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Old 06-19-2004, 05:02 PM   #321
mark12_30
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Dec 21, Amroth

Amroth looked southeast, at the mountains on the far horizon, and heaved a great sigh.

Erebemlin turned to him in surprise. "My lord?"

Amroth combed Echo's mane with his fingers, and shook his head. "Erebemlin, I have searched for the touch of her mind in both Dagorlad and Gorgoroth. I found few minds in either place, and none seemed familiar. It was a difficult search, far more difficult than searching Rohan and Fangorn; at least in Fangorn there were trees to ask. And now my heart misgives me, for I do not know where to turn next."

Erebemlin was silent for a little, and then said, "My lord, you wished to follow the river; yet you have not searched its banks. I do not understand why."

Amroth looked at Erebemlin. "If she is on the river, she will find us."

Erebemlin frowned, hesitating. "Only if she is looking for us, my lord. What if she is not? What if she does not desire to be found?"

Amroth's eyes kindled, and he raised one eyebrow. "Have a care, Erebemlin."

"Lord, I do not doubt her love for you. None who knew her, or you, would do so." He took a deep breath. "Perhaps, my lord, she has been hiding from all eyes. The years were dark. If she... There were many enemies roaming far and wide. To hide from them was wisdom, my lord. Many elves did so."

"Why would she close her mind?"

"Many minds were closed during the war, my lord. The enemy's thoughts reached far and wide, and sowed much discord. It was an evil time. Lorien herself wore a cloak after the girdle of Melian."

Amroth studied his friend, doubt in his eyes. "Even so?"

Erebemlin hesitated, then nodded. "The Lady Galadriel herself made it so."

Amroth looked away from his friend, and passed his hand over his eyes. His head hurt; his eyes hurt; his heart ached. Galadriel. What had she to do with Lorien? "I did not sense the Lady Galadriel's thoughts in the forest, nor a girdle blocking me, Erebemlin."

"My lord, when the Shadow was defeated she sailed west. She is in Valimar now, I deem."

Once more, Amroth's hand passed over his eyes, this time rubbing them. It felt strangely pleasant, and he rubbed harder. As Erebemlin watched, Amroth raised his other hand to his face, and scrubbed with both hands.

"My lord?"

Amroth finished and looked down at his hands, puzzled. "Why did I do that?"

Erebemlin waited.

"You say I do not wear an elvish body, Erebemlin."

Erebemlin nodded. "Yes, my lord."

"I begin to believe you. I have little strength, no endurance, frequent pain with no wound to cause it, and my eyes hurt. Often! Can you see anything in the sky over there?" He pointed southwestward.

Erebemlin turned. "Yes, my lord. Eagles, hawks. Some sparrows. A flock of crows further west."

Amroth shook his head. "I see them not."

Erebemlin waited.

"What shall I do, Erebemlin?"

Erebemlin replied, "You had hoped to find her along the great river. Let us search the river carefully as we follow it."

"But the choking, lifeless dust?"

"That was only your last dream, my lord. You have dreamed of the water many times, have you not?'"

Amroth nodded. "Very well. We will search the river." He closed his eyes again, and breathed deeply. Why was he so very weary?

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Old 06-19-2004, 06:40 PM   #322
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"Gwyllion!" he cried as he slapped her as hard as he could on the face. She did not stir, her face was white and pinched, as if the life had been sucked from her. His slap did nothing to her but leave a harsh red mark upon her cheek. Aeron cursed himself and said, "Gwyllion...Gwyllion! Wake up!"

He pulled his sister to his chest and smoothed her hair. It was tangled, mud clung to it, and there was some marsh weed strung through it. He rocked her and said, "Breathe you little idiot. You cannot live if you don't breathe."

Little Gwyll...why? Why did these bad things happen? Why had that slimy thing dragged her under in the deep, muddy, slimy water? Why had she even been that close to the dratted water in the first place? She should know better. It was unfortunate that she did not fear water as much as she feared blood.

What if she died? Would she be happier? He did not know. But what use was there screaming at it, ranting at it? His crying would not stop her from dying. If she died, she would no longer be plagued about her father, nor have to have spasms of fear rack through her at the sight of blood. "Breathe...please!" he whispered, hugging her.

Her body undulated upwards, forcing the swallowed water out of her body. She gasped for breath and clutched at Aeron. "Gwyllion!" he shouted, forcing her upright and wiping the water from her mouth. "You're alive!" Alive!

She nodded and said, "Yes-- the black thing was --"

If she wasn't careful she would talk herself back into the sickness. Typical of women. He put his hand over her mouth and said, "Shush you. Rest is what you need."

"But --"

Protesting, as usual. He rolled his eyes and said, "Make it quick."

"Is Raefindan all right?"

"Of course!" he snorted. "Now, you rest!"
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Old 06-19-2004, 09:06 PM   #323
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion's lungs burned as he forced air into them. He was shaking somewhat, much to his humiliation. He watched as Aeron revive Gwyllion, and his own breathing became somewhat easier. He had been terribly afraid that the girl was not going to wake up. She must have been under for a very long time. She was unbelievably fortunate to be alive.

He stripped off his sodden cloak, rolling his shoulders back to rid himself of all the cricks in his back. He looked about himself wearily to try to find something with which to wipe his sword on, but could find nothing. He was too tired to look very hard. The battle in the water, then trying to get far enough away from the water to be sure that they were safe...he was worn to the bone. He was sure that Gwyllion and Mellonin were, too.

Mellonin. He looked over to her. She was breathing heavily, obviously shaken, but in an admirably gathered state of mind. She too had been watching Aeron and Gwyllion, and was still doing so. Raefindan was standing by Gond, digging in the horse's saddlebags for anything that could be of use.

"You did well back there, Mellonin," Ravion said quietly, moving to her. She looked up at him and smiled wearily. "You saved us all."

"I could hardly have done anything else," she said simply. "I could not tell whether or not you were..." She broke off abruptly.

"Capable? Obviously not, by myself." He smiled at her. "Mellonin, I would be dead now if it had not been for you. So would Gwyllion. I thank you."

He stood up shakily, gripping the trunk of a tree to support himself. "Raefindan, get some of that green fennel-looking herb, would you? It will help with our nerves. Take some yourself. It has been a hard day for us all."
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Old 06-20-2004, 11:05 AM   #324
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Silmaril Raefindan

Raefindan was tired. Maybe his pneumonia had passed - and he wondered how the Elf had been able to remove it from his body so easily - but he was weakened and unable to be of much use. It had been torture to watch from land and be told to do nothing, although it had been the right decision on Ravion's part. At least they were all safe. He could not bear to lose Gwyllion, or any of them. It reminded him of his dream, having lost Mithrellas, which reminded him of another loss, which awakened deep pain in his gut. Angela.

Raefindan found the herbs Ravion required, and brought them to him. Ravion's hands were knowledgable in the use of them, though his fingers shivered with wet and cold. Jorje followed him from ranger to horse and back again, whining. He scratched the dog between his ears. Raefindan watched Ravion to see how he used the herbs.

"How does this herb work? What is it called?"

Ravion explained as well as he was able, his teeth chattering as he did, and Raefindan rehearsed the information to himself. He recalled having done such a thing many times before, but why or when or where, he could not recall. It did not matter for now.

"Ravion, you have a scratch on your upper arm." The ranger looked at his arm in some surprise, then turned back to Raefindan and asked him to find strips of cloth in his pack, to be used to cover his wounds. "I will tell you how to use them."

He returned to the horse packs and found blankets, Jorje tailing him, and gave one to Ravion, Gwyllion, and Aeron. Holding the last one, his thought turned to Mellonin.

Although each of them were weary and spent, it was important for Raefindan to speak to Mellonin. She sat on a dry hummock of grass, her legs crossed before her, her arms crossed in front, her entire body shivering from wet and cold. One arm had a nasty gash in the fabric, and Raefindan could see blood smearing under the wet cloth of her sleeve.

