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Old 07-31-2003, 09:59 PM   #161
Cuthalion
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Sting

"Let me up!" Melost growled. Vlad eased up slightly on the hold he had on the back of Melost's neck and the Elf threw him off as he rolled to his feet. The speed with which he moved allowed no time for Vlad to recover. "You! Turn and face me!" Melost called out. The human had treated him with total disrespect and he intended to teach him differently. Fidrohir looked the Elf up and down, then threw his head back and howled with laughter. "Problem, pretty boy? You need a good beating, Elf!" He reached for his sword-hilt and Melost slid his knife from its sheath. "Come, youngling, teach me something...if you can."

Fidrohir's face coloured darkly and he rushed Melost, his sword out and swinging wildly. He had size and strength, but Melost was quick and had centuries of experience. He smiled as the man rushed him, then gasped in surprise as he was jumped from behind. Vlad tackled him as Firohir swung his sword at empty air. "Both of you! Hold!" he snapped, his voice carrying the crack of aythority. Fidrohir however was enraged with battle-lust and he refused to back down. Khalad went to Vlad's side and was charged by the huge man. Melost reacted instantly by burying his dagger in Fidrohir's side. He jerked it out quickly and prepared to stab him again when he heard Vlad behind him. "Drop it!" A sharp-edged sword caressed him under the left ear. He turned slightly and he felt warm blood flow slowly down his neck. "Melost, give me the knife...now." A hand appeared in his peripheral vision and he handed it over reluctantly. He recieved a vicious blow to the head and knew no more.
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Old 07-31-2003, 10:17 PM   #162
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The Eye

Vlad looked at the unconscious Elf on the ground by his feet and had to admit to himself that he was impressed by the speed and skill he had shown, especially considering his bad condition. It was all that had kept Vlad from killing him on the spot. After all, he had attacked Khalad.
A loud groan turned his attention toward Fidrohir who lay on the ground, clutching his side.
With a slight nod toward Melost, Vlad looked at Khalad and sheathed his sword. "Tie him up!" he growled as he stepped over the Elf and crouched down next to Fidrohir.

Examining the wound as well as he could, Vlad could see that it wasn't as bad as it had first seemed. The man's clothes had prevented the blade from making much damage with a deep entry and unless the wound became infected, Fid would be in no danger.
With a heavy sigh he tilted his head and looked at Fidrohir, remembering that Jaheira had told him that she had seen this man crying like a child and a malicious look appeared in his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Fid. It appears that nothing can be done for you...the wound is too deep."
The look on Fidrohir's face was more rewarding than Vlad had imagined and he had to control himself so he wouldn't laugh as the large man started weeping again.
He pulled at the wound, just a little, but still enough to make Fidrohir gasp from pain and then he pulled out his long knife and held it close to Fid's throat.
"I could make it quick, you know. You would hardly feel a thing."
Truly enjoying the fear he saw in the other man's eyes at the slightly sadistic smile which showed on Vlad's face, Vlad didn't notice Jaheira until she placed a hand on his shoulder, a concerned expression on her face. He gazed at her for a moment, wondering why she suddenly seemed to be concerned about someone, especially since the wounded one was Fid.
"Is it really that bad?" she asked Vlad as he rose in front of her.

"Of course it's not that bad! It's merely a scratch! Fetch your kit and fix him up and he'll be fine in a couple of days."

He went to take a look at Melost and smiled as he found that Khalad had placed the Elf against a tree, bound on hands and feet. Wounded as he had been when they found him, he now looked rather miserable as Vlad knelt down and checked Melost's head where he had delivered the blow, then sat for a moment, just looking at the warrior in front of him.
"You sure put up a good fight, ancient one! I could certainly use someone like you to show these idiots how to defend themselves."

"So you are not going to kill him, then?"
A tinge of hope in Khalad's voice revealed his thoughts to Vlad, who glanced at him sharply.
"You have always been soft, Khalad. Be careful not to become weak as well. That pretty sword of yours is too good to not be used."

[ August 02, 2003: Message edited by: Maikadilwen ]
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Old 08-02-2003, 04:23 PM   #163
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Sting

“So, I’m really going to die then?” Fidrohir wailed when Jaheira returned with her kit to where the wounded man was sprawled on the ground. She rolled her eyes dramatically as she examined the puncture just below Fidrohir’s ribcage. When Jaheira noted how shallow the wound was, she looked away and tried to suppress a snort of laughter. This act seemed to alarm Fidrohir, for the man began to sob audibly and flinch at Jaheira’s touch. “Oh, please don’t let Vlad deliver a mercy strike! Please! Try fixing it! I’ll…I’ll take it like a man, honest! Don’t let me die!”

“You’re going to die regardless if you keep squirming while I work. Stop flinching! Besides, you know you deserved this wound,” Jaheira murmured as she tried putting medicine to prevent infection onto the quailing Fidrohir. He was too much trouble to heal. He deserved to die anyway. Before long Fidrohir’s fidgeting began to interfere with Jaheira’s efforts. “Stop! Now! No, no! Stop trying to…Snyd! Get over here! Hold this surly, clay-brained death-token still.”

Snyd came over and held Fidrohir down, laughing inwardly at his friend’s cowardice. Jaheira finished dressing the wound some time later, for it was no easy task to remedy a wound with the victim flailing about like some sort of fish. When she was finished, Jaheira left Fidrohir so that the man could sob and wallow in self-pity alone, and went with Snyd to go join Vlad and Khalad, who were watching the Elf. Melost was securely tied and was under sufficient guard, since Khalad could no longer be trusted to guard the Elf alone.

“He’s fine. Fid’s a big baby and he whined the whole time, but he’ll be fine,” Jaheira informed Vlad and Khalad as she sat down near the old fire pit. “Next time lets just let the Elf stab him again. We’d only have to listen to him scream for a few minutes, then we’d never have to bother with it again.”

Jaheira had never meant the comment seriously, but it generated nothing but looks of sincere consideration. She smiled wearily, leaning her head on the trunk of a tree and looking at her slightly bloodied hands. Sighing, Jaheira looked up at Vlad, who was pacing back and forth slowly in front of the elf. They needed to be leaving soon, before someone or something found them. They had been in the small forest for too long, and Jaheira was ready to leave whenever Vlad was. But now Vlad had the Elf to deal with, since he had neglected to kill it on sight.

“What do you think he is doing here?” Snyd mumbled, but his words were easily audible in the silence that had enveloped the group.

“I don’t know,” Khalad replied, and at this Jaheira sent the man a look of complete venom and anger. Of course he knew! Why wouldn’t he know? Jaheira hadn’t heard the whole conversation, but the elf must have told Khalad where, how, and why he had been in the forest alone. But Khalad wasn’t finished. “I don’t think Melost knows either.”

Jaheira tried not to gape at the man. She wanted to make him admit everything that moment, and make him tell Vlad about his talks with Melost. But instead she held her tongue and wiped the angry expression from her face.
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Old 08-03-2003, 08:47 AM   #164
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Sting

Khalad felt a flash of anger towards Vlad, when he spoke of Khalad's sword, the heirloom that his father had given him on the night of his escape.

His voice was cold when he spoke: "I will be the judge of when my sword shall be put to use, Vlad." his eyes burned with anger, and Vlad was a bit surprised at the nerve Khalad had to use such a tone. He decided not to pursue the matter anymore, though he made a mental note about it, if he ever wished to irritate Khalad.

The latter caressed the swordhilt with his left hand. It was one of the few things he had from his home, and though it hurt him to think of his home, he was glad to have at least some happy memories, amidst the evil ones. "Pain lets us know we are still alive," he said softly to himself, reciting the words of his grandfather who had been wounded in hundreds of battles.

Suddenly he became aware of the present, when Jaheira approached. He knew that she harboured only ill feelings towards him, and he had to be on his guard whenever she was around; it was doubtless she tried to poison Vlad against Melost and himself.

When he heard Snyd's question he replied, knowing he was the one with most knowledge on this subject: "I do not know." Jaheira sent him another loathsome look, and it was clear she did not believe him. To make sure that his words were seemed more plausible he quickly added: "I do not think Melost does either."

When he looked at Jaheira her face revealed nothing, but it was doubtless that even the fact that Khalad used the elf's name made her resent him even more. He had to be constant vigilant now; it was a dangerous game, and Vlad's favour was the key to winning.
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Old 08-03-2003, 10:43 PM   #165
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Sting

Melost stirred, then quieted as he felt the dull ache from the blow to the back of his head. He tried to move but found he was bound hand and foot. Why? What did these men plan to do with him? Too may questions, too few answers...that seemed to be the recent patterns of events in his life of late.

Khalad and Vlad seemed to be arguing over what was to be done with their troublesome "guest". With his head almost at the bursting point, Melost gritted his teeth in anger. "Silence! Leave me to die in peace will you? Enough!" He glared at Vlad and Khalad flushed crimson. Melost had at first had some respect for the outlaw leader, but as the hours had passed, he saw the lack of discipline, the lack of cohesion and he now almost pitied the man. He let his head flop back against the tree and closed his eyes. "I must get away from these people. I have a debt to pay...in person."

Wearily, he opened his eyes to find Vlad crouching on his haunches in front of him. "Well, well. The pretty boy's awake." He cuffed the Elf lightly on the cheek. "Behave and you won't find yourself napping again so soon, understand?" Melost's lip curled in response and Vlad laughed. "Spirit! Nice..." He rose and gestured for Jaheira to come nearer. Melost felt his heart clench at the sight of her, though he had no idea why. "Watch him. Khalad and I need to have a heart-to heart." He arched an eyebrow at Khalad and gestured for him to follow.

Jaheira crouched next to him and stretched her long legs out in front of her and crossed her ankles. "What's the matter,Elf? You seem to have a problem with me. Trouble with your last relationship?"

[ August 04, 2003: Message edited by: Cuthalion ]
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Old 08-05-2003, 12:07 AM   #166
Aylwen Dreamsong
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Sting

"What's the matter, Elf? You seem to have a problem with me. Trouble with your last relationship?" Jaheira sniggered, grinning wickedly at the Elf next to her. At least he's tied up well and guarded by someone other than Khalad, Jaheira reasoned. Melost glowered at her, wriggling slowly at the rope that held him. Pain was apparent in his eyes, though his other facial features betrayed his pain with brute determination.

"Its like what that drunken prison warden said that one night before I broke everyone out of jail," Jaheira murmured, sliding closer to where Melost was tied to the tree. "He said, 'Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe'. But that was before we killed him. Oh, but its so true, isn't it?"

Jaheira slowly pulled a dagger from where it was tied just below her knee. She held it to Melost's collar bone and guided the blade to the Elf's jawline. Jaheira shifted from her seat next to Melost so that she was crouched in front of him. Jaheira knew she had the perfect chance to kill him and get it over with. Would it solve all the arguments among the outlaws? Jaheira didn't know, nor did she care as she brought the dagger to a point at Melost's throat just below his chin.

"Poor, poor Elf-man. Heart broken, nothing left to live for, eh? But who is Arthain, then?" Jaheira spoke her words mercilessly, as if trying to anger Melost into action. That way Jaheira would have a reason for killing him to explain to Vlad. "Perhaps Elves are as bad as humans are. You are pathetic and weak, nothing better than that whiny Fidrohir."

With her last words, Melost closed his eyes and swallowed once, causing his throat to scrape against the dagger. Then he spat at Jaheira, which was a nasty surprise for the outlaw as she backed away from the Elf and stumbled backward.

"Do not insult my kin, snake! We've been through far more than the likes of your reace has," Melost hissed, smirking at Jaheira's tumble. Jaheira stood up as Melost spoke, anger and lost patience eminating through her movements. Without further hesitation, Jaheira sent one swift kick to the Elf's stomach, sending him doubling over for a moment.

