Mithril Knights Warrior's Guild: Knights in Training Tales

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

Postby erinhue » Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:46 pm

<i>As Raghnildur braced for the impact of the arrow he could not possibly avoid, he heard a soft note plucked from the long strings of a harp. A spot on his arm began to burn, the same spot that had felt the wrath of the tiny dragon of Erinhue's harp.<BR><BR>The arrow burst into flame and miraculously reversed its course, streaking its fiery death back to the one who set it to flight.</i>
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Postby Teltasarewen » Sat Oct 25, 2003 9:06 am

Telta had moved quickly outside. No sooner had the threesome moved a few steps down the street than an outcry alerting others to their presence pierced the air. When she heard it she knew they would not easily nor quietly leave Rhosgobel. Erinhue’s praise of a few moments ago seemed undeserved for they had managed to leave the tavern but it would not be true of their present situation as they found themselves caught. <BR><BR>Swords and knives were held at the ready by the advancing men. Telta’s own hand went to her sword. The feel of the cool pommel beneath her fingers was reassuring as she took the grip and eased the blade from the scabbard. Erinhue, Falathiel and herself moved in closer to each other, backs together forming a protective circle. It was a moment before the elf heard rather than saw Erinhue draw his own sword. None of them moved. They stood there the tension thick, watching, waiting for the first strike. <BR><BR>The companions did not have long to wait as one man came charging, yelling his at them his arrival. Telta did not take her eyes off of those edging closer to her. She listened for the inevitable sound of metal on metal as swords clashed. But there was no such sound. The man fell and lay sprawled upon the ground unconscious or dead. Yet Erinhue, for she knew now that had been the man’s target, had not touched him. her puzzlement lasted only a few seconds until Erinhue called out to the one responsible...Raghnildur. He had returned and not a moment to soon she thought as she faced her own opponent. The one she faced was the one she had tripped in the tavern and whether or not he knew it was irrelevant now as he came at her his intent clearly on his face. <BR><BR>He came in sword held low a cruel smile on his face, perhaps thinking his target would be an easy kill since elf or not it was a female. The smile turned to one of surprise as Telta blocked his sword jerking his sword up and away leaving him exposed. Her fist came up to meet his jaw and he slumped to the ground shock still upon his face as he slipped into unconsciousness. No sooner had he fell then the next one was in there his knife slashing and jabbing in a grand display of showing off his skills. He was quick but she was quicker as she parried each strike. His frustration grew making him angry and careless. Telta’s calm exterior only added to his anger as he tried to beat her down. His defeat was his own fault as he stepped back and stumbled over one of his own companions. His guard down as he tried to regain his balance, a well placed kick to the jaw and he fell back onto the ground where he remained unmoving. Then she came face to face with Black Hair. <BR><BR>He stood several feet away his blue eyes watching, analyzing , studying her moves. His cold hard gaze met hers and she could see the rage not just directed at her but at Erinhue as his eyes darted to the man beside her for one brief moment. But the Knight was engaged with his own battle and Telta felt him pull away. There was no choice as the fallen foe made it harder to stay where they were. Telta herself stepped over one of the bodies as did Falathiel who pulled away as she continued to fight. <BR><BR>Black Hair’s lip curled in a sneer showing his contempt. He drew his sword as he approached. His movements slow and cautious. “So the fat one does not work alone.“ He looked her over carefully not missing a thing. “And such a fine piece of work to.” He was baiting her trying to make her angry and she knew it. In one quick movement his sword came down at her and she met it with no problem. And he stuck again this time a little harder. Again she had no problem. His movements became faster and stronger. He was testing her and she rose to the task. The man laughed. He was enjoying himself. “That’s right dear. Fight me.” His sneer vanished when her blade slipped passed his guard and sliced across his forearm. He was breathing heavily now. “So you think you can beat me? How will you do against more than one.” He gestured off to the side and two others joined him. She pulled back a couple of steps. “Now let’s see how you do.”<BR><BR>A twinge in her side told her she had exerted herself more than she thought as the three men advanced. Telta readied herself. Her instincts told her the man on her right would strike first. The man did not prove her wrong as he struck and backed away and struck again each time moving out of her reach. When he tired the second friend of Black Hair did the same thing until he tired. Then Black hair took his turn. <BR><BR><i>“Falathiel.”</i> she heard as the bearded man’s blade met hers. There was no time to help thinking that her elf friend was in trouble as Black hair now rested came at her with renewed vigour. His blade came down hard enough that sparks flew as metal grated against metal. If she had not parried his blow she would have been split in two. Falathiel joined her in the battle against the three taking care of the other two while Black Hair backed away as her friend drew close and whispered words of her problem. Telta nodded but Black Hair was not done. He came at her again his sword held high ready to swing at her. In his eagerness to end it he ran full force straight at her and at the last moment she side stepped him as he swung bringing the flat of her blade across his back with a loud <i>‘thwack.’</i> He turned quickly black rage turning his face red and found himself impaled upon her sword. The look of unbelief never leaving his face as his life slowly drained from him. Regret at his death furrowed Telta's brow. She had not meant for his life to end that way. She had had no time to move before he had turned.<BR><BR>Arm down to try and cover where the blood had soaked through her vision focused ahead she waited for the next attacker.....
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Postby Léanë » Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:54 am

Léanë and Rien decided to seek out the armoury, as neither proved to be very hungry. But first Léanë insisted on going to the stables to check on Storm. She did not doubt that the Elves would take proper care of her stallion, but she nevertheless wished to see if everything was in order. Storm had been a gift from her brother Déor, and Léanë loved the horse all the more because of it. She did not want anything to happen to him. <BR><BR><BR>As the two women made their way back from the stables and towards the armoury, they were met by Lord Elbren, coming down the passage from the other direction. He was fully dressed for travel and battle: a mail shirt over leather, heavy leather gauntlets, his Mithril Knight helmet held in the crook of his arm, boots, and Mithril Cloak. Léanë and Rien exchanged a quick glance. <i>They were surely leaving, and very soon by the looks of things.</i> The Elf Lord greeted them, and said, "Let us to the armoury for you to choose an item as is our tradition. This item must be approved by myself and the Master of Arms. Then we shall depart forthwith. Are you ready?" They both nodded; Léanë’s eyes shining with eagerness.<BR><BR>Lord Elbren turned and walked quickly down the twisting corridors, Léanë and Rien following hurriedly, until they reached the Mirkwood Guild House armoury. The guards allowed them entry, and Léanë saw two people there, a woman and an old man. <i>There was something vaguely familiar about the man...</i> "Greetings," Lord Elbren said to them. "Lady Elenath, perhaps you will take my two new companions into the armoury and allow them to choose their gift?"<BR><BR>The Lady Elenath nodded, "Of course. Come with me," she said to Rien and Léanë. As they followed the Master of Arms, Léanë glanced back and saw Lord Elbren engaged in a conversation with the old man. <i>Where had she seen him before?</i> But she forgot all about him in the next instant as they entered the armoury proper. Léanë could not suppress a soft gasp of delight and wonder as she took in the sight of all the different weapons. Bows, arrows, knives, daggers, swords, crossbows, axes, spears, quarterstaffs... Each intricately and lovingly made, with a skill that surpassed anything Léanë had seen in Rohan, or even in Imladris.<BR><BR>She started forward, a happy smile on her face at the thought being able to choose a weapon from such a treasure trove. Walking about, she inspected each weapon carefully. She had no need for a sword or a quarterstaff, as the ones she already had served her very well. She had no use for an axe, and her skill with the bow and arrows was, unfortunately, not yet very good (although she had been improving, thanks to Ohtar, who had been giving her lessons). So that left...<BR><BR>Suddenly her eyes fell on a gold scabbard worked in strange symbols. The symbols were what caught Léanë’s eye in the first place. <i>They were neither Elvish nor Dwarvish. She had never seen anything like them.</i> Curious, she bent down and picked it up, making a mental note to later ask Lady Elenath or Lord Elbren to tell her exactly what the symbols meant. She stared at the scabbard for a few moments, tracing over the symbols lightly with her fingers, and then slowly slid out the dagger it contained. <i>It was absolutely beautiful.</i> About a foot long, curving slightly near the end, and extremely deadly-looking. Fine gold wire wrapped the hilt, which was capped by a ruby as big as a man’s thumbnail, and the quillons were golden-scaled serpents baring their fangs. Léanë was enchanted. <i>This was the weapon she wanted.</i> There was absolutely no doubt in her mind that this weapon was meant for her. <i>It was almost like it had called to her to find it and take it for her own.</i> She grinned at the thought and shook her head slightly at her foolish notions. Standing up, she turned to the Lady Elenath, who had so far remained silent and simply watched, and said, “Lady Elenath, if you and Lord Elbren approve, then this is the weapon I choose to have.”<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Riencuran » Sun Oct 26, 2003 8:06 pm

Ri had followed Lady Elenath into the armoury, and her eyes had widened at the sight she beheld. There were bows, long swords, short swords, knives of several sizes, axes and crossbows. Nearly every kind of weapon. She was overjoyed at the sight and also pained. More memories. They would be her downfall if she didn't watch out. Sighing she inspected the weapons.<BR><BR>She ignored the ones with Elvish or Dwarvish writings on them; she held no love for either, and wouldn't bear a weapon that had Elvish runes unless it was one of her brother's, who had made both her twin swords and knives. She bit her lip as Léanë brought her weapon. It was about a foot long, curving slightly near the end, and extremely deadly-looking. Fine gold wire wrapped the hilt, which was capped by a ruby as big as a man’s thumbnail, and the quillons were golden-scaled serpents baring their fangs. It was indeed beautiful. <BR><BR><i>Luin would have loved that. He was always trying to dupilcate a weapon and fiddle with it.</i> She sighed. Her brother was somewhere in Middle Earth. She was detirmined to find him, even if she died while trying. Sighing again, she went back to the weapons, and a few minutes later, she saw a sword, and knew it was the one. <BR><BR>It was about forty inches long, with a strongly curved blade, distinctive brass hilt which featured a short, thick quillion for protection and to help control the blade, and an unusual and elaborate dish shaped pommel. It was made of tempered steel. She liked it immedietly. She took it over to Lord Elbren and Lady Elenath.<BR><BR>"This is the weapon I would have, if you and Lady Elenath approve." she said quietly to Lord Elbren, holding the sword out, and waited for their response.
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Postby Tempest » Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:51 am

Ronin's face flushed at Galadhon's words, for the boy well knew of his affection for his mother, and the pain her parting had caused him. He stood thoughtfully for several minutes. What if Rosmarien's dreams were true? What if this Evil she saw would also come to harm his mother? <BR><BR>If Galadhon was right, than there was no time to waste. But, on the other hand, he knew that Elbren would be angry at them for leaving the safety of the Golden Wood in such dangerous times. What if they were caught? What if they could not reach Mirkwood safely? Ronin frowned, but he could see that Galadhon was in earnest, and he did not wish to be left behind while everyone else was being heroic. He would prove to them that he could be a warrior too! Maybe then Elbren would consider him ready to join the Mithril Knights! <BR><BR>His mother would see that he was strong, that he could fight like her. Maybe she would let him stay with her then, instead of always fearing for his safety.<BR><BR>With a solemn nod he swung up behind Galadhon on his horse. <i>"Are you certain you know the way?"</i> he asked.<BR><BR><i>"Of course."</i><BR><BR><i>"Your uncle will be angry with us."</i><BR><BR><i>"At least he'll know the truth."</i> Galadhon looked over his shoulder at Ronin. <i>"Do you have a weapon?"</i><BR><BR><i>"I always carry my short sword."</i><BR><BR><i>"Good. And I brought two of my bows, so you can use one of them if we run into trouble. Remember what I taught you about using them,"</i> Galadhon said.<BR><BR><i>"I remember. Now let's go before someone finds us....</i>
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Postby Elbren » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:54 pm

