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Old 11-28-2004, 02:53 PM   #41
Firefoot
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Adranel came to herself a few seconds after hitting the ground. What had happened? There was shouting, and soldiers were crowding around her. She seemed to remember being attacked... but it had happened so fast that her mind was fuzzy. One minute she was sitting on a stump, talking with the strange man who couldn’t speak well, and the next she was on the ground with a blanket over her head. The suffocating blanket had fallen away, and she could see her surroundings, or at least she would have been able to if the men would get out of her face.

“Get away from me. I’m fine,” mumbled Adranel, struggling to rise. She immediately fell back again at the sharp pain in her left side and the sudden feeling of dizziness to her head. She figured she must have hit it on the log when she fell, which would be why she had blacked out momentarily. Through a gap she made out the man - Innema? - being held back bodily by a couple of the soldiers. Suddenly it clicked: he had attacked her! But why? He wasn’t very smart, but he hadn’t seemed aggressive. He seemed very bewildered now, as if she was the one who had randomly attacked him. She scowled at him. She had been nothing but polite to him, giving him company when he was all alone, and he attacked her for no good reason! Then, to top it off, he stood there looking confused.

Adranel realized she was having trouble breathing, and the air around her was stuffy from the crowd of bodies. Again she tried to speak, “Go away,” but either her words were incomprehensible or they simply chose not to listen. One voice rose above the others: “Back off, everyone! Give the lady some room!” The soldiers obliged, and a single form came into focus. She struggled to put a name to the face - she thought it was the captain, come to see what the fuss was about. She struggled to remain conscious, but her head and side were giving her a great deal of pain. As she felt herself fading, she seemed to hear another familiar voice calling her name - was it Beluf?

She was no longer in the army camp. Up ahead, she saw her family and Hergon. She called out to her older brothers, Balder? Allagon? She began to run to them. Father! Hergon! She was nearly there when a wall of flame leapt up between them and they vanished. The dream began to repeat itself, though with variations. In some, she reached her family. In others, they disappeared even as she greeted them with hugs and happy words. It always ended in fire, however, and she began to dread the nightmare. The days spent in cold weather and damp clothes began to take its toll on her. She felt hot, feverish, murmuring the names of her family in her sleep. She sought solace and found none in her restless dreaming. She tried to awake, but each time she came close to consciousness the pain in her head or side knocked her out. Finally, she became fuzzily aware of her surroundings. They were unfamiliar, and she felt dizzy.

“What happened?” she muttered. “Where am I?” She found herself to be alone, and the entire sequence of earlier events flitted through her mind. Experimentally, she reached over with her hand and gingerly touched her side. It pained her, but further examination showed that it was merely brusied, and all her ribs were in place. This relieved her greatly. Her head hurt, but the fever had run its course and she was otherwise healthy. She sat up slowly, eager to be out of this tent and once more independent of others' care. With painstaking care she made her way to the entrance of the tent and pushed through the flap. By the position of the sun, she could tell that several hours had passed. She was near the edge of the army camp, and wondered what to do.

"Are you all right, milady?" she turned at the sound of the kind voice and found it to be the captain's. She just looked at him - what did it look like? She had attracted the attention of the nearby soldiers by now, but she ignored them. Holding herself stiffly erect - for that was the only comfortable way to walk - she decided to head for Sjorging's camp, having no where else to go. Beluf was missing, and Adranel had to admit she would still rather not see him. Sjorging and Gelding were talking quietly, and Adranel did not interrupt. She eased down onto a stump a little ways away.

Her thoughts turned to Innema, the strange man. Sore as she now was, she was not inclined in any way to visit him again. Still, he intrigued her, and she would like to know his story. She was quite torn between her desire to meet with him again and her dread of him. She supposed it would be best to wait and see, and if the opportunity presented itself she would decide then. She glanced at Sjorging and Gelding, wondering what they were going to do, for she would go with them, whichever way they decided.

Last edited by Firefoot; 11-29-2004 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 11-28-2004, 04:40 PM   #42
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The day slowly dragged on, with little excitement save for the finding of those of Dale. The snow had become the main attraction for a great many of those in the host. This was not because it was some new and wonderful sight, but rather due to it being the only sight, save for the trees, which hung heavy with the very same element as that which laced the ground. There were not even any game animals to be seen, and there were no birds in the sky. It was quiet, and eerily so. It put many on the edge, but the silence itself fell on deaf ears.

The column had come to a short rest, and Uther perched himself on a newly fallen tree, which was seemingly overburdened with the snow. There he sat, surrounded by many, yet alone within. After some discussion within himself, Uther felt a desire to speak with another. The closest man to him was Sjorging, one of those who had been ‘rescued’ from the marauding orcs. Slowly, Uther gained momentum, and struck up a conversation with the man.

As Uther approached, he started to speak. “You do not seem pleased with the sending of the King’s troops.” Sjorging seemed a bit startled by this, and after a few awkward moments, replied with a bit of irritation lingering on his lips. “No, I am only displeased with such a meager showing of force by King Elessar. I had expected more troops, or at least better troops.” Sjorging paused, trying to relax himself, and kept from inhaling too much of the cold air. “Had Elessar sent better, I would gladly show proper respect to those who bear his banner.” The remark sent a twinge of anger through Uther. He replied, with the utmost self-control he could muster, yet bearing an almost angered tone. “You will show the proper respect to these soldiers, whether you think highly of them or not. They are here not because they wish to be, but because they must, as it is their duty. Am I understood?” Sjorging could only nod. After another bout of awkward silence, the two decided to speak again, only on more friendly terms, with Uther uttering the first words. “So, do you wish to remain with the host, as we travel to Gundabad, or would you rather flee to Esgaroth? Sjorging shrugged, and scanned his surroundings. After a few more minutes of the silence, which both had seemingly become accustomed to, Sjorging spoke a single phrase. “You will have my answer tomorrow.”

Uther and Sjorging parted ways after their meeting, staying a good distance from each other the rest of the night. But the day was not yet over, and there were still some unresolved matters to attend to. The man the scouts had found, Ingemar, still needed to be questioned, and that was the lieutenant’s next mission. He wandered around the makeshift camp for a time, searching for the man, but to no avail. Finally, Uther decided it was time to inquire upon the whereabouts of the man. The first few guards he questioned had only vague ideas, and that wasn’t much help. After a few moments of the tiresome inquisition, he posed the question once more, to one of his more experienced soldiers, Mordred. “Have you seen that odd man, Ingemar?” The soldier was taken off guard a moment, but managed to conjure up a response. “Yessir, he’ssss overrr there, with the lady we founddd...” Though the response was slurred a bit, due in part to the cold, and maybe the trooper’s small ration of ale, Uther picked up the gist, and departed.

The scene the commander came upon, was not one he expected. The lady, Adranel, was lying on the ground, with the man over her, and it appeared he was preparing to strike her. Without hesitance, Uther lurched forward, his chainmail swishing and clacking with his movements. He grabbed Ingemar’s hand, and held him firmly, refusing to allow him to strike the young woman. “What do you think you’re doing?” Uther was obviously a tad irate with the situation. The man just sat there, his arm hanging in the air. Uther demanded a response to his question again, “What do you think you’re doing?”. Still, the man sat. After a bit of the wrangling continued, Uther ordered his soldiers to put him under a guard, and keep him from wandering about, and refuse all visitations for him. After Ingemar had been dealt with, Uther realized he had in fact attempted to assault the lady. He turned round, and reached his hand down to her, uttering a few words. “Are you all right, milady? Are you injured at all?” She looked up at him, returning his kind gaze with a grim, seemingly uncaring look. She rose from the ground, without his help, and walked off, away from the staring eyes of the other soldiers. Uther shrugged, and ordered his men to return to their posts, and leave the woman be.

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

The cold, wet darkness of the night dragged on for forever, or seemingly so. Uther tossed and turned through the night, unable to sleep on the hard ground the host had camped on. He didn’t dream much, even when he did manage to scrape together a meager portion of sleep. In the middle of the night, sweating and cold, he arose from his tent, and went out to stare into the vast shadows that were formed from the gloom of night. His breath rose from his chapped lips, swirling into the air, and finally dissipating into the nothingness that loomed above. The sentries ignored their commander for the most part, and left him to the serene black that the night offered.
Staring out into the cold shadows, he thought only of his prey, the orcs whom he was to hunt. Soon, his thoughts echoed from his lips, lightly forming on his tongue, only to disappear into the void, that hung like a woolen blanket before him. “Where are you? Where are you hiding?” He continued muttering the same phrase to himself, repetitively. After some time, he had expended enough energy to return to his tent, and fall back into sleep. He hoped the morning would bring more comfort.

~*~

Unfortunately for Uther, his morning was the same, but now he had his soldiers to order around, forcing his mind to be less at ease, and putting him into a faint sense of dulled watch. He wandered around the camp, slowly at first, inspecting his troops, and seeing to it that the supplies were properly loaded onto the pack animals. After this mentally taxing job was fulfilled, he saw to it that the men were readied for the march, and put into formations. Ingemar was placed under a careful watch towards the front of the column, and Sjorging and his companions were brought into the fold, having been issued some spare military equipment. Yet, before he could give the order to set out, he quickly checked the scout reports. He turned to one of his underlings, and motioned for him to speak with the unit commanders. “Ah, so the Orcs are out there. Maybe we shall see battle on this day.” When his commanders had been informed, he gave the final order, and the column began to rumble forward, out into the snowy plains of Dale.

As the Column continued to advance, scouts came in at regular intervals, some reporting of the Orcs, others not. But Uther, by now, was only interested in where the Orcs were, and when he received news that they were heading towards one of his way points on the march route, he smirked a wry, slightly malicious smile. His sergeants then began passing the word down, to be prepared for an Orc ambush...
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Old 11-29-2004, 03:11 PM   #43
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1420!

Gelding arrived back at the tent, and wondered why Beluf wasn't there. He usually isn't one to wonder off and he didn't seem to want to associate with any of these Gondorians. Gelding simply shrugged, and spotted Sjorging rushing back, he looked rather disturbed. "What is it?"

"Nothing," Sjorging replies snapping back, "these men, they don't know what they are getting themselves in to. Where's that boy...Beluf?"

"I don't know, when I got back, he was gone." Gelding spots Adranel approachingm, and he sinks to a whisper, "I suspect it has something to do with her."

Sjorging turned and looked at Adranel. She had a bump on her head and appeared as if she was limping, or struggling to walk a bit. "You are just in time, we are about to talk about what we're going to do. Where's Beluf?"

"How should I know!" Adranel shoots back. She definately wasn't in the best of moods, but never the less she had a seat by the two of them.

"What did you and Uther discuss?" Gelding asked.

"Nothing much, actually," Sjorging said, "we were mostly trying not to rip eachother's heads off. He asked what we planned to do."

"And...." Gelding urged on.

"We leave tomorrow." Even though everyone was free to do what they wished none of them were able to leave eachother's company. That's all they had, and all tehy will have, eachother.

"What!" Gelding shouts, "I've never seen you walk away from a fight before."

"This isn't a fight!" Sjorging quickly spouts, "Sixty some weather beaten, tired, hungry men, against a mountain fortress isn't a fight, It's a massacre!"

Gelding objected, "You've seen what these orcs have done. They've been ransacking, burning as they go, through Dale. This is our chance, our chance to end this threat, and rid Dale of orcs for good."

"You are wrong." Sjorging said, they were both practically at a scream. "There was a chance, that chance no longer exists anymore."

Adranel who was quiet up to this point whispers, "Keep your voices down. You don't want people hearing you." Beluf who had wondered off on his lonesome now returned, and he immediately caught eyes with Adranel. Sjorging and Gelding could feel some tension between the two, and Gelding broke the silence, "She's right, we better keep our voices down. Come Sjorging, I want to discuss this further in the tent."

