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Old 09-03-2004, 06:54 PM   #41
Crystal Heart
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Sandrina looked up at Anora and blinked. She had no idea that she would have to choose protection and she did not recall getting any room. She thought and realized that she hadn't.

"I don't have a room and probably one of the men should stay with me. Two women could be taken over easily by force. Hama, will you stay with me or are you bringing horses and the like? I have no idea what is going on any more," Sandrina sighed.

She shook her thoughts away, trying to clear her mind.

"Anora you should probably stay as well and try to help me remember," Sandrina suggested, patting the young woman on the arm.

"You're the closet thing to family that I have at this point." She glanced over at Hama, who looked at her softly. As far back as she could remember, which wasn't very far, she had never seen a man look at her the way he did. Like she was precious. She blinked a couple of times, flattered by the look or what she thought was behind it. She shook it away.

"Tell me everything."
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Old 09-03-2004, 08:41 PM   #42
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Anora nodded at Sandrina. "Give me a moment and I will go gather my things. I did not unpack when I arrived and it will only take a moment."

The young woman made sure that Hama would stay with Sandrina while she was gone and then headed for her room. Entering, Anora quickly changed into riding clothes. She strapped her sword around her waist and gethered her things. She walked downstairs and made arrangements with the inn keeper to ship a portion of her things home along with a letter.

I hate to lie to my parents, but if I tell the truth and someone intercepts this message... I just hoe Sandrina doesn't get alarmed that I am sending this. Her thoughts trailed off as she wrote a letter to her parents saying that she had been delayed due to her horse becoming lame.

Returning to Sandrina's side, she noticed that her friend was looking at her strange. "It is alright Sandrina. I only sent a letter to my parents explaining why I would not be returning. Would you like to read it?"

"Can we do that?" Sandrina asked.

"Certainly." The two friends walked over to the inn keeper and Sandrina read the note that Anora had written.

She turned to Anora, "Thank you. Now tell me everything please."

Anora sat down and began telling Sandrina how they met. She moved on from there to their letter writing.
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Old 09-04-2004, 12:12 PM   #43
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Preparation... and Paranoia

Raen wasted no time leaving the group and returning to the inn, making straight for his quarters. The paranoia he had felt earlier was rising like a river during a storm, and the ranger took every percaution. Knife in hand, he hurried up the stairs, only to stop and peer around the corner slowly. Nothing. A door slammed further down the hall, and he jumped nervously. Calm down, you should be used to such circumstances. But knowing that enemies were about when you cannot discern them from regular townsfolk can be rather terrifying, and although Raen was not yet ready to give into such emotions he was still quite stressed.

A cool wind blew through the open window at the far end of the hallway. Raen left the stairwell and headed towards his room, watching for movement at the far end. Instead of turning, he passed by his door and casually glanced through the open shutters. Hama's arrow was barely visible, burried in the center of the road. The runner, having mounted after his near demise, was long gone, probably halfway to Sandrina's estate. But nothing could be done; her attackers could be waiting, or perhaps had fled. Something would be there, however - although not necessarily members of the woman's family.

Stepping back, he unlocked his room and entered. Packing would have to be a quick affair, and the ranger's small bag was soon filled and tied shut. Raen's remaining knife (and a full quiver) returned to its home in his belt, and a longsword was strapped to his back. Snatching his bow from a hook on the crusted brick wall, he shut the door and turned the key for a final time before making for the stairwell. Not at all burdened by his pack and weapons, the ranger strode towards the main desk and slapped the key down on the polished wood. Coins were handed over, and a nod of thanks (along with several advertisements) was returned. Raen stuffed the parchments in his pack for kindling and left the establishment. He made at once for a smith on the other side of the town, plucking Hama's shaft from the ground as he past by.

"Heading out to look for that Sandrina girl again, eh," intoned the familier gruff man at the shop. Chuckling at his own rye joke, he took Raen's extended blades and proceeded to sharpen them over a hand-cranked wheel.

"No, just escorting a group back to their home. Dangerous country, these days." To this the smith merely nodded, and soon the ranger was headed back to the inn; furbished with refined tools of war.
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Old 09-05-2004, 06:16 AM   #44
Crystal Heart
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Sandrina nodded as Anora told her everything that she knew. She listened intently, trying to make memories come with each thing that she said, but to no avail.

At the end of Anora's stories she stood up from the chair she had sat down in and smiled.

"I thank you for doing that Anora. I think we need to find everyone once again. Get going. We have stayed in one spot for too long and with that messanger no doubtedly on his way to my evil cousins and uncle they will probably be here within a couple of hours after hearing of my arrival from the presumed dead. Hama, do you have any idea where every one went?"

She turned to look at Hama who looked deep in thought. She wondered if he would even speak to her, if he was too deep in thought that he had not heard her. She knew that she had done that many times before since her fall. It was hard not to when you were trying to regain an entire life time back. A life time that she was sure was filled with happiness and love. A life time filled with friends and family which was all lost to her. Some memories had come back, but not enough to make her feel complete once more. She had the nagging feeling that she was only half a person because the biggest part of her was gone.

She knew that Hama would stick to his vow of allowing her justice, but she still wasn't sure how she would take out that justice. She wanted their punishments to be just for what they did to her, but she was unsure if she would be able to weild the sword that killed them. She swallowed hard and returned her attention back to Hama, wondering if he was even here at all or if he was waiting for her to do something.
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Old 09-06-2004, 01:10 PM   #45
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Sting

Haven left the inn as soon as she could, leaving the group with a promise of her hasty return with six strong mounts. She rode quickly over the dark, pebble-strewn road that led to the expansive grounds of the horse-farm Rillis Wheed ran and entered through the massive wood doors that opened onto the property. In the stillness of the night the grounds seemed even larger and unwelcoming. There was no wind and the silence surrounding her seemed to press in on her ears and mouth as if to suffocate her. Her short black curls bounced over the tops of her shoulders as her horse trotted up to the stable and entered into the long hallway towards which the majority of the stalls faced. She dismounted and looped the lead rope of her horse's bridal through one of the hooks on the wall by the tack room before scouting out which horses would be most appropriate for the use of Sandrina and her friends.

As she inspected the various mares and stallions Haven deliberated about the situation she had found herself in. She could remember hearing of Sandrina's disappearance and assumed death and the naturally horrible impact it had had on her parents. When they moved, leaving the estate and family business to Harold and his two sons, Haven hadn't thought much of it except that Wheed's business had lost two of his most congenial customers. What Haven overheard tonight came to her suddenly as somewhat of a shock but as she had looked at the faces of the others with the lost Lightheart girl and measured their story up against the nature and capabilities of the current occupants of the Lightheart Estate, Haven was easily persuaded.

Haven respected what those others, the two rangers, the merchant woman from Gondor and the tall Rohirrim were doing to aid the girl. Their passionate dedication, however, to achieve justice for Sandrina's sake was unnaturally valiant. To have no alternate motive towards personal gain or self advancement in this endeavor seemed unrealistic to Haven and her curiosity to see the unfurling of this plot was making her dizzy.

One of the side doors to the barn swung open and slammed up against the wall sending a handful of owls that were resting on the rafters screeching through the vents under the roof's various alcoves. A lantern floated out into the hallway and illuminated the dirt floor followed by a pair of thick, black leather boots and then a gloved hand holding onto the large staff from which the light was hung. As the person turned the corner, Haven could make out the impossibly tall and lean figure of Rillis Wheed. His thick red hair was pulled back into a ponytail that reached just between his shoulder blades and a short beard covered his jaw from ear to ear and surrounded his mouth. His black eyes seemed to burn a hole down the middle of the hallway as he searched for the culprit who had broken into his stables in the middle of the night.

When he caught sight of Haven his expression relaxed into one of familiar recognition and he lifted the lantern above his head as he walked down the aisle to meet her. "I didn't think you were coming back," he said, his voice betraying his relief. Haven avoided his gaze and lifted a bridle off the wall next to one fine black horse's stall and let herself in. Rillis Wheed lifted his brows. "What are you about?" She slipped the tack over the horse's nose and behind his ears, securing the metal bit behind his back teeth before leading him out into the hallway. Then she faced her employer over the back of the mount as she brushed down the horse's coat before sliding on its blanket and saddle.

"I'm going to borrow six of your horses, Rillis."

He blinked. "Oh? Might I inquire as to the reason and length of time?"

"You may," she replied, turning to hoist the thick wool blanket up onto the horse's back, "but I'm afraid I can't answer to either query."

