The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Roleplaying > Elvenhome
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #1
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
White Tree Homeward Bound RPG

How did the things come to this pass? Mir wondered, looking up from where he sprawled on the floor, his lethargic and heavy-lidded eyes locked in a grapple with the icy stare of the escaped thrall. He had been too immersed in his paperwork to pay much attention to the sound of the ruckus outside, until a few moments ago, when the thrall burst into his office and tackled him to the floor. He was completely taken by surprise, and while he had instinctively put up a fight, it had been brief; he was no match against his young and desperate assailant, and in the initial confusion did not even have the presence of mind to give the alarm. So here he was, sprawled on the floor, with the escaped thrall on top of him, having torn his own blade Naegling from his grasp and holding it to his neck with a snarl.

“Regnár,” Artamir said slowly, recognition stirring in his eyes as he lowered them to the metallic sheen of the blade at his throat.

It was a traditional festival play, this Hunting of the Thralls. They released the useless slaves into the streets of Rhun every Harvest Festival, when the festivals in the streets reached their peak, without gear or weapons. Then the civilians and soldiers hunted these slaves down and spilled their lifeblood on the pavements of the streets as offerings to the gods in return for a bountiful harvest. They say that the more blood spilled, the better pleased the gods would be… As Mir did not believe in the gods, he distanced himself from the Harvest Festival, staying in his office to finish his paperwork while other officers and guards were all out on the streets with blade or bow hunting down the slaves. To think that a slave, instead of wandering witless in the streets, would make his way straight into his office in the heart of the guard barracks! It was insane, unbelievable… or would have been, if his assailant wasn’t Regnár.

“How pleasant that you remember me. Nice office, and what’s with that new livery, were you promoted in my absence?” A cool and icy smile lit Regnár’s countenance as he pressed the blade deeper into Mir’s neck. A thin line of blood trickled down and pooled on the floor.

Of course Mir remembered. He had been a junior officer back then, one of the many nameless rank-and-file soldier who flocked to the banner of Sauron. After the campaign ended disastrously with the destruction of the One Ring, he had taken it upon himself to shepherd the scattering rank-and-file and strike out for Rhun with the Gondorian patrols hot in pursuit. He had waited until crossing the Anduin, then deliberately made slow progress so as to let the more overzealous and overconfident vanguard overtake them. Then he struck in an ambush, killed most of the soldiers, and took about half a dozen, including the leader of the vanguard, back to Rhun as war slaves. He was promoted to the senior officer for this feat. And as for the leader of the Gondorian vanguard, the young man with fire and ice in his spirit and an unyielding pride that made him a difficult prisoner to control, he had not seen him after he handed the prisoners over to the higher ups and received his promotion… until now. Apparently, the five years of slavery had done little to quench Regnár’s spirit or his fighting skills.

“Did you really think that this was a good idea, coming after me? At least, in the streets, there is some chance of hiding out until the festival is over and then slipping out unnoticed. Here? Even if you kill me, how do you presume to escape from the barracks?” Artamir tried to smile back in return, trying to maintain his pride, even though he was sure that death was just around the corner.

By the corner of his eyes, he could see the two children – half Easterling, but with enough of the Gondorian blood in them to give them distinctively Gondorian features, especially the boy who was fair of face and hair – cowering in the corner of the office. He had purchased them in the open slave market the day he came back from the war, the girl as little as six back then, on what could only be assumed to be a sudden whim. He had no wife or relatives, and his deserted home needed dusting, and he needed someone to lit a crackling fire in the fireplace or cook for him. He would have done better to buy a mature woman slave instead, since the children were near useless in housework and spent most of the time playing, and he ended up doing most of the housework anyway, but it didn’t matter. He never meant to indulge them, but he had never raised a hand against them either, perhaps because he just didn’t care. They reminded… No. Better not to think about it.

“We’d never be free of this cursed place alone. But with your help…” The smile again, and this time even icier.

