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Old 04-21-2004, 04:32 PM   #121
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White-Hand North of Limlight: Mellon-Amroth, Midday Dec. 15

The wild boy still had not dismounted. Staring at the strangers, he rode to Amroth's back and halted his lanky chestnut, and together they stood guard behind Amroth.

With a bemused nod at Liornung, Amroth sat back down. "Yes, I will rest. It seems I must." He reached for the water that Bellyn had brought for him, and drank. Then he looked at the long, sweet grass, weighing its softness against the harshness of the dreams. The sun was shining, and the rolling ground gave some shelter from the cold wind. He gave in, pulled his cloak around him and lay down on his back.

The boy slid off his chestnut horse, eyeing the others. Chattering in his strange tongue, he snatched Amroth's wrist and pulled, dragging Amroth several feet. Liornung stepped towards Amroth, but with a squeal the boy stepped between them. Liornung started to protest as the boy burst into a frenzy of motion. He pushed the boy away, and then Liorning saw the blood running down his own hand and arm.

Liornung gaped at the blood while the boy sprang onto his chestnut, drummed his heels into the horse's side, turned him towards Liornung and tried to ride him down. Liornung lurched aside, putting his back to Argeleafa and slapping at the chestnut as he reached for his weapon. By now Ædegard was by Bellyn's side drawing his knife.

"What happened?" said Ædegard.

"He bit me!" said Liornung.

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Old 04-21-2004, 04:46 PM   #122
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung

Liornung had drawn the little knife he kept at his belt. He generally did not like to carry a weapon but the road had often proved dangerous and it had been useful. His first thought was to step in front of Argeleafa so she would come to no harm; Ædegard would take care of Bellyn.

What was the lad doing? It had been strange how he had begun dragging Amroth across the ground, it had been stranger how he had attack Liornung, and it was unthinkable that he was on his horse now, trying to ride over them.

Argeleafa touched his sleeve as the boy turned his horse to them again. "Please," she murmured, "don't hurt him. I don't know what he's doing but he's a wayfarer."

Yes, the lad was a wayfarer. He was most likely distrustful of people because people were distrustful of him. Yet Liornung had never known a wayfarer who would attack for that reason. He did not wish to hurt the lad himself, and for Argeleafa's sake, who would naturally feel some devotion to a member of the wayfarer band, he would be even more careful.

The boy had seemed to be considering what to do next, but he had urged his horse on again and he swept by them again. Ædegard had taken Bellyn's arm and pulled her back as he himself leapt aside, and Liornung made a gesture that Argeleafa should stay back. "Ædegard," he said, trying to speak in a tone of voice so Ædegard might hear but the boy would not. "I would not harm the boy, if possible. We should try to get him off his horse. He will be less dangerous on foot, unless it is proved he is armed. And you, Bella, must stay out of harm's way."
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Old 04-21-2004, 08:16 PM   #123
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Tolkien Lothlorien: Erebemlin - Afternoon, Dec 15

“Welcome, mellyn,” Erebemlin rose and greeted the two golden-haired elves as they entered his talan from the trunk of the mellorn. “Tell us what you have learned.” Celegtâl stood in the corner, behind the host, with his arms folded over his chest.

The first ellon, Caranduin, stepped forward and spoke, “We have seen them, Silmaethor. Their number is not many as was feared…only twelve. They have stopped approximately three leagues from our border.”

“Yes, they will wait for nightfall before they try to enter.” Erebemlin turned his back on Caranduin and sat on a small bench that was covered in a material the same golden shade that colored the leaves of the tree.

Now it was Taitheneb’s turn to come forward. “Why are they coming? The war is over. They have no business with us.”

Celegtâl could hold tongue no longer. “Why are they coming? They want to destroy us, the filthy beasts. We must eliminate them before they have a chance to contaminate our forest.”

Erebemlin stood and face the young speaker. His frame towered over Celegtâl as he spoke calmly and firmly, holding him with his thoughts. You speak too quickly, Elloneth. “We are not the only beings who need food to last the winter. They will be in search of flesh to take to their mines.” The elder released the young elf from his gaze and turned to Caranduin and Taitheneb. “However understandable their motives, they will not find what they seek in the Golden Wood. We will be ready for them when they arrive.” With that, Erebemlin snatched his bow and descended from his home, letting the three follow.

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Old 04-21-2004, 08:50 PM   #124
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Mellon-Amroth, Dec 15

Amroth sat up with an effort, ran his hand over his eyes, and said, "Mellon, do not fret. You worry too much."

"What?" said Ædegard. "What did you say?"

"Mellon worries too much. He frets too much."

"Mellon? Are you Mellon or Amroth? Mellon!"

Amroth gestured at the boy, who was weaving back and forth between Amroth and his erstwhile companions.

Ædegard snapped back into the present. "What is he doing?"

"He is fretting."

"Tell him to stop!"

"I did so. He paid no heed." With that, Amroth surrendered to his weariness. He lay back, and within seconds was sound asleep. Once again, the lad slid off his horse and tried to drag Amroth away. Amroth did not even stir. The lad shook him and lectured him, casting wild glances at the others, but Amroth did not stir. Finally the boy began to plead.

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Old 04-22-2004, 02:13 PM   #125
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Boots North Gondor, Ravion's Ramblers: Raefindan, Dec. 17

Raefindan watched Gwyllion petting Jorje til there was peace in Gwyllion's eyes, and then he nodded to her. "All right, Gwyllion. Let's walk. Would you like Jorje to walk with you?"

He picked up his pack. The group began walking with the early winter sun behind them, and their shadows were long upon the grass.

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Old 04-22-2004, 04:26 PM   #126
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

The sharp cracks from Aeron's knife against the piece of wood resonated in Ravion's head. Snap. Snap. It had a pattern, an entirely unintentional musicality to it, that stemmed from Aeron's emotions.

It didn't take Ravion's Ranger training to tell him that the boy was angry. He knew from his own experience that every emotion had its own rythm. Happiness was bright and stacatto; sadness was slow and drawn-out; nervousness was quick and brief; and anger...anger was broken, hard, and fast. Ravion sighed, put down his pack, and walked over to Aeron.

"I don't want to be your enemy, Aeron," Ravion said without preamble. He leaned on his arm against the tree that Aeron was sitting under. The boy did not look up at him. Ravion sighed again, and turned to press his back against the trunk. "Aeron. Are you listening to me?"

"I can hear you," Aeron said noncomittally.

"Aeron, this trip won't be pleasant if we fight the whole way. You obviously misinterpreted what I said to your sister. But you have to understand that time is of the essence. If she keeps having these fits, we'll lose valuable time. Now, we can fight, or we can be civil to each other. Which will it be?"

With an air of relief, Ravion waited for Aeron's response. At least he had gotten through it without actually saying the word "sorry"...
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Old 04-22-2004, 04:50 PM   #127
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White Tree The Taming of the 'Pig/Mellon'

Each day seemed to grow more and more strange to Bellyn. The wayfarers intrigued her, to say the least, but now they had two of the folk traveling with them. The young Rohirric lady, Argeleafa, Bellyn had no qualms with. In fact, Bellyn thought it rather nice to have another companion. Not just because Argeleafa was female, but also because it seemed to Bellyn that she knew as little about adventure and traveling as Bellyn did.

This new wayfarer, the Easterling, who had been called 'Mellon' by Amroth, turned out to be another matter entirely. Bellyn hadn't planned on ever seeing a weapon in Ædegard's hand, much less in Liornung's grasp. The boy had bitten Liornung! Bellyn scowled at the boy as Amroth dazed into and out of consiousness. She tried her best to remember the conclusion she and Liornung had come up with about Ædegard, and hoped that Mellon would calm.

"For one who wished for no sleep, Amroth seems to have dropped off quite easily," Bellyn murmured, looking at Amroth. Liornung sighed and Bellyn caught a hint of a snort from Ædegard, who watched the boy speaking to the sleeping Amroth. Bellyn sighed, glancing at Argeleafa and Liornung, to Ædegard, to Mellon and Amroth, then back again. "It does not look like Amroth shall be waking any time soon."

"Right. We need to get 'Mellon' to stop dragging him around then," Ædegard pointed out, interlocking his fingers and resting his hands behind his head.

"To do that we need to be sure 'Mellon' will not bite us," Argeleafa added softly, and Liornung nodded approvingly to her.

"How do we go about doing this, then?" Bellyn wondered aloud. She wished she was brave enough to walk right up to Mellon and help to tame the lad, but with several glances at Liornung's arm, Bellyn was forced to think twice. "While we all figure how to complete this task, would you like me to tend to your arm, Liornung?"

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Old 04-22-2004, 05:15 PM   #128
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Shield ROHAN: Liornung

As soon as the boy was off his horse Ædegard took hold of the reins so there would be no more danger of being ridden down. Liornung found himself immensely touched by the way Pig pleaded with Amroth, trying to get his friend to wake up. "Hold a moment," Liornung murmured to Bellyn. "I would speak with the boy." He took a hesitant step forward, saying softly, "He's all right, lad, merely tired..." but Pig jumped up and placed himself in front of Amroth once again, glaring fiercely at Liornung. The fiddler drew back warily, remembering his injured hand. Argeleafa touched his shoulder and murmured, "Please let me try to talk to him... he knows my face whether he trusts it or not." She moved closer to the boy, and Liornung stepped back, holding out his injured hand so Bellyn might tend to it.