Beluf just stood there, refusing to make eye contact with Adranel. Adranel made sure she did the same. It was a while, and Gelding held out long, but they noticed when he stormed furiously out the tent. Sjorging poked out from the tent, "You two better get ready. We leave tomorrow." With that Sjorging retreated back into the tent.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

It was morning again, no one got much sleep. Gelding was still furious, Beluf was looking up at the light orangish red colored sky, and Sjorging was sitting deep in thought. Adranel wasn't around, none of them knew where she was.

It was quiet, but an unsteady quiet, so quiet you couldn't even hear any sign of animals around. Then some shouts were heard, but it was too far off for Sjorging to make out, but as the shouts drew closer they became clearer. Suddenly a man walked up to the three of them, "We are heading out, Lieutenant Uther wants to form out, orcs could be about." Sjorging and the rest gathered their things, ready to set out with the company, they weren't going to just leave yet, if orcs were around, Sjorging wanted to make sure he had the pleasure of killing them.

Gelding spotted Adranel walking up to the tent, "Come with us my lady, we could use a skilled archer, like yourself." Adranel graciously accepted and joined the three of them.

Sjorging stated, "Come we better join them, before they leave us behind." They sprinted off and met up with the host of soldiers. The orders were given to march on, but for some reason Sjorging got a funny feeling in his stomach....

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Old 12-02-2004, 01:18 PM   #44
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The Battle Begins

The snow had settled by now, and the orcs hurriedly marched to their ambush site. Without the cover of a storm, they were vulnerable to being sighted by the Gondorian scouts that were roaming about the fields. The only source of cover, was a small patch of trees in the distance, which the Orc commander hoped would be along the path the troop of men would take. So the orcs, with a seemingly unholy speed, as if the whips of Morgoth himself were upon them, dashed with all their energy to the cover of the tree-line.

Impatiently the orcs waited, for what seemed to be hours to them. Small brawls broke out amongst the ambush party, in traditional orc fashion. Grokgash was unmoved, as the display was only part of what was the meager orc culture. Rather, he allowed the violent outbursts, for it would only serve to increase his raiders’ bloodlust and rage.

As time passed them by, the orcs soon became volatile, displeased that the Men of Gondor had not shown up, and that their commander had lied to them about the prospect of feasting on man flesh. Many began to mumble incoherent Black Speech phrases, mostly guttural curses directed at their leader. But low and behold, the sounds of horses, and the voices of men could be heard. Grokgash immediately silenced his restless troops, and laid out the final stage of his ambush. The Orc commander rumbled along his line, giving orders to his subordinates, and rousing his orcs for the battle that was drawing nigh.

Slowly, the Gondorian host came into view. They marched without a flanking guard, for they were too small a force. Grokgash smiled cruelly, showing his malice and hatred for those of the race of Men in his eyes. As the host marched past his position, seemingly unaware of his presence, he raised his blood-stained scimitar, and let forth a howl. His troops rose up from their positions, and surged out of the trees, directly into the left flank of the Gondorian column.

The Gondorian soldiers were not caught at unawares, as the orcs thought. Rather, they let their flank buckle, and gave way to the orc onslaught, allowing the rest of the column to flood in behind the orcs. What ensued, was brutal melee combat, with the orcs not only fighting for their own survival, but for the survival of their newly founded fief in Gundabad.

Only a few moments into the skirmish, and the Orcs had already found themselves surrounded by the Men of Gondor. The bloody howls of the dying orcs, and wounded soldiers, was enough to spur the fowl beasts of Morgoth onward. Grokgash himself, though already wounded in the arm, searched for a way out, and hurriedly gathered his orcs for a thrust at the thinnest point, where those of Dale were holding out. But as his troops made their way to the point, they found it reinforced by Gondorian troopers. In a fit of rage, several orcs mutinied, and attempted to slay their leader. But quickly, Grokgash recovered, shouting obscenities, took his command back, and ordered his remaining orcs to stand their ground, until he could find a way out.
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:41 PM   #45
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1420!

The column began to slowly press on, Sjorging could taste the omnipresent threat of orcs. Uther gave the command to halt. Soon orc cries and howls were heard and could be seen sprawling out of the bushes in a mass of numbers. "Brace yourselves!" yelled Sjorging to Gelding and Beluf. The center began to fold in, as the orcs rumbled to the center of the Company. What is he doing?, thought Sjorging, he's letting them pour into the center. Then Sjorging noticed it, he figured it out, Uther was planning to outflank the large mob of orcs and completely surround them.

The orcs were in a frenzy, running around senselessy, despite the screams of their leader. "Make for their weak spot, our only hope is escape!" roared Grokgash.

A rather large orc, close to the size of Grokgash, approached him with his short dagger unsheathed. He was definately some sort of commanding officer amongst the orc party, "You promised us man-flesh! Look what you've led us into! You fool!" The Sergeant hacked at Grokgash, but Grokgash turned the blade away with his own, and stuck a knife in his gut. The Orc fell to the ground and Grokgash spit upon his dying body. "Listen to me you scum! If you want to get out of here, follow me!" Some orcs still followed behind Grokgash, but most of them were running about wildly, or too busy in combat.

A small group of orcs, maybe around eight or nine of them, made their way to the men of Dale hoping they could break through. Sjorging quickly beheaded the largest orc, and two more orcs fell to the ground with arrows in them. An orc slashed his scimitar at Gelding, but Gelding blocked it with his shield, and thrusted his sword into the heart of the orc. "For Uther!" The Gondorians could be heard shouting, "For Elessar!" Sjorging, being the stubborn man he is began rivaling the shouts with "For Brand! For Dale!" Gelding joined with his friend, Sjorging in the shouts, followed by Beluf, who was currently in a deadlock with another orc. But, Beluf drew his hand axe from his side, and jammed the axe into the side of the orc. The Orc gave a wail and fell to the ground, Beluf took his sword, and like a great spear, stuck it through the heart. The men began to cheer, the fighting had ceased, the few orcs who tried to make it out, were cut down quickly.

Last edited by piosenniel; 12-02-2004 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 12-02-2004, 03:41 PM   #46
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Adranel was caught completely off guard at the attack of the Orcs. She had been deep in thought, considering her place among these people. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, she figured that she would be leaving the army as well as Sjorging, Gelding, and Beluf. She had aligned herself with them out of necessity, and she remained with they and the army both out of curiosity and for protection and companionship, certainly not because of friendship. Though Gelding had come to appreciate her presence (largely due to her archery skills), she and Beluf were distinctly uncomfortable in each other’s presence and nothing had changed between Sjorging and herself. Already she was distancing herself from them somewhat, even leaving them this morning before they were up to take a walk around and generally keeping to herself as they marched.

So when the Orcs had attacked, Adranel was unprepared and caught in the middle of the melee. She first felt fear. Last time she had encountered Orcs they had taken away everything, and this encounter dragged out a new perspective on the sack of her village. Previously, she had known grief and anger, but never fear. Even aside from being afraid, she knew that she had to get out of there - she had no skill with hand-to-hand combat, nor did she have a weapon for it. Her bow would be no good as it was, and she would be defenseless. She pushed and shoved her way through the ranks of soldiers, and was soon clear, since the army was small, and they were spreading their ranks. She ignored her throbbing side, already hurting from the past few hours’ march and redoubled in her rush to be free of the fight.

There was a small, wooded rise nearby and Adranel hastened up it. It gave her an excellent view of the battle, providing for clear shots. They were clear at first, anyhow, and she was able to shoot several Orcs, emptying about a third of her quiver, each arrow exacting payment for a loved one lost. For Father. For Allagon. For Balder. For Hergon. The list continued for as many arrows as she shot. Her aim was cold and calculating as she found grim revenge on the Orcs that had destroyed her life as she knew it. Soon, however, the Gondorians and the Orcs mixed together in a confused jumble of weapons and blood, frustrating her as her shots became fewer when she had a harder time picking out targets.

To her surprise, she found that the Gondorian army was slowly overpowering the Orcs, even though their force was less than three-quarters the size of that of the Orcs. They were skilled fighters, she admitted grudgingly. That did not mean their problems were over - far from it. After this, the small army would be decreased, and when it came to blows with the main force of Gundabad the odds would be even slimmer. This thought severely dampened her spirit of victory as the final Orcs were cut down and all that remained were the elated soldiers standing amid the bloody carnage of battle. She picked out Beluf, Gelding, and Sjorging among the soldiers, seemingly unharmed.

Adranel eased her way down to the field of battle, now giving heed not to pain her side further. By the time she reached the bottom of the slope, she had begun to wonder when they would be moving on. No one else appeared to be thinking this far ahead, still caught up in their triumph. But for Adranel, it was not a victory. It was payment, and she had barely begun to pay the price.
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Old 12-04-2004, 03:58 AM   #47
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Boots Ingemar

In mere desperation, seeing that chaos broke out amongst the Gondorians, as it seemed that they were under attack, Inemgar ran towards one of the highest trees. Afraid, almost crying, he grabbed the nearest branch and hoisted himself upwards. Halfway up, there was a loud crack, the branch broke, and the poor man fell down. Confused, he rose hurriedly from the ground with the branch still in his hand. He stood looking at it, slightly pained by the fall, feeling it especially in his back as it was already quite numb from the cold night it the snow. What had happened? He wondered at first. Didn't the tree want him to come up? Where was he supposed to hide? Surely, these beings that were running towards them, surrounding them, waving with shiny, oblong and sharp objects, all looking very grim, were some monsters from a distant place, a distant world. But exactly where they had come from was a mystery to Ingemar.

Suddenly, without being warned, an arrow passed him by and hit the tree trunk, just inches from his body. Being fairly surprised by this thing that had come flying through thin air, he turned around briskly. With a loud gasp, he watched one of the monsters looking creatures hit the ground, sighing. Ingemar opened his eyes wide. "Got to sleep, now?" he asked in wonder. He soon discovered however, that he had come to hit the Orc with the branch he was still holding. It was still quite unintelligible for the man of Dale to see that hitting such a creature with the branch had caused such an effect. Realising this at last though, he also understood that he had probably done something wrong; he had harmed another being. He gasped for air, kneeling beside the motionless body. He looked questioningly at it, feeling its breath against his cheek, smelling the stank from its sweaty body and seeing it close at hand. "Must be mooonster," he concluded, about to rise from his kneeling position. All of a sudden, movements that were too fast for the eye to catch distracted him. The Orc had opened his eyes and gained conscience! It was now grabbing Ingemar around his neck, seizing its sword. It roared with laughter or pure evilness, none could tell.

Ingemar stood helplessly, feeling the grasp around his neck only get tighter and tighter. A pointy silvery thing was held threateningly against his chest, and then even he could tell that what was coming was not good. The terror in his eyes, revealed his true feelings. The fear he felt inside made his body tremble terribly, his chest jump up and down as he could hardly breathe. His eyes grew wet, and tears began streaming down his cheek. The Orc was about to strike, when it suddenly stiffened. It stiffened and withered like a flower, when autumn strikes it with a cold November wind. Again, Ingemar fell to the ground, but he was quicker to get to his feet this time.

The whole event had scared him so much, that he had not managed yet to distance himself from it, in the manner of being relieved that he was even alive. He could probably never do it, because he didn’t see the world as most others did. He was still terrified, and he would probably be for a long time ahead.

He bellowed, and leapt to his feet, sprang as fast as he could until he reached another tree. Grasping one of the branches, he climbed it. This time he succeeded. Still shocked, not certain about what had actually happened, only that it had been truly terrifying, he clung to the tree trunk. He shook wildly. He did not dare look down. He didn't dare listen either. He would be safe here, if sat still.

Would he ever come down?

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Old 12-06-2004, 07:46 PM   #48
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1420!

As Sjorging was walking back he noticed Beluf and Gelding staring up at a tree, and thought he heard them talking, as he got closer he realized they actually were talking. "What is going on?" he asked. Then it finally hit him, something, or someone was in the tree. The tree branch was shaking, and a head popped out from the cover of the leaves, but quickly hid itself back down. Faint whispers of "No see. No see." could be heard.

"Who goes there?" shouted Sjorging. Sjorging's shouts made the branch even shake more rapidly, and the voice grow louder, "No uhh eear, no uhhn eear." A Gondorian soldier approached the three companions and asked what was going on. Sjorging quickly explained to the soldier there was something up in the tree, he didn't have time to go into deatils.

