The Map of Nogrod (closed RIP)

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

Postby GlassHouse » Sat Apr 12, 2003 5:43 am

She had come to him at what he had believed to be the moment of his death and had carried him away to a place where even he had never walked. In this place the currents of time followed a different course than elsewhere. <BR>There had been mists and ponds and deep wells and the constant sounds of running water and endless bird song. There he had lain on a bed of soft marsh rushes, cool mosses and fragrant grasses... whilst autumn died around him. Whilst elsewhere time continued to walk in it's eternal, unchanging stately march, here spring came again after a bitter winter to fill the world with life. <BR>And he had lain on, knowing nothing. Not even his own name. <BR><BR>He didn't remember the hospital or lying in bed or eating or drinking or anything mundane. He didn't even remember waking or moving or speaking to the attendants or even breathing. For the passage of so many days he simply was, without knowing it.<BR>And then, gradually, things began to change. The birdsong became clearer, sharper. The wind became more tangible, more fresh against his skin. He could smell the moist earth through the open window of his room and the flowers by his bedside. Looking out the window he could see the blue sky. He watched the cloud patterns change from day to day, and he watched the birds make their passages to-and-fro. And he was at last beginning to realize that he was truly alive.<BR>Finally, when he knew that autumn was waning in the world of men, he remembered at last how to stand and he knew then that it was time to go. <BR><BR>And ever, in his mind like the sound of the running water was the continual wordless refrain of She Who is Many.<BR><BR><i>"Nothing's forgotten. Nothing's ever forgotten.'<BR><BR>"I look after my own."</i>
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Postby GlassHouse » Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:59 pm

The members of the Fellowship stood in strained silence on the platform. Waiting for the early morning train to Bangor. At this hour there was very little traffic was on the streets and since it was a Saturday, no one else was waiting for the train. <BR><BR>The weather had changed once again, as they had almost come to expect of Ireland. Heavy clouds had moved in overnight and this morning the skies had opened up to let loose their burden over the city. A steady torrent of rain hammered on the metal roof of the platform and that combined with the sound of water rushing into the storm drains below made for a surprising level of noise. <BR>Yet no one moved to go inside. The the rain enforced a seperation on them was almost welcomed but even without the noise, the group would have had little to say to each other. They scattered themselves across the expanse of the empty platform, isolated from each other, either as individuals or in pairs. <BR>Jack and Gwen stood together at one end of the platform muffled in their new overcoats. Alaric sat pensively on the edge of a bench staring into the rain and not moving. Mitchell hunched by himself on the next bench, drinking vending machine coffee and absorbed in his computer. At the opposite end of the platform Kendra and Clea stood huddled together sheltering against a wall.<BR>Fin had not followed the others out on the platform, a chill still clung to the core of his insides and that kept him from vennnnturing into the cold damp air. He watched the others through the grimy, streaked window of the station and wondered if they would ever be able to give up their own agendas and come together enough to reach an agreement on what should be done about Nogrod. He was absolutely sure that <i>he</i> knew what needed to be done now. The inhabitants of Nogrod had been living on borrowed time. Their only hope was to tell the world and look for allies before the forces arrayed against them could act. But would the others see it as clearly as he did?<BR>In the distance, over the roofs of this city of Men, he could see flashes of lightning against the dark clouds. They were followed a few seconds later by a low rolling thunder.<BR> <BR>Fin watched the storm for several more minutes, allowing the sound to drown out his thoughts. Then slowly, he began to realize that he was no longer alone. He turned and there she was. Kendra must have come in quietly during the last thunderclap - but it surprised him that he hadn't noticed.<BR><BR>"The thunder was making me nervous," she said, almost in a whisper. "I never liked electrical storms, ever since I was a child."<BR><BR>"Really?" he answered a little uncertainly. "I kinda like them." He fidgeted, looking for someplace to rest his eyes other than on the dew that speckled her hair. <BR> <BR>"My old Gram used to sit on the porch of her house and watch them with me." he continued, blathering. "It was high up on the side of a hill and overlooked the whole valley.. we could watch them move from one end to the other...." he trailed off and stared out the window again. <BR><BR>"Fin, I just wanted to see if you were alright. I know you took it very hard when we lost Art... but somehow I have the feeling that's not all there was to it. <BR>You were in bad shape for a while... I thought you were going to just withdraw from us completely. But now you seem to be recovering as fast as you... um, got sick...you're almost your old self again. What's going on? Are you alright? Can I help?"<BR><BR>Fin looked at her in the eyes now, her truely amazing eyes. His head felt fuzzy and his throat was dry but he managed to sound casual enough when he answered.<BR><BR>"I'm OK now, I'm sorry for the way I behaved, I guess I went a little crazy at White Church." he said. "Forgive me."<BR><BR>She softened and looked like he she wanted to comfort him - but she was afraid to reach across the distance that always seemed to separate them. <BR><BR>"Fin, what are we going to do now?" she asked.<BR><BR>"We do what we set out to do. We have to find Nogrod - and once we do, I think we should try to convince Cirdan to tell the world.<BR><BR><a target=new href="http://www.freeavatars.net/vpimages/freaks/fhfb141.gif"><b>"That's not what I meant."</b></a> she answered.<BR><BR>He looked around at the young woman who was standing very close to him now. She was trying her best to be brave and to cope with all the strange and terrifying things that had happened and doing a damn good job, he realized. Much better than he was in many ways. But he could tell that see needed comforting as much he did. <BR>Damn it, what was it he had been waiting for all this time? Breathing deeply, he shook himself lose from the last of his hesitation. Then, taking her gently in his arms and lowering his head, he finally kissed her.
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Postby AurabellaBolger » Sun Apr 20, 2003 12:06 pm

"Thunder," Clea whispered, her eyes half closed, letting the sound seep into her. In her fancy it transformed itself into a thousand things: waves crashing against a rock; cannons storming a citadel; a battering ram crushing a door. All these things had one element in common: one thing crashing upon another, and the other crumbling (either over time, or at once) under the weight of it. "Portents of destruction," she murmured, trembling.<BR><BR>The waves would carry her and her friends to Nogrod. The cannons and the ram would likely greet them upon their arrival. One thing crashing upon another, the other crumbling. Conquistadores landing on a foreign shore. Either they would sink into the sand, or the shore would fall to pieces under their feet. She felt cold. She rubbed her arms against the chill. More than ever, she sensed there was something wrong in their venture, and that their intrusion might spell destruction for something far greater and nobler than they. Yet more than ever, she felt she had to go. She had to see it for herself. Surely if it was as magnificent as she imagined, it could bear the weight of her eyes, of all their eyes. It could stand being known about. Yet the thunder crashed more loudly in her ears, echoing like the sound of the drum in a funeral march.<BR><BR>"Must everything speak of death?" she muttered to herself, stiffening. She opened her eyes and glanced about, and she saw Fin and Kendra quite close together. Their closeness made her feel just a little bit warm again. Fin had been far too isolated lately. He had put up guards against them all, even Kendra, who so obviously loved him. Yet now the guards were falling, and he was letting her in. This, at least, was delightful to see. <BR><BR>At last he realized how fortunate he was to have her, perhaps. He knew that he needed her. Need linked them, as it linked Gwen to Jack, and linked Randi (who knows where she is now? Clea thought with an ache of regret) to her relations. They had someone on whom to lean, at least. And she was lucky to have them all, for since she'd known them, hadn't she leaned a little on each of them at one time or another? Yet something was missing. Gwen and Jack, Kendra and Fin had one on whom to rely, one to whom they felt closest of all, one who was indispensible to them, a North Star. As well as she liked them all, she had no North Star. Just as well, she thought. Just as well to go into this venture with little to lose. Alaric, standing by himself, arms folded, everything from the expression on his face to the posture of his shoulders stating "Don't Come Near," evidently felt the same way. <BR><BR>Just what did he hear in the thunder?<BR><BR>Time to move forward. Time to head toward this strange place that they must see, and know, and understand. She'd had enough of standing still. She hated, HATED this waiting!
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Postby Alys » Wed Apr 30, 2003 6:15 am

Alys stood on the cold and drafty platform of the station in Bangor, waiting for the train to arrive, Ewan stood awkwardly at her side, he was so at home on the sea and in the country but standing in the middle of town he looked a big, awkward lad not quite sure where to put himself. “And ye’re sure these folks’ll come wi us? They dinna know Kath like we dae aftera.” Alys thought for a moment before replying “I think they will Ewan, they know some of what’s at stake after all and they have been travelling with Arturus, Art as they know him, for a while now, and if not we will just have to persuade them that a short detour is needed.”<BR><BR>Alys was not sure how to do that, as she herself was not really aware of what was at stake or even what was in the casket that they needed to collect. Though she was pretty sure now where to start looking, “Under the castle of the French hill,<BR>Surrounded by the lands of crooked mouth” That at least she could be sure was the ruined Lamont castle that was indeed surrounded by the lands of the Cam Beul or the Campbells as they were known now. And if Kath was right and she was the quean of Argyll that was needed to open the casket, then all they needed to do was find the well and of course the fair warrior and the child of monsters, though that name did not bode well. Why would such a child want to help them, surely he would be of the side of the shadow?<BR><BR>Ewan nudged her and nodded down the track, the train was approaching and if she was right “The fellowship” would be on it, how she was so sure she didn’t know, but so many other strange things had been happening that she no longer questioned the urge to be at the station to meet this particular train. What would she say to these people that she had abandoned once, and how would they react to her suggestion that they trust her enough to sail away to Scotland in Spindrift? She lifted her chin and watched as the train pulled into the platform.<BR>
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Postby NabooHuntress » Thu May 01, 2003 4:27 pm

