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Old 04-10-2004, 10:40 AM   #81
Imladris
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Tolkien

“Go gather the firewood, Aeron,” Ravion said as unsaddled the horse.

Go gather wood Aeron mimicked under his breath. Naturally he got the dirty job…the sticky job. Sap always seemed to ooze in the little crevices of dead wood. “Gwyl, would you mind helping me?” he asked.

As they gathered the wood, he whispered to her, “You are now my older sister.”

“Even though that thought brings me immense pleasure, how could I possibly be my older sister.”

“Only to them are you my older sister,” Aeron said, shoving her slightly. “One cannot change the fate of time, my dear.”

“You lied to them?” she asked. “He is a ranger, and you are going to get in trouble when he finds out.”

If he finds out,” Aeron said.

“Why did you lie in the first place,” she moaned. “I am two years younger than you, and you cannot expect me to act older.”

Blast it. She was being difficult. “I am not asking to purposely act older,” Aeron said gently. “Just remember that if they ask how old you are.” I never knew she looked so young he whispered to himself. “I lied because I did not think they would take you along. You should have seen Ravion’s face, Gwyl.”

She tittered and said, “So for once lying didn’t pay. You naughty boy!”
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Old 04-10-2004, 12:07 PM   #82
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Tolkien West Emnet: Ædegard - 2nd day out

The day passed quickly, and Ædegard enjoyed Liornung's songs, for the most part. They made him laugh inside with their lightness.

By day's end the mountain ring surrounding the Wizard's Vale could be seen at the western horizon. It was still named the Wizard's Vale by many, though Saruman was gone and the Ents were the new tenants holding Orthanc under the rule of Éomer, Lord of the Mark. It was a strange world, with Ents and Elves and 'Obbits, as the saying now went in Edoras, for the Eorlingas loved their songs to greet sound to sound. Which, Ædegard considered, Liornung's did in a different way than he knew.

As they made camp that night, on the plains of the West Emnet, still a stiff ride from the eaves of Fangorn, Ædegard spoke his thought as they sat around their campfire under the starry dome, the southwesterly breeze soughing through the tall grasses of the plain.

"Liornung, your songs are fair and light, yet they sound unlike that which I grew up listening to in Edoras. Your songs have the same sounds within the words at the end of a line instead of the way of the Eorlingas, whose songs make most of tongue against tooth or mouth roof or lip. And yours are fair and speak of family and love and sparkle and wit, as on a summer breeze, while those I grew up with are of stone and sword and come on a cold wind out of the north, as did Eorl long years ago. Our minstrels have made the War of the Ring into such songs. One runs like this, in part:

"Hear of the heroes at Helm's Deep
who refused to fall against the greed
of that twist tongued serpent, Saruman.
Hear the names of the heroes that night,
Théoden, mighty thewed Mark lord,
his loyal heir, Éomer son of Éomund,
Aragorn son of Arathorn, wielder of Anduril,
Legolas of the Elves, fleetfooted orcslayer,
Gimli son of Glóin and Gamling the Old,
and Gandalf Greyhame, wielder of Glamdring,
courage bringer, counsellor, friend of the free peoples.

"Helm haunted the Hornburg that night,
and the stout Helmingas withstood the siege.

"And so it goes. I have that much by heart, and more, but I would not bore you with it. Under your hand I'd expect somewhat like so:

"Hear of the heroes of Helm's Deep
when Saruman's orcs did creep
to the Hornburg from the Wizard's Vale
to overrun but - um - they did fail....

"or something like it. I speak overlong, wending my way to my point, but where did you learn your verse skill? Tell us the tale of it, if you will."

Liornung

"The tale of it?" Liornung blushed slightly but it was clear he was more than eager to tell. "What you have said is true... the Bards of Rohan have rarely put rhyme in their verse and their great songs have been sung without. Yet I learned the art of song not from one of Rohan but from a wandering minstrel of Gondor who always sang in rhyme. Indeed, this fiddle is his that he left me, and 'twas he who first named me Liornung. The name my mother and father gave to me is Sarig, but I do forbid anyone to call me thus." And, a twinkle in his eye, he looked at each member of the company in turn.

"Yes, indeed, it is a name to avoid! But as I was saying before, it was that wandering minstrel who brought me to sing in rhyme. He sang for me a lovely song. He was not as I am. You see, he had a lover in Gondor waiting for him, and I have never fallen in love and don't fully intend to. He was fair eight and thirty years when he first passed through my land and stayed at my father's home, when I was but a lad. He spoke to me a little of her, calling her fairest and dearest, her heart the sweetest and kindest, and though I daresay now all say so much of their lover's, as Amroth would surely say of his, I have rarely seen a man love as that minstrel loved his Gondor maid. He would often describe her to me in a verse, saying:

"Dear are her charms to me,
dearer her laughter free,
dearest her constancy.

"She was of Rohan though he had brought her to Gondor to wait for him at his mother's home. He would have married her long before that time but he could not bring himself to lay aside his roaming just yet. He did tell me once, however, that two years forward he would abandon all roads, build a little home, and take her for his wife. I have not heard of him since, but I pray the two of them are happily wed." He paused a moment before continuing, and his voice was quieter when he spoke again. "Once I heard him singing a song he had written to her, though he did not know I was closeby. It was a charming little song, very simple, but full of such love and devotion. I heard it only once yet it has ever been in my mind. It ran thus:

"Do you see yon bonnie minstrels as they go along
a-trippin' and a-skippin' to the lilt of their song?
And, lassie, they sing a song for thee
so jump up, bonnie girl, and come away with me.

A minstrel's fare is poor if his songs do not please
but if hunger faced us I should love you 'fore life ceased
and with my dying breath I would take you on my knee
and I would tell you truly how much I loved thee.

But if my songs should pleased and bring us some food
still I'd love you as ever a man could
and I'd play you a tune 'neath some shady tree.
So jump up, bonnie girl, and come away with me.

And if there came children a home they should not lack.
I'd set aside my songs and take my fiddle from my back
and I should love them however many there may be.
So jump up, bonnie girl, and come away with me.

And when, my darling girl, we are both frail and old
and your hair turned to white and lost its lovely gold,
though youth had with time decayed still I would love thee.
So jump up, bonnie girl, and come along with me.

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Old 04-11-2004, 07:02 PM   #83
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Tolkien ROHAN: Ædegard

They were up with the sun next morning, and Mellon, or Amroth, pushed on, the three others following in his wake. Ædegard was happy, even though the cold seeped through his clothes, the price of a clear night in late Autumn. Liornung's story had been good, and even though Ædegard had not been able to see his eyes, the sound of his voice said that the fiddler spoke truth. Ædegard trusted him the more.

Liornung caught up with him at the middle of the morning, as the still far off eves of Fangorn came in sight.

"I've heard you murmuring or mumbling something. What is on your mind, Ædegard?" His words came on a vapor with the chill.

Ædegard turned to him with a sheepish smile. "I have been practicing your craft. Surely I'll only ever be a poor hand at it, but I like how it turns on the tongue."

"Tell me what you mean, friend!"

Friend! Ædegard made sure not to let his surprise show on his face, but such a term was dearly bought in his reckoning, but it came easily to the lips of the fiddler.

He grinned, bashful in answer to his request. "You would think me a fool."

"So be it then, I've often enough been a fool myself, so I'll enjoy the company of another!"

Ædegard laughed. "So be it then! A moment." He furrowed his brow and mouthed some voiceless words, then took in a deep breath as if to blow out a small fire.

"We make our way through West Emnet
to see how far we can get,
following Amroth or Mellon, whichever his name,
wondering for his ailment who is to blame!"


"There you have it. Silly, no?"

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Old 04-11-2004, 07:43 PM   #84
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Eye

Amroth heard the verse, sighed with annoyance, turned, and glanced at Ædegard. He considered rebuking him for his disrespect, but decided not to; the lad seemed to have cheered up, and Amroth valued cheer.

In fact, he could use some. He was weary; wearier than any elf had a right to be, and his heart was heavy. He spoke to Echo, who slowed til he was even with the other three riders. They waited, wondering whether a rebuke was coming. They were surprised to hear a merry tune.

"Pacing steeds and daring deeds
and swords and lances shining,
Blades to wield on bloody field
With maidens back home pining.

Homeward bound, with joyful sound
The elves to wood returning
Treetops blow, the rivers flow
For seashore ever yearning

Golden bread and wine so red
and eyes and faces shining
harps to wield in grassy field
with friends in pleasure dining.

Ages turn, elf-hearts yearn
For lands beyond the water
Yet here we wait, and til then take
Our joy in simple laughter."


He turned weary eyes on Ædegard, and then chuckled. "Ailment indeed. May your betrothed never lead you on a search such as this. Indeed, I suppose she is to blame. Yet I will neither speak ill of her nor hear her ill spoken of."

Things were getting serious again. Liornung and Bellyn exchanged nervous glances. Amroth chose to smile.

"Come, Ædegard, it is your turn again. Another rhyme. Mine was simple, and quite rough; you may easily better it. So fear not. Sing!"

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Old 04-11-2004, 08:08 PM   #85
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Tolkien ROHAN: Ædegard

"But I must work it out first!"

"Then do so! Fangorn is still far off, and Lorien many leagues away."

"Give me the morning. Let Liornung cheer you with one of his. I wager he has one at the ready always! Or Bellyn can."

Liornung said, "It is my turn, since the both of you have had a go. I'll sing you to and by Fangorn!"

