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Old 01-07-2008, 11:22 PM   #441
Tevildo
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Azhar had scavanged through the camp and then raced back to the pit carrying a short length of rope and several blankets. She attached the end of the rope to the grating and then tied on the blankets, but was disappointed to find that her contrived ladder only reached half way down.

Azhar called to Athwen and Carl that she was going to get help and then sprinted over to where the rest of the camp was gathered. Pushing into the middle of the circle, she grabbed Dorran by the shoulder and blurted out an explanation, "Athwen and the children. They're in the pit. There's too much water. Carl came but there's no rope and no way out. The orc girl rescued Ina, but now she's stuck too...."

Before she could explain anything more, Dorran hurried off towards the cave. Others raced around to search for supplies and then followed in his footsteps. The first thing that registered in Dorran's mind was that Athwen and the children were in danger. After that, he fleetingly considered that Azhar must have been confused, since he knew no orc would ever save a human child.

Last edited by Tevildo; 01-08-2008 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:44 PM   #442
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Carl stared back at Gwella's glimmering eyes in disbelief, a wry smile rising to his lips despite the unusually pressing situation they were all caught up in. “Aye, the next time I set about being stuck in a floody hole with an orc and a gaggle of children, you may be certain I'll bring all the rope you could possibly want! But just now I'm highly curious if there might possibly BE a next time!”

“Shh, Carl,” Athwen cautioned the hobbit, as she helped the children searching for higher finger holds in the walls. “You'll frighten them even further.”

“Yes, hobbits are infinitely more frightening then goblins!” Carl muttered, his fingers aching as he clung to the stone wall near Gwella. The bitterness in his speech was prompted by feelings of a responsibility that went deeper than even this most candid orc had touched on. He was painfully aware that if anything were to happened to Azhar, it was very likely that most if not all of them would drown, for the meager finger holds did not appear to extend all the way to the opening. And so it came as a great relief to see the young girl's face peering down from overhead, unfurling the lengths of dusty cloth she had found.

Too short! He could hardly believe it!. But at least now if the water were to grow too high they could hold on to the blankets like so many fish on a string. But of course the weight of all those fish might make it hard to remove the grate....

When Azhar had disappeared again, it seemed that he could hear the panting breath of everyone, echoing in the darkness. Oh Azhar, he thought fervently, Please bring back someone big and burly like that fellow Qat, and not another stupid little man!

Last edited by Hilde Bracegirdle; 01-08-2008 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:57 PM   #443
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Athwen darted like a worried mother duck from one child to the next. She only stopping when short breath and burning muscles forced her to, and only for the slightest pause. The rate of the rising water alarmed her, though, had she stopped to think, she would have known that it would not have completely covered them in many minutes. But all the same, those minutes were swiftly running out and as yet, no one had –

Her head turned suddenly upwards towards the opening. She heard her name called by that dear, familiar voice. Dorran was coming quickly, and calling her as he ran. She pushed off from the wall and struck out to the other side so that she could perch right below the opening.

“Athwen!” he called out once more, stopping at the pit’s mouth.

“Yes, Dorran, I’m down here. Quickly, have you more rope or anything?”

“They’re coming with some. Who is down there with you?”

Athwen looked over her shoulder, trying to count quickly in the dimness. “Six – seven, I think,” she said. “Four children, an orc child, Carl, and me.” A shudder shook her body. She had not realized before how utterly cold the water was. “Hurry, Dorran,” she said, slipping away to help the children keep above the rising water. “We don’t have much time.”
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:46 PM   #444
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A small figure, a small voice though there was power behind it…it was just a child. An Orc, but a child. Khamir’s confusion and internal warring paralyzed him. He had no time to recover any of his wits before it was clear they were facing women and children, those that even men who spent the majority of their lives in the wastes of Mordor considered somehow naturally…innocent, bystanders, non-combatants. There was pleading, and talk of desiring peace, from creatures Khamir thought incapable of human, much less humane, emotions and desires.

They had always been animals to him. He guessed he had understood that they must procreate somehow, but he had never faced the possibility -- or the probability, rather -- of females, of children. They had not even been animals to him, really. They were even less than that, as even their instincts were corrupted. But…now what?

