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Old 11-10-2003, 09:44 PM   #201
maikafanawen
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Pipe

The Gondorian army rode on hoping to reach the village by dusk the next day, Eru-Willing.

* * *

Gita, dressed in a simple peasant chemise and over-laying skirt, worked her way around the assembled beds and cots littered in the Alphirion refuge with the village's wounded. She made busy with her hands crushing things given to her by the medics and dabbing foreheads with semi-sterile cloths. All the while her ears were open for any sign of militia movement or planning. Laurel was stirring around busily, speaking with people and sending them out again. Her face showed signs of anxiety and fatigue. Gita grinned, "Good."

Then the Swan Lady's granddaughter disappeared into a smaller room with Jesslyn, the prisoner's brother. Or rather, the prisoner who was retrieved. The king hadn't been too pleased with that. Gita smiled crudely as she rung out a linen sheet to hang out a window for drying. The wrath bestowed upon the guards who'd allowed Cartil's escape was truly barbarous and it had been quite a splendor to behold. The king sure had talent in the areas of torture and death.

"Excuse me, Iris?" said a young girl, no more than ten years old. Gita turned at the mention of her pseudonym, wiping away her smirk and looked passively down at the round pale face before her. "Yes dear?" The girl smiled. "I was wondering if you'd seen the Lady Laurel. She was going to bathe I think and I was bringing her fresh drying linens since we haven't any towels." Gita's eyes brightened at the opportunity and she smiled encouragingly at the little girl.

"Oh, I'll take them to her. You stay here and mind these sheets." The girl handed her the wicker basket of linens and began to hang up the remaining sheets. Gita ducked under the low-lying beams of the door and down the small hall to the bathing room. She knocked meekly on one of the doors, smoothed out a fold in her skirt, and pulled the hem of her cap down over her head a bit further to shade her eyes.

"I think it's open!" said Laurel's soft voice from within. Gita pushed the door ajar and smiled at the two ladies. "Fresh linens," she announced. "I'll put them over here." After setting them on the stool by the tub, she looked around for a reason to delay. Her eyes brightened with an idea. "May I take your clothes for washing and fetch you new ones? These are awfully soiled." The one called Jesslyn began to hesitate but Laurel gave her a soothing look.

"Yes, go ahead Iris." Gita smiled and began to gather up the clothes laboriously, folding them and placing them in the empty linens basket. She took as long as she could, but the two women just soaked silently, eyes closed in relaxation. Containing her disappointment, the amber-haired woman stood and left, but paused outside the door for a moment. Directing her hearing within, she waited for some sign that Laurel and Jesslyn were going to talk. Finally the former spoke.

"Jesslyn, I do understand why you feel the way you do. If I were in your boots, I would feel the same. You believe we cannot win...

"But we have come up with a sort of plan. There will be a meeting tomorrow to decide it exactly. We have the remaining Rohirrim, and the Swan House is emptied, its occupants in a cave away from harm. I plan on making a last stand for our Village and home.

"Jesslyn, I ask for your help. I ask for your brother's help as well. You have great courage, and that is what we need now." Gita bit her lip, straining to hear more.

"Iris?" The wild woman cursed under her breath and crept away from the door, silent as a wraith. Once she was out of ear shot, she steadied her quick and sprightly pace, reaching the medic with a questioned look. "Have you finished with the sheets?"

"I let Rachel take care of them. I brought towels, or, drying linens to Laurel and Jesslyn, and then I got their dirty clothes. Where might I wash these and get them new ones?" she asked. The medic directed her to a laundry party just out the far door.

A few minutes later, Gita returned with fresh clothes and went to set them in the bath room for Jesslyn and Laurel to change into when they'd finished washing. Then she was called off again for more tasks. The woman did these without any sign of complaint. It gave her time to think and strategize. She needed to know more about the meeting: when, where and who. It could be the key to Swan Wood's downfall. That thought brought a particularly nasty smile to her deep red lips and she crushed the flower stems vigorously, imagining the reward she'd get for delivering such precious information.

So busy with the idea of winning the king's merit and betraying the people of Swan Wood, Gita even forgot that somewhere nearby in the woods, just beyond the refuge, an elf with a heart full of hate for her lurked, waiting for the moment when he might catch a glimpse of her alone. His knife would be ready....

The sun had seemed as though it would never set on that arduous day of work and caring of the wounded. Extra cots and blankets (what little there was left) were brought out for the use of medics and their volunteers. Gita took her own and set it up in the large far room just beyond the baths where the majority of other female volunteers were lodged. She lay awake for a while, grasping onto the façade of an anxious villager, dreading the sleepless night when wild men might come again....
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Old 11-11-2003, 03:57 PM   #202
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Sting

"Of course I'll do anything you ask of me if it involves ending these battles and having peace again," Jesslyn murmured her reply, meaning every word. Of course everyone involved with the Swan Wood skirmishes wished for it to end quickly and with as little troubles as possible. So far, they had encountered far more problems than they could almost deal with, but everyone prayed for the end to be near at hand.

Jess let the conversation rest there, and both the women soaked, enjoying the water for as long as it was warm. Jess contemplated what exactly everyone loyal to Laurel would do next, but set those thoughts aside for more conforting memories. Jesslyn recalled her home and her family, and fear seemed so far away at that moment that Jesslyn had no doubt of returning home safely, with Cartil alive to return to his duties. It will all be over soon, Jesslyn promised herself, not quite caring if it would turn out to be true or false.

Jesslyn finished washing and dryed off with the towels provided by the woman who had come in earlier. She donned the clothing, which was far too loose for Jesslyn but were clean all the same. Jesslyn said farewell to Laurel, promising the tired young woman that she would tell Cartil of the meeting. With that, Jesslyn left the bathroom and walked out into the main hall of the Healing House, looking around for the room she had once found Cartil in.

As she walked around the main hall, Jesslyn tried to ignore the wounded and dying around her. Most who had come to the Healing House with fatal wounds the day before were lost, and had been removed from their cots for a proper burial when there was time. The weak and wounded still rested on their cots, sleeping or silently praying. And then there were the rare few who had been fatally wounded but still struggled to keep a hold on their life. Some still fought to stay in the living world, either for fear of death or for fear of leaving someone or something behind.

That could've been you, something spoke to her, nagging at the back of her weary mind. Jesslyn shook her head, but the thought continued to race through her brain. Or Cartil. Or Laurel. Or Leena. Or... Jesslyn shook her head one las time and let the horrid voice slip away. Then Jess continued on her way towards Cartil's cot.

"My, my, my," Cartil murmured as his sister drew near. The messenger man made an audible sniffing noise with a dramatic air. "Don't you smell pretty as a rose now. Now all you need to do is go back home, brush your hair, put on one of your sister's dresses, and find some little boy to run off with."

Jesslyn laughed. "No boy would come after me. Even if I were wearing a dress and had my hair untangled. You know that, Cartil."

"Well, I didn't mean someone chasing after you. I meant you chasing one of the little boys back in town. Anyway, what is on your mind now, little sister?" Cartil questioned, seeing the look in his sister's eye and recognizing it immediately. Jess sighed and crouched down next to Cartil's cot.

What should I tell him? Jesslyn wondered. Should I tell him how I keep picturing all of us dead? How I wish and hope and almost imagine us going home and back to our duties fine, but knowing that it's not true? We're all going to die, I know it! Jesslyn wanted to slap herself for thinking the former thought, but could she deny her conscience, and the feeling?

"Ahh, well," Jesslyn stuttered, making her decision of what to say just as she opened her mouth to speak. "There will be a meeting tomorrow. Laurel will be there, and with her we will decide what our fate and the fate of Swan Wood will be. Can you bring up the strength to make it tomorrow?"

"Anything for Laurel," Cartil agreed, rearranging his head on the pillow he had been recently given. Jess was inwardly relieved to note that Cartil had no idea of her battling feelings, or, at least he didn't say if he noticed. Jesslyn nodded gravely.

"Good, now get some rest so you can come!" Jesslyn ordered in mock seriousness before walking off to perhaps help any of the healers, or occupy herself somehow. Jesslyn hoped such tasks would take her mind of the looming whispers that lingered and floated through her mind.
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Old 11-12-2003, 01:00 AM   #203
Taralphiel
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Sting

Laurel closed her eyes, comforted by Jesslyn's response. Letting the water soothe her wounded leg a little longer, she eventually reached for the linens to dry herself, and noticed Jess was gone. Smiling a little, she dried herself and slipped into clean clothes, running her fingers through her hair tiredly.

'We have loyal people. We have people who will fight to the very end. We cannot lose this battle now, too much rests on us winning' Her minds was worn with these thoughts. She had lost count of how many times she had fallen asleep trying to reassure herself of this fact. But the day would soon be at hand that it would be over...

~*~

Cuor heaved his way through the forest. It took him a good while to calm his fear at being exposed, and by his own kind no less.

He thought of the two dark Elves, their voices filled with hatred.

'No, they are not my kin anymore. I have no kin' he stuttered. In all the dark holes and tortures of his life, that was the fact that remained. He belonged nowhere. And ow the only light, the only happiness he once clearly saw, was fading from him.

Slumping by a tree, he processed what had happened, and what his course for action was to be.

'I cannot go back to the King...I will not! Gita is still his lackey, she will tell him all he needs to know. With that prisoner escaped, I do not want to set foot near there!'

'So where shall I go?' he said, turning his gaze back to the Village.

'Now is the time' he said, and set his footsteps back the way he came...

~*~

'A meeting tomorrow you say' said Herebrand. Sitting on a carton by the camp of his troops, Herebrand stretched and let out a yawn. 'I am glad to hear that, I was beginning to get a little bored!'

The soldiers had begun a training regiment, and scoured the Village for any sort of supplies they could find. Slowly their armourment was gathering, and preparations were being made to house all the Villagers safely away. Groups were making their way to caves where no harm could be done to them.

Herebrand stood and grinned. 'This is the hour my friend!' he said and clapped a hand on Ohtaredan's shoulder 'Now we show all the peace they have craved for so long!'
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Old 11-18-2003, 10:14 PM   #204
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Silmaril

Leena had slept fitfully through the night and now her back was knotted. First thing she did upon waking was to go in search of the three Rohirrim soldiers who had helped her in moving the army. She hadn't gotten to them yesterday and felt they should be included. After a second thought she went to Herebrand. He was their leader after all.

"Yes?" he looked up as she marched right up to him, interrupting his small breakfast.

"Beil, Mohinder and Dreven, have you invited them to the meeting?" she stood with power and authority even to the leader of an army. Herebrand eyed her critically; she seemed to be taking some liberties.

"They were going to stay with the men for the duration," the captain leaned back a bit, settling into a more comfortable position to converse.

"They would be beneficial. I request their presence to be in the main participants," she suddenly turned into the cautious diplomat.

Herebrand kept the eye contact that the priestess had established. "I will take it under advisement."

Leena bristled the slightest amount, yet nodded and walked away briskly. He was their commander and ultimately it was his choice.

~*~

Leena walked slowly to the central part of town where the meeting was to be held. After doing all her morning exercises and eating she had taken another bath. She knew even now she was early for the meeting, yet she wanted to watch everyone as they came to make her own assesments of those attending. She rounded a building and was slightly suprised to see Lanaey already there, sitting on a recently fallen tree. They acknowledged each other and Leena moved to sit next to the aged Elf.

"Didn't sleep much last night?" Lanaey asked, looking sideways at the new arrival.

Leena raised an eyebrow. "How'd you know?"

Lanaey shrugged and turned to watch a cat chase a mouse that had happened to come out for some food.

Leena closed her eyes, then opened them to find the Elf looking at her again. "Do you think the village has a chance?" Personally, Leena didn't. She still wanted to fight them though; she'd kill as many of those bastards as she could.

"There's always a chance..." Lanaey spoke as if she wanted to believe that, but couldn't quite make it true.

"Why do you fight for them?" Leena was being very forward again, trying to get some answers that they had sidestepped the day before.

Sighing, she spoke quietly. "This whole village has become very important to me. The land and these people." she paused. "Besides, I came to help and gave my word to Laurel long ago. At the first meeting."

Lanaey didn't need to ask why Leena kept fighting. Besides her orders or alterior motives for her order, she simply wanted to get revenge for her lost partner. It showed in the priestess' very being.

Soon others began to arrive.
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Old 11-23-2003, 10:06 PM   #205
Taralphiel
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Sting

Elena

"They'll all be alright" Elena said quietly, half to herself. She thought it had perhaps been the hundredth time that day she had said it, or Fiona had said it. Elena hoped that if they said it enough it would be true and her Papa and Fiona's family would be well.

Really she felt a weight in her middle, a sort of knot of fear which tried to tell her that they wouldn't be alright. From snatches of conversation she had overheard from men who came in to talk she knew that men from the village were fighting the bandits- Fiona had looked proud at that, her Papa fighting, but Elena was scared- and a lot of the village was destroyed and people were probably killed. When they saw that little girls the men didn't talk about such things, but Elena thought it might be true anyway. They WILL be well, she told herself silently. It did help.

The people from the Swan House were also at the caves with them, although not the nice lady. Annunfuin had visited them and talked to Fiona for hours. Elena liked him, but he was a bit scary and fierce. he seemed very glad to see that they were alright, and told them that the people in the house had been worried when they left. Elena was quite proud that she didn't start crying from guilt.