"Pig," Argeleafa began, but could not continue for she choked on the word. What was it that Amroth had called the lad. It was a strange word and she spoke it hesitantly, her accent Rohirric and her pronunciation of the word odd, but the tone in which she spoke it merited the word. "Mellon..." The boy met her eyes, distrust and confusion in them. "Mellon, please, you must understand that these people here are friends of your friend there - " how foolish she was to have forgotten the name so soon " - and desire to be your friends. If you will not accept their friendship at least do not harm them further."

The boy did not answer, nor did he move away from Amroth, but the dangerous look in his eyes relaxed a bit though he still seemed wary. Argeleafa returned to the rest of the group. "I can do no more now," she said. "At least I don't think he will harm you again, as long as we do not appear to pose any threat to your friend."

Liornung looked with admiration on the neat, white bandage Bellyn had put on his hand and thanked her gratefully before answering Argeleafa. "It will not be easy to bring him to trust us," he said. "It would be best if we merely showed that we are friendly and not show any hostility towards him. I regret sorely that I drew my weapon, and my surprise at his own hostility was no excuse for it." He returned his gaze to the bandage on his hand but this time the expression on his face was rueful. "Alas, I fear this wound will hinder my fiddling in no little way. However I will sing The Fair Maid of Gondor for you again so we might have something to do whilst we wait for the lad to begin dragging good Amroth off again. I have no doubt he will try. Just keep in mind, friends, that we must stop him not through force but through kind persuasion. We'll convince him, if possible, that it would be a good thing if Amroth were to remain resting where he was, for the boy really does cares for him."
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:47 PM   #129
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Dark-Eye North of the Limlight: Mellon-Amroth Dec 15

Ædegard watched the wild boy. The horses grazed here and there. Ædegard, Bellyn, Liornung and Argeleafa traded songs, and stories. Ædegard's stories were as grim as Liornung's were merry.

To Liornung's relief, the wild boy did not try to drag Amroth away again as long as they maintained their distance. Instead, he stood guard and kept his horse nearby. When Echo wandered near, the boy caught him, and kept him nearby as well. As long as the boy remained calm, Ædegard's blade remained sheathed.

Two hours passed in this uneasy truce. Then the day clouded over, the wind blew chill from the east, and shivering in the cold Amroth struggled against his dreams. He murmured and tossed, and the boy began to plead with him again, but Amroth did not wake.

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Old 04-22-2004, 07:03 PM   #130
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White Tree

"Now, we can fight, or we can be civil to each other. Which will it be?"

Aeron raised his head, and glanced at the ranger as they both made their way to the head of the small caravan. He considerred. He supposed the ranger was not that bad...but he had such a cryptic attitude. A scowlish smile flashed across his face and he said, "I suppose we can be civil to each other."

Ravion nodded, and strode to the head of the procession, while Aeron lingered beside his sister Gwyllion. Pebbles lined the way and Aeron stooped and picked them up, cramming them into his palm.

Glancing askance at Ravion, he whispered, "Gwyllion, hold your hand out!" Like the obedient, adoring, younger sister that she was, she did and he deposited the pebbles in her sooty hand. "What is this for?" she asked, raising her brows. He leaned down and whispered something into her ear.

She frowned, then smiled, then frowned again. "If I come under his cold wrath, it's your fault and I won't hesitate to put the blame on you."

He scoffed.

Fingering a pebble, Gwyllion tossed it at Ravion's head. The pebbled darted through the air, and hit the ranger's head with a dull smack. Aeron, at the same time, mimicked Gwyllion's subtle toss with slight exaggeration. She did it again, trying to stifle her laughter, and he mimicked her again, this time with a slightly greater exaggeration.
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Old 04-23-2004, 08:25 AM   #131
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White Tree Ravion's Ramblers in Anorien: Mellonin, Dec. 17

Mellonin thought she saw movement out of the corner of her eye, and glanced back. She was astonished to see Gwillion toss a pebble at Ravion. At a ranger, and a temperamental ranger at that. She is moonstruck, thought Mellonin with deepening horror.

The more she watched Gwillion, the more she feared for Mellondu.

Should she say something? What would Ravion do? Would Ravion's coldblooded fury end in poor Gwillion's sudden death? Or, more likely, Aeron's?

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Old 04-23-2004, 11:19 AM   #132
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Tolkien Lothlorien: Erebemlin - Dec 15

Four fleeting shadows moved effortlessly along the forest floor. The light was failing and they increased their speed until they reached the southwest border of the forest. The obvious leader whispered his orders in a tone that would have been inaudible to any mortal being, and the foursome spread out among the trees. In the upper branches of these border mellyrn, talain, very similar to Erebemlin’s dwelling yet smaller in diameter and unfurnished, were built for the border guards when Lorien was more populated before the War of the Ring. It was on these talain that the four elves waited for a sign from an enemy that was surely approaching.

Erebemlin’s gaze pierced the growing darkness. He expected to see the Orcs moving in the next few hours, but he would not be taken off guard if they arrived sooner rather than later. Repositioning is longbow in the palm of his hand, the Sinda made himself ready for a long wait and the battle to come.
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:29 PM   #133
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion was feeling fairly good about himself. He had made up with the boy, and now that problem was out of the way. There was nothing that made a journey less pleasant than quarrelling within the group. This wasn't going to be an easy journey anyway, from what Ravion could see, so there was no sense in making it harder.

Ravion heard a sharp noise followed by an even sharper pain. His right hand flew to the base of his skull. What was that? He glared behind him at Gond. The horse looked at him impassively. "Watch what you kick up, beast," Ravion muttered, playfully shoving Gond's head to one side. The horse snorted and looked unimpressed.

Ravion rubbed his head and frowned. It was actually unlikely that Gond had kicked up a pebble that would have hit him on the head. Perhaps it was an acorn, or some other kind of nut? He looked up at the trees quizzically, squinting. One moment too late, he heard a whistling sound and turned his head quickly--just in time to catch a pebble on his cheekbone.

His head whipped back from the impact, and another pebble caught him on the back of the head again. He stumbled and tripped on a root protruding out into the road that he would have seen otherwise. He brushed aside the hand that Raefindan offered to help him up.

He stood and dusted himself off, letting the moment linger to make Aeron nervous. He turned slowly and faced Aeron. He had taken a breath to start his tirade when he saw Gwyllion glance at her hands, then wipe them off fiercely on her skirt.

Ravion knew that his face was probably turning red, in addition to the small spot of blood that had pooled by the place where the pebble had hit his cheek. "Aeron. Gwyllion. I brought the two of you on the condition that you would behave. Does this look like behaving to you?" He gestured to his cut. "I'm going to survive. I'll be fine. It doesn't even hurt anymore. But that is not the point. What you did--Gwyllion--was irrational, immature, and dangerous. You could have done worse with that pebble than hit me. Picture, if you would, this situation: you throw the pebble. You misfire--really, it is not that difficult to imagine. You hit Gond's back foot. I have Gond's lead wrapped around my wrist. Gond panics, bolts. I break my forearm as I am dragged along. Raefindan moves to help me, gets kicked in the stomach by Gond. Perhaps suffers some internal damage. Mellonin runs to see if Raefindan is all right, trips over a tree root and--"

"I think I understand your point," Gwyllion said quickly, swallowing hard. Ravion smiled grimly.

"My intent is not to intimidate you," the Ranger said. "I want to make sure you know the possible consequences of your actions. Maybe for a while it will mean that you act less. This would be a good thing, perhaps. Rangers are trained to try to see every possible end to your action. You have heard, of course, of Bilbo Baggins? He invited the wizard Gandalf for tea one day. The rest, as they say, is history. There is no way he could have known that that invitation would have had the consequences it did. I do not expect you to be able to foresee unforseeable ends. I have high standards, but I try to keep them realistic. I do, however, want you to think before you act. Or I will tie you both to Gond and ride you straight back to whoever Aeron stole that necklace from." He glowered at the siblings once more, then went back to Gond.

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Old 04-23-2004, 04:45 PM   #134
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Tolkien

Gwyllion dropped the remainder of her pebbles, and glared at Aeron. He always had to be up to something, and then he would drag her into it. She should know by now that she should not do what he asked, no matter how hard he begged. She breathed heavily and stared at the ranger. One of her pebbles had hit his cheek, making blood --- " You made him bleed! she shrieked, whirling on Aeron and ramming him to earth. "You made him bleed! Blood! " Red blood seeping down his cheek, staining his tanned skin. She began to pummel her brother, slamming her ill-shaped fists into his stomach. He had caused him to bleed...bleeding was bad...very bad...bad things happened when somebody bled...red blood...how could Aeron have made her to do that...bleeding...he was bleeding...people died when they bled...people were hurt when they bled...blood was bad...red was bad...blood...blood...blood...

***********
Aeron was caught off guard when she sailed into him, pushing him onto the hard ground. She was screaming about blood and trying to pound his stomach into a pulp. He caught her wrists with one hand while with the other he covered her mouth. She struggled like a mad dog and he shouted, "Stop it, Gwyllion! Stop it! " He slapped her on the cheek again -- as hard as he could. What was happening to her...she was growing worse...having violent fits that she never had before.

