The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

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The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:56 pm

The Initiation of new Mithril Knights should have been a happy occasion for Elbren, as it was a reminder that his life’s work would continue long after he departed these shores. But even in the supposed safety of their own Guild House in Dol Amroth, somehow the shadow had fallen. Never before had they been attacked directly through the tapestries themselves, and Elbren and his senior Knights had spent the last few days pouring over clues as to their enemy’s plan. There was no question that only the Knights of the Silmaril could be responsible, but why they would specifically target Djazi (or Djaleh as he now was called) and the bard Erinhue remained a puzzle no closer to being solved then when they began.

And so, at the end of all their searching, all pathways only ever led East.

As he feared.

Only ever Eastward. Back along the shadowed path that he himself had just come. But this time, he could not venture back with them.

He had given the Knights a few days to rest and celebrate their new status as Guild members before the summons went out for all those still present to meet for their new orders. Some, Elbren had already sent on other missions, but a contingency still resided in Dol Amroth, and so they reported early on the following morning. Looking at each one gravely, Elbren had them sit around a large oval table often used for strategy meetings, though the great Eagle filled one corner of the room with his form. Instead of battle plans, the only thing that lay upon it this time was a large, detailed map of the Eastern lands.

Elbren clasped his hands behind him and paced slowly at the head of the table, pausing from time to time in his narrative to study the map in front of them, or to meet the intense eyes of the Knights gathered there, ready to fulfil their oaths and protect their lands from encroaching darkness. But that was the problem: the path before them was so shadowed that it was sometimes impossible to know friend from foe. In the Eastern lands, they would not be welcomed warmly.

”As many of you may know,” he began, “while some of our members pursued the Cold Drake threat in the North, a different contingent followed the ever diminishing trail of the Red Hammer and the Knights of the Silmaril into the East. I myself felt the need to travel with this second group. For a while, we had much success and even captured a few spies. But then, inexplicably, the trail vanished. Since then, we have found little. And though we have made valuable alliances along the way, our original intent ran cold. The lands there still reside under shadow, for though the Dark Lord’s power is ended, his ministers yet have footholds, and so our enemies have found safe harbor among them. It has been difficult to see our way.

So, several months ago, I traveled westward yet again, only to hear too late of the success of the Knights in vanquishing the great dragon, and the passing of Dirk. I could not get back in time for the funeral, for I was still far from these lands, though the Knights with me held a vigil in his honor. Upon my return I first reported to King Elessar our findings before I could tend to other Guild business, including debriefing all Knights from both enterprises.

However, I did not then know that the Lady Tempest had followed my original path Eastward. As is her fashion, she traveled under her original colors and apparently found much success acting as the Dark Lady of Mordor. She sent messages back covertly from time to time, and she seemed close to discovering something, though I am not sure what. But that is why I have called you all here: suddenly, four weeks ago, all communication ceased. She vanished. No word, no letter, no sign of a struggle, no blood or body left behind. Just gone. “


Djaleh frowned. ”But might she just have gone underground for awhile? I mean, surely that is possible?”

”I thought so at first too, but the silence has continued. Also, given the attack on our own Guild house at our recent Initiation, I cannot but think the two things connected. But there is more: on my original return journey, it was brought to my attention that someone had been asking around the border towns for a woman of Tempest’s description. I tracked down the person, and I have brought them here to speak with you.” Here, Elbren glanced meaningfully at Erinhue, but the bard had no idea what the look meant. ”Try to contain your surprise when she comes in, “ the elf warned, walking across the room and opening the door,calling softly for someone to join them.

A young woman (could she even be called a woman? More like a girl) entered the room. Her bright, sharp, yet suspicious eyes examined every face in the room before fixing themselves questioningly upon Elbren’s.

But both Djaleh and Erinhue had inhaled their breath sharply.

That face.

It was unmistakable.

It was her. It was Tempest.

And yet, it was not possible. The woman before them could be barely seventeen.

But her face….the same dark eyes….even the expression that twisted her mouth into a suspicious scowl….

”This is Akara,” Elbren introduced her, and all the Knights heard the hesitation in his voice. ”And she is looking for her mother.”

Erinhue nearly choked as the realization hit him. ”Her mother?”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:59 pm

”It’s not possible.” Erinhue insisted as soon as the door was closed and the girl had left them again. ”Tempest has no child but Ronin. Can it be some sort of witchcraft?”

”That’s what I thought too, at first,” Elbren sighed.

”I mean, Tempest couldn’t simply have forgotten she had a daughter. It’s impossible.”

”Did you ever ask Tempest about the birth of her son?” Elbren asked suddenly.

”No…but a woman doesn’t forget such a thing.”

”Akara is the same age as Ronin. Exactly the same age.”

”What are you suggesting? “

Elbren rose and paced the room with his hands clasped behind his back. ”I know little of Ronin’s birth, but I do know that Tempest had fled East at the time, fleeing the boy’s father. It was a difficult birth, and she had the help of midwife.”

”I still can’t...” Erinhue sputtered, but Elbren held up his hand.

”Akara claims that there were two children born that day.”

”Twins? And you believe her?”

