The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:20 am

Erinhue was happily presiding over a Bard’s Backwards Festival when the change in light brought by the early dawn drew him from the dream. He opened his eyes slowly at first and then they popped open with a start. A huge and menacing fell beast, a creature such as the Dread Nine used to ride, was hovering over him. It’s terrifying face and saber like teeth were far too near to his head.

The bard’s body jerked into an upright seated position, his mind suddenly and sharply alert. He had already drawn breath to call for his sword, Clarion, when that sharpness of mind recalled the disguise still worn by the Great Eagle.

Giving thanks that Clarion had been left behind in Dol Amroth, Erinhue relaxed from full alert, stretched his arms and yawned.

“I got ta tell ya, Meneldor, m’la, uh…bird…um, beast, ya certainly do have an effective method for shocking one to wakefulness.”

He yawned and stretched once more before getting to his feet.

“If you think it was worth waking me up before day in the morning, I would be happy to ride with you awhile.”

Erinhue flashed the very best version of his starbright grin as he spoke.

“Ah, Ya do know that Agarak can drop that illusion any time ya like, don’t ya?”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:38 pm

At that, Meneldor laughed. A fell-beast laughing was somewhat incongrous. "It was worth it, seeing the look on your face when you woke up." he said. "And I do not wear the visage of this pug-ugly by choice. A Great Eagle in this area of the East and further would be a dead giveaway, and more of a danger to you than a fell beast. And I know Agarak can drop my illusion. He has done more amazing things than that in my lifetime, and my memory goes back as long as his does. But I am the one who cast this illusion, and I can drop it as well, if it was not my business to bear it to the end."

"I still remember when I and my brethren fought the fell beasts at Mordor. They stank. It was months before I got the foul stench out of my feathers. I spent some time under the falls of Rauros trying to get it out, days on end."

He laughed again. "The last time I was this far east, as far as the sea of Rhun, I got shot down, and it took a full two weeks of tending by Pallando before I was good to fly again. And I probably wouldnt' be alive to bear you now if he and his tribe hadn't arrived when they did. I'll wait till you get your pack. I'm sure Treble is a smart enough horse to travel without you for a while."

He waited while Erinhue got dressed, ate some rations and got his pack. He mounted Meneldor, and the Eagle/Fell Beast spread his wings and took off.

"You comfortable, Hue? You need not fear, I will not let you fall. There is nothing finer than flying!" After they were high up, and out of earshot from the rest, Meneldor spoke his desire. "I speak to you as a Bard, and from one who has a Bard's spirit within him. I know we're far away from any guild-houses, but what must I do to be initiated as a Bard myself? You have heard my penchant for song. There has never been a Great Eagle who was a Bard, but then there has never been one who wore the collar of a Mithril Knight as well. It is my desire to be the first Eagle to be a Bard, my friend."
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:27 pm

Paul awoke with a start as a blast of early morning air swept through the camp site, tearing at blankets and kicking up dust. The first rays of the sun were just beginning to filter through the red and yellow leaves of early autumn. It was a quiet and serine picture, marred only by the central figure of a nightmare with wings rising from the earth bearing away Erinhue.

A wave of panic engulfed him as his hand jerked reflexively toward his bow and quiver, but his fingers closed on nothing. Another surge struck as he remembered passing his bow and quiver to the next KIT on watch just a few hours before after the great bear had finally turned in for the night. He tore off his blanket intending to raise the alarm but the cry died on his lips as the memory of stalking the woods with a changeling reminded him of Meneldor's own transformation. He flopped back on his bedroll, breathing deeply.

"The look...on your face," one of the KITs chortled amid the sudden gales of laughter from the others.

"Telta would kill you if you shot down that raptor while Erinhue was along for the ride." Some of the others pantomimed the resulting crash and Erinhue's uncomfortable reunion with Middle Earth.

Paul did not bother replying. Every KIT generation had that one trainee that did not quite fit in, and Paul's near absolute adherence to both the letter and the spirit of the regulations (usually whichever supported a more rigid guideline) had not made him overly popular with the other squires.

Paul gave a moment's thought to going back to sleep. After all, he had taken nearly three watches the night before trotting around after the great bear, trying to be as silent as possible in order to impress the knight. He and Brondgast had talked little. Mostly the dialogue had consisted of tips for moving about in the woods--what kinds of trees and bushes provided the best cover, how to identify hollow logs and hidden dips in the terrain from a distance, and "the smell of evil" (whatever that meant). Though exhausted, Paul was none the less grateful for the one-on-one time with one of the full-fledged knights, and preened slightly for the special attention.

The laughter of the others soon ceased and the business of the camp slowly and awkwardly got under way. Nobody seemed to know whether they ought to be breaking down the tents or setting up the faux carnival trappings, so they kept occupied by tiding up in general and performing maintenance on riding tackle. It was the kind of stationary, idle busyness that subordinates everywhere must master when the chief is nearby and could make an appearance at any moment.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:46 am

Telta was on her way back from tending to Shadowdancer when she heard the laughter. Laughter was not in abundance around here and she was wondered what had brought it on.

Moving in the direction of the commotion she remained at a small distance her presence hidden in the shadows of the trees brought on by the early morning sun, not wanting to disturb those involved.

She heard the joviality apparently brought on by one of the young men. He was the focus of their humour and it was none of her concern but when she heard her name she remained where she was and listened.

She did not know these young ones and was curious as to how they knew her well enough to know her actions concerning Hue. The one who spoke did not know how close to the truth he was. She frowned. Though his assumptions were not entirely true.

