Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

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

Postby SmaugsBane » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:14 am

From the Mithril Knights Warriors Guild: Guardians of Middle-earth:

Posted: 07 Oct 2007 00:47



The morning of the council, Dirk sat bent over a small writing desk near the open window of his room in the Guildhouse. The scents and sounds of spring wafted in through the window, the newly-open first buds of Spring's blooms, the chirping of birds and the chattering of a pair of amorous squirrels taking turns chasing each other through the tangle of branches above.

Within the room, the only sounds were Dirk's self-regulated breathing, the coos of the caged carrier pigeon on the window sill, and scratching of quill against paper.



My dearest beloved,

It has been many months since I plumbed the depths of your eyes, since my heart danced to the music of your sweet voice. I write you now to tell you that I am well. I have been initiated into the Mithril Knights and have traveled many lands, both with them and alone. During those months, I have been through many tribulations that I will not describe here; but know that I have not been harmed permanently by any weapon. I am currently splitting my residence between the Mithril Knight Guildhouses of Esgaroth and Greenwood. Though I feel that I have tarried far too long and soon must continue upon my quest to fulfill my destiny.

Which brings me to the other reason for this letter. When I met you at the Lucky Fortune so long ago, I told you my name was Smaug's Bane. I had taken such a name in order to find my own fortune without prejudice, good or bad, due to my origins. Or so I thought.

However, fate has given it a new significance. I took the name believing that it referred to Bard, a great warrior of pure virtue who slew a dragon. But now, I realize that Smaug's Bane wasn't the man who bent the bow, but the arrow itself: a black thing that had to be released and ultimately lost forever in order to do the most good.

I have come to realize, that in order to find what it is that I am to do for Middle-earth, I cannot live in fear of losing home, family, or love. I am utterly black now, and must be released.

Recently, I fought against a terrible foe that threatened Laketown, my boyhood home. My sentimental attachment to the place nearly caused me to turn aside from my purpose, to near disaster. Therefore, I will no longer have a home, but will live wherever the road and fate take me. Likewise, I cannot bear allegiance to any one land. Hence my service will be devoted to the Mithril Knights only and therefore to the whole of Middle-earth.

Lately, I have spent many days with Drake and Derek, my foster father and brother, who would have me stay in Esgaroth and settle down. I was sorely tempted. However, such a life cannot exist for me. So, though I will continue to bear the name that he gave me in honor of the sacrifices he made in order to raise me, I must leave Drake and his sons behind and claim my true heritage without shame or regret, at least within my own heart. For safety, I will necessarily have to keep my true parentage to myself; revealing the truth of it only to those I can surely trust. But nonetheless, I am Dirk of the Dúnedain, son of the Witch-king of Angmar and Minya of the Rangers of the North. My blood is wholly Numenoréan, and it is high time I own up to that fact and all that it entails.

Over these many months, my dearest, my thoughts have trailed to better times, like when we ran through flowered meadows in Hollin in the summertime. But also, I have feared for you. I have feared losing you. I can ill afford to hold such fear. I hope you understand now why I cannot return to you.

I will always love you. I gave you a piece of my heart that night at the festival. It will always belong to you. Live your life well. Be happy. If the opportunity arises, marry and raise a family.

Perhaps fate will allow me to survive the great but tragic deeds that Glorfindel foresaw. If so, then perhaps the hooves of a black warhorse may be heard once again upon the cobbles of Ithilien's roads, in search of my beloved troubadour. But do not hold out hope. For my own heart tells me that, like Bard's black arrow, I too must be lost forever in order to do the good that is my destiny.

May Eru comfort you and bring you joy for the rest of your days,
-Dirk




The young Knight folded the tear-stained letter and sealed it with the crimson wax and Mithril Knights signet from inside the desk, then crossed the room, tied the letter to the pigeon's leg and released the bird, who was trained to fly by the straightest way possible to Guildhouse at Minas Tirith, where the Knights there would be able to dispatch a messenger to carry the letter across Anduin and to his beloved.

He watched the bird until it was no longer visible in the cloudless blue sky. When the tiny black speck had finally disappeared, he lowered his eyes to see a pair of sparrows building their nest. They had found a mass of bright blue and gold thread to add to the twigs, leaves and other materials that will soon hold and warm their eggs.

Dirk looked down to the breast of his tunic, where the tiny holes in the shape of an embroidered shield and bow, were already beginning to disappear. He was now completely clothed in black, save for the Mithril cloak, which he took up and slung over his shoulder as he left the room to find lunch before he went to the council that would most likely reveal where his next road will carry him.



Edited to change 'cage' to 'caged' and to capitalize one word.
Rest In Peace, Dirk. 2002-2013
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Postby SmaugsBane » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:38 pm

From the Mithril Knights:Guardians of Middle-earth:

Posted: 07 Jan 2008 02:45



The storm raged on for over an hour. By the time the thunder subsided and the wind calmed, the trail had been reduced to a stream of sticky mud winding its way back towards the valley below. The usually surefooted Endlómë slowed to a halting walk, slipping often as the trail became nearly impassable with muck and swiftly running water.

After some time, the trail became steeper and rockier as they reached the slopes of Gundabad itself. The wind died so that the lessening rain fell in gentle curtains. The abated storm, combined with solid footing allowed the black warhorse to once again pick up the pace. For another hour they rode, Dirk lying flat on Endlómë's back, moving fluidly with the stallion. It was no longer necessary to guide the horse, as the single track became more defined and the rocky slopes on either side narrowed, forbidding diversion from the trail.

Then, only part-way up the eastern face of mighty Gundabad, a whisper in his mind, a tingling in his spine, and a tightening of his gut signaled to Dirk that the time had drawn nigh.

He whispered, "Hauta, meldonya anyáran.* This is as far as you can take me."

The great steed tossed his mane and stamped the rocky ground.

"Not this time. You have borne me into hell and back, and would no doubt gallop fearlessly into the abyss itself for me. But here, this night, I must go on alone. This night I not only face a foe of flesh and blood; but also I do battle with demons within myself. Before the sun rises, these things," he lifted his arm indicating the galvorn vambraces, then touched the hilt of Neleg Amlug, and lastly swept aside his Mithril Cloak to rest his palm on his breast, upon the stars tooled into the leather jerkin, "will either devour me, or I will finally master them. I will silence their voices within my mind and command them with my will henceforth, or their voices will crush me utterly and with my will, so goes my body, and I will perish."

Endlómë relented, bowing his great head to nuzzle Dirk's neck. The young warrior removed the halter from the raven stallion's proud head and threw it down onto the rain-washed trail, where the deluge carried it back down towards the foot of the mountain.

"Wait here for me," Dirk lifted his arms and embraced his horse, his friend, his brother, "let none pass behind me and do not follow until the sun rises or I call to you."

The horse snorted, indicating his understanding of his master's orders.

Dirk took a step back and drew from its sheath the cursed, black blade of the sword that was stolen from Fornost and desecrated by the Witch-king, named Neleg Amlug in Sindarin by Elrond, called Carch Urulóki in Quenya by Círdan, and Kasak Kulkodar in the black speech; all of which translate into Dragon's Tooth in the common Westron. He then saluted Endlómë, and the two of them turned away from one another. The black stallion took a few paces downhill and stood sentry as he was asked. The black Knight, steel-eyed with grim determination, pulled the hood of his Mithril Cloak over his head and climbed the last half-league on foot.



The rain had now ceased altogether, though distant rumbles reported that yet another round of the storm was brewing. In the still air Dirk could smell the smoke of their wet-wood campfire.

The lone sentry, intent upon gathering wood for the fire instead of vigilance, never knew his danger. One second, he was rummaging in the fallen leaves and branches at the trail's edge, looking for dry wood; and the next, a black sword-tip protruded from his mouth. Dirk had spotted the gnarled orc and waited silently in the shadows for it to come to him. Without a sound, Neleg Amlug, its edges beginning to glint with red and blue flames, thrust out and penetrated orc-flesh just beneath the back of the skull. It had severed the spinal chord and completed its journey through the orc's teeth without touching flesh or bone or sinew. As it was of old, the flesh of the sword's victim gave way before the blade, and when Dirk twisted the blade to snap the orc's spine and then tilted it to allow the corpse to slide off of its end, it came out clean, without a drop of blood staining its black metal.

