The Hunt for the Bride

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

The Hunt for the Bride

Postby Leonir » Mon Feb 10, 2003 2:15 pm

Thud.

The body of the newly wedded elf, while light and soft, made a horrific noise as it met with the frozen wasteland. The area she had landed upon, a formerly lush grassland, wilted at the footsteps of the creature who had dropped her, shuddering beneath its frozen dew. The elf moaned as she began to awaken, her head pounding, the frigid air ruffling the torn and soiled wedding gown, once so resplendent but now simple dull cloth. A dim figure blocked the healing power of the moon and her beloved star, both of whom she would have called upon for strength, as she knew their ancient powers for the Eldar. Her eyes focused in elven clarity, the pupils dark and slightly cat-like, yet she saw nothing but the absence of light.

*************************************

Leonir sneered as the princess tried to make out his form, but failed. True, he was not a creature of great power, nor was he any sort of sorcerer, but he knew the basic spells, especially that of cloaking one's form. It had served him well as he roamed the halls of her forebears, never seen, never heard. Yet, even if she had caught his full form now, she would not recognize him, for he was the Unseen.

None knew his true form, none except his Masters and the Great Sorcerers. They alone could see through his magic, his silven hair that burned with the chill of ice, grey eyes that flickered in bolts of icicles, limber frame greater than the strongest of elves on MiddleEarth. But with his mental cloak, he could fool them all into believing him a cripple, a petty thief, a prince, a pauper. Even the strong-minded could not see through the magic he had practiced for so long under so many Masters.

He twisted a simple ring inlaid with mithril around his index finger as he thought of his greatness, vain as he was. However, from this happy reverie he was awoken, as he heard the princess struggling to stand. She was still powerful and a threat to him, but with the spell of sleep he had laid upon her, her powers were harnessed for now. Yet, it was due to her and her meddlesome brother that he was here now, lurking in the shadows as he had done for so long, and bitterness had consumed what little of his heart remained.

As Leonir watched her elegantly clad figure, he imagined himself in such finery. It should have been him in the best fabrics, bowing to no one! It should have been him parading foolishly about the city with the proud, royal family!


Filthy wench! You are not so deserving!

Enraged, feeling the old, slow burn of bitterness, he lunged at her, kicking her in the side. The princess, usually so quick and agile, was slowed by the spell and took the full brunt of the injury, doubling over in pain, still lying upon the ground.

Not so tough now, eh, Princess? Not so tough without all of your friends who bow down to you, worship you? Without your powers to control the weather?

He mocked her, but she did not recoil in horror, nor did she allow the strength she still bore beneath the spell's effects to weaken. She had heard such mockings before, such terrible blows meant to wreck her pride. She knew what it was to be tormented until she wished to die. And this time, she would not give in. Not even if he disfigured her for life. Her Hobbi would still love and cherish her until death did them part.

This placidness only further aggravated the creature, his eyes glittering dangerously as molten silver. It was as though she had mocked him back, brushing his words aside as though they were merely feathers falling across her face.


You dare to ignore me? I am much higher than any of your friends, and without any doubt, greater in status than the one you now call husband.

He sneered at the Weatherspeller, spitting out his last word in disgust, as she, though enfuriated by his words, chose only to bite her lip until it began to trickle blood. She wanted to fight him for the words he spoke, the insults against her friends and her beloved hobbit—especially her hobbit. No one was allowed to say such things! But if she gave him any fuel, he would linger forever, continuing to run her down. She prayed that he would tire of her, for she could see no reason why he had cause to take her from her beloved, except under orders of some terrible master.

Yet he did not tire of her, and indeed chose the way of pain for her instead, as she did not respond. He grabbed a hold of her deep chestnut hair, his hot breath, fetid and reminiscent of a morgue unkempt, was heavy upon her face, yet she could not make out any features upon his face. She did not cry out as he tore a handful of hair from her scalp, not allowing him the pleasure of seeing her in pain, though her eyes told the tale of one recalling a previous trauma.

Still enraged, he tore the two necklaces from her neck—the Heart of Diadron and Hobbi's family heirloom. Erinhue's charms had been left in her bags for the honeymoon, as she had trusted him to assure that nothing went astray. She did not now have the time to think of how horribly things had turned out, nor did she have time to blame him for the day's sorrows. Survival thoughts filled her mind and she was determined to make it through this ordeal.

Not thinking, Leonir simply tossed the heirloom into some reeds beside the bank, as it meant nothing to him. But the Heart of Diadron, that was a prize indeed. His jaw dropped slightly as he ran his fingers across the gilded edge, the stone ensconced within sparkling with an eerie radiance.


So, you carried the Heart all along, did you? I wondered where it was hidden. It has been so long since I saw your brother wear the jewel in his proud grandeur. It figures that he would send it on to the vainest creature in existence!

Leonir kicked the princess again and then went in search of the boat that would take them to his hidden lair. They had made good time, for Braun had run swiftly and even made it through the Misty Mountains in a small pass that made the journey faster. Once Leonir had the princess in the boat here at the River Anduin, the others he knew pursued them would lose the trail. His beloved stallion would wade to the other side of the river, leaving deep tracks, and continue to lead them on in a chase in which they would never find their quarry. Eventually, Braun would return to the banks once he was sure that the others had given up the trail, where his master would row from his hidden isle to retrieve him, and all that was Leonir's would remain so.

Despite his surety that the others were far behind, Leonir took no chances. He placed another spell of sleep upon the princess, so that she could not call out, lifted her into the boat, and slipped away with only the breeze and the lapping of water upon the light canoe invading his senses.
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Postby Hobbituk » Mon Feb 10, 2003 4:05 pm

<BR><BR>Herbert Took lay on his back and stared upwards at the sky. His eyes were fixed upon the moon, it’s bright eye was clear this night and it was indeed prominent upon the high tapestry. <BR><BR>He had been staring at it now for a good few hours, examining all it’s visible spots and making faces from the little pock-marks that were visible. He remembered when he was a child, before his brother was born when his father still loved him and he had taken the young Herbert out to the garden and told him the tale of the man who lived in the moon and ate cheese for breakfast, lunch and tea! Hobbi had laughed then, one of his few happy memories from his youth. He allowed these memories to flood back to him and his eyes never flickered from the moon.<BR><BR>He was trying not to think, that was it. If he thought about…what had happened, if he allowed it all to come back and haunt him once more then the tears would once more begin to roll and his heart would thud. It was the evening of the second day since he had looked back in sorrow at the Lucky Fortune Inn and he had not shed a tear in the rising of two moons. <BR><BR><BR>This evening he had passed Rivendell, perhaps the only other place in all of the world that he had ever called home. He did not stop there, too many familiar faces who might talk him out of his action, who might delay him. It had taken much courage for him to pass that haven without stopping for the night and taking advantage of a warm bed, healing for his lame leg and advice on where to go next. <BR><BR>Tonight his bed was some moss beneath the trees some way off the road and his blanket was Matilda the pony who without instruction had planted herself firmly beside him and was doing her best to keep him warm. For his healing he had inexpertly changed the bandages on his leg which were a bloody mess and had bathed them using the Scribe’s herbs, his stomach clenched slightly when he remembered how harshly he had spoken to his old friend who had never been anything but the dearest of companions. He hoped she would understand, he judged she probably would but in a way that made it worse. <BR><BR>As for council, that perhaps was what he was in most sore need of. So far he had not encountered any trouble, the kidnapper had not been over careful in removing his tracks and so as unskilled as Hobbi was in woodcraft and tracking he had been able to follow the heavy horse prints east without a great deal of struggle, but soon the tracks would become harder to follow. It did make it slow going though, he ought to be going much faster than he was. He dreaded to think with what speed the rogue might be travelling and knew in his heart that there was no chance he would catch up with him and his wife. There was only one hope.<BR><BR>At first he had been panicking, thinking to catch them as soon as he could before his wife was murdered or worse. Then he had slowed down and thought more rationally, this was no random act. The man had planned carefully in order to spirit Lurea away and was obviously intending to travel to a specific spot. If he was planning murder then he could have killed her a thousand times by now. No, he wanted something from her and although Hobbi refused to think what that might be he knew that once at their intended location he would have at least a small amount of time to catch them there. That was his goal and he would not think past that. It was important not let his mind wander to the near future and even more important not to let is mind descend back to the past…where the arrogant grin of erinhue and smug perversity of the beast Culanir awaited him. <BR><BR>His eyes were finally drawn from the moon as black clouds covered it. His eyes shut and his nostrils twitched, a storm was coming. Exactly the weather he did not need for crossing the mountains in his condition.<BR><BR>“Oh Lurea, where are you?” he whispered.<BR><BR>
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Postby erinhue » Mon Feb 10, 2003 6:17 pm

A heavily burdoned figure staggered from the wreckage of the Lucky Fortune Inn. Erinhue carried an unconscious Culanir over his shoulder and bore him from the smoking ruin of the once lively tavern. The dead weight of his former advesary was dropped at Leoba's feet without cerimony. Barely clinging to his own senses, Erinhue trudged blindly towards Aerin, who ran to him as he collapsed at her feet.
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Postby prmiller » Mon Feb 10, 2003 9:21 pm

