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Old 02-22-2008, 01:43 PM   #81
Groin Redbeard
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Gorin watched as the three companions studied him from head to toe. The dwarf that he had run into did not look at him threateningly at all; it would be easy to gain his trust, even though he looked an entire lifetime older than himself.

The man amongst them was the first to speak, accepting Gorin’s offer to help them. The man identified himself as being called Erling, and introduced the dwarf beside him as Kuric; however, he failed to mention the hobbit’s name. Erling stopped in mid speech and looked behind himself.

“I thought…” Erling began uncertainly. “I thought I heard something…But I am not sure now. Maybe it was just the wind…”

Gorin had not heard any noise, but the wind did carry a strange smell that the dwarf’s noise picked up. He put his hand on his axe stepped forward to join ranks with his new found comrades.

The hobbit, unlike the rest, was at perfect ease paying no head to Erling’s warning.

“Sam Tunnelly,” he nodded to the stranger, “journeyman smith.”

The hobbit then turned to Erling and told him that three men and a child were behind the noise that Erling heard. Gorin smiled at the hobbits naivety, more likely as not whoever were behind those bushes were the culprits to the livestock killings.

“I am a hobbit,” Sam said confidently. But Gorin paid no head to Sam’s words, and let his mind run wild with the images of the fight that would soon commence. Kuric gave confirmation to Gorin’s thoughts, telling him to draw his weapon, which he did taking his place beside the old dwarf.

"COME OUT WITH YA THEIVES AND MURDERERS, LET'S HAVE AT IT!" Kuric growled at his presumed aggressors. A smile crept across Gorin’s face, but was soon turned into a frown, as four figures came out from behind of bushes and walked up to the as if they were friends.

Gorin, once again, put his axe back into his belt, knowing that there would be no fight. He backed off to let the others talk to the new group. He looked at the kid, who was holding one of the men’s hands; Gorin smiled trying to look friendly, but probably looked more fearsome when he did so.

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Old 02-25-2008, 12:56 PM   #82
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"COME OUT WITH YA THIEVES AND MURDERERS, LET'S HAVE AT IT!"

"Thieves and murderes?" Lea whispered, "Is he talking to us?"
"I think he is," Ash said with a wry smile, "Let's go."

Orin was very pale and Ash took his hand. "It's just Kuric," he said, but the boy didn't look convinced.

Carefully the three, followed by the ever so silent Grimbeorn, stepped out of the shadows. "It is just us, no panic", Leanora called quietly.

Sam and Erling were there, as well as Kuric and another dwarf. While Sam and Erling's faces were filled with relief when the newcomers came to their plain sight, both the dwarves looked rather aggressive. Orin forgot to be embarrassed of expressing such childishness and clasped his brother's hand tighter. "It's alright," both Lea and Ash whispered to him at the very same moment.

"Ya ought to be more careful, younglings! We could have slaughtered ye right there, thinking you thieves and murderers," Kuric growled, seemingly far more concerned about his pride than the young humans' safety.

The other dwarf was wearing a rather terrifying grin on his face. Forcing a pleasant smile on her face, Lea took a step closer. "And who are you, good sir? A friend of good Kuric, aren't you?"
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:30 PM   #83
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Sam watched in disbelief as Kuric drew his sword and shouted about "thieves and murderers" as Erling looked on. While dwarves and other uncivilized folk might not realize how sharp hobbit ears were, the Man was Bree-born and should know better.

Sure enough, Ash and Miss Lea and their little brother nervously stepped forward, followed by Grimbeorn. Sam looked at the foreign Man thankfully. Although he would have preferred someone with a little hobbit-sense, Grimbeorn at least didn’t speak before he thought, unlike a certain dwarf Sam could name.

And sure enough, that particular dwarf spouted some nonsense about almost slaughtering the Winkles. The lad, Orin, looked downright terrified, although his older brother and sister remained calm enough.

Sam’s easy-going nature usually prevented him from losing his temper, but this last outburst of Kuric’s was the outside of enough. When Lea politely (and bravely) greeted the newcomer, he cleared his throat, getting their attention.

“This fellow gives his name as Gorin Redbrow,“ he told her before the red-haired dwarf could draw breath for a reply, “and as far as I can tell he and Kuric have never set eyes on each other before. He made an offer to help us, which Erling agreed to while you lot were crashing down the hill in the dark.”

He continued, “I did say there was naught to fear, since I heard Ash’s voice clear as anything, but I guess that dwaves haven’t learned how well hobbits hear.” He glared at both dwarves impartially as he finished speaking.

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Old 03-02-2008, 12:44 PM   #84
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Well, Sam was right. They had made downright fools of themselves, mistaking friend for foe. Although it was an honest mistake the two dwarves pride had been hurt.

Gorin’s smile had presently disappeared, now that the child he had been staring at no longer paid any attention to him, and instead clutched the hand of a young man clad only in grey.

Gorin had stepped back as the four new figures came into view. He had not said a word, but one of the figures came up to him.

By the sound of the persons voice Gorin had perceived that this was no boy, but rather a girl! Gorin stood stupefied for a second, but than regained his surely poster and grim attitude. He had never like women very much, mostly because he hated how they made him feel insecure and embarrassed at even the slightest things. All the seclusion in the wild north had made him accustomed to his own company and did not mind the company of his own kind, but this was another matter entirely.

The hobbit Sam replied on Gorin’s behalf, this slightly anode him, but he didn’t utter a word. However, he was enraged at the hobbit’s insult against Kuric, and would have been at him in a second if he hadn’t restrained himself. He shrugged the remark off.

“What the young hobbit says is true. I have only just met your friends, but unlike them you are a girl, are you not? Your guise deceived me for a second, but your voice betrays you.” Gorin faced the group as a whole, wishing to end the subject of his remarks.

“Well then, where will we be head’n now?”
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:51 AM   #85
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“What the young hobbit says is true. I have only just met your friends, but unlike them you are a girl, are you not? Your guise deceived me for a second, but your voice betrays you.”

Even in the dark Lea could tell that Ash was grinning. She gave him a slight push while not being able to remain completely serious herself. "Guise? Master Gorin, I have not disguised myself. I'm one of the Defenders of Bree and my name is Leanora Winkle." She paused.

"This is my brother Aragorn Winkle", she prsented him, hoping that he was not grinning sillily anymore, "and this our little brother Orin." Ash greeted the dwarf politely while Orin muttered a surly 'hello'. Grimbeorn presented himself as well.

After a silence the dwarf continued: "Well then, where will we be head’n now?"

"To Edin Cengal's place", Erling replied. "Come", he said, looking at all the others, "I'll show the way."

Some stalking quietly as cats, some less so, the party moved through the silent woods.

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Old 03-11-2008, 11:57 AM   #86
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Once the group was finally reunited-some of them, at least, for not all the Defenders were there- Erling offered to take them to Edin’s farm. At first he had wondered whether that was safe to be done, as the farmer had a very suspicious nature, which surely had increased due to the happenings in Bree. He only hoped he would not set his dogs on them.

Erling walked quickly and confidently. He knew the way quite well. He also was worried and wanted to be away from the dark night as soon as possible. Of course, they were all on the alert for any unusual sounds and there had been nothing so far, but what if something would spring on them, approaching them so silently and stealthily that even those with the keenest hearing would perceive it only too late? But fortunately, nothing like this happened, and presently they reached Edin Cengal’s farm. In front of it, Erling stopped and turned to the others.

“Now listen to me,” he began, looking mostly at Kuric and Gorin. “Master Cengal can be quite unfriendly at times and dislikes it when people trespass on his lands. He also has ferocious dogs. So, unless you do not want them to chase you till you reach the Great Sea, please let me do the talking and say nothing that might upset him. He knows and trusts me, and I will be able to persuade him to trust you also. But please do nothing rash. Do you understand me?”

He hoped very much that their nods meant they had and that they were not going to make matters difficult for him. No sooner had Erling touched the gate that two great dogs appeared, barking madly and trying to jump over the fence to reach the intruders.

“Master Cengal!” Erling cried over the clamour of the dogs. “Master Cengal, can you hear me?”