Dirk rolled the orc over with his boot, causing its head to twist upon its broken neck at a grotesque angle. The orc wore a crudely fashioned leather jerkin which bore the markings of the foul creatures' fickle allegiances, each faded or half scratched off in order to crudely paint on the next: the lidless eye, the white hand, the red hammer, and most recently, a black crown. Apparently, this was what they took to be the insignia of their new master - Dirk, heir to the Witch-king, the Zaugoth.

He looked into its face, its eyes still wide with the emotion - surprise - that it felt in the last split-second of its life. It was one of the three that had accompanied Dirk into the tent of the Silmaril Knights. Dirk's lips split in a sinister smile as he stepped over the body.

No attempt had been made to conceal the encampment whatsoever. On a rocky shelf on the right side of the trail slept the company Warg-riders that Dirk had once used to intimidate the Knights of the Silmaril. The shelf was somewhat oval. On the one side, a rock wall rose straight up a thousand feet to the heights above and on the other, a sheer cliff, plunging fifty fathoms. The wall and the cliff met at a point at the far end. The only exit from the shelf was the space between it and the main trail of the Pass. The space Dirk now occupied.

Apparently emboldened by the choice of their Zaugoth, they had failed to disburse into hiding as all the other foul creatures gathered at Carn-Dûm had. Twenty-nine orcs, thirty Wargs, and perhaps fifteen pups lay sleeping: the orcs in the shelf's center around a smoking fire, apparently tended by the late watchman, and the Wargs and pups near to the wall. They all snored and grunted so loudly in their sleep that Dirk would not be heard approaching; and the light wind that remained from the storm blew down the mountain's slope from the west and a little in Dirk's face, carrying his scent away from the powerful noses of the Wargs.

While Dirk surveyed the scene and formulated his plan, the usually opposing voices of light and darkness whispered in unison for the utter destruction of the enemy. Revenge, bloodlust, masochism, and righteous indignation melded into a powerfully motivating purpose that swelled so greatly within Dirk's heart and mind that it was near to exploding.

He noticed the pile of supplies to his left: boxes, chests and barrels. He removed the bung from one barrel and sniffed. He wretched uncontrollably; it was the foul liquor favored by Saruman's former denizens. Carefully he rolled several of them back toward his position at the exit of the shelf.

Overhead, lighting flashed, followed by a tremendous crack of thunder. The pups yelped in their slumber and the orcs tossed and turned fitfully. Within moments the wind began to howl and swirl. Dirk knew the time to strike was now, before the rain began to pour again.

He turned the barrels on their sides and pushed them, one by one, toward the encampment just as the first drops of rain began to fall. With their bungs removed, the barrels spilled their contents onto the stony floor of the shelf. The last barrel he kicked as hard as he could at the wind-whipped fire. It rolled through the fire and immediately ignited itself; then it continued on toward the wall where it crashed with a terrific explosion, spewing flames all over the pups. Soon all of the spilled liquor was aflame and several of the other barrels exploded in different areas of the little camp. Fire raged, lightning flared, thunder rolled, and Dirk stood still, laughing.

The rain fell in sheets, sizzling in the conflagration and spreading the oily flames even further around the encampment. In the confusion, and rife with their fear of fire, most of the Wargs threw themselves over the cliff. Others burned to death, as did all of the pups, which bore the brunt of the first explosion. At first the orcs were in a similar state, and a few of them stumbled over the cliff as well, whilst others never rose from their rocky beds.

Dirk watched and waited, all the while laughing from deep in his belly as if the Master Bard had just recited a ribald limerick in a drunken barroom. Then the first of the fleeing Wargs charged in his direction; it never even knew he was there. It was struck while running for the exit but still looking at the flames behind. The beast's body slid to a halt past Dirk and out onto the trail; its head rolled to Dirk's right and over the cliff. Soon, two orc corpses joined the massive warg carcass - the beginning of an effective blockade at the exit of the shelf. By the time he turned his attention to the heart of the camp, another Warg and three more orcs unwittingly piled themselves onto Dirk's carrion fence.

The fire began to subside, leaving the acrid stench of singed fur and burnt flesh. As the orcs began to master themselves and their mounts, Dirk waded into the camp.

Though he was not aware of it, his sword burned brightly with its old scarlet flame, like it did before he lost his finger and the ring that he wore upon it. Alternately, the blue flames that had adorned the Dragon's Tooth in Angmar several months before danced along the length of its blade as well. In addition to the blood and ice flames on the blade, a searing white light shone from the stars upon his vest. As he strode slowly, purposefully toward the knot of orcs, his cloak flapped in the wind, releasing the righteous flame of Valinor in jets. When he was within a few paces of his quarry, he reached up and lowered his hood.

Whereas the orcs, though quivering with fear, had been preparing to fight, now several of them prostrated themselves, whilst others threw down their weapons, shouting, "Ai! Doom! The Zaugoth is upon us!"

Dirk stopped and made eye contact with each one of them that dared look at him. His grey eyes, dancing with the mingled flames of Eöl, Angmar and Valinor, alighted upon the second of the three that had entered into the Silmaril Knight's tent. He let his gaze linger upon the orc, who cowered, falling to his knees.

"Mercy, Lord! We only meant to serve you. To guard your realm against invaders over the pass!"

Though Dirk's broken whisper was lost amongst the cacophony of the storm, nevertheless, the orcs heard a booming voice, louder than thunder, "a quick death is all the mercy you will have, but not by my hand. If I reach you, you will surely agonize before you perish!"

The familiar orc, along with three of his fellows took that as an order, dashed to the cliff, and hurled themselves over it.

"So the rest of you have chosen the way of desolation? Pain-delayed death, death that comes so slowly, you'll beg for it long before it finds you?" Though it was achingly loud in their ears, his voice was calm and almost casual.

"We are not cowards like those scum!" screamed the only orc that still held its blade and stood its ground.

Dirk smiled again and the orc quailed for a moment. It was the third, the last that he took into the tent, the leader of the Warg-riders, and the very one he had spoken to first after addressing six-thousand orcs from the top of a hill below Carn-Dûm. Apparently, Dirk had elevated this creature's sense of self-worth.

"He's the one," said Dirk to himself.

There were eight orcs left before him, along with five Wargs which, though they were not able to be ridden, could still fight alongside their masters.

Dirk stepped forward. "So be it!" He boomed into their skulls.

He walked slowly towards them, as they charged him pell-mell. It was as if their movements came to a halt, but he was able to move full-speed. Amid flashes of blood-red, ice-blue, and pristine-white flames, Dirk deftly swung Neleg Amlug while almost effortlessly ducking, sidestepping, or parrying every attack. All the while, he continued to walk slowly ahead at the same pace and in the same direction as he started. Within seconds it was over.

Dirk turned on his heel and surveyed the space he had just traversed. In the twenty-foot span he had walked lay thirteen bodies. Only the Wargs did he kill outright - two by thrusts to the heart, and the heads of the other three were just rolling to a stop against the pile of bodies at the exit of the shelf. As for the eight orcs: each lay bleeding to death with an arm or a leg severed or a throat slashed and jet-black arterial blood pouring from them unchecked. All but one.

The only part of Dirk not covered in black orc-blood and crimson wolf-blood was his sword, which was as immaculate as the day it had turned black. Dirk splashed in the blood-and-rain puddles between the writhing orcs, and came at last to the leader, whom he had only knocked out with a gauntleted fist. He reached down and with strength that belied his slight form, lifted the orc by the collar of his tunic and half-dragged/half-carried him to the wall.