“How many of you are still skulking around?” he demanded, not ready to drop his guard. This had to be some ploy. They knew the females and children could distract them, confuse them. Beloan quickly pointed out that if there were many more around, the creatures wouldn’t have wasted their time with all of this. But only moments after the man had spoken, two more females arrived.

To make the scene more absurd, the new orcs apparently held the strange friend of the old man, Rog, as a captive. It was the man himself who spoke for them, declaring they wanted to trade prisoners. Ridiculous. Khamir let his eyes wander a moment, as if he was watching the scene unfold in an audience. He looked into the faces of Rog and his captors, then turned his eyes back to the other females and the male child, and then he looked down at the orc whose throat he touched with his knife. He seemed surprised, too.

Khamir laughed, though it sounded more like a cough or a grunt. It was a short laugh of release, and he let his arm drop. So many things didn’t seem to matter anymore, even if the orc whose throat he had been ready to slit turned and took him by the throat.

“Does anyone know where the wounded and the...children are?” he said with some difficulty. What were they doing? What were they going to do? It had been such an easy decision. It had…

Before anyone could respond, Lindir spoke up with command in his voice. Khamir eyed him and his eyes flashed with anger. He did not like this elf ordering his men around. My men? he asked himself, and felt he should be laughing again. The elf then ordered the orcs holding Rog to release him, and the man walked away from his captors after only a moment or two. Surely they weren’t really making the trade! Khamir didn’t even think of putting away his knife.

Khamir thought he heard someone shout or scream somewhere distant, but he was again distracted from what might be going on elsewhere in the camp. Some of the orcs who were to be executed only a short time ago began to get up and walk in the direction of the two females who had held Rog. No, this could not be happening. They were just going to let them go? How many lives were truly involved here? Not just the orcs, not just Rog’s…their actions here and now would affect the lives of other men in this land.

The one-armed man suddenly felt a great amount of urgency. He stood, gripping his knife, almost physically wavering between charging the formerly captive orcs and racing back to the camp to make sure all was safe.

When all was finally quiet for a moment - as uneasy a silence as when the men waited on Khamir’s signal - he was sure he heard a cry from the direction of the pit. Now he was sure.

“That is where the wounded and the children are,” Adnan spoke up, his voice louder than he thought it could be. Khamir was shocked to see the young man. He had been here? He would have seen…?

With one last glance toward the backs of the male orcs, Khamir rushed off in the direction of the pit, almost wishing for the days when he had no one to care about but himself.

Last edited by Durelin; 07-09-2008 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:02 PM   #445
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Carl

It was the oddest sensation. Carl, who at this point was not much more than a head bobbing in the dark water, was just theorizing to Dorran on why the plug in the wall might be leaking, and speculating on whether or not the orcs might have had an inkling last night that this might happen, when a violent surge of water and stones suddenly dragged his feet abruptly and painfully out from under him, forcing his face into the current. Pulling himself upright with an effort, he coughed fitfully and tried to brace himself against the onslaught. A curtain of water fell about him like rain, and shaking his head to clear the stream that flowed into his eyes and mouth he saw one of the children drifting before him. As his arm darted out to grab the child's ragged shirt, he caught hold of the youngster only to have the powerful current pivot him around quickly, throwing the child against his chest. And like a door on well-greased hinges, the hobbit continued to swing until his back slammed against the unyielding stone wall.

It happened so quickly. As the furious water rose, Carl found it harder to concentrate. He heard the voices of Dorran and Athwen shouting to one another over the din, but he did not have much hope for the situation. Strong as Dorran was, he was the worse for wear after the battle, and their were so many of them in the pit, they certainly didn't have much time for dilly-dallying. Still urging the young boy who clung to him to clamber on to his shoulders, the hobbit closed his eyes against the darkness, and dizzily tried to find a better handhold, even if just a little higher, for the water was rising at an alarming rate.