He knelt beside her and she looked up.

"You are wounded." She nodded, having seen it. "You should have said something."

"It does not hurt much, and Gwyllion's need was greater."

"You did well. I wish I could have helped." He lay the blanket around her shoulders while Jorje sniffed at her wet leggings. "I'll get more strips of cloth."

"My thanks."

Raefindan made another trip to Ravion's supply pack, Jorje doing an admirable imitation of his shadow, and returned to Mellonin. He tore the fabric of her sleeve away from the wound, and cleaned and dressed it, as Ravion had shown him.

"Mellonin, I have had dreams again. I think you should know them."

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 06-20-2004 at 11:32 AM. Reason: weather and wounds
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:02 AM   #325
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Dec 21

Mellonin's eyes closed. Dreams. Can we not have a restful nights' sleep? Must we always be haunted by longing, drownings, dust and despair?

She opened her mouth and was about to speak, when Ravion spoke. "We must move on. We are weak and weary, but I do not want to stay here near that..." he nodded towards the river. "The walk will warm us up, and later we will make a fire and dry our clothes. But first we must change into such dry clothes as we have." Ravion paused, and considered Raefindan. "We could go and ask the elf for a warm fire."

"I think not, " shuddered Raefindan.

He pointed at Gwyllion and Mellonin, and said "Gond's right side. Men on Gond's left side." THey struggled to their feet, separated as ordered, held blankets for each other and put on what dry clothing they had, hanging their wet things off of Gond's harness as best they could and using blankets as cloaks.

Mellonin marched in silence. Everyone still wore their wet boots, and they were glad when Ravion found a hollow between two low hills. Raefindan and Aeron collected firewood; Ravion started the fire; Mellonin gathered long sticks to hang their wet clothes on near the fire. The cloaks and boots dried slowly, and they sat in a tight circle around the fire warming their bare feet.

Suddenly Mellonin laughed aloud. "Halflings, barefoot and wandering! Four halflings and a man; Raefindan is Aragorn! This is Midgewater! Aeron, you shall be Peregrin, and Gwyllion, Meriadoc!"

"Nay, " chuckled Ravion, "Peregrin was the younger; Ernil i Periannath falls to Gwyllion."

"But Aeron is the rascal."

"Quite true! Very well, then!"

Once the laughter faded, Raefindan said, "So then who will be Samwise?"

"I will, " replied both Mellonin and Ravion; each glanced at the other, and looked away.

Raefindan hid a smile.

Mellonin looked up at him. Then she reached into her bag, and brought out a pen, and a bottle of ink. She shook it. It had held against the water. The papers were wet, and she laid them out by the fire; in the still air they did not stir. She brandished the pen in the air, and smiled grimly, and laid it beside the papers, smoothed her hair, and looked at Raefindan again. "I must hear of your dreams," she said, wriggling her toes nearer the fire. "Tell me your tale now."

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Old 06-23-2004, 05:45 PM   #326
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Silmaril Raefindan

"I must hear of your dreams," Mellonin said, wriggling her toes nearer the fire. "Tell me your tale now."

Raefindan sighed. Mellonin wanted the dreams told before all of them. Truth be told, they did not feel as if they belonged to him alone. Still, it was as if she was asking him to reveal dark secrets from his past from the witness stand.

"I dreamed that I was Imrazor. That I took Mithrellas to wife."

"Who are they?" asked Gwyllion.

"Old tales tell of Amroth and Nimrodel," Ravion said. "Amroth, king of Lorien, loved Nimrodel, who gave her name to the river flowing out of the Misty Mountains, and through Lorien until it joins the Silverlode. Amroth went over sea, and Nimrodel became separated from him. He was lost in the waves, and she was lost in the mountains. It is told that Imrazor found and took to wife Mithrellas, one of Nimrodel's serving women."

"You have almost told my tale for me, Ravion," Raefindan said. He widened his eyes and shook his head. I dreamed of finding and wooing her, and helping her to look for Nimrodel. We gave up hope and she consented to be my wife."

"Cunning scented?" One brow rose on Aeron's face. "What kind of smell is that?"

"Consented. It means, agreed."

"An odd word." Aeron frowned.

"No doubt!" Raefindan grinned. It's from a language you cannot know, my friend. "In my last dream, she left me and my son and my daughter, and ranged into the mountains, as if drawn by some call. Perhaps Nimrodel called her. She fell to her death. From a high cliff." Raefindan hung his head, for he did not want the others to see how his eyes welled. He rubbed them. "The smoke!" He stood and stretched. "So that is my dream. Make of it what you will." He sat back down.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:54 PM   #327
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Tolkien

"What were you doing beside the water?" asked Aeron, as he plopped himself down beside the water. "You weren't thinking of going for a swim, were you?"

"Yes. I wanted to swim in the nasty muck," Gwyllion said, rolling her eyes. She tossed her head, put her nose in the air, slided her eyes down at him and said, "I was investigating. "

He chuckled and tossed a pebble at her, which cuffed her on the ear. "That is a big word for you," he said, winking. "Did you hear it from Raefindan?"

"I should have stayed under the water and died," said Gwyllion, stifling a yawn. "You do not even seem to be grieved that I almost died."

[/i] Women were so sentimental.[/i] "But you didn't die," he said. "Why should I shed tears over something that didn't happen, eh? You're alive, and ripe for tickling, teasing, and all sorts of brotherly affection."

"Brotherly abuse, you mean," Gwyllion replied, throwing a pebble at him.

It flew wide the mark and Aeron laughed. Girls were such rotten shots. If objects didn't naturally go down towards the earth, she would even miss that. "Missed!" he chortled.

Frowning, she picked up another and threw again. This time he caugt it and said, "You're a hopeless cause, little Gwyll."

"That is because you caught it, brother." She sighed, and yawned.

"Are you tired?" he asked. He was tired too, though he didn't have a reason to be. He hadn't even had a chance to throw in a punch or two during the scuffle between the elf and ranger. But Gwyllion had had a near death experience including a bit of venom.

In answer she crawled toward him and put her head on his knees and closed her eyes. "What do you think I am -- a cushion?"

"A bony one, yes."

"Good night, Gwyll."
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Old 06-25-2004, 06:30 PM   #328
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

The morning rose quietly, sneaking up on Ravion like the creature in the water. It was almost as unwelcome.

He turned over, trying to block out the first rays of the sun, but it did not work. It never did. He sat up with an effort, his muscles stiff and his head throbbing. What time was it, he wondered? How long since he had fallen asleep? Had it really been any time at all? He groaned softly, so as not to wake up his companions, and went to Gond.

He stroked Gond's neck and took several deep breaths, struggling against the foggy feeling in his head. Gond looked at him soulfully and whinnied sympathetically. Ravion smiled faintly and set about making sure that everything they needed that was not in use currently was packed.

After he folded the now-dry clothes from the previous night, everything was. All that was left was to pack the blankets that they had used overnight. He would let the others sleep for a half hour, then they would have to go. He leaned his head against Gond and took some more deep breaths. It would take more than the poor night's sleep he had gotten to pull him through the day.
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Old 06-27-2004, 06:36 AM   #329
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Dec 22: Entwash Delta, Ravion's Ramblers

Mellonin pulled her coak up over her head. "It cannot be time to rise. Not yet."

No one replied. She huddled deeper under her cloak and blanket, thought better of it, opened one groggy eye partway, found the fire, and crawled towards it. When she could feel its heat through the blankets, she curled towards it and pulled her hood over her eyes again.

She heard Raefindan's racking cough not far away. Gond snorted. She thought she heard Ravion whisper; but he was always noiseless. She opened an eye and peered out, and saw Ravion moving through the mist, hooded and cloaked.