"Then what makes you think I'll consent to this madness?" He had slipped the lantern into a slot in the wall and now leaned up against the stall door, his arms folded across his chest.

Haven matched his steady gaze unwaveringly and in an icy, firm tone said: "Rillis, I haven't asked your permission because I have no defense to give you that would thus enable you to grant it to me. If you want to stop me, Rillis, go ahead."

"You would fight me?"

"Would you fight me?" For a moment the two just stood looking at each other evenly over the back of the black stallion.

"I've never trusted your judgment, Haven, and I have no reason to do so now. But an attempt to overpower you physically would destroy much between us and I can think of nothing that would give good cause to such a loss." He took a step forwards and leaned on the back of the horse, extended a hand and gently brushed a loose curl dangling in her eyes behind her ear. "You are like a daughter to me." Haven grimaced humorously and pushed away his hand. They both laughed.

"What a wretched thought," Haven muttered audibly. Rillis took up his lantern and walked around to the other side of the horse. He looked tenderly down into Haven's eyes, his own expression full of concern and a forbidden emotion that pained them both.

"Don't think on it. Take what you need and do what you think you have to do. I hope someday you'll come back and work for me again, once the pain of what happened today is past." He paused and Haven closed her eyes against the painful beat of her heart. He made a slight move to advance but caught himself suddenly. "Be safe." Any other words they might have spoken were lost in the single tear that ran down Haven's cheek. "Goodbye," the horse master whispered. Haven watched, her expression stone, as the man retreated down the hall and disappeared through the side door leaving her in the dark with only the light from the moon that seeped in through the ceiling vents to guide her work.



It was an half hour before sunrise when she finally set out from the horse farm leading five strong, fresh horses, two mares and three stallions all fully equipped with bags buckled onto the saddle for storage of the company's things and sheath loops wrapped around the horns. She sat astride a tall brown stallion sure in his strides and of a confident, well behaved nature. A bag of a few of her own necessities and a rolled up blanket was buckled on behind where she sat and her sword hung by her left knee. She had decided to go along with the company to watch over the horses. She remembered, too, the woman saying something about giving money rewards in exchange for their services, though some had refused that offer, Haven reasoned that if their expedition did prove successful, there was no reason why the horse trainer should not reap some sort of award for her services.

The black of the sky was just beginning to lift as she led the mounts into the inn's stable-yard. She entered the inn, pulling the hood of her cloak away from her face. Seated at the bar counter were the two rangers called Raen and Braedon. She leaned against the counter beside them, took off her gloves and ordered a tumbler of coffee.

"I've got six strong, confident horses ready in the yard for our uses," she informed them, avoiding any awkward formality. "So as soon as it is seen fit, we can leave." She paused and smiled at their amused expressions. "Oh yes," she said, lifting the steaming coffee to her lips, "I'm coming too."

Last edited by Pippin Pondlily; 09-06-2004 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 09-06-2004, 03:44 PM   #46
The Perky Ent
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White Tree

"What's on your mind Samuel?" Arthur said, pulling up a chair and lighting another candle. Samuel took two deep breaths before he released his thoughts. "I saw Grimbrol while I was comming here. He seemed very upset" "Don't talk about that stealing maggot in front of me! I hope I never hear of him again" Arthur said, banging the hilt of his sword on a table. "He got what he deserved!" "What he deserved? His family starves and is poor? Is that what he deserves? He's only trying to make a living. We're all not as good gamblers are you are, you know. It's the only way he knows how to make money!"Samuel said, raising his voice ever so slightly. "Are you saying gambling is the only way to make money? There's many ways! Working at the pond! That's one way! But that wasn't good enough for him! He stole from me! Are you saying stealing should go un-punished?

"If it's just" Samuel whispered, pulling his candle back, to slightly dim the light of the room. For a while there was silence. Sam could tell that Arthur was building up with rage. The name kind of rage he had inherited from his father. "Look Sam! To me it's very simple! This isn't directly from King Eomer! It's my pond, on my land, on my family's estate! This isn't a public job. I hand pick the people who work for me. It's my business, and I can decide what to do with it. It's none of your business what happens. Forgot it. What's done is done, and I wash my hands of the matter. Now get over here and help me pack!" Sam sat stiffly, but dared not push Arthur any further. He smoked another bit of pipeweed, and got up to help Arthur.

After about an hour, Arthur was packed and ready to go. Just as he walked for the door, Samuel summoned him back. "What Sam?" Arthur said, putting his bags, which were mostly filled of pipeweed, down. "I'm having second thoughts about this trip! What if we don't come back! I think it's foolish alltogether!" Once again, a awkward silence filled the room. "Don't worry brother! If something happens, I'll take care of you" And with that, they left the house, mounted their horses, and rode to Harold's house.

Last edited by The Perky Ent; 09-07-2004 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Filled Save
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:21 PM   #47
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Question

Braedon fumbled with his knife for a few seconds beofre placing it in its sheath. He stood up and turned around looking at his belongings, quickly he placed them into his pack. Finding Sandrina was the last thing he had expected on this visit to Rohan, never would he have bet on it.

He made his way over to the basin and placed his hand in the salty water, it stung, but it would heal faster. Drawing it out he could see that it was healing, slowly. Carefully he put a bandage arond it, finally squeezing it he muttered, "That will do."

He walked over to the small table by the window and looked out, Raen walked out into the street. Plucking Hama's arrow from the ground as he went. Braedon picked up the herbs and medicne he had freshly prepared the previous night. It wasn't finished yet but he would have no time now. It would have to be done on the move.

He pushed the cork into the bottle and placed his things in his pack and fastened it. He didn' need to go anywhere. He had already stocked up on supplies yesterday for some reason he could not calculate he felt he would need them.

Checking over his room one last time he picked up a letter from the bed and headed downstairs. He handed the message to the barkeep with a few coins, he would see that the message got to his father. He told him where he was going, and that he would return to see him as soon as business had been dealt with.

Braedon hastily ate, although he did not feel hungry and went to his room. He slept for a while but could not drift into a sleep he was comfortable with. SO instead he headed down to the bar to wait for the others.
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Old 09-07-2004, 06:09 PM   #48
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Anora and Sandrina had spent so much time talking that the hour had grown late before they realized it. The women were enjoying their conversation so they continued talking for quite a while. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Raen and Braedon walk over to the counter and order something to drink. Hama was sitting near the young women keeping a close eye on them. Raen came over and waved Hama off so that he could gather up his things.

He thanked the ranger and walked off for a few moments. Anora turned back to her friend and the two of them continued their conversation. They talked about Anora’s life and some of the places Sandrina had been since her disappearance. Hama returned and once again took up his post nearby. Raen rejoined Braedon at the counter.

A few minutes later, Haven entered the room and the girls watched as she walked over to the rangers. The group conversed for a few moments and walked over to them. “Haven has horses for all of us including herself.”

Anora raised her eyebrow. “It sounds good to me, Sandrina?” Everyone turned to Sandrina and waited for her answer.
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Old 09-07-2004, 09:09 PM   #49
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By the time Harold finally left the inn it was past sundown. He mounted his mare and headed off at a slow trot, not wanting the horse to injure a leg in the deepening darkness. The darkness fit his mood. Negotiating with the mercenaries had not gone nearly so well as he had hoped. They had demanded more money than he had hoped, though not expected. He had been forced to pay them some money in advance, with the promise of more once the job was done. He had made it quite clear that he expected them at the estates early the next morning. He had not told them exactly who they were to kill, either; he had simply told him that a small armed group was coming to plunder his estates and kill him. He had given no reasons. Harold suspected that this was part of the reason the pay had been so high. Mercenaries usually liked to know what they were getting into.

When he finally arrived home he handed the horse off to a stable hand and hurried up to the house. He would be grateful when the day was done. He was surprised and slightly irritated to find his sons waiting for him at the house. Arthur appeared ready to leave and Samuel, if still hesitant about going, looked resigned to the fact.

“Do you need something?” he asked gruffly.

“No, not exactly,” said Arthur, seemingly taken aback. “We were just wondering how everything went, and what’s going on.”

“We have our mercenaries,” growled Harold. “And a bloody high price they want for the job. They had better do it right, or Sandrina’s head won’t be the only one I want. They are to be here first thing in the morning, and we will be leaving soon after that.” Silently, he added the words if all goes well. He had been unable to shake the earlier feeling that something was amiss, though he could see no basis for it. Harold continued, “Each of us will be bringing an extra mount in order to make better time. Be at the stables packed and ready to go by mid-morning. I don’t take kindly to waiting.” Arthur nodded, unperturbed. Samuel responded more slowly, but his answer too was in the affirmative.

