The Gathering Storm – Winner, Silver Thread Award (Best RP)

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

Postby Terry D » Mon Feb 19, 2001 11:02 am

Ringsule trotted down the forest trail. Tintall lead and Inwir, with Nerdanel, followed. Inwir said, "By Ulmo, tell us the tale of your Dark Kindred. For surely, your kinsmen are not kin of the same House? Why are you called Dark?”<BR><BR>Down, towards Annuminas, the road beckoned. The slush of sodden turf and hooves became rhythmical. The forest path widened, as scrub brush and occasional shoulders of trees cleared into a scenic valley. The rain continued to pelt the riders and their mounts. <BR>Tintall began his story. His words, melodic, patterned an hypnotic echo, companioning the relentless rhythm of the horse’s canter. “Out of the womb of the West we came. Elves, westward, led by Elwe and his brother Olwë.” Tintall continued in sing-song,..”I was there. There among those following Thingol. I saw Melian the Maia, exquisite in the wood of Nan Emloth."<BR><BR>“You saw Melian?”<BR><BR>“Yes, I called Doriath, my woodland home. It was idyllic, crafted with the elegant care of Melian,.. and so, Thingol ruled the Sindar for many years. I was faithful, then….” his voice trailed into sorrowful drone. The rain whispered in sympathy. “Thingol's doom was as much my fault as any. Beren brought him a Silmaril. Thingol gave a daughter. Morgoth used me to exact his vile revenge.” The sad tale emptied into a lonesome landscape.<BR><BR>Nerdanel spoke, “What do you mean?”<BR><BR>“When I first saw the Silmaril, I broke into song. It was a song of deceit, veiled in frivolous mirth. It was a cursed song, fraught with premonition of Dwarves and the Blue Mountains. I sang of a necklace. My voice designed the name Nauglamir in that song, ere it ever was spoken by elf or dwarf in Thingol’s treasury. Nauglamir, a thing of envy, a talisman of doom. I sang, and, as if in fulfillment, the Dwarves rose as envious thieves and stole Thingol from my kinsmen and the greater world. Thingol, the crown jewel of Sindarin treasury ripped from the living heart as a....” The downpour wept and the words spilled into silence.<BR><BR>“Yet, you did not make the necklace, nor, hold the Silmaril. What guilt is yours?” Nerdanel mimicked the rain’s sympathy.<BR><BR>“No, fair Lady, I sang this song and that very day, Hurin brought the necklace to Thingol in Menegroth. It was my song that first gave Elwe the idea to mount the Silmaril within Nauglamir’s greedy grasp. It was I who was captain of the guard of Thingol’s treasury. I, Tintall Enfalion, who left his post ere the dwarves slew my King! As certain as Morgoth’s hand. I had not perceived the lust in the workmen’s hearts. I had left, left my post, to bring ale to quench dwarven thirst. A celebration, I wanted, a fell doom I brought... My song, my folly, my treachery....”<BR><BR>Relentless, the rain splattered wet cold in a dark shadow. Unforgiving, the downpour submerged the mounted troupe in a muddy path of despair….<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby pippintooke » Mon Feb 19, 2001 11:53 am

It was then they glanced into the distance and seen a whoobly-legged shell of a man clutching his stomach. As they drew closer a foul odor overcame them. Ay! it is pippintooke. What has happened to ye a voice said. pippin replies " It must have been those orc rations for I have been feverish for 3 days. Oh! your I sight for sore eyes and I'm so glad you found me but we must be on .
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Postby Sauron's_Nagging_Wife » Mon Feb 19, 2001 2:21 pm

Legrace was waiting for the ferryman, a squat man with huge forearms, to come back to the west bank of the river when she sensed someone far away looking intently at her. She tossed back her hood and warily looked all around. There was no one, nothing. Then, she stood still, closed her eyes, and concentrated.<BR><BR>She could feel the probing of an entity of great power, but it was distant. Strange and familiar. It put her immediately on her guard. Although she still had a ways to go, it was only the last leg in an epic journey. <i>An epic journey</i>, she thought, and for once, she didn't laugh. Her senses were alert, every pore and molecule was alive. It had recognized her.<BR><BR>Quickly, she tried to reach out along the tendril of power, but it was long and tenuous, and, after a moment, it was broken. Her eyes flew open, wide, black, startled. What had it been? What in Middle-earth could possibly have that much power? Short as it had been, the feeling had reminded Legrace of something so familiar... but also strange, strong and dangerous. What had it been?<BR><BR>Then, she realized that the ferry had come to rest and that the man was staring at her. Unless she had a pressing reason (and, even now, she grinned to herself at her own definition of 'a pressing reason'), she did not usually let anyone see her; however, she had been taken unawares. So, hoping to make the best of the situation, she smiled at him.<BR><BR>Bad decision. Now, he was staring with his mouth ajar. She yanked her hood back into place and stalked out onto his flat-bottomed craft. Then, as she waited for the ferryman to cast off from the shore, she turned her gaze to the south.<BR><BR><i>I'm coming.</i><BR>
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Postby Elemmire » Mon Feb 19, 2001 2:54 pm

Lomiel gazed out her window. It was late, so late that it could be called early. The stars shone bright, all except for those on the horizon. She could see the edges of a vast storm laden with rain slowly moving towards Rivendell. With one last glance outside she turned away from the window, shivering slightly, and blew out the single candle in her room. The storm was moving slowly, and would not break tommorrow, but the air coming off the mountains feed it's power, turning a summer shower into a tempest. All she could do was wait and listen to the leaves blowing in the growing wind.
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Postby Barad-dur » Mon Feb 19, 2001 5:31 pm