Suddenly, the weight on his shoulder's lessened, and opening one eye Carl saw nearby a rope dangling. Clinging to that rope was an orc who held the boy briefly by the upper arm before flinging him up into the blanket which was also suspended, but much higher well above the water. The orc soon found Gwella and Ina next in the inky blackness, treating them in much the same rough manner. When the pair of glinting eyes caught sight of Carl, the hobbit had both his open, and quite wide they were. But before the farmer could protest, he was thrown into the blanket, hoisted up into the daylight and plucked out of it again - just as quickly, though perhaps less roughly than he was placed in it. And with a kind word or two he was set down next to Ina, to squint with her in the sunlight, grimacing at the discovery of a painful lump on the back of his head.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:40 PM   #446
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Orc rescue-party

Gwerr was just about congratulating himself from almost making the escape when he heard the screams and the talk behind him. An orc child in trouble with humans?That Gwella it must be.... He glanced at Ishkur and it seemed the two thought about the same thing. Whatever muscles the Uruk have they don't have brains. Farewell Makdush... we're going to live and claim our treasure, you rusty old pile of bones. They nodded at each other and abruptly turned on their heels running as fast as they could... back towards the men.

The men around were just stunned of their sudden act and barely managed to react before the two orcs had gotten past them and towards the pit where all the screams were coming from. "A rope! A rope!" Gwerr shouted as they ran.

A young boy of half southern origin was making it towards the same goal and turned around when hearing the orc-calls from behind him. His name was Hadith.

"There!" he yelled just obeying the commanding sound of the cry and pointing towards a pile of ropes left by the building of the first-aid tents. Only then did he realise they were orcs who were calling for the ropes.

For a moment he was about to draw his sword but the orcs passed him by too far away changing their path towards the ropes he had pointed to them. What? Have I blundered now? Hadith drew his sword and ran after the orcs shouting wildly "Take them! Bring them down!"

But the orcs were much quicker than he was and even if his yelling reached the people around the pit before the two orcs managed their way there the sight of two unarmed orcs with ropes rushing towards the place didn't exactly make them feel like attacking the two - even if they felt quite uncertain about the situation.

"Wait, wait! The ropes are coming!" Ishkur cried as the two came forwards and the few humans who had got blades raised lowered them.

Whilst running the last meters Gwerr had already started to tie the other end of the rope he carried around his waist. As they reached the spot they elbowed themselves room enough through the stupefied humans and Gwerr called Ishkur to either tie the rope or get help - and he was gone from their eyes, jumping down to the pit.

Some of the men ran to help Ishkur and together they managed to halt the rope. Gwerr was hanging a few feet above Carl and the boy he was carrying.

"Gimme some! Two feet!" Gwerr shouted and the rope was loosened a bit letting Gwerr fall down enough to get a tight grip of the boy's shoulders. There was a blanket suspended by a pair of ropes some people had tried to lower to the aid of those in the pit that now served as a rescue vehicle. Gwerr flinged the boy to it and called for the people up to loosen the rope.

He went down the wall into the darkness smelling, listening; feeling his way towards Gwella and Ina. "Here you are you little... treasure you!" he whispered to Gwella as he hoisted her on his shoulder after he had picked Ina to his other one. Gwerr tugged the rope with his teeth and then yelled up. "Get me up! ten feet!"

After he got a hold for his feet a few yards from the top of the cliff he threw the two little ones to the blanket and called for it to be hoisted up finally turning to the hobbit. "Loose again!" he shouted and went down.

He met two inquisitive eyes soon enough but it was no time for wondering... he sure had not seen that kind of eyes before and it bothered him. But he took the creature by his outstreched arms and flinged him to the blanket that had been meanwhile lowered down again. He saw the blanket slowly rise upwards and finally disappearing over the top of the cliff and into the light.

Gwerr was listening. He was smelling the cave. He was feeling the cave. He was even seeing around a bit even if not too far.

"Any more in here?" He yelled to the darkness. He turned to look upwards. "Are there more here?"

Suddenly he realised he had quite outstreched his powers. Surely it was in a way no deal to him as he had made greater deeds and fought in the greatest battles this world could tell a story of - and even in those there were no stories about - but somehow that sudden action had quite drawn all his energy and he felt he was not able to hold it much longer at that narrow step he was standing at just a feet or two above the still rising waterline.

"Any more here?"

He was not going to ask for them to pull him up though. A decent orc would not beg for help to himself.

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Old 10-11-2008, 02:47 PM   #447
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‘Stupid men!’

Mazhg spit in the dust as if to clear the word ‘men’ from her mouth. It was an inclusive comment taking in both Men and men. This was not how it was supposed to have gone. Once the Orc males had been freed by the Men they should have gotten away as quickly as their big feet could carry them. Far away from the stinking Men and their problems.