“We’re returning to Gondor,” another voice rang from behind the door. Then there was the sound of the door opening, and more gaunt-looking slaves milled into the office, most of them whom he did not recognize, except for one soldier who had also been a member of the pursuit squad. What the… Did that Regnár bring them? Mir suddenly remembered with a flash how he gathered up the scattering Easterlings and returned to their homeland against overwhelming odds. How ironic. He hoped for a moment to hear the pound of the guards and the alarm bell, but no, there was no one who could help him. Outside the street the ruckus still went on, but the hallway outside the office was deserted and without a sound. Of course. All the guards are out on the streets hunting as well. The guard barracks was actually the safest place to be in the moment.

“You’re more foolish than I had thought, if you believed that I could procure a ship for you or open the barred gates of Rhun.” Mir said quietly, pushing away the blade that still pressed into his throat. “Kill me for vengeance if you wish, but you’ll never get out of this city alive. Once released, you’re offerings to appease the wrath of the gods; even the king himself would not be allowed to snatch you to safety, even if he wanted to. And the guards will be returning any moment. Good luck with your afterlife, kid, I’ll meet you on the road to hell.”

“You’ll cooperate if you don’t want to be flayed alive, as much pleasure as I would derive from doing so, Easterling. For starters, find us some inconspicuous clothing, and let’s move camp to somewhere less dangerous; preferably your home. And if...” It was a low and soft purring, but there was a steely ring to it that left no doubt as to its sincerity.

Mir almost laughed outright. You’ll kill me anyway when I am of no more use to you, he was going to say. And he wasn’t afraid of death; not now, not when she… No, not this again. His eyes flickered for a moment to the children cowering in the corner, then to the gaunt slaves, and then back to the cool stare of Regnár. His mouth twisted in what might be a grimace or a bitter smile. Perhaps he deserved this, after so many years of doing the exact same thing to other people. And he had killed them, too, or sold them as slaves- Life was such a strange thing. One of the Haradrim mercenaries that he used to work with wouldn’t shut up about a concept called ‘karma’, and while he had paid little attention then, he couldn’t stop thinking about it now. Perhaps this karma was catching up to him, after all.

“Throw on the guard livery in the closet,” Mir said bitterly. “And get that knife off my throat, unless you want to chop it in two, in which case you’ll be a porcupine of arrows before the night is set. I’ll take you to my home.”

~ Eorl of Rohan

Last edited by piosenniel; 05-23-2010 at 07:33 AM.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 05-23-2010, 07:10 AM   #2
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Eorl of Rohan's post - Ariel Silverwood:

Leaning on the windowsill, Ariel swallowed nervously as another hunter swept past the curtained window of Mir's Office. In the streets, the hunt was still on. The cruel sun beat down bright on the bristling spearheads and made them sparkle as though they were made of beaten silver. The crimson-feathered ritual arrows screamed menacingly as they arced across the ashen heavens. Hounds snarled afar as the harsh whistle of the torrential wind sliced through the thin air. The streets resounded with the wailings and death-curses of the sacrificial victims; but occasional forlorn cry, perhaps a whimper, was all that marked the passing of another one hunted. Beers bubbled in their tankards as Easterlings toasted the bountiful harvest in the warmth and safety of their home, while outside blood foamed crimson in the alleyways and the gutters.

Ariel remembered more than two score faces he had seen in the cells of the Harvest Festival Preparation Committee: wide-eyed children, mothers desperately clutching suckling babes to their breasts, weeping old women, and snarling young men. They had been thrown helter-skelter into a makeshift pen like so many cattle to await the day of the Harvest Hunt. He had hoped – unreasonably, as he well knew – that all of them would survive the hunt to meet them here, in the Barracks, just as his captain had suggested. But life was cheap in the City of Rhun, why should theirs be any different? In the end, they four were the only ones that managed to make it here unscathed.

He himself, Ariel of the Silverwood, the stern and fey Captain Regnar with a fell ringing in his voice as he spoke of the righteous prevailing, the silent Rohirrim who wouldn’t even give his name of yet, and the sensuous Suscana with an unnerving light in her eyes. These were the four members of the unlikely fellowship that they had tumbled into by no other reason than that the maia who weaves the thread of life had not seen it fit to cut theirs. What an unlikely bunch they were to survive. No weapons, enemies everywhere, the gates barred and shut. Not to mention that the only bulwark that could possibly stand between themselves and certain death was currently telling Regnar to meet him on the road to hell, his eyes dark with cynical fury and his voice as bitter as the cud.