Staring out the window she played it over in her mind again. The apprehension emanating from his dark eyes as he released her. The awkward silence followed by warm smiles. <i>’Bout time</i> was all she could muster. The response regrettably spilled from her moist lips. She tried to save herself with a <i>But not too late</i> but was it? The train had conveniently pulled in and saved her the misfortune of speaking further.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><i>Planes, trains, and automobiles</i> Finlay finally said in an annoyed tone and rose from the brown leather seat across from Kendra. There was a musty odor that hung in the air and the atmosphere of the train was somber at best.<BR><BR><i>Where are you going?</i> she asked too late as Fin walked down the aisle and disappeared into the next car. She looked around to see Clea engrossed in her sketchpad. There was a splattering of other passengers there who were immersed in their own conversations. Some wore hats, some didn’t. Most wore dark clothing. All them were oblivious to the fellowship that sat amongst them and their tribulations. Kendra wanted to stand and scream at them to open their eyes to the reality surrounding them, to wake up to the world they lived in. Sorrowfully she agreed that everyone needed to be told the truth, they deserved to know, just as Finlay asserted. <BR><BR><i>Here you go. It was the best I could do.</i><BR><BR>Finlay was suddenly there presenting Kendra with a cake wrapped in plastic. She tilted her head, smiled tenderly and thanked him. He took his seat, looked outside, and wondered about the weather in Vermont. It was like his illness had never happened, Kendra noted. She thought she saw something, a look in his eye or the tone in his voice that reminded her of Art. Perhaps the likeness was there all along and she failed to see it. She watched him carefully all the way to Bangor but was unable to detect it again. <BR><BR><i>And lost he wandered under leaves,<BR>And where the Elven-river rolled<BR>He walked alone and sorrowing.</i>
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Postby nazgul_lord » Tue May 06, 2003 6:27 am

The Shadow had descended on Belfast almost as soon as the group of strangers had arrived, and when they had passed on toward Bangor they had taken the darkness and dreary weather with them. The Shadow followed them closely, revealing his presence subtly. The overcast sky, the drizzling rain, the bone chilling wind, and their own discontent should have told them that He was there. But they had not yet learned to read his language. The Shadow watched from afar as the outsiders boarded the train, casting secretive glances at each other, and betraying themselves in a thousand small mannerisms. <BR><BR>The Shadow allowed himself a cruel chuckle, a sound that came from nowhere, frightening those standing around him. They could not see him, these modern humans, for their puny minds could not fathom him. Again the Shadow chuckled, this time at the fear on the faces around him. It was easy to take pleasure from another’s fear. It was the only thing that had sustained him through the long centuries of his confinement to this mortal plane. <BR><BR>The Shadow boarded the train, choosing a seat several cars away from those he followed. As he reveled in the obvious unease of the passengers around him, he pulled the Ring off his finger and once more studied it. “This is the Ring, the true craftsmanship of the Dark Lord. At once, his greatest triumph and his greatest failure,” he spoke aloud, confident that none around him would hear anything but dark whisperings. Careful contemplation of the Ring had led him to discover several properties it possessed that he had not previously known. It’s primary use was obvious: mind probing. He knew the hearts, minds, souls, dreams, and realities of anyone he choose to. How easy it was with humans! They went about their business as if nothing was happening while he collected their lives from under their noses. The elf had proven much more difficult, though he too after time had succumbed. Yet as useful as probing was, the Shadow had found a power even more beneficial. The Ring could also control minds. Already he had planted the seeds of treachery in the young mind of one of the fellowship. <BR><BR>“Did Sauron use you, precious, as he could have? Or was he too frightened by your power? He knew your potential, he knew what you could do, but he failed to do so. We will not fail. Only that foolish boy, Finlay, can stand in our way, but he is already in our grasp. It will not be long now. There is much to prepare.” <BR><BR>The passengers sitting nearby could barely hear the dark mutterings of the Shadow, and dread filled their hearts. The Wraith gained strength as he basked in their anxieties. “Much to do.”
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Postby Grubhosh » Mon May 12, 2003 1:32 pm

<i>The dwarf had told yagul nothing, a stubborn git he remained to his sticky painful end. Now he was dead she'd got no joy from killing him and now the orc felt more empty and alone than before. At first she'd tried to cover her tracks killing seldom and carefully hiding the bodies (what was left of them) she was getting sloppy and she knew it. She'd just flung his body in a ditch at the side of the road. 'Let Them find me' she thought. Had she heard about MacGinnis' dissapearance it would not have lifted her sprits, a shadow of despair was growing in her mind. At first her task had been simple, go to Vermont rob a book shop, find a map, get paid. But she'd bitten off more than she could chew, first MacGinnis and then IT had proved that to her. She shuddered at the painful memory of the hooded figure, blacker than black maybe it was too much to hope that it had forgotten her.<BR><BR> ************************************* <BR><BR>She'd been driving for hours now since she'd heard the Fellowship of the Pub were going to Scotland. Yagul had never been there, in fact untill all this had started she hadn't been outside london. There were mountains there, mountains. She sighed. Empty paper coffe cups were scattered across the floor but there was only so much caffine could do she was nodding off at the wheel , the smell of blood still lingered in the van, irritating. Cursing and snarling she pulled off the road she would have work to do if she planned on taking the Dwarves' van with her, she needed a fake pasoprt and a ferry ticket. </i>
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Postby GlassHouse » Wed May 14, 2003 7:37 pm

A drop of rain formed on the tip of Kendra's nose, it glittered in reflected neon light like a bright jewel. She blew it off with a sharp breath.<BR><BR>Fin stood next to her, his own breath visible in the cold air. He shivered a little as a trickle of icy water ran down the back of his neck. <BR>"Why is it that we're always standing in the rain, without an umbrella, waiting for something to happen...where's Jack gone? How long does it take to get a cab at a train station?" he asked in an irritated voice. <BR><BR>"If it rains any harder we won't need a taxi, we'll need a lifeboat." said Kendra grinning slyly.<BR><BR>"You're a crazy woman - and I'm freezing here." said Fin reluctantly returning her grin.<BR><BR>"That I am, boyo." she said maybe a little too brightly, in a fake Irish accent. He couldn't help but notice that underneath her cheeriness, she had been studying him closely. He thought she might be sensing the foul mood that was looming over him and was trying to head it off, wary of the possibility that he might fall back into his wretched state of despair again. <BR><BR>On the train to Bangor they'd had an incredibly good time, joking and talking about anything and everything... everything except the quest. It was as if for just a little while they let the weight of their shared adventures slip from them and they forgot about their pain and loss and allowed themselves to enjoy just being together, finding out all the small details that they hadn't known about each other. <BR>It had been good for both of them to be just normal people for a while, but every now and again he thought he caught her giving him adiscreet sidelong glance, as if trying to read his face for signs that the darkness might be creeping back to engulf him again.<BR><BR>He tried to relax and to put on an amused expression, in an effort to show her that he really was ok. But it probably came off a little thin and the weather certainly wasn't helping him any. <BR>The chill that had come on him in Whitechurch still clung to his insides and his half healed bullet wound throbbed painfully in his left shoulder. The ache was getting to be hard take again and for a moment he wished Art was here to treat it - but he pushed that thought aside and concentrated on Kendra instead - she didn't need to know about his pain, at least not right now. What she needed was not to worry and he was sure that all he really needed was a little rest.<BR> <BR>He moved closer and put his arms around her waist to reassure her. Digging his hands deep into the pockets of her parka he sought her warmth as a shelter from the cold, damp air. She leaned into him and let his arms enfold her, looking up into his face with a seriousness that belied her playful mood of just a moment ago. Fin tried to meet that intense gaze with his best approximation of a charming smile and he made a silly pretense of studying her in return. <BR><BR>"You sure you're OK?" she asked.<BR><BR>It would be hard to hide anything from those eyes, he thought. Fin sighed and resigned himself not to try. Maybe that was the best way anyway.<BR><BR>"Yeah, I'm fine." he said. When she didn't seem satisfied with that answer, he thought for a moment and went on. "I guess I'd been feeling indestructible for years." he said. "You know, sometimes down but never out. " he grinned again but she wasn't having any of it. He began to take a deep breath but stopped and coughed when a sharp pain threatened to shoot through his rib cage.<BR><BR>"I thought I was tough, you know?..." he said, "wilderness survival expert, martial arts guy...Then all this happens, getting shot by evil little gnomes, losing friends and just running away...not even trying to help....it's hard. <BR>I guess I realized somewhere along the way - while I was I slogging my useless carcass from one disaster to another and not being able to do a damn thing about it... that... I'm just Fin. <BR>Not the strongest, not the toughest, not the smartest. Certainly not "The White Warrior" that Art seemed to think I was. <BR>But it doesn't matter... none of it matters now, I know what I have to do."<BR><BR>Kendra said nothing, just continued to study his expression for a moment, then buried her face in the warmth of his wool sweater and held him a little tighter against the rain and cold. <BR><BR>* * *<BR><BR>"There you two are," said a loud, exasperated voice that startled the both of them. Clea came out odf the station, holding three steaming paper cups in a cardboard tray. She offered one each to Kendra and Fin and took the last for herself. "Here, I brought you something hot to drink, it's cocoa."<BR><BR>"Thanks."<BR><BR>"Why don't two you come back inside and wait for Jack out of the rain. Everyone else is still in the cafe." said Clea.<BR><BR>"Yeah, you're right". said Fin. "I just couldn't stand the silence in there anymore. Nobody's talking to anyone. <BR>But this is getting a little silly I guess. Standing out here in the rain waiting for Jack."<BR><BR>"Let's go," said Kendra "I'm freezing and I want some more of that cocoa." <BR><BR>"You finished that already?" said Clea laughed.<BR><BR>"Well, come on then,"said Fin. "More cocoa and something hot to eat sounds pretty good to me."<BR><BR>They headed back through the huge, double glass doors that led into Bangor Station and walked towards the cafe, expecting to find most of the remaining Fellowship in there, scattered in silence at separate tables. All of them were probably strenuously pretending to be preoccupied with something, except for Mitchell who was probably busy with his laptop and didn't need to pretend.<BR><BR>As they were crossing the lobby, Kendra suddenly stopped and grabbed both Clea and Fin by the arm and pulled them out of sight behind a luggage rack.<BR><BR>"I don't believe it!" she hissed in a whisper.<BR><BR>"What is it?!" asked Fin feeling his body tense and searching the room for block shaped little men... or worse. <BR><BR>"Look." said Kendra. "Over there by the ticket window... It's that woman from Vermont. You remember her, the one in the painting at 'The Queen...it's her, it's The Queen of Argyll."
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Postby NabooHuntress » Fri May 23, 2003 10:32 am

