The Wedding of Turelie Lurea and Hobbituk A Bard's Festival-All Welcome

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

Postby Jiyadan » Wed Jan 29, 2003 1:17 am

“Jiyadan.” She spoke quietly. “He is a strong fighter.” <BR><BR>Jiyadan was again taken by surprise. It unnerved him tremendously to feel so at a loss to explain who or what this woman was, some sort of witch perhaps? And now his name she also knew. Perhaps Moujhadin had told her for some reason while he was yet unconscious? He shook his head. He was exhausted and frustrated almost to the point of weeping, but could not allow himself such feelings, not now. Now he needed to keep his brother alive.<BR><BR>"Moujhadin," he whispered again in Eastron as he pressed the cloth into his shoulder. "Brother.. do not depart this world. You will not yet die, not in this battle." His words came with great difficulty, each seeming to rip at him. <BR><BR>While Rho could not understand the words he spoke, she could hear the pain laced in his voice and see it etched in his face. Reaching out her hand, almost without her will, she placed it over his. Jiyadan was unable to pull his hand away for he faught to keep the blood from flowing from Moujhadin's shoulder, but her touch made him shiver. He found himself almost scared of this woman. He shut his eyes tighty and forced his weary mind to concentrate. <BR><BR>As he opened them again, he found a new sensation had now come over him. The woman's hand on his own seemed to fill him with strength and he felt renewed to the task at hand. A strange calm and clarity came over him, the likes of which he had not felt for many years; the type of clarity he used to feel before a battle. He placed his other hand behind Moujhadin's shoulder and pressed the wound tightly. <BR><BR>"By the gods, let a healer come quickly," he prayed silently.
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Postby Alandriel » Wed Jan 29, 2003 11:22 am

Not once had she taken her eyes off him while overhearing the agitated conversations about her and joining into the talk. The bride abducted? These were strange tidings indeed. Could it be this was connected in any way with what she had to tell? There was only one way to find out.<BR><BR>She saw him now moving away from the stage and that was the moment she had been waiting for. For a split second Alandriel hesitated.<BR><BR>Would he prove to be the right person? Could she really trust him as others had? There was no telling really...she must find out for herself. <BR><BR>Quickly she brushed the dark thoughts away and flashed a smile to her company: ‘Too much talk for my parched throat. I need another ale....Please, don’t bother yourselves.’ <BR>Quickly she stood in order to avoid any possible chivalrous offer to fetch a drink in her stead and headed in direction of the man she had carefully targeted and studied before. Grabbing a new pitcher from the serving tables, she suddenly stepped into his way as if by accident: <BR><BR>‘Oh, pardon me. Have I spilled my drink on you?’<BR><BR>The tall man looked down at her in slight annoyance. But it was clear from his expression that the incident did not truly trouble him. His mind was clearly preoccupied with other matters. Before he had a chance to mutter anything, Alandriel jumped in with her previously so carefully studied speech:<BR><BR>‘I am terribly sorry, I should have been more careful‘, her husky voice sounded a trifle embarrassed as she brushed her hand over his sleeve, pretending to remove any traces of spillage. ‘Never mind, no damage done to your garments’.<BR> <BR>Quickly removing yet another ale from the tables she added: ‘Here, please take this pitcher instead. It is newly filled with the most excellent brew of this fine place’. And with that she thrust the vessel resolutely into his raised hand thinking: ’You look like you could do with a drink’, but left the words unspoken.<BR><BR>The man’s expression changed to a look of astonishment at such a barrage of words from a total stranger and a full pitcher to go with.<BR><BR>‘Are you not Lord Erinhue, the famed warrior-bard?‘<BR>The slight nod at the recognition of his name proved to Alandriel that he was indeed the person she had been seeking. Leaving her last words hanging in the air, she caught his arm slightly and drew him aside, out of the way of the crowd and out of the tent.<BR> <BR>‘Forgive my boldness, but I have great need to speak with you’ ,adding with a whisper, ‘it’s of importance and the matter needs to remain private, for now’.<BR><BR>Those last words spoken with such a hush of secret urgency intrigued and concerned the bard and so he let himself be led aside, drawn away from the lights into the ever deepening shadows of the surrounding trees. He was now intently looking at the stranger before him, his curiosity tuned to a high pitch. <BR><BR>‘I am called Alandriel. I know nothing of my heritage and so cannot give you title or origin. Countless years I have spent wandering many lands in the company of rangers’, the fiery haired woman began her narrative.<BR><BR>‘Kind people from Edoras took me in as a foundling and raised me. When I was barely old enough, rangers took me into their training and we travelled far through many lands. Most at home I am in the Old Forest, where I spent a number of years studying herb-craft with an old wise woman’. <BR>Remembering the ‘Old Hag’ with fondness and a tremendous sense of loss, Alandriel’s eye clouded over momentarily. But she quickly caught herself and continued, fixing Erinhue’s sea grey eyes and willing his full attention.<BR><BR>‘She passed away not so long ago and I have taken over her work and belongings as she wished. As you will surely know, the Old Forest is a queer place full of strange things, but it has never really harboured any true evil. I believe this changed in the last few months. Something is afoot that troubles me a great deal and of this, I wish to speak to you.’ <BR><BR>Searching for any clue in Erinhue’s face as to whether he believed her so far or not, she continued in a hush: <BR><BR>‘The brambles are growing ever thicker at an alarming rate. Their barbed thorns now grow almost a foot long. Many places have been completely choked by them - the old trees are dying. They have no defences. At this rate, the brambles soon will breach the boundaries and invade the shire. I have seen footprints of nightmarish creatures not seen in many years, and they are getting more numerous as each day passes. Cries of anguish and torture sometimes ring through the dead of night…voices of womenfolk, elves or humans...I can’t tell. Something is brewing and it does not bode well... But that is not all...’ <BR><BR>Taking a deep breath for a quick, final reflection before she would divulge her age old secret, Alandriel held his steady gaze.<BR><BR>Erinhue glanced at her sternly with one eyebrow slightly raised. Was this stranger serious? The woman barely reached his chest and was fine-boned like a half-grown child. She was dressed in a splendid green gown but it was stained and even torn. It was apparent that it was not hers, for the neckline was falling slightly over her shoulder and the fitted waistline was too loose. Just as he was about to word a question Alandriel continued, drawing him even deeper into the shadows of the trees.<BR><BR>‘The only connection to my past is a small brooch which I have carried all these years hidden from prying eyes, as was deemed necessary by my foster mother. Something strange has happened to it since I noticed the brambles...<BR>The brooch glows. At first I thought it a trick of my mind. But then I discerned a pattern: during full moon nights - and only then - it emanates a soft light that has been steadily growing brighter over the past four months. It also gets quite hot. Something very queer is going on.’<BR><BR>Carefully, checking to see that no one else was nearby, she pulled out a small pouch from the folds of her dress. Casting a final glance around, she slowly opened her hand:<BR><BR>A silver brooch, depicting a central snail on a bed of leaves, lay in her small palm. The workmanship was so detailed and exquisite, that the shell almost looked real. It glittered in the soft starlight, just as if an actual mollusc had been sprayed by a dawn shower. Each tiny groove of every curl of the shell came to life through different grades of polish and carefully cut grooves. Each leave vein was meticulously traced, the rims gracefully interweaving. It was a stunning jewel. The lack of stones or any other fancy adornment, nowadays so cherished by wealthy folk, did not diminish its beauty. On the contrary, they would have ruined the simple yet truly heartfelt design.<BR><BR>Intrigued, Erinhue bend over to have a better look. ‘This is all very interesting, but why have you so single mindedly chosen me to relay your concerns to?’<BR><BR>‘You were mentioned to me by trusted travelling companions as a man of integrity, honesty and with worthy friends in many places’. Alandriel replied, her eyes now vivid with an inner fire. ‘A man one can rely on in times of need and with a vast knowledge of things past and present. I am not well versed in the current affairs of the lands, nor do I have connections in high places.’<BR><BR>……. ‘I cannot do this alone. <BR><BR>Are you willing to help unravel this mystery?’ <BR><BR>After a final short pause, she added, slightly challenging, ‘the jewel has never left my hand. Would you have a closer look?’<BR><BR>With that last sentence, Alandriel held out her hand to Erinhue and locked her eyes to his - finding, surprisingly, a match in colour….. would she find a match in spirit?<BR>
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Postby MissZ » Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:04 pm

<BR>Zi stared at the silver journeyman's pin lying in the palm of her hand. The past few minutes were a haze in her mind: Master Hue had made the induction speeches, and she had come forward, one among many, to make her pledge to the Guild. But her voice had been listless, her movements those of a sleepwalker. The whole thing just didn't seem real. No one was happy to be there anymore: the bride was gone, and from the angry looks some of the guests had been exchanging, Zi guessed the hasty rescue mission hadn't borne fruit.<BR><BR>She shook her head, trying to clear her mind. She felt tired to the bone, tired like no daughter of the road should ever be... What she needed was some time away from the crowd, away from their pain, their fear, their suffering. She needed air.<BR><BR>I see why so many of them sail away forever, she thought, rising quietly and slipping away from the reception tent. She regretted never having bought the kind lutist a drink, but that could wait. She'd be back. <BR><BR>Zi took her bags to a quiet corner of the Inn, and quickly changed into her old travelling gear. Lovingly, she wrapped her gaudy party dress in a piece of brown paper, and placed it at the bottom of her pack. Then she hoisted the load, picked up her fiddle case and made her way to the door. It was time to go.<BR><BR>"My love lies in the West,<BR>where the mountains meet the sea;<BR>for there the emerald dragon sleeps, <BR>a slow eternity.<BR><BR>My love lies in the North, <BR>in ancient valleys deep,<BR>where silent rivers coil and crack<BR>the diamond dragon sleeps.<BR><BR>My love lies in the South,<BR>where the sun shines bright and bold<BR>on cities great as mountains, <BR>and the golden dragon's throne.<BR><BR>My love lies in the East,<BR>in fragrent gardens by the sea:<BR>for there, the old words are remembered,<BR>and dragons walk with men."<BR><BR>sang Zi.<BR><BR>
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Postby Culanir » Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:25 pm