He slapped the orc's face until it came to. Then, whilst it was still groggy from the blow which had rendered it unconscious, Dirk lifted it until its feet no longer touched the ground, nailed it to the rock with Neleg Amlug, then let go of the hilt and stepped back to regard his work. The flat of the blade was parallel to the ground, so as not to cut upwards through the orc's body. It stuck out of the orc's right breast, where it had penetrated between the ribs, using them to support its weight. It had apparently pierced the right lung, as escaping air was creating a foam of blood around the wound. The orc writhed feebly at first, then gave up, realizing that there was no escape. Dirk approached; and amid the cries and moans of the dying, he spoke.

"Who is your master?"

"Y-you, Zaugoth."

Dirk punched the orc in the gut, knocking the wind from its lungs, and causing a sickening sucking noise from the sword-wound.

"No, idiot," boomed Dirk's voice in the orc's head, "who was it that ordered you and the others to gather at Carn-Dûm? I know it wasn't the Dwarves, the Red Hammer. Nor the elves, the Knights of the Silmaril. It was their master, yes?"

"Y-yes, Zaugoth," it managed to spit out between gasps as blood began to gurgle up into its throat.

"And who is that? I grow impatient!"

"We... do... not... know," its head was drooping down to its chest, "the... voice... we... all... heard... it..."

"WHOSE VOICE?!" Dirk knew the orc was about to die and he needed to get the information. He slapped the orc's face, which brought it around to lucidity for a few moments. The captain of the Warg Riders snapped its head up and looked into Dirk's eyes. The young warrior saw in the expressionless black orbs of the orc a tiny glint of realization.

"We did not know at first. Then, when you arrived, we all assumed it was you." It began to whisper and Dirk moved in closer in an attempt to hear, "now I know that you... you... are not the Master," it gritted its teeth, mustering its strength, "not...the...Zaugoth."

Dirk moved in closer, so that the orc was whispering directly into his ear, "and... I ... I ... will ... be ... rewarded ....."

Dirk felt as if he'd been punched in the chest. He stumbled back and saw that the orc held a slender dagger, with which he had tried to stab Dirk.

Dirk looked down and saw that it had slipped between the opening of the Mithril Cloak and penetrated the leather vest beneath his left arm, but it had not pierced the galvorn hauberk. He was unharmed.

In his rage, the multi-colored flames of the spirits within Dirk exploded in a powerful conflagration. Dirk pulled his sword free and decapitated the orc before it fell to the ground. He then hacked off all of its limbs and carved out its heart.

The flames suddenly ceased. They had squelched themselves. Gone, too were the voices that had been screaming and cajoling, shouting and laughing during his ambush. He looked down and saw that the blade of his sword was unsoiled, gleaming black without blemish in the center of the burned and hacked filth of the former campsite, now killing ground. As he stood panting, he realized that the storm had once again ceased. He lowered his head, took a few steadying breaths and listened. It was wholly silent at first. Then he heard the chirping of birds. He lifted his head and saw that the eastern sky was turning deepest blue below the utter black of the heavens - the dawn was approaching.

Just then, fatigue and emotion washed over him, robbing his legs and his heart of strength, and he collapsed unconscious, with sword in hand.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:11 am

From the Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Posted: 09 Jan 2008 00:47



In the space of a few moments, Dirk's mind traveled through darkness and light, warmth and icy cold, joy and pain. He felt satisfaction and guilt for the revenge he had exacted. He was proud that he had risked himself for the protection of others. He was ashamed of his cruelty.

Briefly, he returned to the conscious world, though he did not open his eyes, he knew the sun was shining on his face. Though he could not make out the words, he heard familiar voices, at first panicked, then astonished. Though he could not move, he felt hands upon his body.

He was not dead.
~~~~~~~


Slipping back into his dreams, Dirk's insubstantial existence floated in the void. Voices surrounded him, though he heard them not with his ears. He knew each of them, though they had not yet named themselves.

"You have done terrible things this night," a grim but fair voice said.

"And great, as well," a woman's voice quivered.

"Yes, great. But selfish, and hateful," a sinister whisper.

"A vexing problem to be sure," a benevolent, powerful voice commented, "What to do? Reward the valiance and courage, or punish the sins?"

"Surely we can release him from his anguish. He deserves that," said the woman.

"He deserves death as well, for malice and murder," growled the whisperer.

"Aye he deserves both," said the grim one, "but his actions are exactly what we should have expected, given what we have given him, done to him."

"I agree with you all," stated the powerful force, "and I wil now render my judgement.

"Dirk, son of Angmar and Minya hearken to me, Mandos who governs the death of Ëa's children."

Fear gripped Dirk. He was a child in the eyeless gaze of an angered parent.

"You have committed terrible atrocities. Atrocities that may not have been avoidable, given your origin and the course of your life," Mandos began. "But you have redeemed yourself in several trials as well. Not the least of which was the rejection of immense power in favor of virtue. But also, you have shown courage and sacrifice, selfishness and greed.

"For these, I now pronounce your doom," said Mandos, "I give you a choice, master Dirk. On the one hand, for your crimes you must forfeit your life now. But for the virtues you have exhibited, I offer you a place in my mansion, where only Beren of your race dwells now. Know that for an age of men, you will sit in utter solitude to contemplate the sins of men. But after such time, I will allow you roam my halls as you will."

Mandos paused, then said, "On the other hand, you may live and perhaps redeem yourself for your acts. Should you choose to live, you will be granted both boon and bane. What say you?"

Dirk deliberated for what seemed an eternity within the vacuum. The faces of all he had ever loved flashed before his eyes. He thought of his fellow Knights, his foster family at Laketown, his friends, the Bards in countless barrooms. But lastly, he descried the beauty of Leoba. His one true love. He had sent her a letter nearly predicting this event. But now, in this moment, he knew that he could not end his love for her as easily as he could end his life. He had to get back to her. He had to redeem himself for her.

"I choose..." he faltered, "I...choose...life."

"Then so shall it be. You will live, though you will lie as you do now in a state of unconsciousness. Your friends will find no injury or sickness, but neither will they be able to revive you until the time is come." Mandos continued, "Hear now thy boon and thy bane.

"No doubt you have heard the voices of the spirits that have been guiding you. They are assembled here. Besides myself there are: Ëol, who dwells with me. Minya who recieved the gift of men when she departed Middle-earth. Her voice is only an echo, a facsimile of her own, spoken by that part of her spirit which dwells in you. And finally, your father, who dwells in the fathomless abyss alongside his master and his master's master. His voice is two-fold, from the spirit of the man he was before he was seduced by Sauron's ring; and the thing he was when he stole the blade you bear."

Dirk now recognized the voices he had been hearing, the light, the grey, and the black.

"Each will now speak," continued Mandos, "and give you their justice as they see fit. I repeat now my own mandate. You shall return to the realm of the living, after a period of such time as I see fit. But know that your time is short now. Use it wisely, and I shall grant you the greatest reward, eternal life within my house, but without the solitary confinement. Commit further acts of vengeance, malice, or cruelty, and you will gain the most terrible of punishments: to dwell evermore within the anguish of the abyss that houses Melkor and his servants."

"Here is my doom," said the grim and fair voice, which Dirk now knew to be his shadowy teacher, Ëol, "you may continue to bear the armor I granted you. But since you will have no heirs, it will perish when you do. Further, you will be fully capable in the skills I have already taught you, but you will receive no more guidance from me. This is the last you will hear my voice, lest you win the right to dwell with me here."

The dark elf's voice faded forever from Dirk's mind.

"My son," began Minya, "though you have not heard my voice until now, I have guided you since you were a baby. Whenever you knew not what to do, I attempted to lead you in the right direction. I do not believe that I have wholly failed, though I am appalled by some of your actions. For my part, I grant you my intuition, such as it was when I lived. In the future, when logic and skill eludes you, trust to your heart. Know that intuition is not wisdom, a thing which you will not live long enough to truly acquire now, to my great sorrow. I can longer guide you myself, son. I have done all I can for you. I have given you all I have in order for you to guide yourself."

Thus was Minya's voice silenced forever.

"A waste," whispered the Witch-king. "You have had the opportunities of a thousand lifetimes of men. You rode upon the wing from the ruins of Mordor with a ring of power on your finger. Yet in your folly, it was cut from your hand within months of receiving it.

"You were accepted into the Mithril Knights, and have now found my kinsmen of old, the Dúnedain of the north, the Rangers. Patience and prudence would have seen you live a long life amongst the great. Eventually, you could have been great yourself, earning a seat amongst the rulers of the realm of men.

"You rode boldly to the fore of a mighty army. With which you could have taken for yourself a kingdom. But you scattered it to the winds. All but the thirty in whose blood you now lie.

"Since you gained adulthood, you have stood at a fork in the road. We have given you the tools with which you could have succeeded down either path. Each time you set foot on one or the other, you always stepped backwards.

"Now your doom is laid out before you. Greatness is no longer yours to take upon Middle-earth. Your time is too short, and the opportunities have passed you by. But a great reward may still be granted to you, should you stride the correct path. And you will still need tools stay on that path.

"You will retain the Dragon's Tooth, which had been greater in your hand than it ever was in mine. But I will now remove the last of my power in Middle-earth, that which dwelt in the black blade. The spirit which made it seem as if time stood still. It was in those moments that I guided your hand upon Neleg Amlug's hilts. The sword will no longer bear the poison of Morgul, nor will it guard itself against unwanted hands. You will have to keep it safe.

"It will retain its physical properties, however. It will remain unbreakable save by more powerful necromancy than that by which I enchanted it. Its blade will remain black. It will never lose its edge nor become notched. It will remain a formidable weapon, certainly greater than most that still exist in Middle-earth. Likewise, even without my hand to guide you, your skills with the blade surpass nearly all men and most of the elves that remain on these shores.

"Lastly, you will retain the knowledge of darkness that you obtained upon your journeys. Remember its secrets and its languages, my son. They will prove invaluable to you upon your short road to redemption and Mandos' reward."

And thus passed the last remnants of Dirk's father. The spirit of the dreaded Witch-king of Angmar, powerful dark sorcerer and master of Minas Morgul. But also the powerful king of men, kinsman of the line or Elros Tar--Minyatur, a virtuous but misguided man, not wholly corrupted until he donned Sauron's ring.

"These gifts and reparations are the wages of your actions. How you spend them will determine your final disposition," concluded Mandos, "As a reminder of this doom, the stars upon the vest you bear will not shine until you redeem yourself."

Thus Dirk slipped into silent but fitful slumber.