“We will see you then,” said Arthur. With that both of them left the house. Harold climbed upstairs to his own bed and fell into a restless sleep.

~*~*~*~

The next morning dawned clear, despite the previous night’s ominous clouds. Harold arose with a groan and threw on some clothes suitable for travelling. Some dry bread was all he felt like eating for breakfast, and he bundled the rest of the food that would not spoil quickly into a bag to take along. He walked outside, expecting to see the mercenaries either waiting for him or riding up the road soon. Impatience rose within him as the minutes stretched on and they did not come. He had seen neither Sam nor Arthur yet, which also concerned and frustrated him. Does nobody but me understand how important this is...?

Harold was about to go round up his sons when he saw that a lone man was staggering up the road. He seemed to be exhausted. At that moment he picked up his head to look around. Harold could hear the relief in his voice when he called out, or tried to at any rate.

“Harold... thank Eru... I’ve gotten here... before... Sandrina...” With difficulty, the man was making his way up the slope towards Harold, and then Harold recognized him. It was Cerdic, the manager of the trading the estate did. He had been away to find out how much money people in other parts of Rohan were getting for their goods.

“Come up to the house, Cerdic, and tell me what you know, for it is clear you know something. You can have water and a place to sit as well,” said Harold. Cerdic nodded gratefully and followed him up to the house, still gasping for breath.

Once Cerdic had gotten his breath back up at the house, he began to speak. “I take it by the packed up state of the house you have received word of Sandrina?” Harold nodded, saying, “We had intended to leave this morning, as soon as the hired mercenaries arrived, but I have waited so long that we may well leave before they get here.” Cerdic continued, “I was in the same town as they were last night. Sandrina is gathering people to herself to come here and take the estate she claims as rightfully hers. She had intended to leave early this morning, and I fear they will be here soon. You see, I rode off as soon as I heard an adequate amount of their plans. I rode with speed through the night, but sometime around midnight my horse went lame and I was forced to leave him behind. I pressed on as hard as I could on foot, but I believe that it was slow enough that Sandrina will have made up a great deal of ground on me. If you want to leave before they get here, you must go soon.”

“Thank you, Cerdic,” said Harold. “Your news is appreciated, though it tells me little more than how little time I have. I had bargained on a couple days, at least. You may go now; you will want to get some rest, I imagine. If they should ask you, you know absolutely nothing about what is happening here. Say we left this morning without a word.” Cerdic nodded, and left. Harold sighed, rubbing his temples. Cerdic was one of the few people he felt he could trust. They had grown up together, as his parents had worked for Harold’s. He had no time to waste, now. He hurried outside to each of his sons’ houses.

“Hurry up, you lazy slowpoke! We are leaving in ten minutes! Get your brother too!” he yelled at Arthur’s door. “I’ll have your horses ready.”

With that Harold departed to the stables, retrieving each of the six horses he had selected last night. Three of them he saddled up to be ridden, saddlebags over their hindquarters. The other three wore only halters. They would switch off so that there were always fresh horses to ride. Within a few minutes Arthur and Samuel appeared, each dressed like himself for travelling on horseback. Harold almost expected Samuel to give one last argument, but he didn’t, much to Harold’s relief. He could not afford the time. They mounted up.

“We ride!” said Harold, and they were off, heeling their horses into a ground-eating canter.

Last edited by Firefoot; 09-11-2004 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 09-10-2004, 10:37 AM   #50
Crystal Heart
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Sandrina nodded in response. The time to leave was now. They had stayed too long in this Inn. Her cousin's men would undoubtedly be searching for them and this would probably be the first place that they looked.

"Let's go, before more danger arises," Sandrina stated.

The company walked outside in the brisk morning air, still dark from the lingers of night. Sandrina thanked one of the men that handed her the reigns of a horse. She jumped on and took a deep breath. This was the start of her rightful justice against them. Them that had created such hell for her in the last nine months.

Hama led the way, heading towards the Lightheart Estate. They travelled in silence through Rohan until they reached the golden fields and a large home and stables.

"Welcome home, Sandrina Lightheart," Hama whispered back at her. She gasped at the sight. It was just like the others, except it felt so.... so familiar. Memories flashed in her mind. Memories of her parents and all the happiness that was this house.

"Thank you, but I will not accept that I am fully home until my cousins and their father are brought to justice."
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Old 09-10-2004, 07:20 PM   #51
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As soon as the Lightheart Estate came into view, Raen's instincts began to kick in. Everything was wrong. They had rushed to the home without a plan for taking it back, or infiltrating it. He had to have a word with Hama. Urging his steed forward, the ranger came to a stop next to the man, sitting proudly in his saddle next to Sandrina. "Hama, what about her cousins? Doubtlessly they will have men hired to stop us."

"They have all cleared out, I am sure. Come, it is time to give back to Sandrina what is rightfully hers."

Not at the expense of her life!

Ignoring the man, Raen turned to Sandrina. "My lady, we must approach your home carefully. There may be guards, well-positioned and equiped. I do not wish for us all to be slaughtered." Which will probably happ if we waltz right up and knock on the front door! He waited for her to respond, hoping that his reasoning would be understandable.
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Old 09-11-2004, 06:50 AM   #52
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Sandrina/Hama-filling in for him until he returns

Hama glared at Raen, shocked that he would go around him and straight to Sandrina. He had no idea who she was! What made him think that he could just, just... His anger bubbled up inside him, causing all thought to fly from his head. He watched as Sandrina looked farway in thought and wondered just what dilema was going on in her head. She of all people did not deserve to have to deal with this. She had been used as a pawn in her extended family's game. She had wandered around for nine months, not truly knowing her own name or where she was from. All of her memories had vanished when they had beaten her and now here she was being told that they could be slaughtered. What horrible thought could Raen have believed in? It was clear the woman had gone through enough trauma. She did not need to know that there was the possibility that she was having all of these people go forward to their death. His hands clenched angrily as he continued to watch Sandrina's face.



Sandrina had not thought about the fact that there could be a possibility that these people would die during this quest. That she would be asking them to give up their lives for justice. For her. The thought had not crossed her mind. Then again she had been trying vainly to recover all of her memories. She had thought that whatever memories she could retain would be of some use to them and had overlooked the threat on these kind people's lives.

"You are right Raen and I apologize for not thinking about it," Sandrina said, bowing her head slightly in shame.

Hama jolted his horse forward, in between Raen and Sandrina.

"She should not have to be sorry in any way. What are you doing Raen?" Hama hissed, his eyes narrowing. Sandrina placed a hand upon his forearm, trying to get his attention away.

"Please do not fight each other. We need to be a group. Undoubtedly they will be. If they find a faction within us they will destroy us. You will stop this right now Hama!" Sandrina commanded, rising up to her full height upon her mare. Hama looked over at her in shock.

"If you can not handle your emotions, Hama then you should not be in our quest. Can you handle yourself sir?" Sandrina asked sharply, narrowing her own eyes. Hama looked down and away, his cheeks flushing in embarssement. He took a deep, ragged breath and looked her straight in the eye once more.

"Yes, Sandrina Lightheart I can handle myself. Do whatever you feel is correct."
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:22 PM   #53
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Sam was tired, his will broken his body ached, grief clouded his mind. Sam looked ahead at his brother and father. If he were to say anything his father would not let him hear the end of it, but if he didn't say anything his conscience would drive him mad. There was nothing to do but act as their shadow, silently follow them. Like a shadow, yes that was the answer. "Shadows are invisible at night what if I return to the estate and tell our whereabouts to Sandrina and the others?" He whispered very quietly.

Harold looked back at him, "What are you mumbling about now? You know thisa is the only way." Harold drew back level with Sam and gave him a fatherly pat on the back, "Sorry about your guilt, but you know I'm right..." He sped forward past Arthur.

Sam looked up, "You may think it is the only way, I myself have other plans." Sam took out his pipe but as he did his horse hit a rock and fell breaking its knee. "Blast!" Sam cried.

Harold and Arthur looked back Harold had turned an odd toned red and Arthur sat silent. "You fool your a waste of time and money I should have left you behind where you would cause no more trouble get your other horse and ride it will have to bear the extra burden!" Harold yelled scaring a flock of birds from a nearby tree.

Sam threw off all his baggage except two loaves of bread and a cantene of water. "That should lighten your load." Then he looked at his other horse and began to tend to its knee.

"We don't have time for nonsense leave it to die!" Harold shrieked.

