The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:28 pm

“Agarak, where is my mug?”

Erinhue’s weary voice spoke into the silence clinging to the gathered band of Mithril Knights.

At the sound of a sharply plucked harp string, a tall silver tankard bearing an elaborately wrought letter E, appeared. Erinhue reached out and drew the mug to his lips. The tankard was enchanted. It would not empty as long as the bard held it in his hand and Erinhue drank deeply. After a long draught he spoke again to the empty air.

“We are being poor companions not to share. Would you please attend to our friends?”

The sound pinged again and each one in the company found a tankard brimming with The Lucky Fortune’s blue ribbon ale hovering in front of them. Calling up the power of Mythweaver, Air Ring of the Wordsmith, Erinhue pumped his talented voice with confidence and toasted to providence.

The others in the company repeated the toast and drank their ale, each one allowing it to help calm the stress and tension from the very recent skirmish.

“Hue,” Telta spoke as she gazed into her mug, “ the girl is gone.”

“ Yes, Captain,” one of the Knights in Training confirmed, “ we thought she had followed us when we went to join the battle but when we returned to camp there was no sign of her and what belongings she had were not to be found.”

Erinhue nodded. The news was not surprising and he took a moment to wonder why she had chosen this moment to leave them. He had been expected her to do so ever since that mysterious someone had visited their camp. That could wait. They had more immediate concerns.

“We need to move. It won’t take long for those bully boys to regroup and come search us out.
We are headed for those mines or whatever they are mentioned in that notebook. I will take a report on that as we ride. I need this camp broken down like it never existed and us all on the road in ten.

You two…” Erinhue gestured towards the two most experienced of the trainees “… I want you to stay behind. They could not have gotten a good look at either of you in the heat of battle so I want you to stay in town and watch. Find out what you can, but do not arouse suspicion. Keep watch for three days and then come follow us to those mines.”

The tankards vanished when set on the ground as the company prepared to break camp.

For several more minutes, Erinhue remained seated and made yet another attempt to empty the spelled tankard. He considered his last words and cringed. That all sounded very imposing and authoritative. It had the ring of a true Battle Captain speaking to his command.

Erinhue sighed, shook his head and drank from the tankard once more. How was he ever going to live this down?
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:54 pm

Erinhue set his silver tankard on the ground and watched it disappear. Once more he silently bemoaned the twist of gleefully treacherous fate that had placed him in charge of the company and then, resigned, he got to his feet. He slowly walked over to a mid-sized oak tree standing at the edge of the campground. Krillen was bound by rope to the base of the tree trunk with Meneldor standing guard.

“I don’t really have time right now so we are going to get straight to the point.” Erinhue looked down at Krillen who smiled back in defiance. Erinhue sighed loudly. “I see we are going to have to do this the hard way.”

Erinhue smiled his sucker smile as he shook his head slightly. “You know they really should have found a better spot for you. There is an ant hill right beside your left leg.”

As soon as the words were spoken three little ant crawled up onto Krillen’s knee. Krillen and Erinhue watched as five more joined them, then ten more and then a hundred. The ants had now covered Krillen’s knee and were swarming up and out over the rest of his body.

Erinhue shook his head again. “You know something? Now that I get a look at them I can see those are red ants. I hear they bite.”

The countless tiny bodies lightened from a dark brown to a nearly translucent red. Some of the more adventurous creatures found ways to get underneath Krillen’s clothing to reach the warm and tempting flesh beneath. The ruffian reacted with a violent immediacy to the nibbling mandibles and crawling bugs creeping all over him searching for exposed skin.

Panic turned to horror as the nipping insects swarmed over his legs and crept up his torso.

Erinhue’s sucker smile blossomed into a colder version of his star bright grin.

“Now, do you want to tell me about that sword and how you came to be carrying it?”
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:50 pm

Meneldor was standing guard as Erinhue interrogated Krillen. Ants? What ants? he thought. But he kept his beak shut. It was probably Agarak's doing, and he didn't want to spoil it. He stepped away and let the dragonharp do his thing. Spreading his wings, he took off. In a way, a protection was taken away from Krillen, and he was now left to the mercy of Agarak and Erinhue.

Brondgast, in human form, was enjoying his ale that the dragonharp had materialized for him. He was seated by Quimrill his apprentice and waiting. He wasn't about to interfere in the fun.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:31 am

What to do.

Akara had been racking her brain for the past hour after she had discovered there was no other way into the mine from the East. She could not return to the Mithril Knight camp; they would have by now realized she had left with Tempest's journal, and she would not be able to convincingly explain her absence. She frowned deeply. How stupid she had been, blinded by her own pride in thinking she had figured out another entrance where others had failed.