~~~~

When he was discovered, the Knights found Dirk, for all appearances, near death. His breathing came in ragged gasps and his pulse was weak. His skin was ashen and cold. But for all this, they could find no injury.

He remained unconscious, at the mercy of his comrades.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:13 am

12 Jan 2008 23:52



Dirk was not aware of his own existence.

There was no light or darkness, no warmth or cold, no scent or sound.

Then, like a new-born babe, every sensation bombarded Dirk's subconscious at once. He cried out, but made no sound. He tried to run, to fight, to shield himself from the onslaught. But he had no body with which to defend himself.

Then, just as it began, the sensory storm ended.

His incorporeal self now existed where nothing and everything existed at once. He did not know who or what he was. He did not know the names for any or the things he saw.

He wandered listlessly in a strange landscape. He trekked through mighty forests, soared over majestic mountain ranges, traversed endless deserts, and sailed windswept seas. With nothing to contain it, his wonder overflowed at each new thing he saw, heard, felt, and smelled.

Then found that the ether had produced for him a hall, with many turnings and doors. He quickly found that there was no exit. Around each bend and behind each door was an unrecognizable face. Some had no mouths, others no eyes; and still others had no features at all. Some were silent and some screamed. Some jumped or ran or flailed madly and others lay perfectly still on the stone floor.

Then the hall changed. There were no more doors, and no more bends. There was only the straight passage. After an eternity, the walls and ceiling fell away from the disembodied spirit.

He stopped; he was in a chamber of indiscernible size. Its walls were lost in fog on all sides and the ceiling was a cloud, higher than the tallest mountain.

Dirk's ethereal consciousness spun slowly. He was trapped in a boundless space.