For some time there came no answer to Erling’s calls and he wondered whether he should not call again, when the door opened and Edin Cengal appeared on the threshold. He held a lamp in one hand and a spade in the other and he looked menacing.

“Who are ye?” he growled. “Get ye gone or I’ll have my dogs chase you all over Middle-earth.”

“Master Cengal,” Erling began, trying to sound undaunted. “We are friends…”

“Friends, eh?” growled the farmer. “Friends at such an hour? Robbers, more likely! Get ye gone, I tell ye, or ye’ll live to regret it.”

“Mater Cengal, me you know.” Erling said then. “I am Erling Headstrong and these are my…my companions. We have been appointed the Defenders of Bree. Now, could you please let us in? It is not safe to hold parley in the night in times like this.”
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:27 PM   #87
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For the first few minutes of walking Gorin was digging into his pack and presently retrieved a stained and tattered, but still usable, hooded cloak, which he threw on his pack and pulled the hood tightly over his head. He was marching next to Kuric.

The brother and sister were up ahead with Erling along with Orin who despite his eagerness had to be helped along more than once by his siblings. Gorin had no bone to pick with with them, but bringing a child so young on a journey which could prove perilous seemed very foolish to him.

He observed the movements of each of the company, apparently some were more accustomed to the forest than others, but all of them seemed hardy folk. Lea seemed to move with considerable ease in her male clothes and gave Gorin the impression that she dressed in them regularly. That would certainly give an explanation to why she didn't think it strange to be wearing such things when he asked her about it.

Gorin could smell the scent of smoke and knew that they were drawing very near the house of this Edin Cengal and came upon it in no time at all. Erling stopped and faced the party but mainly stared at Gorin and Kuric. He gave each of them a warning of the Edin's behaviour towards strangers, and also of the ferocious dogs that he kept. A second later a snarling dog came up to the fence and attempted to jump it, but failed.

“Master Cengal!” Erling cried over the clamour of the dogs. “Master Cengal, can you hear me?”

In due time the man came out and for a minute Cengal and Erling shouted back at each other before finally the man exclaimed.

"My goodness it is you," he said to Erling in a crackling voice, "Come on in than can't stay out here shouting all night!"

Then he called off his dogs and went inside the house. Erling opened the latch on the gate and presently the line of travelers filed into the house and the door was shut behind them. Gorin stayed near the door and folded his hands across his chest, waiting for the Cengal or Erling to speak.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:43 AM   #88
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Once they were all in, Cengal set to make his guests comfortable. He placed them in a room where a fire was burning brightly and served them some food and also some of his wine-“to warm you after coming from that cold dark place outside”, as he told them. While he was doing all this, Erling was telling him about the decision of the villagers to form a group of “Defenders”-the farmer noticed that Erling spoke the word on a very important tone and could not help grinning to himself at that-to try and get to the bottom of what was happening.

“That is all very wise.” Edin Cengal said when Erling had vanished, although he thought it far from wise that such a party had been accepted for the job. Why most of them were so young, and there was a girl also, and a small child and…and three foreigners! Were they fit to be entrusted with the safety of their own land? He did not think so. He would have thought twice before employing such a party to such a grave job. “And what have you done as Defenders?” he continued, trying to hide any traces of mockery from his voice.

Erling looked suddenly uncomfortable. He glanced at his companions, hoping one of them would speak in his head. But then he changed his mind and thought that, since Erling knew him, it was better if he talked.

“Well,” he began hesitantly. “Well, nothing, but…”

“Just as I thought” Cengal told himself. No good putting too much trust in such a party of youngsters and girls and dwarves! Yet aloud, he said:

“Well, that’s not too good, is it, Erling my lad? But what can I do for you brave Defenders?”

“Well,” Erling said. “You….you live here and I have heard you have suffered because of these creatures. We thought perhaps you could tell us some things. I have heard they attacked your flocks twice.”

“Not twice, my lad.” Cengal replied, shaking his head. “But three times actually. So you want me to tell you how it was…”

At this the farmer paused and went to the window to look outside. He stood long like that, staring at the darkness, although it was doubtless he was actually seeing anything.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:14 PM   #89
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As he nibbled on quite a tasty seed-cake, Sam hoped that the crusty old farmer would give the Defenders some idea of what they were up against. He heard the criticism in the fellow’s voice but didn’t let that rile him, knowing their host’s reputation for irritability.

He shifted slightly in his seat as Erling explained their mission, meeting the disapproval in the farmer‘s expression with his own steady blue gaze. After all, no one else in Bree had volunteered to go after whatever was attacking them!

He watched Edin walk over the window and look out for a long time. As the silence stretched, the young hobbit began to wonder just how dreadful these mysterious attackers were. Helping himself to another golden-brown cake to bolster his courage, he sipped his wine and waited for the farmer to continue his story.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:34 PM   #90
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Groin stood by the door, enduring Cengal's ever disapproving gaze of him and Kuric. He drank the wine that was given to him in two large gulps, and placed the glass on a table, but knew that there was little chance of him getting a refill. He paid little attention to the farmer's talk about them and contented himself to staring out the window at the darkness, or stroking his beard. Erling had just asked Cengal about his encounters with the strange beast, or beasts, that were disturbing his flock when Gorin stood up in alarm. There were eight defenders when they set out with him but now there were seven, that silent fellow was missing.

"Where's Grimbeorn?" Gorin exclaimed in alarm, interrupting the farmer's talk.

Gorin didn't wait for an answer, the confusion on everyones face told him all that he needed to know. He flung the door open and ran outside. The dogs jumped to their feet and bared their teeth as Gorin approached the gate.

"Out of my way you runts or you'll soon feel the full force of my axe!" At this he directed his axe head at them and prodded them away from the gate.

Gorin ran as fast as his legs could carry him back along the path that the defenders had traveled, but he did not need to go far. About five minutes of stressful jogging brought him back to Grimbeorn; a huge dark wolf shaped shadow stood over a body that Gorin presumed to be Grimbeorn. Gorin quickly retrieved a throwing axe from his belt and threw it at the shadow, which was peering at him now with it's haunting green eyes. Gorin's aim proved true as the axe head dug into the wolf's flank, and with a yelp of pain and anger it leapt down at Gorin. The dwarf was unhindered and let out a deep roaring cry that echoed long in the night.

The huge wolf stopped stunned for a moment, and Gorin could see the full features of it for a second before the figure fled into the night at the approaching of more figures. Gorin ran up to Grimbeorn's body and backed away in disgust and anger. He took of the hood and cloak that he was wearing and covered the bloody mass of Grimbeorn's remains.

"So young," Gorin muttered, "Rest now Grimbeorn of Bree, your death shall not be in vain, nor will it be forgotten"

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Old 04-18-2008, 04:08 PM   #91
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Before Gorin had covered the body, Leanora had seen a glimpse of Grimbeorn's torn face in the moonlight. She turned her head, looked deep into the forest to hide the tears that had sprung to her eyes.

She had always thought she was a tough girl, not one of those smalltown primadonnas or princesses that cried at everything and could not face any kind of difficulties. She had never been afraid of the dead or their bodies, as a child she had eagerly examined the dead animals she occassionally came by, and unlike all other members of her family, she had not found it difficult to look at her mother's dead face or touch her cold hand.

This was toatlly different. Her mother had died of a long illness, and although she had not been old, she had not been young either. Leanora had known that her mother would die and her passing had almost been a relief. But this young man's death had been totally unexpected and a brutal one. His comely face was torn and his body mutilated.

Lea had not known the young man well, she had only met him tonight. Still she was sick with terror and grief. She had liked the gentle handsome stranger, and she had to admit that had she had the chance to know him brtter, she might have been attracted to him.

Suddenly, she could not hold it anymore. She sank to her knees, sobbing quietly. She hoped Ash would be occupied with comforting Orin and no one else would even think about looking at her direction.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:01 AM   #92
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Running as fast as his ancient body would allow, Kuric doggedly followed his new dwarven friend. He couldn’t keep up with the younger dwarf and came into the clearing in time to see the Warg fall. Great disappointment filled Kuric as he saw his opportunity for a good kill slip through his fingers. In frustration he kicked the nearest tree, muttering a curse under his breath.