"Oh, just give me another reason and opportunity to kill you, pretty Elf," Jaheira murmured threateningly before plopping back down to the ground and putting her dagger away. Not to be trusted, ancient Elf! Not to be trusted...

[ August 05, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 08-07-2003, 08:18 PM   #167
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The Eye

"Oh, just give me another reason and opportunity to kill you, pretty Elf."

Snyd couldn't help it, by then. His smile had grown with each sentence, and now he sniggered openly, standing behind Jaheira and trying to suppress the laughter. She stopped grinning fiercely -- grinning fiercely. Who would've known anyone could grin fiercely? -- to turn and shoot a disgusted look at Snyd. That was it; he doubled over laughing. She turned back to the elf, and as soon as he could catch his breath, he joined her, crouching down to peer into the elf's eyes. What he saw sent him back off his heals, hitting the ground hard to sprawl in the grass. Still, he immediately rose up on his elbows to hold the elf's gaze again. He held it for a moment...but all of a sudden he was examining his boot. He blinked. The eyes were still there. He peered into the trees around him, and eyes looked back at him. Cold, icy grey eyes, swirling with the deepest of sorrow and pain. Snyd had never been the most intelligent man, but somehow he knew that it was not any bodily pain that seemed to be slowly eating away the elf's soul. It certainly was infesting the elf's eyes, and Snyd had heard that they were the only true 'doorways to the soul.' If elves had souls. This one seemed to, if it was... Snyd shivered. What was happening to it, to the elf?

Suddenly he felt other eyes on him. He could feel a tingle on the back of his neck, and that feeling had never failed him. Rising up to a crouch again, he turned to look into the fierce eyes of Jaheira. She looked both surprised and angry. Mostly angry, Snyd saw with immense disappointment. "Er...I think I need to work on my balance. I hit my head there..." The elf was still looking at him. Snyd's eyes were drawn back to the elf's, and he saw...sorrow, yes, but above that...loathing. Snyd almost fell back again. This elf did have a soul, and a very nasty one. He should've never belived those tales of elves and their undying beauty and their greatness and how much they hekp in fighting off Sauron. "Bah!" He had said that out loud, and now the elf looked a bit confused. Oh, but there was still hate in that frigid grey, so much hate. "Is all of this pointy ear's whining really just about some love?" The elves eyes lost all their confusion and gained rage. Rage and hate. They blended all too well, and they looked all too right in those eyes. Those emotions fit. Snyd almost shivered again, but he remembered the loathing. "He probably thinks it's some undying love or some such nonsense, but even with him living forever, love doesn't last, or even really exist most of the time. I wouldn't think these elves could love. They go sailing off to some island, and live in trees! In trees! They seem more like squirrels to me, even though they don't look like 'em. Squirrels do have pointy ears, though, now don't they?"

Snyd was smiling again. Jaheira was too. Fiercely, as always. The woman would've been pretty -- pretty like the ones he liked to have a bit of fun with -- if only she wouldn't be like a bloody vulture all the time. A vulture...that fit Jaheira well. He seemed to be finding amazing comparisons between people and animals, just now. Not very good, but he was not very smart, as he kept reminding himself. It seemed as good an excuse as any for most of his troubles. He leaned closer to Jaheira to whisper in her ear. "I hope that stuff you put on sheep-gut stung. I feel better knowing there's a reason behind all that wailing." He came close to cackling with laughter. Jaheira smiled, but she still looked at him in an exasperated way. Leave me alone, woman. I'm not the wisest man in the woods... It was as good an excuse as any. A tingling ran up his spine to the back of his neck. He looked behind him in surprise and jumped when he saw Vlad. Glad that he hadn't fallen backward again, he grinned at the man. But as he looked into Vlad's one eye, his smile quickly faded. Anger and disgust, hate. It all warred in the man's eye and on his face, none overcoming another. At least it did not come close to matching the elf's eyes. He could feel those on his back, still. Would they ever go away? At least he could understand the elf, in a way, but Vlad...why Vlad? He didn't really like the man, but...

He felt another pair of eyes on him, and knew they were fierce ones. The eyes of a vulture. Only then did he realize how close he was to Jaheira. Really, he wasn't that close, but he wasn't about to say that to Vlad. He rose, trying to seem normal, bringing back his easy grin. Now it was not so easy, but he tried. "Fare thee well, mellon." He sniggered to the elf, turning for a moment, but avoiding the eyes. Strolling past Vlad a bit too quickly, Snyd decided to find a nice rock to sit on. He had to think. A tingle ran up and down his spine. Three pairs of eyes followed him. Fierce, enraged, loathing. Would he ever look into someone's eyes and see... What?, he thought, See what? Love? He stumbled on nothing, and his questions were answered. I didn't think so. The tingling no longer ran along his entire spine, but it remained on the back of his neck. All he had to do was close his eyes, and he saw those grey eyes. He closed his eyes to see more eyes.

He found his rock under the tips of the spreading branches of a maple tree. Sitting there, he knew the others could not see him. Here, he would be able to think. He needed a lot of time to think. He wasn't very smart, now was he? As he sat, resting his chin on his fists, a tingle ran up his spine. Or the memory of one. The memory of so many eyes.

[ August 24, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 08-13-2003, 11:34 AM   #168
Amanaduial the archer
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Eye

Arthain felt around his side gingerly where the orcish blade had gone on. The bandage was securely in place, and underneath Thelian had put on some sort of cooling salve or poultice from his own first aid kit, and the heat of the wound seemed to be fading. Moving his hand away, knowing it was unwise to touch it lest he damage it even more, Arthain looked up at Thelian were the boy was kneeling in front of him, and smiled tenatively, not knowing whether it would be accepted.

"Thank you," he said softly. "Thats...thank you, Thelian." The words didn't seem enough, and Arthain wished he could find words to express so much more to Thelian.

The elf did not reply, nor did he smile. His face remained indifferent as he stood, turning his back on Arthain and walking away towards the carts. Arthain sighed as he watched him go, following him with his eyes. The smooth, elegant way of walking, the fairness of his face, the music in his voice...the elf was so like his master. The thought, absent-mindedly floating into Arthain's mind, stung suddenly as Arthain realised it, and the grief and anger at himself came back to him. While he had been fighting, the thoughts of Melost had not been there. For the first time since the elf who had been Arthain's best friend burst in on him and the woman the former loved, his mind had been free of Melost.

Watching Thelian systematically searching the wagons for any sign of damage, and knew that Thelian felt the same pain. While the squire did not feel the guilt that came with it to Arthain, the man knew that the anger carried, and was, ironically, directed the same way - at Arthain. A thoughtful look had settled over the elf's face though now, as Arthain watched, and Arthain could not help hoping that maybe it was a good thing. That maybe...maybe forgiveness was not so far away.

"Don't be such a bloody fool. You dont deserve forgiveness." The bitter thought hit Arthain with venom, and he almost flinched. Thankfully Anwenelme was nowhere nearby, thank the Gods. Thank the Gods....Arthain's lip curled slightly at the irony of the thanks that came so automatically. There were no Gods.

Standing carefully, Arthain went to find Dorlas, and when the boy came out of a tent suddenly, he shocked Arthain into stepping back. Arthain was unable to look his squire in the face, but Dorlas's voice was not cold as before when he spoke. "We need to start going again. I doubt any of the ladies were hurt, and the can get over the shock as they ride." The tone in Dorlas's voice when he said the last part told Arthain that his squire thought as little of the 'ladies' as he did. Dorlas continued, "Thelian is just checking for any damage. I'm just alerting the women in these tents."

Arthain nodded, glad of his squires organisation. "I will start over at the far side. And Dorlas," Arthain laid a hand on his squire's arm as Dorlas nodded and started to turn away. His voice was soft when he spoke. "Thankyou."

Dorlas opened his mouth, then shut it again, and simply nodded, before continuing away. Arthain watched him go, then turned towards the tents he had said he would alert. Then he realised his mistake.

Anwenelme's was the first.

He cursed under his breath, and for a moment, he wavered, before making up his mind. The snake would not get the better of him, would not send him cowering away from her like a whelp. Purposefully and with a grim expression, Arthain started towards her tent, unaware of Thelian's eyes watching him. He hesitated at the tent opening, counted to five under his breath, then opened the curtain, clearing his throat quietly to announce himself.

The black haired elf turned, and Arthain was surprised to see a smile on her lips. But that was not the only thing on her lips, and as she spoke in that first mili-second, her face was transformed into that of a young girl, delighted to see someone.

"Melost-!"

She stopped, as she realised he wasn't who she thought he was. But before the expression of practised disgust settled onto her face, she could not conceal the look of pained disappointment. Arthain delivered his message quickly and indifferently to her back, as she had turned away, then left the tent speedily, but with more to think about than when he had gone in.
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Old 08-15-2003, 04:29 PM   #169
Aylwen Dreamsong
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Sting

"And Dorlas...Thank you," Dorlas heard Arthain murmur. The squire turned away without saying anything to Arthain, and the boy merely nodded his acknowledgement before jogging off to notify the women that they were leaving. They needed to leave quickly, there were no doubts there. The skirmish with the orcs was enough of a surprise to begin with, but there was no telling where and when orcs or other foul beasts would strike again. They needed to get to Lothlorien quickly.

How many times had Dorlas wished that he was strong? Strong like Arthain; able to withstand any blow, physically or mentally. More than the squire could actually count or recall. But things at the camp and between Arthain and Dorlas were different after the incident with Melost and Anwenelme. Dorlas was no longer angry at Arthain, but somehow Dorlas didn't feel as if Arthain was the same man anymore.

Dorlas ran up to one group of women, who were chattering presumably about the day's skirmish and whatnot. Dorlas wearily told them to pack up and ready themselves for more riding. When they looked at the boy with hard, cold glances, he sent them an equally serious stare. They grudgingly went to pack up their things and prepare their horses, after which Dorlas continued over to the next Elven lady and the next. They all began to prepare for immediate departure without words or gossip.

Dorlas went and joined Thelian, who was checking for anything wrong with the carts or luggage. The human squire walked to the front of the cart to see to the horses, while Thelian discarded several packs of the women's clothing, which he thought were quite unecessary. The cart was mostly left undamaged, save for one of the jugs of water, which was left cracked and leaking on the edge of the cart.

"Is it bad?" Dorlas asked his Elven friend, his tired voice penetrating the silence. Thelian looked up from where he was tending to the cart, a question in his eyes. Dorlas gestured to where Arthain was leaving one of the lady's tents. Thelian followed Dorlas' eyes to Arthain, who moved on slowly to the next tent.

"No. He'll be fine in no time," Thelian relied monotonously. The Elven squire's icy blue eyes were devoid of emotion, and Dorlas couldn't bear to look at his friend for very long. The look on Thelian's face reminded Dorlas of back when the two squires had first met: before they had become friends and before Thelian lost his keen suspicion of races other than Elven. Still Dorlas grinned boyishly, his first cheerful expression since before Melost ran away.

"At least we shall be moving again and on our way to Lothlorien soon!" Dorlas reasoned as Thelian finished stuffing and strapping every pack of luggage to the cart. Soon the company was ready to make their way to Lothlorien again, and all the women were on their mounts talking almost quietly to one another. Arthain led the progress, with Thelian and Dorlas patrolling the rear.

[ August 16, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 08-17-2003, 06:27 AM   #170
Daniel Telcontar
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Sting

Thelian sighed, as he thought of Lothlórien. Finally! His heart longed only for the relaxation offered there. He was tired of the journey, tired of the ladies. They were a constant burden, with their gossip and lack of ability to take care of themselves.

And their presence reminded him of Anwanelme, which reminded him of Melost. Though the wounds were slowly closing as time passed by, it still ached to think of him. When Thelian had forgiven Arthain and helped him, it had helped the healing of the wounds on his soul, but not closed them. And he knew, that they would remain as scars forever on his immortal spirit.

