broken ribs and was taking it as easy as he could. Under his direction, Orda and Calnan had wrapped his ribs with strips torn from the coat’s lining; it wasn’t much, but provided a little stability.

As far as weapons went, Devon and Telson between them had managed to obtain a dirk and hang onto it through the long hours at sea. Rakein had a knife, taken from a corsair body. And Orda, grinning, had produced a small ship’s ax from his belt. Boylike, he had refused to tell where he’d gotten it, although Calnan suspected he’d swiped it from the deck of the Yonder Bound and had been too stubborn to lose his prize in the sea.

However come by, the ax had proved most useful. The trees were a relatively open forest of tropical hardwoods, not the jungle Calnan had feared. Despite the dark, Rakein had mysteriously obtained a number of young trees, and he and Calnan had trimmed off branches to make rough pikes. Calnan knew how to use his as a quarterstaff, and Telson remembered a little from his training. Devon, Callath, and Rilgari, one-armed as they were, had the edged weapons; Orda had been surprisingly possessive about the ax and only surrendered it to Callath when he had promised to defend Sedal.

An hour after sunrise, Calnan was lookout at the top when he heard “Calnan! Come here!” Immediately he slid down to Callath, who had been standing sentry out toward the beach. “They’re coming, the corsairs!”

“How many?”

“Just a few – five, maybe six. I heard them where our fire was, then they seemed to be coming nearer.”

Calnan nodded. “Yes, they’ll be following our tracks. Hard to hide anything in that sand.” Quickly he and Callath roused those who were resting – Callath had already called in the other sentry – and had them hide behind the rocks.

Soon they heard the crash and snap of seamen blundering their way through a forest. Calnan, motionless, waited for them to emerge into the clearing along the ridge. “Now!”

Rakein, Telson, and Calnan charged down from the rocks onto the startled corsairs, shouting for all they were worth. Disappointed at finding the Gondorians gone from their fire, angry at Graring, and disoriented from hacking their way through the wilderness, the corsairs were taken entirely by surprise. Giving one a vicious crack alongside the head, Calnan whirled his staff and stabbed the blunt end into another’s throat.

He stumbled and gasped as something burned along his side. The staff jabbed itself into the ground and sprang from his hand as he fell. Rolling over, he heard the whoosh and stab as a blade gouged the ground where he had lain. The man looming over him was one of the few who had a sword – and Calnan had nothing. He crouched, ready to dodge again; his only hope was to get into the trees.

There was a swift movement on the edge of his vision as a figure leapt forward and attacked the startled corsair. Even as he reached for his staff, Calnan was astonished to recognize Meri Loliway. Getting to his feet, he made to circle around behind the enemy, but the woman’s skill was lightning fast and as deadly as ever. He had taken only a step when she feinted and ran the man through.

Without the clash of swords, the clearing fell silent. Four corsairs lay on the ground, three dead – one from suffocation, Calnan’s work – and the other unconscious. Apparently the others had fled. But no, there was Devon climbing down from the rocks, smiling triumphantly, dirk red with blood. A corsair had fled in the wrong direction.

Rakein had disappeared, probably following whoever had escaped. Telson and Avershire, who apparently had appeared with Loliway, were making their way back to the rocks. Callath was perched up top, taking another sentry shift.

Loliway extended her hand to Calnan. “It’s good to see you, Dontal.” Gone was the aloofness, the hardness of the proud and pitiless warrior. Instead, the genuine warmth and care of comradeship shone in her eyes – along with a hint of apology.

Calnan grasped her hand firmly and smiled. “And it’s good to see you, Loliway.” He meant it with all his heart.

~ * ~ * ~

Rakein reported that a single corsair had fled into the forest, apparently panic-stricken. The corsair prisoner had apparently suffered a serious concussion from Telson’s blow and was quite incoherent when he regained consciousness. No one had been injured except for Calnan, and except for the bloody lip and bruised knuckles Rakein had earned in a glorious brawl with the escaped corsair.

Why didn’t you go after the one with the sword first? Calnan berated himself. You know better than that! His mistake hadn’t been too costly. The wound was shallow but bloody, and he regretted most the loss of his ragged shirt, torn up into a bandage under Sedal’s direction. He didn’t mind – much – under the blazing sun, but he would sorely miss it when the sun went down.

Avershire came stumping back from sentry-go. “We need to get out of here,” he declared. “We need to find a boat, or make one if there’s no one else here.”

Devon frowned, opened his mouth, then stopped. He glanced at Calnan, who understood. Avershire was no longer the ship’s captain over them. Their job was to stop Doran, not to get back to civilization as soon as possible; but Devon was out of ideas.

“We need to stay here,” Calnan said quietly. Avershire stopped, amazed at both the opposition and the deliberate omission of “sir.” “If there are more corsairs we need to be ready for them. Without weapons we’re in no condition to defend ourselves without a position, even if we were all at full strength.” He saw Loliway looking at him, but ignored her. “And Doran’s not going to rest until he knows we’re dead. Corsairs survived the wreck, corsairs will tell him where to find us. If we move, it’ll only be to a better position.”

“Calnan’s right,” Devon said clearly. “We’re sticking this out.”

Avershire was pale with anger. Calnan and Devon stood their ground. Callath, then Telson came to them, silently adding their support. Slowly but deliberately, Rilgari and Rakein joined them; Orda scurried over from Sedal. Avershire’s eyes flicked over to where he sat, carefully propped up against the rocks. The surgeon’s brown eyes were steady and held, Calnan thought, just a hint of a rebuke.

Meri Loliway sat on a rock, unmoving. Avershire looked at her, but she neither supported nor opposed. She merely waited.

The sea captain clenched his fists and set his jaw. After a long five seconds, he purposefully relaxed, took a deep breath, and nodded in decision. “Very well, Mr. Dontal. We will fight this out.” He paused, smiled grudgingly. “Even to the bitter end.”

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Old 05-21-2004, 11:13 PM   #124
Earendil Halfelven
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The storm lasted for hours. The sea raged and ranted beneath the harsh gales, throwing the ships to and fro. But they sustained no casaulties, only minor damage to the ships. The sun had just come out when a man yelled out, "Man overboard!" The crew of the Rapscallion rushed to the sides to see who the unfortunate soul was. Acacia was the first to confirm what Doran was thinking.
"He's not one of our crew," she said. "Nor does he even look like a corsair. He looks Gondorian to me, like one of the folk near the city of Minas Tirith."
"Your probably right," Doran replied. "Men, get that man on this ship at once!"
__________________________________________

The man identified himself as Mayne of Captain Avershire's crew. He was a survivor of the battle against the Regal Dawn and Might of Realge but had been lost when the ship sank that he was a prisoner on. Doran figured that the storm had blown him in their direction. He spent two hours interrogating the man named Mayne, trying to piece together what happened. After that time, Doran knew the fate of his three ships, but not the fate of the men who crewed them. Nor did he know the fate of his opponents.
Mayne was obviously very tired and weary from his ordeal in the ocean and was giving away plenty of answers.
"The ship that the prisoners were on was more westward of this position. All I remember was that there was an island in the distance. It wasn't very far though."

"Was it the only island in the area?" Doran asked.

"Yes, I think so," Mayne replied. "At least I don't remember any others."

Doran nodded. "Jurex, have this man taken below. He can keep our dear Adeline company." Jurex nodded and he and two other crewman took Mayne below decks. Doran headed up to the deck.
"Acacia! Set our course due west until we see the nearest island. We can check for corsair survivors there, and we might even find somebody else," he said with a smile.

"Yes sir, Captain Doran," Acacia replied.
__________________________________________________ _____

The spotted the island and stayed three miles out and waited until dusk. Doran knew that there would be more than just corsair survivors on the island, if this was the island nearest the battle sight. Doran wanted to wait until nightfall, in case they had to surprise anybody.

Finally, it was dark.

He was in the lead boat as he and 20 corsairs from the ships rowed silently towards the island. They were making good speed towards the shore and soon they would be on land. He glanced behind him into the dark. He couldn't see any definite shapes but he could hear the soft sounds of the many oars dipping into the water. He took a deep breath and let it out softly. He and his men were ready for battle.

Suddenly, the speed of the boat was slowed as the quiet, grating sound of sand underneath the boat muttered from beneath him. The sounds of the other boats came to his ears. They were all ashore.