<i>Let’s go talk to her.</i> Clea darted out from behind the rack but Finlay and Kendra grabbed her and pulled her back. Clea stared at them bewildered.<BR><i>Don’t you want to know what she is doing here?</i><BR><BR><i>Of course we do, but look.</i>Finlay pointed in Alys’ direction where she stood with a man quite larger than her. They were looking in the faces of the different passengers who were moving about the station in a hurry to get somewhere. <BR><BR>They both had the look of apprehension, Kendra thought.<BR><i>She’s not alone. We don’t know who he is. We should tell the others first, don’t you think?</i><BR><BR>Kendra wrapped her arm around Clea’s and looked at Fin for instructions. She felt uncertain of any decision she made and was thankful she had them to lean on. She wasn’t sure if Clea felt the same way.<BR>
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Postby AurabellaBolger » Fri May 23, 2003 6:54 pm

"We should approach them together," Clea advised. "They have numbers, and they should see that we have numbers as well." She drew a breath through her clenched teeth, and drew herself up tight. "We'll talk to them," she muttered, "but not talk too much."<BR>She glanced behind her, at her friends. She noticed that none of them seemed to want to take the first step in the direction of the beautiful woman and her friend. Even Gwen and Jack hung back a little, and she would have thought they would start forward with their hands outstretched in greeting, all confidence. Alaric hung back, too, but that she had expected. Alaric was anything but shy and shrinking, but he was never friendly or welcoming if he could avoid it. The woman's beauty failed to stir him. She wondered, briefly, if anything DID stir him. <BR>She swallowed, feeling ashamed of herself for her own hanging back. She remembered the lady from the time at the pub; she remembered she had always seemed friendly, if a bit lofty. Still, she felt awkward, somehow smallish when she looked at her. Very beautiful women did not always make Clea uncomfortable. Usually she could admire their loveliness without envy, and she felt warm toward them, as she had toward radiant Laura, as if by granting her their friendship, they were granting her a portion of beauty -- not their beauty, but a new and different beauty, a beauty that was hers, not theirs. Yet she found it was not so with this woman. Her beauty was of a different style than Laura's; it was regal, forbidding, a little cold. It made Clea, with her disorderly red hair and plain features, feel like a daub of mud.<BR>Still, she took a step toward the royal beauty, and Fin and Kendra moved with her. "Well met," she said, then winced at how much she sounded like a character from a Renaissance play; the lady's looks and bearing seemed to call, somehow, for Renaissance language, and she forced herself to "casual up" her voice and words. "Good to see you again. We were scared we lost you back in the States."<BR>This might do for a silence-breaker. The lady gave her a distant smile.<BR>Then Clea turned her eyes to the man. "I don't believe we've met," she said -- the most ridiculously banal opening remark she could make to a stranger, but it had leaped to her mind, and she was nervous; the time for witty originality would come later. "What's your name? And what brings you out on a nasty night like this?"<BR>She wished with all her might that a hole might open up under her feet, and she might sink.
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Postby undomiel » Thu May 29, 2003 7:07 am

<i>It's happening again,</i> Gwen thought to herself. <i>I can't stop it.</i> As see looked across the room at the woman they had called the Queen of Argyll, she felt her senses betraying her once more. The train station disappeared before her eyes and another environment took its place. She saw a black night and a small hut poorly lit with a few small candles. Inside were several huddled figures swathed in dark robes with hoods over their faces. They sat in a tight circle as if hiding something of great importance behind their anonymous backs. Suddenly a rich green light rose up amidst them and then was quickly dimmed. The clandestine group began to chant to a steady rhythm, and Gwen was able to pick out a few of the words. <BR><BR><i>Oath</i> <i>Protect</i> <i>Light</i> <i>Eternity</i> <BR><BR>When the chanting stopped the green light disappeared, and the figures began to scatter in all directions. One form, moving gracefuly toward Gwen, pulled her hood back for just a moment and looked in her direction. Gwen recognized the face. It was the woman she had just seen in her own time, in the train station that now seemed a million years away. The woman stopped for a moment and whispered one word to her before moving on.<BR><BR> <i>Elessar</i><BR><BR>Just as quickly as it had gone, the station reappeared around Gwen. The suddenness of her return made her loose her balance and she stumbled against Jack. <BR><BR>"Are you alright, Gwen?" he asked with concern. <BR><BR>"Yes," she answered in a low voice that no one else could hear. "I just had another vision, the first in several days. It was about her." She indicated the woman Clea was speaking to with a nod of her head. "At least I think it was about her. I don't understand, Jack. These dreams and visions, it's like I'm looking back in time, but how can that be possible?"<BR><BR>"How can all the things we've seen since we left New York be possible?" Jack reminded her. "Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Wizards, Rings, and Things we don't understand... In light of all that, your visions don't suprise me in the least. I figured we would run into some Elf magic somewhere along the line." <BR><BR>He smiled and turned to greet the newcomer, leaving Gwen deep in thought. "Elf magic," she murmured to herself, wondering what other form such a force could take. Her sudden ability to read the ancient script in the Book of her Ranger ancestors, was that Elf magic as well? If so, why had she been given these abilities? Where was the magic coming from? What was the significance of the words spoken in her vision, in particular the word "Elessar"? She made up her mind to do some research into both her own family's records and the works of Tolkien as soon as she could get the chance. <BR><BR>As she silently made her decision, she noticed Kendra watching her with concern. "Are you alright, Gwen?" she asked.<BR><BR>"Yes, I just stumbled a bit. I'm fine."<BR><BR>"You seem worried by something."<BR><BR>Gwen smiled. Kendra was adept at reading people's feelings. There was little point hiding them from her. "You're right. There is something on my mind. I'll tell you about it later." Kendra nodded and returned to Finlay's side. <i>Empathy,</i> Gwen thought. <i>I've never met someone so capable of empathy. Perhaps that is why she is with us, why we need her. Everyone here is serving a purpose. What is mine?</i> As she smiled and introduced herself to the Queen, she determined that she would discover her own purpose as soon as she could.
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Postby GlassHouse » Sun Jun 01, 2003 7:18 pm

"Long ago, when I would be wandering in the wilderness of this world, on some forgotten errand or other... I would camp under skies darker than any you've ever imagined.. and I would glance up and see stars that had never been diminished by the lights of a city." said Art.<BR><BR>"Looking up at those numberless stars and losing myself in the spaces that separated them - after all the ages I'd known - I would begin to lose my sense of Time - and for a while I would be transported back to the Eldar Days, to relive the Glory of Numenor or see the Fall of Gondolin.<BR><BR>I used to ask the Night, where it had all gone and what I was supposed to do about it." he laughed.<BR><BR>"Uhmmph! Didja ever get any answers, oldman?"<BR><BR>"Just the dawn."<BR><BR>"You're still a little woosey if you ask me." snorted the old woman. She was wrapped in her flannel bath robe and sitting with her guest at the kitchen table, sipping a mug of tea. <BR>From the window of her rambling, white clapboard house that sat high on the side of a hill, they could look out and see a blanket of thick, white cotton fog, enshrouding the rolling hills and dark pine trees of Vermont, but no sign of the town of Miskatonic could be discerned in the valley below. <BR>With just a little bit of effort, the old woman could almost make herself believe that <i>this</i> was the dawn that followed a star filled night in an age long ago, the very one that the old wizard had beening speaking of. <BR> <BR>"Why did you come all the way back here to Vermont, oldman? You know they need your help more'n ever now."<BR><BR>The old woman watched him through the steam that rose from her mug of tea, her eyes were sharp and clear in her wrinkled face, their color nearly matched the steal gray of her uncombed hair.<BR> <BR>"You're <i>still</i> full of doubts aren't you, you miserable old fool? That was always your problem. Even back in those Eldar Days you're so fond of remembering. <BR> <BR>But how you could still have any doubts left in you now, <BR>- when the end is in sight at last - and when <i>"She"</i> herself rescued you from the Shadow and healed you...it's just beyond me! <BR>You must be getting senile at last." <BR><BR>Art got up and opened the top of the wood cook-stove that was the only source of heat in the frosty kitchen, he took another log from the wood box in the corner and added it to the fire. <BR> <BR>"In memories, the Land is always seen at twilight." he said staring into the flames. "The moment of recognition... and the longing to rekindle what has been forgotten, brings with it with a profound sence of loss - and the desire to re-create the world of old. To fill the void left by it's passing - becoming drunk on memories of music fair beyond enduring.., <BR><BR>I've been allowed a brief glimpse of the Timeless Land again, Martha Muldowney." he said using the iron poker to adjust the logs in the firebox. "A short reprieve from this world of cares, to heal my spirit and make me whole again and to remind me of what's waiting."<BR><BR>"Was it enough?"<BR> <BR>"We shall have to wait and see," he answered. "But don't worry, The Company should be safe for the time being. They've been met at Bangor."<BR><BR>"I know, and not a bit too soon if you ask me." said the old woman. "I've heard from our friends in Scotland too. There was some hint that Fin might be in trouble. Wounded again or sick or something, they wouldn't tell me much about it.'<BR><BR>She set her tea down and looked out the window so the wizard couldn't see her face.<BR> <BR>"You <i>promised</i> me you'd take care of my grandson, oldman!" she accussed.<BR><BR>"I know, it's partly because of him that I've come back. I too fear that he may be in peril. The Shadow that nearly destroyed me has touched him also." <BR><BR>"And what do you plan to do about it?"<BR><BR>He stared into the fire a moment longer before replacing the lid of the stove. <BR><BR>"I intend to rekindle the the old fire." he said.
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Postby Novice » Sun Jun 01, 2003 9:37 pm