‘Got plenty our own problems,’ she muttered as her eyes followed the unfolding events a little ways away from her. ‘Not good be taking on theirs, too.’

‘But Mazhg...’ Zagra nudged her sister on the shoulder, moving close beside her. She peered through the thin branches of the scraggly bush they had crept behind when the commotion had started and their plans gone awry. ‘Not just Men’s problems. Girl there, too. Ours.’ Her thin finger pointed to where the rescued children had been drawn up, followed now by a little man. She raised her chin peering intently at the rim of the hole. ‘Where he is?’ she asked, furrowing her brow. ‘That Gwerr.’

‘Got his own hide stuck down that hole now I’m thinking.’ With a snort, Mazhg spit emphatically once again. ‘Stupid men!’
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:56 PM   #448
Durelin
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Khamir

The women, children, and wounded were not in danger from orcs – there was no ambush, there was just…water! Khamir was trying to find the best way to lower himself down into the pit, or at least a point where the fall seemed shortest, when a rope was thrown next to him and lowered down toward the rising water. Before he could take a step toward the rope, reaching out with his one arm, an orc appeared between him and the rope. His hand brushed against the orc’s arm before it lowered itself, grabbing onto the rope.

Khamir almost reached for the knife at his belt, but another reflex overcame that instinct, and he grasped the rope above where the orc held it, bracing himself at the edge of the pit along with several others. The Southron felt strangely calm as he watched the orc retrieve Carl and the children, including a young orc, one or two at a time. He obeyed every one of the orc’s commands with the others who helped hold the rope behind him. He was empty. He felt tired, though his grip never lessened. The orc had two arms, two hands to grab the trapped children and hobbit. He would not have been of as much help, not with one. It was common sense. He was doing what he could.

Finally it seemed that the orc was alone in the pit, and for a moment or two Khamir simply watched the water rise around the creature. It stood, as well as it could, the water quickly approaching its shoulders, and seemed to avoid looking at those above the pit. Khamir watched, as if simply curious. They could just let it drown here, and be rid of one of them. It was a shame that they had moved the orcs out of the pit to kill them, wasn’t it?

“Grab the rope!” he heard a familiar voice shout from behind him. It was Beloan. “Give him a bit more; get it to him!” Khamir obeyed.

“We’ll pull you up!” came another voice – Adnan’s.

Adnan recognized the stubborn pride in the orc, and knew he needed telling.

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~

Vrór

Vrór had done his best to help Athwen and the others from the start, though he had felt simply in the way until someone thought to try lowering a blanket that Carl and the children could grab onto. But it was not long enough and the water was rushing in fast and fiercely, quickly making it nearly impossible for those trapped to maintain any sort of footing.

The Dwarf was very startled by the sudden presence of two orcs. He realized with some surprise that the orcs had been held captive in the pit. Why had they been taken out? And what…? Vrór felt fear rise in his chest, but the orcs charged up to the pit not with fists bared – one carried a rope.

Determined to be of use, Vrór’s grip remained tight and he worked diligently with the others to catch the rescued and pull them out to safety. When the others slackened their hold on the blanket as it seemed the consensus was that all those trapped were out of the pit, Vrór went to see to Carl, finding another blanket to bring to the hobbit. Of course someone had already seen to that, but he offered the blanket to Carl and the poor girl sitting next to him.

“You alright, Carl? By Durin’s beard, what happened?” Vrór was pretty sure he knew what had happened, and he felt responsible for letting it. He should have checked on the soundness of the plug hours ago, but no – he had still been lazing around in his blankets. He was not that weak, that he could not at least do a simple inspection! But as the rush of urgency wore off, the Dwarf plopped down by the hobbit and breathed heavily, his limbs aching and his head clouded.

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Old 11-17-2008, 08:58 PM   #449
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The crisis seemed well in hand. At any rate Rôg felt he would most likely be nothing but in the way. He skirted the edges of area looking for a place to keep an eye on things and remain inobtrusive.

Ah! What’s this?

Rôg came up softly behind the two Orcs and hunkered down on his soles just a little way behind them. ‘Stupid men!’ he heard the one say, the same one who had seemed in charge beforehand. From what he followed of their harsh and grating talk, he understood that they were unhappy with how events had unfolded, and especially with how ‘the men’ had handled things.