The sound of laughter and song brought the spirit of Barad-dur to a pause in his northward trek through the wooded glens of Ithilien. The voices were clearly elven, their melodious tones and buoyant high spirits a fitting vessel for their joy and appreciation for the beauty of life and nature. At his side, Shagrat’s face soured as one black-nailed hand moved to grasp the hilt of his recently acquired Gondorian sword. The orc captain’s motion stopped when he saw Barad-dur looking at him, an unreadable expression on his face as his head shook slowly. Nodding his understanding, the orc slowly eased the half-drawn blade back into its scabbard. A look passed between the two and the orc quietly faded into the underbrush to keep an eye on the road.<BR><BR>Confident that the orc was safely out of sight, Barad-dur turned towards the sound of the voices. Soundlessly, without so much as disturbing a single leaf in his passage, the spirit came at length to the edge of a clearing and stopped there to observe what was happening within, his invisible form nothing more than a mere shadow cast by the sunlight upon the trees.<BR><BR>Four elves, three men and one woman, sat lightly upon the green grass of the clearing at the margin of a small clear pond, their legs crossed, their postures relaxed and carefree. Two small bundles of unwrapped leaves before them revealed a few thin wafers of Lembas, the waybread of the elves. A few feet away, in a carefully ordered pile, lay their bows, quivers, and long hunting knives. Their song ended, the elves began to share a meal, talking and laughing in the tongue of the Avar, for that is clearly what they were, judging by their raiment, stature, and rustic manner. Listening intently to their speech, Barad-dur confirmed his earlier guess: these were some of Thranduil’s folk from Mirkwood in the north. They had dwelled here for some years now, under the leadership of someone called Legolas, the son of Thranduil if Barad-dur remembered correctly. As the conversation turned from their hunting trip to talk of this Legolas, a look of sadness came upon their faces. A single tear rolled down the woman’s cheek as they recounted the strange behaviour of their leader when he had begun to build his small ship with knowledge obtained from one of Cirdan’s people in the faraway havens. When Legolas and his long-time friend, Gimli the dwarf, had returned from the funeral of King Elessar many months later, there had been a palpable aura of bittersweet sorrow upon them. They understood then, as they bid farewell to their prince and his stalwart companion. The longing for the Sea lay within the heart of every elf, and once awakened, could not be denied for long. The small ship hat set sail down the Anduin on its way to the open sea on a grey morning, as the elves of Ithilien stood and watched, each one wondering when their time would come.<BR><BR>The elves did not sing now, or even talked or laughed. They merely sat in contemplative silence, peacefully remembering. If they knew that death hovered but a few scant yards away, would they accept their fate as quietly, Barad-dur wondered. Loss… that was one feeling he was quite familiar with, an intrinsic part of his existence since that long ago day when…<BR><BR>As silently as he had come, the spirit departed from the clearing and resumed his northward journey, one slightly confused orc in tow. He had not heard the screams of the dying.<BR>
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Postby Tempest » Mon Feb 19, 2001 9:28 pm

The others watched as Tempest continued speaking with the wolves, and they all breathed a collective sigh of relief when the creatures regrouped and slipped away into the fog. The rain had subsided, but the heavy fog still lingered on the earth, obscuring the view. Tempest turned troubled eyes to Kylab. <BR><BR><i>"We we will cross by the Falls and continue along the edges of Nindalf,"</i> she said.<BR><BR>The troll looked surprised. <i>"Toward Mordor? There is nothing there for us."</i><BR><BR><i>"Perhaps,"</i> she answered, <i>"But we will go and see. Something within me is stirring....perhaps it is my father's voice."</i><BR><BR><i>"Your father? I thought all your kin were dead,"</i> he rumbled softly.<BR><BR><i>"So did I."</i> Her eyes rested on the boy who lay soaking on the ground. The heavy rope still held him tightly, and she could see that it had cut into his wrists. She ordered that he be untied, and soon he stood before her, his features not as stubborn as before. <BR><BR><i>"You shall walk unbound from now on. Yet, if you try to escape, I will track you and kill you. From this day forward, if you wish to live you will obey me."</i> The child eyed a nearby knife left carelessly on the ground. Tempest saw him and said mockingly, <i>"Go ahead, but I would not attempt it if I were you."</i> His face turned red and he sat down sulkily. <BR><BR><i>"Enough!"</i> Tempest said. <i>"This fog will hide us and the Falls are not far from here."</i> <BR><BR><i>"Yes,"</i> one of the men replied, <i>"I know this area well. There is an area just ahead where the river narrows slightly before opening up again. We can cross there, if the water is not too deep."</i><BR><BR><i>"Never mind about the depth. Kylab can lift us across if need be."</i> Tempest answered as she looked behind her once last time. She knew the wolves were still there, watching with haunted eyes. They, too, had felt an urgency to return to Mordor, somehow sensing a dark power there. They were savage creatures, and were fat from hunting in the forests and dales. She could imagine their piercing red and black eyes examining her every move. They could be powerful allies, though their numbers were few. She nodded in their direction before following the others toward the mighty river.<BR><BR>
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Postby the mouth of sauron » Mon Feb 19, 2001 10:31 pm

From the very moment that Helazzar seen the little cottage he knew that something was not right, he ran on, the game that he had killed hung in a pack draped over his sholder, he ran, he studied the cottage.. it was nearing dusk, it was cool.... there was no smoke comming from the vent in the roof, no lamp light coming from the windows... he ran inside past the mess that Tempest had made in her search for treasure, on he went untill he found the body of his beloved.<BR>Rage and pain of a kind that Helazzar had knowen all to often in his long life, became his companion again. He searched and called for his son Teren, but no answer came, and he knew that none would come, he knew this the moment that he found the tracks... there were still easy for Helazzar to read, there was a woman, but it was not his wife, there was the boy and something much larger than any man, only a troll could make that kind of track, and some distance away, they met up with the tracks of men and orcs... Helazzars Assassin's heart took control of him once again... they would all die at his hand.<BR>Back at the cottage he found that his father inlaws sword was gone, he smiled and went into the forest a short way, to a place he knew well, but hoped that he would never have to see again. He dug up the chest with his baer hands and opend it with key from around his neck.<BR>Alittle later he had a purse with gold and silver, leather and mitheral chainmail on, two finly crafted long swords at his side and a number of long knives and darts, and a very powerful bow. A short time later the cottage had a fire in it that would soon destroy it.<BR>Helazzar half elven, half neumenorian, 7 foot frame pumping hard, blond hair flowing, meat bag swinging, was running along the tracks of the living dead.....
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Postby Nerdanel » Tue Feb 20, 2001 3:20 am

