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Old 03-11-2003, 11:28 AM   #1
Bęthberry
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Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
The Eye Betrayal of Trust: Discussion Thread

Palando of the blue robe and The Squatter of Amon Rűdh invite you to play their game, Betrayal of Trust.

Story Back ground:

The best way to describe this proposal is to start with my first entry and then describe the overall premise of the adventure and the rest of the proposal details.

First post:

Pain lanced through Halasan's shoulder as he scrambled up the craggy bluff overshadowing the path below, warm blood seeping through his torn jerkin as crude stitches ruptured under the strain. Fear drove him, lending him
strength to ignore the pain until he mounted the rock's grassy summit.

Rolling onto his back, Halasan closed his eyes in an attempt to control his nausea. But exhaustion and blood-loss conquered and with a final sigh his mind fell away into unconsciousness.

**********

Halasan awoke to a frozen wind and a cold moon hanging high in the sky. Shadowy clouds loomed overhead; backlit by the moon's pale, waxen glow. As he sat up the last dying rays of twilight flowed down the Nan Curunir into
the gap of Rohan, giving him a fading glimpse across the West Emnet into the
lands of the Riddermark. He stood slowly, fearful of opening the wound in his shoulder further, and watched until all the light had fled into the west, leaving only the moon to light the way to his destination.

His gaze drifted northward now, until he could see the Fangorn forest covering the horizon like a carpet of tall lichen. Memories of his homeland in Mirkwood flooded in unchecked. Memories he had been trying to suppress;
The screams of his dying wife, the hungry fire consuming all he had built, the betrayal of his friend and finally the chase, the beginning of his journey that had led him to this point, alone on a hill, in a land he did
not know, searching for someone he knew in his heart was dead. Tears can unbidden to his eyes and as the night deepened he remembered. Remembered allthat he had tried to forget of the last few weeks...

**********

The morning sun rose majestically over the crest of the Emyn Muil; like a great tide it flowed across the lands of Rohan, spreading warmth and chasing away the icy dawn frost before it. Halasan stirred. He could not say when sleep had claimed him, but as he sat up and let the morning warmth surround him he could sense that it had been a more wholesome slumber than since... No. He would not think on that right now. Determined to at least start the morning with less maudlin thoughts he rose to greet the day.

With the fear abated hunger now clawed at him, tightening in his stomach like a cramp. How long had it been since he had eaten? He had no food in his pack, only a metal box, half full with dried tinder, a flint stick, a steel
gutting knife and some bay leaves. He knew he did not have the strength or tools left to catch a decent hare or deer. Instead he conserved his energy and walked slowly down the mound, careful to place his feet on soft,
yielding ground, and he soon found a narrow hole that he recognised. Slowly he pushed his arm in, sliding it inch by inch until his hand came upon a thin, fleshy tail. Pinching it firmly he pulled hard, swung his arm out and
round in a single fluid motion and smashed the creature down on a nearby rock. With a crunch the creature died. It was a brown rat, a hands span in length from head to tail. It would be enough.

Collecting some small twigs and branches Halasan quickly got the fire burning, though it had taken the last of his tinder in the damp air. After burning the rat's fur and scraping it off he threw the rodent on the edge of the fire to cook slowly before sitting on a small boulder nearby. Eventually the rat was done and the stench of burning meat assailed his nostrils, but it did not trouble him as he bit into the flesh. At least the taste was good!

A sound emanating from behind the hillock he had hidden on the previous night startled him suddenly. He turned, ready for the end expecting another band of orcs to come to finish him off. But it was not a fell creature, nor was it any of the cursed easterlings that had pursued him for so long. But a horse; a beautiful mottled brown mare, tall and proud with a silky oak coloured mane that flowed down its neck like a waterfall.

The beast stopped just out of reach. "Begone fair oakenmane, I have nothing here that I can share with you save my company."

Snorting, the horse swung its head and moved closer, nuzzling Halasan's neck. He laughed, the sound harsh and unfamiliar. "Well you're a friendly one! Tell me friend, where is your master?"