"I don't have time for games," Sjorging scowled and stomped off. Gelding followed after him.

Only Beluf, and the soldier, remained beneath the foot of the tree. He didn't no what was up there, but it definately wasn't an animal, or an orc. He thought sounded like a little kid, but what kid would wonder off in the middle of nowhere, in the cold snow? Unless he was lost. Whoever he was, Beluf figured he was up there because of the Orcs. "It's ok. The Orcs are gone. You can come down." No reply was given. Beluf tried again, "They're gone. It's safe now." Again, there was no reply. Beluf decided to try one more time, and he thought, maybe he's hungry and will come down if I tempt him with food. "I happen to have some nice bread with me, it's not quite stale yet. Here, would you like to have some?"

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Old 12-07-2004, 02:51 PM   #49
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Mordred looked around. He noticed off in the distance what looked like men under a tree. His curiousity was beginning to get the best of him. Quickly wiping the already dried blood off of his sword Mordred began to walk over to the tree. Whats going on? Is there something in there that has their attention? As Mordred got closer he realized that the two men were talking amongst themselves. "Sjorging? I have heard great things about your fighting in the earlier fight. What's going on?" The man pointed towards the tree. Mordred thought he heard something but quickly dismissed the thought.

Mordred had stood there thinking about whether or not to try to climb the tree. It was a fact that there was something or someone in the tree, but was "it" dangerous. "Want me to go up?" He pulled his dagger out of his boots. He liked to keep the smaller sword hidden in case he needed it. He pointed towards the lowest limb. The only thing Mordred feared now was the thought of dieing because of the snowy branches.

As Modred came closer to the trunk of the tree he began to think about earlier in the day. He had done his best to serve Uther. But he didn't like loosing count of those who fell under his sword. It didn't matter now. Now the only thing important was the mystery in the tree? "So who's going up? And who's staying down here to keep a look out?" Mordred hadn't had a chance to talk to Sjorging and welcome him into the company. But now was not a time for welcoming and introduction.
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Old 12-07-2004, 04:56 PM   #50
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Adranel picked her way through the bodies, holding her skirts high out of the bloody snow. During times like these she truly did envy the men their breeches - skirts were such a bother! Her quiver had been severely diminished, and she was trying to find her arrows. Some of them were damaged, and Adranel did not bother with those because she did not have the means to repair them. Besides, bending over hurt her side, and she had no motivation to do so just to get broken arrows. All told, she was able to retrieve about three-quarters of the arrows she shot, and she carefully extricated those, wiping them clean of the black blood and replacing them to her quiver. Grim satisfaction was found by the number of targets she hit. The Orcs would pay yet. Finally deciding she had gotten as many arrows back as she could, she left the small battlefield, though she stayed clear of the soldiers for the most part.

Adranel looked around and saw Beluf and soldier nearby, talking and pointing at something in a tree. Straining her eyes, Adranel realized it was that crazy man, Innema. At least he had enough sense to get out of the way of battle, she thought dryly. She wandered a little closer, trying to figure out what was going on. She was not so bold yet as to approach them; Beluf was likely annoyed with her for her outburst yesterday, and the last time she had seen Innema he had attacked her. She stopped when she was close enough to make out the details. Neither man had noticed her because of their concentration on the man in the tree. It looked to her like they were trying to get him out. Beluf held a piece of bread, as if to lure him down like a dog.

She was tempted to leave them to their own business, but she wanted something to do, and decided to throw out some advice to them. She approached to about fifteen feet away, a distance she felt was long enough that she would not be obliged to join them. “His name is Innema,” she called out tartly. Her voice was neither friendly nor hostile; for all the familiarity she showed, she might as well have never met Beluf. The two men turned at the sound of her voice. “I don’t recommend trying to force him to do anything - he probably won’t take that well. His mind seems to work in rather... well, strange ways.” She crossed her arms across her chest, unwilling to be more forthcoming than that. They could take her advice or leave it; she did not care. She was curious to see whether they would succeed in getting Innema out of the tree - he looked absolutely terrified of the Orcs and perfectly content to remain in his high perch. She just waited in mild amusement to see what they would try.
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Old 12-08-2004, 11:34 AM   #51
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Boots Ingemar

He tried ignoring them, partly due to his fright, but also due to the awkwardness he felt. Were they staring at him? What were they actually doing? It bothered him, and thus, he could not help to cast his glances their way every so often. He giggled slightly, but grew soon tired and felt the drowsiness take command. His lids grew heavy, but he couldn’t find peace.

Flashbacks from the events that had just recently taken place on the ground below, made Ingemar tremble with fear. The images which penetrated his mind and forced him to relive the nightmare, made him cling to the trunk even tighter than earlier, in hope of finding support and comfort. Why the orcs had appeared, was still not clear to him. Furthermore, how they had appeared so quickly, was even more of a mystery to him. Seeing them clearly, as if having stared one of them in its eyes, he took notice of the flame that lit up their eyes, a flame of bloodthirstiness, which wasn’t going to distinguish as long as blood was running through its veins. When attacking, the air had been filled with a smell so horrid, that the poor man's stomach had turned. It smelled of rot and sweat; a mixture which didn’t go very well together. The sound of their growls, their steel hitting steel and the sighs that came from the exhausted opponent, were echoing inside of his head. The sky had suddenly changed its colour from a lively blue to the darkest of colours, a threateningly and heavy black. All of this had certainly set its marks on him. In fact, it was like printed with black ink onto his memory.

He was completely in his own thoughts. Tears had started running down his cheeks; loud sobs followed. He suddenly remembered what Norna had told him once; "only small children cries", she had said. And he was not a child, he was . . . Ingemar. He wiped his tears away with the back of his hand, feeling both bitter, of being left alone, but all the same happier that the horrible scenes seemed yet again only to be memories, and nothing more than that.

“I happen to have some nice bread with me, it's not quite stale yet. Here, would you like to have some?"

Igemar looked around, curious where the voice had come from. Noticing the newly arrived bird on one of the branches above him, with the keen eye of his, he sniggered. It was a nice bird, or so he thought. Its beak was orange, while its feathers were dark brown. How soft they looked. He chuckled, his face filled with a deep desire to touch it.

“Biiiid has beeead?” he asked questioningly. It appeared to him that it was the bird that had spoken. Where the bird had hid the bread it had just moments earlier told him about, was still yet for him to see.

The bird stood silently, tip-toeing, on the branch. It didn’t at all look interested in Ingemar and his doings, but it sat still nevertheless.

Feeling the hunger swell up inside of him, as he had suppressed it, or refused to let this feeling come through, he looked hungrily at it. “Beeead,” he muttered. “Come biiiid, beeead!”

Not even offering his situation a thought; the fact that he was sitting on a branch in a tree, he rose quickly, supporting himself on the other branches nearby. Standing on what seemed like a solid branch, he put all his effort into casting himself forward to catch the bird, being certain of landing on the branch ahead. Halfway through this crazy stunt of his, he felt the branch under his feet give away.

His long fingers rushed through the feathers of the bird. Feeling the soft dune under his fingertips, on his rough skin, he was rather surprised by feeling the hard surface he hit just moments later.

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Old 12-10-2004, 06:03 AM   #52
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1420!

"His name is Innema, did you say?" said the soldier standing next to Beluf.

“I don’t recommend trying to force him to do anything - he probably won’t take that well. His mind seems to work in rather... well, strange ways.” Adranel replied stubbornly.

"We shall try none the less. Are you going to help us, or just sit there and laught at us?" Beluf said harshly. Adranel began to walk away, and as she did the memories of the past day ran through Beluf repeatedly...I don't know why she got so upset. I thought we understood eachother. Whatever I think thought doesn't matter. I started this and now I'm going to try to end it. "What is your name good soldier?"

"Mordred" he replied.

"Hell Mordred, I'm Beluf. Could you do something for me...I mean if you don't mind? Could you run and grab Uther, he might be able to get this man from the tree." Mordred didn't mind and went back to get Uther.

Beluf began running towards Adranel, to catch up with her. "Adranel! Adranel!" She turned, but hesistantly, as if not wanting to engage in conversation. "Look, I'm sorry if I didn't mind my own business. If that means anything. I just thougt...." he was at a loss of words, "I just thought we had an understanding. I'm sorry if I upset you and I hope you can forgive me some day." Beluf began to saunter back towards the trees, shoulders dragging, and head down. He looked up and realized Mordred had come back with Uther. They were looking up at tree, trying to get Innema to come down. All eyes of the camp were on Innema, even Sjorging grew slightly interested.

Then with a crash, a man came down from the tree, he screamed "Come biiiid, beeead!" Everyone now in the camp was watching, all their eyes directed at Innema....
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Old 12-10-2004, 06:09 PM   #53
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Adranel gaped at Beluf’s retreating figure. He had walked away before she could respond, and she was probably too surprised to string any words together anyhow. He wasn’t upset or annoyed with her? Even after she had blown up in his face? She could understand why he thought she was mad at him, though she wasn’t - she never had been, really. She had simply lost it, and all those held back emotions had wrongly come tumbling out towards him.

He wanted her to forgive him. Adranel had already done that, even if he didn’t know it, but she didn’t think that she could ever face him again. He had been kind to her and accepted her, and she had yelled at him, and then he asked her to forgive him. She felt awful. He had reached the tree again, and she considered going after him, but the thought fled far from her mind when Innema fell from the tree with a yell. Now everyone’s eyes were turned that way - no way could she approach Beluf now, and she wasn’t even sure that she wanted to. She should just leave now, while no one was paying attention. But she couldn’t, for a couple reasons: her immense guilt at her actions toward Beluf, and also her vengeance on the Orcs.

Ignoring everything else, she began to walk. She needed to think, and to do that she needed to be away from everyone. The sparse woods nearby proved to be ideal. Having spent much of her childhood outdoors, the surrounding trees were both comforting and familiar, as were the twitterings of the winter birds. Purposely, she skirted the army’s camp so as not to wander too far away.

Adranel wondered if she should trust Beluf. He was nice enough, certainly, and she saw no reason not to, but still. Her trust did not come easily these days, and he had breached the wall which she had so carefully constructed between herself and others. She did not hold him responsible, since he had right to be curious, but it still hurt. The pain was lessened, but still there and protected by a hard shell of anger. Underneath of it all she withheld any joy, tenderness, or kindness she had. Adranel realized that she had become afraid to let the latter feelings out. They could make life pleasant, but they could also hurt. She had learned that the hard way, and took the lesson seriously. She was grateful to Beluf because he had probably saved her life by asking her to join them, but she could not lower her guard and let him in. The risk was too great. Her life now was for no greater purpose than to destroy the Orcs, no matter that she was a woman, and she did not know what came next. Death would be a pleasant relief.

She found that she had come to the edge of the forest and was again staring down at the lessened army. With a sigh, she walked toward the soldiers, completely avoiding Beluf. How could he understand that he was just too good to her? She didn’t deserve it, and she didn’t feel like explaining, even if she could. Had Beluf been mad at her, she could face him, but now neither her shame nor her pride would allow it. She did not even plan to camp with them that night: it would be better for her to be on her own. Then, she would neither be hurt nor hurt others. It was the best for everyone.
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Old 12-12-2004, 10:56 AM   #54
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The carcasses of the orcs now littered the snowy field, oozing their putrid black blood into the soil, staining it. The smell of sweat, mixed with the vile orc blood, was enough to turn the stomachs of many of the troopers. Steam rose from the newly deceased, warming the chilly air, serving to increase the rancid aroma of death. The Gondorians sustained few casualties, mostly from slight injuries, which would heal enough in time for the planned assault on the Orcish battlements at Gundabad. But there was one man who was mortally wounded. His fellow soldiers had found him amongst the orc corpses, already near death. The orcs had few archers, and apparently only one had hit a target, whether intended or not. He had been struck in the neck, and was bleeding at a rate which the hastily trained field doctor could not slow. But before Lieutenant Uther could even receive word of the soldier’s condition, he slipped into Death’s waiting arms.