"Draw swords," he whispered. Amid the quiet ring of the metal, he added, "Follow behind me men and stay quiet. We might find some of our own men here so do not attack unless I give the command."
And with that said, Doran led his men on the final hunt.
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Old 05-23-2004, 01:46 PM   #125
Durelin
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Once again, the 'little miss' was to remain on the ship while anything of importance went on elsewhere. This time elsewhere was actually off the ship, but still she was to remain in a small little closet of a cabin till Doran returned, with the Gondorians as prisoners and the island taken. The man was the pinnacle of men and their arrogance, a prime example! He had the nerve to already claim a victory, as well as call her little miss! Whatever had happened to 'Lady Adeline' and being a gentleman of highest esteem? It seemed different rules applied for the gentleman sea captain. He had called her such a horrendous name when giving her the order for her to remain aboard, and under guard, of course.

Adeline tried to study the situation for a possible escape. She wished to take advantage of the fact that any battling would be going on on the island and not on the ship. And there was also the fact that those who guarded her were the least capable of the crew, if they were not wanted on the battlefield. It was easy enough to recognize the advantages found in a situation, but how to use them had rarely been determined by Adeline, particularly never when taking hold of these advantages was of greatest importance. Her brain was resisting her command to think.

Her stomach growled as she sat on the ground, and the guard sitting on a stool, his head nodding, his mind moving in and out of sleep, sat up straight, eyes open. "Is the little miss hungry?" he said with a yellow grin. The dolt had found her disgust at being called that quite amusing. She hoped the amusement would fade soon. She looked up at him, and kept a smile off her face. Her brain had finally acknowledged her command, and what it had come up with was worth a try. "I'm starving, and your Captain told you to keep me alive, didn't he?"

The man mocked her with another grin and a phoney salute, but he actually did leave to get her whatever edible substance could be found on the ship. Adeline did not look forward to what he brought back. But, hopefully, by the time he got back, she would have fully taken advantage of this situation. There was still the guard outside, and others on the ship: most likely a good number patrolling the deck. The cabin the held her in was an inner cabin, and so there was not even a small porthole. Unfortunately, Adeline failed to add all this up and see that the odds were fully against her. Instead, she simply made her way to the small table behind the guard's stool. Upon it were eating utensils, one of which was a knife. Feeling the edge, Adeline was heartened by its sharpness.

Quietly she stepped over the creaking floorboards to the door of the cabin that opened into a small hallway. She turned the knob and slowly pushed it open. The guard on the other side suddenly was visible; he must have rose from his seat in front of the door. The turned to look at Adeline, his eyes wide with surprise and filled with anger. "What'r you do-"

The man stopped short as Adeline's knife ran into his throat, the force crushing it rather than slitting it. Adeline watched in horror as the man's mouth began to turn a deep red, and he fell to the floor, his body still moving, rithing from the pain. She stood with her eyes fixed on the man, no matter how sick it made her stomach feel. And she still stood there when the man came down the ladder with the food she had asked for.

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Old 05-24-2004, 02:43 PM   #126
Amanaduial the archer
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Silmaril Callath

Alone awake by the fire, Callath sat completely immobile, for all the world seeming carved from stone as he stared steadily into the fire. Around him, propped against stones, lying on driftwood or just sprawled across the sand, was what remained of Avershire's crew. He whistled quietly to himself in the silence, a luxury he hadn't had on the ship due to the superstitious sailors, absently tossing a stick between his hands, although rather gingerly in his right.

"Callath?"

The Gondorian youth whirled around, on his feet in a second with the stick in his hand, pointing towards the voice. As the flashes in his vision caused from looking into the fire for so long cleared, he recognised Rilgari, the young sailor looking slightly bemused. "Callath, it's Rilgari," the sailor said softly.

"Just as well, I couldn't see a thing," came the ironical reply as Callath flashed a quick grin at the other. He and Rilgari had become closer on the last few days on the ship, and now on the shore they were easier together, friendship coming quite easily as they were of the same age and background. Rilgari had, he said, joined Avershire's crew two years ago when he was sixteen - now eighteen, he was a year older than Callath, but had also, coincidentally, worked around horses alot when he was younger, tending and training his father's stallions. However, the quiet sailor didn't have the same temperment as the wild stallions he would have broken in - seemed as far from it as possible, really. The ever-affable Callath had taken an instant liking to him.

"My watch?" he continued. Rilgari nodded and Callath stretched, shaking his hands to get rid of the cramp then feeding the stick he had been playing with to the fire. As he passed Rilgari, he paused though, turning to look back at the other as he paused. "You...you didn't see anything of...of Luc did you?" he asked, hopefully. The older boy hadn't been seen since they'd come ashore and Callath knew that hope was almost pointless. But he refused to give up: until there was proof that Luc had gone down with the ships, Callath would stubbornly - foolishly - cling onto the hope that he hadn't drowned.

Rilgari paused, then turned slowly. He looked about to say something else, a pained expression flickering like the flames across his pale face, before he shook his head. "No, Callath. No sign of him," he replied, simply.

"Not yet, right?" Callath gave a lopsided smile, before turning away. Behind him he heard Rilgari's pause, then the boy raised his voice to call after Callath. "No, not yet...not yet..."

Shaking his head at his own stupidity, Callath stuck his hands into his pockets and began up the sanddunes to the point Rilgari had been watching from: an isolated perch, hidden from the beach and from the enclave where the crew where sitting. The dunes surrounded the sailors on three sides: this would put them at a disadvantage had Calnan not taken it into account in his stride as well, and placed a watch on all three sides, so they would not be ambushed. Indeed, their newly assumed leader would be coming down from his watch in about half an hour: they weren't taking breaks all at the same time as this would leave all sides unguarded, even just for a few moments, which would be vital in a battle. Marching up the hill briskly to the rhythm of his own humming and breathing, Callath looked out across the beach and the sea beyond it, still amazed at the vastness of it: in the confines of the walls of Minas Tirith there was nothing so vast and empty. Even the plains of Gondor where he rode as often as he could weren't able to compare. Like a huge beast, from where he stood, Callath mused that the sea seemed asleep now, a monster at rest: beautiful and magnificent, but so able, in one swipe, to take lives...

His booted foot snubbed against something solid as he was about halfway up the dunes and he looked down, disturbed from his musing. His eyes widened immediately and he squatted down beside it to make sure, before pulling the obstacle from the ground, amazed, and examining it. But there was no mistaking the object: he very own sword, Gondor's finest, washed up by some freak coincidence. The sheath was gone, but the sword had been buried in some driftwood - what had once been a ship, odd though that now seemed. Grinning, Callath examined the blade fastidiously for extra scratches or nicks...and something else caught his eye. Sick dread made the pit of his stomach suddenly seem to drop through his boots as he lowered the sword slowly, not wanting to believe his eyes.

A hand lay protruding from the dunes. Not any old hand either: with his sharp eyes, Callath spotted immediately the birth ring on the third finger, beaten copper bearing the runes for a name: "Luc."

Callath whispered the word in dread, then knelt forward, pushing aside the tall grasses that obscured the view of his dreaded discovery, before he leant back on his knees, his hand coming to his mouth as he stared upon the face of his dead friend.

Hand across his mouth, Callath turned and heaved emptily away from his friend's body, unashamed but sickened more by this than by all the wounds and dead men he had seen with Sedal. And with Luc... The thought made Callath look back again, and he pulled the body out a little so he could see Luc's face clearly. Pushing aside from his friend's forehead the swathe of damp, salt-stiffened hair, he felt his eyes fill as dead blue eyes stared back at him. Luc had suffered indeed: looking now more closely, Callath saw the long, deep scar that ran through one of the young man's eyes, cutting the side of his face in half; and more horrifically, how his right arm suddenly ended, stopping dead at his shoulder as if there had never been anything there, the only remanent of the arm from this side being the bloody marks on his clothes and the sand. Callath, numb and frozen, felt a tear slide down his face and pushed it away quickly, wiping fiercely at both his eyes like a little boy afraid to cry. Then, with trembling his trembling, injured right hand, he reached forward with two fingers and closed Luc's eyes.

There was no time for an epitath though. As he sniffed quietly, Callath heard another sound simultaneously and looked up guiltily, remembering his duty. Legging it silently to the top of the dune, he saw with horror what he had most been dreading: the corsairs had arrived.

Swearing repeatedly under his breath, Callath ran back down as quickly as possible, sparing Luc's dead body a last, lingering look as he ran past. "Sorry mate...I'll make it up later, I swear to you..." he muttered regretfully as he passed.

Reaching the camp, he stopped, breathless, to find Calnan with Rilgari, having come down early or something. They both spun around to look at the stable boy, along with Orda, also now awake.