He was alone.

~~~~~

On the trail, Dirk's limp body swung with Endlómë's fluid movement. He made no sound. Nor did he move. Frequently, his companions felt his chest or listened for his breath. There was no life in him, only an empty shell that lived on without his spirit.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:15 am

Posted: 21 Jan 2008 23:30



Through the night, as the others slept, Dirk began to show signs of life. His skin began to regain it's color, pale though it was; and he tossed fitfully in his dream-filled slumber.

~~

Dirk became aware of himself, that he was alive and had a corporeal existence. Within the same immensly infinitesimal moment, Dirk's surroundings changed. The fog had lifted, revealing a crystal palace, transparent on all sides revealing breathtaking sea-cliff vistas, with a spire overhead that reached upward beyond sight.

As he stood in awe of these new revelations, there came a beautiful light. At first it seemed to be a reflection of the sun over the sea. But then became apparent that it moved of its own accord, directly toward the palace in which Dirk stood. The light moved with a purpose, and yet Dirk was not fearful. He was glad to see the light, though he knew not what it was.

He waited in anticipation as the light passed through the crystal walls of the palace and took shape.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:16 am

Posted: 23 Jan 2008 01:42



As the light approached, it took the shape of a fair elven maid, clad in white and seemingly floating above the impossibly lustrous white marble floor.

A conversation ensued, during which the exchanged words were forgotten as soon as they were uttered. The elf's voice was like music, sweet and enchanting. It soothed Dirk; and he felt as if he could stay in that place and listen to the melodious tones forever without want for anything else.

But as quickly as she had appeared, the lovely vision of an elf woman in white was gone, along with her music, leaving Dirk with a hole in his heart. He yearned to hear that music again. The crystal palace lost some of its shine for him. He could no longer dwell there.

Dirk's spirit searched out an exit from what had become a transparent, exquisite prison; and he found it in the form of a high-arched door of silver and gold. To his astonishment, it gave way easily at his touch despite its size, revealing a long darkened hall.

He stepped across the threshold and immediately the golden door shut fast behind him, closing him out of the crystal palace forever. The hall was utterly bereft of light except for a faint pinprick of luminance at its far end which appeared to be at least a mile away.

Dirk began walking, but invigorated by the strength in his legs and drawn to the light with waxing intensity, he was soon running full-tilt. As he drew nearer, two things became evident, the light emanated from a doorway opened just a crack, and the music he sought came from the other side.

He slowed to a walk when he was within a few yards of the door. As his breath slowed and quieted, the dulcet chords he heard invited him to open the door.

He reached for the door and pushed it open. To his surprise, the beautiful elf-maid was there, hand outstretched. He took her hand, but cast his eyes down to look at his feet on the dark side of the threshold.

The music then somehow became an encouraging voice, telling Dirk that he was right to step through the door. He looked back up into the elf's face. She smiled. Dirk lifted his foot. The music reached a joyous crescendo. He set his foot into the light.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:20 am

Posted: 23 Jan 2008 02:00



Dirk awoke in a darkened room, drenched with sweat and feeling both famished and parched. He opened his eyes to find himself looking into the same face he had seen in his dream.

"Vana," he whispered, "You...were...there? You...found...me?"

She nodded and smiled; and put her finger to her lips as she lifted a cup of cool water to his lips.

The water cleared his head and woke him fully. A series of images, emotions, sounds and scents came to him in a rush as memories flooded into his mind.

The long, dark hall and the doorway into light. The crystal palace. The ethereal flight through forests and oceans and deserts.

The storm, the orcs, the Wargs, the fire, the blood.

Dirk sat up with a start, panting heavily. His side ached horribly. He lifted his shirt to reveal a small but nasty bruise where the orc captain had tried to stab him.

"Lie back," said Vana, "Let me take a look."

She examined the bruise, which seemed to cause Dirk much more pain than such a small contusion should. She then prepared and applied another herb-filled compress, which eased the discomfort somewhat.

"Now, eat," said the elf, and she proffered a plate of cold food.

Dirk ate and drank ravenously until there was none left.

"Lie back and rest," Vana said, "We'll be leaving soon, and you'll need your strength."

With that, she gathered her things and the dirty bowls and plates and left Dirk's room.

Though he did not fall back to sleep, Dirk had nightmares nonetheless. He saw visions of the final death masks his victims had worn. His nostrils filled with the stench of sanguine mud. He cowered from flashes of lightning and searing heat of the flames that devoured the Warg pups; their yelps echoed in his ears.

In order to stave off the horrendous imagery, Dirk stood and dressed. He re-girt himself with Neleg Amlug, his armour, and the Sickle vest. It was then that he noticed the voices were gone. Not quiet as they had been before when he relaxed and took control of his senses, but gone never to return. No longer would he be tormented by the tumult of voices at odds with each other.

A cock crowed in the yard outside, signaling the dawn. Dirk strode to the window. As he watched the horizon begin to lighten from his east-facing window, he recalled his sentencing by the masters of the voices: they allowed him his life, but it would be shortened; they allowed him their gifts, but their guidance was withdrawn; they gave him a choice, but to win the reward, he must perform selfless acts in penitence for his sins.

He withdrew himself from his reverie and took stock. The voice of the dark elf was gone, but the training he had received remained. He took command of his senses and brought his very heartbeat under his control with less effort than he ever had before.

There was a stain of black orc-blood on the never before blemished sword blade. The stars on his vest had blackened, as if by fire. His weapons and armour carried now only the original properties given them by their forgers. They were no longer alive with their spirits. While still extremely powerful artifacts, they were as dead as the rocks that lined the path below his window.

Dirk heard the whinny of a horse in the distance and remembered his friends and their mission. He resolved to keep his doom secret, despite their inevitable anger about his actions. He resolved to calculate his every move according to his doom and its final disposition. In a way, Dirk the Daring had died on the eastern slope of Mount Gundabad. The bold, brash, impertinent boy perished and a sober, wizened man was born.

With a deep sigh, he turned and left the room to join his fellow Knights for breakfast.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:04 am

Since many posts in this thread are being referenced in Dirk's current tale, I needed to find it and bring it up to the first page for easier access.

For anyone having trouble finding the referenced posts, let me know and I'll help you out.

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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:55 pm

I looked through this thread. an amazing tale, SB!
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Meneldor, Warrior Bard, and Brondgast, Mithril Knights

Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

Meneldor, Alatar and Pallando, Darkness Reigns: The Resistance


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Postby SmaugsBane » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:41 am

Posted in Mithril Knight: Guardians of Middle-earth. I have only copied my own posts here, as always please see the original thread for others' work, including the other halves of conversations with Meneldor.

03 Apr 2011 23:42

The huge avian form momentarily blotted out the rising sun as Meneldor alighted upon the ground before Dirk. For a time, the two stood opposite one another not moving, not speaking. The dark warrior regarded the Great Eagle’s giant golden eyes, wondering whether Meneldor still saw the young Mithril Knight, true to his vows and brave of heart. Or did he see what Dirk was becoming as the things that lived in the darkest recesses of his soul have begun to come to the fore once again?

“A Star enters the darkness
And consumes him from within…”

The great gold orbs proved unreadable, and therefore useless in helping Dirk to decide whether or not to proceed as he had planned, and so he did.

“My friend,” he swallowed hard, “my brother. I’m afraid it may have been utter folly that you choose me to mentor you.”

The Great Eagle’s head twitched quizzically to the side.

Dirk continued, “For what could a man of one-and-twenty years offer to one so ancient and wise as you?” He turned, strode to the dying campfire and sat upon a flattened stone. “But to that end, I would tell you my story and give you my best guess at what wisdom I may have derived from it.”

Dirk bore the heavy gaze of the ages-old eyes as he told Meneldor the truths of his life, including his birth, how he came to bear an evil facsimile of a Ring of Power, his days with the black shade of Eöl, the slaughter upon Gundabad, and the Doom of Mandos. Lastly, he stood and lifted his jerkin, exposing the rotting, blackened wound that now stretched nearly to his heart.

“So you see my brother, what I do in Carn-Dûm may be my last act as a Knight and as a living man, barring some miracle. I told all of this, even though you may have already known or guessed some of it, as my confession-so that one who is not man and therefore purely a creature of the Light could hear and understand and perhaps someday derive a lesson to teach others from my short, ruined life.”

Meneldor stood silently for several minutes as Dirk absently stirred the embers with a stick.

Finally the bird spoke, “My brother I have heard and will remember all you have told and more of you, including those days which are yet to come, however many there may yet be. Tell me of the wound brother, does it pain you? Surely it cannot be so grievous as it looks. The Healers in Imladris or the elf Vanaladiel would have known.”

“The pain is…bearable my brother,” he lied, “thank you for your concern. But I’m afraid that it is even more grievous than it looks for it is no alchemical poison of this world that festers over my heart. If that were so, then yes, it would be as you say and my elf-sister Vana would have seen and rooted it out of me. No, the poison of the Warg-rider’s blade gave way long ago to a poison of the soul, though that is a poor word for it. It is more like a warning from Mandos, an hourglass. I am its vessel and its sand runs black into my heart.”

Again there was a long pause as both man and Eagle calculated in their minds the hour at which the upper bulb of the hourglass my run empty. Then the Eagle asked, as if he suddenly remembered, “and the wisdom?”

“What’s that my brother?”

“You promised me your best guess at wisdom.”

“Oh that.” Dirk actually chuckled. “That’s where the folly comes in. You see, what little I have that might pass for wisdom would be no revelation at all to one such as you.”

“I shall hear you and judge for myself.”

“What it all comes down to is giving,” Dirk said. He stood, threw the stick into the ashes, and began to pace. “The worth of a man’s life is measured not what he gains, but in what he gives. To Illuvatar’s greater children, like the elves or yourself, I suspect that this is intrinsic to your nature. But for men, it is the opposite. We readily accept the gifts that are given to us, but instead of using them to benefit others who are not as blessed as we, we spend them like coins in order to garner worldly things for ourselves: riches, power, glory, fame.”

The bird’s impassive face gave no clue as to how Dirk’s words were being received. Despite a suspicion that he was coming off the fool, the young Knight continued.

“Meneldor, I’ve spent my life seeking to purchase redemption with my blessings, first to redeem my low station as the seventh son of a mere innkeeper, then as the ill-gotten son of Angmar born of necromancy. It is why I joined the Mithril Knights.” He moved close to the great bird and stopped his pacing. “I thought I was righteous, noble. Turns out, I did the right thing in joining the Knights, but for the wrong reason. It is not about my stature as a prestigious Mithril Knight redeeming me of my birth or my sins. It is not about me at all, or any other individual. You once asked me what it meant to be a Mithril Knight. The best I can give you is this: Taking the oath of the Knights is a pledge to give everything of yourself, even your very life if need be, to the people of Middle-earth. It is about leaving your own self behind and sacrificing personal glory, wealth, prestige, everything for the greater good…”

Meneldor waited for Dirk to continue, but when he didn’t, he started, “My brother, this is not folly…”

“No brother,” Dirk cut across him, “I fear I’ve already spoken too long. The time is grown short and we both have much to do today.”

It was then that Meneldor realized that Dirk’s horse was saddled and he was packed to move.

“What would you have of me, brother?” asked Meneldor.

“My night patrols tell me that our company of Mithril Knights has returned from the northwest. They are about three days’ ride from here. You must go to them and deliver a message. Tell them that I shall arrive at Carn-Dûm at sundown three days hence and that if they are not there at Midnight of the fourth, then we shall fail and the men of the north, and probably the Shire as well, are doomed.

“They also need to know that some two-hundred Rangers patrol the area and that they must make contact and have them gather their strength, for there will be a veritable swarm of orcs to deal with, as well as my Uruk night patrol, which is forty strong, and at least two trolls from the Trollshaws. Also, they should know that I fear the dragon will call the drakes to Carn-Dûm once I make my presence known.

“My brother,” Dirk lowered his voice, “I beseech you, speak to no-one of my wound. I do not want to cause undue worry. Any help I may be able to gain for it will have to wait until after we deal with this dragon and I would not have anyone troubled over me before we have.” He placed a hand on the great bird’s wing.

“Go with all speed back to our fellow Knights and return to me if you can tomorrow. I hope to be at the half-way point between here and yonder fortress by nightfall tomorrow. We can talk a little my poor excuse for wisdom, if you wish.”

“Yes, I can see that haste is necessary. And, as always, your confidences are safe with me my brother. I will return to you at the halfway point on the morrow. Until then, farewell.”

Then the Great Eagle spread his wings and lifted from the ground with a hurricane rush of wind.

23 Jul 2011 14:50


If the Hithaeglir were a Scorpion then the Mountains of Angmar would be its tail, and Carn-dûm its gleaming black sting. Dirk was now so close to those evil peaks that he stood in their shadow, though it was the second hour before noon. Meneldor, even with his Eagle-vision, had had a difficult time finding the Shadowed Warrior within the mountains' gloom; for there was more to Dirk that was Black than merely his garb and armor.

The ancient Eagle's eyes would not have missed the toil that Dirk endured in order to keep hold of the last vestiges of himself. The young Knight was sweating profusely, and he stammered as he spoke, often losing his train of thought completely. In the end, Dirk could not recall most of what he had said to the great bird, which was mainly to remind the Mithril Knights that they must join forces with the Rangers in the area so that they could fight the orcs and other beasts, allowing the Knights to concentrate upon the Drakes and the Dragon. Dirk also managed to remind Meneldor that the Knights must be ready two days hence, for that was when the Dragon would emerge from the mouth of the Witch-king's ancient lair, if his plan worked as he had foreseen. Other words were exchanged that would never be remembered by either man nor Eagle, until their farewell.

Shakily Dirk approached Meneldor and tentatively reached out to touch his wing, "Y-you have honoured me, O great Eagle. F-farewell, and if I sh-should come out on the other side of this, uh, adventure," he paused for several moments, his brow knitting and un-knitting, "if I am still intact, wh-whole, that is, then I will do my best to honour my commitment as your mentor Knight. For I have been a poor one s-so far."

24 Jul 2011 21:57

Meneldor's sorrow washed over the young Knight even as his hot tears did. Even within the Eagle's feathery embrace the pain of his wound was almost unbearable and he had to lean upon the bird for support. Feeling Meneldor's heartbeat, he recalled their last conversation - Dirk's confession that he was dying. Now the Knight was weeping as well. He gave his emotions their head, that the well within him could dry up and refill with what must inevitably live there if he was to fool the serpent beneath Carn-dûm.

Then suddenly their embrace was broken and the great Eagle was flying away west, the beating of Meneldor's wings echoed within Dirk's poisoned chest. Dirk continued to watch and weep, until at last he could no longer see the bird; and he could no longer produce tears.


He turned then and shuffled to where Endlómë stood stamping at the ground. The great warhorse tossed his mane and nudged the saddle upon the ground.

"No my f-friend. Not this time," he told his long-time companion. With a deep sigh to collect his composure Dirk continued, "once before I chose a different mount and now I must do so again. But this is not folly as it was before, but necessity."

The tall black courser lowered his head and nuzzled Dirk's shoulder, allowing his bridle and halter to be gently removed by fumbling fingers.

"Go now, my Midnight, my Endlómë and be free. Should I make it through this we will find each other, I promise." He paused, patting the horse's neck, "If not, follow your heart. Choose another warrior if you will, and carry him into battle as you have me: with strength and courage and honor."

Dirk lovingly scratched the horse's ears and kissed his nose. Then he slapped him upon the rump, with which the great destrier reared and neighed. Then the thunder of his hooves shattered the silence as he bolted not east toward the mountain passes and his homeland, but west. Dirk knew that he was heading to join the Mithril Knights and hoped he would find a worthy rider among them in need of a mount. He smiled despite the pain for he knew his horse would have done nothing else.


After Endlómë's hoof beats had faded into the silence of that dead place, Dirk drew up his remaining strength and threw the last of the wood upon the dying embers of that morning's cook fire. He then girt himself with his arms and armor and proceeded to destroy everything else in the blaze: saddle and tack, pack and blanket, food and water skin. But this task of purging proved too much, and even as he laid his coin purse and the little pouch that held a small quill, ink pot, and bits of paper into the fire, he collapsed beside it. The sun was at its zenith.

25 Jul 2011 01:19

He awoke to the sound of beating wings. But this was not the life-embracing heartbeat of a Great Eagle's wings, but the thrumming beat of a war drum signifying only death and despair. This was the inexorable leathern whump that seemed to suck the very air from Dirk's lungs. It could only be a Dragon.

He opened his eyes and immediately realized that it was night, moonless and dark, with the stars of the Valacirca shining brightly above him. Briefly, a thought floated through his mind like a ghost from the distant past:


“A Star enters the darkness
And consumes him from within…”


Then it was gone like smoke rising from a funeral pyre, and with it the final iota of self that Dirk had clung to. What he was, he was now wholly. None could deny him. None could withstand him.