Nienjah stretched languidly, luxuriously, reaching long, shapely limbs along the soft, creamy velvet cushions of the couch. Elegant fingers picked up the crystal wine glass, twirled it gently to enjoy the play of light upon it before touching it to her lips to taste a mouthful of the deep red liquid. Eyes closed, long, dark fringe of lashes kissing the caramel satin skin of her cheekbones, she rolled the rich wine over her tongue, relishing the silky sensation.<BR><BR>More than 11,000 years had passed since her first taste of wine—even now she remembered that first taste, a heavy red from the sun-drenched vineyards of Harad, lands now long under the waves – but still her enjoyment did not dim. A derisive smile played at the corners of her mouth as she considered that there were, after all, many benefits to being a pure sensualist; it certainly held back the tides of boredom which assailed one as the Ages passed.<BR><BR>Heavy lashes opened to allow topaz eyes to peer through the aircraft’s windows. Still over the sea. She sighed long and lazily, the only clue to her mounting impatience at the enforced inactivity during the relatively short flight from Geneva to the tiny airport at Chester. Then they had still the road journey to Bangor before the quarry moved again.<BR><BR>Didi, hunched over in his armchair finalising the incoming details of their next move on his laptop, prudently maintained his silence. He had no desire to rouse the tiger once more; the morning’s experience had been more than enough! His black eyes risked a quick glance across the cabin to take in the golden woman who lay draped so languidly over the couch. A sleek, feline quality emanated from her—like one of those elegant, exotic Siamese that can turn from finely groomed auteur to spitting, clawing wildcat in a heartbeat. <BR><BR>Was it really only three hours ago that smug banker Pieter Überwasser had arrived from Bern with the bombshell that started all this? The long-inactive Seaver account which Nienjah had ordered watched for her own inexplicable reasons had seen a massive withdrawal, a fact which immediately roused Nienjah like a cat scenting prey. Further, apparently The Dwarven Brotherhood – an insular group Didi had never given much consideration to before as they had not to date interfered with Nienjah’s operations – had seen fit to send a posse trailing after the Seaver siblings, following them back to Ireland before losing them.<BR><BR>Didi’s gaze lingered surreptitiously over Nienjah as he replayed the morning’s experience in his mind. Pieter Überwasser, that model of handsome, prosperous Swiss respectibility, had been ushered in a little more animated than was his wont. From across the room, Nienjah smiled that intoxicating smile, her primal heat wafting gently over her flustered thrall, simultaneously putting him at ease and tightening her hold over him. Didi had discreetly retreated to the background, suppressing a smile at Überwasser’s obvious dislike of his presence. <BR><BR>Pieter disliked anyone who competed with him for Nienjah’s affections, but Didi especially so. It irritated him that she would choose this illiterate Arab as her right hand man; well, not illiterate anymore perhaps, but uncivilised behind that polished smile and sleekly muscled, well-dressed exterior. He had shrugged off his irritation and focussed on his task.<BR><BR>Gathering all the authority and aplomb that 10 years as head of a Swiss Bank can invest a man, Pieter approached her with a semblance of professionalism and told her the news. Nienjah rose from where she lounged with deceptive grace and floated sinuously around to the front of her desk, but Didi could see her eyes change to molten gold, the tension in those seemingly relaxed fingers.<BR><BR>"When?" she asked Pieter softly, at the same time commanding Didi with tiny, inconspicuous hand signals to record every detail. Honed over 11 hundred centuries, Nienjah’s battle tongue was known only amongst her most trusted inner coterie. Didi was fully alert.<BR><BR>"Ah!….em…the transaction took place yesterday morning, my dear…at 10:30 yesterday morning." He was embarrassed, knowing there was no excuse for the 24 hour delay in relaying the information from Bern to Geneva. And then suddenly, the six foot, impeccably attired Swiss banker cowered. Nienjah's eyes flashed and a heat blasted from her so that his breath caught, his pulse racing and shackles rising, the menace tangible and raw and overpowering. And yet Nienjah had not moved.<BR><BR>Before he had time to react the wave of inexplicable menace abruptly evaporated. Her anger contained, she took three lazy, sinuously graceful steps towards Pieter and the fire in her shifted subtly, causing both men to feel the heat in their own flesh rise. Didi nibbled his lips unconsciously as he relived that familiar, rutting heat which Nienjah induced so effortlessly. <BR><BR>"Look at me." Her voice was again its customary velvet.<BR><BR>Pieter had met her eyes, warm and reassuring as honey. Eyes, skin, hair all subtle tones of gold and cream and caramel over patrician bones softened by skin luscious as a fresh peach. It suddenly struck Pieter that he had known her for 25 years and yet she looked not a day older than that first memorable day as a 16 year old boy, when she had enslaved him body and soul.<BR><BR>"Now, commence at the beginning and leave no detail unsaid." <BR><BR>Under the circumstances, Pieter had been admirably coherent and thorough and then liquid amber eyes dismissed him from her presence. Did opened the door and Pieter departed reluctantly and uncertain of whether he retained her good graces.<BR><BR>"Didi, get the plane cleared immediately…and pinpoint not only the whereabouts of the Seavers but also any persons they may have been in contact with this past month. We have a lot to do."<BR><BR>In a little over an hour, everything was in place; flight plans, their critical people in the UK briefed and put into action, two of their most efficient men sent from Geneva to Norway <i>("Norway?" Didi had asked. She had smiled at him. "I will explain on the plane." )</i>, finances, accommodation, luggage readied, excuses prepared for official engagements. The consummate professional, Didi expedited all and asked no questions. He was bound to her willingly , and she would tell him what he needed to know.<BR><BR>Didi sat back in his arm-chair, eyes fixed on the ethereal woman on the couch, his laptop forgotten for a moment as he mulled over all she had told him during the first two hours of their flight. It defied belief; a lost city with a gateway to the land of the gods. Incredible. Impossible—but then, the existence of Nienjah herself was impossible; a being born 5 Ages before this one, the offspring of an elf and a demon. "My essence is the Flame Imperishable…" she had said. Elves. Demons. The Flame Imperishable. What the hell was that?<BR><BR>His questioning gaze moved slowly, appreciatively over her form, lingering on the exotic contours of her face, watching how the light seemed to shimmer around her, and again the shock, the incomprehensible truth gripped him as it had repeatedly since he learned it. She was alien to this world of human beings—yet his longing to be wrapped again in those limbs did not diminish.<BR><BR>Nienjah sighed again, eyelids fluttering open to unveil those piercing, exotic eyes. Didi’s inner emotional roiling, rich and heady though it was to her senses, was interfering with her thinking and there was much still to sift through.<BR><BR>"My own, I can’t spare the time now to reveal the mysteries of Arda. Focus, my dear, focus. There will be time enough later to sear your flesh on the tender Flame."<BR><BR>Her voice, heady as musk, stroked him and the corners of her mouth twitched as she watched the olive of his cheeks flush. Of course, he knew she could read him, taste him, drink in his emotions like the wine in her glass. Another gift of the Flame.<BR><BR>They would be landing in Chester within half an hour; the car would be waiting to take them to Bangor—and then what?
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Postby Alys » Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:55 pm

Ewan watched as the youngest of the old ones threw back her shoulders and lifted her chin at the small group approaching them across the station concourse. She didn’t yet fully know who she was, or indeed what she was, but that she was able to take on so much on blind faith alone was a good sign. Kath had known her as soon as she had seen Alys as a small child playing in the woods behind the village “There she is again” the old lady had said “and not a moment too soon at that!” Ewan and Matt, looking at the wee dot the woman indicated had, even then, knowing nothing of the old ways and the oath, been taken by the girls grace and beauty; she shone amongst the other children like a pearl in a bag of pebbles. Not showy like gold or diamonds but yet with an inner glow of stillness and peace and clear, grey eyes that showed her true, ancient, age in her child’s grubby and dimpled face.<BR><BR>Kath had faith in Alys and so then did he, but this lot approaching were another matter altogether. All so young and scared looking, this so called fellowship, sure they had survived so far and that in itself was almost beyond his ken – but would they be strong enough for what was to come? He could see the old folk in them; Sidhe and Brownie and, ye gods, surely it couldn’t be a Goblin child! Another piece of the puzzle tumbled into place in Ewan’s mind – yes she was goblin and the very dab they needed, whether she could be trusted remained to be seen but she could surely be used.<BR><BR>The small group moved towards them almost against their will and Ewan could see his own distrust and doubt echoed in their eyes. “They think she abandoned them and ran off for her own sake” he thought “I hope she is right and that they have seen enough to know what is really at stake here, we need this to go right” To his amazement it wasn’t the other prospective old one or even of the Sidhe that stepped forward but the goblinkin.<BR><BR>"Well met," she said her voice sounding strained even above the noise of the trains and the weather "Good to see you again. We were scared we lost you back in the States." Alys returned her smile with one of her own that barely registered on the friendliness scale as her eyes scanned the rest of the group to see which ones had made it thus far. Then the woman turned to him instead. "I don't believe we've met," she, with a false but well meant cheeriness "What's your name? And what brings you out on a nasty night like this?"<BR><BR>Perhaps more gruffly than he would have liked Ewan barked out a rough response “You dae, ye’re to come wi us!” he took her proffered hand, but held on to it too long for politeness as he searched her eyes with his, she was scared but brave at heart this one, and not a touch of evil about her either, though he could see that she doubted herself. Something had happened to make her believe that she was at heart bad but she fought against it with all her being. <BR><BR>Ewan let his face relax into a wide smile; large, white teeth bright against his dark skin and a merry twinkle in his brown eyes, he liked this one despite her heritage. “Well that’s tae say – we would verra much like it if you would come wi’ us. We find ourselves in need of fine young folks with big hearts in Argyll!” the girl flushed and looked away from him and down at her, by no means small, hand which was still enveloped in his own, much larger and work roughened and as if noticing they were still linked for the first time she pulled it awkwardly away and shoved it into a pocket.<BR><BR>Seeing that Alys had moved on to explain the situation to her kinsman to be and the fey folk and that for some reason his mild compliment had confused her, Ewan decided to exercise his charm on the nervous girl in front of him, all being well they would be cooped up at close quarters for a while and the gods knew how hard things would become after that. “So tell me” he laughed “just how good are ye wi’ wee boats and rough seas?”
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Postby NabooHuntress » Sat Jun 14, 2003 10:01 am