Culanir staggered back, breathless from the relentless pain of his own tongue. For him the violence of anger was passing. Twisting itself into deeper and darker passion but worming its way within again, latching in fast, hiding. For now. <BR><BR>Was it really himself talking? It was his voice, but he might as well have been a spirit possessed for all the control he had over it. The sorceress had poured her essence into his veins and left there a latent poison, ever growing in strength with the passage of years until it threatened to erase the vigour of the knight’s honesty, brutalising it beyond his own sensibilities. <BR><BR>Or was that just the pathetic excuse offered up by a man who was being forced to admit that he was the victim of his own weakness, defeated now from within with a more deadly weapon than any slave of the enemy had drawn upon him in the decade and a half of service.<BR><BR>There was no opportunity to delve deeper, castigate himself further, indulge in egotistical self-flagellation. <BR><BR>For Hobbituk flew at him. A crazed creature, maddened beyond reason and thought.<BR><BR>There was pain in the Hobbit’s eyes, of a depth and destructiveness that Culanir had not thought to consider could be drawn. But drawn it was, and as the eyes bored into his in protestation and understanding, he knew the Hobbit’s heart cruelly pierced.<BR><BR>Culanir felt the strength of Hobbituk’s hands against his neck, shockingly powerful for his size. He brought his own hands up to his throat instinctively to try and prise his airway free. But the Hobbit was strong and the pressure great. The knight gasped, tried to ignore the singing in his ears, refusing to think about the darkness he knew would begin to encroach from the periphery of his vision unless he did something. <BR><BR>But nothing happened. Instead, mingled with the rush of oxygen as the grip on his larynx relaxed, came a shout. A cry of pain welling up from the very depths of Hobbituk’s soul which pierced even the numbness of Culanir to the very core.<BR><BR>And Hobbituk thumped to the floor.<BR><BR>Culanir felt his own heart begin racing as he dropped to his knees.<BR><BR>"He's having a heart attack.." whispered Culanir to the non-existent audience “… or a seizure of some sort.”<BR><BR>Maybe he was overheard, he didn’t look around as the door was thrust aside and an Elf flew to Hobbi’s side and laid her hand on his forehead. His nut-brown curls were drenched with sweat.<BR><BR>"What happened here?" Aerin asked, her eyes darkly accusing as she stared across the recumbent Hobbit.<BR><BR>Hobbituk’s breath was shallow and becoming more erratic. <BR><BR>“I…. he…. we were talking, it’s been a stressful afternoon for him.” ‘Oh goodness’ Culanir thought, ‘how much to tell and how much not to.’<BR><BR>The knight bent over Hobbituk a moment or two, undoing the buttons which pulled so tight across his waistcoat. It had once been gold and very fine, Culanir noticed, but now wore battle scars of its own; it was dirty and rent. He looked up again. <BR><BR>Aerin was still watching him, waiting for an answer. “You must have been talking about something extraordinary to lead to this.”<BR><BR>“He was asking me about Lurea; if I knew anything” Culanir retorted, hating the way his cheeks were burning. “Which of course I don’t”, he added.<BR><BR>Hobbituk flickered open his eyes again at the mention of Lurea’s name and his gaze fixed straight on Culanir, reflecting back on the knight one-thousandfold the inexcusable cruelty and hurt.<BR><BR>The knight cringed at the look he received. It said more than a library full of words. <BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Hobbituk » Wed Jan 29, 2003 5:36 pm

The beating of his heart, which at first was like the sound of a thousand soldiers beating their feet upon rocky roads as they make their way to war, slowed.<BR><BR>It still hurt, the demons still haunted him and Culanir was still there but the presence of Aerin was a soothing one and as his heartbeat slowed, so the world seemed to slow with it. <BR><BR>Hobbi’s eyes fell shut as he tried his hardest to control his breathing, it seemed an impossible task. Discomfort flooded his entire body, his skin felt like it was prickling and beads of sweat began to appear on his forehead. <BR><BR>As his breathing became more and more erratic in that moment he was sure he would die. The colours that danced in the dark as his eyes were shut began dancing in more structured patterns than ever before.<BR><BR>They were like signposts, leading him away from the world of the living. From everything that had hurt him, that made him suffer. He was being lead into the light, where Lurea would be waiting for him. Where he would have peace…<BR><BR><i>…but Lurea is not dead…</i><BR><BR>That thought came to him quickly. It hit him so suddenly that he knew it could not be a lie. Lurea yet lived. So happy he was at knowing this that he began to swim in the colours that fogged the darkness until he could float into the arms of conciousness once more. <BR>But his Demons had not left…<BR><BR><i>…so she lives…what then…her love will rescue her…no..not you, never you..poor fat hobbit…she will be freed…he will do it…him…..they…together…poor hobbit left at home…no family…no Hue…poor hobbit…they are one…were one…consummated…shared what you never had together…will never have….</i><BR>“He was asking me about Lurea; if I knew anything…” the words broke the cacophony of his thoughts, at first they were like sweet music drowning out the screech of fingernails on slate but as the words Culanir spoke aligned themselves in Hobbi’s mind, as they formed meaning and the meaning and context became clear and Hobbi understood…anger grew within him.<BR>“Which of course I don’t.”<BR>Hobbituk’s eyes flickered open and he gazed upon the predator with the hardest look he could muster, he felt the anger begin to grow again..the bloodlust. It felt as if his eyes might grow red and he might unleash fire on the man were he not a little hobbit. He felt his stress levels rising once more and he fought to control himself and stop his heart from racing once more. He gritted his teeth and spoke, but his voice was thin and hoarse and only two words were audible to Culanir,<BR>“Get…my sight…now…”<BR><BR><i>were he not a little hobbit…<BR><BR><BR>poor little hobbit…</i><BR>
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Postby prmiller » Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:26 pm

Nessa, I know the rest of the news you are holding back from me.<BR><i>Parm waited until the shock of this realization had passed from<BR>Nessa's face before he continued.</i><BR><BR>It was that great shock, the greatest shock of them all, that caused<BR>that part of me, which I have long trained to be silent and still,<BR>to rise and take over my mind.<BR><BR>Nessa, I need to sit. I thought I could stand, but my strength is<BR>not as I had thought it would be. Thank you so much for the wrap.<BR><BR><i>Nessa's strength was considerable and she lowered Parm as gently<BR>as she would a baby into a cradle, filled with softeness. <BR>Parm looked up with a mixture of pain and tenderness into Nessa's face<BR>and in that look bid her also to sit. He handed her a chunk of <BR>bread and a bit of the meat provided by his special courier.<BR>He knew he was dealing with shadows of things, but from time to<BR>time glimmers of color appeared, like shafts of sunlight through<BR>clouds. This gave Parm hope. Perhaps his condition was only temporary, a horrible side-effect of the violence done to him.<BR>He felt his offering taken from his hand, and in a brief instant<BR>saw a window of color open so that he could see Nessa's face <BR>gazing back at him with profoundest kindness and sobriety.</i><BR><BR>Nessa, I have not told people much about me because I do not know<BR>much myself. I was a foundling. I remember the horrible death of my<BR>guardians. People I remember calling and feeling as if they were my<BR>mother and father. However, I never quite felt as if I were their<BR>real child. I have always felt I belong somewhere else, to someone<BR>else. I have powers and gifts within me that I have not yet learned<BR>to control, nor fully understand. Sudden bursts of power, of light<BR>and heat, of song and lore often come at times of greatest distress.<BR>However, I diverge. Forgive me. <BR>You see, at the wedding is a guest who has orc-like features. Being<BR>near her terrifies me, for I remember vividly the violence done to<BR>my own parents by marauding orcs. They were wandering brigands,<BR>looking to despoil any foolish travellers going out or going in to<BR>Mirkwood. Their wretched cunning had kept them out of the reach of<BR>elves, but not from other folk.<BR>I was sitting in a wagon. Suddenly shrieking from above, they<BR>sprung upon us. It was a haze of blood, bone and flesh. I was next.<BR>However, in that instant, I felt a sudden rush of power. Light and<BR>heat burst from me...and music! Such music! It terrified the orcs.<BR>Never had they seen something like this and they did not want to<BR>stay around to discover more. In great fear I swooned. The next<BR>memory I have is being in a soft bed, surrounded by gentle song<BR>and voices. I was in Imladris, in the care of Elrond's household.<BR>He, himself, was not there, but there were others of great reknown.<BR>From that day onward I was tended, trained and rudimentarily taught<BR>by the elves. I proved to be a considerable dullard when it came<BR>to learning their silvery speech. However, Westron and another<BR>tongue, from over the sea, seemed to come more naturally to me.<BR><BR><i>Parm began to feel great weariness come upon him. The last words<BR>he whispered in a doze, and fell, contentedly, asleep.</i><BR>
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Postby EdaintheRanger » Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:27 pm

Once more at the words of Jiyadan; Edain and Maelgwn moved into action. As if there hadn’t been enough blood spilt already, more Eastern claret pulsed from the reopened wounds. Edain shook his head at the irrepressible Eastern pride, both men needed serious attention and bed rest for at least a few days. Checking Rho over Edain could see that she was conscious, and Maelgwn was then back, making the men comfortable, ever the immediately, practical one. Without much other ado, the rangers left in search of a healer.<BR><BR>As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Edain took Maelgwn aside knowing that he was sorely wounded too.<BR><BR><i>“Friend you don’t have to do this. I wouldn’t want you moving around too much.”</i> Edain gripped his comrade’s good shoulder. Knowing that Maelgwn risked splitting his wounds, Edain didn’t want him to travel far.<BR><BR>Reluctantly the peredhel nodded, pride was not limited to the East! In a low voice he replied.<BR><BR><i>“I will manage; I’ve suffered worse than this… Edain.”</i><BR><BR>Edain gave in. They needed to find a healer and two pairs of eyes were better than one.<BR><BR><i>“Very well, my friend, let’s find someone.”</i><BR><BR>The rangers carefully left the inn, and the sombre atmosphere hit them like a stone wall. There were still guests celebrating and drinking, but with a deep sorrow that could not be hidden. Maelgwn hobbled in the direction of the food tent, while Edain strode towards the drinks tent. He halted suddenly, and was hit with the weariness of this very long day. A stiff drink would be in order here he felt, but no, duty came first. Shooing away the wiles of the malts, and the tang of the hops, he ducked under the canvas. He could see that there was a gathering of people, but none of them appeared to be anything other than wedding guests, no woodsmen or similar fellows. Biting his tongue in a silent frustration, he moved towards the bar, head bowed he moved past the pale Elf, who seemed to be eager to make conversation with a tall Elf at the expense of her friend. Edain was intent on catching the barman’s eye, if he didn’t know of a fresh “sawbones” then he didn’t know who would. Resting his arm on the bar he considered a drink. There was a definite air of single malt in the air. So tempting, but no not now! He was about to tug the barman’s sleeve, when suddenly he remembered that the tall elf’s “friend” had definitely been the one who had glared at him as he sat in the audience. How that all seemed like age ago now!<BR>
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Postby Aerin » Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:30 pm

<i>Aerin sat back sharply at Hobbi's unexpected outburst, then watched as he slowly sank back into unconsciousness. She sat there for a long minute, not moving, then turned to face Culanir, eyes glinting.</i><BR><BR>"I don't know what there is between you two, and right now I don't care. Hobbi is very ill and does not need to be provoked."<BR><BR><i>She stroked his dark curls gently, smoothing her hand over his forehead.</i> "I think it would be best if you were to leave this room, Culanir. Do not leave the Inn - or the reception area, at least - for there are things still needing to be sorted out."
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Postby SilverScribe » Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:34 pm

