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Old 07-07-2004, 11:23 AM   #361
Aylwen Dreamsong
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As Liornung called for an answer of Ædegard, Bella once again turned to speak privately with Argeleafa. Her eyes looked distant, and her face spoke of some other place than where they sat. Bellyn watched the girl for a moment, curious at the glance and gaze in her companion's eyes. When Bellyn murmured her name, Argeleafa blinked and turned her gaze to Bellyn.

"I once painted a picture, Argeleafa, of two lovers embracing in the twilight of a winter's day," Bellyn explained, remembering the portrait vividly within her own mind. "I never knew exactly how that felt, and I only drew the picture from the stories I had heard and distant memories of my parents. Now I see Amroth, and I feel his pain whenever I see him or whenever he cries out. Even though he is only one half of a pair and I cannot see the other half, I think of the journey he is on and all the trouble he has gone through to find his lady."

Argeleafa said nothing, but nodded slowly as both young women turned to where Amroth lay. They watched him for a moment, with Nethwador and the Elf by his side, sweating and trembling in his dreams. Bellyn frowned, hating to see pain in someone else without being able to help. It hurt Bellyn that she could not help in some way.

As Liornung and Ædegard spoke, Bellyn smiled. "Argeleafa, do you see yourself feeling the same way about Ædegard that Lord Amroth feels for Nimrodel? I can see the energy between you two...I hope I am not being too blunt? You do not have to answer if you do not wish to. I just want to know more about the matter of love that seems to affect so much in this world."
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:57 PM   #362
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White Tree

Aeron blinked at Mellonin. That must have been the most words she had ever said to hime in one discourse. In fact, that probably surpassed the string of insults that Gwyllion ever hurled at him seriously (and that was the key word here) at one time. He scratched his head and snapped, "If I recall correctly bees are insects and they give honey. And ants are very good workers." He smirked at her and patted himself on the back. That should sufficiently convince her that he was not a worlthess insect.

He didn't wait for her to reply but said, "I wonder what the ranger -- this mighty ranger would do without humble lackey?" He hunched his shoulders, and peered meekly from under his brows. "Can you imagine him bowing his knee to a fire to blow upon the flames? Ha!" he laughed. "He would probably let it die before he did that. Oh no," he continued, his words tumbling from his mouth. "The only reason he seeks your foolish brother is not to tarnish the name of ranger. But in the end, he is just like me," he said.
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Old 07-07-2004, 03:05 PM   #363
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White-Hand Dec 22: Ravion's peaceful camp at the Entwash Delta

A burst of derisive laughter, loud and shrill, sliced through the cold air and echoed in the mist. Ravion scowled, and began marching toward them. Mellonin did not notice.

"Just like you!" she gasped, cackling and half choking. "Just like-- oh-- " she fought for her breath, and lost. She laughed til she cried, her face red, her breath coming in shrill gasps. Ravion stood atop the crest, and halted, baffled. Mellonin sat down hard on the ground, shaking and hiccuping.

Aeron smirked. Gwyllion ran past Aeron, smacking him hard on her way by. "Monster!" she said.

"Women!" he spat.

Gwyllion put one arm around Mellonin's shoulders, and Mellonin buried her head against her friend and sobbed in earnest.

"Oh, keep crying. That will solve everything, " Aeron said, sidling away from Ravion.

Mellonin's hands twitched, and then she buried her face deeper into Gwyillion's shoulder.

"It might even bring him back from the dead, " Aeron chirped, still moving away from Ravion.

Slowly, her hands withdrew from Gwyllion, and her sobbing stopped. She looked up, and saw Aeron not five feet away. In one movement, she stood, and flew at him. Gwyllion cried out. Ravion's sharp order was drowned out by wildcat howls from Mellonin. Aeron fought back as best he could, but his hair was clenched in her left fist, and his face exposed to the storm. After she landed two solid punches, he kicked her, and she clawed his face, shrieking curses all the while. Blood ran.

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Old 07-07-2004, 03:23 PM   #364
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White Tree

Things were moving to fast. First Mellonin was crying, a shaky little puppy without an ounce of courage, and then she was a raging wild cat. She was pulling his hair (which he was sure was bad form) and punching him. He could taste the warm blood on his lip.

He kicked her in the shins. She shrieked and rained down more curses on him. It was really nice to hear her swear and curse. It showed that she had a little spirit at least. He punched her in the thigh area where it was tender and her shriek turned into a puppy yelp. Her nails raked his cheek and he landed a solid fist upon her jaw.

A little voice whispered to him that he was fighting a woman. But he didn't care. She had started the blasted fight and deserved the pain and the humiliation. Slowly, he wrestled her to the floor, pinning her arms to the ground. She was breathing heavily and a little spittle dribbled down her chin. "A little insect eh?" he snapped. "Well the little insect just conquerored the noble, valaric, lioness." He glared at her, and spat on her forehead.

He really was quite impressed that Mellonin had fought him. Had actually summoned the anger to stop feeling sorry for herself and to have fought him. She, a weak maiden tusseling a storng wiry chap such as himself. And actually expecting to win (for who fought without the expectation to win, eh?). The whole situation was laughable.

He tittered, held her arms above her head with one wrist, and began to tickle her. Women did not like to be tickled as Gwyllion had told him many times over. Tickling was very humiliating as well...especially when one had also been defeated in a silly fight.

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Old 07-07-2004, 03:43 PM   #365
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White-Hand Dec 22: peace and quiet

Her face twisted in fury. To be tickled by this beast as he sat upon her stomach! Her hands were held fast. She considered biting him, but she could not reach him-- yet.

She drew her right knee up as hard as she could and caught him in the middle of his back. He lurched toward her shoulder. She brought her other knee up, and drove both feet into the ground. He twisted, off balance, and in doing so his grip slipped, and one of her hands came free. She siezed his hair again, hauling herself toward him; she was close enough to his shoulder to bite it. His shrill yelp was cut short as she kneed him again.
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:39 PM   #366
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White Tree

This was enough. If she was going to pummel and literally act as if she was going to kill him then she deserved all he could give her.

He could feel her teeth sink into his skin and he hoped that she had a mouthful of blood swishing around, staining her white teeth. He drove his fist into her stomach while he tripped her up with his legs. She fell with a splat on her bottom and lunged forward. He dodged and she fell on her face. Leaping onto her back, he began to drag her arms across her back. He clenched her wrists in one grimy fist and pulled on her arms in a way to cause great pain. With the other hand he jerked on her hair, sending jabs of pain across her scalp.

He shouted, "See what the insect is doing to you! See!"

He shot glances about him and saw Ravion and Raefindan stumble towards them. Gwyllion paled and keeled over in a dead faint.

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Old 07-08-2004, 05:22 PM   #367
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion strode towards Aeron: this had gone on long enough. He appreciated the need to release tension, but this had gone altogether too far. He gestured for Raefindan to see to Gwyllion as he approached the fight.

He threw Aeron off of Mellonin, and spun the boy around so that he was facing him. "That is enough," he shouted. "You say that you stay here only so as not to tarnish my name, and yet you attack Mellonin in her grief? If that was not so disgusting, I would laugh." He drew his hand back to strike Aeron. The boy stood his ground, setting his teeth in anticipation of the impact.

Ravion struggled with himself for a moment, then let his hand fall to his side. "I am ashamed to say that you serve me," he said tightly. "You have shamed me! But more than that, you have shamed yourself. Look around you, son of Gondor. This is your handiwork. Are you proud?"

"I--"

"!" Ravion shouted. "Do not speak. You will go by Gond. If I catch you raising your hand once more to Mellonin or any of us, I will send you and Gwyllion back to your home. Then we will see how much I rely on you."

"Ravion, I--"

"Êphal êphalak îdôn hi-Akallabêth," Ravion muttered. "How far from Anadûnê have we strayed."

He went to Mellonin and offered her his hand. "Are you hurt?" he asked, helping her up.
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Old 07-08-2004, 06:07 PM   #368
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Silmaril Raefindan

Raefindan went to Gwyllion and chafed her palms, stealing glances at Mellonin and Ravion as he dressed down Aeron. It had all happened so fast. Raefindan wished that he had been quicker to react to the situation, but apparently he was still recovering from his pneumonia. He turned back to Gwyllion. Her face was pale. He brushed the hair away from her face and lightly slapped her cheeks, calling her name. He took his water pouch from his side and poured some water over her lips, which brought no reaction, then on her forehead and eyes. She blinked and frowned and coughed, then looked up at him, recognition coming only after a moment.