Reluctantly she turned from Gwen, having to accept her answer for the time being. Kendra did not have a connection to Gwen like she shared with Clea, perhaps because Gwen was always close to her brother, Jack, and he seemed to push the others away. Possibly it was pure laziness on her part to get to know Gwen better. Lately, however, Kendra concentrated most of her worries on Finlay who seemed to be acting more like himself at the moment.<BR><BR>Clea was shaking hands with Aly’s companion while the rest of the group watched on cautiously. He held her hand tightly and searched her eyes for something, Kendra did not know what, then let go and smiled. His ease seemed to calm everyone, however he ignored Clea’s request for a name and mentioned a boat.<BR><BR>Kendra moved closer to Fin’s side and grabbed his hand. She had a feeling this was an imperative point in their journey and became anxious. An image of elves sailing to the West with the wind in their hair and the sun smiling upon their faces flashed in her mind and she wanted to scream “Yes!” but then, very suddenly, the chills returned. Instinctively she looked around to see nothing unusual but could not shake the feeling. Solemnly she spoke to Finlay, not caring if he understood her or not.<BR><BR><i>If it were only that easy.</i><BR>
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Postby GlassHouse » Sun Jun 15, 2003 6:56 am

It was her alright. Finlay had spent enough time sitting at the bar in The Queen of Argyll to be able to recognize the woman whose portrait hung there and from which the place got it's name. <BR>What worried him just a little bit was that this no longer seemed to be an impossibility. Like Alice, believing in six impossible things before breakfast was getting easier for him everyday. <BR>But it <i>should</i> bother him, he thought. It would have bothered him a month ago. That painting was an antique. He had no idea how old it actually was, but it gave every indication of being at least a couple of hundred years if not more. The paint had the same crackled and yellowed look of a Rembrandt that he'd seen hanging in a museum once and the woman looking out of the portrait was depicted as wearing 16th or 17th century clothing.<BR> <BR>The resemblance itself was fascinating enough, but as he mentally compared the painting to this real person, another remarkable thing about the portrait occurred to him. It wasn't something he had ever consciously been aware of before, but now he saw the living face of this woman, he realized it was a big part of why the portrait so striking. While most of the painting showed obvious signs of age but the face and hands of the Queen (the only parts of her body that showed through the antique clothing) were still perfect, uncracked and the paint unblemished like it had just been applied yesterday. For some reason, the passing centuries had no effect on her. In fact, the woman in the portrait looked almost as alive as the woman here in the train station. <i>"Curiouser and curiouser"</i> was all he could manage to think about his discovery.<BR><BR>His thoughts were interrupted when he felt Kendra lean against him and slide her hand into his, twining their fingers together. She appeared to be lost in her own imagination too. The entire company was acting dazed, as if they were suffering from a little shell shock, which was hardly surprising. Thank God for Clea, he thought, she seemed to be the only one left with the presence of mind to speak.<BR><BR><i>"If it were only that easy."</i> Kendra whispered to him.<BR><BR><BR>"Huh?" said Fin. "Did you say something?"
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Postby nazgul_lord » Sun Jun 15, 2003 7:18 am

When the world he had known began to change, to look at thing with a more scientific brain instead of a spirtual mind, he had made several adjustments to himself. He knew that in the years to come it would become increasingly more difficult to remain on what was now called the Planet Earth without the use of a physical form. Even more so, it would become nearly impossible to conduct regular business with the so-called humans that now infested the globe. Once a man himself, he despised them for what they had become, an ignorant and infantile populaton bent on self gratification. <BR><BR>Centuries he had borne his intolerable existence, causing as much death and destruction as was in his power to do so. Yet he had hardly managed to gain notice. "What a horrible murder. Oh, look! A new film with Julia Roberts!" That's was mankind's attitude toward violence nowadays. Millenia he had labored, and for naught. <BR><BR>"I will not let them get away with it for long," the Shadow whispered to the simple ring on his finger. "Man will pay." He stood near to the group of travelers in the train station at Bangor. "The little fools! Do they think that they have survived the danger? It has just begun!" <BR><BR>His "face" began to twist in a sadistic grin as he whispered a few words and extended his thought toward the trobled young man he found it so easy to influence. "They are not truly your friends," he taunted. "All they want is the treasure that awaits them in Nogrod. Treasure hunters, nothing more! Will you let them have it? As soon as they have what they want they will abandon you, and all the people of Nogrod with nothing! Will you let them succeed?" He released the destructive words in Finlay's direction and waited for them to take affect. An evil laugh escaped him as Finlay moved away from Kendra, causing her a look of pain. <BR><BR>"You! I will not stop until you have born the pain your ancestor caused to my lord! Oh yes, little shield maiden, your day will come." <BR><BR>He heard the sound of a cat hissing from behind him, and turned just in time to see Nienjah with another of her intolerable retainers coming his way. The Shadow laughed and pointed his ringed hand in her direction. Instantly she grabbed her head as if in the most excruciating pain. When she opened her eyes again, the Shadow had vanished.
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Postby AurabellaBolger » Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:06 pm

Clea stared down at her hand, which still felt warm from the Scotsman's grip, then quickly tucked it away in her pocket with a wince. She wasn't sure she liked this man, whose gaze seemed to have sifted through her soul in search of something and left her with the sensation that every thought and feeling she'd ever cherished had been turned upside down. The examination itself would have been enough to put her on her guard, but in addition there was the motive, unspoken, only suspected. She sensed that the man wished to ascertain just how useful she might be. For what purpose she might be useful, she could not yet venture a guess, but she wasn't inclined to trust him. All the same, she gave him a game smile. <BR>"Boats, you say?" she remarked. "Well, in my imagination I've gone around Cape Horn with the crew of the Bounty, circled the globe with Sir Francis Drake, and stared the Perfect Storm in the teeth and survived, but as to real-life experience, I haven't got any. Some of the others in our company might be better seafarers than me, or just as green as I am, but I think we'd be in accord on one point: whatever it takes to get to our destination, we'd be willing to try it.<BR>"One thing, though, sir -- your invitation is very kind indeed, and we can use all the help we can get, but before we all shake on it and toast our newfound comradeship, there's something you should understand. Those of us here--" She gestured toward her friends -- "we stick together partly because we know each other's secrets. Because we know there's not a one of us in this company who doesn't have some secret we wouldn't like spread out in every supermarket tabloid in the country. This makes a kind of bond between us. We depend on each other because we hold each other's secrets and we don't judge each other." She felt the impulse to cross her fingers at this, because Alaric, the coldest of all the fish in the sea, stood a little behind her, doubtless judging every word she said. "So you see, if we join forces with you, we'd want to know a little bit more about you. So far all I know about you is that you have a friendly face and a strong handshake and a mellifluous Scots accent, and you're a friend of our old acquaintance, and you have an affection for the sea. That's not quite enough. I still didn't get your name." She forced herself to look straight into his eyes, and not to care if he favored her with another of those sifting gazes that made her insides feel like disarranged furniture. <BR>At the same time, she sensed something tugging her in another direction, trying to claim her attention away from the Scotsman. Something was creeping up on them, waiting in the darkness, waiting for just the right moment to announce itself. She drew a breath through her nose, hoping she might scent it, yet fearing what she might find: the all-too-familiar flat smell of blood.<BR>The scent was faint and distant, and it wasn't blood. More like -- smoke.
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Postby Findarato » Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:35 am

Alaric glared at the Argyle Woman, knowing that yet another person was deeply involved in the Fellowship of the Pub’s Quest for Nogrod et all. He didn’t like her, something about her just rubbed him the wrong way and made him feel as though she was looking through him. Of course, that wasn’t possible. No human could and any others would certainly have a difficult time of it. He looked at the woman’s companion and decided he didn’t like him much either, mostly because he was with the Argyle Woman.<BR><BR>He watched Clea, who was nearest, and the woman’s companion talk. <BR><BR>“So tell me” the man laughed “just how good are ye wi’ wee boats and rough seas?”<BR><BR>And then it was as though a physical force had struck him a blow, but he knew he didn’t move. He felt strange, detached from the Fellowship, no longer troubled by what havoc Fin-lay or any of the others could cause by their actions, however well meaning. It was beyond him here, he thought, and it was a relief. He was released from the duty he felt –there… <i> Don’t be a fool, Ilyatur, you’re still in Ireland,</i> he thought angrily, and knew he was, but was not somehow, as well. Because the mention of the sea… It did not hold the warning it had held in Vermont, no, now it pulled him. <i> Into the West. We will go into the West, </i> he heard. But he had not spoken the words, or meant to bring them to mind. Unbidden, it had come, like an impossible old memory, of others who had spoken those words and journeyed…<i> Into the West… I must…I must go too. Soon.</i> With effort, he shook off the not entirely unpleasant…dream. But dream was not the word for it.<BR><BR>"One thing, though, sir,” Clea was saying. “Your invitation is very kind indeed, and we can use all the help we can get, but before we all shake on it and toast our newfound comradeship, there's something you should understand. Those of us here, we stick together partly because we know each other's secrets. Because we know there's not a one of us in this company who doesn't have some secret we wouldn't like spread out in every supermarket tabloid in the country. This makes a kind of bond between us. We depend on each other because we hold each other's secrets and we don't judge each other." <BR><BR>Alaric listened, feeling slightly surprised. Was that how she thought then? <i> ‘We hold each other’s secrets and we don’t judge each other’…With the exception of me, perhaps?</i> he wondered, with the faintest of smiles. <i> I do judge, but I judge as I see best. It isn’t perfect, but I do my best. And I have my reasons.</i><BR><BR>"So you see, if we join forces with you, we'd want to know a little bit more about you. So far all I know about you is that you have a friendly face and a strong handshake and a mellifluous Scots accent, and you're a friend of our old acquaintance, and you have an affection for the sea. That's not quite enough. I still didn't get your name." <BR><BR>Alaric felt a strange thrill of surprise. It was a good little speech. Obviously he’d have to reevaluate his opinion of her- and listen more in future.
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Postby undomiel » Wed Jun 18, 2003 11:29 am