When the others had left she stepped quietly out of the shadows startling the one she recalled as being named Paul.

"Your companion was not far from the truth. If something had happened to Hue..."

Her hand rested on the hilt of one of her blades as her sky blue eyes darkened, a warning glistening in their depths then cleared as quickly as it had come. Her whole body drained of the tension that had been there a moment before as her arm fell to her side.

"Be assured young Paul." He looked at her surprised she knew him by name.

"I do not kill without good reason despite what your friends may think."

She smiled though the young KiT did not relax.

Telta left abruptly. She had never spoken to someone she did not know and it surprised her as much as it did him. Talking was not one of her strong points her actions spoke for her which had led to trouble from time to time. But this today talking to the young man had been as far as she could recall a first. Telta shook her head. Perhaps Hue's ways were influencing her just a little.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:00 pm

Brondgast also woke up, now in human form. He had taught Paul a lot about being a tracker and moving as silent as a shadow. And being taught by a bear was the best way to do it. He had been a patient teacher, showing him time and time again. He was beginning to like this KiT, and would, in Meneldor's terms, 'take him under his wing.' Paul had a lot of promise, thought with a few rough edges. But who didn't? He was sure even the most seasoned Mithril Knights had their shaky moments at first. Valar knew, he did!

He looked up as he saw Hue being carried aloft by what he knew was Meneldor, but looking like something direct from Mordor.

"Had a good rest?" he asked Paul. "We watched all night, so it's understandable to be up at this time." He didn't believe in beating around the bush. "How would you like me to be your mentor, teaching you on your way to being a Mithril Knight?"
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:26 pm

(OOC: Part 1 more to follow)

The other KITs moved off toward the main camp, and Paul began to pack up his bedroll. He had been so exhausted by the time he had returned to his blankets that he had not bothered stripping to his small-clothes, and he knew he was in desperate need of a change. He was just loosening his belt when a shiver passed down his spine and the feeling of being watched made him glance over his shoulder.

Teltas, Mithril Knight and Bard of Renoun, stood only a short distance away, watching him intently. Blue eyes as hard and as cold as chips of ice seemed to hammer through his skull. Paul choked and yanked his belt tight, too tight. He fought for breath, but dared not loosen it again, while Telta quickly closed the distance and laid a hand menacingly on one of her daggers. They were exquisite daggers. Paul had admired them from a far many times, but now they seemed to have lost all their beautiful qualities, and remained simply deadly.

"Your companion was not far from the truth. If something had happened to Hue..."

Paul's brain snapped momentarily from startled fear to indignation and then rebounded back into terror. A moment later the Teltas' visage softened, her eyes lost their freezing piercing quality, and the daggers regained some of their beauty.

"Be assured young Paul, I do not kill without good reason despite what your friends may think."

Paul could not believe she knew his name. So few of the KITs made it to become Mithril Knights and he had yet even to be taken on by a mentor. What was important now, however, was that he was not going to be murdered. Whether deserved or not, of all the Mithril Knights, Teltas had one of the most colorful reputations. Gossip was most certainly not exchanged between KIT and Knight, but morsels of tantalizing half-truth and speculation filtered down through the ranks.

It was rumored she had been an assassin and thief before joining the Mithril Knights. The story was sometimes told about how supposedly Erinhue had fought a night long duel with her in the common room of the "Lucky Fortune" inn after she had been sent to kill him, and only after a savage fight had Erinhue come out on top and traded Teltas her life for the space of time it took to drink one mug of ale and listen to one song on the lute. According to the romantics, Teltas then fell in love with Erinhue while listening to him sing that single song and they had together gone to defeat the ferocious flying snapping turtles of Fanghorn.

Paul had read enough to know two things. First, the snapping turtles of Fanghorn did not fly, they glided. Second, not everything you heard was true. Most of the story he was sure was tall tale mixed equally with exaggeration and seasoned with whimsy, but at this moment it was proving difficult to remind his brain of that. But as Teltas appeared to relax, rational thought took over, and Paul allowed himself to breath easy. Well, he attempted to breath easy. His belt was still making that very difficult.

Teltas spun on her heels and began striding quickly away. Paul's mouth worked furiously but no sound came out. All he could do was stare, wide eyed, at Teltas back as she left.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:21 am

“You should be careful of this group,” a voice came from behind Paul as he stared after the retreating Telta. ”The Mithril Knights look after their own, that much is true. But you don’t quite belong to them yet. “

Paul turned to find the dark eyes of Akara studying him closely.

”And neither do you,” he returned quickly.

”But the difference between you and me is that this is my land. These are my people,” she spread her hands and gestured at the expanse generally. ”When we get to Kuw, remember what I’ve said. Be careful of putting too much faith in the Mithril Knights.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:10 pm

(OOC: Part 2 of 3)

His hands flew to his belt and he loosened it, too much. It took a moment of preoccupied frantic finagling to get it situated normally, and by then Teltas was already beginning to blend into the trees at the west end of the clearing. Paul started after her. He had in his mind an idea that had seemed mere fantasy before this very moment.

When Paul had originally come to Dol Amroth he had envisioned horses and charges, lances and shields. What it had disappointed him only a little to discover was that most of the knights instead favored their own personal styles of combat and variant weaponry. Despite the name knight, it seemed like there would not be many heroic charges (with glimmering lance points and brilliantly polished breastplates) into the jaws of death and similar.