"How do you fare, Gwyllion? Here, drink."

She bent her head forward toward his water pouch, and he placed his hand behind her neck and head to support her. She drank a few gulps, then turned her head away. He pulled the water pouch away.

"Thank you," she said.

"You are welcome. How do you feel?"

"Well enough. What happened?"

"You fainted as your brother and Mellonin fought."

Her eyes crossed momentarily and he thought he was going to lose her again. Then her brows lowered and her lips became a line. "The monster!"

"Indeed."

Raefindan helped her to her feet. She scampered off to Mellonin and knelt by Ravion's side. Raefindan paced to Aeron, standing by Gond. The boy's back was straight and his shoulders were high. His face was held in a tight frown and his brows were low in an angry frown. Raefindan walked past him, then turned and faced him directly. He let his hands hang loose at his sides. He knew how his eyes must look; it was the expression from which staring daggers had been derived.

"Boy, I do not know you. Search your heart. Search well."

"But she started-" Aeron began heatedly, but Raefindan had turned away from him, and walked back to the others without so much as a glance for the boy.
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Old 07-08-2004, 06:18 PM   #369
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Apparently it was he who had attacked Mellonin. Poor sweet Mellonin who was an innocent flower. A woman that was far above him, a woman who could do no wrong, whose hands could not be stained. A woman who believed herself better than him because she hid behind lies and her own self pity.

And Gwyllion. The little brat. She thought him a monster for what? Because he spoke the truth? Because he protected himself from a mad woman? Because he had tried to stop the fight with a bit of light hearted tickling and then Mellonin had bit him? Because he took care of her? Because he had been willing to go to jail if the blasted ranger did not want to drag her along? Because he took care of her when she had a fit? Because he made sure that she did not come near blood?

He rubbed his fingers through his hair, and wiped the sweat from his brow. That stupid bloody ranger. Automatically siding with the woman. How typical. How extremely typical. The ranger must have blinded his eyes or twisted the truth to serve his own purpose.

"Boy, I do not know you. Search your heart. Search well," Raefindan said.

"But I --" Aeron began to protest. But then he turned away and left.

What was he to search for. The courage to lie?
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:09 PM   #370
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Dec 22: Mellonin

Mellonin rose in a daze, her hands in Ravion's. She took several deep breaths, trying to quiet herself. She felt terribly out of control, and did not like the feeling.

"Are you hurt?" Ravion repeated.

She frowned. Am I hurt? She thought about her body. Shoulders. My shoulders are on fire. My stomach hurts where he punched me. My back aches, my wrists sting, my shins and thigh hurt; my head hurts where he pulled my hair. Oh, my shoulders...

She opened her mouth to reply, and looked at the ranger, and realized how disappointed he must be in her. She dropped her eyes. She had no tears left, so she simply pulled away in shame. He still firmly held her hands. Pain stabbed through her shoulders. She cried out, stopped pulling, and turned her face away instead.
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:24 PM   #371
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Shield Ædegard

Fréawine! Ædegard had not thought of him since that day. His throat caught with shame at himself, and he looked down between his knees. He had been asked a question, though, and Liornung had the right of an answer, not least because he had brought that family friend back to mind.

"Fréawine is a friend of my family. His older brother, Fréatheld, was my papa's best friend when they were boys, and Fréawine is Fréatheld's youngest brother. Fréatheld was almost a second father to Fréawine. Fréatheld left his tanner's work, and Fréawine his ostlery to fight under King Eomer in the War. Only Fréawine returned. He has been a close friend to my papa ever since. I could not leave Edoras at all if it were not for Fréawine. 'Tis an evil that I have not remembered him until now!" Ædegard looked away from them, not daring to meet Leafa's eyes. She must think him mean of spirit to be so thoughtless.
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:10 AM   #372
Nurumaiel
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Shield Night of Dec. 23 -- Argeleafa

Argeleafa was not at the moment looking at Ædegard, for her eyes were fixed on Bellyn in a manner that was almost a stare. Her cheeks blushed a deep red and then she dropped her head to consider this question. Ædegard had been kind to her, very kind to her, and he had told her she was beauty and had led her for walks in the eveningtime. She had begun to turn to him for protection when she felt afraid, and she had found herself looking at him when he was not looking at her, and thrilling when he met her eyes.

But was it really and truly love? Bellyn wanted to know more about this love, and Argeleafa realized she wanted to know more, as well, for she did not know if she experienced it or not. Love was what drove Amroth on for miles and miles, not wanting rest, wanting only his Nimrodel. And love was what had brought her own parents together in the bloom of youth, and what had called her mother to follow her father when he went to join the wayfarers.

"I don't know," Argeleafa stammered, without looking up. Yet she glanced slightly sideways to see Ædegard, and saw that he was looking at her. She colored again and then she looked up, but not at Bellyn. She looked up at the sky instead, and the starlight caught her eyes and made the impish twinkle that appeared in them seem unearthly, as if she were some mischievous creature of the woods. She looked at Bellyn again, smiling in that same impish way. "Maybe," she said.

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Old 07-09-2004, 09:38 PM   #373
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White-Hand Tharonwe

The girl was weakening already. The dreams he had sent had left her fearful; she had the useful flaw of self recrimination, which he could use to his advantage as well. And her heart was drawn to the ranger. All three threads combined, could be worked into a useful leafpack of woe. It was night. He sent her a dream.

In it she walked in the swamp, at the edge of the waters, and the beast rose from beneath the surface. It stretched a tentacle toward her, but as it did so, the tentacle became a slimy hand, and the beast became her brother that she searched for. He called her, begging her to help him. She wanted to help, but was afraid of the water. The more she hesitated, the more pitious her brother's calls. But she could not make her feet move. Then the ranger came to her, spear in hand, and yelled at her to back away from the beast. He pushed her from the edge of the swamp and lofted the spear at her brother as she cried "no!" - the spear caught him in the chest, and the brother's face contorted in agony and despair. Then the brother became the swamp beast, and began to sink back into the water. The ranger said, "See? I told you! You should trust me!" But even as he spoke these words, the ranger became the swamp beast, and the beast became his brother again. The swamp beast moved toward her and wrapped her in its tentacles.

Tharonwe left her mind.

The red haired boy was weak in body, but had shook off the despair. He would be harder to deal with, except that Tharonwe had detected a weakness that the boy could not hide. He had lost a loved one of his own. Tharonwe could see the images in the boy's mind, which were alien to him, for what he saw were things and places that had no bearing, that Tharonwe could sense, on Middle Earth. Lights were bright, but flat; tables and chairs were smooth and comfortable but dead with a sheen that he had not seen. But it was in this place that his love had died. That was perhaps why he was able to dream as Imrazor, of Mithrellas; but it was also why Tharonwe could persuade the boy that Mithrellas had died. He sent the boy a dream.

In it, he staggered back to his home, where his son and daughter waited for him. They asked for news, and told them that their mother had fallen to her death. They could not believe it; as the girl wept, the boy accused his father of aiding in their mother's death, for any true man of the royal lineage of Gondor, would have been heroic enough to save her. Imrazor looked on his son with sorrow, having no words to stanch the bitterness in his son, for his own despair stole his heart of any joy. He sent his son and daughter away, to Dol Amroth, to be brought up and tutored by the wise there, and himself, stayed in his mountain cottage, journeying from time to time, retracing the steps that he and Mithrellas had walked together. All the joy of his life was in the past, and no more joy could he have. No more joy could he ever find. No more joy. No joy.

Tharonwe left his mind, letting the despair echo in the boy's mind, and tying it to the memory of his lost love from his past.

He leaned against the back of his chair and rested. Then he cast his thought toward Nimrodel. She was not hard to find. Her despair was written on the tendrils of thought that issued from the vale where she stay, harbored and cared for by Mithrellas. He would have to reward Nimrodel's serving woman with a quick and painless death, for though she had served his purpose well all these years, she had betrayed Elvenkind by giving her love to a mortal.