"Corsairs!" Callath panted urgently. "Corsairs on the beach!"
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Old 05-25-2004, 06:56 AM   #127
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Graring watched the Gondorian encampment from the shelter of the dense woods. He was the lone survivor of the battle, assuming that the prisoner had died overnight. Where was Doran? He had to arrive soon, or Graring would either die of starvation or be forced to surrender.

______________________________________

Jurex and the other corsairs moved their way up the beach. The jungle night was hot and stuffy, unlike the fresh breeze of the sea. The corsair was already hot and tired, but kept his eyes and ears open. A reward could easily be in his grasp, one that would turn his leaders favor in his direction.

Then he saw the shape. Jurex quickly wispered in Doran's ear, "Sir, look at that tree over to the right slowly. Don't make a sudden move." Jythralo followed his instructions, and a grin spread over his face. It disappeared however, when the shape bolted out of cover and dashed down the beach; away from its adversaries.

"After him," Doran yelled. And the corsairs broke into a hot pursuit.
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Old 05-26-2004, 04:20 PM   #128
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Silmaril Calnan

Relieved early by a wide-awake Rakein, Calnan had stumbled back to the fire. Lying down in its grateful warmth – the wind was off the sea tonight – he was instantly more than half asleep.

"Corsairs! Corsairs on the beach!"

Calnan’s eyes popped open. Doran! He leapt to his feet as Callath dashed up to the fire. "Everybody up!"

The quiet camp burst into activity as the others were jerked from sleep and readied themselves. Meri Loliway, sword in hand, materialized from the darkness where she'd been lookout, even as Rakein came sliding back down the slope. Calnan grasped Orda by the shoulder. "Do you remember what I told you?"

"Aye aye, sir!" He hurriedly concealed himself in a nest of rocks. Behind him lay Sedal, screened by the boulders and a convenient tangle of brush. Stay in front of Mr. Sedal, but stay hidden, Calnan had charged him after the first attack. If any corsairs come towards him, yell first to let us know, then try to stop them. But yell first!

The battle cries and noise of the corsairs came near, although they still hidden in the tangle of tall bushes that backed the dunes. Dirk in hand, Devon called, "Come on, let's get 'em!"

"No, wait!" Calnan urged. "Wait til they have the light in their eyes." Even as he spoke, the first corsairs burst out, only to pause in the sudden brightness of the campfire. Grasping this tiny advantage of the surprise, the Gondorians met them with a rush.

Calnan found himself up against a wiry little man with a heavy cutlass. As the blade came down, Calnan swung his staff up under the blow, shoving the man’s arm away and breaking his elbow in the process. As the corsair staggered, the other end of the staff caught him alongside the head and he completed his fall. Dropping the staff, Calnan snatched the cutlass from his limp grasp.

Avershire was dueling furiously with Doran himself. Callath was wielding his sword with an enthusiasm his opponent found most alarming. Wait – sword? Where – A tattooed corsair with a scimitar sprang upon Avershire, double-teaming with Doran. Gold teeth gleaming, he shouted in derision as the doughty Gondorian was forced to give ground.

Calnan lunged forward, catching the scimitar’s blow on his cutlass. Instantly the man wheeled on him. “Well, well - it’s the politician!” he sneered.

The man was vaguely familiar, but Calnan had no time for taunts; this corsair handled his heavy blade with breath-taking speed. Immediately on the defensive, Calnan barely evaded his brutal slashes.

As he backed up, he had to step lightly and carefully over the uneven ground. His hand and arm ached as blow after blow jarred on his cutlass. Blood tickled as it ran down his side. Funny that he hadn’t felt yesterday’s wound tear open.

Bare feet balancing him on the side of a small boulder, Calnan saw his chance. Leaping back off the rock, he half turned as if to flee.. The corsair sprang forward triumphantly, his booted foot landing on the boulder. Immediately it slid from under him as the leather sole found no purchase on the slick granite. Even as he stumbled Calnan was on him. One hard blow, a rapid feint, then a cut over his guard, and the corsair fell with his face masked in blood.

Breath coming in painful gasps, Calnan stumbled out of the boulders - and froze, stricken by the scene before him.
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Old 05-26-2004, 11:39 PM   #129
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Doran charged in like a rampaging cave troll. Nobody stood in his way. The Gondorians met them fiercely but Doran had plenty of men to lose without losing the battle. Looking around, he saw a man that he decided needed to die. He had the distinct feeling that he had seen this man before and that this man was responsible for the loss of his two ships. Finally, Doran was able to place the man's face with a name-Captain Avershire, the famed Gondorian sea captain.
"Well, well, well," Doran said as he advanced. "If it isn't the famous Captain Avershire."

"And if it isn't the notorious Jythralo Doran," Avershire replied. "I've heard of you."

"And I of you," Jythralo replied. "Sorry, but I'm one of little talk," he said as he lunged forward to kill Avershire.

Avershire blocked and then dodged to the left, swinging his sword to the side. Doran parried the swing and kicked forward, forcing Avershire to give ground. But the Gondorian captain fought back fiercely and Doran started to notice that it was now he that was giving away ground. Doran frowned and began to match Avershire's speed and ferocity. The firelight made their swords glow in the dim night. All around Doran, men fought eachother and died. He could hear the cries of the wounded and the cries of those fighting-his men and the enemy, but all of his attention was focused on Avershire.

Suddenly, another corsair joined in the fight and began to doubleteam with Doran. Avershire struggled to match both men, but he was unable to keep up and to prevent himself from being killed, he was forced to give back more and more ground. The corsair was wild and had no style or technique; he just thrust and stabbed randomly. It was no wonder that finally, when Doran stepped back for another attack, he was able to counter the corsair. Quickly, Avershire kicked his foot out and tripped the corsair, and as the man fell to the ground, Avershire's sword hilt caught up with him and smashed into the man's knocking him down onto the sand. The man coughed and sputtered and blood drizzled out of his mouth where he was hit.

Doran advanced and swing his sword at Avershire's head. Avershire was quick enough to pull the sword out and block but he stepped too close to the dying corsair. The corsair, with a murderous look in his eye, reached out and grabbed Avershire's leg, tripping him. Avershire fell forwards but he twisted around and landed on his back. Doran stepped on Avershire's sword arm, pinning it to the ground; Avershire was defenseless. He lay still as the point of Doran's weapon lay at his throat.

Avershire breathed hard. "It seems as if I'm beat."

Doran smiled. "Yes, it does."
__________________________________________________ ______________

"NO!"
Doran looked up from his victory in time to see Devon jump forward at him with weapon in hand.

"Avershire!" Devon yelled.

Doran's smile grew even wider. "Now this is the boy I've been looking for. Come on, kid. Let's finish this."

Doran advanced. His sword gleamed red with the blood of Avershire as he went to face the ambassador's son.

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Old 05-27-2004, 10:51 AM   #130
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Silmaril

Callath was overtaken by the battle, in a state where he saw, heard, felt everything so keenly, everything so bright and clear, like a drug, clarifying everything but allowing him to feel no pain. And such battle fury is indeed a dangerous drug.

Thrashing his whole left arm holding the blade out in a wide arc of steel, he sliced clean through a corsair's neck, but barely looked at the man as he fell to the ground. He saw every detail, but somehow it barely seemed to matter... he didn't register it, didn't properly look... Turning, he duelled sharply, agilely for a few seconds with another corsair, an older man of about forty. Such a duel was flashy, a mockey of real fighting, and Callath played up to it, grinning openly as he fought. But it didn't last - finding an opening point, Callath jabbed straight forward at the man's prone chest, darting in then pulling back in the blink of an eye, just as he would when fencing Devon. The man fell, a look of surprise on his face as he died at the boy's feet. Let your guard down, lost some points there... Callath thought giddly as he danced away, his eyes glittering brightly, predatorialy, leaping up to the top of a boulder like a fictional character, dashing. His thoughts were disjointed, barely matching up with what he was seeing and doing, as if a game and deadly real life had converged and he was having trouble working out which was which...but that was just another game...

They killed Luc, the fairground mantra went around and around, over and over, in Callath's head, driving him on, distracted and desperate. They killed Luc, they killed Luc, theykilledluc, theykilledluctheykilledluc...

"Calnan!"

A desperate cry brought Callath back to his senses properly although he did not instantly recognise the voice. A young boy...who was that...