Mir Wainrider, the Easterling lieutenant-general. No. Not anymore. Mir had been promoted to the Captain of the RhunGuards for his valour in the the Dark Lord’s War, Ariel had heard, a crowning achievement which brought an end to his colorful career as a shadowstep tracker-scout for a highly efficient slaver racket.

‘In the course of his career Mir must have reserved a place for himself in the darkest dwelling places of Mandos’, Ariel thought, ‘Yet he does not fear to invoke the halls of Mandos for himself as well as us. Is he fearless of Eru’s judgment, being a heathen, unaware of the all-devouring darkness that awaits him at his life’s end? Or does he know and not care?’

Death was so close, and everywhere. Ariel shivered, doubting whether this escape plan could be pulled off, yet ashamed that he showed his fear openly at such a critical juncture. He had lived as a pale wraith of his former self the past five years, fearing each raised hand lest it strike a blow, and now it seemed that cowardice had bred itself into his very bones. Would they die like dogs in the streets of this hostile foreign city, and their parched bones gleam white under the harsh sun for stray wolves to gnaw on? He felt bitingly the terror of death’s shadow, and welcomed the cold and clammy embrace of his mortality. Mir, too, must be merely putting up a brave face because his death was inevitable no matter what he did.

"You'll cooperate," Regnar answered quietly, but it was more of a command than a question.

Ariel shuddered at the chill in Regnar’s tone. He had heard this tone once or twice before, long ago, when he was still a youthful and overbrash Pel-Tirith recruit who served under his command. It was cold and hard, even cruel. It was obvious that Regnar was prepared to wrench whatever use he could out of Artamir even if the Easterling captain refused to lend his aid. How long did that tense silence linger? A second, or a hundred? Silverwood realized that Regnar had come out on top when Mir violently wrenched away his stare from Regnar’s grim countenance and smiled in bitter acquiescence. “Throw on the guard livery in the closet, then, I'll take you to my home." Mir said, and his voice was weary, wooden and dead. It was only then that Ariel realized how listless Mir looked. It startled Ariel, that one who held such an esteemed office and lacked for nothing, a merciless slaver who had ruined a thousand lives without losing sleep over it at night, should be haunted by sorrow like other mortal men.

He asked impulsively: "What could you have lost all these years, Easterling, that were as dear to you as the green and rolling fields of Gondor and the laughter of our family and friends that you have taken from us? What have you lost, that casts such pallor over you and dampens the angry flash in your eyes? You were not so inclined to yield back then, and neither were Captain Regnar so sa-”

Ariel choked off the last word – he had meant to say, ‘sadistic’ – and turned away to open the closet instead, ashamed of himself. Circumstances change. And people adapt to it. Perhaps it was only he who never matured. After all, he wasn’t mistreated in any way as long as he did his job, which was little different from what he would do for amusement when he was still a scout of Gondor, and there were plenty of wild game in the woods of Rhun. His master had a cruel streak that seemed common in almost all Easterlings, but it was almost never directed toward Ariel. Not as long as he retained the pleasing illusion that it was he himself that had taught Ariel how to hunt and made him such a skilled hunter. In truth, Ariel had never borne the brunt of cruelty in a way that other thralls have, although he had learned to fear it from watching how his master treated the other thralls, and it horrified him to se how it’s experience left such a visible mark on the temperament of his captain. But perhaps his captain was the wise one, and he himself a childish fool-

In the dusky recess of the armoire, the dark crimson and gold livery of the RhunGuards glittered in the sinking sun's rays which filtered in through the window. He took out the respective sizes and lightly threw them to Suscana, the Rohirrim, and last to Captain Regnar. As for himself he hesitated, seeing as there was no size that fit someone so lanky and so slightly built at the same time, and at last settled with a uniform two sizes too large and a crimson cloak to cover the unwieldiness of his livery. The cloak was embroidered intricately with the iron crown of Melkor, He who Arises in Might, of whose identity he had no idea except that he had heard him referred to by and by as the chief of the evil gods that these heathens served.