And he did. Soon it was noon. They stopped for a short meal, under the outer reaches of Fangorn. Then they were on their way again, keeping the great wood to their left. Echo led the other horses on a brisk pace, seemingly at the beck of Mellon. Or Amroth. Ædegard was finding it hard to turn his mind to think of the blacksmith as Amroth, but it was beginning to seem necessary so as not to cause undue ire amongst them. And who knew? Maybe it was somehow the truth of the matter.

Toward the middle of the afternoon, Ædegard announced that he had worked up another.

"We gallop on beneath the bows of Fangorn wood,
remembering that many trees once stood
where grasses grow beneath the sun,
where breezes blow and horses run."

"That is all I can manage at a time. You will have to be satisfied with that."

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Old 04-11-2004, 08:29 PM   #86
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Silmaril

Snatches of song drifted past him, but Amroth spoke with the trees as they rode past.

Have you seen Nimrodel? Have you seen my lady? Her mantle is golden-hemmed, her shoes are silver grey. Has she not been here? Her hair is long, her limbs white; she is fair as the moonlight. Has she not danced here? Her voice is falling silver; has she not spoken with you? Have you not heard her sing?

Tree after tree told him nay, and his heart grew heavy again.

She took refuge here, fleeing from the darkness of Moria. Has she not returned? Has she not taken refuge again beneath your branches?

The sun neared the mountaintops, and then sank behind them, and the air grew chill. Echo tossed his head, sometimes looking back at Amroth; Amroth stroked his neck. "Yes, my friend. We can go yet further ere we halt. You are right."

Echo swung into a mile-eating trot, and surrounded by song, Amroth bent his thoughts toward the forest again as the twilight deepened.

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Old 04-12-2004, 08:57 PM   #87
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Tolkien Fangorn at Entwash: Ædegard

They came to the reiver Entwash and forded it under the stars. Beyond it was a grass covered mound, surrounded by fifteen spears. Ædegard slowed his mount. His eyes were wide and he dismounted. The others noticed him and slowing, turned and came back to him.

Liornung said, "What is it, Ædegard?"

"This place is sacred to the Rohirrim. Here there was a small battle between outriders of Rohan and a few companies of orcs, but on it turned the course of the War of the Ring. As it is sung,

"Éomer and his eotheod caught the uruks
outside the eaves of Fangorn forest.
As Master Meriadoc and proud Peregrin
escaped by outwitting the greed of an orc,
Éomer slew the slaves of Saruman.
Fifteen fearless warriors were felled,
resting in the Mound raised by the Entwash.
The humble Holbitla roused the Ents,
the Tree men tore down Saruman's tyrrany.
So Edoras was spared to save her ally.
Brave deaths, that bought our boon.


"So sing the minstrels of Edoras." Ædegard looked up to Amroth. "My thanks for leading me to this place that I might never have seen otherwise."

Amroth smiled and nodded. "Since we have halted, let us make camp here for a few short hours, under the guard of these brave men."

Liornung

Liornung's eyes travelled over the campsite and he nodded in satisfaction. "'Tis a lovely place to camp, and I am amazed at the feel of the very air, which speaks of Éomer and his company even better than the song you have sung, good Ædegard. I do not mean, of course," he added, his voice hasty and confused, "that the song was not worthy of the place."

"I do think you are correct," Ædegard reassured him. "Not all things can be put into song. The song spoke of this place, yet this place is this place."

"That is," Liornung said, "quite right." He picked up his fiddle with a little smile upon his face. "I'm going to sing a happy little song for you. I have sung too much, I fear, of lost loves and faraway loves and longing loves, things that bring woe and sorrow. What about loves that are there and happily content?" And so he picked up a merry tune and began to sing.

Come all you lads and lassies and listen for awhile.
I'll sing to you a verse or two and try to make you smile.
But if instead you weep with grief, do not be ashamed
for others who have heard this song wept, more than can be named.

Fal-la-do-la-do, fal-al-the-day.

There was lad who rode out one fair and pleasant day.
From Rohan and to Gondor he carelessly did stray.
He had no mind for love or any lassies fair
till he met a maid, soft was her smile, dark was her hair.

Fal-la-do-la-do, fal-al-the-day.

"Oh lassie fair of Gondor, do come away with me,
mount your horse and take my hand and come to my country.
I'll give you all you wish for and sweet home
and rover though I am for you I'll cease to roam.

Fal-la-do-la-do, fal-al-the-day.

"Oh lad with the golden hair, truly I love you
but if I went away what would my poor sick father do?"
"Oh take him lassie, take him if you'll come with me.
I'll give you all you ask for, no want will come to ye.

Fal-la-do-la-do, fal-al-the-day.

The lad left and the lassie followed with her father ill.
They built a house and she truly loved him with a will.
I've told you a happy tale of a young rover
and how he won the heart of the fair maid of Gondor.

Fal-la-do-la-do, fal-al-the-day.
Fal-la-do-la-dee-la-fal-do-lay.

As he ended his song he threw back his head and laughed. "Before any of you speak of it, I do know that my songs are often of wandering rovers and their fair maids, but in all truth so seldom am I in one place for a long time that the only romances I know of are those of the road. Yet I do know of a poor peasant lad who married a poor peasant lass he had loved all his life. I will put the tale into verse a sing it for you on the morrow."

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Old 04-12-2004, 09:47 PM   #88
Orual
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Minas Tirith: Ravion

A small fire had been built, and all the members of the odd little traveling band were making themselves comfortable. Aeron and his sister were off in one corner, speaking to each other in low voices, Raefindan was feeding the fire, and Mellonin was lying on her back, gazing up at the stars. Her short, choppy hair, with its thin braid, lay spread out in a sort of aura around her face.

Ravion snorted as he whittled away at a piece of wood. What a group to drag all the way to...where? Rohan? Mellondu, or whatever it was he wanted to be called, was far gone from Rohan. There was no sense in looking for the boy in Edoras. Perhaps they shouldn't even stop. What could the Rohan pubs tell him that he did not already know?

But where could he be headed? There were a number of places north of Rohan for a blacksmith who thought he was an elf to set his sights. Lorien. Mirkwood. Rivendell. Ravion shuddered. He did not want to see the quiet, sad, abandoned thrones of what had once been the greatest race in Middle-earth. He did not want to see the evidence of the decline of the race who had given his people so much.

His head snapped up at the sound of rustling leaves, but it was only Mellonin turning over onto her side. Her large, expressive eyes were full of worry, and it pained Ravion. He swung his leg over the log that he was sitting on and crouched down, sighing and rubbing his hands through his hair. He put a hand to the ground to steady himself as he lowered himself to rest, and he realized that it felt good to have the cool, living earth under his body. He realized further that he didn't mind having company while he slept, even if it was odd company. A snuffle and a low growl brought a qualifier to that: he didn't mind having the company, except for that idiot dog. What was he supposed to do with a dog? He rolled his eyes irritably and prepared his bedroll.

"Who wants first watch?" he called.

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Old 04-13-2004, 02:41 PM   #89
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Question Minas Tirith: Mellonin. Dec 16

Mellonin took a breath to say "I will watch, " but Raefindan said it first.

"Are you certain? I can take the first watch," she said.

He shook his head. "I should be tired, but... "

"The dreams."

He nodded. The dog nudged his hand. "And this fellow needs a bath, too."

"All right, " said Mellonin, wanting nothing to do with it.

"Downstream, " growled Ravion.

"I should think so, " Raefindan chuckled. "Come on, mangy."

Ravion and Mellonin exchanged puzzled glances, but Raefindan laughed. "I'll be right back. This should only take a few minutes."

"You will not dry quickly this late in the season, " said Ravion.

Raefindan considered the cur, picked up a stick, and threw it into the stream. It took some urging, but the dog followed. Six or eight fetches later, the mud was rinsed off, and the cur was playing tag with Raefindan. Gond tossed his head and snorted when the dog got too close.

"I can't call you mangy, anymore, can I? Maybe I'll call you Fang. Or Fangless."

Mellonin rolled up in her cloak and two blankets, putting her back to the game of tag. She was a little afraid of her own dreams, and lay awake for a while wondering how long Aeron would stay with them, and what Ravion would do if Aeron escaped. Finally she drifted off.

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Old 04-13-2004, 03:01 PM   #90
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Silmaril Fangorn at Entwash: Mellon-Amroth. Dec 12

Amroth shook out the cloak and blanket that Ædegard had brought for him, and offered to take the first watch. "But first, Lady Bellyn, grant me a request."

She started. "My lord?"

"Fear me not, Lady, " he said, with a gentle bow. "The long day has held deep voices, and my heart yearns for a gentler song. Would you sing, lady?"
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Old 04-13-2004, 05:29 PM   #91
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Bellyn blushed at Amroth’s request. She’d heard many songs in her lifetime, yet there were few that she remembered well. In fact, there were few that Bellyn remembered at all. Although not as talented as Liornung or Ædegard, Bellyn could not find it in her heart to refuse Amroth's request. It was such a simple request, after all.

"I have not a way with melody as Liornung does," Bellyn warned, a smile on her face. Looking over to Ædegard, her smile grew when she added, "Nor do I have Ædegard's way with rhyme." Bellyn turned back to Amroth. "But I shall do ask you ask! I remember very few songs, though there are many that I've been priviledged to enjoy. This one I remember the best, and I remember most of it, for my brothers liked to sing it with light hearts and high spirits --

"I am a jovial ranger,
I fear no kind of danger,
To sorrow I'm a stranger,
And so let mirth abound.
I once had a fit of loving,
But, that contrary proving,
It set my mind a-roving
To travel the country round!

When first of all I started,
From all my friends I parted,
All almost broken hearted,
Alas! what grief I found!
Till Rohan had fairly touched me,
No part of comfort reached me,
The blue sky had surely bewitched me
To travel the country round!