Her struggling dwindled away into shakes and tremours through her limbs; her breathing became short quit gasps; and her eyes rolled violently around in their sockets, like a frightened stallion's.

"He was bleeding, Aeron," she whispered. "He was bleeding -- I am sorry -- I made him bleed..."

She could barely talk and she was gulping so much air that she started to hiccough. "It is alright, Gwyllion," he crooned, smoothing her hair.

"It is not alright," she snapped, pulling away from him. "It is not...it is not..not."

Aeron saw Ravion snort and stride towards them. Aeron stood up and dragged Gwyllion to her feet, whispering, "Gwyllion, this has to stop, now. Do you want us to go back and face them? "

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

The merchant climbed from his sable horse and stretched his back. Pops exploded up his spine and his ribs groaned. "I am hungry," he said. "We must rest -- and let our noble steeds rest as well," he said, patting his horse's shoulder with his good hand.

"They will get ahead of us," the man said, rubbing his aquiline nose.

The merchant laughed and retorted, "With what for speed? Horses are not cheap, Assistant. Why should a poor farm girl, a thief, and whoever else join them have each have a horse? No, we'll catch them by morning. For now, I shall have my lunch."

As the Assistant prepared the meagre fare, the Merchant uncovered his right arm, and gingerly touched the scarred, jagged surface of his missing hand. It intrigued him to touch it -- it's spongy surface delighted in being felt -- his fingertips enjoyed the morbidness of touching the scar. It allured him to touch it.

"What did the boy steal?" the Assistant asked. "You have never told me."

The Merchant raised an eyebrow and said, "He stole a necklace of great price. A string of pearls adorned with rubies. A lovely piece of work and it will fetch a good price if the boy has not gone and lost it."

"And what if he has?"

"I will drag him to the prison, toss him in there like to a bone to a dog, and then I shall force pay it back to me one or another. I am sure there will be plenty of work that a strong prison lad could do," he added with a thin smile.

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Old 04-24-2004, 01:19 PM   #135
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Shield ROHAN COMPANY: North of the Limlight, the evening of Dec 15; Liornung

Bellyn glanced over at Amroth and bit her lip in concern. "Liornung, Amroth hasn't woken yet."

"Nor would I," Liornung replied, his voice absent as he gazed up into the sky, "if I had been going as hard as he had." He said no more, which was odd. It was unlike Liornung to remain so quiet, but perhaps he had grown tired of talking so much during the past few days. As he gazed at the sky now, his thoughts wandered back to his family. His mother and his father, his sisters, his brothers, and all their children. His sister Heardbrim, especially, came to his mind. She was only two younger than he himself, and the most like him of all the others in his family. She had always adored him and looked up to him. She was quite interested in his music, as well. She had a lovely voice that harmonized with his well and when he visited her they would always sing late into the night. She had married a man called Godhererinc and had one child now... and another one coming! The first child was a little girl called Eorcanstan, who most sadly looked more like her father than her mother. Her father was a handsome man and she was a very handsome little girl, but Liornung had wanted her to look like his beloved sister. As he reflected he remembered that Heardbrim had always been a lovely cook.

The sun was beginning to set; the evening was growing dark. They should build a fire soon so they might cook their supper... Turning to Argeleafa, he asked her abruptly, "Can you cook?"

"Yes," she replied, instantly though she was apparently surprised at the blunt question. "My mother taught me how. Why is it you ask?"

"Perhaps Bellyn would like some help cooking tonight," Liornung said, getting to his feet. "I can build a fire, you can begin your cooking, and then I will tell you a story while you cook. Ædegard, I trust you will keep a close look on that boy and Amroth? Good, then we'll get started." He went here and there, gathering wood, and soon a little fire was blazing and the two lassies were cooking over it. It was then that Liornung sat down and began his tale.

"I would sing to you, you understand, save my hand. This story takes place when I was a boy, which was before the War, mind you. So you shan't be completely confused I'll tell you the names of my brothers and sisters. The eldest was my brother Indryhten, and then my brother Leofan, and then two twin sisters, Clæne and Scima. Their names meant 'pure' and 'light.' Lovely names, don't you think? The next was another lass, called Fealu. Then two more brothers, though not twins, called Hwonflod, and younger than him Sarig. The latter is myself. Then another girl, called Heardbrim, another girl called Freofaemne, and a boy called Geliefan.

"Now in this story all of us had been born except Geliefan. I was only a little boy, about five years of age, I think. My oldest brother was six and ten years. We were living in Edoras at the time. Now one day, Leofan decided to go out riding and some of us believed it would be a lovely adventure. Scima, Fealu, Hwonflod, and I all wanted to go. Leofan consented but we didn't own enough horses for all of us to ride, so it was two riders for each horse. Leofan rode by himself, Scima with Hwonflod, and I rode with Fealu. It is very important that you pay attention to was riding with who, because that is part of the story.

"We rode out as soon as we could get the horses ready, and we rode about five miles without anything of any interest happening. It was a lovely day, though, and Fealu and I sang some songs. Little children songs, you understand, not anything very bardish. After those first five miles, however, our song was interrupted by another song that was sung in a language we could almost understand. It was quite similiar to our Rohirric, you see. The song went...

"Min ridan in morgen mid fugol galan
ac min galan leoð gelic fugol.
Far fugol fleogan min fleogan
ac min ætstandan mid min lician.


"It was a wierd song, sung in a very blood-chilling tune. Yet the words were not frightening. I think they ran thus, 'I ride in morning when bird sing and I sing song like bird. As far as bird fly I fly and I stop when I please.' It made no sense to us but the most frightening thing about the song was the grammar." He looked at Bellyn's raised eyebrows and laughed. "Well, at the time the tune of the song itself was the most frightening yet now that I am older and reflect on the tune....

"We halted our horses, all except Leofan who did not seem to care about the song, if he heard it at all. Seeing that he would not wait for us, we rode after him, closer to the the singing voice, which began the strange song all over again. Fealu grabbed my hand and held it tightly. She was older than me, of course, but she was a girl and wanted a boy to take care of her, even if he was younger than she. But that is not of any matter. As we rode closer to the voice (and then it seemed to me that Leofan had kept riding to see where the voice was coming from) it's song changed and it sang, 'Horse man come now, five they be, they come and hear me sing. Let they hear if they ride here they die.' That were the words in his song only he sang them this way...

"Eoh beorn nu, fif man beon
man cuman ac hieran galan.
Lætan man hieran gif man
ridan her man gefaran.


"Rather frightening, don't you think? Leofan abruptly turned his horse and said we were to go home now. Hwonflod and Scima followed him most obediently but I wanted to see who was singing that awful song. I was very adventurous even back then, you see. Leofan did not look back, neither did Hwonflod and Scima, so they did not see I was left behind. Fealu did not notice that they were leaving us until they were gone, because she had been staring in the direction of the song and had ears for nothing else. When she did see she became frightened and asked what we were doing. 'We're going to see who is singing that song,' I replied. She began to cry and told me she didn't wanted to go, but I told her she had no choice because she couldn't walk all the way home.

"I rode in the direction of the voice and it began singing the song louder and harder. I had some doubts myself... the voice had clearly said if we rode to it we would die, but I believed it wouldn't actually kill us. We had a horse, besides, and could ride away as fast as ever we wanted to. I confess it never occurred to me that the voice would have a bow, and so it was quite fortunate for us it didn't. When we reached the voice I was surprised and a bit disappointed. It was an old man sitting atop a rock. He was very small and very frail-looking, and he had hair white as any snow and cloud, but his eyes were dark. He seemed not to be armed except for a small dagger he wore in a belt.

"'Why did you come?' he shrieked when he saw us. 'I said that if you came you would die!' I could not answer, for I was suddenly as terrified as my sister was. The little man sat back and glared at us. 'You are just children. I cannot kill you,' he said. 'Yet your sister is very pretty looking and seems strong. She will come with me and be a servant to me.'

"As you can well imagine I wasn't going to let that old man make my sister into his servant, and so, sitting straight in my saddle, I looked him straight in the eye and said, 'No, sir, you shan't. My sister will come home with me.' Fealu had looked like she was going to start crying again but at my words she tightened her grip on my hand and didn't look as afraid.

"'What do you mean, I shan't?' the old man cried. 'It's either that or kill you both. What would you rather?'

"'It shall be neither,' said I.

"'Well then, seeing as your so determined, this is what we'll do. You are just a very little boy now but ten years forward on this day you must come to this rock again and come to my home and serve me for seven years. After seven years you can go home.'

"'And what shall you do to me if I do not?' I questioned him.

"'I shall come to your house to fetch you, and if you will not come even then I will take up my dagger and kill your family.'

"I decided the best thing to do was agree for the moment, and the old man let us ride home. I did not say a word of it to anyone and made Fealu swear she would remain silent, as well. Ten years passed and that day came again. I was quite aware that I was supposed to ride out to the rock and meet the old man but I had made up my mind that I should not, for I did not want to serve him for seven years, nor even one. Yet one day as I was rambling up and down the roads in Edoras the old man appeared as if from nowhere and confronted me with glinting eyes. 'Ten years are up, Sarig Eohlaford,' he said. 'You must come with me now.'