Uther himself had wandered the battlefield for sometime, surveying the carnage, and musing at the effectiveness of his plan, and recalling it in his mind, with as much vivid detail as he could conjure. He recalled the orc slaughter, and the veil of blood that sprayed into the air, masking sight and sound. The clanging of swords, and the howls of dying orcs screamed at his mind, demanding just attention. But before he knew it, the recollection ceased, and faded into what seemed to be a distant memory, of a past needing to be forgotten. He continued to stroll through the wanton carnage, kicking at the lifeless bodies of the orcs, while he mulled over his plans for Gundabad. But in the midst of this solitary wandering, a commotion arose on the opposite end of the field, along the tree line, where a number of soldiers now stood. The weary commander straightened himself up, and proceeded to the small tree that his men had surrounded, careful to avoid stepping on the orcs that were strewn about.

Upon arriving at the site of the excitement, Uther found the man Ingemar, sitting on the ground, with a broken tree limb beside him. Apparently he had hid himself in the tree to avoid the orcs, and had now just fallen out, possibly from the limb breaking. In any case, the lieutenant was not pleased. He motioned to a number of his soldiers to detain the poor man, and take him back to the makeshift camp now being assembled. To the others, he spoke but few words. “Return to the camp, and get some rest. Tomorrow we march in haste to Gundabad.” Ignoring the Men of Dale, he turned his back to the tree where Ingemar had just been, and slowly marched back to camp, to prepare for the next day, and to obtain what rest he could.

The evening was bitter cold, somewhat more so than normal. The fires that had been set within the camp were no use in fending off the dark chill of night. Seeing that the orcs had been defeated, the greater majority of the sentries were allowed to sleep, and stay as warm as possible. Often throughout the night, the moans of the weary soldiers could be heard rising from the hastily constructed tents. This was more than enough to keep Uther awake. But he cared not, for he slept little while campaigning. So, he stayed up throughout the whole of the night, plotting and scheming, while his two dogs slept on a blanket laid out for them.

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

The morning was somewhat of a blessing. The soldiers had ceased their almost incessant whining, and had begun to ready themselves for the day’s march. Most were still groggy, and fumbled about in the early morning gloom, slightly confused by the fog that hung over the snow. After an hour or so of this bumbling mess, the sergeants had managed to settle the troopers, muster them for the forced marched that would be ordered soon. The Men of Dale still lingered about the camp, but if they were to travel with the Gondorian host to Gundabad, remained to be seen. Ingemar was still detained, though rather loosely. But, he didn’t wander much. Instead, he just sat on a log bench, waiting for what was to happen to him. If Sjorging and his companions decided to set out for Esgaroth, Ingemar would be sent with them. Otherwise, he would remain with the host.

Uther did not at all see Sjorging, or any of his comrades, that morning. But since he had no time to tarry, he would set out. If they were going to follow him to Gundabad, they would be with the host. If not, he cared little. And thus, with the sounding of a horn, the column trudged forth, into the snowy fields of Dale, and off to Gundabad. Moving slowly at first, the now ‘veteran’ fighting men of Gondor attempted to liven up, before trying to tackle the forced march that their commander had planned for them. There would only be four hours of rest this night, so they tried to gather all their possible energy reserves, in hopes of withstanding the day.

Uther and his chief underlings rode at the head of the column, as usual, muttering to each other over the events of the previous day, and wondering what the Men of Dale would do, as none of them had seen them. But all the talk eventually turned to Uther’s plan for Gundabad. None of the sergeants were privy to his mind, and thus they inquired with him, and pondered many thoughts. But it was to no avail, for the battle-hardened veteran would not utter his plan to them, other than that he would take the mountain fortress.
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Old 12-18-2004, 09:03 PM   #55
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1420!

The sun was shining brightly, it was a radiant morning. Sjorging took some bread, cooked some bacon, and wondered off outside of camp. He didn't want to be bothered, not even by his good friend, Gelding.

He sat, with his hands on his chin, thinking what he was to do next. He had already told everyone his companions that they weren't going along with the Gondorians, but the short fray with the orcs brought back old memories. What Sjorging saw of Uther's strategy impressed him. Sjorging still didn't like him, but he couldn't deny the commander knew about fighting. After sitting for hours, Sjorging hadn't seen any of his companions, and he noticed it appeared Uther was about to head out.

He sucked up his pride, and went to have a word with Uther. "Those were some impressive tactic, Uther. A move like that could hurt, or help you, it appears luck was on your side."

Uther grunted wondering who dare have the nerve of telling me I got lucky. He turned around, and he didn't seem too surprised to see Sjorging there. Sjorging continued, "You will most likely be outnumbered, and Gundabad will be well defended, your only hope is strategy. You will need anyone you can get." Uther was well aware of the situation he was about to face, and didn't take Sjorging's words kindly. All Uther cared about was getting this over with as soon as possible, and get his men moving again. "You have been welcomed to join since you first arrived. I am pleased to have you in my service."

What does he mean, me in his service, I serve no one but myself, thought Sjorging. Then he thought of the death of great King Brand, and his oath he made to himself, to not die until Dale was rid of orcs. Sjorging didn't know what to say, but he figured he had to say something, "I will get my companions ready, but I can't promise all of them will come along." Uther nodded, and continued with making preparations to leave.

Sjorging found the rest of the people of Dale, besides Inegmar, sitting around their tent. "I'm going with the Gondorians. You are all free to choose as you will." Gelding all of a sudden looked intent, the first thing that came into his mind was, the argument the previous night. Gelding realized that he had gotten through to Sjorging and was the first to get up and step alongside him. Beluf and Adranel were sitting apart, and sat staring at eachother, as if they were waiting for the other to decide what they were going to do.

"The Gondorians are about to leave." said Sjorging impatiently. "Are you coming or not?"

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Old 12-18-2004, 09:37 PM   #56
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“I’m going,” Adranel stated. “I had already decided that.” But rather than getting up and standing beside Sjorging and Gelding, she stood a little apart. She made it clear that she was not going because Sjorging said so, but by her own choice. Beluf, too, stood up, saying, “I’ll go.”

“All right, then,” said Sjorging. “We had better get moving. The Gondorians are leaving.” He and Gelding turned and walked together towards the Gondorians. Beluf followed them, but not without one last look at her. Adranel knew that he had been trying to figure her out since she had come back to camp last night. Mostly there was confusion in his face, but also some hurt. Adranel wished she could make him understand that it really was for the best, but she had no way to put her convictions to words. Maybe he would understand some day. If she had had her choice, she would not have come back to their small encampment at all, but she had no where else to go and so ended up sleeping near their tent.

Adranel trailed the men by several yards as she trudged along through the snow. Several times she caught Beluf darting glances back to her, as if considering waiting for her to catch up and then thinking better of it each time. Adranel was both glad and disappointed: she did not want company, but at the same time she yearned for companionship. These were lonely standards that she had imposed upon herself, and so she hoped to reach Gundabad soon, for then she could return to Dale alone. If she returned at all. The expedition of the soldiers, she decided, was a good representation of her life: while driven and not without point, it was an absolutely hopeless cause. Their fates, too, would likely be similar: ending in utter despair in which quick death would be welcome relief. Adranel sighed. With only these gloomy thoughts for company, it was going to be a long day.

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Old 12-19-2004, 10:37 AM   #57
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Finally, after so many long weeks of marching, the Gondorians caught sight of their objective. Looming in the distance, veiled in mist and cold rain, sat Mount Gundabad. Though they all knew it was crawling with orcs, to most, it seemed almost serene, as if there were none of those putrid and disgusting creatures hastily scuttling about the old dwarven halls, and poorly constructed ramparts that now marred the face of the mountain. For now, it was a desirable sight, to sore eyes. Those soldiers, who understood the beauty of nature, were awed by the mountain’s graceful slopes, and rocky textures. Some stopped in their tracks, in an attempt to gaze at the mountain, to forever retain the pristine image laid before them. Even the lieutenant could be seen staring upon the mount with his war-weary eyes, infatuated with the elegance that his enemy presented him with. As the marchers continued to plod on, with a seemingly renewed sense of vigor, a light snow began to fall upon them, coating the horses and men in a powdery layer of pure white. The snow now served, not to hamper, but to invigorate and rejuvenate, as the snow created a near mystical setting, as the snow continued to fall upon the branches of the trees that lined the path of the host.

But as with all things, even something as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the distant view of Gundabad, must end. As the day trickled by, much as the sands of time drain in the hourglass, the soldiers came to view what had become of the mountain they had seen. Now, the snowy forests of the previous days, were replaced by mangled and burnt remnants of what could vaguely be called trees. The life was sapped from this region, which was now devoid of life, save for those orcs that lurked near. The men hung their heads in angst, now seeing what might be their doom. Some men began to mutter in the ranks, causing the rest to despair from the other soldiers’ doom-saying. Uther ignored this, keeping his mind steadfast on his objective. As the day slowly turned to evening, the weary commander came to spot which he deemed defendable. Thus, the order of “Make Camp!” was given, and the men began the arduous process of building the palisade defenses, which were to hold until the Gondorians were ready to assault the orcs that were sprawled across the mountain.

Within the hour, the defenses were prepared, and the tents pitched. Thus, the tired soldiers sat down to their evening meal of salted pork, snow-water, hard-tack, and bacon grease, which they devoured merrily. Those were weren’t placed on sentry duty, sat around the campfires, recounting stories of their youth, and musing about the awe they had felt when they had first glimpsed Gundabad. The rants carried on throughout the evening, which seemed to keep the soldiers from thinking of what was to come in the next day. But an entirely different setting was taking place within Uther’s tent. Within the raw-hide flaps of his makeshift abode, he discussed the military strategies that would be employed, at least partially, with his sergeants, and Sjorging, whom he had given a field command and promotion to Sergeant-at-Arms of Dale. It was more honorary than anything, but it did help alleviate some of the tension that had formed between the Sjorging and the lieutenant.

Tomorrow, we will assault the battlements. We have only enough materials for a few small siege engines, thus we will use them only at the prime targets.” At this, Sjorging piped up, wanting to be ‘part’ of the military procedure that was taking place. “What are these prime targets you speak of?” The Lieutenant, not wishing further tension, replied to the inquiry. “The targets that will be bombarded will be the main gate, the lower wall that runs across the base of the mountain, and the single tower that watches the gate. These are all wood in construction, and will be shattered easily...” But as Uther was about to finish his sentence, a soldier entered the tent, signaled by the whining of Ithil, one of the two hunting dogs the commander had brought with him. The guard was shaking incessantly, somewhat from the cold, but he managed to utter a few words. “Orcccsss....outsssiiide...meeeeetttting...” With a shaky hand, the guard then pointed out across the plain that was set before the mountain. On the field, was a contingent of orcs, though it could not be seen as to what they wanted. The commander rose from his stump-chair, and walked to the makeshift corral that housed the horses and pack mules. Without giving the situation any thought, he mounted his steed, as did a number of guards and sergeants, and rode forth from the camp.

As the riders bounced upon their horses, as they swiftly rode out to meet the orcs that had gathered in the snow, they slowly noticed that the orcs were more like the Uruks of old. At the head of the orcs, stood their commander, a larger orc, who also seemed to be either the chieftain of Gundabad, or a captain of some sort. As the party closed in, the orc leader raised his arms, signaling the Gondorian horsemen to halt. Uther and his sergeants complied, if only out of intrigue.