~~~~

So it was that the hovering beast was drawn to him. The Sickle of Varda was blotted out by its immense shadow as it wheeled slowly downward until finally it lit upon a patch of bare rock a few yards from where the Zaugoth lay, its terrible talons scritching upon the stone.

The young shadow lord rolled and stood. He dusted himself off and stamped caked mud from his once-proudly polished boots. He inhaled the brisk northern night air and found that he felt no anger, no joy, no love, no sorrow. And despite the pool of coagulating blood upon the ground where he had lain, he felt no pain. He touched his side and felt the blood there it had soaked through his shirt, mail and hauberk, then lifted his blood-covered hand to his mouth and savored the sanguine fluid with his tongue.

Grinning bloodily, he turned to the huge beast and discovered that it was not a full-grown dragon, but neither was it as small as a fell-beast like those he and his father had ridden before. There stood before him an animal with green-gold reptilian scales and bat-like wings the span of which was nearly double that of its length. The young man's eye was drawn to those of the beast: immense and yellow, with cat-like pupils and filled with ancient intelligence and malice.

"Do you speak, beast?"

"Aye, master," it said in the common tongue.

"Are you what they call a 'Cold Drake'?"

"It is true, my Zaugoth, that my brother and I are not gifted with fire, as are the larger serpents. But you will find that we are useful in our own ways."

"I'm sure you are," sneered Zaugoth. "Do you have a name?"

"I am called Balorosak, my lord."

"Good, Balorosak, let us away."

The Drake lowered its head in a gesture that was taken by the young Dark Lord to mean that he was to mount and ride the beast. Therefore he strode to its side and grasped the horny spikes that grew down its spine to pull himself up onto its shoulders. As he settled between the spikes, the Drake spread its wings and with a powerful thrust of its legs, leaped into the air. Where a man might have feared, the Zaugoth exhilarated, spreading his arms wide and laughing at the wind.

The journey was short however, and as they approached Carn-dûm the Zaugoth saw that it was not deserted. Many fires were lit on the plateau near the main entrance; and when they were near enough, the deep booming of many great war drums could be heard.

Balorosak lit upon the stones directly before the gaping maw of Carn-dûm's main entrance and, gracefully for such a huge beast, lowered his head for the Zaugoth to dismount. Once the dark warrior was deposited upon the stones, the Cold Drake once again took to the sky, this time to fly up to his perch upon the pinnacle of one of the three peaks of Carn-dûm. It was then that the Zaugoth noticed its brother, a red Drake he could only assume was called Kukurosak upon the opposite spire, presumably leaving the central tower empty for their true master, who yet slumbered below.