Elbren made his way up the many winding corridors, the miraculous underground Kingdom of Thranduil's Caves, his mind awhirl with many pressing matters. These last few months were heavy upon Elbren's heart and mind; each time that they found a new clue to the mysteries before them, yet another riddle would emerge. It was daunting, to say the least; maddening at its worst.<BR><BR>I am weary, Elbren thought, and yet, the love that I have for Middle Earth never wanes. I am not yet ready to sail to the West....and may not ever be.<BR><BR>He turned another corner, knowing that he was near the city chamber that led to the main gate and river, as the number of Elven folk had increased dramatically. Compared to the relatively isolated set of caves that had been given to the Mithril Knights, the city chambers of Thranduil's Caves were busy indeed. They were all Eldar, Elbren noted as the made his way through the market, even pausing to buy a few supplies that he quickly tucked into his leather pack which hung from his right shoulder. Thranduil was still very suspicious of any non Elven folk, and even in this 4th Age of Man, the Halls of Thranduil very rarely saw any outsiders roaming at will. In truth, the only non Elven folk admitted without question were those of the Mithril Knights Warrior's Guild.<BR><BR>As Elbren approached the main gate, he nodded to the guards, who began to raise the metal portcullis. There was absolutely no sound as the metal retreated into the carved stone overhead, finally completely disappearing in an almost eerie vanishing act.<BR><BR>"Thranduil has ordered the gate to be lowered?" Elbren asked as he paused at the gate.<BR><BR>"Yes, Lord Elbren, all gates are now lowered and have been since the Star of Earendil first disappeared," the guard replied.<BR><BR>"Lord Elbren!" a familiar voice called.<BR><BR>Elbren turned to see Legolas, the son of Thranduil, trotting towards him and waving.<BR><BR>"Are you leaving so soon?" Legolas asked, frowning.<BR><BR>Elbren nodded solemnly, "No time to waste, Legolas. The Galadrim army will be marching to the North, with the remaining Mithril Knights, in just a few days. I will rendezvous with you at the Southern defense line of the Red Hammer Dwarves. I am sending for aid to my people in Southern Mirkwood, and I am going in search of more aid even now."<BR><BR>"More aid?" Legolas asked.<BR><BR>"There are others who will suffer if the Red Hammer continues their campaign," Elbren replied, "I must go to them and urge them to join us."<BR><BR>Legolas's eyes narrowed, "Join us? Who is it that you are going to see?"<BR><BR>"I am going to see Grimbeorn."<BR><BR>"Ah!" Legolas grinned, "indeed, they would be a mighty ally."<BR><BR>"And they are five or six days' hard ride, so I have no time to waste if I am to make my rendezvous," Elbren paused for a moment, "Legolas, we will break the southern line and then I and the other Knights MUST make it to the Lonely Mountain by Durin's Day."<BR><BR>"Why Durin's Day?"<BR><BR>"We want to get supplies to the Dwarven folk through the secret door that Bilbo used and it only opens on Durin's Day," Elbren said.<BR><BR>"Yes, but it also only opens with the key," Legolas pointed out.<BR><BR>Elbren pursed his lips in thought, "True...."<BR><BR>"So," Legolas smiled, "we shall get you a key."<BR><BR>"Oh?"<BR><BR>"Yes, leave that to me. I will meet you at the Lonely Mountain on Durin's Day, Elbren, namarie!"<BR><BR>************************************************************<BR><BR>Elbren walked into the stables and found Erelas saddled and eager to travel. Securing his leather bags onto the mighty horse, he then led Erelas out into the sunshine, which nearly blinded them both. Stumbling along for a moment, they quickly found Leane, Riencuran, Tallain, Alandriel, and Marius waiting for them nearby.<BR><BR>"Greetings everyone," Elbren said, "Have you all been introduced? If not, allow me to present Leane, a new Knight in Training; Riencuran, also a new Knight in Training. Tallain is riding with us both as a sworn ally and friend of the Guild and as a Knight in Training. Marius is my apprentice, though he is a very capable warrior and shall perform all duties of that sort on this mission. Alandriel is an Adept of the Order and is coming along to add her skill to the success of our purpose. Is everyone prepared to ride?"<BR><BR>Nods and affirmatives were given so Elbren swung up into his saddle followed by the others in the party.<BR><BR>"We shall take the Forest Path West until we reach the Forest Gate," Elbren explained, "and then we turn South into the Vales of Anduin. Tallain and Alandriel, I want you to ride 'point' today....Marius, you take the rearguard. Leane and Ri, you take what we call the Sun and Moon positions."<BR><BR>Elbren gestured to Tallain and Alandriel, who both rode forward of the group, about five horselengths away, but keeping their horses no farther apart than ten or so feet. Marius nodded and wheeled his mount back around and trotted to an equally distant position behind the group. Elbren then rode to his left and motioned for Ri to ride over.<BR><BR>"This is the Sun position," Elbren said, "it is your job, if we are attacked, to close in and defend this side of the circle that we shall form."<BR><BR>Elbren then rode to the opposite position and called for Leane, "This is the Moon position. Like Ri, you are to defend this position from enemies and pull in to form the circle."<BR><BR>The Guild Master then rode to the center of the group and pulled Erelas to a halt, surveying the formation with a scrupulous eye.<BR><BR>"I will pull back to join Marius in the event of an attack," he said, seeming to be satisfied, "if an enemy is spotted but we are not yet seen, then the word to speak is 'cover'.....if an enemy is seen and is attacking, the word to use is 'circle!'. Pull in close, draw your weapon, and stay tight. This keeps your horses from becoming vulnerable to hamstringing as well as allowing us to let the enemy come to us. Should we ever need to regroup, you will hear the word 'circle' again, or 'break' if we are to break the defense. Understood? Good."<BR><BR>Elbren paused a moment, and then suddenly, shouted, "CIRCLE!"<BR><BR>************************************************************<BR><BR>Galadhon and Ronin made their way quickly to the to a little used path that led tthrough one of the thickest parts of Lothlorien. It was Galadhon's intent to make the Anduin River well North of the Anduin Guard's series of flets, and then continue North on the West side of the Great River until they came to the Forest Gate itself to Mirkwood. <BR><BR>"You know," Ronin said, sounding dangerously full of excitement and adrenaline, "it was somewhere out here, I think, where Prince Marius found the wolf who changed into a woman."<BR><BR>"What?!" Galadhon peered back at his friend, "where did you hear that?"<BR><BR>"I heard it a few days ago near the guard tower at the Great Tree," Ronin replied, eyes gleaming.<BR><BR>"You're making that up."<BR><BR>"Hardly," Ronin smiled.<BR><BR>"Well," Galadhon was not going to let Ronin spook him, "this is also where the trees attacked the orcs during the War of the Ring."<BR><BR>"Trees?"Now it was Ronin's turn to be skeptical. "Attacking orcs? This isn't Fangorn, Galadhon."<BR><BR>"No, but it is the Golden Wood and it can be perilous," Galadhon grinned, "some of the Elves who saw the trees awaken and what they did to the orcs in their anger have never, ever spoken a word since that moment."<BR><BR>"What do you mean, 'not spoken a word'?"<BR><BR>"Carnimiriel says that their minds are so twisted now that they cannot find their voice to speak."<BR><BR>Something in the words, or perhaps in the slow, methodical way that he had spoken them, struck a chord within both of the young runaways. Suddenly the forest seemed very close indeed and every creak of a branch or whisper of a leaf made them jump.<BR><BR>"She told you that?"! Ronin finally asked.<BR><BR>"No," Galadhon had to confess, "I overheard her talking once with my Uncle Elbren about it. They were both in the wood when it happened."<BR><BR>"Well," Ronin looked around, "I suppose that since we're not Orcs, we don't have anything to worry about."<BR><BR>"No, probably not," Galadhon breathed a sigh of relief.<BR><BR>"So what are these dreams that Rosmarien has been having?" <BR><BR>"Weird ones...I mean she has always had weird dreams, but now she's dreaming about things that are happening," Galadhon explained, his brows drawing together in thought, "I trust her feelings and visions. I think that she has the Sight."<BR><BR>"What's the 'Sight'?"<BR><BR>"Something within Elven blood...some Elven blood, anyway. The Numenoreans also possess some of this gift," Galadhon was suddenly sounding boastful as his studies with his tutors began to roll off of his tongue, "Glorfindel has it, as does Galadriel, and Elrond, too. It allows you to sometimes....know....things. Carnimiriel has it, and I think Rosmarien has it."<BR><BR>"And do you have it?" Ronin's question was a challenge almost.<BR><BR>Galadhon, surprisingly, sighed and shook his head, "No, I do not think so, and I am rather glad of it."<BR><BR>"Why is that?"<BR><BR>"I do not think that I...." Galadhon pulled gently on the reins and stopped the horse, "what is that?"<BR><BR>"What? Oh...."<BR><BR>Just ahead, within the trees, there were shadows moving....
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Postby Jiyadan » Fri Oct 31, 2003 6:31 pm

As the small group prepared to break journey, having chosen to travel at night and sleep in daylight hours, Jiyadan could not help but again notice the piercing and suspicious gaze of their guide. They were four days out of the Elven-King's hall, and throughout their journey the Elf who accompanied them made little effort to hide either his distrust or his distain of the Easterling. <BR><BR>Rho tended the horses as Jiyadan built a small fire over which to cook, the bright rays of dawn hiding the small amount of light smoke it gave off. The Elf, whose name he had learned to be Gilaelin, fingered his dagger lightly as he looked on, lifting not a finger in the preparations and sipping casually from his skin. Jiyadan felt irritated to speech at last.<BR><BR>"Your feelings towards Easterlings are of no concern to me, nor do I hold you a fault for them; but your lack of courtesy to the Lady Rholarowyn and your refusal to do aught but the most vital of tasks to sustain yourself is wearing thin upon me. Surely your conscience can not object to at least playing a part of this company so long as you guide us by helping with the necessary daily needs."<BR><BR>"I guide you by orders of my King, but I will do naught else for your benefit..." Gilaelin began but Jiyadan cut him off sharply.<BR><BR>"Then do it for Rholarowyn!" he shouted angrily, not noticing Rho who had come up beside him and now put her hand on his arm. <BR><BR>"Jiy, it's alright; the horses are done and you know I don't mind," she said softly, hoping to delay, if not prevent entirely, these two from engaging in more than a battle of words. <BR><BR>Without a word, the Easterling turned away and went to fetch the bedrolls and some rations. Gilaelin watched him with a flash of anger before he turned to Rho. "You would do wise, Lady, to sleep with one eye open as you journey with that one. Once I am no longer guiding you, there is nothing to prevent his knife from finding itself in your throat."<BR><BR><BR>---------------<BR><BR><BR>Jiyadan leaned against Nothea for a few moments, allowing the anger to pass. It was not on account of the hatred <i>he</i> had to endure, for he was used to that - but to turn that anger into even the slightest discourtesy towards Rho was unconscionable. She did not deserve to bear the brunt of the prejudice over his blood and he found himself questioning whether he should have come at all. <BR><BR>"Perhaps we should have stayed in Dorwinion, my friend," he said softly as he stroked Nothea's neck. "I do not desire for Rho to suffer on my account." He stared into the trees at nothing for a while until his need for sleep at last pulled at him and he finished his task and returned to the small camp. <BR><BR>With his bedroll under one arm and Rho's under the other, the food dangling from his hands, he had to admit: despite his dislike of their guide, it was invaluable to have a companion who was not in need of sleep as they were, for his eyes and ears were the perfect watch. It chaffed him that they were dependant upon so arrogant a soul, however. '<i>Three more days,</i>' he reminded himself. '<i>Only three more days... two if we are lucky.</i>'
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Postby Teherin » Mon Nov 03, 2003 8:36 am

Tallain felt the wind in his hair once again as he sat the steady swing of Vento’s easy gait. Riding point with Alandriel beside him, he remained alert, trying to focus on his surroundings and the road ahead, especially since Lord Elbren had called a CIRCLE to those accompanying him earlier on making sure each and everyone knew what their role in the group was.<BR><BR>Tallain could feel 2 things worrying at his concentration – one was one of the companions he had just been introduced to – Riencuran. She seemed strangely familiar, even though his first reaction had been that he did not know her and had never seen her before, but his instincts were telling him otherwise, and each time he sought to try and recall why she appeared familiar to him, the thought seemed to slide away, as though being chased. He frowned, trying to make a mental note to talk to his ‘mentor’ about this later on.<BR><BR>Glancing at the flame haired ranger riding in deep thought beside him, he was struck again by how familiar she seemed to him as well … as though there were traits in her character and in her attitude that struck a chord deep inside him … the Easterling shook his head .. these were strange times and the lack of sleep was probably beginning to take its toll on his memories and his judgement.<BR><BR>As they rode along, mostly in silence, scanning their surroundings for possible dangers, he felt the bump of his quiver and bow on his back, the unfamiliar length resting lower than his normal weapon had …. And then he recalled his trip to the armoury once his summons to Lord Elbren had been received in the Guild House, not so long ago that morning.<BR>Following the servant, he had been informed he was to proceed to the armoury, where he should choose a weapon. As Tallain followed the elf through unfamiliar corridors, he wondered how this would happen and felt a deep honour that Elbren should be willing to allow one of his heritage inside the Knights’ Armoury.<BR>At the impressive door, wrought in elven design and beauty, he was met by the one who had been Alandriel’s mentor – Lady Elenath – who although looking at him slightly askance, nevertheless showed him courtesy and invited him to enter the armoury and select a weapon … one to suit him, and to be carried and used in the Name of the Mithril Knights and for their honour.<BR><BR>Awed, the Easterling followed her inside the darkened room, flickering lights outlined across the walls added to the sense of majesty that pervaded the chamber. All around him Tallain could see weapons of every sort, shape and size, as well as armour, shields, vambraces … in fact everything any seasoned warrior should ever want.<BR>As he made his way through the room, stopping to admire a particularly beautiful or impressive item, he was suddenly aware of a tall, curved longbow standing in the far end of the room. Walking towards it as though drawn by a magnet, the Easterling paused in front of it, then reached his fingers out and grasped the moulding – it fitted as though it had been made for his hand. He hefted it, feeling the difference in weight and the longer reach of its curved arc. Then sighting through the line of shot, he drew back the seemingly perfect string, his fingers cupped around, as though an arrow had been fitted to it. As he let the string slowly down, it seemed to sing, and the elven Arms Master Elenath looked sharply at him. Tallain almost dropped the bow in amazement as small lights seemed to dance in front of his eyes, but they had not come from the bow itself, but from something within his mind !<BR>He picked the bow up determinedly, and found beside it a quiver of arrows, exquisitely fletched in black and green, the colours of the forest – Tallain smiled, used as he was to his own tan and grey colours, but happy nevertheless to be carrying those of his companions.<BR>The quiver was etched with strange runic markings, swirling in and about each other, in dark ebony upon the leather. A wooden inlay around the top of the quiver matched the bow and he knew that they belonged together.<BR><BR>Turning to the Lady he bowed and said ‘My lady Elenath, if you are in agreement, I would be honoured to carry this weapon in the honour of the Knights to whom I have pledged my sword and my skills.’ She nodded quietly, impressed in spite of her misgivings by his honesty and fervour.<BR><BR>Tallain knew as they rode together that he would need to investigate the bow again and he would require practice with his new weapon, given its differences to the one he was familiar with, he was also curious as to the nature of the lights he had ‘seen’ and hoped that with Alandriel close and assisting him, he could get to the bottom of that and the mystery of Riencuran.
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Postby Tempest » Mon Nov 03, 2003 1:40 pm