When up to Rohan I wandered
A deal of money I squandered,
I masters tried a hundred,
No work was to be found.
And as I wandered up and down,
Some called me "a fool,"
some "country clown,"
And bade me get out of their fine town
To travel the country round!

Now I grew quite dejected,
As well might be expected,
Myself I then directed
To Nordol, and was "bound."
As soon as I had arrived there,
Some work for me was contrived there,
And I for awhile was depriv'd there,
From trav'lling the country round!

Six months, or more, I tarried,
Till of Nordol I grew wearied,
My roaming fancy fired
To see some other town.
To the Mark then I hasted,
A week or more I wasted,
As long as my money lasted
I travelled the country round.

So now in the Mark my station;
And here, to my vexation,
A foolish new temptation
To rest awhile I found.
A maid I met so pretty,
So good, so wise, so witty,
I thought it were surely a pity
To travel the country round.

Now I the case must alter,
For fear that I should falter,
And be led in a halter
To kirk (a dismal sound!)
I made a resolution,
Which I put in execution,
It suited my constitution
To travel the country round.

So now at home I'm seated,
My travels are all completed,
These words I have repeated,
So awhile I'll sit me down;
Quite cured of all my moving,
As well as of all my loving,
I'll go no more a roving
To travel the country round...
"

Bellyn finished, her cheeks more red than when she had begun her song, embarrassed to be singing in the company of someone as skilled in song as Liornung was. Bellyn sat down, looking up and hiding her discomfort with words, "I remember some others, though. My father always brought home new tunes he'd pick up as he traveled. The Lay of Nimrodel was my mother's favorite, he said. Then he also knew a lot of songs from Gondor..." Bellyn's voice trailed off as she stopped herself from rambling on.

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Old 04-13-2004, 08:56 PM   #92
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Tolkien By the Battle Mound at Entwash: Ædegard

"Your song was a delight, Bellyn," said Ædegard. "My thanks for your kind words about my rhyming. Hearing your song, I deem that I have much to learn."

He rose. "I suggest that we all sleep. The dawn is not far off." He lay down and watched the stars as he quieted himself, happy for the wonder of so many songs, happier still to have come to this place, and to be near the fifteen heroes, comrades of Éomer, his king.
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:12 PM   #93
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung

"And I am in full agreement with you," Liornung said. "It is pleasant, 'tis true, to sit up till the morning singing songs and I have done it often before but this journey has taken its toll on me." He spoke quite seriously yet while it was not his intention his words came out as rather humorous. It had never been imagined that that road-worn, wandering fiddler could ever be completely exhausted.

"'Twas a lovely song, Miss Bellyn, and you have a lovely voice," the fiddler said as he lowered himself cautiously to the ground and pulled his blankets about him. "Let us continue with the merriment of song tomorrow." And then he fell silent.

Yet he was not asleep. He lay upon his back, gazing up at the sky, deep in thought. The starlight cast itself everywhere, and Rohan seemed to be dancing through a mist of silver and velvet sky, leaping towards the fire to catch some warmth and then flicking off again to some quiet, cold spot. It was one of those rare nights where the land did not sleep as all others did, but played and danced under the sky and stars.

Time passed and soon the quiet breathing of his three companions reached him. They were asleep. And no wonder, for by the look of the sky the dawn would not be delayed much longer. The fiddler began to hum quite softly, and when he saw there was no stirring from any of his companions he raised his voice a bit before singing quietly under his breath.

Take your partner and your glass;
I'll dance with you, my lovely lass.
Step and heel and round our flight;
your dancing is so fairy-light.


He nodded with satisfaction and closed his eyes. He had promised such a song to them and that one would do.
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:22 PM   #94
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Shield Fangorn at Entwash; Mellon-Amroth Dec 13

Early the next morning, Amroth rolled out of his blanket, still strangely weary and stiff. He shook out the cloak and put it on, rolled the blanket and saddled Echo. He had been tempted more than once to be rid of the saddle, but then there would have been nothing to attach the pack to. He rolled the blanket and tied it behind the saddle. Blankets and cloaks were well enough, but a little Miruvor would have been better.

He seemed to be feeling much stiffer than he could ever remember. Did he remember any tales of an elf waking from sleep so weary? Certainly not in the shadow of such a living wood as Fangorn. His body felt as weary as his soul and his heart.

Enough, he rebuked himself. Despair and resolve are no kinsmen.

"Did you not rest well?" asked Bellyn.

"No, Lady, " was the reply.

After a quick and quiet breakfast they mounted and rode again. "Amroth, it is your turn to sing," said Ædegard.

"Perhaps I should not open the morning with such a night pursuing me," Amroth deferred.

Liornung disagreed, gently encouraging him. "We have all had our turn. Singing will cheer you as it did yesterday. What could be more delightful than your songs? Come, begin. "

"You may decide otherwise. But as you wish, " said Amroth. He delayed a bit longer, and then sang barely above a murmur. The others rode closer to hear.


Arms of pearl and sunlit hair
Surround me as I swim
Sea-grey eyes under the sky
Still drown me as I dream

Your golden shadow round me twines
I weep into your hair
Deeper I fall, louder I call
The abyss echoes my wail

Embrace of bliss, sweet arms I miss
In the surrounding blackness
In coldness sink, darkness I drink
Cascading into madness

All breath is banned; I find no hand,
No voice to bring me healing
No face behold, but water cold
And last dim light receeding

Despair deep within me seeps
My soul and heart are wasted
Restore my mind, and let me find
Your memory unfaded

Come and find me, reach for me
And as you once did, hold me
Awaken me from deadly dream
And shine your eyes upon me.


When his song finished, he turned his head, and bent his thoughts into the forest.

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Old 04-14-2004, 07:02 PM   #95
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Tolkien East of Fangorn: Ædegard

Ædegard was amazed by Amroth's song. After it, he no longer was tempted to call him "Mellon", or "the blacksmith". Whatever may have been true about his body, he was in spirit the Elf-lord, Amroth, or must be, thought Ædegard. He exchanged glances with Liornung and Bellyn, who seemed as sobered as he by Amroth's song.

They continued riding north, stopping only for quick meals, and to relieve themselves, and came at evening upon the River Limlight, a mere stream trickling out of the Fangorn. The forded it and pressed on, their mounts urged on by Amroth.

Ædegard was concerned. "Amroth, I worry about our mounts. We must rest soon."

Amroth sighed.
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:38 PM   #96
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Eye Fangorn & Limlight: Mellon-Amroth, Dec 13 & 14

Amroth stroked Echo's neck and the chestnut slowed. "Forgive me, friend, " he murmured, and then nodded at Ædegard. "We will halt where you see fit, " he said. "I am willing to take the first watch."

"We might ride for many miles before finding another stream, " replied Ædegard.

As if in answer, Echo halted and turned. At the Limlight they stripped the horses of their tack, and prepared to sleep. Ædegard quickly made a small fire, and after a meal Amroth stood up, wrapped in the cloak Ædegard had brought for him. He was glad of it.

"You prefer the first watch?" Bellyn asked.

Amroth replied, "I am not used to such sleep and such weariness together. Nor do I relish the dreams that the night hours bring."

"Was your song about the dreams, then?" Bellyn asked.

"Lady, I remember not which began first, the song or the dreams; and that is strange indeed for an elf. But it matters not; indeed, it matters not. I must find her; that is all." He considered her and then softly asked, "A verse or two of last night's song would cheer me, Lady, if I may be so bold."

She was glad, and sang several verses. As Ædegard and Liornung settled in for the night, he nodded. "Thank you, Lady Bellyn. You have cheered me indeed."

He stood under the stars til the night was half spent, and then wakened Liornung for the midnight watch. Liornung's pacing brought him past Amroth, who tossed and murmured in his sleep. Liornung woke Ædegard, for whom the morning dawned clear and cold. They ate, filled their water bottles in the stream, drank their fill, mounted, and rode north.

"Well, Liornung, " said Ædegard, "Shall you sing the day's first song or shall I?"

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Old 04-14-2004, 08:18 PM   #97
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Tolkien

It is said that the dawn comes softly. Aeron was of a different opinion. The dawn was no shy maiden, but a resplendent queen with a host of heralds at the fore of her crimson train. Long before the mist of dusk had vanished, the birds sang of their lustrous queen with all their might, calling forth men from their pillows and warm blankets to gaze upon her radiant coming.

Dawn glimmered upon the edges of a mottled sky when Aeron opened his eyes. He rubbed them and yawned, shoving his blanket off as he did so. Stray pieces of firewood were scattered about…the mangy dog had evidently been up to some mischief for when Aeron had gone to bed the wood was stacked neatly.

The corsair, with a soft hiss, drew his sword from its scabbard. The Gondorian was asleep. The fool! What, did he think that because he reposed the enemy would not draw nigh? The grass barely whispering of his coming, the corsair placed the point at the Gondorian’s throat and said, “Draw your sword, Scum of the White Tree.”
~

A prickly, ticklish thing pricked Gwyllion’s throat. She opened her eyes and saw her brother, a cruel smile etched upon his face, pointing a gnarled, twig stubbed stick at her throat. “Draw your sword, Scum of the White Tree,” he commanded.

Snorting, she shoved the branch away and clambered to her feet.

The Gondorian (whose ears were awake even though the rest of his senses slumbered) heard the Corsair slink through the grass and, with a mighty, sprang to his feet. He drew his sword and shouted, “Is it not bad form to attack an enemy in repose?”

The Corsair laughed. A silver tooth glittered in the sun and beads jangled in his raven hair. “If I was in the habit of Bad Form, I would have slain you already.”

The Gondorian scoffed. “And you expect me to believe the word of a Corsair?”