Another tendril of thought flew like a hawk on the wind, out of the north and west. Amroth! He was near! And two others! Tharonwe closed his thought from the world, his eyes fierce. He would have to be careful and cunning; doubtless, they would know the nature of his own thought, and would track him down. He would be waiting for them. There was little time to prepare his defense.
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Old 07-09-2004, 10:01 PM   #374
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Shield Ædegard

"I don't know," Leafa stammered, without looking up. Then her eyes met Ædegard's. She blushed. He did not want her to feel that she had to say anything on his account, but could not bring any thought into words, as his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth. Against his will, his heart was in his throat, for Bellyn's question had probed to the very heart, and Ædegard's back and neck tingled with fear as he wondered how Leafa would answer. She looked up at the sky and the starlight caught her eyes. Of a sudden she seemed akin to woodnymphs he had heard of in stories. She seemed that much the fairer to his eyes.

"Maybe," she said, and smiled. He heard someone humming the tune of the song she had taught him. Then he realized that it was he. She looked to him, her smile unfading. His fingers tingled. He stood, came to her, and sat beside her, still humming the tune. He took her hand in his.

"I will do my best to turn your maybe into yes." He was surprised by his own words. Was it Ædegard who was talking this way? He felt as if he did not know him, but was quite willing to make his acquaintance, for he liked what he heard. Their eyes met, and her smile did not change. Nor did she remove her hand from his, but joined her voice to his; they hummed the tune together.

When the finished, Liornung clapped.

"Nicely done, Ædegard and Argeleafa. Your voices blend well! You should sing together more often, only with words!"

Ædegard dropped Leafa's hand and coughed. He had forgotten that anyone else was there. He went crimson.

"I am sorry if I have troubled you," he said to Leafa as he rose to leave her.

She did not stop him, for it was not her way to make another do as she would, but she said, "You did not trouble me."

He watched her, his eyes large, his face working. She blushed at his attention and smiled again, and looked at the fire. He could think of nothing to say, so he went back to where he had been sitting, and watched the fire too, his mind and his heart working over things he had no reckoning of.
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Old 07-09-2004, 10:36 PM   #375
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Dec 23: Amroth. The wee hours of the night.

Sweat trickled down his skin. Muscles in his arms and face twitched. His breathing came hard and fast.

Erebemlin waited.

"Will you not calm him, Silmaethor?" Taitheneb asked.

Erebemlin shook his head. "He asked for freedom to seek her in his dreams."

Taitheneb hesitated. "Surely he has seen enough, " he said. "The fever-fire burns in him again. He will be weakened."

Erebemlin shook his head. They watched.

Nethwador's mind was wide open, waiting for Amroth to speak to him. But suddenly his head snapped towards Taitheneb. He frowned.

But Taitheneb looked at Erebemlin even as Erebemlin's protective hand came down on Amroth's drenched forehead.

What was that? Nethwador asked.

Taitheneb and Erebemin exchanged glances, and Erebemlin shook his head, and frowned.

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Old 07-10-2004, 11:10 PM   #376
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

When Mellonin pulled away, Ravion just stood there mutely, confused beyond expression. What had he done this time? "Mell--" he began, but broke off. There was nothing to say. The right words would not come to him, and whatever words did would undoubtedly be wrong. Such was his luck.

Mellonin walked a little ways away, and Ravion stared after her. Whatever it was that he had done, or said, or failed to do, or failed to say, he needed to apologize. But what would he say? Mellonin, I am sorry for whatever it was I did. Or did not do. Whatever it was, I am sorry. Of course, that would clear everything right up.

He looked at Gwyllion, still shaken from passing out; Aeron, still sulking by Gond; Mellonin, standing just a few steps away; and Raefindan, looking almost as confused as Ravion himself.

Ah, Raefindan!

Ravion went up to the red-haired man. "Raefindan, I do not know what to do," he said in a quiet voice. "Have I offended Mellonin? Have I said something? You know her better than I. What should I do?"
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Old 07-11-2004, 03:01 PM   #377
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December 22: Erebemlin & Taitheneb

Erebemlin frowned deeply as he pressed his palm to Amroth's drenched forehead. Although the elf had not entered the king’s dreams, he had watched over them, hoping to gather more clues to the whereabouts of Nimrodel. At first the dreams had been dark and dusty, but not as severe as what was to come. The nightmares steadily became wilder, maddening with bitterness, confusion, and rage. As they began to climax, and Taitheneb became concerned about Amroth’s physical well-being, another’s thoughts met and crossed the dreams, and as quickly as it came it shut off like a candle in the wind.

Nethwador’s dark, wide eyes looked to the elves for answers, but they provided none. He had felt a dark presence and was visibly shaken.

Erebemlin raised his eyes from Amroth’s face to meet those of Taitheneb. The elder furrowed his brows and pulled his lips into a straight crease. It came from the south and west, I believe. Taitheneb nodded slowly, but remained silent in his thoughts. Erebemlin looked over the other travelers, who all lay sleeping soundly around the fire. None of them had felt what Nethwador felt, and the elf was glad. Looking back to Amroth, Erebemlin saw the king lay still. His breathing was slower, but his skin still glistened in the moonlight.

Lying back, Erebemlin stretched out his long legs and looked to the stars. Did you sense surprise in the thought? As though the stranger found one he knew.

It is hard to say, Silmaethor. The mind was closed as soon as we crossed it.

Yes, which is very curious, do you not think? Erebemlin rolled onto his side and looked at his companion. One might think he did not wish to be seen. We must keep a closer eye on Amroth’s dreams…we may come across this fleeting mind again.

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Old 07-11-2004, 06:35 PM   #378
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Early morning, Dec 24

When all quieted and Bellyn finally drifted into sleep, she tossed and turned in restlessness. Her dreams were strange, and though Bellyn wished to waken she also wished to find the meaning in the dreams. Bellyn saw a stormy sea, grey and violent beneath a sunless sky. There was a maiden with flowing hair and eyes colored the same as the stormy sea. The lady stood on a lonely hill, watching and waiting for something. When the scenery changed, Bellyn dreamt of Liornung in a happy tavern, singing and playing his fiddle before Argeleafa and Ædegard. In the dream Bellyn even saw their elven companions, watching Nethwador dance to Liornung's tunes. The only one of her new friends that she did not see was Amroth. Bellyn turned over several times until she finally awoke from the strange visions of sleep.

When she did wake, the sun had not yet risen. She could, however, see slivers of golden sun peaking over the horizon, lighting the grass and land in a solemn, graceful shade of dusty yellow upon deep green. Bellyn sat up, seeing Ædegard and Liornung stir, while Argeleafa remained sound asleep. Looking back she saw that the lovely elves watched over Amroth with Nethwador kneeling right beside them in wait. Amroth seemed to have tossed and turned more than Bellyn had, and she saw his sweat and the worry even in his dreaming face. Bellyn despaired at the sight, knowing there was little she could do to help, but still wishing that she could help.

When she saw Ædegard wake and Liornung yawn nearby, Bellyn stood from her spot and went to where the elves, Nethwador, and Amroth were. Walking over, Bellyn sat slowly next to Nethwador, watching Amroth silently dream.

"Does he see her often in his dreams?" Bellyn asked in a whisper, uncertain of the visions that materialized in Amroth's dreams. Erebemlin nodded, saying naught. Bellyn felt rather guilty in her inability to help Amroth in some way. Seeing him in pain and having no means of making him feel better brought feelings of helplessness to Bellyn. She sighed, turning to both the elves. "I hope we are not a burden to his journey."

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Old 07-11-2004, 08:30 PM   #379
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Silmaril Raefindan

"Raefindan, I do not know what to do," Ravion said in a quiet voice. "Have I offended Mellonin? Have I said something? You know her better than I. What should I do?"

Raefindan regarded Ravion, whose expression matched his words.

"What does your heart tell you, Ravion?"

Ravion looked confused. "My heart? It but beats."

Raefindan allowed a hint of a smile. "Your heart of hearts."

Ravion shook his head. "I seek to do as well as I can to lead this group in its search for Mellonin's brother."

"And she has thanked you."

Ravion's eye brow lifted. "It did not sound that way to hear her speak it."

Raefindan moved closer to Ravion, and spoke so that only he could hear him. "She is a woman, as you know. Listen not to the clear meaning of her words, but to the heart that speaks through the words."

Now Ravion looked more confused than ever. "My thanks, Raefindan," he replied hesitantly. "I have spoken to women before, and it has never been this hard."