She closed her eyes again, snuggled closer to the fire, and drifted off.

Blistering heat. Caustic fumes. Dust and ashes. It was neither day nor night. She stood in a valley-- no, a crevasse; on both sides sheer cliffs rose. Bones were scattered about; skulls leered at her. Misty forms wafted past her, each one a wave of fear in her soul. Despite the heat she was chilled.

"Why have you left me? Why have you not returned for me?"

The cliffs echoed her cry. The skulls mocked her. The misty forms drew nearer, listening. Fear took her breath away; she grew faint, fighting for air.

" You cannot be false. I have been true. I have waited. Why have you not come?"

Darkness fell. The skulls glimmered in the unlight. The misty forms wove around her, and sometimes passed through her in an ancient dance; she writhed to avoid the touch of their clammy hands. Their hands met hers nonetheless. Every handclasp made her weaker. Each breath was a struggle.


"Mellonin, wake. It is but a dream. Hear me. Mellonin, wake."

"I will not wake, for waking is only torment. I wake to find that you are not here. Beloved, when will you come? Why have you not come? I will sleep forever and dream of you."

The dance quickened, and every touch brought a deadly chill to her hands, her arms. She was slipping, slipping. The dance wove around her. Every breath seemed her last. The chill neared her heart. She welcomed it.

"Yes, I will sleep; I will forget my despair in sweet dreams of my love. Come, dreams. Come, sleep of death; would that you would take me hence. But alas, you may not. I will dream til my love comes."

No longer were the misty forms taking her hands in the dance; now they seized her by the shoulders.

She was face to face with a skull; she shrank from it, closing her eyes, willing herself to dream of her love.


"Mellonin!"

"You are too gentle, Ravion." Aeron slapped her hard. Ravion glared at him.

Mellonin's eyes opened. Mouth open, choking for air, she stared wide-eyed at the faces hovering over her, shrank from the hands that held her.

"Mellonin, " pleaded Ravion.

Aeron raised his hand to slap her again, but Raefindan caught his wrist, and spoke. "Mellonin, it's us. Your friends. You're with us now. Ravion is here, Aeron is here, and Gwyllion. We won't hurt you. Remember us? You're awake now. You were dreaming. It was a dream."

Raefindan's soothing voice gradually brought her around. She sat up, looked at each one in turn, put her face in her hands, and slowly regained her breath.
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Old 06-27-2004, 07:02 AM   #330
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Night of Dec 21, morning & nightfall of Dec 22: Ædegard's troop: Banks of the Anduin

The night was clear and bitter cold. The horses' whiskers had frost on them. They camped near a small copse and made two large fires, and huddled together for warmth. Even the elves on watch stayed near the fires.

The next morning they woke cold and stiff, and hungry. Lembas had no appeal, but they used dried meat, fruit, and lembas to make a sort of breakfast stew. Cheered, they mounted and rode.

The river murmured and bubbled along its thin edges of creaking, crackling ice. Fallen leaves blew along the shore, and swirled along the river, eddying near rocks and shallows. The sky was clear, the midwinter sun had been bright but cold. Liornung had wrapped his fiddle in his spare shirt and stored it deep in his saddlebag. The sun went down; they could see their breath even in the twilight.

Careful search all along the bank had showed them nothing. Amroth let his thoughts roam further south; there were no elves here.

"Erebemlin, there are no elves along this riverbank."

"None with open minds, my lord. I do not think her mind is open. If she had opened her mind, would you not find her?"

Amroth considered his friend, and nodded. With a sigh, he said, "We will search the bank." He rode on, pondering. "But Erebemlin, when I first came, I thought I found her in dreams. I thought that I sensed her presence. Yet waking, I could not and cannot find her."

Erebemlin grew thoughtful. "Yet the nightmares weary you, my lord. Your body needs sleep or you will sicken as men do."

Amroth gazed ahead. "Do not think me ungrateful, friend. But perhaps you should lessen your guard over my sleep."

Erebemlin hesitated, and bowed his head. "As you will, my lord. Yet I would not see you weaken again. It is not many days since you first regained any strength."

"I will rest when I find her, " Amroth replied.

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Old 06-27-2004, 07:10 AM   #331
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Night of Dec 22: Nethwador

Nethwador listened as Amroth and Erebemlin talked. Their minds did not touch his, and all he heard was the words. He felt left out.

Nudging his horse, he trotted up between them. They looked at him, and Amroth's mind touched his.

"The night is cold; we will need a fire, " Nethwador reminded them.

Amroth laughed. "Yes, little brother; we will indeed. No doubt the horses will want some grass. How I do forget the comfort of my friends. I am sorry." His smiled gently faded, and he looked ahead in the twilight.

He shook his head. He could see little. He felt blind.

"Erebemlin."

Erebemlin answered gently. "There is a dead tree two miles hence, my lord. Enough to feed several fires."

They urged their horses into a trot, and made camp under the dead tree.

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Old 06-27-2004, 12:19 PM   #332
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Shield

Liornung's fiddle was out of his pack and he was carelessly drawing notes from it, pondering on the lesson of Nethwador and Bellyn earlier that day. He wondered where Nethwador would go when their travels were over. Liornung would dearly love to instruct him further on the art of music; Nethwador had deep talent.

Argeleafa was sitting by herself again. Liornung frowned and thought for a moment, and then his face brightened and he gestured to her, calling her name. She came a little closer. "Argeleafa, we have given everyone a chance to sing except you," he said, shaking his head. "I am most ashamed of myself." He picked up his bow and ran it down the strings once. "Would you sing while I play?"

"What would you have me sing?" she asked, glancing at Ædegard. He smiled encouragingly at her and she grew in confidence.

"Name a tune," replied Liornung. She blushed slightly, leaned forward, and whispered something in his ear. He nodded and began to play a sad and mysterious tune. Argeleafa sang thus:

"My young love said to me, 'My mother won't mind
and my father won't slight you for your lack of kind.'
She stepped away from me and this she did say:
'It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.'


She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair
and fondly I watched her move here and move there;
and then she turned homeward with one star awake
like the swan in the evening moves over the lake.


The people were saying, no two e'er were wed
but one had a sorrow that never was said
and I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
and that was the last that I saw of my dear.


Last night she came to me, my dead love came in.
So softly she came that her feet made no din.
She laid her hand on me and this she did say:
'It will not be long, love, 'til our wedding day.'"
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Old 06-28-2004, 07:28 PM   #333
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Ædegard

As Ædegard listened to the sweet voice of Argeleafa, the words of her song bit deep. He knew the tune, for it was one he had heard before among the Rohirrim. But these words were new, and he knew in his heart that these were the best words he had ever heard matched to that tune.

He rose and crossed to where Argeleafa was sitting. He stretched his hand to her.

"Walk with me for a little while." His voice rose on the final word, giving the suggestion of a request. She looked up to his face and hers blushed visibly in the firelight. She laid her hand in his and he drew her up. He offered her his arm, and she laid her hand in the crook of his elbow, and they walked a little way beyond the camp. They were quiet as they walked. His heart lifted as he felt her warmth next to him. He stopped and turned.

"Your voice is sweet as honey. And those words! I loved them! May it not come true, though, for I would rather you were alive than dead."

She looked away with a smile, and he was abashed at his words, for in them he had spoken far more than he had a right to say.

"I am sorry. I have no right to say such things."

"I do not mind," she said, her voice still as sweet and lilting as it had been in the song, as if she were still echoing it in her mind. She looked up at him, her face pale and serene beneath a slivered moon. "There is time aplenty to see how we will fare."

They continued their circuit around the camp. Ædegard asked her to teach him the words to the song, which she did.

As they lay down to sleep, each in their own cloak, the song flitted, verse by verse, through Ædegard's mind until he dozed and dreamed of a fair maiden who walked on a hill, and through whose form he could see the moon.