"Calnan! Callath! Devon!" The voice cried again, a desperate cry, then a cry of pain followed. Callath's mind crashed back suddenly into stark reality, out of the strangeness of his mind, and he gasped, whirling around and squinting against the sun as he stomach plunged downwards suddenly and he saw Orda standing against another man, standing awkwardly over Sedal, whose disguise had been ripped away. The stable boy didn't waste a second - the sand was shelfed to the other side of the rock and the drop was about a metre, but the boy didn't even think about it: leaping down, he hit the ground running, darting fluidly around one of his victims, who he now could see in more detail. The sight nearly turned his stomach as he noted the man's head several feet from his body, but there was no time now to worry about what had happened when the fury was upon him. Sprinting towards Orda and Sedal, his knuckles white on the hilt of his sword, he gave a fieresome yell in the hopes of putting off their attacker, a burly, dark man who glistened with gold earrings, built like a brick wall and towering over the thirteen-year-old boy and the prone surgeon. But the man was not to be diverted, and, obviously enjoying himself immensely, he raised the axe - axe?! - he was holding above his head, his tattooed body tensed to bring it down crushingly upon little Orda.

The distance between them was less than three seconds run for Callath, but it might as well have been a million miles for all the difference it would make.

He wouldn't get there in time.

The clear, blunt truth hit Callath like a ton of bricks, but he battled through it, transfering his blade to his right hand, which had ever been the stronger for throwing. Although it was wounded, it wouldn't let him down now. He ran for a second, then, turning sidewards like a spear throwing, his sword lightly balanced in his palm with two fingers behind the cross-section, he did a step-together-step, and released the sword with all the power he possessed.

It spiralled through the air, too fast to be seen, all the power and desperation Callath possessed in it making it more deadly than any other weapon on the beach in that second. Well, almost any other.... As it struck the corsair, he was actually knocked backwards by about a foot by the sheer force, a startled, messy cry emerging from his lips as the sword hit him in the throat. But at the same second, another cry came from over the side of the beach and, recognising it for all the time at sea he had spent in it's company, Callath spun around the see the owner of the voice...on his knees in front of Doran...

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Old 05-27-2004, 02:04 PM   #131
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"They're here," Rakein muttered under his breath. He often spoke to himself, especially when distressed, and this was a very distressing moment. He gripped his knife tightly, knowing that this was his only protection. He did not let how scary that was affect him. All that would give him the chance for revenge was a dagger, a belt-knife for cutting lines, which he had thanks to a corsair. Dead though he was, he had been kind enough to wash up on the beach in a convenient place. Rakein smirked at the thought of a dead corsair being convenient, and it helped. A smile always helped. He could make them bleed a little with what he had.

Rakein cut quickly away from the makeshift Gondorian camp, taking cover in the darkness, so that any passing eye would not notice him. Waiting, perfectly still, he looked for a man that drew near enough for Rakein to strike out with greatest effect. But bad luck foiled Rakein's plan, and a man happened to look closely at all his surroundings, his eyes stopping on the figure in the dark. Cursing, Rakein wasted no time, but ran swiftly, dodging around a corsair charging at another Gondorian, and flung the knife as he went. The corsair was caught off-guard by this speed, and though the knife did not aim true, hitting the man in the shoulder, he stood frozen. His eyes were ever widening as Rakein came racing at him.

Finally the man found his ability to move, and he began to reach for the knife in his shoulder, but Rakein sped up in earnest need, and ran his shoulder into the one that contained the knife. The man screamed with pain and fell to the ground, Rakein's body falling on top of him. Again he wasted not a moment, and the Gondorian's hand reached for the knife and pulled it out, then brought it down to the nearest vital region: the head. Rakein could feel the man's body move slightly underneath him for a few moments longer, but it soon stopped. The screaming had been the first thing to stop.

Rakein pulled the knife out of the man's forehead with some difficulty, and found himself exposed to an enemy sword, as his movement had alerted the wielder that Rakein was not dead. Without a second to think, he threw up his knife in a clumsy block of the much larger and stronger sword. A loud crack rang in his ears, and the knife was on the ground. A fire shot up his arm, and his wrist burned cold. Looking down at it, he saw misshapen bone coming from out of his arm. The shock of this made him freeze just as his last enemy had, even though he knew it was a costly mistake. He had never believed that a wrist could brake in such an extreme way. Luckily, neither had his enemy, it seemed.

The two men both looked at each other, their eyes rising from Rakein's wrist. It was Rakein who moved first, once again, and with the pain in his wrist and his desire for revenge driving him, he tossed away all reason and ran his head into the man's stomach and lower chest. His aching head told him that he had hit rib cage. The loud groan escaped from the man's lips, and his mouth and lips were becoming a shining red, but he picked up the sword he had dropped from the blow. Rakein tried to quickly move in on the man again, hopefully dealing the man another hard blow whilst bring him closer to his own knife still on the ground. But the corsair had come to judge his opponent's speed, and though Rakein did his best to dodge the blade, it sliced down his arm, shaving skin off.

The pain caused Rakein to fall forward, but he had managed to get close enough that he knocked the man over in the process. In the few moments while the corsair was tumbling over and recovering from the fall, Rakein groped for his knife, but all he found was warm sand. Then he felt something heavy hit his back in a heavy blow, and the corsair was on top of him. Rakein struggled to roll over, but when he found that the man had him pinned, he positioned his leg so that when brought up it would hit a rather vital spot...

Rakein heard the man yell and felt the body removed from on top of him. He quickly jumped on the corsair, who had let his pain steal away his attention. Rakein found it incredibly easy to grab at the man's throat, but he was not very efficient with one hand, and the corsair gripped both Rakein's hands to bring them away from his throat. The man was very strong, and too strong for Rakein, so before the man could pry off his hand, Rakein jerked them away quickly, ignoring the pain that shot up again from his wrist. The corsair lost his grip in surprise, and the Gondorian's one useful fist was free to strike the man. He fired a blow at the man's face and another at his chest. When Rakein drew back his hands, he found his knuckles covered in blood from the man's nose, which he ignored. Another blow to the face, and another to the side of the corsair's head. The man had blood coming from his nose, mouth, and ears, and yet a roar rose from his mouth and his strong arms pushed Rakein off of him.

Sprawled on the ground, with a throbbing head from a hard blow that had been dealt while he was being thrown off the corsair, Rakein watched as the man rose, quickly for one so large and wounded. Only now did Rakein realize the man's size. He turned his head from side to side, but there was still no sign of his knife. Luckily, there was also no sign of the corsair's sword. The man came rushing at the Gondorian on the ground, obviously trying to use his much greater bulk to do damage to as much of Rakein's body as possible. But Rakein new that he still had an advantage over this man, and so he quickly picked his body up enough with his one hand and his legs to launch himself forward at the man's legs. He grabbed the corsair's ankle, attempting to use both hands, and pulled it up from underneath him. The man tumbled sideways, and a sickening crunch came from the crushing of his head on a large rock.

Rakein rose from the ground, staring at the sand turning red around the bottom of the boulder. Looking around him, he saw that the area was clear for a good distance, and so he took the time to search more for his knife, as well as the corsair's sword. The latter was easy enough to find. It lay a good ways behind the corsair's body. The two men must have landed on it countless times. But Rakein would not give up on his knife. He searched the area behind the man, but only when he drew near to the dead corsair did his eye catch a glint of steel. Looking more closely, he saw that the steel shown through the blood, blood from the dead man's leg, which it now stuck half way out of. Again, Rakein smiled.

Rising with the sword in his hand and the knife tucked away in his ragged pants, the smile helped him gather the strength to move quickly along the beach, to find a familiar face, he hoped. Soon he had his wish, as he stared into the dead eyes of a Gondorian. He did not know the man well, but he had known his name, and that was enough. Luc was his name. Something would not allow him to take his eyes away from the dead man's. They seemed to plead with him, beg him to take revenge. But Rakein had only ever thought of his own revenge. It had never came to his mind that the other prisoners would want the same revenge, would be fighting on the same side as he. Both the men he had killed he had bled for himself. He had felt alone every moment since he realized that it was time to take his revenge. It seemed that, in this case, he had realized that he was not alone much too late.

A sword came down and pierced him in the back of his neck. Rakein screamed in agony as he felt nothing but pain in his entire body. His head wished to burst, as he could not scream loud enough. The pain would not escape through his mouth, and would not cease. It persisted and grew worse, and then, all of a sudden, through the screams and the blood and the sweat, Rakein felt blissfully calm, frozen in an icy world of growing darkness. In that calm, he let the darkness consume him, to protect him from the pain.