He thought of Dorlas, who had tried to keep some of his cheerful mood. Thelian decided, for Dorlas' sake, to try and improve his mood. The lad had done nothing wrong, but had acted honourable, and he did not deserve to suffer because of all this.

For Dorlas' sake, he would try and treat him as when they were friends and so was their masters. Hopefully, Dorlas would then feel more at ease; and if the lad was without troubles, Thelian did not need to worry about him.

Nor would he worry about Arthain. The knight could take care of himself, and if he couldn't, Thelian would not care much about it. His only concern was to fulfill the mission. When they reached the Golden Wood he would find out what to do; though his loyalty for the elven army had vanished along with Melost.
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Old 08-21-2003, 08:01 PM   #171
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Sting

Melost narrowed his eyes as he watched the man with the long, lank hair closely. It seemed that he had been greatly affected by Melost's sharp, piercing gaze. In times past he had been compared to Maiglin in anger. And angry he was. He knew he didn't belong here and he also knew that he should be far from here, bur doing what? With whom? Melost ground his teeth in frustration and struggled to his feet.

The woman strode over and stood aggressively in front of him, then shoved him to the ground. Unable to catch himself, he fell heavily but anger lent him strength. Melost climbed to his feet and glared straight through her, defying her to lay a hand on him. She sneered in return and placed both hands on his shoulders. A hand came down on her left shoulder and yanked her away from the Elf. "Leave him alone, woman. Can't you see he hates you?" She tore her arm from Vlad's grip and stalked away to sit near Snyd, who ignored her, too concerned with his own thoughts.

Vlad roughly turned Melost around and removed his bonds, then stood back, alert for sudden movement. Melost turned to him slowly as he rubbed his wrists, one of which was bleeding. "Why do you hide the fact that you were once a soldier?" he asked quietly. "You move like one, you even think like one. Look at you now, ready to try to thwart any move I might make. What have you done that makes you hide in this of all places?" Vlad's hand moved to his sword-hilt and hovered there. Who was this Elf to challenge him? What right had he to question him about anything?
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Old 08-22-2003, 07:36 PM   #172
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As Jaheira sat down next to him, Snyd opened his mouth to speak but shut it when the elf began to speak to Vlad. Perhaps -- finally! -- the elf would anger the man enough that Vlad would shut him up for a bit. Maybe he'd say they can kill him and be rid of him. Snyd didn't enjoy killing, but he enjoyed feeling at risk even less. An elf was a dangerous thing to be keeping. Someone had to be looking for him, and they would bring a whole lot of people with them; they always did.

"Why do you hide the fact that you were once a soldier?" Melost asked, and Snyd frowned. Vlad…a soldier? Well, had been a soldier? "You move like one, you even think like one." What? Snyd thought. What does this elf know about soldiers? "Look at you now, ready to try to thwart any move I might make. What have you done that makes you hide in this of all places?"

The pieces suddenly snapped in to place in Snyd's mind, making him groan. He hadn't completed the puzzle about Vlad, but he had realized something else. Something much more important. Now he realized another thing: Vlad and Jaheira were looking at him. Bloody eyes... "Why do you make noises, Snyd?" Vlad asked coldly, ignoring the elf for now. Why was the man always so angry? Well, perhaps this time the elf had angered him.

"I just thought of something...that's all." They still stared at him, so, reluctantly, he continued. "I just thought that, if he really was a soldier, then we should expect a bunch of soldiers coming to look for him, shouldn't we?" He paused; he couldn't say it. He tried to gather his strength -- the man would kill him! -- but to no avail. Finally, as Vlad opened his mouth to speak again, Snyd blurted out his words before the man could speak. "Why do we sit here waiting? We should get rid of him or move on from this place! We wait for our deaths, Vlad! You should know 't. We are holding an elf, and now he has all but said he is a soldier! More soldiers come for soldiers, Vlad. And...why do we even hold this elf? Of what good is he? What do we gain from this?"

"Is your speech quite finished, Snyd?"

Jaheira asked this in such an overly normal and polite tone that Snyd's cheeks colored, and he hoped the reddening could be mistaken for anger. He tried to look indignant. "Yes, I am."

[ August 22, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 08-23-2003, 05:06 AM   #173
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Arthain rode steadily, concentrating on riding, and eventually, as the bright, pleasant morning began to sink into him, he began to absently murmur a little tune, a tune which his wife had sung to his son, although he couldn't quite remember all of the words now. Something about an elf...and trees...and, he had a feeling, saucepans. Yes, that was what his son had always asked for when he was little - "Sing me the saucepan song, Ma!"

Smiling at the memory as he hummed quietly to himself, Arthain came back to his senses as he heard a gasp beside and behind him, and saw Thelian standing in his stirrups, looking over the crest of the hill in front of them. Arthain did the same, and, as he had hoped, there in front of them, now rising over the crest, was the beautiful Golden Wood of Lorien. The captain's breath was taken away by its beauty and unrealness, and similarly Dorlas was staring at it, a look of wonder in the squire's eyes. But Thelian smiled slightly.

"Lorien," he whispered.
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Old 08-24-2003, 04:04 PM   #174
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Menelya sighed as she quietly rode alone behind the other women. It had come to the point that they no longer even thought enough of her to speak cruelly of her or of Anwenelme. Menelya could not say that she necessarily regretted having to miss partaking in the gossip of the Elf women, but she did miss some companionship. It was always easier to be alone if there were others with you. She strained to hear the words of the women, but she could only make out a bit.

"...girl should never...disgrace...poor Menelya...Anwenelme...power-hungry...sympathy..." Menelya stopped listening, urging her horse so that it caught up to the other women.

She was greeted be cold stares from the women, showing that she was clearly not invited to stay with them.

"I would like to pass," Menelya said, a silenty order in her voice. The women looked at the Elf coldly for one more moment, as if to weigh her up, then they slowed her horses to let her go by. Menelya moved by quickly, not wanting to look into the cold eyes for longer than necessary to give them a curt show of gratitude.

After Menelya passed the women, they fell back into talking. The gist of it spoke of how rude Menelya had become, from what the Elf lady could hear. They also thought they were undeserving of the discourtesy they felt they were being shown. Menelya snorted a bit and urged her horse up a bit.

As the horse slowed, it gave a small stumble on a rock. It immediately gained its footing back, but not before Menelya swore as she bounced on the horse's back a bit. She heard the ladies behind her gasp at the language and sit silently, obviously in shock over Menelya's exclamation. Menelya only smiled as she rode on, happy that the misfortune of a misplaced hoof at least resulted in a brief victory over the women.

As she looked forward again, she took in her breath sharply. She could not see what was ahead of them when she rode behind the women, but now she could see ahead of the company until the horizon.

She smiled as she said, "Lorien. We made it...surprisingly." Her smile became more cynical as she spoke the last word.
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Old 08-26-2003, 11:08 AM   #175
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Sting

When Vlad moved his hand to his swordhilt, the discipline in Khalad reacted. It saw Melost as a friend, and Vlad as a potential foe, and when the foe made any threatening gestures, Khalad reacted. In a quick move, he was next to Melost, his hand had already drawn his sword several inches out of its scabbard.

Vlad looked at the young man, who dared to threaten him. But his usual mock was forgotten, for he could see Khalad was serious; and although the outlaw leader did not fear a fight against Khalad, he didn't want one right now, especially not with the elf next to him, since Melost would probably side with Khalad if the latter was in a fight.

Growling, he relaxed in his position, and let his hand drop. "No need to be so tense, Khalad. Me and the elf was merely having a little chat."

Khalad did not reply, though he was inclined to speak back. He had not reacted wrongly; Vlad was acting strangely, and though it seemed unlikely he would attack Melost after his trouble of keeping him alive, it was impossible to analyse the brigand's mind. Too much had happened in the last few days that was unlike Vlad, to make Khalad trust the bandit.

He let go of his sword though, and it slipped back into its scabbard. His cold eyes looked upon Vlad, until he shrugged his shoulders and turned around, walking away a bit before he sat down on a stone, pulled forth a dagger and a whetstone, and used the latter on the former.

Khalad also relaxed, now that the tension of the situation was gone, but he looked around in the camp. The other outlaws were acting like Vlad; incomprehensibly. And when Khalad dwelt on that thought, he guessed that he himself was also acting unusual.

"All that, because I found a wounded elf. If it wasn't so bitter, I could have made into a good song; though the ending would likely be a sad one." He thought, and smiled grim at the strange idea.

[ August 26, 2003: Message edited by: Daniel Telcontar ]
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Old 08-31-2003, 03:24 PM   #176
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Sting

From afar,the out-riders of Gil-galad spotted Arthain's party as they rode grimly toward the Golden Wood. Two of them turned aside and rode swiftly to alert the Kings of their presence. Scouts from Lorien itself watched then ride in and allowed them to pass beneath them as they rode in under the heavy boughs.

Gil-galad was in his tent when the rider entered and stood quietly until acknowledged. One look at the rider brought him to his feet. "Tell me. What has happened?" The Elf paused, then brought his eyes up to meet those of Gil-galad. "My King, Melost is lost to us. His kinsman Thelian has news that he wishes to impart that is for your ears alone. Shall I bring him?" Gil-galad nodded and the Elf vanished silently. He walked slowly outside and gazed into the distance.

Thus it was that Thelian found Gil-galad, still staring, not wanting to hear what Thelian had to say. At his approach, Gil-galad turned and Thelian bowed, then cleared his throat. "Lord, your kinsman Melost is gone. He vanished into the night shortly after leaving Imladris. He..." Thelian sighed, then continued. "The man Arthain, whom all thought to be his closest friend, betrayed him with Melost's betrothed, the lady Anwenelme. He apparently lost his mind, for he ran wildly into the woods and is presumed either dead or missing." The sorrow that emanated from Thelian was palpable and Gil-galad opened his arms and embraced him "I know he was your near kinsman as well, I grieve with you." After a moment Thelian stepped back. "Lord, I pray you, let me go and search for him! It may be that he is yet alive.." Gil-galad cut him short. "If he lives, he will find a way to join us. If he does not...Mandos' halls are the richer, as we are diminished by his passing, I will not release more soldiers that will soon needed in the battle to come."

Without waiting for dismissal, Thelian strode angrily away, hot tears of anger burning in his eyes. He owed Melost his life many times over and now he was forbidden to search for him. He sought for Dorlas, but his search was in vain, for he had been called into the tent of Elendil along with Arthain.

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Old 09-01-2003, 08:18 AM   #177
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Sting

Elendil looked up from the table filled with maps, and when he saw it was Arthain with his squire, whose name he could not remember, he sent Arthain, who was kneeling, a quick smile and asked him to rise.

The captain did so, and lifted his head to meet the gaze of his king.
"Well met, captain. I see you and your squire are both in one piece! I trust things were without events?"

Arthain swallowed, and prepared for the explanation; after Melost, the last person he wished to reveal the truth to was the king. But he had no choice.

"In truth, milord, we were ambushed by a few orcs, though we took care of them without casualties. But, something else happened that caused the loss of the elven lord who was leading us."

"This elf was your friend, right? But if you did not lose any when the orcs attacked, how did you lose him?" Elendil's face expressed concern, and it was difficult for Arthain not to laugh out loud of the irony. Indeed, though the elf was perhaps alive, he was no longer Arthain's friend.
"Indeed he was my friend, sire. But he left us, out of madness; he could no longer bear to remain with us."

Behind him, Arthain could feel Dorlas' eyes burning on his neck, and he knew that he had to explain the truth, if not for Elendil's sake, then at least to prove to Dorlas that he would be honest about his failure.