"Then ride on without me! I will not let Wisetail die!" Sam cried tears of anger streaming down his face. His horse's knee had broken before so he knew it would take a few weeks before he could walk again with this in mind he began to gather grass and other vegetation that he could eat and dug a hole that would with luck fill with water when it rained. He washed the wound and bound it with an extra shirt. "FRare well wise tail and when you mend may you find your way home. Harold and Arthur had gone ahead so Sam scribbled out a note outlining their plans and tied it to wisetail's mane. "May Eru watch over you." he gave wise tail a pat on the head then mounted the secondsteed and rode off. He finally caught to Arthur and Harold. There was silence for quite some time after that.
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Old 09-11-2004, 06:17 PM   #54
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Raen was so taken aback by Hama's remarks that he slackened the pace of his horse to a near stop; with Sandrina's rebuke of the man still ringing in his ears. For a brief moment resentment flashed through him. Who was Hama to speak with such scorn? He had not spent months in the wilderness searching for the woman, but acted as though Raen should have nothing to do with her. Was it... anxiety? Jealousy? Or perhaps overprotectiveness... but whatever the cause, the ranger was not about to let it lead them to their deaths, and he tried to view his quick conversation with Sandrina as a success.

He quickly turned to Braedon. "We should approach on foot. It will be far less noticeable. Who knows what is waiting down there." The ranger nodded, and they both trotted their horses back down the path and dismounted, tying the halters to a tree. Raen readied his bow, pulling a shaft from his quiver and setting it on the string. The pair moved back up the hill to where the others remained on their horses, conversing.

"We're going to scout ahead," said Raen, which drew a nod of thanks from Sandrina and no response from Hama. Pushing the frustration from his mind, he followed Braedon down the hill in a crouch. Quickly reaching a band of trees, they spread apart and checked for sentries; bowstrings taunt. No one was in sight outside the estate. But it was sound, not sight, that brought the rangers the information they needed.

In the distance, a horse neighed, as if in pain. An angry voice was heard also, and then another. An argument among the enemy, most likely. "Run back and get the others," Raen whispered to Braedon. "We can approach unseen from this angle, and the trees extend almost to the far wall." The man was already on his way back up the hill before the sentence was complete.

Raen turned back, wondering if the enemy he so desired to meet was slipping right through his fingers.
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Old 09-11-2004, 06:33 PM   #55
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As they had approached the estate, Anora had grown more determined to make certain that Sandrina remained unharmed. Feeling for the blade at her side had become an instinctive movement for Anora on their journey.

She had stayed close to Sandrina, but had remained quiet. Her time had not yet come. She watched as Hama and Raen had begun arguing. I hope they figure this out. The whole point of this mission is to reunite Sandrina with her parents.

Raen and Braedon rode off to scout ahead and Anora walked her horse in front of Sandrina. Her friend looked at her in confusion for a moment and then nodded. Anora breathed a sigh of relief. I am glad that did not come across as being heavy handed. I just want to protect her.

Her hand rested on the hilt of her blade. Suddenly Anora caught the faint sounds of someone coming towards them. She pulled her sword from it's sheath and Hama did the same. When Braedon came out of the trees everyone waited for him to explain.
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Old 09-12-2004, 02:10 PM   #56
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White Tree

Arthur hated watching his father yell at Samuel, but he dared not interject. After his blunder with Sandrina, Arthur would make to more mistakes, or his fathers love would be as far away as Melkor from the Secret Fire. Leaving the estate was hard for Arthur as well, but, for now, he would ride it out. But if the mercinaries failed and their land was lost, Arthur didn't know what he would do. Even though it shouldn't have been their land, Arthur felt no remorse to it all. To him, it had always been theirs, and Henry had been keeping them from destiny.

As Samuel pased out of sight, it was just Harold and Arthur riding into the horizon. Looking around, and seeing nothing, Arthur couldn't help but ask, "Father, where are we going? Not to Edoras? That's too far. And how will we know when the men we hired have done their job? What if it's too late? If Sandrina and Henry come back and seize out lands, they will be able to find some precious information. We shouldn't linger long. Where are we going?"
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Old 09-14-2004, 11:53 AM   #57
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Sandrina glanced up, her eyes widening at the sound. She relaxed only slightly when she saw Raen come up, but his expression of stress and fear were easy to recognize in his face. She knew what he had heard. She knew what she had heard. It was them.

She looked around at the group, her heart racing. This was the moment of justice in her mind, but a cold fear grabbed her.

"Is that noise them?" Sandrina whispered, hoping deep down that it was not. Raen nodded his head in response. She took a jagged deep breath and let it go slowly. She licked her lips nervously, trying to clear away the shakiness that she was feeling deep down inside her stomach.

"Then we must bring them to justice. How do you suggest we do that, Raen?" Sandrina whispered, edging her horse closer to him. She prayed that he had a plan for she did not and had not thought to even construct one. The only thought that had been racing through her mind was to bring them to justice and return to her family. She had not thought of how and now that the moment had risen to do it she was as scared as a rabbit. She only hoped that he or Hama or anyone for that matter had had enough insight to create a plan during their short journey to the Lightheart estate.

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Old 09-14-2004, 08:45 PM   #58
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Harold shifted uncomfortably but disguised it by craning around to see what Samuel was doing. He shook his head in disgust; the fool boy was dumping out most of his supplies and tending for the horse. What had he called it? Wise-tail? Harold sneered. Such a foolish, weak name, fitting since it was given by a foolish, weak son. Did the boy not know that a horse with a broken leg was as good as dead? He did not seem likely to be catching up any time soon, so Harold turned back to Arthur and his questions.

“Going? We are not really going anywhere. As you have mentioned, Edoras is entirely too far away, and any of the nearby towns are too small; Sandrina and Henry would catch word of us immediately. Rather, we will circle around the estate and return to it in a week or so. This way we will be able to see for our own eyes what is going on there. We cannot just abandon the estates at any rate, because once Sandrina is dead there will be no one left to run it.” Harold was mostly improvising as he went here. He had not planned much of this out in advance. “As for them discovering important information, there is not much for them to discover save by questioning the workers, and none of them know very much that could be useful. My men will be too afraid of what I would do to them for speaking up, and they do not know much that Sandrina and her new friends will not have figured out already. The only one that might have useful information is Cerdic, and he is too loyal to do such a thing. All the important documents and papers I brought along in my saddlebags for such a reason. Does this answer your questions?” Arthur nodded, though Harold wasn’t sure whether he meant it or not. Frankly, Harold did not care whether Arthur accepted the answers, because it was the best that he would get.

Harold glanced back again. Samuel was still tending to the horse, and Harold judged that he had a few minutes before Samuel would catch up. He turned once more to Arthur.

“What do you think about Samuel? Will he stay loyal to us, or will he try to aid Sandrina?” he asked. Harold thought he understood Samuel’s position fairly well, but as his brother Arthur might have some different ideas on it. It would also give Harold a chance to see where Arthur stood. Arthur looked distinctly uncomfortable, and hesitated before speaking.

“Well, I’m not exactly sure-” he began, and was cut off by the sound of hooves behind. Harold spoke softly so as not to be overheard by Samuel. “Well, think about it and you can tell me your thoughts later, when we have a moment together.” Arthur nodded again. Samuel caught up, and they rode on in silence, each one alone with his own thoughts. For himself, Harold was spending his time trying to figure out what Sandrina would do upon reaching the estate. Cerdic had said she was gathering a small force to herself, so Harold supposed that meant between five and ten men. The idea that she might bring women did not even occur to him. It was the men that concerned him more than Sandrina, that and he did not know where Henry was in all of this. Leaving Henry out of his calculations would be a dire mistake. So his thoughts went, until the sun was high overhead and it was nearly time to stop for a break and lunch.
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Old 09-16-2004, 08:14 PM   #59
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Don't panic... just answer

Raen could see the desperation in Sandrina's eyes, and felt Hama's keen stare pierce through him. Braedon and the others stood by, waiting for a reply. Yes, of course you have a plan. Tell them! He decided to use the safest of his several ideas. "We cannot go after them untill your home is cleared. There is a band of trees that runs from the top of this hill down to the estate's wall, by the stables. We can approach behind it, unseen. Doubtlessly there are enemies, waiting for us to enter. Perhaps some of us should go through the gate, while others scale the wall."

"At any rate, let's get down this hill," said Braedon. "On foot, though." The others tied their horses to nearby trees and followed the rangers, weapons at ready. But Raen was already worrying greatly. This is a fool's plan. Archers could pick us off easily. But as the group headed towards the outer wall, under the cover of the trees, no shafts harrassed them. It was as if the residents had merely... left, without a rearguard of sorts. Such a situation was almost too good to hope for, Raen mused.