One of the maids liked to brush and wash Elena's hair, and Elena liked her to do it but she didn't want Fiona to think that she had gone completely back to the old Elena so she was trying really hard not to start crying. It was really hard though.

"They will be alright" she said out loud again, fiercely, and Fiona took her hand.


~*~*~*

Taralphiel welcomed the new day slowly. She stood by the cliffs edge and watched the sea. She wondered at how she had fit into daily rituals and traditions in such a way. She would never have thought herself that sort of person. At least not until she had her first great adventure...

'I can tell you are remembering' came a slow voice from behind

'You could always tell what I was doing Rudhchamion! It irked me sometimes, but for the most part I was grateful' she smiled at him, before pausing for a moment.

'Do you ever think of them, Dark Elf? Of our companions?'

He didnt say a word, simply stood by her and listened.

'I miss Lady Anarya, and Khelek. You three were the first real companions I had ever had. It sounds very foolish to say, but it is true'

'You didnt need companions Lady. You would have gone to Dol Goldur and back without us, such is your stubborn nature'

'Is that a fact? No, I would have been no better off than Eriador if I had not fallen into your way all those years ago. And look what it has brought me? A world of joy, and sorrow'

Taralphiel turned to Rudhchamion 'I know you can see into the hearts of Men and their simple desires. What do you believe my granddaughter will do?'

Rudhchamion did not face her, but said 'I believe you know what she will do. I believe she will fight and win. Win, or die'

At that moment, a messenger ran in hastily and mumbled a message to Taralphiel which spread a grin on her tired face.

'Annunfuin has found the children, and they are safe. And as I expected, he is heading in to assist Laurel'

Rudhchamion showed something close to a smile and said 'All seems to be looking a lot less grim'

~*~

Laurel moved forward through the town square, past the Rohirrim and all the Villagers and soldiers remaining. The meeting had been called here, to decide what was to be the last stand of Alphirion.

'I thank you all for attending. I am here to ask of you your opinions. Our situation is bleak. We have been weakened, and the Village has been decamated.'

'But I will not give up. I propose a last stand. I propose a final offensive! We have a small army, and I believe we are capable of taking the armies of the Wild Men by surprise!'

Murmuring went through the Villagers and the army alike. But Laurel soundly continued.

'I ask you now for aid. I ask you to offer your strength now, for this last stand. Villagers, you must evactuate, and move to the caves prepared. But I ask all who wish to fight for the last time to offer their arms'...

<font size=1 color=339966>[ 3:03 AM December 29, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]
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Old 12-04-2003, 10:55 PM   #206
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Silmaril

Leena wasn't going to wait to see if anyone would stand beside Laurel; she was just going to charge up there and scold anyone who didn't do the same, until Lanaey put a restraining hand on her arm. Leena glanced sharply at the Elf and almost tore her arm away until she met eyes. Lanaey slightly shook her head and indicated she should sit back down.

"It would be better for them to decide for themselves. See how Herebrand is waiting? He wants his men to be eager," Lanaey looked over in the direction of the Rohirrim army.

Indeed, Herebrand simply stood there watching Laurel who was slowly moving her gaze over those assembled. Leena couldn't understand it; they should show their immediate support. It didn't take very long for the soldiers who were gathered to start shifting. Four men seemed to be moving around them quickly, soon they went forward and each took a turn at speaking in their Captain's ear. As each took their turn, stepping out of the others, Leena could make out they were the three she had wanted to come along joined by Ohtaredan. She sat up straighter as Herebrand nodded and stepped forward.

"Me and this patrol," Herebrand's voice rang through the small area, "will fight with you for victory."

All of the soldiers raised their arms and shouts to show their support of the decision.

Now Lanaey rose, bringing Leena up with her. As they walked up toward Laurel they were joined by a slightly flushed Jesslyn. The soldiers stopped cheering so they could hear the renewed pledges of the warrior women.

Jesslyn stepped faster than the other two and reached Laurel just ahead of the older ones.

"I speak for myself and my brother, we will stand with you," she looked the part of a stern warrior eager once again for battle and her voice was strong and unwavering. She gripped Laurel's hand hard, then moved away, inbetween the Swan Wood maiden and the Rohirrim army.

Leena also gripped Laurel's hand. "I fight," was all she said before she moved back to join Jesslyn.

Lanaey took Laurel's hand and put her other over, completely covering Laurel's one hand. In a small shout she proclaimed, "We all fight!"

That brought another set of cheers. The cries were suddenly brought short as two figures appeared quit suddenly behind Laurel. She turned as the dark Elf brothers approached. They didn't say anything, just nodded a bit, then went and joined the three women.

Laurel turned back and stood tall as she faced all those now waiting on her to speak again.
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Old 12-04-2003, 11:03 PM   #207
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Sting

Laurel stood and watched as her comrades assembled beside her. Her heart had begun to sink as she waited for them, but now she felt renewed strength. When the noise died down, she slowly began again.

'Your honour is unmatched. These times will go into tales for a great time among these people! Your bravery at this moment is enough to topple any army! That is what I believe!'

'But now I ask you to hasten. We must be ready. I ask you all begin to get ready for the great onslaught! In three days we shall have these Villagers homes free of fear, as it was meant to be!'

With great cheers of support, the group dissapated, and only their leaders were left.

'Well, now is the time for strategy. What say you?'
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Old 12-05-2003, 09:46 PM   #208
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Silmaril

Herebrand spoke first before any had a chance. "I've talked with some of the top of my men," he briefly looked at Leena, "and we've come up with a plan..." He then went into detail about how his men would be split up under the command of four people: himself, Leena, Lanaey, and Laurel were the ones to be the leaders after some consultation with the group. These groups would leave near sunset to get in position, surrounding the wild men respectively. When false dawn started and the wild men were at their most tired and bleary eyed, Herebrand would sound a horn and the attack would begin. He ended at looked at Laurel. She was the decision maker.
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Old 12-30-2003, 12:09 PM   #209
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Sting

In the woods, elderly men and women and skinny little children trampled their way through the foliage. They were hastening towards the caves, praying and hoping that no Wild Men would find them. As they moved through the trees and brush stray villagers would join their troop, some of them wounded men and women who had fought against the Wild Men in the first onslaught. News would be shared, and then quiet would engulf the group, the only sounds would come from the snapping of twigs and parting of leaves and brush.

Fear was set in all the children's faces, and the elderly felt the fear eminating, though they hid it well. Adela was one of those children. She was four, and she was clinging to a boy from town that she had never met before the battle. He'd offered to carry Adela when the group of villagers began evacuating. His name was Stefan.

'Stefan?' Adela murmured, and the black-haired boy that carried her turned his head as he clambered over a fallen tree trunk. Adela took a big breath and sighed, burying her face in the older boy's shoulder. 'I miss my mommy and daddy. Do you think we'll ever be able to go home again?'

'I...I don't...' Stefan stammered, but his voice remained strong. He was unsure of what to tell the girl. Stefan didn't want to lie, but he didn't want to discourage the little girl. 'Well, Adela, I think that Laurel will save us. Or, well, I hope everything will be alright again. I have faith in the people that are fighting for our home.'

Stefan neglected to tell the little girl that he also had a terrible feeling that very few villagers that had stayed behind to fight would be alive. Adela doesn't need to know that her parents were probably dead, Stefan thought. For all he knew his own parents might have perished. There was no telling. Nothing was certain. All Stefan knew for sure was that he was alive and he was not alone.

A cry was heard from the front of the villagers' group. Stefan looked up and Adela's head snapped up and away from Stefan's shoulder. Up ahead, joyous cries were heard, but these cries were soon hushed by others who were worried about being found: for the group had come upon the caves that would be their haven. Others had already made it to the caves, people that Stefan didn't know. Entering the cave, Stefan found a little crook in the wall to sit down with Adela.

'Stefan?' Adela murmured again, standing and stretching while Stefan craned his neck and relaxed his muscles. Stefan listened as Adela continued. 'Stefan, I think we're going to be fine.'

-----

Jesslyn listened carefully as Herebrand explained the plan. At certain points of the explanation Jesslyn would nod, proud and sure of the plan. It would work, of course it would. It had to work. It was their last chance. The last chance to save a town after such a fateful attack. Herebrand, Laurel, Leena, and Lanaey would be the leaders of four groups, which would be evenly set up around the Wild Men's campsite.

Jesslyn sighed as everything was talked through by Laurel, Herebrand, Leena, and Lanaey and any outspoken warrior or fighting villager. Jesslyn didn't know what part she could play in this other than fighting as a soldier in this small army that would save Alphirion. Would that be enough? Jesslyn wasn't sure.

'Laurel,' Jesslyn looked at the leader of their group and met her eyes. 'Perhaps I could take the archers and set a ring around the camp? We'd hide in the foliage and take aim in secret,' Jesslyn suggested meekly, not certain of how her idea would be taken. Jesslyn cringed, wondering where her strong voice filled with certainty had gone. 'In any case, someone else could lead the archers if you don't want me to.'

-----

Back in the Healing House, Cartil woke up in his cot, eyes wide and brow sweaty from a nightmare. He'd gone to sleep, and his dreams were terrible to him. He dreamed that Laurel had been taken by the Wild Man, the one called Cuor that Cartil had met when under captivity. Cuor thought that Laurel belonged to him, at least in Cartil's dream. And Cartil was not able to do anything to save Laurel.

Then he woke up.

Cartil decided to leave the cot. He was exhausted, but he felt too idle just lying in bed while others went off to fight and die bravely for others. At first Cartil was too exhausted to even lift his head from his pillow. But, one muscle at a time, Cartil lifted his head and shoulders until eventually he was sitting upright in his cot. Then his next struggle was to move his legs off the side of his cot. This wasn't too hard, and neither was standing up. Soon Cartil had abandoned his cot and was standing upright. His body ached with wounds and fatigue caused during his captivity, and still he moved to take a step towards the door that led outside.

That was where Laurel would be, holding a meeting. And Cartil would be there to help.
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Old 12-30-2003, 07:23 PM   #210
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Sting

Lauren nodded at Herebrand. 'That is what would work best. Attacking with one large groups seems to me to be too risky'

Laurel saw Jesslyn in the corner, and soon she spoke up 'Perhaps I could take the archers and set a ring around the camp? We'd hide in the foliage and take aim in secret,'

'That is a very good plan. I will leave you in charge of those archers Jesslyn. We need someone to be ready if all goes ill'

Laurel looked around the circle of villagers and soldiers and spared a smile. 'Now is the time to rest, it is getting late. We will attack tomorrow eve'

The sun had began to set when she headed for the Sick House with Jesslyn. The saw a figure leaning heavily against the door, and Jess yelped and ran forward. Cartil had managed to get out of bed and was heading out the door.

Jesslyn took an arm over her shoulder and attempted to turn him back round. Laurel quickly gave her a hand.

'You should be a bit more careful Cartil! You need to sleep! You havent fully healed!'

As if to remind her, a small ache came from her still bandaged leg. She shrugged it off as the last of the hurt, and helped set him to his cot.

'I wanted to go to the meeting. I want to help you all' he began.

'Well, you will be able to when the time comes. We have organised three groups of men to ambush the camp, and some failsafe archers as well'

Laurel was about to explain more of their last stand when a great sound of hoofs and feet, and cheers were heard outside.

~*~

Annanoldowen saw the small village of the Swan through the near dusk. She slowed her horse and strode beside Captain Gellick.

'I thank you for your haste. As you can see, this village is almost taken'

'By Eru' Gellick mumbled 'It took some miracle for them to manage, I can see!'

'More close to the brave men of Rohan' Annanoldowen smiled tiredly. She had informed Gellick of all that had happened thus far, and they anticipated that Laurel had begun planning defenses, or even an attack.

Annanoldowen saw Laurel at the door of the Sick House as she rode in, the banners of Gondor riding behind her. She and Gellick dismounted and approached her.

'Lady Laurel. We come on behalf of the kingdom of Gondor, at your request for aid. We send the force of the West to aid you in this dark time. May we win back your hope, and your freedom' Gellick said proudly.

Laurel bowed and said 'I am truly grateful to you and your Men! Here you will not find much, but it is yours to find comfort and rest. For tomorrow we march for freedom or eternal rest!'

~*~

Herebrand stood by Ohtaredan, watching the army of Gondor. They were a sight to behold, their black and silver armour glinting lightly in the moonlight.

'It seems this place conjours miracles indeed' said Ohtaredan in wonder 'With this force we yet have a chance!'

Herebrand had though to give up hope, but now his spirit flew high 'Yes. We shall ride tomorrow, and victory will be our reward!'

~*~

Laurel sat by Cartil's cot as the cool of night set in. The army of Gondor had brought tears to her eyes, and sent an excited buzz through the ruins of the Village. She had visited her grandfather, and he could barely contain himself. Some soldiers were kind enough to even visit him, and that brought joy to his old soul. The Village was told to keep all noise down, and to turn out all lights, so no suspicion would be detected.

Cartil too had been overjoyed to see those soldiers, and it seemed to help him regain his strength. She sat by Jesslyn, and quietly said 'Are you afraid Jesslyn?'