And so, he explained it all to Elendil. How he had betrayed his friend, and the consequences of it. He did not reveal Anwanelme's name, and he tried to avoid the details on how and what had happened.

When he was done, Elendil looked at him, with a face Arthain could not decipher. The king was in doubt; he wished he could forgive the captain, but this had endangered the Alliance, since Melost was a kinsman of Gil-galad. And Elendil knew men like Arthain; if they did not feel punished, they would not forgive themselves. He had to make Arthain feel the punishment of his actions, or else the insanity growing within the captain would burst out instead of diminishing.

"You have acted wrong, captain. Not only to your friend, but towards our allies and your king. Of this moment, I am suspending you, relieving you of all duties, and I will consider if you must leave the army with dishonour. I am done; leave my tent."

Arthain spoke not, merely bowed as it was fitting and left the tent. Nor did the squire speak, or do anything; he quietly followed his lord out of the tent.

Elendil sighed; though he had a war ahead of him with many battles, and much death, such a personal tragedy was what weighed most heavily on his mind.
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:14 PM   #178
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Sting

“Suspended? Suspended? Suspended!” Dorlas shouted to Arthain’s back as they left Elendil’s tent. The words were at first spoken incredulously, dripping with disbelief, anger, and shame. The last time he spoke the word his tone was exasperated, as if Arthain were a child that needed scolding. “Arthain, don’t walk away from me! Turn around and look at me! What are we going to do now, Arthain? Suspended! What are we going to do?”

Arthain turned slowly. "What do you mean, 'we'? Elendil did not suspend you! Elendil did not relieve you of your duties! Dorlas, do not speak to me in such a tone! You don't understand this. You were not asked to stay with me!" Arthain roared, eyes showing hurt and anger. Dorlas stopped walking toward Arthain, standing still and aghast.

"Are you suggesting I turn my back on you? What sort of squire do you take me for?" Dorlas finished his words quickly, realizing what he had said a minute too late. Thelian didn't follow Melost... Dorlas reminded himself, though he quickly shook the thought from his mind. It was not right to bring Thelian into the matter, even if it was only in Dorlas’ thoughts. It was an insult to the human squire, though, to be questioned by his own master. Questioned loyalty was not taken lightly with Dorlas anymore.

“If you stay with me, Dorlas, do you know what will happen? Do you?” Arthain retorted, eyes flaming fiercely. Dorlas shook his head, and in his mind he was resolved that no matter what would happen Dorlas would stay with Arthain in the end. It was his duty to stay with Arthain, and even if Arthain left in a crazed frenzy as Melost had, Dorlas was adamant to follow Arthain to whatever end.

"If you follow me, and you come with your suspended master," Arthain began, his tone suddenly serious and devoid of anger and judgement. His voice lowered volume, his words became soft and sorrowful. "If you follow me, you will be considered a deserter. Dishonoured, and your name will be the topic of shame and betrayal to Elendil's army. Is this what you want? Dorlas, do you want to be a deserter because of what I have done wrong? A deserter because of the mistakes I have made?"

There was a pause. Deadly silence between both men.

"What a grand world it is, when loyalty is scorned by those who most desire it," Dorlas murmured. "I am sworn to loyalty, both to you and Elendil. What am I to do? What am I to say, now that Elendil indirectly wishes me to betray you? I am forced to choose between my master and friend, and a my king. I serve both willingly, and still I am forced to choose."

Another pause. Who knew that silence could be so loud?

"But I do not know Elendil like I know you, Arthain. I do not question Elendil's worth, but I would trust my life to you, Arthain, before I would to him..." Dorlas finished quietly, letting the silence hang between him and his master.

~*~

"Is your speech quite finished, Snyd?"

"Yes, I am."

She hadn't meant for her voice to sound so soft, so weak and pleading. Jaheira was too weary for Snyd's explanations and musings. No, she was so sick of them that she thought she might wring the man's neck should he speak so again. Then again, Jaheira knew that Snyd was right. Jaheira was loathe to admit her agreement, but Snyd was so right in what he said. So correct, he had said exactly what Jaheira was thinking, only to a lesser extent. Well, less violent extent.

Jaheira let Khalad and Vlad go through with their little tiff of a confrontation. She was too tired to do anything about it. All Jaheira felt she could do was sit there and curse their rivalry inwardly. They needed to move camp. They had no time for Khalad's foolish chivalry and Vlad's ego. No time for any of it. The Elf was the cause of all of it; he needed to be disposed of.

When silence had again floated over the band of outlaws, Jaheira stood from her spot, drawing two daggers as she did so. Her eyes were on the elf. Her icy grey eyes met and locked with his angry blue ones, and she did not dare break the gaze.

"As much as I hate to say this, Vlad," Jaheira began, chuckling slightly before continuing. "As much as I hate to say this, Snyd is right. We need to be rid of Melost or we need to move on. But I am happy to say that Snyd's stroke of brilliance ends there. For he is wrong. No soldiers will come for this filthy elf. If he was worth something, or if someone truly cared for him, we would all be dead now and he would be off with his lover or off with his army. Melost is probably a deserter. We have no use of him whatsoever, Vlad."

Vlad said nothing.

"If you will not do something, I will! If you will not kill him and let us move on, I will, Vlad!" Jaheira continued, raising her voice considerably. She pointed her right-handed dagger at Melost, as if she were aiming. Then she turned and threw the blade to wedge it into a tree to her left. Jaheira glared at Melost first with fierce anger, before directing the same glare at Vlad and twirling her remaining dagger threateningly in her left hand.

[ September 01, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:02 PM   #179
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Sting

The guards outside Gil-galad's tent became alert as the sound of raised voices approached. They each rested their hands of their sword-hilts as Gil-galad emerged from the tent. "My King..." one of them began, but was brushed aside. Thelian had heard Dorlas' voice and that had precipitated his swift departure from Gil-galad's presence.

He strode toward the voices,then froze as he heard Arthain's voice rise in anger. Beneath the shadows he waited, listening. His heart went out to the yound squire for he knew the depth of loyalty he felt for Arthain. He also found himself concerned now for the man who had wronged his kinsman. While he had erred greatly, Thelian knew that Arthain loved Melost and now he was in danger of losing even more.

He turned and nearly collided with his lord. His look of pity mingled with determination met that of Gil-galad, but even as he made to speak, Gil-galad fore-stalled him. "I will speak to Elendil. Go now, return and lead the company of Melost. He has trained you well, kinsman. Do not let his memory fade." Thelian's eyes grew wide in surprise at the field promotion, then he bowed his head as Gil-galad clasped his shoulder for a moment. Then he was gone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Woman, I weary of your words. You are correct, there is no one coming for me, neither lover nor enemy." He chuckled grimly, "Especially not lover..." While he had listened to these strange people bantering back and forth, shards of the maosaic had drifted into place. The woman's dark beauty and caustic manner reminded him of...someone...someone he knew well, but who he could put neither name nor face to.

One name had returned, along with the memory. Arthain. Soldier, brother, friend, betrayer. He wanted to kill him and he wanted to ride beside him. The painful crowding-in of memories angered him him further. He threw wide his arms and smiled at her. "Slay me then! Let there be one less creature in Arda different than yourself, daughter of a prideful race! You who's lives are but the blink of an eye to us, please, take mine that seen more than a thousand years, by all means!"

Jaheira looked at Melost, aghast. Only rarely had anyone dared to call her bluff and never had they won. She walked slowly over to the Elf and placed the tip of her dagger at his throat, pressed, then drew the tip down, loosing a crimson ribbon to trickle down his chest. His eyes never left hers as she pressed harder, gauging his courage and her own.

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Old 09-02-2003, 09:46 AM   #180
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"If you will not do something, I will! If you will not kill him and let us move on, I will, Vlad!"

Vlad only raised an eyebrow as he looked at Jaheira, knowing that she was smarter than that. She wouldn't do something as foolish as killing the Elf without his approval. He watched her in silence as she threw the dagger, slightly amused that she was suddenly so concerned about the well-being of them all.
The angry glare in her eyes as she turned and looked at him showed something else, something he hadn't seen for a long time and a thought struck him.
Are you afraid, Jaheira? Is that why you're suddenly so ready to listen to Snyd?

"Woman, I weary of your words. You are correct, there is no one coming for me, neither lover nor enemy."

Having to restrain himself to hold back a chuckle, Vlad looked at Melost with an almost childlike expression on his face. Only a few outside their own group had dared challenge Jaheira during the time he had known her and Vlad knew her anger all too well.
"Especially not lover..."

So that's why you're here, Elf!
A smirk crossed his face as a memory entered his mind. So it appeared that the reason for all of this was in fact a woman. Ah yes, Vlad certainly knew how much trouble a woman could cause. Who could've known she was the mayor's daughter anyway? But she had been more than willing...

He was ripped out of his thoughts by a movement and he realised that Jaheira was now threatening Melost with her dagger. Quietly he watched her every move, waiting to see what she would do when she placed the blade against the Elf's throat.
When Vlad saw the blood, his anger flared and he moved up behind Jaheira and grabbed her wrist as he quickly turned her towards him. She didn't even realise what was happening before he struck her across the face with the back of his hand, his face twisted into a mask of fury.

"Enough of this! This insolence ends here! If you get anywhere near that Elf again, Jaheira, I swear to you, it'll be my pleasure to make sure you won't be able to do it again. What are you afraid of? Is it because he's got a prettier face than you?"

Snyd broke into a howling laughter but was quickly silenced by an angry glare from Vlad.
"Should any of you "accidentally" harm this Elf, I will kill you! Understand? Snyd, get Fidrohir and break up camp. We're leaving! Khalad....go help them. Jaheira, you too!."

Khalad was about to object but one look at Vlad's face decided against that. Now was definitely not the time to question their leader and reluctantly he trotted after Snyd.
Vlad stood for a moment gazing after them, then slowly turned towards Melost. He knew that the Elf could easily have killed Jaheira before and the fact that he hadn't only strengthened the decision he had made.
Slowly he drew out the dagger he had taken from Melost earlier, for a moment weighing it in his hand. It was indeed a beautiful weapon. Seeing the Elf tense by this action, he smirked and then handed the dagger over to its rightful owner.

"You can use it to kill yourself or you can come with us. But know that I'll be watching you!"

[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: Maikadilwen ]
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Old 09-02-2003, 10:08 AM   #181
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Sting

Elendil could hear Arthain and Dorlas arguing outside. Though he could not distuinguish the words, it was easy to hear from their raised voices that they weren't the best of friends.

The voices stopped though, and, releasing himself from his day-dreaming, Elendil once more concentrated on organising his army. This was stopped quickly, as the tent door moved. Elendil thought it was either Arthain or his squire who had returned, but was a bit surprised to see Gil-galad.

He had not thought the Elven King would come to his tent; usually meetings were in Gil-galad's tent, with Elendil being summoned there. Elendil was unsure what this thought meant, or if it was worth remembering; but that was soon forgotten, as Gil-galad made the usual greetings.

After Elendil had responded, the elf came to the core of the matter.

"As you know, the escort from Rivendell has arrived. Melost, whom I put in charge, did not arrive with it. And after I have heard the conversation between your captain and his squire, it seems like you have already made some consequences."

Elendil was unsure what Gil-galad meant with his last words. Was he not satisfied with Arthain's punishment? Elendil did not wish to punish the captain further, but he might be pushed to it, if the elven king demanded it. His doubts and fears were disspelled though, as Gil-glad continued to speak.

"To be honest, I think you have acted too harshly. Whatever harm was done, happened to me. And I have forgiven the captain. I ask of you to return him to his rank of captain."

Elendil was relieved that this was the matter, though he realised he had to deny.
"That is generous of you, but as you said; the harm was done to you. The captain acted wrongly against one of your officers, and may have endangered the relationship between our men. I cannot act otherwise."