“I spit on your insinuations!” the Corsair said.


Aeron spat at Gwyllion. The juicy blob landed on her chin.

“I care naught for your spittle!” the Gondorian cried, as he wiped it from his chin. “It cannot harm me, nor kill me. And as I have no pride, there is nothing for it to wound.”

“You have pride in the lack of your pride. But enough of this petty talk. Are you ready to fight?” the Corsair asked.

With a flourish, the two soldiers saluted each other.


~

The Gondorian is weak, his muscles still bound in slumber’s shackles, eyes wishing for the sweet blackness that their lids bring. See how he slashes futilely at me! Why he can barely hold his sword properly! It is wobbles in her palm as if it has a life of its own! It will be an easy game, easily won.

~

Gwyllion shifted the branch in her hand for a better place to hold it. It was full of shedding wood that lodged itself in her tender palm. It hurt. She looked about her and saw the relatively smooth stick resting in the smoldering fire.

The Gondorian cast his ill made sword away (curse the troublesome blacksmith who had forged it!} and dived for his other sword that rested in the fire. Fire burst from its point.

~

Aeron drew back as he saw the Gwyllion heave the stick aloft from the fire. A small candle flame wavered softly in the breeze as she poised it before her. Warning him that it was alight. The wind would be sure to extinguish it, but the stick would still be hot in the meantime. He shrugged.

“Bad form!” the corsair shrieked, evil laughter bubbling from him. “What is that but not bad form.”

“Cleverness,” the Gondorian replied.

The two were at it again. Sparks flew from their swords: the sword’s flame shortly died in feeble glory, but the tip yet glowed. The dale rang with clashing metal. Sparks flew as the silver blades rasped and vied with each other.


Aeron and Gwyllion danced as they lunged and parried. Their sticks thudded together and splinters flew at the shock. Gwyllions stick snapped and

The Gondorian’s sword snapped in twain as the Corsair with a mighty roar, bore his own sword across the blade. The shards fell from his hands, sparkling in the pure sunlight. With a final lunge, the Corsair drove his sword into the belly of his foe.

Gwyllion clutched at the stick, and, with an agonizing groan, fell to her knees. Her fingers grasped for her broken stick and

with the Gondorian’s final breath, he drove the shard into the bowels of the gloating Corsair. Blood gushed from the wound, entrails spilled onto his hand. With a final, shrieking scream, the Gondorian died.

Aeron clutched at the wound and staggered about Gwyllion’s prone body.

The Corsair, hands dripping with his own blood, cried, “Shall I die in the glory of my victory? No!” He crumpled to the ground.

With a gasp, Aeron pulled himself to his feet and said, “I shall not die! I shall not be vanquished by a Gondorian!”

Gwyllion’s hand snaked out and jerked him to his feet. “Just die!” she hissed.

And thus two men slew each other…
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:21 AM   #98
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Question North Gondor: Mellonin, Dec. 17

When the death throes ended, there was a moments peace, made poignant by several late-falling leaves that drifted downwards upon the dead bodies.

Then the corpses began to smile. Gwillion let a giggle escape her; Aeron smirked, his lips pressing tighter and tighter. His resolute death-silence lasted until a great red tongue slurped across his face.

"Eeeeyeewugh!" spluttered Aeron, pushing the dog away. Raefindan burst out laughing. Gwillion opened her eyes and looked, and seeing the dog so near, scrambled to her feet. The dog turned, and leaped playfully at her.

She threw herself towards Aeron with a shriek that ended in a whimper. He rose and tried to hush her, defend her, reassure her, and fend off the dog all at once. "Fang, come here, " snapped Raefindan.

Mellonin looked on, wondering why this country girl her own age was terrified of a playful dog. "Will she be all right?" she asked Aeron, who glared at her.

Raefindan looked hard at Mellonin, and suddenly, Mellonin's eyes opened wide. "Is she-- is she--" Raefindan held up his hand to silence her. Her lips formed the word moonstruck.

"Hush," said Raefindan to Mellonin.

"Hush, " Aeron said to Gwillion.

Mellonin's heart sank as she studied Gwillion. Ravion had called her brother 'moonstruck'. Was Mellondu reduced to this-- wandering through Rohan terrified of harmless things? She hid her face in her hands.

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Old 04-15-2004, 12:04 PM   #99
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung

"I shall, good Ædegard!" Liornung cried. "I have worked out a most charming little song and have been waiting for the chance to sing it. When we return to Edoras my darling inn shall have a merry little dance with it. Fair Miss Blostma, dancing like a little Elf, and perhaps we can even bring Good Secgrof to twirl about a bit." Hold, then... Good Secgrof he had called that old man, though all others knew him as Old Secgrof. That name could never be fitting for the old man again, for he was far above all of it. Good? Better than good, but good would have to be enough.

The others were watching him. They were waiting for his song, and they should have it. He had written it out in his head, composed a tune for it, and changed the words until it was perfect. As he sang he could see the scene in his head. He felt quite sure that lad and lassie had not wanted him watching them, but it was his sorry luck that he had been passing at the same time.

It was a day early, early in the spring
when a lad stumbled over the grass so green
and he saw a lass milking a cow
and approaching her he gave a clumsy bow.
"Miss Freolic, there is a dance tonight
starting as soon as the stars are bright
and, miss, would you be so kind
as for the length of the dance be mine?"


And it's round we'll dance through the night
tripping and twirling in the firelight.
Take your partner, take your glass;
I'll dance with you, my pretty lass.
Step and heel and round our flight;
your dancing is so fairy-light.


Hearing the lad's weak stammering
the lassie felt her heart start hammering
and hiding her blushes from the daylight
she said that it would be her delight.
He went to get her when evening came
shy as could be, was he to blame?
They went together, the lad in a trance
to join in the sporting at the merry dance.


And it's round we'll dance through the night
tripping and twirling in the firelight.
Take your partner, take your glass;
I'll dance with you, my pretty lass.
Step and heel and round our flight;
your dancing is so fairy-light.


Twirling round and round the floor,
hold, they're slipping out the door;
through the starlight arm and arm
the moonlight holds a secret charm.
To them the music's sound lessened;
he makes a blushing, boyish confession
saying to her, "Would you marry me?"
They kissed each other under the trees.


Oh, it's round we'll dance through the night
tripping and twirling in the firelight.
Take your partner, take your glass;
I'll dance with you, my pretty lass.
Step and heel and round our flight;
your dancing is so fairy-light.


"They married," he said triumphantly, "and have two babies now... twins. When this journey is over I fancy I'll go visit them." He gazed at each member of the company with a certain amount of pride. "It was I that was the cause of their marriage. I daresay he would have gotten around to asking her but he was taking her time and there were other wealthy lads who were intending to take their chance and by the time he got up the courage it might have been too late. I convinced him to ask her to the dance and ask him that night. She was the kind of lassie, you know, that, while she loved him, would get awfully annoyed that he wasn't asking her and eventually marry another lad just to make him upset. It's a good thing I was about." He gave a satisfied laugh and winked at Bellyn.
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Old 04-15-2004, 11:16 PM   #100
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Tolkien Persued

His aquiline nose twitching, eyes lidded, and thin lips forced into a smile, the man faced Morien and said, “You would not have happened to notice a lad of about seventeen with black greasy hair pass by here a day or so ago?”

“Many lads pass through the Seventh Star fitting that vague description,” Morien replied. “I’m afraid I can’t help you, Sir.”

The strange man frowned and slowly unrolled a parchment. It was a rough sketch of a boy with a mischievous grin and dancing eyes. Morien took the paper and raised his brow. “His name is Aeron,” the man said. “He may go by the name Faran. Did you notice any money missing or anything of that ilk.”

Morien gazed at the paper and said, “Yes, I’ve seen him. He went up to Rohan with some others. A girl and two men. One of whom is a ranger .”

The man nodded and said, “Thank you, Morien.” He tossed a plump velvet bag, turned on his heel, and stalked from the Inn. Waiting upon a sable stallion, was a bean-pole of a man. His bald pate was bound in a black cloth, a single ring, crowned with sapphires, circled his finger, and his right arm was carefully hidden behind a black cloak. His right hand was missing, severed from his body by a Haradrim blade.

“Any news of him?” the merchant asked.

The strange man nodded, and vaulted to the back of his bay. With a clatter of hooves, they left the town.
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Old 04-16-2004, 03:21 PM   #101
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

"For--" Ravion broke off and grabbed the dog, gripping him tight as Gwyllion went into hysterics. The mongrel whimpered, turning confused, liquid eyes to the Ranger. He didn't understand what was going on. But that was all right: neither did Ravion.

He thrust the dog aside and went to Gwyllion. He clasped her shoulder and put a finger gently to her neck to check her pulse. It was already starting to go back to a more normal rate, so Ravion wasn't too worried. He shook his head in exasperation and stepped back, glaring sternly at the girl, who still looked quite shaken.

"Gwyllion, you...can't..." He sighed deeply and turned his back on her for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts. As he turned, he saw Mellonin bury her face in her hands. "Mellonin?" She did not reply. "Mellonin? Are you all right?"

"Fine." Her voice was muffled by her hands. He walked up to her and put a tentative hand on her shoulder. The feeling was back: that lightning, that premonition. His hand tensed, and she must have felt it, for her hands slipped down to cover only her mouth. Her eyes were moist and red-rimmed.

"Your brother?" he asked quietly. She nodded, swallowing hard and composing herself. "We'll find him. I swear it to you."

She smiled half-heartedly and turned away from him to go and collect herself. He wondered why he was so sure that he could find Mellondu. It was a big world, and Mellondu was one man in it.