The horse swung his head again and this time tucked his head under Halasan's arm. Patting the beast's neck he began to search for a brand, but could find none. Surely a horse of this quality was hand reared? An idea formed
quickly in his mind, he knew it was born of desperation, but it seemed his only chance. Tightening his pack Halasan swung over onto the horses back in elven fashion. Surprisingly the horse remained steady and calm. Surely hand reared! He thought as he shifted into a comfortable position. His mind made,
Halasan yelled to the horse.

"Nornoro oakenmane, nornoro an Edoras!"

At his calling Oakenmane, as it was hence named, reared its front legs, turned and started west at a gallop. Hope was returned again to his troubled heart, in a form most unexpected, and the rising sun warmed body and spirit as he rode.
**********

By the fall of evening Halasan had reached a town that rose upon a tall green hill above the endless rolling valleys. It was encircled by a high wooden palisade; rooftops could be seen collected in groups within and higher still at its centre stood a great building of stone.
A small river flowed by the base of the hill, which he forded before dismounting and walking to the gate. Two guards stood barring his way,
both clad in chain shirts and helms, tall spears in their left hands glinting in the evenlight as they rested lightly upon the sodden ground.

"Halt, stranger," cried the first, who stood to Halasan's left. "Who travels here at such speed upon a steed of Rohan, dressed as an outlander?"

Halasan smiled as he drew closer. "Just a traveller in search of some hot food and an Inn." He paused, stopping before them. "And the use of a good seamstress if I may. I have coin!"

The second guard nodded and smiled. He eyed the stranger with an appraising look; standing at about five and a half feet, he looked to be middle aged with tufted light brown hair that greyed slightly at the temples. Thick eyebrows framed deep-set, inky black eyes and his skin was pallid and pulled tight against his skull. For clothing he wore a simple leather jerkin,
belted at the waist, that hung over loose trousers and dark boots. A heavy, dark blue travelling cloak was draped over his shoulders, tied by a plain silver clasp. He bore no weapon, but the wound on the stranger's shoulder looked troubling. For a moment the second guard looked away in thought, before looking back to address Halasan.

"The White Horse Inn would suit your needs. Bethberry, the innkeeper, knows everyone in the town and would happily help, for the right coin that is!"

Halasan nodded and smiled. "Thank you" he said, before making his way between the guards. Suddenly the first guard raised his hand again to block the way.

"Tell me stranger, how come you by that wound, and this fine beast?"

Halasan paused before replying, the cold fear seeping back into his heart.
The only answer that came to mind was the truth, so he spoke it. Hoping that again luck would favour him this day.

"I stumbled upon a raiding party of some orc-kin while skirting the Fangorn
forest. I managed to sting a couple, though my blade was lost, and I took this as a reply before I could escape." He pointed to the deep cut in his shoulder. " Strong, orcs are, but not fast! I lost them by flitting in and
out of the woods before hiding on high ground." He paused. "As for this wonderful creature?" He moved his hand to rest on the horse's neck. "I know not. I woke this morning to find it by me. It would not leave and seemed happy to bear me here, for which I am most thankful." Halasan stroked its neck, an action which gained an approving whinny and nod from the horse.

"Interesting, for this is a beast of the free herds!" Halasan waited for the accusation, but none came. The guards voice remained calm. "For some reason it has chosen you, stranger. That is a rare gift. Treat it well."

Halasan nodded and walked into the town, passing many wooden houses and shops before finally reaching a tall, timber framed building crowned in thatching. A wooden sign protruding from its front bore a picture of a
grand white horse and the words "The White Horse Inn."

Attached to its left was a small stable. He entered and the horse was gently led to a stall by the stable hand. Resolving to find a name for the animal, he turned, walked back and entered the Inn.

Instantly a wall of noise, and a pungent air heavy with unfamiliar smells
assailed him. The main bar was busy, filled with an exotic mix of races.
Nodding with a friendly smile to any that looked his way Halasan walked
over
to the high bar. Bottles and barrels mingled freely along the back shelves
and here the smell of malt and honey was so thick he could almost taste it!