<i>”Can you make it out?” </i> Ronin whispered, aware of the advantage Galadhon had with his elvish sight. <BR><BR><i>”There are too many shadows. But, they look sort of like….”</i><BR><BR><i>”Animals,”</i> Ronin finished for him in a low voice. Both boys felt their hearts sink. The movements under the trees definitely had an animal-look, and they remembered that wolves had been seen in the woods as of late.<BR><BR><i>”What should we do?”</i><BR><BR><i>”The wind is with us for now. That’s why they haven’t sensed us,”</i> Galadhon replied in a sick voice. <BR><BR><i>”Can we go around them?”</i> Ronin asked.<BR><BR><i>”There may be more….”</i><BR><BR><i>”If we ride hard, maybe they won’t be able to catch us. You said your horse was fast.”</i> Ronin pressed.<BR><BR>Galadhon’s eyes were fixed on the shadowy figures, and he knew it was only a matter of time until they saw them. However, his heart was stirred by sudden heroic thoughts, and he almost welcomed the idea of fighting valiantly against a host of savage wolves. In his innocence he could not yet conceive of the cost of such a battle. <i>”We can’t turn around now, so we’ll have to go around them. If they catch wind of us, we could fight…”</i><BR><BR><i>”Fight? Don’t you see how many there are?”</i> Ronin said incredulously. <i>”We won’t stand much of a chance. Our best course is to outride them, or go back.”</i><BR><BR><i>”We can’t go back,”</i> Galadhon replied fiercely. <i>”We have to get to Mirkwood. We have to warn my uncle. Even if we die trying!”</i><BR>
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Postby Elbren » Tue Nov 04, 2003 8:39 pm

The shadows of the late autumn day fell fast upon the Great Forest Road of Mirkwood. The company had met few travelers upon the road that first day and even fewer the next. Elbren noted the signs of passing, though, of a great many within the last fortnight.<BR><BR>"Refugees fleeing the North," Elbren said to Marius' unspoken question as they paused on that second afternoon.<BR><BR>"Why do they not travel to Thranduil's Halls?"" Marius asked, "it is closer, yes?"<BR><BR>"It is," Elbren nodded, "but even now, Marius, in the Age of Man, old feuds still linger. Thranduil's Halls are not open to all, and some wounds have yet to heal. The Battle of the Five Armies has not been forgotten in these lands, though it is probably just a legend in yours."<BR><BR>"I have heard of it," Marius said stubbornly, "though...I admit it has always seemed very far away."<BR><BR>"The lust for the Arkenstone is still a source of bitterness between the Elves of Mirkwood, the Men of Esgaroth, and the Dwarves of Erebor," Elbren sighed.<BR><BR><i> Where are you, Dirk? Elbren's thoughts wandered to the young Knight...have you reached the Lonely Mountain and shown the shards of the Arkenstone to the King Under the Mountain? Will he welcome the Mithril Knights or will he call us breaker of oaths? </i><BR><BR>"And so the refugees flee to the Great River...and then where?" Marius gestured to the South.<BR><BR>"Some will perhaps make it as far as the Gap of Rohan, some will stop on the river and perhaps attempt to start a small community, even if it is only for the winter," Elbren grimaced, "for winter is coming and I fear it will be a fierce one."<BR><BR>"What of us, Lord Elbren?" the Rohirric Prince shook his head, "why do we head away from Esgaroth?"<BR><BR>"Because we go to seek the aid of what could be a very strong ally," Elbren replied.<BR><BR>"Might I ask who that is?"<BR><BR>"Yes, you may," Elbren chuckled, "his name is Grimbeorn. He is a....Man and a leader of a Tribe of Men who have no love for those who burn and pillage. If I can convince them to join us with our attempt to break the Southern line of the Red Hammer, I feel certain that we will succeed and then the Beornlings can return to their lands and simply keep up their usual patrols."<BR><BR>"Beornlings?" Marius blinked, "The...Shape Shifters?"<BR><BR>Elbren nodded, "Exactly."<BR><BR>******************************<BR><BR>That evening at camp, Elbren took the first watch with Tallain as the others rolled themselves in their blankets and began to fall asleep. The fire burned low with few flames, but with many glowing and almost white hot coals. Elbren and Tallain both sat near the embers, their cloaks drawn close against the evening chill. The moon overhead was waxing, and to the North, the Sickle, the Valacirca, Sickle of the Valar, was just becoming visible over the canopy of trees.<BR><BR>"You know," Elbren said quietly, "you never asked me what it is what I wanted from you as my favour."<BR><BR>Tallain shook his head slighty, "M'lord?"<BR><BR>"The first night that we met and you pledged yourself to allying with the Guild," Elbren reminded him, "I told you that I would have a favor later on to ask of you. A boon."<BR><BR>"Ah, yes," Tallain smiled, "I do remember."<BR><BR>"Well," Elbren began, "I know many tongues of Middle Earth, though some I can read much better than speak, but your language, I do not know at all. If you would teach it to me, I would be much obliged. Perhaps, if you wish, I can even teach you some of the Elvish that is spoken in my realm of Lothlorien."<BR><BR>Tallain paused in his movements, either too surprised to speak or unable to find a proper response.<BR><BR>"Oh dear," Elbren said, "if I have offended you in some way by making this request, I apologise. I admit, I am not overly familiar with the Customs of your people, Tallain."<BR><BR>When the Easterling still did not respond, Elbren kicked one of the remaining logs on the fire just enough to allow it to fall and break into several glowing coals.<BR><BR>Elbren cocked his head sideways and looked at the fire quizzically, "You can almost make out faces in the coals...and they sort of move--"<BR><BR>"Don't move," Tallain said firmly.<BR><BR>"Wha--"<BR><BR>"DONT move, M'lord," Tallain was frozen.<BR><BR>"What is it?" Elbren tried not to breathe.<BR><BR>"I thought they were just shadows until a moment ago....I do believe, Lord Elbren, that they are spiders lowering themselves from the trees..."<BR><BR>***************************************<BR><BR>Galadhon gently nudged his horse with slight pressure from his knees and attempted to stay upwind of the wolves while avoiding them. It seemed to work, for after awhile, it seemed, the shadows and movement finally ceased.<BR><BR>They soon heard the roar of the Great River and when they saw the twinkling lights of Elven lanterns in the distance, Galadhon knew that he had not gone far enough North and that they had arrived at the Galadrim Anduin Guard flets. <BR><BR>"What are those?" Ronin whispered.<BR><BR>"We're too far to the south," Galadhon sighed, "we need to turn North and stay North until we reach the Gladden River. There's a settlement there of Elves..mostly...but some Men, too, I think. We can rest and eat."<BR><BR>"Won't we be recognised? You think word will be out yet about us being gone?" Ronin sounded skeptical.<BR><BR>Galadhon hadn't really thought of that and so he shrugged in answer.<BR><BR>"I think we'd better stick to the forests and away from settlements, Galadhon, or we'll find ourselves back in Caras Galadhon with a very angry Lady Carnimiriel to contend with!!"<BR><BR>"Well," Galadhon nodded his head, feeling the sense of adventure again, without the tinge of fear that the wolves had brought, "perhaps then we shall just remain out of sight. Between the two of us, we should be able to hide our trail well enough!"<BR><BR>"And how long to Mirkwood? Do you have enough food?" Ronin began to remember that he had not yet eaten dinner.<BR><BR>"I brought enough lembas and even some bitter beer to keep up our spirits," Galadhon smiled, "and we have our bows. We can always take fresh meat."<BR><BR>"Yea," Ronin's eyes grew wide.<BR><BR>We can always take fresh meat...how grownup that sounded! And they could! They were both skilled hunters, really only lacking the strength and size to make themselves formidable warriors. And the day was coming, they both knew, as did their parents and guardians, when they would indeed be mighty soldiers indeed.<BR><BR>Alas, though, that day had not arrived yet; and they were both too young and too eager to taste of war and battle. They traveled for three days avoiding any contact with anything other than three deer, five rabbits, what might have been the wolves again, and a pair of beavers. They did indeed take fresh meat from those three days: Ronin shot two coneys with his bow while Galadhon cheered his prowess. Ever they kept the River to the East and they covered the signs of their passing with what skills they possessed between them.<BR><BR>And their trail was covered well; for the trackers, guards, and others who heeded the Lady Carnimiriel's plea for aid, did not pick up the trail until the boys had been gone for nearly four days. They discovered that it wasn't just the attempts of Ronin and Galadhon alone that had kept the trail from them; it was with dismay that the Anduin Guards reported to Carnimiriel that the boys were being tracked by a pack of wolves as well. Not just any wolves, the Guard explained, these were very large wolves who seemed more intent upon tracking the boys than attacking and killing them...
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Postby Alandriel » Wed Nov 05, 2003 5:25 am

Alandriel was glad to be on the road again. Not that the halls of the Mirkwood guild had not offered many splendours. But she loved forests above all and her recent mysterious ‘meeting’ with her mentor of old had brought back a longing for the woods she keenly felt. Yet try as she might to enjoy the ride at the head of their column she could not bring herself to relax.<BR>Tallain’s close proximity to her constantly reminded her of the task she had been charged with. There was so little she knew about him…there was so much to do. But how.. and when? Responsibility weighed heavily on her mind and so she rode mostly in silence.<BR><BR>As evening drew near Lord Elbren ordered to make camp. Having taken care of her mount, Alandriel went in search for a small stream to replenish her water skin. Stepping silently over the mossy ground she was glad for some moments alone; just her and the soft night sounds of the deep woods. A soft gurgling soon alerted her to the presence of a small spring. Kneeling down, she dipped her hands into the clear and cool water and then brought them up to her face. As she lowered her hands, the light of the waxing moon made some stray droplets accumulating in the centre of her palm sparkle, like a crystal.<BR>That was it! Why had she not thought of it before? The crystal! Just as it had helped her learn to focus and direct it would do the same for Tallain. <BR>Almost hurriedly she filled her skin and returned to the camp. ‘Yes! This will do nicely’ she thought, as some time later she held the small stone in her palm, relieved that it had been amongst the many tightly wrapped satchels in her pack. A glance back revealed Tallain sitting next to Elbren by the fire. They were talking. Alandriel pocketed the stone. Not wanting to interrupt, she approached them from the opposite side when suddenly she heard Tallain’s tense voice directed at the Guild-Master:<BR><BR>“Don’t move!”<BR><BR>Alandriel froze in mid-step a few paces opposite the two, her gaze fixed on the Easterling.<BR><BR>"I thought they were just shadows until a moment ago....I do believe, Lord Elbren, that they are spiders lowering themselves from the trees..."<BR><BR>Spiders?! Alandriel glanced around wildly yet did not twitch a muscle. Was it a trick of moon-shadows or was it real? She felt her skin crawl and the hairs at the back of her neck stand up. Try as she might she could not make out any clear shapes in the semi-darkness. The only clear silhouettes she could discern were those of Rien, Léanë and Marius, laying on the ground not far off, wrapped motionless in their blankets, apparently asleep. <BR><BR>Her gaze coming once more to rest on the faces of Elbren and Tallain, the ranger’s hand ever so slowly sought the hilt of the Eket at her side. The red jewels reflected angry sparks from the dying embers and she saw Elbren’s eyes narrow. <BR><BR>And then, suddenly, one of the Knight’s in Training yelled out.<BR>
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Postby Tempest » Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:28 am

<i>”Galadhon,”</i> Ronin’s voice broke the stillness of the place where they had stopped to make camp for the night. The sky was cloudy, affording them no moonlight or starlight to guide them on their way. The elf boy had been loathe to stop, but after losing his way a few times, he was forced to do so. Thankfully he had the foresight to pack plenty of lembas, enough for both him and Ronin provided they did not take too long in reaching Mirkwood. They had spoken very little during their last day's ride, as if they were afraid their voices would attract the attention of their foes, even if though it had been four days since they had seen any sign of an enemy. <BR><BR>Now, however, with their stomachs full and drowsiness creeping at their eyes, Ronin became contemplative, a mood which often resulted in teasing from Rosmarien. <i>”Stop looking so serious,”</i> she would say with a laugh, <i>”Your whole face seems to melt into a frown. Even your eyes seem a shade darker than normal.”</i> He would try to frown more at her when she would say this, but it never worked for very long. He could not pretend anger in the smiling face of Rosmarien. <BR><BR><i>”Galadhon,”</i> Ronin said again, rolling onto his side and looking across the small fire at his friend. <i>”Do you often think about your father?”</i><BR><BR>Galadhon was silent for a moment and poked a twig into the dying embers. <i>”Yes. Though, sometimes it is hard to picture his face.”</i><BR><BR><i>”I wish I could remember my father’s face. I never saw him, not even when I was a baby. What was your father like, Galadhon?”</i><BR><BR><i>”My father was….my father was very brave. He was a great warrior, and his enemies would quail before him. But he was also very kind.”</i> the boy replied quietly.<BR><BR><i>”I think my father was evil. My mother says she’ll tell me more about him when I am older. That can only mean that he was very bad. When she thinks of him, I am frightened by the look that comes across her face,”</i> Ronin said in an awed voice.<BR><BR><i>”Well, the only men who lived in Mordor with your mother were bad men, so I guess that would be true,”</i> Galadhon said with a yawn, though he was secretly intrigued by Ronin’s statement. In his head he listed all the terrible names he remembered about Mordor and wondered if one of them was his friend’s father. <BR><BR><i>”What happened to your father?”</i> Ronin asked hesitatingly.<BR><BR><i>”He was killed in a war that happened after the War of the Ring. Some of the Dark Lord’s servants tried to regain power in Mordor, and my father and uncle Elbren, and many others rose up to stop them. I think that….”</i> his voice lowered to a whisper when a low growl shook the pleasant mood of the camp. It seemed to come from the shadows around them, but it sounded distant, as if it were still a long way away. Both boys were immediately on their feet. <BR><BR><i>”What was that?”</i> Ronin asked breathlessly.<BR><BR><i>”They’ve found us,”</i> Galadhon answered.<BR><BR><i>”It sounded further away. Maybe they’re following our tracks,”</i> the other boy offered.<BR><BR><i>”Quick! Pack up our things! We need to get out of here!”</i><BR><BR><i>”But it’s so dark! We’ll lose our way again! How do we know where to go?”</i> Ronin’s voice was edged in fear.<BR><BR><i>”If we stay, they’ll find us. We’ll take our chances elsewhere. Keep your sword out. We may need it sooner than I thought….”</i><BR>
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Postby Léanë » Thu Nov 06, 2003 12:14 pm