He frowned, wondering at the disparaging use of the word ‘men’ by the one young male. Not a comment it seemed on the actions of the Men, but more likely on those of their own Orc group. Odd! And then there was the way in which the two young males crouched down close to each other, in a familiar way. Brothers? Is that what they were?

‘No!’ The explanation hit him suddenly. These two were female orcs!

‘Ladies?’ he ventured.....
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:36 PM   #450
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Carl

What happened?” Carl echoed to himself as he took the dry blanket the dwarf offered. With a painful twist, he reached around to replace the soaked blanket Ina still held wrapped about her narrow shoulders while the dwarf settled himself beside the two of them. The hobbit's mind still reeled. Turning back to face Vrór again it was with bleary eyes that Carl searched the familiar red-whiskered face, weighing just how detailed an answer to the question his friend was willing to hear. Deciding that the dwarf might understand his concerns better than most, he confided in a horse whisper, “I have come up with quite a few fine technical sounding reasons for this mess, and have spouted them off to Dorran too. Could have been a cloud burst over Ephel Duath you know, or some foul blockage downstream that didn’t let the other underground chamber drain properly, that sort of thing. But the more I think on it, and I've had plenty of time for that, the bare fact of the matter is I was a good site more worried about keeping the orcs in that pit, than keeping the water out of it. It was nothin’ but pure idiocy on my part. Not proud of it either! Not now. Never thought these young ones would be at risk, never in a million years!” He scooped up Ina’s small hand in his, as if he might lose the waif yet. Then catching sight of Dorran leading his wife away from the edge of the pit, he lapsed into silence, his shoulders sagging.

Vrór was silent for a moment too, and whatever the dwarf’s thoughts were regarding his confession, the hobbit could only wonder. And so Carl sat there quite miserable in his self-reproach, dreading and yet resigned to weather the scorn of his friend. Finally he heard the dwarf's voice rumble beside him, “If it had occurred just last night, I’m certain many would have declared the flood providential; a quick solution to a difficult dilemma.” The hobbit looked up and what he saw surprised him. It was not Vrór but Ina who frowned at him. She had been listening to the conversation much in the same way as she had the opinions that had aired around camp all morning. And though she might not understand all of it, the general feeling was unmistakably clear.

Letting go of Carl’s hand the little girl stood up and left them to search for Gwella in the crowd. Once she had been found, Ina took the blanket from her own shoulders and placed it gently around the young orc's, like a mantle. The little girl smiled self-consciously before she grabbed the orc's rough arm, patting it awkwardly. Well she remembered Gwella's crucial help moving the rock that would have caused her to drown, and she would never forget it. Carl bristled slightly when he saw Ina's display of trust, thinking it unwise to say the least, though he dimly remembered Gwella as somewhat helpful-natured, for an orc, though highly patronizing. Even then, would she be as mild now that she was free and among her own kind? The hobbit tried to spring to his feet to bring Ina back, but he never made it. The dull pain that had radiated through his skull became sharp with the sudden movement, and quickly saw to it that Carl was seated again, his head in his cradled in his hands.

“That is a sound blow you've had” Vrór announced after a quick search through the hobbit's mousey curls. “You've grown a knob on your head.”

“Aye, I have no doubt I'll live in spite of it! But for the life of me I can't reckon how it came to be there," Carl said, gingerly confirming the dwarf's observation with calloused fingers. "Now you don't suppose that orc had anything to do with it?” he whispered nodding toward Gwella, as Ina rapidly returned with the orc in tow. Vrór cleared his throat, but had little time to answer him for Ina had stopped in front of the two. She introduced Vrór to the orc announcing with the fierce sincerity of a young child, that Gwella was her best friend in all the world, and had kept her from drowning.”

Carl's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Had the lass been shown so little kindness that she would mistake Gwella’s actions for caring? Who knew what that creature’s motives were. The orc stood warily before him, and uttered a noise that to Carl’s ear sounded mid-way between a bird call and a low growl. Ina piped up whirring herself. “Oh yes, Gwerr too!” she said pointing to yet another orc, this one at the edge of the pit. "He kept me from drowning, and Mister Carl too."

As the hobbit tried to digest what Ina meant by this last bit of information, Vrór rose unsteadily to his feet and bowing politely to the young orc, thanked her for her help. But still unconvinced, Carl looked dubiously at the little girl’s new friend, while asking Ina if she noticed just how he had been hurt while underground.