Of course the Master at arms taught all the KITs to handle a sword and how to not shoot themselves in the foot with a bow, but expert training in arms came usually from either a mentor or another knight. Ever since Paul realized that he would have to pursue advanced training on his own, he had been thinking about which weapon he might choose. The Master at arms at Dol Amroth often lectured the trainees about balance and form fitting function, so Paul had turned his study to weapons that might compliment his affinity for brawling and acrobatics.

As soon as he had laid eyes on Telta practicing with her dagger the choice had been obvious. The problem was working up the courage to ask for training. Now a golden, well maybe a slightly tarnished bronze, opportunity had been presented, and Paul knew if he thought about it too much he would talk himself out of it. Instead he opened his mouth once more to call out after Telta.

“You should be careful of this group.” The sudden sound of the soft, silken voice, caused Paul's heart to jolt again. "The Mithril Knights look after their own, that much is true. But you don’t quite belong to them yet."

He spun around and found Akara standing; giving him an appraising once over. Akara had earned Paul's, and the rest of the KITs, not so veiled resentment early due to her inclusion, from the start, with the full fledged knights despite being introduced as another trainee. The fact that she hardly, if ever, took part in the camp chores and clearly looked down on them did not help. ”And neither do you,” he retorted.

”But the difference between you and me is that this is my land. These are my people,” she spread her hands and gestured at the expanse generally. ”When we get to Kuw, remember what I’ve said. Be careful of putting too much faith in the Mithril Knights.”

"So who do you put your faith in?" Paul suddenly felt uncomfortable but couldn't immediately tell why. Something about what Akara had said resonated unpleasantly with Paul's own recent thoughts, and made him feel guilty.

She smiled and laughed lightly, "Isn't that obvious?" suddenly Akara's smile disappeared and her eyes grew hard and distant, "There's only one person you can trust, and that-"

"Yourself," Paul interrupted softly.

Akara looked annoyed for a moment but the smile returned. "Not as thick as you look. Perhaps there is hope for you yet. But I doubt it."

"It must be lonely, though, no one to have your back," Paul shifted his weight so that he faced Akara fully, arms at his side.

"Only the weak need somebody to watch over them," Akara shot back quickly. Paul could tell he had struck a nerve.

"Try arm wrestling somebody who uses both hands." Paul raised both his arms and clasped his hands together, making a double fist.

Akara scoffed and waved the comment away, "just remember, I tried to warn you." With that she turned and strolled off toward the main camp.

Paul paused just a moment longer, trying to suss out what it was exactly about Akara's comment that had shaken him, but it eluded him. He turned around and scanned the tree line, but Telta had disappeared. Cursing under his breath Paul dashed in the direction he had last seen her moving.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:30 pm

(OOC: Part 3 of 3 thank you for your patience)

As soon as Paul made it into the trees he was faced with the near impossible task of following Telta's trail, and had Brondgast's lessons the previous night not been so fresh in his mind, he likely would have given up then and there. As it was, in the daylight and with eyes that were beginning to see the nuances of the landscape in a different way, he detected the minor details that indicated the recent passage of a person with a soft tread and slight build.

He followed Telta's path quickly and with little regard for his own trail or the noise he was making, and so it was that when he emerged into a small space, devoid of trees at the center, Telta stood leaning against a stump facing him.

"Yes?" She asked arching an eyebrow and folding her arms across her waist.

Paul's brain rebelled and his tongue refused to embarrass itself with speech. Instead Paul just stood there looking awkward and somewhat desperate.

"Was there something you needed, Paul?" Telta's tone suggested she was growing impatient.

"Iwantto dearn laggers?" Paul blurted out finally.

"Pardon?" Telta took a step forward, a look of concern chased a look of annoyance off her face.

Paul took a steadying breath and forced himself to speak slowly. "I would be honored if you would teach me how to fight with a dagger." He said each word carefully and emphatically and then confirmed the sentence to himself with a little nod of his head.

Telta gazed at him for a long time, face now impassive, her eyes never leaving his face. Paul began to feel awkward and realized with horror that he was staring at her ears. "Sorry, sir- mam!"

"Telta will do, Paul," Telta said quietly. "Tell me, why do you want to learn to use a dagger?"

Paul was ready for this one. "To better serve the Mithril Knights, and through that service, protect the innocent."

Telta lips curled humorously for a instant. "Is that so?" Had trainees always been so enthusiastic? "Tell me, Paul, what made you decide that daggers, specifically, were the weapon for you."

Again, Paul felt the answer was simple. "I'm pretty fast, and flexible, and I can fight with my hands pretty good already. I figured daggers would be a natural next step-"

Telta interrupted with a laugh, "Do you have a dagger?"

"Ummm," Paul suddenly discovered the huge flaw in his plan. the only thing he had brought on their excursion that came close to a dagger was his short belt knife. He pulled it out now and held it up sheepishly, aware that by dagger standers it was woefully inadequate.

"That'll do." Telta took a step into the middle of the tiny clearing and faced Paul, "Go ahead and attack me with your knife. Show me how you think knowing how to slug someone means you can use a dagger."

Paul regretted his words already. "I don't want-"

"Paul, if." and her she raised a rigid index finger, " If , I agree to teach you how to use a dagger, I will require your complete trust." She must have seen the apprehension in Paul's eyes, but could not have guessed that Akara's words were replaying themselves in his ears. "As your instructor I would require you to trust me completely. You are asking me for my help and my time, I would not wish to waste either." Paul nodded slowly. "Alright then." Telta gestured Paul forward.