<BR><i>Scribbles was savouring the last fiery swallow of her second Harlindon Clearwater when an annoying and vaguely familiar voice broke in on her thoughts. She stiffened when the liquor soaked woman pointed in her direction, then began to reel off the various ill turns fortune had dealt her. She quietly poured herself another shot to keep from laughing out loud at the woman’s recital. What? She had had it rough for what, forty odd years? ‘Try a dozen centuries,’ Scribbles muttered to herself, then tipped the more modest shot down her throat. Perhaps if she just ignored her . . .</i><BR><BR>“Look at her. Elves!. All the money and all the looks, and then they get to live for ever. What has someone like her got to forget? She got dealt all the good cards in the pack to start with...."<BR><BR><i> At this Scribbles calmly put her empty glass down and poured yet another modest shot. She turned towards the now voluable human and as she did so, she found herself looking directly at the Archer, who stood between her and Alfirin.<BR><BR>Bardhwyn paled at the look on the Scribe’s face. As Scribbles moved to step around her, she reached out and gripped the peredhel’s right forearm, hard. </i><BR><BR>“Don’t!” <i> she hissed, low enough that only they would hear.</i> “She will make a fool of herself, then gratefully pass out. Leave it be!”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles looked down at the Archer’s hand, then back at her face. Bardhwyn released her grip and swallowed hard.</i> “I’m only trying to help,” <i> she whispered quietly. Scribbles said nothing, merely stepped around the Archer and moved away. Bardhwyn reached for the Clearwater bottle and poured herself a small shot. The barman shook his head, muttering about the insanity of females.<BR><BR>Scribbles walked up to Alfirin and stopped, the woman left off her unceasing litany and looked up at the tall peredhel, squinting.<BR><BR>Scribbles drew herself up to her full height, then cocked her head to one side as she insolently looked Alfirin up and down. The woman swallowed, but to her credit, did not flinch or pale.</i><BR><BR>“So, you think to know so much about me, do you?”<i> Scribbles growled softly. Conversation in the immediate vicinity dropped to a low hum. </i> “First off, I am not full blooded Eldar, but Peredhel. Second, I was not born to live forever, nor was I given the choice that Lord Elrond enjoyed. Immortality was thrust upon me against my will, and you have no idea how high the price was that I was forced to pay. Third, I have had a dozen centuries to earn my keep, and so I have, the only way I know how. And how is that? By wading knee deep in blood and gore to keep the lands of MEN, and their precious nobility safe! Think you that is not something any sane person would want to forget?!<BR><BR>So your daughter was taken from you, and your boys were stillborn. Aye, ‘tis a sad thing indeed and I am sorry to hear of it. But be grateful that you possessed the gifts of Illuvatar and were able to bear children, not all are so fortunate!”<BR><BR><i> She clenched her fists, realizing that she should have taken the Archer’s advice and remained silent. She began to turn away, but paused to make one last comment.</i><BR><BR>“Do not presume to know the hand another is dealt, unless you are called to play the same cards. And know this human, immortality can oftimes be a curse more than it is a blessing!”<BR><BR><i> She turned her back on the woman and returned to where Bardhwyn sat, the Archer's face now somewhat flushed. Scribbles squinted at the bottle on the bar, then her jaw dropped.</i><BR><BR>“Please, PLEASE tell me you didn’t have more than one of these!”<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Nessamelda » Wed Jan 29, 2003 9:12 pm

Ness looked down in surprise at Parm. In some ways his story was like hers, for she too was a foundling (or to be more accurate, a gift - she had not been found but had been presented to her foster father by a stranger. He would say nothing of her parentage, except that the babe's name was Nessamelda, and that she had been born in Minas Tirith four weeks previously, and was in need of a wet nurse and a family. For a while gifts of coin to pay for her care had come, but then they ceased, and as the gentle farmer who raised her had taken the child as close as one if his own, their absence was not missed.)<BR><BR>She munched thoughtfully on the bread that Parm had given her. She grinned. They seemed to be alike in their hobbitlike appetites too!<BR><BR>But Nessamelda felt uneasy in the dark woods, as Parm rested beside her. She stood up and called again, looking around anxiously for signs of life and listening carefully. She could not believe that someone had not heard her cries for help by now: but she did not want to leave Parm here alone. <BR><BR>She shivered. It was cold, despite what she had said to Parm. The trees unnerved her - she preferred the open plains of her childhood. She shivered again and thought of the nightmare that haunted her dreams. <i>A small child left in darkness by the roots of a great upturned oaktree, rearing above her head. The child is alone; all about her is a sense of deep foreboding in the darkness, a sense of uttermost loss and desolation. For those that love her will not return; but in their place she is waiting for something or someone deeply unpleasant; something that is on its way and its will cannot be denied. </i><BR><BR>At that point in the dream Ness always woke up in fear and trembling. She never found out what great terror awaits the little child - yet. <BR><BR>Well if help was not forthcoming she would light a fire, Ness decided, so that at least they would not freeze to death. She gathered branches and pulled her tinderbox from her pocket, using the flint to start the fire. The warmth and light made her fears seem like foolish imaginings.<BR><BR>Then a noise in the trees startled the crow, which flapped its great wings and gave a loud caw. Ness jumpedup and having no weapon picked up a large tree branch and stepping forward into the circle of fire light asked loudly: <BR><BR>"Who is it? Are you here to aid us or harm us?"
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Postby erinhue » Wed Jan 29, 2003 9:57 pm

The last pin had been awarded, the last pledge said and it was over. Erinhue heard himself mouth some words of parting congratultions and then before he even knew it he was off the stage and moving towards the Inn<BR><BR>His only thought was to find his wife, to go to Aerin. The need for some safe harbor however temporary or fragil, the need for comfort drove him with such singlemindedness that he nearly ran over a girl with flame red hair who suddenly appeared in his path.<BR><BR>She fussed a bit about brushing him off then offered him a pitcher of his own ale. At any other time he would have had a flowery compliment at the ready and perhaps shared the ale. Under other circumstances he would have flashed her a starbright grin and put himself at her service.<BR><BR>Under the present circumstances Erinhue had no pretty words and his true smile was buried beneath too many shades of sorrow. He barely heard her words and was about to summon up the strength to send her away when she asked,<BR><BR><i> Are you not Lord Erinhue, the famed warrior-bard?</i><BR><BR>And there it was. With those words she had invoked the responsibility that went along with that fame and there was no way to escape it. The very thing that put the seldom used title ‘Lord’ before his name, his vows and tenure as a Mithril Knight, demanded that he hear her out if nothing else. Unwilling to add yet another failure to his tally for the day, Erinhue sighed and cast one last longing look towards the Inn.<BR><BR>“My name is Erinhue and some would call me bard but I am feeling neither Lord nor Warrior at the moment.”<BR><BR>The small acquiescence was word to the wise and the girl quickly pressed her small advantage.<BR><i> Forgive my boldness, but I have great need to speak with you. It is of importance and the matter needs to remain private, for now’.</i><BR><BR>Her fiery hair was a true mark of her spirit, the bard’s eye for detail coolly observed. Then he saw her eyes and it was like looking in a mirror. She had the sea grey eyes of Dol Amroth. Desperation fanned the sudden hope that sparked up with her words. Perhaps against all odds, perhaps this girl knew something that would lead to Turelie’s salvation.<BR><BR>The sincere urgency in her voice put some deep instinct on alert and Erinhue let her draw him farther from the crowd. He listened politely to her story of strange doings in the Old Forest. There were always odd goings on in that ancient wood. Then she mentioned studying with an old wise woman of the forest. This peaked further interest, there was only one person that could be, and Erinhue was even more distressed by hear of the death of someone he once knew.<BR><BR>He was waiting for an opening to ask her pardon and leave when she showed him the pin. While he had not seen this one before Erinhue recalled that he had seen other’s like it. The silver was pure Mithril and the style of workmanship was familiar and there was something more his clouded mind could not now call up from memory.<BR><BR>She offered up the brooch for his inspection but a murmured note from Agarak warned that he not touch it. Erinhue bent nearer to get a closer look and felt he could discern the faintest illumination in the swirls of the delicately carved shell of the snail and in the leaves. Straightening up again he said ‘This is all very interesting, but why have you so single mindedly chosen me to relay your concerns to?<BR><BR><i>‘You were mentioned to me by trusted travelling companions as a man of integrity, honesty and with worthy friends in many places’. Alandriel replied, her eyes now vivid with an inner fire. ‘A man one can rely on in times of need and with a vast knowledge of things past and present. I am not well versed in the current affairs of the lands, nor do I have connections in high places.’<BR><BR>……. ‘I cannot do this alone. <BR><BR>Are you willing to help unravel this mystery?’</i><BR><BR>A man one can rely on. Erinhue suppressed an urge to laugh when she spoke these words about him. Didn’t she know how he had failed? Hobbituk, his best friend, had relied upon him and it brought him to disaster. Turelie had relied on him and it had brought her to an unknown fate at the hands of a stranger<BR><BR>Perhaps you would do better not to have me to rely on. The words formed in his mind shaped by bitterness and self-pity. Impatience came very close to spitting them out at her but the look on Alandriel’s face, the look in those grey eyes was too sincere and far too trusting for his petulant discharge.<BR><BR>Worn out by his emotions Erinhue resorted to the last ploy in his repetroir, honesty.<BR><BR>“Alandriel your story does intrigue me and I might know some little bit about the brooch you hold. You do well to keep it hidden because, just as you suspect, it might be somehow connected to what is happening in the woods.<BR><BR>I will tell you the truth, were this even yesterday I would have told you that my sword was at your service. Today I don’t know if I am even worthy of it. this has been a dark day and darker deeds were done. It is not the custom here, but in the traditions of my home I must hold myself responsible. My obligation now would be to see if there is ought that I can do to rectify it.”<BR><BR>He saw the light fade from her eyes as she realized that he was turning down her plea for aid.<BR><BR>Ah little one you should not have come to me, Erinhue thought, feeling himself unworthy of the trust and hope before him. But she had come to him and perhaps there was a reason, perhaps she was his chance to gain redemption in his own eyes. <BR><BR>‘Perhaps…” Erinhue realized that he had spoken the word aloud when he saw Alandriel’s reaction. She thought he was agreeing to assist her. Perhaps you should, a voice in side him said.<BR><BR>“Perhaps,” he said again “I can look into it but I must warn you Little One, I have unfinished business here and I cannot leave until it is resolved to some degree. There is someone who has a prior claim upon my time and if I live beyond that then I shall see if I can help you.<BR><BR>I offer you full bed and board at the Inn until such time as I can take the road with you, or you come to your senses.” …or I am dead, his quick mind dryly added <BR><BR>The renewed hope in her expression was a balm to the ache in his soul. He could not help Turelie and he most likely could not help Hobbie either, perhaps, with the will of Eru he would be able to help her. If he could, it would do a lot towards helping him.
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Postby Eyriel » Wed Jan 29, 2003 10:59 pm

Eyriel was taken aback by Aliana’s question. The Grey Havens? She had never even considered in an option for herself. Besides, she was barely 21 years old – nowhere near an age of becoming weary of Middle Earth and all it had to offer – good or bad.<BR><BR>“Don’t be sorry,” she said. “It’s a fair question. But the truth is, I’ve never even thought of leaving before. I could if I wanted to, I suppose. My father was an Elf, but he was killed by Orcs before I was born. I never knew him at all. I’ve always considered myself more human than anything. My mother was from Rohan, and though she died when I was an infant, her love is still one of the most real and present influences in my life. <BR><BR>“Middle Earth is my home. Perhaps someday I will leave, should the burden of life become too much to bear. Now, however, I feel as though I’ve just begun to understand what it means to live.”<BR><BR>Eyriel stopped, not knowing what else to say. Aliana nodded, but kept her eyes downcast and said nothing. For a few moments they sat and drank in silence. Then Erinhue’s voice wafted through the air from outside, and with a gasp Eyriel jumped out of her seat.<BR><BR>“The Induction Ceremony!” she exclaimed. Suddenly focused on getting to the stage, Eyriel rushed out of the inn with hardly a glance at Aliana. Erinhue was reading off the names of the newest members, and as Eyriel waited for her time to go up, she glanced down at her dress, suddenly realizing what a mess she was. Her hair was flying all over the place and her flowing green gown was covered with dirt. Desperately she tried to brush it clean, but glancing around she realized there were other guests in worse shape than herself.<BR><BR>When it was time, Eyriel walked onstage with the other present newly-promoted Exemplar Bards. At least three or four were missing, most noticeably Parm. Eyriel wondered with concern where the talented Bard and officiator of the wedding ceremony had gone, hoping he had not become ill or injured. <BR><BR>She accepted her golden pin with pride, but given the present situation and everything on her mind, she felt little joy in her new ranking. As she walked off stage she let out a huge yawn and realized just how tired she was. Without speaking to anyone she walked back to the inn, where Aliana was still sitting at the bar, draining her cup. Eyriel held up her new pin, whose warm golden color seemed dulled in the dim light of the taproom. <BR><BR>“It doesn’t seem like much of a reward after everything else that’s happened, does it?” she mused, more to herself than anyone else. “Though I suppose it is one thing to be happy about among all the sorrow.”<BR><BR>She yawned again and felt her eyelids begin to droop.<BR><BR>“I think I’m going to go lay down for a bit,” she said to Aliana. “I’m exhausted.” <BR><BR>Aliana nodded. “Go ahead. I’m going to stay in here for a while.”<BR><BR>As Eyriel walked down the hallway, she wondered how Hobbi was doing. His room was quiet, except for the dim murmuring of voices. Aerin, she figured, had joined Hobbi and Culanir. She wanted to go in herself, but decided it was better if the poor groom weren’t too crowded with people. Besides he was in good hands, so long as Aerin was near, at least. <BR><BR>Eyriel went to her own room at the end of the hallway and collapsed on the bed. Her eyes were closed in seconds and she soon fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. <BR>
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Postby prmiller » Wed Jan 29, 2003 11:27 pm