There were no tears. Parm had given them all.<BR>There was grief. Like a fist, it slammed into Parm, making his<BR>spirit stagger. Years of memories destroyed in minutes!<BR>How quickly tragedies come. How slowly we heal from them.<BR>While the Inn was being engulfed in searing sorrows, Parm had<BR>stood, leaning heavily on his precious staff, that someone had<BR>found. When its flames had finally died down to a snickering<BR>crackles, Parm swallowed hard, closed his eyes, and wearily sank to his seat.<BR>Nothing had prepared him for...this. Agarak had sent a warning,<BR>but not a hint as to what was to come to the Inn.<BR>This was no mere building on fire. He had seen many other<BR>kinds of fires before this. Some had been wreckage cleared for<BR>grander schemes, others the target of pillaging and looting.<BR>Not this one. No. This was profane.<BR>The Inn had been a symbol, a symbol that had called: "Come,<BR>and be welcome! Come, and well met, friend!"<BR>Even as the embers sullenly smoldered, Parm's heart, too,<BR>began to smolder. His eyes narrowed. His grip tightened.<BR>Vengeance was a fool's errand. Parm wanted justice.<BR>He would join any quest to right these wrongs foisted on friends<BR>whom he had come to love, even as his own family. He would<BR>help to find Lurea, a bride not only snatched away from her<BR>beloved, but from all promises of love, joy and delight.<BR>Parm rose again from his seat, excused himself from his<BR>friends, and walked purposefully to a clear place. From within<BR>the folds of his new cloak, he withdrew a silver whistle, that<BR>special silver whistle. He blew it, but despite the silence, his<BR>breath had pattern. He knew what was going to happen and<BR>waited. Others watched him, puzzled, intrigued, but not<BR>bemusement. Parm, the Bard, was not given to foolish things.<BR>As Parm returned to the bench, where his travelling pack had<BR>been laid, again by some thoughtful soul. He took out a<BR>travelling set of quills, a stoppered vial of ink, and a sliver of<BR>parchment. From the hem of his robe, he pulled off a single,<BR>thread, long, but also strong. He knelt down, unfurled the<BR>paper and wrote:<BR><b>A.</b> (for Aravel) <b>Questing.</b> (He would not be returning<BR>for some time.)<b>Safe.</b>(He was well.) <b>Protect.</b><BR>(Look after his affairs and the children).<b>Vigil.</b>(Look for<BR>more messages). <b>P.</b>(His own signature). Cryptic, yes, but<BR>Aravel knew his mind and he knew his children. Aravel would<BR>understand. The message, though, was for his children.<BR>Minutes passed, and then, out of the swirl of clouds, a tiny<BR>winged form appeared. Silvertongue. Parm knew it before it<BR>had arrived. It cawed as it approached. With a raucous, jaunty<BR>cry, it landed, hopping near Parm. To the astonishment of<BR>many, Parm rolled the message around the leg of the crow,<BR>tied it on with the thread. and spoke to it:<BR>"Silvertongue, my friend. May Eru speed you well.<BR>Now, off home! Fly straight and true."<BR>With those words, Parm lifted the bird with his left forearm and<BR>like a practiced falconer, released the bird to complete its<BR>errand. Parm had determined to join these noble folk, whom<BR>he knew had every intention of finding the fair Turelie_Lurea.<BR>For the briefest instant, Parm felt compassion for the poor soul<BR>upon whom would be visited the accomplished wrath of<BR>seasoned warriors.<BR><BR>However, following closely on the heels of that decision, came<BR>a sudden vision: a fair face, with her finger laid delicately on<BR>her lips. <i>Speak not of the things you have seen,</i> it seemed<BR>to warn. Parm shook this mental apparition away and strode<BR>back to the bench, to await the decison of the others as to<BR>their course and purpose.
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Postby Rholarowyn » Mon Feb 10, 2003 9:50 pm

<BR>"The words, they are like a riddle." He looked up at Rho. "In your language it would say, 'Embrace the past before you; reject the future behind you; see what is not there, and feel what will always be.' I do not know if these words will carry any special meaning for you." His voice trailed off slightly, and he looked back at Moujhadin. <BR><BR>Rho then looked over the other Easterling who laid upon the bed and noticed both the red headed healer sitting next to him, as well as the blonde haired woman standing at the foot of the bed. The calm shield maiden continued to watch as the events unfolded around her. Unaware of anything else that was happening either in the room or throughout the Inn. Just the silent communication happening between the blonde woman and the Easterling on the bed whom the healer now moved next too. <BR><BR>But when Moujhadin cried out in anguish, Rho felt as though she had been hit in the stomach...hard. She doubled over on the floor, catching herself and struggled. Breathe would not come, she was gasping for air, and Jiyadan was no longer at her side. Blackness started to come upon her, or perhaps it was darkness from another source. For several moments she found herself caught between two worlds, but this time there was a new voice leading her back to reality and she found new strength. <BR><BR>It was then that Rho heard the voice of the harp. It was both a warning and a calling. As her breath returned, she slowly she looked around the room. Jiyadan and Moujhadin were gone and she was unaware of the others who still remained. She picked herself up off the floor and was headed towards the door when she felt prompted to look back one last time. That’s when she saw it, lying innocently on the floor. A knife unlike any she’d ever seen before, it was the sparkle that caught her attention. Slowly she made her way back to where it was laying and picked it up. For a moment she pondered the simple beauty of it including the ivory carved handle. Yet a chill ran through her when she noticed the small streak of dried blood still clinging to the steel blade. Something in her then sensed, no knew, that it belonged to one of the Easterlings. <BR><BR>The call echoed again and Rho suddenly remembered her own weapon. <BR><BR>With the knife in hand, the shield maiden quickly made her way back to her room. Once inside she strapped on her sword, shoved her traveling clothes and the Easterling medicine into her pack, and then grabbed both the knife and the pack and made her way out the door. Had she paused just a little longer, she would have noticed that Fala’s belongings were no longer in the room.<BR><BR>Once she reached the back stairs, Rho hurried down, stopped at the bottom, and then looked around. Only a short distance away she saw the light from Inn illuminating the form of Jiyadan, moving slowly as he disappeared into the shadows.<BR><BR>Uncertain what to do next, she continued to looked around until she noticed the darkness that appeared to be surrounding the Inn and how it was beginning to come apart, almost ripped apart by some unseen force. Yet Rho still felt disconnected from what she was witnessing.<BR><BR>The call of the harp faded and was replaced by a new call. A memory from her vision... <BR><BR><i>‘See what is not there...’</i><BR><BR>Leaving the destruction behind, Rho turned and looked back towards the direction that she last saw Jiyadan. The Easterling had gone away from the Inn...she would follow.<BR><BR>It didn't take her long to make her way past a small group of trees which then open up into small grassy area. There before her, in the middle, were the two men. One lying on the ground and the other cradling him. She hesitated to go further, but then remembered the knife. <BR><BR>“Jiyadan” she softly called out as she continued walking towards him.<BR><BR>“Get away from me!” he yelled back and then began his verbal attack . An onslaught of words mostly Eastron came at her one right after the other. Quickly Rho backed up, retreating from this unexpected assault from the man who had so gently tended to her wounds only a short time ago. <BR><BR>But then she saw something in his eyes, the tears of pain and also confusion, the confusion of being torn between trust and doubt. And she understood. <BR><BR>Rho stopped and bowed her head down. Slowly she knelt down onto the ground and unstrapped the knife from the outside of her pack. Then after she placed it on the ground, the young woman quietly rose to her feet, and continued to backed away from the two men. All the while keeping her head down, averting her eyes from Jiyadan's gaze, until she heard a noise behind her. One that could only be made by another. <BR><BR>In an instant her pack was cast aside and her sword drawn as she protectively turned around to face whoever was now standing in front of her. Into the darkness she cried out.<BR><BR>“I would stop and come no further if I were you!”<BR><BR>
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Postby Jiyadan » Mon Feb 10, 2003 10:19 pm

"<b>NO!</b>" Jiyadan yelled at the blond woman, "<b>I will take him.<i> None of you touch him!</b></i>" <BR><BR>He had only barely restrained himself as Moujhadin had pleaded, tears again coming to his eyes, but he would not let any of them touch him again. He also had felt the urgent need to leave this place and quickly gathered both his and Moujhadin's packs.<BR><BR>He then lifted Moujhadin, as if he were a child still wrapped in his blanket, and carefully carried him down the back stairs and out into the cool night. As he went, he absent-mindedly whispered words of comfort to him. Jiyadan carried him a ways from the inn and laid him upon the grass, wrapping the blankets tightly around his brother's body. He paid no attention to the others, not noticing whether they had come out with him or not. <BR><BR>Jiyadan cursed himself for allowing that blond witch anywhere near his brother, cursed himself for having trusted those people. If any of them tried to touch Moujhadin again, he would kill them.<BR><BR>"My brother," he whispered in Eastron, "Moujhadin, what happened? What did they do to you, what did that witch do to you?"<BR><BR>Jiyadan gently cradled Moujhadin's head in his lap, looking for a sign of recognition in his blank eyes. <BR><BR>* * * * <BR><BR>Jiyadan had not heard the sounds of Rho's approach until she softly called his name, but the night cast strange shadows and he was too filled with grief and anger to even focus on this intruder, to even recognize the voice. <BR><BR>"<b>Get away from me!</b>" he bellowed in anguish. Then a torrent of words propelled by grief, guilt and his ever growing rage followed in Eastron. He did not even listen to his own words. <BR><BR>Tears flowed down his face and he reached to draw his sword and run this creature off but her sudden retreat startled him out of his emotions and he focused at last on the young woman before him; Rho. He watched her with a kind of numbness as she took the dagger from her pack and laid it gently upon the ground. The Dagger of Heratt; he had forgotten it upon the floor. <BR> <BR>He released the hilt of his sword and slumped back to the ground. He understood, she was only returning it, though she did not truly understand it's significance. <BR><BR>"Thank you," he whispered but she had not heard him. She had drawn her sword and turned to face some unknown intruder, and Jiyadan again tensed, this time following through and drawing his. "<i>Are we to find no peace in any land?</i>" he wondered to himself. <BR><BR>He was startled slightly by Rho as suddenly the injured girl from the room became a warrior, taking on a distinctly protective stance. <BR>Her earlier words suddenly sunk in, <i>Shield Maiden, Mithril Knight</i>.
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Postby Mellaurelom » Mon Feb 10, 2003 10:27 pm