Walking up to Gorin but still keeping on guard, knowing full well that Wargs are pack animals, Kuric looked at the corpse, seeing the face of Grimebeorn and hearing Groins parting words. Kuric thought it a shame to find him dead but also thought him foolish to come out here on his own. “Bah” spat Kuric, “the lad wasn’t ready to take on a goblin let alone a Warg.” Kuric circled the body oblivious to the crying lass nearby; he was too occupied with studying the nearby ground.

“I can’t make this out, but I reckon there’s more than one of these foul creatures. Didn’t I tell ya all along we’ve got a Warg on our hands.” Kuric puffed his chest proudly, not caring to remember he had stated that it was a troll, not a Warg. “Well let’s have two or three fetch Cengal, he can take care of his body. We need to go find the rest of these creatures before it’s too late,” Kuric stated patting his mace impatiently.

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Old 04-24-2008, 12:32 PM   #93
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Gorin half listened and half thought about the words that Kuric spoke. It was not in his nature to feel sorry for strangers, but the sobbing of Lea and the mournful look of the others made him have second guesses as to what they should do.

Kuric finished speaking and was patting his mace impatiently. Gorin waited for someone to speak, but none did.

"Aye," Gorin sighed, and then he seemed to regain the fire in his heart. "Aye, we have work to do. A wounded Warg is more deadly than a pack on 'em and it will do much harm if it goes unchecked. It cannot get far, now that it is hurt, we'll track in down and shoot it from afar if we can."

Gorin glanced at the at the company again and saw the small child clinging to Ash, his brother.

"No use sending the boy back without and escort to the farmer's house, we'll need every man we can get, just keep the boy in the rear." he said, glancing at Ash.

"My lady,"
Gorin said, stepping towards Lea, who was getting to her feet, "Do not dwell on this moment of grief, there is work to do ahead. There will be a time to grieve when this is all done.

"Come, the Warg went east. This way!" Gorin plunged into the woods and was swiftly followed by the rest.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:51 AM   #94
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All that Erling could afterwards say was that everything had happened so quickly. He had never before thought that an event could come so fast, uheralded, unexpected. He did not know Grimbeorn-he had hardly exchanged a few words with him-but, as was his way with strangers, he had been fond of him. It was hard to believe that he had seen him die, yet it was also hard to pretend that the fact did not happen. It would ever be, from then on, and he somehow knew it.

Erling could very well see that the rest of his companions were also shoked. Well, not all. Kuric seemed quite unconcerned. But he did not mind that. He was glad there was someone like him nearby, someone to draw attention to practical thoughts that would make them forget what they had just seen. Well, maybe not forget, but at least postpone the time when they would have to think about it.

They were now on the move, tracing the wounded Warg. All of them, even Orin. It was a risk to take such a small child on such an adventure, but Erling agreed there was nothing else they could do. But one thing was troubling him. They were perhaps enough to tackle one Warg, but was it only one? Shouldn't they perhaps go back and ask for some help from Bree? But no, that would probably cost them too much time...

"I wonder," he began, and he realised his voice shook slightly-from fear or shock or grief, he could not tell, "Is it really only one of these creatures? Or are there perhaps more? Isn't there a chance for us to be outnumbered?"

As he spoke, he cast uneasy glances around him. He had always thought that knowing what exactly your enemy was made it less feared. He had praid for the time when he would know what was attacking Bree's peace, for he had thought he would be less terrified of them. But it was not true. The fear had not disappeared. It was still there. Strange, he thought. Few stories spoke of such a fear. Few had prepared him for the moment he was facing now.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:14 AM   #95
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Luckily for him, the dwarf disappeared to the woods before Leanora recovered from her shock and started laughing, almost hysterically. The situation was so absurd. The nice stranger had been brutally slaughtered, they were all in danger and what was worst, they had Orin with them. And on the top of that, the dwarf had come and offered noble words and called her "my lady".

"Lea, are you alright?" a familiar voice asked softly from behind her.
"No, of course not. But don't worry about me," she replied, surprisingly calmly.
She turned to her other brother: "Orin, are you alright?"
"Yes," replied a small and shaken voice.

Suddenly, Lea turned and hugged both her brothers fiercely. "It's alright. We will solve this matter," she said.
"Of course we will", Ash said. Lea couldn't see it in the dark but she knew his face was far less confident than his words.
"Are we going on an adventure now?" Orin asked.
"Yes," Lea said at length, "but this is not playing. This is very dangerous. Orin, do as you're told and don't do anything stupid by your own. Otherwise..." She left the sentence hang in the air, both because she would not like to voice such threat on her little brother and because she was not sure if she woould have been able to finish the sentence without her voice breaking.

It was then when they heard Erling's words: "I wonder, is it really only one of these creatures? Or are there perhaps more? Isn't there a chance for us to be outnumbered?"

Lea and Ash both gripped Orin's shoulder instinctively. "Don't do that!" the lad hissed. Ash let go, Lea didn't.
She approved of Erling's practical manner. She was aware that the thought had had to be voiced.
But she didn't feel comfortable with planting such thoughts to Orin's head.
"He's as deep in this bog as we are," Ash said quietly, "we cannot shield him from it." Gritting her teeth, Lea nodded. Her twin was right once again.

She truned her gaze back to Erling. "I don't know if there are more than one of them," she found herself replying, "but I doubt it. If there had been more of them, there would surely have been more losses. You can't feed a pack of wargs with one sheep or one horse." She cut off her talk, fighting the impulse to add "or one human" to the list.

She had also deliberatedly kept to herself another thought that had popped to her mind. Wolves hunted in packs.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:35 PM   #96
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Ash was shocked by what had happened, but unlike Lea hadn't seen Grimbeorn's face. But telling by Lea's reaction, he didn't want to. He put Orin behind him, before going over to Lea to see how she was.

"Lea, are you alright?" He said, coming up behind her were she was kneeling.

"No, of course not. But don't worry about me," she replied, calmly. "Orin, are you alright?"

"Yes." The shakiness of Orin's voice didn't surprise Ash, but it was bad. He wouldn't be able to leave now.

Suddenly, Lea turned and hugged both her brothers fiercely. "It's alright. We will solve this matter," she said.

"Of course we will", Ash returned, putting every ounce of confidence he had left into those words.

"Are we going on an adventure now?" Orin asked, shocking Ash. Adventure? Was he still thinking of this as an adventure? As often happened, Lea spoke right before him, saying the essence of what he was going to say.

"Yes," Lea said, "but this is not playing. This is very dangerous. Orin, do as you're told and don't do anything stupid by your own. Otherwise..."

Her ending right there was horrible. Ash could feel the shake in her voice. If they hadn't been around so many strangers He would have given Lea a hug, but thought that if he did so, she would wish he hadn't.

Keeping Orin and Lea close to himself, Ash went after the dwarf, hoping to find the wargs, before they found them.

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Old 04-30-2008, 07:54 PM   #97
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Gorin moved through the darkness with a rapid pace. They had been moving for around an hour in pursuit of the warg. Erling's question at the beginning of their chase was one that he had already considered, and it was all too possible that Erling was right, but no sense in stirring up unnecessary fear; the company was scared enough as it is.

Gorin and the rest suddenly came into a small clearing of grass in the forest. Gorin was panting hard, and the others looked tired as well, even Kuric looked winded.

"Let us stop here for a moment," Gorin said between breaths, "The creature couldn't have gotten far with the wound that he has and we have gained on him since our departure." Gorin felt his knees beginning to give way, but he made an effort not to sit or slouch. His dwarfish pride would not permit it.

Gorin looked around at the others and could see that they were less scared now, even the young lass looked very resilient now, but the lad Orin was shaking. The dwarf tried to ignore the lad but soon it began to get on his nerves. He walked over to the lad, who was sitting between Ash and Lea, and unfastened the cloak that he had been wearing. Gorin tossed it at the boy with just a simple, "Here ya go."

His chainmail rattled as the wind picked up, and the clouds cleared offering some moonlight to shine its rays down upon them. Suddenly, a chill shot up the dwarf's spine, not because of the wind, but what was carried on the wind. A low howl that turned into a high pitched moan was heard close at hand, and in an instant everyone was on their feet.