<font size=1 color=339966>[ 8:29 PM December 30, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]
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Old 12-30-2003, 10:41 PM   #211
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Lanaey had been talking with the dark brothers and Leena when the new army arrived. She smiled fiercly and was happily thinking about how this would help them fight the wildmen when Leena hugged her too hard causing a spasm in her back wound. Leena hadn't noticed and moved on to find Herebrand for a quick chat about the new 'recruits'. Galain came up and took hold of her elbow, giving her stability when her back curved against her will.

"Forget about your wounds?" He asked mildly while his older brother chuckled from behind them.

Lanaey barely smiled in return. "Yes, actually. I suppose I simply put it to the back of my mind and it decided now was the time to remind me. I think I need to put some more salve on it with bandages over night."

She moved to walk away towards the sick house, but Galain held onto her elbow and turned her direction over toward the edge of the center square where Gorath was now rummaging through what Lanaey recognized as their packs.

"Try our medicine. It will help for upcoming days," Galain smiled at the female Elf as his sibling produced the mixtures.

A warm smile spread over her lips. "Thank you."

~*~

Leena grinned and looked like she might burst into giggles or jump into an attack when she approached Herebrand.

"Those groups of ours might be a little bigger now."

Ohtaredan laughed while Herebrand nodded his assent. The captain spoke after his friend's gails had ended. "So eager for battle fair maiden?"

The priestess' eyes flashed and she stepped forward a pace. "Do you question my ability or valor?"

Herebrand shook his head slowly. "Nay, just your thirst."

She stepped back to stand straight and glared at him. "It is in check and will remain so," though her burst of anger marked against that. She glanced around at all the settling men. "I should turn in," and she nodded curtly at the two soldiers before walking briskly away.

Herebrand and Ohtaredan watched her leave and then looked at each other. Finally Ohtaredan shrugged then clapped his captain on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it. The more lust the harder she'll fight in the end since she wouldn't listen anyway. I'm off to find food."
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Old 01-01-2004, 12:40 PM   #212
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"I bet you couldn't climb up there"
"I bet I wouldn't want to climb up there!" Elena said, putting her nose in the air, but smiling at Fiona.
"Humph. You just don't want to mess your hair up" Fiona said grumpily.
"I bet you couldn't swim the whole way across that pond in the village" Elena returned.
"Bet I could. I'll show you when..." Fiona trailed off. "When we go back home"
Elena swallowed. "You can try" she said, trying to sound normal.
The two girls stood silently for a minute.
"We will be going back, won't we?" Elena asked in a small voice.
"I-"
Fiona was cut off by shouts from the direction of the inhabited caves. She ran to see what was happening, and Elena followed. By the cave mouth soldiers and servants were crowding around horses and... people.

"Stefan!" Fiona shouted excitedly, waving to a tall boy. "Elena, it's people from the village! They've come! Stefan, have you seen my Mama and Papa and Hurin and Aragorn?"
"Don't shout" a maid said bossily, and Fiona stuck her tongue out while still beckoning wildly to Stefan. The boy walked over slowly, holding the hand of a little girl.
"Fiona-" he began wearily, then licked his lips.
"Do you want a drink?" Elena asked quietly, and he nodded. "You should sit down" she added, glancing at Fiona.

Elena walked over to the buckets of water. Most had been surrounded by newcomers, but luckily there were plenty. She filled two dippers.
"I could eb looking for them myself by now" Fiona whispered grumpily, coming up behind Elena.
Elena ignored her and took the dippers to where Stefan and the girl were sitting in a far corner of the cave, which was slowly beginning to fill with people.
After they had drunk, Fiona looked expectantly at Stefan.

"Your Papa and Hurin went to fight the wildmen" he began, then smiled. "They said Aragorn was too young but he went after them in the night anyway." His smiled drooped. "They brought Hurin back, he got hit by an arrow. He ought to be well though, soon. They must be bringing him along, but the horses with the wounded have to go slower. I'm sorry, I haven't seen your Mama."

Fiona gulped. Elena could see her eyes were wet.
"She's probably hiding somewhere," she said brightly. "probably in the woods! I mean, we are well but your family and my Papa were probably worried about us. There must be people all over the place!"
Elena was suddenly aware of the little girl's eyes fixed on her. She licked her lips nervously.
"All over the place" she repeated.
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Old 01-01-2004, 09:23 PM   #213
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"Are you afraid Jesslyn?" Laurel asked quietly as the two young women sat by Cartil's side. Jesslyn had nearly fallen asleep in her chair, and her eyes were bleary as she looked up at Laurel. Laurel was looking down at Cartil, who was looking up at his sister and waiting for her reply.

"I guess I am. Though, I feel selfish to say that I am scared for myself, and so I will admit that I am even more scared for those that I love and have come to know and love on this journey," Jesslyn replied, smiling and looking out the window as the darkness began to envelope Alphirion. "I guess it doesn't matter much though, for we've begun this fight for Alphirion and thus we must finish it, whether we are fearful or not."

"Well said," Cartil complimented, smiling and laughing light-heartedly. When he began to cough Laurel stood, offering to get drinks for herself and Jesslyn and water for Cartil. Then Laurel's wounded leg gave, and she fell back into her chair. Jesslyn immediately jumped up and went to get the drinks, and offered to get a nurse for Laurel but the other girl declined, claiming she was fine. With that, Jesslyn left the room.

"Will you be able to fight with your leg?" Cartil asked Laurel, worry in his eyes but certainty in his voice. Laurel nodded, smiling and resting a hand on Cartil's own. Then Laurel sighed and looked at Cartil. "And what about you, Cartil? Are you going to go out and fight as well? With your injuries?" Laurel inquired in return.

"Of course I will fight. I will fight for the innocent of Alphirion, and for their hopes for the future. I'll fight behind you, Laurel, and I'll fight for you," Cartil's voice started out strong and affirming, and ended in a determined whisper. Cartil took Laurel's hand in his, and pulled her close. "Laurel, I won't let you be taken by Cuor. I won't live to see you become some toy for a disgusting Wild Man."

-----

Adela kept her grey eyes locked on the one girl, the one who had remained silent. Who were these two? Adela wondered. The one that talked a lot obviously knew her saviour Stefan, but what was she rambling on about? Stefan looked increasingly worried as he continued speaking with the girl, and Adela wondered if something about the talker-girl was making him sick.

"She's probably hiding somewhere," The talker-girl continued, masking the emotion that had consumed her small face. "Probably in the woods! I mean, we are well but your family and my Papa were probably worried about us. There must be people all over the place!"

Adela laughed inwardly. Hiding? Ha! she thought ruefully, suddenly wondering where her own parents were, and where her family was. The talker-girl was obviously worried for her mommy, and Stefan hadn't seen her so maybe...No. Adela glared at the talker-girl. She didn't need to worry about her parents.

"Actually, Fiona," Stefan began, searching for words and wondering if he would even say them in front of Adela and Elena. "Here," Stefan grumbled, trying to hand Adela to Elena so he might speak with Fiona privately. Adela refused, squirming and wrapping her skinny arms around Stefan's neck. Stefan sighed. "Fiona, something happened earlier. I was with your mother in the woods and with about twenty others. We were trying to join the others going to the caves, but the Wild Men surrounded us. The men tried to fight back and a few of the warriors came to help, but a lot of them died. I don't know if your mother...I don't know if she...died, I don't think so... but she might be hurt really bad or even if she's not hurt at all, she's not here...I don't know. I just don't want you to worry where she is..."

Adela buried her face in Stefan's shoulder.
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Old 01-05-2004, 05:17 AM   #214
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"Fiona, something happened earlier. I was with your mother in the woods and with about twenty others. We were trying to join the others going to the caves, but the Wild Men surrounded us. The men tried to fight back and a few of the warriors came to help, but a lot of them died. I don't know if your mother...I don't know if she...died, I don't think so... but she might be hurt really bad or even if she's not hurt at all, she's not here...I don't know. I just don't want you to worry where she is..."

Elena gasped in horror as Stefan talked, and immediately turned to Fiona. Her face crumpled, and Elena put her arms around her.
It will be well she whispered fiercely, to herself and Fiona. Fiona sat upright and, hiding behind Elena, wiped her face. Elena realised she didn't want Stefan to know she had been crying.

"My Mother would never allow herself to be killed by wild men" Fiona said quite calmly. "Especially not if she still had to be angry at Aragorn for doing what he wasn't supposed to. And by the way Stefan, why did you not go with my brother?"
"Fiona!" Elena said, glaring at her.
"Fiona, may I talk to you for a while?" Stefan asked in a brittle voice, standing. Fiona followed him, and so did the little girl. Stefan whispered something to her, and unwillingly she sat down again. Stefan and Fiona walked away.

Elena sat silently for a moment. Putting her hand up to her face, she realised it was wet, and wiped her cheeks hastily. With a smile she gestured the little girl over closer to her. She didn't move.
"What's your name?" Elena asked, still trying to smile. Her face felt heavy, as though it wasn't used to using that expression.
"Adela" she answered quietly.
"Adela would you like something to eat?" Elena asked, reaching into her pocket and pulling out an apple.
"Yes please"
Elena held it out, but would not lean towards Adela. The little girl was forced to come closer to take the apple, and then sat down. For a while they sat in silence as Adela ate.
"Why were you with Stefan?" Elena asked after a while. Adela paused, as though deciding whether to say anything.
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Old 01-05-2004, 06:25 AM   #215
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Sting

Laurel listened, as Jesslyn said quietly "I guess I am. Though, I feel selfish to say that I am scared for myself, and so I will admit that I am even more scared for those that I love and have come to know and love on this journey,"

"I guess it doesn't matter much though, for we've begun this fight for Alphirion and thus we must finish it, whether we are fearful or not."

Laurel smiled at her, and felt a great care rise for her. She had not known Jesslyn very long at all, but she had grown to respect her greatly. Her attitude was a great sight more carefree than Laurel's. At first she had not understood it, but as her hope waned, she came to find it a great blessing.

"Well said," grinned Cartil at his sister. As if his body was telling him his own strength, he coughed heavily.

'Ill get us some water' Laurel mumbled and got swiftly out of her chair. To Laurel's embarassment, her body did the same, and moved her right back to her chair with a throb from her leg. Jesslyn wasted no time, and went to get the water herself.

"Will you be able to fight with your leg?"

Laurel looked at Cartil. His face showed a deep concern, and she was taken aback by it.

"And what about you, Cartil? Are you going to go out and fight as well? With your injuries?" Laurel said it quickly, glossing over her own hurt.


"Of course I will fight. I will fight for the innocent of Alphirion, and for their hopes for the future. I'll fight behind you, Laurel, and I'll fight for you,"

For me... she thought with a smile. She never thought she could head an army.

She felt Cartil take her hand quickly, and pull her closer to him. She stared at him, shocked at the look in his eyes.

"Laurel, I won't let you be taken by Cuor. I won't live to see you become some toy for a disgusting Wild Man."

Laurel's face grew pale. She thought of Cuor, and what his motives could be, and she felt sick. She looked at Cartil, and felt very useless.

'I..' she paused, and tried to keep the colour from her face. 'I thank you for that. I hope it does not come to a matter of life or death Cartil...'

~*~

Cuor moved through the forest, following the river through the dense trees outside of the Swan House. His mind turned over and over, of what those two brothers could possibly do.

He smiled 'My plan cannot be undone. It cannot. It is foolproof! Those foolish Eldar think they know all! They think me so low! It shall not always be so! They have their futile attack planned. It matters not what happens. I shall snatch her in the heat of the battle, and no-one shall know! Not until it is too late...' This thought kept a smile on his face from the Village to the forest.

His ears could pick up the arrival of the soldiers of Gondor arriving, and he smiled. He wished for many armies to join in the chaos of the battle. He wanted to be able to move as a shadow, in and out with his prize.
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Old 01-11-2004, 07:33 PM   #216
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Sting

'I thank you for that. I hope it does not come to a matter of life or death Cartil...' Laurel stammered, and Cartil smiled weakly. Hope was fleeting in the end of their fight for Alphirion, Cartil knew, but the hope in Laurel’s eyes was strong and unfaltering. It almost made the hope in Cartil’s heart jump back up into his throat. But where would the hope fly to when the battles continued and the plans were executed?

‘Yes, I hope…’ Cartil paused at the word. ‘I hope so too, but sometimes hope is blind to reality. In any case, if things do go ill, I will be there until the end,’ Cartil finished, looking up at Laurel and releasing her hand. The hope remained in her eyes, and if it was possible, the hope became even stronger than it had been before. Cartil wondered if Laurel’s hope was ever capable of failure, or if her faith and pride would ever die. Cartil thought not, but if it ever should he knew it would be a dark day. Just as Cartil had released Laurel’s slender hand, Jesslyn walked back in with three glasses and a slightly chipped water pitcher.

‘Hmm…let’s see…’ Jesslyn murmured, pouring glasses of water and passing them around. A smile was playing on her lips and excitement was in her eyes. ‘So, I was thinking, since I’m taking the archers and all…’ Jesslyn began, speaking to Laurel and practically ignoring her brother on his cot. ‘I could take them and surround their camp in a circle through the woods. We could pick off any Wild Men we see on the fringes, one by one in secret and hide the bodies and work our way into the main encampment. Then the main armies on foot can come in and take care of the core of the Wild Men, and the archers will have your backs. How does that sound? We can leave soon, before the main attack was supposed to take place! We’ll have everything ready for the armies to join us tomorrow morning or noon!’