The explosion of the Lucky Fortune held enough force to roll the unconcious form of a black-haired elfmaid from the patch of grass she had lain upon, down a slight slope, and into the pond underneath the waterfall. With a splash and a splutter, Mellaurelom woke rather violently from the visions that had clouded her mind for so long. Pulling herself out of the water, she stumbled to one of the gaily decorated tables that, such a short time ago, had graced the wedding of one of her dear friends. Now, as she shivered from the wet, she looked around in disbelief. Tables were overturned, flowers trampled into the ground. There were guests and wedding party members scattered like the forgotten memories of an ancient mind. <BR><BR>Mell gasped as she looked up and saw the charred remains of the Inn. There were some rooms intact on the upper level, but she didn’t envy those that needed to still exit from them, the stairs were a ruin. The front of the Inn was all but gone, though the back wall of the common room was more or less intact, including the niche where Agarak rested. Mell shook her head, dispelling the image of a glow surrounding the Dragonharp. Surely that was her imagination, or a left over vision.<BR><BR>The bard shivered again, feeling a cold breeze wash over her at the sight of the injured and dazed people wandering about the formerly beautiful gardens. Beginning to shake, Mell realized that there was much more at stake here than she had previously known. Stumbling to her feet, she decided to find her Guildmaster, Erinhue would know what needed to be done. And then she needed to find a cloak or something, for despite the autumnal eve, the elfmaid’s breath was beginning to plume, as though she stood in a snow filled glade.<BR><BR>She looked from one face to the next, looking for Erinhue, but finding him not. She finally saw Aerin, standing and looking in disbelief at the Inn. Mell started to go to her, then stopped, as she recognized the look upon the beautiful woman’s face. A look of hopelessness, a look of utter desolation. Mell blinked back tears that formed in her eyes, but one managed to drip down her cheek, to freeze on her face. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to block out the memories, and forced herself back to the present. Opening her eyes again, she saw Aerin rush forward, as Erinhue, charred but whole and struggling under a body, came out of the Inn. Mell fell to her knees, crying openly now, and Aerin embraced her beloved.<BR><BR>Mell felt the joy of her friends at their reuniting, and bit her lip to keep from interrupting them. She reached up to the table next to her and grabbed the tablecloth from it, to wrap about her shoulders, as frost began to coat the edges of her hair.<BR>
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Postby Nessamelda » Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:53 pm

The destruction took them by surprise, despite Agarak's warning. Nessamelda and Alfirin sat at opposite ends of the bench, Alfirin drinking her coffee, nursing her hot drink, her headache and her grudges. Nessamelda sat thinking bitter thoughts of another drunkard who should have known better, who shold have been the pride of her father, not his worry and shame.<BR><BR>Alfirin stood first after the initial shockwave. The blast sent debris crashing down around them, and also seemed to blow away the remaining darkness and effects of alcohol from her mind. She walked carefully towards the common room, or rather what was left of it, and looked in. The corner where she had been lying, closest to the outer wall and the door was no longer there. She considered for a second whether having been left in her stupor, never to wake would have been a better outcome all round, and then rejected the thought. <BR><BR>She turned her back on the inn and looked over at her rescuers. Again she considered, turning over in her mind the best course of action. <BR><BR>Parm's crow flew off, a strange messenger, black wings quickly disappearing against the dark sky. Alfirin walked towards Master Parm as he stood leaning on his staff, Ness and Nin behind him. <BR><BR>"I owe you my thanks, and my life, Master Parm, and you too, ....Nessamelda " (she sifted through her sharp memory for the tall woman's name) "and your other friend here. I have not had a good day - my hopes have been raised and then dashed, and I did not handle it well. I fancy, from what I can remember that I owe all here an apology and I am not sure that it would be accepted."<BR><BR>She turned before the others could say anything. There on the ground before her was the Inn sign, burnt almost beyond recognition; only the gilded lettering around the edge remained faintly visible, ironically promising "fine food, good beer and friendly company". <BR><BR>"Perhaps it could be repainted" Alfirin said softly - she had undertaken this task before, and the gilded letters were in her bold hand. "It could be true again".
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Postby prmiller » Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:50 am

"Alfirin," Parm spoke gently, "let it be. It is wisest not to cling to<BR>the jetsam of memories. We will begin again, if we need to,<BR>and create a new place. If it is better, it will be because of what<BR>we bring, and not the nails, boards and paint that cover places<BR>where hospitality dwells. <BR><BR>"As for you, it was a great joy to bring you out and into safety.<BR>Alfirin, I like you a great deal, because in moments like these,<BR>I see a friend who cares, despite the despair that encrusts us.<BR>Come, join me over here with Nienor_niniel. If I know Willum,<BR>he has stashed a number of sturdy treats in my travelling<BR>bag...ah! See? Four sweet rolls. One for each of us. Here, it<BR>goes well with your coffee. Now is the time for friendships to be<BR>nurtured, to counter-act the darkness that has hurt us all."<BR><BR>Parm's stretched out his arm, palm up, the roll inviting and <BR>held with kindness. Erinhue, Aerin and the others were in good<BR>hands. Parm knew that some of the wounds were not from<BR>burns, bruises and battles. Some wounds needed different<BR>kinds of healing. Nessa and Alfirin were hurting, but neither<BR>seemed eager to accept the tonic needed...forgiveness.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Alandriel » Tue Feb 11, 2003 1:05 am

Everything seemed to move in slow motion. All events occurring had a surreal dreamlike quality about them. Alandriel unwittingly was cast into the role of a by-stander, a spectator. It felt like being utterly removed from the scenes playing out in front of her, as if watching a stage play. Her eyes, though uncomprehending, took in all that was going on. <BR>Moujhadin stayed her gently tracing hand with an iron grip, a flood of emotions washing over his disturbed face in quick successions, muttering what sounded like Eastron curses. The woman Bardwhyn, she had caught the name while the woman talked to Edain, approached while an almost tangible icy air blanketed the room. A chill Alandriel knew all too well from her occasional forays into other realms. The Dale woman completed tracing the symbols; she herself now seemingly moved by strange forces. Alandriel watched on, emotionless as if in a stupor, as the drama unfolded before her very eyes. She did not understand the language uttered, did not understand the actions that followed. The only thing that touched her was yet another shift in the energy patterns around her.<BR>Some note that had been part of the background hum before began asserting a new role, pushing ever more to the foreground. It was even more chilling, darker than the already present coldness.<BR><BR>Her eyes moved over to Maelgwn and she saw a shadow of gloom and ill foreboding creeping over his features. He had sensed something too.<BR>Acting on his deepest, finely honed instincts, Alandriel watched him wrap his arms around the elf, calling to her and Edain of the necessity to be away. Alandriel heard but the words did not reach her. She looked on as an unseen force threw Bardwhyn into Edain’s arms and when they recovered from the impact, Bardwhyn also called out an urgent warning. Yet it did not get through to her.<BR><BR>She watched Jiyadan race to Moujhadin’s side, his scream of anguish still echoing around the room. After gathering a few belongings, he scooped up the life-less seeming body into his arms, then carried him out of the room. Soon they were followed by Edain and Bardwhyn. A cry of warning echoed down the hall but not even that registered with Alandriel. She still sat as if rooted on the bed, turning her head here and there, seeing but not comprehending.<BR><BR>However, all the warning signs finally seemed to reach the Gondorian lady. She picked herself up and started to move towards the door. But then she hesitated, lost in her own thoughts for a moment and came back to pick up an object. A knife …..of almost indescribable splendour. The lady seemed to be taken in by its beauty too, turning it in her hand, admiring the exquisite weapon. Some faint memory stirred in Alandriel’s mind. A question slowly formed. Where had she seen this blade before? The question took on an ever more burning presence in her mind…. but no answer was forthcoming. Her emotions and a memory had connected with the blade and now her mind finally reeled back into action. That blade. Had it been in her vision when she traced Moujhadin’s scars? In vain she tried to reach that which was almost at her grasp but kept slipping. Then the Gondorian lady turned and left the room. <BR><BR>All of a sudden Alandriel realized she was the only person still left. What had happened? She felt still a bit dazed and definitely confused. With this realization however also came a deep and urgent feeling to flee this place, like everybody else had done. Alandriel shook her head to try and get rid off the emotions and energies that had held her as if in a nightmare. Finally she broke free and clear thinking once more returned. She jumped up and quickly gathered her medicine bag, tossing in the utensils used earlier in quick succession. <BR><BR>It was then that the floorboards began to shake, the walls began to glow. By Eru! Why had she waited so long? This place was being ceased by an immense force, light and dark all mixed up together. Was the world coming to an end?<BR>As fast as she could, she ran for her room, urgency and dread now taking full hold of her. She ripped the key once more from her neck and gained entrance. Where were her things? Her travel pack lay by the window and she quickly took hold of it and strapped it on her back. Her dagger was in her boot… there was nothing else. By now shards of wood and glass were flying everywhere from the pressure on the windows, walls and floor and she had to shield her face and head with both hands as she ducked out of the room again. Pain raced though her, as her arms were bombarded and cut in many places. Smoke filled her already restricted vision and the intensity of the glowing walls was reaching levels that made seeing a virtual impossibility. She had to find a way out, panic was near.<BR><BR>***<BR>The sound of a tremendous explosion brought her back to her senses. She felt a violent gust of wind taking hold of her, whirling her about and throwing her to the floor. Instinctively she curled up like a ball and let herself be tossed until she hit a wall. Bitts and pieces of timber and stone were flying everywhere. When the worst of the raging storm had subsided she looked up and was awed: a huge whole had been blasted through the roof! The glow was still there but it was fading fast. What by Eru had just happened? Faint cries could be heard ringing out. She had to get out. Painfully probing her way she eventually found the remains of the back staircase. The forces unleashed on this once cheerful and welcoming place had not stopped here either. The stairs were heavily damaged although still passable. Gingerly she made her way down over the rubble and eventually reached the ground.<BR>A deep sigh escaped her parched and cracked lips but she could not help feeling elated at having escaped with her life. Never mind the many cuts, never mind the many bruises. They would mend quickly enough. What would not mend quickly though, were the burning questions in her mind. They needed answers. Alandriel straightened once more and set out to find the people she had met and become irrevocably entwined with on this fateful day. From the periphery of her vision only a short distance away she saw several people huddled together. It could be them. Quickly making up her mind, she started in their direction.<BR><BR>‘What did it all mean? How did everything fit into this puzzle?’ The questions started tormenting her once more, filling her mind. So much so that she did not notice her step falling on some dry twigs of wood that had fallen into the soft grass.<BR><BR>
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Postby Arwen_Sol » Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:05 am