There was silence for a while. Then Nerdanel said: "Will we talk all night in the middle of the road? There is much that I would like to hear, but long tales are best listened to in more comfortable places."<BR><BR>The others nodded their assent.<BR><BR>"Whence, then, shall we go?" asked Nerdanel. "I am a stranger in this land, and willing to follow your lead for now."<BR><BR>"I am going to Annúminas," said Inwir. "I would gladly see you come along."
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Postby Sauron's_Nagging_Wife » Tue Feb 20, 2001 8:05 am

Legrace passed several settlements and a jolly looking festival, but she was walking in secret now and didn't stop. She considered those whom she would have to deal with ahead. In the past, she had never had to go to the trouble of dealing with any of them, but she no longer had that luxury. <BR><BR>Her usual high spirits had returned, and she passed the time by thinking about far away Imladris and what was going on there. She amused herself with thoughts of elves she had known and those she would know, and she laughed aloud sometimes. <BR><BR>She also turned her thoughts to this new King of Gondor. Personally, she thought it must be a terrible position to hold, for all the old statues of the kings portrayed miserable old men with grim faces. The last one had been a grumpy-looking man, but this new one was reportedly of Elven blood. She wondered if he would be more like the grave kings of old or his bright-eyed Elven kin. <i>We shall see. First things first.</i><BR>
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Postby nazgul_lord » Tue Feb 20, 2001 3:34 pm

Dusk had come, and evening approached. The Nazgul stopped not far from the ruined Mountain of Fire, and grasped the palantir in his hands. Despite Barad-dur's insistence that he not use it, the Wraith gazed into it's shadowy depths. The very act of going against the spirit's "suggestion" pained him, but he persevered, for his reason was sound. <BR> Soon, he knew, the boy-king would attempt to use his palantir, attempt to bend it to his will. The Nazgul Lord let his consciousness sweep across the land through the palantir. Far to the north and east, he felt another palantir searching, seeking him. He chuckled dryly and prepared to exert the full force of his will upon it, but remembered at the last instant Barad-dur's warning to stay hidden. Instead, he turned his mind to the Tower of the Sun, where the half-elven manchild was, indeed, attempting to use his palantir. He grinned as he fixed his mind to that point, and used the palantir to send the image of a red, lidless eye, surrounded by a light absorbing field of black. He buried the image deep in the questing mind, so that the Eye would haunt his dreams, as well as his every waking moment. <BR> The Wraith laughed again as he rose to meet the Mouth of Sauron, and whispered, "The last of the Kings shall meet the fate of the last of the Stewards."
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Postby Elemmire » Tue Feb 20, 2001 8:00 pm

<i>Far behind the leaves are gently falling,<BR>And the sky above is softly crying.<BR>Look behind: our ways are paved with bright gold.<BR>Look ahead: our road passes a time of cold.<BR>We shall swiftly stumble without a light,<BR>Yet even now the sun sinks in night.<BR>Over the mountains it's last ray glitters.<BR>Over our heads a butterfly flitters.<BR>On the horizon a storm is brewing,<BR>Golden leaves in the harsh wind are strewing;<BR>And now the birds and butterflies are gone,<BR>We alone await the tentative dawn.<BR>Forever enduring the wind we stay,<BR>While they and fleeting time must pass away.</i><BR><BR>Lomiel woke, and the fragments of her dream swiftly scattered into forgetfullness. All that she could remember was an image of leaving Lothlorien, the Dreamflower, and of the mountains, bleak and cold. She looked outside. Not a single star could be seen amid the clouds covering the sky.<BR>
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Postby the mouth of sauron » Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:06 pm

The Mouth of Sauron, stood and listend to the words of the Nazgul lord, MOS always listened. He could see that the two champions of Harad were growing uneasy and so he dismissed them with a wave of his hand. "It does me well to see you back in this world" said MOS with a low bow, but never taking his eyes from the dark lord. Mordor never knew the meaning of friendship or real trust for that matter, but if ever anything close to that ever lived, it did so in these two, old "friends" were they of old, in times now forgoten by mortal men.<BR><BR>"Tell me what news there is and what my orders are?, I live to serve to the great eye."<BR><BR>______________________________________________________________________<BR><BR>Helazzar was like a wolf on the trail of his prey that might be his last. It pained him to stop when the light grew to dark to see by. He lay himself down on the cold damp earth and slept in te fashion of elves with his eyes open. Comfort returned to him with the first light of day, and he was on the run again. It was after midday when he stopped for food and water. he was about to set out again when he noticed rain clouds off to the east, he cursed them and broke into a run again, wishing with all his heart that the rain would not rob him of the tracks.... of the living dead and his son.<BR><BR>______________________________________________________________________<BR><BR>They were about to cross the river, when Taren made his move he ran in a zig zag pattern and doubled back on the path they had taken, he did not exspect to escape, that was not his plan, his dad had taught him well... he heard Tempest cry out to catch the brat. A nimble crock leged orc shot after him and caught him with easy, but not before the son of Helazzar had droped a button off his shirt into the mud... he was brought before....Tempest.
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Postby RedMaw » Wed Feb 21, 2001 7:10 am

Andraug’s tongue passed over his teeth. It was lucky that the orc was swift. Though his pack was well-fed, they would not pass up the chance to dine on a human cub.<BR>He knew this would displease the woman, for why would she not have killed the child already if she didn’t have plans for it? If she had, as she said, a “darker source,” she could be a valuable ally. And he sensed something about her when they spoke, a kindred spirit perhaps?<BR>Andraug was not as he appeared, either. He was cast into this wolf form to spy on the enemies of Mordor. The amalgam of beast and spirit gave him unique senses that made him ideal for the task.<BR>Plus, his superior intelligence and strength allowed him to lead this pack of Wargs that he joined not too long ago. Of course, it helped that his defeat of the previous pack leader was so complete and brutal. Wargs respected brutality, and he was only so glad to deliver.<BR><BR>Unfortunately they were getting restless, and it was not the time for open conflict.<BR><BR>Now it was time to return with what he had learned.
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Postby Tempest » Wed Feb 21, 2001 8:18 am

Tempest glared down at the boy menacingly. <i>"Did you not listen when I told you that escape was futile? Did you not believe me?"</i> She drew her sword and pointed it at the boys throat. She considered a moment before raising it and slashing a thin cut down Teren's face. He cried out in surprise and pain, clutching his face as the blood spilled down his chin. <BR><BR><i>"Next time, I will kill you,"</i> she said simply. <i>"Kylab, carry him across the river. I would hate to see such a prize drowned."</i>
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Postby Inwir_Draunimion » Wed Feb 21, 2001 8:46 pm