He realized that Gwyllion was still waiting for him to finish his thought. He shrugged, and said, "Be quieter." He then turned and walked away to pack.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:06 PM   #102
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung at the close of Dec. 14

As evening came Ædegard and Amroth began murmuring to each other and had soon settled on where they would camp for the night. When Liornung undid the girth and slid the saddle of his steed's back a regretful frown came to his face. The bay was very exhausted, and as his eyes moved to the packhorse he realized that that horse was even worse off.

"Ædegard," he said, his voice strangely quiet and full of compassion, "I do not wish to exert authority where I have no right, but we have been riding hard these past few days and for the sake of our steeds I would suggest that tomorrow we ride but a few miles at a slower pace."

Ædegard hesitated and glanced at Amroth, but the latter had not been listening. "It highly depends on what Amroth says of it," Ædegard replied. "Looking at our mounts I see there is some sense in what you say, indeed very much sense, but we will discuss it further in the morning."

"We need not decide until then," Liornung assented with a nod. "That is when the problem will arise. For now we should give these horses good care." And so they did.

Liornung did not go to bed immediately when night came, nor did Bellyn. Both sat silently, gazing up at the stars, a look of puzzlement upon the girl's face, for the sound of music and singing was reaching her ears. "Liornung, do you hear those voices?" she questioned.

"Yes, I do indeed," he replied.

She hesitated. She had expected him to say more about it but he had said nothing. "Who is it that is singing?"

"Fellow travellers," he replied. "Those who wander along the hidden paths of Rohan, those who have no fixed home but go here and there, sometimes lingering for awhile and sometimes for only a night. They live a life much like myself, only they are not welcomed into homes as a fiddler is. Rather they are turned away, scorned, and I fear even hated." He paused a moment as if to dwell on this sorrowful thought, but soon continued. "They are called the travelling people.... often they are called wayfarers. No one will feed them, is it any wonder they steal to live? I have travelled with their kind often, at least before the War. Few of them are left now, and so I am enchanted to hear them sing once again."

"What are they like?"

Liornung laughed inwardly. Bellyn was such a curious little thing, but no wonder, as she had never seen or felt the good and bad of the road but only yearned for it. He enjoyed answering her questions. "They are like other people," he replied firmly. "Some of them are good, some of them are bad. They enjoy being together, they love song and dance, and the road delights them. That is why they chose the road. That is why I chose the road." The expression on his face changed to a dreamy look and Bellyn realized that he was no longer talking to her but himself. "I often regret I have chosen the road, especially when I am about my nieces and nephews. I would have liked to get married to some bonnie lass, and have children, and a home, and never travel the road. Alas then... no, but what am I saying? I am young yet! Can one who is not yet thirty years of age be called old? But then... I fancy I would do not to any lass I might marry but make her miserable. Such is my fate. I will be wed to the road." He gave a short laugh, but it was lacking in humor and was tinged with bitterness. "I can do nothing but bring lads and lassies who love each other and don't realize it to realize, and help good Amroth find his lost love. She must be fair indeed....."

He began speaking to Bellyn again. "Now, Miss Bellyn, I would advise both of us to seek some sleep. It may happen that we will ride as hard tomorrow as we have the past few days. I have no doubt that Amroth cares much for the welfare of our horses but I do believe that sometimes he forgets.... At least Ædegard has been in a good mood these past few days. I wonder what has caused it?"

Bellyn's voice was quiet as she replied. "It has struck me more than once these past few days that perhaps Ædegard was only in a bad mood when we first encountered him."

Only in a bad mood when they first encountered him... A look of awe came to Liornung's face and he took Bellyn's hand, placing his lips softly on her fingertips. She blushed in confusion and he laughed. "Miss Bellyn, you cannot expect me to let such good as you have done me to pass by without showing you my gratitude somehow? I have been thinking ill of another and you have very gently and truly led me back to thoughts of kindness. I thank you for it. Now if those gypsies are still about tomorrow we'll seek them out and you can see what they're like for yourself." He released her hand with a gentle squeeze, saying, "Good night, Miss Bellyn," and then he stood and tripped lightly over the ground to where Ædegard was. Bending down he sang a few lines in the young man's ear until he growled and tried to wave the fiddler away. Laughing softly, Liornung lay himself on the ground and stared wistfully in the direction of the wayfarers until sleep closed his eyes.

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Old 04-16-2004, 08:39 PM   #103
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Tolkien

Aeron glared at Ravion as the man turned away. Gwyllion sniffed beside him, her breath shuddering as she hovered beside him. Aeron had not quite figured out why she was terrified of dogs. It had not helped that she had heard stories of mad dogs and had heard of how wolves ripped people’s throats out. It was not her fault that she was terrified of them. He frowned, and snapped, “Do not tell her to be quiet!”

Ravion stopped, turned on his heel, and said, “What?”

Aeron stepped closer to the ranger and drew himself to his full height, hoping that this quarrelous act did not count as bad behaviour. “It is not her fault that the dog frightens her.”

“Must she scream so loudly?” Ravion asked.

Of all the blasted, unreasonable things to say. Aeron licked his lips, trying to control the hot anger. “She is not a hardened warrior like you,” he said. “You cannot expect her to do that. Besides,” he muttered, “her fear is not a normal fear. It is sheer terror. It is not as if there are orcs after us. There is no need for stealth.”
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Old 04-16-2004, 10:05 PM   #104
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Boots North of Fangorn: Mellon-Amroth, morning of Dec. 15

The next morning, Liornung confronted Amroth with the weariness of his own two horses. "You see, Lord Amroth. Our speed has come at too great a cost."

Amroth did see. He stepped towards Liornung's bay, stroked his neck, and murmured to the horse. The bay snorted, and then reached down for a mouthful of dewy grass.

Amroth stepped back, and nodded. "I have been careless. You speak the truth." He walked to Ædegard. "I will proceed on foot. Echo will not mind walking beside me. You may rest as much as you wish. You will catch me easily when you do ride."

"You need rest too, " Ædegard said with his first real frown in several days.

"Yes, " replied Amroth. "But I will not find it lying on the ground. Farewell til you catch me again."

"Amroth, wait. Stay here. Rest with us."

"Ædegard." Amroth turned back to him, and stepped close, looking up at him.

Ædegard the tall Rider looked down on the slight Gondorian blacksmith. Whatever the state of his elvish mind, weariness was all too evident in the young man's body. Ædegard shook his head. "You are exhausted. You will be sick again ere long."

Amroth reached up and put one hand on Ædegard's shoulder. "I am sick now, friend; and only one can heal me. I would find no rest dallying here. Do not fret; you will catch me easily. I will not hide my tracks, and Echo cannot. Farewell for the morning."

With a nod to the baffled Liornung and Bellyn, Amroth led Echo northward out of the camp.

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Old 04-17-2004, 09:13 AM   #105
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Eye Lothlorien: Erebemlin - Dec 15

Nestled in the high branches of his mellorn, Erebemlin sat facing a fiery, young Elf of a much smaller stature than he. The two remained silent and moved not, yet they communicated in thought.

I feel their filthy presence, Silmaethor. Celegtâl flashed his grey eyes. We should dispose of them immediately, before they get too far.

I feel them too. They have crossed Nimrodel…her water is soiled. Erebemlin remained unmoved…a great contrast to his companion’s excitable nature. We will wait. Their number must be known before we take action. Caranduin and Taitheneb will return soon enough…we will wait.

Celegtâl rose and began pacing across the talan. “Filthy Yrch. We…I could pick them off one by one with my bow.” Stopping suddenly, he turned to face Erebemlin, who still remained in the same position, “I will not fail you!”

Erebemlin raised his eyes to meet his companion’s gaze. You need to learn to control your temper, Celegtâl. Patience will benefit us more than haste. With that, the elder closed his eyes and mind to the youth.

The Orcs were coming from the mines of Moria, and although they had crossed the water of Nimrodel, Erebemlin knew they had many miles to travel before they reached the forest. They would stop at the feet of the mountains and wait for nightfall to come further, then they would be fully rested and prepared for resistance.

Erebemlin continued to sit in his silent thoughts, while Celegtâl paced the length of the talan. The two waited for news from their fellow Sinda to make determine what action would need to be taken.
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Old 04-17-2004, 09:42 AM   #106
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

"Besides...her fear is not a normal fear. It is sheer terror. It is not as if there are orcs after us. There is no need for stealth."

Ravion was taken aback by Aeron's outburst. Gwyllion had gotten off very, very easily. He would have let fly with much harsher words, had Mellonin not distracted him. However, his surprise turned quickly to irritation. "How do you know that there are no orcs?" he asked. "You do not know where the orcs hide. And you think that stealth is unnecessary?" He folded his arms over his chest and looked up at the sky, then directly at Aeron. "I suppose that I have been usurped as the Ranger in residence. Perhaps you should lead us now, my brother." He smiled mockingly at the boy, who scowled deeply.

"If you can help it, try not to be ridiculous," Aeron said acidly. Ravion started to lunge at him, but stopped himself. He closed his eyes and counted to ten in a variety of languages.