”I did not, at least, not at first. But I knew enough of Tempest’s story to know that it was a possibility. She HAD told me that the midwife was frightened, and that when she awoke after passing out from the difficulty of labor, Ronin lay beside her, but the midwife was gone.”

”So this girl is claiming that the midwife took her? For what purpose?” Brondgast asked.

”I don’t know. But Akara is seeking answers, and the only person who can answer them is Tempest herself. This would be difficult in normal circumstances, but the truth is simply that Tempest is gone.”

”And Akara just happens to surface right around the time that Tempest goes missing? It can’t be a coincidence,” Djaleh shook his head in disbelief.

”I don’t think it is either,” Elbren agreed. “ But the two events may have only a slight connection. The reason that Akara had appeared was because a plague had recently wiped out a good portion of her tribe, including the woman who had raised her. She says she was driven out shortly after her death because the tribe did not see her as being of their bloodline---she is clearly of Rohan. This alone is not remarkable, for we know that some of the Eastern tribes are very territorial and closed to outsiders. Her story could very well be true. What is remarkable, however, is that one of the things we had noticed as we followed the trail of the Red Hammer eastward was a marked increase in a strange sickness that seemed to follow in their wake. There were even whispers of whole towns that lay dead because of it.”

”They were using the plague as a type of weapon?” Telta asked incredulously.

”Perhaps, or perhaps they were infected themselves and simply spreading it as they fled East.”

”But how does this involve Tempest?”

”Simply this: she had effectively gone undercover at the time of her disappearance, but Akara’s questions in the border towns about her might have incidentally raised suspicion. She could have suddenly found herself over her head.”

”We can’t possibly trust this girl.”

”No, we can’t. But she’ll be more trouble if we just send her away. She’ll go East again and disrupt our investigation. You’re going to have to take her with you.”

”WHAT!?! No offense, Elbren, but that’s just not going to happen. Dol Amroth’s mead has gone to your head. We would be just waiting for her to stab us in the back. We’ll have to watch her at all times.”

”We’ll have to watch her anyway, if she is with us or not. At least this way we’ll have more control. And don’t forget: she could be exactly who she says she is. I agree, the timing is strange, but then Illuvatar’s ways are not always clear, his paths are obscure but always purposeful.”

He paused, his grey eyes passing over each Knight in turn and his face grim with the task before them.

“This is your mission: to find our lost Knight and discover what it was she was working on. If possible, you must find Pallando, who may shed light on the Knights of the Silmaril and the strange plague that seems to follow in their wake. The girl, Akara, will come with you. I told her that she could only travel with us if she was an Initiate of the Mithril Knights. Then, we will at least have some sort of authority over her and her actions. You, Erinhue, will be her mentor, if in name only.”

Erinhue’s face had been steadily growing redder, as though he had guessed already at what Elbren would order. Agarak suddenly jangled a strange tune which only made him grimace more.

”Is there a problem?” Elbren glowered at the dragonharp.

Erinhue sighed. ”Agarak was just pointing out that this is a no-win situation for me: If Akara is Tempest’s daughter after all, or if we end this mission having to put a sword through her chest when she betrays us, I don’t see either ending well for me.”

He suddenly gave a star bright grin, ”Tempest is probably hiding out right now to escape the little creature.”

They all smiled at this, and some even shared his laughter.

But if they had known at that very moment where Tempest was, if they could have seen her suffering, they would not have laughed so.
Last edited by Tempest on Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:05 pm

Elbren became solemn once again. ”Elessar’s rule is not welcomed in the Eastern Kingdoms. You will find few friends there. Let Tempest’s disappearance be a warning to all of you: Be careful of any alliances, for we do not know how deep the darkness spreads. You will leave tomorrow, so use today wisely to sort your supplies and prepare your weapons. It may be long before you travel west again.”

Though his face was troubled, his eyes were very clear as he gazed at them in confidence. ”May Illuvatar’s light go before you to reveal your path. And may your Oaths bind you to the path of Light, so that you can distinguish the evil from the good. May we meet again under a brighter sky in the future.”

And he bowed to them with his arms crossed against his chest, the emblem of the Mithril Knights emblazoned across it.

”Any last questions or concerns before I release you to prepare for your journey?”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:21 pm

"Yes." said Meneldor. "I too, traveled to the East long before I apprenticed with the Mithril Knights, and so found my destiny. I went as far as the Sea of Rhun, and there was brought down by an Easterling arrow. There are still many tribes that are hostile to the West. But there are a few that have been turned to the Light by the Ithryn Luin, who have been hard at work since ancient days. It was there that I met and befriended Pallando the Blue, who led one of the tribes. He sent me West to join all of you, and the rest is history.

Whether this one is really Tempest's daughter, we shall wait and see. But if we do find Pallando, it will be a great help for us. He at least would aid us as he aided me. I know him as well as any of the Istari I have met."

Brondgast was silent. The attacks right in their very hall disturbed him greatly. Now he knew why the Stone had chosen him. And why they needed to head east.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:31 pm

"Well I have questions and a saddlebag full of concerns." Erinhue stated in a flat voice. He stared straight into Elbren's eyes for a moment before looking away with a shake of his head.