<i>An Easterling!</i><BR><BR>Léanë still could not get over it. An Easterling, here! And travelling with them. Once again a scowl appeared on Léanë’s face as she thought of this. <i>Why would Lord Elbren allow an Easterling to accompany them? How could he be so forgiving? Did he not remember the devastation his kind had caused to the lands in the West?</i> Her preoccupation with her hatred towards Easterlings nearly cost her. As Lord Elbren suddenly shouted “CIRCLE!”, Léanë hesitated for all but ten seconds and then, blushing scarlet for letting her thoughts stray, hastened to take up her position. <i>In a real battle your hesitation would have cost you your life, Léanë. And perhaps that of your companions. So get over your prejudice, now! This is not the time for this.</i><BR><BR><BR>Lord Elbren had not berated her for her lapse in attention, but Léanë was nevertheless still feeling deeply ashamed. She resolved never to let her feelings get in the way of doing what she needed to do on this journey. She sighed, shifting slightly in her saddle, and glanced around at her companions. Ri rode opposite her, looking grim and silent, the Easterling (<i>Tallain, his name was</i>) rode ahead with the flame-haired Ranger, Alandriel, both also silent. Lord Elbren and Prince Marius (Léanë had been shocked to see him there... this was King Éomer’s son, after all) spoke occasionally in soft tones.<BR><BR>And so the first and much of the second day had passed, without anything happening. The group had passed a few travellers occasionally, and Léanë wondered to see them, for they all seemed tired and worn and wore the expressions of people who had come to much grief and had fled from it. She wanted to ask Lord Elbren about it, and decided she would do so as soon as they stopped for the day. But Léanë found she did not have to ask, as she overheard a conversation between the Lords Elbren and Marius. <i>So the travellers they saw were refugees of the North? But what did they flee from?</i> Léanë moved a little closer to the two men, pretending she wanted to move her pack, hoping to hear more. And hear more she did, though she understood but a little of what was said. All she knew was that they travelled not to Esgaroth but to seek a strong ally against something called the red Hammer. <i>What was that?</i> So many questions, but who could she ask to enlighten her? Perhaps, she could ask the Ranger...<BR><BR>Léanë blinked, and suddenly realised she had been standing with her pack in her hand, staring at nothing, for quite a while, and that both Lord Elbren and Marius had moved away. Shaking her head slightly, Léanë quickly moved back towards where Storm was tethered. After grooming him and making sure he had enough food, she sound herself a comfortable spot near him and settled down for the night. Lord Elbren and Tallain took the first watch, and Léanë, who could not seem to fall asleep, found herself watching her surreptitiously from under her lashes. She was still suspicious of the Easterling, even though he had been quite polite to her on the two occasions he had ventured to speak to her. Léanë had made herself answer him, but her words had come out stilted and stiff, and Tallain had taken the hint and left her alone after that. And Léanë did not regret it at all; she would never allow herself to get friendly with an Easterling...<BR><BR>“DON’T move, M’Lord.”<BR><BR>Tallain’s voice, quiet though it was, cut across her thoughts and Léanë propped herself up and looked quizzically at him, noting subconsciously that Alandriel was headed towards where Tallain and Lord Elbren sat. <i>Why would he warn Lord Elbren about Alandriel? She was not a threat; she was a part of their group. Why...</i><BR><BR>“I thought they were just shadows until a moment ago... I do believe, Lord Elbren, that they are spiders lowering themselves from the trees..."<BR><BR>Léanë’s breath caught in her chest and her heart nearly stopped. <i>Spiders?!</i> She froze, trying to make herself stay calm. Léanë had heard about the spiders of Mirkwood, and stories were not pleasant. She forced herself to resume breathing, and slowly began get up. As she had been taught, she formed a void in her mind and tried to empty out all her thoughts and simply focus. But just then, she felt the softest of touches on her right shoulder. She could not help it. The void wavered, and she screamed, and sprang up, automatically picking up her sword that lay near her, and whirling around, blindly lunged her sword at whatever had touched her.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby GandalfStormcrow » Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:56 pm

As Raghnildur tensed his body for the stroke that would end his life, absolute rage and shame burned in his mind. He became a warrior long ago to erase the pain that plagued him since his father fell. The man had fallen in the battle in which he himself should have been fighting, if not for that cursed dart that had bound him to a bed for those long months. He had failed his father, and his father had paid for it with his life. Now he had failed his companions, to what cost he would not know. The arrow would pierce him within moments. <BR><BR>Suddenly his left elbow seared with pain. Why had the bowman shot him in the arm? Yet it was more of a burning sensation, similar to…the strings of a harp tinkled a few notes not unlike a scolding, and within seconds a horrible scream came from behind Raghnildur. Turning around as fast as he was able, he saw that the arrow bound for him had burst into flame, and reset its course for the bowman. It had not missed. Looking to his left, he saw Agarak floating in midair, and the light behind his ruby eyes flashed over to Raghnildur. Whispering an astonished “Thank you,” Raghnildur inclined his head toward the harp. A few notes escaped the harp once more, rather cocky and teasing this time, and the harp was gone. <BR><BR>Raghnildur turned back to the fight, still somewhat in shock that he was alive, his eyes met a gladsome sight. In fact, there was hardly a fight to be called such anymore. Master Erinhue, still laughing, had completely confounded his opponent with such masterful swordplay, and the unfortunate man he was fighting must have tried everything to get away from him. He now looked like he did not know whether to run, fight, or surrender, which merely served to give Erinhue more reason to laugh. Looking over to Falathiel and Telta, Raghnildur saw a wide circle of unconscious bodies about them. Falathiel was working quickly to erase any evidence of Telta’s wound in the case more foes should arrive. <BR><BR>Raghnildur’s pulse quickened at the next sight that met his eyes. One of the enemies that lay seemingly unconscious on the ground behind the two elves was very slowly pulling his dagger from his sheath. Nary a sound came from the metal blade, which was a testament to the man’s stealth. Not even the two elves he was about to strike against heard a sound. As Raghnildur silently drew his own dagger, another <i>twang</i> from a bow sounded to his right, from the top of one of the buildings. This arrow, however, was aimed off to his side, where Erinhue was still making sport of the poor man who had chosen him. In a flash of mail and steel, Raghnildur’s sword impaled the throat of the man across the street, and the arrow was hewn in two in mid-flight by his dagger. <BR><BR>Falathiel turned and saw the man pinned to the tree behind him by Raghnildur’s sword, dagger clenched tightly in hand and understood immeditately what had nearly occurred. Looking at Raghnildur and seeing him without a weapon for he had used both sword and dagger, she quickly pulled his sword from its victim. In a motion more fluid than the man had seen she swung and let go of the sword, and less than a second later it stood in the dirt of the road, hilt only inches from his hand. He smiled, picked up his blade, and quickly set off behind the buildings to find the man who had nocked the arrow intended for his master.<BR><BR>Once again a fire burned inside as he pulled himself up onto the roof of the building the arrow had come from. A grim smile lit up his eyes and mouth. He would enjoy dispatching this one.
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Postby Rholarowyn » Sun Nov 09, 2003 12:22 pm

<BR><i>”You would do wise, Lady, to sleep with one eye open as you journey with that one. Once I am no longer guiding you, there is nothing to prevent his knife from finding itself in your throat.” The elf said coldly. </i><BR><BR>The shieldmadien remained silent as her eyes followed Jiyadan over to where he stopped by his horse and she suddenly became aware of the extreme weariness trying to take over her body. Adjusting to the nighttime travel instead of the day was only part of the reason why.<BR><BR>“Gilaelin,” Rho began as she turned around to face the elf not hiding the frustration in her voice. “If Jiyadan’s blade ever found reason to be held against my flesh I would give my neck to him willingly and not raise my sword, not even my hand to stop him.”<BR><BR>“M’La…Rholarowyn, how can you say this?” The elf answered shocked. “I know you’ve seen what his people can do, I know you’ve fought against them. They are the dogs of hell! No good can come from him or his kind…especially here, here in…” <BR><BR>“So the actions of some, even many, should be used to condemn them all?” Rho interrupted taking two steps towards the elf stopping only inches away from his chest. <BR><BR>Gilaelin stood his ground and looked down at Rho with an equal intensity. “Lady Rholarowyn, it is who they are. I’ve seen the horrors you have seen and more, much more. No good comes from them.”<BR><BR>“And what if I told you one of these “dogs of hell” saved my life?”<BR><BR>Holding the shieldmaiden’s fiery eyes with his Gilaelin answered with a slightly calmer tone. “Of course one might save your life <b>if</b> there was something to gain from doing so. You are one with close ties with the Stewards House. I’m sure he knew there would be great reward if he was to save you or use the “saving of your life” to gain something for himself.”<BR><BR>The elven guide then placed his hand upon Rho’s shoulder, as if trying to comfort her. “Do not fool yourself Rholarowyn in thinking your life was spared by some Eastron honor. They have no honor.” <BR><BR>Instantly Rho jerked her shoulder free from the elf’s grasp and took a step back. His hand remained in the air for a moment, resting on nothing, until he finally lowered it to his side. Their eyes remained locked on each other until Rho heard the sounds of Jiyadan’s footsteps approaching. <BR><BR>When she spoke, her reply was icy. Not even the warmth of the fire seemed to permeate the reality in which these two stood. “You best go take your position now.”<BR><BR>Gilaelin’s head moved slightly to acknowledge her. Without uttering a word he glanced over towards Jiyadan with a confident, knowing look of disgust before he gave Rho a final look of warning, turned, and then walked away.<BR><BR>
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Postby Teltasarewen » Sun Nov 09, 2003 8:42 pm

...and come they did as she stood side by side with Falathiel. But their numbers were dwindling and those that had witnessed the altercation soon lost interest in becoming one of those sprawled upon the ground for they had no doubts that they too would end up in an unconscious heap or worse as they watched the two men and the elves. <BR><BR>Telta stood sword ready but none came forth and as it dawned on her that the ones left were backing away she lowered her sword. Around them the unconscious bodies had formed a circle and she was amazed at the number. That so many would join in a fight over a card game made no sense. A momentary flash of regret passed over her face when she saw the lifeless body of Black Hair. But she let it go as Falathiel turned to her.<BR><BR>The streets became void of attackers and onlookers and Falathiel took advantage of the quiet to help her. Motioning her to move her arm from her side she revealed the blood soaked tunic which had spread to a point where her arm barely concealed the area. As her elf friend quickly cleansed the wound and redressed it once again Telta spoke. “Thank you Fala. Your quick actions saved me some trouble. I was not aware that my wound had reopened.”<BR><BR>“It was bound to happen my friend in the fight...and you are welcome. But it was Raghnildur who alerted me to your problem.”<BR><BR>“Then I shall have to thank him too.” She searched and found the man in question standing off by himself watching them his opponent lying at his feet. Telta gasped and looked down at her side as Fala tightly bound her wound with some clean bandages that the healers must have given her. “Does it hurt much?” Telta shook her head. “It is a little tender. I’ll be fine. I’m just glad that we are not back in Mirkwood.” she said the relief evident in her voice. A soft chuckle came from Falathiel as she caught Telta’s meaning.<BR><BR>Erinhue appeared unharmed as he toyed with the man he was occupied with. His movements were relaxed as the man tried time and again to advance upon him. The man’s skills were good but paled in comparison to Erinhue’s and when the man realized this he tried to make good his escape. Their mentor knight prevented it. The elf watched as Erinhue easily parried blow after blow. The man became agitated and began backing up in hopes of escaping in another direction. But he was going precisely nowhere.<BR><BR>“There now if you do not strain it again it should heal in a couple of days.” Teltas attention was drawn back to her present situation as Falathiel tucked away the remaining bandages and stood up. Telta wiped the drying blood from her sword as best she could. A momentary flash of regret passed over her face when she saw the lifeless body of Black Hair. But she let it go.<BR><BR>“I make no promises Fala. If circumstances...” Telta turned to see her friend had moved away and was in the process of tossing a sword in Raghnildur’s direction. Her aim was excellent as it landed just inches from him. He picked it up and took off after one of the men who had attacked them Telta wagered. The two elves scanned the rest of the unconscious bodies and when none showed any signs of moving they carefully picked their way over to Erinhue. Neither had any intention of getting involved as the man had everything under control. They watched as the knight wore his opponent down until he finally knelt upon the ground, breathing heavily his sword laying useless a few feet from him. The man said nothing as he looked up at Erinhue but the hatred burning from behind his eyes was undeniable. <BR><BR>“Are you alright?” Telta directed her question at Erinhue.
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Postby erinhue » Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:12 pm

