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Old 11-06-2002, 03:12 AM   #401
piosenniel
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Sharon's Post:

***** HARAD/UMBAR *****

As the two ships turned course and steered into the harbor at Minas Anor, attendants began to prepare the cargo to load onto the dock. Packages and supplies were quickly stored in a nearby area where the owners could send servants to come and claim their possessions at a later time. The retainers led the horses and Oliphaunts down the ramp, one-by-one, so that they would be waiting for their masters who would shortly leave the vessels. All was done with order and precision. There were no ugly incidents such as mice running across the ship's ramp or riots breaking out that had marred the start of the voyage.

A large number of curious onlookers from Gondor had come to gaze on the ship and its travelers. It had been many years since a vessel from Umbar had come to Gondor in peace. The men of the city were used to Corsair pirates, but not a King of one of the principalities of Harad or, even stranger to them, a Warrior-Priest of the Black Numenoreans. They seemed like strange, exotic figures from another world. The fact that a man of the north rode with them made the party even more puzzling.

Urken stood by the railing as the crowd surged back and forth trying to break through the barriers and gain access to the ships. He laughed and shook his head, but then his attention was diverted by something else, a matter of much deeper concern. He saw Jarl and Al-Gareth walking together on the dock, engaged in prolonged and earnest conversation. Urken felt his own back stiffen. Had he waited too long to play his cards?

Fuinur had managed to sequester the visitors on his own ship for the two-day cruise up the river. Perhaps he had been foolish to let that arrangement stand. He cursed his stupidity, and decided that the time had come to be direct. It was not a role that he relished, or one that came easily to a person of his temperament. However, even he acknowledged that there were times when the straight approach was the fastest and most valuable.

He went to a locked safe and secured something from it, tucking a carefully wrapped package under his arm. Then he went down the ramp to where the two men stood together on the quay, sidling up to them until he caught the attention of Jarl.

***** DALE - Jarl *****

The Dalesman stood a little apart. He was scanning the dock for familiar faces, faces from Dale. It was near the time set for the audience, and he hoped to speak with those whom King Bard had sent. He wondered if there might be information concerning them at a certain tavern he knew to be frequented by Dale tradesmen when in the city.

When Urken approached, Jarl mentioned the tavern and that it was nearby. 'We can kill two birds with one stone.' he thought to himself. Urken seemed in the mood to be more forthcoming, and Jarl wanted a way to put out some feelers on the delegation from Dale.

They walked along companionably to all appearances. Urken engaged the other men in some desultory conversation, drawing out Al-Gareth. While Jarl, his mind on other matters, made a few perfunctory remarks when addressed.

Sharon's Post:

Urken accepted the men's invitation and walked with them to 'The Mischievous Merman', a long time establishment close to the harbor. This was the first time, he'd gotten a close look at al-Gareth in the clear light of day. As he gazed into the man's eyes, a wave of recognition flooded over him. This was indeed the figure that had troubled his dreams for so many weeks. He struggled to keep his features impassive.

The men entered the private room they had arranged, hoping to ward off any prying eyes or ears. Once the door had closed behind them, Urken did as he had promised, placing his package on the table and slowly unwrapping it. As the wrappings came off, an ancient book of lore was revealed, one common to the peoples of the three kingdoms of Harad, Umbar, and Nurn. It was a source that Elessar and his court were unlikely to know well. Carefully, he turned the pages of the volume searching for the pertinent passages. Upon finding them, Urken began to read, apologizing to the men for his crude translation from the original Adunaic.

A fair jewel hidden in a veil of mud,
A slave, born now with noble blood.

For o'er a thousand years this land,
Has seen no strong or royal hand.

When the noble slave ascends the throne,
A great alliance shall be sown.

Three kingdoms, separate but allied,
No longer must their greatness hide.

Harad, then Umbar and now Nurn,
Find peace and power in its turn.

Urken fixed a firm eye on the figure of al-Gareth, and asked, "Can you tell me what these fine words mean?"

[ November 06, 2002: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 04:42 AM   #402
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Rira was glad to be finally at Minas Arnor and the tiredness he felt was nearly overwelming, he bid goodbye to Bram and the crew congratulatinng them on their fine nautical skills and politley refused Bram's offers to join him at a nearby Inn.

'I wish not to burden you with my presence any more. I will stay with family i have here in Minas Arnor'

The captain pulled out a piece of paper which had a hastily scrawled address on it

'If you have need of me again this is where to find me'

He pushed the paper into Bram's as he shook it, just as he left he turned and said.

'Your a good First Mate Bram, the finest i have ever had'

With that Rira pulled his cloak around his shoulders and strode off into the streets making his way to a warm meal, cold ale and a comfortable bed among family is all he wanted.....
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Old 11-06-2002, 09:58 AM   #403
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^^^^^^Erebor/Lonely Mountain^^^^^^

Durgan breathed a heavy sigh of relief as he felt the sturdy planks of the quay beneath his boots. Keeping a close eye on the Dwarves at his side, he stood looking in wonder at the White City, its tall towers and level upon level reaching to the sun filled him a sense of hope. He knew that Stonehelm carried a great burden in ruling their people and Durgan, now having seen for himself the might of Gondor began to believe that this audience was fortuitous indeed.

The massive stonework impressed him as nothing else on their journey could have. He longed to walk the streets and look out over the Pelennor Fields far below from its ramparts. So much had happened here, so many had died to make meetings such this one with Elessar possible, he began to feel over-whelmed.

Bringing himself back, he found that he was not the only one so obviously impressed. His fellow Dwarves had the glint of approval in their eyes and the others were looking about them, smiling and talking amongst themselves. Straightening his belt, he walked over to Stonehelm to find out what would be in store for them next.
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Old 11-06-2002, 11:15 AM   #404
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***** DALE - Bram *****

'If you have need of me again this is where to find me'

He pushed the paper into Bram's as he shook it, just as he left he turned and said.

'Your a good First Mate Bram, the finest I have ever had'

Bram tucked the paper into his breeches pocket and walked a little way down the pier with Rira, his hand on the other man's elbow, drawing him close. 'It has always been my experience, Rira, that it is a good Captain who draws out the best in his crew. So I thank you for your compliment, and return the same to you.' He stopped and shook the other man's hand. 'Come up to the Old Ford Inn when you are back in the north. We'll commandeer a back booth and tell tales of other voyages. And perhaps, if you've a mind for it, I have a longing to visit lands along the southern coast, now that the Shadow recedes.'

Rira smiled at the offer and nodded his head, eyes twinkling at the thought of the open sea once again. He nodded to Bram and then turned and strode off into the city.

By the time Bram returned to the ship, all the companions had disembarked. 'Are you thirsty?' he asked them. 'I know I am!' He gathered them all together about him. 'Come!' he said, as he turned and made for the first tier of the city, 'There is a tavern nearby with a pleasant courtyard. We can sit and drink with firm ground beneath our feet, then make our way up to the King's Hall to see when we're expected.' He led them on toward The Mischievous Merman and the promise of a pleasant time.

Down the pier they went, Dwarves, Elves, and Men. The more polite citizenry gave them only a cursory glance as they passed, while others stopped and stared at the group as if it were a wonder.
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Old 11-06-2002, 12:41 PM   #405
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***** DALE - Jarl *****

Jarl volunteered to retrieve another flagon of wine for the group as Al-Gareth pondered how to answer Urken's question. 'Two flagons, perhaps.' he murmured to himself, this might prove a long session as Urken and the Nurnian shared information.

It was hot in the common room from the press of too many bodies. Jarl picked his way across the room to the bar, only to be ignored by the too busy serving man. Through the window, Jarl saw the courtyard was less crowded, and he thought to step out to stretch his legs and catch a breath of clean, cool air.

The large tree to the side of the yard afforded some shade, and he leaned against its trunk for a moment. He glanced back in through the window toward the common room and smiled. Fuinur, had come up to the bar, and his mighty presence had not gone unnoticed by the serving man, who hurried to bring him three flagons of wine.

Fuinir, came to the doorway of the tavern, and raised the flagons in his hand, gesturing for Jarl to come back in. Jarl put up his hand, indicating that he wished to stay outside for a while. Fuinur grinned at him, then raised one flagon to his lips and drained it. Setting the empty vessel back on the bar, he carefully made his way back to the private room with the promised drinks.