The chieftain then spoke in the Common Tongue, and rather fluently for an orc. “I am King of the Mountain! Why do you enter my domain?” The riders were startled by this, and some backed up, thinking an ambush might be coming. Uther spoke, whilst he dismounted, believing the chieftain would rather speak to one who might be an equal, rather than to one who would sit atop a horse. “We enter your realm on the orders of Elessar, King of Gondor and Arnor. We have come to offer you an alliance.” Sjorging, who had accompanied the riders, was puzzled, thinking Uther had come to destroy, rather than make peace. The chieftain too, was puzzled. “Why does Gondor seek alliance with those of Gundabad?” Uther continued to expound upon the alliance, ‘humbling’ himself. “You are Lord of the North, are you not, Great King? Then that reason should be sufficient enough for Gondor to seek to have an ally such as you. It would do Gondor great honor if you were to accept.”The chieftain rubbed his pot-marked chin, considering his options. He turned around, to a number of the orcs that were standing around him, and muttered something in the Black Speech. After a bit of jostling amongst the orcs, the chieftain turned around yet again, and uttered his decision. “If Gondor was sending emissaries, it would not come with such a force. Methinks you are here to destroy orcs, and take the mountain for yourself.” On that, the King of the Mountain turned around, his tattered fur cloak flapping about, and with his guards, strode off back to their defenses. The Gondorians then did the same, as Uther remounted, and themselves rode back to their camp.

After the riders had returned, and dismounted, they made their way back to the lieutenant’s tent, to discuss the meeting with the orcs. After they had all sat down, each leaning somewhat inside to bask in the heat of the small fire, they began to talk. Some sergeants expressed concern over the attack, while others wanted to leave, and return in the summer with a greater force. But Uther would not be swayed. “We are here to destroy the orcs, and destroy them we shall. The alliance was only a ruse, as both the King and I knew they would not accept. Tomorrow, we assault their fortress.”
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:06 PM   #58
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Boots Ingemar

Ingemar had watched the Gondorian soldiers ride with their proud horses away from the camp, only to return shortly after. He had looked at them with admiration, not because they looked valiant, but because of the splendour of their silvery armour, which shone splendidly. Now, as they had come back, the man from Dale was rather curious about what they had been up to for the last half an hour. Giggling slightly, he rose from his seat around the little fire they had lit and wandered over to where the soldiers stood, ready to enter the lieutenant’s tent. He gazed at them, more thrilled at seeing their armours at close hand. He stretched out his hand to touch it. It felt cold; it reminded him of snow. This material seemed to be much harder though than snow, which melted in one’s hand. His eyes lit with joy; a broad smiled passed his lips.

"Get away from me!" Ingemar who had only been getting nearer and nearer the soldier, who was wearing the armour, touching it with both of his hands, drew them back instantly. The soldier gave him and odd look, snorted with annoyance and left the poor fellow, who stood stricken and stiff as a tree trunk. Ingemar didn’t understand. He cast long glances after the man, who disappeared when entering the lieutenant’s tent. With eyes wide open, still curious, Ingemar followed. The poor man’s adventurous nature seemed to have taken over. The sudden, strong need to explore things, which only really occur when being a child, filled him with excitement.

He found himself standing as if glued to the tent’s surface, which was made of soft fabrics. With his ear closely attached to it, he could hear the sound of voices from within. The feeling of doing something ‘illegal’, doing something which would not be supported by his dear sister Norna if she ever found out, made his skin prickle and he giggled joyously.

“We are here to destroy the orcs, and destroy them we shall. The alliance was only a ruse, as both the King and I knew they would not accept. Tomorrow, we assault their fortress.” Ingemar heard one of them say.

Assault? he wondered, frowning. What did it mean? What exactly were they doing? Assault? Assault… He thought for a while, and concluded that it was at least a very nice word. He tried saying it out loud:” Assssauplt.” He shook his head furiously, irritated. Perhaps it would be better if he said it if wearing one of those silvery hard tunics he had seen just earlier.

Leaving the lieutenant’s tent, he started his search for an armour; he did not know however, what the purpose an armour served. Yet, he thought that its sparkling colour had been so amazingly beautiful, that he had difficulties thinking of anything else. With piercing green-grey eyes, he sought for it, careful not to reveal himself where he sneaked in the shadows; he knew he had done something wrong, or at least, he thought so.

A few minutes had passed before he finally succeeded. He ran towards it, grasping it with both of his hands. It was heavier than he had thought, but more beautiful than the other he had seen earlier. Looking at it for a few moments, he felt his cheeks going red. He put the armour on, slightly confused about the weight; he was about to tip over, but with great effort, he managed to stand on his feet. "Tomorrow, asssauplat," he muttered silently to himself. He sniggered, feeling the wind rush against his face. It was a wonderful feeling; the armour was heavy, but due to its beauty and this odd form of happiness he felt, he was overly convinced that he was light as a feather.

"Asssault! Assault! Asssault!! ASSAULT!!!" he called out in mere happiness. His voice echoed in the still and pleasant winter night.

Suddenly, without warning, a dozen men came running towards him. The lieutenant’s tent was hurriedly emptied. "Grab your weapons!" a voice cried out. The camp had broken out into a big commotion . . .
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Old 12-20-2004, 04:40 PM   #59
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The Eye

Skagrun had not let Grûglach's anger blind him from the task at hand. The captain had been ready to take the entirety of the force he lead and go chasing after Gorurk the deserter. But the fear he observed in the faces of all his officers, except Skagrun, when he swung his fist at the nearest living thing and crushed the throat of an orc, nameless and faceless to Grûglach. Skagrun had quickly taken advantage of his captain's pause after slaying the trooper, laying a hand on Grûglach's shoulder and saying, "There are more lives to be taken at Gundabad." Grûglach was then brought back to focus, if not calmed, and he had ordered preparations for a quick march.

And a quick march was exactly what he forced upon his troops. Word had spread quickly about Grûglach's killing for no reason, and there were enough that followed orders out of respect that those who followed them simply out of fear were driven to obedience without the use of a whip. They were drawing near to Gundabad, and Grûglach intended to make this the last night they marched, anticipating the bloodshed that was to come. There was a feeling, a growing fervor that ran throughout the Goblin force, one that drove them to a greater speed than would normally have been possible. They new well what awaited at Gundabad, what could be the end for both the orcs at Gundabad and the goblins of Moria. But they also knew that it was time to taste man flesh and blood again, and they relished in the opportunity.

Grûglach kept pace with Skagrun, and the captain discussed their plans from here. They would have to set up camp nearby Gundabad in secrecy, and explore the situation. Now that the battle drew near, Grûglach realized just how little he knew of the situation. He did not know how many orcs held Gundabad. He assumed most of the remnants were there, and that was many, but it was foolish to assume. And any assumptions at all could get him killed. Everything had seemed simpler when they were miles away from the fortress and the slaughter; for a slaughter it inevitably would be: but whose he did not know.

“We can spare a few to act as scouts.”

“Yes,” Grûglach spared Skagrun a glance. “Pick a few you think you can trust. Tell them they are to find the commander of the forces there, if possible. We need to know our allies just as much as we do our enemies.”

Skagrun grinned crookedly. “Yes, of course, our allies…as you wish, sir.” The goblin lieutenant was lucky he refrained from laughing. Grûglach sneered at the ground beneath him, his large yellow eyes turning just enough to see Skagrun’s face. Of all the fools, he was the least foolish, but the captain would never forget how dim-witted they all were. There were always advantages to their sparseness of intelligent thought, ones that Grûglach had used to reach his secure position. But now that his security was limited, it only disturbed him.

“We had best take advantage of not being alone in the stand against Men.”

His smile leaving him, Skagrun eyed his captain, looking almost surprised at this statement. It seemed the lieutenant had difficulty in thinking of the battle at hand being anything more than an opportunity to kill. He missed the fact that it was also an opportunity to be killed. There was silence for a long time following Skagrun’s moment of shock. As the night grew paler and the day began to overcome it, Grûglach ordered camp to be made, judging that they had no need to go any farther. For now, he would keep his distance from Gundabad.

“I do not know what will happen if Gundabad falls.”

Skagrun was still silent.
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:22 AM   #60
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Snagar had heard of the attacks made on the goblins and orcs. He was not angered or inspired by it though. He thought of it as weakness and weakness was not acceptable. He however would not be weak or open to attack. Snagar was a good tactician and he would not let himself fall easily.

"Prepare the trenches and stakes. We will not go lightly.Set the firewalls in place outside of our stronghold, and keep the torches burning day and night. I will kill the one who lets them go out. The side of the hill that faces west is where we will post our archers. They will be providing cover fire for us as we attack. Do you understand me you maggots!" he shouted to his force of orcs.

This will be a battle that those weaklings will remember. They will not forget it because this is my land and I will take theirs after I grind them into the dust here He thought. Snagar walked over to inspect the team of orcs who was putting dried brush and oil in trenches for the firewalls. " Put you r backs into it and you might live, you maggots. Think of manflesh in your mouth, think of burned flesh, raw flesh. Make the wall a place of death." They all gave signs of agreement and kept working. Snagar walked on and inspected trenches full of stakes, walls of diagonal stakes ready to disembowel attackers, sharpened wicked looking blades, pikes bows, arrows and countless other weapons. Yes oh yes, he thought, I will make them suffer, they will wish they had never been born.
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:52 AM   #61
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1420!

Sjorging sat in Uther's tent, but soon lost track of events going on, as his mind was overflowing with questions. I didn't come all this way to make peace with the enemy, and if both him, and the king, knew the orcs would not accept why bother making the offer? Then Sjorging began to think of the task that was to come, I guess this Uther isn't so bad. Arrogant, if you ask me, but knows a good deal about warfare, perhaps there is a chance yet....Oh who am I kidding....we have 70 men, if that, and we are expected to storm up a mountain? Not to mention, the orcs are fighting for their homes, as well as their very existance.

Sjorging tried to shake the threat of what appeared to be inevitable doom....We might as well go down trying. There's no sense in running, if we run, they'll be right on our heals. We got the orcs backed up and dug in, if we retreat, and give them a chance to rebuild, who knows what will happen. Sjorging sighed, looks bad both ways.

Then a loud, but appeared rather childish cry, rang through the camp "ASSAULT! ASSAULT!" Every person in camp sprung into the tent and grabbed their weapons. Sjorging ran out of the tent with Uther, and the other commanders, swords drawn. Uther looked frantically around, the whole camp was in an uproar, everyone running this way and that. Uther was furious, there was no sign of an attack, yet some fool cried out the words, determined to get control of his men, and find out who shouted out the orders Uther bellowed "STOP! STOP! Who gave the orders?" Everyone in the camp ceased, and looked at Uther, who's face was flooded with red. "Assault! Assault!" cried a man, who hadn't heeded Uther's commands. Low and behold, it was Ingemar.

Ingemar looked wildly around, everyone was looking at him, the noises, and the clanking of armor had stopped, everything was quiet. He was totally confused, as he turned he saw a man in bright shining armor, followed by a few other tall broad men coming towards him. What's going on? he wondered.....
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:33 PM   #62
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The camp had been in utter chaos, with soldiers bustling about, trying to discover where their enemy was attacking from. The sentries, that were posted at the main entrance to the camp, had not seen, or least noticed, any orcs moving about. After a few rather tense moments, nearly all realized it had been a false alarm. Most of the soldiers, however aggravated, would have rather had sleep, and thus they returned to their ramshackle abodes. But a few lingered about, mainly sentries. Some of the soldiers, however, stayed out in the cold air, to view the ‘festivities’ that they thought would occur momentarily. The man Ingemar, who was obviously not of sound mind, stared at the men that had encircled him, utterly puzzled at what he had done wrong.

A few of the sergeants, who knew what sort of action Uther was capable of, either through personal experience, or just mere rumors, took it upon themselves to circumvent the rage their commander was obviously feeling. After a bit of hesitant thought, a few of them rushed towards Ingemar, placing themselves between both Uther and Ingemar, and Ingemar and the soldiers. One of them, Mordred, began waving his arms, and pointing at the makeshift hovels the soldiers had constructed, while shouting “Back to the tents with ya!” The rest, formed a shell around Ingemar, as if to protect him, and carted him off into the night, to place him in guarded custody, for his own safety. They would worry about the wares he had commandeered later. Uther just stood there, his face bright red, as if he were about to erupt. Within a few moments, the camp had quieted down, with only a dull murmur coming from the sentries. The sergeants had returned to their own quarters, leaving two sentries outside of a tent which held Ingemar. Uther, still a bit frustrated and angry, huffed and puffed back to his tent. Upon entering, the whole of the camp, and possibly the Gundabad orcs, heard a vehement scream, after which, all was deathly silent.