<i>The raucous cawing startled Parm out of his sleep, much like<BR>one of his children bouncing on his bed to rouse him for a<BR>special day. The shadowy realm that was his sight was now<BR>truly dark with only dim flickers when he looked in a certain direction. He chuckled to himself, though, knowing the source<BR>of the interruption. Hoping to both break the oppressive weight<BR>of the darkness and the fear he felt coming from Nessa, he<BR>called out more cheerfully than seemed natural:</i><BR><BR>No need to fear, Nessa! <BR>May I present my host of the forest?<BR>Our sable lord comes from my wife, Aravel, in Imladris.<BR>Had this creature a true tongue, no doubt it would regale us<BR>with stories grand and grandiose!<BR><BR><i>The crow cawed particularly loudly at Parm's suggestion that<BR>it did not have a true tongue. It startled both Nessa and Parm,<BR>but in that same instant found themselves laughing uproariously<BR>at the silliness of the moment. Again, to them both, it felt good<BR>to laugh. Jauntily, the crow hopped and cawed its way near<BR>Parm, avoiding Nessa, for what reason Parm could not really<BR>tell.</i><BR><BR>The warmth of the fire is so good, Nessa. Thank you for sharing<BR>your skills! Ohhhh, I am so very tired...and sad. I fear I have<BR>completely missed the excitement of receiving whatever pin<BR>Master Erinhue was to give...and all that lovely coffee and <BR>chocolate and roasted coney. The spread prepared for us<BR>seemed almost mythic! Speaking of spreads and banquets<BR>and delicious treats...I wonder where Willum has got to?<BR>Hobbit lads are notoriously good at tracking coneys and rabbits.<BR>Surely he must have noticed us both missing! Where is that<BR>lad?<BR><BR>*****<BR>[]Willum felt his ears burning as he trudged silently–well<BR>relatively silently–beside Lady Heather. Her silence was<BR>unnerving. He feared to talk least she miss a crucial sound<BR>or be distracted from her tracking. The sensation of burning<BR>ears was a legendary proverb:"When your ears burn, take a<BR>care/Someone has mentioned your name somewhere."<BR>Who would talk about one such as him? Granmum?<BR>She was already asleep by now. Mum? She had sent him<BR>off to the reception to get him out of her hair? Da? Well, he<BR>was probably at the Golden Perch finishing off one last morsel<BR>before trudging home. Oh, yes, they loved him, but they very<BR>rarely worried for him. Willum had inherited many honorary<BR>aunts and uncles, grandmums and grandas in the Shire.<BR>They would look out for him! Besides, wasn't he with some of<BR>the most renowned Bardic warriors in Middle Earth? What did<BR>he have to fear...except starvation?! His stomach growled again<BR>in petulant protest. The cheese was gone, as were the rolls.<BR>He had some bits of dried meat, but he was saving those for<BR>"worser times" , as he would put it. What was this tracker-maid<BR>up to? When would they find Master Parm? It was well past<BR>twilight and getting...dark. The kind of dark that, well, Old Gaffer<BR>described with deliciously wicked delight to chill the skins<BR>of little ones like him...and here he was! Right in the thick of it!<BR>Oh, botheration!</i><BR>
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Postby Elana » Thu Jan 30, 2003 1:41 am

Deore watched as her mother went to comfort the distressed woman. She well knew the comfort Elana’s arms could give, but the woman seemed deeply sunk in her grief and Deore expected her mother would be occupied for a while.<BR><BR>She clutched the scrap of fabric torn from the kidnapper’s cloak, and looked around, trying to figure out who she should approach with her bit of evidence. On the stage a man was speaking who she recognized as Erinhue, the owner of the inn where she and her mother had been staying for the past month. He seemed to be in charge, but occupied with the ceremony he was conducting. She resolved to wait until he was through, then talk to him.<BR><BR>While waiting, she picked up some food from a nearby table and munched on it, needing to still her hunger, which had grown ravenous as the hour grew later and distractions kept her from eating, but hardly noticing what it was she ate.<BR><BR>Voices caught her attention. “He was tall, very tall.” Deore saw a rather short woman waving her hand far above her head.<BR><BR>“I didn’t think he was particularly tall,” a very large, heavy man objected. “Rather average sized. With black hair, and bright blue eyes.”<BR><BR>“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” said a thin man. “His eyes were brown. And his hair was brown too, what you could see of it under his hood.”<BR><BR>A cluster of people was gathered around a man wearing the garb of a knight, all talking animatedly and each contradicting what the other said. Deore gathered that the knight was trying to get a description of the kidnapper, and find out if anyone in the crowd had seen or heard anything useful.<BR><BR>She hovered at the edge of the crowd, waiting with growing impatience for a chance to speak. Finally the babble of voices began to die down, as people drifted away, their information imparted. Deore caught the man’s eye and drew close.<BR><BR>“Sir,” she stammered, suddenly shy. “When the man was leaving he passed close to me, and I grabbed this.” She held out the crumpled scrap of fabric. “It tore off the hem of his cloak.”<BR><BR>The man’s eyes lit up. This was the first useful bit of information he had yet been able to find. He took the cloth and examined it closely, then handed it back to Deore. “Young lady, I think this might be important. Please come with me. I want to show it to my commander, and he will want to hear your story.” Taking her arm, he steered her through the crowd.<BR><BR>
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Postby Nessamelda » Thu Jan 30, 2003 5:10 am

Alfirin glared at Scribbles back as she returned to her seat. Normally her well-developed sense of self-preservation would have stopped her from entering such an argument. She had a distaste for violence and blood being spilt, at least in her presence. But the alcohol had eroded her natural inhibitions and she was prepared to continue, if not with the peredhel, at least with the world in general.<BR><BR>She stood, after a couple of attempts, and spat her defiance at the crowd that were staring at her:<BR><BR>"Look at you all! I know what you think of me - an object of pity and contempt - a sad misfit who can only react to misfortune with hate and revenge. Well I tell you all this"..her voice rose to a scream:<BR><BR>"you marvellous bards, you who think so highly of yourselves...YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN I AM!! I have seen to your very hearts through the ink of my pen scratching its secret tale on parchment - and the stories that yours tell are no better than mine - all lost souls who wander on Arda marred, searching restlessly for their own happiness. " <BR><BR>Her voice dropped to a whisper, a sibilant hiss:<BR><BR>"And you will not find it my friends. And<i> I </i>have no need to curse you. For my pen has drawn both your past and your future, and for none of you does it look very pleasant. "<BR><BR>She turned and stared at Scribbles and Bardwhyn.<BR><BR>"You may be immortal lady, but your precious friends will die and leave you alone. Even that big lump of an Easterling that you let go off with the Dark Elf. How could the <i>marvellous</i> bards not recognise the trap that she wove, see the poisonous web? <BR><BR>And so you have let two of your number, at least, be grievous hurt today. The bride I care not for: she treated me as a mere servant and deserved her fate, although I wish that she had paid me before she left. But Master Parm was kind to me. And you" - here she put her face very close to Scribbles nose, - "should be grateful to him, for he was the only one of you bards with the sight to see what the dark elf was, and tried to save your plaything from her grasp. And I am afraid that she has repaid him for that kindness. Such as she are not to be denied."<BR><BR>Alfirin paused as she walked the path of a dark memory. A memory that she did not want to revisit. More things that she wanted to forget.<BR><BR>She returned stumblingly to the bar, and made an attempt at the bottle of Harlindon Clearwater that sat in front of Bardwhyn. Her hand shook as she tried to take it and the inevitable happened. It went down, showering Scribbles and the archer with the liquor. <BR><BR>Alfirin looked at the two of them, and at herself, all drenched with the stinging fluid and began to laugh hysterically. Although it was not particularly funny, she found suddenly that there was no way to stop.
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Postby prmiller » Thu Jan 30, 2003 6:02 am

[]Willum was beginning to wish he had not struck out on a<BR>search, at least he should have really filled up before he<BR>burst out to search for Master Parm. Now he was doing<BR>something Hobbit lads would only do in a pinch, he began<BR>nibbling on his "afters". This was dire. He tried just nibbling.<BR>Nibbling became gnawing and gnawing became gobbling.<BR>First the dried fruits, then the nuts (he had almost forgotten<BR>those!), and to his great dismay, the dried meats. He was<BR>surreptitious, he thought, but every now and then a sharp look<BR>from Lady Heather made him realize he had forgotten some<BR>semblance of manners. The burp really gave him away.<BR>He knew he should not open the kit he had prepared for<BR>Master Parm, but, well, catastrophes demand drastic action.<BR>He just started out with the dinner rolls, bits at first. The bits<BR>grew to morsels, the morsels to chunks and chunks to<BR>mouthfuls. It was a pitiful scene. Willum was...hungry! Would<BR>they never make progress? He bit his tongue, for elves may<BR>be patient, but they can say sharp things...and do harm with<BR>words. He puffed out a sigh in exasperation and trudged along<BR>with the silent maid, shivering more and more as early evening<BR>began deepening into night.<BR>****<BR><i>Parm was glad of Nessa's company, and also that of their<BR>delightful friend, the crow. It was actually becoming such a<BR>valuable member of their little party, they ventured to name it...<BR>Silvertongue...for it seemed to caw in response to questions<BR>almost as if it were eager to chat. Parm wondered if SilverScribe<BR>would appreciate such a nod in her direction as to the naming.<BR>Parm was wondering if the bird might even follow him as<BR>a companion for his journeys. It was even gentle to him.<BR>During his conversation with Nessa, Parm lost hold of a piece<BR>of cheese. "Silvertongue" has hopped over, picked up with its<BR>beak, and laid it, almost tenderly in Parm's lap.<BR>Then there was the time a spark from the fire accidentally<BR>struck Nessa's hand. The crow found a leaf, now beginning to<BR>dew, and carried it over to cool the burning. These and other<BR>endearing actions, made their time together less darksome<BR>and almost delightful, were it not for Parm's greatly<BR>disheveled appearance and occasional lapses into paranoid<BR>silence and dark fear and sorrows.</i><BR><BR>Nessa, does anyone, I mean, did anyone mention to you,<BR>that they noticed my absence? <BR>Oh, I'm sorry for asking...I'm starting to slip into my pity-me<BR>state. It's just, well, I thought I had done my best at the wedding,<BR>and people seemed to appreciate it, but I am wondering if<BR>it was just patronizing small-talk, the kind they give me at<BR>Imladris, when I have labored over a document, only to discover<BR>a more talented scribe has re-inked it.<BR><BR>I thought I would be missed too.<BR><BR>Yes, I know that Ture's kidnapping is tumultuous! I know it is<BR>horrid indeed, but I did try to rescue Matrim from further disgrace,<BR>and I tried to calm Tinu when her grief caused her to burst<BR>out in the ceremony. Perhaps, it's not patronizing, but the kind<BR>of affection one has for a pet. If it is lost, it is sad, but not<BR>debilitating. <BR><BR>I'm so cold, Nessa!<BR><BR> I miss my wife! I miss my children!<BR>Will I ever see them again? I think the vile creature's attack on<BR>me has left me with more bewitchments from her than she claimed she had endured from me. I only see shapes and<BR>shadows now. <BR><BR><i> Parm slipped into the sullen, dreary silence of the forgotten<BR>and unloved, his head bowed in grief and rejection and not<BR>for the first time, he fell asleep...brows furrowed in pain.</i><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Alandriel » Thu Jan 30, 2003 11:23 am