" I can see that won't none of them do me any good."

He shook his head again and sighed.

"Alright, if you want me to act as her mentor, I will, but at the first sign of treachery I'm gonna give her to the worm."

A sinister few notes rose up from Agarak's strings
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:45 pm

Brondgast spoke up. "I tried to follow the trail of my assailant, but had no more success than Agarak." he said. "The trail just went cold outside of the garden gate. If a horse was waiting, I would have smelled it, and I was following the trail in bear form. The Stone was telling me nothing. It was like he just vanished into thin air. Vile sorcery is my only guess, the kind that was around during the time the Dark Lord was still around, so I heard.

The search of the Guild Hall showed very little clues, the dead body of one of the servers that was supposed to be there, struck down by the same poison that was going to be done to Erinhue. There will be constant vigilance, and I will not fail you. He also looked darkly at the newcomer. But for now, she was their only hope as they would go Eastward.

He had heard vague legends of the Ithryn Luin, but nothing substantial. Meneldor seemed to be the only one who knew him, unless Elbren had, but he didn't hear anything.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:35 am

Telta shook her head at Elbren's question and remained silent her thoughts turned inward.

She did not know Tempest well though she had through the time they had fought at Esgaroth came to know her as a great warrior and a leader worthy to follow. A friend she dared not call her but that did not matter. She was in need of their help and help she would.

This girl, Akara, was the image of Tempest and the story Elbren gave of her origins was plausible yet the attempt on Hue's life, the timing of her arrival a mere coincidence?

Whether she be friend or foe only time would tell. The troubled elf shook her head wondering if the girl could even protect herself. They would need to be cautious and the young girl's presence would only add to their burden.

Telta was no stranger to being looked upon as a threat though she knew it had been her own doing. It would not prove to be a problem for her to be wary as friends and allies did not come easy to her. For that she would need to rely in part on her old self and ways as well as her instinct.

But this sickness, this plague how could they possibly fight against it?
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:40 pm

Erinhue looked the newcomer over with an appraising eye. This Akara looked enough like Tempest to make the story believable. She did not look the type to be roaming about the coastlands of the East alone, but looks could be very deceiving.

"This won't be any hayride, you know, my girl" he began. "At best we have a long hard road ahead, most of it in the wild, the rest in the relatively unknown. I need to know if you can be counted as one of the company or just a bit of baggage we have to transport. From the look of you, my guess would be that you can ride and survive well enough on a peaceful journey, but ours will be far from peaceful. Can you use a sword or a bow? Can you fight if you need to? Most important, do you plan to give us any trouble here because you will have to move when we move and sleep and eat when we do or don't. We'll be weeks on this venture and maybe more than that and not much of it will be spent in such comfort as can be found here in the guildhouse. So tell me gosling are you ready for whatever comes?"
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:01 pm

Akara had not failed to notice both the surprise and suspicion on the faces of Elbren's fellow Knights when she had first been escorted into the room. At that time, she had said nothing, for she was only being introduced to them and then Elbren had hurried her outside again so that he could talk to them freely without her overhearing. She could not hear much from outside the door, but from time to time the voices within had risen. She sighed and kicked at the stone walls glumly. Why had she allowed Elbren to bring her here, so far from her home? But, it was not her home anymore, she reminded herself angrily. Never mind that she had lived among her clan for her entire life, never mind that she had spent her youth side by side among the Easterlings foraging and hunting with them, sharing their joys and sorrows. No, upon her mother's death, she had been driven out. A Westerner, they had called her, gesturing towards her yellow hair. Go back to your King, they had said, see if you're wanted there.

So, she had wandered among the other clans, hoping to join them, but the story was always the same. She could not hide what she was, though in her heart she was Easterling. And so, in anger, she had decided to find the accursed woman who had given her birth. The woman who had gifted her with this yellow hair that made her an object of scorn to those to whom she wished to belong.

She kicked the stone wall again, harder, and was rewarded by a stab of pain jutting up from her booted foot.

Here she was, rejected again. How her clan would have laughed at that irony! And still, she had not found the woman called Tempest. The elf Elbren had been kind, though she could see the doubt in his eyes. He had promised to bring her to Tempest, and so she had foolishly followed him away from the world she knew, into strange lands, with strange peoples.

She frowned as the door suddenly opened and Elbren's face greeted her again. He motioned her in, this time properly introducing each of the Mithril Knights who she would be accompanying. She noted the guarded looks on all their faces, though she brightened slightly when she saw Djaleh, a Haradrim. She also could not help but steal furtive glances towards the giant Eagle, having never seen such a one before in her life. At first, she had thought it a pet of some kind, but remembered Elbren's explanation and felt a certain amount of incredulity. Apparently it could talk? What witchcraft was in that?

But most of all, her eyes were drawn to the man standing with a strange harp in the shape of some sort of serpent, who stood with his arms crossed. This, Elbren had told her, would be her “mentor” or something like that. She had almost rolled her eyes when the elf insinuated that she was to listen to and obey the man’s orders. Just wait, she thought to herself, just wait until I’m free of all of you and back in the Eastern lands. But until then, she would submit, for she knew not the way home.

His words, however, made her bristle.