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Old 06-28-2004, 07:37 PM   #334
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December 23: Erebemlin

Erebemlin, as requested, did not watch over Amroth’s sleep during the night, instead he watched him from a short distance in hopes the king would dream of the lady once more. If this happened, the elf might be able to gather more clues of her whereabouts. Amroth, however, slept without showing any signs of troubling dreams.

The night wore to morning and the wind picked up chilling the campers to the core. The elves worked diligently to keep the fire blazing as a source of comfort, but it helped little as the wind whipped through their blankets and whistled in their ears. Their breakfast was bleak and cold, and they talked of finding real meat for their dinner. Soon the campers repacked their horses and were ready to ride. Erebemlin brought forth a flask of miruvor and insisted each of the travelers take a mouthful to warm their bodies and spirits for the journey ahead.

Erebemlin rode silently beside Taitheneb for most of the morning. The younger elf sang softly of the warmer seasons, and the elder let the song comfort his mind as he kept his eyes moving along the river’s shores.

After several miles, Erebemlin rode forward to accompany Amroth. The two nodded a silent greeting.

“Erebemlin…” Amroth began hesitantly. “Yesterday, I asked something of you, and I do not believe you obeyed me.”

Erebemlin was visibly taken aback. “My lord?”

“I asked you to take your hold from my sleep, mellon, but I slept as though you were still watching over them.” Erebemlin opened his mouth to protest, but Amroth continued. “I understand you want me to have restful sleep, but if my dreams are the way to find her…you must let me dream.” Amroth turned from the river and met Erebemlin’s injured expression.

“I am sorry, my lord, but I did not watch over your sleep…” The ellon paused momentarily. “I have watched over you for many nights now. It is possible the blanket I laid over your dreams lingers.”

Amroth considered this and then nodded. “Please accept my apology, mellon. I should have trusted your faithfulness and obedience. Forgive me.”

“Of course, my lord.”

The company continued their ride down along the river, taking small breaks periodically for food and stretching. Once nightfall came they stopped and made a small camp.

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Old 06-29-2004, 06:26 PM   #335
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Dec 23: Nethwador

Nethwador remembered that Ædegard and Argeleafa had walked around the outskirts of the camp the night before. He had envied them, a little. He cast a long, hopeful look towards lady Bella.

She blushed, and looked down, and then spoke to Liornung. "Perhaps another song, or tune? The fire is cheerful, and company of many friends is brighter still."

Nethwador understood her tone if not her words, and knew that she felt unsafe. He was still wild, still unknown, still unpredictable.

But all that could change. He glanced over the grass, then made a wry face. Flowers in midwinter! He must find another offering. In the dark? He made another wry face. He had nothing to give and no light to find a gift by.

He stood, and slowly approached the fire. Liorning and Bella looked up, and smiled to see him approach. He slowed, halted beyond arm's reach, and sat down, gazing at the shimmer of the firelight on her hair and her face.

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Old 06-29-2004, 06:34 PM   #336
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Shield Evening of Dec 23; Liornung & Argeleafa

The company had grown more silent as time wore on, and Liornung felt this keenly. Perhaps it was because of the lands that they travelled. He could not say, but he missed the cheerful songs they had traded and the words that had spoken to each other. Once again his mind drifted towards the Inn at Edoras, and, disturbed, he tried to push the thoughts away. Why did his mind consistently travel to wander through the bright halls of the Inn, to seat itself by the blazing fire and bask in its glow, speaking words of comradeship to Good Secgrof and making pretty Blostma laugh by his ridiculous little tunes? Why, when his life had ever been on the road? He loved the road still and he did not want to abandon it... why did he feel urged to?

"It is the weariness of this long journey, nothing more," he murmured to himself. "Ever before in my travels have I stopped in a lighted inn to sing the night away, and here I have travelled day and night without sight of a home, and ever on and on with no seeming end, and no one in sight save my own companions." It was not that he did not enjoy the company of his friends, but they were too few faces. He wanted an inn full of the faces of friends, not a barren wasteland with only a few familiar faces. He wanted to see little children hanging onto his every word and gazing in awe at the way he played his fiddle.

He chuckled slightly and he remembered the fiddle lesson. Bellyn and Nethwador were children, and Argeleafa was also a child. The way Bellyn and Argeleafa had sat at his feet to hear his songs, and the way Nethwador had played the fiddle with unsure but eager hands... it was what Liornung had grown to love. Well then, he would satisfy himself with what he had. It was, he thought better to have but a few faces of friends than faces of many he did not know.

Bellyn sat not too far from him, and Nethwador had wandered towards them, gazing at Bellyn with hope. It warmed Liornung's heart and his dark thoughts vanished. He held out a hand to the young lad, a friendly, offering hand. "Come, Nethwador," he said, his voice encouraging. "Come sit by me, and sit by the lady Bellyn."

Argeleafa lay awake, huddled in her cloak and gazing up at the stars, her golden tresses spread about her head. She was not sleepy but there seemed nothing else to do. She considered the words that Ædegard had spoken the previous night, and blushed warmly again at the remembrance of them. But she was not now, as she had not been then, displeased by those words. Rather she thrilled in them and was pleased.

She heard Liornung speaking from where he sat with Bellyn, and she propped herself on her elbows and gazed in that direction. Perhaps she would find company there. She stood and pulled her cloak tightly about her shoulders, seeking warmth from it and the fire. Softly she went to Liornung and sat down beside him. He smiled at her. Feeling that she had been in some way welcomed, she sat easily in their company though she said nothing. Ædegard was not too far off, and he was looking at her. She met his eyes and smiled a shy little smile, contemplating the way the firelight flickered across his features.

Nethwador had hesitated and Liornung gestured again. "Come, Nethwador," he said. "I fear it is too late for a fiddle lesson, but we would not grudge you to sit in our company."

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Old 06-29-2004, 07:09 PM   #337
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Dec 23: Nethwador

Nethwador looked at Liornung, and understood the welcome in his eyes. Blond or not, he was easy to like.

He smiled, and listened to the talk. He did not understand it, but he was warmed as much by the acceptance as by the fire.

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Old 06-30-2004, 09:57 AM   #338
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Shield Night of Dec. 23; Liornung

Liornung tried not to show himself particularly conscious of Nethwador's presence in an attempt to make the young lad feel more a part of their company. The others were there and Liornung felt grateful for it, but he merely relaxed in their company and did not show any excessive joy in one or the other being there. He did not want Nethwador to feel differently from the group by having more focus put on him, nor did he wish Nethwador to be ignored, so he spoke idle words that concerned everyone, occasionally directing a question to one person but in a general way that offered others to join in.

An idea formed in his mind, and he sat up straighter, intrigued. Good Secgrof had mentioned lightly and perhaps only in jest that he wanted Liornung to compose a ballad of his adventures. Yet as he considered it the idea did not seem too terrible a one. He reflected on what he knew, and regretted what he did not.

"Ædegard," he called gently, beckoning the young man to him. "Ædegard, I would desire to know a deeper history of this 'adventure' we are on. I confess I know only what I have lived through, and nothing of what has happened previous. Tell me in your words what has happened before I arrived in the song."

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Old 06-30-2004, 02:02 PM   #339
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Bella had smiled politely when Nethwador had joined them around the fire. She did not quite know how she really felt about Nethwador, and if she had any fleeting opinions they all conflicted and contradicted one another. Argeleafa smiled weakly, a timid look about her as the dark-skinned boy took a seat between Liornung and Bella. Liornung did his best to include everyone in his conversation, and through his warm tone of voice he also made certain not to exclude Nethwador.

Looking over at Nethwador quietly and calmly, Bella considered how he had transformed since they had met. The Gondorian lady remembered how Nethwador, then called 'Pig', had so violently greeted the companions of Amroth. Ferocity shone in his eyes and desperation colored his cheeks. Keeping this image and first impression in her mind Bella examined Nethwador again. He had also been called Mellon, and now Nethwador, and his features had taken on a glow that was much softer than it had once been. His smile sang of childhood and his eyes seemed willing to learn about the people around him.