They stopped at the wall. Knowing that the gate was around the corner, Raen hesitated to give any further orders. It was Sandrina's decision, yet she looked to him for answers. Decided to take charge, he whispered to Hama. "Take Sandrina and the others up to the gates. Wait there; Braedon and I will climb this wall and have a look around."

Raen clambered up, and promptly helped Braedon over. They jumped down onto the grass and looked around. "There's someone here," murmured Braedon, and his companion merely nodded. But where...
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:06 PM   #60
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Hama was furious at being told what to do by this ranger. He was a member of the Rohan royal guard of King Eomer himself, not some lowly peasant incapable of tactical thought. He was about to voice this, when he noticed that Raen and Braedon had already gone and he cursed loudly under his breath. Sandrina looked at him disapprovingly, but soon shook her head. "We should get to the gates, in that case." Hama said clearly, trying and failing not to lte his irritation shine through his voice. Drawing his sword he loped round the walls, the others close behind him. His armour clanked as he ran, and he muttered. Surely now they'd know of their presence.

They reached the gates in just under five minutes. Raen and Braedon were already there, and looking ver disconcerted about something. "What kept you?" Raen put to Hama. "Oh, there was the small matter of a raiding party of dunlendings, a few orcs and the desire for a few less pompous rangers." Hama said sarcastically. Raen's brow creased as he heard the last words, "There is someone round here, we just don't know where. Get in here and help us...we don't know who they are or what sort of weapons they have, it could be dangerous." Hama's mouth contorted to a slit as he tried to supress his frustration. Of course it was going to be bloody dangerous, stupid bloody rangers thinking they know everything.
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Old 09-21-2004, 11:54 AM   #61
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Sandrina couldn't believe how incredibly rude Hama was being, especially during a time of great danger. She placed a small hand upon his forearm and turned him to her. Her eyes were filled with seriousness and she shook her head.

"Just stop it Hama. You may not like others, but that does not give you the right to endanger our lives by being sarcastic. Please, just get along with Raen. We are in a place of high danger and must be on alert. So I beg you, please Hama stop. Not for everyone else, but for me. My life hangs in the balance. Your actions are not helping me," Sandrina whispered forcefully.

She let go of his forearm and stepped over to Raen.

"What do we do if they are surrounding us, Raen?" She asked, trying not to look over at Hama. She could feel him staring, could feel his eyes staring into the back of her head. She had no idea what his problem was, but once they were semi safe again she would ask and find out. Otherwise she knew that she would have to send him. She hoped that she would not have to do that.
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Old 09-21-2004, 09:05 PM   #62
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White Tree

Arthur was bored out of his wits. He had no idea what he was doing there. He could sense that whatever was suppost to work, didn't work. Time felt like riding a horse with concrete feet. Thinking of nothing to pass the time, Arthur began to speak:


We were so weak and febel,
but now, we're rich and regal.
We booted out my stupid old uncle
he was just a stupid bile of junk...el...


Samuel began to laugh. Seeing his brother try someting that obviously wasn't his forte was amusing. Stopping to give Arthur confidence, he continued

So now we ride, away from home
and through the wilderness we now must comb
for until we're safe, together we must roam.
So soon we'll return,
though I don't know to what effect.
And who knows? Maybe, our homes won't be beref...t


Samuel gave a small appaluse, but Harold just shook his head and sighed, and he lead the way into the distance.
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Old 09-23-2004, 02:45 PM   #63
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Harold sighed at Arthur’s attempts to turn recent events into verse. Whatever his elder son might be, a poet was not one of them. He tried to block out the sound, and concentrated instead on how far they had gotten thus far. He estimated they had been travelling for about seven hours, since the sun showed the time to be mid-afternoon. Seven hours... two or three leagues per hour... makes about 18 leagues. That sounded right. It also meant they were almost sufficiently far away from the estates to start circling back around. He began to turn around to tell his sons this when he became aware of another sound, previously unheard because of Arthur’s pathetic attempts to rhyme: hoofbeats. He could not see the riders yet, as they were still a good way off and the land was not flat, but they were coming closer. Harold did not want to be seen. Under normal circumstances they would not draw attention, but rumors of Sandrina’s return would have reached other ears, and the three of them heading away from the estate... No, he did not want to be seen.

“Hurry, follow me!” Harold hissed, cutting Arthur’s words short. Harold heeled his horse into a full gallop and turned sharply off the road. There was a downward slope in the land only a few hundred yards away; if they could get that far, then they would not be seen. They drew nearer, but so did the hoofbeats. Harold did not dare turn around to see if the riders were visible yet. Then, he had reached it. He slowed his horse so that it could get down, and saw that Samuel and Arthur, who had been only a little way behind him, were doing the same. The slope was just deep enough for them to be unseen from the road. Harold crept back up the slope to see whether they had been spotted or not.

What he saw made him worry. There were three of them, and they had slowed to a walk approximately parallel to the road. One of them was pointing in their direction and scowling; the other two were shaking their heads and their reins as if impatient to be moving on. Harold knew they had been spotted. Now what? He sighed in relief when the riders again booted their horses into a faster pace. Apparently they had somewhere to be in a hurry, and it was lucky for them. All he could do was hope they would not remember seeing the three of them. There was nothing more to be done for it, so he returned back down to where his sons and the horses were waiting.

“We were not seen,” he lied. “There were three of them, and they just went right on past.” He wondered if they believed him or not. Somehow he doubted it, but they couldn’t prove otherwise.

“As long as we have left the road, we may as well continue. We are far enough away from the estates to start circling back around. Within a few days we will return there to see what has happened. If Sandrina is dead as she should already be, we will have no more need of plans. If not, we will decide what to do then.” What he really meant was that he would decide and they would listen, but he wasn’t about to say that. He mounted his horse again and headed off across the country.

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Old 09-25-2004, 12:13 PM   #64
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Anora had fallen a little behind the rest of the company. She looked around at their surroundings and just as Sandrina spoke to Hama the sound of rustling leaves became apparent.

The young woman looked in the direction of the sound and could not see anything. Anora, her sword in one hand, caught up to the others just as Raen replied to Sandrina's question. "I heard something."
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Old 09-27-2004, 05:49 AM   #65
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Ambushed!

Raen stopped and listened, attempting to ignore Sandrina's harsh words to Hama. "I hear something," state Anora. Of course you do! There could be twenty or more mercenaries waiting for us at this very moment! He decided to stick with the original plan, sounds or not. This was no time to be indecisive, or the company might fall toghether in minutes. For Sandrina's sake, he would not allow that to happen.

"We are entering just as planned. Braedon, Hama and I will scale the wall again, and the rest of you enter through the gate. Wait for the signal." He was frustrated at how naive most of them were to such simple tactics. If we ever face a greater force... Banishing such thoughts from his mind, Raen hurried along the wall, followed by his two companions. Braedon helped him onto the walll - nothing had changed, no sign of movement. Hama refused help pulled himself over, jumping down onto the ground below. Oh well, at least he can fend for himself.

Once inside the courtyard, they spread out. Hama looked around the stables, and was soon preoccupied. Braen checked a storage shed, finding nothing. Raen slowly moved towards the house itself, watching for any signs of life behind the chrystal window panes. Is that... Then an arrow hurtled by, a victim of poor marksmanship. The ranger dove over to his right, lifted his fingers to his mouth and gave a piercing whistle; the signal for the others to attack. He saw a man (who dropped a bow and drew his sword) start running towards him, thought surely there will be others. The battle for Sandrina's home had begun.
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Old 09-27-2004, 08:15 PM   #66
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Sandrina's blood pulsed through her at the prospect of battle. She unshethed her sword and looked back at the group.

"Let's go!" She called, running forward through the gate. They followed her, weapons at the ready. They entered the scene and found Hama and Raen fighting with all their might against, a quick count from Sandrina, eight. She took a deep breath and ran forward, bringing the raging enemy away from the two men.

"IT'S ME YOU WANT! COME AND GET ME!" Sandrina screamed, yelling for all to hear. She pushed forward, slashing and dodging. The biggest, most burly man that she had ever seen stood before her, his eyes blazing with fury. Sandrina smirked.

"You, I'm going to kill you for the reward!" He spat, taking a swing to her left. Sandrina countered, their blades smashing together with a great clang.

"That's what you think," Sandrina said, plunging forward. Her sword fell through his defenses and through his ribs. Sandrina swallowed hard, but pushed deeper. The man's eyes widened and he fell to the ground backwards. Sandrina put a foot upon his chest and pulled her sword free. She wiped around to look at the others.