"This won't be any hayride, you know, my girl" Erinhue began. "At best we have a long hard road ahead, most of it in the wild, the rest in the relatively unknown. I need to know if you can be counted as one of the company or just a bit of baggage we have to transport. From the look of you, my guess would be that you can ride and survive well enough on a peaceful journey, but ours will be far from peaceful. Can you use a sword or a bow? Can you fight if you need to? Most important, do you plan to give us any trouble here because you will have to move when we move and sleep and eat when we do or don't. We'll be weeks on this venture and maybe more than that and not much of it will be spent in such comfort as can be found here in the guild house. So tell me gosling are you ready for whatever comes?"

”Gosling?” she smiled thinly. “Careful. The smallest serpents, I am told, hold the deadliest venom. The Eastern lands are harsh and they raise brave sons and daughters. And as for the comfort of your guild house, I don’t know how you can tolerate the coldness of these stones. It seeps into one’s bones. Give me a windswept plain any day to this,” she gestured around. ”But to your point, I can fight well enough, though Elbren has seen fit to take my weapons as long as I reside here.”

”She fights with a bow, and she’s not a bad shot,” Elbren smiled at Erinhue, amused at the girl’s fierceness. She looked more like Tempest now than he had ever seen her. Except….no, there was not the hardness in her features that Tempest carried with her.

”I will not be a liability on your journey,” she insisted, thrusting out her jaw defiantly. ”On the contrary, as we go East, I come ever closer to my home. I speak their language and know their customs better than any of you.” She paused, feeling the anger burning in her cheeks slowly draining away. She did not want to make enemies of these people; she needed their help for now. She must try harder not to draw their suspicion, and she mustn’t let her anger overcome her common sense. Besides, now that her anger was burning away, she was curious about them. The man before her was scowling, but she could see that he had kind eyes behind the scowl, and within those eyes she saw that she reminded him of someone else, someone he cared about very much.

So, changing the subject abruptly because she couldn’t help herself, she suddenly pointed at Agarak and blurted out, ”What exactly is THAT? Some sort of talisman? It has a rather cute face. Look at its little red eyes!”

A jangle of notes greeted her ears. Agarak had never been called “cute” before.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:32 pm

Agarak's jeweled eyes flashed and a tiny flame shot out of its nostrils. The harp set up a continued jangle of sharp short notes and the girl winced. In her mind she heard the voice of the Dragonharp.

I am not cute, child and I am no talisman. I am Agarak the Gold... and you do not fool me."

The harp began to scream and the girl covered her ears with her hands.

"Did you attempt to kill The Bard?"

"Who?" the girl gasped her discomfort plain on her twisted face. "No I have never tried to kill anyone."

"Yet." a final note chimed and then the harp went silent, Agarak was satisfied
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:05 pm

Meneldor had been watching Akara closely. There was the same fire in her eyes that Tempest had, and it caused him to believe her story, but with caution. "Akara, this will be your major test. As for me, I will also take you under my wing. These questions are necessary, as the enemies we are pursuing deal in deception, the stab in the back. And I have seen the like in my life, which has memories back to the Elder Days."

Brondgast also spoke up. "And that is why we cannot fully trust you, but we will have you along. It is because of those enemies, the Knights of the Silmaril, that we are cautious of what seemed coincidence. There is a saying among us Beornings, that if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Do not despair, we all have had similar tests before being accepted." He looked over to Djaleh, who had not been trusted by Tempest until he had proved himself. "This is your test, to prove yourself to us as we make our journey together. And I believe you that you have not been the one to try and kill the Bard."

The Beorning looked up at Meneldor. "We know little of what we pursue, but the treachery the assasin has already shown, makes us wary. And there is something else we cannot comprehend...yet."

It was then, that the Stone of Bar around his neck blazed bright. The elfstone around Meneldor's neck responded, and they were one. They spoke alternately, mysterious staves, and when they came out of this trance, neither would remember what they said or if they had spoken:

The beast that is the cause of your outcry
Allows none to pass along her track,
but blocks him even to the point of death;

Her nature is so squalid,so malicious
That she can never sate her greedy will;
When she has fed, she is hungrier than ever.


She mates with many living souls and shall
Yet with many more, until the Veltro, the Greyhound
Arrives, inflicting painful death upon her.

That Hound will never feed on land or gold,
But find his fare in wisdom, love and virtue;
His place of birth shall be between two felts.


He will restore the low-lying lands
For which the valiant maid died of wounds;
And many that were mourned.


Then Brondgast and Meneldor spoke in unison:

And he will hunt the beast through every place
Until he thrusts her back to the Void,
From which she was first sent above by envy.


Then, the lights faded, and both Beorning and Eagle blinked and shook their heads.

"What?" said Meneldor. "Why are you looking at me like that?" noticing the looks of both the girl and the Knights.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:39 pm

Erinhue listened to the mystic recital along with the others. He was not surprised by the startled and questioning expressions shown by both Meneldor and Brondgast. Some outside force had used them to communicate its enigmatic message. Did this force stand with them or against them?

He next turned his gaze upon the girl, this Akara. Her face and his heart said to trust her. His mind and experience said the exact opposite.