The drums stopped as the Zaugoth turned and faced his small but enthusiastic host. Immediately, his guard of forty Uruk-hai charged to the fore and arrayed themselves before him. Their captain stepped forward and bowed, waiting for the order to speak.

"I'm glad for your sake that you heeded my command and allowed none to enter my home before me."

With eyes still cast down the Uruk answered, "it wasn't easy, my lord. The mountain bugs wanted to scurry underground as soon as we got here. It took a little head-rolling, but we brought them in line, me and my lads did."

"Tell me what we have here, captain, all told."

"Seven-hundred bugs from under the mountains, my forty mighty Uruk-hai, and three great stinking trolls." Growing bolder, the Uruk spoke freely, "These northern trolls are easier to handle than the southern lot, seeing's how they can talk and all, but they eat everything in sight and haven't stopped beating those infernal drums all night until you arrived."

The Zaugoth ignored the small insolence. "See that the orcs are arrayed in squads for patrol and appoint a sergeant to each squad to lead them in battle. See that the sergeants are liberal with the whips if need be."

"And if they aren't?"

"Then see that your boys are liberal with the swords upon the sergeants' necks."

The Uruk captain leered.

"Also," continued the Zaugoth, "all forces except the Drakes are to be housed within the mountain once I've entered. Find suitable housing for all near the entrance," he looked directly into the black pupils of the Uruk, "and no-one is to go below the main level upon pain of long, slow death."

With that the Zaugoth turned to enter the fortress.

"My lord, there is one other thing."

The Zaugoth turned, a slow-burning flame kindled behind his grey eyes. "What is it?"

He saw that the Uruks had parted and the only other man within leagues strode tentatively forward carrying a large object under an oilcloth. He was a small man with a bend back, darting eyes and greasy hair and clothes.

"Who are you and what have you got there?" demanded the Zaugoth.

"Me I'm nobody sir. Just Drewe. Drewe the delver from Bree. Digs, I do, for me livin' sir."

The Zaugoth stood motionless, growing impatient, until finally Drewe uncovered his burden. It was a great iron helm, topped with an iron three-pointed crown. The ancient crown of the Witch-king

"Where did you get that?" said the Zaugoth, eyes wide with lust.

"In Dead Man's Dike sir, that is Fornost they calls it now," he answered.

"And just how, Drewe the delver, did you manage to get this away from Fornost with the king's men there?"

"I didn't rightly know how I was gonna do that, sir. At first. 'Til I heard all the fuss over those two." He jutted his chin up to where the Cold Drakes rested. "It was easy then. I just slipped out while everyone was fussin' and fightin' over them beasties."

"And how did you know such a thing was there to be found?"

Drewe's tongue thrust from his wet lips as his hairy brow knitted and his eyes shifted nervously, "you see sir there was these two blokes, elves they were in shiny armor. And they walks right up to me at the Pony one night and says, 'you the delver?' and I says, 'aye'. They says get yerself to Fornost. They says there's sometin' they want that'd be in the deepest pit where the old castle were. They says get it and bring it here and I'd get me a reward. So I got it and took it here. For weeks I been waitin' and nobody ain't around for miles. Then this evenin' just when I were almost out of food, all these beasts and orcs and other nasties start showin' up. I were afraid, sir I was. But they didn't touch me once they saw this," he lifted the helm slightly.

"No, I'm sure you were quite safe as long as you bore that." The Zaugoth strode forward and took the helm from Drewe.

With a deep breath, he settled the helm over his black locks. Instantly, it seemed as if he gained stature. Where he had been eye-to-eye with the immense Uruks, he now towered over them two feet or more. Unbridled power coursed through him as he had only felt when he bore a ring of power. He drew Neleg Amlug and flames danced red upon its edges. Lifting the sword above his head, he blasted his terrible voice into the weak minds of his minions:

"Maurdat lat Zaugoth, baurobzot Nazgûl!"*

The incessant murmur of the crowd had stopped. Only the crackling of bonfires broke the silence.

Until a seemingly tiny voice spoke out, "sir," squeaked Drewe, "can I be havin' me reward now? So I can be goin' an' all?"

The Zaugoth looked down upon the insignificant man. Drewe saw a flash of white teeth and crimson eyes behind the hideous façade of the Iron Helm.

"Boys, give him his reward."

The Uruks closed ranks around the small man as the Zaugoth turned and strode toward the entrance of Carn-dûm. Drewe's blood-curdling cries were drowned out when the trolls resumed beating their war drums.

But the Zaugoth heard none of this. With the light of Neleg Amlug to guide him, he walked beneath the threshold of Carn-dûm and disappeared into its inky blackness.

It was midnight.

*I am your Dark Master, the son of the Lord of the Nazgûl!
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Postby Cock-Robin » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:45 pm

SB, you honor me by including Meneldor in your tale. :)
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Re: The History of Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth

Postby SmaugsBane » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:49 am

Posted in Mithril Knight: Guardians of Middle-earth.

10 Jun 2012

Midnight. Dirk's awareness of the universe without had ebbed completely. He had only a vague inkling of stars and stones and blue cloaks. His existence had been wholly swallowed by the living rock of Carn-dûm. His footsteps did not echo either in narrow passage or massive hall. Like the light and Dirk himself, the darkness consumed all, even sound.

Even with absolute blackness veiling his eyes, the Zaugoth navigated the treacherous subterranean labyrinth without a slip or bump. He strode as confidently as if Carn-dûm had been his home for his whole life.

With every step, he descended deeper and deeper into the bowels of Angmar.

Time was a concept that had no meaning. Had he been within the depths for an hour or an age? He did not care. The Zaugoth was home, and home made him feel power. Pure power to kill or heal at a whim, to fly amongst the stars, to crush mountains to dust, to make or destroy Middle-earth as he saw fit.

After such time as none could describe, the young one's eyes perceived a light. At first, only a pinprick in the distance. He was in a long, arrow-straight steeply-descending passage. It was wide enough for four horses to ride abreast and tall enough for a troll to walk full-upright. The light grew apace, until he could see that the walls and floor were granite with veins of pyrite, polished perfectly smooth.

Then, seemingly no time had passed and he stood at the end of the passage, darkness behind and intense light ahead. And in between, an intricate gate of iron, hung on massive hinges and elaborately decorated with intertwining serpents, spitting fire.

The Zaugoth, leaving a slick trail of blood and the fluids of his poisonous infection upon the smooth stone had wound his way all the way to the threshold of the inner-most chamber of Angmar.

He pushed the gate, which swung noiselessly wide to allow him passage.
Rest In Peace, Dirk. 2002-2013
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Re: The History of Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth

Postby SmaugsBane » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:22 pm

Posted 5 Jan 2013


As the black-iron gate swung inward, the shiny scales of the serpents upon it played in the bright light making them dance and writhe within each other's coils. The Zaugoth's eyes adjusted to the light and found the chamber beyond had been wrought into a perfect cube of the same black granite shot-through with gleaming golden pyrite. He could now see that the light came from a circular shaft hewn in the ceiling. More than twenty yards wide, the shaft rose arrow-straight up through the entire mountain; its length the Zaugoth could not guess. At the far side, some fifty yards away, a roof-like structure jutted from the wall, supported by two massive, intricately-decorated columns of pure pyrite. Encircling the columns were long winged dragons, sculpted from obsidian.

The room was empty. There were no furnishings, no niches in the walls - only the gates behind and the stone awning before him. Not even the dust of centuries of disuse that caked the floors of the rest of Angmar's stronghold was in evidence here. Every surface was perfect, smooth, straight and polished.

But the Zaugoth new that despite the void, here was the center of that power that he had felt, that absolute power. Here also was the center of all the Mithiril Knights had been entangled within: The Red Hand, The Silmaril Knights, The cold-drakes and all that had happened along that road from Tol Brandir, to Dale, to Mirkwood, to Gundabad and the northern ice…and now to Carn-dûm. He could feel that resolution was near - for good or ill.