As he stood beneath the shelter of the tree, Jarl heard voices, raised in snatches of song and laughter coming from round the bend in the street leading to the tavern. And there were two that sounded very familiar to him. He strode to the entry way of the courtyard and leaned on the weather beaten post which held the carved image of a leering Merman. He hailed the merry band of revellers as they neared.

'Girion, my Prince!' he said, giving the young man a slight bow as was the Dale custom. 'I should have guessed the King would send you to represent Dale.'

He clasped the other man's hand warmly, and shook his head, grinning. 'Bram! You old sea dog! What are you doing here?'

[ November 06, 2002: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 02:58 PM   #406
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* * * DALE - Girion * * *

"Jarl!" Girion had not expected to see Jarl, though he rememeber that he had probably been told at some point that they would meet in the White City. He smiled at the knowledge that he would not now have to face King Elessar alone but would be there with one of his father's most trusted trade advisers.

"We were just off to the tavern, come and share a drink with us." His smile broke into a grin, at which Jarl looked a little uncomfortable; he was clearly aware that one drink with Girion could lead to a whole host of other mayhem. "It's ok, Bram's taking us, and I promise to be good." Jarl looked sceptical; a promise from Girion had never meant much, unless it was a promise of broken bones, but a nod and a wink from Bram reassured him.
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Old 11-06-2002, 03:23 PM   #407
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Harad/Umbar

There was palpable tension in the room as Urken and Fuinur waited for the answer to the priest's question. Al-Gareth turned his head away, reluctant to reveal more information, yet painfully aware that he needed friends and allies if he was to accomplish what he had set out to do.

"Perhaps, I should be clearer," Urken intoned. "Our audience with Elessar is tomorrow. If there are urgent things to be said, that is the time when all must be revealed."

Abruptly, Urken stood up and placed his hand on al-Gareth's shoulder. "You have spent your whole life hiding secrets. You have suffered and seen your country fall under an evil spell. The habit of secrecy is not easy to break. Believe me, I know. But there comes a time when a man must stand and open his mouth, or else he will fail."

Still, al-Gareth hesitated, uncertain what he should do.

Then Urken, the proud warrior priest of Umbar, walked before al-Gareth and fell to his knees. His palms were extended upward, the great sword of Numenor extending between his two hands. He spoke with great solemnity, "It is told in the ancient texts how the peoples of Harad, Umbar, and Nurn will turn to each other in friendship and alliance, and their might will be acknowledged by many, even the kingdom of Gondor. I believe that time has come. Yet no alliance is possible until Nurn is cleansed and lies under the rule of a just king, he who was prophesied in the lay. That time, too, I believe, is now."

"Al-gareth, I acknowledge you as sovereign lord of Nurn, and pledge my wealth and honor to that goal. And my guild will support you to that end, down to the last warrior-priest." He extended his sword towards the man and placed it within his lap.

Fuinur sat in amazement, saying nothing and only watching.

The man of Nurn responded to Urken in a clear voice, "I will take your allegiance and support as my own, and the guild which you represent." He kissed the sword and replaced it in the priest's hands.

"And this," said Urken, pointing towards Fuinur, "is one whom you must meet. He has proven a loyal and sturdy friend. I have placed him in difficult situation after difficult situation, with little explanation as to what was happening. Yet his support for me has never wavered.

"Fuinur, I apologize for my secret ways. Yet I felt I could do no other. Al-Gareth, I commend King Fuinur to you, and would have the three of us discuss what must happen on the morrow when we meet with Elessar."

The men put their heads together, and were soon deep in conversation.
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Old 11-06-2002, 03:25 PM   #408
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Sting

^^^^^^^^^Erebor^^^^^^^^^

Frain politely asked Stonehelm for a short leave of absence to look around the city. His wish was granted, so long as it be quick.

Frain walked around the city and awe was in his eyes through the entire walk. Burin joined him at some point, with a cheerful look on his face.

Frain, good friend, I am inspired to sing. Burin stated simply.

Frain smiled, and knew what would come next. He had nearly forgotten Curin and Burin, yet he was glad to see one of them.

Right then. You can start. Frain said, and along they went laughing as they made up their own song:

"I've made it to my destination
My safe Haven.
I worked so hard to get to this location!
So glad it's over,
But I don't want it to end.
Just around the cavern's edge,
To our growing friendships I pledge!"

Burin gestured towards Frain.

"Hold my head up high,
Proud in this white sunny sky.
One group for one cause
Although at first there was
Hesitation and pause.
Through thick and thin,
With strangers and kin
We've learned so much
So much more to see
So much more I can be!
All in this one journey!"

Frain and Burin smiled, and laughed. People stared as though they were drunk. Children laughed at them. They didn't care.

After their stroll was finished, Frain went to find the House of Learning. He thought he might be able to help Hringa a bit.

[ November 06, 2002: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 03:29 PM   #409
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*****Rivendell*****

Elladan's skills were many. He was a competent hunter, and a fine singer, warrior, and sculptor. He was a diplomat of the highest caliber, and his storytelling was unrivalled (except by Bilbo). He was widely considered a highly accomplished warrior, and universally considered an excellent cook.
What he was not, however, was a useful boatman. He would never have known the difference between an oar and any other large wooden pole, and Thule's persistent complaints about Elladan's grip on the thing were completely incomprehensible to him. "This way?" he asked.

"No!"

He sighed and continued attempting to muddle through. As far as he was concerned, his rowing was perfectly adequate--after all, the boat was staying afloat, if in a sadly wobbling manner, and moving forward--but Ciri, in her lack of foresight, had put him in a boat with two hobbits, whose eyes were wide with terror. Odo, who after his previous near-death experience was more that usually reluctant to enter a boat in the first place, sat trembling, and clutching pathetically at Brando's hand every time the boat rocked. Brando's young face held a resolute attempt to be a pillar of strength, but if he succeeded, it was only because pillars of strength of any age almost always look as if they wanted nothing better in life than some time in which they could indulge in the relief of looking miserable and nervous. Elrohir, in another vessel, seemed faintly amused. Elladan was offended.

Grimacing, but also humming to improve his concentration, he set back to his oar work. He really thought he was getting better, or should be. Did they really have to stare at him like that?

He lifted his head. In fact, they weren't staring at him at all, but Serin was. "Listen," called the dwarf to the hobbits, "are you all right?"

The were going to trade. He knew it. They wanted his boat to be full of people who knew how to swim. Elladan jabbed at the water with his oar.

Of course, he reflected, as the boat began to rock slowly and inexorably to one side, they were completely right. He would have advised the same. They were going to be quite late enough without drowning.

He reached out toward Brando and Odo as the boat finally inverted itself into the dark, star-filled waters, trying to catch the hobbits before they could be washed downstream.

[ November 06, 2002: Message edited by: Belin ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 03:52 PM   #410
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***Harad/Umbar ***

hold
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Old 11-06-2002, 04:31 PM   #411
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***Shire/Rivendell/Blue Mountains***

Odo and Brando squealed slightly as the boat toppled over into the water. Elladan reached to grab them and swung the boat back over, before too much damage was done to either boat or hobbit.

The boats continued to float on in the shadowy darkness, but from the look on the hobbits faces Elladan could tell they were trading places the second they landed.

Indeed, when they landed, Elladan observed them going over to Serin and Orlo, and heard Serin's deep chuckle. The hobbits talked persuasively for a few moments, until he heard Serin murmur in assent. The hobbits ran back to him.

Serin laughed as he watched the hobbits run off. He had not been able to resist a slight chuckle when he watched the hobbits tipping over into the water, and their frightened squeals. He himself felt slightly cautious about being in a boat with Elladan, but perhaps the elf had learned a few things about rowing at this point.

The sky began to lighten, and once more they set off. It was still at least a day's journey to Minas Anor, and they must arrive soon.

[ November 06, 2002: Message edited by: *Varda* ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 05:23 PM   #412
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***** DALE - Jarl/Bram *****

He looked at how the young man held himself and how he put himself forth in words, and deferred to Bram if necessary. It was a pleasant surprise! The King had done well to place his son under the tutelage of the innkeeper. A half smile creased Jarl's face, remembering another young man whose character had been polished, the rough edges smoothed by the very same man.