Her fervent plea was met with a suppressed laugh. So! He took her, like so many before, for a silly child, a nuisance, an annoyance. Somebody to hush up and get rid of as fast as possible. It stung. It hurt. Did nobody ever realize...<BR><BR>But no! His countenance changed. He was not ridiculing her. Rather the many shadows of doubt and pain sweeping over his features spoke of fighting inner daemons. Her mentioning his title had reminded him of the burdens that lay on his shoulders and quite obviously he felt responsible for today’s events. He let her speak. He gave her a chance. But he would not touch the jewel. She saw him flinch ever so slightly. Why? What did he know? Why did he tell her it was well to keep it hidden? What knowledge did he and her foster mother share? Could it really be that all these events where somehow connected?<BR>Questions upon questions tumbled over each another in her mind but no answers were forthcoming.<BR> <BR>Erinhue voiced his doubts:<BR><BR>‘Today I don’t know if I am even worthy of it. This has been a dark day and darker deeds were done. It is not the custom here, but in the traditions of my home I must hold myself responsible. My obligation now would be to see if there is ought that I can do to rectify it.”<BR><BR>Alandriel felt as if she had been doused by an icy cold shower. He would not help. He had more important things to take care of. Of course! How could she have presumed he would really listen to her, let alone help? <BR>What was she to do? Who could she approach now? All seemed lost. She felt very much alone. <BR><BR>‘Perhaps...’ One word, just one small word, triggered the spark of hope once more and relit her inner fire.<BR><BR>“Perhaps, I can look into it but I must warn you Little One, I have unfinished business here and I cannot leave until it is resolved to some degree. There is someone who has a prior claim upon my time and if I live beyond that then I shall see if I can help you.’ <BR><BR>Yes, there was indeed hope. He would consider it and he would help, somehow.<BR> <BR>Relief washed over Alandriel and she gave a slight nod to the Master Bard. No words were needed to express her gratitude. He knew. He understood. She saw that in his eyes. Their paths would cross again when the time was right. She was sure of that now. The great weaver was ever weaving on and many more threads would be joined before this night was out.<BR><BR>Silently she stepped aside and let the Bard pass. He nodded to her then resolutely took off in direction of the Inn.<BR><BR>A deep sigh escaped her lips, as soon as he was out of earshot. It was done. It was out of her hands now and a great burden lifted off her shoulders.<BR><BR>Looking once more at the jewel in her small hand she could not help but wonder. What did it all mean? <BR>The questions would be answered, but not right now. There were still many missing pieces of the puzzle. She tucked it away once more.<BR><BR>Arching her neck upwards, she took in a deep breath, drinking in the cool air of the surrounding woods, laced with mossy scents. She felt much, much better now. But her role here was not over yet. She still felt a responsibility towards the people up in that room at the Inn. The Gondorian lady and her man, the Rangers and, yes, even the Easterlings. There were more questions there that needed answers and so once more she turned heel and strode back towards the Inn.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby nienor-niniel » Thu Jan 30, 2003 1:31 pm

<i>Somehow Nienor-Niniel had arrived in the Inn, not clearly aware of all happening around, the voices and the faces became like a huge mist through the tears in her eyes. Someone tried to comfort her, and somehow she recognised the voice as one she had heard earlier before on this cursed day. <BR><BR>All of a sudden, one the sweets she had prepared for the party was in her hands. She looked at it, still crying, the salty teardrops running over the sweet chocolate. Then she looked down on the dress she was still wearing, the fair silk agreement. Two different objects for what the wedding should have been alike. <BR>Both of them seemed her unbearable right now. Through the crowd and the discussions in the Inn – apparently they tried to find out who had been the cruel kidnapper, and how he had looked, she slipped out of the door, into the cool air of the night. <BR><BR>Not a single moment had she stopped crying, but the air calmed her down a bit. Trembling, with unsecured steps she headed for the stables. NN wanted to get out of the dress and as far away from the wedding as possible. There were some friends she should have said farewell to, and now, that slowly her spirit began to emerge from the melancholy, she would have wanted to know, who was the lovely person that had taken care of her in the inn. She also wondered what had become of Matrim and if the dark creature that had enchanted him had done any more harm.<BR> <BR>But she did not feel the strength for this right now. Rather heading to the stables, and get Gedeon, take the disguise of a bridesmaid off and back into the travelling gown. <BR>Back in the saddle. The sight and the smell of her beloved horse brought her a bit more back to reality. Finally she managed to stop crying. Only her hands were shaking now and she regained slowly control over the rest of her body. Luckily all was quiet here, and none had adventured out to the stables. The shock of the kidnapping had attracted all the guests to the Inn. An unearthly sound and scream of sadness coming from the Inn told her that not yet all woes were over for the assisting guests, or maybe even the poor groom himself<BR><BR>Had there been a festival, inductions? Nienor-Niniel did not remember any of this, and did not care. In the quiet and the dark of the stables she took off the russet dress and glided back into her worn out leather pants and the shirt, which had become so thin that soon it would be torn into pieces. She felt like herself again. Sad, weary, but alive and able to go on the stony road that her life had been so far and would always be. <BR><BR>She still held that little sweet in her hand, and together with the flute, which she had be carrying all day long, she put it in her saddle bag. Slowly she took Gedeon by his headgear, leading him out into the dark, cold air of the night. Gratefully, she took a deep breath. Later she would ride, now she was satisfied with walking and feeling that her feet and her legs did indeed obey her. <BR><BR>Thus the young woman stepped out in the night, and soon headed over to the forest. Had she been able to sing, she would have hummed, to calm herself down. But her singing voice was lost, she knew it. The voices of the uproar around the wedding slowly fainted and became almost inaudible. All was quiet – or almost. Somewhere from out of the dark, NN hear voices speaking, and strangest of all, familiar voices. She slowed down, walking very careful. Now the speaking was over, but clearly somebody was moving there in the woods. She came as close as possible without being recognized. <BR>Then she heard a voice, speaking clearly this time:</i><BR><BR>Who is it? Are you here to aid us or harm us?<BR><BR><i>Whatever she had feared had been vain, this was a familiar sound. Quickly she stepped forward, to be in sight.</i> Nessamelda, <i>she said, for she had recognised the voice of her fellow bard. </i>it is me- Nienor-Niniel. What has gone on here? <i>Then she saw Parm, lying on the ground apparently sleeping. But his face was not quiet, like someone who sleeps, but torn and tired. Some fine wrinkles she had never seen before were visible and made him look older all of a sudden, like someone who has gone through a severe test. </i><BR><BR>Nin, I am happy to see you. Parm has fought against this elven who had seduced Matrim earlier today and he has been seriously hurt. He said he has power to fight this wounds, but I am worried, and did not want to leave him alone. <BR><BR><i>NN kneeled down beside the servant of Eru, whose poetry she appreciated so much. Nessamelda had covered him and provided a fire to warm him, so he had been saved from the worst.</i> It has been a blessing for him to be found by you, Nessa. But I think he should not stay outside in the night. Maybe we should wake him – I must have something to eat, at least a sweet from the wedding to strengthen his body, and take him back to the Inn on my horses back. Or, if you prefer I could ride there and look for some help or a healer, although with the kidnapping the crowd has become a real mess. <BR><BR><i>And mentally she added: then I must find this creature, which has dared to attack Parm and to deceive Matrim. She has to pay. Nobody shall hurt those I love. <BR><BR>Still kneeling beside Parm, she heard that he was whispering some words in his slumber, and afraid that he might be delirious, she looked up to Nessamelda.</i> I fear we have to hurry.
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Postby Nessamelda » Thu Jan 30, 2003 4:22 pm

"Nin, I am so relieved to see you. I feared that the noises in the night were some other creature less friendly"<BR>Ness paused and looked down at Parm.<BR><BR>"He has indeed been saying things that I feel are caused by shock, and injury I do not think that we have time to get more help. But with your aid I am sure that we can get him on your horse, and get him to safety."<BR><BR>Nessamelda knelt down and listened to his words, shaking her head sadly.<BR><BR>"Master Parm, Master Parm! Do not be grieved sir, for you will have been sorely missed. Do not fear. We will bring you safely to shelter and to help, and you will be reunited with your family in good time. Now, can you rouse yourself enough to stand? Nienor-Niniel is here, and she has a fine horse with her. If you aid us we will lift you on his back and he will carry you back to the light."<BR><BR>But Parm was beyond rousing, and lay still but unquiet, muttering of his fears and the darkness.<BR><BR>Nessamelda stood again, and looked at the slight figure of Nin in front of her, and grinned. <BR>"Well it seeems I am better built for the lifting side of things. Do you think that you could hold your horse's head, and keep him calm, while I lift Parm up onto his back? I do not want him shying when he feels the weight of a stranger upon him."<BR>Nienor-Niniel nodded and took hold of Gedeon's bridle lightly, speaking comforting words to her horse as Ness lifted Parm upon his back. He lay there, like a sack, not moving, and quiet now.<BR><BR>"Thank you" said Nessamelda softly. Strange - the woman spoke to her horse in the tongue of Rohan, and the horse looked as if it came from there too. Yet something about the woman's dress and manner of talking seemed different - she had an accent that Ness could not place. And oh, so sad. But now was not the time to solve such mysteries. And after all it was not really any of her businesss - Ness herself was equally difficult to place - a tall, dark haired, grey eyed woman, yet dressed, speaking and acting like a flaxen haired girl of the plains.<BR><BR>Nienor-Niniel nodded quietly carefully led the horse back towards the inn, Nessamelda walking alongside and holding Parm carefully to make sure that he did not slip.<BR><BR>A sudden cawing drew Nessamelda's attention back. <BR><BR>"Oops, I forgot the fire", she said and turned back to extinguish it. The crow then accompanied them, hopping from branch to branch.
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Postby Aliana » Thu Jan 30, 2003 6:37 pm