~

Adeline let the screams continuously escape from her horrified soul as the man, the man who had just seen her kill his comrade, came nearer, holding up a knife blade. She was not sure whether or not she screamed at the thought of her own death, or the death of the man she had just killed. The man's eyes shined with tears of anger and the hatred in them made her look away. Her eyes came upon the knife point, and the fear choked her. Her scream was cut short. The moment stretched out as she watched the man's steps draw him nearer, and there was complete silence. Then she heard distance shouts. So did the corsair, and he stopped short.

"Avershire!" She discerned the cry as a name. It was not one she recognized, but the voice... All her fears of her own death and her dealing of death faded. Only the thought of Devon filled her mind with frantic fear. The franticness caused her to charge past the man with the knife, too fast for him to react, and up the stairs onto the deck. She ran to the side, and ignored the men on guard that shouted at her. Climbing up on the railing, she took one deep breath and jumped.

She splashed into the cold water, and soon found the bottom beneath her. It was too far down for her to keep her head above the water, but she was able to use it to bring herself up. Hearing the shouts grow louder as she bobbed to the surface once again, she decided to toss away all dignity. She struggled for a moment before she was able to find a seam in her dress, but Adeline was able to tear it off. Being only her underdress, though heavy this was, was considerably lighter, and she found herself swimming toward the shore. She heard a loud splash behind her just as she found that she could stand up, and she redoubled her efforts. Soon she was climbing onto dry land, thankful that it had taken the men on the ship time to decide on a plan of action.

As soon as her ankles were free, she felt a heavy weight lifted from her feet, and she was able to run quickly across the sand on her bare feet, as she had long since lost her shoes. Soon her feet slowed once again, though, as her eyes saw what was before her, a ways off, but clearly visible. Doran stood over someone - she would recognize that man's flaunting arrogance from a mile away. And the man that knelt before him she would never fail to know in a hundred years from a hundred miles away. "Devon!" she cried out in both desperation at seeing him in such a position, and in joy. It was a joy to see anyone she knew again, no matter where, in what position. But even as the cry escaped her mouth, she realized how big of a mistake she had made. But for now, Adeline did not care, as long as Devon was alive and she knew that she had escaped from that ship, her long time prison.
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Old 05-28-2004, 10:11 AM   #132
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Graring watched the battle from a distance. He felt strangely detached from it all, like he was on no one's side. He watched without feeling as Jurex was felled, and Avershire's throat was cut by Jythralo. What did he care? Let them all go to the Devil!

Then he saw it. Sails on the horizon. And not of Corsair make, either. In the darkness,Graring could not make out the flags - but he was fairly certain he knew. Gondorian reinforcements. The corsair cause was lost..

Forgetting about his leader, the corsair uprising, his ideals, what he had fought for his entire life, Graing made a quick decision. All that mattered was survival. And so he turned and dashed into the forest.

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Old 05-28-2004, 11:08 AM   #133
Amanaduial the archer
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Silmaril

"You'll pay for that, boy..." the low, threatening mutter caused Callath to spin around, furiously, ready to run the corsair through...but his sword was still buried in the neck of Sedal's attacker. The corsair gave an ugly laugh and, with the strange, many-tailed whip he was holding, thrashed Callath across the side of the face.

With a shout of pain, the boy fell sidewards and backwards, his hand coming to his face as he felt the blood began to well from three gashes across his right cheek where the whip had lashed him. To his fury, he felt tears welling up in his eyes as he propped himself on his elbows, running his tongue around the gums on that side, tasting blood where the force of the lashes had caused the gums to bleed. But looking up, he saw the corsair standing over Sedal, the whip raised to strike the surgeon as another corsair held Sedal's arms. Not that they needed to really: Sedal's face was pale and sweating, his teeth gritted and eyes closed against the pain. In a second, Callath registered what was wrong: the wound had split again and the broken rib may even have splintered, either of which would be causing the surgeon excruciating pain. This man had treated illness and hurt all his life and was now suffering some of the worst....

"Get away from him!" Callath yelled, springing to his feet. As he did so, he felt a strange heaviness swing against his ribs. His hand seemed to guide itself to his jacket and, feeling into the insie pocket, his fingers closed on the heavy object. He took a precious second to recognise it: the brass knuckles. As the gashes on his face burned, his resolve strengthened – what choice did he have? – and he tore them from his jacket pocket. Jamming them on – and they fitted surprisingly well – he stood in a lithe motion and covered the small distance between himself and Sedal’s attacker, who had now grabbed Orda. The man turned towards him, his face ugly, cruel mouth twisting violently, and he held up Orda by his shirt front to Callath, daring him to attack whilst the corsair held the boy. He looked down at Callath’s hand and sneered as he realised the boy apparently held no weapon.

“What, we’ll play for fisticuffs –” he sneered, but was cut off sharply as Callath drew back his fist and with snake-like speed punched him across the face, the brass gleaming on his fist. The man yelled in pain and fell, blood flowing from his mouth and from the gashes which now scarred his cheek. Callath nearly savoured the irony of it: now he had paid him back for the lashes quite fittingly. Shaking his fist more from habit than from hurt (the metal protected his fingers, although he would have bruises tomorrow), he knelt beside Orda where the man had thrown him. The boy was grimacing in pain, but opened his eyes and looked up at Callath.

“I’m…I’m ok,” he murmured, but the way he shifted jerkily told Callath otherwise. It was possible his wrist had fractured from the looks of it, and what about the blood flowing all the way down one side of his face…Callath raised a hand quickly to Orda’s cheek to examine it, but the boy flinched from his touch. Or rather, from the touch of the cold metal against his skin. Realising, Callath drew back quickly, disgust at having used the weapon now catching up with him. But instead of pulling them off he stood quickly, hearing another shout, shielding his eyes against the sun to see…

Devon, stepping into Avershire’s place. About to fight Doran.

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Old 05-28-2004, 01:55 PM   #134
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Doran jeered as he held up the sword stained with Avershire's blood.

"Your going to pay old man for everything you've done," Devon growled.

"Come boy. I've been waiting long enough,"Doran said.

Devon yelled and charged forward and struck. Doran blocked and was surprised at the strength at Devon's strike. But he recovered quickly and counter attacked. Devon easily blocked it, and Doran stepped back.

"Is that all you have, old man? That's all that the famous corsair Jythralo Doran has?"

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. Hasn't anyone taught you to respect your elders, boy?" Doran replied. Then he struck and it was Devon's turn to be surprised at Doran's strenght. Devon stepped back and Doran took advantage of it and pushed harder and harder. Devon stepped back and fought harder.

As the battle raged on around them, all Doran could see was the boy in front of him that he wanted to kill.
__________________________________________________ ____

The sun was rising. The battle was almost over. Many men lay wounded on the floor. Some Gondorians had fallen back, but most of them had lain down their swords in surrender. Many of the corsairs lay dead or dying but Doran wasn't worried-he still had three ships full of men ready to fight.

Doran was a little winded and he could see that Devon was tired also. Devon struck at his head. Doran blocked but the power at which Devon struck knocked the flat part of Doran's sword into Doran's head, knocking Doran onto the ground.

Devon smiled. "Ha, got you old man."

Devon raised the sword to finish off Doran but at that moment, many cries rang out.

"Gondorians! The Gondorians are here!"

Devon looked behind him and saw dozens of Gondorian soldiers charging down the beach killing and capturing any corsair they came upon. They were saved. The battle was won. Devon smiled in relief.

Doran saw that this was his moment. Quickly, he stood up and plunged his sword into Devon's back. The smile faded from Devon's face along with his life. He uttered a cry and reached behind him, trying to touch the wound. Doran leaned over close to Devon's ear-
"It looks as if it is I who has you."

Devon fell to his knees and onto the ground.

Doran looked down at the boy. Finally. He finally had his revenge.

At that moment, three Gondorian soldiers appeared, swords raised. Doran raised his arms into the air. He had lost the war, but had won the battle. Devon was dead.
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Old 05-29-2004, 12:45 PM   #135
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Even at a distance Calnan could tell that Avershire was dead. His heart swelled with rage as the corsair captain laughed -

"Calnan!" The high-pitched terror of Orda's young voice pierced the roaring in Calnan's ears. He found himself scrambling with desperate urgency over the rocks toward his cries. Off to his right Callath, too, was sprinting to the rescue.

A corsair arose directly in his path, but Calnan never hesitated. Driving straight into him, he hurled the corsair to the ground with tremendous force. The man's sword clattered among the rocks.