"I am a hunter, Aeron," Ravion said slowly. "My whole life, I have been a hunter. A protector, a defender, a warrior...but also a hunter. No one knows how to track like a Ranger, and that is my strength as a Ranger. With a sword I am more than competant, but with a trail and a scent I am in my element. Mellonin's brother does not want to be found, I fear. He believes that he has another calling. If he finds that we are following him, he will flee. I cannot allow that. This is my mission. This is what I am to do now. If you think that you can do it better, then, by all means, take it up with Mellonin. Give her a detailed plan of how you propose to find her brother. Give her your credentials. How many people you have found. How many battles you have fought. All the years you spent in training." He raised his eyebrows, giving Aeron a brief chance to respond. When the boy did not, he continued. "Then let me do this my way."
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Old 04-17-2004, 10:44 AM   #107
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Bellyn watched as Amroth left with Echo. Why does he leave if he knows we are to catch up with him anyway? Bellyn wondered, sighing. She gave a clueless look to Liornung, who continued to watch Amroth stride into the distance. "Maybe he wishes to be alone in his thoughts..." Bellyn said absent-mindedly, noticing that Ædegard watched Amroth exit as well, with an upset gaze and a frown upon his face. "Liornung?" Bellyn murmured, and he turned to her, a question in his eyes. "Do you think he wants us to catch him?"

"He told us we would catch him," Liornung replied, laying back down on his back and looking up at the stars.

"Maybe he just knows that we're going to follow him whether he wants us to or not," Bellyn mused aloud but to herself, not sure if Liornung would rather get his rest. "I don't suppose he wants us to follow him and catch up to him again as much as he wants to just find his love. Do you think we will be able to help him find her in the end, Liornung?"

"I think we are all here for a reason, and that is to help Amroth on his journey and learn from it ourselves, whether we find his loved lady or not," Liornung replied, smiling up at the sky. "Now, Miss Bellyn, I think we should use the time Amroth has given us to sleep, and ready ourselves for a full day tomorrow." Liornung rolled over and Bellyn assumed he was asleep or almost so.

"Bella," the artist said quietly. "My brothers called me that. Miss Bellyn is so formal," she pointed out, though Liornung was sleeping. Bellyn layed back and closed her eyes, wondering what would happen if they did see and meet the wanderers Liornung had mentioned and explained. He knew so much about them, and Bellyn wished that she knew as much as he did. Bellyn wondered where the travelling people had actually traveled. Maybe they have maps drawn, or stories of the faraway lands they have been to! Bellyn thought excitedly.

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Old 04-17-2004, 10:49 AM   #108
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Tolkien

Raefindan
When Ravion had pushed the dog away, Raefindan had knelt by it and held it at the neck, ruffling its pendant ears. He handed the dog to Mellonin.

"Ravion, Aeron," he said, stepping forward, and putting his hands between them, pushed back against both their chests and stepped between them. He looked to Ravion. "Friend, your concern is of course just and right that we need caution on the road. Please allow me."

Ravion's brow was knitted, his jaw working; Raefindan could see that he was weighing whether to put this red headed upstart in his place and force his position as leader, or to allow him some tether. After a moment, he nodded and returned to his packing.

Raefindan turned to Aeron. "Friend, you do well to come to the defense of your sister. If you are right in naming your sister's terror as unexplained, maybe I can help. Will you allow me?"

Aeron, pleased with the red headed man's speech, was nonetheless not about to look as if he could be so easily placated.

"First tell me what you would do. I'll not have you harming my - older sister."

"I mean to try to befriend the girl and the dog to each other."

Simply enough said. Aeron's brow rose in open skepticism. "You can do that?"

"I can try." Raefindan looked to Gwyllion. "Would you be willing to try, Gwyillion?" She backed up a step, clearly unsure.

Aeron went to her side. "If you can promise the dog will not hurt her."

"You have my word."

Raefindan retrieved the dog from Mellonin, and knelt beside him, holding him between his neck and forefeet with one hand, scratching his head with the other. "I can't call you Fangless. What shall I name you?" The dog looked up into Raefindan's eyes, his big mouth grinning open, his tongue lolling, delighted for the attention. "Let's see. I'll call you..... I know! Jorje!" Raefindan smiled up to Mellonin, who snickered. "All right then, by Jorje! Gwyllion, my friend Jorje here is not really very different from you. Yes, his mouth and teeth are bigger than yours, but he has feelings -" Raefindan stopped at Gwyllion's sudden confusion. "Um, he fears as you fear. There is nothing that Jorje fears more, than humans who fear him, because when a human fears him, Jorje knows that he cannot be sure what that human will do. So I would like to help both of you stop fearing each other, and become friends. That way, you both will know to expect friendship from each other, and so it will be. The way to do that is for you to approach slowly, with your hand held out before you, with the palm up. I will hold Jorje, keeping him calm, and all you need to do is come. The goal - that is - our aim is for Jorje to sniff your hand, then lick it, and after that, you can scratch his throat. He likes that almost as much as me scratching his ears. See? Now, when you're ready..."

Ædegard

The moment Ædegard had finished fording the Limlight, the world had changed for him: he was outside Rohan for the first time in his life. Though he had never before been far beyond Edoras, Rohan was his land, and he had heard many tales and songs about its many parts. Now all those familiar songs and tales were of no use. He was a stranger now, a wanderer as lost as any other. It was unsettling, and it was exciting. He told himself to calm and think about their situation.

Ædegard knew that Mellon's body was moving toward illness, no matter what Amroth's mind believed. Maybe it was time someone made it clear to him what was going on. Ædegard laughed at himself: as if he had any real idea what was really going on. He did know that Mellon was not putting on an act, that he really did believe himself to be Amroth, and further, that Mellon himself had not shown up since he had taken sick. A mere blacksmith, it was doubtful that Mellon even knew anything about Amroth, although there was no way of knowing that. He wished he had asked Bethberry, or someone who knew something, more questions about everything instead of having been so put out at having to leave his comfortable little life. Oh well. Done was done.

Now Liornung wanted to take Bellyn to the camp of some wanderers that were close by, while Amroth walked on to Lorien. Ædegard decided that he might as well go with Liornung and Bellyn to see what he would.
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Old 04-17-2004, 12:07 PM   #109
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung and the gypsies

Liornung cast one last bewildered look in the direction Amroth had gone then took Bellyn's hand. "Come along," he said. "We will go to the wayfarer camp, but we must be brief. I do not like to leave him alone for long." They went over the ground to the place the wayfarers had camped, leading their tired horses behind them. A broad smile came to Liornung's face when he saw many people, their features both fair and dark, going here and there, preparing to leave. "This is a surprise, but pleasant," he said. "Most wayfarer bands I have encountered have been Easterlings, but I see many of my own race here, and Gondorians as well."

A young girl came walking confusedly towards them, an empty pail in her hand. She was of Rohan if one was to judge by her features, for she was tall, fair-haired, and blue-eyed. She studied them dubiously, glanced over her shoulder, and seemed to come to a decision about something. "Excuse me, sirs," she said in a low voice, "but do you know of any stream nearby?"

"So I do," Liornung said with another of his odd bows. "We camped by one last night; it is over yonder." He gestured in the direction of their campsite. She began walking vaguely that way, a cloud of confusion on her face, but he stopped her. "Wait a moment, Miss," he said. "Might I have the honor of learning you name?"

"Argeleafa," she replied shortly, dropping her eyes shyly.

"That is a lovely name. Yet.... if you do not mind me being bold, Miss Argeleafa, I have been impressed by your attitude that you are quite new to the wayfarers."

A blush came to her cheeks and her eyes flamed, but just as quickly she paled and ducked her head quite low. "I must confess, sir, it is so."

"I trust you did not run away to join them?"

"Oh, sir, who would be mad enough...?" A startled look sprang to her face and she stared up at him. "I am only with them because my father, who wandered in his younger days, took a fancy to join them. My mother also did, and so did I. They passed our town just five weeks ago. I have been with them that time and no longer."

"Do you enjoy the life?"

"It seems to me like most other lives. In some ways it is fine, in some ways it is dreadful." She seemed reluctant to say more, but Liornung gently encouraged her. "I do not wish to speak ill of anyone," she said, "for my mother taught me against it, yet... there are some people who do not care for us. They won't feed us when we're hungry and scorn us.... Sometimes we steal." Her lip trembled at this confession.

"I won't say it's good to steal," Liornung said briskly, patting her shoulder, "but you must admit those people deserved it. Hunger is an awful thing."

She did not seem to know what to say to this, so instead she turned her head and her eyes widened. "Oh, sir, I really must go fetch that water. See, they're beginning to go off this very moment!"

"Don't fear," he said, taking the pail from her. "I'll fetch your water for you, and we'll walk with you for awhile. We have a friend to catch up with. I'd like to meet the rest of your company. But again I forget my manners. Ædegard will introduce us all, and I will be back soon."

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Old 04-19-2004, 07:18 AM   #110
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Question North Gondor, Ravion's Ramblers: Mellonin, Dec. 17

Mellonin watched as Gwillion considered Raefindan and the dog.... Jorje. Her eyes twinkled.

Aeron glanced from Gwillion to Raefindan, waiting, hoping, reassuring his sister with glance and touch. Ravion watched out of the corner of his eye.

Gwillion stared at the dog, and thought, and thought. A few tears of fear escaped her, but she gathered her courage, and began to approach Raefindan... and the dog.

Mellonin smiled, remembering Raefindan's puzzling comment back at the Inn. Well, by George, I think you've got it! She giggled. Ravion looked up at her in surprise, and she giggled again. Ravion's gaze grew more puzzled still, so she quenched the laughter, and composing herself, turned to watch Gwillion.
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Old 04-19-2004, 12:19 PM   #111
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Tolkien

Gwyllion swallowed and crept towards Raefindan and the beast he held. The dog can’t hurt me…the strange red haired man is holding it… She held out her hand. The dog snuffed it. His nose was wet: disgustingly wet. Then his red tongue flicked out and he began to lick her fingers. She cringed, and pulled her hand away.

“Why did you do that?” Raefindan asked. His voice was soft, comforting, gentle.

“His tongue is slimy,” Gwyllion said. She was going to say that the dogs licked their food, but realized that wasn’t quite true. The dog was friendly. But that friendliness could be a mask covering malevolent purposes. She narrowed her eyes and frowned at the dog.