"Argeleafa," Bella beckoned, just as Liornung called to Ædegard. The Rohirric girl looked up from her blank stare and met Bellyn's gaze, nodding slowly. "I wish to know how you feel...I have not spoken to you much since our meeting...what do you think of our company? On this journey I sometimes feel like I am no help to wherever Amroth goes. Do you think that each of us will play some part? Perhaps we are only on this journey to learn something for ourselves. If so, I am rather anxious and ready to know what it is! What say you?"

As Bella waited for an answer, she smiled kindly to Nethwador next to her and then sent the smile over to Argeleafa as the young woman contemplated an answer.
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Old 06-30-2004, 03:25 PM   #340
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Shield Night of Dec. 23; Argeleafa

Argeleafa reflected upon Bellyn's words before answering. When she did speak her voice was heavy, as if she were weighing her words carefully. "I cannot say, Bellyn, if we are any help to the company or not, for I do not quite know what we are journeying for. Yet I believe that even if we bring no help in wisdom or skill with weapon, you at least have done much in other respects. Your songs have soothed Amroth when he is troubled, and pleased Liornung the bard, and your mere presence teaches Nethwador to act more kindly to us than the first day. Your songs have cheered me, also, for I have been troubled of late."

She studied the twirling, dancing flames of the fire before continuing. "I feel as though none of us can help Amroth, whatever his trouble may be, except the Elves. We can bring him companionship and comfort through kind words and cheery songs, yet I do feel that aside from that I at least am helpless." She bit her lip and dropped her head. "I fear I have been no help or comfort to the company," she murmued softly, "but merely a trouble. Liornung was kind indeed to take me from the wayfarers, but it brought an ignorant, foolish little girl upon your heads to torment you into weariness by her very presence, for she is so ignorant and foolish that she cannot take care of herself and needs others to watch after her."

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Old 06-30-2004, 08:48 PM   #341
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Shield Ædegard

"Ædegard," Liornung said, "I would desire to know a deeper history of this 'adventure' we are on. I confess I know only what I have lived through, and nothing of what has happened previous. Tell me in your words what has happened before I arrived in the song."

"I wish that I could tell you more than I can. All I can offer of worth is what happened to me."

He told Liornung of the great snowfall, of digging his way out of his house and building a snow fort, soon accompanied by others, and before long there was a snowball fight of mythic proportions! And Mellon, as Ædegard had known him then, was among his allies. When they tired of the snowball fight, they had retreated to the Inn for some warm brews. Mellon was already coming down with a bad cold then. It was not long before he was fevered, and taken to a room to be cared for. When he woke, he spoke as Amroth, though Ædegard had not known it then. Ædegard had not been sure whether Mellon was being overly clever, or was truly in another mind, as it were, but Bêtheberry, the innkeeper, had told him to be Mellon's friend, for more was at stake than one might seem. Soon Mellon, or Amroth, had departed, and Ædegard had grumbingly pursued - as the thaw set in. A day later he had met Liornung and Bellyn.

"So I remember him before he was Amroth." Ædegard cast his glance to him, and Liornung saw his troubled expression. "I wonder how the young man fares, or whether he is even inside that body anymore, and I wonder if he will ever return."

Liornung nodded gravely. "My thanks, Ædegard. I can imagine some light stanzas as well as dark. It will give some heft to the song."

"I hope not so much that it weighs it down too much!"

Liornung laughed. "Fear not, friend, I do not think I am capable of that!"

Ædegard smiled, and believed that Liornung was right about that. He turned an listened as Bella and Argeleafa exchanged words, and listened with dismay at Argeleafa's final words: "...an ignorant, foolish little girl upon your heads to torment you into weariness by her very presence, for she is so ignorant and foolish that she cannot take care of herself and needs others to watch after her."

"Speak not so, Leafa!" Ædegard's voice rang in the darkness so that it surprised him, but he went on. "It galls me that you think so of yourself! I could never weary of your company. I-" Words failed him. He looked at the others, who were watching him, and cast caution to the wind. Never had he sung before others before. With others, surely, but not alone. His voice quavered at first, but he gained confidence and his voice gained strength, though he was careful to keep his song quiet so that only the humans sitting together could here - unless Elven ears harkened better than he was used to.

Last night she came to me, my dead love came in.
So softly she came that her feet made no din.
She laid her hand on me and this she did say:
'It will not be long, love, 'til our wedding day.'


"Leafa, you brought such beauty amongst us. I'm sure Liornung and Bella, and Nethador, too, think as do I, we would not have it any other way than you here with us."
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:15 AM   #342
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Shield Night of Dec. 23; Argeleafa & Liornung

Argeleafa's face paled at the words of Ædegard as she stared unmovingly at him, and then a deep flush came to her face and a faint smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. "Thank you, Ædegard," she murmured. She fell silent and reflected once again on what he had said to her, and how he had called her 'Leafa.' A tear sprang to her eye before she could stop it, and glistened a moment in the firelight. Then she bowed her head and put a hand to her face as if to brush a strand of hair away. She hoped no one had seen the tear, for the might think it was one of sorrow, but it was not.

The eyes of the company were still on her, and Liornung realized that he should draw attention away from them. He turned to Ædegard, a teasing little smile on his face. "Ædegard, why did you not tell us of your great skill in song?" he questioned. "One would not have guessed your voice from the way you sang the rhyming songs you worked to compose. So hesitatingly you sang them, as if doubting yourself. Come," he said, the mischief clearly glinting in his eyes now, "and sing us another song before our eyes begin to close with the weariness of the day and we creep away to satisfy our desire for rest."

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Old 07-01-2004, 07:25 PM   #343
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Shield Ædegard

Ædegard grinned. "If you thought I was trying to sing then, it is no wonder you thought my efforts were so poor! I was only trying to give strength to the words!"

Liornung looked at him in momentary confusion, then threw back his head in laughter. "That is a good jest, my friend. More fool me. If that be the case, then your singsong poeting should have been a clue to me that you might have a singer's voice. So sing us another song!"

Ædegard's head sank almost between his knees and he looked sidelong at Leafa. He mumbled something.

Liornung bent his ear toward Ædegard. "What's that? I could not hear you."

"I cannot think of any songs." Ædegard looked askance at Leafa again. "I am sorry."
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Old 07-01-2004, 07:31 PM   #344
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White-Hand Tharonwe, swamp elf

Tharonwe listened to the humans, not far off in the swamp. Children, all of them. They had survived the swamp beast, more the pity. He had heard the one's dreams from far off, and had wondered. The curse was at work again. It had been hundreds of seasoncycles since its power had been felt. Why now? Because the Dark Lord's waxing had ended. That must be it.

So this boy dreams of Mithrellas, and of himself as Imrazor, while he is in a fever. Tharonwe considered how dreams came to this boy whose red hair placed him if anywhere, among the half civilized humans that dwelt between Eryn Lasgalen and Ered Mithrin north of Lothlorien. But he was tall as the Elves. Strange. Yet this one seemed a part of the curse.

Unless some force sought to undo it, after all these seasoncycles? Tharonwe's brow lowered in growing anger. Who did this? It must not be undone! She had spurned him and claimed Amroth, upstart of Lothlorien, as her lover. They could not be allowed to reunite. She needed to remain where she was until all things that needed to pass, did so, and then - then! - he would claim her and win her heart, she who had captured his long ago. There was no one else for him to love, only Nimrodel. Sweet name, fair heart, turned to the wrong Elf. Cruel fate had cast Tharonwe's love in his face with a mocking laugh. He had believed in Nimrodel's true heart. And it had been false. She had spoiled his faith in her. Others would say that she was true indeed, and to the better elf. Tharonwe scowled. Cruel fate had dictated his bitterness, not an upstart king of Elves too fearful to protect themselves as he had done for ages now.