<BR><BR>The clouds broke at sunrise and Northern Eriador was bathed in the golden light of Anar. Inwir, with Nerdanel at his back holding on to his cloak, rode at the lead next to Tintall, followed by Gelmir and the rest of the band of Dark Elves. Inwirs' scouts, Lindor and Riglas were doing their jobs, one to the north and one to the south of the road.<BR><BR>They had entered the realm of Arnor during the night, it's boundaries well set by King Elessar 120 years before. The Great Road was still considered to branch off towards the Shire, but the main and now the most well traveled part of the ancient road made it's way to the northeast, skirting the southern line of the Hills of Evendim, then turning due north for the approach to Annuminas. <BR><BR>The small party had been following the hills for most of the night, talking in quiet tones. For Inwir, it was a chance to learn of all his kin and friends who long ago had made the journey across the sea. Nerdanel spoke of Elrond and Galadriel, recently arrived in Valinor by the reckoning of the Eldar. She spoke of Finarfin, High King of the Noldor, and his desire to see once again his friend and kinsman, Inwir. To this Inwir made no reply, and Nerdanel decided to push no further on the subject. 'This time,' she thought.<BR><BR>Of Tintall, Inwir learned the purpose behind the Dark Elves, their burden, of hounding traitors to the cause of the Free Peoples, obviously a heavy one. Inwir hoped to have the time with Tintall to learn more of this lonely, driven order of elves.<BR><BR>Now, they found themselves following the road as it swept in a great curve to their left, north to Annuminas. When they passed from under a canopy of trees that overhung the road, the Sun revealed to them the shining city, still half a days ride away. The road stretched out before them in an almost straight line, gradually descending into the wide vale that held Lake Evendim, and beside the shimmering lake sat the royal seat of the North. On either side of the road to the city, rolling hills gradually gave way to flat grasslands that ran to the walls of the ancient capital. Reconstruction had been completed only twenty years before. It had taken a full century to restore the former seat of power in Arnor to it's renowned glory. Elessar had remained driven to see the city's completion, but it's shining walls and wide avenues were still too quiet. Settlers arriving from Gondor and Rohan had been sporadic. Some families from northern Rhovanion and Dale had also relocated, but it was few and not enough to ensure prosperity. <BR><BR>Inwir had been to Annuminas many times on errands for Cirdan and for the training of the garrisons of the city. King Elessar had requested of Cirdan his Captain of the Havens, and he had contacted the sons of Elrond to aid the former Rangers now in command of Annuminas in the training of the northern army, such as it was. Barely a thousand swords and spears could be counted on from the men of Arnor, but their numbers were growing every year. <BR><BR>Tintall stopped his horse at the point in the road that the long straightaway began and holding up his right hand, bade his troops to halt. Inwir stopped and asked, "Have you been to Annuminas, Tintall?"<BR><BR>"Once, long ago," he replied, looking away. "Who are we to see in this city of men?"<BR><BR>"Well, I have met the Steward," said Inwir, "and I have messages for her from Cirdan. I am also well aquainted with the general of the northern army. I must needs speak with him concerning the defenses of Arnor, as it is the gateway to the Havens."<BR><BR>"So, that is a city of men!" said Nerdanel. "I have so looked forward to this day! Earendil was the only being with the blood of the Adan I have ever seen. I expected the coasts of Middle-earth to be lined with the cities of Men, but alas! I have yet to see one."<BR><BR>"Onward then!" cried Inwir laughing, and lightly spurred his horse down the road, closely followed by Tintall and his company. <BR><BR>Gelmir, following his lord some yards back, thought to himself as he rode, 'I've known Inwir Draunimion since the day of the crowning of King Gil-galad, and I've never seen this light of laughter in him. Mayhap this is a glimpse of the elf before the tragedies he suffered in Beleriand. About time.' Gelmir smiled to himself and rode after the usually dour Captain of the Grey Havens. <BR><BR> <BR><BR>
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Postby nazgul_lord » Wed Feb 21, 2001 10:04 pm

The Witch King stared for a moment at the kneeling servent of his Master, the one called the 'Mouth of Sauron'. The man's eyes glanced up and, for a moment, met the glowing orbs where the Wraith's eyes once lay. Though he tried to fight it, in his eyes the Nazgul saw his fear, saw his mistrust, and grinned. It was good that he was still feared by the wise and the strong.<BR><BR>"Yes, I see that you have done well towards what our Master requires of you," the Nazgul said, looking at the two cringing Haradrim, "and I would have you continue in this. We must be joined by our allies of old. As you may know, the One has not been destroyed and some...essence of our Master has survived. I will show you something to give you heart, as well as proof."<BR><BR>Once again, the Nazgul brought forth the palantir, to a gasp from the Mouth of Sauron. Focusing the image within the orb, he penetrated the veil which separated the black tower of Barad-dur from reality, and let his companion get a fleeting glimpse before he withdrew into their world once more. <BR><BR>Still gazing into the palantir, he said, "The tower has been hidden from prying eyes, removed from this world by the power of the One. Only because I know the nature of this removal could I show it to you."<BR><BR>Suddenly, he stopped, his attention caught by a light brushing of another consciousness against his, through another palantir. With a howl of rage, he grasped towards it, clutching it with a fist of his will. The other began to slip away, but before it did, he sent an image of fire and pain, of maddening darkness, and a red eye. The distant palantir went dark as its user lost consciousness. <BR><BR>Furious at his discovery, the Nazgul Lord grabbed the nearest Haradrim in his insubstantial fist, his ring glittering brightly. Amid screams of pain and pleas for mercy, the man burst into flames. <BR><BR>A pile of ash fell to the slopes of Mount Doom.
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Postby the mouth of sauron » Thu Feb 22, 2001 3:34 am