He flipped the knife upside down in his right fist and advanced with his arms up in a brawling stance. As soon as he was close enough to Telta he made a hesitant jab for her chest with the knife. The strike immediately felt wrong as he tried to bend his wrist back to keep the blade straight. Telta simply sighed and brought the side of her left hand into sharp and painful contact with the back of his right wrist. Her jab sent the thrust off target and his fingers involuntarily loosened. An instant later Telta snatched the knife from his grip with her right hand and threw it so that it stuck into a tree four yards away. Paul took a shocked step back holding his wrist.

"ok, that was hilarious," Telta said, "and when I ask you to come at me in the future, I never want to see such a hesitant pitiful display again."

"In the future?" Paul asked hopefully.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:14 am

Telta had listened to the young KiT's reasons for wanting her to teach him. He was eager and from his somewhat awkward display of his knowledge of wielding it truly in need of training.

She held out his dagger the blade resting on her palm the handle facing him watching him her thoughts her own. A moment passed and with her decision made she spoke.

"I will help you to learn the ways of the dagger. I can show you what I know and we shall see what you can learn. And perhaps find you a proper dagger."

Paul stood there motionless. She took his hand and placed the knife in it folding his fingers over the handle. Telta did not think he heard much past the words "I will help."

She smiled a genuine smile at his dazed expression and lack of speech.

The elf shook her head she herself could not believe she had agreed to help him This was a first for her and she could not imagine what to expect in the coming days.

She left him there and managed to move but a short distance away when she heard a small "whoop" come from his direction.
Telta called out "Had you not better tend to your duties?"

A gasp and the sound of running feet told her that he had heard her.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:51 am

Paul could barely contain his excitement on the way back to camp. All thoughts of his conversation with Akara and her ominous words were driven from him mind. And as he re-entered camp he saw Brondgast heading his direction and received his second piece of incredible news.

Paul knew he would be the envy of many of the trainees. Several of them thought it would be the greatest honor to be mentored by a beorning berserker, and Paul had learned so much already from the bear the night before. True, not so much in the arena of fighting, but of stealth and survival.

"Telta said she would train my to use daggers," Paul said almost sheepishly. "May I still train under her and have you as my mentor?"

"That is acceptable and admirable." Brondgast nodded approvingly. "No one knight possesses all the knowledge you will ever need, Paul. It is good to learn from many sources."

Paul suddenly realized he had no idea what was in store for him now that he had a mentor. Most of the time the relationship forged between mentor and trainee was deep and long lasting. It was also the source of many fireside tails and much reminiscent merriment the years after completion, but the details of the mentorship were never the same and were always unique.

"I would be honored to have you as my mentor, sir Brondgast." Paul felt as though something else was called for so he gave a halting half bow and straightened. "...What now?"
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:51 pm

"What now?" Paul had no idea what he was letting himself in for.

"Your training begins." said Brondgast, as he struck Paul on the shoulder. "Tag, you're it!" He ran off, transforming into a bear as he headed for the woods.

Paul stood dumbfounded for a moment. His training included a child's game? But he ran after the bear, wondering what this training would entail.

It turned out to be a combination of tag and hide and seek. It was hilarious, but had a deadly serious purpose. Brondgast was using this game to train Paul in absolute stealth and quickness. He was looking around at a loss as to where Brondgast had gone. As he ran, the bear appeared in the other direction, silent as ever. Then, he was right before Paul, knocking him down. "Too slow, cub!" his growl was translated by the Stone of Bar. "Too loud of you as well!" He ran off, inviting Paul to join in the game.

The speed and stealth of the bear was incredible, and that was what Paul had to live up to.

As he ran through the woods, suddenly Brondgast attacked again, bowling him over with a roar, they were a ridiculous rolling of fur and arms and legs. Brondgast came to a rest on his back, tossing Paul up in the air and catching him, placing him on his stomach. The growls came again, translated. "You will get it in time, cub. The training will continue day by day until you are able to catch me. Let's go again!"

The other trainees seeing them thought they looked like two nutjobs, but once again it had a purpose as they weaved in and out of the woods, out into the camp and back. It was fun with a purpose. Telta looked on and laughed at Brondgast's antics as he trained Paul.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:08 am

Meanwhile, while Erinhue was deliberating, Meneldor continued. "There is a Bard's heart beating in me, the song flows."

And with that he began singing.

What is a Bard's song?
The song in his heart,
Daughter of the Song,
The Song that brought the world to be.

All song, all verse
Springs from that source.
One day, all song will be in harmony,
In harmony with the final Song..

As we sing,
We point to that day,
And back to the original Song.
So the magic flows.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:35 am

“By the four winds, that’s how we’ll do it.” Erinhue said as Meneldor’s song ended. “I’ve heard ya sing enough to know you have the true heart of a bard. Now it used to be we’d have an apprentise prepare a song to perform at a festival or two but there hasn’t been an official festival in a long time now and I don’t see me holding one in the forseeable future.”

He could almost hear Meneldor’s silent disappointment and the bard in him could not resist stretching out the drama in the pause. The tension was quickly broken by the sound of the bard’s deep laugh.