So be it. Tharonwe would have the final laugh, and would have Nimrodel in the end.

He fed the two young humans dark dreams. Feed them long enough and they would cower from sleep, would give up on their quest to piece together the puzzle of the dreams that had come to them true. He would have to find out who it was that had given them these dreams, find out what power in Middle Earth worked against his curse. The Valar? If so, only through one of the cursed Istari, but that was unlikely.

Tharonwe knew enough of what had passed in the world beyond his swamp to understand that the world had changed, and the ages of the Elves were past. And that the new King in Gondor had ended the curse of the dead men of Dunharrow. Maybe this Elessar's power over death and shadows had something to do with it. Maybe the tales lied. Tharonwe would have to learn what he could from these children.
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Old 07-01-2004, 07:31 PM   #345
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Dec 22: Entwash Delta, Ravion's Ramblers

Mellonin slowly withdrew her hands from her face. Looking up at Aeron, she drew a deep breath, and glanced at Raefindan and Gwyllion.

Ravion slowly let go of her shoulders, and drew back. She did not look at him. Mellonin turned towards Gwyllion with beseeching tear-filled eyes, and reached for her.

"What ails you, Mellonin?" said Gwyll, puzzled.

Raefindan knelt near them both. "What dreams, Mellonin? Tell me."

Her white face turned towards him, and she shook her head.

"It's over, " he said. "It was just a dream. Nothing more."

"I am not so certain, " she quavered. "It seemed quite real, and when I awoke--" Horror filled her eyes again, and her composure fled beyond recall. She curled up and sobbed. Aeron snorted in disgust and walked away to gether his things. Gwyllion hesitated, then followed him. Ravion sat back on his heels, and looked on as Raefindan waited beside Mellonin, one hand on her wrist.

Tempted to rise and finish packing, Ravion hesitated as he studied them: one sick in body, the other sick in heart.

"Shall we march, or rest, Raefindan? What think you?"

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Old 07-01-2004, 08:19 PM   #346
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Silmaril Raefindan

"Shall we march, or rest, Raefindan? What think you?" Ravion asked.

It was not as easy a question as it might have seemed to someone looking in from outside. Raefindan allowed a fleeting grin to pass over his face, for that kind of thought was quite alien to this place called Middle Earth, which was not his home. Raefindan focused his attention. Mellonin's dream was not merely troublesome. This was worse. It reminded him of how he had felt when the Elf had forced him to dream. If that was so.....

"We must be away from here, Ravion," he said suddenly, with more force than he had used in any speech for a long time. "I do not trust that Elf, nor the beast in the waters."

"Mind you, Raefindan, you are weak, and we have all barely escaped with our lives."

"All the more reason to leave this place, which I think you know."

"Aye."

Raefindan helped Ravion to encourage the others to move. Aeron, kicking at a bit of turf, looked at Mellonin down his nose. Gwyllion stamped up to him and punched him on the shoulder.

"The real men in this group do not turn up their noses at a woman's sorrow, and neither should you, you beastly boy!"

Aeron made to swing back at her, but she ducked out of reach. "Little you know, Gwyllion, and I am older than you and know more of the ways of the world."

"Hah!"

"It is time to move your feet and not your mouths!" Ravion called over his back as he checked Gond's pack.

Jorje was sniffing at Mellonin's hand and face, eager to lick her salty tears.

"Come, Jorje," said Raefindan. Jorje wagged his tail. Raefindan patted his head, and knelt before Mellonin. "Come, my friend, let us put some distance between us and that Swamp Elf and his evil dreams." He offered her his hand.

Mellonin looked to him. "Do you think that my brother is not dead?" She placed her hand in his, and he lifted her to her feet.

"I cannot say, but a dream dreamed in this swamp is no clear arbiter." They began to follow the others, Jorje tailing them, his tongue lolling happily.

"No clear hour bitter? What do you mean?"

"Pay no mind. It is one of my odd words. What I mean to say is that I would not trust a dream dreamed here." Mellonin nodded. "We will not travel far."
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Old 07-02-2004, 11:40 AM   #347
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Liornung laughed again and clapped Ædegard on the shoulder. "What a little boy you are," he said, his voice full of mirth. "Come, come, surely you do not take so seriously the teasing of an old man." As he had often done since he had left Edoras with Bellyn, he winked at the lass.

Ædegard looked at Argeleafa again and she smiled. "Perhaps," she said, "if you cannot entertain us with song and music you might tell us a little story."

"Yes," said Liornung, looking with approval at Argeleafa. "What a wise little lassie you are! You told me a story just moments ago, Ædegard, and you told it in a way that captured my attention. Tell another story." He flung his hands out wide. "Laugh in a manner that makes others laugh too. Do something to entertain us. Argeleafa," he said, turning to her, "make a request of him. Surely he will endeavour to please you."

She paused and considered a moment, and then her face brightened and she said to Ædegard, "Tell us about your family."
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Old 07-02-2004, 09:53 PM   #348
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion kept a wary eye on his surroundings as they put as much distance between themselves and the elf as possible. Every noise made him jump, from small creatures around them to Gwyllion's chatter from the back of the group. His knuckles were white from the tight hold he had on Gond's lead.

His ankle still throbbed occasionally from the memory of the beast's tentacle, and a chill would pass over him briefly. He knew the same must be happening to Aeron, Gwyllion, and Mellonin, and that Raefindan would be going through something similar. The previous night had been an ordeal.

Perhaps he was leading them poorly. He rubbed his temples when the thought came to him. Why had he allowed Mellonin and Gwyllion to stay there, by the water? He should have sensed that there was something in the water. Why had he not come back faster with Raefindan? Why had he allowed Gond to bolt with Raefindan in the first place? Why had he--

Gond snorted, bringing Ravion back to reality. He looked back, and his companions were all still wrapped up in conversation. His companions. He was supposed to be leading them. Could he still do it?

He was not sure.
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Old 07-03-2004, 12:09 PM   #349
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White Tree

Gwyllion sidled down to Mellonin and took her hand. "My brother says that dreams are vapourish mists. They make monsters out of trees and ghosts out of squirrels."

Aeron, who had followed his sister, added, "Yes, don't care a fig for them."

There he was again, saying weird things. She tried to remember if Raefindan had ever used the phrase and he must have. Yes...he said it a week ago. How could her brother remember things for so long? She shook her head. What an amazing brother.

"I had nightmares once," said Gwyllion.

"And she was silly enough to believe them," finished Aeron, playfully punching her in the shoulder.

She slapped him back and said, "But....they were real, but they were not not true."

She looked at Mellonin's drawn face, pale and white, her eyes rimmed with spidery red lines, and hoped that she had comforted her. She swallowed, and swiftly enwrapped her in a brief hug. "If your brother is alive," she whispered, "Ravion will find them."

"But I think it would best to prepare yourself to find him lost in the head or dead at the worst," said Aeron. "That way you won't be shocked to find him either mad or dead and if he is alive and well, you will be pleasantly surprised, shocked and delighted."
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Old 07-03-2004, 07:41 PM   #350
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Shield Ædegard

"A story of my family." Ædegard considered. "I will tell you of how I got my sister."

"Why, I would think," Liornung deadpanned, "it was most likely by the normal means, friend Ædegard!"

"That it was not." Ædegard glanced around the group. Bella tilted her head and narrowed her eyes, as if wondering what other way there was. Liornung raised his brow. Leafa met his eyes and waited for him to continue. Nethador watched the others, pulling at the brown grass, glowering with obvious frustration at not being able to understand what befell.