He clapped Bram on the back, grinning back at him. 'Let us sit out here in this pleasant courtyard and drink to each other's health and safe journey.'

Bram called for ale to be brought and a few dusty bottles of Dorwinion wine. Jarl was introduced all around, and after a few pleasantries, he drew Bram aside.

'Has the King shared with you what he wishes presented tomorrow to Elessar? I know that Girion no doubt carries instructions, but I do not wish to appear too eager to present the proposition myself. I would like him to do it, as would his Father, But I need to be informed of details so that I may advise him as needed.'

From the leather pouch at his belt, Bram pulled a copy of Dale's propositions which Bard had sent him. He had read it many times, and now sat back as Jarl studied it carefully. He noted that Jarl re-read one section several times, rubbing his jawline as he did. 'What disturbs you?' he asked.

'Not disturbs,' returned Jarl, 'excites me.' He leaned in close to Bram and detailed a short history for him of the aborted trip to Nurn to secure certain new trading contracts, and the finding of Al-Gareth. Bram asked him several pointed questions to clarify parts of the story, then narrowed his eyes, saying 'If only we had this Nurnian here, we could perhaps present a united request to Elessar.'

'But that's just it!' said Jarl quietly. 'He is here. In a private room, speaking to the southron Kings that brought me here.' he went on then to tell Bram of his suspicions concerning Al-Gareth. That he was probably placed high in the ruling hierarchy of Nurn somehow, perhaps even as high as King, though Jarl had no confirmation of this as yet.

'And why have you left him to the ministrations of the southrons?' asked Bram. 'Fuinur I have heard of, a straightforward man, fond of life's pleasures. But Urken, now that is a shadowed name. A warrior-priest, is he not, an old hand at the high game of political intrigue.'

'Come with me.' said Jarl, an idea forming in his mind. 'Let me introduce you to my fellow travellers. I think we may be able to offer them an invaluable service if we play our cards correctly.' He leaned in close to Bram's ear and spoke quietly. Bram nodded his head in agreement, then rose and excused himself from his companions, telling them he would soon rejoin them.

The two made their way back to the room where the men of Harad, Umbar, and Nurn were. They paused at the door, listening to the flow of voices within.

They heard Urken's vow to Al-Gareth:

"Al-gareth, I acknowledge you as sovereign lord of Nurn, and pledge my wealth and honor to that goal. And my guild will support you to that end, down to the last warrior-priest."

And Al-Gareth's clear reply:

"I will take your allegiance and support as my own, and the guild which you represent."

They heard how Urken now brought Fuinur into the circle of support.

As the voices fell lower, into the rhythms of conversation, Jarl opened the door and entered with Bram following. The two Dalesmen approached Al-Gareth and bowed, then turned and bowed also to Fuinur and Urken.

'Gentlemen.' said Jarl standing back by Bram. 'This is my associate, Bram. We would like to extend to you the aid of Dale, if you will, so that you may accomplish what I believe you you intend to do. We heard what you have pledged, Urken, to Nurn's King, and we heard Nurn's reply. We, of Dale, would also like to support you in your rightful claim to the throne, asking only in return that we be allowed to trade with your country.' He turned to Urken and to Fuinur. 'And we would like to extend the same offer to you, if you would take it.'

'And what can you do for us now, Jarl of Dale and Bram?' came the deep, quiet voice of Urken, as he gazed speculatively at the two men.

Bram looked at Jarl and arched his eyebrows, deferring to him.

'I believe it is possible that we can offer you the ear of the King, mayhap this night, if we move quickly enough.'

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 05:27 PM   #413
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*****Dale-Garlin*****

Garlin had realized at the start of the voyage that, though he was a skilled swordsman (according to Ethar, at least), he was not a very good sea man. The constant tipping and rocking of the boat had not done much for his stomach, which had already been queasy with worry for his friend Ethar (and still was, to some extent, since he still was slightly worried that Ethar?s leg hadn?t totally recovered). After about three hours on the ship (and one half of those spent leaning over the rail), he had retired to the below-decks area, where he at least couldn't see the boat's rocking. Now, however, with all the commotion outside, he decided to risk one last hour or so on the deck, if just to see what all the commotion was about.

He couldn't believe his eyes. The great white tower rose above the heavens, it seemed. There were at least seven great tiers surrounding the tower (each almost holding it's own city), which, in the tales he had been told as a child of the Great War, had helped to repel Orcish invaders many times. Then, with a shout from the captain, the ship landed.
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Old 11-06-2002, 05:41 PM   #414
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*****Rhûn Nation*****

The days passed by quickly. The troops met no more resistance along the way.

After many days, they saw a city looming up in front of them. It was larger than any other city they had yet encountered on their journey.

"Minas Anor," Lovek breathed.

The men moved forward, but were stopped by a guard.

"Who are you? And what brings you to this land?" the guard asked somberly.

"We come from the land of Rhûn," Kasteni said, formally, "We were informed that we were needed for a council of some variety."

The guard glared briefly at the men, an obvious showing of contempt for the men of the East.

"Fine," he finally said, "Proceed."

He stepped out of the way, and the troop proceeded into the city. They looked around them at the city as they passed through.

[ November 06, 2002: Message edited by: VanimaEdhel ]
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Old 11-06-2002, 06:36 PM   #415
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*****Rivendell*****

The day was not as miserable as Elladan had feared. Rowing was not, in fact, quite the impossible task it had seemed, and Serin was an agreeable companion, and they passed through a grove at the hottest part of the day. As the sun began its journey downward, the dwarf took over at the oars. Elladan, resting in the greatest relief, and singing again (they were all getting used to his strange little forays into the musical, his thinking device), looked ahead.

It was not exactly the harsh land he'd remembered. Aragorn's year as king seemed to have done it some good. It was green again, and smelled like life.

And there, ahead of them, white in the slowly reddening sky, was the city.

Elladan stopped his song and whistled quietly to Elrohir, who turned his head around to see it as well. The brothers exchanged a look of-- well, Serin wasn't sure. Perhaps it was some strange species of Elven apprehension. But Elladan was smiling slightly, and Elrohir reached behind him to poke the dozing Orlo. Soon all the hobbits had been awakened, and even Hardo was staring at the city in wonderment.

There was silence, broken only by the river, and eventually by the sound of a small hobbit's voice: "That's where the King lives."
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Old 11-06-2002, 07:35 PM   #416
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Ciri looked at the city looming up on the horizon. As they came closer and closer, she was overcome by a sense of wonder. Even though she, as a High Elf, had seen the wonders of the Undying Lands, and had dwelt in Lindon for some time, this city amazed her.

"That is where the King lives," a hobbit voice chimed from a boat behind her. She smiled.

"Yes, friend. King Elessar lives in that grand City. And before long, we shall be there too."
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Old 11-06-2002, 11:55 PM   #417
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Harad/Umbar

Alk's post

It was beautiful, truly a city of a great nation, thought Herumir, as he gazed for the first time on the city Minas Anor. Herumir was lost in thought and remembered all that he knew of the ancient city. The seven-tiered citadel of the Kings of Gondor was known by several names, the original being Minas Anor. After the fall of Osgiliath, the 'Fortress of the Stars', the name had changed to Minas Tirith and become the seat of power in the South-kingdom.

Herumir vowed that one day soon his county would be just as great if not greater. With these thoughts in his mind, Herumir left his companions camped outside and proceeded to make his way down into the city.

****

The city was huge and Herumir was having a marvellous time playing at being trader. He went from shop to shop selling all the items that he had purchased. Already Herumir had doubled his original outlay. Feeling pleased with his activities and getting tired, Herumir decided to have a rest. Besides, he was thirsty.

Looking around Herumir noticed a sign 'The Mischievous Merman', “Ah, this looks like a promising bar,” he said to himself. “Time for a drink” Walking into the bar, Herumir was startled,for making his way across the room was Fuinur, carrying two large flagons to a private room.

Herumir made his way to the bar and procured two flagons. Raising one to his lips he drained it in one gulp. Setting the empty flagon down, he picked up the second flagon and carried it out to the private room.