Some of the mans ashes blew across The Mouth of Saurons pollished boots, and he laughed, "I shall go now first to Harad and then where ever the winds of Mordor take me, but I shall return here again in one month when the moon is full again." The Mouth of Sauron left the Nazgul Lord and rode off with the one remaining champion, who was only to happy to leave with his life. The made there way for Harad, but The Mouth of Saurons mind was ever on the palantir!
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Postby Barad-dur » Fri Feb 23, 2001 2:11 am

The trip north was short and uneventful, two factors that Barad-dur did not mind much. Despite its new residents, Forithilien was quiet and he did not come across any more elves. Even as he and Shagrat passed to the east of Henneth Annun, none of the watchful Rangers of Ithilien noted their passing, their role as guardians of the forest having become largely superfluous since the arrival of the Avari from Mirkwood in the north several decades ago.<BR><BR>As the woods began to thin out, the pair left the road as it ran its way to the Black Gate and veered to the northwest. The next day dawned, the sun barely peeking its face from behind mournful grey clouds gathering in the east, as Barad-dur and Shagrat reached the southern edges of the vast quagmire known as the Nindalf. Paralleling the course of the Anduin, the two made their way north once again. Their progress was slowed, for although the marshy terrain did not impede the spirit’s pace in the slightest, Shagrat did not find the going as easy. All too often did Barad-dur wait patiently while the orc negotiated a particularly difficult stretch of swamp. He could have easily used his sorcerous powers to hasten their journey but he wished to test the orc’s endurance and loyalty. This was but an infinitely minute taste of the hardships that Shagrat would have to willingly endure if he was to serve the Shadow once again.<BR><BR>A week had now passed since leaving Imlad Morgul when at last the two heard an unmistakeable roar in the distance, as an enormous cloud of mist sprayed into the air beneath the shadowy bulk of the distant Emyn Muil. Drawing closer, Barad-dur spied the peak of Tol Brandir, the lonely sentinel of Nen Hithoel before the mighty Anduin plunged downward for hundreds of feet into the plains below. They had reached the Falls of Rauros.<BR><BR>It did not take them long to spot them as the shouted curses of the troll could be heard above even the din of the Falls. A hundred yards away from the roiling watery maelstrom, where the waters were calmer, slowly waded the huge creature, half a dozen frightened looking orcs clinging to his powerful shoulders and upraised arms. On the near shore, wet and bedraggled as they shook the water off like rats, stood another group of orcs, about a score or so in number. Two of them kept a wary eye on a small human boy who seemed to be looking about him like a caged animal. All of this Barad-dur took in a glance and dismissed it just as quickly for his gaze was immediately drawn to the one he was seeking.<BR><BR>Swimming alongside the troll with broad powerful strokes was the figure of a human woman, a dark large bundle strapped across her strong back. She gained the shore far ahead of the burdened troll and climbed quickly from the cold river. Water ran down in rivulets from a face that might have once been considered strikingly beautiful, but the combination of the steely eyes and lips that seemed perpetually frozen in mid-sneer served to make for a hard expression that would give a charging oliphaunt pause. With quick and precise movements, she wrung the moisture out her hair and then proceeded to shake her blonde tresses dry. That done, she stooped to unwrap the bundle she had carried across the river herself. The oilskin lay open to reveal her armour and weapons and Barad-dur had to admit he was impressed at the woman’s feat of strength. As she finished buckling the last strap of her armour onto her slim and fit warrior’s frame, her head suddenly snapped up and her gaze bore right into his.<BR><BR>‘Yes,’ Barad-dur smiled as he thought to himself, ‘she senses my presence. Just as it was foretold. Tempest, I have come for you.’<BR><BR>Striding forth into the open, the nebulous spirit entity walked towards the woman and her band as Shagrat followed uncertainly. Not quite sure what to make of this bunch, the orc captain readied himself for anything.<BR>
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Postby Sauron's_Nagging_Wife » Fri Feb 23, 2001 10:56 am

The bleak hills of Emyn Muil were shrouded in mist. Legrace had amazed herslf by recalling the name. The names of places changed so often that she had all but given up on trying to remember them. Whatever the names, she knew the landscape. Old names sometimes hindered her.<BR><BR>As she stood atop one of the northernmost hills, she could see the Morannon despite the mist, and it was broken and twisted. She was close: there was so much happening that she did not even need to reach out for it; it came to her unsummoned.<BR><BR>The Black Gate of Mordor was far away to her left. There was movement within Gorgoroth, and she thought she could put a name to the creatures that roamed there. South, though, was the spirit that had reached her at a distance and continued to intrigue her. Its strength had surprised her before, but it had given itself away, and now she was aware of it. She had no concern for herself, for her emotions were charged: she was tall and young and completely self-reliant. No creature or spirit upon Middle-earth, be it good or evil, bore her ill will; thus there was no danger to her. What could possibly harm her?<BR><BR>Unbidden, her newly-shed grief threatened to return. For a moment, her natural light-heartedness wrestled with the deep and abiding sorrow that haunted her. The wind, however, was cold and bracing here, and there were familiar and new powers all around. A world of joy and delight awaited her, but first, she had to confront this ... thing that walked before her. Before that, though, she could see that he was dealing with something else.<BR><BR><i>Ha! This should startle him.</i>, she told herself in mirth as she extended her thoughts towards the mysterious spirit for the first time. <i>Have your fun there, and take your time with it, if you wish. I shall wait.</i> She knew, though, even as she conveyed her merry message, that grief and loss could hurt her. From that she would never be immune.<BR>
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Postby nazgul_lord » Fri Feb 23, 2001 10:59 am

The Nazgul Lord watched as the Mouth of Sauron faded in the distance, his one remaining Haradrim guard glancing back in terror, afraid they were being followed. In the distance, near the banks of the river Anduin, he could feel the presence of Barad-dur's spirit, an essence of the One Ring, and something else, bewildering and somewhat frightening. Below him, deep within Orodruin, was a more powerful essence, but a sleeping one. The Wraith King looked forward to the day when that essence awoke. <BR>The Nazgul decided to make his way towards the spirit. Not wishing to be outside in the daylight while his power was still waxing, he set a quick pace, so that he might be within the underground mountain passes by sunrise. <BR>He wondered who this Tempest was, who Barad-dur seemed so eager to meet, and if he was a fit ally.
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Postby Tempest » Fri Feb 23, 2001 11:38 am