Aliana watched Eyriel mount the steps. She envied the other young woman's inclination to lay down and dream, among other things; Aliana herself was terribly worn out, but she felt all at sharp edges with herself. She knew it would be futile to try and sleep at this point. She was still ashamed of the brash, impulsive question she had put to her friend, though she was relieved all the same that Eyriel had not been offended. The peredhel had given a kind and honest answer, though something in it all made Aliana's heart ache. <i>Perhaps someday I will leave, should the burden of life become too much to bear.</i> The burden of life. She was bent under a load of her own. Everyone here was. For all those fated to stay and die here, she thought, there was always the question of how much one could bear before one reached the breaking point. She looked into her glass, now empty. Maybe she should ask for something stronger. She sighed and pushed her dark hair out of her eyes. Why had she worn it down today, anyway?<BR><BR>When Eyriel had gone to get her gold Exemplar pin, Aliana had looked over at Scribbles and Bardhwyn, seated near to where the girl was. She was happy to see that, though tired and bedraggled-looking, Scribbles appeared to be fine. Whatever the Archer had done, it had been potent enough medicine. Now, Aliana turned a startled ear, along with nearly everyone else occupying the taproom, to the confrontation that was taking place between Scribbles, and that gaunt-looking lady scribe (what was her name? Alfirin?). As the woman drunkenly laid into the entire Bards' Guild, and then, more specifically, into Scribbles herself (Something about a Dark Elf, and an Easterling- what had happened, this day?), the expressions on the faces of the bystanders ranged from shock to anger to pity.<BR><BR>Alfirin's hysterical, unhinged laughter had the quality of the creaking of rusted iron joints. From this sound, and from the looks of Scribbles and Bardhwyn, also soaked in the splashed liquor, Aliana could easily guess that another fight was in the making. <i>No more</i>, she thought, suddenly. <i>Not today.</i> She realized that these three strong-willed women would probably end up doing exactly what they wanted, regardless of her actions. Before she could quite tell what she was doing, however, she took a pile of clean, folded cloths from behind the counter, slid off her barstool, and crossed the short, loaded distance to offer the linens to Scribbles, Bardhwyn and Alfirin with an outstretched hand.<BR><BR>"Scribbles, I am glad to see you well, again," she said in a voice that was perhaps too loud as she looked the tall peredhel warrior in the eye. "You are very lucky in your friends," she added, acknowledging the Archer with a faint smile. Then the girl turned to Alfirin. She was totally unprepared for the nameless emotion that overcame her as she stared into the older woman's eyes, even through their drunken, despairing film. Would she, Aliana, be destined to end up like this, bitter and alone? There was much to be pitied, perhaps even despised, in this woman, and yet there was also a knowingness about her, a keenness of vision. She saw things.<BR><BR>Aliana caught her breath and dropped her voice to a low, sharp-edged whisper to address Alfirin: "I beg you, help us keep at least a little peace, tonight."
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Postby prmiller » Thu Jan 30, 2003 7:49 pm

<i><b>It was a nightmare, but not one so horrible as to rouse, but<BR>to tease and bully. Parm found himself resting, but against a<BR>high-backed chair. There was a banquet all about him, but he had<BR>neither plate, cup nor serving fork or knife. Food passed by him,<BR>around him, but never to him. When he asked...for he could in that<BR>dream state... people looked at him sweetly, patted his head and<BR>said, <BR>"Nice Parm, Sweet Parm. You'll have treats by and by. Be a<BR>good Parm and sit still, now!" and then continued on as if a dog<BR>had barked and then commanded to be quiet.<BR><BR>He tried to get up from his seat, but the instant he tried, all went<BR>silent and every head turned to look at him in that instant,<BR>disapprovingly. When he sat back down, all were smiles and laughs<BR>and approving sounds. He looked around him for his staff and tried<BR>to find a quill and bottle. He leaned over to...it was Erinhue!<BR>He asked him..."Master Erinhue, have you seen my staff?" to which<BR>Erinhue replied, as if mildly rebuking a child. "Whatever do you<BR>need that for? Quill? Pen? Nonsense. Just be still and all that you<BR>deserve will come to you."<BR><BR>Faces drifted by. As they passed they stiffly turned to smile<BR>sweetly, and in outrageously proper language talk to him.<BR>Aerin: Oh! Now don't you just look so sweet, dear, dear, sweet<BR>Parm. I bet you just make all the girl's hearts go pitter pitter<BR>pitter.<BR>SmaugsBane: (Who managed a kind of growl) Nice robe, Parm. Nice robe.<BR>Matrim: (Who patted his head) Nice Parm, Mice Parm.<BR>Yet...there was Vanaladiel and Scribbles: Somehow they did not seem<BR>to be really in his dream, but invading spirits trying to break up<BR>the reverie of the feast: "Parm!" Vana called. "Listen to my voice.<BR>This is not real. It is cruel enchantment. You know me deep in your<BR>heart, Parm. You know me to be friend, heart friend. Would I, could<BR>I ever forget or turn from you?<BR>Then as Vanaladiel faded, SilverScribe stepped in: "Do not give in<BR>to the sorrow, Parm. Do not give in to the despair. You are more<BR>loved that you may ever know. I am reaching you in ways you cannot<BR>guess. You have friends willing to die for you, to die for you, to<BR>die...." and the voice faded as a darker form slid by.<BR>Her.<BR>It.<BR>Shade and shadow, wraith and wretchedness.<BR>"Do you like my party, Bardling? Does it...please you? Oh yes,<BR>it will go on and on like this forever and ever if you want it to.<BR>Did you think I merely left your body violated and your precious<BR>dignity shredded into putrid scraps? Oh no...silly, silly man!<BR>I have left you...this! Feasts without fullness, friends without<BR>fellowship, merriment without joy. Shapes and shams. Shapes and<BR>shams..." with a sickening swirl of stinking mists, the shape<BR>left, and Parm's party continued on as if no one had seen anything<BR>amiss.<BR>Parm tried to rouse, but couldn't.<BR>Some buxom guest swept him up on to his feet, and pressed her body<BR>tightly to his. She bounced up and down in some silly jig that kept<BR>no time with the romantic music wafting among them. From time to<BR>time he saw Vana's face and Scribbles shaking their heads mouthing<BR>words, "No" or "Don't give in", but always someone would pass by<BR>and disturb their misty faces. Parm knew he was saying something<BR>but did not really know what.<BR>"Doesn't any one care?"<BR>"Do you love me?"<BR>"Where is my Aravel?"<BR>"My son, my daughters. Where are you?"<BR>"Nienor! Nessa! Lithtaur!<BR>Someone...please...<BR>Lady Heather? Willum?<BR>Where are you?"</b></i><BR><BR>*****<BR>Willum was quite put out. All pretense was gone. He was hungry,<BR>he was cold, it was dark and he had not been free to chat and enjoy<BR>this woman's company. He was going to be rude...his Granmum would<BR>scold...uncles would disapprove...but Willum did not care one twit!<BR><b>Lady! I'm gone. I'll wait for Master Parm ta'home</b><BR><BR>The angry outburst over, it was soon follow by a despairing squeak.<BR><BR><b>But we just can leave him 'ere! It's not...not right! Oh he's<BR>prob'ly dead. Dead and etten by who knows what. Lady, I don't care<BR>a stinkan fishhead for all this sneakin' and skulkin' in quiet.<BR>T'aint natural. Parm's not food, he's a lost person. Our voices gotta<BR>be 'eard! How else'n is 'e goin' ta know we're around? Fah!<BR>You do your trackin' and I'll do mind...I'll see you sun-up at the<BR>Inn, with Parm or no! Glory and trumpets! Bats and bebotheration,<BR>this is a hard task and no mistakin'. 'nd there's m'stomach grousin'.<BR>That's it! I may find 'im all right, 'n be dead in the lookin'.<BR>Na-mar-ee-ay! </b><BR><BR><i>And with that, Willum stomped off, sticking to moonlit paths to<BR>find his way back, or off somewhere else, leaving Lady Heather<BR>considerably stunned and almost bemused by the outburst. Then with<BR>characteristic grim resolve, she resumed her search. If he had been<BR>taken or managed to return, she would know that, too. Humans left<BR>signs...and she was trained to follow them.</i>
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Postby erinhue » Thu Jan 30, 2003 9:09 pm

The questions raised by the conversation with the red haired girl were put aside as Erinhue turned once again towards the Inn. There were more than a few people in the main taproom which had an atmosphere of some crisis just averted. Scribbles sat, unsmiling, at the bar with Bardhwyn and the Duchess moved shakily past him. There were others that he knew and a few that he knew well,seated in small tight groups or sullenly alone. Erinhue ignored them all, not that anyone paid him much attention, and made his way to the stairs.<BR><BR><i>"I think it would be best if you were to leave this room, Culanir. Do not leave the Inn - or the reception area, at least - for there are things still needing to be sorted out."</i><BR><BR>Erinhue heard Aerin’s heated words and was about to voice his agreement when he stepped into the room. What he saw, a death pale Hobbituk lying on the floor with a concerned Aerin kneeling beside, alarmed him. <BR><BR>Culanir stood cowering to one side, his hand absently rubbing at his bruised throat, a look of deep contrition on his face. The guilty expression and the disarray of the cast aside bed covers told the story of what had taken place.<BR><BR>“You call yourself Knight?” Erinhue hissed, “ You come here like the black bird of dispair hoping to disrupt this wedding with your callow infatuations. You hover like a dark cloud over the proceedings, to what? To have Lurea spy you out and fling herself into your arms?<BR><BR>Stormcrow of ill omen, did you come here to spread evil among us? Any decent man would have honored the lady’s choice and kept graciously away, but you, disgrace to the crest of Gondor, you come here lurking like some unclean thing to spoil over what you could not have for yourself? <BR><BR>Was this you plan from the beginning? Did you steal her away? Wasn’t that enough for you? Did you come here to taunt him in his sick bed so that you could begin to feel youself half the man he is? I should have whipped you from the field the moment I saw your coward’s face among the crowd. I should have and perhaps spared us all this torment. It is a mistake that will be corrected.”<BR><BR>By now Erinhue’s voice was ground down to a growl, all his doubts and anger venting through it onto the already disliked Gondorian. A scarlet mist began to waft over his vision and he could hear the pulse of his own blood surging in his ears. Erinhue glared at Culanir, to his mind the source of all dismay, his rich baritone now twisted into a livid snarl. “You should not have come here, Culanir.”<BR><BR>“Erinhue, don’t!” Aerin called to him in dread of the words she feared would call the runesword, Clarion, to her husband’s hand.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Jan 30, 2003 9:49 pm