“Telta, darlin’, I’m as right as I can be seeing’s how I’m left handed.” Erinhue responded and then looked down at his winded opponent kneeling before him. “And you, sir, I’m certain you will amend your opinion of my abilities now. You took in my apparent age and size and thought to take advantage. Let that be a lesson to ya.”<BR><BR>The Knight laughed as he wiped his sword on the kneeling man’s shoulder. The sword’s protests wailed away to silence as Erinhue slid it back into the jet and silver scabbard strapped to his back. The berserker’s denied rage was soothed to sleep by the faint hum of harp strings.<BR><BR> Erinhue looked up to see Raghnildur climbing down from the roof. Mentally he thanked Agarak for its assistance in that quarter, but did not feel the usual pulse of conceit the harp generally displayed in response to his gratitude. He looked at the young would be knight and smiled. It was natural for him to go after the one who so skillfully singled him out for a quick sharp death. In time he would learn to temper that with a sense of restraint and kill only when necessary.<BR><BR>Erinhue snorted at the thought. Who was he to speak about such things? Raghnildur was young and despite his consummate skills, he was not a warrior, not yet. He looked next to Telta. They were long friends and he knew her capabilities. He also knew of her desire to become a Mithril Knight and he was glad to be able to assist her in that effort. <BR><BR>His eye next fell upon Falathiel, who was doing what she could to care for Telta’s reopened injury. He had recognized the steel within the flower at their first meeting and had always counted upon her support in all Bard’s Guild ventures, but he was surprised to find her here. Not that it was so surprising.<BR><BR> In the residual chaos of the early Fourth Age many strange things had happened as he himself had witnessed. Most of the Eldar had taken to the sea, forsaking Middle Earth forever. Those that remained were making the adjustment to a new way of life. In light of that it made perfect sense to have so many joining with the Mirthril Knights to preserve what remained of the Old Codes and Old Alliances and protect Middle Earth from any re-emergence of the darkness.<BR><BR>Finally he looked back at the man before him. Reaching down, Erinhue grabbed the man by his shoulders and hauled him to his feet. The man did not resist. His associates lay sprawled all about them either unconscious or dead. Raghnildur had already begun to bind the arms of those who still drew breath.<BR><BR>“You, my friend, are going to go somewhere quiet and have a nice long chat. I’m sure a safety conscious fellow like you hears things, nice sharp mind up there, I bet, well I’m just positive that you have all sorts of juicy little secrets to share.”<BR><BR>The man snarled back in the face of Erinhue’s good cheer. “Secrets are just that and you’ll get none out of me.”<BR><BR>Erinhue’s smile was killer cold and did not reach into his storm gray eyes as he spoke in a lazy drawl. “Now I was really hoping you would go and say something like that. You’ve just won yourself a sizzling opportunity. I’d like ta introduce ya to my harp.”<BR>
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Postby Elbren » Mon Nov 17, 2003 8:40 pm

Galadhon watched the approaching shadows with dismay; he and Ronin had sought refuge underneath an outcropping of rock, and had thought the wolves had lost their scent. But, the wolves had merely begun circling them and were now creeping in closer, their eyes becoming clearly visible in the darkness.<BR><BR>"What do we do?" Ronin whispered, his eyes wide with fear.<BR><BR>Galadhon shook his head irritably, "We have no choice, Ronin. They're going to attack us; we have to fight. Is your bow strung? Good, notch an arrow and place the others near your hip. Only shoot when you are sure you are going to--"<BR><BR>A sudden movement to their left prompted them to nimble silence. The two boys looked from the phantom in the dark back to each other. Ronin set his jaw and nodded.<BR><BR>"Right," he said simply and began to place arrows, in a neat row, point down, near where he knelt.<BR><BR>Galadhon watched his friend with a horrid realisation that this was no dream; his desire to find Elbren and warn him was going to get Ronin and himself killed. Carnimiriel would never forgive herself, he thought, and the Lady Tempest...what would she do without Ronin?<BR><BR>"Ronin," Galadhon said, "I'm...sorry that this is going to end like this."<BR><BR>"What?!" Ronin looked up in surprise, "Don't be thinking like that, Galadhon. I'm not going to become a wolf's supper tonight; or, if I do, they'll take me down after every arrow is spent from my quiver."<BR><BR>The Elven youth smiled grimly at his friend; Ronin had the heart of a warrior and the courage of a Mithril Knight.<BR><BR>"Well said," Galadhon began to string his own bow, "we will go down together, as brothers."<BR><BR>"As brothers," Ronin agreed.<BR><BR>The first wolf leaped at them from the side, but it went down with one of Ronin's arrows firmly in its throat. Two more came from the front; one fell to Galadhon's arrow, but the second arrow from Ronin went wild. The wolf landed upon Ronin's chest and immediately lunged for his throat amidst a cacophony of growls and evil utterances.<BR><BR>Galadhon drew his sword and stabbed, without thinking, into the wolf's back; it was the third blow that severed the wolf's spinal cord and caused him to collapse atop a very stunned, but otherwise unhurt, Ronin.<BR><BR>The boys had no time to speak or consult, for the wolves were now attacking in unison, charging and retreating, wearing down their prey for the final kill. Within minutes, Ronin and Galadhon were breathless and covered in sweat and sported several deep gashes upon their hands and arms. <BR><BR>It was when Ronin realised that he only had five arrows left that he first heard the growling. It was a different growl altogether; either the wolves had changed their warsong, or some new creature had come to take what they could from the spoils of the battle.<BR><BR>"WHAT is that?" Ronin asked, exasperated.<BR><BR>Galadhon cursed under his breath and notched another arrow, "Bear. That, my friend, is the growl of a bear. And not just one either. Just when I thought we might--"<BR><BR>The bears were the largest that Galadhon had ever seen; as for Ronin, he had not seen a bear, at least not like the ones before them now. Easily eight to nine feet tall, walking on two legs, and simply massive. The boys were certain that they were facing their deaths, whether by wolf or bear was yet to be seen.<BR><BR>Yet, that is not what happened. The bears rushed forward with fearsome roars and began to attack the wolves. The wolves quickly scattered when the first victim fell to the bear's razor sharp claws, yelping and howling with pain and anger.<BR><BR>Ronin and Galadhon braced themselves, "They will rip us apart with one swipe," Ronin observed coolly. "At least it will be quick."<BR><BR>The bears came closer to the boys, but instead of attacking, they sniffed the air and looked at them with curious eyes.<BR><BR>"What are they doing?" Galahdon asked to no one in particular.<BR><BR>The bears continued their surveillance of the youths, keeping them under the outcropping with growls and movements of warning. Once the wolves howled in the distance, but the bears simply roared in answer.<BR><BR>Ronin and Galadhon sat wide-eyed, close together, wondering why they had been, thus far, spared from death.<BR><BR>*******************<BR><BR>When the first sign of dawn entered the Eastern sky, Galadhon rubbed his tired eyes and said a quick prayer of thanks that they yet still lived. Looking out into the grey morning, he was speechless at what he saw. <BR><BR>"Ronin, look," Galadhon pointed.<BR><BR>For there before them was a group of men, tall and muscular, dressed in animal hides...<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Tempest » Tue Nov 18, 2003 1:23 pm

<i>"Who are you?"</i> Ronin blurted out as the men advanced towards them. The closest man laughed in a deep voice, not unkindly, and both boys immedietly felt a wave of relief wash over them.<BR><BR><i>"Who are we? I think a better question to ask is: Who are you?"</i> he replied.<BR><BR><i>"We were on our way to Mirkwood when we were waylaid by those wolves,"</i> Galadhon spoke up with confidence.<BR><BR><i>"If you hadn't come around, I think they would have been the end of us,"</i> Ronin added solemnly.<BR><BR><i>"And why are two boys alone in a strange land at such a time as this? I didn't know that Lothlorien was so short of scouts that they had to use children,"</i> one of the other men observed in a gruff voice.<BR><BR>Galadhon was rather offended at the man's tone. <i>"We had to get word to my uncle in Mirkwood. It's very important!"</i><BR><BR><i>"It must be, for you to throw your lives away so recklessly. The land is changing. It was foolish of you to try to break through to Mirkwood. It should not be attempted unless you have at least a dozen mighty men, not with the wolves and other foul beasts afoot."</i><BR><BR><i>"We had to try,"</i> Galadhon answered sullenly.<BR><BR><i>"Trying to be heros, little man?"</i> one said, tossling Ronin's fair hair and smiling down at him. Ronin, unlike Galadhon, was fascinated with the strange people before him. They seemed so strong and confident, and they had scared the wolves away easily. He reached down and picked up his bow and held it out to them appeasingly. <BR><BR><i>"I was almost out of arrows. I think I'll need more to get to Mirkwood safely. Have you got any?"</i><BR><BR><i>"Mirkwood? You best put that thought out of your minds immedietly. You won't make it there, not on your own. You better turn around and return to Lothlorien. I'm certain your parents are worried about you,"</i> the deep throated man said with a warm laugh.<BR><BR><i>"My mother is in Mirkwood,"</i> Ronin replied.<BR><BR><i>"That's strange. You don't look like an elf."</i><BR><BR><i>"I'm not an elf! My mother is at the Guildhouse in Mirkwood!"</i><BR><BR>The men seemed very interested in that. <i>"Guildhouse? You wouldn't be talking about the Mithril Knights, would you?"</i><BR><BR><i>"Aye, the Mithril Knights,"</i> Galadhon interjected. <i>"We are carrying a message to their Guild leader."</i><BR><BR><i>"What kind of message?"</i> the man said, leaning down and observing the boys with keen eyes.
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Postby Turelie_Lurea » Tue Nov 18, 2003 4:34 pm

Marius was still torn. His father's figure was still merged with the great one of the Eldar Lord before him, and this caused sparks of anger, though not as many as before. Resentment still ran through his blood, coursing through him with bitterness. Yet, he respected the leader of the Mithril Knights and knew better than to disobey him--that much had been bred into the boy who wanted to be a man.<BR><BR>How could Elbren have left the magnificent sword behind? The boy wondered, incredulous. His own father's sword! However, Marius thought again. Perhaps Elbren, without realizing, too felt some anger toward his father. But this was mere speculation and an attempt to find common ground with the elf. <BR><BR>Yet, despite his lack of understanding and the rankor still stirring in his heart, he faithfully followed his Master. Honor was high in his mind and to break from the one he was sent to apprentice would be dishonorable indeed. So, he found questions to ask Elbren; questions he believed that he knew the answer to already, but needed that contact, that break from his father's image that still covered the Lord like a diaphanous sheet.<BR><BR>"What of us, Lord Elbren?" the Rohirric Prince shook his head, "why do we head away from Esgaroth?"<BR><BR>"Because we go to seek the aid of what could be a very strong ally," Elbren replied.<BR><BR>"Might I ask who that is?"<BR><BR>"Yes, you may," Elbren chuckled, "his name is Grimbeorn. He is a....Man and a leader of a Tribe of Men who have no love for those who burn and pillage. If I can convince them to join us with our attempt to break the Southern line of the Red Hammer, I feel certain that we will succeed and then the Beornlings can return to their lands and simply keep up their usual patrols."<BR><BR>"Beornlings?" Marius blinked, recalling stories he had heard, trying not to blanch at the imagined imposing figures, "The...Shape Shifters?"<BR><BR>Elbren nodded, "Exactly."<BR><BR>The son of King Eomer tried to cover his discomfort, for it was discomfort and not fear--he was too young to understand true fear--and he followed his Lord's orders. Thrilled to be charged with holding the back, his heart filled with pride at the Lord's compliments in his introduction earlier, the boy proudly fulfilled his duty. <BR><BR>But eventually they came to rest and the boy was drowsy from the excitement of holding a position finally within the group. Lord Elbren was near though far enough away that Marius could not hear his soft voice, and the boy kept an ear out, just in case Elbren called to him to fight whatever unseen beasts might be lurking in the area. He imagined wargs, and perhaps the elusive Shape Shifters, sneaking into camp, surprising them all.<BR><BR>Suddenly, the air grew too still. The sounds of his company ceased and Marius awoke to an eerie scene, suddenly framed by the scream of the woman Leane. <BR><BR>Realizing at once what the enormous, hairy creatures intended, the impetuous youth lunged toward the nearest monster. <BR><BR>"Ahhhh!" Marius whooped and hollered as he sank Laikemuil, the elven blade forged at his birth, into the stiff hairy form. But more were coming, some noticing their downed comrade, enraged, ten eyes on each glowing a repulsive scarlet, prepared to ingest this runt of a human. <BR><BR>He caught a glance of the look on the Lord's face--a flitting emotion across the ancient face--one of disapproval. Marius realized he had moved too soon, and in doing so, was risking the lives of those with whom he travelled.<BR><BR>'But too late now,' Marius growled, slashing at a leg that began to tickle his ear.<BR>
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Postby Teherin » Wed Nov 19, 2003 1:25 am