"Why do you suppose that is, Ravion?"

"I do not know!" He whispered in exasperation. "Tell me!"

"That is something I cannot tell you. Think on it for yourself, my friend."

Ravion's jaw muscles worked. He threw his hands up in exasperation. "I am a ranger! I can read a trail, hear the faintest sound on the breeze. I can track any wild beast, and some not so wild." His eyes gravitated toward Aeron. He lowered his voice but his words came out in a harsh whisper. "Reading that woman is beyond this ranger's skill." He turned and walked away. "Help me set camp, Raefindan."

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Old 07-12-2004, 03:03 PM   #380
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Gwyllion swayed unsteadily on her feet and wondered if fainting or having a fit was better....they both fell nasty afterwards. That much was certain. She felt as if her legs had turned to water and as if her head had become hollow. Odd. Very odd.

Why had she gone into a faint anyway? The fight. The blood from Aeron's nose. Why did he have to be so blunt? So typical of a boy.

She crept toward Aeron who was standing next to Grond. He raised his head, saw that it was her, frowned at her, and then turned away. Gwyllion felt her pale cheeks grow red and she wanted to hit him. Why was he like that? All because she had called him a monster! Half of it was in fun and half was not and he should have known better!

But no, instead of welcoming her, asking if she was alright, he goes and turns away! It would not be so bad if he pushed her away. "Aeron?" she asked. "What is the matter."

"The matter is," he said, face turned away. "You betrayed me. Ravion turned the truth into a mean rotten dirty lie. Mellonin attacked me for no reason. Raefindan told me to search my heart carefully --" here is voice twisted into a mocking imitation -- "as if there is anything to find."

"Aeron," said Gwyllion, "you can be blunt, just do not put a dagger in it. You hurt Mellonin's feelings."

He did not turn his head.

Gwyllion licked her lips. "Aeron! Please look at me."

"No. You are dead to me. Go away."

Gwyllion considered hurling a pile of mud at him but when a search did not reveal a handy mud bog she changed her mind and said, "Aeron...try to look at it from Mellonin's point of view. Please."

She watched him and then slumped to the ground on the other side of Grond. What a grand day it had been today.
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Old 07-12-2004, 03:27 PM   #381
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Dec 24; dawn on the Anduin: Amroth

Morning of Dec. 24 ~ Erebemlin and Taitheneb

"I hope we are not a burden to his journey."

The young woman looked to the elves with sincere, child-like eyes. Erebemlin tipped his head to one side and studied her mortal face. He had not paid the humans much attention thus far, yet he did not think of them as burdens. Rather, he thought nothing of them. The elder had never cared much for the ways of Men. They acted too quickly, were too emotional, and did not pause long enough to see the true beauty of creation. Now this young pleasant looking woman sat before him with concern lining her small features…concern for his king.

Erebemlin had always thrown himself completely and utterly into his duty. Little attention had he ever paid to personal relationships that went beyond loyalty to his king and land.

Taitheneb, on the other hand, felt a twinge of sorrow at the thought of the young Bellyn considering herself a burden. He too tipped his head as he studied her pretty face, although, instead of the curiosity seen in Erebemlin’s eyes, the younger elf’s eyes twinkled and small creases formed at their corners. “Nay, my lady. You have been no burden.”

Bellyn looked away with her face newly flushed, and Taitheneb continued. “Your songs have been a comfort to Lord Amroth, and just look at the young man beside you.” Nethwador looked up, and his eyes darted from the elf’s face to Bellyn’s and back again. “Much of the eagerness to learn and be civil has been inspired by you, lady. Nay, you are not a burden…you are a blessing.”


*~*~*


Amroth opened his eyes and tried to sit up. A slight groan escaped him. Nethwador was at his side in an instant. Amroth rolled onto his stomach, and raised himself up to his hands and knees. His voice was hoarse, his face contorted. "What ails me this day? Have I not slept the night through?" Rather than stand, he sat back on his heels, with his hands on his knees. He took a deep breath, and steadied by Nethwador, looked around.

Taitheneb, Erebemlin, and lady Bella sat nearby.

He greeted each with a nod.

Nethwador, you lift me like a son his dotard father. Amroth frowned. Dotard? That was a mannish word. Where had that come from?

Erebemlin watched his lord carefully. But Amroth gazed at lady Bella, and began to smile at her. Leaning on Nethwador, he sat cross-legged, straightened and met Bella's eyes again. "Good morning, lady Bella. You are as welcome to my eyes this dawn as a wild rose. And that is well, for of flowers I have seen none since late autumn." He smiled again and studied her face as if he would draw it. Nethwador, beside him, followed his lead.

Bella dropped her eyes, and smiled. "Thank you, lord Amroth. Can I do aught to cheer you? A meal, perhaps?"

His brows furrowed for one moment. "Nay, Erebemlin or Taitheneb will bring us breakfast," he said, and Taitheneb rose. Amroth's smile returned. "You, lady, would give me great joy were you to sing. My soul is heavy with grief, and your song is like a south wind. Please, lady. Sing."

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Old 07-12-2004, 08:39 PM   #382
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Pilgrims on a journey...

Sometimes I just feel like I should be doing more to help, Bellyn thought. Her smile could not be concealed and her gratitude towards the Elves and their kind words was unspeakable. Her smile and spark of belonging acted as her only means of thanks. When Amroth spoke of breakfast Taitheneb stood, and Amroth continued, and with a smile upon his weary face he requested that Bellyn sing for him. Her brows knitted together, joy in her dark eyes that something as simple as singing could make someone happy. It was all so much simpler than she had thought.

“I would gladly sing for you, Lord Amroth,” Bellyn said, honesty in her voice as she stood and looked to the rising sun before turning back and looking to Amroth and Nethwador. With a final smile she let her voice ring in song for Amroth.

"We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are friends upon the road.
I will help you tread for miles;
I will help carry your load.

We will travel far from home now,
We will go where no one goes.
Hope remains when there is faith,
And our walking never slows.

If you grow tired I will help you!
We will keep each other strong.
Upon the road I met you,
On this road we do no wrong.

You tell your tales and laugh with us.
I listen as you sing for me!
We walk by day, sing at night,
Enjoying your company.

Companions on the sad journey,
Friends walking the hardest trail.
Some day we will reach the end,
'Til then our bond shall not fail.

We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are friends upon the road.
I will help you tread for miles;
I will help carry your load..."


After her last note faded, Bellyn paused and then she knelt quickly down next to Amroth, taking one of his hands in hers. "Lord Amroth, nothing is better left unsaid. Reality is swiftly becoming a nightmare’s fatality, and I promise I can be brave if I need to be...if you need it to be so. I promise!” When she finished speaking, Bellyn let Amroth’s hand loose and stood from her spot next to him.
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Old 07-13-2004, 09:04 AM   #383
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Dec 24; Dawn at Amroth's camp

Amroth took a deep breath, and with it, savored Bella's promise. He nodded. "The courage of a lady is both glorious and beautiful. I treasure it, lady, for it reminds me of one I love more than life." Bella looked at him in surprise; beside him, Nethwador watched her also, his eyes brimming with tenderness under which a fire yet burned.

She looked back at Amroth, unsure what to say.

Amroth looked from her to Nethwador, to the rest of the company, and back at her, and spoke again. "Think not that you burden me. I have left home, country, and kingdom for my Nimrodel. Yet I grieve not for Laurelindorinan. You, new friends and old, have become my bond-kin. Among you I find fealty, strength, pity, courage, and gladness. Dawn after dawn, I rise and search with the strength and fealty I find in all of these my friends. Yet though I gain fealty and courage from all of you, little thanks do I give you. The fault is mine; forgive me. I thank you now."

"All is forgiven, for my part, " Bella replied.

Amroth bowed his head, and continued. "Yet further service you, Bella, have rendered me," he said.

She shook her head, and waited with knitted brows.

"Though I seem to touch Nimrodel in my dreams, the touch is dark and hopeless, and in many ways brings me no comfort. Seeing you in the dawn strengthens my sweet memories of her. Your grace reminds me of hers. When I hear you sing, I remember her song. The light on your dark hair reminds me of the shine in hers. Your walk reminds me of her dance, your laughter reminds me of her joy. And so the despair gives way again to hope." He studied her. "Lady Bella, hope is a gift indeed. And you give it me dawn after dawn."