Jack felt like he was loosing control, and that was a feeling he hated more than most things. These two who had just walzed up to them were more than what they seemed, even he could sense it. They knew something that he didn't know, and he didn't like that one bit. Ever since Art had vanished, he had held some authority with the group, and he didn't like the thought of loosing it to these strangers. But as he listened to Clea talk to the big man, he couldn't shake the notion that they needed these people to get to Nogrod. <BR><BR>He sighed in reluctant acceptance and stepped forward with an extended hand. "Hello, I'm Jack Seaver, As far as experience with boats goes, I have a yacht, but I can't say I've ever been out on the rough seas. We do have passage booked on the next ferry to Scotland, but I'm guessing that you've a better offer. As strange as it is for a couple of strangers to come up to us and demand we come with them, some far stranger things have been happening lately. So this seems fairly ordinary to us at the moment. I can see here, miss, that some of my friends know you or at least recognize you. That's good enough for me right now. I'm sure we'd be glad to go with you."Jack glanced at Gwen who still seemed pale and withdrawn for approval. She nodded. "Though I think it would be best to delay any talk of business until we are safely away from prying ears."<BR><BR>The beautiful young woman consented and within an hour they were all aboard the Spindrift. As they began to drift out into the harbor, the young woman, with the eyes that they all secretly wished they could stare into forever, began to talk. As she told them what she knew, jaws dropped and eyes popped open. Slowly the realization came upon them that their adventures, and their danger, had just begun.
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Postby Grubhosh » Wed Jun 18, 2003 3:09 pm

<i>Yagul had not long begun the night crossing to somewhere that sounded like Strainer. She rumaged around in her pocket for her boarding pass. Stranraer. It was a clear night and she stood on deck as close to the back end of the ferry as you could get, watching the swirls of water churned up by the ships passing cutting a white frothy swathe in the dark water.<BR> She's had a little trouble getting out of Ireland. The bloke checking passports had looked at hers for so long she'd thought he'd realise it was faked but he gave it back and even wished her a nice trip. He had looked at her like he was trying very hard to covince himself that yes the person he'd just been looking at was human. After that she'd had to wait about in a place like a carpark, park the van and climb up a staircase. It'd been far too crowded on board so she'd gone out side to get some fresh air. There was plenty of that. The wind was tugging at her hood and she gave up trying to keep it pulled down over her face. 'sod it' she thought if anyone saw her she could pitch them over the railing into the dark cold water, that wouldn't really do some one would notice most the people Yagul had seen had been travleing in groups. It was a nice thought though. She ran a hand thorugh her hair now short and spiky. With short hair she could just about pass as a man (if no one looked at her very hard) she didn't want anybody staring at her to try and figure out what sex she was. Most other Orcs could tell and that was good enough for her, beside she couldn't really imagine herself in womens clothes. She chuckled at the though of her in a skirt and heels. What to do when she got to Scotland was her main problem, how would she find the fellowship of the pub? Maybe the brotherhood would carry on giving her directions but she doubted it. Even Dwarves must have had the brains to notice that one of thier vans had been nicked and two of thiers were missing. It was refressing to kill people who had been the sworn enimies of you people for well ever.<BR> It was cold out here she stamped her feet to try and keep warm. She wasn't quite sure why but after she'd left the dismal wet weather that had followed her in Ireland she felt better. Almost as if she left behind something unpleasant and she felt relieved she'd been overlooked. She shrugged and satrted to sing , (well perhaps sings was too generous, Orcs don't really sing they sort of croak). It was just some tasteless old rhyme about burning things.</i>
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Postby NabooHuntress » Sat Jun 21, 2003 10:09 am

To everyone's delight, <i>Spindrift</i> was a magnificant yacht that was moving them closer to their destination. Kendra stood near the railing pulling her jacket close to her and bid Ireland farewell, for she had a feeling she would not be returning to see it again. She wondered about those they left behind and silently said a prayer for them, hoping for their safety. <BR>Even with Alys’ revelation, Kendra felt safer and more relaxed than she had in weeks. Had it been weeks? Time had taken on a different personality of it’s own and transformed into a vague idea instead of a constant fact. The water, even with its crashing waves, somehow comforted her. It put distance between the fellowship and the dwarves. And IT. <BR>Jack had become comrades with Matt and Ewan and stuck by their sides. He wanted to know everything they did and why, and they put him to work as well as Finlay and Alaric to their chagrin.<BR>Kendra wanted to be near Finlay but after he pulled away from her she became confused and supposed she had been coming on too strong and he needed a little space. Not too much space, though, she wasn’t going to be distant and ruin what had taken so long too bring together. If he did not approach her soon, she would confront him.<BR>The girls huddled together discussing the events that happened before their reunion. Alys set out a map of Scotland and pointed out Argyll, illustrating their destination. They were on their way to make a discovery, but of what they were unsure. They put a lot of faith in Alys, and as separated and different they could be at times, they were unified in their journey to go with her.<BR>
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Postby undomiel » Tue Jun 24, 2003 8:55 am

Gwendoloen sat hunched over in one of the Spindrift's cramped cabins pouring over her books. It had begun to overwhelm her, the images and thoughts flashing through her head that she couldn't understand. At first, she had thought it was little more than a passing phenomenon, perhaps even a hallucination (though she did not like that idea) and had dismissed it as such. But now, the visions and the voices had become almost too much to bear and she reasoned to herself that there had to be a reason for it. Either that or she had gone insane. So she gave up the brilliant view from the deck of the yacht and the companionship of the others to find the answer. <BR><BR>Gwen sighed disappointedly as she perused the same page for the twentieth time without discovering a thing. "And I was so sure I would," she whispered to herself. She had read the Ranger's book cover to cover twice, and still new nothing more of what the word "Elessar" meant than before. "If only we hadn't left WhiteChurch in such a hurry I wouldn't have left behind my copy of the Lord of the Rings, and perhaps that would have helped." She sighed again. "Or perhaps I should start trusting my companions more, enough to let them know what's happening to me." The thought frightened her. Gwen had never been a very sociable person, unlike her extroverted brother. It was mostly because she had never figured out how to relate to people, and as a result people scared her. Grandfather Seaver had been different. He had been a Kindred Spirit, and Jack she knew to well to be intimdated. But other people... she had never been able to make friends as others did. It wasn't that she didn't want to, she desired friendship perhaps more than anyone, it was just more difficult for her. <BR><BR>Gwendoloen wandered back up onto the deck where the various members of the Fellowship were being instructed on the running of the yacht, and smiled to see Jack taking part. She quickly located Clea and approached her. <BR><BR>"Hello, Gwen, isn't it beautiful?" said Clea regarding the looming Scotish shore. <BR><BR>Gwen nodded but got right to the point. "Do you know what the word 'Elessar' means?"<BR><BR>"Yes, it means 'elfstone' in elvish," Clea answered her. "Why do you ask?"<BR><BR>"To tell you the truth, I think I'm going crazy," Gwen told her. "I've been having dreams and visions ever since we left Vermont. I didn't think anything of them, really. But in the last one someone actually spoke to me. It was just one word: Elessar. I thought it might have some significance."<BR><BR>Clea's eyes widened. "Visions?"<BR><BR>"And something else... I can actually read the language the Rangers wrote in my book. I just woke up one day and I understood everything."<BR><BR>Clea's eyes widened even further. "Why haven't you told us this before?"<BR><BR>"I thought you would assume the same thing I had; that I was crazy."<BR><BR>"With everything that's been happening to us lately? I don't think so, Gwen," Clea said with a reassuring smile. "I don't know what it means, but maybe if we tell Alys. She might have some insight."<BR><BR>Gwen nodded. They had yet to hear what Alys had to say about their quest and were all eager to hear it. As soon as they had stepped into the boat they had felt a sense of safety. Almost as if something were protecting it from harm. Gwen looked into the dark waters and thought for just a moment that she could see a face within the waves.
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Postby AurabellaBolger » Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:28 am

Clea liked Gwen all the better for the little glimpses that she was not quite as self-controlled and deliberately poised as she so often seemed. She was always drawn most strongly to people who felt somehow at odds with themselves, who weren't sure how they fit (or even how they wished to fit) into the various environments in which Fate had seen fit to place them. These were her own kindred. Gwen she liked in any case, because the woman had been kind to her, had spoken the right words at the right moment and thus made herself a place in her memory. Yet Clea had thought of her in the light of a mother, a mentor, someone stronger and wiser and on the whole better than herself. Now, when she seemed a little frightened, and chose her of all people in whom to confide, Clea could see her more as an equal. Perhaps, in a strange way, Gwen was both, and if they were going into battle, she was glad to have this woman at her side.<BR><BR>She wished she could feel similar comfort and confidence in Alys. Yet that beautiful woman remained, for her, lofty and remote. Clea could not get a fix on her, try as she might. She could watch her standing on the deck, proudly straight in the face of the wind, her dark hair tousled, and admire her, and wish that she knew of some alchemy that could transform her into that woman's likeness, as alchemists of old had sought to turn mud into gold. Yet if she, Philoclea of the Amberlheims, both heir and prey of a monstrous house, could somehow wake to find herself the double of Alys, she would be alien even to herself. Perhaps Alys and my family, she thought, are two opposite extremes, bestiality and beauty -- and neither extreme perceives itself as having much in common with us who fall somewhere in between. <BR><BR>She shook her head and let the wind off the water cool her face, tossing her head so that the breeze would catch it just right, and invisible fingers would seem to be combing through her hair. A rush of well-being swept through her, lifting her heart to float on the waves, sifting through her thoughts and driving out every dark memory, every fear for the future, indeed everything but this moment and this place. She felt as if she were being rocked to sleep, like a baby in mother's arms, and over her hovered the faces dearest to her. David -- "my sweet old et cetera." Vinderalt -- "Remember this, penguin: you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are the works of God!"<BR>Since the death of the woman, her memory of those words had grown bitter. Her mind's ear always heard the responding curse: "God didn't make you." She waited, uncertainly, for the curse to come -- and it didn't. She could call it to mind only dimly, and it had no power to hurt her, for in this moment she could swear the woman was wrong. If God was the author of all things, then He was the author of her family as well. "Did he smile his work to see?/ Did he who made the Lamb make thee?" she quoted to herself, remembering David reading Blake aloud to her. And, of course, she had been made the way she was -- different from her family somehow, incapable of seeing the world and its people(s) as they saw it -- for a REASON. She had grown up among them and learned to hate them by watching them from the inside, because she had a role to play in the Plan. An indispensible role.<BR>"I'm going to destroy them," she whispered, catching her breath. "I don't know how or where, but that's what I'm going to do. That's what I am meant to do."<BR>(And that's why they're not going to let you go, came a dark voice in the back of her mind. That's why, in all likelihood, they're hunting you now.)<BR>But the breeze caught her up once more in its cradling arms, and she dismissed it. She felt the presence of Vinderalt most strongly, guiding her, guarding her, leading her toward knowledge. His eyes were in the sky above the sea. She did not want to land too soon. She wanted to go on sailing...to go on sailing forever...<BR><BR>"Land!" cried a voice nearby, and with great reluctance she opened her eyes.
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Postby Findarato » Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:54 am