--

Stefan led Fiona away from Elena and Adela, and took her small shoulder in his grasp. She stared defiantly back at him, and his eyes softened for he could never be mad at Fiona for long. Stefan sighed and let go of the girl's arm. Then he folded his arms across his chest, thinking about what to say that would convey his frustration but not hurt Fiona.

'Fiona! I can't believe you sometimes!' Stefan began, knowing it was a weak start. He sighed again, this time out of serious frustration. 'There are so many things you just said that were completely unacceptable. First of all, were you accusing me of cowardice back there? When you asked why I was not with your brother?'

'Maybe,' Fiona mumbled darkly, a smug look on her face. 'Besides, you're not my mother or father. You can't tell me what is right or wrong. And why didn't you stay and fight? You are old enough. That was all I was trying to point out! You could have helped fight!'

'That's beside the point! Maybe for once I decided to stop thinking about saving my own hide and help someone else live!' Stefan spoke as loud as he could without shouting or yelling. 'I saved Adela! She would have been killed if I hadn't helped her make it to the cave!'

'You were scared!' Fiona accused, pointing, raising her voice to match Stefan's. 'If you had stayed to fight you would have been saving lives for every Wild Men you might have killed. But no, you decided to save some little girl that could have been saved by someone else!'

'That's another thing,' Stefan continued, interrupting Fiona. 'She might not have her mother and father anymore! For all you know they could be dead, just like your mother might be dead!' - Fiona gasped audibly at this horrendous claim - 'She's four years old, you don't need to push it!'

Stefan saw Fiona's face after he finished talking, and then his heart sank. He'd gone too far by mentioning Fiona's mother. Fiona's face had noticibly paled, and she turned away from him to go back and join Elena and Adela. Stefan caught up with her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

Adela considered what her answer to Elena would be, and munched quietly on her apple, contemplating whether she should even answer in the first place. It certainly was not proper to tell strangers of your disposition and such. Even the cold four-year old Adela knew that! So silly, this girl… Adela thought amusedly. But Elena seemed intent on an answer, so Adela gave her one.

‘I have short legs,’ Adela answered shortly. ‘Stefan is tall. He is twelve, I know.’

Elena laughed, though it seemed almost like it was forced, as if she did not have the heart to laugh. Adela did not blame her; it was not a happy time, and laughing was not appropriate at such a dark time. Even Adela knew this! So silly, this girl… Adela thought again, taking another bite of her apple. Then Elena asked what Adela meant by Stefan being tall, and Adela wondered if Elena was from Alphirion, for she seemed so strange! Maybe she is just old? Adela alleged, wondering.

‘I had to run from the dirty ugly men,’ Adela explained, matter-of-factly. ‘Stefan offered to save me. He is so nice,’ Adela informed Elena, using her vocabulary of small words. ‘Yes. I told him thank you and he is my saver-boy. That is why I am with Stefan.’

‘Ah, I see,’ Elena said, her eyes aglow. At that moment, Stefan returned from his conversation with Fiona, and his cheeks were red as he held Fiona tightly around her left shoulder. They sat down, and it seems that Stefan was nervous to say anything, for fear of setting off the quietly fuming Fiona.

‘Stefan! Stefan! I got me an apple! Guess who? Guess who! Say who gave it to me!’ Adela said excitedly, crawling over to him and giving his a wringing hug about his neck. Then she left him, and rejoined Elena, sitting in front of her cross-legged. Adela smiled up at Elena, and Stefan shrugged, not much in the mood for speaking after having an argument with Fiona about who had gone where, and what had happened to her mother, and what had happened to everyone.

<font size=1 color=339966>[ 9:55 PM January 19, 2004: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:59 PM   #217
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Sting

I will be there until the end

Laurel smiled at Cartil's loyalty, and was truly happy to have someone like him, and his sister close by. When Jesslyn came back, she suggested that the archers take a more decisive role, and move further to counter any escaping Wild Men.

'That is a very good idea, and we shall use it Jesslyn' Laurel smiled

'We want a strong victory, and I think the Gondorians have given it to us. We now have four definite groups that can strike at the Wild Men, as well as your archers. We have an advantage now'

With four groups lead by herself, Leena, Lanaey, and Herebrand; Laurel had higher hopes than she had before. After all the planninbg had been done, now they needed rest.

Laurel slowly made her way out of her chair, and eased down on a cot not far from Cartil.

'Goodnight to you both' she said 'May you be ready for what it ahead!' she grinned.

~*~

Herebrand greeted the dawn and stretched in the dawn. Ohtaredan stumbled to waking behind him.

'Riding to War today my friend! What a thing! My blood courses!'

He had been informed of what he should do. His army was to be divided into two groups. He was to lead his men on horseback in a charge on the exposed side of the camp. Laurel was to take his other men and ambush from behind. All with skill of bow were to be sent in a group with teh Lady Jesslyn. Herebrand had allready mentally divided his group. He strolled over to the camp of the men of Gondor, and saw him doing the same.

Bowing respectfully to Gellick he said: 'I am honoured to ride with you today Sir' Gellick gave agrin 'An I you, Sir Herebrand. Our Alliance is ever strong, and I rejoice in it'

He turned his head when he heard someone call out the name of Lady Laurel. He saw a lone man, running down the main street, barely holding himself up. Herebrand ran to his aid...

~*~

Annunfuin felt himself held up by the strong Herebrand.

'I need to speak with Laurel' he mumbled. His mouth was dry and he fumbled with his words.

He had ran from the forest after helping all the women and children to safety, following the line of people moving from the Village. He had an urgency in his heart that Laurel needed his help, and what he had gleaned from those walking by him helped his resolve. A new army had come, and they rose the hopes of all. The Last Stand had been planned.

Herebrand turned the mans body to the Sick House, and he saw the worried face of a man he knew 'Gellick! Praise to Eru!'

The two embraced, and Gellick asked of all those who had come to represent Gondor. Slowly Annunfuin told his tale, and mourned for Sir Thagin again. He was then informed that Lady Leena was leading one of the armies, and his courage swelled in him.

'I wish to be in this Last Stand! Show me to Lady Laurel!'

<font size=1 color=339966>[ 1:12 AM January 18, 2004: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]
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Old 01-18-2004, 09:29 PM   #218
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Silmaril

Lanaey had slept a bit that night so that she would be at full awareness for the coming fight. As the majority of the humans started stirring and waking the Elf went to Herebrand to find out who her soldiers were.

"Share a plate, Lady. My men cook good stew; it'll give you strength," the Captain invited before she could speak herself.

She sat down gingerly to not disturb the just changed bandages; let them do what good they could before made useless by battle movements. With a 'thank you' she started eating the shallow bowl of stew which looked more like glorified chicken gravy.

"I was wondering where my men are. I'd like to look them all over and tell them exactly what we have planned," she got her point out straight once her food was finished.

Herebrand nodded and put another large spoonful of stew into his mouth, swallowing before responding. "I thought you might. I divided them," he pointed off to one side where one distinct group of several hundred men with horses going about their morning habits, "and those are under your command."

"Thank you," she clasped his hand and stood up. "See you out there," and she walked off toward her group.

A third of the way to her destination Leena came running up to her. The priestess slowed as she neared. "You from east, me from west," her eyes flashed.

"That is the plan. Know where your men are yet?"

"I'm going to Herebrand now. I'm guessing those are yours," at Lanaey's nod she continued, "meet you in the middle?"

They shook hands. "It's a promise." A grin spread wide on each.

~*~

The brothers had long discussed what they wanted to do in the fight. Their initial reaction was to go with Laurel and keep an eye over her, but they were better bowmen than fighters and could realistically help more that way.

Jesslyn was getting some breakfast when they came up to her suddenly. She looked a bit startled at their entrance.

Galain spoke for them. "We would like to enter the fight with your group, but will go to fighting need be. What say you?"
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Old 01-21-2004, 03:43 PM   #219
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Sting

Jesslyn had been getting breakfast and preparing to leave that morning with her group of archers. She had a head count, and about fifty archers had been spared from their original group to take on the task. Some were well trained with a bow, others were sent merely because they were of little use with a sword. As she was getting breakfast, Jesslyn was approached by the elven brothers.

"We would like to enter the fight with your group, but will go to fighting need be. What say you?" Galain spoke, and Jesslyn blinked. Then she smiled and nodded.

"Of course! I mean, well, yes. I'd be honored to have you in my group!" Jess began, but her smile faltered as she became slightly worried. "We're leaving soon. We'll be out before half an hour passes. Is this all right?"

"Of course," Galain answered for the two again. "We will be ready to leave when you are. Where are the archers that have volunteered? How many are there?"

"Ahh, fifty or so. They are waiting just outside the entrance to the house, wrapping things up, saying goodbye and everything," Jesslyn replied, looking at her half-eaten breakfast. "I was just finishing breakfast because I was all packed. But now that we're all ready, I suppose we better be getting on."

Jesslyn led the brothers to the group, who were pulling small packs onto their backs and holding bows in their hands. It was quite a state of disarray, and the brothers joined the mass and somehow managed to blend in with the human archers. Jesslyn stood up on a stool, ready to address the people under her command. She held her hands up and in minutes the whole troop of archers were listening to her.

Jesslyn didn't think she had ever had so many eyes on her, ever.

"You've been sent as the first part of the last stand for Alphirion," Jesslyn began, not entirely sure what to say. She wondered if her voice was weak, wondered if the people would begin to shift and wait for her to end. But they didn't. They waited for her to continue. "We leave to help save this town. Some of you are from here, some of you feel strongly enough for this that you've lent your skills and life to help. For that, you must be proud of yourself and the person next to you. But, some of you will not return. I may not return, for all we know. Just be proud of why you are here, and don't lose faith. Let's go."

The archers finished packing their things and Jesslyn got her bow and quiver. Then she went inside the house and was welcomed by the sight of Cartil standing by his cot with his hand on the wall to keep him stable. Jesslyn watched him walk from his cot to another, and then when he sat back on his cot Jess walked over to him and gave him a hug.

"I'm leaving now, Cartil. Please don't fight if it is going to hurt you," Jess whispered in Cartil's ear, and he nodded, but said that he would do what he had to do to protect Laurel. Jess smiled and left the room, hoping that she'd return to see Cartil before the end. Then she walked back outside, and Jesslyn began to lead the fifty or so archers into the woods towards the camp of the Wild Men. Their hope was to pick off any Wild Men on the outskirts of the camp one by one, just to make it as easy for the others as they could.

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Old 01-22-2004, 03:51 AM   #220
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Sting

Laurel woke up and made sure not to wake Jess or Cartil. She was squinting in the dawn when she heard a familiar voice call her name...

'Sir Annunfuin!' she cried, when she saw his strong face through the morning gleam. She embraced the man like a father, and smiled at his expression.

'I am glad to see you are well, Laurel, very glad' he said softly

'I too, am happy to see you are well. We have had little news from the House. Is my grandmother well?'

Annunfuin nodded 'When last we spoke, yes. Rudhchamion now stays with her. She is safe from the great of the battle'

'That comforts me' said Taralphiel. As they walked towards the town square, Annunfuin noticed her very slight limp under her armour.

'It still pains you Laurel?'

'Only very little. Ive improved much. There are others I am more worried about'

'I still ask you to be careful. I shall watch over you in this battle. I shall be in your group of men'

Laurel turned and smiled 'I thank you, Annunfuin. I will be glad to fight beside you'

They entered the square, and the groups had been assembled. All were making their preparations, and getting the last moments of sleep.

'I must leave you here for a moment. I need to visit my grandfather.'

'I shall come along' said Annunfuin, dusting his riding gear off a little.

~*~

Havlor smiled at his granddaughters face, and took her hand eagerly 'I knew you would take such a course my dear. You have the workings of your father. He would make such a move, and it is brave and true!'

'I would that you could see it all come about grandfather. Tell me you will be well when I return'

'I will be well when this woman lets me out for some fresh air!' he chuckles at Rivwyn, who only fusses with his sheets

'I call this love, husband. Remember you have not the strength to stand!' she said in a tone that was slightly jovial. Taralphiel watched as the bickered, and laughed heartily. Annunfuin watched the family together, and wondered if this is what would heal Laurel's wounds...
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Old 01-25-2004, 11:58 PM   #221
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Silmaril

Gorath and Galain quickly dissapeared into the forest when Jesslyn's archers set out. They were still with her group, but preferred to be on the outside. The nite tide of darkness would soon be aproaching and all of the groups would have to be in place.

On spur of the moment Galain deftly swung up into one of the trees. After getting through the initial thick growth he was in the sparse middle to upper parts. He could see down at the rest of the archers making their way through the floor. Glancing up he could see some storm clouds in the distance.

"They won't come in till late, if even," Gorath said as he came up to his brothers level.

Galain nodded and then glanced back at the men below. Without a look to see if his brother would follow the dark Elf started moving to the next tree, his general goal being Jesslyn. The brothers were going to position themselves above and each to one side of the human. Laurel had come to them when she found out they were to travel in her group.

"Please, watch over her. She's a bit headstrong and doesn't yet know her limitations."