"Anyone else want to try?" Sandrina taunted. Two men at once, from both sides, ran straight for her as if wanting to impale her. She dodged forward and backwards. She ran like a rabbit from a fox. Her eyes were filled with something that hadn't been there in a very long time, confidence. She weilded the sword as if she had been doing it her entire life. Her body remembered every movement that her father had taught her years prior. Memories of the lessons flooded her mind.

"You fight like your father!" One man yelled out in disgust. She laughed hauntily.

"Of course. He was the one that taught me!" She slashed at the man's shins, dodging towards the safety of the group that were fighting the others.

As she ran she slipped upon the grass. She hurried to get up, but the man caught her arm and twisted her in front of him. He held his sword high in the air, above of her head.

"Now you'll die like you should have you no good brat," he said, his eyes laughing happily. He bent back her wrist and her sword fell to the ground. Fear washed over her, replacing the adrenile rush that had had a hold of her. Then, words from the past snapped into her mind like lightening. She smiled and kicked her heel into his most sensitive area. She watched as he fell to the ground. She hurried and grabbed her sword. She swung with her eyes closed and heard the plop of the man's head to the ground. She shook away her thoughts and turned away, running to the others.
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Old 09-29-2004, 07:34 PM   #67
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As he rode along without much to think about, Arthur’s earlier question came to Harold’s mind: Where are we going? The truth was, he was not comfortable with the answer he had given, that they would decide what to do when they got there. By then it might be too late to do what needed to be done. The foreboding feeling from earlier had returned, and though Harold was not one to go on nothing but intuition, these were special circumstances. Somehow he just knew everything was not going as planned, that Sandrina would not be killed by those he had left at the estates. It was not very comforting, but it gave him time to make plans. What he needed was an advantage.

He needed to get to Sandrina, make her feel fear. But what kind of threat would have the desired affect on her? Harold backed up to Sandrina at the estates. What would her next move be? Harold didn’t think she would just settle down at the estate and leave everything be; she would need more help than just the rag-tag following she had. She would need... Henry. Of course! How could he have forgotten? Something would need to be done about that - Sandrina could not be allowed to access her parents. It would create all kinds of problems. Harold knew that he would be at least two steps ahead of Sandrina here. Not only had he decided what she would try to do before she even knew, but he also knew the whereabouts of Henry and Eowyn, something that Sandrina probably didn’t.

Now how to accomplish this. The only way to be sure that Sandrina and her parents did not have contact would be to have either one or both under constant surveillance, and do it quickly. He knew that Henry and Eowyn’s new cottage was a couple days’ hard ride from where they were. Something should be done sooner. Sandrina could have done any number of things in a few days. She needed to be stopped, perhaps by some kind of threat. A threat of pain, yes, that would work. No woman could withstand much pain, weak creatures that they were. Or perhaps pain to her parents. The corners of Harold’s mouth turned upward in a small evil smile. If Sandrina continued to try to reach her parents, she would be made to watch their deaths, and then die herself. She would die anyway, but for her to watch Henry and Eowyn die... Harold couldn’t believe he hadn’t thought of it sooner.

So once Sandrina was threatened, he would need to go after Henry and Eowyn. A threat was no good unless it could be backed. They could be... kid-napped. Harold was feeling quite pleased at his own cunning. A great deal better than anything his incompetent sons could come up with, and certainly Sandrina would not be able to figure out the complexities of the plan. In fact, the only way Harold could see that his plot might go wrong would be by Sandrina’s foolishness. Sometimes he wished women were just a little bit smarter; it would make plans like this more foolhardy. It would have to do, though.

Harold pulled his horse up and motioned for Arthur and Samuel to do the same. Harold quickly outlined his change of plans to them. Arthur seemed satisfied; Samuel, on the other hand, looked sick. Harold scowled. Samuel had better buck up soon; it was another way the plan might go wrong, if Samuel were to duck out and go to Sandrina. Harold knew too well that exceeding mercy was one of womenkind’s worst faults.

Harold took this opportunity to switch mounts, as he had been riding the same one since the morning. Arthur did the same. When he was remounted, Harold said to them, “We need to return to the Lightheart Estate with all possible speed. The sooner this gets done, the better.” The fresh mount was only too ready to go, and Harold let it go as fast as he dared. It was several leagues back to the estate, and they would not reach it until the next morning. Harold soon fell back into the monotony of the rolling plains of the Riddermark and the sound of hoofbeats in his ears. He was heated from the inside from the fire of desire for revenge, stoked up by his new foolproof scheme.
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Old 09-30-2004, 08:11 AM   #68
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Hama saw Sandrina kill the man, but he was too well conditioned to flinch as he saw the headless body slump to the floor. He heard footsteps behind him a fraction too late as a sword swung into his armour, knocking him off balance. Regaining his footing he turned to see a familiar face. "John" he said, stepping forward and thrusting, which was parried. "Hama, I knew you'd be here, always the Lightheart's loyal dog." this time the mercenary slashed, and Hama parried and darted forward, ramming his sword into the mercenary's chest up to the hilt, it burst through his back in a shower of blood. "Better a loyal dog than a dead one." he spat into the man's face, letting him slide off his sword to the ground.

Hama heard a cry...Sandrina! He looked round and saw a man holding her round the waist in an attempt to keep her still for another man to kill her. Hama cried out as he ran towards them. The man holding Sandrina looked round and saw Hama, Hama saw his eyebrows raise in fear as he hurled his sword. It sliced the shoulder of Sandrina's shirt as it spun, pushing through the man's neck. He fell, desperately clutching the sword as he tried to pull it out. Sandrina screamed as blood spurted onto her clothes and ran towards the second man just as Hama fired, the arrow ripped the other shoulder of her shirt before thudding into the mercenary's chest. As he sank to the ground, Hama ran up to Sandrina. "Sandrina...you're good, but not strong. Do not take on men twice your size, or you will end up dead."
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:27 AM   #69
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The battle had begun. Anora had crossed swords with one of the mercenaries and Was trying to disarm him. The man was taller and heftier than she had fought before, so she was having trouble. Suddenly she tripped and just as the man was about to kill her an arrow knocked him backwards.

Anora caught a glimpse of Hama and nodded her thanks. She ran over beside him and Sandrina and the three of them stood together.
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Old 10-01-2004, 12:26 PM   #70
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Sandrina shook in fear. Only moments prior she had been in the grasp of two men, bothing asking each other would would be able to get to do what they wanted with her first before killing her. Hama had saved her. If he had not she would have been dead.

Her split sleves hung down and flapped in the small breeze. She ripped them off and threw them to the ground. She grabbed Hama's hand and pulled him away from the battle. Her chest heaved, trying to pull more air into her frightened lungs.

"Hama," Sandrina gasped as she ran, "There is no way that we can stay here. There are too many. I, I've grown too tired to fight. I can barely weild my sword. If you do not stay with me, then I fear that I shall die before my time."

Sandrina tripped upon the ground, nearly falling completely face first into the grass. Her legs shook violently and she knew that she could not carry on. She had already killed, three men, or something like that. She could no longer recall. She had seen too much death and blood and she had pushed herself past her own limits. She had drained herself.

She grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled his face closer to her.

"Leave me. Save the others. Their lives are more important," Sandrina pleaded. Her eyes shimmered with tears that she tried to hold onto. She swallowed hard against her words. More memories that she had lost came swarming into her mind. Memories of a long forgotten love for the man before her. She had forgotten, but her heart had not. It explained what she had been feeling deep inside since she met him.

She wanted him to save himself. She did not want to see him die here. His life, above all others, was more important to her then anything else in the world. She closed her eyes and kissed him softly before pushing him forward.

"Go. Please. I beg you."
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Old 10-01-2004, 02:50 PM   #71
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Hama looked at Sandrina, he saw the tears flowing down her cheeks. He smiled the first real smile she'd seen form him as a tear escaped the corner of his eye momentarily before he blinked it away. "No, Sandrina. I swore that I would protect you, you are the most important thing here right now. I cannot let you just die here. There are only one or two left now, we WILL come through this." Sandrina looked up at him from the ground and her brow creased as she tried to stop more tears. "You are so unlike how I remember you, Sandrina." Hama smiled, "The girl I knew before was not the sort who could kill a man, even if he attacked her." Sandrina gulped, "I still can't." she sobbed, "I still can't kill heartlessly, I'm no soldier, Hama."