Tallain barely breathed as he watched the huge arachnoids towering themselves from the branches around the group, his hands reached out, behind him, to where his new bow and quiver were propped up against his saddle.<BR>Behind him he sensed more of the creatures, their huge legs rustling and their many eyes unblinking in the flickering firelight. He also sensed Alandriel to his right, she was standing similarly still, but he could feel she was preparing an attack.<BR><BR>Suddenly a scream from one of the sleeping forms split the quiet of the night and chaos erupted all around them. Leane had struck out wildly at one of the spiders who had inadvertently brushed its long leg across her shoulders, as her sword struck home in the large beast’s body, the others began to rear up on their hind legs, ready to strike out at the Mithril Knights and those in training.<BR>With a swift and smooth movement Tallain focused his mind on the closest adversary, behind him he could hear horses whinny and move about with increasing restlessness as they sensed the approach of the massive spiders.<BR>Reaching behind him, the Easterling shouldered his new bow and with a single smooth action sighted the closest spider, approaching with stronger motions as it sensed surprise had been lost – the chittering sounds all around them were unnerving, but Tallain focused, pulling the bow back to its full potential and feeling his gift surge in response, suddenly he was at one with the bow, only he and the target existed.<BR>Letting loose his first arrow he reached around and had placed the next arrow ready before he saw the beast topple over and moved slowly around to tackle the next attacker.<BR>Although he was focusing entirely on his target, his battle ready mind could sense Alandriel – the use of his empathic abilities in combat were the only way he had trained them, and she was like a bright beacon of power in the darkness surrounding them.<BR>She fought with skill and determination, felling the spiders as they got too close, but also moving towards the main group – her strange curved sword was as one with her arm and he could admire in a detached manner how she handled herself in combat.<BR>Tallain found the spiders hard to hit, the flickering firelight, combined with their natural ability for camouflage meant his concentration was constant and required total dedication to ensure that each arrow met its mark with devastation.<BR>He tried to ensure that the group was protected, but in the darkness this was a hard task as he was reluctant to fire too far into the shadows in case he hit one of his comrades.<BR>Turning he saw Alandriel combating a large grey spider whilst another sneaked up behind her. The Easterling trained his arrow and took the second attacker down before having reached too close, her quick glance in his direction showed that she appreciated his skill and she slowly moved further back towards him.<BR>Around them the sounds of battle continued, Tallain had managed to avoid close combat and the bow was almost a part of him, it was smooth and almost sang with every arrow fired.<BR>He dropped his arm as the attackers closed in, each one more ferocious and angry than before, and realised that he was going to have to use his sword, reluctantly placing the bow across his back, he reached down for his sword when Alandriel arrived behind him and placing herself at his back crouched in readiness, he smiled and together they defended each other, the spiders were aggressive but not too hard to kill once their weaknesses had been discovered ..<BR><BR>Soon the sounds of battle began to cease as the attackers realised the group was a little too hard to handle.<BR>The defenders wearily dropped their sword arms, checking for injuries – of which thankfully there were few.<BR>Tallain was grateful to this time have escaped with little more than a few scratches, but one of the others had been poisoned and Alandriel busied herself with a herbal cure.<BR>The Easterling was helped by Marius to recover several of the arrows, together with the assistance of a torch – but some were broken and he was saddened at the loss of such fine workmanship.<BR>Returning to the group he set about recovering and assessing any damage to their mounts.<BR>
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Postby Alandriel » Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:37 am

“Hold still, I have to make a cut to drain some of the poison.”<BR><BR>Ri nodded bravely and did not flinch when Alandriel pulled out her dagger from the remaining embers, now glowing red-hot. While it cooled, the Ranger’s eyes sought Tallain. It had been his arrows that had found, unerringly, target after target. It had been him that had felled the massive spider sneaking up from behind while she had been hard pressed to evade the groping and spitting of another. They had fought together, back to back. His valour, his single minded determination, the way he had fought at her side brought a whole new level of recognition…. Yes! Why was it so hard to admit?....Appreciation.<BR><BR>The blade in her hand had cooled sufficiently when the Ranger fixed the young woman in front of her. Ri nodded once more and set her jaw in anticipation of renewed pain. Not once did she avert her eyes as Alandriel skilfully made small cross cuts above the punctures, where a spider had sunk its poisonous fangs into the soft flesh of her thigh. She let blood run freely for some time and then packed the wound with a mixture of herbs, wrapping it all tight with some clean bandages from her travel pack.<BR><BR>Ri looked pale and cold sweat pearled on her forehead yet the glimmer of determination in her eyes was not diminished. Moving her injured leg she found, that despite the throbbing she still had full control over it. “The pain will soon subside,” Alandriel reassured the Knight in Training. “In a few days time, apart from a small scar, you will only have your memories of this event, and of those you can be proud. You fought bravely.” <BR><BR>Quickly she repacked her supplies and, swinging the travel pack over her shoulder, headed towards the others, busy with seeing after their horses and possessions.<BR><BR>“Can she ride?” enquired Elbren. <BR><BR>Alandriel nodded: “Yes my lord that she can, although it would do her good to rest a while.”<BR><BR>“Then we shall ride to the edge of the forest and rest a few hours ere the sun rises; but then we must be off with all speed.”<BR><BR>The group was soon ready and on its way. Elbren, being the most familiar with the forest paths, took the lead while Alandriel and Tallain brought up the rear. As they rode on at a steady trot, Alandriel steered her mount closer to Tallain. Groping in her tunic pocket she brought out her small crystal and handed it to Tallain.<BR><BR>“I saw how you fought. You used your gift.”<BR><BR>Tallain cast her a sidelong glance but then went on examining the stone in his palm.<BR><BR>“This will help you develop your abilities…. it helped me to train mine…. long ago. Just as you did in battle, if you focus your will to become one with the stone, it will glow; the better your focus, the brighter the light.” He looked at her somewhat nonplussed. “I will show you, when we rest. It can do a lot more than just glow, … you can do a lot more than just focus and be ‘at one’…. but first things first.” She gave him an encouraging nod and then urged her steed on, for, unwittingly, the distance between them and the group had increased. Just as she caught up, knowing that Tallain was immediately behind, they cleared the tree line.<BR><BR>Elbren gave orders for a short stop and soon everyone was settled, glad for one last respite before the long ride ahead. While the Trainees talked quietly amongst themselves, Tallain sat on a tree stump examining once more his new possession. ‘Let him try for himself first,’ Alandriel vowed silently as sat down not far from him. ‘When he’s ready to ask questions, he will come.’<BR><BR>Although she felt weary and saw that some of the group had wrapped themselves into their cloaks for a short sleep, she knew she would not be able to close her eyes. And so she retrieved her wet stone and oil rag from her travel pack and took to cleaning her Eket. <BR><BR>A bluish reflection from the blade in the soft light of the approaching dawn suddenly caught Elbren’s attention. For a long while he watched the Ranger, absorbed in thought. Eventually, the Eldar took to his feet and walked over with measured steps, stopped and then came to a crouch beside her. Alandriel looked up and nodded, acknowledging his presence. She remained silent however as her hands continued to draw the cloth along the slightly curved blade.<BR> <BR>"You took this from our armoury in Minas Tirith?" Elbren began, his eyes focussed searchingly on the weapon.<BR> <BR>"Yes my lord," Alandriel answered without looking up, "... though it was the blade that seemed to do the choosing…..at the time."<BR> <BR>Elbren watched her silently for a few moments and then said: "Do you know what kind of weapon this is?"<BR> <BR>Stopping her administrations, Alandriel met his gaze and then shook her head: "No, not really. I was told it was an ancient Númenorean blade... Lady Elenath approved my taking it....but nothing further."<BR> <BR>"May I?"<BR> <BR>Alandriel hesitated, suddenly feeling reluctant to part with what had become her most prized possession. Elbren’s outstretched hand never wavered, although he noted her disinclination to part with it even for what would be only a short amount of time. ‘You don’t trust him? Why?’ she reprimanded herself silently and then swallowed, offering the hilt to the Eldar. Elbren, with a small smile, took it and slowly turned it in his hands. Many minutes passed in silence as he studied the masterfully crafted weapon. <BR><BR>"This was found by one of our order,” he began almost haltingly at first, his tone soft as if coming from far away, his eyes set on the sword, “on the banks of the river Entwade before the War of the Rings and brought to our armoury. King Elessar, after his coronation, came to visit our guild house. When I took him to tour the Mithril Knights armoury he seemed to recognize it, yet - interestingly - decreed for it to remain in our vaults…. until such a time as its rightful owner would be known. And so it remained there....until…. “ <BR>The blade lay still in his hands as he fixed his gaze upon the Ranger: “….until you picket it up." <BR><BR>His words hung in the air. They seemed to echo in her mind. Alandriel's brow furrowed and she narrowed her eyes, fixing them on her Guild-Master, willing him to continue. Elbren slowly handed the sword back to the Ranger and took a long moment to search her eyes. <BR> <BR>"Not only Isildur carried an Eket," he said, "but also all of his sons. Only one such sword though survived the disaster of the Gladden Fields: the one belonging to Valandil, the only son of Isildur to survive the catastrophe. I was there…….”<BR><BR>Painful memories seemed to cast a deep shadow over the Guild Master as he fell silent. Blinking, as if to banish the terrible recollections, he then continued:<BR><BR>“Like the shards of Narsil, the Eket was handed down through the generations……. to Arvedui. Before he departed on his doomed flight north he charged his sons with their care. The eldest, Aranarth, took the Shards while the younger son took the lesser heirloom, the Eket; for they saw the danger of keeping both in just one man's charge during those troubled times. We know – you know - what happened to the Shards of Narsil. Yet no-one had any idea what had happened to the Eket, for many probably thought it lost - until the day it mysteriously turned up... at such a strange location. This is what I know, how it came into our possession…… and now into yours."<BR> <BR>It was Alandriel’s turn to blink, stunned at the possible implication of Lord Elbren’s words. After a long pause, she cleared her throat: "Do you mean to say ...?"<BR> <BR>"I am not the one to know about your heritage, Alandriel, nor about your connections; yet I do know the Eket’s. I find it very interesting that this particular sword should have such an affinity to you, don't you agree?"<BR><BR>Waves of alternating heat and cold coursed down the Rangers spine. Her hands, still holding the blade, almost trembled. She tightened her grip on the hilt until her knuckles turned white with the effort. And it happened yet again: the familiar feeling of power and pre-ordination rushed through her. She felt exhilarated and as the rush slowly ebbed away it left behind a knowing beyond words, beyond her grasp…. and a feeling of deep peace. That, however, was soon replaced by uncertainty. Her eyes met again those of Lord Elbren.<BR><BR>“If only I could know about my father, my lineage, they way you know … I feel ….. about this blade. All that was ever revealed to me clearly is that I was born in Esgaroth, and that only a few days ago – during the initiation. Yet I was found on the borders of Rohan as a young child ……”. She shook her head. Esgaroth, the Entwade, Rohan… where was the connection? Sighing she continued:<BR><BR>“Much was hinted at, during my years of study and training. However, to me, these have been nothing but riddles within riddles.”<BR><BR>“Yet you were trained as a Ranger, taken up into their ranks?”<BR><BR>Alandriel nodded and at Lord Elbren’s next question, her eyebrows knotted:<BR><BR>“Don’t you find that…. unusual?” He added after seeing her puzzled expression: “Well, Rangers usually only train or take in people of their own kind.”<BR><BR>The truth of his words hit her like a lightening bolt. It had been there, right in her face, all these many years – yet she had not seen it? <BR><BR>“Who ever trained you knows….. at the very least has some understanding, Alandriel; as to why they never told you…….? I’m sure they had their reasons. Maybe with all the recent events there will be a chance for you to find out soon.”<BR><BR>The Eldar’s encouraging smile was still fresh in her mind as Alandriel, alone again, pondered his words. Yet soon her expression lifted for the path she would have to take became clear in her mind. With a feeling of relief and a newfound sense of hope, she laid the Eket at her side. Her gaze was still on the scabbard, when suddenly a pair of soft leather boots came into focus. He had come!<BR>
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Postby Jiyadan » Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:09 pm