"'And what shall you do to me if I do not?' I questioned him again, and again he answered, 'If you will not come even now I will take up my dagger and kill your family.'

"I thought of my family and all my brothers and sisters. It would never do for them to be killed, and so I said, 'I will go with you, old man, and serve you for seven years.' He laughed triumphantly and then, taking up a scrap of cloth, covered my eyes and began to lead me away. 'You must not see the road to my home,' he said. 'No one has ever seen the road to my home except myself.'

"How long we went on I know not but at last we stopped and he pulled the cloth from my eyes and I found myself in a strange little cave. 'This will be your home for seven years, Sarig Eohlaford, and for those seven years you shall not leave this cave. If you leave this cave before those seven years are up you will serve me seven more years.'

"It seemed a hard fate to face, being confined to that little cave for seven whole years but I realized the more patiently I bore it the sooner I would be out. For a year I served him, doing whatever he said, whether it be scrubbing the cave floor or washing his clothes, and never a glimpse of the outside did I see once. He went out every night, but to prevent me from escaping he would give me with my supper a cup of wine which made me sleep until the next afternoon when he returned. He would always watch me keenly to make sure I did drink it, but one night he neglected to do this and I poured the wine out under my mattresses where he would not see it. I then pretended to fall into a deep sleep. When he was gone I crept out of my bed and followed his tracks until I came to the rock where I had first met him, and he was dancing on top of it, singing,

"Every night boy sleep
while I go out and sing song.
For seven years he serve me
and when those years gone I kill him.
Yet he could leave now
if he would defeat me in duel.


"I returned to the cave as quietly as I could and as quickly, for it took some thinking to remember how to get there, but when I reached my bed I realized I was the only one besides the old man who knew where the cave was. I climbed into my bed and let myself sleep until the afternoon when he returned and woke. I worked throughout the day and until evening, thinking how I would soon be free for I thought nothing should be easier than defeating the old man in a duel. He was so frail he surely could not even lift a sword, let alone wield one with skill enough to defeat me.

"That evening he brought me my supper and the cup of wine and sat down to watch me eat and drink. I ate all my food but when I came to the cup of wine I dashed it the gruond. The old man sprang to his feet, his eyes flashing, and cried, 'Drink it, Sarig Eohlaford, or I will make you serve me seven more years!'

"'I shall serve you not a day more!' I cried. 'I challenge you to fight me with sword, old man, and if you lose you are bound to release me from your service.'

"The old man seemed to pale when he heard this but he left the room. Soon he returned with two swords, and giving one to me, said, 'Sarig Eohlaford, you know that if you defeat me in a duel you are free to go whenever you please. I do not know how you learned this, but you will not defeat me. And mark this... if I defeat you there is a condition you must follow. You will be bound to serve me for all your life.'

"I laughed at him and agreed, and we began our duel. He sprang forward with such agility and grace that I was taken aback and barely managed to avoid being cut to pieces. I defended myself desperately, time and time again being driven aganist the wall and narrowly escaping his strength-filled and sly blows. At last I began to grow weary and thought how I would spend the rest of my life within that cave, never seeing my family again. I would never see my little sister Heardbrim, who was my pride and delight. This thought drove me into a deep sorrow and then in a sudden rush courage flowed into me and I determined to defeat this old man and return to my family. I began to fight like a madman and soon had him against a wall. He defended himself most skillfully but at last the point of my blade found his swordarm and drove into it, and with a cry he dropped his sword. I kicked it from his grasp and put my own sword to his throat. He glowered at me for sometime, then at last said, 'You are released from my service, Sarig Eohlaford.' And then the sword in my hand vanished and I found myself holding thin air. I turned to leave and felt his foot on my back, pushing me forward. 'Get out of my sight!' he cried in great anger, giving me a hearty kick that sent me all the way out the cave door. When I saw the sunlight I began to run as fast as ever I could, for I didn't want to give him time to change his mind.

"When I returned to my family there were many festivities to celebrate my homecoming and I told them I had merely been lost somewhere in a strange land. I lived there in Edoras with my family until the day I left to become a wandering fiddler. And that ends my tale."

Bellyn was staring at him with wide eyes. "It was the strangest tale I've ever heard, Liornung," she said. "Is it all true?"

A mischievous grin flashed across Liornung's face and he shook his head. "You are too wise, Bella," he said. "Not, it was not true. That day the only exciting adventure we had was when Fealu and I fell off our steed, and when I was ten and five years of age I had no such adventures. But it was a lovely tale and I thought I'd tell it."

Argeleafa was smiling. "Supper is ready," she said. Liornung scrambled over to the fire and looked with delight and the food, crying, "You two young lassies are true cooks, if ever there were cooks in the world." Then, turning his eyes towards Amroth and the boy, added in a warm tone, "Come sit with us, lad, and eat some of this food."
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:21 PM   #136
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Shield North of the Limlight, Dec. 15: Mellon-Amroth

Ædegard, Bella, Argeleafa, and Liornung gathered around the fire on the side away from the boy, and made room for him. Liornung stood, morsel in hand, and beckoned to the boy.

The wild boy sat shivering, eyeing the food; but he did not move.

"Dont' waste your time, " said Ædegard.

Liornung smiled at Bella. "Well, if he acts like a wild animal, perhaps he can be tamed like one?" He approached the wild boy, who started, jumped up, and stood over Amroth. Liornung halted, showed him the food, and slowly put it down on the sweet grass. Then he backed away, and sat down by the fire. He pretended to take no notice as the boy inched forward towards the food.

When the morsels were gone, and the boy was once again guarding Amroth, Liornung took another handful of food, and walked sideways toward the boy, leaving the food a little closer to the fire this time. Again they pretended not to watch him. Liornung doled out handful after handful of food, despite Ædegard's protests, and each handful was left closer to the fire. Finally he came within ten feet of the group, but would come no further.

"Well, " said Liornung, "After that fine meal, Bella and Argaleafa, I think I shall rest. But this fire isn't in quite the right place; rather, I prefer to sleep over there." And he pointed to a place not twenty feet off.

The rest exchanged glances, but Liornung marched off and gathered another armful of firewood. They studied him, baffled, but at Ædegard's disgruntled shrug, he and the ladies joined in the search for firewood. Liornung started the new fire, cared for his horses, arranged his bed and lay down with his head on his belongings. The rest gathered around the new fire, Ædegard still glaring at the wild boy.

"Let him rest! Leave him alone!" snapped Ædegard, placing his hand on the pommel of his weapon. Liornung laid his hand on Ædegard's arm. The rest looked up; the boy replied with a stream of harsh words as he dragged Amroth towards the old fire. Echo and the boy's horse were brought closer, and the boy settled down around his fire. They tossed some wood near him, and he added it to the fire.

Ædegard let go of the pommel. "I will take the first watch," he growled.

Last edited by mark12_30; 04-29-2004 at 06:47 AM. Reason: correcting Limight to Limlight... (blush)
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Old 04-25-2004, 08:45 PM   #137
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion swiped irritably at the small cut on his face. It really wasn't that bad, but it did sting. He didn't want to waste any of his bloodmoss on it, but he did wish he had something to bring down the slight swelling that had begun around the cut.

He turned around when he heard Gwyllion start to rage. She was beating on Aeron's stomach, having already knocked him to the ground. He exchanged a quick, worried look with Mellonin--even if he didn't like the siblings, the last thing they needed was a serious injury--and strode quickly over to them. Aeron pulled Gwyllion up and whispered something to her, dusting himself off.

"Ravion, I know what you are going to--" Aeron began, but Ravion held up a hand.

"Save your breath. Or at least get it back before you start wasting it," Ravion said, his voice less snide than he would have had it. Gwyllion's outburst, this time, was more worrisome than irritating. "Gwyllion, go into Gond's saddlebag--the one closest to his head, on his right side. Find a reddish-brown powder and bring me a pinch. It should help Aeron's sore stomach." He raised an eyebrow at the boy before Aeron could protest. Gwyllion nodded and left.

Ravion took a deep breath and ran his hands over his face, over his hair and to the back of his neck. "Aeron, I know that we are not friends. And I know that what I am about to ask is probably more personal than you'd like to share with me. But I have to know this. If you will not tell me for my sake, tell me for Mellonin's sake. Will Gwyllion stay like this? Is something wrong with her? We cannot allow her to continue like this. What caused that outburst? We are too far along to send her home, thus, we must find how to keep her calm. We cannot afford many more of those outbursts."
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Old 04-25-2004, 10:19 PM   #138
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Tolkien

Aeron glanced up at the ranger, raised his eyebrows, and said with a shrug, "I do not know if she will stay like this. She could get worse. She was never like this. She was never violent in her fits."

Ravion nodded and then said, "Yes, but why does she have these fits?"

Aeron heaved a sigh and rolled his eyes. He did not want to tell this stoic ranger, this probably fearless ranger, that, as far as he could fathom, she was terrified of blood -- that the mere sight of it was enough to send her into a trembling fit of abject fear. Yet it still did not make sense. Why did she become violent? She had never done that before. Unless, of course, it was just that she was furious at him for asking her to through the pebbles...but that had been a harmless joke and even Ravion had not lost his temper. No, the fear was the seed of the anger. But when she used to cut herself (before he had realized her extreme fear) when he asked her to prepare some vegetables for cooking, she had never blamed him or become angry with him. Could she actually like the ranger? He almost choked and he darted a glance at Gwyllion as she came back with the powder.