"Drop your sword!" Came a voice from behind. Hama felt cold steel against the back of his enck and lamented his misfortune. He stood slowly up, throwing his sword a few feet away before moving with the sword of the mercenary. He stopped, and Hama heard the swish of the sword and squeezed his eyes shut. He screamed in pain as it sliced deep into his lower back and he fell to the floor in a spray of blood. The nmercenary looked pleased with himself and moved over to Sandrina. Hama looked through his hazy eyes to see him clamber on top of her. "Well Missy, looks like your little quest has failed." he said heartlessly as he began to unbuckle his leggings. "Not if..." Hama crawled up and rose to his feet, pushing his regained sword through the mercenary's shoulder, Sandrina screamed again as the point pushed through and cut her slightly, and as the man coughed blood onto her chest. Hama rolled the mercenay off Sandrina with his foot. *I can help it..." he finished his sentence, before swooning and falling onto his back.
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Old 10-01-2004, 03:25 PM   #72
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Sandrina picked up Hama's sword and chopped the man until she was sure that he was dead. Then she dropped to her knees where he had fallen. She placed a hand upon his face. It was still warm and he was breathing.

"Hama!!" Sandrina screamed in terror, hoping that he would wake to the sound of her voice. He didn't move. She shook him violently. Yet he didn't move. She fell upon his chest, sobbing. Totally unable to move away from him. She could hear his heart beat and his strong breathing, but she was so afraid that if she moved that he would die.

She finally raised herself up off of him and pulled him over. The gash in his lower back was deep and bleeding. She grabbed her sleves and tied them together and tied it around him the best that she could, ripping more of her shirt to stop the bleeding. She looked up.

"RAEN. ANORA, ANYONE!! HELP!!!!!!!!" Sandrina screamed at the top of her lungs, hoping that they would hear her in time.
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Old 10-01-2004, 03:52 PM   #73
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Anora had only been a couple of steps away from Hama and Sandrina when Hama had been wounded. The man she was currently fighting was more than the sword maiden could handle, but suddenly the mercenary slipped. Anora's blade came down and she took off towards Sandrina. The remainder of the mercenaries were facing the remainder of their group.

"What happened?"

"Hama got stabbed protecting me." Sandrina choked out. "He is still breathing."

Anora took no time in checking Hama's pulse and tearing her own cloak to add to the padding that Sandrina had already done. I hope the rangers can help him more than I can. They must know more about the herbs that we need. Sandrina's sobs drew her attention.

"Sandrina, we are doing everything we can. Raen and the others will probably know more than I do to help him." Anora looked in the direction that she had last seen the rangers. Just as she spotted them, the last of the mercenaries were taken down.

Anora called out to them. "Raen, Braedon! Hama needs help. Where is Haven?"
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Old 10-03-2004, 06:22 AM   #74
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Braedon swung his sword against his attackers, the sharp vibrations flowed through his arms. This was no use, his chosen opponent apparently wielded a sword well. Well enough at least for Braedon to start to feel that this fight was getting a little monotonous. Suddenly the man swung again, this time quicker than before. He slashed across Braedon’s arm. He dropped his sword to the ground and fell on his knees. His attacker laughed.

“Tired Ranger? I thought I would at least have a match in you! Ha, weak!” He mocked as he raised his sword above his head, ready to drive it down on to Braedon’s body. He was big, a good few inches bigger that Braedon, almost dwarfing him and from down on the ground he had to admit this man held the advantage on size and power. But he was slow. So, he would have to be quick, he had already slid his knife out of his boot whilst the man before him was preoccupied with ridiculing him. He look up, the man smiling once more. Braedon smiled back.

This probably threw the man off, Braedon didn’t know, he didn’t linger to find out. He threw his knife in the direction of the man midriff, hoping. It was a blind an careless shot, he knew that, but it had to work. Luckily, the knife managed to puncture the area where there was no armour. Braedon grabbed his sword and slid though the mans legs, quickly getting up. He took no time in plunging his sword through his opponents back, he watched him fall to the floor as he drew his sword out. Coming around the side he kicked him over and retrieved his knife.

He moved his hand to his bleeding arm, excellent, now he had two injuries.

"Raen, Braedon! Hama needs help. Where is Haven?"

His head shot round to where Anora’s voice had called from. There! He ran over, sheathing his knife as he went.

“What happened?” Braedon asked, checking Hama’s wound. Thick, red blood slowly flowed out of the wound.

“Stabbed, protecting me, “ Sandrina said shortly. A tear flowed down her cheek, but it was quickly rubbed away.

Braedon took his off his small pack and laid it on the floor. He opened it and frowned.

“We need to seal…”

“Braedon!” shouted Sandrina, pointing behind him. Braedon felt a heavy hand knock him to the side, his eyes were blurred a little but he managed to see the mercenary making his way towards Sandrin, Anora and the fallen Hama. He searched for his sword, but that had been knocked away from him, he grabbed his knife and slowly stood up, watching the man in front of him gradually getting closer to them. He ran forwards slicing his knife across the mans neck . The man fell instantly to the floor, and lay motionless. Braedon moved him aside and bent down to tend to Hama again.

“We need to seal this wound, but what I have will not do it. I will have to burn it. Sandrina, you need to keep talking to him.” She nodded and sat down next to him quietly whispering to her fallen friend.

Braedon felt the wound, nothing serious was injured. He was ok, provided he didn’t lose any more blood and the wound was not infected. Which meant he would have to seal it as soon as possible. “Anora I need a fire.” She nodded and set to work. Braedon pulled out a bottle from his bag, and pulled off the cork. He spread the liquid around the wound and in it.

“Hama, if you can hear me this will numb the pain, and the burn a little. But I cannot guarantee you will feel nothing.”

“It is lit,” said Anora. Braedon nodded and the cursed. He had nothing but his knife to use, he handed it to Anora and instructed her what to do.

She was soon back, the knife held at arms length. She handed it to Braedon, he could feel the heat coming from it. He would have to move quickly. He traced it along the wound, the smell of burnt flesh filled the air around the four. Hama was now awake. His face was pale and his eyes full of pain.

“Ok, it is done.” Braedon tossed his knife to the ground and examined the wound. It was seal, and the bleeding had stooped. But it still looked terrible, and it would hurt immensely for the first few days. Losing a good fighter now was not the best thing to happen. Braedon applied a herb lotion on the wound. “He should be ok now.”
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Old 10-05-2004, 04:56 PM   #75
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As Arthur moved throughout the world, he started looking at it without cause. He started to seperate what he thought, from what was logical. It soon became clear to him that this had no cause. His brother just might have been right all along. He was going to die. The question was, weather he'd go along with it. Once he took aside the prejudice of it all, he knew what he'd have to do. He didn't know if it would result in the death of his father, brother, or himself. But one thing was certain. Someone would die. Although he followed his fathers commands, he could sense it wouldn't last long.
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Old 10-05-2004, 05:47 PM   #76
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Sandrina nodded and looked around. She knew that her parents couldn't be here anymore. There was just no way that they would send people like these to get others. Her parents had never been like that.

"We need to leave the estate. We need to find my parents. Harold and his horrible sons must have them or something along those lines. Hama, can you make the journey?" Sandrina asked. Hama nodded slightly, the pain still in his eyes.

An arrow zoomed through the air and landed at Hama's feet. A piece of parchment was wrapped around it. Sandrina took it out of the ground and unrolled the paper.

"It reads: Sandrina you have no chance. We are going to your parents and we are going to kill them. Then we're going to kill you. I suggest you run away now," Sandrina read, swallowing hard. She looked up, her eyes filled with determination and a new emotion, hatred. Hatred for the traitors that lived within her family. Absolute traitors in every way.

Sandrina stood up and helped Hama to his feet. He leaned on her heavily, but she did not waver underneath his weight.

"We have to go now. Send out any word you can on our way into Rohan. This began as a battle. Now it is a war," Sandrina announced. She whistled for the horses. They came running instantly to her call. She helped Hama to his horse then jumped upon hers. She kicked the sides of her horse, which reared in response then sprang off in the direction of the city of Rohan.
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Old 10-06-2004, 03:52 PM   #77
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Harold watched in satisfaction at the stricken look that came over Sandrina’s face as she read the message. He and his sons had made good time throughout the night and by the light of the early morning approached and hid on the very grounds of the estates. He himself had shot the arrow with the message tied to it. The message had been simple: death to her parents, and death to herself. Now he only had to see what her reaction would be. He was not quite close enough to make out Sandrina’s words to her companions, about half of which he had noted were in fact female, but he could see their actions.