The brothers had agreed and so had a new mission to fulfil.

~*~

Annanoldowen rode next to Lanaey. They had left a little while ago to wind their way slowly around. They hadn't taken the direct route to avoid getting the horses and their noises too close to the wildmen's camp. The scholarly Elf seemed rather tense, and Lanaey understood perfectly well why she did. A battle field was cold and should only be viewed through stories and books to scholars. They weren't fighters. To Lanaey it was a necessary event that had to be molded by those who could make a difference. It was very much alive and shaped the world just as surely as farms and cities did.

"How can you take this life?" Annanoldowen spoke quietly from her side.

Lanaey pondered a moment and glanced back at all those following her lead. "I was taught how to fight and I must use my skills to help those can't fight these battles. Most of those I help can better fight the elements against their crops than soldiers. Same with you and the scholarly life. I wouldn't be able to live that kind of existance."

"No other life but this one for you?" the thought seemed to disturb Annanoldowen.

Lanaey softly chuckled. "No...I could lead other paths. I could settle in a small life perhaps."

They were silent for a small portion then, but curiosity got to the scholarly one again. "How did you come to such a life? It isn't common for our kind to crave battle."

"My father taught me how since I was a child. He thought it better I know how to fight than to be overwhelmed by an evil force. I'm am viewed as slightly less for it."

Annanoldowen nodded at that remark. She could see how a female Elf warrior would be looked down on for her chosen life. Women were not fighters, especially Elven women.

Lanaey broke her thoughts. "Why do you fight this time Annanoldowen?"

"I learned the art though never practiced. I came to the aide of Taralphiel. Friendship bonds should always be kept."

Lanaey glanced at the others profile. "Are you scared?"

She bit her lip the tiniest fraction before answering. "A bit."

"Stay with me."

They were almost to their assigned part.

~*~

Leena had left early in her anticipation of the battle and her men were already in place. She didn't think that this might have been the wisest course of action, for now instead of being antsy in town she was having to endure it in realtive silence. They couldn't give their positions away. She glanced over at her men and smiled fiercly. These wild men would remember tonight through their eternities. If only the flaming arrow would fly.
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Old 02-09-2004, 02:51 AM   #222
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Sting

Laurel tensely moved along the forest floor, the great company of men following behind. The other group was by now out of sight, having split a few hours ago. Annunfuin strode beside her, his blade allready drawn.

The trees became sparse, and she held up her hand for the company to stop. There, she peered past the tents to see Wild Men bickering and gulping down ale taken from the Swan Villages cellars. She grit her teeth and turned, nodding to the group. She glanced at Annunfuin, and then Cartil with a small smile. She then strode out of the trees, the great company behind her, blades flickering and torches laid aside.

A cry of shock was heard as the Wild Men realised they had fallen into a trap they so often weaved, and seeing that the advantage was upon them, Laurel let out a cry as loud as her lungs could take it

'Go Forth! Fight for freedom and glory!' and she lifted her sword high and sprinted into the camp.

~*~

'This ale is all the sweeter for the filth blood spilt for it!' bellowed the King of the Wild Men. His cup heavy with his spoils, he chuckled as he thought of the victories yet at hand for his Men, and of driving more fear into the pitful peasants of Alphirion.

The battle cry of Laurel made him stumble and drop his goblet. Soon he heard the clashing of swords outside, and he roared in anger. Gathering his own stained blade, he dashed to the entrance of his tent, downing a man as he went. Relishing the smell of blood on his sword, he set out into the battle, looking for the upstart Maid that had the gall to try and outwit him...

~*~

Laurel heard the familiar booming of hundreds of swords slicing and fighting in a frenzy as she moved through the battle. Her own blade had been dulled by blood of Wild Men that hastily grabbed weapons and charged at her. Again another came, and moving as swiftly as her tired body allowed, she fell out of range of his blows, bringing her own sword to lie in his chest. Quickly wrenching it out, she saw another figure moved for her.

She looked and saw a man dressed in many furs, a battered chest plate covering him, and his sword and hands drenched in blood. His grin as he came upom her was filled with amusement and malice, and he spoke before raising his blade: 'Ill teach ye for trying to outwit me! Prize or no, I shall have your head!'

He swung his blade high, and Laurel stretched out of the way of it as he brought it down with a bellow. His strength greatly outdid hers, and she ducked from his blade several times.

He did not lose the grin on his face as he swiped over and over, Laurel being nicked in the arm by the edge of his sword. Hissing, she looked straight into his eyes and matched his stance.

'You are worn and panicked. I shall not lose to you' she mumbled.

He chuckled and brought her sword up again to strike. She ducked it as it hit the earth, and darted forward, only missing its rising by a hair. Now close enough, her foot landed squarely in his stomach, and as he moved forward, she sliced her blade past his throat.

He gurgled and spluttered as he hit the ground, and Laurel moved back as she watched him twitch and go still. The defeaning roar still ensued, and she did not notice another Wild Man shriek and raise his scimitar...

~*~

Annunfuin struggled through the battle, looking for the small form of Laurel amid the fallen and fighting. He found her, standing by the body of a great Wild Man, with a daze in her eyes.

He raced forward with a yell and cut down another Wild Man raising his sword to her from behind, and panting, looked at Laurel turn his way.

'We are driving them back slowly, and they are still dazed and surprised. We have time still to make more of this advantage'

Laurel nodded and raised her sword again, and not stopping to marvel at her courage, Annunfuin stood beside her and moved back into battle. Laurel then turned and yelled out the signal

'Let the arrow fly!' she cried.

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Old 02-15-2004, 06:19 PM   #223
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Silmaril

Leena and her footmen had waited long enough. She had heard a cry coming from Laurel's direction and knew the fight was on. Surging forward she threw several darts at her nearest opponents before unsheathing her sword. The Gondorian soldiers swept around her and started engaging with cries of their own.

The priestess seemed to loose herself in the battle, almost a beserker. Her armor protected her from most of the small wounds, but a few heavier ones got through, including a slash that managed to swipe across her forhead. She had been lunging backwards to avoid the blow so it was shallow except at the very end, but the blood seemed to keep flowing down her face. Wiping furiously at her forehead she kept fighting and moving forward.

~*~

A flaming arrow seared across the sky and before any of the wild men could understand what it meant the groups were upon them.

Gorath was firing, never missing. Galain kept one eye on Jesslyn while making his own marks. Wild men were falling down to struggle or lie still and yet they kept coming.

~*~

As soon as Lanaey's eyes saw the first spark of the arrow she gave a sharp cry and sent her horsemen into the grounds. Being on Drass gave her a definite advantage over the ground ridden wild men. The horses laid waste to the men at first, but as they went further into the camp the lines began to spread. She and Annanoldowen were quickly separated, but Lanaey couldn't dwell on this.

Lanaey found herself surrounded by four wildmen. She grabbed a dagger and threw it at the one to her right, but with a deft twist he avoided it completely. The two on her left charged and she struck down at them, trying to take them out quickly. The bigger of the two grabbed her arm as the other clanged blade to blade with her. Drass reared and the wild man lost his hold. Drass slashed her forelegs at the man in front of her and knocked his head. He fell immediately to the ground. The bigger man quickly snatched the blade from the smaller man next to him and thrust it into her still rearing horse. Drass gave a terrible cry and fell to the side, pinning Lanaey's already injured leg.

The Elf had tried to brace herself for the fall, but she was at the mercy of her dying friend. Her head knocked against the ground and she struggled to regain her vision, fearing the wild men would kill her in her haze for she had lost her sword in the fall and unless she could get another weapon out quickly she was helpless. Lanaey shook her head vigorously, surprised she wasn't dead yet for her vision wasn't coming back quickly. Someone grabbed her shoulders and hauled her out from Drass and steadied her head. When she could see again she saw it was Gellick and that he had taken out her assailants. He grinned down at her and helped her to stand.

"Want to ride double?" the battle was not immediately around them and they had time to consider options.

Lanaey shook her head, "I'll take them on from down here. Thank you."

He nodded, remounted and they set off toward the nearest wild men.

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Old 02-15-2004, 06:58 PM   #224
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Jesslyn...

"Fire!" Jesslyn shouted from their place on a low hill overlooking the camp. They were close, not too far away at all. The archers were lined along in single file across the hill, shielded by the brush and dark trees. Bowstrings stretched thin before her command, and bowstrings were loosed after her command. It was amazing, and Jesslyn loved the feeling and passion before and during battle. There was power, there was desire, there was hope, and everything else all at once. Jesslyn let loose her own arrow and watched as all the forty-some arrows soared through the clear air with confident certainty.

Jesslyn let loose her second arrow, this time it was on fire. The signal. Galain and Goroth shot arrow after arrow, downing Wild Men like they'd been doing it since they were born (which might have been true, for all Jesslyn knew). Everything seemed to be going their way, and Jesslyn doubted anything going wrong. Jesslyn also doubted that she would lose any of her archers, since they were safely hidden by the brush and foliage.

But this hope was dashed as the Wild Men regained their senses and began to fight back despite their distraught manner at having been caught off guard. Some took up bows and began sending a hail of arrows up at the Swan Wood archers. Slowly, Jesslyn's numbers started to dwindle, as archers were being shot down one by one. Jesslyn looked over at Galain, who did not look over and just continued shooting. Then she turned to look at Goroth, who shrugged and followed his brother's actions. Jesslyn's loss of hope became visible in her eyes, and it was painful for her to see the other archers fall slowly but surely.

So she drew her sword.

"Charge!" she cried, lifting her sword as the remaining archers followed suit. Goroth and Galain looked over at her with surprise on their Elven faces. Jesslyn smiled, and took off down the hill and into the chaos of the campsite battle. It was envigorating, fighting with her sword once again, up close and personal with the disgusting Wild Men.

---

Cartil...

Making an effort to stay within sight of Laurel, Cartil worked his way carefully in the crowds of grunting, gurgling Wild Men. Cartil was still dizzy, but being in this tide-changing battle convinced him it was worthi his life. The Wild Men became slightly disheartened at the loss of their leader at the hands of Laurel, but this only sent them in a life-saving frenzy as each Wild Men fought for his own existance.

Laurel gave Cartil hope every time he began to lose it, just the sight of her fighting for what she loved and what was hers made him fight back with the courage that just reflected off of her. The battle became almost surreal because Cartil was certain that nothing bad could happen with Laurel leading them. Cartil kept himself from smiling with pride as he fought, because it would be haughty even though he knew they would be successful. Their leader was down, and their numbers were waning. The Wild Men were finished with their stay in Alphirion and the Swan Wood.
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Old 02-16-2004, 02:31 AM   #225
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Herebrand

His horse spurred forth, and springing down the slope, he called forth his army of Rohirrim to the battle.

'To Swan Wood!' he yelled and soon the great mass of horses were upon the enemy. Clashing and breaking of shields rang through the clear evening, and Herebrand could see the panic in the Wild Men's eyes as one by one they fell.

He pricked his ears as he heard the cry of a young woman. He saw Jesslyn Stone run into battle with her sword raised, and marvelled at her bravery at such a time. It seemed to fill him with greater energy, and he fought feverishly...

Ohtaredan

Ohtaredan felt a stir of joy as he saw the men of Rohan battel bravely uner the command of Herebrand. He also saw the strength they and the Gondorians took from the Elf-woman Lanaey, as she fought tirelessly.

Slashing wildly, hitting Wild Men every which way, he began to realise that hope was indeed kindled, and that Swan Wood may just be free. So he fought on, in renewed strength.

But his fortunes were not all well. In his musings, he did not see a Wild Man come attacking, and he was dragged from his horse. With a yelp, he thrashed out to defend himself, but before the Wild Man could land a killing blow, a spear went through his chest.

Ohtaredan could see the face of his Captain as he got to his feet and grabbed for his steed. Herebrand said 'Let us hope you stay on your horse now, friend!'

Ohtaredan swiftly mounted again, and rode into the throng again.

~*~

Laurel

Laurel fought on out of the cover of trees, her sword covered in blood, but her heart swelling with the hope that came. She now fought alongside Jesslyn, who had charged into the battle with a loud cry that had made Laurel very proud of her.

As the archers swarmed forwards, Laurel lost sight of Annunfuin and Cartil. But not fearing their safety greatly, she fought on as the Wild Men kept charging like cornered beasts.

Laurel was attacked by one, and was surpirsed by his ferocity. Backing into the trees slightly, she eventually found a break in his blows, and caught her blade in his shoulderblade.

Stooping a little to pull her sword out, she was caught quickly from behind, and a cold hand snaked over her mouth before she could cry out. A slender but long blade prodded her throat, and a voice mumbled:

'I have you now. Do not cry out, My Lady, it will do you little good'

Laurel kicked and tried to swing her arms out, but the blade began to draw blood, so she stopped her struggling.

She simply stumbled backwards as he led her into the trees...
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:42 PM   #226
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Silmaril

Gorath was surprised at Jesslyn. This group had been designated as the archers. Many had already fallen in the trees and on the ground. Glancing around he saw that many were following her, though some were still firing. Jess was already fighting with the wildmen.

He called to his younger brother in their native tongue. "I'll cover from above."