But what should she do now? And how in the world had these old mithril mines been used if there was no entrance except the Obliviate?

There was something she was missing, something so obvious pushing at the boundaries of her mind and yet unable to form coherently into thought. She studied the landscape again. What a barren wasteland. No wonder this area had never been populated---the land would hold no grain for growing, or grass for cattle.

Her eyes traveled over the small stream that bubbled as it came from underneath the stone. She wondered what it was like underground; was it a river? Was what was on the surface deceptive? Was there life underneath her feet that none but the ancient dwarves, who had eyes for such things, could see?

Perhaps….

There had to be another entrance. But not here. Somewhere further north, where the river was stronger as it soared underneath the stone. Yes, that must be it. After all, her own people lived no where near this place, and yet the Red Dwarves had come that way on their journey east. There must be an entrance farther north. The mithril mine must be more expansive than anyone realized.

For the first time, Akara felt a shiver of fear. If the mine stretched for miles and miles beneath their feet, what kind of evil could it contain now, nearly a generation after the Dark Lord’s fall?
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:49 am

Krillen was in over his head. These people had powers of which he had never seen, and he could see his life flashing before his eyes with every ant bite. He must speak; he must give them something. But if he fully disclosed his part in Tempest's death, would they not kill him on the spot?

"The sword..." he faltered, thinking quickly, remembering that the best lies are always those mixed with truth. "It belonged to a warrior, one who came into town a few months ago. The Dark Lady of Mordor, she called herself."

"And how did you come to have her sword?" Erinhue asked icily.

"She involved herself in the trade here, nasty business, but very lucrative. She made the mistake of asking too many questions. There were suspicions about who she was, and why she had come. So, they took her in the night," he swallowed nervously.

"Who took her?"

"It could have been any number of people---the Venaji Gang, the Desert Vipers, the Kenati."

Erinhue's smile turned deadly. "Or it could have been your own gang."

Krillen shook his head. "Even I wouldn't interfere with the people she was asking questions about. But it doesn't really matter in the end who took her. The result was the same: they threw her in the Obliviate."

"And her sword came to you....how?"

He swallowed again. "I found it..."

"Try again."

He sighed nervously. "I was there. I had informed against her. But I didn't know what they were going to do to her, I swear it. These things happen all the time here; I thought she would make a deal, betray her own people, and make a new alliance. That is how the game is played. But she didn't play it correctly."

Erinhue looked away toward the desert. "She rarely played the game correctly. Did they kill her before they threw her in?"

"No, but it was weeks ago now. If the fall didn't kill her, she'd die of starvation down there. It is meant to be a slow death, made worse by the knowledge that there is no escape."
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:56 pm

Brondgast watched the interrogation for a while, but then all vanished before his eyes. He was back in that strange forest seated with the other eleven Dragon Warriors. One of them stood up. "Brondgast, now you come into your own. What is seen is not what is."

"What does that mean?" asked Brondgast.

"That is what you will have to find out,brother." he said. "It could mean a second darkness or the redeption of Middle-Earth."

With those riddles, he was back. That was what he would have to puzzle out.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:50 am

There was no more to be learned from Krillen. The man was little more than local muscle and not privy to more information than he needed to play his role.

Erinhue walked around the thick tree trunk and knelt down to retie Krillen’s hands. If he had any sense at all the man should be able to free himself in time. Whatever he could report did not matter. Who ever he would report to would already know which way they were headed.

Their camp no longer existed and only the most skilled would detect that it ever had. The supplies were packed and the company stood at the ready, awaiting their captain.

Erinhue walked over to Treble mounted the patchwork pony and lead the company of Mithril Knights off again in search of their lost companion, to rescue her or discover her fate.

The wooded lands outside the town grew sparce as they travled. The trees gave way to grasses which in turn gave way to dry and rock ground. The barren lands stretched out as far as the horizon with only blunt tooth hills to break the bleak landscape.
They came across no towns or farms or people. The land was empty and unwelcoming. The Knights traveled in silence, the gloom over the land sinking into their bones.

Two days and a restless night passed before the landscape was broken. Mountains loomed in the distance. As they drew nearer more rocky outcroppings could be seen stretching out towards them.

A hasty camp was set up for the night. Sensing that the goal of their journey would be reached in the early hours of the coming day everyone wanted to be well rested to face whatever they might find.

Tempest, I’m coming.