The powder reminded him of the pounding she had given him. He wondered if he should just live with the pain that was slowly growing and refuse it. Who knew what could come down the road. How did it feel to be in pain? He glanced at the ranger and studied him. How many battles had he been in where he had been in terrible pain with no herb to relieve it? How did it feel to be in such pain. Straightening, he said, "No thank you Gwyllion. If I need a little pinch of that strange stuff because of my sister's weak punches, I am quite the sniveling fool." He glanced down at her, and turned away slightly. Her punching had been much more than weak -- a good deal stronger than he would have expected from her. But no matter.

"You did not answer my question, Aeron," Ravion said, drumming his fingers.

How he did harp on that! "She is afraid of blood," Aeron said, shaking his hair from his eyes. "And I do not know why."
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:15 PM   #139
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Question North of the Limlight, night of Dec. 15: Mellon-Amroth

Ædegard was just about to wake Liornung to take the next watch, when they were all awakened by a hoarse shout from Amroth. Ædegard jumped to his feet, followed by Liornung.

The wild boy jumped up as well, and faced them, even as Amroth struggled to his feet round-eyed and gasping. Everyone halted but the horses, who milled and snorted at the edge of the firelight.

"Amroth, what ails you? Amroth?"

His fears ebbed. "Dreams. Again, the dark dreams."

"You are feverish, " said Liornung. "The dew lies heavy on your face."

"Feverish, " Amroth repeated. He brushed his forehead, then studied his moist hand with a frown.

The wild boy tugged at him, jabbering. "Yes, Mellon, I will rest again. You were guarding me?"

The wild boy straightened and nodded.

Amroth said, "From my other friends."

The boy hung his head, and Amroth smiled. "You need not fear them. I do not. They have proven themselves true and good."

Ædegard spoke. "Why does he understand you and not us?"

"I speak to his heart even as I speak to his mind. What do you wish to tell him?"

Liornung held up his hand. "We won't hurt him, if he won't hurt us anymore."

"Mellon, you hurt Liornung?" Amroth said coldly.

Panic kindled in the boy's eyes. Amroth stepped forward and touched his shoulder. "You must not hurt my friends. Promise me this."

The boy responded in a rush of harsh, fearful words, and Amroth waited. Slowly his tone changed to pleading, and Amroth waited still. Finally he grew silent, and Amroth quietly said, "I have named you my friend, Mellon. But you may not, and will not be my only friend. If you will ride with me, you must agree to this."

The boy stamped his foot and things might have gone ill, but Bella drew near holding out a peice of last night's bread. "Mellon?" she said softly.

"She will not hurt us," Amroth said. And he took the wild boy's hand in his own, and let Bella place the bread into the boy's hand.

Confusion fought with fear in the boy's eyes, but he put the bread in his bag. Liornung brought him some raisins. Argeleafa brought a blanket, and draped it over the boy's shoulders. Amroth steadied the boy for each gift.

Ædegard hung back, scowling, and he and the wild boy glared at each other making no attempt to conceal their hostility.

Liornung approached Ædegard. "Give him this apple."

"I think not."

"He is travelling with us whether we will or no," said Liornung.

"So we have nothing to say in the matter!"

"Amroth did not ask us to follow him either."

Ædegard stood, wrestling with the temptation to take both his horses and return to lands where folk were reasonable. He looked at Amroth, still holding the boy.

"Why should he come with us?"

Amroth replied, "He has been hunted like a wild boar."

Ædegard wrestled with his emotions. Finally he took the apple from Liornung, and approached the boy, and without looking at him, dropped the apple into his bag, turned, and walked away.

"Now, " said Amroth. "Will you be kind to my friends?"

With an air of defeat, the boy nodded. But he stole a glance at Bella, and said something in his strange tongue.

She looked startled. "What did he say?"

Amroth raised both eyebrows and tersely replied, "That you are wondrous fair."

Ædegard and Liornung's eyes went wide, and their old fears gave way to a new one. Silently they resolved never to leave either lady alone.

Last edited by mark12_30; 04-29-2004 at 06:57 AM. Reason: I mis-spelled the name of the river...
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Old 04-26-2004, 04:11 PM   #140
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Ravion sighed when Aeron turned down the powder, and wondered briefly how old the boy was. He remembered turning down help for pride, but he had recovered from that particular affliction when he suffered a particularly nasty bruise from the blunt side of a spear, along with some broken ribs. He was offered medical help, and accepted it eagerly. There was some teasing, but the bruise was gone, and he hadn't suffered any permanent damage.

Ravion waited for an answer, but Aeron was too busy posturing and looking brave. "You did not answer my question, Aeron," he said.

Aeron seemed reluctant to answer. "She is afraid of blood," he said. "And I do not know why."

"There are numerous reasons why a person might be frightened of blood," Ravion said. "A serious accident as a child. Perhaps she was injured, or one of your parents was? If she associates blood with the pain of a loved one--"

"She is just scared of it, all right? I said that I do not know why. What more do you want?"

"I want to find a solution to this. Gwyllion will injure herself if she keeps doing this. She will start raging on someone other than you, and they will defend themselves." Aeron stared at Ravion, obviously getting ready to defend his sister. "Not me. Try not to be an idiot. But what about Mellondu?" Ravion lowered his voice, but he was fairly sure that Mellonin had not heard. "You recall that we are chasing a moonstruck blacksmith. I have not met him. I do not know if he is violent. If he is, and Gwyllion continues acting this irrationally, he might post a threat to her. You must do something about it, or allow me to."
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Old 04-26-2004, 05:41 PM   #141
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North of the Limlight, night of Dec. 15: A stranger

The wind brought with it strange scents, and Erundil's travels brought strange tidings.

The man across the table had a red face and an overly free tongue from drinking too much. "They say the blacksmith-elf lord is nearing the Limlight. Maybe he's headed back to his throne!" The man's friends guffawed appreciatively, and the man raised his glass and took a deep swig.

The Ranger stared evenly at him, his bright blue eyes showing nothing. The man coughed self-consciously. "Look, the lad is crazy. There's nothing more to be said of it."

The Ranger shrugged. "I think that you are likely wrong," he said, standing up and passing a few coins to the innkeeper. "There is almost always something more to be said."


The Limlight lay to his north. What interested him more lay right before him. A campsite, and around it lay several people. Two men, from what he could see, a girl, and two boys.

Erundil watched them for a moment, his eyes taking in every detail. They had not heard his approach. That was good, it was as he planned it. He did not know if the boy was truly insane--he did not know if he was dangerous--but there was no wisdom in testing fate. He had his bearings. He knew the land now. He knew his opponents, if it came to a fight.

He stepped on the grass, and let them know of his presence.

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Old 04-26-2004, 05:55 PM   #142
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Tolkien Lothlorien: Overnight - Dec 15/16

Ugrashk ran quickly in the dark. He hated going on these “missions”. Of course he wanted the flesh to fill his growling stomach, knowing all too well the harshness of the winters in the mountains, but he hated leaving the confines of the mines. The fresh air made his head light and the fragrance of the land between the mountains and the forest turned his stomach. Then there was that wicked forest. He hated the nasty elves and that golden forest more than he hated the fresh air and grass. If they were lucky they would get to have some real fun reeking havoc in there tonight. Nashka would never let them go too far in because he always wanted to stick to the orders, but they might get to play some nonetheless.

Years ago strange stories came about Orcs following a band (this was around the time of the fall of the great demon) that entered that wretched place and were never seen again. There had always been rumors of the dangerous Lady that haunted the forest, but after the War, she left and the place has never been the same. The forest may not have been as dangerous, but it was still disgusting to Ugrashk. He cringed at the thought of those nasty elves and their songs.

After moving for a few hours, the forest finally loomed ahead in the darkness. Nashka barked orders at the group to form their line, and Ugrashk fell in. The great shadow of the trees grew and became an immense black mass in the grey shadows of the moonless night. Ugrashk growled under his breath as he readied himself. Moments after, he heard what sounded like a whistle, coming from where…he could not tell. He turned his head to see if it one of the Orcs behind him, if so he would shut them up in a hurry. As he turned back to the front, several things happened so quickly that he was unsure of what was taking place. First, the soldier directly in front of him collapsed, whether he had tripped or something else, Ugrashk did not know, but he caught his foot on the underside of the fallen and lunged forward. He heard several other whistles before he realized they were under attack. Panicking at seeing those falling all around him, he pulled out his bow and let a clumsy arrow fly not knowing where the assailants were located.

Spinning on his heels, Ugrashk was going to run back to the mountains and the mines. He would tell the Great Kugruk, and a whole army would be sent to destroy the forest. The fleeing Orc tripped over another of his comrades who grabbed his foot asking for help. Ugrashk shook his foot and kicked the fallen Orc until he let go of his limb. Before he could completely twist himself, he was hit so hard that his body was thrown backward. Looking down, he could see the silver shaft, glistening even in the darkness, protruding from his chest. Ugrashk dropped to his knees trying to pull the arrow from his body, but was unsuccessful as his strength became increasingly diminished. He was tired and his body finally collapsed entirely and never moved again.