Bella had already blushed, but when she glanced at Nethwador and saw worship in his eyes, she turned crimson. Rising hastily she curtseyed, stammered "Thanks, my lord; By your leave, my Lord-- thank you, my lord, " and retreated to join the Rohirrim.

Taitheneb brought breakfast. Erebemlin raised one eyebrow as he received his bread and wine. "Bella is fair for a man, lord Amroth, but surely you liken a sparrow to a nightingale." Nethwador glared indignantly at Erebemlin.

Taitheneb gave food to Nethwador and Amroth, and turned to bring Bella her breakfast, but Amroth halted him with one hand.

Raising his wine in salute to Erebemlin, Amroth said, "I am hemmed round by hawks, faithful and stern. In such company, the song of the sparrow is a sweet gift and her gentleness provides real joy, my friend." Amroth sent a wry but sparkling glance toward his tall friend. "See to it, my faithful Hawk, that you do not mistake the charming sparrow for a mere mouse. Great would be my wrath. Yet mine would pale beside my young brother."

Erebemlin laughed, and flinched from Nethwador in mock-terror. "Ai! Ai!"

Amroth turned to Nethwador. "Bella has no breakfast; see to it, little brother."

Nethwador gathered Bella's food, forgetting his own, and eagerly brought it to her. A few minutes later, Taitheneb brought Nethwador his forgotten breakfast, but not til Bella had shyly given Nethwador a peice of her bread.

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Old 07-13-2004, 12:46 PM   #384
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Mellonin, Dec 22.

Mellonin, alone for a moment at last, took several deep, ragged breaths, and then walked to the stream. She brushed off her clothes as she could, washed her hands and face several times, and after sniffing the water, drank some. She was quite cold when she finished, but she paused, and squinted at her reflection in the water.

She was disappointed; she had hoped that she would resemble her brother, but all she saw was a red-faced, red-eyed girl with dishevelled and torn hair wearing boys' clothing.

Why was she trying to act like a man anyway? As if she wanted to become one? Hardly.

No, she reminded herself, it was simply safer for men to travel than for women to travel. Travelling with a woman made her companions vulnerable to the wolves. She took a deep breath. In order not to further endanger Raefindan, Ravion, and dear sweet Gwyllion, she thought, she must pull herself together, and fight, and be brave and strong.

She looked back at the camp. Ravion and Raefindan were setting up camp. Gwyllion was sitting on the ground beside Gond. Aeron was on the far side of the horse. She took a deep breath, and another, and set her jaw and marched back to camp. She walked past Raefindan with a nod, and past Ravion who did not meet her gaze, and went to Gwyllion, and put one hand on her shoulder.

"Gwyllion, we need water for the tea and the stew. Will you come and help me carry it?"
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:34 PM   #385
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White Tree

So after Mellonin had punched him the nose, torn his sister from him, she wanted Gwyllion to help her carry water. "Excuse me," he said, turnin his head and staring down his nose at her, "but I was talking to her. And, would you please leave us be."

Gwyllions forehead crinkled in a frown, and her mouth opened. Aeron sent her a warning glare which promptly made her shut it.

"But I need help," Mellonin protested.

Aeron stood up, and shook the hair out of his eyes. Her eyes were red with tears -- he had not cried of course -- and her cheeks were puffy. He glared at her. "So, you are strong enough to fight yet not to work. My isn't that convenient for you."

He could see Gwyllion cringe as Mellonin took a deep breath. Her eyes flashed and her fingers were beginning to clench. Then she buttoned up her limps and stomped away.

"Stupid, lazy, woman," Aeron muttered as he began to groom Grond.

"So what conversation were we having?" asked Gwyllion, smiling a little at him.

"I don't want you working with her. She's a....a...." he muttered something unintelligable.

"Aeron, I am sorry," said Gwyllion softly.

Aeron looked at her, her brown eyes so soft and sad. Why did she look at him like that? It was annoying, it made him feel as if he liked her again. "I'm still mad at you," he said, trying to frown.

"I thought that I was dead to you," said Gwyllion, winking.

Aeron scoffed. "You silly thing, Gwyllion."

"I still think that you could have been nicer, Aeron."

Of course she would get around to that. It was the typical female gentleness glimmering through her. "I told the truth."

"But --"

"Oh would you just come off it!" he shouted, punching her lightly on the shoulder.

"It?"

"I don't know, ask Raefindan." What was it referring to anyway? He shrugged. What did it matter. It stated his feelings exactly.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:58 PM   #386
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Mellonin, Dec 22.

Mellonin made two trips to the stream, eyes locked on the ground each way, filling four water skins. She reached for the kettle to make a third trip, but a hand was placed over hers. Raefindan took the kettle. "Walk with me, " he said.

They walked to the stream together.

At the stream, Raefindan set the kettle down, and spoke.

"Tell me of your brother."

She heaved a deep sigh, and nodded. "He is gentle, and helpful, and kind. And he never gives me orders and never mocks me."

"Unlike our young friend yonder."

"Very unlike."

"Your brother loves you very much."

"He would always help me. Always cheer me. He never gave me cause for sorrow."

Raefindan frowned. "Never?"

"Never, " she repeated, firmly. "He was the kindest, gentlest boy I've ever known. He always listened, always cared, always gave me aid. I never bore a struggle alone; he was always by my side."

Raefindan nodded. "Now he cannot share your sorrow. But to make matters worse, he is the cause of it. Is he not?"

One hand went to her lips, and she nodded, but frowned, and shook her head. "I promised I would be strong henceforth, " she choked.

Raefindan said, "Then be strong enough for honesty." He waited.

After several tries she said through her teeth, "Why did he leave me? Why? How could he do that to me?" Anger and grief mixed in her face, and she pressed both hands to her lips and fought back the tears. Raefindan put one hand on her shoulder, and she grasped his forearm. He waited as her angry tears fell. They subsided, only to be followed by tears of sadness.

By the time they returned to the camp with the kettle of water, Ravion had the rest of the camp ready and was tending to Gwyllion with Aeron's help. Raefindan and Mellonin set a rock in the fire and set the kettle on the rock.

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Old 07-15-2004, 02:15 PM   #387
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Silmaril Raefindan

As night fell, Raefindan sat next to Aeron before the fire. Ravion sat across from Raefindan; Gwyllion was hunched near the fire to Aeron's right. To Raefindan's left, Mellonin stared balefully at the flames, and between her and Ravion snuggled Jorje, close enough to the fire to feel its warmth, not so close as to get his tail snagged by an errant cinder.

Raefindan cast a measuring glance at Aeron, whose brows were furrowed. The red haired man considered the boy, if boy he was. A man or boy fighting with a young woman simply was not done; at least, not where Raefindan came from. It was considered in bad taste; but worse, it was misogynist.

Raefindan stopped in his mental tracks.

What kind of word was that? It was from wherever he had been before here, and whatever its roots, it meant that a man or boy hated women. Now, this could not be true of Aeron, as such, for he cared deeply for Gwyllion, having spent great energies and huge lies persuading them to take her with. Unless she was the only female he allowed himself to care for. If he was really a he. If he was actually a she, well then, fighting a young woman was no longer beyond the pale. Raefindan cast Aeron another glance and considered. Imagine, two women dressing up as young men... Aeron certainly did the better job of faking it, if he - or she - was faking it. It was hard to tell if Aeron had the chin scruff typically ascribed to adolescent boys.

Raefindan stopped in his mental tracks again. Adolescent? He rolled his eyes and let the word pass. Youth, then. And Aeron's fighting had been far more masculine than Mellonin's, come to think of it.

Raefindan stopped in his mental tracks yet again. Masculine. He shook his head and plowed through to the next thought, strange words be hanged! No, this was most likely a boy. Which brought Raefindan back around to the original quandary.

Raefindan stopped - momentarily - and plunged forward. This boy did not act like someone who wanted to beat women on a regular basis. Rather, he seemed like one whose ire had been piqued - Raefindan sauntered forward in his thought - and he had acted out of the norm. Fair enough. But he had been quite willing to act out of the norm, and seemed now to act as if he had done no such thing. Leaning upon the wealth of knowledge he had earned from he knew not where - smirking inwardly at the irony - Raefindan concluded that Aeron had had a difficult childhood, forced to make do on his own, and had not had the priviledge to learn the finer points of etiquette; perhaps hadn't learned the not so fine points, for that matter.