“Not ta worry, Meneldor, m’lad, I have a solution that might put you to the test. Sing me a song of each of the four winds and some message each might carry for the Mithril Knights. I have an admiration for your swiftness with a song so this might slow you down a bit. No hurry no worry, take your time and make it good and you will be officially a member of the guild. If you can get Agarak to play along with your song, I’ll declare ya a Master Bard, but that won’t be an easy thing . The old worm don’t like much of nothing.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:30 pm

As Meneldor circled above the forest and camp ala-Erinhue, Paul raced among the trunks of the trees, trying at once to be silent, swift, and observant. For the first hour, or so, of "training" Paul was profoundly disappointed. As much as he tried to keep his pride in check, it had swelled at the thought of the other trainees watching him learn under the mighty berserker, Brondgast. Now he could just imagine the fireside jibing awaiting him in the wee hours. Carefully worded jokes designed to omit the bear's role in any foolishness. After all, only a dunce taunted a bear.

Paul could not believe that he had once thought himself at home in the woods. Compared to how soundlessly Brondgast moved, he was deafening. It was equally flabbergasting how a creature of such size and stature could so thoroughly disappear so suddenly. Remembering that Brondgast was a changeling, Paul actually spent some minutes stalking a chipmunk before the beorning again appeared out of nowhere and sent him tumbling into the underbrush with a run-by backhand.

Paul staggered to his feet, anger kindled by frustration and his pride thoroughly demolished. He sprinted after the bear doing his best to remain silent but failing miserably in his haste. Somehow Brondgast could incorporate both speed and stealth into his movements, while Paul seemed always to sacrifice one for the other.

As Paul took another dangling leaf cluster to the face he took a moment to study Brondgast's retreating back. The great shoulder muscles rolled as powerful legs rose and fell. Paws met the loam heel first and rolled to toe. The large head bounced up then slid down again with snout extended. It was not easy to see from the rear, but it almost appeared as though Brondgast dove beneath branches head first and his rolling shoulders allowed him to slide past obstructions.

Almost subconsciously Paul began to imitate the movement. Instantly his calves began to burn and he felt himself slow somewhat, but as the next low-hanging branch came at his head, he simply turned his shoulders sideways without breaking his stride and bent his neck to the left. The branch flashed past, undisturbed, and while Paul could still hear his own feet on the leaves, he could now hear other noises that before had been drowned out.

Wether Brongast noticed the reduction of sound or not, Paul was not sure, but he suddenly veered off to the right. Paul knew that by the time he reached the spot the bear would be gone. All the same he did not slow, but ran forward. Without knowing exactly why he did it, as Paul arrived he reached out and took hold of a young sapling and used its trunk to slingshot him to the right without slowing down. Speed thus preserved Paul ran on into a patch of forest apparently devoid of bears.

Despite loosing his mentor again Paul suddenly felt exultant. By watching Brondgast's own movements Paul had discovered how to better run silently and avoid crashing into (or through) the foliage. And quite by accident he had learned how to preserve momentum. That it would take many hours of training and teaching muscles that were used to being used one way to be used another, Paul was certain, but it was a relief to discern some method behind the madness.

Paul could not help but laugh from sheer excitement and relief, and at that moment a paw shot out from behind a large elm on the right. Paul would have been clotheslined had he not instinctively reached out again and, grasping a low branch, jerked himself to the left while at the same moment twisting like he had moments ago. Claws sliced the air rather thinly inches from Paul's ear as he hurtled past. Swapping his left hand purchase for a right hand one, Paul swung around and resumed chasing the bear, heart light and mind encouraged.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:32 pm

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:33 pm

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:39 pm

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Meneldor listened to Erinhue first dash his hopes of being a Bard, then raise them. A true master if there ever was one. "The four winds? That is all?" he said. "I consort with those winds all the time in flight, and they bear me up. I will sing of each of them, Erinhue, and let you judge."

He closed his eyes for a moment, and began to sing softly.

O North Wind,
Thou cold, bracing blast that does chill the bone,
And yet, brings strength that few others bring,
What news do you bear?
The rede that you import
Is sooth to the soul.
From you came the tidings
Of Dirk the Daring, my mentor, my friend,
What counsel do you convey for our guidance?
The cold doth ruffle my feathers
As the word is imparted.
Servant of Manwë,
Lord of the Skies,
Look to the valor, the gift of the Daring,
Who went into the darkness,
To save all from great danger,
The Dragon more fell than Ancalagon,
In such you will move forward,
But look to the South Wind, for the counsel is partial.

Warm blows the breeze
Where I turn to next,
Bearing up my feathered form
To great heights.
The South Wind speaks gently,
Of warmth and of love,
Which brought strong Djaleh,
Sunbird of far land.
O Eagle, lately a Knight
Of Mithril countenance,
Hear my words
My words to the wise.
The strength of a mountain
Must deliver thee,
To hold off the storm
Of the terror you face.
The power of love,
Which the Beorning does bear
Must uphold thee as well,
And forward you go.
But now look to the East,
Where once you did wander,
That counsel is wise,
And heed those gems.

To the East now I look,
And the mysterious breeze,
Which long has been shunned
And tidings not heard,
For the East Wind was endured,
But not asked its advice,
For darkness obscured it,
Until the Tower fell.
O East Wind, I seek thee,
What words do you have?
Where once I was felled
By an arrow so cruel,
Until the Blue One found me
And healed my hurt wing.
"Ah, great one, you know
What you now must seek,
The One who you follow,
One Pallando the Blue.
He it is that guides you
On your quest for the lady,
The briar rose,
The Tempest that you seek.
But the West calls most urgent,
And you know its hail,
The cry of your soul
Which tears thee in two."