Galain knew that meant he was to fight beside her, and he was the better of hand to hand combat. Taking a last shot at a man about to kill a settler, Galain swung his bow over his shoulder and unsheathed his sword while dropping to the ground. It took him several minutes to reach the warrior maidens side. Gorath had helped a bit from his vantage to clear Galains path.

Jesslyn didn't acknowledge the dark Elf as he started fighting beside her, yet she shifted her movements to better use the dual fighting.

All the time Gorath kept firing from afar.

~*~

Annanoldowen stumbled to one side and clutched her arm. She was in the clear for the moment and all she could think about was catching her breath. She was not meant for the warrior life.

A man spotted her and started toward her with a grin on his face. She straightened and raised her sword again, walking toward him as well. She would not be an easy kill no matter. He had two shorter blades and started swinging them around her. Annanoldowen's sword clanged against one first, than the other blade. Soon he would have her blade trapped and side wide open. Crying out she wrenched her blade to the side and brought it back in a sweeping arc which the wild man easily blocked. He brought his second blade around to cut into her abdomen, yet her stomach was not where it should have been. Still keeping her tight grip on the sword, the Elf had swept down and kicked viciously at his right knee cap, breaking it in. With one leg gone he quickly collapsed to her left and Annanoldowen drove her sword with his body. The blade entered just past midchest toward the right side of his body. He wasn't dead yet and he swung one blade at her legs. Annanoldowen hopped back as far as she could and her armor easily deflected the would be wound. In three breaths he was gone and she gruffly retrieved her weapon, holding the body down with her foot.

Not thinking about what she was doing anymore, the scholarly Elf turned savior walked on to her next fight.

~*~

Lanaey saw a figure coming from one side and turned with her blade raised again to find it her lost companion Annanoldowen. Before she could get to the Elf however, several wildmen came at Lanaey and she had to turn and meet them head on. It was a frenzy of blades, twists and turns. Lanaey's wounded leg from the last major battle was no longer working as well as it should, bending more at the knee than desired.

For a couple of moments Lanaey had been fighting three men and then suddenly, there was one. Taking him out was harder than she liked, but it didn't take too long. Looking over she saw Annanoldowen coming back towards her.

Annanoldowen sounded tired. "They didn't notice me. I got one and then the other came after me."

"Where is he?"

Annanoldowen nodded to one side where a wild man lay dead.

Lanaey nodded. "Thank you. Where's your horse?"

"I got knocked off," she shrugged.

Lanaey moved to her side and they continued together.
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Old 03-05-2004, 08:48 PM   #227
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Jesslyn...

The archers ran into the fray, and Jesslyn regretted her decision the second her blade hit a Wild Man's steel. The force of the impact shocked Jesslyn, sending vibrations through her sword that nearly numbed her arms. The man was huge -- Jesslyn wondered why she ran so blindly into battle and just took a swat at the first enemy she saw. It was foolish, and even though Jesslyn had taken note of the Elven brother's watchful eyes upon her, Jess couldn't help but doubt her chances with the Wild Man before her.

Jess got a good hit in once or twice, but it seemed of little concern to the big, burly man. Gashes that would be fatal to Jesslyn were like slightly annoying cuts to the Wild Man. His strikes shoved Jesslyn away, like a hand would swipe away a fly. Still Jesslyn fought on, because it was cowardly to run from a battle even if you were certain of failure.

And failure did come for Jesslyn. She took a daring aim with her sword to the Wild Man's head, which left her stomach uncovered and unprotected. The Wild Man knew his chance had come. Without hesitation he shoved his hand dagger into Jesslyn's stomach. It happened so fast, too fast for Gorath or Galain to help even if they'd noticed or had been near enough in the first place. Jesslyn's eyes widened, half full of surprise and half in agony and defeat.

Nothing was worse than when the Wild Man grinned with his nasty teeth and wrenched the dagger from Jesslyn's stomach. As she dropped her sword and staggered to the ground, the man laughed and kicked dirt on her. He mumbled something in humour and left her there...

Soon the pain was gone, and all Jesslyn could do was wait for her battered body to catch up with it all. Jesslyn didn't want to be around when Cartil or even Laurel found out that she'd been struck down. She didn't want to be alive to see if they'd be disappointed or worried. Jess just wanted to join the other poor souls that had fought for Alphirion. For the first time in her life Jess realized that just maybe she wasn't meant to be a warrior, or wasn't meant to fight.

So Jess closed her eyes, and let her body rest.

---

Cartil...

His breathing had become heavy and laboring, but somehow Cartil managed to take down another Wild Man. He was so exhausted, and looking up he began to wonder how long the battlw would go on. As he looked up, he managed to see a familiar face--

It was Laurel, but she was not battling heroically or bringing hope to the rest of the people fighting for her. With a panicked look on her face and a hand clasping her mouth shut, Laurel was being carried away into the trees by her captor.

Alarmed, Cartil sheathed his sword and ran across the battlefield to follow. They ducked into the foliage, and Cartil followed along until he almost got lost in the brush looking for Laurel. He remembered his promise to Laurel..."Laurel, I won't let you be taken by Cuor. I won't live to see you become some toy for a disgusting Wild Man."

Was it Cuor? Cartil could not tell, but he ran on despite, looking for any sign of Laurel or her captor.
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Old 03-05-2004, 10:32 PM   #228
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Silmaril

Jesslyn had still been fighting with the same man when Galain got overly distracted by two opponents setting on him. The cover from Gorath had stopped a few seconds ago and the younger brother let a small thought of worry slip through his mind. The only reason he would stop firing was if he had been engaged by the wild men as well.

Galain did a side slash and temporarily got rid of one of his attackers. He heard a cry of pain from Jesslyn, but couldn't turn to look or help. Pushing with all his might he got the second attacker off of his blade and swung around to immediately clash with a giant wildman; it was the man Jesslyn had been fighting moments before.

Where is Jesslyn? She wouldn't leave a fight - he didn't have time to think more. He kicked out as hard as he could at the giants legs and turned to deflect a blow aimed at his head from the second attacker. Swinging both the blades to the ground Galain let go with his left hand and punched the wildman as hard as he could in the head who fell and started shaking to get up. The dark Elf didn't have time to finish him. He slightly turned again to barely deflect a blow from the giant and the first attacker was coming to his side quickly. Panic flared across the back of his mind, but he didn't let it surface at all. The end was never in sight until it was behind you.

The giant had his blade trapped and was about to overturn the struggle with his blade in Galains stomach. Galain only had a few seconds before the giant would get back up from the second and first attackers. Letting go of his blade entirely the giant over balanced and had to step forward one tiny step. In that time Galain moved as fast as he could to bring out one of his other blades. One of his smallest daggers came to his hand first and while the giant finally started lumbering up to finish the pesky Elf off, Galain slashed at his throat and once again kicked out. He couldn't wait to see, Galain focused on the nearest back up coming and threw his dagger at his chest. Swinging to one side he tried to pick his sword up again now that the giant wasn't standing over it, but he couldn't see it. He did see the giant lying still on the ground with a growing pool of blood seeping from him. Trying to get any blade the last attacker jumped at him. They went tumbling and the dark Elf took a sharp elbow to his face, leaving him a bit dazed. He still had daggers on him though and both his hands instinctively went to find one. They both came up fruitful and when the two enemies stopped rolling Galain went immediately into a crouch and lashed out, cutting him across the face and stabbing him in the chest directly. Pulling his short knife out of the dying man he went back to where his sword should have been.

He saw the hilt and half a hands length sticking out from under the giant and covered in blood. The wildman had landed on his own swords edge and ripped himself open. Putting his foot against the man Galain gripped the hilt and pulled. The blood on the blade made his grip slip and he fell backwards into the legs of another wild man who smiled down at him. Galain grabbed the mans knees and lunged forward, tipping the man backwards from his knees being pulled so quickly forward. The dark Elf pivoted and turned and saw a blade plunge into the fallen wildman's stomach.

"Herebrand!" Galain exclaimed. The captain nodded and pulled his blade free of the dying man. Galain quickly gripped his sword hilt again and pulled, succeeding in freeing it. Quickly wiping it off he gripped his companions hand.

"Where's Jesslyn?" Galain still remembered his charge from Laurel.

Herebrand turned and pointed to a body several paces off. It was indeed Jesslyn, turned in a fashion so that the Elf couldn't recognize her from his vantage.

"I saw her fall, then saw you quite set upon." The Captain put a hand on Galain's shoulder and gripped it. "She went out a warrior."

"Perhaps it wasn't her way," Galain said softly. "Come, others are in need."
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Old 03-06-2004, 05:03 AM   #229
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Herebrand and Ohtaredan

Herebrand made his sprint across the quickly dispersing flood of Wild Men and allies of Alphirion. He felt a little numb as he planted his blade in the belly of a falling Wild Man. He saw the fair face of the Elf Galain, and straightened. He would have cried in victory, but he had no words.

Ohtaredan puffed alongside him, his sword hanging limply, but his eyes darting about like a panicked fox. Herebrand stood and spoke to Galain:

"She went out a warrior."

The words did little coming from his mouth, he knew. Seeing the crumpled frame of the young woman was almost too much for him to bear. And so he moved over and gently turned her, lifting her dirt stained face. He held out one arm and called for water, and Ohtaredan faithfully brought him some. He cleaned her face as well as he could, and with her rough hands lay her on a board lined with a rich red cloth Ohtaredan had quickly snatched from the Wild Kings tent.

He looked over her closed eyes and stood, with the men of his army standing beside him. But naught could pass through his mind but what this young woman gave for this land.

~*~

Annunfuin

Annunfuin looked about the battlefield, calling out for Laurel. He scoured the bodies and found none of whom he knew. Squinting across the clearing, he saw the men of Rohan gathered in small groups.

Running over as fast as he could, he skid to a stop when he saw a young woman laid at their feet. Seeing Jesslyn's face made him wish to weep. She was a brave young woman. Annunfuin had seen her rush headlong into the battle, and marveled at the strength of someone who had only been taught to handle her blade weeks before.

Upon scouring the faces of the group he said 'Where is Laurel? And Cartil? And what of Leena and the other Elves?'

Men shook their heads and he looked around for any place they could have gone. A murmur came from the side of a tent, and he rushed to see Captain Gellick of Gondor lying on a stretcher. He was bleeding from the shoulder, and his face looked on the door of Mandos.

'I saw...Cartil...running...' he whispered, and pointed to the trees. Annunfuin took his sword and headed in that direction. Turning back he said:

'Do not worry, I will return soon with them both!'

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Old 03-06-2004, 05:30 AM   #230
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Laurel

Laurel fought down frustration and panic. She felt the dagger jabbing at her throat and wished she could save herself. Her feet scrambled backwards as she was lead through the deep trees.

Cuor was ever mumbling in her ears, most of the time inaudible phrases in Elven. Though when he prodded her with the blade, she listened to his words.

"I was given nothing in my life. All was pain and darkness. But you have been my one light, my Lady. And so I shall have that light forever. We shall rule this place together. We shall be happy in the forest sanctuary, built by your family. Is that not a wonderful life? Is it not?"

Laurel didnt even want to open her mouth

"Your grandmother will not allow this. She is too defiant. Where would a simple roving wench learn such a quality! No matter, I have you and she will see to my wishes if she values your life. It pains me to use such methods, but she will leave me no other choice!"

"You leave yourself no other choice!" Laurel stammered

She felt his body twitch, and she held her eyes shut, hoping his rage would not end her.

"You will understand me soon, my dearest Laurel. You will understand me and love me as dear as that pitiful excuse for a boy that dotes on you! And he...he will suffer when I get my hands on him, if a Wild Man has not already"

"You know not of his valour and devotion" said Laurel hoarsley "Had you known, you would have fled there and then! I trust in his strength!"

Looking down, she could see the path at her feet. She knew now that he was leading her back to the House. She grew more panicked. She could not let him get there, but she saw no way in which she could avoid it.

She suddenly bumped into him as he halted, and felt his free hand grab tighter at her wrist. He snaked rope about her, growling as he tried to tie it with only one hand. Quickly he let the blade down to tie her wrists, and Laurel immideately let out a shriek that pealed through the forest.

She kicked backwards, and tried to get distance from him. Her hands were loosely secured together and she shook her arms violently to get them free and keep balance. It did not take Cuor long at all, and he thrust the heel of his boot onto her back.

Laurel fell roughly, and Cuor grabbed her and spun her around. Looming over her, his eyes were darkened, and his shadowed face was crazed and mad. The dagger appeared again at her chest, and she turned her face from him.

"You musnt try that again my dear Laurel, or I will have little choice but to do away with you completely. I would rather live in darkness and have my life you see..."
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Old 03-06-2004, 07:48 PM   #231
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Gorath had missed a shot at the wildman Jesslyn was fighting with and was sighting his second shot when he heard the arrow coming for him. He had been so intent on hitting his target that he narrowed all his senses.

The dark Elf immediately shifted toward the trunk, but he was too late. The arrow struck in his side with such force that he lost his footing and fell twisting still to one side. He held tightly onto his bow, which was what saved him from the entire fall to the ground. It caught lengthwise against two branches. In the lashback of stopping suddenly Gorath lost his grip on the bow, but in the second it happened he was able to gain his surroundings and spread his feet so that he would catch one of the larger branches just to his side.