Physically, the only thing he could feel was heat. It was warmer here than in the rest of the mountain, warmer indeed than it should be. There was also an odor in the black-and-gold chamber, the musky smell of an animal's den.

The Zaugoth inhaled sharply then bellowed, "I am here!"

The echoes of his booming voice that intermixed with one another until it became a painful cacophony. Any mortal would have shied from the din, but not the Zaugoth.

When the last echo had finally died away, a voice heavier than the mountain and deeper than Ulmo's sea responded from the shadows beneath the stone awning, "Name yourself, visitor. None have passed my gate for an age and I would know is so bold."

"I am the son of Angmar and the heir to this realm. I am called the Zaugoth," he said without hesitation.

The shadowed voice sneered, "Really? Then I must look upon you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At that moment a pair of golden orbs, larger even than the eyes of the Great Eagle Meneldor, appeared in the gloom beneath the stone awning.

"Approach, son of Angmar," said the disembodied voice, full of intelligence and malice.

The Zaugoth strode haughtily across the floor, the heels of his tall black boots clicking on the polished granite. When he stopped at the edge of the shadow, the eyes slid towards him until the great reptilian head that bore them revealed itself in the light. Its scales gleamed like those of the granite serpents on the gates and its horns appeared as sharpened onyx.

"I see the eyes of Angmar you have, when he was a man. You also bear his blade. But I also see the marks of Númenor upon you. And you bear the strange metal of the dark elf, Ëol. These things are a mystery to me," said the dragon, "or would be if I hadn't heard tell of your approach, Dirk of Esgaroth!"

Strained silence followed. Dirk withdrew a pace and the dragon advanced, stretching out its great neck.

"Yes, man of Laketown, I know you. Do you think that I have not eyes and ears beyond the walls of my prison?"

The dragon raised its great head toward the light and screeched terribly. Moments later, the light dimmed briefly and there came two more screeches in reply - the cold drakes were circling above the triple peak of Carn-dûm.

"Númenorean, adventurer, swordsman, and Mithril Knight." Dirk sucked air between his teeth. "Oh yes, I knew that too. Your charade may have fooled the maggots, but not me," said the dragon. "But where are my manners? I know you, better than you thought it seems, but you do not yet know me."

With that, the great beast slithered from beneath its awning. Suddenly what had been a giant hall now seemed only a tiny chamber to Dirk. It reared on its hind legs but could not stretch to its full height. The dragon unfurled its giant leathern wings but touched the walls before they reached their full span.

"I am Mauglar the Mighty. As you can see, I have grown much since Sauron sealed me in this chamber. I have grown greater even than my brother Smaug and my father Ancalagon. I was among the first of my kind, brought to being within the bowels of Angband by the true Master, Melkor; and now I am the last and greatest of my kind. I was there when the walls of Gondolin fell. I crushed its stone with my own claws."

Mauglar dropped to all fours and dug his massive fore-claws into the stone, which gave way as if it were newly-tilled loam. He lowered his head until his huge eyes were level with Dirk's.

"There is still more to you than is apparent, isn't there?" Dirk froze as the dragon reached out with a stiletto-sharp onyx claw and ever-so-lightly touched the blood-soaked Galvorn rings at his side. "And there is more to this wound than pierced flesh as well."

Dirk stood silently, suddenly feeling small and lost. Moments passed that felt like ages, until he thought of his friends - and his mission.

"Nevertheless, Mauglar, I am the ruler of this realm and your master by birthright." His voice had shrunk to that of a man and was being absorbed by the blackness that surrounded him.

"The heir of Angmar you may be, but not a ruler and never my master," said Mauglar. "However, since you entered into my chamber and declared your identity, you have freed me from my prison, and for that I will not kill you outright. You may rest here until you succumb to your wounds and die peacefully. Let it not be said that I am ungrateful. Farewell, son of Angmar."

With that, the dragon gathered himself over his massive haunches. In the same moment Dirk also prepared to spring. The dark warrior proved quicker. With the absolute last of his strength, Dirk lunged.

Drawing Neleg Amlug as he leapt, Dirk grasped the hilts with both hands, preparing a mighty thrust. Mauglar gasped in pain and surprise as the black blade found purchase between the scales of the dragon's massive chest. Sparks, heat, and dazzling otherworldly light exploded from the confluence of steel and scale as Dirk drove his blade into what would prove to be its final home. For as Dirk slumped to the floor at Mauglar's stamping feet, he held only the hilt in his charred, ruined hands.

"And that… man of the West… will be…your… last act."

The beast raised itself onto its haunches once more. Mauglar then attempted inhale deeply. Instead, he winced in pain and drew his breath in slowly, deliberately. He opened his toothy jaws and Dirk prepared for a mighty rush of flames to erupt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But the conflagration never came. Instead the great dragon coughed and sputtered.

"What have you done?!"

Mauglar clawed at his wound, all but invisible between his scales and weeping a noxious green fluid and wisps of acrid smoke.

"You have taken my fire but only temporarily. But you will not be so lucky," his mighty voice now grating like boulders breaking over one another.

With the same sharp claw as before, the dragon pressed into Dirk's side. This time it penetrated between the rings. Slowly, cruelly, Mauglar pierced the flesh of the young Knight's putrid, festering wound. Dirk opened his mouth in a silent scream. Arching his back in agony, his entire body was wracked with terrific spasms.

Then, with a sudden jerk as if he had been bitten, Mauglar withdrew his claw. Dirk slumped silently to the floor once more. Roaring in anger and pain, the dragon swept Dirk aside with a foot as if he were a rag doll, sending him into the wall in a crumpled heap. Then with a mighty leap and a rush of wind, the dragon was into the shaft and climbing towards daylight.

****

Some time later, he knew not how long, Dirk awoke. He could not move. He felt no pain. He felt nothing of his body. It was already lost to him. It was quiet and the light had returned. The dragon was loose and it was his fault. He thought of his friends: Erinhue, Vanaladiel, Guruthostirn, Elenath, and Tempest, the Knights in Training, Brondgast and Djazi, and his own apprentice, the Great Eagle Meneldor. He closed his eyes and said a silent prayer to Mandos and Tulkas for their protection. When his eyes reopened, tears spilled forth and ran down his nose, falling onto the stone floor and mixing with the blood of his ruined body. He thought of the doom that Mandos and the others had placed upon him and hoped his sacrifice would be enough.

He thought of his foster father and brothers. His home of Laketown and nearby Dale. His eyes would never again behold Erebor at sunrise in all its glory.

Last of all he thought of a beautiful dark-haired warrior woman from Gondor. The tears flowed afresh. He had once dreamed of finishing this quest, finding her, settling down in some beautiful Ithilien glen and raising children. But now that would never happen.

In an almost-inaudible whisper, Dirk uttered his final words into the empty chamber, "Leoba… My love… I am… sorry."

He closed his eyes at last. His last tear fell.

Sir Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth was no more.
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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby Leoba » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:38 pm

Truly the end of an era my love.

I wonder if and how Leoba will find out. I'll probably never know. It wouldn't in any case be pretty or for public viewing! :'(
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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby erinhue » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:03 pm

I have no words, just awe. You da best, Boss
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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby Cock-Robin » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:06 pm

all I can say is....wow.
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Meneldor, Warrior Bard, and Brondgast, Mithril Knights

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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby Turelie_Lurea » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:30 pm

:cry2: so sad...but a brilliant end for a great character. Dirk will be missed.
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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby Bardhwyn » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:09 pm

A true loss.
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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby Idril » Wed May 22, 2013 2:55 pm

WOW! Great writing, as always. Sorry my return to writing will not be with you, so sad. :'( :'(
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Re: Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth, R.I.P.

Postby SmaugsBane » Fri May 24, 2013 9:42 pm

I'm not leaving TORC, Idril. Just laying the character Dirk to rest.

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