"It is close at hand," Gorin said glancing at Kuric, "Come let us go on cautiously, the beast is tired and should have no energy left for flight.”

Gorin took one step forward towards the sound before he stopped dead in his tracks; more howling was heard from the north. Everyone stood dazed and confused for a moment, wondering if their minds were playing tricks with them. Gorin forced a smile at the Orin, who was trying to look brave.

“Nothing to fear, you hear the strangest things at night. Best not let your mind run away with you.” They began to move on now, this time with all their weapons unsheathed, but Gorin grabbed Erling’s arm and whispered for him to linger behind with him.

“I’ve heard that kind of howling before while I was in the wild,” Gorin said staring at Erling, both looking dead serious. “More of them are coming, and they sound hungry. They will be draw to the voice of their comrade, and that puts all of us at great risk. If the others have an ounce of brains in their head they will not believe what I told the Orin, but hopefully the boy will believe it.” Gorin looked around hesitantly, “Keep a sharp eye, lad, let’s not have any more deaths on our hand.” They slowly marched forward together and rejoined the group.

Gorin took his side by Kuric, and began speaking, in low voices; about he had just told Erling. There was no fear of anyone knowing what they were saying; they spoke in a tongue that only their kind knew.

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Old 05-03-2008, 11:35 PM   #98
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Sam watched the two dwarves conferring while he caught his breath. He guessed what the red-headed dwarf probably told Erling. Although no more than a blacksmith, and not used to such goings on, he could see through a brick wall in time, as the saying went. Another chorus of howls rose and fell in the distance and his lips thinned. Surely he could hear through one as well.

Although revolted at the sight of Grimbeorn’s mangled corpse, a wave of relief had swept over him at the discovery of what really lay behind the attacks in Bree. While his heart pounded with fear at least he did not feel the horror of knowing one of their own assailed them.

He turned his head to see the shadowy shapes of the Winkles. They looked to be calmer now, especially Miss Leanora. But they would have their little brother to worry about. He loosened the leaf-shaped steel blade he’d forged only last year and reached over his shoulder to count the arrows in the quiver under his cloak. Making his silent way to the two dwarves and Erling, he spoke softly so the boy would not overhear.

“Not that it’s easy to tell over all the noise we’ve made, but I’d bet a gold piece the last calls were closer.” He straightened to his full four feet height and spoke quietly but firmly. “Now, tell us what these wargs don’t like before they get here. I don’t fancy ending up like Grimbeorn.”
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:52 PM   #99
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Hearing dwarven for the first time in decades brought a nostalgic feeling to Kuric he didn’t think possible. He deeply loved his dwarvish heritage and revered his language. It was a moving experience, one that, if the others could see into his dark deep-set eyes, they would have seen him slightly emotional. It was a sacred thing, in Kuric’s mind, to be speaking the language of Durin the Deathless.

Long had Kuric held the eldest of his race in high esteem. He remembered vividly being a young lad under the tutelage of his father being taught his history, heritage and responsibility as a dwarf. He swelled with such pride at the stories of their glory and former greatness. He had hoped to bring back their former grandeur, this was the cause of all his travel and labor, while he loved the road and adventure, he truly wanted to make his mark as a dwarf on Middle-earth. It had been a long time ago that he forgot why he left on his adventures initially. It all came crashing down on him at that moment. He knew that he had utterly depraved his once grand mission. The guilt almost overwhelmed him. He felt like he was sinking in despair, but then he heard, starting almost as a whisper from the depths of sorrow the guttural voice of his comrade and he was renewed.

Hope blossomed and for the first time in memory, Kuric felt he had a purpose. Looking down at his most prized possession, his mithral chain coat, he realized that the moment was now. When it was given to him he was told something of great import and Kuric felt it was prophetic. Never had he shared what was told him, but he knew the time had come.

“Lad,” Kuric said feeling great joy in speaking his native tongue, “I need ya ta do me a favor. These people are good people, but they ain’t a ready fer this kinda battle that awaits ‘em.” Kuric paced impatiently trying to explain and wondering if he should tell this relative stranger what he meant by what he would say next.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:47 AM   #100
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The dwarves were talking in low voices, in some secret tongue. It irritated Lea that they did not care to share their plans with the others even in such a dire situation. She was just about to interrupt their talk with a pointy remark, when the howling came again, much closer this time.

"It is very close," Orin whispered, terrified.

Lea remembered Sam's words that had gone unheard a moment ago. She turned to the hobbit.

"Should we light a fire?" she asked in a fierce voice.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:58 AM   #101
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Erling had had enough. He had had as much as he could bear of walking in the dark with those creatures howling from every direction. He could no longer stand the howls, the darkness, the tension, the fear of his companions that seemed to intensify his own terror. He could not really tell later how he had restrained himself from not simply abandoning all of them there and then and getting himself as fast as he could. But he knew he should not praise himself for that. Perhaps the only reason why he had stayed put was the fact that he still had enough wit to realise that by running blindly in the dark he might very well end up in a Warg’s mouth.

And all the while there was that great feeling of helplessness, of not really being in control of things that irritated Erling. He felt he was being born towards his end against his will-although, he was telling himself, he should have expected such an end when he had landed himself in this “defending” business. Well, he had not. He had thought things would go differently from the way they had turned up.

Suddenly, Erling knew what bothered him, when he heard the two Dwarves speaking in their own incomprehensible language. What were they about? Why could they not speak words the others could understand as well? Did they not trust them? Did they consider them mere helpless peasants, not to be trusted with grave matters? But this was their own grave matter. They had to know what was going on. For a while, Erling said nothing about this, but when he heard Orin’s terrified “They’re close”, he could stand it no longer. He turned to Gorin and Kuric.

“Look at this,” he began in one of his rare, but still great outbursts. “You two should stop your mutterings in your own tongue and tell us all what to expect. I know quite well what you think. You think we are not capable to face what’s coming, that we are only a foolish folk, useless in a fight, unable to cope in tight spots. You despise us, you deem us unworthy of your great plans. I do not deny that I know absolutely nothing about battle. I do not deny that I am scared. But I am ready to fight whatever is to come, yes, with my frightened wits and rusted weapon I am ready to withstand it and try my best to defeat it. We all are. So show us some trust and tell us what we should do…”

Erling paused, breathing deeply. The howls around them seemed to be getting near. He looked around him, his expression uneasy.
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:57 AM   #102
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Gorin was worried. The distant howling of the wolves had unsettled his companions. He had not talked to Kuric long before Sam, the hobbit, spoke his mind, but Gorin paid no attention to him at first; Kuric had not finished speaking. Kuric paused for a minute before attempting to say anything further, but he never got that chance.

"Should we light a fire?"
But as soon as she had finished speaking, and Gorin and Kuric stopped their discussion, then Erling gave a great outburst whose tenacity startled the dwarf.

“Look at this, you two should stop your mutterings in your own tongue and tell us all what to expect. I know quite well what you think. You think we are not capable to face what’s coming, that we are only a foolish folk, useless in a fight, unable to cope in tight spots. You despise us, you deem us unworthy of your great plans. I do not deny that I know absolutely nothing about battle. I do not deny that I am scared. But I am ready to fight whatever is to come, yes, with my frightened wits and rusted weapon I am ready to withstand it and try my best to defeat it. We all are. So show us some trust and tell us what we should do…” Fear and confusion was growing amongst them, and Gorin’s patience had been spent.

“Enough,” He cried allowed with outstretched arms, “I do not doubt your valor and courage young Erling, and no I do not despise you or anyone here. You have all shown great courage so far, but I will not be reprimanded by someone half my age, a mere boy compared to me!" Gorin stepped towards Erling in a threatening manner, but the young man did not flinch and grasped his weapon. The dwarf noticed his own weapon in his hand and half raised; it was then that Gorin realized that he was in the wrong. He let his arm drop to his side, and his shoulders sagged as he sighed.

“Come my good man,” Gorin said in a very passive and reluctant voice, “You call me untrustworthy and I call you a mere child, but we should both know better. I have brought you all into this predicament and I am sorry for that. Forgive my hasty words, Erling, there was no truth in them at all.” Erling didn’t respond in words, but the expression on the man’s face told Gorin all we need to know.