Pressing one eye tightly, Bardhwyn weathered the sting caused by the dousing of Clearwater. This woman was mad! Glancing down, with blurred sight, she quickly checked her frock, the purple silk now blotched and wet. Ruined. SilverScribe sat, motionless to her left and behind her stood the Elf, Orion who had yet been unable to introduce himself due to this woman's rude antics.<BR><BR>The cacophonous laugh of the woman grated upon Bardhwyn's ears, like the sound of fingernails dragged along a slab of slate. The Archer reached over and righted the bottle of Harlindon before it's contents flooded the bar, marveling at the cold words she'd spoken about Master Parm… <BR><BR>Still seated and turning slightly, with her hand still resting on the neck of the bottle, Bardhwyn faced the amused woman and, pressing a thin smile, spoke:<BR><BR>"Unlike some I have met, you wear your black heart on your sleeve, Madam. At least, in doing so, we know who, or what, you truly are." At this, Alfirin's laugh subsided, but only slightly. The sight of her, drunk and hilarious, caused Bardhwyn to chuckle in disdain. "Don't mistake me, <i>Your Grace,</i>, "the snarl in the Barding woman's voice was unmistakable, "It does you little credit. Still, some credit better than none." Bardhwyn made to turn, thinking that was all that needed to be said, despairing of all the wasted liquor puddle on the bar.<BR><BR>"Credit?! You speak to me of credit, Bardhwyn of Dale?" The woman shrieked. "What of yours - or lack of it? I have watched you closely of late … yes, close enough. Of all the lost souls wandering Arda, yours ranks among those most desperate. Tell me," the woman asked, her lip curled, "Where is the Daleman so quick to take your arm at the last festival? Lost him already have you? Like the Elf before him? And who before that? Would a woman of 'credit' suffer thus?<BR><BR>The glass bottle shattered as hit the edge of the bar, spraying what little of the Harlindon there was inside over all those who sat near. Bardhwyn sat, motionless on her bar stool, holding the neck of the broken bottle suspended over the bar, allowing the last few drops of the strong liquor to drip off the jagged edges into the puddles already formed below.<BR><BR>"Your Grace", Bardhwyn said very quietly, "You were right, you know. SilverScribe carries the burden of the deathless, and I, her friend, am mortal." Bardhwyn then leaned forward, very close to the older woman, and lowered her voice to a hoarse whisper. "But, remember, Your Grace, <i> so are you.</i>"<BR><BR>Bardhwyn felt a strong hand staying her arm, the one wielding the broken bottle. She immediate suspected the Elf, Orion, but he stood to one side, watching with an impassive face. It was SilverScribe who stayed her, the Peredhel's voice ringing clear:<BR><BR>"Archer, wait. Don't mar the healing these hands have done today with actions you'll regret. Let it go. The woman matters not." With a quick and powerful squeeze, SilverScribe coaxed the bottle out of Bardhwyn's hand. It clattered onto the bar with a small splash.<BR><BR>At the words 'healing' the red haired traveler, who stood at the bar, watching the little 'drama' unfold, urgently caught Bardhwyn's eye. He bore the look of a man in need and again, Bardhwyn felt the overwhelming sensation she'd met this man before - stronger than the Elf, much stronger.<BR><BR>Bardhwyn took the towel handed her by Aliana, mumbled her thanks under her breath, and stepped away as the young woman spoke out, only catching the entrance of the Erinhue out of the corner of her eye. The red haired man had threaded his way to where Bardhwyn stood.<BR><BR>"Are you a healer!?" He asked, his voice laced with urgency.<BR><BR>Bardhwyn stammered but was given no chance to answer. The man took her by the arm and began leading her to the stairs.<BR><BR>"Come, quickly! Upstairs! There is a man who needs seeing to!" He said, pulling her along. Somehow, she knew not to fight.<BR><BR>Once inside the bedroom, Bardhwyn halted in her tracks. There on the floor lay the Easterling she'd seen earlier that day bleeding from the shoulder, unconscious and pale. Hovering over him was yet another Easterling. A pale woman, her neck smeared with a greenish paste mixed with blood lay next to the man on the floor…<BR><BR>"What? No.. NO!" Bardhwyn cried, stepping back, out of the door - stopped only by the red haired man who still held her arm.<BR><BR>"He's an Easterling! I won't touch him!"<BR><BR>"But he's dying!" Her escort protested, pulling her back into the room.<BR><BR>"Let him." Bardhwyn replied, her voice now as cold as Alfirin's.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Moujhadin » Thu Jan 30, 2003 10:26 pm

<BR>"Get Up!"<BR><BR><i> It was the Westron Healing Woman who now wielded the sword.</i> <BR><BR>GET UP, DAMN YOU! <BR><BR><i> Her red hair flew with the wind. Sand, sand everywhere.<BR><BR>Moujhadin looked up.</i> <BR><BR>"No." <i> He replied, laying his head heavily back onto the sand.</i> <BR><BR>"You can't escape it." <i> She answered, dissolving into dust.</i> <BR><BR><BR><BR>"Moujhadin."<BR><BR>"Moujhadin?"<BR><BR><BR><i> Looking up, he saw, not the Westron woman, but his Mother standing before him, in a swirl of sand. She appeared as a young noble woman of Zahor, tall…beautiful…her features long, angular, jade and turquoise braided into her long, black hair.</i> <BR><BR>"Moujhadin, I am sorry. You were too young. I should have waited… but there wasn't time… they insisted."<BR><BR><i> Moujhadin reached out, stretching his good arm towards her, to his mother who died too young.</i> <BR><BR>"Why? Why are you sorry?! Who?!"<BR><BR><i> She disappeared. <BR><BR>There were voices on the wind, words in Westron, Eastron. All Moujhadin could taste was the sand in his mouth. <BR><BR>"I won't touch him!"<BR><BR>"But he's dying!"<BR><BR>"Let him!"</i> <BR><BR><BR><i> He lifted his head once again and spitting sand, he found his voice.</i> <BR><BR>"Jiyadan."<BR>
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Postby Hidden_Ring » Thu Jan 30, 2003 10:37 pm

<i>Ordering a Khandish WaterTorch, Orion seems to share the mood of most of the current patrons, one of drinking to the oblivion of sleep. The barman seems to get the hint and finally does not resist the drink request.</i>Well Lady Bardhwyn, I am called Orion HR. Never mind what the HR stands for, its a long and troublesome name. And thank you, Scribbles, for the congratulations. Happily would I return the pin to undo the harms of this day. Forgive me if I seem not talkative, but I'm certain you can understand. <i>He settles in to burn much of his digestive system away with the alcohol that closely resembles raw jet fuel or weather sealant. Before going far on his drink, the relative silent peace of a bar is shattered by a long, intoxicated diatribe from the half-familiar vulturish woman.<BR><BR>Hearing derision of the Elves was not new to the white-blond elf's ears. He had heard before, although the amount of the venom in her tone certainly was new. As the echoing voice faded, Scribble stood up, not nearly so drunk but wobbly on her feet from a long and trying day. As she slowly turned her head to the loud voice of ill-content, Orion seemed to cringe "...Illuvitar, no. Please no. I saw the Scribe wrath while sober and restrained. Dont let it get the best of her..." </i><BR><BR>“Do not presume to know the hand another is dealt, unless you are called to play the same cards. And know this human, immortality can oftimes be a curse more than it is a blessing!”<BR><BR><i>Breathing a sigh of relief at the lack of attack on Scribble's part, Orion hopes in futility that things will be let to stand where they remain. Standing slowly, Orion walks around to face the woman as her diatribe begins anew, cursing the Bards in general and the Bride in particular</i><BR><BR>"you marvellous bards, you who think so highly of yourselves...YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN I AM!! I have seen to your very hearts through the ink of my pen scratching its secret tale on parchment - and the stories that yours tell are no better than mine - all lost souls who wander on Arda marred, searching restlessly for their own happiness. <BR><BR>"And so you have let two of your number, at least, be grievous hurt today. The bride I care not for: she treated me as a mere servant and deserved her fate, although I wish that she had paid me before she left. But Master Parm was kind to me. And you should be grateful to him, for he was the only one of you bards with the sight to see what the dark elf was, and tried to save your plaything from her grasp. And I am afraid that she has repaid him for that kindness. Such as she are not to be denied."<BR><BR><i>Alifie's collapse into a stream of hysterical laughter finally shatters Orion's calm. Even at Bardhwyn's response, Orion did not get move from his stool, though his eyes remained fixed on the scene before him. Slowly, he stretchs and wipes the spray of Harlindon off of his face. He then steps over to Alfie, standing infront of her, his eyes kindled but not yet a blaze like the chase of Donaldo</i> Ma'am, you misjudge us all. For though your clothes be shabby and your appearance disheveled, still would you be welcome here as ALL are welcomed to this place. The bride treated everyone here as guests and friends, even those hired to help today. While I cannot yet see what services you brought, I have little doubt that you were hired because you were the best. If its payment you seek, I can oblige you and send you upon your way to wallow in your bitterness. I dare say it will last you short enough. <BR><BR>Yes, as the Scribe said, we with the blood of the Eldar have had to watch kingdoms rise to greatness and fall to obsurity, royalty shine out and then fail, families sundered by war and time, friends age, decay and die while we remain young. Our own families are rent and forever split. If you need proof, look to Arwen Evenstar and her father, Elrond. You ask what have we to be sad about. My answer is: PLENTY. <BR><BR><i>Drawing a deeper breath, Orion continues, his voice undimmed by the alcohol. The gleam of his eyes glitters like icy blue flame.</i> While I claim not to know what all has occured beyond the planned wedding, you cannot deny that much has happened even the bride and groom were unaware of. Many of those here are Bards, and while what you say is true "only one of you bards had the sight to see what the dark elf was", I would advise to mind well the words of Mithrandir: 'Even the very wise cannot see all ends'. So I tell you now, even if you had been gifted with Galadriel's Mirror or all seven of the <i>palantiri</i>, you would not have seen all of what happened today. And you would just as powerless to stop it. These events were set to happen today, and NONE were able to escape the pull of fate. So, before you go cursing what you dont understand further, take a moment to consider what the skein of your life may yet hold. <BR><BR><i>Turning away from the collapsed drunk, Orion moves back to his drink, but not before a final speech to Alfie</i> I had said earlier, if you wish payment for your work today, you have but to name your price and and see that the doors hit you not as you leave. You have been given the choice of companionship with us or solitude with your bitterness. Now, CHOOSE!
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Postby Jiyadan » Thu Jan 30, 2003 11:29 pm

"He's an Easterling! I won't touch him!"<BR><BR>"But he's dying!" Her escort protested, pulling her back into the room.<BR><BR>"Let him." Bardhwyn replied, her voice now as cold as Alfirin's.<BR><BR>Anger coursed through every inch of Jiyadan's body at the words of this new woman. Were he not required to keep his hand pressed to Moujhadin's shoulder he would have forced the woman to the floor next to him.<BR><BR>The red-headed man had gotten her just far enough inside the room and he reached out with his spare hand and caught her by the skirt, pulling her even closer. He gripped her skirt so tight he might have ripped it with little more effort.<BR><BR>"Damn you, woman!" He growled. "Does life mean so precious little to you that you watch a man bleed to death with such inhuman disdain? If you have the skill then <b>help him</b>!" His voice became almost a shout as he continued. "I beg of you, please! <i>help him</i>! He had never in his life felt such anger and hatred towards a woman, and never would he have treated one in such a way, but faced with the death of Moujhadin, something inside him snapped and he became dangerously enraged. His eyes burned with it, his entire body shook with rage.<BR><BR>But in the midst of his anger, he felt, though barely, the hand of the Gondorian woman squeeze his own, and she spoke to him. "Jiyadan, death will not be his reward for saving my life. He is not so fated." Her voice seemed unnaturally calm, as if she was disconnected from the events of this room, from the events of the past hours. Jiyadan did not take his eyes off the woman before him, but felt himself drawn to the Gondorian's words. <BR><BR>Her soothing voice and gentle touch broke the fog of madness and pulled him back from the edge of the abyss on which he stood. He narrowed his eyes, lowering his voice to almost a hiss, and spoke to the blond-haired woman again. "If this is his reward, if you let him die, you are no better than an Easterling yourself!" The contempt in his voice was transparent. <BR><BR>Then Moujhadin spoke. "Jiyadan." It was faint, almost far away. Quickly turning his attention back to Moujhadin, Jiyadan released the woman's skirt and stroked his brother's forehead. "Yes brother, yes. I am here." He could now no longer control his tears, and they flowed freely down his face. He bent over, touching his head to his Moujhadin's, his hand full of his hair.
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Postby Nessamelda » Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:46 am