The phrase repeated in Erinhue’s mind as they rode forward. If she was dead, the bard was certain that somehow he would know it. His vision was drawn to an unnaturally shaped rock formation that he somehow knew was the location of the imprisoning pit.

Sensing his riders eager tension, Treble increased the speed of his gait and the other horsed in the company followed suit. They would reach their destination within the hour.

Erinhue did not even realize that he was now leading the company at full charge. He had lost the Lucky Fortune. He had lost Aerin. Most recently and painfully he had lost Dirk. He was determined that he was not going to lose one more thing that was close to his heart. He was ready and willing to die to prevent that from occurring.

Tempest, I am coming.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Brondgast went with them on his horse Thunder, and Meneldor flew above, often flying ahead and keeping vigilant watch for any surprises. Soon, they were at the site where the Obliviate was after two and a half days of hard riding. As they approached, Brondgast leaped off of his horse, transforming as he did. Meneldor saw what he was doing, and swooped down to pick him up. But how to get down there to find Tempest? As he descended with Brondgast in his talons, he shimmered, the gem in his collar was shining. Once again, as in the time when he entered the initiation hall, he passed through, he didn't know how, it just happened. He descended, his wings flapping, as the place was big. Slowly they descended until they reached the bottom. The bear was in his own domain now. They waited for the others.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:39 pm

Before the horses had come to a full stop, Brondgast had lept from his mount, transforming to the great bear before he hit the ground.

Erinhue was about to call out a order to cease and desist, but Meneldor swooped down and snatched the Beorning up into the air and over the yawning mouth of the pit.

A bright light gleemed from a magicked jewel and both Eagle and Bear seemed to diminish in their great size as they both dove down into the darkness and out of sight of the company.

Erinhue dismounted and walked over to the gaping hole in the ground and looked over the edge and down. This was not his plan. He did not exactly know what his plan might have been but he did know this was not it. They had no idea what was below them underground or what they would find there. Now two of his company were down there facing the unknown.

The bard shook his head with a sigh. He turned back to the dismounted company and said “There is only one thing we can do now. We follow them.”

Teltas eyebrows squeezed together enough to furrow her brow.

“Follow them? How are we supposed to do that?”

“Very simple my dear, “ Erinhue responded with a wink. “We jump.”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:48 pm

If it had been daylight, she would have rode right by it and never seen it. But the heat of the day had made traveling unpleasant, and fearing that the Mithril Knights would catch up to her, or the Great Eagle might be sent ahead to retrieve her, she had taken to traveling by moonlight when she knew his vision was impaired.

When she stopped to rest, she would read over Tempest's journal, seeking to understand this woman and perhaps who had caused her death. But though the journal revealed Tempest as a competent warrior and spy, it told little about her inner life. Akara felt that she knew little more about her than when she started this journey.

Actually, that wasn't exactly true. Having seen the lengths to which the Mithril Knights were willing to go to rescue their fallen friend did reveal something. Her mother had been someone worth fighting for, someone who was missed by her companions. It made her heart warmer at the thought----Tempest was someone for whom she need not be ashamed.

That thought had made her raise her eyes in pride, and it was at that moment that something far off to the left glinted in the dull moonlight and caught her attention. She slowed her horse to a halt and felt her blood quicken.

There it was again. Something moving in the darkness.

Something in armor.

She swung off her horse and crouched close to the ground as she crept closer. The object was still several hundreds of meters away, but the cloud covering the moon drifted slightly at that exact moment and she saw clearly the figure before her.

Tall, and exceedingly fair, even from this distance. He wore armor unlike anything she had ever seen---silverly beautiful as it reflected the moonlight. She had not much contact with elves, but she knew instinctively that this must be someone important. A certain dread fell upon her as he turned his imperious gaze to the West, for the expression on his face did not reflect the beauty of his features. No, his face was as cold as the moonlight, and his gaze as hard as iron.

But he was gone almost as quickly as he had come. Her eyes strained the darkness but could see him no longer. He must have gone underground, for there was nothing else in this wasteland---no structure that she could see. The mine stretched beneath her; she was sure of it. There must be an entrance, and this elf had just descended into it.

But dare she follow this imperious creature into it alone?
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Teltasarewen » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:59 pm

Telta moved closer to the hole a foul stench reaching her before she even reached the edge. She peered into the deep chasm but even her keen eyesight could not pierce the darkness below. What she could see of the walls leading down they were lined with very large, menacing and sharp rocks sure to stop any who tried to come out...or go down.

Follow them Hue had said. Perhaps easier said than done. But follow them they would.