~*~*~

“Let us go and dispose of the remains,” Erebemlin called to the other three. He was relieved the task was over and knew much work needed to be done to cleanse the area.

The foursome worked until the morning ensure all of their enemies were deceased, then checking the bodies for any weapons or trinkets that may have been taken from other races. Once these preliminary tasks were handled, Celegtâl and Taitheneb dug a small pit a significant distance south of the forest, while Erebemlin and Caranduin (being of stouter build than the other two) carried the bodies one by one and laid them in the center. Caranduin then kindled a great fire that’s thick black smoke rose and tainted the new morning's sky.
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:00 PM   #143
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Dark-Eye

Mellonin joined Raefindan, and together they looked away northwestward. Gond tossed his head as Jorje approached him, and hesitantly snuffled noses; Gond snorted, spraying Jorje with a fine mist, and Jorje trotted off in disgust to roll in the grass.

"They don't think much of each other, " murmured Mellonin.

"Gond and Jorje? Or Ravion and Aeron?"

Mellonin stifled her laughter, and her eyes sparkled. "Oh Raefindan, I am glad that you can laugh at it all. I need to laugh. Everything has been so..." she spread her hands and shook her head.

Raefindan nodded. "A thief and a moonstruck girl. Sometimes I wonder what Ravion was thinking."

"It was as much my doing as Ravion's; I wanted his sister to come. I thought..."

"You thought Aeron's sister would bring out the best in him."

She nodded.

"She may yet, " Raefindan soothed her. "And indeed, perhaps she is now. Who knows how much wilder he would have been?"

"He'd be tame enough in prison where he belongs, " Mellonin said.

"Do you really think so?"

Mellonin studied Red in surprise. Clearly he did not agree, and she dropped her gaze again.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:29 AM   #144
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Question North of the Limlight, *Very* early on Dec 16

There was darkness issuing from the dark of Moria; darkness begat darkness, darkness birthed darkness. No wonder his beloved had fled from Moria. The light was so far away... so far. The hope... was there any? He clawed for it, reached for it, begged for it. Hope must be there... out there. He reached, stretching, straining, his hands trembling. A moan escaped him.

The darkness rumbled closer. Was it not dark all around him, all through him? How could the darkness come closer than it already was? Panic rose in him, and he fought with it; he was no coward. He belonged to the Light and the Light belonged to him, and he would find it again. He clawed, looking for hope, for light.

Slavering, hairy jowls gurgled nearby. Moria. She had been wise to flee it so long ago. He shuddered; was he trapped in Moria? Dark speech crawled like snakes into his ears and he clawed at his ears trying to get the snakes out of his head. He was sinking, and he was surrounded by orcs. Or were they orcs? Dead men... cursed, forsaken, all dead, all foul, all rotten, swallowing him in their own despair. The curse of Moria... Were there men in Moria? No, not that the tales ever told... Where was he? Orcs and corpses and darkness seeped into his very being and he could hear them laughing down inside his body. He clawed at his stomach.


Liornung and wild Mellon sat near Amroth. Liornung had brought water to wash the fevered young man's brow, and Mellon had siezed it and insisted on caring for Amroth himself. But he did allow Liornung to sit next to him.

Arrows piercing, piercing, burning. The dark grows darker. The struggles cease, and there is only pain and dark... til the fire comes.

Liornung shook Ædegard awake. "Ædegard. Look to the north. See you the stars are darkened?"

Ædegard rubbed his face and they stared into the north together. "Is it smoke? Why would there be a fire..."

"We will know soon. Dawn is near."

"Amroth dreams still."

At that moment, Mellon's body twitched, his head snapped up, looking southward. There was a shadow stepping just inside the light of the fire. With a snarl, Mellon rose, and stood astride his sleeping friend.
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Old 04-27-2004, 07:41 PM   #145
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White Tree

Aeron stared at the dusty ground and kicked a pebble away. What Ravion said was true. If Gwyllion threw herself into a rage in the presence of touchy people, she could get hurt.

A sudden dawning broke over him: she could hurt other people. He touched his belly, and lifted up his shirt to see what damage she had done. Black and blue, purple speckled bruises were begining to spread on his skin. It reminded him of the way a red stain grew...

He let the shirt drop and sighed. "She is not moonstruck," he murmured. "She is not crazy -- she knows who she is. She is just....afraid of blood and who knows what else. Her mother died when she was born," he continued in a furious whisper. "A midwife had to cut her out...and father never really forgave her for killing his beloved wife. He left some time ago. No one really knows where he went. Not that I care," he added.

Ravion was frowning, and asked, "Is she your half sister then?"

Aeron, puzzled, answered, "No, why do you think that?" And then he realized his mistake. Blast...drat...it! he fumed. If their mother had died in Gwyllion's birth then how could she be his older sister? Words...they trapped you. They delighted in trapping you in the midst of lies.

He raised his eyes and muttered, "She is fifteen. Two years younger than I."

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Old 04-28-2004, 09:42 PM   #146
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Ravion's Ramblers: Ravion

Aeron's proclamation that Gwyllion was the younger of the two did not shock Ravion. It wasn't that he knew beforehand--Gwyllion's odd, childish behavior, plus the fact that it hadn't occurred to Ravion that Aeron might lie about that hadn't led to much in the way of investigation. However, it didn't surprised the Ranger that the boy thief would lie about inconsequential things. It didn't surprise him, but it did worry him.

He thumbed his cut cheek. "I do not understand why you lied to me, Aeron," he said quietly. He found that speaking quietly and calmly was more disconcerting than shouting and raging. It was a finding that he rarely put into effect--but he did when he really needed it. "It was not that important. I understand your needing to care for your sister. If she needs your protection, she deserves it. Yours, and, if need be, mine."

"She--" began Aeron, but Ravion cut him off.

"Lying about trivial things will not aid us as we go on. I may ask you things that sound, to you, inconsequential. 'Is the grass by that tree brown?' 'Are there upturned rocks near that bush?' 'Are the weeds near that river bed flattened?' There may come a time when everything we do depends on the answers to questions like those. I can see things in brown grass and flat weeds that you cannot. I need to know my territory down to the smallest details. If you are going to get into the habit of lying to me, then I might as well tie you across Gond's saddle and haul you around like luggage, because not only will you and your sister be useless, you will be dead weight. You will actively hinder our mission. And that is not fair to Mellonin."

He stood up and looked around, avoiding Aeron's eyes. "Do not think that I am pitiless. I am sorry for your sister's plight. I am sorry that she hurt you. I am sorry that you felt that you had to lie to me, to--protect yourself? Protect your sister? I am not sure. But you should not feel compelled to lie. Ever. I know the art of the half-truth myself, I will admit, but this is not the time for lies, half-truths, omissions...anything but honesty. It will hurt you in the long run."

He glanced at Aeron. "And take the powder, Aeron. It will not make you any less of a man."

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Old 04-29-2004, 01:20 PM   #147
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Shield ROHAN COMPANY: Liornung & Argleafa

"Mellon, hold," Liornung said softly, though he did not look at the Easterling boy. "Move warily. Wait... Stand by Amroth but stand still by him. Ædegard, have you your weapon?"

"Yes," Ædegard replied, his voice grimly quiet, and he said no more than that.

"Then stay here. The shadow has paused, but I think it would be best to wake the lassies." He walked with a strange lightness to the place where the two girls lay and shook Bellyn gently. "Bella," he murmured in her ear, "wake, but do not speak." Her eyes flew open and she stared at him in confusion as she sat up. "Wake Miss Argeleafa," he said. "There is a stranger in our camp." As Bellyn turned and began to wake Argeleafa, Liornung went back to Ædegard's side. "Do you think we should speak to him?" he questioned.

There was a frown on Ædegard's face as he strained his eyes to see the shadow. "I do not know," he said at last. "I do not know what might be in lands such as we are approaching."

Argeleafa had stood, pulling her blanket about her shoulders and brushing strands of tangled gold hair from her face. Taking Bellyn's hand, she smiled gently and said, "Let's not fear. I would take a stand closer to Mellon, the Easterling wayfarer, so we might be nearer his charge. I would have no harm come to him... there is something lordly about him." Still holding Bellyn's hand, she moved towards Mellon but stopped some distance away, a little frown wavering on her face. "I would stop here," she said. "I do not know if the boy trusts us yet. Now let us see what Liornung and Ædegard will do." She tightened her grip on Bellyn's hand and smiled encouragingly, hoping to also find some comfort herself. It was true that Bellyn was younger than her, but it seemed the young Gondorian girl knew more of the road, while Argeleafa felt lost and confused and lonely for her home. She found the comfort she seeked when Bellyn returned her smile.

The shadow moved again and seemed to disappear for a few moments before it came closer to the fire. Liornung stood tensely and spoke to Ædegard. "I do not know what to do," he said. "I have no skill in battles against strangers who come into camp in the early hours. Good Ædegard, I would have you advise me."
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Old 04-29-2004, 05:22 PM   #148
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Tolkien Ædegard

"Hail him, with both greeting and warning. That is what is expected in the wilds. We must be seen as willing to befriend, or at least let him live, and equally willing to defend ourselves, even if it means killing a new foe. Harsh it may sound, but so it has been spoken from old times."