Why in all their years of friendship had Tempest never mentioned that she also had a daughter? If the story were true then it was more than highly possible that Tempest did not know herself. It did seem to fit together, if the story were to be believed.

Mystery upon mystery, this girl, a dangerous journey into a mostly unknown, mostly hostile land, spies, spells and spirits and a strange plague upon the land.

“I hate it when a venture starts out this way.” Erinhue shook his head once again and sighed “It’s never a good sign.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:19 am

Telta watched the girl as Hue explained to the girl what the journey would entail. The way she stood and the expression on her face said much. But Telta's keen eyes caught glimpses of something. Perhaps stubbornness, pride, anger, determination any or all could be attributed to her youth.

But Telta sensed there was something else. Her quick words shot back at Hue's question held an underlying tone of bitterness and anger and just as suddenly it was gone.

Akara a twin and to never have seen her brother or her mother was disheartening and even though she felt pity for her Telta did not trust her. The elf looked at Akara. Her young age was no barrier to deceit as she well knew.

The sharp sounds of the dragonharp's anger directed at the girl did not surprise her as he was as far as she could recall always ill tempered. Telta had seen what Agarak could do and was grateful she had not given the dragonharp cause to turn it's wrath upon her.

Meneldor and Brongast's words meant little to her but she had a feeling that they would soon find out and if past events were any proof of her words than it would be sooner rather than later.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Claymore » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:48 pm

Djaleh tried to order his thoughts and let Erinhue and Akara’s bickering wash over him. They already had much of the same dynamic as Erinhue and Tempest had. It lend even more credence to Akara’s story and Djaleh wanted to believe her. In a way she reminded him of himself as well. Her situation was not unlike his own a couple of months ago as Meneldor had pointed out. Unlike himself though Akara did not seem to want to gain their trust. It seemed she just wanted to go back to what she considered her home even though her home did not seem to want her back. Djaleh almost pitied her. He’d had eight years to accept there was little for him to go back to, that he needed to go forward, not look backwards. When he’d escaped it had left him free to make a clear-headed choice. Akara it seemed, was still hurting too much.

From Akara his thoughts went to Tempest. Four weeks since the last message. The letter she had sent him had been her last and she had revealed very little then. Djaleh was fully aware that they had very little clues to find her. She could simply have gone underground but he knew Tempest was crafty enough that she would have found a way to communicate even then. And the fact that both Erinhue and he had been targeted, her friend and her mentoree, made him suspect that someone had tried to strike at her. So either she was on the run or worse she had been caught. Either way they had to tread carefully as Elbren had suggested earlier. And to tread carefully they needed information. One could not avoid a trap if one didn’t know where to look for the tripwire.

“We need information,’he said, breaking the awkward silence that had arisen after Brondgast and Meneldor odd prophecy. “We wont be able to find Tempest or make sense of Brondgasts and Meneldor’s words while we are missing so many clues.”
“Our need for information is what got Tempest in trouble in the first place,”Elbren reminded him.
“I know but going in blindly is likely to get her in worse trouble,”Djaleh answered. “I propose that Meneldor and I scout out the stiuation first and that the rest follow. Meneldor can contact the Blue Wizards and ask for their advice. Meanwhile I can start out from where Tempest’s last letter came from and start asking there. I have several advantages that Tempest did not have. I am unknown and I am from the South. Therefore I will have little trouble blending in and I can be literally anyone especially with Tenga’s help. I might even have people forget me or dismiss me as unimportant. Unlike Tempest I will not have to rely solely on a reputation that is several years stale to get information.”

“A bold plan lad,” Erinhue said.
“Tempest could be in trouble right now,”Djaleh replied. “Bold is what we need.”
He turned to Lord Elbren.
“Do I have your permission, sir? “ he asked. “ I can question young Akara about the situation east tonight and leave tomorrow morning with Meneldor. When he’s finished he could pick up any information I already have and bring it back to you while I continue to look for clues.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:46 pm

Elbren nodded in agreement. "What you propose is wise in many ways, and would give all of you more information so you are not heading in blind. But remember, the sight of one of the last Eagles flying into Rhun would be noticeable indeed. You must be careful or Meneldor will become a target with nowhere to hide. However, in some ways, we are fortunate, for Tempest's last message came from one of the towns well west of the Sea of Rhun, closer to the wilds. If Meneldor landed far enough away, you could easily walk in, though he would not be able to accompany you. I do not like the thought of you going in alone, for the evil that befell Tempest happened the same way. But I would not order against it either. The choice is yours."

"Could you show us exactly where her last communication came from," Djaleh asked, motioning towards the Eagle as well.

"The town is called Kuw, and it is located on a trade route going towards the Sea of Rhun. In and of itself, it seems a small, bustling place, but Tempest suspected there was some sort of black market behind the scenes." Elbren pointed out the place on the large map spread upon the table.