O West Wind, I call
Where my heart finds its home,
Taniquetil the Great,
Where Thorondor doth dwell
Meneltarma the Holy Mount,
Where the Three ever watch,
What counsel do you bear,
Which calls me ever home,
From my vigil so lonely
The Last Eagle, Sorontel,
Calls unto thee.
Will I never see peace
In this forsaken land?
What morsels of hope
Do you bear unto me
And to my companions
As they stray so afar?
"Ah, lonlely, tempest tossed,
Left all alone,
Forsaken you are not,
Our counsel you know.
Look in your heart,
The wisdom is there,
But search long and truly
Only then will you find
What you search for.
The King of your race
Looks on with awe
At the quest that you seek,
And great things shall all do
If only you stay true."


Meneldor's eyes were bright, even under this disguise he wore. But what was it that he heard while he was singing?
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:47 pm

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:47 pm

Meneldor made his bid to be come a full member of the Bards’ Guild and sang of the four winds, a subject as familiar to him as any feather on his wing. His powerful voice sang out alone beneath the clouds until his song had nearly ended.

As the last Great Eagle in Middle Earth sang of the West wind the soft notes of a harp sounded to complement the tune. The faint notes grew in volume, the richness of the sound blossomed and wove its way around Meneldor’s voice. The music first invoked both remembrances and sadness flowing into triumphant hope. The music faded like a passing breeze and vanished into silence with the last lingering word.

The image of an elf woman with clear water eyes and sun gold hair called up by the West wind’s song settled back into the safety of Erinhue’s heart, where it would ever be. The Guild Master coughed to relieve the thickness in his throat before speaking.

“Now that is something that has only happened once before. Since Agarak so highly approves, I am pleased as purple punch to welcome you into the ranks of the Grand Mystic Society for the Preservation of the Bardic Traditions, better known as The Bards’ Guild with the rank of Master Bard.”

Erinhue could feel Meneldor releast his held breath and take another in preparation to shout his joy. Before that could happen Erinhue spoke again.

“Wait, there’s more. Since you are already a member of the Mithril Knights, you are also here by awarded the additional ranking of Warrior/Bard. There’s only four of us, I am one, Tempest is another, Anorast, Rholaran and now you make five. So how’s that for quick work. Welcome to the Guild.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:49 pm

Rumors grew like weeds and spread like tangled vines, twisting and turning until no one who swore he knew the truth had any real idea. The story of events in Mir were embellished and enhanced to a level that would have embarrassed even Erinhue.

Their guise as a troop of entertainers would only slow them down and it had served its purpose. All sign or emblem identifying them as Mithril Knights was painstakingly concealed. The company traveled now as did many others in this wayward land, as a band of brigands prepared to commit mayhem for fun or profit. Meneldor still in his fell beast disguise kept a presence settling at the edge of town or flying random circles just beneath the clouds. This impressive intimidation offered his companions subtle fearsome protection and support.

Within the bounds of civilization, they wore identical grey cloaks with deep hoods that kept their features in shadow. This made identification difficult and added to the mystery, or so said Erinhue. They went about the taverns in twos and threes. They spoke little and listened much and spent their money freely. Wet throats loosened tongues and drink became the key to secrets here and there.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:50 pm

The Emerald Serpent was everything its reputation threatened. It was a large sprawling tap room attached to three floors of rooms to let with a huge and aromatic kitchen. Hood pulled up so that only his bearded chin showed to the light, Erinhue sat at a table playing poker. He used his skill to keep the game going as his table mates were talkative and eager to win his money.

There were a few others of his company sprinkled about the busy tavern and Erinhue noted their positions. He smiled as he lost a hand he could have easily won and tossed a handful of gold coins upon the table. The men seated around the table were quite enthusiastic about continuing the game.

Erinhue watched the cards as they were dealt and struggled to stifle a yawn. He had chosen to come into the Emerald Serpent because it reminded him of Agarak, even though the dragonharp was gold. Erinhue picked up his cards and began to wonder if he had made a wrong choice.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:47 am

Brondgast traveled in a grey cloak like the rest. The Stone of Bar was hidden, and he rarely went as a bear. The training was going well for the one under his care. He had nothing but praise for the way Paul conducted himself. "You are learning the ways of a bear, my young apprentice." he said, "And faster than I thought you would. And I am pleased that Telta has agreed to teach you the ways of the dagger. You will find your way, and it will be yours and yours alone. Just keep it up. I could still hear you, but not as loudly as you did."
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:06 pm

Syfa had watched the strange bearded man playing cards for half the night before he sidled into the game himself. By now, the other patrons had dwindled, and as the man finally threw down his cards with a yawn that signaled he was finished, Syfa cast a quick glance around to make sure no one was watching. He leaned towards Erinhue as he got up, glanced meaningfully towards one of the cards, and then left the table.

Erinhue slipped the card unnoticed into his pocket before heading to the bar for one last drink. It was only then that he looked at what Syfa had passed to him. There was nothing on it except three small numbers, which Erinhue took to be a room number. Swallowing the last few dregs of ale, he rubbed his eyes (a signal to the other Knights) and promptly left the room. It was only a moment later that he found himself climbing the staircase leading to the third floor of the Emerald Serpent, and entering the room numbered on the card without bothering to knock.

The first thing he noticed when he entered the room was Tempest's dagger sitting on the side table, and his heart skipped a beat. But the man standing with his back to him, staring out the window was the only person in the room. In fact, glancing quickly all around, it was clear to Erinhue that no one had been there for quite sometime.

Syfa cleared his throat and turned to face the bard. Before he could say anything, though, Erinhue said bluntly, "Where is she?"

"Not here," the Easterling replied.

"How did you know I was looking for her?"

"I knew someone would come. The elf had promised as much. I've been keeping her room with all her things just as she left them."