As the hobbit tried to digest what Ina meant by this last bit of mystifying information, Vrór rose unsteadily to his feet and bowing politely to the young orc, thanked her for her help. But still unconvinced, Carl looked dubiously at the little girl’s new friend, while asking Ina if she noticed just how he had been hurt while underground.

"Don't you remember?” Ina returned, amazed.

This wasn't the response he had hoped for. With an offended air, for he felt rather ridiculous, the hobbit admitted stiffly that he in fact, did not recall.

Gwella's eyes narrowed at this. Not put off by the hobbit’s insinuations, she abruptly cut in to fill the gaps for him, “When the water burst out, you made grab for scrawny boy, and water smacked you hard against the wall.” The young orc clapped her hands together to demonstrate.

“Ah…the rock wall…” the hobbit muttered, reaching back to rest a hand on his head. “Well, that would make sense, I suppose.”

“Then Gwerr came down and pulled us all out,” Ina quickly added.

There it was again! “An orc saved us?” Carl echoed incredulously, looking at the dwarf who affirmed it.

“It was an orc who handed you up to where we could reach you, Carl. It seems he goes by the name of Gwerr. “

“So we all were saved by an orc?” Carl repeated again, not easily coming to terms with the outlandish notion that he owed his life to the devilish looking brute.

Ina stayed just long enough to nod. Then she took up the orc’s hand once more, and was off to find something to eat, showing Gwella her other friends along the way. Vrór and Carl silently watched them weaving among the staring people.

“But why?” the hobbit finally murmured.

“Hate and mistrust have been bywords for many here who know orcs better then I, but in Ina it appears that tide is turning,” the dwarf observed. “I’m as confused about it as you are Carl, though I saw it with my own eyes. Perhaps the flooding was providential after all.”

“Aye, and if Gwella saved the girl’s life, I'd say by the look of it, Ina's bound and determined to return the favor!” Carl replied. “I only hope no harm comes from it ...or this strange friendship!”

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Old 11-23-2008, 09:16 PM   #451
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Mazhg wanted simply to ignore the intrusive voice. She hunkered down even further and focused her attention on the rescue scene, willing it all to be over and they on their way. It was hard to ignore the fellow, however, especially with the nudge in her side from her sister’s elbow drawing it all the more to her attention. A sharp jab . . . and what was that sound? She turned her head, glaring at Zagra. ‘Sha!! What is wrong with you?!’

Zagra’s mouth was pulled up in a wide bow, and she’d raised her hands in an effort to cover it. The little fool was giggling!

‘He said ladies! Us . . . lady you, lady me!’ Zagra glanced quickly toward Rôg and back as quick again at her sister. ‘You know, Mazhg, like that tall lady . . . worked in the fields when we were little-little.’

Mazhg frowned, furrowing her brow at the elusive memory.

‘Her eyes were that ashy color . . . and hair like our color but long. Now you know, Mazhg?’ Zagra sang, in a high raspy voice, some nearly unrecognizable song. She leaned up against her sister, wrapping her arms about herself. ‘She used to smile at me ‘n’ you . . . and sometimes she would sing that little song to us . . . til she went away . . .’

'til she went away . . .

Mazhg had not the heart to tell her sister the lady had most likely been killed. ‘Yeah, I know who you talking about now,’ she said nodding her head. Mazhg put her arm about her sister’s shoulders and drew her close. Zagra hummed bits and pieces of the song, a happy look on her face.

Shifting her position a little, Mazhg looked toward Rôg, her brow raised in question. ‘You, man! What you want with us . . . ladies?’
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:16 PM   #452
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‘Nothing, really,’ Rôg said, sitting fully down, cross-legged, on the sparsely grassed dirt. He leaned forward, elbows on knees; his chin resting on the palm of his left hand. ‘Just to talk, I suppose.’

The fingers of his right hand tapped out a rhythm on a small patch of grass and weeds. ‘You know,’ he went on, humming a little to his fingers’ rhythm. ‘I know that song you’re singing.....Zagra, isn’t it?’ He could almost recall the words, he thought. They were just on the tip of his tongue.