The icy water of the river had caused her senses to reach the hight of alertness, and even as Tempest wrung the water out of her hair, she felt a pricking on the back of her mind. Her eyes narrowed as she gazed in the direction of Barad-dur, as he had not yet revealed himself. <BR><BR><i>"Quick, to your weapons! We are not alone,"</i> she hissed to the others. Kylab was still cursing as he shook himself free of the orcs who still clung to him, even though he had long emerged from the water. He growled at her words and stomped his heavy feet, his eyes looking every which way for a sign of the enemy. <BR><BR>As the spirit emerged from the shadows, the orcs squealed in fear and scurried for cover. Tempest's face did not betray her surprise, but she lowered her weapon slightly. Perhaps her father's blood within her recognized the spirit, for she did not fear him, knowing somehow that he was not an enemy. <BR><BR>Yes, there was something strangely familiar about him. She noticed an orc following close behind and an amused smile crossed her face briefly. <i>"Who are you? Whom do you seek among the tribes of evil?"</i> she asked the spirit in a reproachful tone.
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Postby Nerdanel » Fri Feb 23, 2001 4:01 pm

Annúminas was different from what what Nerdanel had expected. The streets were wide and the buildings skillfully crafted of white stone. Ornate fountains stood at crossroads and carven statues gazed solemnly from shadows. "Dwarven make," Inwir told her. Nerdanel was impressed. The stonework was much less behind that of that of the Blessed Realm than she had thought. And in a way, a way few of her people would understand, she thought it was equal to that. The same powerful need to make changeless beauty shone through the stoneworks of the both races, even though the manner of presenting it was different.<BR><BR>But even more than the city itself Nerdanel was taken by its people. There were funny-looking wrinkled old people and smooth young people and people in between. Most of all Nerdanel was taken by the children. There were so many of them. There were more of them than in the whole land of Aman. They talked and shouted and laughed and played tag on the streets in the manner of children everywhere, and it lifted her heart to look at them, so full of hope and joy.<BR><BR>Suddenly it seemed to Nerdanel that a dark cloud had settled over the city and its inhabitants. The air had went deadly cold. The sounds of joy were stiffled in an unnatural silence. Then it was over as fast as it had begun. No one else seemed to have noticed anything out of ordinary. Nerdanel had no noticeable talent for prophecy, but it was like a premonition had just fluttered against the shutters of her soul. That, or the children had reminded her of her own children, now long in the Halls of Mandos. Nerdanel drew her cloak closer to her and shivered in the air that was warm and sunny once again.
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Postby the mouth of sauron » Fri Feb 23, 2001 9:49 pm

Helazzar bent close to the ground, and plucked up some trodden grass and turf, he smelt it... less then a full day behind the murdering scum, he had made excelent time on them. It seemed to him that they were heading for the great river and beyound that the Dark Lands, Helazzar also notied the scent of wolves in the air and almost on the same path. Helaazar had travled in Mordor only once and not long after the great war, but he rembered every inch of ground that he had covered as if it was yesterday.<BR><BR>______________________________________________________________________<BR><BR>The Mouth of Sauron made his way through a gap in the Ash mountains, a short cut know to him and now also to his escort. It would take them many days to reach Harad. It was said that officals from Gondor had control of it, he would just have to wait and see. He thought once that he might have been born there of a noble house of a black neumenorian family, but he wasn't sure, there were few things of his past that he was sure of... in countless years gone past he had even forgoten his name! At that thought he cried an evil, sad and crule laugh that scared the horses and the man next to him... "do you know my name? mighty champion of Harad" asked The Mouth of Sauron in a deep smooth voice, with just a small added touch of his power creeping into his words. The champion of Harad should have been trembleing in fear, but the power in the voice and its smoothness, made him feel as though he would lay down his life for this man "No I don't know your name sir." the Haradrim said with a hint of sadness in his voice for the Mouth of Sauron... The Mouth of Sauron smiled to himself, he had used but a small fraction of his power, and already this man would willingly die for him, he continued "thats ok my friend, nor do I know my name... But you may for the time being call me the Lieutenant of Barad-dur." The Champion for the life of him work out two things, one, why was he so saddened that this man who had called him friend could not remember his name and two why was the title he used so familiar too him, but these thoughts were soon forgoten... he now live to serve this man with his very life.<BR>
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Postby DarkSentinel » Sun Feb 25, 2001 5:07 am

On the borders of Middle Earth he stood still. He could see the green fields in front of him, the flowers and the trees. It hurted his eyes. Once more he hated the light, as he had hated the colours of it. For some time now, he had left the mountains far behind him, leaving their cold and dark refuge, crossing the open fields in the full sun light. He knew that no time was to be wasted, otherwise he would not have crossed the open fields before nightfall. While crossing the fields he had felt the lonelyness and weakness of one shadow parted from the rest. He had to go to the shadow and to the darkness as fast as possible, leaving the bright and warm light behind. Bust most of all leaving his lonelyness and weakness behind.<BR><BR>Under the setting sun he now had reached the borders of Middle Earth, the borders of his destiny. For the last time, he would forfill the oath of his ancestors. Thinking of the oath his hart longed for the waiting darkness. He looked upon the lands of Middle Earth again. Green and peacefull it looked. They seemed to be unaware of the coming darkness. <BR><BR>He stepped down from his horse and sat down in the shadow of a tree. The shadow felt cold and dark in the sunlight. He would wait for night to fall, then he would cross the border. Cross the border of Middle Earth, his destiny. He closed his eyes for the sunlight and once again he was surrounded by darkness.
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Postby Barad-dur » Sun Feb 25, 2001 6:37 am