"So, where is she then? And why have you sent no word?"

Syfa gestured towards the window that looked down upon the dusty, sleeping town. The moon was casting a sinister light upon Kuw and the Easterling frowned uneasily. "She stumbled onto something, I know not what exactly. She was so determined, so earnest. She followed every lead she found, hardly slept. It was as though she had this one purpose, this obsession to find information about the Red Hammer or the elves of the Silmaril. Nothing else mattered." he paused.

It was Erinhue's turn to frown. "And did she? Find something?"

Syfa shook his head. "I don't know." But he dropped his gaze from Erinhue's face and glanced at the window again. Something in the man's body language filled Erinhue with a strange dread. He looked around the room again and recognized other relics of Tempest's life. Why had she left them behind? The only thing he did not see was her sword, which comforted him for a moment. She was never without her sword.

But what did that matter? She had been alone here among enemies. Why had Elbren allowed her to come alone? Anger filled the bard's heart, though a piece of him knew why Tempest had chosen to come this far without the other Knights. Without him. But still, Elbren should have known better. The town of Kuw was no place for a Mithril Knight to come alone, especially when she was grieving the loss of a friend, and running as far as possible to get away from another. He felt a black rage beginning to fill his heart again and the small jangle of Agarak's strings recalled him back to the present.

"Where is the Lady Tempest?" he demanded of the Easterling.

"The Lady Tempest...." Syfa's voice trailed off. "She's....at least I'm fairly sure she's...."

"Where?" Erinhue thundered.

"She's dead, my lord."
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:18 am

“She’s dead, my Lord.”

Erinhue’s breath stopped at the words. A sharp spear of pain lanced into his heart, a pain not felt since standing at the Grey Havens, watching Aerin sail into the West. The wrenching pain was backed by Clarion’s raging scream. A warning note from the dragonharp helped the bard pull back from the temptations of Clarion’s blood lust.

“If she were truly dead, I would know it.” Erinhue said , his voice flat. “Tell me what you think you know.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:10 pm

Syfa swallowed hard, but it didn't help the fact that his throat had gone completely dry in the five seconds that had passed since he stammered out the fatal words to Erinhue and watched a strange journey of expressions travel over the man's face. Syfa was worldly-wise enough to know that this man was dangerous in a way that was not understandable, and he felt the sudden compulsion to make for the nearest window and leave all this mess with the Mithril Knights behind. Why had he even involved himself in any of this? The money had been too good to pass up at the time, but now the Easterling felt like he had inadvertently stepped into a noose, like some unsuspecting bird.

But the window was too high, and the bard was blocking the only door. Syfa controlled his fear and tossed a pile of papers along with a small book towards Erinhue. "These are the notes she had been compiling, and here is the last record she left. I don't understand the language, which I think was the point. She was afraid of disclosure, especially towards the end. She had been so relentless in following the trail, and she had gotten quite deep into the black market here in Kuw. There were even rumors that she had cleared out most of the Dalita Gang and killed their leader."

"Did they come after her?"

Syfa shrugged his shoulders and eyed the door again. "No, it wasn't them. I'm not sure exactly, but it was something more than a mere black market struggle for power. She kicked a hornet's nest, something deeper, something much darker that's been creeping through this area for the last year. It had something to do with those dwarves."

"The Red Hammer?" Erinhue sucked in his breath.

"That's what she thought."

The bard paced a few times across the room deep in thought, but always between Syfa and the doorway. He had a feeling the man before him wanted a quick escape, and he was determined not to give him one until he had every last bit of information he needed. With burning eyes he turned back to him and asked, "Why do you think she's dead?"

Here Syfa felt a tinge of anger which showed up visually as two pinpricks of red at his temples. Showing true emotion for the first time, he blurted out, "I don't think she's dead; I know she is. Like it or not, the lady Tempest is not returning. It's been weeks now. No one comes back from the Obliviate. That's where they put her. She's dead, and I'm sorry she is. You can follow her to death if you wish, but my part in this drama is over.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:33 pm

Erinhue drew himself up to his full size and glowered down at the man. "Your part is not finished until you tell me everything, down to the last detail. Leave nothing out. And begin by explaining about this Obliviate."

Syfa's face darkened. "I forget, you're not from around here or you would need no explanation. It's from the old days when the Dark Lord still ruled his land and we bartered with him, there was a ritual cleansing that took place for those accused of the worst of crimes. They would be brought to the Obliviate and thrown in. It's a prison with no doors, no windows, no escape. You starve to death in the darkness, gnawing your own fingers off in desperation. Or at least, that's what the stories say because no one has ever returned to tell the tale. The lucky ones die from the fall---you see they toss you down the hole into the Obliviate. Most of the time, you don't die immediately, just break a few bones. That makes it worse though because you die slowly over the course of many days with no relief from the pain. She was not afraid when they threw her in, because she did not understand."

Erinhue's face was ashen, but he kept his voice steady. "Where is this place?"

"It is an abandoned mithril mine about an hour's ride from here. But it makes no difference if you go----she's long dead. Pray that she died quickly instead of wandering those cavernous mines alone, in the dark, with no escape."

"Stop."

But Syfa didn't seem to hear him, and continued. "The thought has kept me up at night, imagining her down there with no food or water...she wouldn't have realized that no one was coming to save her...."