‘Where did you learn it? Do you remember what it’s about?’
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:31 AM   #453
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What are you doing?’ Mazhg hissed as reached up to grab at her sister’s wrist. She was not quick enough. Zagra had unfolded herself from where she sat on the ground and started across the small space between her and the odd man. The odd man who somehow knew the song the Lady had sung for her and Mazhg when they were little.

‘Yes, yes, that how it goes,’ she coaxed him. ‘Know words?’ she asked sitting down cross-legged close enough to reach out and touch his leg lightly.

Mazhg crept closer to the pair, amazed at the boldness of her sister. What did Zagra see in this strange fellow that she would trust him even a little?

Ah Bare eth thar en nuu ee I arr...

Zagra’s voice rasped out the mis-shapen sounds, her brow furrowed in concentration as she sang them. ‘The Lady say them about a pretty-pretty Lady, live far away, cross great water.’

She watched Rôg’s face for some glimmer of recognition. ‘You ‘member now?’

From the waistband of her raggedy breeches she fetched out a small object and leaning forward she held it out to him on the palm of her hand. It was of some sort of metal, quite tarnished and encrusted with much dirt. Through the layers of grime, though, some small stone set in it glittered hazily in the light.

‘This was for her hair...the Lady’s. Gave to us,’ Zagra offered shyly, nodding toward her sister. Mazhg’s face softened a little, the old memory rising of one small tender moment in the midst of their harsh lot.
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:28 PM   #454
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‘Why, it’s lovely!’ Rôg brushed some of the grime from what remained of the hair clasp, smiling at the intricate working of the silver filigree. A few more swipes of his sleeve revealed the pale blue color of the stone set in it. He smiled at its loveliness imagining it set against a women’s raven hair....or then again, against some golden tresses. He wondered idly how the Elf had managed to keep this from her captors.

His countenance clouded, a growing sense of horror shifting the lovely scene to one of complete repulsion. Her captors! What had happened to her beneath their cruel handling? What foul hands of Orc and Men had sought to sully her beauty, her spirit? And what had happened to her in the end, he wondered, recalling the sisters’ talk of her in the long-past tense.

He narrowed his eyes, raising them up from this little piece of beauty to the figures of the two Orcs who sat by him. And how is it that the lady had managed in the midst of what must have been nearly beyond bearing to her to reach out to these two?

Rôg rubbed the little pretty thing against the front of his tunic, removing as he did so a few more willing layers of dirt. ‘She must have been lovely....’ He spoke low, his voice a bit husky as he passed the precious trinket back to Zagra.

‘You know, I do remember that song! I first heard it far in the north. Near the mountains and the river where the Wood Elves live.’

He closed his eyes and began to sing, interspersing the Elvish and the Common Speech. His voice, a pleasant, if plain, tenor, was hesitant at first and then grew more confident.

A Bereth thar Ennui Aeair!
O Queen beyond the Western Seas!

Calad ammen i reniar
O light to us that wander

Mi 'aladhremmin ennorath.
Amid the tree-woven lands of Middle-earth.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
O Elbereth Star-kindler

I chin a thûl lín míriel...
Your eyes and breath are like shining jewels...
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:21 PM   #455
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Vrór

Vrór nodded silently at Carl’s words, not sure what was left to say, especially as tired as he was and with so many thoughts filling his head. He watched Ina and Gwella, combinations of fear and anger disturbing him, along with wonder and guilt. He also looked back to the pit and watched as the adult orc who had helped in the rescue was pulled up from the pit by the men. He watched as one young man took the orc by the arm – and slippery as it was he held his grip – to help him out the rest of the way, while the other men simply observed, clearly uncertain.

Uncertain, uneasy was exactly how Vrór felt. He was afraid of what might come of all this, whether or not it was a peaceable outcome. He could only imagine how these men felt, slaves and inhabitants of Mordor, if not by their own choice, who had lived with orcs such as these even as their taskmasters. He was surprised by those who took it so well, such as the young man who helped the orc fully free himself from the pit by his own hand – Hadith, he believed his name was. It did seem the youths were having the easiest time interacting with the creatures. Perhaps he should not think of them as ‘creatures’, but it would be a hard habit to break.

“Clearly there is no longer the question of execution, but few if any will be as quick to…friendship…as Ina.” Vrór frowned. “I hope she does not become too attached to this ‘Gwella’…or Gwerr, was it?”