Jiyadan remained silent when he returned, noting the concern on Rho's face but asking no questions. He stared into the flames that licked at the wood, eating a small meal before laying on his bedroll and finding sleep. The flames continued in his dreams; flames that had sealed the doom of a land he had never known. <BR><BR>As the dreams continued, he mumbled strange sounds and half-words in Eastron, an unnatural fever causing a sweat to form on his brow. Gilaelin ignored the Easterling; the Elf's only other desire was to send him to his death - as his kind had sent so many immortal lives to the halls of Mandos. <BR><BR>Morning turned to noon and beyond; and it seemed they had barely fallen asleep before Gilaelin woke them, nudging Rho with his boot and leaving her to wake her companion. Camp broke quickly and the three set a pace that Jiyadan hoped would bring them to the river by the morning after next, soon to rid themselves of their unwelcome but necessary guide.<BR><BR>Little was spoken between the three of them and silence prevailed for the next two days until the River was at last before them. Removing the packs and arms from their horses, Rho and Jiyadan both bade their mounts farewell after their own manner and somewhat unwillingly turned them over to the Elf to be returned to the Mirkwood Guildhouse as they would now continue on with the aid of the boats that were stowed by the river in sheltered locations.<BR><BR>The Mithril Knight and her trainee carried one of the light Elven boats to the river's edge, loading their gear and soon themselves into the boat. Jiyadan was impressed at both the grace and beauty of the craft and looked forward to this leg of the journey. <BR><BR>"I am not tired," Jiyadan said as he saw Rho's eyes getting heavier. "I will continue on for now but if you sleep then you can stand watch when we make shore for the night."<BR><BR>The Mithril Knight did not respond to Jiyadan's words as she continued to stare sideways into the clear bluish water that their elven boat was now gliding through. The unusual stillness of the river, this river, was taking her thoughts back to another time and place as she began to feel the presence of one who no longer walked the land of Middle Earth. <BR><BR>He let her remain in her thoughts for some time, not wishing to disturb whatever it was she dwelt upon, but he knew that without the benefit the Elf had indeed brought to them of needing no sleep, one of them must stand watches. Reluctantly he again spoke to his Mentor. "Rholarowyn?"<BR><BR>Silently she remained focused on the river for one more moment before reluctantly letting go of the cherished world in her thoughts. <BR><BR>"Jiyadan?" Rho whispered when she finally looked up and her eyes met his.<BR><BR>"Forgive me, I did not mean to disturb you, but we must compensate for the loss of our guide. I am not tired, and the fresh air off the river has strengthened me. I will continue us on in our course if you wish to now sleep."<BR><BR>"No...no...You are correct," She began pensively and then slowly knelt up to move some of the closer packs aside. When an small area was cleared, Rho then spread out her cloak and laid down on her back, her head towards the bow; the edges of the boat preventing the light from the early morning sun to fall directly upon her face. <BR><BR>Her eyes had been closed only a second when she opened them and looked back a Jiyadan. "If you grow weary and need a rest, please wake me." <BR><BR>He nodded, and so they continued on - her sleeping and he steering - until at last the long shadows of evening began to creep across the land and a chill wind blew slightly across them. Jiyadan pulled his cloak a little tighter around him and at last could no longer keep fighting the weariness that was overtaking him. Maneuvering to shore, he ran the prow aground, which woke Rho from her sleep. <BR><BR>Jiyadan let her finish waking as he pulled the boat further up onto the shore and took their packs up a short embankment to an area that looked hidden enough from direct sight but would still afford them a decent view of the surrounding area and across the river. <BR><BR>Returning to the boat he and Rho pulled it out of the water entirely and stowed it behind some underbrush, then walked up to their camp. "You will be alright?" Jiyadan questioned. <BR><BR>"Yes, I slept well." <BR><BR>He nodded and laid down, falling quickly into an untroubled and dreamless sleep.
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Postby Léanë » Sun Nov 23, 2003 12:18 pm

Léanë leaned on her sword, breathing hard. It was drenched with black blood, and Léanë’s mouth twisted in disgust as she looked at it. Bending down, she wiped the sword on the grass, and then made her way to where the others stood, near the edge of the campfire.<BR><BR>The spiders had been dispatched by them with some effort, but most of them had suffered nothing more serious than cuts and bruises. Except Ri. She had been poisoned, but Alandriel had made an herbal cure for her, so Léanë was not too worried. She busied herself instead with cleaning her sword properly and getting ready to ride again; she was quite certain that Lord Elbren would not want them to remain there. <BR><BR>And she was right.<BR><BR>Soon they were on their way again, with Lord Elbren leading and Tallain and Alandriel bringing up the rear. Léanë rode with the Prince and Ri. Since the Prince made her highly nervous, she found herself speaking mainly to Ri – whenever Ri felt inclined to speak; that is.<BR><BR>As they stopped to take a short rest, Léanë noticed Ri was limping slightly. “How are you feeling?” she asked Ri quietly. “I will survive,” she replied, smiling. Her voice was friendly, but her eyes forbade any more conversation. Léanë smiled back rather sadly, and left to tend to Storm. She wished she didn’t feel so alone.<BR><BR>After a while, she abandoned grooming Storm yet again; she had already done that twice that day. She picked up her pack and walked a little way away from the others, and sat down by an old beech. Wrapping herself up in her cloak, she leaned against the trunk, using her pack as a somewhat lumpy (and uncomfortable) pillow, and tried to get some sleep.<BR><BR>It didn’t work.<BR><BR>After tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable for several minutes, Léanë gave up. She sat up, her back against the tree trunk, and took out the dagger she had taken from the armoury. “It is absolutely beautiful,” thought Léanë yet again, softly marvelling at the workmanship. <i>It was unlike anything she had seen before.</i> With nothing better to do, and sleep still eluding her, Léanë began to play with the dagger. Tossing it in the air and catching it, or balancing the point of the blade on the tip of her finger, or twirling it around. She wondered idly where it had been forged and what sort of history it held, as she ran a finger down its slightly curving blade. She could hear Alandriel and Lord Elbren speaking quietly, but they were too far away for Léanë to hear what they were saying. <i>Not that she was trying to eavesdrop or anything.</i><BR><BR>After a while, she began to feel sleepy, and decided to get some rest while she could. <i>Who knew when they would stop next?</i> As she returned the dagger to its scabbard, she once again traced over the strange symbols worked onto it, wondering what they meant. <i>She must ask Lord Elbren about that later. And about the Red Hammer. And the Shape Shifters.</i> Thinking all these things, Léanë finally drifted off to sleep.<BR><BR>
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Postby Elbren » Mon Nov 24, 2003 1:25 pm

On the fourth day since their departure from Thranduil's Halls, Elbren and his party reached the Forest Gate. The Anduin lingered in the distance, and the Mithril Knights found a substantial guard of Wood Elves keeping a close watch on the Eastern shore. <BR><BR>They did not pause for long; Elbren found several messages waiting for him, and he meant to send his own ere they departed the Forest Gate.<BR><BR>"Rest here for a while, we will depart soon," Elbren told the others, "we have made excellent time. With Elbereth's blessing, we will reach the Beornlings by sundown tomorrow."<BR><BR>With that, the Elven Lord sat down, drew his cloak around him, and began the authoring of his missives...<BR><BR><BR>***********************************************<BR><BR>Galadhon stood firmly, "We must get to Mirkwood. My Uncle is Elbren, Lord of Lothlorien, and Guild Master for the Mithril Knights. I have urgent news for him that cannot be delayed."<BR><BR>The men murmured amongst themselves and some even seemed to recognise Elbren's name. Still, a few looked unconvinced.<BR><BR>"Who would trust such urgent news to two youths and have them travel such a great distance alone? Have you no escort?" asked the man who seemed to be the leader.<BR><BR>Ronin started to shake his head, but Galadhon quickly interjected, "Our escort was...slain."<BR><BR>Ronin's eyes grew wide and he looked quickly at Galadhon in wild surprise.<BR><BR>"Slain?" asked the man.<BR><BR>Galadhon drew himself up straight and proud, and tried to sound as much like an Elven Prince as he could, "I tell you, Sir, that my errand is urgent, and if you will not offer me your aid, then I must ask you to let me pass."<BR><BR>Some of the men gently laughed, which sounded strangely like low growls of amusement, while others frowned.<BR><BR>"If you are truly the kin of Lord Elbren, and both of you the children of Mithril Knights, then I cannot leave you to the fortunes of the wild," the man folded his massive arms across an even more massive chest and began to stroke his long, wild beard thoughtfully. "We will escort you to our home, it is on the way to Mirkwood. We can send word to your Uncle, if he is indeed in Mirkwood still, and he can advise on whether or not the road is safe for you to travel."<BR><BR>"But we MUST deliver our message!" Galadhon began to show anger at feeling so helpless.<BR><BR>"One would think that you'd be grateful that you weren't ripped to shreds and eaten alive by those wolves last night," said the man, narrowing his eyes. <BR><BR>"We ARE grateful," Ronin finally found his voice, "and we are also grateful for the offer of your escort. We accept, and we will send our message to Lord Elbren, if you will permit, with yours."<BR><BR>The man nodded, now looking at Ronin, though he could see the fury growing in Galadhon's eyes.<BR><BR>"I am known as Hrunting, and we are of the Beornlings. We will pledge to see you both safely to our home and to send your message to Lord Elbren in Mirkwood," the man stated, "and I wonder, if we should send a message now back to Lothlorien? About your...slain...escort?"<BR><BR>Galadhon started to protest, but Ronin nodded, "Please, to the Lady Carnimiriel. Would you tell her that we are well and being taken to your home where we will be safe?"<BR><BR>"We will," Hrunting nodded, and motioned to one of the members of his party, "Hrolf, my brother, will take this message to the Anduin Guards."<BR><BR>"We thank you," Ronin bowed his head in thanks.<BR><BR>"And you two are?" Hrunting asked. "Unless that's a secret, too?"<BR><BR>"I am Ronin, son of the Lady Tempest, who is indeed a Mithril Knight," Ronin answered proudly, thinking of how marvelously it rolled off of his tongue.<BR><BR>"I am Galadhon, nephew to Lord Elbren and Lady Carnimiriel of Lothlorien," Galadhon said quietly, suddenly ashamed when he realised how worried his aunt must be.<BR><BR>"Then indeed the Lady will be glad of Hrolf's report," Hrunting replied, "so he shall not delay in his errand. Let us make ready to depart, for the journey is still long. I think we shall keep moving for as long as we can without rest. The forests are crawling with shadows...we should delay no longer."<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Teherin » Tue Nov 25, 2003 5:49 am

Tallain was stunned when the red-haired Ranger offered him the crystal – although he sensed that they had grown closer over the last few days, he had not expected such a gesture from her, and was speechless for a while before murmuring his thanks.<BR>He could sense she dearly wanted to assist him in using the focus then and there, but their pace was fast and he also knew in his heart that he himself needed to experiment, especially with this new-found hope of one day controlling and directing the gift that for so long had been a curse for him.<BR><BR>As they rode hard that day, Tallain’s hand closed around the crystal several times, he was unsure of what he was expecting it to do, but there was no sudden blazing of feeling or intensity of senses, and his sense of humour made the Easterling smile wryly as he acknowledged that it was likely that he would need to work at using this ‘focus’ rather than expecting answers and solutions to drop from the sky.<BR><BR>As they rode, there was little talk in the group, he sensed that the elven Knight in Training – Riencuran – was withdrawn and her feelings were angry and hard. Tallain frowned, there was something about her that seemed to tug at his senses, at his memory, he was sure that he had seen her before. She struck a chord deep within him but whenever he approached the feelings that arose, they seemed to melt away like mist before sunshine.<BR>His frown deepened as the question worried at him …<BR><BR>As he delved deeper into this mystery, he felt his hand tightening around the crystal, involuntarily, as it rested in his pocket. Vento snorted and tossed his head in response to his rider’s preoccupation, and Tallain was forced to concentrate on his riding as they left the path briefly to then stop a little further on for the night.<BR><BR>As they readied the camp, the Easterling helped Léanë, the young but talented swordswoman, to light a fire and gather food together for their small meal. Rien stayed to one side, her dark eyes glowering at him, almost challenging. Tallain shook his head, clearing it and once again toyed with the crystal – he could see Elbren and Alandriel to one side, talking together, and he slowly began to relax, to lose himself in the niggling surety that he knew this elf, and drifting as he had when Alandriel herself had shared her power with him.<BR><BR>Suddenly, as his mind wandered down memory and misted remembrances, a light flared and he felt the crystal go warm as it rolled in his fingers. A sharp pain lanced through his head, a memory of fighting, a voice screaming his name and a sharp blow to his head.<BR>Then it had gone once more.<BR>Tallain felt his eyes open wide, he had made an involuntary sound of pain which had brought attention from the other knights in training, and he quickly assured them that he was well.<BR>Rising, he made his way to his horse, running his fingers through Vento’s strong mane and feeling the shock of a memory he did not know he had.<BR>Sometime later, he approached Alandriel, coming to a stop before her.<BR><BR>Tallain sensed that her mind was far away, in turmoil much as his was, but that she welcomed his presence and was almost glad of the distraction.<BR><BR>Crouching down before her, the Easterling looked into the strong green eyes and said ‘Something happened … I used the crystal without knowing I was using it, and something … surfaced, something I have no awareness of knowing.’<BR>Her expression turned from hope to worry as he recounted his hurried recollection, completing his story with a vehement assurance following her questioning, that he had no memory either of having met Rien before, or of the fight that he had suddenly recalled.<BR><BR>‘Perhaps someone has imposed a strong memory impediment upon you …’ she mused, her face thoughtful.<BR>The Easterling sat down .. his face similarly pondering .. ‘It is .. possible .. I supposed given that I have no memory of it – I seem to have no gaps though, although I admit that my nomadic lifestyle would have managed to fill in any purported gaps in my life with possible alternatives. ‘<BR><BR>As the two talked, Lord Elbren interrupted them, asking for one to keep watch and gently reminding them of the need for speed in the coming days and the likely lack of rest.<BR>Tallain smiled and acceded to the Lord’s request, then took the first watch. He foresaw that the days to come would bring much change and little rest for the group as they travelled, especially with the need that Alandriel had to help him gain control over his gift.<BR><BR>The following days were indeed full and the group barely stopped to rest for little more than a few hours before taking to the road once again.<BR>Pace allowing, Alandriel helped Tallain use the crystal to focus, but apart from a general and growing awareness of his power and the uses to which it could be put, Tallain had no further flashes into his past.<BR>Their travels reached the Forest gate and there the group were bid rest for a while as their Leader headed off to attend to Guild business.<BR>Exhausted, Tallain sank down to sleep almost where he lay, noting that most of the others felt similarly spent, but he knew that the rest would only be for a couple of hours. Alandriel would no doubt be wanting to take advantage of this stop to focus more strongly on her teachings.
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Postby Alandriel » Wed Nov 26, 2003 5:44 am