Another howl was heard in the night air, but this time it was directly ahead of them. Gorin spat and cursed at his negligence and foolish arguing, their prey was close at hand.

“Lea and Sam speak wisely,” he remarked, “We are blind not to have thought of it before. Kuric, could lend a hand and chop some suitable branches to be used as torches; I’ll start the fire in order to light them.”

Gorin reached back into his sack and retrieved a bag and box. He poured the contents in the sack out on the ground, shavings that he kept to lights fires in emergency, and started striking on some flint the he took from the box. In a matter of seconds a fire was started and was being fed with whatever things that they could gather.

“At least we’ll be able to rid ourselves of this nighttime chill in our bones.” He said rubbing his hands together vigorously.

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Old 05-20-2008, 03:56 PM   #103
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Kuric had made up his mind and he knew what he must do. Erling’s outburst made Kuric understand that these companions were afraid, but they pursued their fates anyway. It touched the old dwarf and that is what caused him to realize that he must do what he could to preserve these people. As Groin and Erling were loudly discussing what should be done Kuric took one look back and a with a deep breath and sigh he left the forest opening heading toward the sound of the warg, for he knew there were more than one.

Kuric trotted along doggedly as best he could in the direction of the sound. Weaving his way in and out of trees, he felt that at any moment a warg may jump out and attack. Instinctively he clutched his great mace preparing for any attack. Alright lad, he told himself, ya’ve been in battle a hundred times, this’ll be no different. He had never reassured himself before, but he felt something was different this time.

Finally, he was reached the point where he must stop running. Leaning over for a moment to catch his breath, Kuric heard sound that made the adrenaline course through his veins as he felt new vigor and strength. He yelled the ancient dwarven battle cry, "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!" He rushed toward the source of the sound uncertain of his fate but knowing that he must do all he can to save that small group of Breelanders that were unprepared for such a battle.

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Old 05-26-2008, 12:57 PM   #104
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They had come out of nowhere, and Parkun and Toby had suddenly been surrounded by snarls and growls. These were no ordinary wolves. Though they resembled them, they were larger, and there was an intelligence in their eyes that Kun had not seen in any other animal. There were three of the great beasts, and they looked…hungry. They seemed to be grinning at their prey. Wargs…Kun had thought them beasts of legend, or at least creatures destroyed in the War.

Suddenly Kun heard an angry growl from behind and thought one of the Wargs was preparing to leap onto him and the hobbit, but instead, Kun saw two more wolves came bounding out of the trees as he whirled around. One had silvery fur throughout his coat, and it…it spoke to the others, and even Kun could make out the words.

“You had orders, fleabags,” it growled angrily, looking around at the three who surrounded Kun and Toby, “You were not to touch any of the two-legs, even the small ones.” The speaking warg gestured with his muzzle towards Toby. “Besides – you know I get first kill.” The beast’s eyes met Parkun’s. The thing really was smiling at him, and Kun sensed that it was preparing to move.

“Wait!” he yelled, and sought quickly to save his life. He had not volunteered to die. He was no sacrifice. No one and nothing was worth a sacrifice, much less held value equal to his own life. “There is a party looking for you. They are probably in the forest by now. I can lead them to you. I’ll tell them you have the hobbit. No, I’ll tell them he’s hurt, and bring them to him, but you’ll be there…hidden. An ambush.” He quickly counted in his head. “There are…there are at least six others, most much bigger than this hobbit. I can bring them to you.”

If they were busy with six meals besides Toby, he could escape, even if they did not let him go. They would not bother hunting him, bellies full, and when he had helped them after all. When he would be no threat to them. If he did not bring them back, they would hunt him down, and he knew he had no chance. They knew he knew that.

The wargs caught a whiff of the other humans, Hobbit, and…another scent, which Kun identified for them as Dwarf; and several began howling in anticipation. The plan was in motion, and Parkun was still alive…

~*~*~*~*~

Parkun rushed through the trees in the direction the wargs had sniffed out the others. He was not sure if they would eat Toby yet, or wait to enjoy him with the others, but he heard nothing but the howling for some time.

Suddenly there was a shout that rose above the howling, close to Kun, in a language he did not recognize, and then he felt himself crash into something too short to be a tree and too hard to be a bush. He was pushed backward, but before he fell, a heavy blow thudded against his chest. Kun landed hard on his rear, the wind twice knocked out of him and his chest pulsing with pain. He gasped for breath, and it felt as if his heart had stopped altogether for several moments. It had not stopped pounding in his ears since he had first heard the snarls of the wargs.

It was strangely quiet now in the forest, as Kun lay on the ground at the feet of Kuric with his mace, coughing and flailing in a panic to take a full, normal breath again. Perhaps the wargs really wouldn’t be the ones to kill him after all... Everything slowly faded...

~*~*~*~*~

Dûrkoth leapt at his approaching comrade with anger burning in his eyes, and clenched the other warg’s neck in his teeth, not gently. Blood covered Carchel’s maw and his front paws, and there was a gash in his left flank. “You fool! What have you done?” he growled. Those looking for them now knew exactly what they were looking for and where to look for them, and their pack was weakened by one wounded. Dûrkoth let out a howl to silence the four others and bring them to him. He would be making an example of Carchel, and they had work to do.

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Old 05-26-2008, 01:12 PM   #105
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Back with the rest of the defenders...

Gorin had the fire going nicely and by now everyone was gathered around it to warm themselves. As Gorin sat comfortably on ground, his mind began to wonder from the present situation. The flames from the fire began to form shapes, in his mind, of great dwarven halls deep under the mountains. He could hear the smote of the hammer on the anvil, the plucking of harp strings, and the joyous laughter of dwarves feasting. The illusion was short lived, and Gorin awoke from his dream when Sam bumped him.

The dwarf’s mood was suddenly a sour one. Then he remembered why he had lit the fire in the first place.

"Where is Kuric with those torches? Probably asleep somewhere." he said turning around to see if the old dwarf was sleeping.

"Kuric?" he said in a raised voice, "Where has he got to?"

He walked to the border of the fires light to see if he could see or even hear the old dwarf; nothing.

"Kuric!" this time Gorin's voice was loud and clear.

Even though Gorin was worried, he just put it out of his mind telling himself that Kuric went to do his business and would be back soon, but this meant he had to chop torch wood. He was done in a short amount of time, and brought back four large bludgeons of wood. The ends were placed in the fire.

Gorin had seated himself back beside Sam and waited for Kuric to come back, but several minutes passed by before they heard it.

The nighttime stillness was broken by Kuric's deep dwarf yell, "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!" Gorin jumped up from where he was sitting.

"He's in trouble! Quickly we must... Gah!" and he fell to the ground screaming. Gorin had not noticed in his hastiness that he had put his left boot in the middle of the fire when he jumped up. He fell to the ground sputtering and slapping at his boot with his hands. When his boot was extinguished he grabbed one of the torches from the fire and tried to run off after Kuric, but someone grabbed him.

"Let me go, I he needs us! Let me go lad!"

"Hush, Gorin," came Ash's voice, "Let's not get separated for a second time tonight. We are coming."

Although Ash was young he was incredibly strong, using one arm to grab the dwarf's shoulders and his other arm to stop Gorin from hitting him. However, Gorin calmed down before he could do any harm to Ash. With their weapons in one hand and blazing torches in the other the defenders started off, this time in search of a dwarf.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:02 AM   #106
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In a moment Kuric would spring upon his enemies, this was his moment. He always felt most alive before the kill. With adrenaline pumping he steadied his mace waiting for that glorious moment of combat. Suddenly, he realized he had made a mistake when a creature came crashing in at his back near his flank. He turned abruptly and with all of his strength he swung his mace at his attacker. Ready to let out a victory yell, he suddenly realized mid-swing that his pursuer was not a warg, in fact it was human.