Gil-galad looked at his human colleague, and searched his face for the truth. It was not usual for Elendil to be this harsh, and Gil-galad knew something else was behind.
"Is this the truth? I mean no disrespect, but it does not seem like you would usually act."

Elendil sighed; the elf had seen through him, and guessed he concealed something.
"In fact, I have forgiven him already. But he cannot forgive himself, especially not if there are no consequences of this. He must feel the weight of his actions and wrongdoings, or he will never be able to put this behind him."

Gil-galad nodded as Elendil spoke, perceiving the wisdom in his words.
"You are wiser than I thought, and have dealt appropriately. I hope this Arthain can indeed forgive himself, and perhaps, in time, seek out the company of elves once more. He shall be welcome."

Gil-galad extended his hand, and Elendil shook it, knowing there lay more than a simple farewell in this gesture; it was his way of confirming the immortal bond between both themselves, and also their races.
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Old 09-02-2003, 12:26 PM   #182
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Suspended...suspended from the army of Elendil, the army that would mean something, unique, joined with the elves...suspended...

The word rang around again and agauin in Arthain's mind as he left his king's tent. He could barely comprehend; everything was slipping from his grasp...

It took him several seconds to realise it was Dorlas and not his own mind now repeating that dreaded word. His squire sounded as incredulous as he himself did, but his voice was rapidly growing in volume, and was no longer simply one of confusing, asking for some sort of explanation. As Dorlas continued, now shouting, Arthain felt himself growing angry at the boy's tone - how dare he speak to him as if he was a small child who had done something wrong? He felt the anger building inside him, the anger at Elendil, at Melost, at the elves, at Anwanelme...everything, and couldn't help himself. It wasn't fair but his rage began to direct itself towards Dorlas.

As he turned and started to speak to Dorlas, his voice rose in volume until he was practically roaring at his squire, knowing it was wrong but not being able to stop, a boulder rolling down a hill too fast, crushing Dorlas's feelings, unable to slow or halt. The pain on his squire's face was evident, before he too began to shout at his master. He dared to shout at Arthain!

"Are you suggesting I turn my back on you? What sort of squire do you take me for?"

As Dorlas said the words, an image of Thelian fighting against Dorlas's grip to follow Melost sprung into Arthain's mind, and from the way Dorlas suddenly bit off the words it was evident the same thought had struck him.

"If you stay with me, Dorlas, do you know what will happen? Do you? If you follow me-" He stopped suddenly. His voice was still angry, but as he looked at Dorlas, he saw a flicker of uncertainty in the boy's eyes, and realised Dorlas hadn't entirely worked it out. Suddenly the anger in him began to fade away; he could not deliver what would be Dorlas's fate as a punishment. He lowered his voice, taking a deep, shaky breath before he went on, trying to keep his voice even.

"If you follow me, you will be considered a deserter. Dishonoured, your name will be the topic of shame and betrayal to Elendil's army. Is this what you want?" He looked up, straight at Dorlas now, searching the squire's eyes, not wishing to hear the answer, but knowing they both had to have one. "Do you want to be a deserter because of what I have done wrong? A deserter because of the mistakes I have made?"

Dorlas did not immediately speak, and as the pause grew to be deafening in its volume, Arthain's stomach dropped. Depending on the squire's answer, he could lose the one thing he still kept a hold on, the last thing...

"What a grand world it is, when loyalty is scorned by those who most desire it." Dorlas's voice was but a murmur, almost inaudible, and as the meaning of it struck Arthain he looked away to the side, suddenly ashamed. Yet still there was a doubt, a treacherous fear inside Arthain as to what his squire would answer.

I am sworn to loyalty, both to you and Elendil. What am I to do? What am I to say, now that Elendil indirectly wishes me to betray you? I am forced to choose between my master and friend, and my king. I serve both willingly, and still I am forced to choose. But-" Arthain looked up again as Dorlas bit off the last word, and now it was his squire's turn to take a deep breath, pausing for what must have only been a moment but what seemed, to Arthain, like an eternity. When Dorlas went on, his voice was even quieter than before, but held a steady note of determination. "But I do not know Elendil like I know you, Arthain. I do not question Elendil's worth, but I would trust my life to you, Arthain, before I would to him."

The words were like a sudden flood of water and relief over Arthain, and he realised he had been holding his breath. Dorlas noticed though as Arthain let it out, and once again a small spark of anger flickered in his eyes before he looked away, and the older man suddenly felt the shame in at least as great volume as the relief hit him. To think he had doubted his own squire…

“Dorlas, I…” Arthain stopped, knowing he couldn’t make up for this, knowing he couldn’t put into words what he felt. He stepped forward slowly, lessening the distance between them and as he came closer, Dorlas looked up again, their eyes meeting, dark blue against storm grey. “Dorlas…what you have told me, how you have answered, is more than I can ever repay. To have doubted you…to have doubted you I was a fool, a stupid fool who doubts his friends in the hour of danger, the hour in which he needs them most.” He paused, knowing his words could never be adequate. As he proffered a hand, Dorlas took it, and Arthain grasped Dorlas’s firmly. “Thankyou, my squire.”

At his last words, Dorlas let out a breath of his own, and an almost smile flickered across his face which Arthain returned. Then, nodding once more to the boy, the soldier turned towards his own camp, and despite the lightness which Dorlas had allowed him, he felt the weight of his predicament weigh heavily on him once more. What would have been worse, this, or Elendil not punishing him at all, leaving his soul to eat away at itself in the knowledge of the mistakes he had made. But to leave the army…that feeling once more of losing everything almost overwhelmed him, but was stopped as Arthain grasped that one piece of cheer which was worth more to him than all the gold or silver in the world. Dorlas would stand by him.
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Old 09-03-2003, 01:26 PM   #183
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"Watch it, girl!" Menelya snapped at the servant who was unpacking her bag. The girl who was pulling the dress out of the bag stopped for a second, then continued her work. "You will ruin that! Do you know how hard it is to find that quality material? It is fragile! Stop before you ruin it!"

"Yes, m'lady," the girl said, not really paying attention to Menelya. She continued to unpack as Menelya looked out at Lorien. She wondered when she would be able to travel home. Although the lodgings here were comfortable, she wished she were back in Lorien before this trip. And these blasted servants showed no respect for her property. They had no fear of her. Back at home, if she made such remarks, she would have three women jumping to attention, ready to make her more comfortable. Here, it was as if they acted as though they knew better than she what was to be done.

"Are you almost done, girl?" Menelya snapped at the girl, who just shot her a passive look, then finished up her unpacking.

"Does m'lady need anything before I go?" the girl asked.

"Some peace and quiet," Menelya said, shooting the girl one of her glares. The girl did not even flinch. She merely gave a "yes, m'lady", then left. Menelya scowled even more at the lack of fear at the expression, then went about moving most of what the girl had unpacked until she was satisfied with the arrangement of the room.

Then there was the matter of what she should now do with her time. She had no desire to seek out the other women, who would most likely find some excuse to abandon her, anyway. Lorien was pretty enough, she could go for a walk. But she might run into one of those women...or worse: one of the soldiers or guards. Menelya would be safer in her room. No chance of having to converse with those people, then.

Menelya sat at the window, watching people move around Lorien and trying to catch pieces of conversation.
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Old 09-03-2003, 03:32 PM   #184
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Sting

Jaheira angrily stormed away from Vlad and the elf, her hand plastered to her still tingling cheek. Jaheira had wanted to say something to Vlad in protest, anything to cover up her embarrassment, but Vlad's furious gaze had convinced her otherwise as she went off to pack her things.At least we're moving on, finally, she thought defiantly. It didn't take long, all she had that was personally hers was her pack with her lockpick tools, sleep pack, and clothing.

When she was done getting her things together, Jaheira wordlessly helped Khalad get together Fidrohir's things and anything not already prepared for departure. Snyd was off with Fidrohir, and Jaheira could hear Fidrohir's wails as Snyd poked his wound. Jaheira rolled her eyes and tossed a pack to the ground indignantly and turned to Khalad.

"Khalad! Cover up the fire pit. I need to go deal with Fidrohir," she ordered quietly, her voice devoid of her former zeal and stubbornness. Khalad didn't say anything, and Jaheira didn't wait for him to as she stalked off to where she had heard Fidrohir yelping childishly. What is Snyd doing to him now? Jaheira wondered exasperatedly as she came upon a crouched Snyd and a sprawled-out Fidrohir.

"Move, you bawdy boar-pig," Jaheira ordered, shoving Snyd away and kneeling in front of Fidrohir, who was squirming and quivering as he shrank away from Jaheira and Snyd. Jaheira gently smacked Fidrohir several times, trying to get him to snap out of it. Why is he still here? Jaheira asked herself, aggravated to the point of exhaustion.

She examined the wound, making sure it was healing properly and confirming that Fidrohir was not dying. Snyd watched dumbly over her shoulder, snickering every now and then if Fidrohir chanced to flinch or tremble. "I'm glad you're so amused, Snyd," Jaheira murmured sarcastically, poking Fidrohir's wound one last time for fun before standing up next to Snyd and above Fidrohir.

"Get up, Fid," Jaheira ordered gently, but Fidrohir shook his head. The way he moved made it seemed like it was killing him to just shake his head no, but Jaheira would not fall for it. She held out her hand to Fidrohir. "Get up now, Fid. I know you can. Your wound is nothing more than a scratch. Get up...now."

Fidrohir reluctantly obeyed, taking Jaheira's hand and pulling himself up, grimacing as he did so. Snyd punched him on the shoulder, and Fidrohir glared angrily at the other man. Jaheira scowled at both of them as she returned to the former site of the bandit's camp. Jaheira morosely picked up her bag and shouldered it, anxious to be on their way out.

Where to next? Jaheira wondered, scowl deepening.

[ September 05, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 09-06-2003, 03:51 PM   #185
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Snyd knew he should stop snickering, as he had two extremely angry people within feet of him, but he hadn't felt this good since...since he had found that serving lass who had been so willing to lift her skirts. O, but she had had fine ankles, among other things. Snyd laughed harder, and it sounded very much like he was giggling. But an outlaw like him didn't giggle. Pushing the thought away, Snyd continued to think happy thoughts. He was in high spirits, the feeling of danger having been lifted from upon him. Vlad had listened, in a way, they were moving, after all. And it was about time... Poking Fid once more, Snyd spoke to him between snickers. Snickers, not giggles. "Come on, hurry it up. We're moving, Fiddy. Can't just stay here. Mayhap we'll find a village again soon, and then we can get some real food, eh Fid? You ready for a raid, Fid?" He nudged the man again, and Fid turned his bright red face, twisted with anger, toward Snyd. The man raised his fist a bit, but then dropped it as if it took too much effort, and did a good job at looking dejected. Snyd laughed again. Then he turned to Jaheira. The woman never ceased to be angry. But, then, neither did Vlad. At least this time she had reason to be angry. "Don't worry Jaheira, you're a lot prettier than that elf."

"Oof!" All the air rushed out of Snyd from one blow, and he fell to his knees, gasping, trying to draw in a breath. It felt as if he didn't have a stomach. Or lungs. Or wherever air went in your body. "Ooooo!" he groaned once he could breathe again, and feel his stomach. "What'dya--" Suddenly he could only see blackness, endless dark, and he tipped over from off his knees. His shoulder hit the ground before his head, and within seconds his vision returned, along with a realization that he was alive. And when you are alive, there is pain. "Errnngh!" he howled, throwing his hands up to his face to gingerly touch his nose. He winced. It still hurt, and he had barely touched it! He could feel the blood collecting in his nose and running down to drip from his chin. She had broken his bloody nose! And bloody it was… Snyd began to snicker once more at that thought, yet a second later and "Oooongh!" It hurt to laugh! It hurt!