The night continued to crawl on, at an unusually slow pace. Uther sat in his makeshift, stump-of-a-chair, whittling at a branch he had ripped from a small tree. Though he was still fuming, the bright red coloration that had appeared in his face before, was gone. The twig of a branch he had been carving his knife into, was now just a thin strip of plant sinew, dangling from his clenched fist. His eyes slowly scanned the plant fibers, as if entranced by them. But the enchantment soon wore off, and he flung the paltry twig from his hand. Anor groaned, as if to tell him something. “Yes, I do need to get some rest”, he replied.

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Old 01-01-2005, 08:41 PM   #63
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Adranel hurried over to the site of the commotion. It was a pleasant break after the monotony of her day, even the shout was “assault!”. By now, Adranel had come to recognize the voice of Ingemar, and she did not take the threat seriously, though many of the soldiers around her were. As she drew nearer, pushing her way through the ranks of confused Gondorians, the scene that had unfolded confirmed her suspicions: the mass disorder had once again been caused by a confused Ingemar. A red-faced Uther was issuing commands and sending bewildered troops back to their tents. There was some grumbling about the disturbance, but Adranel supposed the whole episode would soon be forgotten.

Already a new rumor was spreading through the camp that Gundabad would be attacked tomorrow. Adranel questioned the veracity of such a statement, but supposed it would be confirmed or negated soon. The soldiers seemed hopeful about such a prospect - Adranel reasoned that it could only be grounded in the confidence of their commander, for they were far outnumbered, and had the disadvantage of being far away from home, in cold weather, and on the offensive side besides. She realized that if she were to die tomorrow in the attack, which seemed likely enough, then there was something she needed to do. Not because she wanted to, but so that her mind would rest easy.

Quickly, she looked around but didn’t find who she was looking for, so she headed back to the small encampment she still shared with Sjorging and his companions. Adranel was frustrated to find that he was not there either; the tent was deserted. He can’t have gone far... she tried to convince herself, and set off in a randomly selected direction. It was only by chance that she found him at all.

“Beluf!” she called, hurrying toward him. He waited for her, his features betraying nothing of his emotions. “I need to talk to you.” He nodded as she fell into step beside him, but did not say anything. Adranel raked her hand through her knotted hair and as she contemplated where to begin she realized how long it had been since she had brushed it. She smiled inwardly at the thought and how misplaced it was in the current situation. “Beluf...” she began, and stopped again with a sigh. She hadn’t thought that this would be so hard. “I realize that I’ve been, ah, rather rude to you these past couple days,” she said slowly, and then picked up her pace until she was no longer listening to herself but simply saying what came to mind. “I know you think that I’m angry with you, but I’m really not, and I actually thought you were annoyed with me. Then you came yesterday and asked for my forgiveness, even though I felt terrible about the way I had yelled at you. You were just curious, and I can see why, I mean I was being pretty close-mouthed about myself, and I wasn’t really mad at you. It’s just that it hurt to bring back all those memories after I had bottled them up for so long and I was really just mad at the Orcs for... everything they did. So when you ask my forgiveness, I feel it’s really me who needs forgiveness and you just seemed, well, nicer to me than I ever was to you. So I thought that it would be better for both of us if I just kept you out of my troubles since I had nothing to offer you. So I’m sorry, Beluf - I know that I’m just making things worse for all of us and I hope you understand that I just had to tell you this now that I heard the battle will take place tomorrow-”

“Yes. Sjorging told me, before,” interrupted Beluf. It was the only time; he just heard her out mutely.

“So with the size of our force and the size of the Orkish forces I don’t see how any of us are going to survive the day,” she continued, and her voice began to grow hollow. “I am not afraid to die. I think it might be a welcome relief after living these past few days, but first I just had to make things right with you.” Adranel gave a shuddering sigh of relief at having said her mind and let go of the stress which had been building up. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down. She had always hated apologizing and explaining herself, and this had been much harder than usual.

Beluf still said nothing, as if processing her words, and Adranel hastened to add, “I know I’ve made this hard on you, but despite what it seems I really am grateful to you for being so understanding. So Beluf, yes, I will forgive you, though I do not see much to forgive, and ask instead that you would forgive me. I need my conscience clear.” She could go on no longer, and could do nothing but wait for his reply.
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:07 PM   #64
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All was silent...

The chirps of the birds, the singing of the wind in the trees, and the heavy breathes of the earth, were all still, almost dead. It was as if nature was sparing a moment of silence, a moment for those souls that would perish on the battlements of the mountain. It was the calm before the storm.

Then, as if to break the silence out of spite, an orc horn blew in the distance, from Gundabad. The orc leadership was mustering all the available forces, and preparing last minute checks on the battlements. As this was occurring, a troop of orcs moved into a position that would obstruct enemy access to the main gate. Various obscenities were being screamed, in both Westron and Black Speech. The orc commanders were hoping to ‘inspire’ their grunts, and obtain a quick, and easy victory.

Meanwhile, across the field, the Gondorian camp was alight with activity. Various squads moved about, preparing to march forward, to face the orc threat. The small contingent of cavalry was preparing to ride out, and perform a sweep operation, to flush out a potential ambush. The officers, and the Northmen were all concentrating on last minute procedure and equipment checks, or executing various other duties.

Uther sat alone, having confined himself to his tent, until the column would be ready to move out. With him however, were his prized wolf-hounds, Ithil and Anor. They groaned lazily, knowing full well what was about to happen. They had been on previous campaigns with their master, and had seen some combat. Though, they were mostly along for moral support. “Yes boys, it’s about time,” Uther chimed. Both of the dogs yawned, and stretched out across the bear-skin rug they had made into their home. But as Uther was about to reach down to pet them, a sergeant pulled back a tent flap, and stuck his head in. “Milord, the column is assembled. We await your orders.” Uther nodded, adding “ Thank you, sergeant. I will be out shortly to address the soldiers.” As the veteran commander watched the man leave, he grabbed his helmet, and placing it upon his head, smiled to his pets.

At the same time as Uther was leaving his tent, the cavalry detachment returned, bearing good news. The sergeant in charge was quick to find his commander in the makeshift stables, who was mounting his warhorse. “Milord, we completed the search. We found two platoons of orcs in the trees, and routed them as quickly as possible, and forced them away from the intended field of battle.” Uther looked down at his underling, as he seated himself on his steed. “Excellent. Now prepare to ride out into battle,” the lieutenant replied, with a slight smirk.

The column was assembled at the gate, with the cavalry having taken the lead. Uther rode up ahead, and stopped, turning his horse around to face his men. He let a short silence seep through the ranks, until he felt it appropriate to speak. The hot breathe of his men could be seen rising from the cluster, swirling into the air, until it evaporated, overtaken by the cold. “We stand on the edge of destruction. The battle is unavoidable, now, and thus we must fight. We are outnumbered, but that will not decide the outcome. No, our courage and honor will!” The soldiers clashed their shields and swords together, in a unanimous vote of confidence. Then the aged commander spoke again. “Our enemies, the orcs, think they are better than us, but they are mistaken. They hold out, believing their numbers will give them victory. But death will be their only reward. I think it would be polite to help them along!” At this, the men cheered again, thrusting their weapons into the air. “Now, we go to battle. But fight not for Gondor, or for the King, but for yourselves. This is your hour, relish it, and be victorious!” One last hurrah came from the column, and then it began the march out onto the field, to face the orcs.

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Old 01-04-2005, 05:49 PM   #65
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1420!

A wide smile came upon Beluf's face. That was the happiest Adranel had ever seen him, in her short while of travelling with him. He didn't need to say anything, she knew he had forgiven her.

"Well we better try to get sleep before the night is over." He said, smiling.

Adranel nodded and they headed back towards their small tent where Sjorging and Gelding were talking. Sjorging was holding up the armour Uther had given the people of Dale. "Well if we are going to fight together, I suppose we all should wear the same apparel." Sjorging studied the armour, still wary about whether he was going to put it on tomorrow or not.

Gelding spotted Beluf and Adranel heading towards them, "Glad you have come to join us tonight. It will be hard enough to find sleep tonight, so I suggest we get an early start on it." They all agreed, that it was getting late and it would be a restless night. Gelding and Sjorging slept inside the tent, but this night Beluf slept outside to accompany Adranel.

"I hope we get to see eachother after tomorrow, if not..." he stopped and sat up, peering across the small fire, and noticed she was already sound asleep. Beluf chuckled, wondering how she went to sleep so easily, she must have not gotten a lot in the last couple days. Beluf slowly began to drift off into a wakeless slumber.

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

Before long it was morning again, and the camp was up and bustling. The orders were given out to suit up, and form out as soon as possible. Sjorging had decided it was best to put on the gondorian armour, so the whole army would appear unified. Gelding picked up his shield, and stood next to his long time friend. Beluf and Adranel stood opposite of them, awaiting the command.

"It's time, everyone else is heading toward the field." Sjorging said. They all nodded and made their way to the spot where they would await Uther. Sjorging put his arm on Gelding's soldier, "We have drawn swords together many times in the past, let this be the last time." Gelding embraced Sjorging and appeared as if he was about to cry. Then to both Beluf's, and Adranel's surprise, Sjorging turned to them, "It was an honor to meet the both of you."

The orders to form up were given, Sjorging and Gelding made sure they pushed their way to the front line, so they could get first taste of the action. Soon Beluf and Adranel appeared behind them.

A few minutes later Uther came riding up to the front of the column.
“We stand on the edge of destruction. The battle in unavoidable, now, and thus we must fight. We are outnumbered, but that will not decide the outcome. No, our courage and honor will! Our enemies, the orcs, think they are better than us, but they are mistaken. They hold out, believing their numbers will give them victory. But death will be their only reward. I think it would be polite to help them along!” At this, the men cheered again, thrusting their weapons into the air. “Now, we go to battle. But fight not for Gondor, or for the King, but for yourselves. This is your hour, relish it, and be victorious!”
Gelding soon found himself cheering with the rest of them, and at those final words, the march began, the host was heading to Gundabad.
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Old 01-05-2005, 02:34 PM   #66
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Boots

Ingemar

And there he stood, Ingemar, the man of Dale, the shabby looking man, who really had what we can call ‘wild look’ in his eyes, a look of a mad man, whose boots were well worn, and whose clothes were even more so. Yes, there he stood, with his beard half grown, stiff with cold, his face expressionless. His figure did not reflect anything, happiness or sadness, even though he was wearing one of those fine silvery armours that he certainly had a genuine love for. The armour consisted of three parts, four if one counted the sword; A helmet, which had nicely been placed on his head. He, however, did not know why it was there, and he could definitely not remember how it had been placed there. He only knew that it was heavy. The armour he bore, the parts which covered his chest and his back, felt light, but it was still a burden to move. He felt stiff and it was impossible for him to avoid the great sensation of claustrophobia. A sword, stuck in its sheath, hung from his belt. He'd tried waving with it, but had been told not to. "Wait until we are there," he had been told by another. So, reluctantly he'd stopped. Now, Ingemar stood restlessly alone in a crowd; yes, for he talked to no one and no one talked to him. Soon being told to form columns, he raised an eyebrow. Columns? he wondered, how? As quickly as the order had been given, men were surrounding him, even closer than before; they were standing next to him on both sides, in front of him and behind him. Ingemar let his gaze wander, watching how quickly long rows were being formed. What are they doing? He sniggered, and broke soon into a great laughter.

"Will you be quiet?" The man next to him started, looking rather viciously at Ingemar. "Do you honestly think this is funny, old man!?! We're going to battle. I have a wife and a son, who are probably never going to see their husband and father again! Do you understand me! We're going to die!"

Old man? Ingemar thought to himself, half-way listening to how the man continued with his rambling. Old? Old? "Nooo, noo, noo. Me," he said pointing at himself, "me, booooy."

"What did you say?"

"Bbbbooooy," Ingemar stammered.

"Are you mocking me?!?" the man started again, his eyes wide. He stepped closer to Ingemar, breaking his own line. His mouth twitched; he seemed to have been highly disturbed by Ingemar's words, innocent as they were. "It's true, I have a son!"