“Pet him,” Raefindan urged. “He won’t hurt you.”

Won’t? “Won’t,” she repeated slowly.

Raefindan blushed, and said, “He will not hurt you.”

Gwyllion nodded and stuck out her hand again. With one careful finger, she scratched his head. She smiled. It was a nice dog, she supposed. Besides, what harm could one fang do? "Jorge," she whispered.
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Old 04-19-2004, 03:34 PM   #112
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Shield North of Fangorn: Mellon-Amroth, morning of Dec. 15

Echo was a fine companion; peaceful, friendly, unassuming. They waded through the long grass. Amroth laid his hand on Echo's mane, fingers twisted in the strands, and let his eyes close, bending his thoughts all along the edge of the plains. Here and there, he met other thoughts; but always, he moved on.

Mid-morning, his feet stumbled, and he opened his eyes. Echo nuzzled him.

"I am weary, " he whispered. "Why am I so weary?"

Not far in front of him ran a small stream. Beside the stream stood a long and slender horse, a lighter chestnut and taller than Echo. Beside the horse, a thin, grimy, ragged boy frowned at him and took a step backwards.

The horse wore a tattered saddle-blanket and a frayed rope tied round his chin, and that was all. The boy wore several layers of rags that hung loosely off of his body, and had a large bag at one hip.

Amroth greeted him in the Rohirric tongue, but the boy's frown only deepened. He tried Sindarin; no response. An Easterling, then. Long separated from his tribe, or so it seemed. He bent his thoughts toward the boy.

I will not harm you. I will drink from the stream.

The boy shrank away. Amroth walked upstream from the boy, and let Echo drink while he filled his water bottle. Watching the boy with his thoughts, he lay on his stomach, and drank his fill. Then he stood, and looked at the boy.

The boy stood gaping at Amroth, and Amroth gazed back at him, puzzled. The boy seemed to bear him none of the tribal ill-will that he might have expected from an Easterling. He searched deeper into the boy's thoughts. Fear, loneliness, sadness, and cold. He frowned, and looked at the boy again.

Do you have a name?

The boy frowned again, and Amroth pressed his thoughts. What shall I call you?

Pig.

You are a man, and no beast.

They call me Boar. Or Pig.

They speak falsely, for you are neither. Who cares for you?

The boy gave no answer, and Amroth approached him.

Have you no companions, no friends?

Silence, within and without. Amroth grieved for the boy, and the boy saw the compassion in his eyes. He pointed at Amroth.

Amroth smiled. "Mellon." Friend. It is what men call elves around here, or so it would seem.

The lad grinned. "Mellon. Mellon?" His delight was evident.

Amroth smiled at him, and nodded. "We are friends, then. Well met."

The boy answered in a harsh tongue, and Amroth waved goodbye, crossed the stream and continued north.

He heard hoofbeats approaching behind him, and a smile crossed his face. He looked over his shoulder, and there jogging after him on his lanky chestnut was the skinny grimy boy. When Amroth halted and looked up at him, he halted too, and stared.

Amroth turned north again, and smiled at Echo. The lad tagged along.
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Old 04-19-2004, 07:26 PM   #113
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Tolkien Near the Limlight: Ædegard

Ædegard trailed Liornung and Bellyn. He had gotten used to them, except for one thing, he now understood. He would never get used to the ease of Liornung going up to aliens and strangers as if they were neighbors. He hung back and watched Liornung speak with the Rohirric girl. What was she doing with these wayfarers? What were these Rohirrim doing with Easterlings? It was disloyalty to King Eomer and all of Rohan!

Ædegard overheard Liornung say that he would introduce the three of them to the girl's folk. The sun would set in the east first. He would have nothing to do with them. He stayed where he was.

"Liornung! We must go! Amroth walks ahead of us and will fall ill if he takes no rest! We must find him! Leave these folk to themselves! They cannot be trusted!"
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Old 04-19-2004, 11:06 PM   #114
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung... words with Miss Argeleafa

Liornung started and stared at Ædegard in a puzzled fashion. A brief flash of anger passed through his eyes and some of his usual friendliness was lacking when he spoke. "Leave Amroth to himself, then," he replied. "Perhaps he cannot be trusted." Ædegard looked taken aback and Liornung colored instantly. "Pardon my harsh words, friend," he murmured. "I was startled and surprised by your words. I had not expected you to speak thus." He looked at Argeleafa and saw she had drawn back in fear at the words of both Liornung and Ædegard. He smiled gently and comfortingly at her, then turned back to Ædegard. "Go to Amroth if you wish," he said. "I will not be long in joining you. This lass is not fit for the life these wayfarers lead. She is Rohirric as myself, not Easterling. Her father had no business taking her from her home. She has been sent to fetch water and she does not know where to go, and I'll hang on a high tree before I let such a lass go by without helping her."

Bellyn, too, seemed startled by the way Liornung spoke but did not show her fear as strongly as the girl did. It was clear to see the young fiddler felt very deeply about these wayfarers and was annoyed with Ædegard.

Argeleafa made a movement as if to leave but Liornung stopped her. "Miss Argeleafa, you would not leave without your water? Come down to the stream with me and we will fetch it. Ædegard, Bellyn, you go catch up with Amroth and see if you detain him. I also fear for him at times." Ædegard and Bellyn began to move off. "And, good Ædegard, please do pardon my harshness. Let me tell you a tale of these wayfarers, if you will, when I rejoin you."

He took Argeleafa's hand as if she were a little child and led her down to the stream. "Sir," she said with some spirit, "you needn't help me. I may not be fit for the wayfarer life but I trust I can carry a pail of water well enough."

"Ah yes, but to find a stream is a different matter. I also wished to speak with you about something very important. My friend Ædegard does not like to see Rohirric people wandering about with Easterlings. I do not say I agree with him entirely, for he feels strongly about his country and those in it. Perhaps he thinks it is wrong of them. I merely find it strange that those of Rohan and even of Gondor would feel differently with them. I myself believe the Rohirric and Gondorians are best suited to stay where they are but I can understand, having broken that ideal myself. They left their homes, and that was their choice, not mine. What compelled them to do so I do not know; perhaps the War destroyed their home and life and they had no other choice." An amused smile flickered over his face. "Perhaps they are only Easterlings in disguise." He did seem immensely pleased at this idea yet with his romantic mind he would. "Yet you have told me your father merely took a fancy into his head to leave. If you will excuse me for speaking thus of your father, Miss Argeleafa, he had no right to and he should have. You were content in your home, and you did not want to leave it. Do not deny it, your face says as much! I am going to speak with your father, Miss Argeleafa, and if he will not go back here and now I will take you with our company and bring you back as soon as my quest is done. That is, if you desire to go."

Surprisingly Argeleafa did not make the protest Liornung had expected, that being that she did not know them. Her protest was quite different. "But sir, how is your life in this quest you speak of different than the life of the wayfarers?"

"It is immensely different," said Liornung intensely. "Ædegard and I travel out of a sense of duty, not because we wished to leave our homes and families. While we are forced to be on the road we have not set aside the custom and manner of our people, of your people. The War changed the lives of so many. I am different than those in this group... I travel about in my work to recall the days of yore, to bring back the traditions where men of Rohan fade away from it because the War ravaged their lands, not because I have turned away from those traditions. Those Rohirric here have abandoned their traditions and taken up with the Easterlings to lead a life they should not lead, and you especially. I do not say when I saw Rohirric people in your group of wayfarers I frowned with displeasure, but upon reflecting I realize I would rather see them sitting in their Rohirric homes, singing their Rohirric songs, and riding their Rohirric horses. I would not see them fade away from their culture and traditions."

Argeleafa spoke immediately when he paused. "Sir, you speak strong words yet true words. I have always loved the Rohirric way of life and I thought my heart would break when my father left it. The Easterlings are not wicked, the Gondorians are not wicked, but I cannot understand their ways of life and I cannot love it. I can live with them but I cannot live the life they live, and I am expected to. I will speak with my father, and if he will not return home I will go with you. That is, if Master Ædegard will allow. He thinks on me in not a favorable light, I think, but perhaps you can persuade him that I am not one of those Rohirric who did not care if they left their traditions or not."

"Fine!" Liornung said. "I cannot explain why I have taken such a liking to you, but you rather remind me of a niece I have and that is probably the reason. Yet I fancy you are older than she is... What is your age?"

"Four and twenty years, sir."

"You are no little girl!" he said. "In truth I thought thus when I saw your bewildered manner, but it proves my point. You do not love this life and you were not made for it. It is not a bad way of life for those like me who are caught up in enchantment by the road. Yet you... not you, Miss Argeleafa, not you." A little smile flickered across his face. "And no matter what good Ædegard says, I deem Miss Bellyn, or should I say Bella at her request, would enjoy the company of another woman. You will find her one who is not lacking in tradition, though she is of Gondor. Speak to your father, I will speak to Ædegard. If your father refuses to return, obtain a horse and ride north until you find us. We will be only a short distance away, less than a mile I think. If your father agrees to reutrn to his home, I bid you goodbye, Miss Argeleafa."

During their speech they had filled the pail with water and returned to the camp of wayfarers. Liornung bowed slightly to the girl, gave her the water pail, mounted his horse and began trotting briskly northward. If all honest truth must be told he was more than a little frightened of telling Ædegard that the young girl might be joining them, especially as he seemed to look upon the Rohirric wayfarers in a disfavorable light. He did not feel anymore at ease when, upon catching up to his company, Ædegard turned to him, a friendly look upon his face. Plainly he bore no ill will against Liornung for previous words the fiddler had spoken to him. 'Twould be hard to shatter such a friendly mood, but for the girl's sake and Rohan's sake it must be done.