The impact of landing on such a small space jarred his whole body and fire darts lanced up from where the arrow stuck out of his body. It hadn't gone all the way through and the feathered end had been broken off in the fall, causing the wound to rip up with the arrow as it broke. He was loosing a lot of blood, but couldn't take the arrow out himself without causing much more damage.

A noise made Gorath's ears prick up and his head snapped around to find the source. Two wildmen were running toward his position while another was sighting him with another arrow. Gorath quickly got behind the tree to avoid the arrow and glanced up at his bow just above him. The wood had split and the bow was useless. He was still a good way up in the tree and the wildmen would have to climb to him.....except for that bowman. Snatching out a dagger he slid up as far as he could against the trunk. He would have to do this without getting hit by the arrow that was undoubtably still trained on his spot. Gorath took a deep breath then whipped into view and launched his dagger. He had held onto the trunk with his other hand and now pulled with all his might to get back into cover. He had heard the release of the arrow and as he retreated to his former spot he saw it spiral past him at the same time he heard a cry and thud. His dagger had hit mark.

There were still two more wildmen coming. Grunting he looked down at them. One was starting to climg the tree, the other was throwing badly aimed poisoned darts at him that never came close. They need more training. The Elf thought briefly before moving to jump to another tree.

Lets keep them on the groung while I find help. He knew that he couldn't take them both on. All he had left was his sword and one short knife which he preferred to keep. Moving between the trees would take longer than usual, but he could still keep a pace, even with an arrow in his side.

That arrow will only make me weaker. I need help quickly...

~*~

Leena was still battle lusting. She had killed many of the wildmen, as had her group. There were almost no enemies left... and she still wanted one.

She heard a cry off toward the east side of the camp and she immediately started off for it. After a few minutes of light jogging she came upon a cluster of tents. She slowed and crept towards the first one. Wild men could be in any of them. Three of the seven had the flaps closed. Her breath rasped in her throat as her chest creaked.

She had many cuts and once when a wildman had stomped on her chest she thought that some of her ribs might have cracked. They certainly felt like they were broken, but pain was nothing and discarded.

The priestess was almost upon the first tent when it exploded out on her and she found herself set upon by one wildman. She clashed blades and smiled viciously as he pushed her back a step. With a shove into his sword the wildman made her sidestep and she saw into tent where another wildman sat with a small tube in his mouth. Her eyes widened and a burst of anger escaped in a yell as the dart entered her.

She was dead.

But not yet. Swinging in a huge arch that let her opponent hit her side armor and cut through to draw blood she swept down and sliced through his head.

In the distance she heard a yell that sounded like her name, but that wasn't important anymore.

The wildman in the tent, who was more a glorified boy than anything, was terrified. He had a short sword and held it in front of him in a sort of lame defense. He didn't put up any kind of fight and she ran him through in her initial run.

Trying to come out of the tent her leg buckled and she fell across the way.

~*~

There were no wildmen in sight anymore, only vague calls in the distance. Annanodolwen and Lanaey were struggling to help the wounded. Some died in their arms and others would survive.

There was a closer cry than most and Annanodolwen glanced around. She saw a female cut down a wildman and turn toward a tent she was by. The scholarly Elf recognized the warrior.

"Leena!" She yelled across the grounds causing Lanaey and a few other soldiers that were helping to turn and glance.

They saw her rush into the tent. Lanaey immediately stood up and started running toward her friend, unsheathing her sword yet again. As Lanaey came up to the tent, almost gasping from the pain her body was flooding her with, she saw Leena collapse in the entrance of the tent.

"Check those tents in teams!" She called to the eight soldiers that had followed her run.

Lanaey fell to Leena's side and held her head. A foam was starting in the priestess' mouth and she jerked as a fish on land. Annanodolwen came up to them out of breath and went to the ground as well, looking over Leena's form. The dart wasn't hard to find, sticking viciously out of the neck. Lanaey was only looking into Leena's eyes so Annanodolwen reached over and gently pulled it out. It wouldn't make a difference.

"I...I killed them..." blood seeped from Leena's mouth as she tried to speak.

Lanaey nodded and patted her shoulder, though she doubted the dying woman felt the touch. The poison would be fire throughout her body.

"You avenged Thagon. Go with peace and join your Knight." Lanaey's eyes stayed locked with Leena's and soon her body stopped jerking. Annanodolwen leaned over and kissed the still face while Lanaey closed the lids.

"I'm sorry lady," a soldier had come upon them. "But -"

Lanaey stood up violently cutting off the man. Suddenly she started running toward the trees with Annanodolwen calling after her.

~*~

Herebrand had started giving orders to his men about helping the wounded and searching out for any wildmen left when Galain's mind snapped at him. Spinning he stared into the trees where his brother had been. He was no where in sight. Quickly scanning the surrounding trees he saw two wildmen running on the ground heading east. Looking just up and in front he saw his brother struggling to move through the trees. The wildmen were gaining.

Pushing several soldiers aside he started running as fast as he could toward his brother. Even from this distance Galain could see the blood spills. Behind him Ohtaredan grabbed Herebrand's arm and started after.

~*~

Deigeth had his eyes locked upon the Elf in the trees above him. It wouldn't be long until he stopped or fell and this brought Deigeth great pleasure. He had never had the priveledge of killing an Elf before. The town and cause was lost, but this was his. Most of the allies were done fighting and too preoccupied to notice them in the treeline. The wildman felt as safe and secure as he could considering enemies were all around, but he would make this last kill and escape to other ventures. There were always gangs in cities that he could join.

The Elf was almost done. He looked as if he would fall at any moment.

Suddenly his partner cried out and started sprinting toward the thick of the forest. Glancing around he saw too many enemies. For a moment he was frozen, then he brought his blade up against another male Elf while a female Elf streaked past them several paces away. Deigeth was focused on parrying with the Elf before him, but he heard the death cry of his former companion and knew he was by himself. It didn't take long for even that companion to die.

~*~

Annanodolwen cried after Lanaey, then saw what she was running toward. One of the dark brothers was set upon by two wildmen in the trees. Calling to the soldiers that were able around her she ran as fast as she could after them, but she was almost spent.

More runners were coming from the side and the scholarly Elf recognized the other dark brother with Herebrand, Ohtaredan and a small host of men behind him.

Lanaey ran down the wildman that had started to flee and sliced his back open. As he fell crying out she pinned him to the ground with her sword running completely through. It didn't take the body long to stop juttering.

Galain, Annanodolwen could now make out, parred four hits with the wildman before the wildman tried to push him away and run. He had seen the host of soldiers coming. Galain kept step with the man though and soon had an opening from the panic ridden man. With a quick slice Galain cut him open and kicked him down. The wildman couldn't move anymore and would die quickly, but Galain now ignored him and called up to his brother. Gorath fell and hit the ground on his back, unconscious.

Annanodolwen was now there and went down to him. She saw the arrow and all the blood first.

"Take off his leather!" Galain stripped it as fast as he could. Annanodolwen went to his back as the soldiers came upon them. "Herebrand, hold him up like this. Now Galain, break off the rest of the feathered end and push it through."

The unconscious Elf made no sound as the arrow punched through his skin and came out the back. Annanodolwen grabbed the offending object and pulled it out. She looked up for another person to yell at only to have Ohtaredan already holding the cloth out to her. She snatched it and started pressing against the wound, Galain doing the same on the other side. They bound him and she checked his pulse.

"It is not as strong as it should be, but he should be fine if we can get him medicine and water. It was below the lung....I think it missed important organs. He needs cleaning so infection won't set in."

Herebrand called for horses and the men quickly had a makeshift stretcher bound between two horses. Galain went with his brother to the House. He knew enough to keep his brother alive.

"Come ladies," Herebrand called to the Elven women. "There are others who need help."

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Old 03-06-2004, 08:34 PM   #232
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Cartil followed the tracks of Cuor and Laurel until he came to a thin line of foliage that seperated him from a struggle going on between the Wild Man and Laurel. Cartil supressed the urge to leap out and kill the man on the spot, waiting for the right time to strike. Cartil watched as the two struggled for a moment, holding his dagger and sword with a death-like grip.

"You musnt try that again my dear Laurel, or I will have little choice but to do away with you completely. I would rather live in darkness and have my life you see..."

That was it. Hearing Cuor say such things to Laurel made Cartil snap and lose all his patience and ability to wait calmly. He leaped out of the brush, swinging his blade blindly. It was lucky he only grazed Cuor's arm and did not hit Laurel in any way. This move and attack surprised Cuor into springing away and shoving Laurel forcefully out of his way.

Cartil wanted to see that Laurel was all right and that she was unharmed by Cuor, but his attention soon returned to the Wild Man. He'd recovered from his shock at the sudden attack, and moved to lung at his original attacker. Cartil blocked the blow of Cuor's blade, but just barely. Cuor was so much bigger, and Cartil was losing hope and vigor even during that first strike.

Taking one spare second to drop both his daggers to the ground behind him where Laurel was, Cartil hoped that Laurel would take the weapons and leave Cuor to him. Going back to his fight with Cuor, Cartil put all his strength into the next offensive strike. The results amazed Cartil, for Cuor was pushed back into a nearby tree. However, this only made Cuor more angry and ferocious. Cartil's enemy fought back twice as hard...
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Old 03-06-2004, 10:41 PM   #233
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Laurel heaved herself up and watched as Cartil attacked Cuor. She picked up the daggers that Cartilhad left her, and sawhim push Cuor further towards the end of the mossy path. But Cuor was unpredictable, and make a strong lunge forward, forcing Cartil back. Laurel felt her panic rise. She did not know what the Elf would do next. Her feet compelled her forward as Cartil struggled on.

Her hands twitched as Cuor threw his strength into his blade and Cartil deflected it deftly. Her heart seemed in her throat, and her fear was the only thing keeping her awake. Then came Cuor's move. He tripped Cartil by knocking his left ankle, and swiping at the other. Falling with a great thud, Cuor smiled and raised his hand. Laurel had little time to think.

The dagger flew and hit him in the chest. His eyes became clouded, and he dropped to his knees. Laurel scrambled to Cartil's side, but she watched Cuor struggle to breathe.

"You...betrayed me my dearest...how could you?"

Laurel felt her joints give up on her and she slumped to the floor. She watched as his dark eyes stopped twitching, and turned from their focus on her.

"It's done. I feel so tired" she mumbled. She rested her arms about Cartil's shoulders.

"I want to go home Cartil. Do you think we can make it there?"

He nodded, and they slowly got to their feet and turned from his body. They were almost in the trees when they heard a great yell...

~*~

Annunfuin saw the Elf turn and grab a long blade. He did not understand what was happening, but the gurgling laughter was enough to make him act. He sprinted, and thrust his blade through the Elf's back. He coughed blood, and fell dead.

Laurel turned and her eyes went wide with fear. Annunfuin stepped over Cuor's body and embraced Laurel:

"You are safe now. We wont let you get hurt again"

He gave a knowing smile to Cartil, and took the boy by the shoulder.

"I am sure that Taralphiel will wish to see us all..."

Watching Laurel's tried face, he saw a flash of Jesslyn. He then felt a great lump in his throat.

"But first...we have to go back to the battlefield..."

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Old 03-11-2004, 09:10 PM   #234
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Nothing lasts forever...

Cartil nodded, taken slightly aback by the sudden change of tone and subject. But the young man shrugged this off and let Laurel put her arm around his neck so that he could support her as they walked. The three companions walked away from Cuor's dead body, and Cartil did not regret leaving the beast there.

But soon, Cartil knew that it would be back to a battlefield, back to a world of hatred and bloodshed; a world of hope and pride. Cartil both loved and hated battle. It showed a side of beings that would never be shown under any other circumstances. It showed death that left lasting ache in the hearts of those left behind. Still, there were always reasons for fighting in the world, it seemed.

The battlefield was emptying as Laurel, Cartil, and Annunfuin left the guard of foliage. Wild Men scattered, and the people of Alphirion cheered without care. Cartil looked to Laurel's face, and saw a smile so relieved and so happy that could not be found any other way. Cartil brushed some of Laurel's long brown hair away and whispered in her ear. "Laurel, your people are safe, thanks to you."

Laurel smiled, but the smile faltered as she saw the bodies strewn about the battlefield. The people of Alphirion and the warriors that had died were mixed with the dead of the Wild Men. It was not proper, Cartil knew, to leave the courageous of Alphirion to rot with the likes of the Wild Men.

"Collect the bodies of the honorable dead," Cartil cried, calming the cheering warriors and townsfolk. "Let them rest seperate from those that terrorized them for so long..."

"Cartil," Annunfuin began, but his voice stopped before he could continue. Instead he pointed to a board laden with rich maroon cloth that was haphazardly placed outside the Wild King's tent. Cartil gently let go of Laurel and went to the board, seeing a body on it.

"No..." Cartil murmured before he'd even been able to see who was lying on the makeshift stretcher. He ran the rest of the way and dropped to his knees, brushing wispy black hair from the face of the fallen. He did not need to see the face to even confirm that it was indeed his sister. It was Jesslyn, his baby sister. Cartil's little sister was dead on the battlefield. It was certainly not her time, and Cartil's mind rushed with questions. What had happened? Why not him? Why Jesslyn? Who had killed her?