"Woman!" he yelled. "Why…" he trailed off. He had meant what he said truthfully, and she had… "Arrrnnngh!" He had a lot to learn about women. And Jaheira was not a normal woman. "Oh…" Rising slowly to his feet, stumbling a bit, Snyd realized Fid was now the one laughing. With a growl that was cut off with more moaning, Snyd took a step toward Fid. The man stopped laughing and backed up a step. Snyd made sure he didn't laugh this time, then turned to Jaheira. "Y-you…oh…forget it. Lets get moving." Carefully wiping his nose on the back of his hand, and his hand in turn on his pants, he strode over to his things, threw them in his pack, and went back to Vlad, Fid following him sulkily. "Let's move, Vlad," he said as gruffly as he could.

[ September 06, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 09-06-2003, 06:19 PM   #186
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Sting

Melost exchanged a wry look with Vlad and he saw the corner of Vlad's mouth twitch as though trying to restrain himself from laughing. "Interesting group you have. Two incompetents, an earnest young Gondorian and...her." His eyes slid side-ways to gaze at Jaheira as he touched his throat ruefully. "Why must women always draw blood?" he thought as he turned away and began to walk down along the eastern path that led down to the valley below. With a sharp cry Vlad quickly caught up to him and spun him around. "Where do you think you're going, my fine friend? You think you can accept our hospitality and then just walk away? You may not have noticed, but we are hardly the trusting sort." He moved to stand in Melost's way.

They looked at one another, each gauging the other. At length Melost smiled grimly. "Come, let me tell you a tale. When I finish, you can judge for yourself whether or not I have cause to pursue my enemy." He gestured to a fallen log and sat himself down. Jaheira watched the two of them settle down and walked over to them in exasperation. "Vlad, are we leaving or not?" One look shut her mouth and she stalked off to join the others. Vlad shouted to Khalad to lead them on down the trail, then turned to Melost. "Talk, Elf. We've wasted enough time on you."

Melost glanced up at him sharply, then began. "I am in service to the High King, Gil-galad, have been for many years before you were born. I...met a man, Arthain. He became dear to me, through many perils. He is part of the forces moving eastward to defeat Sauron. We were asked to escort several Elven women to Lothlorien, which you may know as the Golden Wood. One of them was my betrothed. From the first time they beheld one another, I sensed an attraction, but I discounted it. Then I had a vision of my death in battle. You see, I have put off our wedding more than once, becasue my king needed me, but this time...in any case, I spoke with her, telling her of my premonition and I released her from our betrothal, unless she chose to wait until after the war is over. I...felt it unfair to ask her to wait longer." He drew a shuddering breath before he continued. "She betrayed me with my dearest friend, the man to whom I have entrusted my life many times. I found them together in his tent.." He closed his eyes as the memory flooded over him again. He rose to his feet and began to pace.

"From that time, until this day, I have no recollection of what I have done, nor where I have gone. All I know is that he must die." As he spoke, he began to tremble, though with what strong emotion, Vlad could not begin to fathom.
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Old 09-09-2003, 10:46 AM   #187
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Sting

Khalad helped to pack the small camp together, though it was done in silence. But despite no words were spoken, the tensions could easily be felt in the air. Snyd and Fidrohir hadn't noticed; but that was not surprise to Khalad, who suspected these two of having as much sensibility as the remains of the cow that Khalad was packing together for storage.

He thought of Jaheira; Khalad did not doubt she could feel the tensions, and she probably knew she was causing them. Not Melost, but her. The elf had done little to create problems, and only because of her, whereas she had not ceased creating trouble.

He turned towards the woman causing such mischief, and saw that her gaze was fixed om Melost and Vlad, who were engaged in conversation. He could not see her face properly, but he was certain that it was an expression of hate. Fury got hold of him, and he grabbed her arm and turned her around:

"What are you planning now, Jaheira? More poison in Vlad's ears, more talk of death?" Jaheira removed herself from his grip, and spoke with anger flashing in her eyes: "I am only trying to survive! Like all of us; before you came, Vlad was just like me. But you and that elf has turned him soft; and if I must, I will kill the elf."

Her words angered Khalad; though he knew she would not kill Melost, the mere mentioning of it made him mad, as well as her constant reference to Melost as "the elf", instead of his name.

"Vlad has turned soft, as you say, woman; he has developed feelings, ascended from the level of primitive animal instincts that possess you. Self preservation you call it; I call it the actions of a beast! You are not worthy to be a human. When I think of the women of my city, I find no resemblence between them and you!"

Jaheira was quick to reply. She had heard a few things about Khalad's past, and knew where to strike: "Ah yes, the women of your city. I have heard about them; wasn't it such a creature that caused your exile?" Khalad did not answer, determined not to allow her words to anger him further, but then she laughed an empty laughter and continued: "Ah yes, that is the truth, is it not? The truth you fancy folk of Gondor appreciate so highly. I hear it was your own sister... Though I can only imagine what you have done to your sister to make you an exile."

The words hit their mark. Khalad's sword was half out of its scabbard when Jaheira continued: "Ah yes, draw your sword. I know about it, about its inscriptions; Justice, it says. Well then, how befitting that you use it to kill a woman not defending herself, is it not?"

Jaheira spoke these words, believing Khalad would restrain himself before acting rashly; after all, he wasn't like Snyd or Fid. But she had gone too far to rely on his conscience.

His sword leapt out of its scabbard and was pressed hard towards her throat, so that a thin line of blood could be seen. She had been so busy enjoying his wrath she had been unprepared, and now she cursed her folly of allowing him to do this.

"One more word, and I swear it will be the last you utter." His eyes shone with madness, and though she would have loved to insult him further, she realised the situation wasn't right for it. Slowly, Khalad retreated his sword, but before removing it completely he spoke a final warning: "The next time you speak of my sister, I will not hesitate to thrust my sword forward; and I shall sleep with ease, knowing I have rid this world of a devil concealed as a woman."

A few seconds passed, where Khalad made sure Jaheira had noted the words; and then finally, he put the sword back in its scabbard.
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Old 09-14-2003, 06:02 PM   #188
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Sting

Dark, sombre thoughts clouded the mind of the Elven High King as he walked in the dark of night. Thoughts of war, strategy, the subtle timing needed during the impending death-dance with the minions of Sauron. Thoughts of a kinsman lost...and of the two who had driven him to madness. His eyes smouldered with contained anger as his pace quickened now, his pursuit of tranquility shattered by the image of a beautiful ice-cold face...the face of Anwenelme.

Gil-galad had known of Melost's love for her, but the fact that he had deserted was unthinkable. Melost had always been held in high esteem by the king and Gil-galad knew that he would have to confront the source of the problem. If she were indeed found to be guilty of such a betrayal, she would be dealt with.

Gil-galad's thoughts then turned to Arthain, the so-called friend of Melost. "What was in your mind, that you would take lightly the trust of one of Iluvatar's firstborn?" He turned and strode back toward his tent, having settled on a course of action. The guards saw him coming and drew aside the tent-flap for him to enter. "Send for Anwenelme, daughter of Menelya immediately!" he called over his shoulder. The guards exchanged glances, then one of them set off at a run.
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Old 10-05-2003, 04:40 PM   #189
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Boots

Snyd tugged again at Fid's shirt collar. The man actually expected Snyd to believe that he was fainting? Fid had fallen on his face one too many times and all too softly for Snyd to believe the man was actually exhausted. "Get up, ya hairy lummox!" They had been on the road for all of two hours, if not less. Snyd had never really worried about time much. As far as he was concerned, he had all the time in the world. Perhaps too much time. With a wry smile, Snyd shook his head. There were many times when he had to laugh at his own thoughts. He turned the wry smile into a laugh. At Fidrohir, a lump of a thief if there ever was one.

"Will you get you're great bottom up off the ground before Vlad gets up here!" Glancing up, Snyd saw his companions growing closer. At least he still couldn't make out Vlad's expression. "Or worse yet, Jaheira might just see to you…" Fid looked up at Snyd with wide eyes, then with a quick glance around him, Fid sprung up, suddenly full of energy. For a moment, Snyd stood staring at Fid, a laugh still playing around his lips. "Well then," Fid grunted sourly, "lets get moving."

"What a wonderful idea, my friend!" Snyd's voice dripped sarcasm, and Fid shot him an angry glance and a snarl. Snyd smiled. They had to run to get far enough away from their companions that they wouldn't be noticed, and both of them were panting and rubbing their sides. Fid was much more than Snyd, of course. But it was best that they stay away today. Jaheira seemed oddly…cold. Usually she was all fiery anger, or just plain fiery. And Khalad, who was usually fairly mild-mannered, seemed to be the fiery one. Well, he was warm. There just wasn't anyone like Jaheira for being hot with anger.

Snyd gingerly felt at his nose. No, it didn't feel right. He sighed ruefully. Snyd had been in such a good mood till his face had been punched in. With the announcement that they were moving, he had thought the problem of the elf was solved. Now he worried all too much. But was it worry, or had that punch knocked sense into him?

The elf, the source of all Snyd's problems walked well behind he and Fid, in Vlad's sight. Both the elf's hands were tied, but, amazingly, that was all the security besides Vlad's one eye. Was Vlad feeling especially cocky today, or had Khalad intervened for the elf. Either way, Snyd knew it was bad luck. Either way, they should get rid of him. An elf, and a soldier at that. A soldier, in an elven army. Even if this elf's friends didn't come to rescue him, their little band of thieves would be in well over their heads before the end. Speaking of heads, why not just crack him over the head and leave him in a ditch somewhere? Snyd hoped he escaped.

[ October 06, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 11-07-2003, 04:21 AM   #190
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Anwanelme looked around in awe, taking in the sight of Lorien and the woods had an almost intimidating effect on her. She had lived in caves and in houses, but never in trees and she did not feel entirely comfortable in this place.
But here it seemed that she could finally be without her mother's constant interference, as Menelya in turn seemed the do her best to avoid her. She had been avoiding her ever since that night...

Her mind drifting, she thought about that night, remembered Melost's words to her and Arthain and the memory caused her to shiver.
No! He had broken their betrothal and ruined everything for her. She had had every right to do what she did. Melost had set her free. He had used those exact words himself.
Had he truly loved her, he would never have done this to her!

Startled by a sound behind her, Anwanelme turned around angrily, expecting to see her mother there, but instead she was greeted by one of Gil-galad's guards, no emotions visible on his face.
"The High King wishes to see you, my Lady" he said, his voice as caring as the expression on his face.
"Immediately!"

There was something in his words that caused Anwanelme to mind her tongue and she quietly followed the guard to the High King's tent, her head held high as she walked as straight and proud as she could. She knew he and Melost were kin but she had done nothing wrong. He had set her free! He had neglected his duties! He was the one who should be punished!

~*~

"All I know is that he must die."

Vlad cocked his head and raised an eyebrow as he silently studied Melost, thinking through what he had just told him. He didn't get it. This was all because of a woman?
"I don't quite follow your logic. You want to kill your best friend, because of what the broad did after you broke the betrothal...?"

Anger flared from Melost's eyes and Vlad raised his hands to calm him, almost expecting an attack.
He simply didn't understand this Elf. Not that he had ever met an Elf before, but could one really be so different from the other?
A woman... How could any man, or Elf for that matter, with a sound mind let himself end up like this because of a woman?

Memories of a certain redhead and her less than happy father entered his thoughts. She had not been the first, she had not been the last. But she had been something special! Almost worth being expelled from the city for. He sighed, trying his best to push it as far back into his mind as he possibly could.
Gazing at Melost for a while, thinking hard about what to do, he finally made a decision.