He smiled evilly as Sandrina whistled for the horses the group was using. His smile faded to a frown when he realized the direction she intended to take, however. She did not flee as he had expected; rather she headed her horse deeper into Rohan. Her companions followed as soon as each was mounted, one of the men injured. She’s going after her parents, he realized. Another one of those female weaknesses - no thought to your own safety... Harold did some quick calculations. She would take the roads, because she would need to find out where her parents were living, and the only way to do that would be to go through towns. He, on the other hand, knew precisely where Henry and Eowyn made their abode. He and his sons would go cross-country, then, and come to the cabin ahead of Sandrina, where they would be waiting with a trap.

In case the Estates had not been left alone, he left silently from his hiding spot and motioned for Arthur and Samuel to do the same. If he had not been so enthused by his own devious plans he might have noticed how his sons were reacting to the situation. Samuel looked the same as always, reluctant and disgusted, which would not have surprised Harold, but Arthur’s feelings were changing to be closer to Samuel’s, which would have sparked Harold’s temper in a big way had he paid attention.

Harold did not pay attention, though, and so his sons were spared a tongue lashing. Harold checked on the horses, and saw that they looked fatigued, as well they should. He said, “We need fresh horses. We will have to trust that there are no people left at the estates, and if there are...” He gripped his sword handle. “They will die.” He spun on his heel, expecting his sons to follow. He made his way down the familiar trail to the stables, and found it abandoned. Smirking, he mused that Sandrina had left no thought whatsoever to the well-being of the estates.

“Hurry; we don’t have much time,” said Harold. “Get a horse, and return to where are supplies are.” For himself, he knew precisely the horse he wanted: a tall gray with a good build and strong hindquarters. The horse was at the far end of the stables, and turning a corner he nearly tripped. Seeing the cause, he mentally recoiled in disgust. It was the body of one of his men. Couldn’t do their job right, could they? You’d think they’d be able to get the best of a bunch of women and a few men. He really did have no time to waste, so he continued on with no thought to the corpse. He found the horse and led it back to their meeting location by a different route.

Arthur and Samuel came back about the same time he did, and began to saddle the new mounts. Ready to go, Harold issued another set of instructions. “Sandrina has gone after her parents. We need to beat her and her companions to Henry’s cabin, so we will be heading in a direct route there-” He gestured vaguely toward Henry’s house. “-and once we get there we will secure Henry and Eowyn and lay a trap for Sandrina. We will not kill Henry and Eowyn yet; for her trouble Sandrina will see them die.” Samuel looked outraged. Arthur schooled his expression to one of none. He thought Samuel would argue, and he even opened his mouth to do so, but no words came out. “Good,” said Harold evenly. “We are in agreement.” He mounted skillfully and set off at a trot into the knee-high grass of the plains. Leading the way, he thought he heard Arthur and Samuel talking quietly behind him, but Harold did not care. So long as they did his bidding, he gave little heed what they thought. And they would do his bidding, for his sons would not dare to do otherwise. Harold set his mind on their destination. Soon, very soon, his schemes would come to fruition, and an unhappy day that would be to those who dared to oppose him.

Last edited by Firefoot; 10-06-2004 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:37 AM   #78
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Raen rode on in silence. He was worried about Hama; the man was acting resolute and strong in order to impress Sandrina - and no harm was done in that. However, it was obvious that he was badly injured - perhaps near death, in fact - and pretending to be tough and resiliant was not always a prudent path to take in such a situation. Adding to the discomfort of the ranger was the fact that he now felt conciencious around Sandrina; had spent the last quarter hour lavishing Hama with gratefulness for his bravery and sympathy for his injury. Why do you care? You are a ranger, and he is a man. It is his place, not yours, to be Sandrina's hero.

Raen pondored the last statement in his head for a while. Had it not been he that had gone in first to check things out? If they had followed Hama's advice, they might all be dead now. But because he was standing beside Sandrina, a man the ranger would have easily slaughtered turned Hama into her savior. And there is nothing wrong with that! He fought bravely, and saved her life, as did you... The last statement was true; there was no denying that. Then why did he still feel bitter resentment? As a ranger he had done great deeds before without getting recognition - merely floating away from whatever he had accomplished. That was his way, and the way of all his kin.

Now, Raen mused, it was time to allow Hama to lead the group. Frankly, the ranger was tired of giving direction to a man that clearly wished he had never been born, let alone entered this company. Besides, this is not my place. I should never have joined them, and risked my life for this snide man who struts about like a general, constantly reminding us of his time in the King's Royal Guard... Then something caught Raen's attention. Looking carefully at the ground, he was able to pick out partially erased hoof-marks. They had gone this way, that was certain. But the ranger was intent to keep the information to himself - after all, now it was Hama's perrogative to notice features such as this.
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:48 AM   #79
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Anora was worried. She had watched as Sandrina paid attention to Hama. She also noticed that Raen seemed displeased. I hope this does not get out of hand. We do not need problems within our own ranks right now. The young woman was still watching Raen when she noticed him take a look at the ground.

Urging her horse up next to his, Anora looked down. She was not completely certain that those were tracks. I wonder why he did not say anything? Surely not because of Hama? I had better ask. "Raen, do you think that those are the tracks of the men headed for Sandrina's parents?"
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Old 10-10-2004, 06:44 AM   #80
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When Harold saw a puff of smoke in the air, he knew they were getting close to Henry and Eowyn’s cabin. He motioned for his sons to draw in closer so that they could talk.

“I do not expect a lot of trouble from them,” he began. “We will go to the front door and get Henry to answer it. It would be well to have your swords drawn. I will take care of Henry; you two can go find Eowyn. Hold on a minute.” He rummaged in his saddlebags until he found what he was looking for: two long lengths of rope. One of them he tossed to Arthur, who caught it. “Tie her up, and make sure she does not have a knife on her person so they will not escape. Understand?” They nodded. “Come then.”

There was a tree nearby, and the three of them dismounted and tied their horses there. Harold led the way, marching boldly up to the front door. His sword was drawn, though it was more for show than anything else; he did not expect to use it. He knocked sharply, and in a short time it was opened.

“Brother,” said Harold. There was no affection in the name. He quickly moved so that the door could not be closed on him. He put the sword to Henry’s throat.

“What are you doing here?” asked Henry evenly, ignoring the cold blade at his throat.

“You haven’t heard then?” said Harold, feigning mild surprise. “Well, you will understand very soon, I assure you. So long as you cooperate, I will not have to use this sword. Yet.” To Arthur and Samuel, he said one word: “Go.” They understood, and pushed past Henry into the house.

Fury shown in Henry’s eyes. They were the same color as Harold’s; the brothers shared many facial features such as this. That was where the similarities ended, however. Henry was taller but less broad in shoulder, and where Harold tended to intimidate people he met, Henry was a very welcoming person to be around.

“Why are you here?” Henry asked through gritted teeth.

“All in good time, Henry. Now, if you will please turn around and put your hands behind your back...?” Keeping his eye on the sword in Harold’s hand, Henry did so. Had he done anything else, Harold would have been forced to use the sword. Harold took the rope in his left hand, and first looped it around Henry’s waist to keep him from going anywhere while Harold tied his hands, for Harold needed both hands to do the tying and would have to sheath his sword. Harold chatted amiably while he worked, saying: “Now I suppose you want to know my reasons? I will tell you. You see, if my fool sons had been more competent the first time around, Sandrina would already be dead-”

“It was you!” said Henry, rage easily evident in his voice. He had given a jerk at the ropes, but Harold already had it tied securely.

“Yes, it was me. It almost worked too: I got the estates and Lightheart business, after you moved out here, and everything seemed to be going fine. That is, until a few days ago when I got word that Sandrina was in fact alive and well, and had gathered to herself a band of allies.” (“Good for her,” murmured Henry.) “She is coming here even now, in attempts to save you from me. When she does, my sons and I will be waiting. Her companions can die, but she will be taken captive, even as yourselves. She will see you die as part of her punishment for causing so much trouble, and then she will die.”

“I think Sandrina will prove more trouble than you think,” said Henry lightly. “You always did underestimate women.” Harold snarled, “That is because they are the weak and foolish half of the human race.

“Now, that knife you are wearing will have to come off. We couldn’t have you escaping, now, could we?” Harold removed the knife from its sheath and set it on a nearby table.

“Let’s see. I think we should be able to find a closet somewhere for you and your wife? That would be just the thing. He caught sight of a door off the room where he was now and opened it.

“In you go,” said Harold. He looked around for a key, and saw one sitting on the same table where he had set Henry’s knife. He pocketed it, figuring it to be the one to the closet.

“Arthur! Samuel! Bring Eowyn in here!”
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