Instinctively, he pulled as much of the swing as he could. Fortunately he was able to angle to blow downward, away from the head. He hit the man's chest and abdomen with a glancing blow, certainly not enough to kill a man. "Good" he thought as he saw the man go down. "This might be our enemy too" He began approaching the figure cautiously when the man began to slump and looked up at him; that is when Kuric realzied that he had hit a fellow defender. Before Kuric could speak he saw the man, Parkun slump down splayed out on his back. "Lad, are ya alright," Kuric queried.

Going up and shaking Parkun roughly by the shoulder, Kuric attempted to wake his companion. "I wonder how ye found me lad," Kuric wondered as he shook.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:30 AM   #107
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Parkun regained his senses after a few moments to find Kuric kneeling over him, shaking him roughly. Kun groaned and tried to sit up so the Dwarf would stop shaking him. He gave up, though, and decided to simply speak from on his back. Was he alright? Did he look alright? And he certainly wasn’t feeling any better with a Dwarf man-handling him! The young man groaned again, wallowing in his pain. Luckily he was feeling too weak to give Kuric even a nasty look. He needed to keep all of these “defenders” on good terms with him if they were to follow him deeper into the forest simply at his word.

“I’m…I’m alright… Don’t worry about me…” I sound so bloody ridiculous, he thought, but he knew this Dwarf and any of the others would eat his entire act up. All he had to do was seem afraid, distressed, worried…which he was. “It’s Toby…Toby we need to worry about. He’s hurt. A warg…it came out of nowhere…that’s what’s killing the livestock…we fought it off, but Toby’s hurt bad…”

Finally Kun did sit up, finding some strength as his plan began unfolding, and as he recalled the reason behind his mission. He was going to save his own skin. Of course, this crazy old Dwarf could have killed me before the Wargs had a chance!

“Where are the others?” he asked as he glanced around him. If he was stuck alone with this crazy Dwarf… Those beasts would not be satisfied with just one.

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Old 06-05-2008, 04:28 PM   #108
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His torch flashed and flickered as he swung back and forth, frantically looking for Kuric's tracks. The group was spread out in a long line with Lea and Ash, along with Orin, covered one area while Sam and Gorin covered another area; Erling was bringing up the rear. Gorin had guessed his Kuric's path up to now, but the path had gotten clearer to him now and Sam's keen eyes were soon to see Kuric's tracks.

Gorin's fear for the well being of Kuric soon began to turn into anger. He had no right to run off like this, he thought to himself, He'll get a piece of my mind when we catch up with him! Gorin looked back to see how closely Sam was following him, when suddenly noticed that the hobbit was standing stalk still a couple of yards back.

"What are you halting for," Gorin said impatiently, "Can't you curve your queer hobbitish ways for a little bit? We've got..."

"Shhh!" said Sam, frantically waving his hands up and down.

Gorin did as Sam said sighing and grunting; presently he heard it too, somebody was yelling for help close by. The hobbit disappeared into the brush, and Gorin started yelling at the others to come to him. Gorin followed Sam through the bushes and over tree stumps until they came to a man standing crying for help. The man had short blond hair (by dwarf standards) and was very skinny. Gorin did not know who he was and thought it strange to come upon a man alone in the wild. He stepped forward cautiously with his axe raised in readiness, suspecting that the man was a highwayman pretending to need help. The stranger immediately started yell and back away from Gorin as the dwarf walked towards him.

"Leave me alone," the stranger screamed, "Cut it out Kuric, don't hit again!"

"Kuric, he did this to you?" Gorin's face suddenly switched expressions, "Where is he?!" he said grabbing the man and shaking him violently, "Where is he, I'll teach him to run off like he did!"

"Easy with him, Gorin," Lea said running up beside Kun, "He's one of us!"

Gorin was surprised at what the girl said, had there been two groups that set out from Bree, and did he only meet with one? Before he had time to ask them this Kun spoke again.

"Wargs attacked us, but I fought them off, and Toby is hurt! Kuric's gone to get him."

Gorin stood up and through his axe into the ground. "That blasted Kuric!" he roared, his eyes blazing with fury," If I ever get him I'll... wait what did you say?" his mood suddenly changed as Kun's words of "Wargs" suddenly registered in his mind.

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Old 06-06-2008, 10:28 AM   #109
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They had all gone after Kuric as quickly as possible, Sam and Gorin leading. Erling was at the rear, a thing that made him uncomfortable. If the Wargs were only in front of them, then Erling had the best chance should an attack occur. But what if they were behind them also? From time to time, he would look behind him, dreading to catch sight of dark shadows ready to spring on him.


The company halted suddenly, and Erling-who was still gazing behind, although he could not see too much in the dark-nearly crashed into the person in front of him. He stopped just in time.

“What is it?” he asked in a tense whisper. “Why have we stopped? Have we found Kuric?”

But soon, he could see for himself what had happened. They had indeed found someone but it was not Kuric. He saw Gorin bending over a man that looked very much like…

“Kun!” he exclaimed then. “You are the last person I have expected to run into here! How did you get here?”

But there was no time for such talk, as Parkun’s words clearly told him. Toby was hurt and Kuric had run off to take on a pack of Wargs single handed.

“Curse that stiff-necked dwarf for going alone and not waiting for us!” Erling said. “And poor Toby! What are we to do?”
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:30 AM   #110
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A cold chill ran up Gorin's short spine. The wargs had already killed one of their men and now another is wounded possibly dead. All of a sudden his angry words directed at Kuric, which had seemed justifiable a minute ago, where forgotten. Gorin was genuinly frightened at the thought of those beasts ripping his flesh into pieces, he did not mind dieing in battle against a worthy foe, but not dieing at the whim of an animal.

He looked up at the wounded man named Kun. There was a hint of desperation and fright in his voice when he talked, but Gorin was too shaken to notice this. He took courage in the expressions of his companions, he felt no shame in feeling scared. "Just do your duty and I'll be fine." he told himself.

Gorin's beard waved gently in the breeze as he started to look around for Kuric's tracks again. They wouldn't be going anywhere fast with Kun with them, and going after Kuric would be the deadliest of paths to choose, but Gorin would feel some comfort in knowing the way that his kinsman had gone. It wasn't hard to find, Kuric's heavy build was easy to track.

There was no mistaking where Kuric had headed, through a trail of broken twigs, trampled down brush, and stirred up earth Gorin found Kuric's tracks. Gorin smiled, the tracks were fresh and no more than ten minutes old.

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Old 06-16-2008, 12:10 PM   #111
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"Wargs attacked us, but I fought them off, and Toby is hurt! Kuric's gone to get him."

"We must follow Kuric then," Ash said hesitantly. "He and Toby are in grave danger."
Lea nodded in agreement, although she knew that would put them in grave danger in turn. She knew Ash knew it too, so she considered it pointless to say it aloud. She gripped Orin's shoulder tightly.

"Parkun. You said you fought those wargs off. May I ask how? You don't look wonded and I don't mean to under-estimate you, but..."
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:23 AM   #112
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Gorin slowly crept back towards the group unnoticed. Lea was holding Orin tightly and was casting a worried look up at Ash. As always, Sam was silent and was thinking to himself, at least it looked that way. Erling was looking at, listening to him speak.

Lea turned her worried face from Ash to Parkun, and asked him how he fought the Wargs off. Gorin nodded his head in silent agreement, Parkun had not struck him as the type to stand up to anything. He looked thin and boysh in the face, not at all what a fighter would look like. There was a bow strung to his back with a quiver, almost filled with arrows, and the dwarf noticed a knife hanging from Parkun's belt. Gorin's face grimaced in disgust. He fought them off? Most likely this Toby that he's talking about fought them while this coward ran, and there was nothing Gorin hated worse than a coward, unless it be a traitor.

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Old 06-21-2008, 12:57 PM   #113
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They were all looking at him, waiting for answers: answers which he had to contrive and make seem sincere. Lying was hardly new to him, and Kun was accustomed to putting on an act, especially for authoritative figures, but he could hardly breathe now for reasons beyond the blow to his chest. There was another dwarf, though the “defenders” still seemed to be much fewer in number than before. Another dwarf! If this one was as crazy as the other…

The strange dwarf and the girl seemed skeptical, which both infuriated and frightened him. But there was no way they would not follow him to save their hobbit friend…not this kind of people.