The ground shakes as if trying to rip itself asunder and ripples quiver on the surface of the lake where Arwen bathes. Glancing up she sees smoke rising above the trees, the unatural silence fills her ears. Quickly she pulls her clothes onto her still wet body and grabs her pack. Pulling out her bow and notching an arrow she runs swiftly toward the source of the smoke blackening the skies. <BR><BR>From a distance she can make out the remains of festivities, and the guest milling around the ruined Inn. Drawing closer, a miasma of despair washes over her and she grimaces, swallowing the bile rising in her throat. Bodies lie on the ground all around her, some get up, but some do not. She searches frantically for her Guild Master Erinhue, and finally her elf-eyes pick out his haggard face, his body lying on his lady's lap. Aerin's tears fall softly on Erinhue's face as she embraces him, their paths wiping clean lines through the soot covering his face. The man she'd seen Erinhue carry out of the wreckage lies unconcious next to the reunited couple; the blood and wounds covering all three of them snaps Arwen out of her shock.<BR><BR>Straightening a fallen table, she begins pulling things out of her pack; bandages and some healing ointment. Luckily she'd bought extra after her recent trip to the GreenWoods. Formerly white petals litter the floor, now burnt and blackened, and crushed into the darkening ground. She walks up to the Guild Master's wife and places a hand on the other's shoulder. "Hiril? Lady Aerin... please you must come away from here, I must tend to your and the others injuries first before plans can be made to sort all this out" Aerin, still in shock, manages to follow Arwen as she and and another bard half drag their Guild Master and Culanir away from the burning rubble. Seated at the trestle table, Arwen cleans the wounds with a wet cloth and rubs a mixture of camphor onto their wounds. Questions still remain in her eyes but for now, the hurts of the people would have to be tended. <BR><BR>Colour returns to Aerin's face and her eyes lose the glassy look of shock as she begins to take in the horror around her. "Can you tell me what happened here my lady?" Arwen asks gently, not really expecting a coherent answer but feeling the need to talk and rationalize the destruction. She'd recieved an invitation to the wedding of two fellow bards earlier that week. She knew she'd had little time to get to the Lucky Fortune Inn as the missive had arrived nusually late as she'd recently been visiting family in the GreenWood.<BR><BR>Wound after wound was tended to until the faces of her patients began to blur together. Mechanically, Arwen cleaned and applied medicine, using a little of her elven healing powers to hasten the process. But it was draining her already diminished store or energy as the trip had been long and arduous. She despaired that she hadn't been able to help her new friends in their time of need... and no one dared tell her, atleast not yet, that the bride was still missing.
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Postby Teltasarewen » Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:20 am

<i>"Telta had entered the stable her coins in hand ready to bargain for a horse. There was no one around. Her first instinct was to simply leave her coins and take one but she could not. Her time here at the inn and the promise to Erinhue not to steal anymore stopped her and frustrated her for if ever she needed something it was now. <BR><BR>Out of the corner of her eye she spotted something black...Shadowdancer. How could she have forgotten this wonderful gift. A gift from the first person to welcome her here at the inn. A gift from Vana that up until this moment she thought of as charity. Telta recalled the moment Vana had given him to her..." Shadowdancer is a gift Telta, may you always ride in safety and may he always bring you home to friends and family. He is swift and sure footed. Treat him well and he will take care of you." A silent thank you she gave for Vana’s thoughtfulness as she made her way to where Shadowdancer stood watching her.<BR><BR>She stroked his silken mane then buried her face in it tears coursing down her cheeks. She spoke to him her voice thick with emotion.</i> <BR><BR>"I am in need of your help Shadowdancer. I cannot aid in the search for Turelie on foot." <i>The tall black horse remained still listening to her.</i> "Hobbituk needs help. He cannot do this alone." <BR><BR><i>Telta wiped the tears from her face. She was alone once more. A situation she was familiar with. There was no time for regrets as precious moments passed by taking the hobbit farther away. Whether he wanted it or not she was going after him to help. He had not been in any condition to be on his own and she should never have let him leave. The elf threw her bag over her shoulder and it rested lightly on her left hip. Then she mounted Shadowdancer and left the stable at a gallop heading in the direction Hobbituk had taken. <BR><BR>She looked back only once and that was to see a black cloud hovering above the Lucky Fortune and the inn itself was seemingly going up in smoke. The ground shook and she saw the inn collapse. Had everyone escaped? Her keen eyes picked out the cringing bodies as they tried to protect themselves from flying debris. A sound she could not identify came to her ears just before the black cloud dissipated. Telta could see no sign of Erinhue or this Culanir he had been fighting. The inn was in ruins and it had seemingly taken Erinhue with it. But even as she thought this the man came stumbling out of the ruins carrying his adversary. He was alive! And Aerin was making her way to him. He would be taken care of by his loving wife. Then her eyes caught sight of Beliran and it felt as if someone had tightened their hand around her heart. As hard as it was to leave there was nothing she could do. She turned away knowing that she was not needed there.</i> <BR><BR>"Let’s go Shadowdancer." <i>Telta did not look back again.</i><BR><BR>*******<BR>Telta-Master Bard<BR>Official Vana Honourary Adoptee<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR>E.O.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR>AKA: Laraelia
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Postby Mellaurelom » Tue Feb 11, 2003 9:59 am

Mellaurelom stared through the curtain of tears falling from her eyes, as a young elven woman reached out to Aerin, helping her move Hue farther away from the wreckage of the Inn. The young woman moved purposefully, beginning to tend the wounded. Mell realized, as the water from the falls began to freeze on her body, that she also needed a healer’s aid. Gathering her strength, wiping her eyes, she moved towards the young lady. “Your p-p-pardon, M-milady, Could you help-p-p me please.” Mell was finding it hard to speak clearly, her teeth were rattling so, “I n-need to get warm. S-s-something is f-f-freezing me. If-f-f you can help m-m-me find my harp, I c-c-can warm myself, and then h-h-help you.”<BR><BR>Arwen looked up at the shivering figure standing above her. She saw another elven woman, wrapped in what was clearly a tablecloth, shivering in the warm autumnal evening. “You look chilled! How did you,” she stopped when she realized the other woman was also soaked through, “Ah, never mind, you are soaked! Of course I can help you? Where is your harp?”<BR><BR>Mell shivered again, “It’s up-p-pstairs, the first room on the right f-f-from the front. I hope it’s all r-r-right. Please, help me to the Inn, I am-m-m feeling unst-t-table at the moment-t-t.” Arwen helped Mell across the grass, once flower petal strewn, now dusted with ashes. As they reached the front stairs, they realized that they could not climb them, they were too unstable. “Around the b-b-back, there are other stairs.” Mell managed to say, shivering harder. B-by the way, m-m-my name is Mell. I am als-s-so a bard. You I h-h-have never seen before. Welcome t-t-to the Guild.”<BR><BR>Arwen smiled, amused that even as this woman was chivering with unnatural cold, she still introduced herself to a stranger. “I am Arwen, newly come to these parts. Good Master Erinhue has accepted me not long ago into the ranks of the Bardic Guild.” They found the stairs, climbing slowly and carefully, the journey made more difficult by the frost that seemed to form when Mell placed a foot down. Finally they reached the top, stepping over pieces of the ceiling, chunks of wall, and belongings strewn across the floor. When they reached the front of the hallway, they realized that they could see out what had been a solid wall, to the grounds in front of the Inn. The door to the room where Mell had helped tend Anorast was gone, as well as half the room. But there was her harp, lying on the bed where she had let it, unharmed. Mell and Arwen looked at the harp in amazement, for the coverlet was ashes, the mattress underneath still smouldering. But the harp lay in a perfect circle of untouched linens, crusted with frost. Steam rose softly from the scrap of cloth under it. Mell reached out to the harp, her hand shaking. She touched the carved wood, inlaid with gems, and realized it was also cold, like herself. As she brought her harp and held it to herchest, she felt the cold leech out of it, and warmth began to spread through her limbs. She glanced at Arwen in astonishment, as she felt the warmth leak into her very bones, dispelling the chill even faster than it had set upon her.<BR>
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Postby Arwen_Sol » Tue Feb 11, 2003 1:37 pm

The frost that had formed on Mell's skin started to melt and tiny icicles fell from her hair, turning to water before they hit the floor. Arwen felt tiny prickles in her left hand where <i>Olnathron</i> her Fire-ring rested on her middle finger. Narrowing her eyes, she peered at the harp, there was strange magick here.<BR><BR>But the mystery of Mell and her harp would have to wait for already the remaining structure of the Inn was falling in on itself. Silently the two made their way back the way they came, Mell's shivering body still holding on tightly to the harp.<BR><BR>Back outside, the Guild Master was finally gaining full conciousness and Aerin hovered over him in concern. Arwen and Mell smiled when Aerin glared at Erinhue and tried to make him lie back down, he, on the other hand was having none of that. Arwen sighed, some things never changed; she was glad Erinhue had finally come to, she didn't want to think what would have happened to Aerin if her husband had...<BR><BR>No use dwelling on what didn't happen! Supporting Mell, Arwen led them back to the improvised medical center and handed the soaking girl a towel. "Dry yourself off before you get..." but the words died in her mouth because heat was radiating from Mell in visible streams. People who'd sought medical attention were backing away in fear, the recent events were still too fresh in their minds. However, the heat was not painful and Arwen reassured everyone. <BR><BR>Aerin had taken over seeing to the casualties, and Arwen, reassured that Aerin was a much more proficient healer than herself, left to go look for the people who were still not accounted for. In silence Arwen and Mell continued searching all around the Inn. As they approached the waterfall she saw flowers and petals strewn around... all that remained of the wedding that had taken place here not so very long ago.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:33 pm