Inside the room was Fuinur, Urken and four other men whom Herumir did not know.
The group did not notice the new arrival, with their heads together deep in conversation.

Walking up to the table, Herumir called out.
“What, no welcome for a long lost companion?”

Fuinur looked up from the discussion and noticed Herumir for the first time. “About time you showed your face come and join us.”

Herumir looked at Urken and the strangers with a question in his eyes. Noticing his reaction, Fuinur replied “ Its alright, Urken has proven himself more than trustworthy since we parted and every one in this room is a frend to our country's cause. Come and join us and I will explain.”

Fuinur turned to the group and proceeded to introduce Herumir the newest members of the party. "I have the honour of introducing Bram associate of Jarl; Jarl of Dale; and Al-Gareth, the soon to be sovereign lord of Nurn. As each man's name was mentioned Herumir nodded. Fuinur continued to outline the group’s history. Herumir bowed low to Al-Gareth.

“I welcome you Al-Gareth and also pledge my support to your cause in return for future friendship and trade between out countries. I pledge my soldiers and whatever money my coffers can spare. Also to help you I will even lend you my Oliphaunts and several ships. All I ask in return is for you to agree to trade with my country and when needed to support us in times of conflict. Let us all join together in making our lands truly great”

Fuinur was amazed at Herumir's words and felt great pride in his fellow monarch.

Looking around the room and thinking of the future benefits for trade, Fuinur said, "I suggest that we form a formal council and have open trade and friendship between our respective countries and to that end I also pledged my support to Al-Gareth in his claim. Let us return stability to the region, let us reap the benefits of peace let us cast off the stigma of the past and make our countries truly great. What say you my friends?"

Sharon's post

Urken responded in the affirmative. He was pleased to hear such an open avowal of support for the kingship of Al-Gareth. Moreover, an informal council to discuss common concerns between Harad, Umber, and Nurn could prove useful in furthering trade and promoting other areas of cooperation.

But all this might come to naught unless they could secure a private audience with the king. The dinner party, which was planned for the next evening, would be an enjoyable social affair, but of limited use in attempting to implement more serious measures. He had heard the suggestion by Bram and Jarl that they might have some avenues to securing the group such a private audience. He had nodded his approval and indicated that such a feat, if they could bring it about, would surely earn Dale an advantageous position in both Umba and Harad in regard to the coffee trade. Urken was also quite aware that Fuinur and Herkumir were two of the largest plantation owners in the region. He would have little trouble delivering on that promise.

The conversation was continuing on how Harad and Nurn might identify areas of common interest and agreement. Urken, however, had his eyes and ears on something else. He had seen Jarl leaned over and whisper a few words into the ear of Bram. It appeared that something was indeed afoot. The two men got up and began slowly walking towards the door. Urken kept his eyes on them, until they disappeared out the door.

Pio's post

Jarl excused himself from the group, taking Bram with him. It was early afternoon and if they hurried, they could catch Isilmir at his offices on the seventh level. As the Minister of Trade, and well known to
both of them, he could certainly get them access to Elessar, if only they pleaded their case well.

They made their way quickly up the wide terraced areas of the city. Still it took time, as even the most direct path involved the constant traversing of the gates from one side of the great bastion of stone
which jutted out from the mountain like a ship’s keel to the other side, and then through another gate.

Both were hot and sweaty by the time they had made it to the sixth level, guarded by the Riders. A tall man, in the livery of the King, challenged them as they approached, asking them to state their names and their
business. He conferred with his captain, and after afew questions from him, the Dalesmen were allowed to pass through the tunnel to the Citadel itself.

The Minister of Trade’s offices had always been located in one of the taller buildings located to the southeast of the fountain, and the office, itself, was on the top floor, with a clear view of the Anduin. The
view was better now that Elessar had taken the throne. No longer did the smokes and fires of Mordor provide the backdrop for the picture.

A few words to the Minister’s assistant and the two men passed in to the inner suite of rooms. The outer rooms were always immaculate, light and airy, and filled with the most beautiful of wares from all the
areas of Middle-earth who traded with Gondor. Rugs from Eriador graced the floors, metalwork set with jewels and crafted by the Dwarves were artfully arranged on low wooden tables throughout the room. Silver wine and goblet sets from the Elves were set among the groupings of beechwood chairs and filled, as was the custom, with good wine. It was a setting that brought calm and ease to the minds of those waiting to see the Minister.

His own offices, in contrast, were quite different. Papers and books were piled in discrete heaps and maps of all the areas and the goods produced by each were tacked to the wall in apparent random order. A person
entering this room would think how cluttered and inefficient this man must be, and how ineffective. He played upon this discrepancy between the outer surroundings and the keen calculating mind of the man within, and often found himself gaining more information than the person speaking with him intended.

He looked up as Jarl and Bram entered. A smile played about his lips. ‘I do not recall either of your names on the list for the audience with Elessar tomorrow. My
assistant spoke of you requiring access to the King. Is that what you wished me to do?’ He steepled his fingers and looked at them speculatively. ‘Not exactly.’ said Bram, pulling up a chair next to the desk. The Minister motioned for Jarl to sit also.
‘We need a large favor from you, one that must happen quickly. And we are willing to make some fair-sized concessions to you if you can do this for us.’

‘Is this true from you also, Jarl,’ asked the minister further. ‘Yes.’ came the immediate reply. The Minister leaned back in his chair and regarded the two
men before him. ‘Tell me what it is you need.’ he said, that I might decide what is fair trade for my services.’ Bram rose from his chair and closed the door firmly as Jarl leaned forward to speak with Isilmir.

‘It all began with King Bard’s decision to send me south to open up and secure trading alliances in the Far South,’ he began . . .

They talked for over an hour. Isilmir questioned Jarl closely on each point and each person involved. When Jarl was done at last, and the last bit of information
gleaned from him, Isilmir called for chilled wine to refresh his guests. He poured cups of wine for each of them, and downed his with a single drink.

The two men watched as he slicked back his hair and shook out the wrinkles of his official robe, cast unceremoniously over a chest the last time he had worn it. Then bidding them wait until his return, he strode
from his office, down the wide stairs and out the door to the Fountain courtyard.

A few more steps brought him to the White Tower. He entered quickly, and spoke quietly with one of the guardsmen. He sighed, wishing he were in better shape when the man told him of the King’s location.

As quickly as his legs and lungs would allow, he climbed the spiral staircase to the Hidden Chamber.

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 11-07-2002, 01:27 AM   #418
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Though he knew he must look a fool in front of the Elves (whose capabilities he'd come to admire), Hardo couldn't help but stare in wonder at the city rising before them. He'd never seen such magnificence in his life.
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Old 11-07-2002, 03:20 AM   #419
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***** DALE - Elessar/Isilmir *****

‘I could hear you by the twentieth step, Isilmir!’ came the rich, deep voice within the room. ‘I am improving, then, O Fit One.’ wheezed the Minister. ‘Just last week you said you could hear my hard breathing as I crossed the courtyard.’

Isilimir entered the Tower ‘s top room, and stood panting against the door frame for several minutes, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his gown. He took the glass of cool water offered from Elessar’s hand and drank half of it in one gulp. The King waved him to a seat, busy with a chart he had been marking.

Not one to stand on ceremony, Isilmir divested himself of his gown, and sat down watching the man as he worked. From long experience, he had found it best to let the King direct the course of the conversation. He dipped the edge of one of the gown’s sleeves in the remaining water and wiped the back of his neck, hoping the slight breeze from the Tower’s windows might cool him.

Dressed as he was, Elessar still looked the part of a weather beaten Ranger. He had on old black breeches with a comfortable dark green tunic that allowed him the freedom of movement he so favored. He still wore his high boots of supple leather that fit him so well. But now they were clean, no traces of muddy travel clung to them. His hair was no longer shaggy, but now there showed more flecks of grey against the raven dark of it. These days of peace had softened his face a little; it was less pale, less stern. But still the keen, grey eyes of Strider shone from it.

He sat on the edge of the desk, and regarded Isilmir closely. ‘What prompts Gondor’s Minister of Trade to seek the King in his high Tower. Something of importance to the economy, I would think, since it forced you to climb all those stairs to reach me.’

‘I came to ask a favor of you.’ said Isilmir simply. ‘One which will set right a wrong, and will bring Gondor some rich opportunities in certain areas of trade.’