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~

Khamir

Khamir was prepared along with the others to pull the orc up. He still held onto the rope as the creature took hold of it, and for a moment or two he put his strength into his one arm and pulled with the other men behind him. But as he watched the orc’s face quickly grow closer, and found himself simultaneously drawn to its eyes and repulsed by the idea of looking into them, he let go of the rope. Khamir rose, glancing at Adnan as he did so that their eyes met, and took several paces toward where Athwen and others cared for the children, as if he wished to check on them.

The Southron saw then one of the children, a girl, her clothes still clinging to her from being saturated, holding hands with the orc child. Or an orc child. Was it even the same one, that had burst from hiding to interrupt the execution? How many were there of these things, hiding around their camp and now walking among them? Khamir turned sharply back to see the one male orc out of the pit. He was not even sure where the others were, or the women.

The children were huddled in blankets, men and women tending to them, helping to dry them off and sharing with them their body heat as the sun was becoming low on the horizon. The Dwarf and Hobbit sat together nearby, talking. Everyone was so calm. It was so quiet. Khamir wanted to scream.

Then he heard Beloan speak, raising his voice even though he specifically addressed only Gwerr. “Tell your companions that you are free to go, and that we will give you what supplies we can to help you on your own journey. And that I give you my word that we will not trouble you should we meet again.”

Khamir strode over to his old friend and grabbed him tightly by the shoulder, forcing him to face him. “Free to go? Just because they have not yet done us harm – and for a time that was only because we did not allow it! – that does not mean they will be so kind to others, especially any who travel in fewer numbers. They are orcs, Beloan, and you are parleying with them? You would help them?”

“They have helped us,” Beloan replied simply, his voice quieter. He seemed to look at his friend with sadness. It made Khamir feel ill. He turned from Beloan with anger and walked away.

Khamir walked a good distance beyond the southern edge of the camp, until finally he collapsed, as if from exhaustion. And he was exhausted – physically, he was tired, but the weariness went far beyond aching muscles. His very will had been extinguished. His will, his reason, his purpose had all been slowly disintegrated in a matter of days. His words no longer held any meaning to anyone, no one followed his judgment anymore. He had lost men, good men…

What had they set out for? A new life, a new beginning, away from the plantations, where they could labor only for their own sakes, their own nourishment and comfort. For the first time Khamir tried to imagine what his role would be in that new life, what he would do. He knew no craft, he could write but only very simply, he had physical strength but was without his right arm… He remembered how greatly his value as a slave had decreased after that orc’s act of blind anger. It had been punished, too. Khamir had been treated worse and worse from then on, as he was no longer really worth keeping alive.

Those orcs had given him nothing but scars, they had only taken away. And yet he lived to see his friend, his friend through it all, let creatures of Mordor walk away untouched, laden with gifts…

But he lived. For what, he no longer knew, but he lived.

Last edited by Durelin; 02-06-2009 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 01-31-2009, 07:11 PM   #456
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Grask

Grask had been completely forgotten in all the chaos. He’d curled up in a ball by himself at the edge of the brush, cradling his broken arm against his thin body. His sobbing had mostly quieted, though an unbidden tear still sometimes leaked from his eyes. The cruel, cruel men, how they had hurt him! His arm was useless now, completely useless, and any movement would send another shock of pain straight through it.

But none of the rest of them cared. See how he had tried to stick up for Ishkur, yet Ishkur had no thought for him now. And the females, what did they care for just another young Orcling, nearly old enough to be counted among the men? And the Men - ! Grask’s eyes darkened at the thought. He was lucky they had not killed him straight out, and would be lucky again if they didn’t hunt him down now that the activity seemed to be dying out. It occurred to him to move deeper into the brush to hide, but he had neither the strength nor the will. He had not even fetched his short blade from where it had landed earlier when the big brute broke his arm. He had another, though. With just one blade, he was no worse off than he had been before they had stumbled across the Man-camp in the first place.

Contemplating these things, Grask at some point began to shiver, whether from shock, fear, or a sudden chill, or all three. But then, for some inexplicable reason, a soothing sensation came over him. Was that a song? Yes, a song, and far different than any he had ever heard. No Orc could sing like that. It must be one of the Men then… but that thought, rather than invoking more fear, brought only gentle peace to his young heart. Suddenly exhausted, Grask fell swiftly asleep, the song of the Elves in his ears.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:46 PM   #457
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