<i>Heather rode on, occasionally making her steed go faster for Willum's amusement. As she expected, they arrived at about supper time. She roused the sleeping hobbit lad when the first lights of Hobiton came into view.</i><BR>"Lead me Willum."<BR><i>They got a few strange looks as they rode through the village. He stopped her outside his door. She dismounted then set him down, as his family came out to greet them. Looks of concern, joy and couriosity filled their faces.</i>
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Postby EdaintheRanger » Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:35 pm

There was a deathly silence after the Inn exploded, like there now existed a vacuum, and time itself hesitated. In awe of the magnitude of Evil unleashed, time seemed to hold its very breath.<BR><BR>Time restarted, and the debris began to fall, wood, masonry, returned to the earth, in fragments accompanied with staccato sounds. Edain did not doubt that he would ever forget this ‘forsaken beyond a doubt’ day. Later in that selfish, grateful, period that follows such cataclysmic events he acknowledged that he was alive and thanked Eru. Remembering his charge, he rolled over to find that the blonde healer Bardhwyn was also safe. There was space now to breathe, at least for a while. The events of those last few moments in the inn soon raced through his mind again. Over the next few days Edain relived those last moments periodically, each time considering whether he could have done things better. Edain remembered fragments that loomed in no particular order, and gathering them together, this is what had happened from his perspective. <BR><BR>Once Bardhwyn had healed Moujhadin with the help of her locket powders, Edain had hoped that would be the end of it all. There seemed then, a real chance of an interlude. However there was no interlude. He had leaned forward handing her his handkerchief. He could then sense the spilt whisky amidst the wedding pomanders, and along with the events of the day he had been sorely tempted to head back to the bar with lively banter, or seek solitude and rest. Something other made him stay, somehow he had seemed tied to that room. He now knew that Bardhwyn must have had a vision, seen on to a spiritual plane perhaps. Being a practical, earthy, man he did not completely follow that line of reasoning, but accepted it for now. At times in the past he had healed: gripping a gaping wound with his strong fingers and willing the individual to live. They always had it seemed. But he couldn’t at that time make a connection between his efforts and those of the Dale lady. He digressed momentarily from his story as the energy returned to his limbs while he lay still after escaping the blast. He returned to his narrative also and there seemed to be a gap in his memory then: he next remembered Bardhwyn swooning into his arms, and the urgency of the moment.<BR><BR>“We must get out” was all he could think of at that instant.<BR><BR>He was struck with an image from his past and he had to shrug the meaningless name Ellandar from his thoughts, if he was to continue with his personal retelling of the situation. For some reason it would not go away. Forcing the name into a corner, he moved to think on, but no! He remembered the name’s significance, Ellandar was the name of his dear uncle’s comrade in arms. A conundrum solved, Edain continued with his tale once more in his mind's eye:<BR><BR>Like fugitives the others had left. Alandriel alone had stood there transfixed, Edain had glanced at her incredulously, but could not recall if he had got her to move. The corridor to the stairs had been crammed with people in a haste to leave, so in the spur of the moment Edain chose another exit, when there appeared to be none. Here the survival instincts of the hunter or the animal caged, surfaced. With no further thought the man had grabbed his gear and thrown it mightily at the window, shattering the rest of the glass. The window frame splintered as he savagely kicked and tore out the lattice work that had supported it. Then he had torn the down-stuffed mattress from one of the beds and heaved it out of the window. He stooped and retrieved poor, faint, Bardhwyn, before slinging the other mattress after its fellow. All the other gear in the room followed the bedding, as Edain tried to judge the distance to the ground.<BR><BR>In vain he had attempted to wake Bardhwyn, but nought had come of it. Edain sought solace in the fact that in a semi-conscious state she would be relaxed and less prone to injury. Undulations of perilous energy made his hair stand on end and he had known that they should leave the inn so very quickly.<BR><BR><i>“Here goes nothin’.”</i> he had remembered muttering.<BR><BR>The next thing he knew was that he staggering to his feet, legs jolted from the drop. With no time to recover and bearing Bardhwyn over his shoulder Edain moved as swiftly as he could from the fell site, away. A thankful stone had tripped him and so they had tumbled, gambolling, just as the tumult of evil did vent forth and its energy unleashed. Lying prone the blast did fly over them. For the duration of the ground-shaking roar, Edain had simply gripped the sweet earth (and Bardhwyn) for dear life, and waited for the moment to past.<BR><BR>Sensing the event had gone and the patina of evil that now lay around covering everything, Edain returned to the present. He stood up gingerly, a now battered, bruised, and bleeding ranger. His singed, ragged, cloak slipped from his shoulder, unpinned. Part of him was lost and somehow he doubted if he would find it again. He grunted and grimaced as his head pounded with an unseen pressure.
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Postby Nessamelda » Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:15 pm

"Alfirin," Parm spoke gently, "let it be. It is wisest not to cling to<BR>the jetsam of memories."<BR><BR>Alfirin looked at the ruins of the Inn before her and thought of the ruins of her life that lay behind her. Oh if it were only that easy! If it was as easy to walk away from her past as it was to walk away from these blackened walls.<BR><BR>For her life had been a long story of clinging to the past, of clinging to the might-have-beens. And they had led her only into deeper sadness and lonliness. Yet now what had she left to cling to but this flotsam and jetsom of memories - without them surely she would drown. <BR><BR>And letting go would not be that simple. Long ago she had sworn a bitter oath. It was an oath of revenge, sworn in a moment of rage, anger and sadness, by a girl who had seen her husband and babies die and her daughter taken. An oath sworn in the name of the One who had sung the first song, an oath on the name of Eru himself. As Feanor had found, such undertakings will bind whether or not thay could be fulfilled. It too was a vain oath, and yet its power drove her.<BR><BR>She shook her head sadly. <BR><BR>"I thank you for your kindness, Sir, although it is little deserved. You know too little of me to make such judgements. "<BR><BR>Alfirin turned to Ness: "I do not need your trust or approval, lady, or disapproval either, but I will say this to you. I am no habitual drunkard. A traveller alone through the wilds cannot afford to become drunk, unless she wants her purse cut, or her throat, or worse to happen. A madness seems to have taken all today, all with any hint of pride or darkness in their nature, and twisted and turned it. I would not normally have acted so. Although I am no gentle maiden and I do not suffer fools gladly, I usually have enough self-control to control my demons. You are fortunate, Nessamelda that you seem to have no chink that these dark temptations can enter - at least not yet."<BR><BR>She paused, and looked at the angry woman before her. "You are brooding over some wrong - do not follow my poor example. As Parm says, cut your ties with the past. Make a new start for yourself, or you will end up like me with nothng but the past, and no future. For me there is no hope. But perhaps I can make amends a little for past wrongs that I have done to others."<BR><BR>Ness shook her head in puzzlement. It was true that she had been brooding over her foster brother's behaviour that had ultimately led to her leaving home. But she would never let that dominate her life, surely. <BR><BR>Alfirin settled back down on the bench and ate the roll that Parm offered. Nessamelda watched her warily. The scribe was now talking reasonably and (for her) almost politely. Yet she still did not trust her. <BR>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:42 pm

<i>‘Where is he? He was here, just now... no, please…not him, too…’<BR><BR>Still prone on the ground, Bardhwyn gripped at the soil, not registering the cool grass between her fingers. To her it was hard stone and above her, a cavern’s roof and around her swarmed the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the desperate refugees of Dale. The poison Easterling arrow she’d taken in front of the Gates of Erebor had sent her into sick and heated dreams… visions of Easterling men and women, of sand, sun and wicked winds. The thunderous roar had momentarily deafened her ears. She groped, afraid to open her eyes.</i><BR><BR>“The Gates! They’ve destroyed the Gates!” <i>She cried out.</i> “Bard! Bard! All is lost.. Bard! <BR><i>She shrieked. A pair of strong arms collected her up and she blinked her eyes open, but still they were sightless.</i> “The children!” <i>She exclaimed, struggling to stand.</i> “We must hide the children…they will kill them all..Bard!”<BR><BR>“There are no gates and no children, and no one named Bard here, Bardhwyn. It is over.” <i>The man’s voice was calm, even.</i> “You’re safe…the Inn was destroyed but you’re safe.”<BR><BR><i>It was not Bard’s voice but another man’s. Bardhwyn focused her eyes and saw the Ranger, Edain, a trickle of blood tracing down from a cut above his right eye. Gripping the man’s arms, Bardhwyn frantically looked about in shock and surprise. She was not in the caves of the Lonely Mountain, under siege by the Easterlings, her shoulder was not pierced by a poison arrow. This was not the battle of Dale and Erebor…it was many years hence. <BR><BR>She was on the front lawn of the Lucky Fortune Inn. The Dale woman collected herself, regulating her breathing as best she could and looked again upon the young Ranger.</i><BR><BR>“You…you’re bleeding..” <i>She whispered.</i> “By the Gods what happened?! Last I remember, I had just spoken to SilverScribe and you gave me a handkerchief.”<BR><BR><i>Her eyes fell upon the gutted remains of the Lucky Fortune Inn, where she’d spent many a happy hour. It was like a home to her. </i><BR><BR>“You mean, you don’t recall performing some rite on the Easterling, speaking again in another language? One I have never heard before.” Edain asked, a perplexed tone coloring his voice. "And the Inn, the tremendous wave of energy..?"<BR><BR>“No…no, I don’t.” <i> Bardhwyn replied, trying to make out the shapes of people in the gloom.</i> “You mean after SilverScribe left? No, I did nothing!” <i>She then shook her head, aware that there was too long a blank in her awareness. She remembered dreams, but no waking memory. Bardhwyn suddenly fell silent and sinking sensation dragged her guts down into the earth. It was beginning, what Ani-la had warned her of so long ago. Bardhwyn was to set out on a journey over which she was to have no control and that journey had begun, it seemed.</i><BR><BR>“Are you all right, Bardhwyn?” <i>Edain asked, seeing the strange cloud pass o'er her.</i><BR><BR>“Yes, yes Edain, I am. You’re hurt..”<BR><BR>“Are you?” <i>He asked, his voice kindly.The Ranger steadied her as she stood.</i><BR><BR>“No, no I don’t think so but I can help you. There must be others..” <i>Bardhwyn then stopped, seeing her things flung onto the ground some ways away and through the wreckage noting two mattresses. A vague memory returned to her.</i><BR><BR>“You saved my life, didn’t you?”
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Postby Aerin » Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:21 pm