‘A wrong undone and the promise of monies.’ chuckled Elessar . ‘ What more could the King hope for?. He drew a chair up close to Isilmir, and sat astraddle, his forearms and head resting on the back of it. ‘Let us have this “simple” favor from you. We will decide then what we will do about it.’

Isilmir poured himself a fresh glass of water and drank it greedily. Then, point by point, Elessar drew out from him the story of the Southrons and the men of Dale and the heir to the throne of Nurn. His face was impassive as he took it in, though there was a momentary narrowing of the eyes when Isilmir spoke of conditions in Nurn, and how the man had been hunted like an animal. The King was silent when Isilmir had finished speaking. He had risen from his chair and stood gazing out the slit window toward the east. When he spoke at last, his voice was so low and soft , that Isilmir almost missed his words.

‘Bring them to me this day. Come to the North Door of the Tower when the sun has just set and up to the second conference room. I will hear them out.’

Isilmir thanked him for his time and consideration then sped back down the stairs. Elessar stood for a long time, looking out that eastern window, watching the long shadows of clouds slide over the mountains and into Mordor.

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 11-07-2002, 08:11 AM   #420
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Harad/Umbar

As the sun rose high over the fabled towers of Minas Anor, the small band of travelers settled in at 'The Mischievous Merman'. The men had their retainers retrieve their belongings from the dock and secure beds at the inn. Fuinur, Herumir, and al-Gareth had spent long hours engaged in discussion on the fate of their respective countries. Then they had gone on to more immediate matters, including the steps that would need to be taken to guarantee Al-Gareth's claim to the throne of Nurn. There was much talk of military assistance, troop deployments, the use of oliphaunt warriors and other related issues.

But, just as they prepared to go to lunch and think on the affairs of the day, Bram and Jarl had returned to the inn, with the welcome news of what was planned for the evening. Urken cast him a shrewd glance. The man was indeed no fool. He had promised much, but he apparently had the connections to produce results.

Urken made a mental note to go speak with the pair later that night to begin discussing the future direction of the coffee and spice trade. He was no trader himself, but he knew a few of the measures which must be carried out before envoys could be formally recognized or trading posts established.

That afternoon, each of the men had gone their own path, enjoying the multitide of pleasures and pastimes available in the city. Fuinur and Herumir had solemnly promised that they would restrain themselves from overindulgece. As Fuinur so aptly put it, "Women are women, and business is business, and, where the two conflict, the women must go." All had agreed to meet back together in the antechamber of Elessar's audience room later that evening.

Each spent the day in the activity of their choice. Gramil and Jarl had meetings with potential clients. Fuinur and Herumir visited a number of friendly inns and managed to make conections with several well connected men of Gondor. They even wrangled an invitation to visit and inspect a garrison of troops on the outskirts of the city. Urken found his way into the archives of the city, both for the materials he could review and to meet with a number of scholars whom he had not seen in many a long year.

As evening approached, each made their way to the agreed upon meeting place. As they waited in the antechamber, Fuinur and Herumir paced back and forth. Urken and the other trading representatives looked oddly intense, as each went over in his head the points they intended to make. Only Al-Gareth, with his cool and relaxed manner, looked to be truly comfortable with the situation.

A guardsman came into the room and bowed low, flourishing his hand towards the beckoning door, "Lord Elessar is ready to see you. Please step forward into the audience chamber."

With those words, the guardsman turned his back and walked briskly forward. The party followed behind him, emerging into a spacious and pleasant chamber of enormous size. It was simply but tastefully adorned. The furnishings and flavour of the room gav some hint of the Elvish background of the king and his consort. The men strode in and, seeing the king, dropped respectfully to the ground.

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Old 11-07-2002, 09:18 AM   #421
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***** DALE - Jarl *****

Jarl breathed a huge sigh of relief at the Minister's words. The King had agreed to see them! Already his mind was moving through lists of things that needed to be done before the meeting this evening. He and Bram took their leave of Isilmir, who asked that they both come to him after the General Audience tomorrow. Once the hubbub and panoply were over he told them, they would discuss the contracts in payment from Dale to Gondor for his services.

The two men hurried back to the inn. Bram had agreed to stay with the contingent he had brought, to act as their further guide as needed. Jarl would be picking up Prince Girion to bring him up to speed on the negotiations, and to have him represent Dale at this evening’s meeting with the King, with Jarl at his side to advise him.

He found the Prince in the courtyard with the others of his group. Stonehelm was in the midst of some rollicking story, and the laughter of the incredulous companions rang through the air. Jarl caught the Prince’s eye and motioned for him to leave the group and come speak with him.

Wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, Girion approached him. ‘You should have heard him, Jarl! Who knew that Dwarves could be such a daring and funny people!’

‘I’m glad that you are cementing such good friendships.’ commented Jarl. ‘They will stand you in good stead when you are King.’

He took Girion’s elbow and led him further from the group to a more private setting. The young man’s laughing countenance turned serious as Jarl gave him a brief background to the new ties now being formed between Dale and the men of the South, and apprised him of the state of politics within Nurn especially with respect to Al-Gareth.

There was a sharp intake of breath from Girion as he realized the path Al-Gareth had already taken and endured as he strove for the rightful rulership of his country. A shift in perspective took place within his mind, as he began to understand the depth of commitment a true King must take to see his country and people set on their best path.

When Jarl was done, Girion thanked him, and asked that he might meet the Men of Harad, Umbar, and Nurn. He would offer his own services and support, such as they were.

Jarl smiled at these words, and placed his arm on the younger man’s shoulder. ‘The King, your Father, would be very proud of you today.’

He led Girion within to meet and speak with the Southrons. In just a few short hours, then, it would be time to stand before the King.

Nevtalathiel's Post

Girion had been given just a few minutes to change his clothes before going to the small audience with Elessar. He wondered what he should wear. It was obvious he couldn’t wear any of the clothes he’d been travelling in; they were muddy, torn, and in the case of one pair of breeches, burnt through where the spider blood had hit them. He surveyed the clothes he had brought for the audience, but none of them seemed appropriate now; they were too gaudy, too ostentatious. He took out a hat with a feather in it and regarded it with disdain before tossing it
aside. What had been thinking when he had packed? He had wanted to impress the King, he remembered, to show that he too was royal, powerful, important.

He smiled ruefully at the memory of how naïve he had been to think the other leaders would judge him on his clothes. It would not be what he wore to the audience which would impress them, he now saw, but what he
said and how he said it. That was worrying him too, but unlike his clothes, there was little he could do about it.

He took a deep breath and hoped what he had to say would be acceptable; Jarl had given him a quick briefing, and he had been able to surprise him with the depth of knowledge he had absorbed from Bram. He knew all
that he could have learned in such a short time, but he was still not sure it was enough.

“Once upon a time,” He thought, “I would have been content that half of what I know now was too much.”

“And you would have been embarrassed when someone asked an obvious question you could not answer.” He replied to himself and knew that he was right; better to know too much than not enough.

He opened the door of his room to see Jarl waiting for him in the corridor.

“Sorry Jarl, I don’t have anything suitable to change into, this will have to do for now, and I’ll get some clothes washed before the audience proper.” Was all he said.

[ November 10, 2002: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 11-07-2002, 09:31 AM   #422
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***HARAD/UMBAR/DALE***

King Elessar stood before them and looked down upon the kneeling men. He wore the Elendilmir upon his brows and was dressed in dark blue. A silver mantle covered his shoulders and was fastened at his throat with a silver brooch in the shape of an eagle in which a mighty green stone flashed with an inner fire.

"Arise, my guests," he said. When they stood, to their great surprise, Elessar bent his knee and bowed before them. "It is an honor to have you in my city. The people of Dale are always welcome here and have long been our friends. But too much time has passed since representatives of the lands to the South have come here in peace. Let us set aside our old disputes and speak frankly of our hopes for the future. For the days of the sword have gone by and it is now time for healing."

He rose to his feet and motioned Urken, Fuinir, Herumir, Al-Gareth, Girion and Jarl to sit at his table and be at ease. He poured goblets of wine for each of them and when all had drained their cups, he smiled. "Now, I am told that I am in the presence no less than three kings, a prince, a high priest and the finest trader in all the lands. We have much to discuss."