"I was not my parents' first baby. They have told me that I was the fifth, but the only one to live beyond my first month. Six babies more my parents tried to bring into the world, but none others of them survived. Only I, and a sickly babe I was, to hear them tell it. Mama pined for a girl child, and Papa wanted to give her one that would live, but it was not to be. Maybe it was the dark and stuffy wheelwright shop that sickened Mama each time, and sickened me in my first year. I know not.

"Mama's sister, Aunt Penda, and her husband, Uncle Théobald, lived out west by the Isen, where they kept herds at the feet of the Thrihyrne, just beyond the Gap of Rohan. When I had seen twelve summers, they died in an attack by Dunlendings. My cousin, Théolyn, would have been murdered with them, but she had been sent into the foothills of the Thrihyrne to tend the sheep, and the Dunlendings did not search up there. 'Twas her good fortune, and ours, though we all grieved the loss of her Penda and Theobald. The elder of the folk beyond the gap sent word to Edoras, and so we learned of Théolyn's orphanage. We gave word that we would take her in, and she was brought to us. Since then it has become easy to call her sister. I often forget that she is only cousin. It matters not, for she brightens our dark home, and Mama's spirits. If not for her, we would find it hard to care for Papa, who is now too sick to work.

"Forgive me for telling you such a sad story, but it is not all sad. I am glad that Théolyn is home to care for my parents." Ædegard frowned. "I should be there, too. I have been away too long already." He looked to Leafa, words hovering on his lips, but he left them unsaid, and stared at the ground between his knees.

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Old 07-05-2004, 11:59 AM   #351
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Mellonin, Entwash Delta, Afternoon/Evening of Dec 22

The comfort she recieved from Gwyllion was destroyed by Aeron's comment. She turned away from him. For the rest of the march she was silent, eyes on the ground. Raefindan walked beside her. Ravion had given Gond's lead to Aeron, who now walked in the rear, bickering with Gwyllion; Ravion strode northwest. They crossed another stream, with little enthusiasm, and marched on til they found another dead tree and a place for a campfire, and once again dried their boots and their feet.

"We may as well rest here for the night, " said Ravion, looking at Mellonin.

She nodded, and did not look up.

Ravion took Gond off to one side, stripped him and groomed him vigorously. Raefindan looked on for several moments; Gond's lips twitched in bliss as Ravion found one itchy spot after another. Then Raefindan spoke to Mellonin.

"You've hardly spoken to the ranger for several days now. We have been through much that should draw us together." He studied her.

"What of it?" she said.

"You are worried about your brother, I know. But so is he, " said Raefindan. "Perhaps you should tell him of your dreams."

"No!" she snapped. All heads turned and looked at her; Jorje put his ears back and whined, wagging his tail.

"Good dog, " soothed Raefindan. "Stay. Good dog." Ravion returned his attention to Gond. Aeron and Gwyllion resumed bickering.

"Perhaps then you should talk to him about the weather, " he continued in a whisper.

Mellonin drew her knees to her chin, staring at her toes and then at the fire. "Why should I talk to him?"

Raefindan shook his head, nonplussed. He opened his mouth to say in frustration, because it is rude not to, when a new thought hit like a locomotive. Raefindan stopped dead in his thought: locomotive? An image came to mind that did not fit in this world at all, but the feeling he was left with rocked him as he sat. He looked at Ravion, then back to Mellonin, then at Ravion again, and back to Mellonin, and nodded his head. Because you fight against your heart.

Mellonin looked up at Raefindan, annoyed by his silence. "He is a strong man. He needs nothing from me, " she said.

Raefindan's eyebrows went up. "Do you wish it were otherwise?"

Her eyes flashed. "How dare you ask me this?"

He shifted, and relaxed. "Well, perhaps because my life depends on all of you, and each of yours depends on each other. And Mellondu's life depends, I believe, on all of us."

Her face twisted and her eyes filled with tears. She felt a strong desire to strike him. "You... " She made fists of her hands.

Raefindan looked up.

"Is all well?" Ravion asked, drawing near.

"Yes, " replied Mellonin through clenched teeth, wishing again that she could lash out at Raefindan.

Ravion halted two paces away from Mellonin, and gazed at her, glancing occasionally to Raefindan. She said nothing. Her face reddened, and she knew it, and put her brow on her knees.

Ravion waited a few moments, and then glancing again at Raefindan, he stepped backwards for several paces, and returned to Gond.

Raefindan would not give up. "You could at least thank him for his efforts to date." His eyes twinkled, and the corners of his mouth curled upwards.

She seethed. Men. Sages and kings all, each seeing their whim as law! Is there no fleeing the rule of men? Not Raefindan, not Ravion, not that rash, selfish, proud little boy who thinks himself wiser than his moonstruck little sister!
His little sister, indeed, was wiser in all her madness than he. The thought made her smile. She wiped away a tear, tempted to fling that latest thought in Aeron's face. But Raefindan still watched her. Thank him... he certainly deserves my thanks. "If I do, will you leave me alone?"

"For an hour, perhaps." He grinned at her.

A smile fought with her tears for control of her face. "Oh, you beast. Raefindan, you are a beastly... beast!"

His grin broadened. "So how do you say "Red-Haired Beast?"

She swiped her tears of fury with her sleeve, stood, glared at him again (still fighting the smile), squared her shoulders, and strode towards Ravion.

You fool. What are you doing? You will regret this. Say nothing to him. You will only embarrass yourself more deeply than ever. Do not look at him, do not speak to him.

'Thank you for what you've done." she said. She could think of nothing more to say, and the silence thundered in her mind.

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Old 07-05-2004, 07:28 PM   #352
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Tolkien

Women. They were so...annoying. Yes. That's it. Fickle as the wind. Mad one moment, happy the rest. And then they expected the men to keep up with them. He rolled his eyes.

"Poor Mellonin."

"She's taking everything too hard," said Aeron. "If he dies, he dies....everybody dies. It has to happen sooner or later." Yes. That was it. Women didn't like the truth.

"I can see my grave would not have been watered by your tears," said Gwyllion, scowling.

"I also think it silly to mope about mourning for the dead," said Aeron. "Like you have for our father. The dead do not return, no matter how hard you cry."

Gwyllion stopped, her eyebrows carved in a viscious frown, and said, "You do not know if our father is dead!"

Trying to deny the truth as usual. What was it with her. "He is not coming back!" he shouted.

"He is too!"

"Well, then why hasn't he come back after all these blasted years, Gwyll! Either he's dead or he hates us. I think it is the latter and I don't care if I never see him again."

"You are despicable."

Gwyllion spat at him and then trotted over talk with Raefindan. What was wrong with her? She was living and dwelling in the past like a fool. She could waste away her life for all her cared.
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:38 PM   #353
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Night of Dec. 23, ~100 mi north of Rauros

Amroth lay on his back, stargazing with his shortsighted eyes while he searched the riverbanks over and over and over with the eyes of his heart. She was not here; not if her thoughts were open.

And what if Erebemlin was right? What if her thoughts were closed? What if she had closed them for fear of the Dark Lord, and not opened them again?

A thousand years, he reminded himself. A thousand years had passed since he had leapt from the ship. A thousand years...

His reason revolted against it. How could he have waited a thousand years to come back for his love, his breath, his soul, his very life? It could not be true. And yet, his heart did not doubt it was; not when he studied Erebemlin; a thousand years of Erebemlin's memory lay between now and Erebemlin's last farewell to Amroth. It was no lie.

So where had the thousand years gone? Was he a thousand years in the water? That could not be. Had he been a thousand years under some spell? Or some restraint? Somehow that felt nearer the mark, and yet how could an elf be so restrained for so long, and not know it? Where else but--

Mandos.

A searing pain went through his mind, and panic gripped him; just as quickly, a soft fog settled over his thoughts. He retreated as puzzled as a dog chastened by a kitten. He shook his head, and rubbed his weak eyes, squinting at the stars; why could he see so little? And why did... What had he been thinking? He had been nearer to solving some puzzle, and now he had forgotten the question that had so intrigued him.