Alfirin stood swaying gently. Bardwhyn's threats had silenced her hysterics as Aliana's calming words could not. Now Orion's voice washed over her.<BR><BR><i>The bride treated everyone here as guests and friends, even those hired to help today. While I cannot yet see what services you brought, I have little doubt that you were hired because you were the best. If its payment you seek, I can oblige you and send you upon your way to wallow in your bitterness. I dare say it will last you short enough.....I had said earlier, if you wish payment for your work today, you have but to name your price and and see that the doors hit you not as you leave. You have been given the choice of companionship with us or solitude with your bitterness. Now, CHOOSE! </i><BR><BR>Companionship! Where was companionshp for someone like her? She had never known it, and part of her craved it. Yet she knew that with people like this she could never find companionship - for they would see through her half-truths, despise the decisonsand compromises that she had made in order to remain alive. Even the Elf Princess whose wedding it was, so gracious to everyone else, had slighted her, despite Orion's fine words to the contrary. <BR><BR>And now the quantity of drink that she had consumed was finally catching up with her. She looked up at the ash-blond elf before her, and instead of Orion's face her razzled brain replaced it with the face of another, a face from that part of the past that she wished most to forget, the part that she was most ashamed of. It was another elf, also white-blond, with eyes so pale blue that it was hard to see any colour in them. A face perfect in its beauty; a face of refinement and elegance. And a face of true evil, for not all servants of the Enemy dress in black or are ugly of form.<BR><BR>Alfirin screamed and raised her arm before her face, and called out in a tongue that sounded strange and ugly - a call for mercy, a call for clemency. And then crouched on the floor, almost gibbering in terror.<BR>
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Postby nienor-niniel » Fri Jan 31, 2003 6:37 am

<i>Nessamelda had friendly given her a helping hand to lift Parm on horseback, and her graceful, but strong movements, made NN think, that this was not the first time, her fellow bard put someone on a horse. Instinctively, she had been speaking Rohirrim to Nessa, who was so like the Rohirrim in her deeds and ways of talking, despite of her dark eyes and grey piercing eyes. <BR><BR>The poor bard had proved to tired and too deeply hurt to wake up at this moment. He was unconscious and not moving all, hanging on the horse like a huge sandbag. The only sign that he was still alive was his muttering. Nienor-Niniel put her ears close to his mouth and managed to distinguish some words, names in particular. Smaug’s Bane, Erinhue, Vanaladiel and again Vana. To see her friend in such poor shape brought tears to her eyes and she feared for her inner balance that she had just found again. Luckily, she was not alone and as usual the presence of Gedeon comforted her. <BR> <BR>Once the fire had been extinguished, they left, slowly and in silence. Instinctively, she had been speaking Rohirrim to Nessa, feeling that this language would be the closest for both of them. Maybe had she felt a very slight trace of accent somewhere in the words of the bard? <BR><BR>They were walking very slowly beside the horse. When she had left from the stables, it had taken her quiet a while to get here – twenty minutes or more, and now they would surely need the double, or the triple of this time, even if Parm should be strong enough to make the way without another stop. But if his state worsened, another rest would be necessary. She tried to search for Nessamelda’s glance in the dark, either to find comfort or at least to share her worries.</i> <BR><BR>I am not familiar with any kind of magic, <i>she said after a while,</i> but it seems to me that Parm has been bewitched. <i>We should talk a bit she thought within herself, to lighten up the darkness of our mood. But even before Nessamelda had the time to reply, a loud croak made her lifts her eyes. Up in the sky, a crow was following them.</i>
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Postby Alandriel » Fri Jan 31, 2003 6:40 am

As Alandriel entered the Inn she cast a quick glance around and soon her eyes locked with those of Maelgwn, sitting on a table close to the stairs. He beckoned her over.<BR><BR>‘It is good to see you recovered, my friend’ Alandriel said with a smile. ‘But where are the others? Have you heard the bride has been abducted? I wonder if those Easterlings have anything to do with it….’<BR><BR>‘Yes, I heard of the evil deed done today’ Maelgwn replied and began to relay to her what had transpired upstairs with the Gondorians and the Eastrons. She listened attentively.<BR><BR>‘…. and so Edain and I went in search for somebody to help Moujhadin and found a woman from Dale. They are upstairs now.’<BR><BR>So! A North-woman was taking care of the Eastron shamen-warrior now, if that was indeed who he was. He should be quite all right then. The people of Dale were known not only for their skills as archers. The mystery of Moujhadin’s identity and the possible connection of both Easterners in today’s events however were still burning in her mind.<BR><BR>‘I will go and have a look. Are you well enough to come with me?’ She asked the ranger.<BR>‘My leg still pains me but thanks to you, it’s not too bad. I will accompany you’, he replied.<BR><BR>They both left the table and proceeded to the upstairs room. Alandriel gave a small cry of shock, when she saw a crumpled figure in front of her. An elf man, clutching a cloak, slowly and painfully pulled himself along the blood stained floorboards. More people had gotten hurt! By Eru! What was going on here?<BR><BR>‘Maelgwn, quick! Help me!’ <BR>But the ranger was already by the man’s side and pulled him off the floor. The elf managed somehow to keep his feet supported by Maelgwn. ‘What happened to you?’ The elf however was unable to speak and barely managed not to cry out in pain. ‘Let’s take him to the room and then you can take care of him’ Maelgwn said to Alandriel.<BR><BR>And so the three stumbled through the broken door into the chamber. <BR><BR>Jiyadan cried out: "Damn you, woman. Does life mean so precious little to you that you watch a man bleed to death with such inhuman disdain? If you have the skill then help him! I beg of you, please! help him!<BR><BR>Alandriel took in the scene before her. There was the Gondorian lady. She seemed recovered, as Maelgwn had told her. But her face showed that some effect from the poison or the remedy had still a hold of her mind. Jiyadan was slumped over Moujhadin’s body. Was he dead then? The North-woman was standing defiant in front of Edain her eyes ablaze with anger. <BR><BR>‘Then maybe you can assist me or take care of this injured elf!’ Alandriel threw in, annoyance ringing in her voice, pointing at the man now being carefully eased on the bed by Maelgwn. ‘My herbs and supplies are over there, please do <b>something</b>!’<BR><BR>Why were people so stubborn when it came to saving lives? Was one life worth more than another? <BR>Not waiting for an answer, Alandriel passed her by and went to kneel next to Jiyadan who was slumped next to his compatriote, tears streaming from his eyes freely. His compassion and desperation touched Alandriel’s heart.<BR><BR>‘Let me help him then, Jiyadan’, she said in a low voice as she grabbed hold of his shoulders gently and pulled him away. He slowly looked up, recognizing the voice but unable to place her face.<BR><BR>OCC: edited! Sorry guys <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Fri Jan 31, 2003 7:18 am

The Easterling wept. A woman came in, her energy strong, forceful and she knelt down next to the man speaking of finding another injured yet offering to help.<BR><BR>Unconsciously, Bardhwyn adjusted the skirts of her gown, pulling them back into place but her eyes were fixed on this strange scene before her. The red haired traveler still held her arm, equally transfixed. Bardhwyn looked up to him.<BR><BR>"He saved her life?", She asked.<BR><BR>He nodded silently, gravely. It was then Bardhwyn could see the blood of Nùmenore in the make of this man. Her heart pulled, reminding her of another Nùmenorean, a Ranger. She pushed thoughts of him out…not now. The hissed words of the Easterling returned.<BR><BR>'If this is his reward, if you let him die, you are no better than an Easterling yourself!' <BR>Upon recollecting this, Bardhwyn's heart filled with shame. He was right. She cringed, too, at what Ani-la would say were she here. For a moment, Bardhwyn thought her heart would burst.<BR><BR>"Too much has happened this day!" She whispered, tears brimming in her eyes. "By the Gods, what strange events."<BR><BR>She dropped to one knee, and moving close to the two Easterlings she gently placed her hand on the shoulder of the woman.<BR><BR>"Forgive me. I will see to him, please tend to the other and once done here I will go to you."<BR><BR>The woman scanned her, her eyes skeptical even angry. They softened however when they saw the genuineness in Bardhwyn's eyes. She nodded, stood and moved to a satchel resting on a nearby table.<BR><BR>The weeping Easterling looked up, his eyes black and wet and his eyes met with Bardhwyn's. She could have looked there forever, so deep they seemed, filled with a life story worth many a tale. Bardhwyn quickly looked away, however, down at the wounded Eastron.<BR><BR>"He's lost much blood, clearly. The wound… there is no way it could be fatal." She said, reaching over and gently removing the two hands, the man's and the woman's, from the gash. She was careful not to separate their hands, however. Lovers? <BR><BR>"Please, I need to get closer." Bardhwyn said, hoping these two would understand. They needed to move away now. "We'll stay here on the floor. I don't want to risk moving him…your brother, did you say." <BR><BR>The Eastron nodded, keeping the hand of the woman as he moved back and helping her up as he did so. Bardhwyn studied the woman's face for a moment. She was at the wedding, with the other red haired man and now she looked as if influenced by some potion or drug…very strange.<BR><BR>"His name is Moujhadin. He is a great warrior and my good friend." The Easterling whispered.<BR><BR>Bardhwyn responded with a small smile, motioned to the Nùmenorean to close the still open door.<BR><BR>"Moujhadin," Bardhwyn whispered, while taking the blood soaked cloth away. "My name is Bardhwyn. I am here to help you."<BR><BR>Inside a part of her screamed and beat the floor in a fury. 'These people killed my family, killed my KIN!' She silenced the scream and took a very deep inbreath.<BR><BR>"Ani-La! Help me!" Bardhwyn whispered into the air. <BR><BR><BR><BR><i>Shutting her eyes, she allowed herself to sink…into sand. Miles and miles of billowing sand and a harrowing wind, filled with voices…her own, those of men yelling in Eastron, a chorus of women, chanting in unison..<BR><BR>'Get up… you can't deny it…you can't escape it…they killed my family…are you a healer?….What of your credit? …. <BR><BR>She walked towards the prostrate form of the Easterling, Moujhadin as he lay face down in the sand, her hands over her ears in efforts to block out the torrent of sound. There were sounds meant for her and sounds meant for him, some horrible and terrifying, some peaceful and joyous.<BR><BR>She rolled the man over and there she saw not one wound but several. Shadows of old battle wounds, clearly… cuts and punctures, slices and abrasions. Which one is real? The shoulder! Bardhwyn knelt down, shocked to see she wore her mail and tunic, emblazoned with the arms of Dale.<BR><BR>She placed her hands on the Easterlings shoulder and recalled the chant that had cured SilverScribe. Horrible voices screamed louder, the wind scraped her ears and sand obscured her sight. She persisted. The wound closed. He was still too weak. <BR><BR>"Sand. Sand. Sand." <BR><BR>Bardhwyn looked up. It was a Noldorin Elf who spoke, bright, stunningly beautiful He faded away.<BR></i><BR><BR><BR><BR>In the bedroom, all watched as the Dale woman, eyes closed, seemingly in a trance, worked as if she were awake and sighted. She took the locket hanging about her neck, opened it and wetting her finger with the tip of her tongue she dipped the finger inside. <BR>Closing the locket, she leaned over the Easterling, her eyes still shut, and whispered in a tongue that only Edain seemed to understand, for his face registered a momentary shock.<BR>Bardhwyn brushed her moistened finger, dusted with a fine sand, over the lips of the unconscious Eastron.<BR><BR>He heaved, gasping at air as if one who had been drowned. With a yell, Moujhadin's arm shot out, slamming hard into the Dalewoman, knocking her back and over before his chest collapsed with a long sigh, his breathing regular, his face relaxed.<BR><BR>Bardhwyn struggled to her feet, having been belted out of her trance. The traveler helped her with a firm arm, gently brushing the trickle of blood from her lip with his free hand.<BR><BR>"What happened?!" He asked, concerned. "Is he alright? Are you alright?"<BR><BR>Bardhwyn chuckled. "Oh, he's fine.." she said a bit sheepishly, "As am I. I am used to that sort of treatment when I set about to healing." She added with a smile. She gently took back her arm. "Help me move him to the bed, it's safe now."
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