It was hardly convincing, though, his story of “fighting off” the wargs with Toby. Kun did his best not to show any anger as he tried to imagine what was going through Lea’s and the dwarf’s minds. The way the dwarf looked at him…it was with disgust. They thought him a coward. They hated him for wanting to survive. They thought him a coward, but he knew he was smart.

“I…” Kun lowered his head, hiding the anger in his eyes, and making a show of sadness and shame. His fists were clenched, but at least any anger could be assumed to be directed at himself. “I…ran. I did. I abandoned him.”

He began pouring emotion into his voice, and allowed his body to shake with his fear. “I was scared, I…I was never ready to defend anyone, I should never have come. I have only failed the town, failed you…and…and Toby.” He practically sobbed.

“I just hope it is not too late to do something about it. To rectify what I have done.”

Kun paused as his eyes glistened with tears. He had often used tears to get out of trouble. Everyone thought him pathetic, wimpy, girlish anyway, and he was always about using things to his advantage.

“I should have helped him then and there, but…I will help him now, though I need your help.”

His gaze was pleading but contained determination as he looked up at the others and pulled himself to his feet.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:34 AM   #114
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Erling gave a weary sigh of exasperation when Parkun began his outburst. The last thing the band of Defenders needed was that. And the last thing he wished to listen to was Parkun’ groaning about what a coward he had been. He usually was patient and calm but right now his patience was waning fast. He was weary and angry and wanted that wretched day and the battle with the Wargs to be over whatever the end would be. He wondered briefly whether shouting with rage would help him get rid of his frustrations, but he reconsidered, realising that it would most likely draw the Wargs to them. He took a deep breath to calm himself.

“Well, then we should go now, unless we want to have more deaths tonight.” he said. “Perhaps there will be more anyway. No matter. We should go. And you…”

Erling turned to Parkun and he was ready to vent all his anger on him, to reprimand him from running away and leaving poor Toby in the claws of the Wargs, but he suddenly found that he could not. How could he talk? He had not been there. He could not tell whether he would not have done the same thing, whether he would really have had the courage to stay. Most likely not, he thought. Most likely he would find it hard to stand and fight even now. He sighed, and shook his head.

“Come, lead the way, Parkun, if you can.” he told him on a weary tone. “I cannot say anything against you, as I cannot tell whether I would not have abandoned Toby myself to save my own skin. But we had better go now. We should hurry.”
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:38 PM   #115
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It took all the patients Kuric could muster, to just wait for this man to gain his composure. So disheveled and unnerved he was that it reminded Kuric why he knew he must go at this alone. “These people, aren’t ready fer the task” he thought to himself. The man spoke about Toby and it took a moment for Kuric to remember who Toby was. By then Parkun had asked about the location of the others.

“The others,” Kuric questioned, “Why I left ‘em back at the clearin back there. Figured they’d be no good ta me out here. I was goin ta get those wargs meself lad. I reckon they are just a short distance ahead. In fact,” Kuric chuckled, “I thought you were one of them. Here let me help ya up lad.” Kuric extended his right hand towards Parkun who instinctively flinched which only caused Kuric to spit in disgust at this man. “Where’s his spine” he wondered to himself. Realizing that it wasn’t another attack Parkun accepted the help and with some difficulty he managed to stand despite the wobbly feeling in his legs.

“Now lad, I think it’d be fer the best if ya got yerself back with the others.” Pointing the way Kuric instructed “it’s that way there, it took me a bit and I was runnin ta find these ruddy wargs and now me mission is all the more urgent, what with that helpless hobbit in the mix. I knew he shouldn’t have come in the first place, nothing but trouble sending out a bunch of hobbits if ya ask me, he wanted to take charge when I told him it’d be fer the best if I was the leader…” Suddenly Kuric heard the howl of the warg that brought him out of his untimely rant.

Grabbing his mace and beginning to towards the direction of the sound at a quick pace, Kuric realized that Parkun wasn’t following. Turning to face him he saw what was, in his mind, a sniveling weakling not fit for true combat. Knowing that he wouldn’t have the emotional fortitude necessary for such an encounter Kuric waved off Parkun not hiding his disdain for him and said “Go back to the others and tell them to stay put, I’ll take care of our wargs” With that Kuric departed through the trees again resuming his hunt and destiny.
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Old 06-24-2008, 06:27 PM   #116
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His eyes burned, his grip tightened around his axe and shield; even his beard seem to twitch with his anger. He wanted to hit Parkun, standing there and almost sobbing with fear. Such foolish behaviour should not be aloud when lives are at stake, Gorin wanted to strike him with all of his might! He stepped forward, about to do just that, when Erling's words stopped him. He was so bent on his thoughts that the words startled Gorin.

Erling's talk was calm and consciously composed, and it even sounded as if Erling pitied Parkun a bit. Gorin to mad for words, his eyes widened his stance as stiff as a stone statue. Kuric had left to save this miserable man's companion, Toby, and all that Erling could do was sound cross! It had tried his short span of patience even thinner, these people were made of lesser material than dwarfs. He did not dare to speak just yet in fear that he would snape and do something rash.

Parkun led the way sobbing, trying to compose himself as best he could. Gorin followed close behind him, infront of Lea and Ash. His eyes were fixed on Parkun and never left him.

"Good for nothing Breelander," he said not realizing that he was speaking outloud, but barely above a whisper, "If Kuric dies may that man also die, with my axe in his throat!" His words were low, but filled with his wrath.

Gorin sprinted closer to Parkun and hit him hard on the shoulder with his hand, almost causing Parkun to fall down. "Come on Parkun," he growled, "Pick up the pace or we'll never reach them in time!"
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:14 PM   #117
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All of them seemed to turn on him now. Just as before, they all watched him, but now all their gazes were filled with anger and disgust. Even Erling, who had always seemed to calm and patient, and who had always been kind to Parkun – he had seemed so relieved to find him! – turned on him with anger flashing in his eyes for a moment. The “you” Erling spat at Kun was spiteful.

And that Dwarf…he was worse than Kuric, now. Kun thought he could feel rage emanating from him, and avoided looking at the Dwarf. He held his axe in his hands and a shield, and the young man was frozen for a moment with the fear that the Dwarf was about to strike. His chest still ached like mad, and this Dwarf was not about to strike him on accident.

Now, at the best they pitied him. That was what he had seen in Erling’s eyes besides anger. But he was not the one to be pitied, he thought. They were about to follow him to… Kun could not finish the thought, though it did not exactly displease him.

Kuric, though, had gone ahead. In the direction of where the wargs would be waiting for their meal. Kun wished he could stall a little longer somehow, but how would it look now, if he would not immediately take them to Toby, after his little speech about wanting to save him. There was an urgency now that he had helped create.

He could not bring himself to move quickly, though, for more than one reason. His chest still ached with every breath he took, and thoughts began to run through his mind until his knees nearly gave out. If the Kuric drew out the wargs, and they got there before the Dwarf was taken care of, it would no longer be a trap. But then perhaps he could slip away unnoticed, if there was a fight, and still survive, as everyone would be busy, and…maybe no one would survive, warg, man, dwarf, or hobbit. Then he could say whatever he liked, and be the surviving hero, or flee from Bree forever.

Kun inhaled a bit sharply, and his chest stung. Maybe he was already dying, anyway. Maybe he was dying slowly, and his suffering would be long and drawn out, thanks to that crazy dwarf.

The young man felt a hard punch in the back of his shoulder that caused him to stumble, as his knees threatened to allow him to topple. The dwarf growled quietly behind him, but Kun heard every word. Kun stumbled on stiffly, finding it difficult to keep his eyes ahead of him and his fists unclenched.

Their anger angered him in turn, though he had expected it. This new dwarf – who was he to speak ill of anyone? Kun had had his fill of their kind. They were nothing but dim-witted oafs who should not be trusted with anything that could do harm, for they did not need any help.

But it was no matter. This only made his work easier.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:53 AM   #118
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Leanora looked at Parkun. She pitied the young man and understood him. She was sorry for what had happened to him, yet the thought of what he had done horrified her. The most horrifying thought was that she was not sure if she herself would have had the courage to act differently in his stead. She turned her eyes away to avoid seeing the reflection of her own cowardice on his face.