"You claim that this man is...was your friend... If that is the case, he should know better than to touch your woman, married or not! And for such a betrayal he deserves nothing but death. Do not ask me why, but I will help you find him."
And hopefully it'll shut those idiots up before I kill them myself! Vlad thought, looking over the small group that had been formed in a prison-cell, seeing the way they constantly fought each other instead of working together. Perhaps it was time to move on.

[ November 07, 2003: Message edited by: Maikadilwen ]
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Old 11-07-2003, 04:49 AM   #191
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Eye

"The High King has sent for you, Arthain. He wishes to see you immediately."

The soldier had entered Arthain's tent without warning, and the older man spun around quickly, anger flaring in his eyes. "That's Captain Ar-" he stopped, the sentence unfinished, before a sad, bitter expression came onto his face. Captain Arthain? No, not any more...

The elf soldier watched him with something like satisfaction at his discomfort, and also a sort of disgust. So everyone knows about it, then, Arthain thought bitterly. But as he stood, his chin was raised, determined not to show what he felt. So Gil-Galad wished to see him...I should feel fear, the Captain thought dully. I am going to see the kin of he who I betrayed. I should be terrified... but these thoughts seemed to come from a distance. All Arthain really felt was a sort of weary acceptance. I betrayed him. From his people, I deserve whatever I get. And so does... Arthain stopped the thought as he followed the soldier outside. He knew the snake deserved punishment, but to think of her conciously simply angered him, and after all, it was not all her fault. She had tempted him, and like a weak child, unable to resist, he had been fooled and given in.

As he stepped outside the tent, Arthain paused, looking up at the stars. There was a tale he had once heard about elves; that when they died, their souls became the stars, placed high above in reverence, looking down from above on the world that they had reigned over. When he had told Melost this, the elf had laughed and corrected him, telling him of the halls of Mandos. Good times those had been, however foolish Arthain had felt: their friendship was new, Arthain was young, and Melost would never grow old.

But as he looked at the stars, Arthain felt the same wonder he had felt when he had first heard the story of the stars being the souls of wise, good elves, and, as he had since Melost had run away, Arthain once again wondered what had become of the elf who had given him such friendship. Could he have survived by himself in the state he had been in when he ran from Arthain, his eyes wild, tears running down his cheeks, despair and betrayal in his eyes and his voice as he cursed Arthain forever?

As he thought this, it seemed to his tired mind that one star was shining even more brightly than the rest, although he would doubt it later, putting it down the fuddled mind of the weary and foolish. Staring up at the star, Arthain watched it in awe, as if it was the first star he had ever seen, and once more it glinted brightly, putting Arthain in mind of the way, when Melost had thrown back his head and laughed at Arthain's tale of elves' souls, the moonlight had glinted off the fine strands of blonde in Melost's hair.

"I wronged you, my friend, I wronged you more than I could have ever had a right to. But if you are there, please...I am sorry. I am so sorry..." He trailed off, feeling tears coming into his eyes. The soldier, who hadn't heard, turned, irritated, and told Arthain in clipped tones to hurry; the High King didn't like being kept waiting. Wiping his hand across his eyes as if wiping away some dust that had got caught there, Arthain followed.
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Old 11-08-2003, 01:36 PM   #192
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Sting

His brain pounded by each one of those sniffles coming from the man beside him, Snyd purposefully kept his hands at his sides. How long had he endured Fid and his moaning? The sun was well past its zenith, though the shadows had barely begun to lengthen. It had been quite a long while, but there still was a long while ahead. Snyd scowled up at the sun. He hated the afternoon, among other things. He glanced at Fid, and the man sniffed again. Snyd couldn't scowl at the man; he would just start moaning again.

One more sniff, and Snyd was all but running back to where Vlad and the elf walked, surprisingly away from the others. They were talking, and the elf was the one whose eyes burned with anger. But, then, the elf had much to be angry at. No, enraged at. Was it Vlad who sparked the anger? As Snyd reached them, the two were immediately silent. For a few moments, Snyd walked slightly behind Vlad and Melost in that silence. Even their steps were hardly heard, the two thieves' and the elf's. Snyd stared at the ground at his shadow, as if it would lengthen under his gaze.

Snyd started to itch, walking awkwardly in his discomfort. He couldn't stand the silence. He had always been afraid when it was so quiet; it had never seemed right. And so many times before there had been a cry, an angry shout or a scream, that would rise out of the silence to get him. With a glance upward, Snyd was reminded of the man still walking ahead of them. Oh, but he hated noise, too!

"Have we decided on an actual destination of all this walking?" he asked, trying to make his voice sound cheery without being too mocking.

"Do you Men always speak in such a way to your superiors?" The elf's voice dripped content.

"Superiors!" Snyd practically squeaked the word, and he calmed his voice before continuing on angrily. "What makes Vlad my superior? What makes anyone? Who do y--"

"Quiet Snyd." Vlad's rough voice broke in. Snyd braced himself to be the recipient of the man's wrath, as he had done so many times before, but Vlad simply turned to Melost, his expression stern, but not angry. Surprisingly... His words all the more so.

"You will accept my...offer?"

His offer? To an elf? Snyd thought.

[ November 14, 2003: Message edited by: Durelin ]
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:17 PM   #193
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Sting

"...he deserves nothing but death." Vlad's words echoed painfully in Melost's mind and for a moment he froze. The others were beginning to notice that he and Vlad had come to a halt. He had to say something, anything. This man had offered him an alliance...friendship? Shadows of memories ghosted across his consciousness as he gazed into Vlad's sardonic gaze. It seemed right to trust him, even though he came from less than savoury beginnings. Quickly, before he could think further, Melost reached out and clasped Vlad's wrist. "My thanks...Vlad. Now, come. We must hasten to Lothlorien. There my kinsman Gil-galad lies with his armies, adding them to that of the Men of the West. There we shall also find...him."

Melost averted his eyes from Vlad's keen glance, unwilling to let him see the sudden sheen of tears that glistened there. He turned and strode forward, edging away from those that now clustered close to Vlad, asking him what had been said between the two of them. As he passed by Jaheira, he felt the hot sting of saliva on the back of his neck as she spat at him viciously. He closed his eyes, clenched his jaw and kept on walking.

*************

Gil-galad had sharpened Aeglos' edge to a killing point by the time Anwenelme was announced. He carefully set his spear across the top of his map table before granting her admittance. As she was entering, another was announced, the human soldier Arthain. Gil-galad's eyes narrowed in irritation. He was about to have the man wait outside, then thought better of it. "Let them see one another, one last time..."

As they entered the High King's presence, both of them went to opposite sides of the tent and glared at one another until she finally turned her head away and stared straight into Gil-galad's eyes. She curtsied deeply. "My King, you requested my presence?" her sultry voice caressed Gil-galad's ears and he smiled to himself. "Yes, Anwenelme, arise." She noticed that he did not extend his hand to her, but she nonetheless rose gracefully to her feet. In a voice as cold as ice, Gil-galad spoke to her slowly and clearly. "It has been brought to my attention that you have betrayed my kinnman with this...man." She opened her mouth to defend herself, eyes flashing.

"Silence, woman! The reason is not important, for the proof lies beneath your breast. You know that you bear this human's child, do you not?" A gasp from the other side of the tent drew their attention to Arthain who stood swaying, his face white as milk. Gil-galad froze him with a look and returned his full attention to her. Anwenelme's colour had heightened and her breathing had grown rapid as she searched within herself for the truth of Gil-galad's assertion. She had been so focussed on defending herself, she had ignored the possibility of the impossible happening.

He saw the truth of his words reflected back in her eyes as she straightened her back and raised her chin. "Valar, what a warrior she would have made!" the King thought as he watched her come to grips with this new situation. He could see her mind, turning, weighing options, calculating risks. It was time to take all the options away. "Hear me, woman. You will have a son, the image of his sire, bearing within him all the love and loyalty his sire bore for Melost. I will send word to Cirdan and all others who guard the shores of this land to never allow your passage into the West. His doom shall be to live out his life in sole devotion to you, and you...yours shall be to remain here, remembering the lives you have destroyed. Now, go! Leave my sight!" A single tear slid down her cheek as she passed from the tent and out into the care of the guards who were never to leave her from that time on.

[ November 22, 2003: Message edited by: Cuthalion ]
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Old 11-22-2003, 08:37 AM   #194
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Sting

Khalad listened to what words he could hear of the conversation between Melost and Vlad. It seemed that Vlad had been convinced to not only let Melost live, but even aid him.

The latter worried Khalad, since he wondered what aid such an Elf would need from an outlaw leader like Vlad. Such worries were temporarily dispelled though, as he heard their destination.

Laurelindórenan, the Golden Wood. Full of Elves and mystery to a Gondorian such as Khalad. For a few minutes he enjoyed himself imagining how it would be. The goal of their journey pleased him.

Until his chain of thoughts returned to why they were headed towards Lothlórien. Since Melost had not revealed any of his past, Khalad had little idea as to why he needed Vlad's help; but he imagined several scenarios, and none of them comforted him. Sub-consciously his fingers lay impatient over his swordhilt, as he increased his vigilance against Melost and Vlad's conversation.
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Old 11-22-2003, 09:16 AM   #195
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The Eye

Barely paying any attention to the guards, Anwanelme rushed out of Gil-galad's tent, her thoughts in turmoil.
A child? With Arthain?
She had never even considered the possibility that this could happen and now...
Tears stung in her eyes as she stopped dead in her tracks and turned, gazing back towards the High king's tent, part of her wishing to catch another glimpse of the man whose child she now carried.
Arthain is a man of honour. she thought, trying desperately to cling on to the hope that she wouldn't be left behind, alone. He would never leave his son behind. Me, perhaps, but not his own son. He will do what is right...

One of the guards shoved her forward none too gently, forcing her to move and she glared at him, her eyes burning with anger and contempt. She could feel the derisive looks on her from everyone around her and she swallowed hard, fighting the foreign emotion she could feel spreading inside her, making her cheeks burn. Her shame.
Keeping her head high and her back straight, she ignored the people around her, determined to not let any weakness show.

Once back on her own, guards placed outside to watch her every move in case she should leave, Anwanelme finally succumbed to the tears she had felt stinging in her eyes ever since she left Gil-galad's tent.
"Melost, where are you? Valar, what have I done...?" she whispered, sobbing into her pillow as she heard the High king's words in her mind, over and over.
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Old 11-22-2003, 11:44 AM   #196
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Eye

Arthain swayed slightly as if from a blow as Gil-Galad pronounced the words to Anwenelme, not even looking at the man. He felt himself go pale, and a roaring seemed to cover his hearing, his breathing seeming to stop...a child? A half-elven child, and he the father? And...the mother... He closed his eyes, not sure what he was meant to be feeling, remembering...remembering the last time he was told he was to have a child, remembered it clear as day...

His eyes closed, his lips slightly parted, the breath on them still seeming frozen. Gil-galad's voice, still addressing Anwenelme seemed to come from a distance. "Hear me, woman. You will have a son, the image of his sire, bearing within him all the love and loyalty his sire bore for Melost. I will send word to Cirdan and all others who guard the shores of this land to never allow your passage into the West. His doom shall be to live out his life in sole devotion to you, and you...yours shall be to remain here, remembering the lives you have destroyed. Now, go! Leave my sight!"

You will have a son, the image of his sire, bearing within him all the love and loyalty his sire bore for Melost - was that irony? Did the king mock him, contemptuous of the foolish mortal who had betrayed one so superior by soiling one of the elven women folk...

His eyes remained shut as Anwenelme passed him, her footsteps still even but fast. He did not open his eyes to see the expression of she who carried his child. It would be the same one of contempt and mocking disdain she had showed him ever since Melost flew from their camp. But before then...what of the softness in her eyes before then, at Rivendell that night when she comforted you...or when you lay with her, blind to who she truly was, but seeing no less her expression, tender and kind...