<i>Aerin slowly stood up and turned to look at the Inn, shaking her head silently in disbelief. The Lucky Fortune had been her home, the only home she had, for so long now. It was where she had met many of her friends, became a Bard, danced with Erinhue. Now it was gone.<BR><BR>Her eyes searched frantically for Erinhue, willing him to appear alive and whole. The elf gasped in relief as he finally appeared, carrying his opponent, and rushed to him.<BR><BR>He let his burden drop gently to the ground as he fell into her arms, weakened by the fight and explosion, and nerves. Aerin held her husband tightly as they sank down. She didn't even try to assess his injuries at first; it was enough knowing he was alive.</i>
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Postby prmiller » Tue Feb 11, 2003 11:04 pm

Nessa, Alfirin, if you will excuse me. I have other friends I need<BR>to see, and bring come measure of comfort. <BR><i>Parm reached down to take up his travelling bag, noticing its<BR>now heavier weight was a result of Willum's hoarding...or <BR>planning. Parm smiled to himself at the thought. Then with<BR>a more solemn face, turned to walk toward <b>Aerin and <BR>Erinhue</b>. <BR>He moved with silent grace to where his bard friends were<BR>huddled. Kneeling down, he opened his pack, withdrew a<BR>stoppered container, and offered the contents and the refreshing<BR>liquid to them both.</i><BR><BR>I am so very glad to see you safe, but I know it will take more<BR>than my humble offerings to make you well. Please take what<BR>you find that appeals to you. If you have a purpose beyond this<BR>day, then I will place my skills and my staff at your service,<BR>M'lord and M'lady. <BR><BR><i>Parm rose with his pack, and proceeded to mingle among the<BR>refugees scattered in different places away from the wreckage<BR>of the Inn. To some, he needed no introduction, for others<BR>a brief greeting, a gentle hand laid in tender comfort, a<BR>whispered prayer and an offering of something from his pack. <BR><BR>It was during this time of wandering, that he met the lady his<BR>eyes had seen only briefly, and for whom his heart had leapt<BR>in happiness...<b>Alandriel.</b><BR><BR>Stepping nearer to her, and reaching into the folds of his robe,<BR>he found what he had carefully removed from the previously<BR>ruined robe: a small pamphlet of paper, into which had been<BR>pressed a single bloom. </i><BR><BR>You are, Alandriel, I believe. I have brought this for you, and<BR>the greetings of my family. You have been often in our <BR>conversations the day we saw you come to Imladris for a<BR>time of solace. You dropped this as you were picking flowers<BR>one day, and I saved it. My wife, Aravel, said it would be a tender<BR>token to use to begin a friendship. It is offered to you in that<BR>spirit. At this time of horrors, it is best to know who our friends<BR>truly are and how deep their loyalties. <BR><BR><i>Parm placed his hand to his heart, bowed low, offering his<BR>gift to the maid.</i>
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Postby PatriotBlade » Tue Feb 11, 2003 11:27 pm

<i>Heather was welcomed warmly when the tale had been told. It was odd for the healer to feel so at home, yet have to duck everywhere she went. The duo were first fed, then pressed for more stories before Willum was packed off to bed.<BR>Heather was sitting cross-leged by the fire, lost in memories. <BR>She was a child again, sitting by the fire at her addoptive father's feet as he worked with herbs or repaired her boots. He hummed as he worked, his stubbly face looking strange and creagy in the dancing firelight. The cottage on the plains of the Wilds was small and cozy; and it was home. Home; she had not seen that little cottage for nearly twenty years. She had only been back once since the old man she called "Pop" had passed away in his sleep. she nearly cried as she wondered how some place so diffrent and far away could make her feel as if she were back to the place she loved best. Heather looked into the fire, the light playing earilly in her green eyes.</i>
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Postby Elana » Wed Feb 12, 2003 12:33 am

Elana winced at each blow either combatant struck. Erinhue and a strange red-haired man struggled violently. Elana and Deore perched on chairs toward the rear of the crowd watching the fight.<BR><BR>Suddenly a quiet but intense music impinged on Elana’s consciousness. She closed her eyes to concentrate on the sound. <i>Warning</i>, it pulsed in her blood. <i>Get out.</i><BR><BR>Elana hesitated, but the urgency of the warning only increased. All their things were tucked away upstairs, in the room where they’d been staying. Everything she owned, all her clothes, her money, her spindles and knitting needles, even, and her heart caught, the beautiful carved wooden flute she’d been given just a few weeks ago. But the urgency of the music would allow no delay – they had to get out of the inn, fast, before destruction raged. She swallowed hard. But her nomad’s life had taught her not to become too attached to things, which might have to be abandoned. Only her daughter’s life, and her own, were important. Mentally she consigned her possessions to the fire, and opened her eyes in preparation to dash for the door.<BR><BR>Turning to Deore, she found the chair next to her empty. She caught a glimpse of Deore slipping through the crowd, dodging past masses of people all crowding for the exit, headed for the stairs leading to the second floor.<BR><BR>“Deore!” she yelled, voice shrill with worry. But her daughter either didn’t hear or ignored her, continuing on her way. “Drat the girl,” Elana muttered, her fear seeking outlet in anger. She began to push her way through the crowd in pursuit.<BR><BR>Deore’s smaller body was quicker, and she didn’t hesitate to shove a bit to make a path for herself. She increased her lead over Elana. By the time Elana had made her way up the stairs and to their room, Deore had already opened their packs on the bed and was busy stuffing all their belonging inside.<BR><BR>“Leave it! We’ve got to get out!” Elana shouted, and tried to grab Deore’s arm and physically drag her from the room. But Deore was strong, and tore away, continuing to pack. She shoved the last few things into the packs, jerked them closed, and threw Elana’s at her. As Elana put up her hands reflexively to catch it, Deore darted towards her, and the girl’s hand snaked into the pocket of her mother's skirt. Coming out with a key, Deore turned to the small locked cabinet beside the bed. The walls were starting to glow with an eerie light, and Elana could feel the floor starting to tremble. “Stop!” Elana insisted, but Deore ignored her. The key twisted, the cabinet opened, and Deore drew forth a small but heavy purse and a delicately carved wooden flute. Then she flashed a smile at Elana, shouldered the other pack, and ran for the door.<BR><BR>Infuriated, Elana followed Deore into the hall and down the stairs. The inn was all but deserted now. Only the music chased them, now built to a peak of screaming urgency. The whole inn was shaking, and the glow of the walls grew brighter and hotter. As they fled across the common room, Elana caught a brief glimpse of a human figure, features lost in the glaring brilliant radiance consuming it.<BR><BR>Then Deore was out, and Elana followed. As her foot left the doorstep, a tremendous explosion rocked the inn, hurling the two women forward. Elana was knocked hard into Deore, and they both slid sprawling for many yards. They came to rest in heap, as quiet descended around them and the last few tattered clouds overhead blew away. <BR><BR>Elana struggled to catch her breath. She sat up, finding she was not seriously hurt, only covered with bruises and scratches. She felt her daughter stirring next to her. “Are you all right?” she queried anxiously.<BR><BR>“Mother?” Deore sounded frightened, and younger than her sixteen years. “I’m okay, I think. But my arm hurts.”<BR><BR>Elana helped Deore sit up, and her stomach turned to see the unnatural angle of Deore’s left forearm. She held her daughter tight, burying her head in Deore's hair, trying to master her emotion. Then she gathered her resolve, and said with forced calm, “We will have to have that looked at. I know there are several healers around; hopefully one of them will be taking care of the wounded. I don’t think you’re the only one.” And indeed the formerly festive crowd of guests was now a pitiful sight, fine clothes torn and dirtied, blood streaked on many faces, smoke and ash blackening hair and hands.<BR><BR>Elana tore a strip from the bottom of her forest green dress, and used it to fashion an impromptu sling to support Deore’s arm. Then supporting her daughter, she led her towards a table where it looked like those with more serious wounds were gathering.<BR><BR>Their packs, and the carved flute Deore had clutched protectively against her body with her right hand, while her left went out to break her fall, lay unharmed and forgotten behind them in the grass.
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Postby Lindonbayne » Wed Feb 12, 2003 5:40 am