He turned to the Southern Kings and added, "I know that many disputes run in your lands and that to have peace each of you must take action to unite your peoples. You have much to do. So I ask you, how can the North Kingdoms help? What aid do you require..."

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Old 11-07-2002, 09:38 AM   #423
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***** DALE – Jarl/Elessar *****

Jarl could sense the tension in the room as the men sat down. They drained the cups of wine that Elessar had poured for them, then Urken rose up from his chair as spokesman, to present their concerns. He delved briefly into the prophecies he had come across concerning the union of the Southern kingdoms, saying that he believed Al-Gareth to be the one spoken of in the verses. He told Elessar of the support, both military and monetary which he had offered to the King of Nurn.

Urken then nodded to Fuinur, who presented his country’s greetings to Elessar, saying that as King, he would be glad to look to Gondor as a new ally both politically and with regard to trade. ‘Harad and Umbar have already begun discussions with Dale and Nurn, for what will be a very lucrative and powerful trade alliance. We would be glad of Gondor’s support of it and participation in it.’ Last, he dealt with the commitments he had made to Nurn’s King to see him on the throne. Herumir followed suit, repeating much of what Fuinur had already detailed.

Then Girion rose to speak for Dale. Elessar noted how the young man fought his nervousness, and at a few soft spoken words from Jarl, regained his composure. The King turned his full attention to the fledgling King of Dale, and smiled to put him at his ease. The Prince gave his country’s greetings to the high King, then also spoke of their commitment to placing Al-Gareth on the throne of Nurn. Their troops were few, he noted, but the promised monies and political support would be in place as Al-Gareth needed them. He sat down once he had finished, and Jarl nodded to him that he had done well.

Last to stand before the King was Al-Gareth. The two men took the measure of each other, and neither found the other wanting. Al-Gareth spoke simply and briefly of his concern for his country and his people. He wished to bring Nurn to its rightful place among the Free Lands and Free Peoples of Middle-earth. They would be greatful, were Gondor to support them, but he would understand if Gondor’s concerns could not see their way to allow this at this time. He only asked that Gondor would not stand in his way as he sought the throne. He thanked Elessar for taking time to see him, then he sat back down, and sipped at the wine Fuinur had poured for him.

Elessar spread his hands on the table, and rose from his chair. He leaned toward the group gathered before him, and considered each one before he spoke.

‘I have heard each of you now, speak well and fully on this joint concern. It pleases me that you have laid aside your differences to unite for this. There will be a long, hard battle for this to happen. It will be fought on many fronts, and not just militarily. I fear it will be costly both in men, as well as monies, and may strain the relations with other countries who see the cause in the light of their own needs.’ He paused, and the room grew silent as the group held their breath awaiting his next thought. He chose his words carefully, looking at each of the countries representatives. His eyes came to rest at last on Al-Gareth.

‘You have my personal offer of support.’ he said clearly, ‘And the support of Gondor as well. I will meet with my Ministers tomorrow, early. And once the general Audience with all the countries is finished, we will be able to present to you all a detailed plan of how Gondor can give its aid.’

A collective murmur of appreciation and relief went up, and each rose and thanked the King once again for his time and his consideration. Then Elessar dismissed them, saying that he had other business to attend to that night.

It was a less tense group that made its way back to the Inn. Fuinur called out to the serving man as the entered the common room. ‘Drinks all around for myself, my friends, and all here. We’ve had a good night! It’s time to celebrate!’

‘Just keep a watch on your tongue!’ reminded Urken, downing a glass of spirits as he winked at Fuinur.

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Old 11-07-2002, 10:55 AM   #424
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***Rivendell/Shire/Blue Mountains***

Serin's eyes widened as they walked up the the great city. Amidst the feelings of relief that they had managed to reach Minas Anor in time, he was awestruck by the magnificence and the splendour of the place.

The gates opened and the party proceeded in, continuing to gaze around them in amazement. In the case of the younger hobbits, this was often accompanied by small squeals of surprise, then quietened, feeling themselves slightly out of place in this city.

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Old 11-07-2002, 11:44 AM   #425
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Sting

******The Shire/Blue Mountains/Rivendell*****

After all the food shortage, the hard, cold nights, and the dampness that was ever-present whilst travelling in the boats, the beautiful city was certainly a sight worth seeing. Orlo's eyes widened in amazement as he took in his gleaming surroundings. He was awestruck, as was the rest of the party, even the High Elves. His eyes were momentarily diverted from the beautiful sight of the city by a messenger coming towards them.

"Welcome, folk of Rivendell, the Blue Mountains and The Shire!" he said.

"Our greetings to the King." Ciri smiled and stepped forward. The chiefs of the separate parties did the same.

"Please, follow me." The messenger set off, and the awestruck party followed.
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Old 11-07-2002, 11:57 AM   #426
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Sting

***Blue Mountains***

Upon reaching Elessar's halls, they were informed that he was already in discussions with other nations. They were shown to their rooms, and the hobbits were delighted to find that they had hobbit sized beds, and everything was to their liking.

Theron, Mikhelm and Serin left their room, and went out to have a smoke. As chance would have it, 3 Erebor dwarves were out there as well, and gave each other a friendly smile. The dwarves introduced themselves as Frain, Hringa and Durgan, and got along like old friends. That is, until Mikhelm mentioned Moria.

"The kingdom of Moria should be in the hands of the dwarves of the Blue Mountains again! We would make it a city to be in awe of!" Serin nodded in assent, and the other dwarves had fiery gazes under their bushy eyebrows.

"And tell me, what claim does the Blue Mountains have to the halls of Moria?" growled Frain, stepping forward.

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: *Varda* ]
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Old 11-07-2002, 04:21 PM   #427
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^^^^^^Erebor^^^^^^

"And tell me, what claim does the Blue Mountains have to the halls of Moria?" growled Frain, stepping forward.

Frain laughed inwardly at his bravery. What was he doing? Growling at his distant kin? Well, Moria was as good as theirs, or at least Frain thought so. The Blue Mountain fellows had come out for a smoke, just as he, Durgan, and Hringa had left the Learning building. After a long search, they had found a few documents that might prove useful at the general Audience that night.

Frain waited for an answer.
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Old 11-07-2002, 04:29 PM   #428
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Sting

***Blue Mountains***

Serin's face flushed red.

"Balin, LORD of Moria, lived in the Blue Mountains for most of his life, as did many dwarves who left for Moria, and perished there. It was only near the end of his life that he lived in Erebor, that does not entitle you to Moria!" Serin growled.

The dwarves felt angry, and Frain made a move forward, then paused.
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Old 11-07-2002, 04:49 PM   #429
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^^^^^^^Erebor^^^^^^^

What am I doing? Frain asked himself as he took a step foward in his anger. This was not the way to do things.

'I will not fight with you. At least not yet. You will find when the Audience starts that Dwarves of Erebor are not to be trifled with. Not when we know what belongs to us. I spare thee my anger until the Audience.' Frain said, smiling inwardly at the Blue Mountain folk.

Frain turned a little and whispered to Durgan and Hringa. Fear not! my kin...we know Moria is ours. You still have the papers, right Hringa? Hringa nodded in reply.

Thats what this Audience is for, is it not? Frain thought to himself.
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Old 11-07-2002, 04:51 PM   #430
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^ ^ ^ ^ Erebor/ Lonely Mountain ^ ^ ^ ^


HOLDING *chortles*
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Old 11-07-2002, 05:01 PM   #431
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Sting

***Blue Mountains***

"We do not wish to fight," Theron pointed out, trying to be calm. "We only wish to reclaim what is ours. We will wait and hear your reasoning at the Audience." With that, he, Mikhelm, and Serin turned away and went to explore the city.

"Theron, I think they have papers of some sort, giving them a claim to Moria..." Mikhelm said. Theron glanced back at the other dwarves behind them, who seemed to be in deep discussion.

"Mikhelm, you may have a point." Theron said. "Perhaps we should head down to the Learning Room, we may be able to find papers to help us argue our point."

The three dwarves eventually found their way to the Learning Room, where they were eventually swamped under heaps of paper, but to no avail.