He shook his head slightly to himself, his eyes still closed, dropping his head so his gaze would have been on the ground a few metres in front of him.

"Arthain." Gil-galad's voice was as cold as before. Raising his head in the direction of the elf king, Arthain's eyes, when he opened them, were wet with tears held back. But Gil-galad paused for a second, as one of his soldiers murmured something in his ear. He nodded. "Summon him," he replied in an undertone. Then he looked back to Arthain, forcing himself not to sway, their eyes meeting, but he said nothing. After what seemed like an eternity but was probably about three or four minutes, Arthain could not bear it any longer. He heard someone else enter the anti-room of the king's large tent, but kept his eyes on Gil-Galad.

"What would you do to me, Lord?" he said quietly.
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Old 11-22-2003, 07:45 PM   #197
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Sting

"An interesting choice of words, Man of the noble West. What shall I do with you indeed?" Gil-galad came around the table to confront Arthain face to face, his voice soft, controlled, deadly. "Melost lives. I have have sensed his mind, tormented and wracked to the point of insanity by grief." Anger kindled in the depths of his grey eyes and Arthain's gut clenched as he beheld his inner fire, barely contained. Fire that in battle burned murderously bright.

Gil-galad turned abruptly away from Arthain in disgust and sorrow. He had known from Melost's point of view of the depth of their friendship, had even accepted the young man as Melost's companion on many campaigns once he had seen that the two had formed a deep bond between them. To see his kinsman betrayed in such a manner was unthinkable.

Arthain stood rooted to the spot and stared at Gil-galad's back, instinctively wanting to squeeze his shoulder, tell him everything was alright...as he would have done with Melost. "Earendil...I have destroyed more lives here than Anwenelme could ever have done." He flinched minutely as Gil-galad sighed in the resounding silence of the tent. "He loved you, Arthain. He has taken wounds for you. You repay him poorly." He turned and fixed Arthain with a look so profound in its hatred, it took his breath away. "From henceforth, you will ride with my cavalry. You will go from my presence and go to the tent provided for you, follow every order given you, and, if there be any among the Valar that still listen, you...will...die."

Arthain bowed deeply to the Elven king, then cleared his throat. "One word, if I may,lord?" He received a nod of assent. "Great King, there is nothing I desire more than the swift death you wish me. I can say nothing in my defense, I can only thank you for your mercy." He swallowed painfully. "Truly, lord, I have one wish more, to see your kinsman one last time." For an instant their eyes met and between them there flowed a measure of pain, sorrow and loss.

The tent flap opened and Arthain was gone.
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Old 11-26-2003, 04:02 PM   #198
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Sting

"He loved you, Arthain. He has taken wounds for you. You repay him poorly..."
"You know that you bear this human's child, do you not?"
"Melost lives."
"Melost lives."
"Melost lives..."


As Arthain left the tent, the High Elven King's words reverberated around his skull. Alive...Melost was alive?

Both a sick feeling of fear and a feeling of incredible elation simultaneously washed over Arthain.
"If there be any among the Valar that still listen, you...will...die."

The soldier smiled bitterly. Truly, Melost would be fully entitled to grant both his wish and the wish of his kinsman the high king. And if the High King so wished it, it would almost be Melost's duty to carry it out.

"And then I shall achieve my last wish as well; to see you before I die," Arthain, halting, said softly under his breath, tilting his head back to the stars. "Whatever the circumstances, Melost, as friends as we were before, and your foe I am now: either way, I think it was destined that we should die close by each other..."
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Old 11-26-2003, 05:49 PM   #199
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Silmaril

Menelya strolled amidst the trees, sighing and breathing in the beautiful odor that they emitted. Now that all was settled with her room in Lórien, Menelya intended to enjoy the lovely surroundings as much as she could. It was better to make the best of being dragged out of one's home and on a horrible journey, she thought. Anyway, it gave her time to thing away from the babbling hens that she used to call friends. Just because her stupid daughter made one mistake, Menelya no longer had a place in society. The noblewoman sighed and put these thoughts out of her mind, taking in the beauty of this glorious city that she now had the pleasure of enjoying.

She touched a flower and smiled, thinking of a far-off land in times long vanished, before she had the life she now lived. Her hand passed delicately along the other flowers as she walked. The hem of her dark blue gown trailed lightly on the ground as she walked between the trees. Every now and again, she would hear conversation of other Elves, either professing love and devotion, gossiping about other ladies in the court, or playing games and enjoying the beautiful land. Where Menelya walked, however, it was now mostly tranquil and solitary.

Menelya rested, her back to a tree, and listened to the wisps of conversation that drifted into her ears. Time passed and Menelya dozed against the wood of the tree. The day wore on, and Menelya thought she should be returning to the palan. She pulled herself to her delicately covered feet and made her way back to her room.

Menelya suddenly found herself redirecting her footsteps. She had not seen her daughter for nearly the entire day. The girl must have gotten herself into more trouble since she last spoke to her. An indignant sigh escaped Menelya’s mouth. Another breath of consternation left her mouth as one of the women approached her. They made some gossip about one of the other twittering hens, claiming that the perpetrator of the latest offense had forgotten to ask her to dine with her when it was clearly her turn to do so. Menelya tried to get away as quickly as she could. These women did not like her; why did they insist on plaguing her every step?

Finally, Menelya found herself outside of Anwenelme’s room. Why was she here? She meant to go to her own room. What possibly possessed her to think to check on her own daughter? True, it was odd that she did not see her child at all during the course of the day, but it did happen every now and again. They both had their problems and they certainly did not get along. Then why was Menelya entering the room?

Anwenelme was in her room. She looked shocked, but at the same time, she was apparently attempting to hide it. Menelya sat down without permission from her daughter, who gave her a look of death. The mother raised her eyebrows, but took no real note of her daughter’s countenance.

“How have you been, daughter?” Menelya asked the defensive girl.

“I am fine, Mother. I appreciated your knocking,” Anwenelme replied sarcastically, trying to keep her voice even.

“What troubles you, daughter of mine?” Menelya continued, ignoring her daughter’s cold fury.

Anwenelme remained silent, staring at her mother, obviously willing the Elf to leave her to be. Menelya was not going to give up so easily though. She leaned forward in her chair a bit and stared back at her daughter. They sat in silence for a time, a silent battle of internal strength waging. Menelya was determined to hear her daughter talk, and Anwenelme was obviously determined not to listen to her mother.

What could be troubling her daughter in such a manner? Was she thinking of Melost? That could not be true. But it still could aggrieve her that she was now alone. Well, she would grow accustomed to the feeling. Menelya certainly had grown in such a manner. Anwenelme was strong, just like her mother. She would pull through. Anwenelme’s mother had faced far worse obstacles that the girl ever would. Now Anwenelme would pull through whatever impediment she now faced. Menelya would make sure of that…
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Old 11-26-2003, 06:33 PM   #200
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Sting

Jaheira sighed, deciding against shouting at Vlad or Khalad again. She'd gotten herself in enough trouble already. Jaheira knew that the tables had been turned on her, and now she was somehow made out to be the bad person of the lot. Now it was her turn to lead, and for the first time in a long while she actually shut her mouth and listened. In her opinion, there wasn't much to hear.

The Elf made her so mad! Jaheira vaguely knew why, and scarcely kept grasp on her reason for hatred towards the Elf. It threatened her somehow. For some reason Jaheira sensed that some kind of end was coming, and by bringing the Elf into their "care" Jaheira felt that they were changing something in the group that didn't need to be changed. Jaheira thought about this for a moment before shaking her auburn head in confusion. Even she didn't know why such animosity had settled between the Elf and her. She was scared of him...

Oh, why can't anything be simple anymore? Jaheira screamed inwardly. She remembered back when things were simple. Before Vlad had come, things were chaotic and unorganized, but they were so simple to sort. Jaheira had made a pivotal decision to let the jailed inmated loose, and thusly she had chosen her fate. Every day she wondered if it was the wrong choice, and every day she decided that it had been the right one. Jaheira had convinced herself that if it had not been the right choice to stay with Vlad and the criminals she would not be alive right now. But how everything has changed with just one Man...Elf....

The group was traveling to Lothlorien now, and the only good Jaheira could see in it was that they were moving again. Moving along, perhaps to their doom. But wasn't it always so? Wasn't there always that chance that the outlaws would wander again and not live through each stretch of land? Jaheira had taught herself long ago not to think in such a way, but something about this trip to Lothlorien seemed so final to her. It wasn't good, in any case.

But that was Jaheira's problem, and it seemed that everybody but Jaheira knew it. She was too stubborn and fiery for her own good. Jaheira wanted her way to be the way that no one else wanted to travel, and when she got her way she liked to change her mind and highlight the problems with it in her own mind. It could never end as 'at least we're moving,' it always had to be 'we're moving, but it's definitely the wrong way.'

Jaheira was confusing herself just thinking along the way. The group hardly ever stopped, and Jaheira was getting bored with her rattled thoughts. But of course, she could not speak to any other members of the group, lest she say something terribly wrong to push everyone over the edge. All she could do was taunt Fidrohir when Vlad allowed her a few minutes to redress his wounds. Even that was becoming dull.

At least we're moving, but it is most definitey to the wrong destination... Jaheira assured herself for the thousandth time during the group's years of traveling.

~*~

Dorlas did not look up from the cup of warm broth that he had been given when Arthain left for counsel and he had gone to sit by one of the grand fires. Despite the apologies and agreements made after his fight with Arthain, Dorlas felt ill to the stomach at the thought of what might happen now. If, in the end, Arthain were suspended, Dorlas would undoubtedly follow him. Even if Arthain were not suspended, Dorlas would defend him to the last.

After all, was that not what a squire was for? Not just as an assistant, but as a confidant and loyal friend? Dorlas remembered how Thelian had fought against his grip when the Elf squire had been so overwhelmed with the desire to go after Melost. Now Dorlas regretted keeping Thelian at bay and hypocritical for being determined to use the resort himself. Why did he not understand the bond between master and squire then? Why didn't he let Thelian go? Why did he and Arthain have to go through such pain for such a bond of understanding to form?

Dorlas' thoughts were interrupted as a burly older man squeezed his way onto one of the logs being used as benches around the fire. He was out of breath and his eyes were twinkling with some mischievous light as the other soldiers made room for him. Dorlas looked up at the man as he sat right across the dying fire from him, and Dorlas shrugged as the man was handed some cool water.

"Have you heard? The latest word is that some human soldier betrayed an Elven one with an Elf girl! Now he's been back and forth between Elendil and Gil-Galad for counsel and punishment!" The bearded burly man laughed heartily as he gulped down water. A horrified look came over Dorlas' face as the men around him began to mutter and murmur. Their gossiping about Arthain! Dorlas realized immediately. These dogs are no better than Menelya and the woman of her court!

"Who's the unlucky fella?" One man asked.

"He could be considered lucky, in some light," another man pointed out.

"Who's the Elf soldier?"

"Have they decided what they're gonna do about 'im?"

Dorlas couldn't handle it any longer.

"Stop!" Dorlas shouted at the top of his lungs as he stood from his seat. All chatter immediately ceased, and all eyes were on the young boy. "Have you nothing better to do with this time than trade trivial news about some other man's misfortune? We are going into a war from which none of us may return, and you are here laughing about something that is not of your concern! Pray to the Valar for your life and your families, and ask for forgiveness from the curse of gossip that has been heavily set upon you! If I hear one more false lie about the welfare of anyone other than the man speaking, I will not hesitate to deal with it myself!"

And with that, Dorlas stormed off looking for Arthain.

"Do you think he's the boy?" One of the men asked.

"Nah. But he's got a way with twisting words about."

"Hardly understood what he was saying anyway!" admitted the first man. With that last comment the soldiers continued sipping broth and water and ale around the fire.
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