“Who are you? Whom do you seek among the tribes of evil?” rang out the woman’s voice in challenging tones.<BR><BR>The silent spirit of Barad-dur stopped a few mere feet in front of the warrior. From the impenetrable void of his form, two eyes blazed forth suddenly with a light so piercing that the woman was forced to raise a hand to shield her own eyes. Like the heat from a searing hot iron, she felt the infernal gaze wash over her body, its unrelenting intensity boring right through to her soul and exposing her innermost self and secrets.<BR>Tempest fell back a step as the onslaught continued unabated, and a dim part of her consciousness heard Kylab growl threateningly, the sound seemingly coming from a great distance away, when she knew that the troll was in fact almost beside her. She was a strong willed woman, possessed of a determination that could be terrifying when put into practice, but in the end she was only human, and her mortal flesh betrayed her at last. As her form writhed from the unendurable agony, she felt a primal scream of pain and fear beginning to rise from her gorge when the light suddenly vanished. <BR><BR>Tempest slowly opened her eyes. Her first thought was that she had been blinded, for the darkness around her was so complete that she could not even see the outline of her hand held in front of her face. She must have been struck deaf as well, for within the unearthly stillness of her surroundings, she could no longer hear the roar of the Falls or even Kylab’s huffing breath at her shoulder. Panic mingled with rage threatened to overwhelm her momentarily, but her cool and calculating mind quickly took over and she calmed herself with great effort. She had to be somewhere else, she reasoned, for the air about her felt unnaturally chill… like death. She closed and opened her eyes several times, allowing them to become adjusted to the darkness while she prayed fervently that she had not been indeed blinded. She let out and audible sigh of relief when she detected a pale ghostly radiance begin to shimmer softly all around her. The faint reddish glow was very diffuse and sprang from no apparent source, but it was enough to give her some indication of her surroundings.<BR>Tempest was in a vast circular room, with walls and floor carved from shining obsidian that reflected back her startled form. There were no windows or doors that she could see and the vaulted ceiling above was lost in the same darkness that enveloped everything else. Her eyes turned to the only other thing in the room besides her. In the centre of the dark expanse stood a circular dais, broad and dark steps climbing up to a large and ornately carved throne of obsidian rock. By the throne’s left arm stood a pedestal wrought of adamant, its carven length ending in a three clawed talon that grasped emptily at the air, whatever object it had once held now gone. To the throne’s right was what looked to be a flat, cage-like apparatus of some sort, also made of strong adamant. <BR><BR>The throne stood empty. Tempest was alone in the large chamber.<BR><BR>“What sorcery is this? Where have you brought me, spirit?” Tempest shouted angrily, her voice echoing several times from the distant walls before dying down.<BR><BR>The bodiless voice that responded her question sent a chill of fear down her spine. It was so utterly devoid of emotion and humanity that she immediately regretted her haughty tone. It sounded both distant, as if faintly shouted from the bottom of a deep well yet extremely close, as if whispered loudly in her ear.<BR><BR>“I have been inside your mind, the only place you call home. Now I welcome you to mine.”<BR><BR>There was something oddly familiar about the voice, something remembered from childhood dreams, from dark and tempestuous nights, when her innermost demons had come to savagely fight for possession of her shivering soul. She felt a menacing presence all around her that filled her mind with mingled fear, loathing, and revulsion. Yet with it came an inexplicable sense of dark joy, intoxicating power, and deep… fulfillment.<BR><BR>Without conscious thought on her part, as if draw by the unseen presence, Tempest slowly placed one foot in front of another and approached the dark and empty throne. The bitterly cold aura of the chamber grew as she climbed the steps of the dais, but before she could take the last step however, she felt an unseen barrier rise before her. Casting a furtive glance at the nearby throne, she felt rather than saw a brooding exhalation of purest raw evil emanating from it, a vast and incomprehensible power that lay there, dormant and waiting, yet was keenly aware of her presence. Her eyes widened in terror as she realized the horrible truth of her surroundings at last. Wishing that she were elsewhere right about now, Tempest nearly jumped out her skin when the cage before her suddenly sprang open with a loud metallic clang. She waited for a few tense moments as the echoes died down, but when nothing else happened, she dared to peer inside.<BR><BR>Within, carefully arranged in a circular fashion upon a sable velvet cushion, were eight rings. Fashioned of the purest gold, each was adorned with a jewel that glowed faintly with a different colour. Tempest stared uncomprehendingly for a moment and then her stare fell upon the gap, which indicated the place where a ninth ring had once lain. As she felt the invisible barrier slowly fading away, the strange voice echoed once again within her mind.<BR><BR>“Take one, and embrace your destiny at last.”<BR>
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Postby nazgul_lord » Mon Feb 26, 2001 12:04 am