Turning to the other Knights, he said, "I, along with some others, have decided on the fastest route for you to take, for though Eagle-travel would be best," he smiled knowingly at Meneldor, "Our friend cannot carry you all. So, you shall take a ship as far as the depth of the river holds, and then you will take smaller boats up to the fork near the Field of Celebrant. From there, I will arrange horses and provisions to meet you, and you will have to head across the Brown Lands towards the rising sun. It will be a long journey indeed, and not without dangers, for the road is uncertain. As I have said before, the Easterlings do not welcome the allies of King Elessar with open arms."
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:56 pm

In many ways, Akara was beginning to be certain that all of these Knights were mad. First, that strange harp had spoken accusingly in her head, and she still did not understand how THAT was possible. And then the Beorning and the giant Eagle had recited some sort of...poetry....prediction....who knew? The only person who she remotely wished to confer with was the Haradrim, and now it looked as though he would part ways with them. Well, at least he would take the Eagle with him. Akara did not know how in Middle Earth they would escape detection traveling with such a creature.

But Elbren's plan for their route gave her hope. At least someone seemed to understand what to do, and though it was not exactly the way she would have chosen, her heart gladdened to it. She had never been to Kuw before, but she knew of it. In fact, she had only been a few towns away from it when Elbren had first found her. How aggravating! She had been so close then to the woman called Tempest, and now she was so very far away.

No matter. She would be home soon enough, and then...then...she smiled in spite of herself.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:41 pm

Erinhue had taken note of Agarak's reaction to the girl's comments. He also took note of the dragonharps continued piqued interest in her. Another bad sign this trip is doomed, he thought and then spoke to take his mind away from those thoughts.

"If its a ship we want, in Dol Amroth that means we deal with House Belfair. All industry here is divided among the 5 Noble Houses and jealously guarded. Technically, I am Lord of House Elitan, along with my brother, Beliran. House Elitan is the Swan Knights among other things. It would just make things more difficult if we were to go down to the docks and try to negotiate a ship without going through the proper social channels. Far better I go have a talk with Dorath myself. I'll have us the best ship for the purpose by next tide."

So saying, Erinhue left them to go see Lord Dorath of House Belfair. The dragonharp floated dutifully behind him.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:20 pm

"I have been over Rhun before." said Meneldor. "And that is where I was downed for a while by a lucky Easterling arrow. As for finding Pallando, I didn't find him, he found me. He and a tribe that he had turned from Sauron's dominion. He only regrets...."


The others looked up at him.

"I don't know if this is a false lead, but Pallando told me that his one regret is, that early in his time there in the East, he had taken on apprentices. That gave rise to some magic circles and secret cults operating in his name. A mistake he wishes he could take back. It reminds me of how that assassin seemed to disappear without a trace. I couldn't even find anything, and even a mouse couldn't escape my sight. Could that be a clue as to something we face?"

"I'm not sure." said Brondgast. "It's something to think about."

"Well, I'm game, to scout ahead with Djaleh." Looking at the Southron, he said "I hope you're not afraid of heights, if you want to fly with me." said the Eagle.

"Or I could scout ahead as well. I can make myself scarce myself. No magic involved, but remember, before I revealed myself to you all at Fornost, I was able to keep myself hidden." said Brondgast.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:49 pm

The company of Knights that would undertake the expedition spent the afternoon pouring over maps, making preparations for the journey and speculating on what they would find when they reached the Eastern Lands. When the evening meal was served, Erinhue returned. Someone called out his name and the bard responded

“Call me whatever ya like as long as it’s not late for dinner.” As he took his place at the long table he added “Eat, drink and be merry tonight for tomorrow morning, we set sail. I have us a ship.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Mon May 05, 2014 8:45 pm

The silver horns of Dol Amroth trumpeted the approaching dawn from the towers of the city. The docks were alive with fisherman and merchant crews moving about in the pre dawn dim preparing their ships to take to the sea. Each likely ship the company of Mithril Knights passed brought questions but Erinhue only smiled in response. He lead them past all the ships and past an area of empty berths. Just as the others were beginning to wonder, they saw a lone ship docked away from the others.

A slim, swift, 300 odd foot schooner awaited them. The double masted ship was rigged fore and aft, perfect for coastal sailing and river running. The dozen or so crewmen busy with loading cargo and preparing to sail had the look of experience about them. The ship’s name “The Return” seem to be a benevolent omen that hope for the journey ahead.

“See” Erinhue gestured towards the ship. “I told you I’d get us a ship, and this is a good one. Captain Meer, or so go the rumors, was once himself a pirate. He’s long since reformed but now he’s the best at knowing all the tricks and hiding places. Merchant’s will pay a high premium to ship their goods on his vessel. The Return always comes back, or so Meer always says.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Tue May 06, 2014 11:00 am

“Pirate?” Telta’s skeptical tone spoke for them all.

“Um, well, yes,” Erinhue stammered, “or so the rumors say.” Erinhue winked at her. “I dare say some of those rumors are true, but I wouldn’t say that to his face.”

The man in question, Captain Meer, was approaching his group of passengers. A quick tap of his fist to his chest showed his respect for the rank. His smile showed his friendship with the man.

“’Hue, it’s been too long.” Captain Meer grasped Erinhue’s arm near the elbow. The bard took hold of his in the same manner. “Haven’t laid eyes on you since that big poker game at The Swan’s Song, right before the place burned to the ground.”