Raefindan held back from deciding it was his duty to teach the lad such lessons, for it would do no good if Aeron desired no such training. But at least it helped explain the situation, and seemed more likely to be accurate than not.

One question remaind in Raefindan's mind. Aeron was apt to shout "women!" from time to time. Where had he learned that, and what did it mean to him? Why not find out?

Raefindan breathed deep and sighed. "Ah, the night smells fresh, does it not?"

He glanced at Aeron, who turned away.

Raefindan shrugged. "I only wish to converse, Aeron."

Aeron's eyes flickered to Raefindan's face. "Con ... verse. What kind of word is that? I know verse, but what is con?"

"Another of my useless words. It means to talk together."

Aeron shrugged. "Talk if you like."

"Well," Raefindan said, "I'm wondering who taught you that way of referring to the fairer sex; I refer to your penchant for shouting in frustration, "Women!"

Aeron squinted his eye at Raefindan. "You have been too much in your own head, Raefindan. I have no idea what you just said."

"Which words threw you off?"

What is re-fearing? How do you chant with a pen? And fresh and tray and shin? Nobody but you would put those words together."

"Forgive me, Aeron. Useless words again. I'll try again. Who taught you to yell "Women!" when you are upset with a lass or lady?"

Aeron shook his head. "How in Middle Earth that was the same thing as fresh shins and trays and chanting with pens, I could not guess. But to answer your question..."

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Old 07-17-2004, 09:50 PM   #388
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion paced by Gond, his hands behind his back. "I need to talk to you, Mellonin," he said quietly. Gond looked at him impassively. "Mellonin, do you have a moment? I would have a little of your time, if you are not otherwise occupied." Gond whinnied and shook his head. Ravion sighed. "I agree. Poorly done."

He leaned against Gond's neck, burying his face in his horse's mane. "She will not listen," he said, his voice muffled. "But that will be fine: I will not know what to say."

He stood up and went over to Mellonin. Raefindan was speaking with Aeron, so Ravion hung back momentarily. However, when he realized that they were in a lighthearted conversation, he rested his hand gently on Mellonin's shoulder. She whirled around.

"Is there a problem?" she asked, still tense.

"Mellonin, do you have a moment?" he asked.

"I--"

"Because I would have a bit of your time, if you are not otherwise occupied," Ravion continued, right over Mellonin. There was an awkward silence, and Ravion cringed. Luckily it was almost imperceptible.

"I...am not otherwise occupied," she said hesitantly, following Ravion away from the cluster. "Ravion, what is this--"

"Mellonin, I am afraid that I said something to offend you," he said abruptly. She broke off. "I do not know what it was. But...I did not wish to offend you." His voice dropped and became very quiet. "There are few things I wish less." He coughed, and his voice regained its volume. "And quarrels within a company such as ours leads to lack of...care, and lack of care can lead to hurt. If there is something that needs to be settled, I would like to settle it as soon as possible."

Gond whickered in the background disapprovingly as Ravion awaited Mellonin's response.

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Old 07-18-2004, 06:04 PM   #389
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Shield Morning of Dec. 24; Liornung & Argeleafa

Liornung tripped merrily here and there, humming softly under his breath and doing nothing in particular. He paused a moment by the horses to stroke them and whisper to them in the Rohirric tongue, and then he would move on to rummage through his pack to make sure nothing was lost. At last he sat and picked up his fiddle and began to lightly play a little tune. Argeleafa had in the meantime awoken and came hesitatingly towards him. When he looked up at her and smiled she gained in confidence and stood before him, and said, "Liornung, I would beg the favor of speaking with you alone for a moment."

"Why, yes, most gracious lady of song and dance," he said, standing once again, "though I have never seen you dance." She smiled faintly at him; there was no doubt about his mood today: he was most happy and cheerful. He offered her his right arm, and she took it, and he continued the tune he had been playing as he led her apart from the group. At a safe distance where they would not be heard, he laid his fiddle gently down and studied her face intently. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were bright, and she seemed eager, yet she also seemed anxious. Liornung could hardly suppress a chuckle, for he knew what she desired to speak about.

"Liornung, you have always seemed to be very intelligent, and dare I say wise," she said. He laughed and bowed low, and while she did not seem annoyed by this it seemed to disturb her, and she grasped his arm, saying, "Please stop a moment and listen. What I have to say, or rather ask, is very serious."

Liornung held back the playful remark that sprang to his lips and let his face fall into an expression grave and somber. After all, she did seem to consider her question very serious, and as he reflected on it he supposed it was. "You no doubt heard the conversation last night," she said, "and heard how Bellyn asked me what I thought of Ædegard, and how I answered, and how he told me he should try to turn my 'maybe' into a 'yes.' I will tell you truthfully, Liornung, that I do not think I am unwilling to say 'yes' next time I am asked that question, but I do not know if it would be wise."

"And why not?" said Liornung, very, very gravely, though inwardly he was roaring with laughter.

"Because I know nothing about Ædegard, save that I think him very kind, and very good."

"I should think that would be enough."

She seemed confused at this. "Well... I... you see, I want to go about this concern as my mother would have wished. That is, I should like to know more about him before I consent to his... attentions."

"What a modest little thing you are," said Liornung. "Do you mean consenting when he asks you to wed him?" She blushed violently but nodded. He smiled. "Leafa, you think he is good, and I think he is good, and the company thinks he is good, and from the stories of his past he has told us he has always acted in a good way; also he loves you deeply, and you have few doubts left that you love him as well. What more do you wish?"

"I... don't know," she said, and then cried out, "What is his home like?"

"How hard you try to be proper! Your mother would wish you to marry a man you knew about, a man you knew was good and would care for you. In other words, she would want you to be careful. I will tell you about his home. His home is Rohan, and Rohan is his home. And he is good, and he would take care of you, which is what you need. Again I say, what more do you wish?"

"But it seems too easy!"

The laughter that he had held within him burst forth, and he took her hands, gazing mirthfully into her face. "Little girl, little girl!" he said. "For you are a little girl. If it is easy is that not good? Would you enjoy to hear that he was in fact a tyrant, that he was a rogue, because that would be hard? Aren't you glad that he is good and kind, that he will take care of you? Lassie, if he asks you to wed him say 'yes' without hesitation. Tell him you will marry him; it will make you both happy."

"Perhaps I will," said she, "but I should like to consider it more."

"Persist in foolishness as long as you wish," said Liornung. "As long as you follow my advice in the end you will be all right. Shall we return?" She nodded silently and he picked up his fiddle again and began to play and sing a little song as they went back to the others.

"As I was walking one morning
not intending to go very far
I came to where the waves lapped
against a little hill by the shore.


And there was a lad there
and he walked to and for
and stern and fair were his features
as he stood on the hill by the shore.


He turned and smiled at me
and then I could not ask for more
for dearly I loved him at that sight,
the lad on the hill by the shore.


He sat beside me and spoke
of things of ancient lore
and of many things he told me
as we sat on the hill by the shore.


We sat together till evening;
with each minute I loved him more
and I wished he loved me too,
the lad on the hill by the shore.


When night came he took my hand
and said love for me he bore.
Happier I have never been
than there on the hill by the shore.


And then he said he could not stay
and I would never see him more
and down the path he went away,
away from the hill by the shore.


His words were true, my heart he broke,
and never did I see him more
I had hoped to stay a little while
with the lad on the hill by the shore."

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Old 07-20-2004, 07:39 PM   #390
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Tolkien

A grin flashed across Aeron's face. Had the red haired man purpose riddled his speech with strange words because he knew he liked it? Aeron shrugged. The way he could work his strange magic with words was astounding. "How in Middle Earth that was the same thing as fresh shins and trays and chanting with pens, I could not guess. But to answer your question --" he stopped at cocked an eyebrow. How was the best way to answer this question? "I say it for a simple reason. They baffle me." He grinned. "I do not understand why women pine. It is very silly."

Gwyllion's head jerked up and she said, "And I do not understand why men must be like rocks." She twisted her face into a blank sheet and then added, "They plod on the road of life as if they did not feel its...its..." she fumbled for a word "its curves and roots. And women do not pine," she added.