The Nazgul Lord felt a summons in his place of hiding, as the darkness came on. The summons ordered him to Barad-dur. Swiftly he made his journey, for the summons from Barad-dur was most insistant. In the deepest dark of night, he arrived at the location of the tower, but all that was there was rubble. This he knew to be illusion. He raised his hand, and his ring glowed faintly. The frame of a door appeared, and the Wraith entered. He climbed the stairs, knowing where he was summoned, but not why. Brooding, he remembered the countless times he had come here at the bidding of his Master, and wondered where He was. <BR> He arrived at the doors of the throne room, amd threw them wide. Inside a woman stood before a velvet lined box with eight rings held there. At the sound of the doors opening, the woman whirled to face him, and he beheld her face.<BR><BR> <i>"Come not between the Nazgul and his prey!" he hissed with a cold voice, "Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shriveled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."<BR> The fool warrior before him drew his sword, and spoke in a high, fair voice, saying, "Do what you will, but I will hinder it, if I may."<BR> He laughed, a low, evil chuckle, "Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"<BR> The warrior laughed as well, and replied, "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn am I, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him." With those words, the warrior removed his helmet. Her bright hair fell from it's hiding place, and shone like pale gold on her shoulders. Her eyes, grey as the sea, were hard and fell, and yet tears were on her cheek. She raised her shield to block the wrath gleaming from his red eyes. <BR> His foul steed screamed for her blood, but he held back a moment, hesitating. Then, his steed leapt into the air, and came down on her, shrieking. <BR> With a stroke of her sword, the fair warrior severed its head from it's neck. The beast fell to the earth, carrying him with it. <BR> Out of the wreck he rose, tall and threatening, towering above her. With a cry of hatred, he let fall his mace. Her shield was shivered in many pieces, and her arm was broken; she fell to her knees. His eyes glowed red as he he raised his black mace to kill her. <BR> As he brought down his mace, a shot of pain came from the back of his knee. His form became more defined, and the features of his long forgotten face twisted in pain. At that moment, the maid rose up and drove her sword through his skull. The heat of his ring faded, and he knew nothing after that.</i><BR><BR> The woman's hair fell about her shoulders, and her eyes seemed to glitter greyly in the dim light. <BR> With a howl of pure rage, the Morgul-King drew his sword, and flames ran down the blade. He threw himself across the room at her, sword raised, eyes glowing brightly with hate. <BR> Just as he got within striking distance, an unseen force threw him to his knees, and his mind exploded with agony. <BR> The voice of Barad-dur thudered all around him. <b>"NO! YOU WILL NOT HARM HER! THIS IS TEMPEST, AND SHE SERVES THE SAME MASTER AS YOU!"</b><BR> Fighting the pain, the Nazgul rose in wrath. "It is her!" he shrieked, "I will have her! I will have my revenge! She is MINE!!!"<BR> Again, he was thown to his knees, and again the voice boomed, <b>"THE ONE YOU SEEK IS LONG SINCE PASSED FROM THIS EARTH. THIS WOMAN IS A LOYAL SERVANT OF MORDOR, AND SHE WILL TAKE HER PLACE AS ONE OF YOUR NINE."</b><BR> "Who is she," the Nazgul Lord cried out through his pain, "who is she to take the place of my brothers. You promised me that we would find my brothers and restore life to them. Who is she to usurp one of them! She is a wretch, and a descendant of those foul Rohirrim!"<BR> The woman, the strong, ruthless killer of elves and men, blanched at the hatred glowing in the orbs where once were eyes, and shrank away from the kneeling form. This was far more than she had ever experienced, and far more than she cared to. <BR> Once more, the voice of the Dark Tower responded, <b>"YOUR BRETHREN ARE LOST, DEAD. YOU WILL HAVE NEW BROTHERS, AND...A SISTER."</b><BR> At that moment, the Witch King understood, and said in a low voice, "A test. I am being tested. I suppose I failed." He stopped then, and his voice rose in indignation, "You dare to test me? You are not my Master! You are some residual spirit of His power, a tower given consciousness by His presence! Who are you to test me? Who are you to give the rings of my Master to some Rohan wench? WHO ARE YOU..." <BR> With that, his world exploded in pain, and he collapsed on the floor, his ring throbbing dully on his finger.
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Postby Barad-dur » Mon Feb 26, 2001 12:38 am

"Who am I?" the disembodied voice within the chamber mused aloud while regarding the unconscious form of the wraith at the foot of the dais.<BR><BR>"I am a nightmare the likes of which even your twisted and evil mind cannot conceive of," it answered itself in a dispassionate tone.
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Postby Tempest » Mon Feb 26, 2001 8:52 am

Tempest watched the scene from the shadows, a distant part of her mind recognizing the Nazgul before her. An eerie calmness had come over her despite the threat of sudden death, and she again approached the rings that lay inside the cage. Very slowly, she reached a white hand down and picked up one of them, holding it before her eyes and studying it closely. <i>"Yes,"</i> she whispered softly,<i> "This is what I have been searching for, this is what calls me to Mordor again."</i> <BR><BR>She slipped the ring on her finger and sucked in her breath as she felt a bolt of power flow through her. With a cruel smile on her face, she turned dark eyes toward the Nazgul, and approached him without fear. When she was a sword's length from him, she dropped to one knee and bowed her head slightly. <i>"My lord,"</i> she said,<i> "I am here to serve you. What is your will?"</i>
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Postby nazgul_lord » Mon Feb 26, 2001 1:14 pm

The pain in the Nazgul's head slowly receded, and he stood once more. He raised his gaze to see the woman walk again to the rings, and she chose one from the pillow. The Morgul Lord watched silently as she spoke and slipped it on her pale finger. Her back arched and her hands clenched in pain as the link was forged and she inherited her power. <BR> "What is my will, you ask?" The Wraith reached out his ethereal hand and grasped her chin. He grinned inwardly as an icy chill passed through her body and she stiffened with the shock. Long he held her thus, gazing at her face, occasionally turning it gently this way or that, before he removed his hand. She slumped with relief, then stiffened again when she realized her actions. "Your face is like hers, but your eyes unlike. For your face, I would you die, but then again, that will soon fade." He laughed, a bitter, hollow laugh, and his eyes glowed red, as if emphasizing the lack of human features. "But my will is not important. Though I am <i>your</i> master now, I am not <i>the</i> master. Our current...host...seems to brook disobedience no less harshly than my Master. I think that is a lesson we must both learn quickly. Come now, shade, what would you have me do with her. It was you who offered her that which is only my Master's to give, so what plans have you concocted, you amalgam of the powers of evil?"<BR> The voice of Barad-dur echoed through the halls, reverbrating through his mind, but without the pain of his recent experience. <b>"SHE IS NEW TO HER ROLE, BOTH AS SERVANT AND NAZGUL. YOU WILL TEACH HER BOTH THESE THINGS, AND YOU WILL TEACH HER QUICKLY. OTHERS COME, AND THE GATHERING DRAWS NIGH."</b><BR> "Yesss," the Nazgul hissed, "the wench does not yet understand her powers. I will teach you the ways of the Morgul, the black sorcery. Then, you will learn the potential of your ring. You will learn to walk unseen my mortal eyes, unhindered by the weakness of your flesh. Come, we have much to discuss, it seems."
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Postby Tempest » Mon Feb 26, 2001 9:57 pm

Kylab howled with anger as Tempest disappeared before him. He searched the area thoroughly before finally accepting that she was really gone. The spirit that had spoken with her was also missing, and the troll concluded that it must have kidnapped her. <BR><BR>The orcs and men who had been traveling with them had scattered and were hiding in the brush nearby. Kylab rallied them as best he could and they emerged from their hiding places out of fear of his great rage. Twice he nearly smote one of the orcs with his foot as he stomped about the camp raising his nose to the air for any scent that may lead him to Tempest. <BR><BR>He turned his eyes toward Mordor and growled deep in his throat. If she should be dead.....if the spirit injured her.......Kylab raised his hand and pounded his chest. <i>"Gather your things! We will travel to Mordor!"</i> he rumbled, and the others followed meekly behind him, giving each other fearful glances as they watched the huge creature before them. They knew his wrath all too well, and without Tempest there to calm him down, it was only a matter of time before he attracted unwanted attention from their enemies, or turned on his own party and destroyed them all.
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