Some things... You cannot escape.<BR><BR><i>Lindonbayne’s clenched fist met the wall of the room as Slayer turned her back on her. She ground her teeth, her whole body tense. As was her mind.<BR>Though perhaps he was right. She would never escape her mother’s fate. Try as she might, it was hopeless, for the man who had walked out of the room seconds before was the man she had feared and desired all her wandering life. She had fallen in love with the silver haired stranger.<BR><BR>Her breath slowed, her body relaxed a little, as her mossy eyes filled with tears. She suddenly felt trapped, helpless. She needed to get back to the spaciousness of the open road before she did something she would soon regret.<BR>She took a deep breath and slung her pack back onto her shoulders, heading out of the room. As she reached the door, she turned to look inside once more. She spotted the intricately woven floral garland exactly where she had left it, the white of the blossom contrasting the dark bed sheets. She turned away, resting her head on the doorframe for a moment as her tears finally flooded down her pale cheeks.<BR>Peering through her tear-filled eyes, she made her way down the staircase. As she gripped banister she felt a stinging pain in her hand. She looked down at it, having reached the bustle of the wedding reception. Blood dripped from her white fingers onto her clothes and the floor below. She was so numbed by Slayer’s actions that she had not realised just how hard she had hit the defenceless wall in her frustration.<BR>She fished a few coins from her purse with her one good hand, tossing them as she neared the bar. The barkeep caught them, furrowed his brow then got back to work.<BR>Lindonbayne sighed, trying to calm herself, keep the flood of tears at bay. Then she caught Slayer’s eye. She blinked and the tears came crashing down once more. She tore her eyes away from his and ran out of the inn to a nearby oak tree. She sprang up it with ease, perched on a branch out of sight, and sobbed silently into her cape.<BR>When she finally prised her blood smeared face from her hands, she saw the smouldering remains of the Lucky Fortune. She did not know what had happened, nor did she care this minute. She cared about only one thing: finding Slayer alive and well.<BR>A crowd had gathered outside. She scanned the guests one by one, she saw many wounded, she was no use to them at present. Her elven eyes searched desperately for her love, checking each face over and over, her heart plummeting yet further with each, panic rising with it. He was nowhere in sight.</i>
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Postby nienor-niniel » Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:13 am

<i>The clouds of dust and stone that the explosion has sent in the air slowly fell down. Nienor- Niniels face was covered with dust, and the tears had drawn little trails of dirt on it. Unlike Parm, she could not hold back the tears and was crying openly. But those tears did not make her feel lost and weary like the ones earlier on this day. She rather felt as if they were washing her, letting the grief go with the dirt.<BR><BR>She felt completely lost, and tried to hold on to Nessamelda and Parm. But through the midst of her tears, she could not clearly distinguish who managed to escape from the ruins and who was outside sound safe – or at least alive and unhurt. At one moment, Parm offered them something to eat, and she took it mechanically. For once, she was not hungry, and sweetness did not bring her any comfort. <BR><BR>Slowly the distress ebbed and the fear took over. </i>Parm, <i>she asked,</i> have you seen some of our fellow bards. Where is Matrim? and Scribbles ? Leoba? Where are they? When have you seen Matrim latest? <i>She cut herself in the middle of the next question, remembering even in this very moment, that she should not inquire about the Easterling more than about anybody else. And of course, she cared for her friends too, even if, in case someone would have told her in this moment where she could find the Lord of the Band of the Red Hand, she would have rushed off immediately. <BR><BR>Parm looked at her with a strange expression, and as she began to move forward towards the smoking ruins, held her back on her forearm, a little to strongly, so that it almost hurt her. He ignored her protest and his eyes were dark and severe. Just not like himself. <BR><BR>A blink later, he said he had to look for friends and left them, and she had the weird feeling that he did not remember her questions and that he had not felt the strength of his hand, when he had hold her back. <BR>She sighed and searched for Ness’s glance to see if the other woman had realized this odd behaviour or if it had been a flicker of her imagination. But Nessa and Alfirin seemed lost in their thoughts. <BR><BR>I’m going to look, if I can be of some help with the hurt, she said to Nessamelda. Although she had no particular healing skills, she had lived alone long enough to know how to take care of all basic injuries. <BR><BR>She wiped the dust out of her eyes and went to the smoking ruins, half wishing half dreading to find some known faces. Or at least one.... </i>
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Postby Shadow_Walker » Wed Feb 12, 2003 11:38 am

As Nin hopelessly searched the ruins of the Inn, she kept hearing one name repeated in the back of her mind, <i>Matrim</i>. <BR><BR>Had she not been so intent on finding him, she might have even noticed the voice was not her own.<BR><BR>It pulled at her mind, taunting her with images and sounds of him. Quietly, subtly, the voice called to her.
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Postby Leoba » Wed Feb 12, 2003 2:13 pm

There had been nowhere to go other than out of the front door. Not a chance of choice or resistance as the crowded taproom emptied in swift dark confusion. Leoba, let loose by Aliana at last, was bowled along on its tide and out into the darkness of full-blown nightfall. There she could only watch dumb and helpless as Agarak wreaked its vengeance upon the evil that was gathered about that place. Could only hope for mercy as the frame of the inn was wreathed in brilliant light and dust and shards of glass and stone fragments and splintering wood hailed down upon the wretched onlookers, as though all the furies of the ancient days were to be unleashed upon this shattered party. <BR><BR>Faces and voices began to emerge through the settling dust. Leoba cast her eyes high and low but nowhere could she see those she was looking for. In frantic fear she racked her brains, trying to remember where she’d last seen people, desperate to ascertain what had become of those she cared for. Dirk; she knew he was out the back somewhere, she would have seen had he come back into the building, he had to be safe. Scribbles; she’d left, Leoba remembered that much, remembered the strange hurried leave-taking of her peredhel friend and the disconcerting feeling that had hit the pit of her stomach as the door swung to behind. But Bardhwyn; where was the Dalewoman? They’d not spoken since they’d parted at the door so many hours earlier, even before Lurea had been snatched. And Culanir. Her heart skipped a beat. She knew he was still in there. Knew that there was no way he would have got out. Nor would he have been helped; she had seen the thoughts painted vividly in the eyes of the onlookers.<BR><BR>“Erinhue!”, Aerin was running, her first thought for the man she loved.<BR><BR>Leoba swept her hair impatiently out of her eyes, inadvertently dislodging the dust that had gathered in its tresses. And gathering her skirts out of the way of her feet she started to hurry back towards the door. The taproom seemed to be still standing; someone or something was on her side she prayed. But she got no further before there, staggering towards them, was Erinhue. And it was Culanir he carried and deposited at Leoba’s feet. <BR><BR>Relief surged through her, her worries for the others momentarily forgotten as his eyes opened on hers. He was breathing and he was conscious. She did not argue as a stranger helped her carry him away from the rubble to where some of the people had thought to find lanterns but she cried out and grasped at the woman’s wrist when she tried to anoint her brother’s wounds from an unknown bottle.<BR><BR>“Don’t you touch him! Please,” she added the last almost as an afterthought. “I bid you tend to Erinhue instead.” Leoba moved between Culanir and the others, her green eyes narrowed and in the yellowed half-light taking on an unnervingly feline quality. The other woman backed off and knelt at the Bard’s side.<BR><BR>She feared what had brought on this cataclysmic effect but she knew she had to protect her brother first, before she searched for anyone or anything or thought beyond the immediate. Leoba looked down at Culanir and her heart wept. What was there here in this battered and bruised body that bore any resemblance to the knight in shining armour she had always adored. His beard was matted with blood, drying now to a russet hue. His eye socket was swelling up in violent objection to the blows with which it had fallen victim and already the whites of his eyes were bloodshot and sickly. His tunic was torn. His arm bent badly out of line and it too was swelling about the elbow. His throat was marred with thumbprints of purple and inky black. <BR><BR>Yet no woman wept for Culanir, as Aerin shed tears for her handsome knight. And there were precious few people here Leoba could trust to help him and she knew he needed the urgent assistance of a skilled pair of healing hands. And aside from Aerin she knew precious few healers; perhaps Bardhwyn or even Alandriel could help, wherever they were, if they were still hale. Leoba crouched down and reached for his hand, that too was bruising; was there no end to the pain he’d been drawn to. <BR><BR>“Culanir, can you hear me? I’m going to try and help.”<BR><BR>He whispered something, his parched tongue struggling to take command of the words. But it was too faint, Leoba could not hear it. She leaned closer still and this time the broken sentence was faintly audible.<BR><BR>“Find Rho…. left behind… please.”<BR><BR>“I don’t know where she is Culanir. Last I saw she was with you, hours ago.”<BR><BR>He shook his head.<BR><BR>“Upstairs.”<BR><BR>“She’s upstairs?”<BR><BR>This time he nodded in reply.<BR><BR>Leoba sat back on her heels, closed her eyes and forced herself to repress a sigh. She racked her brains but she had simply no idea how she would go about trying to find the young shield maiden, her compatriot. It was dark, there was precious little artificial light and the inauspicious chain of events had chased the moon away to hide deep behind a shadowy cloak of dark cloud. Not losing anyone, let alone finding them in this was well nigh impossible and she knew it. But she looked back at Culanir again and saw the desperate guilt and weariness etched in his face and knew she would do whatever he asked of her. But she wouldn’t leave him. <BR><BR>“Can you walk then?” Leoba was about to help her brother to his unsteady feet when she spotted Aliana hovering in the shadows, uncertain now what Leoba’s reaction to her would be. But the young woman of Ithilien knew nothing but relief at seeing a familiar face at last. <BR><BR>“Ali, would you help us, me? I need to find Rholarowyn but I can’t leave Culanir to go and search for her.” Leoba lowered her voice, to shield the recumbent knight from her fears. “I fear she might have been upstairs but maybe someone else has seen her?”<BR><BR>The Rohirric maid nodded and said she would do what she could. In turn, Leoba handed her their lamp, all they had to see by. And then they were left in the dark, alone. <BR><BR>Still clutching her brother’s hand, Leoba struggled to engage him in conversation, to keep his mind off his hurts and to keep him alert. And slowly whilst they waited, she began to piece together what had happened over the course of the afternoon and of some of the ever-encroaching darkness that had seeped into their world. <BR><BR>But the night was pressing hard around them and the damp was seeping up through the earth into the remnants of what had once been wedding finery. It smelled sweet, the ground, as though the pungent scent of dewy grass and age-old clay could cleanse the dust and the charcoal from their nostrils. Yet still no single star to bring them hope. In vain did Leoba scour the heavens for just one twinkling hint of the familiarity of Menelmacar’s bright belt. But he too was swathed in mist and midnight shadow. Instead, towering in ominous strength over them, even in its shattered state, loomed the skeleton of the Lucky Fortune Inn. And the sodden mists began to penetrate through to their very bones. <BR><BR>
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Postby Alandriel » Wed Feb 12, 2003 2:53 pm