Aeron laughed. Such like a woman to go off on a tangent and then to suddenly veer towards the subject. He punched her playfully on the shoulder and said, "Who keeps on insisting that her father will come back when he left us years ago?"

Her face went white and she bit her lip. "Call it hope, sir."

"Eternal optimism," Raefindan murmured.

"Eternal what?" asked Aeron, grinning.

"Another strange word, Aeron."

"I answered your question I hope?" he asked. Please say I did...

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Old 07-21-2004, 02:08 PM   #391
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Tolkien Raefindan

"I answered your question I hope?" Aeron asked.

In a manner of speaking, he had; but it was not the kind of answer Raefindan had been seeking. Before he answered, he studied Gwyllion; what she had said about curves and roots had moved him, like a hand stirring the water of a deep, murky pool that had lain still and cold for a long time. Raefindan turned to Aeron.

"You did. I had been thinking that there must have been some old, hardened ragroot of a man who you often hung about, had used the word, and you had caught and owned it for yourself. But maybe not. Mind you, I am not all rock, myself, and I have been known to pine. Man and woman are not so easily set apart from each other as you might think. Is that not so, Gwyllion?"

She beamed back at him, thrilled that he honored her thought back to her. "Yes, it is so! You are a wise man!"

Aeron laughed. "Only because he agreed with you!"

Raefindan grinned, then stretched and yawned. "It is time for me to turn in. Good night to the both of you."

The bid him a good sleep, and he left them by the fire. Jorje's head came up, and he watched Raefindan walking away. He trotted around the fire and fell in step at Raefindan's heel.

"Good dog."

It had been a long, hard day, filled with trouble. It seemed that Ravion and Mellonin were trying to mend fences, which was good. Raefindan climbed into his sleeping mat, and Jorje huddled beside him; he was glad for the extra warmth. He soon fell asleep.

His dreams were troubled again. He retraced his steps through the mountains, following the path he had trod the day he had hunted for Mithrellas. He came to the cliff edge between to monolithic boulders that joined to form a rough arch. Mithrellas's body was there, as it always was, broken on the rock below as if she had just fallen a minute ago. He despaired. His son and daughter had turned their backs on him in his mourning, choosing to find happiness away from home in Dol Amroth. He could not find joy, never again. He leaned forward, tipped, his knees locked straight, he leaned further, his head dropped below his feet and he fell. The fall was long ... would it never end? The rock strewn gorge sped up to him. The rocks were marbles, then fists, then maces, then battering rams, then boulders, and then contact. He woke up. Was he dead? It did not seem like the floor of a gorge. No, it was very cold. He could see stars above, and the snoring of another. Ravion. He was in the marsh of the Entwash. He shook his head again. He feared that he would dream that dream again. Sleep fled far away for the rest of the night.
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Old 07-23-2004, 06:37 AM   #392
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Mellonin Dec. 22

"You, " she replied, and looked away, "have said nothing to offend me. Yet I see you have much to contend with, and the quarrels and hurt must not go on."

Ravion waited. The cold steel of Mellonin's voice went on.

"Of quarrels and hurt, were I the leader of this group, I should leave the cause of such quarrels behind at the next village. Yet it is my brother we are looking for, and without me you will be hard pressed to know if you have found him or not. My only care, I assure you, is to find my brother. As for the rest save Raefindan, I cannot say what they care for; I do not envy you." Without another glance at him, she returned to the group.

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Old 07-23-2004, 09:46 AM   #393
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Dec 24: Amroth and Nethwador

Lost in thought, Amroth stroked Echo's nose, and the horse leaned against him as if sensing his weariness.

Nethwador looked on, and spoke in the Wainrider's tongue. "That horse is too tall for you."

Amroth looked at him and smiled. Then yours is too tall for you as well, for you stand no taller than I.

Nethwador looked at Amroth in surprise, and then considered his own horse. It was true, yet he had always planned to grow tall enough to fit this horse.

Amroth continued. He is red like Echo, and tall, and truly he loves you. Does he have a name?

Nethwador shrugged. Wanderer. He was lost. I found him, and kept him. There was some guilt in the statement, yet Amroth sensed it was at least partially true.

Perhaps others were looking for him as well?

Perhaps.

Amroth laughed long and loud, and both men and elves turned to look at him.

"Come," he cried. "Let us ride! Erebemlin, Nethwador's horse needs an elvish name. In his own tongue, he is named Wanderer."

"Are you not weary, my lord?" Erebemlin asked, as others in the camp hastened to finish packing and mount.

"In body, " Amroth laughed. "Yet my heart is light. I was with her in my dreams, Erebemlin. She is here, somewhere in these lands. And despite dust and death and despair, I will find her!"

His leap onto the tall Echo was awkward for his weariness, but Echo sidestepped underneath him and swung southeast at a steadily increasing pace. Erebemlin hurried to join him as did Nethwador. Taitheneb dallied, til the men-folk joined him, and then they hastened to catch up.

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Old 07-25-2004, 06:08 AM   #394
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Shield Ædegard

Ædegard wondered what the sudden rush was all about. He urged his mount toward Taitheneb and asked him for word.

"Lord Amroth has been with Nimrodel in his dreams, and is eager to find her. He is light of heart this day." Taitheneb nodded toward the man who had been a youthful blacksmith until a little over a week ago, and Ædegard saw that it was so.

"My thanks, Taitheneb."

Ædegard let his horse slow to the pace of the other humans, who asked what he had learned, and he passed on his information.

"That is well," said Liornung. "Maybe we are close to the end of our quest. I grow eager to drink and sing at the taverns of Edoras again."

Ædegard glanced at Argeleafa. Liornung's words had put a worry into her eyes. Ædegard closed with her until they rode side by side.

"You seem ill at ease of a sudden, Leafa. What ails you?"

She colored slightly and glanced at him. "If this quest is soon over, I must return to my father among the wanderers."

Ædegard could not stop himself. 'It need not be so! Come with me to Edoras!"

Leafa colored more and smiled. She glanced at Liornung, who had been humming one of his tunes; he grinned and winked at Leafa. She went crimson and her smile was covered by her free hand.

"I am missing something," Ædegard said, an involuntarily half smile coming to his face. "Tell me, please."

Leafa met his eyes, the color retreating from her face for the most part. "What would we do in Edoras, Ædegard?"

"We - I - " They were to it. Did he mean to say what he had thought to? Or were there other things that should be said first? He had thought that he might need to go to her father and ask for his blessing first, but that would not be at Edoras. "We could - you could - " Leafa watched him, her lips pursed, a smile in her eyes, expectant. This would not do.

"Hold!" He cried to all the riders, and grabbed Leafa's reins while keeping hold of his own, and slowed their horses. When they were stopped, he dismounted and went straightway to Leafa's mount. The other humans had slowed and were watching him, but the Elves continued after Amroth. He reached up to Leafa and placed his hands on her waist.

"Please."

She leaned and let herself fall into his arms, and he stood her on the grass. He went down on one knee. Their eyes locked.

"Marry me, Leafa."
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Old 07-25-2004, 01:56 PM   #395
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Bella Reacts...(1000)

Bellyn moved quickly to grab her things and leave with the rest of her human companions. Amroth had ridden ahead, bringing Nethwador and Erebemlin with him while Taitheneb waited patiently for the rest of the company to gather their belongings and bring down camp. Taitheneb explained the reason for Amroth’s rushing, and Bellyn smiled at the thought of Amroth’s lightened heart and happy spirit. All will be well again, for a while…Bellyn thought happily, her face fresh and her eyes smiling though her mouth did not. Then we shall return home.

The thought struck Bellyn for a moment, and she wondered how she would feel at leaving her new friends. Liornung had made such a wonderful friend, musical and joyous, always ready to please and to comfort. Would she ever see him again after the journey ended? And Ædegard had done well to show Bellyn not to judge on first impressions, and ways of the road and of life. Argeleafa had made a grand addition to the troop, and Bellyn had enjoyed her company and their small talks. The two Elves, Erebemlin and Taitheneb, had inspired Bellyn just by being. The Elves were beautiful in some way that Bellyn could not explain, could not say, but she certainly had every desire to depict them as best she could with her art when she returned home. Nethwador, or Mellon (surely no longer Pig!), had shown transformation, for which Bellyn was exceedingly proud and happy of. What would happen when Amroth found his love? Would any of them ever see him again? Would they meet the one lady who had haunted so many of his dreams? Bellyn tried not to shake these thoughts from her mind, for the thoughts of departure and parting from her new friends saddened her more than she had thought they would.