"Good Ædegard, I bring you tidings, and whether they are good or ill I cannot say," he said. "I have sent Miss Argeleafa to speak with her father and try to convince him to return to his home. As I have told you, she was not made and brought up to be a wayfarer. If her father will not bring her home - " and here he stiffened and gripped the reins tightly, as if expecting a wild storm to blow him to the ends of Middle-Earth " - she will be coming with us."
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Old 04-20-2004, 03:43 PM   #115
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Tolkien Near the Limlight: Ædegard

"If her father will not bring her home - she will be coming with us."

Liornung seemed ready to defend his words, which struck Ædegard as odd, for he had not seen the fiddler so determined about anything but to sing.

"If you would know my mind, friend Liornung, I think you did well to convince the girl that she and her father should not live with these folk. Some say, though, that the father ought to have the say over what the daughter does. I do not, or Théoden's Bane would never have been slain by his daughter Eowyn."

Ædegard raised a brow as Liornung took on a befuddled expression.

"What is the matter, friend?"

"I did not expect such a seasoned answer! You have given me a surprsie, Ædegard, which is just as well, for I have always welcomed them."

Ædegard smiled. "I think that Amroth is not far ahead. I wonder, though, that he does not seem to understand, if Amroth he be, that he wears the flesh of a Gondorian blacksmith. Think you that we ought to change his mind so that he knows his limits?"
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:27 PM   #116
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung

Relief and surprise swept over Liornung, causing him to pause for a moment, yet he had never been one to be stricken silent and he answered Ædegard's question quickly. "By all means let us catch good Amroth and do all in our power to make him pause and rest awhile," he said. "I will talk to him in terms that perhaps he will listen to. We will wait for the girl. I saw in her doubtful eyes that her father would not go back... at least not yet."

They urged their horses on with the utmost gentleness. A question bore on Liornung's mind and he brought it forth in words to Ædegard. "Are you sure the girl will be no bother to you?" he asked.

"Bother?" Ædegard laughed. "I trust she is old enough to look after herself but if it comes to light she isn't it will be you, Liornung, who will be watching out for her, not I." A mischievous smile came to Liornung's face and he replied, "Unless I mysteriously vanish sometime?"

"If you do I will pursue you and catch you. I fancy I could watch her well enough but Amroth is already a great trouble."

"And there he is, with a lad walking behind him." Liornung fixed a curious gaze on the thin, dirty lad. He was plainly an Easterling, and the way he was dressed signified that he was one of the wayfarers. Amroth was saying nothing, and the lad surely following him. Liornung called out a greeting and the boy started, twisting in his saddle to stare at them in some fear. Liornung was startled, but it came to him that the lad was most likely used to ill treatment from strangers who did not care for the wayfarers. "Hello, laddie, and greetings to you, Amroth," the fiddler said kindly, putting up a friendly hand.

"Pause a moment, Amroth, and let us speak to you," Ædegard said. Amroth obeyed but when he turned Echo to face them he seemed impatient and eager to continue.

"Amroth, we insist you stop and rest for the day," Liornung said in a firm voice. "You have overworked yourself and are in no condition to continue at your speedy pace."

"Yet I must continue," Amroth said softly. "I cannot rest here."

"But you will," Liornung insisted. "I say this with your betrothed in mind. You must have more faith in her, friend. You must rest so she will find you in good health and spirits." He hesitated. Words could not describe what he meant to say, yet the words of a song sprang to his mind and he repeated them gently.

"I travelled north by hill and glen to find the girl I loved dear
and every day I travelled on she seemed to grow ever near.
Yet in my journey never pausing
without knowledge pain I was causing
to the girl I loved dear.


I reached her home one day in summer when all the grass was green;
I heard her wander through the meadows and in a gentle voice sing.
Yet I was sick and frail
and my courage failed, collapsing at the feet
of the girl I loved dear.


She took me up and cared for me but she had cause to weep
for she could not I and I could not her forevermore keep.
In foolish journey without rest I gave
death one of its victories best, breaking the heart
of the girl I loved dear.


"When I first heard the song I thought 'twas odd and did not care for it much, but I would not wish to see it come as true."

Amroth had paused and seemed to hesitate.

"And consider," Liornung continued, "this lad here who is obviously hungry and weary. We should pause and let him eat and rest and he does not trust us yet, he trusts you. You must stay and feed him, and then again there is a girl who will be coming soon who cannot wander through the wilderness searching for us. We must wait here for her, but we will not stay behind if you go. Good Amroth, I see that you are in haste to find your love, but look to us, to the horses, to the lad, and to the girl. There is no haste to bring grief upon us through illness or death because we could not bide but a day." Turning to Ædegard, he added quietly, "And there, Ædegard, I have tried but for once I find myself unable to speak freely and I falter and stumble. If he will not listen you must try. He will have to pause a day no matter how we bring it about. Good Secgrof sent me to care for him, I will or be hanged as traitorish scum."
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Old 04-21-2004, 08:26 AM   #117
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Shield North of Limlight: Mellon-Amroth, still Dec. 15

"Liornung, you speak as a loyal friend." Amroth considered the three riders, pressing his thoughts into the wild boy's mind as he did so.

Ædegard, giver of cloak, blanket and Echo, with fellowship and loyalty to match. Liornung, cheerful, warm, open, kind. Lady Bellyn, quiet, caring, thoughtful, and sweet-voiced.

A little of the boy's fear subsided.

Amroth spoke again. "Liornung, I have no desire to sleep. Sleep brings me no rest; only dreams: dark, pressing, heavy and wearying dreams, cavernous dreams without wind or sky or breath. Good friend, I do not desire sleep."

He swayed in the saddle as he spoke. The wild boy urged his lanky chestnut closer to him, reaching as if to catch him.
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Old 04-21-2004, 11:44 AM   #118
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Tolkien

Aeron watched Gwyllion approach the dog, fuming under his breath the entire while. That ranger -- no suitable words could describe him. What did he expect of Gwyllion? She was a young girl, two years younger than himself (though the ranger couldn't possibly know that, for he probably still thought she was older), with strange behaviour. And he just expected her to leave all that behind? It was positively ridiculous.

Aeron scowled at Ravion who was packing the horse, debating whether he should go and help him or now. Let the ranger do his own work Unless the ranger expressly ordered him to help, he was on his own. Aeron grabbed a thick stick and began to whittle it.

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Old 04-21-2004, 01:53 PM   #119
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White Tree North Gondor, Ravion's Ramblers: Mellonin, Dec. 17

Under Reafindan's watchful eye Gwillion began to smile, the dog began to wag his tail.

Mellonin sighed with relief and turned to her blankets. In moments they were rolled and tied. Then catching Aeron's eye, she raised one eyebrow.

He stood, and began rolling his blankets.

Raefindan was still with Gwillion and Jorje. Mellonin rolled his blankets and tied them, and picked up his water bottle to fill it for him.

Aeron was almost done with his own packing, but wth a sigh, he realized he would have to pack for Gwillion too, and fill both their bottles. Ravion watched out of the corner of his eye as Mellonin directed Aeron with a glance, a gesture, or a nod.
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Old 04-21-2004, 03:46 PM   #120
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung

Both Liornung and Ædegard started when Amroth began to sway, but they did not ride to his side. Rather they dismounted and went on foot to him. Ædegard reached up to Amroth and helped him dismount, a frown creasing his brow. Liornung shook his head. "Master Amroth, you may not desire sleep but sleep you must," he said. "Come, sit down a moment and regain your strength."

If Amroth had desired to protest he did not. Ædegard firmly but gently led him to where he could sit and Bellyn said, "Might I get you a cup of water, sir?"

"Yes, do," Liornung said before Amroth could reply. "And while you do that, Miss Bellyn, you might see if Miss Argeleafa is anywhere about." He turned to Ædegard with another shake of his head. "I am worried that her father will expressly forbid her to go," he said. "In truth that foul creature would have never been slain if it had not been that Lady Éowyn went against her uncle's wishes, as you say, Ædegard, but disobedience is not good in itself, though it was made that some good should come out of her wrong. I would not desire Miss Argeleafa to disobey her father's request." He fell to thinking and soon Bellyn returned with the water, which she gave to Amroth. He thanked her but did not drink. Liornung did not notice this, however, for the young Rohirric girl was coming towards them, leading a sleek roan horse.

When she reached them she gazed about shyly, and Liornung took her hand eagerly. "It is a pleasure to see you will ride with us, Miss Argeleafa," he said. "I will not ask what your father said; your presence answers that question. I will instead introduce you to my companions. Ædegard and Bellyn you have already seen, though I have not given their names. This Amroth." He led her over to the one spoken of, who stood to his feet and bowed to her. A blush sprang to her cheeks and she curtseyed, murmuring, "I am honored, sir."

"This lad," Liornung continued, "is one I do not know, though something tells me he shall be travelling with us."

"I know him already," Argeleafa replied.

"Ah, do you? But I do not. Introduce him to me, if you will."

"I do not know his name... that is, I know what he is called among the wayfarers but it is an ugly name that I would not give to him." Her eyes softened as she looked at the lad. "They call him Pig."

A look of disbelief crossed Liornung's face and he shook his head in disgust. "Alas for the sorrows of the world," he said. "What a cruel name. There is a lack of love amongst those wayfarers, I gather." He sighed. "But now then, Miss Argeleafa, do sit down. Let us all sit and talk and sing and tell tales and become better acquainted. We have a day to pass, or so I believe. I trust, Amroth, you have decided to rest this day?"
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