She grasped Orin's arm tightly. The boy's face was very pale in the moonlight, but there was resolution in his eyes. Lea wanted to hug him, but that would have broken his courage or at least humiliated him. So she just gave him the bravest smile she could.

She led him behind the others. "We're the rearguard," she told him solemnly. "We have a very important duty. We must keep an eye on the surroundings and ensure that no one is following us. We two are young and we have good eyes and sharp ears." And we're the weakest fighters, and I want to keep you safe. She did not say that aloud. Orin nodded. His sister could not see if there was relief or disappointment on his face.

Ash cast a glance at his siblings. They would hopefully be most safe at the background. He knew Lea could take care of Orin and he also knew that she could take care of herself as well as he could of himself. Still, he was afraid for them, and for himself too, but that he did not admit.

Instead, he stepped to Parkun's side. He had noticed the man could hardly walk well, and they were in a hurry. "Will you let me help you?" he asked, offering his arm.
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Old 07-09-2008, 04:04 PM   #119
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Thoughts continued to rush through Kuric’s mind as he raced towards the wargs. He clearly remembered leaving home and the lack of understanding by his clansmen. They couldn’t understand why a dwarf would leave such a rich mine for a life of adventure alone. He remembered the excitement and sense of purpose he felt as he descended the mountain to begin his new life. While he did make it back home occasionally, he never looked back, and yet at this moment he questioned his decision to leave wondering if he had been correct in his decision. Kuric felt saddened and depressed realizing that for all his lofty goals and ambitions he hadn’t made much of a difference in Middle-earth and no tales would be told of him.

Maybe, he wondered, just maybe if I save these townsmen from this fight, then I’ll be worthy of some small tale. With a heavy heart but a fixed resolve Kuric plunged into the clearing where the wargs held Toby. He immediately saw three enormous wargs surrounding their hobbit quarry that lay on the ground bloody and lifeless. All rationale thought left Kuric’s mind and the familiar sense of battle-lust took over. This is what Kuric lived for and this is what he would die for; the adrenaline rush of battle, the combat that allowed one to prove his prowess and ability. Kuric was a masterful warrior having seen much combat and been in more than one tavern brawl. Kuric never hesitated, he immediately lowered his head and rushed headlong into battle, all the aches and pains of age were washed away.

With his giant mace he made a wide sweeping blow at the seemingly unsuspecting wargs, so ferocious and sudden was his onslaught. Kuric knew what would happen when he made this stroke, it wasn’t designed to necessarily overly injure any opponent, but in large groups it was meant to get them off balance, leaving them exposed for the next assault. Kuric quickly spotted one that appeared slower and was probably injured. Realizing is best to thin the numbers quickly while he still had the element of surprise he moved in for the attack on the unfortunate warg that Gorin had previously injured. The warg saw the attack coming but couldn’t move out of the way in time. Kuric utilizing the forward momentum of his body to further propel this blast, took the mace in an overhead swinging down motion to the back of the warg. The warg instantly crumbled beneath the blow which broke it back and ribs. Feeling his enemy fall and hearing the breaking of so many bones brought Kuric a joy that made him begin to sing an ancient dwarvish battle song, he felt that it brought him greater strength. But now the other two were prepared, for so quick was Kuric to attack the weakest that he positioned himself directly between two wargs that now had him severely flanked.

Realizing his mistake he sought to buy himself a bit of time and yelled out “Come on ya mangy cur, a hobbit is one thing but can ya take on a dwarf?” The moment hesitation this caused the wargs gave Kuric the moment he needed. Based upon the position of his mace he felt it best to attack the warg on his right and he made a sudden move to the warg. He knew that the other would be on him immediately but he underestimated their speed and as he reached back to begin his swing his arm suddenly stopped and he felt a great pressure on his forearm where the other warg had grabbed his arm in its large maw. Kuric’s arm was protected by his mithril mail but the blunt pressure was painful. Cursing Kuric quickly, before the warg could fully react, Kuric brought his right fist and landed a damaging blow with his spiked glove at the base of the wargs neck causing him to let go of Kuric’s arm and yelp in pain.

Once the initial flurry was over the remaining two wargs were content to circle around Kuric, waiting for him to make the next move. Blood was dripping down the one who received the wound but it was not a fatal blow. Kuric who was often rash and impulsive wasn’t content to wait this out and play their game. He lunged towards the warg nearest to him making a feint that he was going for an all out attack on the injured warg. Knowing that the other would be in quick pursuit from behind he stopped surprisingly fast and reversed his direction and without looking made a sweeping blow of his mace. The warg tried to change direction but wasn’t fully prepared for this move from his prey. He got clipped on the hind quarter as he turned to flee. The impact caused the left hind leg to shatter. There was no time to relish his slight victory for no sooner had the blow been delivered than the third warg was on him. Normally a warg jumping on his back wouldn’t have thrown Kuric to the ground but the final warg was the most powerful of the three and he had caught Kuric off balance after swinging his mace. He was able to knock Kuric face down into the ground and savagely began probing with his mouth and claws over Kuric’s body for any unprotected flesh. It found that area in the inner part of the upper thigh and clamped down with great force shaking his head vigorously to cause further damage to the sensitive skin. This caused Kuric to fail in his attempt to get back up. The warg backed off knowing it had caused a significant injury to the lone dwarf and was content to wait for his plans to fully hatch.

Kuric struggled to his feet and looking down he could see the blood pooling below him. He recognized that it would only be a matter of time before he succumb to his wound if he weren’t treated, but there would be no time for that and he must make a final stand to protect those who are still out in the wilderness. Knowing that with the two there wouldn’t be a way to take out the largest warg Kuric began to make his way to the warg with the broken leg. Forgetting his pain and one last sacred honor to his people he let out his final battle cry with a growl “Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!” and rushed as fast as his leg would allow toward the injured warg. Grabbing his mace his both hands and lifting it above his head Kuric hoped to make a quick death stroke and then figure out what to do next. The mace came down causing a sickening thud and the warg crumpled beneath the force. Just as he turned to face the other warg Kuric was hit hard and unexpectedly from behind and was slammed to the ground hitting his head on a rock. All was growing black and the final thing Kuric remembered was the sounds of wargs, he wondered where the others had come from and he thought he faintly heard the sound of a dwarf calling his name before it all faded into blackness and he remembered no more.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:25 PM   #120
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Gorin watched with satisfaction as his hit sent Parkun stumbling to the ground on one knee. He chuckled as he a look of pain come over the young mans face and was tempted to deliver another blow, but thought better of it. Instead Gorin strode past him and waited for him to pick up the pase to resume leading them. He was surprised and outraged when Ash stepped forward and helped Parkun up, this was not the time for such gentlemanly behaviour! Let the wimp be pitied all he wants to be when he gets back to his town of Bree, but out here in the wild they needed to keep moving. He wanted to shout at Ash ignorance for the gravity of the situation , but it would have made things a hundred times worse and instead contented himself with impatiently tapping his axe upon his shield.

Lea and Orin walked in the rear of the company, a smart move on their part, with Ash close by their side. Parkun breathed heavily in the vanguard and was followed closely by Erling and Gorin. Sam stayed in the shadows, and his foot falls were so quiet he was barely even noticed by the group. The wind had picked up and the clouds were drawn back like a veil, revealing the moon and the light that it brought forth. They could see easier now. Only a dwarf could have made such a careless trail of snapped twigs and trampled bushes that much was sure, they barely needed Parkun to lead them the trail was so clear.

Suddenly, the unmistakable voice of Kuric was heard in the distance yelling the battle cry of the dwarf's. The company came to an abrupt halt and listened intently, and a yelp was heard soon after. Gorin's face lit up in a bright smile as he lept for joy. Forgetting his anger he threw his left arm around Parkun's shoulder in a thankful embrace.

"Well done," he exclaimed, "Hurry, let us hasten to him before the battle is won!" He darted off in the direction of the noise and was quickly overtaken by some of the longer legged members of the group.

"Kuric, Kuric!" Gorin yelled laughing as he ran, but little did he realize that his friend could not hear his cries.

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