When all humans had mounted and proved ready to ride after Amroth and his lightened heart, Taitheneb began to lead the way and they all followed. Bellyn heard talk of the journey ending, going home to Edoras, and things of that nature as she rode on the outside of the group. She did her best not to think of such things even as they were being spoken of. Still, Bellyn could not ignore the sudden cry from Ædegard, telling all within hearing range to halt for a moment. Turning back, Bellyn saw that Ædegard had dismounted, and Argeleafa had followed suit.

Looking to Liornung with confusion, Bellyn’s brows knit in confusion. “What do you think of this, Liornung?” She received no answer from him, for he merely smiled and brought a finger to his lips for silence. Bellyn nodded, and looked back to where the two Rohirrim stood. Shock mixed with some emotion near horror when Ædegard kneeled and grasped Argeleafa’s hand. He’s not…

“Marry me, Leafa.”

Bellyn gasped.

Her mixed horror faded, and soon it was only shock and adoration that filled her face. Such bravery! Bellyn before had only imagined bravery in the battlefields where men died for what they believed in. Now she saw new meaning in the word before her, and she also likened such bravery to the ways and travels of Amroth. Ædegard had done what Bellyn had never done…requested the love of another, requested the life of another forever and eternity. While the Gondorian girl doubted that Argeleafa would refuse, Bellyn wondered at the bravery of Ædegard in the chance of rejection. Then Bellyn remembered the journey of Amroth, and his bravery, risking life for the one he loved. Such feelings Bellyn had never encountered much, and she enjoyed watching the scene unfold and the realizations enter her mind. How she wished she could draw the lovers before her, and the beauty of the simplest moment.

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Old 07-25-2004, 02:21 PM   #396
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Dec 24: Nethwador

Nethwador paced his tall chestnut wanderer half a length behind Amroth, and watched the elf-king. A smile played about the king's lips; a fire gleamed in his eyes. Betimes he laughed, betimes he sang.

Echo seemed to burn with a smiliar purpose, for his ears were straight ahead, his nostrils wide, his eyes bright. Anon he nickered or neighed, or tossed his head and snorted; but ever his stride stretched southeast.

Nethwador knew the fire that burned in the horse, for sometimes it burned in him too; sometimes he could see the King's lady, glimmering, glistening, and as desirable as a joy long lost. He wondered when he met her, if he would fall in love with her too, helplessly, hopelessly.

But no; that place, he thought suddenly, was held in his own heart by lady Bella. He looked over his shoulder to see where she was, and puzzled; they had fallen far behind-- no, they had stopped.

Torn, he looked from the elves to the men; from Amroth to lady Bella. The distance grew. He hesitated. The red wanderer slowed, one ear forward, one back. With each glance over his shoulder, lady Bella receeded from sight.

Guiding the red wanderer iin a wide arc, he turned to ride back to lady Bella; but now his glance strayed to Amroth and Erebemlin. Sworn friendship! Lady Bella had no oath from him; Amroth did.

Gruff thoughts pressed in on his. He will not be angry, Erebemlin assured him.

The rangy red chestnut checked again. Frowning and half cursing, Nethwador turned him in another wide arc to go back the way he had come. Maybe Amroth will not be angry. But he would have a right to be, after all he has done. I will not be proven faithless even for an hour.

Face twisting and twitching in mixed resentment and determination, Nethwador's temper bested him and he lashed his horse with his reins; the burst of speed brought him nearly back to his lord. With a backward glance, Amroth and Erebemlin slowed. By the time he caught up to them, Nethwador felt bad for leaving Amroth, anxious over lady Bella, and anguished that he had needlessly struck his horse.

Amroth knew it, and looked back.

"Once again, I grow careless of my friends and companions. Erebemlin, any king would be disgraced showing such carelessness over his subjects! Let us return."

Now the three riders turned in a wide arc, and rode back to the men. Before long the could see the group of riders, and the two on the ground in their midst.

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Old 07-25-2004, 08:32 PM   #397
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Tolkien

Of course Mellonin was in a fine cold rage when she stalked back towards the group. Aeron smirked at her. Whatever Ravion had said (and he hoped it had been mean) had gotten her in a worse mood.

Raefindan (drat him) had turned over and was soon quietly snoring. Gwyllion had no intention of going to bed and Aeron caught the warning she flicked his way. She probably wouldn't go to bed leaving him and Mellonin up and risk the chance they'd tear each other's throats out. Not that she'd be much use anyway as she'd faint at the blood. Aeron stifled the chuckle.

Mellonin stiffly went to the ground and glared into the flames. Aeron saw a loose pebble and began to toss them at her. She really was not that attentive as she did not seem to register the flying pebbles. Of course, the fact that he was deliberately aiming wide of her nasty little nose made her inattention somewhat excuseable. On the tenth throw, the pebble landed neatly in his lap. Drat. It was a blasted shame that he had lost his nerve and had aimed for her lap instead of her nose...
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:33 PM   #398
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Argeleafa stared down at Ædegard with mixed feelings. As she gazed into his face she knew she loved him, but she did not know if she should marry him. She thought of Liornung's words, and his deep desire to have her marry Ædegard. Her eyes raised slowly, and she looked at the young fiddler. He sat atop his steed, his arms folded and his lips turned up in a smug smile as he gazed down at them. And she could not help but laugh.

"Ædegard, there is nothing in all Rohan and in all Middle-Earth I desire more than to wed you," she said, returning her gaze to him, "and so I tell you yes, I give you my heart with joy, and I will marry you. But understand I must seek my father's blessing first, for his sake and the sake of my mother. Yet even if they will not give me their blessing I will still marry you, and seek Liornung's blessing, who has been as a father to me when my own father left his home and people." And then she could speak no longer, for tears rose into her eyes and she wept with joy.
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Old 07-26-2004, 01:47 PM   #399
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Shield Ædegard

The moment the words were out of his mouth and quiet surrounded them, Ædegard felt his heart leap to his throat. What had he just done? What if she said no? What if she laughed in his face? He swallowed, suddenly more afraid than he had ever been in his life.

Then she gave him her answer. His heart lifted. He could feel his smile grow so on his face that he thought it could crack, but he did not care. He rose to his feet as she wept for joy, and took her in his arms, lifting her feet from the ground as her tears mixed with his hair for the first time. He had never been happier.

He let her down and pulled her away, and their eyes met. "Leafa, love, you are as the willow's leaf in spring this day, fair and weeping, slim and a joy to behold. Let us seal our troth with a kiss."

Her eyes were pools of blue and white, catching the rising sun's rays and making them shine as bright as ever. They closed as she formed her lips, and he closed his eyes. They kissed. His heart exploded. The world could never be dim again.

He then removed a necklace from around his neck, that he had from his mother, and placed it around Leafa's neck. It bore a flat green stone on which reared a white horse. "This is an heirloom from my mother's family. I give it to you in plight of our troth."

She picked it up in her hand and stared at it, then met his eyes again. "It is beautiful! I will treasure it!"

"And I have wondered for days now how to tell you that I wished to go with you to your father to ask for your hand, and to win him over to returning to Edoras with us, so that he can live with us and thrive there. Do you think he might think well on it?"
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Old 07-26-2004, 07:54 PM   #400
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Mellonin, night of Dec. 22

Pebble after pebble pattered around her; she glared into the fire, willing herself to think about her brother. No quarrels. Quarrels make us lose care, and if I lose care for Mellondu, what then? The pebbles continued; she ignored them. One landed in her lap.

She picked it up and tossed it into the fire.

Mellondu is all that matters. All that matters.

"Aeron, stop that, " said Gwyllion. Mellonin looked up, and nodded at Gwyllion, and then returned to gazing into the fire.

Mellondu never gazed at the fire; he used to, but becoming a blacksmith had changed that; the fire symbolized work and sweat and heat. If he wanted to gaze now, he looked at the sky. Perhaps she should do the same. Pulling up her cloak around herself, she lay down on her side, with her back to Aeron (after thankfully clasping Gwyllion's hand.) Briefly her eyes reflected the stars, but then she fell into a deep slumber.

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