Wild at the delay, Calnan snatched up the cutlass he'd dropped, took two running steps - and a strong hand jerked his ankle. As he fell he had the sense to drop the cutlass and not to break his fall with his hands, but he heard a dull crack, and an agonizing pain shot up his left arm. The full weight of his body had snapped one forearm bone in two. Dizzy with pain, Calnan cradled his arm, oblivious to the world around him.

Without his instincts he'd been dead. Two sounds - a hoarse, ragged breath, the rasp of clothing scraped along rough stone - and he found himself standing, face to face with the corsair he'd tackled. The man was on hands and knees, still laboring for breath; but his sword was quivering in the ground where Calnan had been kneeling. There was no time to think. Calnan took one step and drove his knee up under the man's chin, snapping his head back.

The corsair collapsed, either unconscious or suffocating, but Calnan couldn't tell and didn't care. The fall had driven all emotion out of him, everything but this consuming pain that throbbed and pulsed through his entire body. He was aware, in a distant sort of way, that his legs were trembling and his face was hot despite the coolness of the air. The roaring in his ears had nothing to do with anger.

Almost dreamily he remembered Orda now. Callath was kneeling by him and Sedal, surrounded by corsair bodies. Almost in slow motion Calnan turned to the beach. In disbelief he saw Doran fall to his knees in front of Devon - Devon?! - then Devon turned and Doran struck, stabbing him in the back.

Blindly, furiously, Calnan staggered for him, and found himself on the ground. "Calnan!" he heard someone call. Telson loomed before him, dim and uncertain in the dark haze closing in. I thought the sun was rising? he thought, but didn't have the energy to ask. Telson pushed him gently to the ground and felt his arm carefully.

Dazedly, illogically, Calnan knew he had to do something. The bloodthirsty, murdering, accursed fiend . . . ! With a final rush of strength he jerked upright. But the wrench he gave his arm, held in Telson's hands, was so agonizing that the threatening darkness lowered for good and erased all knowledge.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Durelin's Post

Doran had spared her little more than a glance at her cry, his surity that the battle was over allowing him to forget Adeline's importance. The confusion of the battle could be deadly, but it also helped in keeping her safe, for now. But her thoughts did not dwell on her own safety, rather on the safety of Devon. All her fears were gone except for one, and that was her fear for Devon's life. She felt her knees give way as Doran held up his bloody sword, displaying it for all to see. Whom he had killed did not matter. Devon rose from on his knees as Adeline fell to hers.

He drew his sword, and Adeline felt a scream rise in her throat. She pushed it back down to her stomach, and she then felt as if she needed to empty her stomach. She shut her eyes for a moment, and then heard a shout that made her heart rise and her stomach forget its pangs of fear.

"Gondorians! The Gondorians are here!"

"It is over!" Adeline cried, once again unable to control herself. The battle seemed frozen in time, all stood still and looked as Gondorian ships landed and men started crossing the beach. Adeline turned away from this marvelous sight with a grin of delight and laughter in her soul. She turned to smile at Devon. He smiled back at her, but then a cry of pain tore her heart.

~

Adeline folded her hands to keep them from shaking as she sat in the hard chair, struggling to keep her eyes dry. Doran stood before the full court room, standing tall and proud even though his hands were chained tightly behind his back and armed guards stood on either side of him. The hands in Adeline's lap were squeezed into fists.

"This man, Jythralo Doran, Captain of known corsair ships that plagued the coastlines of Gondor, is now brought before you to be tried for his crimes, in accordance with the terms of justice of this land, the great city of Umbar, a colony of Gondor. Know that he will receive all rights that are given to those that are tried under the law of Gondor, which must be observed in this territory of Gondor. Remember that this man must be considered innocent, until he has been proven guilty through the presentation of evidence to the..."

Adeline could not stand to listen to the absurdity that was spilling out of the judge's mouth. He spoke with no emotion, his words held no ring of life or truth. He acknowledged Doran as a 'Captain of know corsair ships', yet he failed to bring to light how much more than a Captain Doran had become. And still the judge said, in the same drawling voice, that the man was innocent until.

Slowly she rose, her entire body shaking, with her eyes focused on Doran. Soon all eyes were on hers, including the Captain's. She stared into them, loosing her hatred upon them. She made her way out of the row of seats and then toward Doran. Twice she almost stumbled. At first all that were present were simply shocked, then a low murmur ran throughout the court room. The judge's voice rose above the rest, as he amplified his dull voice, almost yelling.

"My Lady, if you have something you wish to say you may say it from your seat. My Lady? I am asking you to sit down." The man sighed. "Miss, go back to your seat. Miss!"

Adeline stood inches from Doran's hideous face, and felt his warm breath upon her face. It waved the flames of her anger to knew heights, and her hand reached for the handle of a sword at one the guard's side. Before the guard knew what she was doing, she had unsheathed it, her anger and loathing giving her strength to pull out the heavy blade with speed. She raised it in front of Doran's unblinking eyes as the court room exploded. A few women even screamed, to Adeline's disgust.

"My Lady!" the judge gasped, his voice finally showing some sort of emotion. Adeline laughed at the thought that this was what it took, and this seemed to alarm the room even more. Even Doran blinked, and looked at her in a very different way than he had before. But then, the laugh through all the tears she now cried was obscurely out of place. A strong grip held her by each arm as the guards saw that Adeline was serious. Adeline felt herself go limp as they held her. She did not struggle, but her hand still gripped the sword till her knuckles were bone white. Her tear-filled eyes still stared into Doran's, and she did not withdraw them from his gaze as the soft touch of a kind hand on her shoulder.

"You cannot kill him, my Lady," Calnan said softly.

"I killed a man once before, I can do it again."

"You cannot kill him, Adeline," he repeated, and the sword fell from her hands.

Last edited by Durelin; 05-29-2004 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Move Nuranar's Post
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Old 05-29-2004, 01:07 PM   #136
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White Tree Calnan

Calnan was keeping a concerned eye on Adeline. The trial was barely underway, but already she looked like she was about to scream or throw things. When the judge finished she stood abruptly, her face dead white and drawn with misery and hatred. When she walked forward, the hush in the room was broken by startled whispers. "Isn't that the girl he kidnapped?" "I think so, but what is she doing?" "Is she all right? She looks like she's going to faint..."

Calnan shot an apprehensive glance at Callath, on the other side of Adeline's chair, but he was only frowning in a puzzled manner. By now Adeline was standing in front of Doran. Her whole form was rigid with intense emotion. Calnan rose, afraid.

Then she moved. Even as her hand reached for the guard's sword hilt, Calnan was in motion. Above the hubbub of a horrified court he heard her laugh - a strange, high laugh, mirthful and full of tears, the heart-wrung humor of one stricken. She did not struggle against the guards, but neither would she move, her eyes burning into Doran's. Unsure and dismayed they seemed. The corsair captain was more shaken than he would ever admit, even to himself.

With one last shove Calnan reached Adeline, laid his hand carefully on her shoulder. "You cannot kill him, my lady." She turned, tears running down her face.

"I killed a man once before. I can do it again," she whispered, eyes full of agony.

Calnan shook his head gently, firmly. "You cannot kill him, Adeline." He watched her set face relax as she dropped the sword. At a glance the guards let go of her. Carefully pulling her left arm through his right - his broken left was in a sling - he led her swiftly from the room.

Outside the building she started to speak, but he shushed her until they were relatively hidden in a landscaped corner of the square. There he sat her on a bench and knelt before her so she wouldn't have to look up. Adeline looked at him sadly, but now it seemed she had no words left. Calnan tried to think how to start.

"Adeline," he said haltingly, "I know you've killed a man before. I'm terribly sorry you've had to do that. I've killed, too. More than once. And I'm sorry to say it gets easier. I never want to forget how terrible it is to take away the life of another human being.

"But I don't want to forget about justice, either. Doran is a man who cares only for himself. To set himself in a place of power and wealth he has taken and wrecked the lives of more people than we'll ever know. Justice demands that he pay for this.

"But not at your hand, not at mine. Gondor, the King himself, is responsible for justice. You see, if I had killed Doran back there, I would be acting for myself, and my motive would be revenge. Not justice. Revenge is an ugly word, Adeline. Its results are ugly and terrible, and even worse is what it does to those who take it.

"Jstice must be the action of the authority, not of individuals. Doran's executioner will be acting for Gondor and for the King, not for himself."

Adeline looked up, startled. Calnan nodded, utterly certain.