Alaric tried to enjoy the ride on the Spray, but it was quickly becoming impossible. Every time the wind picked up even slightly, he thought he heard something, so distant and unlikely- voices. Or was it a song? Sometimes he wasn’t certain which it was- every time it stopped or paused, he couldn’t recall it clearly. He tried to think about other things, his promise to Laura for one. He’d promised he would ‘try to see that no harm came to them’ a promise he regretted as he made it and continued to regret, but what was done was done… and what was promised was promised.<BR> The song returned. He knew it was a song now, as he looked into the dark water. A song. A call to him. Not only to him, though, but now he heard this sea-calling that he had never heard before. <BR><BR><i> There is so little left here, for us, Ilyatur…</i> he heard his atar say. <i> And some day…</i> <BR><BR>With a shudder, he turned away from the water, but could not block out the call. <i> Is it supposed to be like this? So beautiful but so frightening? What am I afraid of?</i> But search as he did, he could not answer his questions. <i> Be sensible, Ilyatur,</i> he thought. <i> When we find Nogrod, we will find a way into the West, and that is how I shall get there. Jumping overboard right now would accomplish nothing.</i> He gritted his teeth and resolved to ignore the sea-calling, but it intensified. <i> I should go below. Maybe it won’t be so bad there…Below? With the others? No. I’ll stay out here. It can’t be much longer, can it?</i> It seemed like an eternity before his keen eyes saw the dark mass that was land. <BR><BR>“Land!” the call burst from him in relief, not caring who heard him, or what they thought of it. Land... the closer they were to it, the less the sea-calling would trouble him, but he knew it would not fade completely, ever.
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Postby undomiel » Fri Jul 11, 2003 1:49 pm

"Land!" a voice cried and Ewan appeared along with it, handing out jobs. It seemed that he was determined to make seamen out of their little group, and they followed his lead eagerly. He left Gwen to herself. Perhaps he sensed her inner turmoil. She did her best to stay out of their way and to find a place where she could see the approaching shore. Not wanting to be followed by either the dwarf brotherhood or IT any longer, the fellowship had asked that Alys find them someplace to land where prying eyes would not see them. Accordingly, she had taken them to a secluded place where there seemed to be the remains of an old abandoned harbor. <BR><BR>They were almost there was Gwen looked and saw a dark figure moving along the shore. She watched as it stopped directly opposite to the Spindrift and slowly lifted up one arm. Gwen felt a surge of fear that froze her heart. She wanted to cry out to warn the others. They had not escaped! But she couldn't move, she could only stare in horror as the water around the yacht began to churn and boil and then to swiftly swirl into a sudden whirlpool. Everyone fell into a panic and Ewan began to bark out orders. But by this time there was nothing they could do. They were caught in the whirlpool and were sinking fast. <BR><BR>Gwen continued to watch the churning waters that were so suddenly threatening her life. The last few weeks flashed through her mind and she found herself wondering, "What has my life accomplished?" <BR>She knew the others must be feeling something of the same. Fear rested on the faces of all those around her. Just then there was a huge crash of waves and the Spindrift was thrown out of the whirlpool. The yacht landed on calm waters. As the crew members and the fellowship hurried to steady her, Gwen looked back toward the shore. The black figure was gone, but someone or something else had come. <BR><BR>As soon as the Spindrift had settled the people aboard one by one turned and looked across the water to see a great being, like a human and yet so unlike that its very presence filled them with fear. Not the icy chill that accompanied the Shadow, but a fear of respect and awe. The person staring down at them from its lofty height was covered in a tumultuous rainbow of colors and what seemed like coral, shells, aquatic plantlife and fish-like scales. The body was very much umhuman, but the face was that of an old man, anciently wise and good. The face smiled and then sank back into the sea. <BR><BR>Gwen and all the other stood still for several minutes with mouths gaping. Gwen was the first to speak. "Did you all just see what I did?"<BR>
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Postby GlassHouse » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:08 pm

A strong wind blew off high, green-gray waves, whipping Fin's hair across his eyes and scouring his face with cold, salt spray. He sat cross legged on the deck of the Spindrift, fumbling with complicated ropes and unfamiliar tackle, but mostly he just tried to stay out of the way of the experienced crew. <BR>The fact was, Fin hated sailing. Actually, he hated being on any body of water that was too large to skip a stone across - and for good reason. He was desperately sea sick and right now he would have given his good right arm for some Dramamine. <BR>Nausea made it hard to concentrate and he gave up trying to unravel the mess he'd made of the ropes and threw them to the deck in frustration. <BR>Standing up, he braced himself against the tossing and pitching of the small vessel on the deck rail of the yacht. Trying to focus and concentrate on his breathing, trying to keep it slow and regular. But the sight of the large expanse of open, rolling water wasn't making it easy on him. As far as he was concerned, this trip could not end soon enough.<BR><BR>Behind him he could hear the sounds of the others, working the sails and steering the craft under the direction of Ewan. Jack and Alaric seemed to be naturals at the art of sailing. <BR><i>"It figures."</i> he thought. <i>"Jack probably owns his own yacht, maybe even a whole fleet of them. And Al-ric!"</i> unreasoned anger welled up in him at the thought of the Alaric.<BR><BR><i>"Al-ric!"</i> he thought contemptuously, <i>"Even with my back to him, I know he's watching me." </i> He was the most obvious example of everything that was wrong with this expedition, Fin thought. There was almost no common ground between himself and this self styled "Elf". The guy was a cold, arrogant, obnoxious little snot and it was obvious he didn't care about anyone, not any of them that was certain - and probably not even the whole Human race if it came right down to it! <BR><i>But he tried to help me."</i> ran through the back of Fin's mind. <i>"He did help me... during the assault on Whitechurch."</i> he thought, trying desperately to keep a grip on reason. <BR><BR><i>"Ha! Not likely!"</i> he answered himself in a cold inner voice. <BR><BR><i>"Not good old Al-ric, don't kid yourself Fin. He didn't know you were in trouble. He just happened by at the right time, completely by accident."</i><BR><BR>"You don't know..."<BR><BR><i>No, not our Al-ric." </i> his icy inner voice continued. <BR><i>"Remember, it's not just him, it's Jack too. <BR><u>They</u> abandoned all of your friends - when it was convenient. - They abandoned Art <u>and</u> Randi <u>and</u> the Silvermasters....one by one."</i> his hands tightened their grip on the rail. <BR><BR><i>Jack and Al-ric did it - You remember Fin - you remember what happened when Randi and the Silvermasters were taken by The Brotherhood.<BR>Jack was driving our car and Al-ric was screaming at him too keep going....to just leave them behind. <BR>Those two are the ones really running things now. Now that they've got rid of Art and Randi - and the Dwarves must have posed some danger to their plans too I suppose.. Make no mistake, Finlay,they have their plans. Oh yes, they have their own ideas about what to do with Nogrod...everything is all worked out between them, I'm sure. <BR><BR>It's only a matter of time before they abandon you too and you know it! And Kendra. What about Kendra?! Will they eventually leave <u>her</u> to the mercy of those creepy little homicidal maniacs?"</i><BR> <BR>"You don't know that!" he said out loud to the windswept sea.<BR><BR>High over head he heard the screeching of gulls. It almost seemed that there were words in their crying. Words just beyond his comprehension. <BR><BR><i><b>"They are not truly your friends,".... "All they want is the treasure" ..... "Treasure hunters, nothing more!..... they will abandon you.... and all the people of Nogrod left with nothing....Will you let them?"</i></b><BR><BR>"Hey, boy, you look sick." <BR>Fin jumped at the sudden interruption, startled out of his feverish debate. Ewan was standing behind him, supporting him with one arm around his waste and the other gripping the deck rail for support. "Come away from there boy, before you fall overboard. That's better now, come on, let me help you below." <BR><BR>"Land" cried a loud, clear voice. Then all hell began to break loose....<BR><BR>>><i>"the water around the yacht began to churn and boil and then to swiftly swirl into a sudden whirlpool. Everyone fell into a panic and Ewan began to bark out orders. But by this time there was nothing they could do. They were caught in the whirlpool and were sinking fast."<BR>[....]<BR>As soon as the Spindrift had settled the people aboard one by one turned and looked across the water to see a great being, like a human and yet so unlike that its very presence filled them with fear. Not the icy chill that accompanied the Shadow, but a fear of respect and awe. The person staring down at them from its lofty height was covered in a tumultuous rainbow of colors and what seemed like coral, shells, aquatic plantlife and fish-like scales. The body was very much umhuman, but the face was that of an old man, anciently wise and good. The face smiled and then sank back into the sea.</i><< <BR><BR><BR><BR>"Oh God." said Fin. <BR><BR>"I'm halucinating again."
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Postby GlassHouse » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:08 pm