It did not matter. One thing mattered. One thing... Nimrodel. Where was she?

Where are you? Beloved, open your thoughts. I long for you. I cannot rest without you. Hear me, Nimrodel, my love. Where have you hidden? Oh, hide from me no more. Hear me, Nimrodel, Nimrodel!

Nearby, Erebemlin and Taitheneb exchanged glances as Amroth's cry cut through their thoughts. Even the mannish folk turned, aware of Amroth's sorrow. Nethwador left the others, hurried to Amroth's side, and laid his hand on the king's shoulder.

Erebemlin joined him, and spoke softly to the king. "Sleep, my lord. Perhaps you will find her in dreams. Sleep now."

His longing drove him into his dreams, and as the shadows and tempest neared him, he embraced it. Waves, dust, fear, despair, he swam through it all, reaching for every shadow in the hope that he might find her.

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Old 07-06-2004, 05:23 PM   #354
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Evening of Dec 22

Jorje sat and watched Mellonin approach Ravion. He looked at Raefindan, who did not return his devoted gaze.

He sighed, sniffed the wind, scratched his ear, looked at Raefindan again, walked to Gwyllion and nudged her hand.

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Old 07-06-2004, 06:28 PM   #355
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White Tree

Gwyllion watched Mellonin creep towards Ravion. Her face was white and a little pinched at the corners of the mouth. She really could not blame Mellonin for being afraid to aproach the ranger. He was a ranger after all.

He was tall. Dark. Brooding. And he and Aeron did not get along in her humble opinion. In fact, why wasn't her brother more afraid of that ranger? Because, as she had supposed all along, her brother did not have a mind in that head of his.

Jorge ambled beside Mellonin and cocked his head at her. With awag of his tail he came towards Gwyllion and nuzzled her. Nuzzled her with his wet, slimy, black nose. "No touching," she hissed, shoving his nose away.

He looked at her, his big brown eyes wide and limpid.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Do not even give me that look."

Jorge glanced at Mellonin and whimpered. She sighed. He was saying plain as plain that she should go over there....with Mellonin....to face the ranger. She closed her eyes. She didn't want to go over there....to stand beside the ranger who had shed lots of blood. Blood....red blood.... She clenched her fists. She would not have another fit.

Well....Mellonin was her friend and she had already taken enough from Aeron. She marched towards her and slipped her arm about her waist and tried to smile at the ranger...

Last edited by Imladris; 07-07-2004 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Gwyllion suddenly became a he...
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Old 07-06-2004, 06:48 PM   #356
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion turned to Mellonin, surprised. "For what I've...done," he repeated blankly.

"Yes, for what you've done," Mellonin said, her voice tight. She seemed eager to get away as soon as possible.

"Oh." Ravion looked down and frowned, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. How was he supposed to respond to that? He did not know how to react to a woman saying something like that...what did she mean? Was it what she was saying? His fellow Rangers always said that women never said what they meant. "You are...you are welcome."

He turned away, glad that he was through with that. But Mellonin was not. "I truly appreciate it," she said.

"Thank you," Ravion said. He coughed. "Thank you."

Mellonin looked at him for a moment, then turned to leave.

"Mellonin," Ravion called. She turned. He swallowed, and walked up to her. "All that I have done for you...I am not sure that it has been that much."

Mellonin frowned, puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that we have been travelling for weeks now, and are no closer to finding your brother than we were in the first," he said. "I have led you poorly. I was an ill choice to guide you. I am sorry."
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Old 07-06-2004, 07:46 PM   #357
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Dec 22: Mellonin thanks Ravion

"Sorry?" Mellonin echoed. She looked at Gwyllion, and realised that her mouth was open, jaw hanging. "Sorry? Ill choice?"

He waited.

"Ill choice?" she repeated, her voice rising.

He considered taking a step backwards, but stood his ground.

"We have been travelling for seven days. One week, no more. And barely that. And in that time you have led us through land I have never seen, on paths I do not know. You dove in alone to save my friend--" here she gave Gwyllion a rough shake-- "while I stood on the bank doing nothing. You went hunting after my sick redhaired friend and rescued him from some cave where he was prisoner. And you saved this childish brat--" she jabbed a trembling finger towards Aeron as her voice grew shrill-- "from a scavenging pirate and his friend who wanted his skin or worse. What say you to that? Were it not for you, we would be enslaved, prisoners, or-- or-- or fish-bait. Ill choice indeed! I think not. I think not!"

She turned on her heel and stormed away from him, past the fire. Raefindan opened his mouth to speak and she jabbed a finger at him. "I thanked him. Now you leave me in peace for one hour!" She passed him, crested the small rise, walked another twenty paces and sat down with her back to the group.

"Your feet won't dry over there, " Raefindan called.

"One hour!" she snapped.

Raefindan chose a stick, and stirred the fire.

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Old 07-06-2004, 09:00 PM   #358
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Tolkien

Aeron's jaw dropped. A childish brat? Who was she calling a childish brat? He looked around. There was no other child around except Gwyll --- and her finger hadn't been pointing at his valaric sister. He shifted his jaw to the side and glared at Raefindan. No...she was too attached to him. It was certain. She was referring to himself of all people.

He stalked toward and said, "A childish brat? You think I'm childish brat?" he shouted.


"What else could you be?" snapped Mellonin.

"Anything but a childish brat!" How could anyone think he was a childish brat? Childish brats were people who kicked and screamed at fate, who sulked when they didn't get their way and have their every whim provided. He a childish brat? Hardly.

He glared at her. What had she done to help? How had she done to save their necks? How had she help save Gwyllion? It was probably her fault in the first place that Gwyll had gone too close to the water. "You haven't done anything on this bloody expedition!" he said, his voice tight. He considerred how far he could go without getting a beating from Ravion.

She glared at him. She was breathing rather heavily Aeron thought. Good.

"Oh. So you have no words to say to me, eh? That means I'm right. Your silence prooves that I am not a childish brat." He smirked at her.

"Yes you are. You are stupid, careless and a thief. You do not even care when someone could be dead."

Oh. So his words about her brother was what was causing all this hard feeling. "At least I don't moan about it and feel sorry for myself all blasted day," he snapped. "I accept what life offers and I don't waste the days being afraid that someone is dead or in fear that my brother (or sister in my case) is moonstruck. So bloody what? Does moaning about it and wallowing in self pity like some....some...plump swine change the course of this world?"

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Old 07-07-2004, 06:20 AM   #359
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Dec 22: Mellonin vs Aeron

She glared disdainfully. "Insect. Small help do you give to the course of this world. The fealty you swear to yourself is boundless. It must be so, for no other will have you or follow you. Were it not for your sister, your company would be worthless. As it is, she pays for your keep; your selfish, filthy, brash, self-serving and loathsome keep. "
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Old 07-07-2004, 10:15 AM   #360
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Shield Dec 23 -- Liornung & Argeleafa

"I myself have met Théolyn," said Liornung, speaking more to Nethwador and Argeleafa than to Ædegard. "Courteous she is, and also fair of face. She cares for Ædegard very dearly. Bella, too, met her."

Bella nodded in silence; Argeleafa considered the story Ædegard had told and felt a deep sorrow well up in her for Théolyn. The latter had lost her parents in death, and not simply to the wayfarers. Yet Théolyn's relatives had stepped forward to take care of her. And Argeleafa did not know who would care for her now that she lacked parents.

Liornung had been speaking a little more of Théolyn through these brief thoughts of Argeleafa. "Yes, a fine girl," he said as a conclusion, and looked to Ædegard again. "Now I grow weary, and soon I must retire, but first, Ædegard, I must ask you who the one by the name of Freawine was. I met him also at your departure from Edoras, and he seemed very wise. Who is he?"

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