Liornung said, "You seem to know what to do, then, I'd be most gratified if you would do the honors."

Ædegard frowned. "I was afraid you might say that." He took a step forward, his hand on his sword. He drew himself up and spoke so that his voice carried across the clearing.

"Hail, stranger! We are travelers who mean you no ill. Reveal yourself to us and show that you do not mean harm. We do not wish for things to go badly for you, outnumbered as you are!"

Ædegard turned to Liornung and spoke out of the corner of his mouth. "Let's hope that does the trick."
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:04 PM   #149
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North of the Limlight: Erundil

Erundil made a quick correction to his earliest estimate: there were two girls. This made...six opponents? The odds did not look desirable, but maybe it would not come down to a fight.

He knew that they had noticed him. It did not startle him when one of the men called out, "Hail, stranger! We are travelers who mean you no ill. Reveal yourself to us and show that you do not mean harm. We do not wish for things to go badly for you, outnumbered as you are!"

Erundil took a step forward. "The air in Rohan is thick with rumours of your passing," he called back. "If stealth is what you wish, I would recommend more caution."

"What we wish, at the moment, is for you to tell us of your intentions," the man retorted.

A small smile crept onto Erundil's face. He raised his hands halfway into the air. "You are correct in saying that the odds are not in my favour. A fight is not what I came to find." He approached the man who spoke, and extended his right hand. "Erundil is my name, of the Rangers. Strange tales from Rohan and Gondor sometimes mean that I should be concerned. And the tales that have been told of you are nothing if not strange. But I have learned to take what I hear as rumour or nothing, and what I see as illusion until proven otherwise. I merely wanted to see if the tales held any merit, and if there was cause for concern."

He looked over the rest of the company. The two girls were young, and one seemed to be of the wandering people, if he could tell at all. The two men were solid-looking fellows, but the boys...the boys both caught his eye.

One of them was beautiful of face, but with an odd about him that made Erundil uncomfortable. Even sleeping, he was possessed of a proud and regal manner. The other, however...

Wild-eyed and unkempt, the boy looked ready to bolt--or attack--at the slightest provocation. All thoughts of the first boy faded when Erundil's gaze lit upon this one. This was surely the blacksmith. So the tales were true...
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Old 04-30-2004, 10:59 AM   #150
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Shield

Darkness whirled around him, and he was sinking, sinking. He still struggled desperately for breath, but he was cold no longer.

Flames, flames, and blackness. Yet all is not black; near me four shine brightly... Yes, gleaming, radiant. They have seen me. They approach. I am not without hope. I am not alone. Perhaps this is the dawn.

Northward beyond the horizon, Erebemlin tensed. There it was. The light touch on his mind-- but no, this touch was not a question, this was a cry of despair, a plea engulfed in shadow. He bent his thoughts toward the plea. I am here. Take courage.

I had almost despaired of regaining the light.

Erebemlin was grieved that an elf would speak thus. Despair not. The darkness we utterly reject.

Friend, hear me. I must find Nimrodel. Where shall I find her?

Erebemlin frowned, and turned a puzzled glance to the stream not twenty yards to his left. I stand by her. She sings as we speak.

As quickly as they had come to Erebemlin, the thoughts were gone. He gazed into the flames, and considered what he had heard. What had befallen this elf, that his dreams were be so very dark?

Wild with hope and desire Amroth trembled and woke, and knew as he did that something was amiss. A stranger had come into their campsite. Quickly he touched the stranger's mind and found only curiosity and concern; there was no hostility there.

Amroth's wild friend, however, did not share the lack of hostility. The boy needed taming or there would be bloodshed; Amroth did not have time for it. Everything in his heart was bent inexorably northward where Nimrodel sang. He touched Mellon's thoughts.

She is near! I go to her side. Ride with me now. Our friends will follow after.

He sat up. Mellon whistled, his horse came, and with a handful of mane Mellon swung up. Amroth stood. Echo, come. Give me your best speed.

Ædegard spun. "Mellon, what are you doing-- Amroth, you're awake. What are you doing?"

"Tidings," Amroth snapped, leaped onto Echo's back, and saluted in farewell. The two horses turned as one and thundered northward.

Ædegard, Liornung, Bella, and Argeleafa watched them go, protests dying on their lips as the riders dwindled into the distance.

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Old 05-01-2004, 12:18 PM   #151
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White Tree

With a shrug, Aeron took some of the powder and began to rub it across is sore muscles and considered what he should tell Ravion. "So what would you have prefered me to have said?" Aeron asked. " ' I will go along with you as long as you bring my sister. But I should warn you that she is a frightened creature and that she is hard to deal with. She often has fits when she sees blood or anything remotely resembling blood. But she is a sweet little thing, really. ' " Aeron glared up at the ranger. "I lied so that you would be more willing to bring her with you," Aeron said, softly. "I could not leave her and I could not take a chance that you would deem her more trouble than she is worth."

He stopped, and rubbed his head. He realized that it was very itchy again. He wondered if he had lice. Looking at the ranger again, he said, "I do not think you pitiless. But you are a ranger, and rangers do not bother with trivial things I think. I could not take the risk that you would not take her."

"Are you sure that you just did not want to become acquainted with a jail cell?"

Aeron flushed and snapped, "Yes, I thought it would be lovely spending a few months in jail. What do you think I am? Of course, I did not want to go to jail. But I did not want to leave my sister either. And either way she would have been left alone."

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Old 05-01-2004, 05:05 PM   #152
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Lothlorien: Dec 16

Erebemlin watched the thick smoke billow and darken the bright stars that were peaking between the clouds. He contemplated the dark urgency of the mind that visited him. The thoughts brought him pain. How could another elf feel such despair, such anguish? And again, there was the interest in Nimrodel. The cold water ran from the mountains flowing through the forest’s center. Could this elf be from the forest? An ellon who left to live elsewhere, now wishes to return to the river of his childhood?

“Silmaethor, I mean not to step where I am not welcome, but I felt and heard some of the fleeting mind.” Caranduin spoke in a hushed voice.

“I felt it also, though I heard not. It was a sudden light that was cold and desperate.” Celegtâl added as he searched the sky and horizon for a sign as to the source of the light. Taitheneb was quiet, not acknowledging whether he saw or felt the light, instead he walked slowly from the fire and away from the others.

Erebemlin remained silent for several moments collecting his thoughts. “I know not the source, but this is not first time I have encountered these thoughts.” Before the younger elves could ask for more from Erebemlin, he looked into the sky and continued. “The dawn will arrive soon…I shall return to the forest. Continue the cleansing and Taitheneb…” The Sinda suddenly realized that the fourth of their party had removed himself.

Erebemlin opened his mind and searched the elf’s heart. Sadness lingered there. Taitheneb, your heart breaks. Speak to me, mellon, what ails you?

I too heard the voice in the wind. Taitheneb stopped walking, but did not turn to face Erebemlin who stood a dozen yards behind him. Such darkness and desperation, as though he had lost the most precious treasure anyone could have. The elf lowered his head and recalled Gwaewen’s lovely face. He had named her Miriell, his treasured maiden. That was long ago…he pictured her waving as she sailed from the shore. Her parents had tired of Middle Earth and refused to leave without her despite his hopes to marry her. I apologize, Silmaethor. I only need some time to my memories, and I will return.

I am here if you need me, mellon. Erebemlin released Taitheneb and retreated to his forest home.
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Old 05-01-2004, 05:47 PM   #153
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Shield

The lanky chestnut was starting to fall behind. The wld boy cried out to Amroth, who turned his thoughts toward him.

He is too tired. Do not kill my horse.

I will not harm him. Let me speak with him.

Do not be cruel! He is tired. We must slow down before he falls.

Amroth spoke to Echo, and Echo slowed. But the boy's chestnut slowed yet more.

She is near. They can rest when we find her.

The boy grew sullen, and his horse dropped to a trot, and then to a walk, blowing hard and lathered. He was spent.

I cannot tarry, Mellon. You can follow my trail and catch up with me.

Mellon slid off, walked forward and gently took his horse's head in his arms. The horse stood stifflegged, and leaned on the boy.

Amroth spoke out loud to the boy. "When I find her then I will help you to find us. I must go." He turned Echo northward again. Come, Echo. She is near. Give me what strength you have left.

On the horizon, he saw a lone figure walking. His heart leaped, and he cried aloud, and then reached out with his mind-- no, it was not his beloved. An Ellon... one of the four who had drawn him from the fiery blackness by their shining. He would speak with him.

Amroth turned his thoughts back to Mellon again. There, you see one who can help us. Follow me to him. Mellon looked up, and squinted; the elf was still far away. He nodded.

"Come, Echo. We draw near." Echo churned forward, his ribs heaving and his eyes white-rimmed. Amroth pressed him forward. When they drew near, the lone elf halted and gazed at Amroth.

Amroth spoke. "A star shone on our meeting last night, and it was indeed blessed."

The lone elf studied the lathered and blowing chestnut, and then his rider, and bowed. Then he looked at him again, puzzled. Amroth felt the elf touch the edge of his thoughts, and saw the surprise on his face. "Hail, and greetings. You and your companion have ridden hard. What is your errand?"