Ingemar sniggered; he did not understand. Who was this man? What was he talking about? All his ramblings had made him confused, and the stranger's words were roaming around in his head. They were without meaning and purpose to him. A bit frightened about the man's sudden movement towards him, he took a step back, still having a broad smile on his face though. How could this man mistake him for being and old man? Old men were . . . old. . . like the stranger, who had a silvery beard. Not like . . . him? With a brusque movement, suddenly remembering something, he raised his hand up to his face. He felt the soft hair of his beard on his fingertips and realised that he, too, had a beard!

"Well?" The man, who stood motionless and watched this odd creature touch his beard, asked, probably uneasy about seeing the development of their conversation. "Do you not own me an apology?"

Ingemar did not listen. He was in deep thought. How had this happened to him? Was he wrong when he said that only old men had beards? Was he a boy nevertheless? Rather confused, Ingemar did not answer the man's question, which was still floating in thin air. Instead, he only watched the stranger being surprised by not being given a reply and as the columns started to march, the man walked away, growling at him. Ingemar was left behind, as if having forgotten how to walk, hearing the man muttering a few words as he went;" Some men deserve to die more than others..."

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Old 01-06-2005, 08:24 AM   #67
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This day, Adranel did not march alone. It was rather pleasant, actually, though neither she nor Beluf said very much. For herself, Adranel could not help but dwell on Uther’s speech. If confidence, hope, and heart could win a battle, then these men could win easily. She had peace with herself, with the people around her, and with her loss, but hope? Never had she had hope in the success of this endeavor. Perhaps the defeat would be quick and total, and then the men would not feel the crushing despair when they realized the battle could not be won. This was all she hoped for.

All too soon, and yet not soon enough, the column arrived at the field of battle. Even Adranel, who knew little of battle, could see why the spot had been chosen. For one thing, the landscape was just right so that the Orcs would have a hard time flanking the small force. Their immense numbers would not be so great of an advantage where they could not spread out. Also, it provided for a retreat - no matter how confident, a commander would be utterly foolish not to provide some way out in case of disaster.

A horn, surprisingly close, blew a single, harsh note. The Orcs were coming, marching from the impregnable forces of Gundabad. Soon their cries could be heard, sounding especially harsh in the clear morning sun and not made less foul for not understanding the language. Soon they marched into view, seemingly in endless ranks. There was no chance... they were even more than Adranel had expected. Adranel, however, only saw the numbers, and understood little of battle tactics. She did not know it, but there was a way in which their small force could succeed, and that this was the plan Uther was to put into action.

For a moment, all was still. The Gondorians stood at one end of the field, weapons drawn and awaiting the command. The Orcs were at the other end, prepared for a slaughter. Soon, it would all begin, and end, both at the exact same instant. She leaned over a little bit and whispered, “Beluf... thank you. For everything.” He smiled at her to show he understood, but did not have the chance to reply, for in that moment Uther cried out to his troops, “For victory!”

“For victory!” came the resounding cry, and then nothing was still any longer. Both forces began to charge at each other, and Beluf was lost to her sight. Sounds of battle filled the air: metal on metal, pounding hoofbeats, the cries of men lost in the lust of battle. Adranel smiled grimly. The Orcs would do as they would; they could take everything from her, even her very life, but that was all. She felt in herself the ability to enjoy life again, to hope, and, yes, even to love. The Orcs may take her life, but they would pay dearly. She would not go down without a fight. She selected an arrow and nocked it to her bow, carefully drawing. She was toward the back of the Gondorians, and so she aimed high, hoping to hit in the midst of the Orcs. Twang!

“For victory,” she murmured.
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Old 01-07-2005, 10:17 AM   #68
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The wind was still, almost perfectly calm, as the Men stood their ground upon the small crest of a hill. Before them, lay the vast hordes of orc and goblin. It was a turn of misfortune for the host. In the night, a large contingent of goblins from the Misty Mountains had descended upon Gundabad, reinforcing its garrison by what seemed to be a truly insurmountable number. Fear drove the spike of despair into the hearts of the soldiers, leaving them hopeless, to be soon lost in a crimson sea of death. Many looked upon the orcs, as they snarled and hissed at the men, from the safe distance of their crudely formed battle line.

Then, a sound that brought a respite to the men, came from the rear. The twang of freshly fired missiles filled the air around the host, affording new hope that the battle might go well. All through the vast ranks of orc, arrows brought down the living, replacing them with the dead. Volley after volley came from the host, spreading death like a wildfire, consuming the hated enemy of Men. But it was not enough.

Black feathered arrows came from the orcs, their response. But the Gondorians, with their shields held aloft, were protected by the White Tree. However, skirmishing is not something orcs do well, for they relish the taste of blood, and the smell of carnage. Small, impetuous detachments broke off from the main body of the defenders, hoping to take lives, and gather fresh meat before their comrades. They came, swarming and weaving about, trying to overwhelm the host. Those that survived the projectiles launched at them, were cut down by the cavalry, as they protected the weak flank from being overrun.

After a few small skirmishes with bands of renegade orcs, the Men had gathered their courage, and were ready for the final confrontation. Slowly at first they went, withstanding the hail of stones and arrows that came from the battlements. When at last they had come within charging distance of the orc line, Uther let out his battle cry, “For glory! For honor! For Victory!”. The Gondorian infantry surged ahead, clashing with the orc front line.

The Orcs had to fight, or die. Mostly, they died. The Gondorian host, though outnumbered significantly, fought with all the courage and prowess afforded to them. Shields were broken, and spears splintered, as the host pushed forward, unceasing in its mission. While the infantry held the orc center, and right flank at bay, Uther and his cavalry punched through the left. Swinging his sword as he rode through the droves of orcs, he could be heard laughing, relishing in the bloodshed.

Yet, battle is unpredictable. The goblin reinforcements, after having some rest, had now come down from the mountain, to do what they do best, kill. They now turned the tide of the battle, aiding their brothers in turning back the Men. What was worse, was that as the infantry was pushed back, the cavalry was pulled in, cutting it off from its supporting units. Uther had to act fast, just to get his men out alive. Leading his horsemen into a wedge, they cut a swath of death through the horde of orcs, riding hard out into the open field, to rejoin with the rest of the host. Behind, the orcs swarmed about, firing sporadically at the Gondorians as they reformed.

Many had been injured, but with the increased chance of their lives being cast off into the wind, they composed themselves. They would only have one more chance at an assault, before the enemy would overwhelm them. But, a new twist in the event occurred. As Uther was rallying his men for one last attempt, the orcs broke out into an internal struggle. With so few Men left, the orcs and goblins were bickering over who would get the kills. As is with the nature of orcs, it is not a conflict of words, but one of swords. The once desperate, lopsided battle, in favor of the orcs, was now turned into a free-for-all melee. The Gondorians watched, with a reserved amusement, as the orcs battled each other to the death. Without a singular entity to control them, they had become more volatile in the Dark Lord’s absence. This now, was the bane of the Orcs. And yet again, the host was given renewed vigor, and it pressed forward once more, to break the orcs, wholly and utterly.
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Old 01-07-2005, 03:24 PM   #69
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1420!

The company halted, awaiting the orc charge. Gelding turned two arrows away with his shield, and Sjorging stood tall, bracing himself. The orcs broke upon the company like a wave, but the infantry held strong. Again, and again, the orcs charged, but again, and again, the line held. The orc horde could not break through the strong Gondorian defense, and had no choice but to flee back to Gundabad.

Uther sent the command to charge forward, it was now or never. Then catching Uther totally off guard the Goblin reinforcements began pouring down the Mountain. Even fiercer then the orcs. The combat was fierce, it was every man for himself now. Uther's cavalry was surrounded, Sjorging and the other sergeants, were trying to hold the men together. Doom seemed inevitable.

An orc slashed at Beluf, but it wasn't sharp enough to pierce through the tough Gondor steel. Beluf dispatched him quickly, but their were too many orcs, they were swarming around everywhere. Another orc jumped him from behind, and stabbed him underneath the arm, the bite was deep, and Beluf collapsed to the ground. Adranel let out a horrifying scream.

That was it, the sergeants called for a retreat, and to reform. Adranel stood, awe-struck, tears gathering in her eyes. Gelding grabbed her by the arm, and was forcing her back. "Come, let him go, there will be a time to grieve, but it is not now." Just when Adranel thought things couldn't get any worse, an arrow pierced Gelding in the chest. He dropped to his knees, letting out a painful cry, another arrow whizzed passed Adranel and found it's way to Gelding.

Sjorging went to run out to his friend. He didn't care if he died now, all was lost, but Mordred held him back. Adranel stared blankly at the advancing orc horde, the soldiers were urging her to come back, and reform, what would she do?
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Old 01-07-2005, 07:40 PM   #70
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The Orcs had come. Unable to cry out, she watched her father cruelly slain from behind. She was in the midst of a battle. This time, she let out a despairing scream as she was helpless to save her friend from being stabbed in a weak spot in the armor. "Let me know you are safe..." She held her fiancé in her arms as he breathed his last. Then she was running. She was running. The advancing Orc horde was nearly upon her, but she barely saw them through her blurred sight. Everything was burning. Her brothers... where were they? Where was anyone? Dead, all dead, never to be seen again. The cries of battle raged around her. Arrows flew. She thought she had already lost everything, but she hadn't: Beluf was dead, Gelding was dead. It could not be possible. She came upon Sjorging being held back by a soldier - a familiar one, but this did not register with Adranel.

"Come, Sjorging," she said fiercely, though her voice was shaking. "They would not have us waste our lives needlessly. Let us avenge them while we still have breath!" That was how she could go on. Beluf, who had helped her see the value of a life worth living, would not have wanted her to die in such recklessness. She did not wait to see whether Sjorging heeded her words but hurried up to where the main force of Gondor was making a final stand. Here was the end.

Looking out, she saw that there were Orcs who were fighting themselves and not the Gondorians. The realization did not present her with hope; there were too many other Orcs still pushing on towards their goal: the destruction of Men. She fought on, however, and notched another arrow to her bow. There were only three arrows left. Her tear-filled eyes could not focus on particular targets, and so she simply aimed into the midst of the Orc mob. By chance, all three arrows found targets, but it was like pulling leaves off a tree. Why had her family, Hergon, and Beluf died, yet these... monsters lived on?

She had thought to avenge Beluf's death, but she had no means to do that now. She wished that she might be a little girl again, and crawl onto her father's lap and cry. The familiar wave of emptiness threatened to wash over her again, but she pushed it back. She needed to remember the times that she had had with her family and friends with joy, not despair over their deaths.

A black feathered arrow whizzing past her head brought her back to the present. Now was not the time for grief. She realized that as she had stood motionless the battle had moved around her. She was near the edge of the Gondorian forces, a few ranks back. She spotted Sjorging in the front lines, grim faced but fighting still. She realized the tide of the battle just might be turning. Imagination had perhaps made the Orc forces out to be larger, but what she saw before her was not an impossible battle. A new light entered her eyes. The final element she had been missing had now returned: hope. She would not despair now.

Adranel surveyed the area nearby and spotted what she was looking for: a full quiver of arrows of one of the slain. Quickly but not so as to dishonor the dead, Adranel moved the arrows into her own quiver. They were slightly longer than she was accustomed to using, but they would work fine. With new purpose she sought out marks among the Orcs. What she saw now encouraged her: the sizes of the two forces were nearing equal. The balance was beginning to tip in their favor, and soon it would all be over.

Yet so also would it all begin. She had lived a thousand years in one week, in which all of her former beliefs had been swept from their foundations and replaced with firm convictions about life. No longer did she desire death, but she was ready should it come she was ready. She could go on; perhaps she would move to Dale and start a new life there. She would grieve for those she had lost, and the sorrow would never fully depart, but she would go on and live to the fullest. It had taken some hard knocks, but in the midst of death, she had found life.

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Old 01-08-2005, 07:16 AM   #71
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Boots The Man and his Cottage...