“And you’re the richer for it, I would wager.” Erinhue laughed in response. “My friends,” he said, turning to his companions, “I give you Captain Sandavar Meer, Gentleman Merchant Seaman and swiftest river runner in all of Dol Amroth. The Prince himself will only ship with Meer. His ship The Return has always made good on its name.” He then introduced the members of the company.

“Meer?” Erinhue called out to the captain once the introductions were done.

“I know what you’re going to ask me” Meer replied “ and that’s been done and done. Come round to the other side of the ship.”

Curiosity peaked, the company followed the captain’s lead. Rigged for towing behind The Return was a smaller version of the larger vessel, but instead of its larger image’s two stout masts was a construction that looked very much like a giant perch.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Tue May 06, 2014 3:49 pm

Brondgast looked at the ship with interest. He had never been on a boat before, let alone a ship. He hoped he wouldn't get seasick, as this was a new experience. But the mission was important, to find Tempest, so he would go along. He waited for the permission to board.

But it was Meneldor who was dismayed. Not even in the days of the mariners of Numenor had he been on a ship. He preferred flying. How would he keep himself and the rest from becoming sitting ducks for archers on the shores? And...was he to become a pirate's parrot? But Meer had gone to all the trouble of preparing this dinghy behind the ship, he would have to try it at least.

He spread his wings, ascended and circled around, finally landing on the perch. He had never been on a ship before, and at first it was uneasy. It rocked under him as he perched, hanging on for dear life. He would not fall off into the sea. He spread his wings to get balance on this infernal boat before it settled down. He looked out at Erinhue and then back. It was important to find Tempest and Pallando. This would be a new experience for him. He now wished he had landed on a Numenorean ship. He would need a lot of adjustment before he became seaworthy.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Tue May 06, 2014 5:54 pm

Telta watched as men moved about preparing the ship. It had been an age since she had last set foot upon a vessel this large and as she watched the preparations Hue spoke of a Captain Meer and one word caught her attention.

"Pirate?" she heard herself say doubt colouring that one word. Perhaps it was because of all that had happened in the last few days that lent itself towards her skepticism.

She looked at Hue. He winked at her. With that one gesture she relaxed a little.

The man seemed genuine in his friendly greeting and she found herself smiling back at the amiable Captain when introductions were made though a small part of her remained wary as was her way with strangers.

Following the others she was as surprised as they were when they saw the smaller vessel prepared especially for Meneldor. He settled himself as well as he could though his uneasiness was apparent to all as well as his determination. But settle he did.

The elf looked at the others. With the exception of Hue and herself she wondered if they were as uneasy about this part of the journey as Meneldor.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Thu May 08, 2014 6:30 pm

Leaving Meneldor to adjust to his new transport, the company prepared to board The Return.

A wooden steel enforced gangplank was slid into place. The normal width was doubled to accommodate the horses. Each Knight lead his mount aboard and saw them safely placed in the hurdles, low walled stalls with tetter rings. Near by were barrels of water and bales of hay wrapped and covered in oiled skins to protect it from moisture.

The Return was not equipped for passengers. A clever cargo master had stacked the tied down crates and boxes in a way that created in a way that created several cubicles. The knights claimed them and stowed their travel gear away. Some prepared a place where they could sleep, some went to reassure their uncertain and uneasy horses. All of them did their best to stay out of the way as the crew scrambled about at their duties. The Return set sail with the tide.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Sun May 11, 2014 5:06 pm

It had been weeks now since the woman calling herself Tempest had last been seen in Kuw. Her contact there had kept a sharp eye about, as well as an ear to the ground, waiting for some news of her, or at least reports of a body. Though it was certainly true that people vanished often in these parts, either of their own accord or by force, it was rare that there was not information to be had, for the town of Kuw bought and sold many things, information included. Syfa, who was both Elbren and then Tempest’s contact, knew the black market well, and knew that everything could be bought for a price. And yet, apparently the price was too high when it came to questions about the missing lady knight, for all he got were stony looks in return, and sharp words to mind his own business.

Tempest had been staying at the Emerald Serpent, a well-traveled inn with a successful tavern attached to it. It was well known for its food, surprisingly good for a border town, but it was even better known for the trading of secrets over a mug of strong ale. It had been for this reason that Tempest had chosen it for her stay, and though she had been gone now for weeks, Syfa continued to pay the innkeeper for her room, as Elbren had instructed. It seemed a waste of good coin to the Easterling, but he followed his orders faithfully, though he was certain neither the lady nor the elf would be returning. But, perhaps the elf would send others to continue the search, and he wanted to be well paid upon their arrival. So, he continued buying what little information he could and puzzling over the pieces he found.

The black market was strong in Kuw, which was not a surprise since it was on a major trade route. But Tempest had not been trying to disrupt the market, so Syfa did not understand why she had been viewed as a threat. If anything, she had initially been welcomed by many shadow dealers.

He frowned and shook his head. What mistake had she made, and how did he make sure not to make the same one?
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun May 11, 2014 7:22 pm

Meneldor didn't intend to make the entire journey on the dinghy. It was kindly prepared, but his place was the skies. Still, he would stay here long enough to get used to it. Maybe the other Knights would come over once in a while to talk with him. This was not a pleasure trip, it was strictly business. He would grip his perch tightly as it rocked and swayed, but his balance got better. He would be getting his sea legs soon. He screeched to announce the beginning of the voyage.