Cartil could not answer any of the questions. He could not weep. He was too overwhelmed to do much of anything. All he could do was take her small, cold, and lifeless hand in his and hold her. It was all he could do to keep from whimpering, but Cartil continued to think that it would be unmanly. But it was his little sister...it occurred to Cartil that he'd never see her grey-green eyes again, or see her smile.

"Goodbye, Jess."

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Old 03-11-2004, 09:41 PM   #235
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Laurel headed for the clearing that had been the field of war. She faltered when she saw the mass of men lain around on the flattened ground. She had to lean further on Cartil to keep herself steady. But then she saw the cheering of teh victorious, and the trampled flags and standards of the Wild Men. Then she saw a great dream coming true, and her smile could not be kept back.

She heard Cartils voice whisper softly to her: "Laurel, your people are safe, thanks to you."

Laurel did not answer to him, but smiled and let the feeling well up inside her. Lettting herself enjoy the freedom she now had.

But the joy did not last very long. Annunfuin stopped and looked at a board laid on the ground with someone placed atop it. Cartil rushed toward it, and dropped to the ground.

Laurel followed quickly behind and looked upon the woman placed there. Jesslyn's face was pale but peaceful. But Laurel could not help but let the tears roll over her cheeks.

She knelt by Cartil and said to him

"I am so sorry Cartil. I can say no more to you. I know how much pain you are feeling..."

She placed her hand on his shoulder, not sure of how he would react to her words. She watched as he held her hand, and thought to herself:

'You were the closest to a sister I have ever had Jesslyn. I wish you peace forever. You deserve such a thing...'

~*~

Annunfuin stood by the two, watching them weep for Jesslyn. It grieved him more than he would tell anyone. He had hoped Laurel's pain would end, and that she would be given a life of happiness. But pain still came to her.

'She will have a better life now. Jesslyn's death will not be forgotten, and her spirit will watch the happiness that came from her sacrifice. The people of this land will enjoy their freedom all the more for the people who died it'

And so Annunfuin stood there and waited for the two to stand, so he could escort them to the Lady Taralphiel.
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Old 03-13-2004, 01:06 AM   #236
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A messenger was sent to the caves to tell the villagers hiding there of the victory. There would be no more war here for years to come, if ever again. The bodies of the dead fighters were taken to the Lady Taralphiel's House where they were laid together until their graves could be dug. Wounded soldiers and wearied fighters took up these charges and by the time the villagers from the caves reached the House all of the dead were waiting in reverence and half of the graves dug. Many of the villagers, young and old helped to dig the last of the graves and moved the liberators to their resting place within the land that they had saved. Markers were made for each one and later letters would be written to go to the families of each. Most of these duties were carried out in silence. When all the dead were buried Taralphiel called for everyone who was able to be gathered at the head of the burial ground.

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Old 03-13-2004, 05:14 PM   #237
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Another task was done for Lanaey. Another battle fought and won, and always, many had died. She had seen Leena die in her arms and that struck her a bit. It reminded her of how she felt when her son had died, and the feeling was horrible. However, it would be overcome, as it always was.

When she brought back her first charge of wounded the Elf had taken the time to stop and visit with Gorath. He was conscious and they spoke for a few minutes before she said that she had to go back out and help with bringing in the dead.

"Wait," Galain had stalled her. "I'll come help."

No smiles or words passed as they went out and rode back to the wildmen's camp to gather their comrades in arms.

~*~

Annanodolwen was one of the best healers around and she went around from one injured person to the next. Her mind had no time to think of anything else, it just focused on the task ahead, the next blade wound, the next unconscious.

Eventually she got them all so that they were able to move to the House safely and with the last of the wounded departing, she went with them.

When she got to the House she saw the small rows of bodies that had started. The rounds of bringing back the dead were just started. She squeezed her eyes shut and turned her head toward a patient. When she opened her eyes she found that the human she was looking at was staring at the bodies and crying.

Through the rest of the day she went with the other healers around and around, doing what they could in turn. Those that were going to die were given what comfort could be provided, but that number was few. Most would be able to get out of bed within the weeks end.

Midday was approaching as Lanaey found her resting against a wall.

~*~

Once all of the defenders bodies had been taken out of the battle field Lanaey had asked for a few volunteers to stay behind to burn the wildmen. Galain and around seven other men stayed. First they gathered several of the tents and piled them in an open area. Going through the ground in teams it took them the better part of the morning to get all the bodies into the pile. There were far more dead wildmen than defenders, a small consolation to the Elf.

Eventually they had gathered all of the dead in that one area and started the fire that grew quickly along the clothing. The stench rose and was horrid. Thankfully the wind was blowing away from the village and House. The villagers didn't need to be reminded again.

Galain offered to stay behind and make sure the fire didn't get out of hand. There was hardly any chance of that, but it was needed.

As Lanaey and the rest of the men went to return to the House she saw Galain start a slow walk around the town.

~*~

"They'll be having a service for the dead soon. They want to get it behind them," Lanaey said, causing Annanodolwen's eyes to snap open at the speach directed at her.

"Many of the wounded would want to be there..." she trailed off, staring at a wall as if to see through it.

Lanaey nodded. "This is a general one.... Families and friends will have small, separate ones in a week or so."

"Where were they all buried?" The scholarly Elf once again closed her eyes and let her head sag against the wall once more.

"There was a large patch of earth just beyond the house. They dug all the graves there while women made them markers. All the dead are in the ground and everyone is gathering. Taralphiel called it, she wants to give the service I suppose, though I would imagine she would give it over to those who wanted to speak." Lanaey passed on her small knowledge and guesses of the upcoming service.

Annanodolwen opened her eyes again and saw Lanaey's hand. She grabbed it and heave herself off of the floor. She felt as an ancient human, but knew it was all due to the days events. The two Elven women quietly made their way outdoors.
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Old 03-15-2004, 03:00 AM   #238
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Rudhchamion

The Elf stood by the aged Taralphiel and watched her as he had done early in her life. But this time he watched as the bodies of those who had died in the battle were taken to be buried. He noted that among them were a few that lead the armies. He saw both Lady Lenna and Sir Thagon of Gondor had perished in fighting for Alphirion's safety. He was sure that this would be lamented.

The Lady Taralphiel said something slowly, as if rousing her throat to speech "I want you to bring my granddaughter to me Rudhchamion" she said "I fear for her and I want her to be here as we farewell the last"

Rudhchamion nodded and strode into the forest. He faced all the men bringing the dead or injured to the House, and he faced their battered faces that were glowing with pride in one moment, and contorted with pain the next. He had seldom seen something so Mortal, and as the lines of people were lost to his sight, he was glad.

Soon his senses sharpened to the forest, and he picked up someone following him from the House early in his long walk. But he made no movements. He understood that if they were following him, then he was not the target. They were after Laurel, was his deduction. And so he lead the person on, waiting for their mistake to bring their downfall.

The clearing came, and the smell of battle met his nose sharply. The burning had begun, and most had left. But there knelt two figures by a board of wood, and another standing over them. It was Laurel, Cartil and Annunfuin. He felt relief that Laurel was alive, but his view was blocked as to who was laid there.

His ears pricked as his follower made their move. He made a sharp cry to the three, then turned and brought out his bow. A dagger flew from the trees and missed the fleeing Laurel. But Rudhchamions arrow, the only he fired in the Great Last Siege on the Wild Men, hit its mark.

Gita, servant of the Wild King, fell from the trees.

~*~

Laurel


Laurel saw Rudhchamion fell a Wild Man and crouched to stop her pounding heart. She had had to throw Cartil forward to miss the blade, and Annunfuin was walking over to the Elf's side. Laurel stood up, and looked at the woman. She recognised her as one who had worked in the Village, in the Baths and in the House of Healing.

"This is our spy. That she should be the last to fall is some fate"

Rudhchamion turned to Laurel and said "The Lady Taralphiel wants you to come home. She wishes you to rest, and help honour the dead." The Elf then saw the body of Jesslyn and said,

"Annunfuin and I shall carry her there. You care for Cartil" Annunfuin nodded and moved to pick up the board.

Laurel knelt again by Cartil, who looked numb with shock

"Please, let me take you to some comfort. I want you to rest. Will you come with me?"
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Old 03-25-2004, 05:40 AM   #239
Taralphiel
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Taralphiel

A breeze swept through the house, brought from the Sea closeby. It swept out the stench of blood, and lured the people to the House of Taralphiel as she stood to speak.

The old woman looked over the small group standing there. Her eyes strained before she saw Laurel walk into the clearing. She had Cartil by her side, and Rudhchamion and Annunfuin following close behind. Taralphiel smiled and raised her voice:

"We have shed many a tear and mourned. Now it shall be the end of this time. I am an old woman, and I rejoice in being able to bury the last of those dead at the hands of those that would seek to take away our freedom. There were all too many..."

"I thank with all I have those who came from places afar, and died so we might have this moment. I pray that the banners flying in their homes will be lifted higher in their memory this day"

Taralphiel looked at the worn troops of the Rohirrim and of Gondor, and raised a hand to them

"I bid you return home in peace when you have rested and ained strength. Remember forever that we find you welcome here and owe you a great debt"

Taralphiel turned to the side and saw the sun glittering over the Ocean.

"We have our hope back. We have our freedom. May we never forget who gave it to us!"

Rudhchamion

The Elf waited till Taralphiel had finished speaking, and left Laurel's side. He moved quickly into the House, and soon found Gorath. Standing beside him he said:

"I am releieved you are well. I saw your brother on the field and came to look. You will be well again soon..."

Gorath nodded slowly

"Then it will soon be time. This place no longer needs our help"

The Elf left the House and stood by Taralphiel, who was watching Laurel and Cartil head for rest.

"I am very proud of her. We would not have this success without her"

"And you should account it to yourself as well Lady"

"I suppose" smiled Taralphiel "But all that doesnt matter any more, does it?"

Last edited by Taralphiel; 03-26-2004 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 03-27-2004, 02:10 PM   #240
Kryssal
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Annanodolwen looked at Lanaey when Taralphiel had finished. "I should check through the sick again. I may be needed."

"You may," responded the warrior Elf. "But do not forget about yourself. These past few days tax even an Elf greatly and you need some rest."

Annanodolwen just walked back to the House, not commenting. Lanaey sighed, then went to where the horses were kept. She found one that was relatively strong and not tired from the previous day. She mounted and rode bare back to the former wild men's camp carrying a small shovel and some rope.

The stench was horrid, but the burning was almost complete. Lanaey slowed the horse to a mild walk and wound her way to where she first entered the fray. Soon she found Drass, lying in her death. Dismounting she her temporary mount nibble some grass nearby and went to her horse, planting the shovel in the ground nearby and laying the rope next to it. Flies were already buzzing around and most ignored the Elf, preferring the rotting meat.

Lanaey didn't take the saddle itself, she always left that with each horse she had. She did take the saddle bags and such stored on it, for those would be needed.

Then she began to dig. It was nearing sun down when Galain came over and took the shovel from her to start digging. They didn't say anything and Lanaey sat ruffly on the ground, breathing heavily. She had been digging through very hard dirt, but it was the only option. It would have been much harder to drag Drass to softer dirt and Lanaey wouldn't leave her horse out here to be scavenged.

Galain finished up the hole that Lanaey had already made most of, and fetched the rope. It was a good length and they tied it around Drass' saddle, legs and neck. The ends that were out they tied around a large branch. Lanaey fetched the horse she had brought and they placed the branch across its front chest. Then the Elves on either side pushed with all their might and with a bit of prodding the horse went with them. After several moments of dragging, Drass fell into the hole next to her. Once the legs where in the hole as well, Lanaey patted her temporary mount to let it know it could stop. They took the branch and put it in the hole next to Drass and Lanaey grabbed the shovel and started dumping the dirt back in. Galain traded off with her frequently and they finished just as darkness was truly setting in.

They both mounted the horse Lanaey had brought in and rode slowly back to the House. They took the horse back to where the others were kept and told one of the watchers to give him a good rub down.

Gorath was their next destination. The Elf was awake and just laying there, staring out a window in one wall. He nodded as they entered.

"Rudhchamion says he is to leave soon and desires us to go with him." Gorath never was one to dawdle in idle conversation.

Galain nodded at the words; they were expected. Then he looked at Lanaey. "Have you decided what you are to do yet?"

She thought for a moment before answering, "I think I'll stay here for a good while yet. They could still use my help."

There was silence again and Lanaey was reminded of how the two dark brothers never really talked. "Well," the she-Elf spoke again. "If you have nothing to do in forty years or so, come back and visit. I'm sure Laurel would delight in it, and maybe then I'll be ready to move on. Perhaps visit the northland."

She smiled at the two and Gorath nodded while Galain smiled back. Galain promised he would not forget.

"So," said a voice from the door. "You would stay for forty years among the humans?" Annanodolwen smiled in at them.

"I guess I've just committed myself," Lanaey spoke as she sat down gingerly in a chair, very conscious of her wounds and sore muscles.

"I could not do such a thing. I miss my studies, though a visit in forty years for a couple of months might be nice. Especially around the spring time. It'll be stunning beautiful here, I'm sure. After the land has healed."

"We can take you back to your studies if you wish," Gorath spoke from his bed.

Annanodolwen nodded. "I'd like that."

Last edited by Kryssal; 03-28-2004 at 10:13 PM.
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