"Oh, yes. Doran will die. In order to be just we have to assume he's innocent, but the evidence is overwhelming. At the very least, he committed murder in front of a hundred Gondorians when he killed Devon." Adeline's eyes were filling with tears again, but Calnan had to keep going. "And why did he kill Devon, when he knew he'd lost? It was the last thing he could do. It was because he lost. It was his revenge. Yes, it hurts us terribly. But it's sealed his fate like nothing else would have. Justice will be done.

"Think back to the beginning, Adeline. Why was Devon so determined? Why did we do all we could to help him stop Doran? It wasn't for petty personal reaentment, Adeline; it was for Gondor. We were loyal to Gondor. If you take loyalty - and justice - away from Gondor, there's nothing separating us from the corsairs themselves." He paused, smiled gently. "In the end, Adeline, we were fighting for justice."

She was openly weeping now but still trying to restrain herself.. Sitting beside her, Calnan put his arm around her shoulders and held her to him. Pressing her face into his shoulder, Adeline sobbed out her grief and anger. Calnan felt her sorrow, greater than his; her feelings for Devon hadn't been hard to guess. His eyes filled with tears then, too, as he remembered Devon, and Marx, Luc, Rakein, Avershire - all the faithful comrades who had fought and not returned.

Last edited by Nuranar; 05-29-2004 at 08:31 PM. Reason: different post, better placement
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Old 05-29-2004, 01:47 PM   #137
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Graring awoke the next morning in a comfortable bed of grass. He yawned, stretched, and stood, rubbing his eyes in a lazy fashion. Then a multitude of thoughts struck him like a thunderbolt. The corsairs! The army! The battle! He turned and rushed out of the forest, making for the beach.

The corsair skidded to a halt as his feet touched the warm sand. Everyone was gone. The corsairs, and their presumable captors, were gone; as were any traces of Devon's forces. But the traces of battle were unmistakeable; arrows, knives, broken swords and dried blood covered a large area to his left.

I've been left behind! Abandoned to die here! Then another thought came to him. No.... I've escaped! They couldn't catch me! The war will never end until I die, and I remain.... And so the corsairs had won.

Pride swelled within him, and the fact that he would have to live out his days on the deserted island did not bother him in the least. He had survived, and so the corsair spirit would live on forever. Looked towards the sea again, he saluted his dead comrades with an imaginary cutlass. And, calling out with an ancient cry, Graring released all the hate, anger and rebellion within him.

"Umbar, Umbar, Umbar!"
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Old 05-30-2004, 04:08 PM   #138
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Silmaril Callath

As the judge finally dismissed the court, Callath was one of the first out, battling his way through the suddenly oppressive court. The people he passed paid little attention: a tut here, a frown from there, as he elbowed his way through them. He was a mystery to these people, a contradiction within himself, a paradox: a boy who looked about seventeen or eighteen, his blonde hair flopping casually over a handsome face, no different from any other Gondorian youth really. But look closer: lean build, eyes made much older with anger and pain, marks made by ropes around his wrists and a deep, wide scar in the back of his hand, lashes across his cheek...these things marked him out as something different.

But what did they care? Callath finally got out and as the sea air hit him and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath and relishing it's kind touch. The sea was something he had begun to understand...these people would never understand, just as they would never understand, or care, about the true nature of Jythralgo Doran, sea captain, corsair, and murderer of Callath's best friend...

"Callath!"

The stable boy turned to see Calnan hurrying towards him. Both of them were dressed at least partly in black, but not too formally: they had been at sea too long to take much care over the trial of a man they would both hate until the end of their days. Callath stopped walking and smiled bitterly at Calnan, but the older boy put a hand on his arm comfortingly. Callath looked away, closing his eyes against the brightness now pricking them.

"He will hang, Callath, you know he will hang. He will pay," Calnan said softly.

"Pay?!" Callath spat, angrily in reply. "How can he pay? He killed Marx, Avershire...Luc, and Devon - Calnan, he killed my best friend and...and..." he gulped and paused, then continued more quietly. "He cannot ever pay enough, and you know it. On that beach, I would have killed him with my own bare hands!" His voice had risen again until he was almost shouting, and a few people in the sober crowd spilling from the courtroom looked over at the boys. Calnan didn't say anything but rubbed Callath's arm gently, then embraced him for a second, both of them trying to take some respite.

After a moment, Callath released himself and wiped his eyes quickly, his chin held defiantly as he forced a smile. “Well, that’s it now. He will die for his crimes, even if not at my hand.” Turning to the side, he began to walk slowly, and Calnan continued beside him. The attaché didn’t speak, and for a few minutes they walked in silence, both drifting in the turbulent currents of their own thoughts. Both went to speak at the same time, but Calnan let Callath go first.

“How is Adeline?” he asked quietly. Calnan looked around, then his eyes returned to Callath’s and he sighed slightly, shaking his head a little.

“I…I honestly don’t know. It’s hard – you know, it always seemed obvious to me that she and Devon…well, you know, the way they felt about each other…” Calnan actually blushed here. Callath couldn’t help the brief burst of amusement that escaped him. “You could say that,” he laughed, shaking his hair back, his smile impish. Calnan grinned back, and for a moment, they were right back in the dusty loft above the stables, or sitting on the sea front, or resting between fencing duels in Devon’s home. Calnan continued. “I know – it seemed obvious to us, but-”

“-was it as obvious to them,” Callath finished for him. He shook his head, partly in happy reminiscence, partly in regret. “We’ll never know. I didn’t know Adeline as well as Devon, obviously, but...well, frankly, the boy’s a romantic, so the fact she stayed for so long must count for something pretty damn substantial,” he finished bluntly, grinning. Calnan smiled quietly, and Callath’s grin faded a little as he murmured an apology. “Damn sense of humour, I just can’t keep control of it…”

Calnan stopped suddenly, looking out across the sea, hands behind his back, looking suddenly even more deeply pensive and…well, business-like, Callath mused. Calnan had always seemed older, and been a closer friend of Devon than of Callath, being as they saw each other more often and Callath was not of the same station, but now Callath felt a sudden burst of friendship for the attaché. They had been through much together now, and shared the same surreal experiences that, in a few years, few would believe on retelling. Callath had been closer to others – Devon, Luc, Rilgari – but Calnan had come out of it with him. Luc and Devon were dead, Rilgari said he intended to go to sea once more, which left…

“What will you do now, Callath?”

Calnan addressed Callath whilst his eyes were on the sea and so the fact that his thoughts had so closely followed Callath’s made the younger blink in surprise. He came forward so he was beside Calnan, looking out to sea with him and digging his hands into the pockets of his dark trousers against the wind, the wind whipping his fair hair around his angular face.

“Would you go to sea again?” Calnan continued, then looked across at the other. “You know...I could see you as a captain.”

Callath snorted derisively. “I sincerely hope you’re jokin’, mate. You saw me in the first day or two, didn’t you? Brilliant captain I’d make, staggering around in the throes of sea-sickness at the start of each voyage.” He laughed, then shook his head. “No, ’way I see it, I’m not even eighteen yet and I’ve seen more action than many a pompous old ‘sailor. Besides, you saw me, Calnan, when I was fighting…” he hesitated suddenly, not sure whether to continue with what he had been about to say. The fact that he had been about to confess was that, actually, when he was fighting, he had enjoyed it. The power of the weapon, the thrill it sent through every nerve in your body…a battle rush was a very powerful drug, and the fact was that Callath knew he wouldn’t be able to get enough of it. As some got hooked on pipeweed, Callath would become hooked on battle.

Just like Doran.

Calnan was looking at him strangely and Callath glanced at the other quickly then shrugged, maybe over-nonchalantly. “Not yet, I think, Calnan. Not yet. Why, what about you?” he changed the subject rather smoothly to Calnan’s future. Looking at Calnan’s face, he guessed in an instant and grinned. Calnan frowned. “What?”

“I think we both know what you want to do?”

“What?!” Calnan was off-balance and rather confused now, but Callath shook his head mysteriously, gesturing for the other to go on. Calnan paused, then said, “I intend to return to Gondor, actually. You know, resume my job, my duties…my life, basically. I…wish to return to the White City.” He shrugged, and his over-casualness was spotted by Callath this time. He didn’t mock though, instead smiling softly. “I understand, Calnan. Stil, ‘ts a pity, you know. After…all this…” he stopped, looking out across the bay. Calnan paused, then continued.

“Actually…I was sort of wondering if you would come as well. You have not been to Gondor, have you? I should like you to see Minas Tirith, the city of Kings…would you join me, Callath?”