“I would advise you not to wear that,” Ariel heard Mir say in a half-amused voice, now sitting up with a hand closed over his still-bleeding neck. “Even the most thickheaded of the guards would notice something amiss if you flaunted the captain’s cloak out in the open.”

Last edited by piosenniel; 05-23-2010 at 07:26 AM.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 05-23-2010, 07:10 AM   #3
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Durelin's post:

As Regnár pressed the knife into the Easterling's throat, he repeatedly promised himself he would kill this man...but not yet, not yet. This man was his way out of this place -- the only chance, at least. There were no guarantees, and he knew he was taking a great many risks. But when had that ever stopped him? It was what got him here in the first place, he thought bitterly...

He smiled -- he could not help it. This delighted him. This man had been the focal point of his hatred for this land and this people who enslaved him for the past five years, and before that he had hated them for the harm they had done to Gondor and for serving the Dark Lord. Regnár often thought of them more as creatures than men.

And they had tried to turn him into a creature...they would hunt and kill him as one, too. But he had more wits than a common beast, and more will. In only one way would he recognize he was like an animal: if cornered, he would fight to his death. If he could not escape through this wild plan, he would at least cause as much trouble and bring as many Easterlings down with him as he could.

The Easterling gave in to the slaves' demands; Regnár thought he would be cowardly enough to do so. The Gondorian grudgingly removed the knife from Artamir's throat and slowly rose, still holding the knife out and watching the guard carefully. He wanted dearly to take the knife and chop off some of the mess of hair on his head -- he had not been able to remain clean shaven since his capture. That and all the hours of work out in the sun had made him look more like these Easterlings. It made him feel unclean both inside and out. But his current appearance might serve to his advantage along with the guard livery...

But with pale Ariel and a woman this plan was close to madness. He knew he could trust Ariel to keep his wits about him, at least, but even after five years in the south he still looked akin to a Gondorian prince... And he knew next to nothing about this woman, except that she was an old slave. Hopefully that meant she was tough and would not slow them down, but her age might do that anyway.

Could Regnár and Ariel pose as guards, and the woman (what was her name? Suza or something?) could simply pose as the servant she was? Regnár glanced at the other beings present in the room, his mind turning. The children were witnesses...

Last edited by piosenniel; 05-23-2010 at 07:19 AM.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 05-23-2010, 07:10 AM   #4
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Thinlómien's post:

Suscana watched the men's angry back-and-forth with indifference. The events of the previous week bounced wildly in her head: the mysterious disappearance of Lady Rhedea's necklace, the accusing fingers of the other maids pointing at her (she should've been more careful when stalking at night to meet Kilden and she should've known better than to accuse the Lord's favourite maid of the theft, but it was all said and done now, she couldn't change it anymore), her being thrown to the dungeons to be released to the hunt and the wild plotting led by Captain Regnár.

She had thought him crazy back then, even seen a madman's glint in his dark eyes when explaining his plans to the slaves gathered around him. The idea of making it to the infamous Mir Wainrider's office in the barracks seemed like pure madness - if they managed to escape, that was definitely not the place to go to hide from Easterlings! Susca had decided not to follow any reckless plan like that but during the hunt - she was trying to push all the images of blood and faces full of anguish from her mind, no time to dwell on it right now - she had somehow found herself between the choice of following Regnár to an alley which led to the barracks or running into the hunters who were advancing from both sides.

And now they were all here. The men were quarrelling, which was nothing surprising. There was intense throbbing of pain in Susca's left arm and she hoped she hadn't broken any bones. She could not bring herself to listen to the fight between Regnŕr and Mir Wainrider, even though it would determine the fate of all the people in the room. She was feeling numb, struck by both the realisation that she had survived the notorious hunt and the amount of pain and death she had seen that day.