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Postby Novice » Sun Jul 13, 2003 11:23 pm

"Didi, we’ll head behind that headland, close enough to get to their landing point before they do." Didi leaned toward the pilot, tapping his khaki-clothed arm gently and signing Nienjah's wishes.<BR><BR>Nienjah dropped the binoculars into her lap as the helicopter wheeled to the right and disappeared behind an escarpment and out of sight of the distant Spindrift. They had trailed the yacht's course by radar and it was not until the landing point had become obvious that the chopper had come close enough to be seen or heard by the crew as it overtook them. Even the most suspicious of them would have nothing to connect the craft with their journey, other than the obvious fact that helicopters were not often seen in that district.<BR><BR>Nienjah's view through the binoculars had confirmed that the Bangor group was still altogether. A slow, predatory smile curled her lips as she considered the most intriguing assortment of races she had come across in an Age. She had got close enough to them at the station to feel their essence; her every empathetic sense opened to every subtle emanation from them. They were a gathering of nearly every one of the ancient races, even of the <i>Yrch</i>. The blood of Numénor amongst them was much diluted, as would be expected in this Age of Men, but of the hidden races many were close to full blood, which was astounding. <BR><BR>The Elven man was Noldorin-that had been a most exciting discovery. She could not remember the last time she had felt with such strength that prickling sense within her of distant kin, could hardly believe it when it had flooded through her at the station. Alaric was his name; Didi had worked feverishly as soon as they had left the station, hunched over his laptop, using the digital photo he had taken and her vast network of sources to discover all there was to know about him. She was determined to take Alaric, to sip her fill from that vessel and her eyes flamed gold with excitement at the thought, the subtle, enticing scent of cinnamon and spice that surrounded her when her blood was up tingeing the air of the chopper cabin. He would not resist her or his own impulse long, and none of the others had the power to stop her...the old man, the maia was not with them and in any case, her essence was also partly of his kind. Except.....<BR><BR>Except one of the <i>Them</i> was still amongst the living. She tasted again that dark cold, like a subterranean fog which had assaulted her senses at the station, suffused with hate and bitter disdain, a vile brew that even now burned like ice on her tongue at the memory. In the long ages, only twice had she tasted it but every fibre of her being had recognised one of the Nine. Of all possibilities it was the most improbable and unwelcome. But then, why not? The guardian Maia had remained in ME, and she herself, remained here beyond all possibility.<BR><BR>The pilot found the closest patch of even ground beyond the headland and brought down the helicopter with expert ease. He turned in his seat as he secured the craft, removing his headphones to hear her instructions. Nienjah turned the full impact of her smile on him, her eyes alight with heat, her voice rising to a resonant purr as the whirl of the blades died away.<BR><BR>"Thank you, Lieutenant. The Colonel did not mislead me about your expertise; I hope I can rely equally on your discretion."<BR><BR>"Yes, ma'am. I will remain out of sight and maintain radio silence until I receive your instructions." <BR><BR>Nienjah dismissed the soldier with a smile and made a mental note to reward the Colonel with some attention when she had time. This connection in the military had come in very useful.<BR><BR>Didi had already removed the light kit of equipment from the small cargo hold and was now unloading the two trail bikes. Both had changed clothes during the flight, and Didi was now in well-worn black leather while Nienjah was golden as ever in well-fitting caramel suede from her gloves right down to her supple, well-brushed thigh boots. The riding outfit differed little from those she had worn in the Third Age of the ancient world, save her mount now had motorised horsepower.<BR><BR>The trail bikes took off in the direction of the small natural harbour to which the Spindrift was making, Didi leading the way down the rough, steep slopes and through the overgrown vegetation, slowing only to navigate through the treacherous terrain, Nienjah following in his wake. When they had rounded the headland and were in sight of the harbour, they stopped to check the yacht’s progress, Nienjah finding the craft through the high-powered binocular lenses rounding the last obstacle into the small backwater. <BR><BR>She was about to drop the binoculars back into the saddle pack when the hint of a shadow along the beach caught her eye. The hair on the nape of her neck prickled and a black cold grazed her senses as she quickly re-focussed the lense. Yes! There! That black figure…<BR><BR>The wraith slowly raised one arm, ominously pointed at the Spindrift and the water around the yacht began to churn and boil and then to swiftly swirl into a sudden whirlpool. Nienjah expelled her breath with an angry hiss; she needed whatever was on that boat and if the wraith snatched it from her grasp now he would rue it! They would test whether his ice could quench her furnace!<BR><BR>Even as she watched, burning with anger, the tables turned: the waters were stilled and a great being, an awesome power raised itself to a lofty height…and sank back into the depths. An enlivening breeze, fresh as the first dew rose from the West and blew her hair. Nienjah was stilled; her lips parted, an eyebrow raised. Not in four Ages of the world had the Lord of the Waters shown himself and never since Tuor had found Nevrast had Ulmo appeared to Men.<BR><BR>Nienjah dropped the binoculars, nibbling her lower lip thoughtfully as she assessed the impact of this new circumstance. If the Valar themselves were roused to assist this assorted rabble, she would have to measure her plans to a nicety. She took a soft, long breath, drawing herself up to her full height, chin high, eyes hard as jewels sparking topaz in the sun while the fire within seemed to radiate through her skin and garments so she glowed and flickered like a golden, tapering flame. <BR><BR>No, she would never consent to being discarded, to remain behind in this mortal world until the end when her heritage entitled her to walk among the Ainur! She would find the Way that they had denied her.<BR><BR>Didi sat astride the motorbike, unable to speak, hardly daring to breathe. He could make no sense of what he had seen on the beach at such a distance, nor of the hallucinatory vision in the water and certainly not of the ineffable transformation of the woman so close to him. He was beginning to have some small, frightening inkling of what she meant by "offspring of an elf and a demon", though to him she seemed more godlike than demonic.<BR><BR>Abruptly Nienjah dropped the binoculars in her pack and swung into the seat of the bike, gunning the motor and preceding him at reckless speed down the slope, making a path where none existed, jumping the bike over rocks and ditches, around the larger obstacles, scattering an avalanche of rocks in her wake Didi followed as well as he could. By the time he had caught up with her at the bottom of the slope behind a rocky outcropping, she was off the bike and again peering through the binoculars behind some screening greenery. The Spindrift was now coming alongside a very old, rickety pier. She turned back to him, eyes smouldering, a hungry, predatory smile in the corners of her mouth. She tossed him the binoculars and her gloves to push the silky, golden strands back from her eyes, tossing the long waves back over her shoulders.<BR><BR>"My own, wait here and keep out of sight. I’m going to meet them. Watch my hands for any instructions in the battle tongue. And Didi….if you feel a sudden ice or a blackness descend on you, use the mind shielding I have taught you. It may not succeed entirely against this enemy, but he will not be able to take you entirely."<BR><BR>It went against his instincts and his training to allow her to walk into risk, but her parting words threw him off balance and before he knew it she had walked out from behind the sheltering rocks. Still, he knew her to be more than the match of any he had seen; besides, she had senses beyond the five of normal human beings. Didi put the lenses to his eyes, watching Nienjah cross the rocky turf with a swaying, sinuous grace, stepping with lazy, understated assurance. It was incongruous watching her, outfitted in that beautifully tailored ensemble, a golden vision strolling apparently without care through that wild, forsaken corner of the Argyll Peninsula towards the boat tied at the pier, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.<BR><BR>Two men had leapt from the yacht and were busy securing her to the pier, but all were stilled, their eyes drawn to the extraordinary sight of Nienjah, whose heels were now striking a hollow knock on the old timber as she glided towards the craft. Even at that distance Didi could feel the tension build. She stopped just a few feet from the yacht, turning that celestial, smouldering smile upon them and her honeyed voice drifted over them like a light musk in the quiet<BR><BR>"I am pleased to see you safely reach dry land. You see, we have managed to rendezvous despite the darker forces that have attempted to sway you from your course."<BR><BR>Nienjah smiled reassuringly at their confused and suspicious faces, her empathic senses tasting where the suspicion was strongest, who was the most hostile…she tasted the fear in some, the curiosity of others, an animal heat amongst two of the males roused so quickly in response to her fire. Her eyes sought Alaric capturing his gaze as she addressed him directly.<BR><BR>"Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo --<i>A star shines on the hour of our meeting.</i> We are distant kin. Does your tongue know the ancient language? My ears and heart crave the sound of it."
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Postby NabooHuntress » Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:21 pm

Kendra came up from below with two bottles of water. She had seen Finlay leaning over the side and she went to the gallery in search of something, anything to help him, but all she returned with was water. She was disgusted with herself. She felt as though she was continually letting him down. He was battling something internally, something he wasn’t ready to confide in her about. She tried to be understanding and talk him through it but he wouldn’t break. Kendra had been patient so far, believing in their bond and trusting in the Finlay she had grown close to. She could not endure watching him suffer much longer and secretly prayed that Art would return to them soon and save Fin.<BR><BR>She wasn’t yet near Fin when she lost her balance and fell. She could hear yelling and felt <i>Spindrift</i> whipping around in the water. Painfully Kendra rose to her hands and knees she crawled uneasily toward Fin, her eyes focused on him as he himself kept steady by holding onto the rail. Then after a sudden turn the boat calmed and it quieted. Not even Ewan was yelling anymore. Kendra stood up to see everyone staring in one direction in awe. She turned in time to see a miracle before her eyes drop gracefully into the sea. <BR><BR>They stared silently for what seemed an eternity when Ewan broke the silence as he reminded everyone that they were nearing land and work had to be done. They looked around at each other before moving as if confirming they had all indeed witnessed the same thing, then continued with their tasks in guarded silence. This wasn’t the first amazing event on their trip, but it had to be the most unbelievable. <BR><BR>Kendra clung to Fin until they reached the pier where they were met by an amazingly beautiful, golden woman. She was a vision to behold, and behold they did as she warmly greeted them. She addressed Alaric directly, and they all turned to him and awaited his answer. How did she know him? What did she mean by “distant kin?”
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NabooHuntress
Ranger of the North
 
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