Brondgast got settled in quickly over in his cubicle, but he was also unused to ships. He spent most of his time with his horse Thunder, calming him down. Sometimes at night, he would become a bear and sleep beside him, knowing the horse knew him. But mostly, he stayed out of the way of the crew.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Tue May 13, 2014 7:26 pm

“I can take you ‘round the Bay and up river as far as the Entwash. The tributaries make a good spot to turn ‘round down river and I shouldn’t like to take The Return any closer to the Falls.” Captain Meer drew his finger along the map Erinhue provided to show the route he would take upriver.

“ I wouldn’t ask you to.” Erinhue replied. “ That is what I expected. We can bypass the Falls on land and pick up another ship headed north.”

“And just where are you headed, my friend?” Meer smiled at the bard’s silence. “Foolish question. I have another. What fool put you in charge of an expedition?”

“You could say I just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time.” Erinhue shook his head.

“You’ll do fine” Meer offered some encouragement, “ as long as they keep you away from the taverns.”

“That would be a very dull prospect indeed.”

Excitement presented itself with a cry from the deck.

“Captain, we’ve got black sails in our wake.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Wed May 14, 2014 2:14 pm

Akara has spent much of her time thus far on deck, for she felt trapped in the confining quarters where they were bunked below. That coupled with the sense that she was not trusted by her companions made her prefer the warm salt air and the ship's crew, who neither knew her, nor cared to know her. Instead, they simply left her alone, which is all she really wanted. Staring out across the waves, she watched Dol Amroth recede from view and she wondered if she would ever see it again. Probably not. The thought actually made her heart feel lighter, for the journey homeward had begun, and no matter how arduous the path became, it led ever Eastward.

Her revery was interrupted by a sudden shout, and she turned in apprehension to where she saw several shipmates pointing. There, in the near distance behind them, was another ship.

And it was gaining on them.

Akara did not know much about sea lore, but she knew enough to understand what the black sails coupled with the black flag that flew from the approaching ship's mast meant. She forced herself to swallow her fear as she scrambled below deck, nearly taking out both Djaleh and Telta who were coming up to see what the commotion was about. "Pirates," was all she breathed to them as she vaulted past, quickly locating her bunk where she had left her bow and quiver. She strapped on a short sword and dagger while she was at it. It was better to be prepared for anything.

By the time she made her way back on top, the ship was nearly upon them, though Captain Meer was managing to stay ahead by his skill and knowledge of the coastline. Akara shielded her eyes from the sun so she could get a better view, but even at this distance it was difficult to see who exactly pursued them. She remembered suddenly that the Mithril Knights had other enemies far more dangerous than mere salt-water thieves. Still, the reckless abandon with which the ship was approaching made it seem that those who steered it had little value for stealth or subtlety. No, this certainly bore all the markings of a simple, brazen pirate crew.

"Do you recognize anyone on board?" she heard Erinhue ask the great eagle, who had taken to the sky and had just returned from swiftly circling the black ship.

"It is an unkempt crew, to be sure," the eagle answered. "But I think it is nothing more dangerous than sea brigands. No elves or dwarves on deck to be seen, and the captain looks like a man of Harad."

"I heard talk in Dol Amroth of such pirates; they plague these southern shores in greater numbers," Brondgast said with a frown.

"Well, they picked the wrong ship this time," the bard said through tight lips. "Still, we had better be ready in case they turn out to be more than they seem."
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Wed May 14, 2014 3:19 pm

Meneldor was alerted to the cry by the ship's captain, of a ship with black sails approaching. The Corsairs of Umbar! He had heard of them, they were fierce foes.

He knew he shouldn't have agreed to be put on that dinghy. He was a living advertisement that they were there, and would give them away at every turn. He spread his wings and lifted up from his perch, flying up and looking down on the ship, finally diving down, screeching his challenge, circling the ship and surveying. Many ducked as he flew by, cursing their fortunes at having a Great Eagle buzzing them, even though it was his presence that had given them away.

He darted to their ship, telling them of what was there, before ascending again, ready to attack if they came any closer.

Brondgast was also ready to defend the ship in the name of the Mithril Knights.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Wed May 14, 2014 5:58 pm

A sense of urgency had Telta gathering her knives and bow upon hearing the warning of black sails.

She followed Djaleh and they made their way on deck only to run into Akara. The passage was narrow and as she made her way passed them one word confirmed they were in trouble. "Pirate."

Telta blinked at the bright light of the sun her eyes adjusting quickly. She came up beside Hue who was talking to Meneldor. His assessment of the crew on the encroaching ship eased her mind a little but she was no less wary of the dangers they could present.

Erinhue was right if they turned out to be more than what they seemed then there could be more trouble than they expected at this early stage of their journey. If they were no more than mere raiders than dealing with them would be swift.

Telta glanced over the crew on the ship approaching them her keen eyesight spotting the sun's light reflecting off drawn swords and knives but she did not see any archers. Could they be so lucky.
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