Many questions and puzzles filled her mind as Alandriel advanced slowly towards the group of huddled figures. All of a sudden she felt somebody approaching from the back and she turned to face…. With a startled surprise she realized it was the officiate she had seen during the ceremony. What did he want from her? Yet another puzzle. But his eyes were lit with a deep kindness and care and so her alarm quickly subsided. She listened attentively to his words and with each passing sentence her astonishment became greater. This man knew her, he claimed, from Imladris. He recalled an event of which she had no memory. Yes, of course, she had visited Elrond’s hall a few times…. it was all so long ago, in another age, in another life it seemed. <BR>What he held out to her was a carefully pressed flower. Athelas, Kings foil, one of the master healing herbs. Slowly the memories seeped back but however hard she tried, she could not recall the man before her or the event of which he spoke. In a way this was hardly surprising, for she had been much pre-occupied during those times. Alandriel accepted this token of friendship with a gentle nod. For a moment she was lost for words.<BR><BR>‘I don’t know how to answer and thank you, kind Sir. You present me on this dark day with a gift from a past that I would rather not recall, but through it and through your kind words you have made a light shine where before only darkness was. Much, too much has passed today… and something tells me it is not entirely over yet. I must beg forgiveness for appearing rude. Believe me it is born out of urgency and great need. I must leave. I sincerely hope we will have an opportunity later. There is still much that I would talk to you about.’<BR><BR>Parm nodded and smiled his understanding and so Alandriel took her leave, striding out once more towards her destination.<BR>What a day! His last words were still ringing in her ears: ‘…, it is best to know who our friends truly are and how deep their loyalties..’ Yes! This was exactly what she needed to find out. She was so taken with her ponderings as she walked, she did not notice her step falling on some dry twigs of wood that had fallen into the soft grass.<BR><BR>A voice rang out: “I would stop and come no further if I were you!” Alandriel stopped dead in her tracks.<BR><BR>She knew that voice, although the tone was much changed. The person before her was deadly serious, ready to defend with her life who ever she was shielding. A far cry from the hurt maiden being swept away by dreams and visions not so long ago. This was no ordinary lady, although, with her now tattered dress, she still held that outward appearance. The way she stood there, perfectly poised and balanced, the sword gleaming dangerously … No, this was a trained fighter and no mistake.<BR><BR>‘You do well to be alert’ Alandriel called out, raising her hands slowly up, palms facing outwards in a gesture of peace.<BR>‘The people you are shielding will be much in need of protection after today’s events. I am sure they will be blamed, implicated, if not worse. But not by me.‘<BR><BR>The woman seemed unimpressed with these words, her sword still ready to strike. Alandriel could not see her features and therefore she concluded, it would be difficult for the Gondorian woman to see hers. Maybe if she stepped closer, she would get a chance of being recognized. And so, hands still outstretched, she slowly took a few more steps.<BR><BR>‘You might not recognize me, as your mind and body has suffered much on this dark day. Listen with your heart, I am friend, not foe.’<BR><BR>Then with a much louder voice, Alandriel called out to the people behind her: ‘Is that not you, Jiyadan and your compatriot? For sure you know my voice. Tell her to let me pass. If I am not mistaken, your friend still needs my help.’<BR><BR>And silently she added in her mind: ‘And I need answers …’<BR>
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Postby Aliana » Wed Feb 12, 2003 2:54 pm

Try though she might in the years to come, Aliana would never be able to reconstruct in her memory the sequence of words and actions which had led her out of the Inn for the last time. There was that final moment: it seemed that the hot fury which consumed those two men grappling at the base of the stairs, and the tremors of heat consuming the walls and the taproom were one and the same. She released Leoba's arm from her tight grasp. And then there was a warning, a gathering of panicked voices, and deep rumbling sound as the air began to shimmer...<BR><BR>And the next thing Aliana remembered, she was standing on the grass some distance away, hands trembling slightly, a cold sweat on her brow.<BR><BR>She stood facing what had once been the Lucky Fortune Inn.<BR><BR>It seemed a hideous kind of joke, at first. The remains of the building stood gutted and blackened like a rotted grin. The walls upon which the flickering warmth of many a roaring fire had been reflected were now lost to ashes. Smoke wafted slowly heavenward in the night, a leisurely, mocking coda to the cacaphonous music of destruction. And now everything was so quiet. Some years ago, the young maiden thought she had finally come to accept the inherent brutality of the world- nothing more would ever shock her. At the sight of these smoldering ruins, however, something snapped inside of her, some piece of flesh or bone or memory that she hadn't known she even posessed in the first place.<BR><BR>She watched, her dark eyes dry and clear, as Erinhue emerged from the wreckage like a man who had clawed his way out of a fresh grave. She watched as the Master Bard dropped the red-haired knight at the feet of Leoba several feet away from Aliana, and then collapsed before his wife. It was like being totally submerged- the motions seemed slow and dreamlike, the sounds heavy and muffled.<BR><BR>Sensation returned to her sharply as she heard Leoba's voice, clear and urgent, saying her name. The short version of it, the way it was used in affection or informality. Aliana crossed the space between them and found her eyes drawn down to the earth, to the bloodied and broken form of the young woman's brother. <i>Not long for this world, probably</i>, Aliana thought to herself, looking back up at Leoba. She didn't know how to feel about that. None of the fierceness or frustration with which the Gondorian lady had bristled in their last exchange remained on her face. Now there was only relief, perhaps some fear, and a bravely maintained calm.<BR><BR>"...would you help us, me? I need to find Rholarowyn but I can’t leave Culanir to go and search for her.”<BR><BR>Rho. Aliana nodded and forced out some banal words about trying her best. Leoba put a lantern into her hand, and the girl started off, suddenly as anxious to find the shieldmaiden as the other woman seemed to be. Aliana had not spoken to Rho at all today, and in all the chaos and confusion she had briefly forgotten that her former mentor was even there. It had been a year since they had parted. What would she say?<BR><BR><i>Find her, first</i>, she thought to herself, her own small light treading a path through the darkness. Words would come later. They always did.
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Postby Jiyadan » Wed Feb 12, 2003 3:11 pm

<i>‘Is that not you, Jiyadan and your compatriot? For sure you know my voice. Tell her to let me pass. If I am not mistaken, your friend still needs my help.’</i><BR><BR>Pushing past Rho roughly, but without hurting her, Jiyadan brought his sword down in a diagonal arc towards the woman who spoke. His eyes burned with a deadly fire as the healer blindly stumbled backwards in an attempt to escape his blade, astonished, for she had not expected this attack.<BR><BR>"I do <b>not</b> know you!" he shouted at her as he advanced. "Leave! If either of you witches try to touch him, come anywhere near him again, by the gods I'll kill you!" His voice became an eerie calm as he spoke his last words. <BR><BR>Jiyadan now stood towering over her, his blade just inches from her throat. His body seethed with rage, and the healer knew that it would not take much for his sword to find its mark.
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Postby EdaintheRanger » Wed Feb 12, 2003 9:08 pm

Edain held Bardhwyn still, she looked as fragile as he now felt. Swept up with the intensity of the inn’s explosion, Edain’s perception appeared sharper, brighter and more immediate, his pains brushed aside for that brief moment. His eyes flicked searchingly over the Dale lady looking for signs of obvious injury, but other than her weight sinking into his hands he felt none. She seemed perhaps a little listless or preoccupied still, understandably so considering the deeds done on this day. He hoped that as a healer she had not overstretched her strength, that could prove perilous. Edain spoke to her softly lest he agitate her more. From her stilted speech she seemed to be reliving a dark past and he had no wish to cause her unwitting pain through probing questions. The detached corner of his mind compared her to the Rohirrim, but the hard fierceness he thought he had seen in her eyes was not the same as that of Rohan maidens. Was it knowledge tempering a like for direct action? He knew not. His own limbs began to tremble slightly. Why he knew not. The air was not cold, and the fear had gone.<BR><BR>She was speaking again: in that elongated speech of the North East, a cadence that Edain had rarely heard before. Having visited Mirkwood he thought that he would be able to follow it. The carriage of the words seemed so different, yet Dale lay only a few, good, leagues from that forest kingdom. How strange! Edain enquired after her health, his own healing instinct returning, but she deflected the phase back; seemingly equally concerned for the ranger. He could feel the sharp sting of his cuts now, and the dull throb of his bruises. For perhaps the first time in his life Edain felt definitely mortal. He managed a melancholy smile and responded.<BR><BR>With support from Edain Bardhwyn moved around, searching first one way and then another in a quest for her possessions. Unquestioningly Edain followed, trying to figure how he had covered the terrifying distance to the ground from the upper storey window. It did not bear thinking about! In a small way fear returned, but a positive one, one that kept you alive. Both of them were back on solid ground and that that was what mattered. <BR>Feeling Bardhwyn pause, he focused on her.<BR> <BR><i>“You saved my life, didn’t you?”</i> Bardhwyn stated plainly.<BR><BR><i>“What?!”</i> Edain said to gain time, as he recollected his thoughts, <BR><BR><i>“Yes I suppose I did.”</i> he stated in a simple modest way. <BR><BR>Edain had acted completely without thought, and to be told that he had behaved heroically seemed to strike him like a thunderbolt, - his face open and his eyes widened.<BR><BR><i>“I just did it, Bardhwyn, anyone else would have done the same.”</i> he continued before mumbling:<BR><BR><i>”Oh c’mon... Really.”</i> as he pulled her close to hug her. After the truma of the day he was overcome with the need to hold somebody. Silently he gave thanks that they were both alive and well.<BR><BR>The nightly gloom finally registered with Edain, darkness dwelt on the lands. Lanten and torches flickered like Will o’ Wisps, as the shadows of other people came into view. Holding Bardhwyn close, Edain dared to look to the inky, black, implacable skies. He fancied that he saw a glimmering, a distant star, shining a hope on the accursed place, but he blinked. The star seemed gone.<BR>
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EdaintheRanger
Ranger of the North

 
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