A woman approached him from behind the bar, her face kindly but with eyes
strong and clear.

"Greetings friend and welcome to the White Horse. What can I get you?"
Halasan smiled, pointed to a bottle of mead standing half empty close by
and
mumbled a thank you when the bottle was brought over and a glass filled for
him.

He smiled again, sat and relaxed for the first time in days.

* * * * * *

Discussion

Ok, now you have read that, I will explain further. Halasan was a homestead
lord in southeast mirkwood, as well as a strict but kind husband and father
of three, until a few weeks ago when his old Friend Kiatus convinced him to
go on an extended hunt with his men and two sons into the southern border
where a remnant group of orcs were believed to have made camp. But Halasan
found nothing and returned home earlier than expected to find his homestead
under attack by an easterling nomad tribe, the buildings put to the flame.
The servants, women folk and children already died or dying in the flames.
The echo of his dying wife's scream driving him to madness and so he called
his men to attack. But the easterlings were greater in number and skill and
all were slaughtered, including his sons, and only Halasan escaped by being
knocked unconscious. But he awoke as the raiders were leaving and so he
followed them back to their camp. Waiting for the cover of night he crept
into the camp and into the leaders tent. He awoke the leader and questioned
him. The leader explained that he had done a deal with Kiatus, selling
Halasan's homestead out for money. He also explained that Kiatus had taken
Halasan's young daughter, Catrina, as part of the bargain. Furious Halasan
kills the leader and escapes, though he is seen and pursued. He retraces
Kiatus' steps to his home and finds out that he has fled to relatives in
Rohan. The chase begins...

However, there is a twist. That is only what Halasan believes happened. In
truth Catrina and Kiatus had become
lovers and Kiatus hatched a plan to get money so that
they could run away together. But neither of them wanted anyone to die!
Stricken with grief and remorse the two tragic figures have fled to try
come
to terms with what they have done.

So the tragic couple flee from their own mistake, pursued by Halasan with
only the desire to save his daughter and kill Kiatus, who in turn is
pursued
by Easterling assassins out for revenge for Halasan's killing of their
leader.

Starting Location:

The intro will lead the reader to Edoras, and to the White horse where the
main characters will meet.

Likely destination:

The betrayers will flee south from Rohan through Gondor and if they are not
caught before then the final show down will be in Pelargir.

Timeframes:

Early in the fourth age.

Joining the game will be by audition and invitation only with Bethberry helping in the selection
process. And Squatter is co-running the adventure to ensure no interruptions.

Characters:

Halasan The middle aged lord driven by revenge and the search for
his
daughter. Played by Palando

Kiatus Halasan's old friend, lover of Catrina and the betrayer.
Catrina The young daughter of Halasan who's own games have left
her
with the blood of many, including her mother and brothers on her hands.

It is believed that Bethberry will play the demanding roles of both lovers
in their attempts to flee Halasan.

Squatter will have a character who will join Halasan in the white horse.

Esty has also shown an interest.

I will be looking for a total 6 or 7 players so with Palando, Squatter,
Bethberry and Esty that leaves room for another 2 or 3 contributors. I am
happy to take on Rohan regulars as long as they have a proven record of
quality posts.

Types of characters wanted

This is not a high fantasy romp but a dark journey where the boundaries of
good and evil are blurred. A combination of Tolkien's beautiful locations
contrasting with complex, Gemmell style characters. They don't have to be
over pretentious characters with 100 pages of background, just believable.
(i.e. not just defined by any magic items that they wield)

Oh yes, and any relatives of Aragorn, legolas, Gimli, or missing members of
the Istari should not apply, there are far more heroic adventures they
could
be on...

Time scale

I want this to be a well paced piece with a steady two or three (max) posts a week. Story is expected to play itself out for two months with a conclusion in mid May. (It will NOT go on later as I will be getting married
and then going off with wife and kids for a while to recover.

Please send character descriptions and first posts to Palando of the blue robe via PM. The game will start once slots are filled with March 17th being the latest start point.
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