Callath paused for a moment, remembering Umbar, and the image of stable master Garth’s face conjured itself in front of his face. He almost visibly recoiled and shuddered. “I don’t suppose I’ve still got my old job – and sure, they have horses in Minas Tirith as well, right?” He winked and grasped Calnan’s hand firmly. “I’d be glad to join you, Calnan. Glad to.”
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Old 05-30-2004, 09:23 PM   #139
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Doran stood before the court, chained. He'd never thought that it would end like this but for some strange reason, he wasn't upset. He had fought the good fight for his people, and even though he had lost, at least he had fought. He had shown the corsair people that they could rise up and regain their freedom taken from them at the hands of an oppressive empire. He might die but he would live on as a martyr to future generations.

"Captain Jythralo Doran," the judge said. "To the charge of the murder of Devon Thrann, how do you plead?"

"Not guilty," he said. Behind him, he heard many people's reaction. He knew that Devon's friends were outraged by his answer.

"To the charge of high treason against the king of Gondor, how do you plead?"

"Guilty."

Again, he heard many people's surprised reactions to his answer.

"Captain, you may be seated."

The trial was beginning and Doran settled in for the long haul.
__________________________________________________ _

It was almost over. Everyone who wanted to say something had said it, and so now it was up to the judge to decide Doran's fate.
"Captain, do you have any remarks you would like to make?"

"Yes, I do,"he said. People murmured in the audience, waiting to hear what he would say. Doran stood and as he did so, his chains jingled. The sounds of the chains was like a signal to those talking to be quiet. He stood, chest out, shoulders back, chin up. He could see Calnan, Callath, and Adeline watching him with the most hatred he ever saw.

"I don't have much to say," he began. "Except for this. Most of you think that I should be on trial for the murder of Devon Thrann. I did not murder him. He was killed in the midst of battle. He made the grave mistake to turn his back on his foe, and he paid for that mistake. But how can I be tried for murder? If I am guilty of murder, then you must also try those three for murder as well."

He pointed to Calnan, Callath, and Adeline.

"For they also killed men. You must also consider Devon Thrann a murderer, for he was also responsible for the deaths of my innocent sailors. You cannot try someone for murder when they killed someone in the heat of battle, and for that, I am innocent." He stopped. Everyone's eyes were fixed on him.

He continued.

"But for the charge of high treason, I plead guilty. However, I am not guilty of treason!" His voice began to raise. "How can I be guilty of treason against a king that I have not pleged allegiance to? How can I be guilty of treason against a government that I am not a citizen of? How can I be guilty of treason against an oppressive empire that took away my home from me? My freedom? My land? A government that took all that away from my people?"

Many of the corsairs in the audience began to nod in approval. Many Gondorians began to shake their heads and scowl.

"But now you wonder why I plead guilty of treason. Because it is the best thing I can do for my people-to become a martyr to those future freedom fighters of the corsair cause, and for that I am willing to die! I AM GUILTY OF HIGH TREASON AND DEMAND THE MAXIMUM PUNISHMENT!"

Doran strod forward and spat into the judges face.

The audience was in an immediate uproar. The guards grabbed him and threw him down to the ground.
_______________________________________________

He stood at the scaffold, the noose around his neck. The men next to him read a piece of parchment.

"Captain Jythralo Doran. Being found guilty of high treason against the kingdom of Gondor, you have been sentenced to death by hanging."

The executioner tightened the noose. He felt the rope digging into his neck.

"Any last words?"

Doran looked out into the mass crowd. He saw Calnan, Callath, and Adeline standing in front of his scaffold, looking up at him. Doran stared back with his steel gaze. He gazed back up at the crowd, and noticed that it was mostly corsairs.

"CORSAIRS OF UMBAR! REMEMBER ME! REMEMBER MY CAUSE! REMEMBER MY SACRIFICE!"

And with that, the trap door beneath his feet opened up.

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Old 05-31-2004, 09:07 PM   #140
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Shield

The silence of the warm room was broken by an ominous crack from the brazier, and Telson shuddered.

Even while entombed by books, reclining in a soft wooden chair in the comfort of Emyn Arnen, he still could not get the last image of Jytharo Doran out of his head, his body limply swaying in the breeze. Had it been what he deserved? Of course it had. Was he a dishonorable wretch in life? Undoubtedly. But still, something about the man's eyes ere the trap door opened had stuck with Telson, and he couldn't seem to shake it. Which was all the more irksome, as the last time he checked on Callath and Calnan in the Minas Tirith, they were both happy and hale, if a little taller than he would have liked. And, from what he heard of Adeline, she was also doing well for herself, working in Umbar on restoring buildings lost during the rebellion.

Sighing, he returned to the ledger he was working on and felt the old sense of futility come over him. After Imrahil of Dol Amroth had taken control in Umbar, he had been shuffled back into the same drudgery as before, save that Culous, who had carried his letter and brought Gondorian reenforcements to the final battle with Doran, had insisted on staying in Ithilien to work for him. The boy's loyalty was touching, but Telson was beginning to regret allowing it. He was bored out of his mind, and the innkeeper's son only served to reminded him of that fact. Of all the things the Umbar assignment had been, it had never been dull.

As a hard rap on the door caused him to spill ink onto the ledger and his new quill, Telson called gruffly for the knocker to enter, but resolved for the fourth time that day to kill Culous if he was the one who walked in. However, the man that appeared was far taller, with a board, proud bearing and wearing a fine gray tunic that matched his eyes. Telson sat dumb for one precious moment of stunned disbelief before he rose to his feet and bowed low. "Sit back down, please." The man said curtly, and Telson obeyed as he watched his guest take in the office and look at several books before he sat down on the opposite side of Telson's small, paper-flooded desk. "To what do I owe this honor, my lord?" Telson asked, finding his tongue again and hardly daring to believe.

"No honor, but I was told you were the soldier in Umbar during Doran's rebellion." He replied, still looking around the office in modest interest. "Yes my lord, I was." Telson said, thinking first of the nauseating trip to Umbar, then of the quiet trip back. "Then may I ask a favor of you?" He said mildly, but something in his tone indicated a command and not a request. "Of course, my lord." Telson replied all too quickly, wondering after he spoke wether or not he had just earned himself a trip to Harad or Rhun or some other country that would be equally as dangerous as Umbar has been. " I don't believe you were ever asked to write a report on the subject. No?" Telson shook his head. "Well, I think it would help Prince Imrahil immensely to know what happened and some of the corsair mindset from a direct source and not a sailor who heard it from a friend of his, whose cousin's shipmate was there."

Both men smiled at that and Telson felt more at ease. "I would be glad to write it, my lord. I know firsthand just how untruthful sailors' cousin's shipmates are." The man laughed warmly, getting up and moving to the door. " I daresay you do. And please have the report in quickly, captain. This affair has piqued my personal curiosity, not to mention my wife's." He chuckled and shook his head, and Telson couldn't help but smile as he replied, "Then for the Lady Eowyn's sake, I shall have it done as promptly as it is in my power to do so, lord Steward." The man was halfway out the door, but nodded, "See to it," before he vanished down the corridor.

Telson cleared off the soiled ledger and the rest of his papers, letting them fall into a pile of parchment that seemed always to increase at an alarming rate. But at least now he had a proper excuse to put off the five or so records and lists he was supposed to be doing. Grabbing a clean sheet of parchment and running his hand through his hair, Telson dipped his quill in ink, and stopped for a long moment. He did not know why he was hesitating, he had acquitted himself well enough, although he regretted that in the last battle he had not been close enough to the rest of the party, that he had done nothing of note. The image of Doran's eyes as he cried out defiance to the last came to him, and then Devon's body laying limply on the beach.

He shook his head. The war was supposed to end all that. Men like Doran were supposed to retire and live out the rest of their days quietly, under the rule of those who had rightfully beaten them. Men like Devon were to supposed to grow, live in peace and leave the world better than they found it. "But nothing is ever as it's supposed to be" He said aloud, fingering the quill in something akin to disappointment and staring down at the paper on his desk. Many more Thranns would die for things to be as the ought. The least they deserved was to be remembered, he decided.

So Telson started to write, resolving to have the thing done by morning, Jythralo stood in the office of his seaside townhouse, staring absently at the message that lay open on the desk before him. However he stopped and hesitated for one more moment, then wrote a title above it:
The Tale of The Ambassador's Son.
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Old 06-02-2004, 11:20 PM   #141
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