"We'd be better off back in the Blue Mountains for this sort of thing," Serin grumbled. "What use is all this? We must just argue against whatever they have to throw at us, with all the strength we have. Perhaps Elessar will see our side, and we can negotiate. Balin was from the Blue Mountains after all, his ancestors lived there for years after Smaug settled on Erebor. Surely we have some claim? In any case, Balin is related to me, albeit distantly."

The dwarves sighed pensively, before heading back out into the sunlight, to absorb the beauty of the city before the Audience began.
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Old 11-07-2002, 05:12 PM   #432
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Sting

^^^^^^Erebor^^^^^^

Frain turned and Durgan and Hringa followed the almost-fuming dwarf.

Well, at least we have the papers, right? Hringa pointed out.

Yes, and besides, Balin was only the Lord of Moria for how long? Durgan stated in his familiar low grumble.

Yes, I think we have enough to prove that Moria is ours. Durgan continued after his last comment recieved no answer.

Wait a minute. We are all dwarves, us and the Blue Mountain fellows, right? Hringa asked in a frail voice, wondering if his companions new where he was going with this.

Yes! Mayhaps they would agree to share the profits and the room in Moria! Dwarves are a stout folk, what coudl go wrong! Frain suddenly exclaimed as they walked, suddenly snapping out of his thoughts. Hringa and Durgan opened their mouths to answer.No, no, no...that won't do. If we delagates can't handle a simple thing like Moria, how will our people be able to live together? Frain seemed to be arguing with himself, for he wasn't really listening to his companions.

Frain strode quickly down the cobbled road. Durgan and Hringa ran to catch up. They smiled as they saw Frain stop a few yards ahead of them and cry out.

Yes! Yes! Yes!! My friends! What of Gimli? Maybe we should look for him? Ask him for advice?! Frain's friends now looked at him as though he was going mad, but agreed. Frain claimed it was the stress.

*hums the tune of 'we're off to see the wizard (dwarf?)'*

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 11-07-2002, 05:20 PM   #433
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Silmaril

*****Rhûn Nation*****

There was a knock on Lovek's door. It was one of Kasteni's guards.

"Lovek," the guard said, "Kasteni wishes to have words with you."

Kasteni rose from where he sat, shining his sword, and quickly made his way down the hall to his Advisor's room. He briskly rapped on the door.

"Come in, Lovek," came Kasteni's voice. Lovek opened the door.

"You sent for me, Advisor?" Lovek asked.

"Of course, Lovek," Kasteni said, "Can you run an errand for me?"

Lovek bristled at being treated like an messenger boy. His breath quickened a little.

"Calm, Lovek," Kasteni said, seeing this reaction, "I wish for you to go and see if the council has begun yet. As we had so little time, I did not stop to ask when it would begin. If we are late, hurry back and inform me of our tardiness. Then please fetch Ulwyte and meet me at the council."

"Yes, Advisor," Lovek said. He briskly walked down the hall, his boots making a heavy clanging against the floor. Many that walked around him quickly moved out of his way, his menacing looks intimidating them. Soon, he saw two guards standing outside a door.

"Has the meeting begun?" Lovek asked, curtly. These were men of this region; men not to be trusted.

"Who desires this information?" one guard asked in an unfriendly tone.

"Kasteni, the Advisor of the company from Rhûn," Lovek said.

The two guards exchanged bitter glances, and Lovek glowered at them as they did so. Finally, one turned back to Lovek and spoke.

"It began some time ago. You are quite late."

"Well," Lovek responded, "If we had been informed of the time to arrive, we would have been punctual."

At that, he turned on his heel and walked back to Kasteni's room. He knocked.

"Come in," Kasteni called. Lovek walked in.

"They have started," Lovek said, hotly, still offended at his treatment by the guards.

"Fine. Go get Ulwyte and meet me in the Council Room," Kasteni said.

"Yes, Advisor."

Lovek exited and made his way to Ulwyte's chamber. He glared at the door for a second, for he was still not at all fond of this young soldier, then knocked.

"Who calls?" Ulwyte's voice came from inside.

"It is Lovek. Kasteni says we must go to the Council Room. It seems that they began already."

There came the sound of a sigh, then the door opened. Ulwyte and Lovek walked down the hall and made their way to the Council Room. There, the two guards, still grimacing at the Rhûn inhabitants, opened the door. Kasteni was already seated and the people were all speaking.

Many races had not been seen on peaceful terms by Lovek. He looked at the Dwarves and Elves and Men that sat around in a circle, fairly calm. Lovek was taken aback at how tranquil they seemed, compared to his life of training and work at home. He then saw that a Man was staring at him. The man had bright eyes.

"You are the others that your companion spoke of?" the man said.

Kasteni rose and turned to Lovek and Ulwyte.

"This," Kasteni said, gesturing to the man and indication that he should be treated with respect, "Is King Elessar." Then, to the King, "Your Highness, these are my travelling companions and aids, Ulwyte and Lovek."

The King nodded and Lovek and Ulwyte quickly moved into the room. The doors close shut behind them. Lovek was taken aback by the majesty of this King. He had always pictured these men and their kings as slovenly rebels, but this man was obviously not so. Lovek bowed a bit numbly, as did Ulwyte, then they silently took their seats.

Lovek leaned over to Ulwyte, "Do not speak until you are sure of what you are saying," he whispered, "And say nothing that will hurt our nation and people in the future."

Lovek turned to the others and listened, trying to suppress the great curiosity and feigning a menacing disapproval of the meeting.
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Old 11-07-2002, 07:20 PM   #434
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Silmaril

**** Harad/Umbar - Al-Gareth & Gramil ****

Quote:
‘You have my personal offer of support.’ he said clearly, ‘And the support of Gondor as well. I will meet with my Ministers tomorrow, early. And once the general Audience with all the countries is finished, we will be able to present to you all a detailed plan of how Gondor can give its aid.’
Al-Gareth's eyes fell as he heard the words, bowed under the weight of what it meant. It was not certain Nurn was free, no, nothing was certain. But for the first time there was more than just hope. His eyes lifted and he met those of King Elessar, King of Gondor; he saw more than just a powerful ally in that steady gaze. Here was one he could trust.

Though it had seemed so long, so much rested upon the outcome of this Audience, this pivot point of the future of three kingdoms, it was in reality surprisingly brief. King Elessar did not dither in his decisions.

King Fuinur and Herumir were heading in their own directions, with talk of wine and celebration. Jarl had matters of his own to attend, concerning the son of the King of Dale. Al-Gareth wanted to learn more of the lad. Jarl hadn't mentioned him in their travels, but the young man had a ready smile and easy manner Al-Gareth liked immediately. Informal and familiar, like much of Nurn. And they were of an age. Al-Gareth, if he saw his throne, would see Girion become king in turn.

In the entry hall to the audience chamber, Urkan nodded to Al-Gareth, once, a light of satisfaction and certainty in his face. Urkan for one had no doubts of the outcome of the coming conflict; for him the strength of prophecy declared it done.

As Al-Gareth strode from the hall, Al-Hafez fell in step easily behind him. They went down the marble stairs, out into the open air. A small white tree bloomed in a carefully tended courtyard, seemingly surrounded on all sides by sky. Al-Hafez didn't ask how it had gone. He knew.

There was much to be done. They needed to gather Al-Gareth's network of spies. There were troop movements, strategy and supplies to plan, but that could come later. For now Al-Gareth had another matter to attend to. There had been one missing from the Audience.

He sought out young Garlin and Ethar, as inseperable and as much troule as ever. Ethar pointed him to a thin, tall figure, two levels up in the palace.

Al-Gareth found Gramil leaning on a railing, staring southeast. Seagulls danced in the breeze below their dizzying height. From here they could see the thin brown line of the Harad road, one of the great works of Gramil's people.

"You did not come." It was a statement of fact rather than a question. Gramil smiled.

"I am not an important man," Gramil said mildly. "It's not my place to trouble the councils of the great. I am just a trader. And a retired one at that. I've only done what I had to - what anyone would do."

Al-Gareth turned east, towards the dark of the mountains which marked the borders of his country. He was getting used to thinking of it as his country. No, not anyone, he thought.

He squeezed Gramil on the shoulder and said, "Thank you."