"I am in haste. Good friend and forest-kinsman, give me tidings of Nimrodel. Where is she?"
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Old 05-01-2004, 06:55 PM   #154
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Lothlorien: Dec 16

Taitheneb curiously studied the face of the young mortal, yet when he searched his thoughts an elven mind greeted him. As the second boy joined them, the elf searched him and found anxiety covered by pure exhaustion. “Nimrodel, she is north of here, but I am afraid she was soiled by a band of Yrch during the evening hours. She has yet to be cleansed.”

An expression of panic crossed the young man’s face. “What do you mean, soiled? How is she? Is she hurt? You must take me to her immediately.” Please lead me to her. I have searched long.

Taitheneb nodded, “I will lead you to Silmaethor Erebemlin. He will be more able to assist you better than I.” With that, the elf turned back for the forest allowing the two remarkable boys to follow. “You need rest as do your steeds. Erebemlin will see to it that you are fed and made comfortable, I am sure.”

“I do not need rest, only Nimrodel.”

Taitheneb turned over his shoulder and gazed momentarily at the elven boy. He had yet to see one so enamored with a river.

Soon the great mellyrn loomed overhead and the trio passed under until finally Taitheneb halted and asked them to stay until he returned. The elf, then, hurriedly scaled the nearest tree.

The boys watched him depart. One was visibly anxious, while the other leaned against the base of the tree resting. Moments later a ladder was thrown down and Taitheneb called for them to ascend.

Erebemlin had his back to the ladder when the boys arrived on his talan, but before he could turn to greet them, one of them touched his thoughts. Tell me you know where Nimrodel is waiting. It was he. Erebemlin turned slowly to meet the one he had so desired to find. The Sinda was surprised to see the young faces of both the boys. The elder of the two stepped forward and looked up to met Erebemlin’s gaze. Erebemlin, many days have passed since our last meeting. Tell me of Nimrodel. Where does she wait?

The Sinda stood motionless as though he was made of stone. This boy was so familiar…his thoughts did not match his mortal body.

Do you not recognize me? It is I, Amroth…your King.

Erebemlin became overwhelmed with emotion and confusion. Yes, this was Amroth, but how? His King sailed West many years ago…how could this be? Before Erebemlin understood completely, he fell to his knees before his King. “Lord Amroth,” he muttered. “I am forever in your service.”

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Old 05-01-2004, 07:16 PM   #155
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Amroth laughed gently. "Erebemlin, loyal and faithful as always. Have you been drinking Ent-draught? You are taller."

He touched the elf's shoulders and raised him to his feet, looking up at him. Erebemlin gazed down on the young man with eyes full of wonder..

Amroth laughed. "Strong are the draughts of the ents! Be careful or you will grow a mossy beard!" Then Amroth grew earnest. "Come, friend. Tell me: where is she? You said she was near and my heart leaped with hope and joy. I long to return to her side. Where is my lady, where is my bride? Where is my Nimrodel?"

"My lord?" Erebemlin touched his thoughts. "My lord, how came you here?"

"Long travel, aid from several stout mannish friends, and a lathered and weary horse. Come, Erebemlin. Where is my betrothed?"

Erebemlin touched his mind, uncertain what to think. The image of the maiden Nimrodel flooded Erebemlin's mind; her song, her speech, her face and hair and laughter.

His lord's old power had not abated. Astonished, Erebemlin opened his mouth to speak, but made no sound.

Amroth spoke in his ear and in his mind. Tell me.
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Old 05-01-2004, 08:34 PM   #156
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Lothlorien: Dec 16

“Lord, I am afraid I do not understand,” Erebemlin’s head whirled with wonder. “Nimrodel…she has not been seen for many years. Lord, how have you come here?”

“She is not here? Does she not sing as you spoke before? Surely you would not deceive me, mellon.”

With uncertainty, Erebemlin touched his lord’s mind. Amroth’s entire thought was bent on finding Nimrodel. “Lord, I spoke only of the song of the river. The maiden has been lost for nigh on one thousand years.”
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Old 05-01-2004, 09:04 PM   #157
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Dec 16 Amroth and Erebemlin

Amroth looked at the floor of the talan, and then back at Erebemlin. "My friend, we left the eaves of this forest when the evil came out of Moria... scarce two years past. Are you under some spell?"


Erebemlin tipped his head to one side and looked at young face before him. "Lord, you have ridden long today. You are exhausted...come, sit."


With tightened lips and a different flame kindled in his eyes, Amroth set aside his impatience. "I am weary, Erebemlin, but I have not forgotten my quest or my love. My rest is in her, and I will find it nowhere else; these past months have taught me that. My friend, think. What tidings of her has Lorien heard?"


Silence answered Amroth's question as Erebemlin considered his lord's behavior. Lowering his eyes, Erebemlin spoke barely above a whisper. "My lord, Lorien has not seen or heard from the Lady in close to one thousand years. Lord, you...you sailed West. How have you come here?"


"Erebemlin, how could I sail if she was not on board with me? We awaited her arrival, but she did not come. An autumn storm drove our ship from the quay. Rather than leave her I swam to shore, since to lose her would have shattered me. As to how I came here...." Amroth frowned. "From midway through my swim, til I reached the borders of Rohan, I do not recall much... " his frown deepened. "In fact, I remember nothing, and that is strange indeed. Nevertheless, I did arrive in Rohan, in early winter, in Edoras. I rested three days in their Inn and departed northward from there. We have had over a week's travel from Edoras, and we are weary, true. Nevertheless I came here in search of Nimrodel. Surely if she were lost, she would return to the stream she loved?"

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Old 05-01-2004, 09:27 PM   #158
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Dec 16 Amroth and Erebemlin

This was strange news indeed. "Lord, I do not believe she shall ever return to the river. For years we looked for her, but word came she was lost." Erebemlin pause then began to sing softly.

”Where now she wanders none can tell, In sunlight or in shade;
For lost of yore was Nimrodel And in the mountains strayed.”


“So she has entered the mountains? That is strange tidings.” Amroth’s eyes darkened a moment before he proceeded. “Do you know where she was headed? We may still be able to catch her.”

Erebemlin focused intently on Amroth’s face. Was this a jest? Had Amroth not heard a word he had said? Taking a deep breath, Erebemlin started again. “I am afraid you do not understand, Lord Amroth. Nimrodel is lost. You will not find her at the river or in the mountains.” The Sinda paused realizing his tone. “Lord, forgive me my brashness, but I do not think you shall find the Lady Nimrodel.”
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Old 05-02-2004, 05:36 AM   #159
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Amroth took a deep breath, and another. What was amiss with this elf? In thousands of years, Erebemlin had never defied him, had never been anything but loyal and truthful. And truly he did not seem wilful or deceitful now. Either he was lying skilfully (a repulsive notion) or he believed his wild tale.

Or what he says is true, and I am the one deceived.

Amroth closed his mind, and stepped back, tunrning to pace along the talan's edge. He had forgotten the boy. Mellon stood out of place, a ragged unkempt and disheveled mess in the midst of beauty. His brows were knit with annoyance, hurt, and confusion.

Amroth remembered as if from a great distance that this boy knew not a word that had been spoken. He touched his shoulder, and his thoughts. In vain I wearied your good horse, my friend. She is not here.

He was surprised by the boy's forgiveness. Mellon gently opened his mind as if in an embrace. Another surprise followed.

Since your lady is not here, we can return to Lady Bella.

Amroth laughed aloud; there was no mistaking the boy's tenderness or desire. She will find us, friend.

Amroth returned his gaze to Erebemlin; unlike Mellon the elf's worried thoughts were guarded and all but closed. Amroth's eyes steeled, and he returned to the elf, reaching up to place a hand on his shoulder.

"Erebemlin, open your thoughts to me."

"My lord?"

"Let me search your thoughts."

Real fear crossed the warrior's face. "My lord, something is amiss. You are not well. Why would you do this?"

"I must know."

The powerful elf took a step backwards. "My Lord, I have told you. She has been gone these thousand years. Why would you search me?"

"I will cause you no harm. Erebemlin, I must understand. Open your thoughts."

Eyes widening, Erebemlin thought of calling for his friends or fleeing down the ladder, or simply closing his mind. Yet, this was no servant of darkness; this was his king. "My lord, do not ask this of me."

"Why do you fear me? Erebemlin, have I ever harmed you?"

"No, my lord." But the elf's mind remained closed.

Amroth stepped back. "Then I must find understanding elsewhere, if the whole forest has not gone mad, " he said. "Is this fear the fruit of the dwarf-wakened darkness? Where then shall I turn for aid if not to my own kin?"

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Old 05-02-2004, 11:08 AM   #160
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Tolkien Ædegard just north off the Limlight

"I tell you, this is beyond bearing!" He kicked at a stone. "Here we are, trailing after him like glad puppies, and all the thanks we get is a cold shoulder. I'd turn back now but he has my horse."

Ædegard started about breaking camp, and the others followed suit. The hoof prints would not be hard to follow. Ædegard brooded silently as he kept his eye on the hoof trail, giving no heed to whether the ranger, Liornung, Argeleafa and Bella followed close or not at all. All he wanted was his horse back and to be done with the mad blacksmith, but only after telling him how things really stood.

He ate up the miles, heedless of anyone or anything else.
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