Ingemar

It was with heavy heart Ingemar watched the soldiers march away. He wanted to follow, but something stopped him. He was no longer curious about these men, who he’d met a few days ago. They didn’t interest him, and neither did their business. Everyone marched in straight columns. He felt the earth shake under his feet as they went and the sound of the steel that covered them, either fully or partly, rang in his ears. Soon the drumming of their feet ended however, and Ingemar was entirely alone, left to do whatever he wished.

Snow still covered most of the ground, but some places it had already vanished, revealing handfuls of blades of grass that in the meantime had hid under the white carpet. Ingemar found himself a spot, by a most steady tree trunk. Sitting down on the cold, wet ground, he cast off his helmet and looked up. For a few moments, he let his eyes rest on the pale, grey sky. There was something about this; something which he couldn't explain. It was a feeling; the feeling of loneliness. It was odd how firmly it had suddenly grasped him, especially as it had never in his life appeared before, and yet, he'd always been alone. All of a sudden this sensation struck him as the most obvious in the world, the most natural, like he’d never felt anything else in his entire life. Could it be? He was alone, he realised this, but had he always been? Restlessness came over him, as it had so often before, while being a child and as a grown up man. He bit his lip; the columns were really gone; there was no man within his eyes’ reach.

As he sat there, he felt his bottom getting colder and colder by the minute; why was he here at all? He missed his cottage. He could in fact see it, in his mind, right in front of him; the cosy little cottage.

His entire body shook as the coldness of the wet snow crept upon him. The frost seemed to have no mercy on the poor man, and was biting him eagerly in his face, in his hands and on his feet – yes, it was taking bits of him all over his body. To comfort himself, he started humming silently, first tearing his lips apart from one another as they seemed to have been glued together by the cold. It was a sombre melody, which reflected the life he’d lived. Yet, Ingemar was not aware of his life during childhood or even his life the last couple of years. In addition to being one who was completely unaware of his mental situation – him being only about eight to ten years in mind – he had also a very short memory. On his best days, he could remember what had happened two days earlier. Other than that, only specific events and situations were printed in his mind. Norna, his sister, a well known figure to him, were one of these ‘things’ he could remember. Gladly, the times he had shared with her were stored as happy memories. One could dare to argue though, that his lack of memory was a good thing; when thinking it through thoroughly, due to the life he’d lived, it certainly was. It was fortunate however that the few memories he indeed possessed were of the happy kind.

**

In his early childhood, his parents had discovered that there was something different about their dear firstborn son. Ingemar was not like everyone else. He was far from it; one ting was that he hadn’t learned walking when he passed his fourth birthday, another thing was that he didn’t talk; he could not. It seemed that his tongue was stuck in his mouth and he couldn’t move it. Then, when they realised that Ingemar was terribly absent–minded, his parents never being able to get in contact with him no matter how long and how desperately they tried, they knew that they had been given a son who would not fit into society - their society. This discovery of what they called a ‘very serious defect,’ made them realise that Ingemar was not after all so dear to them. The thought of having a son who was not ‘normal’ was horrifying. At last they concluded, after almost ten years after his birth, that they were to send him away. After building a little cottage in the outskirts of Dale, they left the boy there to bring up himself and live on his own.

Ingemar can’t remember his parents. They too, seemed to have forgotten about their son a long time ago, almost before they even started visiting him in his cottage after they had left him there. During his childhood and his adult life, here speaking of adult as in bodily, not in mind, as Ingemar never grew to be an adult in mind (and would not either), only his younger sister, Norna, came visiting him frequently. These were happy visits, (that is why it’s good that Ingemar is able to at least remember them) where both of them, Norna knowing the story about Ingemar and how he was not normal, played and had tremendously fun. This is how he learned how to hide, how to not be found, as he often played such a game with his sister. Through all these years, Norna had been nearly the only person he’d seen and he loved her as a mother. She however, was torn. She was struggling with bad conscience about her parent’s doings, but when both of them passed away, she had the chance to something about it. However, seeing how Ingemar loved the forest where he lived, how he climbed the trees, how he spent hour playing in the snow in winter and noticing his devoted passion and fascination for birds, she could not take him away to live with her in Dale. The differences between Ingemar and herself were too great. Ingemar hardly spoke; he mostly imitated animal sounds, he’d hardly been around others; his whole world was centred on this little, dilapidated cottage. Could she take away the only thing he knew?

Greatly pained, she decided to let the matter be. She knew that society would not accept him. She had grown, like everyone else, he had not.

**

His cottage was just another vague memory. A hot, sparkling, coloured carpet had been threatening enough to suppress even Ingemar’s curiosity and forced him thus to keep at distance. Still humming his melody, this particular memory seemed to influence him as he pronounced, rather weirdly, yet if one listened carefully, they clearly were ‘fire’ and ‘orc’. This is what he’d seen the day his cottage had disappeared, but he’d never realised it before. Who knows, maybe he didn’t realise it now, even though his song consisted of only those two known words.

The wind breathed extra roughly now. It was whipping him around the face, making him shake uncontrollably. His voice trembled, but faded slowly away, choked by the firm iron grasp of the winter day.

Last edited by Novnarwen; 01-12-2005 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 01-08-2005, 04:03 PM   #72
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The Eye

Grûglach was beginning to feel the pressure of command more than he ever had before. It had never been difficult for him to lead any rabble of Goblins, and during the War, before Sauron, his supposed Master, had died, he had led orcs from Mordor on one occasion. But never had he had to face the possibility – no, the probability! – of defeat. He would not admit it, but he was scared, afraid out of his wits that he might lose his life. His well-being was the only thing on his mind as his eyes scanned the line of Gondorian soldiers who stood, seemingly unwavering, though the fortress had been under orc control for as long as most there could remember. Maybe it had not been such a good idea after all to join the forces at Gundabad, nor to act so boldly. Grûglach certainly would have done better on his own.

Around him, the orc ranks were tense and restless, growling and screeching among themselves, nervously. Most of the orcs that surrounded him were those who were of Mordor, sent to hold the fortress of Gundabad by the Eye to bring his torment farther West. Though the Misty Mountains was the home of this fortress, Grûglach felt no allegiance to those sent from Mordor. Mordor and Sauron were no more, and he intended to never see an end such as the one the Dark Land behind the Ephel Duath saw. The Goblin captain glanced around him once more. How many of his Goblins would be left after this charge?

Somehow, their gut instincts led the orcs to the charge, with no orders given or regarded, and threw themselves into attack with a great roar. They were able to ignore their own mortality as they met sword and spear, and focused rather on their enemy’s mortality. These Men, though they stood tall and proud in their shining armour and high helms, bled and died just as Goblins and orcs did, and the holders of Gundabad desired greatly to see this. It was not in the conscious mind of the orcs that they saw so many of their kind fall even before they reached the Gondorian lines, and so they took no notice of the failing orc forces until they too were dead. Grûglach, however, was aware of where this battle was going, and was beginning to feel the dread of just how inevitable the end was.

What had carried him this far was a boldness that he would face the possibility of failure and easily over come it. But now that he saw what failure was, so vividly in the prowess and fitting pride of these Men, he knew that he never really had known success as a commander. Now he did not curse the Eye for his foolish concern with rings and magic, but wished for Sauron’s will to return to Middle-Earth so that he may bow down and call him Master. How foolish he had been to believe that the Dark Lord was overbearing in his command over the Goblins of the Misty Mountains, so many miles away from him in Mordor. Sauron had almost crushed the world of Men, particularly these of Gondor, who were horrible in their valor. It had been Grûglach’s place to serve the Eye, but he had not. But now, not only was the Dark Lord’s will gone, but the remnants of his forces were fading away. Gundabad was a remaining strength for the orcs, and now it was ready to fall. But Grûglach was not ready.

He cursed the foolishness of his own kind, knowing that they had failed their Master terribly, and had today worse than ever. Grûglach felt ashamed, and angry. The disgust that had always been there for the orcs under his command, particularly those who did not come from the Misty Mountains, rose up in him greater than it ever had. Gundabad would fall because those who had held it had failed, and nothing Grûglach or his forces could do would stop the end from coming. It seemed the Goblins felt the same way as their captain did, or it was simply in the franticness of the losing battle they fought that drove them on, but they began to draw the blood of both orcs and Men, regardless. There was no doubt that the orcs would succumb to slaughter, whether by the sword of a man or of a Goblin. It was time for those responsible for the fall of Gundabad, who disregarded Grûglach’s power and fought without the fervor that should have been present in this battle for their lives and the dominion of the orc, to die. Though it was time too for Grûglach, he would take many he despised with him. And so amid the death and blood, orc, Goblin, and Men corpses intermingled regardless of who brought them their death, and Grûglach, Goblin Captain and servant of Sauron, met his end.
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:42 PM   #73
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A blood-red mist clouded the atmosphere surrounding the melee-bound Gondorians. It was the haze of bloodshed, the mask of death. Many corpses now littered the field of battle, and dead unnumbered were stacking up behind the battlements. The vast majority of the dead were orcs, but it was not enough to subdue them, for the Men of the West had suffered far worse. The cold winds of earlier, had transmuted into a warm, gory sauna. This was the nature of battle, and Uther understood this well.

Goblins and Gundabad Orcs fought each other, out of hatred for their brethren, and of the Men. The Gondorians saw their chance, and took it. Hastily marching to the gateway, they found their would-be opponents embroiled in a bitter feud, decimating each other’s battle lines, leaving little resistance for the well-armored, and disciplined Westerners. Hacking their way through droves of orcs, they separated contingents of orcs from the main lines of each faction, and annihilated them.

While the infantry lagged behind, to ensure the orcs were routed or killed, Uther and his remnant cavalry rode up upon the first section of battlements, and began to eliminate the resistance there. The paltry archer groups and their minute guard were easily overcome by the Gondorian cavalry, and pushed from the ramparts. Calling out to his troopers, Uther mustered them, and prepared to invade the middle tier of Gundabad’s defenses.

Sjorging came forth to meet Uther, before the last portions of the assault were to come underway. He meandered his way through the ranks of soldiers, until at last, he came upon the commander, perched upon his horse. “Uther!”, Sjorging shouted. “What are you doing waiting here? The orcs are disorganized. We should kill them now!” The lieutenant chuckled, pausing before responding to the Northmen’s comments. “Yes, and we will. But the infantry need to rest, and then we will attack.” Both of the men sat in silence for a time, until Uther interrupted. Pointing to the second tier, he gave his order. “Rush the defenses, and take them quickly!”

The soldiers shouted, and poured forth into the second tier. Rushing forward, they found no resistance. The entire middle defense system had been abandoned. Even the halls leading into the mountain were void of the hated orcs. Nearly all stared on in bewilderment. None could tell what had gone on. But one thing was certain, the orcs had vanished from their positions. Cautiously, the Gondorians moved forward, to the last ring of defenses.

------------------------------
Various pieces of debris, as well as the bodies of the dead, were used to barricade the final section of the ramparts. The bulwark of the defenses was in this region, but they were not as was expected. They were collapsed in many parts, as orcs had apparently fled over them, in a vicious attempt to save themselves. Ever so slowly, the cavalry and infantry marched forward, into the finally hold. And there, the host found a bloody scene. Orc bodies were littered everywhere, strewn across the floor of the hall entrance mounted near the summit. And in the middle of the carnage, was the King of the Mountain. His bodyguard had been involved in an attempt to usurp power, in an effort to strike a deal with the Gondorians. But, they had failed. All the orcs were dead, save the King. He sat, hunched over in the middle of the entrance, mumbling to himself. Uther went forward to strike the death blow, and end the battle. But as Uther approached, the chieftain spoke up. “I have been bested, by my own minions. I am lost. I implore you, to slay me now.” Uther, without speaking a word, left the chieftain. Sjorging came forward, on his own initiative. Standing at the head of the beaten ‘King’, he spoke to him. “You have caused me, and my people great pain. For this, you will die, foul orc.” And thus ended the chieftain’s life, and with it, the Siege of Gundabad.
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:07 PM   #74
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:08 PM   #75
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