Telta stepped back quickly when the ground crumbled beneath her foot. A few rocks gave way tumbling down into the pit. It was entirely possible that the ground surrounding the hole was unstable.

Moments passed and it seemed like an age before she heard the faint sound of the loosened rocks hit bottom. She looked over at Hue to see if he had heard it too. A small nod of his head indicated that he had. A look came over her and without saying a word Hue knew what she was thinking. The tilt of her head and the
way she looked...she was volunteering to go in first after their companions.

The determined elf slung her bow over her back. She was ready.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:58 pm

Brondgast and Meneldor were at the bottom of the mine shaft called the Obliviate. They were surrounded by old bones of those who had been cast down there. Shreds of clothing, but nothing familiar.A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in...a riddle. What had happened to Tempest? They both looked up at the entrance to the hole. They waited on the others.

"You are more familiar with caves, Brondgast, being a bear. Do you see anything?" said the Great Eagle.

"I see a tunnel leading away from this hole, but we dare not enter without the others." growled the Beorning, the Stone of Bar translating the tongue of bears.

"What is keeping them?" said Meneldor. "Surely Agarak can have them down in a flash."

"We shall see, my friend, we shall see." answered the bear.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby erinhue » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:25 pm

Erinhue watched Telta nimbly leap back when the ground at the edge of the mineshaft began to crumble and fall. He was unable to stifle a chuckle which drew him a venomous look from the elf.

“I didn’t mean to laugh” the bard tried to sound apologetic, “ but if we do it your way we might just bring down that entire ledge on top of our friends. My way would be easier.”

“You two,” Erinhue turned to the three knights in training, “ You stay here and wait until the others get here and then you follow us. “You,” he gestured at the third, “You are going to come with us.”

Leading the others to a more stable side of the aperture, Erinhue grouped them closely together with himself in the middle. “Now everyone hold hands,” he instructed,” and on three, we jump.”. He counted down and when he shouted, “Three” the company jumped off the edge. In an eyeblink of time they were standing at the bottom of the mineshaft enveloped in a deep darkness.

“If it is not too much trouble” the bard spoke to the dragonharp that still hung from his saddle. “we could use a torch or two down here.”

The darkness was immediately broken by two flaming torches. Erinhue took hold of one to light their way forward. He gave one to the young knight in training who would bring up the rear.

“Sorry that it took us so long, gentlemen.” Erinhue said to Meneldor and Brondgast. “Now that we are all together again, shall we go see what we can see?”
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:44 pm

Brondgast gave a half-growl which was an ursine laugh. The Stone of Bar translating the tongue of bears, he said "I was wondering what kept you, Erinhue. I've been sniffing ahead, and nearby is the smell of death, but there is a curious breeze coming from the cavern, smells fresher than anything here. Since I am familiar with caves, I'll go first."

Meneldor regretted coming down here, remembering his time in the tunnels of Annuminas before it was cleared by the Sycle and Agarak. "I will go with you, but my skills won't be of much use down there." He didn't know it, but he couldn't be more wrong. Brondgast, without more delay, took the point and entered the cavern.
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Re: The Mithril Knights: Shadows in the East

Postby Tempest » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:52 am

Agarak's light was necessary, but at first, it regrettably showed a scene of death. Bones scattered the dusty floor, and even partially rotted corpses lay where they had been thrown down. As the Knights traveled further, they saw evidence of those who had not been killed by the fall, but who had dragged themselves deeper into the tunnels. However, their wounds had been too great, or they had died of starvation; it was unclear from the remains. What was clear was unsettling: they had died alone, and in agony.

But Tempest's body was not among them.

What was more, the Bear found tracks that suggested someone (or many someones) had recently walked these tunnels. The tracks was muddled because the dust and sand had obscured much of them, but from time to time partial boot prints could be seen. They lead away from the Obliviate, deeper into the heart of the caverns. After following these tracks for half an hour, Erinhue whistled for a stop. The Knights gathered around him as he ran his hand over one of the walls.

"Telta, what do you see?" he asked her.

"These markings...." she began.

"Yes, these are made by dwarven tools, but they are very old."

"It's a mine. And given the landscape above us, it can be nothing but Mithril. It has been long abandoned," Telta determined.

"Yet, someone has been here recently. Probably more than one person," Claymore glanced at the dust at their feet.

"Why would they be down here, in an empty mine? The mithril here ran out long ago. These caverns have nothing left of value, except sand," one of the other Knights frowned dubiously.

"No mithril, but there is something here. Be alert: dwarven mines hold many dangers, no matter how ancient they may be," Erinhue warned gravely, as the dragonharp jangled its chords tentatively.
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