"STOP IT!" Erinhue bellowed, slamming his fist down on the table, causing Tempest's dagger to fall off of it, clattering on the floor. There was a silence that followed, filled only with the bard's heavy breathing and Syfa's shifting feet.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:12 pm

Meanwhile, Meneldor in his illusion as a fell beast was hovering over Kuw, making sure he was seen, and causing some consternation of having one such as himself around to intimidate and spy over the city for anything unusual. There was nothing he saw. Just an abandoned mine further east of where they were, just an open hole in a deserted area, nothing to report about, though he didn't know yet of the Obliviate, the death hole where some prisoners were left to die.

If only Pallando was around for him to consult. He rose far above, looking far to where he once was on the shores of the Sea of Rhun where he first met the Ithryn Luin, his wing useless. He wondered what Pallando was doing, and what he knew. He was the wisest one he knew.

Of course, he was jubilant to be named not only a Master Bard, but a Warrior Bard, one of five. He had profusely thanked Erinhue and his ancient brother Agarak as well. It brought him to even brighter songs, which had Erinhue accompany, as he was the senior of the Guild.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:11 pm

Paul found his role of KIT with a mentor knight far superior to his role of KIT without a mentor knight. Last evening, when they had reached the outskirts of Kuw, Paul had been informed that he would be part of the group infiltrating Kuw.

All the trainees received a very sever lecture about the precariousness of their situation. Talk about the knights in general was expressly and harshly forbidden.

"I don't care if you think you can be overheard or not!" Erinhue had told them within their quiet huddle, "One word, could jeopardize our purposes here."

"We don't know what methods these people may have," Telta interjected, "But Kuw has been a center for trade and information brokering for a long time. Understand that they are very good at it."

"We have probably already been detected and may already have interested individuals observing us," Erinhue continued, "You won't be in any danger so long as you remain vigilant. That is all."

Now, Paul was sitting in the common room of the Emerald Serpent feeling very fortunate to be there and not back at camp. He sat with Brondgast and Telta at a central table- a calculated position meant to not seem too remote and therefore as if they had something too hide, but with their hooded cloaks on and taking up most of the tables space, neither was it inviting.

As the hours rolled on, Brondgast would occasionally go to the bar and buy drinks for patrons and ask careful questions once they were a little tipsy. Telta's ears were not a benefit in this place, and so she kept her hood up, her eyes moving, and sharp ears open. For a time Paul felt the excitement and danger of the new situation, but after it became obvious he was not going to be trusted to actually dig for information, the day turned rather dull.

"Let's go," Telta said suddenly about the time the midday meal crowed started to thin. Brondgast was doling out more coin at the counter for yet another round of drinks for his new "friends."

"Go where?" Paul asked startled. He glanced again to see if Erinhue had given some signal, but he was still placidly playing cards and looking grumpy for his bad luck.

"We are supposed to be gathering information and showing off our wealth," Telta stood and caught Erinhue's eye with the motion. She nodded toward the door. "We can do neither here, and you need your own pair of daggers if we are going to start getting serious with your training." She started for the door.

"And what we've been doing hasn't been serious?" Paul's muscles had stopped getting as sore after training with both Brongast and Telta for the past weeks. He was beginning to grow accustomed to the different demands on his body; so much so that he was even beginning to cary himself differently: more erect and some said he seemed to glide more now than actually walk. Paul didn't see it, but it was nice to be making progress.

He and Telta slipped out of the Emerald Serpent and had only to walk up the street and down one alley before emerging into a large square, housing a market area. Here temporary booths mixed with some of a more permanent nature. Caravans often stopped in Kuw on their way elsewhere and as they had opportunity unloaded a few of their goods upon the locals. Other venders lived in Kuw and had a well established niche carved in the cities economy. Those would have spaces along with other craftsmen whose trade necessitated permanent lodgings for their equipment. These stores lined the edges of the square while in the center was a warren of shoddy wooden counters laden with all the conceivable variety of goods a trading town and her people could muster.

There were a few treasures if one got lucky and knew what too look for, but they were mixed in amongst the garbage. Miracle cures, sat beside good luck charms, and "precious stones." Produce, both fresh and not, shared space with bread that had lost its fresh aroma. Weapons there were a plenty. Paul noticed a number of swarthy individuals with cudgels at their belts loitering here and there. It became apparent that based on how valuable a vender thought his goods were, he may have guards or not.

The scene was not completely foreign to Paul, but that it was in "enemy" territory made it seem treacherous. He stuck close to Telta, determined to follow her lead.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:25 pm

One more word and the image would solidify in his mind. One more word and that image of a dear friend alone in the deep darkness of the earth, facing the unimaginable would become doubled. Erinhue would have killed the man right where he stood had he spoken one more word.

The bard struggled to pull back from the red mist brink. He bit at his bottom lip to keep from calling forth the sword that screamed in his head. It was happening again and his initial instinct was to flee, but he knew he could not run, not this time.

“You will take me to this Oblivate.” Erinhue measured out the words, the effort to steady his breathing stiffened his voice.

“No, my lord , that I will not do.” Syfa began to weigh his chances of making good on a dash for the door. “I have done what I was paid to do and far more. My part in this is done.”

Erinhue’s eyes flashed angrily. In one swift move he had Syfa by the throat, pulling the man’s frightened face close to his. His voice dropped to a nasty growl of menace.

“Your part in this is done when I say it is done.”

The knife edge in the tone made Syfa drop his protests. He did not resist when Erinhue dragged him down the stairs and out of the Emerald Serpent
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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erinhue
Warrior/Bard of Belfalas Illuvatar's Bright Spirit

 
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Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2000 10:06 pm
Location: Just south of Ground Zero
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