Tired from the long days of trekking through Mirkwood, for Lord Elbren had set as fast a pace as possible through the dense woods, the Ranger was nevertheless content. Ri’s wound had healed well. There had been no ill after effects from the spider poison as she had initially feared and the young woman seemed in high spirits. Léanë on the other hand had seemed preoccupied. Often, during their brief stops she had toyed with her dagger when thinking herself unobserved. Alandriel had on one occasion caught the glimmer of some symbols edged into the weapon. She had also noted the way the peredhel had seemed intrigued if not puzzled by them. Yet she had not intruded, knowing all too well that the Knight in Training needed to ponder such matters privately, at least for some time. Marius had kept up his spirit despite his mounting tension of soon meeting with the Beornlings that Alandriel sensed in him. He was not the only one with such apprehensions for she also had grown up in Rohan and had heard many tales. But mostly she was looking forward to that encounter. To be in the presence of the fabled shape-shifters would surely provide some interesting insights. Content she also was that the simple focussing exercises she made Tallain undergo had gone so well. With astonishment and some dismay she noted how fast he had progressed already in such a short span of time. She remembered well how long it had taken her to control the light, how much she had struggled to make it pulsate to her will. Many months, yet he had managed it in just a few days. That he was highly talented she had no doubt. But would he prove able to grasp fully the responsibilities that came with such abilities? Would he stand up to the toll that yielding such powers eventually would demand? For there was a price to pay for having such knowledge and the burden at times could be all but overwhelming. Settling herself into her bedroll she sighed. Only time would tell.<BR><BR>~~~<BR><BR>The following morn Alandriel woke up just before dawn, much refreshed after a peaceful and uninterrupted sleep provided by the ever alert Wood-Elf guards that had kept a watchful eye over their camp as well as the eastern shores of the Anduin. Drawn by the aromatic smell of freshly brewed tea she approached one of the small low burning fires and was soon handed a steaming cup. “Hannad le” she said quietly to the Woodland Elf, grateful for his hospitality. In the semi-dark, she could see the sleeping forms of her companions, all of them - except for Lord Elbren. But that was hardly surprising for he would be busy planning the Mithril Knights next moves. Having emptied her cup, the warmth of the brew having dispelled all remnants of tiredness, she refilled it again and then made her way over to Tallain.<BR>Crouching low next to the sleeping Easterling she smiled when he almost immediately stirred and opened his eyes. <BR><BR>“Good morning,” she said quietly. “I trust you had interesting dreams?” <BR><BR>His eyes widened momentarily for indeed he had dreamed. Alandriel nodded. “I see,” she said, “so it continues….I suspected as much.”<BR><BR>Tallain shot her a puzzled look as he sat up. <BR><BR>“The crystal has triggered… something… I cannot be sure what, an actual event in your life that has been forcefully erased or some conjecture of the past or future….. but it has had an effect. Whatever it is, it has been dislodged, set in motion whereas before it’s been static – and since you’ve been carrying the stone for some days now, that effect is being compounded. – Tell me, what did you see?”<BR><BR>The Easterling shook his head, clearing the feelings of sleep and rubbing his eyes. As the impact of her words hit him fully, he recalled the vividness of his nightmares - yes .. he could feel the dread and closeness they engendered even now in the brightness of morning. Sitting up, he drew in a deep breath, smelling the fresh tea.<BR><BR>“I dreamt of death .. of death and destruction - fighting ... all around me ... pain ...” <BR><BR>Tallain closed his eyes as he felt the loss once again .. a tremendous loss that threatened to overwhelm him. He stood up, in a single fluid motion - his eyes searched hers, his hands clenching ... <BR><BR>“Alandriel .. I lost .. someone. Something .. but I don't know who or what. I don't even know if, as you said, it is yet to happen or has already taken place. It has something to do with - Riencuran.”<BR><BR>He took a deep breath, noting the surprise on the Ranger's face at his words, until nodding he confirmed his statement <BR><BR>“ .. ever since we met I have known, deep inside me, that I have seen her before. That we have met before. I do not know whether she remembers or recalls .. but these feelings and dreams have only started since we began this journey, and instinctively I can feel it has something to do with her.”<BR><BR>Alandriel felt the turmoil in Tallain, yet there was something else, something deeper..... and much darker. For a long moment she regarded the Eastron. <BR><BR>"There are ways to try and uncover....." she began. "Yet if such teachings would help you or prove disastrous I do not know. There is something disturbing in all this - I am sure you feel it too. If there is any hope of unravelling these strange connections, if that is truly what you want, then you also need to talk to Riencuran; approach her, see if she can provide you with any clues."<BR><BR>Noting the hesitancy in Tallain she added: "Or do you mean to acquire such information through different means?"<BR><BR>
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Postby Elbren » Wed Nov 26, 2003 8:14 am

Elbren was no Seer nor did he have the gift of the Sight; but, he was of the Eldar and had lived many years in the service of the Lady Galadriel. He knew what the movement of energy felt like; he could see the spirit world as clearly as he could see the corporeal with his Elven eyes. <BR><BR>He had felt the gift in Tallain when they had first met, and he had certainly taken note of the small bursts of energy that had recently begun to illuminate around the Easterling man. He had not worried of them, though, until now.<BR><BR>Having heard just the last few words of Alandriel and Tallain, Elbren's heart grew cold. He had recognised the power within the Easterling, but he had not realised that the man lacked the knowledge to control it, much less to actually wield it.<BR><BR>He stood silently in the grey shadows of early morn, painfully aware that such untrained, untapped energy was not only dangerous for Tallain, but dangerous for those around him. Stepping forth, he spoke quietly, so that only Alandriel and Tallain would hear him.<BR><BR>"We must speak on these matters," he turned to Tallain, "you must not attempt to use this power, Tallain, before you have a full understanding of what it is. You could well burn yourself, mellon, and burn those around you."<BR><BR>Both Alanadriel and Tallain made ready to explain, but Elbren shook his head, "Not now, but when we reach the Beornlings' village, we will speak. In fact, I think that Grimbeorn might even be able to help you understand this gift. It is no stroke of chance that you have made this journey, Tallain. Indeed, the more that you become familiar and comfortable with your insight, the more you will recognise when the Currents are moving fast within your own consciousness. And witin you, mellon, I see the Currents flowing strongly. Yet, I say again, the Currents can be dangerous; they can destroy you within the blink of an eye, Tallain. You are not yet ready to tap into them...not yet. Do not fight the Sight, but do not call it...not yet...not until you've spoken with Grimbeorn. Have I your word on this?"<BR><BR>
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Postby Léanë » Mon Dec 01, 2003 12:09 pm

<i>If only her dreams still remained her own.</i><BR><BR>Léanë came awake with a sigh, feeling perhaps even more tired than she had when she had gone to sleep.<BR><BR>All the previous day, as the group had made their way towards the Forest Gate, Léanë had been preoccupied and silent, a sense of disquiet beginning to seep into her. Her anxiety had been such that, when the group had stopped to make camp, Léanë had hardly noticed that it had been Tallain, the ‘hated’ Easterling, who had helped her light the fire and gather food for their small meal.<BR><BR>And now it was morning, and there was a slight chill to the breeze as the Sun’s first golden rays brightened the Eastern skies. Léanë shivered and drew her cloak more tightly around herself as she sat up. An instant, and she was unsure of where she was and how she got there. An instant. But then she saw her companions and remembered. Lord Elbren was speaking to Alandriel and Tallain. Again. <i>There was something going on there.</i> For a moment she wondered what it was, but then shrugged and decided not to worry about it, it was none of her business. She stood and stretched, breathing deeply, wishing she didn’t feel so drained and disoriented whenever she awoke. <i>That happened all too often nowadays.</i> Her head felt too full of jumbled thoughts and memories, and a lot more besides. Giving herself a mental shake, she tried to get rid of those unwanted burdens, and also the last remnants of sleep from her eyes. Packing up, she strode to where Storm stood peacefully grazing.<BR><BR>She had been dreaming, and bits of those dreams still tumbled together with memories in her head. She could not separate one from the other. Wild flights and fights, strange people from unknown lands, Time flowing like a river and Ways and pieces of other lives, things right out of a Bard’s tales, these had to be dreams. At least, Léanë hoped they were. Chunks of conversations drifted around her thoughts, talks with her father, with friends, with Déor, and a beautiful Elf, and a ship captain, and a well-dressed man who spoke to her like a father giving sage advice. Those were probably real. But it was all bits and fragments. Drifting.<BR><BR>Léanë sighed. <i>These dreams, too, happened far too often lately.</i> Though she had now and again had these visions before, they had become more frequent since early Summer of that year. Yet she did not tell anyone of these dreams. Why, she did not herself know or understand, but she had simply felt that she could not bring herself to describe what she had seen. Half the time her visions made no sense to her anyway, and she did not know if they were visions of the Ages past, or what was yet to be. But since the summer, all her dreams had been of battles and death and destruction. And this last dream...<BR><BR><i>The packed lines of spearmen stretched a mile or more to either side below her, dotted with the pennants and banners of towns and cities and minor Houses. The river secured her flank on the left, the bogs and mires on the right. From the hillside she watched the spearmen struggle against the mass of Orcs trying to break through, ten times the humans’ number. Spears pierced black Orc mail and spiked axes carved bloody gaps in the human ranks. Screams and bellows harried the air. The Sun burned hot overhead in a cloudless sky, and shimmers of heat rose above the battle line. Arrows still rained down from the enemy, slaying Orc and human alike. She had called her archers back, but the Black Knights did not care so long as they broke through her line. On the ridge behind her, her </i>éored<i> awaited her command, horses stamping impatiently. Armour on men and horses alike shone silver in the sunlight.<BR>They must win here or die. She was known as a gambler; it was time to toss the dice. In a voice that carried over the tumult below, she gave the order as she swung up into her saddle. “Footmen prepare to pass cavalry forward!” The banner-bearer rode close beside her, the Rohan banner flapping over her head, as the command was repeated up and down the line.<BR>Below, the spearmen suddenly moved, sidestepping with good discipline, narrowing their formations, opening wide gaps between. Gaps into which the Orcs poured, roaring bestial cries, like a black, oozing tide of death.<BR>She drew her sword, held it high. “Forth Eorlingas!” She dug her heels in, and her mount leaped down the slope. Someone blew a great blast upon their horn. Behind her, horns answered and rose up in music, and hooves thundered in the charge. “Forward!” She was first to strike into the Orcs, her sword rising and falling, the banner-bearer close behind. “For the honour of the Rohirrim!” Her </i>éored<i> pounded into the gaps between the spearmen, smashing the tide, hurling it back. “To me! To me! Up Eorlingas! Fear no darkness!” Half-human faces snarled at her, oddly curved swords sought her, but she cut her way ever deeper. Win or die. “Rohirrim!”</i><BR><BR>Léanë’s hand trembled as she raised it to her forehead. <i>What was going on? What did all that mean?</i> She wished she knew. She massaged her temples slowly, willing for her head to stop throbbing. <i>She was not even a Rider, let alone a Captain... Why would she see something like that? It made no sense...</i> Storm whickered and snorted, sensing his mistress’s preoccupation, and nudged at Léanë’s shoulder, interrupting her thoughts. She stroked his mane absently, and said softly, “I am all right.” She wished she believed what she said. Just then, one of her companions called her to breakfast, but Léanë did not feel even remotely hungry. She turned to face them, hoping she did not look as tired as she felt. “I am all right,” she said again, this to indicate she did not want breakfast. “May we leave soon?” Lord Elbren shot her a worried and puzzled look, but Léanë did not see. Already she had turned away again and was making ready to ride.<BR><BR>----------------------------------------<BR><BR>Léanë kept mostly to herself as they rode that day, occasionally leaning forward to speak soft words to Storm, or absently fingering the dagger that hung at her side, or looking at the sky as if searching for something. Questions rose in her mind that she knew not the answers to, and for a long while her thoughts dwelt on her dream, if indeed a dream it had been. It did not occur her to talk to someone, perhaps the Elf Lord, about it. She had become so used to keeping her dreams to herself of late, and what would it achieve anyway, if she spoke of it?<BR><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Tempest » Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:03 pm

As they traveled, Ronin followed close to Galadhon, but his eyes flitted curiously to and fro from each of their escorts. He finally nudged Galadhon with his elbow and whispered, <i>”They’re Beornings.”</i> <BR><BR>The elven boy was irritated. <i>”I know. That’s what they said they were.”</i><BR><BR><i>”But we actually saw them change from bears into men! I had read of such things in your library, but I never thought I’d see it with my own eyes,”</i> Ronin said excitedly.<BR><BR>One of the men up ahead stopped suddenly while staring directly in front, and a deep growl rumbled from his throat. The boys exchanged glances. <i>”You shouldn’t have told them to send word to Lothlorien. Once my aunt knows where we are, we’ll never get a chance to reach Elbren,”</i> Galadhon chided.<BR><BR><i>”It would have looked suspicious if we had denied the request. Besides, we’ll be closer to Mirkwood, so they’ll probably send us there unless the road is too dangerous.”</i><BR><BR><i>”Even if the road is dangerous, we HAVE to go,”</i> the elven boy insisted. <BR><BR><i>”Maybe Lord Elbren isn’t there anymore. Did you think of that?”</i> Ronin retorted.<BR><BR><i>”Then we’ll follow his trail until we find him.”</i><BR><BR><i>”We nearly got killed already.”</i><BR><BR><i>”You’re afraid?”</i><BR><BR>Ronin grimaced. He could tell that Galadhon was determined to succeed, and he didn’t relish the idea of going home to Lorien in failure either. However, he was beginning to be more afraid of reaching Mirkwood and finding his mother there in wrath. It had seemed such an adventure before, but now he wondered if it was just a fool’s errand. Either way, they would be in trouble. The choice was between two evils: going toward uncertain perils, or going back to have Carnimiriel throw them in one of the Guildhouse prison cells.
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Tempest
Ranger of the North


 
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