[ November 07, 2002: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]
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Old 11-08-2002, 03:27 PM   #435
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******MIRKWOOD CONTINGENT******

The journey in the ship had not been gentle on Isilya, after living on that ship, she was enthralled to finally be on land again. After a short time, in which she collected what was left of her nerves, she and Nefros set off in search of a long needed good meal. Isilya wanted to go and explore Minas Anor, to see if it was as awe-inspiring as she had imagined it to be, but Nefros held her back, telling her that she needed to be tended to medically before she got into any trouble.

"How do you intend to persuade Prince Legolas to return?", Nefros asked.

Isilya nearly choked on her food.
"How did you know about that? Did Orodan say something to you about it? You weren't supposed to know."

"Sister, almost everyone knows about your little side quest. I knew from the very beginning. So, tell me, how do you intend to manage it?". Nefros had a strange little grin on his face.

"I'm not quite sure. I haven't thought about it often. But, when I do come up with a plan, I most certainly will not tell you about it!"

And at that, they both began to laugh.

[ November 09, 2002: Message edited by: Isilya ]
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Old 11-08-2002, 04:30 PM   #436
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Sting

***Blue Mountains***

Serin, Mikhelm and Theron emerged from the Learning Room, their eyes being forced to blink in the seemingly harsh sunlight. Serin had proposed they take advantage of their time in the city, so the next few hours were passed peacefully wandering around and taking everything in.

Serin continued to marvel. The architecture, everything was perfect. How had the dwarves sat in their halls of stone for centuries, stubbornly refusing to absorb the beauty of the crafts of other races? One thing was for sure, he would change that.

Even Mikhelm, Serin noted, had changed dramatically on this journey. Before, he had been stubborn, and very unwilling to mix with the others. While Serin was forced to accept that Mikhelm could never change completely, at least he was improving! Even the Elves had managed to hold a conversation with him.

While walking down a small side street, the dwarves met the hobbits, Orlo and Brando. The two were obviously breathtaken with the scenes of the city, being so different from the peaceful surroundings of the Shire.

After listening to the hobbits chatter on for a few minutes, the dwarves said goodbye, and went on their way. Serin was deep in thought, pondering what he could say at the Audience. He obviously wanted more trade between the dwarves and the other races, and it seemed like Mikhelm wouldn't put up so much of a fight.

As for Moria, well, that was another matter. Who knew what the Erebor dwarves were considering at the moment? Perhaps, they would be willing to negotiate. They shared the same blood, and they both had rights to the dwarven city. Surely, in the 4th age, things could be set right.
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Old 11-08-2002, 04:53 PM   #437
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*****Rhûn Nation*****

Ulwyte left the room, as they obviously had time before Gimli came. Kasteni and Lovek, however, remained seated.

"And what of Rhûn?" Lovek leaned over, whispering to Kasteni, "We should ask what is to become of Rhûn. We know that they will do everything in their power to take away our land. They are our enemies and we cannot trust them under any circumstances."

"Lovek," Kasteni said, reasonably, "King Elessar is a good leader. I can see it in his face. He will not treat us unfairly."

"It is all lies," Lovek said, "These men would not be truthful in front of us. You cannot trust this man's face. And what do we know of him? All we know is that he defeated one of our own. How can we call him an ally?"

"Because we have no choice," Kasteni said, his voice raising a little at his frustration, and echoing a bit in the hall. He calmed himself down and began again, "We have no power now, Lovek. We need their help. Rhûn will fail if we do not make peace with them."

"Rhûn will not fail!" Lovek said, desperately, "We will never fail! We have our faith and devotion to our supreme Lord to guide us! He will not abandon us! We can conquer all obstacles."

"No, Lovek, times have changed. These men's Lords and Kings will defeat ours. There are more of them, and their power is growing. We cannot hold them off. We must at least make peace. I know we will never be on friendly terms with them, but...it is our only hope. Don't you see?"

Lovek turned back. He did not see. He could never trust these people. He sighed and sat back, not wanting to see this city, partially for his dislike of it and partially for his fear that, by seeing the city, he may grow to like it. Kasteni, however, rose and dismissed himself from the room.

Lovek sat, brewing and contemplating this new turn of events...
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Old 11-08-2002, 09:51 PM   #438
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*****Rivendell*****

In unspoken agreement, Elladan and Elrohir set off along the corridors, in search of a person they had not named once during the journey, though she was present in both their minds.

They explored the halls cautiously, Elrohir in uncomfortable silence, and Elladan, after the first few moments, unconsciously began humming once again. His brother gave him a look of despair, but he was preoccupied and didn't notice.

Two elves they hadn't seen before rounded the corner ahead of them, talking to each other. They stopped when they caught sight of Elladan and Elrohir, glancing at each other as if satisfied at having found the singer.

Elrohir nodded at them irritably, ready to simply walk past, but they addressed the brothers in tones of welcome and introduced themselves as Orodan, prince of Mirkwood, and Nefros.

They exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes, Elrohir hiding his impatience less and less effectively. "It is good to see you here. The king invites all, as we've seen."

"All have suffered in the war, and all have concerns that must be addressed," answered Elladan, in a bored voice.

"Indeed," said Orodan, "some by choice and some not. Our brother has left us." He paused thoughtfully, and added, almost to himself, "On the other hand, some make sacrifices willingly where others would not."

Suddenly Elrohir's full attention was upon him. "What?" he asked, in a quiet voice.

The Mirkwood elves looked at him. His face was calm, and so was his voice, but the intensity of his gaze disquieted them. Neither answered.

"Elrohir..." said Elladan, in an undertone.

"Are you talking about my sister?" continued Elrohir, in the same unperturbed voice as before.

Orodan and Nefros continued staring, less and less certain of themselves. "What exactly are you..." started Orodan. Elladan interceded.

"My brother takes things personally. I apologize. We really must be going." He resolutely continued down the hall, giving Elrohir a look of warning.

------------------------------------------
Arwen, it seemed, was busy, and, for all practical purposes, unfindable. Discouraged, the brothers wandered out into the streets to look around the city. They'd barely left the gates before they met up with their old traveling companions, the dwarves, again.

As they began to talk, only Elladan noticed that the tone of their stories was nearly identical.

[ November 10, 2002: Message edited by: Belin ]

[ November 10, 2002: Message edited by: Belin ]
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Old 11-08-2002, 11:37 PM   #439
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Rira wandered around the city early one morning, noticing the many people that now resided here to have audience with the king. He saw Dwarves, Elves and many more foreign men than he could ever remember seeing, and the sight of so many races all in one place peacefully talking and sharing things made his heart glad.
As these thoughts went through his head his mind wandered across to how his old crew and Bram were at this moment in time. He continued wandering the streets knowing every turn and twist having spent most of his childhood running through these streets on some mischievous errand. Rira smiled as he remembered running through these streets with his friends, cutting purses and stealing goods and various baubles from the stands along some of the streets.
He looked up to the roof tops and the sun made him squint and raise his hand over his eyes to shield it from the sun.

‘Ahhh, those rooves a many an escape root for a theiving young boy’

He said aloud chuckling to himself. A few people walking near him looked up with a raised eyebrow or two but Rira didn’t notice and returned his eyes to the road ahead. He kept on walking making his way for the nearest Inn and a cool ale, the though of which made him rub his stubbly chin and walk that little bit faster......
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Old 11-09-2002, 04:12 AM   #440
Amanaduial the archer
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Eye

Brando had been amazed at the city. It challenged even Rivendell and Lorien with its beauty, yet was larger than both and more openly majestic. And everything was so big, so wide, yet so delicatly elegant...

After the dwarves dispute Brando had slipped away with Odo; they were going to explore more of this marvelous city of the big people. Elladan and Elrohir had left in silence before- they seemed to be able to communicate with saying anything. When Brando had asked Ciri, she had simply shook her head, but murmered something about the Queen.

They had found some of the younger servants, still towering at least a foot above them, but they were very friendly. They were enchanted by the little people as most of them hadnt seen hobbits before.

Brandos eyes flicked to the side as he stood in one of the huge corridors, hearing a muffled laugh. He smiled to himself and started to walk slowly and silently towards the place from where the noise had come- in a game of hide and seek, the big folk could never compete with hobbits, especially when Brando was looking...
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