Last edited by piosenniel; 05-23-2010 at 07:23 AM.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 05-23-2010, 07:11 AM   #5
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Folwren's post - Merra:

The night of the hunt was Merra’s least favorite night out of the entire year. Usually, they stayed home, and the noises of the hunt could not be heard quite so loud, nor so often. Also, at home there were things to do to occupy their attention. Penram stood at the window, looking out. Merra stood beside him, but her back was to the sights of the streets and her arms were crossed over her belly.

Merra had been just on the verge of asking Penram why Mir had brought them here to the barracks when a sound outside the door caught the children’s attention. Merra pushed herself upright and turned towards the noise just before the door was burst open from the outside and a man flung himself inside, directly atop of Mir. Three figures followed him, but Merra’s eyes were on Mir and the stranger, grappling now on the ground. When the stranger wrested the knife by force from Mir’s hand and held it against his throat, Merra sprang forward with an involuntary cry.

Penram had her arm before she had crossed half the floor, and he pulled her forcibly into the far corner. She turned her face towards him, and his body half shielded her from the sight, but she could not keep her eyes from being drawn towards the assailant and their master. Penram’s arms were about her, protecting her physically, as he always did, but he couldn’t stop the trembling.

Mir stopped struggling, once the knife was against his throat, and he and the escaped slave were talking rather familiarly together, Merra thought, but she could not fully understand what they were talking about. None of what the slave said made sense, and Mir’s responses seemed almost as wild. But one thing was clear: Mir was being forced to do something he did not want to do, and the man forcing him was enjoying his job of convincing Mir very much. Whatever was happening was not good. Mir might end up dead, and if he died, no one would be there to protect Penram, and if Penram died…

The stranger finally drew back his knife and his death grip on Mir, and his glance fell on Merra and her brother.

Last edited by piosenniel; 05-23-2010 at 07:27 AM.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 05-23-2010, 07:11 AM   #6
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Dimturiel's post:

Penram stood at the window, unable to tear his eyes from the sights outside. Merra was next to him, but at least she was not looking out. Penram wished he could turn away too, but he still stood there, watching, as if by seeing the Easterling hunt out their slaves he would somehow understand why this was happening.

Penram was always restless when the hunt started. He knew that Mir only needed to say the word, and he and probably Merra too would be thrown outside in the hunt. Since they were hardly of any use to Mir, Penram sometimes wondered whether that was not the reason why the Easterling kept the two children with him, after all. So that one year he would set them loose on the streets to give his compatriots two more helpless thralls to pursue. Of course, Mir had never treated the two harshly and sometimes Penram wanted to believe that the Easterling would never want to hurt them. But attributing kindness to his master went against everything Penram knew. He was fond of Mir, in a way, but he knew that he was an Easterling. Penram and his sister were Gondorian. Easterlings hated and despised Gondorians. They did not protect them, not unless there was some hidden reason for that protection.

Penram was distracted by noises at the door. He turned to see what it was, in time to cacth sight of a man – a slave, he could see that, and Gondorian, too, by the looks of him - bursting in, flinging himself on Mir. Penram gasped and was ready to draw a step back, when he saw Merra making as if she was ready to head towards where the two figures were wrestling. What was she doing? Penram thought, swearing softly in an involuntary burst of irritation. He ran towards her, pulling her into a corner. Perhaps, if they managed not to draw attention to themselves, they would be left alone. What would happen to them afterwards, if their master died, was another matter. Penram felt Merra trembling and put his arms about her in an attempt both to protect and to comfort.

The man had let go of Mir by now, and his eyes had fallen on Penram and Merra. Penram felt his throat becoming dry. What was he going to do to them? He would surely not let them live, after they had just witnessed him attacking an important Easterling officer. The man seemed to take a step towards them, and Penram burst out then, in a desperate attempt to keep both him and his sister alive:

“No, don’t kill us!” he pleaded. It was most likely useless, and he knew it. People never listened to pleas. If anything, it enraged them even more. “We’re Gondorian, just like you! At least spare my sister. She will not betray you. She is only a child. She cannot even understand what is happening.”

That was a lie, and Penram knew it. Merra could understand everything very well. But it was the only thing he could think of that might determine the attacker to spare them.

Last edited by piosenniel; 05-23-2010 at 07:22 AM.
piosenniel is offline  
 

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:19 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.